What a Difference a Year Makes

In the recent hoopla surrounding Babylon Babylon, I forgot to observe a momentous occasion last month: on April 10th this blog turned one year old.

Holy crap.

I honestly didn’t think I would make it that long. Considering that I was never a diligent diary keeper or journal writer, I thought that maybe I’d fire off a couple of entries and then let this thing languish in limbo for months at a time. But, for the most part, that hasn’t happened, and I’ve gotten into the spirit of blogging enough to maintain this thing on a semi-regular basis. Will wonders never cease?

As the blog’s birthday rolled around last month, I got to reminiscing about where I was a year ago when I started this whole enterprise. And, boy, lemme tell ya – I was not in a good way.

Last April I was reeling from the unexpected breakup of a relationship that left me devastated. The way I usually handle such things is to lock myself in my room and stay there for months on end. But this last time, I decided I didn’t want to do that. Sure, I was sad and depressed, but I didn’t want to turn that energy inward and eat myself alive with self-loathing (a familiar coping mechanism). No, I wanted to do something different – something that would turn my attentions outward, keep me optimistic, and maybe make me feel better.

I wanted to do something potentially unpredictable (at least, to me). And I think what I chose fit the bill perfectly.

I decided to revive my long-dormant acting career.

With one notable exception, I hadn’t really acted for the better part of the last seven years. So I didn’t know if this was going to work. Especially since all the theater people in my life knew me only as a reviewer, not as an artistic type. Reviewers are often looked upon as the enemy, so I thought I might be facing an uphill battle.

But, I had to do something. So, I got new headshots taken, spiffed up the ol’ resume, and started sending those puppies out.

And the universe responded. In spades.

I’ll spare you the play-by-play of what happened next. The short version is that I landed an audition a week after getting those headshots, landed the gig the week after that, and have thankfully been rolling pretty much ever since. Overnight, the numerous theater folks I’d met in various capacities over the past couple of years turned into an extensive network of contacts and advocates, all of whom helped me out in one way or another. The community opened its arms and embraced me wholeheartedly. I was in awe of the whole thing then, and am still in awe of it now. And massively grateful.

So, as I look at where I am now, compared to where I was this time last year, I see that I have come quite a long way.

In the past twelve months, I’ve acted in six shows (one of which was my Off-Broadway debut).

I actually got paid for one of them. Quite unexpectedly, I might add. It was the first time I’d ever been paid for acting in a play. Wow. What a feeling.

Depending on how things go, I’ve got my next four acting gigs already lined up.

On April 10th, the blog’s one-year birthday, I met with a commercial agent who agreed to take me on as a freelance client. Happy Birthday, indeed.

And, most importantly, I met The Companion. This month it’ll be six months since our first date. She is the light and the love of my life, and the greatest gift I could have possibly gotten. I cherish and treasure every day I have with her, and am so happy to have her in my life.

So, I’d like to take a moment to thank all the people who played some sort of major part (whether they knew it or not) in my personal and professional turnaround this past year. The friendship, support, and inspiration I got from all of you has meant the world to me, and I look forward to many more years of it.

(in alphabetical order…)

Gyda Arber, Melanie Armer, Aaron Baker, Pete Boisvert, Elizabeth Bunnell, Isaac Butler, Hope Cartelli, Maggie Cino, James Comtois, Stephanie Cox-Williams, the Criscuolo family (Mom, Pop, sister Carla, and brother Greg), Frank Cwiklik, Dominic D’Andrea, Amy Davidson, Martin Denton, Rochelle Denton, Kevin Doyle, Bryan Enk, Michael Gardner, Jessi Gotta, Ashlin Halfnight, Ian W. Hill, Robert Honeywell, Leonard Jacobs, Matt Johnston, Jeff Lewonczyk, Jeni Mahoney, Cathy McNelis, Debbi Morgan, Chance Muehleck, Robin Reed, Iracel Rivero, Mac Rogers, Trav S.D., Michele Schlossberg, Patrick Shearer, Gary Shrader, Christine Simpson, Alexis Sottile, Stephen Speights, Moira Stone, Melanie Sylvan, Daniel Talbott, Sara Thigpen, and Jordana Williams.

And since I owe you all a Random Friday Top 10 for both last week and today, here’s a special Random Friday Top 20 in honor of today’s post: Top 20 Songs/Cuts That Got Me Through the Year (courtesy of my iTunes library). Here we go (in alphabetical order)…

  • “7/4 Shoreline” – Broken Social Scene (Broken Social Scene)
  • “Fortress” – Pinback (Summer in Abaddon)
  • “Frank & Ava” – Suzanne Vega (Beauty & Crime)
  • “I Think it’s Going to Rain Today” – Randy Newman (Randy Newman: Live)
  • “Landed” – Ben Folds (Songs for Silverman)
  • “Let’s See Action” – Pete Townshend (Anthology
  • “Look Out Any Window” – Bruce Hornsby (Intersections: 1985-2005)
  • “Ludlow Street” – Suzanne Vega (Beauty & Crime)
  • “Ode to Divorce” – Regina Spektor (Soviet Kitsch)
  • “On the Radio” – Regina Spektor (Begin to Hope)
  • “Peace Attack” – Sonic Youth (Sonic Nurse)
  • “Revelations” – Superchunk (Foolish)
  • “Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley” – Robert Palmer (Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley)
  • “Take it Back” – Pink Floyd (The Division Bell)
  • “The Dream (from Total Recall)” – Jerry Goldsmith (Varese Sarabande: A 25th Anniversary Celebration)
  • “The Empty Page” – Sonic Youth (Murray Street)
  • “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” – The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra (Bernard Herrmann – The Essential Film Music Collection)
  • “The Last Starfighter” – The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra (The Science Fiction Album)
  • “The Pretender” – Jackson Browne (Solo Acoustic – Vol. 1)
  • “Turquoise Boy” – Sonic Youth (Rather Ripped)

And, for shits and giggles, here are some bonus tracks…

  • “California Soul” – Marlena Shaw (The Spice of Life)
  • “Crazy Mama” – The Rolling Stones (Black and Blue)
  • “Hand of Fate” – The Rolling Stones (Black and Blue)
  • “Main Theme (from Silverado)” – Bruce Broughton (The Wild West – The Essential Western Film Music Collection)
  • “The Shape is in a Trance” – Thurston Moore (Trees Outside the Academy)

Happy Friday, everybody. Have a great weekend. And count your blessings. You may find you have more of them than you thought.



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