Tuesday, January 29, 2008

San Francisco Improv Festival: Expensive news and good news

Me at the 2007 San Francisco Improv Festival
(The above video is a full show!)

2008 San Francisco Improv Festival
So they accepted me into their wonderful festival again tis year. Super cool. Very excited. Another trip to the fabulous San Fran. A city too cool for me to step foot in. It's funny. I honestly forgot I applied. I turned in the application so long ago I'd forgotten. So it was a pleasant surprise to reeive an email telling me I was accepted! And now we get down to work...

I have got to make some serious cash at the 2008 Orlando Fringe in order to cover my San Fran expenses. (See below) However, my show for the Orlando Fringe is in a bit of a shambles. I haven't begun a healthy rehearsal routine, I'm debating which character to perform (self-help guru or Misty the southern whore), and I will be coming straight into the festival the very first day I fly back to Orlando. So I won't be able to hang posters or do any pre-festival marketing. But that last part is the least of my worries, now, isn't it?

Some expensive news:
For 2 people, round-trip, from Orlando to San Fran:
$920 on Jet Blue
$800 through Orbitz on Airtran
Some good news:
-The Producer wants me and the other act that week to perform in the San Francisco Theatre Festival taking place at Yerba Buena Gardens that Sunday. That's cool: another venue I can list on he show's resume.

-The 3 shows I'll be performing in the San Fran Improv Festival will take place at the historic The Purple Onion club. That's where many famous comedians and singers debuted in the 60's.
-find housing

Miami Herald reviews I Love a Piano national tour

Christine Dolen is The Miami Herald's theater critic.

6 energetic actors channel Irving Berlin
The music of a prolific American composer, if not the man himself, is celebrated in a revue at the Parker.
When asked to define Irving Berlin's place in American music, fellow composer Jerome Kern famously said, ``Irving Berlin is American music.''

I Love a Piano, a peppy revue concocted by Ray Roderick and Michael Berkeley, serves as a reminder of just how right Kern was.

A touring production of the show is at Fort Lauderdale's Parker Playhouse through next weekend, but this isn't the first time I Love a Piano has been done in South Florida. A different -- and in some ways better -- production played Florida Stage in 2003. There, the show felt more intimate and touching (no surprise, since the Manalapan theater is about a fifth the size of the Parker), and both the cast and the design elements were stronger.

That's not to say there aren't some entertaining, impressive moments in this new production. Six energetic actors -- Mark Baratelli, Sean Schwebke, Summer Broyhill, Johnnie Moore, Darcie Bender and Karla Shook -- take the audience on a journey through 20th century American history, all filtered through the prism of Berlin's varied, enduring songs.

An antique upright piano with one annoying broken key stands in for Berlin himself, moving through the decades along with the cast. The cavalcade of hits begins even before Berlin's breakthrough with Alexander's Ragtime Band in 1911, and the sheer number of them will always be impressive.

Remember Isn't It a Lovely Day, I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm, Puttin' on the Ritz, Cheek to Cheek, Always, There's No Business Like Show Business? That's a small sampling of Berlin's prodigious output of songs about war, romance, heartbreak, yearning, love, loss.

Under the direction of Roderick and musical director Alex LeFevre, each actor gets a few (mostly) shining solo moments, though the performers are at their best when all six sing together.

Bender is the show's most accomplished dancer, and she sings a lovely version of What'll I Do. Shook delivers a haunting Russian Lullaby but doesn't capture all the pathos of Suppertime, a lament, first sung by Ethel Waters, by the widow of a lynched man. Moore, who sounds fine in his natural baritone range, barely squeezes out the tender upper notes of Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep.

Moore, Shook, Baratelli and Broyhill pull off a delightful commingling of two counterpoint songs: You're Just in Love and An Old-Fashioned Wedding. (This is the song I sing! Woo!) And Schwebke has an athletically comic turn while singing Oh How I Hate To Get Up in the Morning as a sleepy soldier.

