Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Mimicking Minimalism

I know I've witnessed other people go through this phase. I especially recall my Aunt Carrie go through the phase.

Do you know the one I'm talking about? When you...
  • Purge items that don't serve a purpose
  • Prefer simplicity
  • Choose the colour white
It's no secret that I'm a horder. I collect things. That's what I like. It's what I do. I'd be lying if I said I didn't have a stash of old, empty Bonnebell Lipsmakers tubes in my closet or a vast collection of Bearstein Bear Books in my basement that haven't seen the light of day since 1993. I can't help it. I like to collect.

But yesterday, while being inundated by all the useless crap at Walmart, I decided it's time to be a person of simplicity.

For instance, if I'm ever engaged, I've decided that I'm not going to register for one of those decorative bathroom soap pumps. Why create one more task and waste the money on something hideous? I made this decision after seeing the gaudiest soap pump in existence. It had a ginormous ruby smack dab in the middle of it.  I'm all for rubies,but this just crossed a line. So soap pumps wear costume jewelry now... What is this world coming to? What's next bedazzeled spatulas? Please tell me there's an end to the madness!

So I'd like to simplify. I think I need to simplify. Of course I have no idea how to do that. And I suppose I need to embrace the colour white now like a true minimalist. And replace my furniture with items that look painful if I were to ever accidentally run into them.

I hate that I'm bringing up Bryan Adams again...but it's just something that I do. Anyways, his apartment was recently featured in Elle Decor magazine. Epitome of minimalism in my opinion.  I would think that I could use that place as a reference.  It's got everything covered.

  • Coffee table that looks like it will most certainly be my knee caps' worst enemy....check.
  • Furniture that looks uncomfortable....check
  • It's predominantly white...check
  • Consists of nothing that was made before 1960...check
  • Contains no more than 9 books...check

I know I should try to be more simple. But I'm drawn to rooms like this:


  • Clutter....check
  • Dark, like a cave or lair with damask wallpaper....check
  • Nothing that was made AFTER 1960....check
  • Too many books to count in one glance....check
  • Lots of lamps...check.
  • Lots of places to sit and curl up with great books....check
  • Lots of tables to set said books....check

I don't think I can be both. The Minimalist v. The Horder. Why do I have a feeling the Horder is going to win this round?

Does anyone have any advice on the matter? Do you think it's unhealthy to avoid white space and embrace clutter? Or do you find white space conducive to creativity?

The Ultimate Button

I turned the corner and my eyes beheld the most glorious button known to mankind. This button was ever so shiny, slightly indented and precisely the perfect shade of red with enough depth to deliver a delightful and satisfying push.

I found the ultimate button.

This little guy was just screaming to be pushed. How could I not? I am but one frail girl.

Yet this lone, unlabeled button could set off a multitude of destruction. It could trigger the alarm system or activate all the sprinklers in the building. It could alert the authorities, or worse the Gilbertron 2000.  Or perhaps it could simultaneously flush all the toilets at once--which in the words of Kelly Kapour, "would be AMAZING!"

Or maybe it could cause the women's room in which it was located to self-destruct...

Or maybe this button ejects the escape pod that contains 2 droids with information pertinent to the survival of the rebellion and the stolen plans for a weapon of mass destruction, a space battle station, if I may.

Or maybe it would just deploy a parachute or some kind of weather balloon...which may have another helpless little 8 year old boy hiding out, thinking that he only wanted to make a fort and before he knows it, he's sailing high above the earth at 15,000 ft...

Or maybe this button would lead to some nuclear reactor power plant, and because of some fluke, the glass dome that prevents it from being pushed accidentally shattered and Homer Simpson, who is entrusted to make sure that no one pushes it, called in sick for the day.

I knew I've seen a button like this before. In Wallace and Gromit: A Close Shave there is a button identical to this and it activates a machine that hurls Wallace's breakfast through the air. If I were to push this supreme button would a bowl full of porridge come flying through the air and beam me in the head? And would it malfunction as it did in the film? Would I not be able to deactivate the button once it is pressed?
I thought, "Alright Jana, let's get realistic here. If something terrible happens, they will dust the button for fingerprints and you'll be screwed. They'll know it was you."

As I stood there, confoundedly contemplating my fate, moving on to what it would be like in prison and if I could pull off wearing that obnoxious orange 24/7...someone walked by and pressed the darn thing. You know what it does?

The same thing this does.

Yep. It opens a door. The End.

What would you have wanted it to do?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Hatch Show Print

Back in the day when I worked at Guitar Center, we would post advertisements for upcoming concerts at the one and only Ryman Auditorium. These weren't just any ol' posters though. They were products of Hatch Show Print. Works of art. Anybody who was anybody would play the Ryman and it would be a special occasion. So the poster for such an event had to be timeless and memorable. Letterpressed.

