Yes, This Will Be On the Test

Writing, Reading, Laughing

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Appreciating Garry Shandling


I recently binge watched Jerry Seinfeld's COMEDIANS IN CARS GETTING COFFEE. The show delves into the minds of comedians, examining what makes them tick and that never ending quest for a homerun in the humor department.

When the episode with Garry Shandling came on, it hit me how much of my writing education I owe to being a part of It's Garry Shandling's Show. For the better part of seasons two-four, I had the honor to be the show's assistant art director. Occasionally, I can even be found in the background (gold sweater).



The opportunity to watch the writing process was golden not unlike my sweater in the above photo. The show aimed for a combination of heart and hilarity, which in my opinion it did with brilliance. It was fascinating to watch the revision process of each script as the journey to find the perfect jokes, emotion of the human condition, and infusion of intelligent wit was undertaken in every episode. It was beyond a blast to be a part of the show.


I was hooked from that groundbreaking first episode in season one when Garry destroyed the fourth wall and brought the audience into his character's living room. It was a dream come true when I joined the show and its wildly creative environment in its second season.


Garry's passing was very sad for me as I reminisced and reappreciated everything I learned from my time with the show. I will always be grateful for the experience and to the writing mentors who never knew the inspiration they bestowed on this writer's heart and mind. Special thanks to Garry Shandling, Alan Zweibel, Ed Solomon, Tom Gammill, and Max Pross who showed me process, perseverance, and the creative joy of being a writer.  

I recently came across this interview with Garry about the writing process of Its Garry Shandling's Show.

Enjoy.




Saturday, March 10, 2018

View From the First Grade Trenches

It is increasingly difficult to stay sane as a teacher in the current climate. We're vilified and criticized on a daily basis, but still we show up.

We show up for the kids. We show up to invest in a better future by giving our all to the minds and hearts in our care. We show up because we believe in what we do.

This Facebook post summed it up for me. 


And on a lighter note...

Isn't it awesome kiddos today adore Dr. Seuss as much as we did growing up? As a kid, I was in a Dr. Seuss bookclub and held my breath for each new book to arrive. 

My elementary school participated in READ ACROSS AMERICA on Dr. Seuss' birthday. Over 850 students were reading Dr. Seuss at the same time. Now there's a cool vibe!

My firsties kicked it up a notch by taking liberties with a classic Dr. Seuss rhyme.


Sunday, January 7, 2018

Women of Mystery

I don't know about you, but I'm totally one of those people who are blown away by magic. Card tricks, floating people, limbs in different boxes, I'm all in.

An adult read that I'm crazy about is 
Club Deception by Sarah Skilton


This saucy, sassy peek behind the scenes of the world of magicians and their wives nearly burns your fingers as you turn the pages.

I'm excited to share the news Club Deception is part of the Women of Mystery promo collection for mysteries and thrillers featuring fierce female protagonists, sleuths, or diabolical subjects! 

For a limited time, the eBook will be priced on Amazon at $3.99 from Monday, January 8th through Monday, January 22nd. It has also been picked up by other eBook retailers. Links below:

·        iBooks
·        Nook
·        Google
·        Kobo 

Club Deception will be a “LAST CHANCE” 

Nook Daily Find on Sunday JAN 21!

Congrats to Sarah!

Sarah Skilton has some awesome YA offerings as well.







Saturday, December 2, 2017

The Room Where it Happens

Yes, I was finally in the theater where it happens - 
HAMILTON.

A few weeks ago, I experienced this wonderful show at the gorgeous Pantages Theater in Hollywood.


I've been listening to the CD of the show since the day it came out. I even walked by the Richard Rodgers Theater on Broadway to gaze longingly up at the marquee, dreaming of the day I would see the show.


Did Hamilton live up to the hype? 

ABSOLUTELY! 

In fact its awesomeness went far above and beyond what I'd hoped for. 

Performances - incredible. 

When Washington sang "Teach Them How to Say Goodbye," I thought my heart would burst.

The lighting design was the essence of magical!

I could do endless posts on the moments and images that make this show magisterial.

And then, when I thought I couldn't be more transported by the essence of the Hamilton experience...

...Lin Manuel Miranda came out at the curtain call. I truly thought the roar from the audience would bring the roof of the Pantages down.

It's a very special time of year in the theater when audience members are given the opportunity after the show to join the ongoing fight against AIDS by contributing to

Lin Manuel Miranda delivered the message about this charity that has also joined the relief efforts for those affected by the hurricanes this year in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. 

Broadway Cares is very near and dear to me. I lost a brother to AIDS. He was a beautiful dancer and choreographer with a deep love of the theater. 

I'm forever grateful to the theater community for carrying on the fight against this horrible disease.  

If you haven't been able to score Hamilton tickets, there is a 
lottery that gives you a shot at tickets. Here's the link for the

There's also an app in the App Store for HAMILTON lotteries in additional cities. Hey, it never hurts to try to get into:
The Room Where It Happens

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

First Draft Love

Raise your hand if you agree...
                               
                               ...Starting a new WIP is like falling in love.

After months of

 researching


plotting


planning


documenting/analyzing


I'm 20K words into my new best friend and it's bliss.
Despite all my "upfront" work, 
(a friend said my room looks like the set of "A Beautiful Mind" without the string)
I'm still reveling in the sheer joy of discovery a first draft brings. 

(Make no mistake, string will appear once revising starts.)

Status Update: In a relationship with my WIP. 