What doesn't work in the touring I Love a Piano are certain design elements -- when the spotlight hits the black set, for instance, it reveals a mottled paint job -- and the absence of any information about Israel Isidore Baline, aka Berlin. A little context, beyond six singers and an old piano, would be nice.

Seeking Elle Woods Legally Blonde open call photos and video

Pride participant
Man with excellent make-up
San Francisco Gay Pride 2007

(My mother, Mammatelli, has something to say) "As Moomers (Mark's cat) lay on the mousepads and the mouse, she decided to change positions. While I was trying to type, she moved around and settled in another place: with her tail placed right on top of a small candle I had burning nearby. Suddenly I realized that she was in danger! I grabbed her and her almost, but not quite, burned tail, now drenched in melted wax.

So, she is resting now with a small waxy tail, with a small near burn, which is covered in antibiotic cream.

She is fine. Her tail is fine. She says you may use this story in your Improv Cabaret."

Ladies and gentlemen...Mammatelli.

Oh My God, Oh My God You Guys
Did anyone go to the open call in Oveido for the Elle Woods Legally Blonde Reality show? Anyone take photos of video? If you did, please send it to me. I'll pay. Not much, but I'll pay. I want footage and photos. Spread the word please. (It's for my blog, orlandoartsblog.com.

To: All Individual Artists
From: United Arts Grants Department (Trudy D. Wild)
Subject: Upcoming deadlines for grant opportunities.

Individual Artist "Artist Enhancement" Grants: April 14, 2008
Applications for the next round, the 1st quarter of 08-09, are due on April 12, 2008, for projects in the grant period of July 1, 2008 - June 30, 2009. Grant applications will be available on Feb 12 from the State of Florida, Division of Cultural Affairs, on their website: http://www.florida-arts.org/grants/ae/documents/guidelines.ae.2006-07.pdf Similar to United Arts Professional Development Grants, Artist Enhancement Grants are awarded in the amounts of either $500, $750, or $1,000 and are used to support specific, career-building opportunities that will advance an artists work and careers. For more information on the Artist Enhancement Grant Program, please contact Morgan Lewis at mblewis@dos.state.fl.us. (The) next cycle will be due July 12, 2008 - For the grant period of October 1, 2008 - June 30, 2009

Individual Artist Fellowship Program Grants: June 1, 2008
Grants in the genres of Literature, Interdisciplinary, Theatre, Dance, Folklife & Music will be available on April 1, with a deadline of June 1, 2008. http://www.florida-arts.org/grants/fellowship/index.htm $5000 awards for artistic excellence. The Individual Artist Fellowship Program recognizes the creation of new artworks by individuals of exceptional talent and demonstrated ability. Fellowship awards support the general artistic and career advancement of the individual artist. Visual and Media Arts will be offered again in April '09, deadline of June 1, 2009.

Local Baker:

Pink cupcakes from Sweet Tooth Bakery
One type of cupcakes they made for the 2007 Grandma Party

Sweet Tooth Vegan Goodies = Awesome
I was almost able to get Sweet Tooth Vegan Goodies to mini-cater "A Night With the Girls 2" but the timing didn't work out. The company sells their cupcakes and cookies and breakfast stuff at Dandelion Communitiea. Everything is vegan and home-made right here in Orlando. If you want to support locally-produced food, go to Dandelion and snatch up some Sweet Tooth Vegan Goodies. If they did shipping I'd have them sent to me on tour.

"All your life you are told the things you cannot do. All your life they will say you're not good enough or strong enough or talented enough; they will say you're the wrong height or the wrong weight or the wrong type to play this or be this or achieve this. THEY WILL TELL YOU NO, a thousand times no, until all the no's become meaningless. All your life they will tell you no, quite firmly and very quickly. AND YOU WILL TELL THEM YES."(Nike ad)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I love a Piano on CBS 4 in Ft Lauderdale!

Click the link above to watch me and the cast of I Love a Piano on a morning news show. singing through a few songs from the show.

