Friday, October 29, 2010

"Your Art Matters--It's What Got Me Here"

“Amidst all of the skyscrapers, all of the Broadway shows, and all of the chaos of the city, it’s not hard to find a person with a dream…a person with a passion…a person with a heart made of gold. “-Me

There is no denying what the city of New York has done for me over the past nine months. The city not only welcomed me with open arms, but it embraced me and held me tight while I tried to pursue all the dreams I had when I first arrived, which were to become a television producer and writer. But I didn’t find a career in coming here—I found something even better--I found gold.

Each day I have discovered new treasures. And the best part about it is that you don’t need a compass, and you don’t need a map—Every corner you turn, every alley you peek down, every block you stumble upon, there is some sort of gold within reach. It may be the best bagel on the Upper West Side or the best dive bar on the Lower East. It may be in the form of artwork in a Chelsea gallery—or it might be in the nooks and crannies of the subway stations. It could be in the cracks on the Brooklyn Bridge—or the artistic graffiti on the sides of buildings. Wherever you look—wherever you go—there is magic and a sort of rich feeling.

For me, the gold has been in all the people that I have met during my time in the city. From starving artists to acoustic guitarists and from graphic designers to actors and actresses…from drummers to singers…and from producers to writers—I have never met so many unique and talented people as I have met in these five boroughs. I have been lucky enough to surround myself by those who never let their passion falter—by those who push and push and work and work to keep their work alive. I’ve met make up artists working three jobs to help pay rent, and I’ve met comedians who waiter on the side in order to put food on their table. I’ve met writers and volunteers trying to live simply on only necessities.

Life is not easy: especially for all of those trying to really make it. But for each of these wonderful people that I have met, I can honestly say that for each of them it appears to have been nothing short of WORTH IT. These people, my friends, my acquaintances, my inspirations are living out what they want to do—in the city they want to do it in—and who could EVER criticize that? I have met people who have challenged me to be a better person, a more passionate person, and a more intensely determined creative person. This city introduced me to some of the most amazingly talented people in the world, and I know that this is just the beginning for most of them, and in five, ten years; this will just be a shot in their scrapbook filled with many more amazing moments of when they all make it. This city has opened up my eyes to all the talented people out there that I may have even been ignorant to in the past—including people from my hometown. The truth is you can find gold ANYWHERE you look. (Like the wonderful Paul Knakk).

In these nine months, I have met people who provide more love for others than space in this world provides. I have met people who are waiting for that one shot—that one opportunity—to do what they want to do, without caring what financial burdens that one thing brings for the time being—because in the end, it will ALL be worth it. I have met people who truly turn everything they touch to gold.

It has taught me to be spontaneous—jump into a new class, try something completely off the wall, and create my own adventures—so long as I am passionate about it. It is these artists, these guitarists, these graphic designers, these actors and actresses, these drummers, these singers, these producers, these writers, these comedians, these waitresses, and oh god the list could go on—it is these people that have pushed me to make the sudden leap to Italy. It is these people who have pushed me to act on my passions—my beliefs—my dreams. It is these people who are my gold in New York City and in Bethlehem, who have become my gold in life. I may have slept on the floor for months—and I may have eaten cheerios out of a box for two meals a day—but I have been the richest person …I have been a billionaire. And it’s because of you—you all—you see…your art REALLY does matter…It’s what got me here.

A side note: A good friend of mine is working to build a website that I am convinced will change the world, and I am convinced that most of the creative people that I have met—will in fact also do something so overwhelmingly amazing that it will change the world. So here’s your challenge—find another amazing person tonight, check out someone else I’ve tagged in those entry and connect with them—see how your creative powers can act together to combust with greatness. I’ve posted some links to help you out. But don’t be fooled there are many creative minds out there that don’t fit any of these categories (for example: Music Extraordinare: Dannya Azem). This list -- in no way, shape, or form encompasses all the gold that I have found in this city--all the people that I have found.

If they don’t have a link listed, don’t be afraid to ask me for contact information…I would be happy to put you in touch with any one of these wonderful people. And if you are someone who feels left off the list—let me know and I’ll add you immediately. I’m all about the connections…I’m all about the creativity.












Also—this November, opening the World Premiere of a brand new, never done before version of “A Christmas Carol Musical

--Has worked on Greta Gerwig, NBC talent Lauren Scala, ABC/NYC MEDIA Talent Tory Johnson, and Sharkstores






















Monday, October 25, 2010

She's a Maniac

A good friend of mine posted this quote today on her status: "To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it." -- Osho (As posted by Kim D.!)

