P E E BL The new look of Classical Culture OPERATIC SOPRANO
ON HER MET DEBUT
REDEFINING WHAT IT MEANS TO BE AN ORGANIST FROM A CONSERVATORY TO COLBERT TO CARNEGIE HALL
LAKE STREET DIVE THE WALKING DEAD’S
Emily Kinney TALKS MUSIC, BROADWAY & OF COURSE...
IS MUSIC’S NEXT HUGE THING
+ PLUS ‘SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE’ FINALIST JAKOB KARR THE STEREOHOGZZ TALK X-FACTOR BLEEP 1
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WHO ACTUALLY WON THE OLYMPICS
We cheered as our favorite Olympians won gold and say in disbelief when others faltered. But one thing is clear: Johnny Weir and Tara Lapinski were Sochi’s big winners.
Awards season has ended in grand fashion and now’s time for the annual BLEEP Awards, our virtual ceremony honoring the best of this year’s awards shows.
As the temperatures begin to warm up, it’s time for some fresh takes on some of your favorite cocktails. Luckily, our Cocktail Connosieur is here to help.
LET IT GO
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Film festivals are popping up all over the place, but we’re at one of the world’s largest: The Berlin International Film Festival. We’ve got the inside scoop on the films you’ll be talking about this year. The internet has been taken over by cover videos to the stand-out song from “Frozen,” but one in particular has taken the world by storm. We talk with international artist Alex Boye about his Africanized cover of “Let It Go,” seen by millions around the globe.
After rising to noteriety during the first season of “X-Factor” in the US, this quartet is ready to release new music and bring something different to the world of R&B.
It’s time for this soprano to take center stage...on one of the world’s largest stages. Jennifer talks about her Met debut and the importance of opera in today’s culture.
There are artists who interpret music in a new way and then there are artists who re-invent the artform. Cameron is the latter.
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LAKE STREET DIVE
This quartet who met while in Conservatory are about to explode onto the music scene in a big way. Don’t just take our word for it. Ask Stephen Colbert. He’s a fan as well.
So what exactly comes after “So You Think You Can Dance?” We catch up with Jakob Karr, hot off his run in the sexy holiday-themed extravaganza, Nutcracker Rouge.
EMILY KINNEY ON THE COVER
Born to perform, Emily went from starring on Broadway to running from zombies on “The Walking Dead.” Now, she’s rereleasing her EP and bringing her music to an entirely new audience.
CHRISTINA BENNETT LIND
Christina Bennett Lind’s work has taken her all over the globe, from Boston to Italy to Greece to the Big Apple. We catch up with her, fresh off her starring role in the American Repertory Theater production of The Heart of Robin Hood.
BLEEP CREATIVITY. UNCENSORED. RYAN BRINSON Editor-in-Chief SARAH ROTKER Business & Audience Development Manager KADI MCDONALD Content Manager PABLO SALINAS Social Media Associate BEN HUMENIUK Cartoonist KING DE TAGLE Cover Photography RACHAEL MARIBOHO Culture Editor FEATURE EDITORS: Nathan Robins Hatley Moore WRITERS: Caleb Bollenbacher Courtney Shotwell Lisa Sorenson Laura Seitter Alex Wright FEATURE CONTRIBUTORS: Florian Hubertus WEB CONTENT: Sheena Wagaman Eric Lehman Jordan Shalhoub
All articles and photos are the property of the writers and artists. All rights reserved.
Letter from the Editor Why do you do what you do? That’s something I’ve been thinking about quite a bit recently: pinpointing the exact “why.” What’s the driving force? As a creative person, I’m no stranger to the highs and lows of the creative process. Inspiration comes in waves – ebbing and flowing – much like the tides. Sometimes it’s time to surf and sometimes it’s time to sit on the beach and wait. I’ve also been grappling with what to do when you feel like your creative well has run dry for the moment. I emphasize “the moment” because the well is never permanently empty, but it sure can feel like the creativity you once staked your profession/reputation/livelihood on has taken up residence inside someone else’s well, never to be seen again. Gone with the tide. This is the paragraph where you’re expecting two things: insight and answers. I can already sense your looming disappointment because I have neither. I just think it’s a part of being a creative person and it ultimately makes us better at what we do. When inspiration does finally hit, we dip full force into our refilled well, with renewed vigor and drive. It’s difficult not to be inspired by artists who are on these pages. They’re so diverse, so talented, and so passionate. Imagine the amount of confidence Jennifer Rowley has to marshal to step on to the Met stage for her debut. I can’t even fathom it. Being a creative person is awesome. When ideas and inspiration are flowing, you feel invincible. When they are not, you can feel stilted. But that’s a part of the journey. The ups and downs craft the art we create and fuel our drive.
Ryan Brinson Editor-in-Chief
Clockwise from top: Thomas Ward & Carrie Heitman in International Falls; Jake Wilson and Andrew KeenanBolger; Michael Kooman and Christopher Dimond; Karina Branson and Luis Restrepo; Gary Shackleford and Abraham Dominguez; Joshua Gonzales and Matt Tolbert; Robert Askins, Patrick Ryan Matzig, Justin Hoffman, and Tyler Petito.
BLEEP was on the scene at the opening night of Greyman Theatre Company’s inaugural New York production, International Falls, on February 28th. Greyman Theatre Company, named after the ghost that makes his home at Baylor University’s theatrical venues, was created in 2009 by Baylor students and functions under the leadership of Artistic Director Matt Tolbert and Managing Director Joshua Gonzales. Production notes for International Falls says: “Unhappy with his life and his marriage, yet touring 8 BLEEP
the country trying to make people laugh, Tim meets Dee, an equally unhappy wife and mother working as a front desk receptionist at a hotel in International Falls, Minnesota. When they end up in bed together after his show, what begins as an unassuming one-night stand turns into an unexpected connection as two comedians, one burned out and one aspiring, discuss their insecurities, relationships, and comedy acts.” Tickets for March 1 and 7 shows at The Tank NYC are available online today. www.greymantheatreco.org
Photos by Kelsey Martin.
on the scene: Opening night of International Falls
Photo by Matt Tolbert
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder is one of our favorite shows we’ve seen in a long time. We’re thrilled the cast album is out and we can relive the thrill of the show for a long time. It’s funny, brilliantly sung and the type of show we need more of on Broadway. Download the album below and if you haven’t seen the show yet, get your tickets today. You won’t regret it.
Amy Lynn and the Gunshow have released their first video from their new album, “Don’t Trip on the Glitter” and it’s full of fun and a hefty coating of glitter. Check it out below and don’t miss the album next month!
Long-running immersive theater piece SPEAKEASY DOLLHOUSE has begun a new chapter in their story and unlike other immersive shows in New York, this isn’t a story you are already familiar with. You only know part of the story. Taking on the story of the Brothers Booth, that’d be John Wilkes and Edwin Booth...yes that John Wilkes, audiences are dropped back in time and into The Players Club, to both discover and witness the story unfold. A live band plays, there’s mystery, burlesque and even a séance? Yep. You’ll need a password to get in, so make sure you get your reservations for April & May quick! www.speakeasydollhouse.com
photo by Maxine Nienow
The Brothers Booth
Who actually won the Olympics
It wasn’t NBC and it sure wasn’t Shaun White. No, the Olympics were won by the unlikely duo of Johnny Weir and Tara Lapinski. Both Olympians in their own right (she has a gold medal of her own after all) and they were given the, some would say, B-List task of being the commentators for the figure skating events that aired live in the mornings in the US. B-List? Kinda. The prime time commentary, seen by upwards of 20 million people, was done by Scott Hamilton, Sandra Bezic and Tom Hammond. But they weren’t who anyone was talking about. It was all about Johnny and Tara. Firstly, their knowledge of the sport and insightful comments entertained those who had been fans for years and knew the ins and outs of figure skating, and educated those who were less familiar. But let’s be honest. It was all about the fashion. They were wild. They took risks. They coordinated. They. Looked. Great. And we are thrilled to hear they will be continuing to work together in the future. And here at BLEEP, we will start campaigning now for them to move into the prime time slot and give America a heavy dose of color, sequins and ruffles to rival those being worn by the skaters on the ice. They are smart, funny and knowledgeable people who made figure skating something to be talked about again. We love them and want them to give us the play-by-play on most things. 10 BLEEP
Role Call: In Attendence at ‘The Meeting’
We didn’t know exactly what we were going to get when we attended “The Meeting.” Hosted by Justin Sayre, we had heard it was part stand up comedy/part variety show. Sayre did not disappoint. It’s funny, it’s outrageous and at times, it’s touching. Some of the best in cabaret, jazz and musical theatre performers in New York filled Joes Pub with the songbook of Bernadette Peters (that night’s tributee). “The Meeting” continues monthly at Joes Pub at The Public Theater. For more information and to get tickets, head over to www.joespub.com
On February 8th and 9th, the Irving Convention Center near Dallas, TX played host to Dallas Comic-Con’s annual Sci-Fi Expo. Though I’ve always been an unabashed fan of several geek-tastic franchises, including Star Trek, Doctor Who and the Tolkien universe, I’d never actually ventured into a Comic Con. This first experience was certainly a memorable one, and I, along with 15,000 other fans, had the chance to meet with some of the best of the metroplex’s aliens, robots and superheroes. This year’s Sci-Fi Expo included a phenomenal cast of celebrity guests, including Oscar-winning actor Richard Dreyfuss (Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind), Sylvestor McCoy (Doctor Who, The Hobbit), Karen Gillan (Doctor Who, Guardians of the Galaxy), Karl Urban (Star Trek, Lord of the Rings) and Peter Weller (Star Trek, Robocop). The experience was overwhelming in more ways than one. The cosplays were unbelievably intricate and entertaining. Q&A sessions with actors and filmmakers offered interesting insight to the world behind the camera. Though the autograph and photo-op lines were long and utterly disorganized, I was struck by how easy it was to strike up a conversation with a perfect stranger. If there is one thing to say about the nerdy universe of Comic Con, it’s that no matter what part of the galaxy you hail from, everyone is shamelessly excited to be there. - Laura Seitter BLEEP 11
by Laura Seitter
Over-Thinking I am currently in the midst of an existential crisis. Truth be told, I’m one of those over-thinkers who is in a near constant state of self-imposed calamity, pondering the depths of introspection and day-today philosophy. This particular bout of contemplation, though, was not prompted from within, but instead by my friend Ryan Brinson, Editor-in-Chief of BLEEP Magazine and Mexican-food judge extraordinaire. When he casually emailed the team, asking for brief bios to be included in our website update, he had one simple question: How are you qualified? Naturally, this question sent me into a tailspin of over-analyzing myself. I took a few survey courses in college, but I certainly didn’t major in film or digital media. Was that enough to know how to write about film? What if readers didn’t grasp my point, because I was too longwinded or rambling? What if they disagreed with me? The prospect of disagreement is rarely something to be sought after, unless you are a lawyer or a high-conflict sociopath. In the case of writing, though, dissenting opinion can be a tool. It opens wide an opportunity to explore and manufacture a strong opinion, and share artistic discourse. In my personal venture for justification, I turned to that cornucopia of laziness and binge-watching marathons: Netflix. The 2009 documentary “For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism” explores the history and culture surrounding movie critics, and features interviews from several journalists who have made viewership into a career. Though the documentary itself is ironically low budget and limited by its own bias, there is a remarkable idea from the interview subjects about the importance of film and criticism. Stuart Klawans, Film Critic for The Nation, says, “Criticism ultimately is about your relationship to this work, your relationship to the world, this work’s relationship to the world, this work’s relationship to other works. It’s about all these shifting ways of being in the world…it’s about thinking!” 12 BLEEP
That may be the best way to describe why I love watching and writing about film. When a new world is splashed upon a huge theatre screen, it is as if it is begging to be understood, to be related to. When I write about film, it is a response to that artistic experience. When I chose to major in history in college, it was with this notion that history is about passion. People and places and events are important because they had invoked idealism and shared experiences that persevered past the constraints of time. We preserve history in museums and libraries because it is worth remembering. I’ve come to feel the same way about film; as a society, we preserve our favorite stories and experiences on film to establish relationships with ourselves, with those around us, and with generations to come. The column is called “My Take” because it’s from one person’s point of view. I have the unique opportunity to share my personal experiences and observations. It doesn’t ever mean, though, that my take is the best one. After all, I can barely justify my own qualifications for film criticism. I hope that other readers, viewers, artists across the globe are prompted to participate in the discussion. My motivation behind writing for BLEEP is to take part in a mind-share of creativity, and discover new ways of thinking about the world - or, I suppose in my case, over-thinking about the world.