Rehersal Day 2: Singing for a News Show

Singing for a Ft Lauderdale News Show

Rehearsal Day 2, Ft Lauderdale
The day started at 10:30am with a tv reporter and cameraman coming to film us in the green room of the Parker Playhouse for a brief feature on tomorrow morning's Ft Lauderdale news. We sang snippets from 4 songs and our music director talked to the reporter about the show and about Irving Berlin.

Then one by one, we took our new costumer through our costume tracks, showing her where pieces go and when we had quick changes. That was fun because I forgot half of them.

At noon we broke for lunch. I tried taking a walk, but it started to sprinkle, so I ducked inside a Jamba Juice (over-priced fruit smoothie place) to visit with some of the cast. They were talking about stuff I didn't know about, so I went back to the theatre and snapped some shots of the outside of it. Then I cooked myself some soup in the green room and ate an inexpensive lunch. I'm trying to save money on this leg of the tour. So, I'm trying to not go out to eat as much and doing more grocery-based eating.

Around 2pm we got into costume and did a mic check. I had to sing "How Deep Is The Ocean" and "Old Fashioned Wedding" a capella standing center stage with a couple producers, the general manager, the company manager watching.

The dress rehearsal felt nice. I took a few vocal risks during act one and they felt nice. It's fun to pretend you're confident because when you do, your voice sounds prettier. One of the actors even asked me if I'd had voice lessons over the break. Woot!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Accepted and Applying

Knotty tree

Improv Cabaret got accepted into the San Fran Improv Festival again! It takes place July-August 2008. I know I've been saying Improv Cabaret is dead..well, maybe it ain't...yet.

Chicago Improv Festival applications are due in late February and the festival is in June. LA Improv Festival and Toronto Improv Festival are due in June. Hmm...I gotta get me some of my more recent video online to send them. Like stuff from NYC Fringe. Oh wait. I just locked all that up in my storage unit in Orlando. Mom? Are you reading this? Can you do me a favor? :) Well, I've got my San Fran performance on my laptop. I could use that I guess.

Ok well, there's some good news for ya. Yay!

Im in Ft Lauderdale

Cake: My farewell show at SAK: 1-20-08
The cake from last night
(my last SAK shows)

My farewell show at SAK: 1-20-08
Signs in the Green Room
(my last SAK shows)

Ft Lauderdale
So here I am! My noon flight got pushed back to noon thirty. A cast member and I arrived in Ft Lauderdale around the same time, so we met up at the airport and took the rental car to the hotel. Oh my. They are treating us nice. We have 2-bedroom suites for the two weeks we are in Ft Lauderdale! So me and my roommie have a full kitchen, living room and kitchen table. I've already been to Publix and stocked up on food. Very happy with the accomodations.

Casting Changes
The actor who plays my sort-of girlfriend in the hsow is leaving the tour. I found out today her replacement has already been hired. I don't know when she joins us. Also, my roommate is leaving the tour in February. His replacement, I found out today, will be the male swing (the male performer who knows all three male parts). So a new male swing is going to be hired. i don't know if he has been hired or not. Rehearsals start tomorrow and the first show is Wednesday.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Catch Me at Catch Me if You Can Maybe

Mannequin in patterned dress in shop window

Jamesson's face
Has everyone but me seen the GIGANTIC photo of Jamesson on Mills near the corner of Colonial? I saw it today and had a heart attack. Have you seen it? So awesome! Congrats Jamesson! It looks really, really good. It's a giant photo in the window of a photographer. So cool.

Catch Me at Catch Me if You Can
I am debating whether to crash that call or not. I'm not right for it, but it's the same casting company that called me in for Wicked. They could always type me out and I wouldn't lose anything.

A know some people at a major theme park that did not get their contracts renewed. I know other people who are opening their own shows on I-Drive. I know some who are getting trained for an off-Broadway show. I know others who are about to put on another season of shows for their theatre company they started just a few years ago. I know some people who are embarking on a huge musical in the summer. I know others who are putting on their very first Fringe show. Can't wait to see where everyone goes.