The air's cold, and my eyes are drooping. My alarm has just gone off and I remember that I have set it for 4:30am in order to complete a goal, one that is supposed to remind me about taking time for myself. I shake out the eye boogies, throw on some deoderant, pull my hair back, and I'm ready to complete my mission...but why and what mission?

After a long and great conversation with a friend, I was reminded that we many times don't take enough time for ourselves. We don't just sit and enjoy company; we don't just have a piece of chocolate and cringe over how good it tastes, and we don't just take a second to relax. We begin to care too much what others think and we begin to just lose ourselves while trying to be what someone else wants us to be. We give, and then we give even more, and then sometimes we don't get to take--even when we deserve that break--even when we deserver a second, or a minute, or an hour to just breathe.

Just like the world--we never stop moving. We go from one project to another forgetting that if we don't take the time we need to relax, we will never find the time we need to be happy. And in those moments--those brief moments that we have to ourselves, we are reminded that the world's not such a complex place...and that things aren't so difficult. Sometimes it's the small things that make us happiest--like mom's apple turnovers or a good song...or...a good dance. So that's what I did this morning: I woke up to the cold air, with drooping eyes, at the sound of my obnoxious alarm-and I got off the floor-and into my kicks- and out onto the track of Astoria Park--and DANCED. I danced to lose myself. i danced to find myself. I danced to start my day: I danced to dance. So here's a thought: take a second--take a minute--take a week--take an hour--take as long as you need--and just DANCE it out. I promise you'll feel so much better...And hey you may even inspire a stranger to join too.

P.S. If i seem tired the first time I talk to the camera...I WAS! ha. But it was the best WAKE UP EVER

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Idiot's Guide to Being a Superhero

About a week ago, i wrote about how my dream occupation is: Superhero. Here is a fun "superhero" video.

To watch the infamous "My Jeans Video" of which the extra clip at the end mocks... Click Here

Monday, October 18, 2010

"Behind this heart, there's 1,000 hearts that keep me on track"

The most intimate concerts often take place in low-lit, hole-in-the-wall bars where you can literally reach out and touch the artist from the furthest point in the bar. These are the types of concerts where you get nervous to take a photo, because you believe that the flash you set off will blind the artist as well as the entire crowd that has squished together. It’s the kind of show where you can stab a line here and there back and forth with the artist—making it feel as though you have created a friendship—a relationship—an affair, for the brief forty-five minute set.

But I’ve found something even better: The kind of show where you sit down with the artist one-on-one, where he or she plays every song that he or she has ever written, and offers you a story behind each one. This is the type of show where you don’t even take photos because you feel such a personal connection between the artist and yourself. You realize quickly that a picture wouldn’t capture the moment as well as the exchange of words, and it’s the type of show where you truly feel like the only person in the room…because…well you are.

And that’s the experience that I had recently, when I got to sit down with friend, singer, and songwriter Paul Knakk, who breaks the standard “1 in 10 songs is a hit” rule and creates an abundance of music that would have overtaken the once highly rated TRL every day. Paul Knakk is a gem.

Never have I had the opportunity to truly sit down with someone and talk about their work—their creative niche—their passion, while watching them really engage in that talent that they have. It truly is a rare and exhilarating moment to see someone smile while they are doing what they love.

Paul and I attended the same high school, but I didn’t really know him until recently. A year younger than me, we never had the same classes, and we didn’t share groups of friends. I had known who he was because of pictures he had posted from when everyone was in middle school, pictures that many people got a really great laugh about when originally posted. About a year ago, Paul and I became Facebook friends, probably because one of us saw that the other had many mutual friends and we went to the same school. Soon after, I learned that Paul was pursuing music. I checked out his videos, his notes, and took the time to listen—and I really enjoyed it.

Unable to make it to one of Paul’s shows in the last year, I formed a friendship with him always discussing the music and what he had planned next. He went on to try out for American Idol this past year where he met many contacts and formed connections that will truly help his music career. The more he talked about his music—his recent show—and the fact that he was going to get a brand new amazing guitar—the more I knew that I had to hear him play live.

So the other day I finally took the opportunity to sit in on a private concert, where Paul played every song he has ever written. Two guitars, two locations, and three and a half hours later, I now knew Paul better than I had known many people that I have been acquainted with for many years. Paul’s music gives sound to his life experiences while also allowing you to connect and feel like the words have been written just for you, like Paul wanted to tell not only his story, but yours too. At most points, during my private show, I had wished that I had a pencil and paper because his lyrics drove thoughts and inspired ideas of my own. His music—his stories—they gave me chills.