The Importance of Short film
by Hatley Moore
Short films are one of the most underappreciated heavily affected me and I know for a fact affected the parts of cinema. A couple of Saturdays ago, I went to entire audience I was with due to the sniffles I heard the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas, and watched once the screen went black. all of the live-action and animated short films that are This is the power and beauty of short film. The great nominated for an Academy Award. Once it was over ones are very rare amongst the thousands that are and I had processed everything I had seen in the last made in a year, but those few have all of the emotion four hours, it was a great reminder of just how difficult and impact of a feature, and in that short of a time creating a quality short film can be. frame that’s special. We all love movies, especially In technical terms, a short film is anything under good ones, and there’s a massive market of incredible 40 minutes long, so obviously this brings a much work that hits just as hard, and is the length of a “How smaller time frame to give the same impact to the I Met Your Mother” episode. audience that a full-length feature gives. This is And they’re not all life-changing, but there are still extremely difficult for the director and the writer, but so many incredible movies just a few clicks away on when it works, it truly works, and can be almost more websites like Vimeo. They have new fantastic shorts impactful than any full-length feature. everyday, with the quality of film and sometimes When a director goes into creating his piece of the length of a few minutes. Some people from a art, his movies, he has to figure out how to take the company I interned with last year created a movie script he’s given, or written himself, and adapt it into a called “Sleep Walk;” it’s three minutes long but in that visual series of images that can send a message to his brief period of time creates an overall emotional roller audience. While a feature has a long amount of time coaster amidst gorgeous animation. to drive the tension and suck its audience in, a short All of this to say, sometimes the great treasures are has to figure out how to grab its audience quickly, the things hidden all around us that we don’t notice and tell its message with all of the tension and power or appreciate. Sometime when you’re bored and have of a feature in at least a third of the time usually. Due five or ten minutes to spare, go online and find one of to the attention span of the general audience of the those little treasures. Regardless of the length, film is world, shorts are a small enough time frame that even an art of all shapes and sizes, with the common goal the most spacey of the viewing population can stay of sending a message to its audience, with the power focused and sucked in through its entirety, creating a to bring out a cathartic response in us all…even in lasting impact for a larger group than a feature could five minutes. potentially do. One of the nominated short films this year Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me) (dir: Esteban Crespo) is a film called “Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me),” and in my opinion, it was the best short film of the batch. In thirty minutes, it managed to heavily impact me more than most of the films I have seen lately. And I see a lot of movies, people. In a fifth of the length of “Blood Diamond,” this film captured the horrors of child soldiers in Africa. After thirty minutes had passed, I felt like I had been hit by something with the intensity of a three-hour Scorsese film, with a message that BLEEP 13
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#designereyecandy by lisa sorenson
There’s something about the moment you see your thoughts become reality. It’s a sigh of relief, a weight lifted, the exhale of a breath you’ve been holding since the giddy conception of that very idea. Truthfully, as a designer, there’s a slight gap between what my client and I want to see done and what my knowledge bank says is feasible. This gap is maybe more commonly known as risk. Late creator, Steve Jobs, left us with “innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower”. When a client asks a designer into their home, or work place, or facility, they aren’t typically looking to give us a laundry list and see a lack-luster check off in each area. They’re looking for innovation, new ideas, and some excitement to truly change the way they live or work in these spaces. If we weren’t delivering these things and leading them to these possibilities, we wouldn’t be getting the calls. So when a recent client asked us to transform their basic entryway into something to talk about, we made sure to have a lot to say. As I looked at this rounded stairwell sitting flat and in a seemingly precarious shape, the client asked what we thought about them wanting a custom bench of sorts. My brain jumped to the possibility of a streamlined upholstered bench greeted by a sexy button tufted wall behind it, both dressed in neutral but eye grabbing textiles. Then the next thought… Is it possible? Any creative, out of box thinkers can relate on this one. My pen to paper coordination took off
somewhere between my 3-year-old, anal retentive, coloring inside the lines and creating signature homemade stationary. For profit. At the age of seven. So you can say I’ve always been a pen-in-hand dreamer. Crafting ideas for my clients on paper is no different. It’s a scheme, an idea, a dream of what I envision that space to be. With sketch in hand, I approached one of our fabric and upholstery workrooms, looking to them with hopes they would bring my thoughts to a 3-dimensional reality. After being assured it was doable, my gap of risk recessed a bit, and, with an excited client approval, we moved forward on this entryway. In the realm of custom implementations I’ve experienced, this was by far, one of the most unique to watch come together. As they layered in, foam cushioning, holes, fabric folds and buttons, they slowly brought to fruition that sexy curved tufted back. With a simple, brown paper, template, a beautiful concave bench was built to snuggle right up to the wall. And as quickly as the idea was tossed out, it was returned with beautiful, show stopping gains…and eight hours of intricate installation…but who’s counting. At the end of the day, design is ever changing, ever growing, and ever challenging. But as I continue on my pursuit of innovation in my field, I continue those hurdle jumps across the gaps, bridging ideas to reality, concepts to fruition, drawings to dimension… and leave the risk in my dust.
the intersection by
A Study In Synthesis
Adaptation gets a pretty bad reputation these days. It’s easy to see why, what with Hollywood growing increasingly dependent on sequels, remakes, or film versions of popular television shows/comics/ books, etc.. People are constantly decrying the lack of originality, and there’s a lot of merit to that complaint. But it’s not such a bad thing, adaptation. At least, it isn’t always. As a writer I am obviously in favor of original content, but I will defend a good adaptation until the cows come home. Why? Because I think a good adaptation can be original in its own way. Let me explain. I’ve recently jumped aboard the “Sherlock” bandwagon, and it was absolutely worth the wait. I was hooked almost instantly, and the obsession only grew as I watched. But here’s the thing: Sherlock Holmes is one of my favorite literary heroes, and has been since I was a kid. As a result, I was dubious about a ‘reboot’ of the material, especially one with episodes that are about 50 minutes longer than my attention span. But “Sherlock” is so utterly fresh – in spite of the fact that it’s populated by characters I have been reading about and watching on screen for years – that I couldn’t tear my eyes away. Sherlock and Watson aren’t just narrative devices. They have become dynamic: playing off each other with such natural energy that they seem like people you might run into at work, while maintaining their larger than life air. Moriarty is no longer a distant threat shrouded in mystery. In his place, “Sherlock” gives us a Moriarty (played by the fantastic Andrew Scott) who devours every scene with a madman’s flair. And Irene Adler… don’t even get me started on the sheer perfection that is Adler. The beauty here is that these are all characters who have worked effectively for over a century, and yet the creators of Sherlock have abandoned all but their essence in order to give us something that rings true in the now, rather than a stale repetition. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” has been thrown out the window, and it is a truly sweet development. The stories feel like they could have been a part of the modern world all along, because they are now filled with access 16 BLEEP
points that the viewer can relate to. Sherlock Holmes is not one of us, but he feels agonizingly close. Sure, there are plenty of plot lines in the show that are lifted straight off the page of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original literature, but through all this the show runners refuse to play it safe. Familiar elements are merely used as jumping off points, and classic plots are synthesized into a meld that is patched together seamlessly with original content. This is how you adapt. Merely supplanting a story from one form to another is rarely a worthy pursuit. For example, there are few adaptations that are as true to their original source material as the film version of “Watchmen.” That being said, the movie is just okay. It was neat to see the graphic novel translated to the screen, but it was essentially just a moving version of the comic. On the other hand, two of my favorite movies, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” and “The Perks of Being A Walllflower” are book adaptations that people malign for straying from the source material. The criticism doesn’t ring true though. “Perks” is so much more vibrant for letting the characters live in front of us instead of forcing us to experience them all through the narrator’s point of view. “Half-Blood Prince” may be the farthest from the original books out of all the Potter movies, but it stays faithful to the essence of the story and communicates all the pertinent points as they should fit within the context of the already established film franchise. It works because it is different from the book, not in spite of its difference. The key to adaptation is in letting the story adapt to a new form. Books are books and television/film is not. There is no point in trying to shoehorn something, so why would you? Story should evolve to fit its container, and when that is allowed to happen then we are left with something worthwhile. If that isn’t going to be the case, more often than not I would rather stick to the original. After all, if it ain’t broke, why fix it?
by Rachael Mariboho
Another award season has ended, and we at BLEEP are providing our annual round up of our favorite moments and performances from this past year. Two year’s ago we created our own award, The Streep, in honor of our most honored actress. So, without further ado, we present this year’s Streep recipients for the best of the best in award shows. Our thanks again to artist Kristen Graham who created a likeness of the great Meryl Streep to “hand out” to our winners.
