Open House #3: Home Onerous
February 3rd, 2010 → 2 Comments
I woke up the other night to the sounds of a police helicopter circling for what sounded like hours. I fell asleep and then woke up again to the sounds of homeless people crushing cans in the alleyway. Yep, I’m back home in Los Angeles.
I just got off a Skype call with my director Katie Pearl where I cried and cried and yes, cried to her. We just finished an amazing run of Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in Arizona last weekend. It was sold out, standing ovation, they put me up in a 3000 seat theater (but the seating for my show was 200 seats on the stage… a stage which they built for me thankyouverymuch), then the (Republican!) mayor came as well as ASU Gammage’s very generous theater patrons with extremely warm feedback.
Creating and touring Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest has been a helluva journey. From the first miserable runs of this show that clocked in at 2 hours, Q&As where I held back angry tears because every audience question sounded like a personal attack, walking the streets of cities I’ve toured through catatonic and shaking with depression because I felt like I handed over my soul for the price of a pay-what-you-can-ticket…. this show has come a long long way baby. It’s was like a deformed baby that now could place in a kiddy beauty pageant. I am so blessed that I had so many shots to get this show down right. And I am so proud of what I’ve accomplished with it.
I am proud that people I’ve never met organize themselves in groups to come. I am proud when I get emails after from people telling me how much the performance affected them. I am proud when people tell me how fearless the writing is.
And most importantly, I’ve survived what has easily been the most excruciating and lonely life that one can imagine (dragging around an exhausting show about suicide which is performed alone and supported, virtually alone) and returning home to unsatisfying and/or non existent romantic relationships (which includes an abusive relationship with my spraying cat).
I cried and cried to Katie because I really felt like the process of doing this show (going into YEAR 4!!!!) has been a bittersweet learning and growing experience. But what I’m really learning, is how important self-respect is. I’ve played the shittiest venues, I’ve worked hard for no pay, I’ve worked with (and dated!) people who claim to want to help but have put me down.
My time at MacDowell was a real time of creation but it also was a ripe time for me to reflect on how hard I work and how I do not deserve anything less than how hard I’ve worked.
I’ve been through the trenches and as Mary J. Blige would say, “No more drama.” I’m on a “no-bullshit” diet. No more depleting gigs, depleting relationships, and no more depleting collaborators.
So what better way to celebrate my newfound pride and self-respect than take on the totally demoralizing activity of trying to buy a home in Los Angeles?
I started looking at houses today with an approval letter for a home loan in hand. Can I just say that banks are really good about not laughing in your face when you explain what it is you do for a living?
What can a performance artist buy in Los Angeles you ask? And also, a performance artist who still refuses to buy a car? And actually, cannot buy a car if she is to also pay off a mortgage? And finish a show about not owning a car which hopefully will help her pay off the mortgage?
Um, well… right now, the options are not plenty. What I can achieve in affordability, I compromise in aesthetics and safety.
In fact, I must confess that a certain panic has set in as I look at these homes.
Am I really ready to commit to a mortgage for 30 years? Am I going to be making enough as an artist the next 30 years for my mortgage? And am I going to be ok living in some of these neighborhoods I can afford?
Suddenly, the thought of taking that low-ball gig where I am splayed out afterwards too exhausted to cry sounds so good. That collaborator who tells me I’m half-assed but doesn’t charge much for her time sounds like a good bargain. Suddenly, “taking my time” before moving in with someone I’m dating sounds completely fiscally irresponsible.
Suddenly, when confronted with a mortgage, all those bets on all those self-respecting aspirations… they’re off!
Category: Open House