Tom Cruise video
I watched it and he does not go crazy. he talks passinately about something he believes in. If that's crazy, then aren't we all?

I attended Wednesday night's SAK workshop. Jay Hopkins taught it. Said some things I am keeping with me for my show:

-have an emotion about what you are talking about. Don't just speak. This made me think about the opening of my show. I could choose to be angry at the top of the show, and that would flavor the first 20 minutes. Or I could be excited. Any emotion. If I just chose one, it would guide what I said and I would be INVESTED in what I was saying.

-silence on stage is not bad. (me not speaking) It's more entertaining for the audience to take that break, that breath, pause, collect your thoughts and really make sense instead of lose your thought train, panic, keep talking out of fear and then crash and burn

-Laughter is not the best indicator that the audience is enjoying themselves. It's one indicator. If you can engage them without laughter than have peaks and valleys of laughter, that's better than a steady stream of laughs throughout the show.

-He also did this great exercise where people got up and did whatever they thought would "entertain" the class. When you (in the class) felt like the person (on stage) was not entertaining, you raised your hand. Wow. Talk about learning experience. Basically, it's hard to remain engaging and entertaining.

Comment Maupin's Blog
Please go to this post and leave a comment:

What I ate today (Yes, I am back to this crap again)
Ok, I won't bitch and moan, but let's just say I saw a photo of me in one of my tour costumes and, um, I had a belly. yeah it was small, but it was there. I don't want the belly. So, I'm gonna just observe what I eat. Not making any changes whatsoever. Just observing.
7-11 turkey sammich
coffee with some hot chocolate in it
hot tea
another coffee with some hot chocolate in it
Diet Dr pepper
Coke Zero
Chik Fil A Kids Meal (and I did not eat all the waffle fries)
1/2 bag of carrot sticks (the big Publix bag kind)
whole container of salt-free cottage cheese (do you know how much salt is in cottage cheese?)
1/2 bag of recipe-size bacon bits

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Sequoyah Institute wants me to give a lecture

Happy Birthday Jesus!
Taken by me during a Photowalk
January 5th in Winter Park, Florida
Join the Orlando Photowalk group on Flickr

I bought a 2nd suitcase, did all my laundry, organized all my crap and am completely packed and ready to fly out Jan 20th to Ft Lauderdale. It's a great feeling to be ahead of the game. On the first leg of the tour, I chose to pack light so i didn't have many bags to carry. That worked great, but I wore the same hoodie all the time. Now with two bags, I'll be able to wear my hoodie and a few other sweaters. Also, this time I am not bringing an "office" bag. Last time I brought a small cary-on full of office crap like blank cds and office junk. I never used any of it.

I do Fringe in May, then possibly Girls 3 in July or August. Then what next? I am considering the idea of moving to NYC on a permanent basis. The whole she-bang: apartment, cat, crap job and auditions. I'd like a home-base, somewhere I can leave my stuff and return to when I am not working. A place I can decorate. I know the grass is always greener, but I do feel odd living out of a storage unit and not having a real home, even if it will be a rental.

Go to the Orlando Sentinel blog post about A Night With the Girls 2 and leave comment, please, if you saw it or have a thought about it.

I got an email asking me to do a lecture on Podcasting and the Performing Arts at The Sequoyah Institute in Oklahoma. Sounds like a fantastic and interesting opportunity. I wrote them back. We'll see where it goes.