The Hatch Show Print shop was located in downtown Nashville. There you could watch these posters come to life. The artists that worked on these posters were incredible. Daring. It takes guts to move with ease as you carve away at linoleum with a Speedball chisel. One mistake and you have to start from the beginning. Ah, but great mistakes make great art.

SO our Guitar Center would have one poster for every concert. One poster.

I swear employees would call dibs on these posters before they were even pinned to the corkboard.

I remember the torture of knowing that the My Morning Jacket or Norah Jones poster were within my grasp, yet were promptly spoken for.

Of course I let everyone know that I had eternal dibs (if that even exists) on any Bryan Adams poster that would grace the board. Although he never played Nashville while I lived there, I intend to own this one someday, Lord willing.

But at least I can relish in the victory of scoring the Patty Griffin poster, as well as a few other gems which adorn my walls to this day.

This concert never even took place. I believe Ms. Spektor cancelled due to a case of vertigo.  

I actually got to see this one which was amazing. Shawn Colvin's These Four Walls is a great album.

I just love all the detail.

Then my lovely friend, Sarah S. gave me this Mraz poster for my birthday.  I think I ran up and down the stairs, not knowing what to do with myself! Great gift!

I guess I've always been drawn to this style. I've enjoyed making a linoleum print or two over the years.  My little album cover is even a take on the art form.

Then there was my concept for a t-shirt with a play on the popular musical venue, combined with a flare for Ms. Austen. I just can't find the motivation to carve the stage coach...someday. 

I made this during my Celine phase. It may be one of my favourite projects to date.

And I had to create my baby. She was probably 40 lbs. lighter here though.

My Aunt Lori (Hi Aunt Lori!) actually had this framed at one time.
And this was a fun project.

I can't wait to work on another print. And who knows, maybe someday, I'll actually get to make one for a concert!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Spying Spines

 I caught this out of the corner of my eye on my way to rehearsal yesterday and may or may not have run a red light in the process.

At the base of The Duluth Public Library, there is a new mural being painted. The building itself is extremely creative in structure. It's modelled after the iron ore ships that are frequently in our harbour, but I've often thought it is coldly out of place beside such historical buildings like City Hall and The Depot. This mural appears warm and inviting and somewhat lends to the ambiance of the building now.

I'm glad I was able to catch the mural before it was complete. And before it becomes defaced by whipper-snappers who "waz here".

You really can't tell what books are displayed while driving, so I had to go back for a closer peek and a true walk about.

Excited to see a Dr. Seuss and E.B White represented. But they are all quite beautiful, aren't they?
It would have been fun to vote on which books to include, but I'm just really excited to see something like this downtown.  Duluth is certainly becoming a lovely place.

What books do you think should have been painted?

Oh! And I'm kind of crazy about the call numbers at the bottom and all the diverse fonts.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


This fall I will be a student again, yet this time I am enrolling as an English Major with a Music Minor. I'm hoping it will be useful if I want to pursue songwriting.. It definitely wasn't an instant decision. I've just never considered myself to be an effortless speaker nor someone who has impeccable grammar skills. In fact, in person, I have brain farts incessantly and am always doubting what I say, thinking it's too cliche. Plus, I'm an atrociously slow reader...so we'll see how this goes.
But at least I love words.

I always circle words I like in books or draw a heart next to ones that astonish me. If I don't know a definition of a word, I'll look it up in the thesaurus and write its alternate word in the column beside it. I have lists lying around my room of words that I've found colourful and expressive. And I frequently find myself saying , "Great word.", whenever a friend uses an obscure word I don't hear everyday.

Bottom line--I love words.

I just don't use the ones I love enough. Here's a list of words I intend to incorporate into my daily vernacular.

Betwixt - Realized this when it was used multiple times during last month's Royal Wedding broadcast.

Mustachioed - Wouldn't this be the ultimate description for some people?

Scintillating - This may be my favourite word ever.

Conundrum - James Mercer of The Shins used this in his song "Australia" years ago and I've been in love with it ever since.

Inherently - Mariah Carey used this word in her song called "Outside" which could arguably be her best song ever.  I love it, yet never use it. 

Prosaic - I think of that scene in "You've Got Mail" when Meg Ryan is trying to figure out what NY152 stands for..., "152 insights in-to-my-soul!"

Inundate- Why? Because I think it sounds prettier than 'flood' or 'overwhelm'. Don't you agree?

Opulent - Darling, because it's gorgeous.

Opalescence -Ugh. Great word.

Lustreless- It's so much more descriptive than "dull". Man, I love F.Scott Fitzgerald.

Gauche- I'm not going to lie, Robert Downey Jr. used this in a speech awhile ago. I've never heard anyone else use it.  It means unsophisticated and socially awkward. In other words, the epitome of this blogger.

Penultimate - I've heard musicians use this frequently, describing the note that precedes the last. It could be used out of a musical context though.

Coagulate - I don't even know what this means. It just sounds cool.

