Standing Invitation

I met Stacey Isom Campbell and Lisa Neely sometime in the Spring of 2000. It is a curious and gorgeous thing to be in a room with these women. We have a short-hand made possible by 18 years of intentional relationship and a standing invitation for hospitality, creativity, and vulnerability.  Stacey and I are currently with Lisa in Austin for a 3rd Course: Theatre workshop and presentation of Stacey’s newest play, Buffalo Creek. We gathered for a read-through this afternoon. The play is already so good and I’m excited to see how it grows this week!

Y’all, it’s hot here in Austin. I stepped out of the airport last night and my plane-chilled skin calmed just as my I’ve-been-in-Canada-a-long-time heat headache set in. I only lived in Texas for about 11 years, and never this far east, but it still feels like home. I ran across a packet of dried spices with an H-E-B grocery label on it in the pantry this morning and nearly cried from nostalgia-overload.

I took advantage of the early setting sun and made my way over to Brentwood Neighborhood Park. I counted six families on the playground proper, and there was still a spare swing for me. My hands now smell of sweat and rust, which is the very best way to smell.

In addition to rehearsals this week, I have plans to check out the UT Austin playgrounds (thank you, play researcher/pioneer Joe Frost) and the deeply cool exhibits currently on at the Blanton Museum (Wangechi Mutu’s “The End of eating Everything” – don’t mind if I do). Next week? Another easybake workshop!

Attention Campers:

Kelly Wolf, ladies and germs. She’s the best.

If you have never played Human Rock Paper Scissors, you are missing out. Trust me.

When I agreed to meet Kelly Wolf for “crafts” before a dusk viewing of Moonrise Kingdom on Wednesday, I had very little idea of what to expect. Well, EMERGE Camp AGH was a treasure trove of easybakeheart goodness and I was game for all of it.  There were craft tables for making felt merit badges, animal hats, and masks; camp games (I died a glorious slo-mo death on the wet lawn); very high-end s’mores courtesy of the always delightful Sweet and Simple Co.; a tour of the gorgeous Vivian Maier photography exhibit; and campfire singing.

I knew three people. Three. I consider myself an introvert and large groups can be intimidating. But, it was marvelous to be in rooms with a bunch of like-minded weirdos I’d never met and to feel right at home.

img_1065Of course the merit badges I made were random – a dead goldfish in honor of the fish funeral scene from Draft 1 of There’s an Easy-Bake Oven Where My Heart Should Be, and Oscar the Grouch for soooo many reasons. Merit badges are going straight into the easybakeheart workshop idea vault. I found during the Memphis workshop that semi-silently crafting kid things is one of the quickest ways to unlock larger conversations about why we stop playing and what we need in order to start again.

The morning of EMERGE Camp began with an unprompted conversation about how to create spaces for adults to just play – silent or impromptu dance parties, craft stations, reading circles, etc. I went to a Laughter Yoga session later that afternoon that feels like it belongs in the same realm. I’m thinking more and more this is just something our world needs. The Living Arts Collective in Durham, NC hosts The After Wave (adult dance and art party) every Friday night and AGH will have another EMERGE event on December 7.  Go Out and Play!

How are you playing these days? Would it help to have a common space where the materials were already laid out for you? If you’re an introvert, what would make something like this feel less threatening?

10,000 Sq Ft of Rhizomes

rhizomeI had a great conversation with my old friend Tim Caldwell last night in which, among many other things, we talked about the sometimes rhizomic nature of making new art. It’s often a series of seemingly unrelated ideas, gestures, and pieces. It’s only when enough of them poke their little heads up that that random stack of books you’ve been reading, those long talks you’ve been having, those half-started snatches of text you’ve been writing, and the news stories over which you’ve been weeping or raging, start to feel deeply and purposely connected and you say, “Oh, so that’s what I’ve been making! But, I have no idea where that came from or where it’s going to go…Yay!”

Today, I walked through a teacher’s supply store in Springfield, MO, and encountered 10,000 sq ft of: “What can this do/be? Where can this go? What else is it connected to? What are the possibilities if…and then what if…and then…?”  So many scattered pockets of otherwise detached activities and actions except for the roots of play and color and the hopefully unexpected growing just under the surface.  

In related news, anyone know where I can get a (free) dump truck full of kinetic sand?

Rhizome image credit: Kevin Murray and Katerina Gloushenkova

Here in my tower

I’m sitting in the third-floor tower of a gorgeous Victorian home in Louisville, KY. Below me are my wonderful friend Bethany and her beloved Chris. In front of me is a google drive of easybake workshop materials and a copy of Kali Quinn’s I Am Compassionate Creativity. Above me is the sound of a million raindrops on the roof and Eva Cassidy’s magical voice fills all the space in between.

How do you self-care?







Todd Rosenlieb Dance & Virginia Ballet Theatre Ensemble Concert – May 04 & 05, 2018

img_0889I had a mini-start last week in Norfolk, VA with my dear friend and choreographer Heidi Anderson. Together, we hit all three Easybake goals: storytelling, art/hospitality, and devised work. Heidi choreographed a beautiful staging of the children’s book Miss Rumphius and I told the story while five gifted dancers brought her vision to life. Heidi gave the dancers “seeds” of movement and worked with them to find natural sequences and gestures that suited their individual bodies. I am so proud of everything we presented at TR Dance and am in love with the family Todd Rosenlieb has assembled!

I worked my day job remotely and Heidi and I spent non-rehearsal nights doing Strengths work. She is a GALLUP Certified Strengths Coach and everything I learned feeds directly into this newly hatched plan o’mine!  (If anyone’s interested, my top 5: Developer, Empathy, Connectedness, Positivity, Arranger.) I am so very thankful for Heidi’s long friendship, her gifts of time and energy, and for finally being able to collaborate with her. I hope to return to VA at the end of the summer to work on movement for the easybakeheart project!

And now…

I’m currently in New York trying to finish my day job well and churning out easybakeheart workshop materials at night. Some things are still in flux and I hope to hit Austin in August or September. This is happening, y’all!