BEST AWARD SHOW OPENING MOMENT— THE TONY AWARDS
Yes, we awarded the Tony Awards with the Streep for best show opening last year, and while this year’s was opening was enjoyable, it did not have quite the same gravitas. However, Neil Patrick Harris’s gentle dig at Tom Hooper’s need for extreme close-ups in Les Miserable was appreciated by both the Broadway crowd and film goers who did not need to see the inside of Anne Hathaway’s mouth to appreciate that she sung everything herself.
BEST LINE – TINA FEY AT THE GOLDEN GLOBES
While age jokes about George Clooney and his preference for women of a certain young age are old hat at this point, Fey’s perfectly delivered line that “George Clooney would rather float away into space and die than spend one more minute with a woman his own age,” capped off a nearly flawless opening monologue at the Golden Globes.
BEST PERFORMANCE—JACQUELINE BISSET AT THE GOLDEN GLOBES
It is hard to pick which part of Bisset’s acceptance speech was the most spectacular. Was it the five minutes it took her to actually walk to the stage? Her long, exasperated sighs where it seemed like she was trying to solve the problem of her existence? Her shout-out to the Scottish? Repeating her mother’s mantra to tell people to “go to hell?” The icing on this proverbial crazy cake was her final piece of advice that “forgiveness was the best anti-aging cream.” Yes, Jacqueline, you could not be more right.
BEST SHOW STEALER – IMAGINE DRAGONS AND KENDRICK LAMAR AT THE GRAMMY’S
There were a lot of big musical acts at this year’s Grammy’s—the remaining Beatles, stripper Beyonce, etc., but the biggest show stealer of the night was the pairing of Imagine Dragons with Kendrick Lamar. The impassioned performers with their killer vocals had everyone on their feet and singing along.
BEST ACCEPTANCE SPEECH EVER— MERRITT WEAVER AT THE EMMY’S
This was the antithesis to the over-inflated, ego driven speeches we often see at award shows. Looking surprised and a little terrified, Merritt Weaver accepted her Emmy award with humility and grace, telling the audience “thanks so much, I gotta go.”
BEST EVERYTHING OF THE EVERYTHING—CATE BLANCHETT
Blanchett rightfully deserved every accolade that came her way this award season; her performance in “Blue Jasmine” is one of the greatest modern performances by an actor or actress. But she was equally stunning at every award show, from her avant garde gowns to her witty, self-deprecating speeches, Blanchett was the practically perfect in every way. BLEEP 19
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A DUO—TINA FEY AND AMY POEHLER AT THE EMMY’S
While they did a fine job hosting the Golden Globes for their second time, Tina and Amy’s best performance together was during the opening of the Emmy’s when they encouraged Neil Patrick Harris to drop his pants and “werk that twerk.”
BEST PRESENTER—EMMA THOMPSON AT THE GOLDEN GLOBES, SAG’S, AND BAFTA’S
No one is having more fun this award’s season than Emma Thompson—whether she is presenting an award while holding a martini, walking barefooted on stage, or making fun of the music that plays when winners speeches got to long—her presence at each award show has been nothing short of delightful.
BEST SONG(S) IN AN ACCEPTANCE SPEECH – DARLENE LOVE AND THE FOLKS FROM FROZEN
One of the subjects of the Academy Award winning documentary “20 Feet from Stardom,” Love decided to give the Academy audience an acapella rendition of “His Eye is on the Sparrow,” which brought down the house. And when the writers of “Let it Go” won, they slyly sang a plea to producers for “Frozen 2” to be made. These were two of the most enjoyable moments of the night.
BEST AWARD SHOW MOMENT OF THE ENTIRE SEASON—SELFIE AT THE OSCARS
There were some high and low moments from this year’s Oscars, but without a doubt, the show once again provided us with the marquee award show moment of the year: the movie star group selfie. Initially aiming to take a picture of herself and Meryl Streep, Ellen Degeneres (whether spontaneously or planned) managed to get the picture of the year with best and brightest in film. Not only that, but it actually did cause Twitter to crash, and became the most retweeted pic of all time with more than 2 million retweets and counting. 20 BLEEP
by Alex Wright
The ‘beat’ goes on
There’s a famous story about Stanislavsky and the origin of the theatrical term “beat.” When Stanislavsky was teaching in America, he was referring to a specific “bit” of a scene, but because of his heavy Russian accent, his students thought he was saying “beat.” What started off as a miscommunication has turned into a crucial tool in breaking down a scene, and most first rounds of rehearsals and table reads begin with the cast and director breaking the scenes into beats. Everyone defines beats differently, but one thing is certain: a beat is a unit of action in a scene that is determined by a change in the character. This could be a change of action or objective, a mental breakthrough or realization, an entrance of another character, receiving an important piece of information or news, etc.. Beats are important for the actor to map out because they determine the shape of the scene; beats provide the peaks and valleys and allow the audience to follow the emotional path of the character. Comedy tends to have more beats than drama since most of the humor of the scene revolves around watching the character negotiate certain emotional and physical dilemmas and realizations. In drama, the greater the change, the greater the time taken after the beat. For example, if a character has just learned that her son has died, she will take a long beat to process the information, and then she will switch actions due to this new piece of information. Beats provide a rhythm to the scene—there is a moment that the characters are building to - a climax within each scene that needs to be reached, just like a piece of music. My latest project is a Civil War musical called Battledrum, and the end of the show has the cast perform in a massive, climatic drumline. We are fortunate enough to be coached by the fabulously talented Ameenah Kaplan, the drum coach for Blue Man Group. One of the most interesting things Ameenah has taught me throughout this whole process is that all drummers mess up, even the most professional of drummers. The difference, she says, between a beginner drummer and a professional drummer is the time it takes to get back on the beat 22 BLEEP
Left: Stanislavski with his soon-to-be wife Maria Liliana, playing Ferdinand and Louise in The Society of Art and Literature’s production of Schiller’s Intrigue and Love in 1889. Right: Alex and David Crane in the upcoming production of Battledrum, photo by Gina Long.
once a mistake is made. The more professional you are, the faster you can recover. Similar to scene beats, the time between beats and how you accent or diminish the beats is what determines the shape of the musical piece. The amazing thing about a new beat in a piece of theater is that it represents a new beginning: a growth, a rebirth and a resurrection. A clean slate is presented to the character, and a decision needs to be made on how to move forward. What action will be taken? What will be the next move? And in the end, it’s not about the number of beats we are given or the number of mistakes we make…what’s important is how we accent or diminish the beats, how long it takes us to recover and move forward, and how we let it affect the shape of our lives. We are the drum masters and the directors of our own life plays, and while we might not be able to dictate the pieces or scenes that are handed to us, we can definitely determine the shape of the music we play and the moments for which we choose to find humanity and beauty. I have found, more often than not, that the most beauty can be mined from mistakes and even tragic situations. There is always beauty in the structure and inevitability of a beat, and sometimes it’s as simple as mere miscommunication between bit and beat.
The Cocktail Connoisseur Nathan Robins
Given the harshness of this past winter, few await the onset of spring with anything less than excitement. I have done my best to capture a bit of the anticipated warmth and rebirth in a selection of drinks. Included are an herbaceous martini, a bright spin on an uncommon classic cocktail, and a tropical drink that is admittedly more summer than spring, but ‘tis the season of spring break and the colorful drinks it brings along. This selection also gives a good chance to make infusions or bitters for those with a do-it-yourself streak. While there is one well-regarded, commerciallyproduced cucumber vodka available – Effen - it is simple to make at home given a day or two: just peel a cucumber and cut half of it into thin slices or chunks, and combine with two cups of vodka in a sealable container. Allowed to rest for roughly two days, the resulting infusion should have a clean vegetable taste - too much longer than this and it can become bitter. Likewise, celery bitters can be made at home, though admittedly that’s a bit more complex, and Bittermens makes a fine product. I have neglected to include a strongly floral drink in this edition as I have made many of those in the past and it was time for something different. However, liqueurs like St. Germain and Crème de Violette should not be disregarded if a cocktail evocative of spring blossoms is sought. Floral liquors add a unique complexity to drinks and can be combined with near anything in a standard liquor cabinet.
Key Lime Mai Tai
This is the inclusion that I freely admit is more of a summer than spring drink, but after what felt like a ceaseless winter everyone likely needs a bit of summer. The Mai Tai is among the archetypal island drinks, along with the likes of Daiquiris and Blue Hawaiians, and as such exists in countless variations. Key limes are not often used in drinks, likely because they are harder to juice and are less familiar than others, but with bit of persistence they can yield a fair amount of juice that plays well with
certain sweeter ingredients. This rendition is likely more tart than many others, forgoing the traditional use of curacao and reducing the amount of Orgeat syrup. Key limes are also tarter than more common varieties of limes and add a slight bitterness to the drink. The cranberry bitters were included by happy accident, and while they are not required, they contribute an unexpected zest to the final mixture.
2.5 oz. Light Rum 1.5 oz. Key Lime Juice 1 oz. Triple Sec ½ oz. Orgeat Syrup Dash of Cranberry Bitters Jamaican Rum Floater
Combine Light Rum, Key Lime Juice, Triple Sec, Orgeat Syrup in a shaker with ice, shake and pour into a tall glass, pour an ounce or more of dark rum gently on top.