Paul’s story is an amazing one that highlights most people’s experiences in adjusting to a world filled with love, hate, and jealousy. What else is amazing about Paul and his musical endeavors? He has self-taught himself, putting together his delicate words with outstanding notes. I would have guessed Paul had been playing for years…but was surprised to learn that he has only really been writing and playing for a year and a half. As Paul and I agreed, there’s nothing that other artists have—that he doesn’t.

Not everyone has the guts to go for their dreams and not everyone has the will to fight for their passions. But after leaving Paul’s house, I realized how important it is that we recognize our talents and the talents of others. Many nights we sit around and fight to find something to do. Should we go get drinks? What about a movie? How about one night where we just sit around with a close friend and experience what makes them happiest...where we just fully experience them. The lights don’t have to be dim, the location doesn’t have to be a hole-in-the-wall, the cameras don’t have to be in hand, and the conversation doesn’t have to be simple…even if it’s a simple night. This is the best kind of concert—this is the best type of night.

For more information on Paul Knakk, I suggest friending him Paulie or by joining his Facebook Group. Once becoming friends with Paul, you can check out his beautiful lyrics in his notes and watch videos of him playing. His YouTube page is currently undergoing maintenance, but you can bet that once it is back up, the volume on his site is going to soar. And at shows…well the girls will be chasing him down, of that I can guarantee. I’m lucky to know and be friends with such a talented musician.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Occupation: Superhero

At my pre school graduation every single one of us was asked to tell the audience composed of parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and family friends what we planned to be when we grew up. The answers ranged from firefighters to doctors to lawyers to dentists. Why our pre-k teachers were asking us what we wanted to be when we were barely old enough to pronounce three syllable words really is beyond me, but nonetheless, I responded by saying I wanted to be the first female president. If I had known what that meant, when I was just a four year old, I probably would have said “Anything but the president.”

And if it were four years ago, I may have said “I want to be a sports broadcaster,” but now I know exactly what I want to be, and that is a superhero. I want to be able to save the world one great cause at a time. I want to impact someone who then in turn impacts someone else, which thus results in a continuous line of impact.

I want to provide the world with a kaleidoscope of viewpoints. I want to make a change.

I think part of me first realized this when a teacher once told me that I was going to change the world. This was soon after learning that my college field hockey program had been cut from the University of Rhode Island. At that point in my life, I had completely believed that sports were the only thing that mattered and that if sports didn’t exist then well, nothing else did either.

The other part of me realized how much I wanted to make a difference in the world when I was exchanging emails with a newly acquainted pen pal on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Instead of defining myself to him as an athlete or field hockey player, I told him that I was a writer and a traveler and that I had hoped to learn of new things of the places I was traveling, with his help, since he had traveled before as well. I wanted to learn more about the world so I could impact the world as it was impacting me.

In the last nine months, I have lived in New York City, wishing that I could help every homeless person to a piece of bread, and every child without an education to a simple math problem. I have lent my hand to people by opening the door for them even when they walked away without saying thank you, and I have given up my seat to strangers following a long day at work. I have made an effort to save the world one small task at a time, and at the end of the day I have felt both wonderful and inspired because of it. Since coming to New York, I have been changed. I may not have a full-time career just yet, but I know that putting the word superhero next to occupation is beginning to look more and more like the full-time job that I would like to take on.

And to be honest, while sports scores interest me on a “brain candy” level (as my tenth grade English teacher might refer to it)…saving the world just seems much more appealing.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Eighty Years CANNOT be Enough

I discovered today that the average lifespan of a person is between 80 and 100 years. This actually saddens me. EIGHTY YEARS? I have already lived 1/4th of that?! And lived is an overstatement, because I spent much of that time worrying about the little things like--grades or how many calories were in a chocolate bar...or what to wear. I spent too much time WORRYING and not living.

A lot of people tell me that I am only 22 years old and that I have so much time left to discover all the wonderful things that this world has to offer. But then I get concerned that I am ALREADY 22. There is no way that I had enough time to color enough coloring books, trace enough drawings, or eat enough sugar before I realized how bad sugar was. So my new goal, with my move to Italy closing in, is to learn how to enjoy even the most simple things like a coloring book I didn't finish when I was younger, or a pack of smarties --or a rainbow after a rainy day.

Eighty years is not enough time to discover the other side of the rainbow without seeing the rest of the world. But it's worth giving it a try.