Resolutions (Starting today)
-No drinking in 2008 (waste of money, makes you fat)
-Eat what i want, do one hour of walking a day, do strength training 4x a week
-Voice lessons and acting classes when I get off tour
-Choose to be positive and know that it is a CHOICE to be negative

Fringe Show
I've been batting around new ideas for my Fringe show. I'm not liking this self-help character. I can change the character. That doesn't matter. What matters is building up the ability to improvise solo for one hour. I can do 20 minutes right now with the self-help character when I record the podcast. And I was doing 45 minutes with Improv Cabaret. The only way to alleviate my fear and to get the ability to do this is to structure my rehearsals so that I basically perform the show, alone, and do not stop talking for one hour. I could possibly do that once a day. Man, if I can do that, every day, for the next 3 months, I'd be killer come May. Maybe this show won't suck after all. :)

Barcamp Orlando 2

Does this video not make you salivate about Barcamp 2? Kudos to Greg Pollack for (a) heading this up and (b) making such a fierce little video.

I wish I was going to be in town for Barcamp 2, but I'll be on tour and away from Orlando until May.

My Thumbs

Thumbs Up
Sunday's Enzian Film Slam was fun as always. For $5, you get to see locally-made short films. Most of them suck in my opinion, but the cool thing is to hear the film makers do a Q&A, revealing their passion and dedication to their craft.

Thumbs Up
Mad Cow's Salon Sunday night was neat. It was mostly a soft-sell for their season, using the director of one of their upcoming plays and the cast of another upcoming play to illustrate examples of that night's theme, inspiration. Two videos from the TED Conference website were shown. Not much discussion happened. It was more of a lecture, to me. So I'd rename it "Lecture" instead of "Salon." The word salon indicates, to me, a discussion. That really didn't happen much.

Thumbs Down
January 5th I saw that Playwrights Roundtable. No offense to anyone involved, but this has to be one of THE worst things I've ever seen in Orlando. I couldn't tell you if the plays were any good or not because the acting was so bad. And to charge $15 is insane. And again, here's an event with a name that needs changing. The picture I get in my head of a "round table" of playwrights is a bunch of playwrights collaborating to make their plays better. That doesn't happen. So really, it's a local short-play festival. It's like the stage version of Enzian Film Slam. So change the name and charge $5.

Thumbs Up
I had dinner with Stephen and David at IHOP. I ordered what basically was a small piece of fake egg with enough meat on top to make a vegan vomit just by looking at it. it was absurd. I ate 1/5th of it and slurped hot tea the rest of the time. Our waitress was more anxiety-ridden than me. I wanted to hug her. The convo was great, too, with David and Stephen. They talk fast and use big words. My tiny brain kept up most of the time.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The women of SAK are me

I was scrounging around my old files looking for something today and came upon this desktop I made for SAK fans to download in 2006. Click on the pic above to download the real big desktop pic. Ah, the memories...and the wigs.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Me singing!

Old Fashioned Wedding Duet
Irving Berlin's I Love a Piano National Tour

"Pack Up Your Sins"
Irving Berlin's I Love a Piano National Tour

"How Deep Is The Ocean"
Irving Berlin's I Love a Piano National Tour

"I'm Getting Tired So I Can Sleep"
Irving Berlin's I Love a Piano National Tour

Saturday, January 12, 2008

A Night With the Girls raises $1,500

Meghan Moroney in Mark Baratelli's A Night With the Girls
Photography: TisseArt

-More photos
-Press Release

A Night With the Girls 2, held December 12, 2007 at the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre, raised $1,523.51 for the Coalition For the Homeless of Central Florida through ticket sales, donations from the Central Florida Theatrical Community and donations given at the event.

Thank you to everyone who came out, all the Orlando Theatrical Community groups and individuals who donated, the Orlando Shakes for the venue, Orlando Philharmonic for the piano and especially to the cast and crew of "Girls" for giving of their time and talents to a friggin' worthwhile cause.

Look who participated:
$50.00, Cabaret Party
$100.00, Elizabeth Maupin
$50.00, Empty Spaces Theatre
$50.00, Excellent Adventure Productions
$80.00, Matty McDermind
$50.00, Orlando Theatre Project
$50.00, Orlando Fringe Festival
$66.51, Orlando Shakespeare Theatre
$67.00, SAK Comedy Lab
$300.00, Sleuths Mystery Theatre
$50.00, The Master Class Academy
$50.00, Winter Park Playhouse


Friday, January 11, 2008

Gimp and the Fringe and the tour

Chandelier in Winter Park ladies' shop. All Rights Reserved.
Taken by Mark Baratelli 1-5-08

Gimp is crap
I hate GIMP! I re-installed it. I added "X11". Nothing. The damn thing won't work. Won't even open. Why is Photoshop so expensive? What is the alternative to these to pieces of junk? I have work to do!!!!

