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I had a session with Zorn B. Taylor a few years ago. I wanted headshots/pictures of myself that felt like me. He refers to making photos as if they are a verb. That verbiage poked at me for awhile, and I like the discomfort I feel. it reminds me that art is active. I tell my theatre students, of all ages, that it's a called a play for a reason.

I've been avoiding making ceramic work. It requires attention and timing and I've been so attracted to being on my own time as of late that the idea of being beholden to the heat of my studio and the ceramics that dry too quickly in it annoys me. I started slowly, for me. I found a bunch of bisqueware beads (middle photo) that I hadn't known what to do with for over a year. I finally settled on hand painting them with gesso and eventually acrylic paint. I find the black beads beautiful. I've added a gold acrylic paint that makes the beads look bronze. I've made some earrings by attaching bronze shapes that I've had laying in corners of boxes since before the pandemic. I like how they're turning out and will take photos and list them soon.

Last night I slept relatively well, so I made it onto the wheel around 7am. I just finished adding handles and it's about 12 hours later. I finally realized that I was too tired to continue so wrapped the vessels in plastic, cleaned my tools in the yard, and attached four handles to mugs that'd be too dry by tomorrow. That's a promising day of work. My self-imposed deadlines are looming, but they feel more manageable now that I've started.

I absolutely should've been able to predict the hole I'd find myself in after FRANKENSTEIN at Book-it Repertory Theatre was cancelled because the theatre closed. After 34 years, they're just done. I didn't take it personally, but it was hard. We had this whole plan: I'd have a semi-permanent gallery display in the lobby for the run of the show. Folks could buy pottery, or any of the prints or jewelry I made. We were also planning a pop up market for sometime during the middle of the run to increase ticket sales. I was excited about this different ecosystem I was starting to create with theatres: I'm on contract to direct, but they'd also partner with my small business because theatre still doesn't pay a living wage.

When I tell people how little artists, theatre artists in particular, make you should see their faces. It's the face people make when they support you, but question your actions. A therapist I had a while back asked my why I kept doing theatre if there was so much rejection. I answered something automatic like, "Because, I'm an artist." I've thought about that question and my bullshit answer often over the last 7 years. The entertainment industry is toxic in a way I've tried to avoid. The auditions, the callbacks, the shitty contracts, the working so hard to earn your benefits. I just wanted to be a teacher then my school got rid of my program so rather than majoring in Theatre Education, I majored in Theatre Arts.

I've never just focused on theatre though, I never could. I've been on my own since I was 19. Literally homeless and kicked out of my mother's house via email: it broke me. I sought work that would allow me to pay rent and buy food. My white college roommate's parents were TERRIFIED of the neighborhood I lived in and forbade her to visit me. I recently remembered a conversation we had on the phone when they forbade her from coming to visit me in Hershey too. Her parents were very protective of her and steered her clear of Blackness and poverty whenever they could. It was lonely at 19. I was lonely. Every job I've taken since then has been so I could afford to live. But there's a realization you have when you're middle aged. It's something around how being an artist and the child of parents who didn't want you that helps you see how much you're on your own. I've been loved, yes. Absolutely. I've loved as well. There is a financial loneliness that you understand differently when starting at the tail end of your life.

People often encourage me to be more public, more online. I've tried, but I fucking can't. I hate the Pavlov's bell of likes and notifications. I hate the potential employers who run a Google search on me an stare in awe at the search results then ask me, "But why would you wanna work here???" Like I applied to be an astronaut instead of to support young people and their literacy. It's frustrating when people are more interested in winnowing me via information I didn't have control over. I can't control reviews. I can't control audition announcements. I can't control press. But people stop there and consume a meal of me that I didn't consent to. So here, this blog, my website, is the place I go so people know I'm alive and so there's a record of my world when I'm dead. Jennifer was murdered and all that's left of her online footprint are news articles about her murder like she was only a wife. Like she didn't have a life before she met the man that killed her.

So, here are some photos of the simple life I've been living.

Pic 1: High Hydration sourdough success!

Pic 2: Another high hydration sourdough success that I gave to my neighbor

Pic3: Sourdough bagels that I made and gave to my neighbor

Pic 4: I'm growing thyme hydroponically! I have three hydroponic gardens. At first I tried for variety, but in the end I grow things I consume regularly thyme, being West Indian, is very important.

Pic 5: I finally got off my ass and hemmed my cutoff coveralls. This is a photo of the fabric in the serger.

Pick 6: The frayed edges of the item I ended up hemming.

So that's what I've been up to. I'm prepping to vend at a festival that's aiming for 25,000 audience members. As motivation and to avoid overwhelm I'm planning to take pictures and videos and share the process here and via my subscription patrons.

till next time!


Updated: Jul 1

Seattle's Book-It Theatre Will Close After 33 Years

"Closing gracefully at the end of the show is the top priority for the Book-It board as it develops a plan to cease operations after 33 years. The team at Book-It encourages theatre lovers to see the final show and donate to help the organization sunset.

In March of this year, Book-It hired an incredible interim artistic director, Kelly Kitchens, who has deep experience in Book-It's mission of bringing literature to life through theatre. Feeling confident in the artistic vision, the board was fully invested in strategic planning for the company's future and the 2023/24 season, as well as exploring new sustainable business models. But the runway was too short to let Kitchens create the magic that was intended. Sufficient resources were not generated to enable the board to financially commit to a new season. Ticket sales make up just 30% of Book-It's budget, with the remaining costs subsidized by individual giving and grants. With theatregoers still slow to return to live performing arts, ticket revenue down, and individual giving not returning to pre-pandemic levels, forecasting is incredibly challenging. While forecasts for ticket sales and philanthropic funding were made and adjusted, the pandemic has left no margin for error. Not enough of those projections were achieved.."

More here.