Open House Archive

Open House #10: Blank Walls at home and in life

May 27th, 2010

Explaining to Steven Leigh Morris how my madness became brilliance. Photo: Jen Cleary

I am staring at blank walls in my home.

I have yet to put any pictures up or art, because I’m not sure who I am now in this new stage of life.  I have yet to paint the walls– can’t decide what color I am.  It’s the most uncluttered and undecorated home I’ve ever lived in.  People who’ve known my past clutter come over and they can’t believe how little I seem to own.

I just like sitting here for the moment.  At this point of potential.

***

I got some bad news.  A young relative of mine (only 13) has what might possibly be a life threatening illness.  I am in denial.  I pray.  She doesn’t deserve this.  No person deserves this.

Life changes so fast. I’m not sure how other people manage to stay married for so long.  People change so much.

I’ve been married to myself for almost two years now, and there were plenty of times when I wanted a divorce.

When I see my young relative, I pray for her, but am so grateful that the rest of family is here and in good health.

***

This blog entry is a break from the non-stop barrage of angst and self-deprecation typical of my blog.

I want to share the great week I had last week.

I had the honor of being asked to perform “Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” for the NEA (yes… that’s right… the NE freaking A!) Fellows in Arts Journalism at their conference here in LA.  Basically, it’s a conference of national theater critics who got a special fellowship from the NEA.   I was the kick-off performance!  I’m not sure if I will ever get to do this show in LA again (need you read this blog to be reminded how much work it is to put on live theater… especially in Los Angeles?) so I got on the email horn and told everyone to catch the show!

And they came.   I packed REDCAT’s house at 3:30pm on a Monday.  I guess free afternoon shows at the REDCAT really draw in LA people who tend to have flex schedules (ie the unemployed!).  I’ve had friends here forever and so many had yet to actually see my shows.   My friends even wrote very thoughtful blogs about the show. Check them here….

Quentin Lee (a wonderful filmmaker)

Michele Guitierrez’s blog with spoilers! (I led a workshop with Khmer Girls in Action when Michelle worked there)

I was pleased to get a full standing ovation at the end!  The Q&A with Steven Leigh Morris was great.  I’ve been reading his articles and reviews in the LA Weekly forever.  It was the first show of mine he’d ever seen and I was honored that he seemed to “get it.”  I felt so high on everyone’s energy.

I feel like my own low-rent version of Inside the Actors Studio during Q&As. And I’m finding myself becoming more and more honest about how vulnerable I was the last few years of making and touring the show.  I caught myself straight up saying, “I’d bring people into my life who weren’t good for me because making the show left me feeling so scared and lonely.”  It’s true.

I will probably always get teary at Q&As depending on how the conversations go.  I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing.

I’m so glad to see what life on the other end looks like. It’s really amazing to be here.

***

Two days later, I did an excerpt of the show at UC Riverside.  It was a completely different crowd.  A smaller intimate crowd of students.  And the discussion after focused a lot on mental health.  Everyone stayed to talk.  The counselor who moderated the discussion told me that it’s hard for them to find ways to talk about depression and suicide with students and that she was grateful for this show.

It’s so easy for me to get lost in the craziness of day-to-day survival that I forget why I’m here.  And that my work is important.  And that I came to this life and work for a reason.  And how many people in the world have yet to see what I do.  And that I must continue on.

This week, we finally locked down the sound mix for the Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Concert Film. That’s right.  Finally, some permanence for my work!  The DVD will never match the energy of being at the live show, but I think my director Mike Closson did a pretty fantastic job of capturing the show on DVD.  Can I tell you how totally excited I am that this is coming out?  Can I tell you how grateful I am that Mike Closson came into my life and that he and his wife Nancy believed in me enough to help make this DVD a reality?

Thank you Mike and Nancy.

***

I’m in an odd place in life now.  It’s weird to own my own home as an artist with such flippy floppy schedules and erratic income streams.    It’s kind of weird to cross over into this stage of adulthood.

But I love it.  To feel worthy.  To be able to take care of myself.  To enjoy privacy and time alone.  I’ve lived so much of my life not having enough, grasping towards someone to fix life for me, always pining for meaning.  That it’s nice to sit for a moment and enjoy this.  To accept this goodness.  To know I am here.  I feel like if I died tomorrow that I’ve done well enough with my life.

And sometimes, that’s the problem.  That if I am this satisfied, what’s left to hunger for?

***

Love.

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Category: artist life., Open House, press, the quiet i am screaming for

Open House #9: Still no goddamned internet

May 5th, 2010

I put on a show for Children last weekend. It was Grey Gardens for kids. I was Little Edie Wong

I had food poisoning last night.  Just as I was cleaning up Oliver’s diarrhea on the floor I got hit with a case of the smooth moves myself.  I’m nauseous at the Starbucks where I’m trying to catch up with eons of work.  I can’t live like this.

AT&T has yet to turn on my internet.  I swear the globalized world and the kinks in it’s system have manifested in the hundreds of pointless calls placed to AT&T and any other internet service provider that land me in the same loop of trouble tickets, explaining the situation, placing the order and waiting for a red light to stop flashing.  Time Warner couldn’t find the live jacks in my home and said I’d have to see if the neighbors had Time Warner and that I’d have to get permission from the Condo Association to drill in their walls… that was not going to happen.  And the man in India who answers the phone for Earthlink insisted that Time Warner and Earthlink were different (and they aren’t) and after an hour of telling him, “Hey, I think I’m going to run into the same issue again,” I finally was able to get off the phone because indeed, I ran into the same issue.