Fringe NYC
Someone asked me tonight (whom I haven't seen in a long time) how Fringe NYC went. I told him a majority of the performances were good (the show Improv Cabaret is improvised so there are chances to fail) but overall it didn't really "do" anything for me. I learned stuff. I got the experience of going through the experience. But what does that add up to? I don't know. I'm sure I'm better for it but honestly, I don't know.

Back on the road
I was singing through some of my music tonight for the tour and I was getting all excited about performing it again. (Irving Berlin's I Love a Piano) And then thinking about people I know in Orlando actually seeing me perform it got me even more excited. There are some moments in the show that i think are fun and people will enjoy seeing me do. And there are voices in the cast I think friends will fall in love with. (Not mine, my fellow cast members'). I think it will be an exciting night to have friends in the audience for this show if they end up coming.

Orlando Fringe
I wrote a disparaging post about my upcoming show a few days ago. I don't think there's anything wrong with being honest with your feelings. If you feel a certain way, express it, especially if it's regarding your own work. However, some people have told me that saying the things I said didn't make me look very good. I agree. However, times change, i change, I rehearse, I get things off my chest and I move on. Those thoughts I had are not the thoughts I have.

Also, every Fringe producer thinks their show is gonna suck. Please. There's always fear. Even if it's a sure-fire hit, beforehand, there's always that voice in yur head going "It mght suck!" Mine just happens to be using a megaphone. Haha. I know my show might suck...it also might not suck. And if it doesn't not suck, I've got a tour-able show on my hands, something I didn't have with Improv Cabaret. So here's to putting myself out there and taking a huge risk. Bring it. Sad blog posts and all. :)

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Performing at SAK last week
Photo by Amy

I went to bed early after coughing all night. I got woken up by coughing at 2am, drove to Walgreens (and braved the weird old couple arguing outside), bought cough syrup, guzzled it and took 2 hours before I could go to sleep again. Wretched. Got a doctors appointment today (Thursday). He better fix my junk!

I feel a little better about my Fringe show. I recorded an episode of the podcast yesterday. Felt alright.

I got an email from the company manager about Ft Lauderdale details. It's coming! So excited. I better get un-sick by the time it comes around.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

What to do with my photography

Knotty tree
Taken 1-5-08 on my first Photowalk

Beth, Denna and my Mom have all told me I should do something with photography based on the photos I've posted in the past on my old blog. I don't know what I can do with it exactly! I haven't explored it or asked anyone, either. I did look into selling my photos through flickr. I ended up finding two helpful blog posts on the topic. They said to mention that you're interested in licensing your photos in the photo's comments. They also said to participate in the flickr community. So far I've joined 2 groups because they've messaged me asking if they could add my photo to their group. I also created an Orlando Photowalking group to show off the photos we take during out walks. And, I am tagging my photos better now, using more words.

First post...by my Mom!

Ladies and gentlemen, I launch this brand new blog (which is really the continuation of my old blog) with a post written not by me, but by Mommatelli:
Mark promised me he's going to Taco Bell and bringing me back my favorite three crunchy tacos, IF, AND ONLY IF, I write something on his newly formatted blog site. Soooooooooooooooooo, I am going to tell a short story about Mark which will embarrass him and make his readers laugh.

Mark once had a teacher who was not nice to him. Thus, he spent most of the school year at his desk which she had placed in the hallway. During the school year the teacher was murdered by her husband.

Does anyone wonder where Mark gets the material for his "Improv Cabaret"?
Thank you, Mommatelli.

And so begins Texting While Driving!