These words will hopefully weasel their way into my daily speech as I attempt to retire overused beauties of mine like:

Crap - As well as variations such as: crapola, craptastic, & what the crap? I'm extremely skeptical about nixing this one. It will never happen.

Pretty Cool - This phrase needs to go. I've used it 200 times too many and my Miley Cyrus teeth shan't say it any longer. I'm trying to replace it with 'Epic cool'...It's quite the battle.

You guys's- I cringe to myself every time I hear myself say this. I need to switch back to "Y'all's". Just kidding.

Shan't- see "Pretty Cool" above. What was I thinking?
I want to hear other beloved words. What's your favourite?

Ooh...and here's a timeless song by the Bee Gees. I promise it will throw anyone in a good mood.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mosaic the Walls, Cinderelli!

A corridor of the aptly named Cinderella Castle in Disney World is adorned with these picturesque mosaics. If there are two things I love, they are mosaics and a great story. I just had to share these pictures with you as I never really wrote about my trip to Disney. This was definitely one of the highlights for me.

Designed by Imagineer Dorothea Redmond, this mosaic mural took 22 months to complete and a team of 6 artists to execute. It is comprised of over 300,000 pieces of italian glass in over 500 assorted colours.

Friday, May 13, 2011

I Wish...

I wrote a post last summer about "I Wish" songs and how I need to find mine again--you know, finding that dream that drives.

Oddly enough, my next role is a character whose first and last words of the show are "I wish.." I love that fact and have a hard time believing it is merely a coincidence.

So in several weeks I GET TO BE CINDERELLA! BAHHH!!!!

I've been dreaming of this for years. Truly. Here I am dressed as Cinderella (prior to meeting her fairy godmother) on my 10th birthday. James is supposed to be a Ninja Turtle if my memory serves me right. Either that or someone let their toddler into a can of green paint. Let's hope it's the former.

And this picture was doubled with another one(God Bless digital cameras), but I wanted to include this cake. My mom decorated it. She's such an artist and completely spoiled me. She always made birthdays special and they always had a theme. (Beauty & the Beast, 101 Dalmatians, Nancy Drew, etc...)

If you look closely, you can even see the glass slipper on the cake. A nice touch.

So the honor of being Cinderella in "Into the Woods" means I get to wear a cinders dress, & TWO BALLGOWNS! ...Okay, I guess, one's a wedding dress, but still, TWO GORGEOUS DRESSES! Oh, and it won't be the complete experience without slippers as pure as gold. (It breaks the Disney tradition, which is somewhat of a relief because actual glass slippers sound quite dangerous.)

Plus, I will get to sing some of the most beautiful songs ever written for musical theatre. Music & Lyrics by the incomparable Steven Sondheim. The show is based on a book written by James Lapine who happens to share the same name with my brother. We've know of him for some time now, I just never thought that I would be able to perform in one of his shows.
Since I heard the good news, I've been researching the girl who is notorious for leaving behind her slipper. She has been portrayed in many ways. The character in this show is actually the closest to the original Brothers Grimm Fairy Tale. It is a tad gory, I must say, but nearly accurate.

So here are a few of the role models.

A young Julie Andrews--the epitome of porcelain doll. She was Cinderella in the Rodgers and Hammerstein version. It aired on television on March 31st, 1957 and was witnessed by 107 million viewers.

Classic Disney. Probably my first introduction to the story and told in an unforgettable way. The mice weren't included in the original story, but their minute presence contributed to the success of this film in a huge way.

And really, has Disney ever been as magical as this?

I love that she is holding a peacock feather in this painting. I wish I knew more about this one.

This is Kim Crosby. I've been studying her probably most of all because she originated the role on Broadway. She actually resembles Rachel McAdams. Does anyone else see it? She has a gorgeous voice as well.
Drew Barrymore's interpretation of Danielle de Barbarac in "Ever After" refreshed the age old story. This Cinderella would read her father's favourite book "Utopia" beside the fire and often fall asleep in the cinders. She presented a character to young girls that was not the frail, trampled over herorine we had come to know, but a strong force not to be reckoned with.  I was the perfect age to see this movie with my best friends. Another 5 years and it wouldn't have made an affect on my life at all. 

 By the time I was in high school, Whitney Houston produced this version with R&B sensation Brandy as Cinderella...and Bernadette Peters as the Evil Stepmother. I need to see this one again.
This is McCaela Donovan. She portrayed Cinderella in a production of "Into the Woods" in Boston. Although I never saw it--she received great reviews and I was able to hear her on youtube. That would have been nearly impossible 10 years ago. Isn't technology fantastic. Yeah, but she's pretty incredible and definitely worth studying. 

It's been fun researching this. I just hope that we have a great rehearsal period and a great run. I can't even tell you how excited I am to be on stage with so many fellow actors I admire and a production dream team I can't wait to work with!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...