Cucumber Mint Martini Many years ago a friend challenged me The mint leaves are only mixed in briefly to to make a cocktail using cucumber. The add just a slight hint of mint, which can be opportunity to attempt something didn’t arise a strong flavor in any case and would easily at the time but recently the idea reoccurred to dominate the cucumber otherwise. The bitters me and this time I didn’t let it go. Cucumber round the drink out and insure that there is is an odd ingredient for a cocktail as it isn’t a some depth and richness. This drink would be particularly potent flavor – it doesn’t bring a best consumed with a meal, especially one that sweetness or tartness into the mix like citrus included dark meats to act in counterpoint to its would, nor does it add much complexity like relative lightness. more medicinal infusions Combine Cucumber Vodka and (such as licorice) might. With 3 oz. Cucumber Vodka 5-10 Mint Leaves lemon juice in a shaker with a this in mind, most strong Generous Squeeze of Lemon generous amount of ice, add flavors would likely over5-10 Drops of Celery Bitters mint leaves and shake vigorously. power the cucumber taste Add Celery Bitters to shaker and sought, so this is a very clean shake again before straining into a and crisp martini. martini glass.
Sparkling Brandy Daisy The Daisy is a classic cocktail that hasnâ€™t seen the revival many others have, and that may be due to its relation to more popular drinks like the Cosmopolitan or Sidecar. In its simplest form it contains a base liquor - most traditionally brandy - combined with citrus and poured over crushed ice, with variants adding different fruits and liqueurs. The Daisy presented here is fairly simple and is ripe for experimentation, the only major departure from tradition being the use of sparkling wine, which adds effervescence and smooths the harshness associated with some brandies. Different fruits could be added and in ways this drink could be treated like an enhanced Sangria - brandy being distilled wine. The amounts of sparkling wine and grenadine can be varied to produce a sweeter or drier drink to suit individual tastes. 3 oz. Brandy 1 oz. Lemon Juice Heavy Splash of Grenadine Sparkling Wine Combine brandy, lemon juice and grenadine in a shaker with crushed ice, shake vigorously and pour into a wine glass, top with sparkling wine.
EVERYONE SAW THIS PHOTO. MOST DIDN’T BOTHER TO LOOK BEYOND THE PR STUNT. FLORIAN HUBERTUS IS ON THE SCENE AT THE BERLIN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, ONE OF THE BIGGEST IN THE WORLD, AND HE’S GOT THE INSIDE SCOOP ON THE FILMS AND ARTISTS YOU SHOULD BE LOOKING OUT FOR. 28 BLEEP
If there is one constant through the 64-year history you realize that Clooney does not need that kind of of the Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale), it’s promotion. His presence brings some Hollywood cold weather. With its first edition initiated by U.S. Film glamour to the festival. He is one of the feathers the officer Oscar Martay in West Berlin in 1951, Berlinale festival adorns itself with. A film festival needs those has taken place every February since 1978. The feathers and especially here in Berlin, the stars and festival has now become one of the largest and most audience are very close to one another and both important film festivals in the world, selling nearly sides seem to enjoy that a lot. 300,000 tickets within the ten days of screenings. However, the more exciting part of such an event (if Roughly 400 films are shown along numerous other you’re in it for the movies, at least) is discovering new events, including the European Film Market, one of (and old) treasures and having the opportunity to see the largest gatherings of the movie industry. Here, it movies that might not be shown anywhere else in the is decided which movie gets funding and in which near future…if ever. territories it will be released. In short: this is where it’s This year’s opening film was Wes Anderson’s The decided what the world gets to see. Grand Budapest Hotel. A good choice, as Anderson For ten days, Berlin becomes the center of the movie manages to enthuse audiences and critics alike. world and manages to lure dozens of celebrities and Digging deeper in one of the seven film sections, the public figures into the German capital despite the choice of film becomes much broader very quickly. frigid temperatures. One crisp, yet sunny morning, Here is a small array of titles that are worth mentioning I walked to the Press Center and literally fell into a and, in my opinion, deserve more exposure. Big crowd of screaming teenagers following a black Audi. And The Grand Budapest Hotel even though Germans have a reputation for caring more about their motor vehicle than their neighbor, it was not the new hybrid A6 that made those boys and girls scream but the person in it. George Clooney had just arrived to present his latest directorial piece, The Monuments Men. The movie runs out of competition and, at first glance, seems to be a bit off the regular choice of Festival Movies, but it puts a finger on a very hot iron in German news The Great Museum these days. Only a few months before, it became public that German authorities had discovered 1,280 pieces of art in the apartment of art dealer Nicolas Gurlitt. The majority are paintings that allegedly had been taken by the Nazis from their rightful owners. It almost seems like the most perfect publicity stunt, but when you stand at Potsdamer Platz in this moment the black Audi passes, 30 BLEEP
names and golden bears do their share in promoting a movie and making it a topic over drinks or on Twitter, but there is much more to be found in the hundreds of feature films, documentaries and short movies. Pierrot Lunaire. With one of the more experimental films, controversial director and photographer Bruce LaBruce came to Berlin with his movie Pierrot Lunaire. It is an adaptation of the stage version he once directed in Berlin. Composer and multi-talented Arnold Schönberg wrote the piece in 1912. In unsteady, almost raw black and white pictures, it tells the story of Pierrot Lunaire and his despair of gender confusion and moral prison. The tragedy is narrated only in the form of images and the original music: German speech singing and Chamber Music. Not an easy task, and even as a native speaker, I had to glimpse at the English subtitles every once in a while. At times the singing became chain of sound, the language in it hardly recognizable. The 100-year-old music is in sharp contrast to the pictures on the screen. Shot in shady clubs and dark alleys of contemporary Berlin, the spectator follows Lunaire in his quest for love and acceptance. The form is very experimental, yet not as explicit as one might suggest, considering LaBruce’s Oeuvre. Nymphomaniac. Everyone who expected more skin in Pierrot Lunaire surely got his or her share during the screenings of Lars von Trier’s latest, Nymphomaniac which was shown in an exclusive long version on the Berlinale. It was one of the most anticipated movies but it seems that the additional value of this extended cut was mostly full of even closer shots of the genitals of the characters involved in Trier’s opus about sexual desire, humiliation and self-hatred. To say anything else about the movie is difficult, as this one was only the first of two parts, the other coming to cinemas in a few weeks’ time. Judged on what one could see at the Berlinale, it was a classic von Trier, who is a master in putting universal topics about the human condition into radical contexts and combining them with our darkest sides of being. Another classic is a scandal that follows any film festival von Trier attends. This year, however, it was his male lead Shea LaBeouf. Not only did he walk down the red carpet, his head under a brown paper bag saying “I am not famous anymore,” he
also left the press conference unexpectedly. The Great Museum. Documentaries also had a strong presence. From restored images of Nazi concentration camps that are so gruesome even Alfred Hitchcock quit a project that aimed to compile a movie for occupied Germany out of it, to hybrids that play with the documentary form and blend it with elements of fiction. One of them might not be especially unconventional in its form but it shows in fascinating images a world rarely seen by most. The Great Museum looks behind the curtain of the Kunsthistorische Museum in Vienna. This art museum with a worldwide reputation as one of the best is not only a giant in numbers and its sheer abundance of art in all its forms, but also a huge machinery of administrative work and finances. To keep the balance between those two is one of many daily challenges this, or any, museum faces. From the meticulous restoration of paintings and sculptures to the dissatisfaction BLEEP 31
Ye (The Night)
das publikum im berlinale palast
which is a rather conventional story about the kaleidoscope of emotions and experiences when growing up. Its background holds the potential to make it to one of the most talked about movies of the year. Ye (The Night). A visually impressive work, in an old fashioned cinematic sense, is the debut film Ye (The Night) from film school graduate Zhou Hao. A rent boy meets a prostitute who starts working in his alley while a customer falls in love with him. All this fuels his narcissism while he is stuck in the hollow routine of picking shirts to wear for the night, indulged in his own reflection in the mirror and feeling above it all – all attempts to cover up his erratic search for something substantial. In sensual, warm tones, the colors of the night are beautifully brought to life and supplied with an entertaining soundtrack. A respectable debut that, like many other movies, is also shown at the Teddy awards.
The Teddy awards are the LGBT film prize of the Berlinale and probably the most important award of its kind. The first winner of one of the museums’ wards who wishes there of the Teddy was Pedro Almodóvar, when were more social interaction between the different he was still at the beginning of his career. They are departments of the museum staff, for 90 minutes celebrated at a separate gala and are a very popular we become part of this unique microcosm. The event in itself. Here, political incorrectness is written atmosphere is mostly a quiet one. When we watch on the banners and the free-spirited character of the patience with which the pieces are handled, Berlin seems to be a fitting backdrop for this unique the clocks tick slower and yet it is surprisingly film prize, which honors movies beyond the standard entertaining to watch. formula of the “coming out of the closet” narrative. Boyhood. One of the most fascinating attempts in exploring new narrative structures is Richard Linklater’s Boyhood. Filmed over 12 years, it observes how its protagonist Ellar grows and matures. This is set in a fictional story. The fact that we see the same actors, among them the great Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke, over this extraordinary period of time, is a unique experience and an experiment unprecedented. Unprecedented for obvious reasons: To keep a project like this together and running, also financially, is a tremendous task and a gamble. 12 years is a long time in which actors can retire, change, get injured or worse. Form over content, 32 BLEEP
Undoubtedly, Berlinale is a major event. The mix of professionals and a public audience that has everything from the aloof film aficionado to the family going for a Saturday afternoon screening in a rather unusual setting, builds one of the strongest character traits of this festival. Its many sides attract a variety of people and yet it is a big player for the industry and film as an artform alike. Festival director Dieter Kosslik has done a good job over the last 13 years and hopefully he will maintain the standard of this interesting and fun festival. When people take holidays from work to become part of this unique atmosphere, that is probably the best compliment a festival can get.