Now I’m going with a small company for DSL that basically buys from AT&T in bulk and will sit on the phone with them instead of me.

Meanwhile, I have huge shows, and huge projects that I need to get off the ground.  But I am telling the world via a carrier pigeon.

I’m sick in the Starbucks in Koreatown.  Someone help me.

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Category: Open House

OPEN HOUSE #8: Homeowning Hiccups

April 16th, 2010


I took Oliver to the vet for the first time ever in all the years I’ve owned him. And after I got the bill, I think I must table the plans I had to install hardwood floors in the loft. Oh, tis life.


He screwed up his tail somehow and had an infection so bad I gasped when the vet shaved his tail down to show me huge gaping infected holes. And now, he must wear the cone of shame.


I have nothing much to report. I’ve been home for a week, my place is still a disaster area of boxes. And for the first in a long long time, I’m going to be home in LA for more than three weeks. I love my new place still. I love the loft. I love being able to show people the place even if it’s littered with crap from my past lives.

My life now consists of me walking zombie like through IKEA, pricing out wood flooring in the middle of the night at Home Depot, and programming parking garage door openers.

It’s a very sexy and awesome life. I’ve never been happier.

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Category: Open House

OPEN HOUSE #7: Sweet Sweet Love

March 20th, 2010


I had a real estate orgasm Wednesday when I finally officially got notice of official close of escrow at 3pm on March 17, St. Patrick’s Day. I was so excited about closing escrow that I misplaced my keys to the old place twice trying to get out the door to Koreatown.


Yes, I have a mortgage now, I must now worry about things like leaky faucets, faulty electric, property tax, termites. That part sucks, but I feel like I’m in love with life in this weird equity-esque way. I actually have pride in where I live. And I finally feel like I’m not that kid who just got out of college and is blindfoldedly navigating life. I feel so happy and at peace with my past and with my life. So weird is that all it took was a little condo in Koreatown to do it.


My realtor brought me a bottle of champagne for my arrival and left me alone in my new home. I sat in the living room, sipping on bubbly and taking in my new setpiece for my life. Imagining a whole future ahead.

My friend Nahkone is moving into the second room. He’s a very fun gay boy and we played records on my Fisher Price record player I’ve had since I was a girl. When I was growing up in San Francisco, my friend Ariana and I would play the same records on the same record player. We talked about how we’d buy a house one day and play records when we moved in. So it was a great moment that I’d been anticipating since I was a girl. Me and Nahkone played music and took turns walking down the stairs like we were Norma Desmond and it was Sunset Blvd.

I danced by myself in the living room and we cheered for each other.


Ironically, I went to two housewarming parties yesterday. Two different friends who just bought new places. I never thought it was possible to be up late on a Friday night talking about home inspections and linoleum, but baby, meet the new boring Kristina! I’m loving it!

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Category: marriage grown up crap, Open House

OPEN HOUSE #6: Homeowning has Killed My Libido

March 15th, 2010

It’s quite possible that any desire to love or get closer to another human being has been completely obliterated for the next 30 years– the amount of time I have left to pay off my mortgage.

It’s been a while since this little cat lady has gone on a date. And last night I found myself invited (thankyouverymuch) out to dinner and a show. He’s a totally cute fella and we get along enough. And he even pulls up in his shiny new convertible with the top down to pick me up. He asked how I was doing, was super attentive and caring, and all I could talk about was my condo. How I was going to orchestrate this move. How I didn’t know what furniture to get. How I wanted to steam clean the carpets and bleach the toilets as soon as I get my keys on Wednesday. You know, real sexy talk.

He’d reach for my hand, I’d squeeze it back. But all I could really think as I looked into his eyes was: “I wonder if I’d get more renters for the second bedroom if I lowered the rental price $10 and included utilities in the price of rent…”

We had an hour to kill before dinner and the show. He asked, “What do you want to do Kristina?” probably anticipating some kind of romantic response like a walk in the park or a stop for wine at a bar.

I screamed, “I want to go to the Mattress Superstore! No! No! Bed Bath and Beyond!!! I need to look at duvet covers!”

Yes, I was serious.

On Saturday night, my recently divorced friend had a bunch of women over at her place for a pool party. I hadn’t hung out with a bunch of women like that in god knows how long. We were like a non-profit women of color version of Sex and the City, with more cat hair. We were talking about how owning a home and being financially independent totally makes you look at dating differently: What’s the point of dating anyone if you have your own condo? And what self-respecting homeowner dates a renter?

That’s right, I’m turning into a homeowning snob! With no libido. Who instead of being obsessed with love is now obsessed with carpet cleaners. Hot.

Today, I go to the mortgage office and drop off a check for a large amount of money. Please pray that check does not whip out of my hands into the sky on the way to there. Wednesday, I pick up the keys. And at that point, I finally unite with my soulmate for eternity– a 2bedroom+2 ba+loft condo in Koreatown.

It’ll be true love.

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Category: cat lady, Open House

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