Write on, friends! XO

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Comic Con 2017 - Part 3 - Cosplay

When one dresses up as a character at Comic Con, you are
not wearing a costume - you are cosplaying! Cosplaying at conventions around the world is a major big deal. There have even been TV programs such as, HEROES OF COSPLAY, COSPLAY MELEE, and CALL TO COSPLAY that celebrate the art of becoming your favorite pop culture character. 

I talked to one cosplayer whose costume was so elaborate it had to be brought in several suitcases and constructed in their hotel room before making an appearance at Comic Con. The dedication and artistry of the cosplayers knocks my socks off. Since sharing is caring, here are some examples from this years Con.

The "wall" from Stranger Things

Robin and Wonder Woman - 
who'd a thunk it!


Moana


Cyberman








And look how this family transformed a wheel chair for their sweet little kiddo - 



Cosplay? Are you in or out? Who would you be?

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Comic Con 2017 - Part 2 - The Convention Floor

Before you venture onto the convention floor of Comic Con, here are a few things you need to know:

1. You will overspend your budget.
2. Strollers cut a path through the crowd - walk behind them.
3. Walking in front of a stroller will get your heels clipped by the stroller.
4. Bravery is a must.
5. Photo ops abound.
6. There will be a line.
7. You will be closer to more people than you ever imagined - and I mean "smell their hair" close.

Come with me now, to the floor of wonders...


Or as some may say...


You can find your fan faves represented like Thor and Mjolnir.



Mind blowing LEGO creations!



Enemies!


My personal favorite pavilion -


And every pop culture t-shirt you can imagine!


Before I sign off - a few "Con" inside jokes.


Con on!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Comic Con 2017 - Part 1 - Outlander Fangirling

I am one of those lucky duckies who have scored Comic Con tickets for the past handful of years. It is an exercise in serendipity and probability to grab those golden tickets!

While popular culture is the sweet spot of "The Con," it is also overflowing with treasures for a writer. After many years of being pressured by friends to read the OUTLANDER books and resisting (such a fool 'twas I), I consumed the entire series, both in print and on screen. 

Imagine my delight when OUTLANDER had an awesome presence at Comic Con, including an appearance by the author of this "yes, I'm addicted" series, Diana Gabaldon. 




I have learned so much as a writer by reading the OUTLANDER series. The way Diana Gabaldon weaves romance, adventure, history, and the human condition into a compelling narrative is the stuff of magic. Bravo for the casting of the series which frees the characters from the confines of the page so beautifully. What a thrill to attend the OUTLANDER panel and be treated to a sneak preview of the first episode of season 3!

Jamie and Claire Fraser
Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe

Diana Gabaldon, Graham McTavish (Dougal MacKenzie), Sam Heughan

Frank/Black Jack Randall
Tobias Menzies 

It was super cool to visit Jamie's print shop on the convention floor and score some OUTLANDER swag!




Any other OUTLANDER fans out there? 

Sunday, September 24, 2017

A Writer Goes to Washington, D.C. - Part 4

I was in D.C. for an arts in education conference put on by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. I have been part of a marvelous program for the past six years sponsored by the Kennedy Center that trains teachers to bring arts integration into the classroom. 

As a writer, former actor and designer, I believe the arts are the lifeblood of education. If you want a child to be engaged in their learning, filter it through music, dance, puppetry, visual arts, mime, poetry, acting - I could go on and on. I've seen it work first hand with students from kindergarten through college.

I had never been to the actual Kennedy Center. On this trip, I was fortunate to finally see it.

  

It is truly a grand place with many theaters and a concert hall. The walls and even ceilings are covered with gorgeous art. 


A section of the mural on the ceiling of the Israeli lounge 


A Matisse tapestry


Painting in the Russian lounge

The biggest thrill for me was being able to see a show at the Kennedy Center. And not just any show - THE SOUND OF MUSIC. Many decades ago I was in a national tour of the same show that originated from the Los Angeles Music Center. It was super nostalgic and heartwarming for me to see it again and relive treasured memories. I was surprised when I remembered every one of my lines and could have said them along with the cast. 


For your dining and dancing pleasure, here are a few pix from my days as Louisa Von Trapp.

  
Ahh, the sailor suits. 


Werner Klemperer of HOGAN'S HEROES fame was our Uncle Max. He was a wonderful man and I adored him. William Katt of THE GREATEST AMERICAN HERO fame played Rolf, nice guy gone Nazi in the production. Also a super fellow - pun intended.

Long live the arts in education!








Sunday, September 17, 2017

A Writer Goes to Washington, D.C. - Part 3

And speaking of Hamilton...

The guy is all over D.C.


At Mount Vernon


Bureau of Engraving and Printing


The National Portrait Gallery


Couldn't resist

Isn't it amazing someone who was unfairly not much more than a mental footnote in our history lessons is now a super star!

There are HAMILTON clubs at junior high and high schools. Kids are drawing fan art of Alexander Hamilton and other characters from the show. I've heard raps ala HAMILTON on a myriad of historical figures by students who are invested in learning history. A must read is the amazing YA novel, Alex and Eliza, A Love Story by Melissa De La Cruz on our hero and his love. 

Alex and Eliza

I've been listening to the score since the day it came out. I do a really good George III.

In a few weeks, I will FINALLY get to experience the show.


History has its eyes on you, indeed!

Any other HAMILTON aficionados out there? Have you seen it? 

If you haven't seen the PBS special on the making of HAMILTON - you're in for a treat.