LET IT GO
THE STORY AND THE MAN BEHIND THE YOUTUBE COVER TURNED GLOBAL PHENOMENON
You may not know who Alex Boye is yet, but you may be on of the over 20 million YouTube viewers who’ve watched his extraordinary cover of “Let It Go” from Disney’s Frozen. His Africanized version of the hit featuring the One Voice Children’s Choir and breakout sensation Lexi Walker has taken the Internet by storm. Walker even sang the song as a part of Good Morning America’s “Let It Go Singalong.” So who is the man behind this and many other YouTube hits? He’s a singer from London who has been making music for years and is about to bring his genre of music to the forefront. HOW DID YOUR COVER OF “LET IT GO” COME ABOUT? My wife said I needed to hear it. I went in and my 4-year-old daughter was singing this song. It was the first time she sang something that wasn’t a nursery rhyme. When I talked to my friends, they said all of their kids were doing the same thing and I knew there was something to it. HOW LONG DID IT TAKE TO PUT ALL THE PIECES TOGETHER? From finding the concept for the cover to filming the video, it was 17 days. Once it was arranged, then the choir sang it, then Lexi sang the lead and that was that. It just felt right. BEYOND RECOGNITION ALL OVER THE WORLD, WHAT HAS “LET IT GO” DONE FOR YOU? It’s a worldwide phenomenon! Everyone involved has been getting calls from record labels. Even the hairdresser who did Lexi’s hair has been getting calls! It’s beyond anything we could have ever imagined. THIS ISN’T YOUR FIRST COVER. WHY DID YOU BEGIN MAKING SUCH FULLY REALIZED COVERS TO POPULAR SONGS? Tons of people were doing it on YouTube and I noticed that sometimes, the covers became more famous than the original. Look at what happened with Gotye? The covers were everywhere. It’s a great medium to get people’s attention. WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU? I am currently working with Jerry Wanda (Jennifer Hudson, Shakira) on new music. We’re collaborating with artists on our Africanized sound. We’re working with some really incredible people. Next week, we’re recording with Bob Marley’s sons. And of course, we have some more covers coming very soon. WHAT’S YOUR GOAL AS AN ARTIST? I want to have the number one song in America and bring things to another level. Not just for me, but because I want to take African-style music and make it mainstream. This whole experience has been mind-blowing. I’m ready! WATCH THE VIDEO HERE! BLEEP 35
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HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN SINGING TOGETHER? We’ve been singing together since 2009. WHEN DID X-FACTOR COME INTO THE PICTURE? WHAT MADE YOU AUDITION? The X-Factor came into the picture when we heard that it was a competition that we, as a group, could audition for and win, and the prize was $5 Million! That’s what made us audition. YOU WORKED WITH PAULA ABDUL ON THE SHOW. WHAT ADVICE DID SHE GIVE YOU THAT YOU STILL LEAN ON AS YOU CONTINUE IN YOUR CAREER? Paula taught us how to really work hard and passed all of her knowledge on to us from being in the industry for so long and from knowing our idol, Michael Jackson.
WHAT DID BEING ON X FACTOR TEACH YOU? Industry professionalism, having a greater work ethic and dedication and never letting the fans down. AFTER THE SHOW WAS OVER, WHAT WAS NEXT FOR THE GROUP? After the show, we had to go through a little revamping stage. We had to decide on a clear direction for our future as a group and individually. We wanted to find ourselves so that we could make the group stronger as a whole. HOW HAVE YOU CHANGED SINCE THE SHOW ENDED? Our sound has changed and our look has changed. We feel we are going in a much more positive direction with strong energy without any negativity weighing us down. We’ve been recording so much in the past couple years and we’re so ready for everyone to hear. WHAT DOES YOUR NEW MUSIC SOUND/FEEL LIKE?
WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND IT? The inspiration behind our new sound/feel is TLC. We are the male version. We have those classic R&B hits and we also have the radio and club hits that are still gritty and true to our sound. We’ve been working with some of the hottest producers in the country so everything has good energy and hot beats.
WHO ARE SOME OTHER MUSICIANS AND ARTISTS THAT YOU LISTEN TO AND INSPIRE YOU? Michael Jackson, Pharrell, Jay-Z.
WHAT IS THE CONTINUED IMPORTANCE OF REALITY TV TO THE MUSIC INDUSTRY? Reality TV helps to give our fans insight to our work and the truth on what really goes on in the music WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE GROUP? industry. It also shows the public and lets them know Touring internationally. that it’s not just fun and games - it’s our work and our reality. There are good times and bad times but we WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS? wouldn’t trade it for anything. It’s what we live for and To deliver good music to our fans and expand our it’s our passion. fan base internationally. www.thestereohogzzmusic.com
Ravishing. Electric. Vibrant. Sublime.
From Ohio to Oslo, from the Caramoor Music Festival to Carnegie Hall, soprano Jennifer Rowley consistently garners the highest of praise for her varied performances in some of the worldâ€™s most beloved and challenging operatic works. With a highly anticipated Metropolitan Opera debut just three weeks away and future engagements scheduled with the top opera houses in the world, Rowleyâ€™s star is shining brighter than ever. The Cleveland native sat down with Bleep to discuss her upcoming Met debut, her origins in musical theater, and her unwavering love for the New York Jets. Story by Sarah Melissa Rotker Photography by Matthew Holler
Hair: Luca Burnett Makeup Artist: Ty Harshman Photographer: Matthew Holler
FIRST THING’S FIRST: HOW DOES A GIRL FROM CLEVELAND BECOME SUCH AN ENTHUSIASTIC JETS FAN? Football has always been a big part of my family; sadly, I was born in Cleveland! My family are big fans of the Browns, but I never really became a huge fan. When I was in college, I watched the Colts, and really enjoyed watching Peyton Manning - still do, with the Broncos! But I didn’t really have “my team” until I moved to NYC. My accountant gave me some tickets to thank me for sending him new clients, and a friend of mine and I went to my first Jets game. I loved the spirit of the fans immediately! Team spirit started on the train over from the city; all of the people in our section were introducing each other and cheering together. I bought my first Jets hat that day, and now I have a whole drawer full of Jets gear! My boyfriend grew up in a Jetsloving family, thank goodness. We watch games together, wherever we are, and we get all dressed in our green and white! His family even opens gifts on Christmas Day in Jets sweats! We are such huge fans! I actually dream of getting to sing the national anthem at the MetLife Stadium, in a personal jersey with ROWLEY on the back. What an incredible feeling that would be! YOU’RE ALSO VERY FASHION-FORWARD. THE OPERA WORLD IS CERTAINLY NOT SHORT ON GORGEOUS GOWNS. HOW DOES COSTUMING AFFECT YOUR PERFORMANCE? When you love your costume, it helps so much onstage. It makes you feel like you’re the princess of the night when you feel like you’re beautiful. For example, Musetta’s Act II red dress – it’s THE red dress – it’s huge! It has a corset on top and makes you look like you have the smallest waist in the world, and then it’s a huge bubble on the bottom. It just makes you feel like you’re the center of attention in this big huge red dress, and it’s so flattering. It really helps you to get into the character. I often find that when you’re in rehearsal you’re able to take another step once you get the costume on, because you feel more like the person that you’re portraying. It’s something about the clothes that sort of makes the character come to life - Musetta especially. You put the red dress on and it just becomes so much more real and so much more exciting.
YOU INITIALLY BEGAN TRAINING IN MUSICAL THEATRE. HOW DIFFERENT IS THAT STYLE OF PERFORMANCE FROM OPERA? It’s so different but honestly it should be the same. It’s all musical theatre. It’s all theatre that has through-composed music, or some dialogue and some music. It’s just a different type. Opera is entertaining just like musical theatre is, and quite often opera can be very funny – Die Fledermaus is hysterical, Musetta is hysterical – and then there are musicals that are very tragic. I think that my musical theatre training has helped me immensely because I was able to take that stage training and move it into something that is a little bit more difficult, vocally, to do. In musical theatre it’s great because you get to use your native language and you get to emote through the language because you understand everything. Opera’s harder especially for people who don’t speak the particular language they’re singing in. It’s much more study, it’s much more research. And it has to be as easy to emote as if you were singing in English. Honestly the major differences are just the type of singing and the language. There’s tons of dancing in opera – how many operas have ballet in them? All those big French grand operas – there’s acting, there’s drama, there’s sadness, there’s death: all these things are the same. I think for me, my voice showed me what it wanted to do. I started off singing as a belter. I sang one of the doo-wop girls in Little Shop of Horrors my first year in college in summer stock. Then the next year I sang the Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music. So my voice was already showing me what it wanted to do and then by my third year it was like, I don’t know that my voice fits in that. So I took that training and let the voice show me what it wanted to do. It wanted to be more open, it wanted to be more legit, it wanted to be opera. But it essentially for me is the same. I want to take, on stage, the same amount of preparation, the same amount of intensity that I would take to musical theatre. I want that, just because it gives the audience that spectacle - that show that they’ve paid to see. So the voice told me “we’re going into something different”. And it was very clear as I got older, it just got bigger. But it’s funny; I know a lot of musical theatre belter types that have a really high crazy extension. Kristin BLEEP 43
Chenoweth has this amazing musical theatre kind of where my voice feels happiest. I’m very lucky. Some belt-y sound with all these crazy high notes. I almost people don’t get to sing that and I’m very, very lucky. think that having that facility strengthens the top of the voice. And a lot of sopranos that have that high HOW DOES IT FEEL TO SING ONE OF YOUR “DREAM” voice also have that belting facility. ROLES, AS OPPOSED TO SOMETHING THAT’S BEEN IN YOUR REP AND THAT YOU MIGHT FEEL MORE HOW HAS THE CHANGE IN YOUR VOICE AFFECTED COMFORTABLE DOING? WHAT YOU’RE ABLE TO SING? The pressure I put on myself to really do a role Coming into opera, my dream role was Tosca, and I justice becomes so much more important when it is get to do it in a year. It’ll be my first Tosca, and it was a dream role. Those roles you listen to over and over something I really – I came from a very different place. again by different singers just because you love it so I started singing as a coloratura. I came out of college much, those are the most difficult. You have an idea singing Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos and I never in your head of how you’d want it to be if you were thought that I would get to sing Tosca. It was always singing it, and it almost becomes an obsession to just a dream. “I want to wear the red Tosca dress, and make it perfect when you are working on it - the way I want to stab Scarpia, and I want to jump off the you had always dreamed it would be. When you pass building, and I want to sing that amazing music, and that point though - when you have learned the role, Vissi d’Arte,” and it ‘s just a dream. And then when I when you have it in your body and in your voice, when turned 30 my voice changed and it opened, I call it you finally “get” the character and what she wants “when the gate door opened and the horse came out and needs - then it just becomes an immense feeling and started running.” It changed so much over the of joy and accomplishment. Like an, “I did it,” feeling. last three or four years that now all the things I never One of those moments where you want to put your thought I’d get to sing are the things I’m going to get arms in the air and do a fist-pump to the audience to sing. So to sing Tosca is just – I’m almost speechless kind of moments. about it, because it was the one role that I looked and it was like, “I’ll never get to do that, and how lucky all YOU’VE SUNG IN BOTH ORIGINAL STAGINGS