Julieta Venegas on KCRW

I missed Julieta Venegas’ appearance on Morning Becomes Eclectic today. I was too stressed with some work stuff.

Anyway, I’ve really been feeling her latest album, especially “Despedida,” quite the cheery breakup song. Julieta describes it as a “sensible goodbye.” (There’s something about Julieta and her breakup songs. Who remembers my obsession with “Me Voy” four years ago? (Yikes. Was it really that long ago?)

If anyone gets to check out her show in Ventura, I want to see pictures of her baby bump. I doubt it will compare to Inara George’s.

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I love it when my friends become successful

All last summer, I kept checking in on my buddy Kristoffer Diaz’s blog. I saw his Facebook, Twitter and Flickr updates about the Chicago production of his play, The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity. His play garnered a lot of well-deserved attention in Chicago which led to a short run in Philadelphia. Now you can catch a production in Minneapolis. Sadly, I’ve yet to see the play

None of this surprised me. I’ve been telling Kris for a long time (at least since ’04) that I thought he was a genius. On okayplayer.com he’d ask, “give me something to write about.” I’d offer up a word or two and he’d come back with a clever haiku or three. He called them “hailu,” because, you know I’m Cindylu. That summer, I took a three-week trip to Mexico. Kris asked me to write a haiku for him. I wrote 34 in 23 days. Later, he wrote the best thing anyone has ever written for me, “for cindylu (hailunares)”.

Needless to say, any news of Kris’ success makes me happy. I’m not like Morrissey at all, I love it when my friends become successful. This morning, I caught up on some news from yesterday and learned that Kris was a finalist of the Pulitzer.

Whoa!

LAT theater critic Charles McNulty weighs in on the board’s decision, lamenting that the finalists’ distance from NY (“Bengal” was initially produced in Culver City, “Chad Deity” in Chicago, and “In the Next Room” in Berkeley) ultimately hurt them.

Perhaps I should just be grateful for the board’s magnanimity in bestowing a drama prize at all. But though I’m not at liberty to disclose anything about our private deliberations, I haven’t signed a gag order as a theater critic. I’ll grant you it’s a strange job, but what’s the point of having it if you can’t advocate for finalists as talented as Rajiv Joseph’s “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo,” Kristoffer Diaz’s “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity” and Sarah Ruhl’s “In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play”?

These works represent the new guard of American playwriting. And their authors — diverse in background and courageous in style — are discovering fresh ways of connecting politics and poetry onstage. They take their place with writers such as Christopher Shinn, Will Eno, Young Jean Lee and Tarell Alvin McCraney, to name just a few of those contemporary dramatists who care about theater as an art rather than as an expensive diversion. [link]

Congratulations, Kris!

Not sure which makes me happier, to see my friend become [even more] successful or that’s it’s opening day at Dodger Stadium.

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Six years later

Decision 2004: where to go to grad school?

“I’m so excited! I haven’t been back here in ten years,” my co-worker said with an enthusiasm I didn’t expect after traveling for nearly 8 hours.

“I haven’t been back since oh-four,” I offered.

We rolled our bags out of the Detroit airport, which we both agreed look different and much nicer from our previous visits. After checking out the rental car, we drove to Ann Arbor. As we entered his former college town, my co-worker excitedly listed the dives and restaurants he fondly remembered from his undergrad days in the late 90s. I listened, looking out the windows and trying to remember if any of the campus and city looked familiar.

I almost came to Michigan for grad school. I applied to five schools and was admitted to each, but soon Michigan and UCLA became the frontrunners.

During my trip to Michigan, Nahui, my host and good friend from UCLA, told me, “You know where you’re going. You’re just in denial.”

She wasn’t entirely right. I was didn’t make my decision until I spoke to another friend in the same shoes. After that it was all clear, sort of. But a week later, I still asserted on my blog that I’d yet to make a decision. The next day, I had it all figured out:

it’s official
04.07.04 // 4:55 p.m.

I’m not going anywhere. UCLA is the place for me.

Six years later (to the day), I leave Ann Arbor and return to LA. I’m not entirely sure I made the best decision. I certainly don’t regret it, but anyone who has read this for a while knows I’ve had a tough time in my program. I don’t blame the faculty, resources or even my peers. They’ve all been supportive. I’m just not sure I was mature enough or even ready for a PhD program.

Maybe I could have used the time in the [fully funded] Master’s program and additional work experience I would have gained afterward. Would I even be interested in a PhD at that point? Who knows.

Oh well. No sense in mulling over this now. Real life isn’t a Choose Your Own Adventure book. I can’t go back and see what would have been different if I chose Michigan over UCLA. I just know it would be different.

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Official

Before the first date, I had already:

(a) promised to love him forever, and not just on his birthday;
(b) negotiated the terms of a long-term relationship and picked out at least one future child’s name;
(c) given him a Valentine’s day gift (and received one from him too);
(d) kissed him;
(d) checked the yes box when he asked, “will you marry me?”; and
(e) made it public.

Despite all this, I was nervous. So was he.

It was like the previous times we’d gotten together to watch TV, have dinner and drinks, play video games, go to a baseball game hadn’t happened. Of course not, that was all while we were just friends.

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The fax

Right after I confirmed my relationship to Sean, I texted my sister. “If you see something about me being engaged on FB, it’s a joke. Sorta.”

I’d explain later. The full story wouldn’t fit in a text message.

Before I’d even left the office I had a text from Vane, “you’re engaged?! Did I miss something?”

On Facebook, Taz was the first of many to respond with incredulous felicitations. “You got engaged? Congratulations!!!”

Some simply offered joyful congratulations, but those who knew me were right to wonder what was going on (probably because I never mentioned breaking up with Alan on the blog or FB). Some called bullshit. And some, like César, put it nicer, “Is this for real or just for jokes?” Alfonso/HP wondered if it was a really early April Fool’s Day prank.

“What’s the official story?” I asked Sean via text.

“Maybe. Or no comment.”

Curiously, Sean wasn’t dealing with any of this. The same news elicited no response from his FB contacts.

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