Wine, Chocolat, and Misfit Artists

I've always felt a bit of a late bloomer.  Maybe because I want to do things differently, it just takes me time to figure out what I'm doing. My Dad will graciously say that I'm like a fine wine, it just takes time for me to get all the nuance together.   

The last few years have been a struggle.  A searching to understand what my style is and where I need to invest my time and energy in my art.

I've been following a lot of independent artists the last year, musicians, photographers, entrepreneurs, writers, and filmmakers.  Watching how they work and their process and how they spend their time.  

And I realize that one of my frustrations is that in many respects I am more inclined to the work and styles that most independent artists find themselves in, but there aren't many resources for actors who see themselves as 'independent' actors.  I'm not even sure what that means.  There are many who work well in the system. But I've struggled to know what to do if one doesn't 'fit'.    

Lara Lynn Cottrill and I had a great meeting last week for Amiche (  We talked and dreamed about life and art and creating. As I came away from our conversation I was encouraged by this shared vision we are forming to make art that connects.  To create art that brings people together - diverse groups of people from different backgrounds and life experiences.  

On February 16th Lara and I will be performing a new piece called Song of Songs.  We realize that our work doesn't fit any specific form.  We don't know any other actors and opera singers making work together.   We realize that it may not be what people always get or understand.  But we know that we have been encouraged by many who are supporting our vision.  February 16th is happening because the Jubilation Concert Series is sponsoring our performance.  Because the Stray Cat Studio run by Renee Shur is sponsoring our reception and donating a goblet for one of our props.  Because people are donating food and wine for our reception.  Because people have let us pick their brains about the subject matter.  February 16th is happening because of this diverse community of people.   

It is easy for me to focus on the lack in my life and art.  The things that aren't there or aren't working.  But this week I know I have to stop and see the good.  The amazing number of people who are making art possible by their outpouring and generousity with our new piece.    

And today as Lara and I worked on Song of Songs I kept saying, "It's so pretty".  (Because I felt like the little girl in Despicable Me super excited!) 

This piece feels scary and crazy and yet it is soooo beautiful.  It's this great big mess of vulnerability and beautiful poetry.  And we get the chance to do something that gives me goosebumps because it's stunning in its beauty. 

Today we ended our rehearsal and Lara said we get to be a little bit of Chocolat to our community.  We get to bring sweetness, passion, and art to our world.  And I loved that image.  I like the idea of being a little chocolate shop of sorts in the world.  A place that is working to create and bring love and passion and art and serve the places we find ourselves in.  And if this is a vision of what it means to be an 'independent' actor then maybe, just maybe I'm heading in the right direction.