OF OPERAS these women are who get to do it”, and now I get to AND IN REPERTORY (OR, REVIVAL) PRODUCTIONS. do it. CAN YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT HOW THE EXPERIENCE It’s hard because you don’t know when your voice DIFFERS BETWEEN WORKING ON SOMETHING NEW, is going to change and a lot of women start off as AND DOING A PREVIOUSLY-STAGED PRODUCTION? one thing and they stay [that way]. The women who The major difference between repertory sing Queen of the Night and get to sing Queen of the productions and new ones is the process getting Night forever? Make that money! You enjoy traveling you to opening. New productions take months and all over the world and sing all the high F’s you want months of planning, followed by up to 6 weeks of to sing. I think it’s interesting that I came from the rehearsal to get the production on its feet. And that’s coloratura background because I can do some of even before you get to the sitzprobe, final dress etc.. the things that require that facility like Anna Bolena. With repertory productions, the “work” was already I would LOVE to sing Anna Bolena, I love it. And all done. The months and months of planning were those queens: Maria Stuarda and Roberto Devereaux. already taken care of. All of the stage directions exist They’re so hard, because they require a big voice that in a score that the director studies, and then passes can do coloratura. And so because I learned how to onto the singers. Rehearsal time is cut down to 1 or do coloratura as a coloratura and then the voice grew, 2 week periods. For example, the Herheim Boheme I can do those things, and it’s exciting because those that I did in Oslo was a new production. We had 6 are things that maybe I couldn’t have done before. So weeks of rehearsals, where things were still being the Tosca is one, the Anna Bolena is definitely one. I changed even a week before the premiere. I will would love to sing [Madama] Butterfly. If someone never forget actually; there was a very pivotal part would hire an almost six foot tall Butterfly, I would of Act II where we start to see “reality” coming back love to sing [it]. Un Ballo in Maschera? I have to sing it. for Rodolfo, and Herheim tried and tried to get this to It’s so gorgeous. All that Verdi and Puccini and all that read, for weeks! If you have seen the DVD, it is where real meaty stuff - that’s what I want to sing. And that’s all of the kids and chorus are revealed to have died of 44 BLEEP
cancer, like Mimi. Mimi loses her wig to reveal her bald head, Musetta loses her red dress to reveal the nurses’ uniform, the boys find their doctors’ coats etc.. During a dress rehearsal, he stopped us after that part of the scene and walked up to the stage and said, “No. I’m so sorry, guys. I have done a great disservice to this part of the story we are telling, and I need to change it. Tomorrow at 10:00AM we must restage the end of Act II.” This was days before the opening! For the Zeffirelli Boheme, everything is in the director’s notes. He basically gives you your track within the show from those notes. You run it a few times, and then it goes up on stage. There is no changing. There is no re-blocking. It was all planned and blocked by Zeffirelli, and that is the way you need to do it, because that is the way Zeffirelli wanted it. And we are all very happy to serve his incredible vision!
house and I look out, and I just started laughing, and it was this surreal moment. All the emotion was there and I didn’t know what to do, and all that came out was laughing! And the whole panel is out there, and Mr. Gelb [the Met’s General Manager] is out there – and I’m laughing – and I said “I’m so sorry; this is a real surreal moment for me. I’m so overwhelmed right now!” And this was just an audition, so I guess it’s better than the alternative – walking out there and crying before the audition! – so I sang the audition and I walked offstage and my manager who was in the house was standing there backstage and said, “I could kill you for doing that!” And I was like “I couldn’t help it!” It’s the thing that you strive for when you start out as a vocal performance major in school. What you strive for is to stand on the Met stage and sing. And that I get to do it in one of the most beloved productions at the Met (the Zeffirelli Boheme), on a set that Pavarotti AND YOUR BIG DEBUT AT THE METROPOLITAN has stood on, and Mirella Freni, and Renata Scotto OPERA – IN THE ZEFFIRELLI BOHEME - IS COMING - all these huge stars have been in that production. UP IN JUST A FEW WEEKS! And I’m going to go and stand up there and do It’s the dream. It’s what you dream of when you’re the same thing - with the same dresses, with the going to class at 8:00AM in your pajamas when same props. It’s a surreal thing. Thank goodness you’re in college and you’re dragging and have it’s Musetta! Thank goodness that it’s something your coffee in your hand. “This is all so that I can I’ve done many times because if not, I would be make my debut at the Metropolitan Opera. This is in another world. When you do something many what it’s all for.” And I have no idea what it’s going times in your career, it becomes second nature. It to feel like. gets in you. And I’m really glad it’s Musetta so I can I can tell you when I did my audition on the stage; turn off the nerves and just go, “I’m at the Met, and I had never been on the stage before. They called I’m singing Musetta!” I couldn’t ask for a better role me to the audition and I started in another room – I to debut in. I feel like Musetta is mine. I feel like she started in Liszt Hall – and the whole panel was in is me, and I am her, and I love her and she is very the back of the room, and I sang my first aria and special to me. I’m so honored, and so proud. they said “Okay, check, let’s go to the stage.” And I went to the stage and they said all they wanted Ms. Rowley makes her debut as Musetta in La Boheme to hear on the stage was “Quando me’n vo” – that’s on March 19th, at the Metropolitan Opera. La Boheme all they wanted to hear. And I said “Great.” So my runs through April 18th. pianist walks over to the piano and I walk on to the stage and I look up and it’s not fully lit but all the For tickets, head over to www.metopera.org chandeliers are hanging down and it’s dark in the www.jenniferrowley.com BLEEP 47
l a t i g i d y s a t s c e He’s a virtuosic organist and cutting-edge composer whose international fan base flocks to the world’s premier venues to hear his performances - and to capture a glimpse of his stylish attire. Now, Cameron Carpenter is on the brink of a reinvention that will rock the organ world. On March 9th, Lincoln Center will host the celebratory launch of The International Touring Organ, a digital creation of the boutique organ builders Marshall & Ogletree. Without an instrument to call his own, a tool to extend his voice to the utmost potential, Cameron’s personal expression was tethered to instruments that were in turn tethered to institutions. For a young man with a reputation for tearing down institutions, it was only a matter of time before he would build the organ that would set him free from convention. Story by Deidre Bird 48 BLEEP
Photography by Matthew Stocke/Matt James Photo Studio
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WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE INTERNATIONAL TOURING ORGAN? The priority of the international touring organ project is, first of all, an artistic priority. So, just as in all of the arts, there is an end object that is in sight. For me, my entire work is summed up by the word “ecstasy”. That’s the reason I play. And the ecstasy of performance is what I’m expressing through music, unlike many classical musicians for whom the music itself is an end. There is a kind of academia in music that is primarily a textdriven thing, and that’s certainly not what I’m doing.
“ “ IT’S A SINGLE 32 FOOT TRUCK. THE ENTIRE ORGAN WEIGHS 12,000 POUNDS. THE ENTIRE ORGAN. SO 6 TONS. THINK OF IT AS TWO LARGE LUXURY CARS, BASICALLY.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE YOU TO FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH AN ORGAN BEFORE YOU HAVE TO GIVE A PERFORMANCE. SAY, SOMEWHERE YOU WOULDN’T HAVE ACCESS TO IT BEFORE HAND ? Even in an ideal setting where for instance at a major concert hall, I have as much as 18 hours. I then face this situation of playing for an audience on an instrument that I have only known for 18 hours, and to me, that’s absolutely reprehensible, artistically. When you go to hear Joshua Bell, you will hear a man playing a violin with which he has had a relationship since he was 16 years old. And, responsible playing of any genre of music … this would be just as true for Macklemore as it would be for Yo Yo Ma … should be undertaken on an instrument which is a human voice. Whether it happens to be a violin or a piano physically, it is the voice of the person playing it. Organists are thought to be giving intimate performances, when in fact they prepared the performance under work lights at 3 AM in 5 rushed hours. [It] gives them no chance to identify the instrument and more importantly no chance to solidify their own artistic concept, which that organ may or may not (usually may not) be able to transmit or interpret. To me, that is just one of the many things
that make the pipe-organ a complete non-participant in the musical commercial infrastructure of the 21st century. HOW DID YOU BECOME AWARE THAT A DIGITAL ORGAN COULD BE BUILT TO RIVAL THE TRADITIONAL PIPE ORGAN? Marshall & Ogletree emerged in 2003 in response to September 11th attacks. As the evacuation occurred during the middle of a service, the pipe organ at Trinity Church Wall street was left running and it subsequently sucked up all the smoke and was destroyed. The replacement organ was the first digital organ by Marshall & Ogletree of Needham Massachusetts, and its installation occurred when I was a student at Juilliard, which was how I learned about that technology. Up until then I had been as purist and adherent to the pipe organ as anyone. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN CONTEMPLATING THIS MOVE AWAY FROM THE TRADITIONAL PERCEPTION OF THE ORGAN? The concert has been something I have been pursuing for 10 years. I would say the last 7 years of that have been actively devoted to building the instrument which is conceived as what you will see on stage. The actual physical building of that organ has taken the last year and a half. HOW PORTABLE IS IT? I describe it as transportable. It’s a single 32 foot truck. The entire organ weighs 12,000 pounds. The entire organ. So 6 tons. Think of it as two large luxury cars, basically. Like a chamber orchestra actually, in terms of personnel, equipment, and footprint. The footprint of the organ is scaleable, so it’s technologically possible to play that organ almost anywhere. NOW THAT YOUR AMBITIONS HAVE BECOME A REALITY, HAVE YOU RECOGNIZED ANY DRAWBACKS TO OWNING YOUR OWN INSTRUMENT? It’s a huge responsibility. I financed the entire thing myself up to this point, so it’s been a massive financial responsibility to undertake, but of course, the instrument has never surprised me. People often ask me, “now that you’ve finally sat down and played it, does it surprise you?” It sounds a little joyless to say ‘no’, but I never had an instant of doubt since within 5 minutes of playing the first organ at Trinity Church
Wall Street, had no doubt that this new technology would give me exactly what I wanted. And when it did, it was fabulous, but it wasn’t a surprise. It was exactly what I predicted -which is better. FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES, TO THE WASHINGTON POST, TO CBS NEWS, YOU HAVE BEEN LABELED THE “BAD BOY” OF THE ORGAN. WHAT DO YOU THINK THEY MEAN AND WHAT DOES THAT MEAN TO YOU? One knows perfectly well what they mean. Being the bad boy of the organ is no special achievement in itself. The organ community is generally a religiously observant, highly conservative place in which one’s personal, let alone artistic worth, tends to be judged, in both stated and unstated ways, by one’s ability to be cohesive to a crowd and to be conformist to musical and liturgical expectations. Anything really creatively undertaken in the organ world would make you a ‘bad-boy’. The thing that we learn, which is much more interesting to take away from this, and the thing about it that I resist is, that when we call someone a ‘bad boy,’ it is an attempt to weaken a character. If we can find a way to ‘cuten’ them … we can find a way to put a nice box around somebody, then they are less threatening. Then, of course, it is less incumbent upon us as observers to actually understand what they are doing or why it has a context. Not to mention, it’s not at all interesting and it says nothing at all about music!
THIS ALBUM TO HIGHLIGHT THE NEW TRAVELING ORGAN? Yes and no. An organ, like any musical instrument, is just that, an instrument. It is a vehicle for expression, it is not the message itself. And so, while this organ is unbelievably dynamic, coloristic, and for me is by far the best and the most satisfying organ in the world, it is also an instrument, like every other organ, [that] has been brought into existence from the ethical standpoint of being a vehicle for expression. While the music on the album does a fantastic job of showing off the organ, that is not its purpose. The music on the album was chosen to make a personal statement. Although it’s my 3rd album, it’s the first album on the touring organ, and I’ve always viewed the moment at which the touring organ will finally begin is actually the start of what I consider my career. It’s basically the start of a 2nd career. My intention is that with in 2 years of this launch, the International Touring Organ will be the only instrument I play.
New York will have the exciting opportunity to witness Cameron’s dream come to life at an all-day festival in honor of the International Touring Organ and the 2014 release of his first album with SONY. Join Cameron on Sunday, March 9th, at Lincoln Center for two dramatically different performances (one at 2 PM and another at 7 PM), a hands-on demonstration of his new instrument, and many YOUR FIRST ALBUM WITH SONY CLASSICAL WAS other celebratory events. Information and ticketing RECORDED ON YOUR NEW INSTRUMENT AND IS DUE options can be found at www.lincolncenter.org OUT IN APRIL. DID YOU SELECT THE REPERTOIRE FOR
lake stre 54 BLEEP
eet dive tells BLEEP how to get to Carnegie Hall.
story by ryan brinson photography by jarrod mccabe BLEEP 55
“How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” Lake Street Dive can now answer that question, having recently played a sold-out show at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall. I caught up with two of the members of the wildly popular band on the eve of the release of their new album “Bad Self Portraits” and got an inside look at the creative process that fuels the band’s music. After meeting as students at the New England Conservatory in Boston, the band got its name from a neighborhood of seedy bars in Minneapolis where trumpet/guitar player Mike Olson grew up. From four different parts of the country (vocalist Rachael Price is from outside Nashville, Tenn., standup bassist Bridget Kearney is an Iowa native, and drummer Mike Calabrese heralds from Philadelphia), the band’s sound is as eclectic as their hometowns. “All four of us write songs and we each write our own songs individually,” Kearney said. “I often begin with the lyrical concept. That’s something I’ve been trolling the world for. I keep a little journal of ideas for songs. When I have time, I sit down at the piano or with the guitar and I try to match those ideas to a musical idea. It all springs from that.” “Sometimes, I’ve just picked up a guitar and had a general framework,” Calabrese said. “Sometimes, I’ll just walk around and come up with a bass line or a melody, write it down, and then not look at it again for three months until I’m inspired again. It’s an unreliable process really. The muse doesn’t always come when you call. What I think is best is to be in the habit of always writing things down.” “Bad Self Portraits” is a result of ten years of writing, honing their craft and becoming closer knit as a band and it stands as a departure from the way they created records in the past. “I would say there’s a lot more attention put into the production of the album,” Calabrese said. “We finally got a producer, so that was nice to have a third party take a look at all the songs – some were old and some 56 BLEEP
were brand new – and make each song come alive. That stretched us in new ways that we hadn’t been stretched before. After touring for a couple years, the playing is on a different level. There’s more maturity in general and more of an idea of a direction for the band to go in.” Touring extensively has also had an affect on the band, their sound and the way they want their fans to experience their music when they buy the album. “One of the things we’ve been working on over the past ten years is recreating some of the live experience for the recording,” Kearney said. “When you’re a young musician, playing in a studio feels so different than playing in front of a live audience. You have to play with as much passion in the studio to match what you’re doing on stage during a live show.” For most of “Bad Self Portraits,” Lake Street Dive had the opportunity to road-test and improve the new songs they were writing. “One of the keys to our songwriting process is that the song is never finished,” Kearney explained. “Even since we’ve recorded the songs, we’ve changed them up live. The sound is always different when we play it live and it always illuminates what a song needs at the time.” That sound is something that’s become a hallmark of the band. From their stripped down version of The Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” that went viral on YouTube, to their high-energy shows, Lake Street Dive has carved out a sound which is unique and all their own. “When we were doing this record, to make it easier to talk to people and tell them what we do, we said our style was “pop soul” with a British Invasion and Motown influence. Everything we conceptualize exists within that framework,” Calabrese said. “When we’re writing songs individually, that’s where our heads are too.” For a quartet of music lovers, the biggest inspiration for making music is their ever-expanding love for music. Beyond trying to see other bands’ shows and
immersing themselves in new albums when they are released, some of the band went to great lengths to both learn new styles and experience new forms of music. “We had some time off in January and some of us took trips to experience some new music,” Kearney said. “I was in Ghana checking out some West African music. That’s something that gets me really excited about writing new music – hearing new music that I think is awesome.” “I went to Rio,” Calabrese said. “From a drummer’s standpoint, there are four places in the world you want to go if you want to see the birthplace of modern music. It all started in Africa, after that you can look at Cuba and then Brazil, then New Orleans. That’s really where you get the birthplace of all modern music in America. Bridget was already going to Africa so I decided to go to Rio. The form I sort of fell into by accident was
maracatu, based on indigenous, and Portuguese and African influences. I started learning some of the traditions that music has cultivated and it opened up my head in a way that it hasn’t been opened since I was in school. I think our band’s sound is still evolving. I’m excited to know what comes next.” From getting the “Colbert bump” to selling out Carnegie Hall and heading out on a tour of the States and Europe, Lake Street Dive takes their success in stride and stays focused on what is important to them: the music. “All of the kinds of external things are somewhat out of our control,” Kearney said. “We’re excited that some amazing things are happening but our job is to focus on the music. We’re already working on new songs for the next record. And we’re excited about continuing to get better.” BLEEP 57
THE ‘SYTYCD’ STAND OUT TALKS COMPANY XIV & DANCING WITHOUT LIMITS Jakob Karr didn’t start dancing until he was 12. He played football, basketball, and baseball, and found he was good at all of them but passionate about none. He took a recreational dance class and not only realized he enjoyed it, but realized it came naturally to him. “When I left that day, I was actually mad because it was so easy,” Karr said. “But I was hooked from the first week. I wanted it.” Growing up in Orlando, he was immersed in jazz and ballet and when he began branching out to compete individually, apart from his studio competition team, he realized his passion for dance was what he wanted to do for a living. After becoming a winner on the competition circuit and wanting to take a break from college life, he auditioned for “So You Think You Can Dance.” “I had always wanted to and I was scared of it. I went and I auditioned without any expectations. I never went in thinking I was going to win this thing. It’s done wonders for me.” Something that surprised Karr about his time on the show was how well he did over the course of the weeks of competition that landed him in the finale. “I didn’t know what to expect. I learned a lot about myself as a working dancer such as how I work with people, how I take corrections and notes and how to conduct myself in a rehearsal studio. Before that, I was in my studio where I knew everyone. This was an opportunity to work with people I didn’t know, with choreographers who I was terrified of and would give my left arm to dance with.” One of those choreographers was Sonya Tayeh, whose work has become renowned for its intensity
PHOTOS AND STORY BY RYAN BRINSON
and explosiveness. Another was one of his idols. “On the finale, I got to work with Desmond Richardson. Growing up as a male dancer, it was important to find your male dance idols and he was definitely one of them.” As soon as the show ended, Karr traveled the world for eight months with the Bad Boys of Dance and afterward, he set his sights on musical theatre. After years of auditions, he booked the workshop of the new musical, Flashdance. “It was one of my favorite experiences to date. It was my first musical theatre contract; it was my first Equity contract, and my first time dipping my toes into that field. I’d done all the company dance stuff before. To be able to sing and act as well was exciting.” This past fall, Karr was able to again utilize his love of acting as a part of Company XIV’s holiday themed “Nutcracker Rouge” in New York. After wanting to be a part of one of their productions for a long time, he finally had the opportunity to join in on the baroque/burlesque spectacular for their wouldbe sold-out and extended run. “That show, for me, was hands down the most fun I’ve ever had on stage. Easily. There’s something about being that exposed that makes you form an even tighter and more clear character. That’s what was fun for me. I had nothing to hide and yet I still felt like I was the dude of the show and the tough guy. I was in heels on stage and I wanted to make it as contradictory as possible. It pushed me so far outside of my comfort zone and I’m so glad.” Pushing yourself as a dancer is a part of the job and when your job is so physical, it’s critical to rest your body, something Karr places great value in. Much is written about the shelf-life of a dancer and their
Below: Jakob dances with Makenzie Dustman in 2013 when he returned to “So You Think You Can Dance” as an All-Star.
inability to sustain putting their body through so much rigorous activity for so long. But during his time working at Cirque du Soleil, Karr learned he didn’t have to limit himself. “I loved working with such seasoned performers. I grew up even more. I was only there for five months, but it opened my eyes that being a working dancer isn’t as limited as people say it is. I was working with dancers in their 40s and who had double hip replacements. It taught me that I don’t have to put an expiration date on myself.” That knowledge is what fuels his dream now. “What I want is to be able to work until the day I die. I want to perform for as long as I can and share dance with people. I want to teach dance and project dance and show how much I love it and need it. I want to do it forever.”
AND WHAT ABOUT ALL THOSE CRAZY COSTUMES? “I love it the most. I play dress up for a living. I don’t come from an acting background, I was just a dancer, but when you put on a costume, it gives you a character. When I worked for Cirque du Soliel, I was wearing the craziest, most expensive costumes and I loved it.” Follow Jakob on Instagram! @jakobakarr
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Photo by Wes Klain
One of the stars of the hottest show on TV made her mark on Broadway before she was fighting for survival against a world taken over by zombies. We catch up with Emily about what she learned doing eight shows a week, the tone of the music she’s writing now, and yes, about “The Walking Dead.”
Photo by Gary Shackleford
YOU MADE YOUR BROADWAY DEBUT IN SPRING AWAKENING. WHEN DID BROADWAY BECOME A DREAM OF YOURS? My dream was always performing in general and making my living doing it. That’s always been in my mind. I don’t know if it was defined by being on Broadway necessarily. By six or seven, I knew I wanted to act. I remember seeing Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and realizing theatre is amazing because it incorporates music and acting. It was one of the many things I wanted to do. When I first moved to the city and I would be going to open calls, I would have a list of things I wanted to do. One was to be in a Broadway show and one was be on a TV show. I had an idea of what work I wanted to do. WHAT DID BEING IN SPRING AWAKENING TEACH YOU ABOUT YOURSELF? I learned how to do a show every night. I did Spring Awakening for eight months and then did August: Osage County for a year. You learn how to take care
of your voice. The songs in Spring Awakening are very demanding and fun and cool, but you learn how to pace yourself in a way. I also gained confidence performing every night. I learned a lot from the other actors around me. That was when I met my friend Conrad, and he had encouraged me to write music. I’d been writing music for a long time but he encouraged me to record it. That’s when my EP “Blue Toothbrush” came about. WHERE DID YOUR DIRECTION AND THE SOUND OF YOUR MUSIC COME FROM? When you’re writing something, you just have to go with your gut. I write the melody that makes sense to me in the moment. The sound is a combination of my experiences and what I like to listen to. It’s also motivated by my friends in New York who are musicians. I go to their shows and I’m so inspired. WE’VE ACTUALLY SEEN YOUR CHARACTER ON “THE WALKING DEAD,” BETH, USE MUSIC AND SINGING TO Photo by Jordin Althaus/AMC
COPE WITH THE HELL OF THIS POST-APOCALYPTIC WORLD BEFORE. HOW WAS IT DETERMINED THAT BETH WOULD BE INTO MUSIC? It wasn’t my idea. I was cast in season two as a recurring character, but as my character grew and we [the writers and producers] became more acquainted with each other, some of the crew would come to my shows and hear me sing. When they were writing season three, the episode needed a moment that wasn’t fighting and running. That seemed to be the answer: music. I think it makes sense because in that moment, it wasn’t just about someone surviving. It was a way to connect to their past. DO YOU THINK SHE’D BE INTO EMILY KINNEY’S TYPE OF MUSIC? I don’t know. I’ve been thinking about that too. People ask me if they are going to put one of my songs in the show - I don’t know if Beth would be exposed to my music. She’s definitely into Tom Waits though. ON THIS SHOW, THE CHARACTERS DON’T GET A BREAK. THE APOCALYPSE LOOMS EVERY MINUTE OF EVERY DAY. WHAT’S IT LIKE TO NEVER HAVE A BREAK? There’s always this sense of survival and never knowing what’s around the corner. When you’re
on set all day, you come home and find yourself feeling down. It’s emotionally draining. It’s great to be working and we all love our jobs, but it’s a heavy show. Everyone on the set brings their A-game. The entire team is always on and giving their best, no matter what the camera is doing. All the actors and crew are from either New York or L.A. and we’re down in Atlanta in these small towns together filming so it becomes a close knit group. It’s exhausting but it’s so exciting. I love it. It’s also cool to be with a character for a long time and see her change. When you’re doing a Broadway show, you’re with the character a long time in terms of the run of the show, but it’s the same story line each night. You only get the growth that one show allows the character and you don’t get to see any evolution beyond that. With this show, I get to see how Beth changes. IT LOOKS AS THOUGH BETH AND FAN-FAVORITE DARYL ARE GOING TO BE SPENDING A LOT OF TIME TOGETHER IN THE BACK END OF THIS SEASON. IS THERE ANYTHING YOU ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO WORKING ON WITH NORMAN REEDUS? I think both of them feel very alone in their own ways, so they are going to be forced to open up
to each other. I was excited to work with Norman because he’s so good and gives his all. It’s nice to have YOU HAVE A REALLY CONVERSATIONAL APPROACH a lot of time with one singular character. It’s been TO BEING ON STAGE. YOU ALLOW THE AUDIENCE TO great getting to know him as a friend as well and I GO ALONG ON THE RIDE WITH YOU. WHERE DOES think we work well together. It was an interesting YOUR INSPIRATION COME FROM? pairing when we all got separated on the show, but It developed as I performed more. I remember in I think those interesting pairings are pushing people my first show, people pointed out how they liked and bringing out different sides of characters. me telling little stories and explaining where songs come from. I think I first did that to make myself BOTH SPRING AWAKENING AND “THE WALKING DEAD” comfortable. Going from song-to-song didn’t feel ARE SHOWS WITH CULT FOLLOWINGS, JUST TWO natural to me. This connects us all, in this one room, DIFFERENT MEDIUMS. WHAT’S IT LIKE TO BE A PART OF and we are all in the moment together. It feels easier TWO SHOWS LIKE THAT? when the audience is on my side and I’m telling you a Spring Awakening had that sort of super-dedicated story so I can let you in my world. fan base. When I was first exposed to that, it was like nothing I had ever known. In some ways, it prepared WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU? me for that for “The Walking Dead.” To know that I’m going to SXSW and I have a bunch of shows people are so open and excited for your work is such coming up. I’m also going to re-release the “Expired a gift. Love” album that came out in the fall. I’m adding a couple tracks and at the time, I was working a bunch DO ANY “WALKING DEAD” FANS COME TO YOUR and I didn’t quite get to give the attention it deserved. SHOWS? But I’m always writing and recording and coming up Some people are coming to my shows because of with new music. “The Walking Dead” and I think that’s great. Hopefully they will like what they hear, and if not, that’s okay www.emilykinneymusic.com too. I’m just glad they came and gave it a chance. Photo by Gene Page/AMC
Christina Bennett Lind is an actor’s actor—her resume boasts extensive work in television, film, and theater, and the parts she has portrayed range from Shakespearian ingénues to modern day heroines. Her work has taken her all over the globe, from Boston to Italy to Greece to the Big Apple. She is a transformative actor, one whose work I admire and whose career I hope to emulate. So, when a friend of mine messaged me about her friend – Lind - who was starring in the American Repertory Theater production of The Heart of Robin Hood, I was excited to pick the artistic brain of one of the theater world’s up and coming stars. What I got was a lesson in drive, perseverance, and grace.
Bennett Lind By Alex Wright
70 BLEEP Photos by Evegenia Eliseeva 2014
WHEN DID YOU GET INTO ACTING? HOW OLD WERE YOU? WHAT SPARKED YOUR INTEREST? I got into acting when I was in 7th Grade. I was lucky enough to have an ambitious English teacher who decided that we should put on Twelfth Night and, after auditioning, I was cast as Viola, who is the female lead of the show. I was a dancer with a Junior Company in the area after having spent my whole childhood dancing (my mother was a dance teacher) and so I was very comfortable on the stage and, I suppose, naturally gravitated towards it. I can’t say exactly what sparked me then about acting, except that it allowed me a vehicle through which to celebrate my uniqueness and my own perspective on the world, two things for which I was desperate as a 7th grader. Combining art and play and acting and dance together to give me an outlet from the agony of middle school seemed like a productive coping mechanism. WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE ROLE/PROJECT? My favorite project was, actually, my most recent. As a disclaimer, each project has it’s own sparkle and charm for me. I am continually surprised by how jobs and opportunities present themselves when there is something to be mined from them, and so each project has taught me something I needed to learn about myself, almost as if by magic. But this last project, The Heart of Robin Hood at The American Repertory Theatre (A.R.T.), I was able to combine both heightened language and story with playing a fierce, fighting, feminist woman. On top of that, it pushed me physically in a way that was rare, and I was able to push through some physical and athletic walls that I didn’t even know were there! It was incredibly satisfying and rewarding. It was something I wasn’t sure I could do and I did it: doesn’t everyone want that out of an experience? COULD YOU TELL US A BIT MORE ABOUT THE PHYSICAL LIFE YOU HAD TO BRING TO THE STAGE AS MARION IN THE HEART OF ROBIN HOOD? Working at A.R.T. required some athleticism that I 72 BLEEP
haven’t needed in past shows and that was hugely exciting. Doing fights and aerial work in live theatre requires a certain level of absolution presence and focus. Every time we had to run at one another with swords or slide down the 40 foot slide (which comprised most of the set), I had to re-focus and my body had to kick in to get me out of my head. It made for a very exciting time on stage. It was probably the closest I’ll ever get to live competitive sports! A.R.T. is also an incredible place to work because there’s this energy of invention and confidence surrounding the work that gets done there and we all felt supported artistically and celebrated, which makes everything more rewarding. You don’t feel you’re working in a vacuum; there’s a sense that people are paying attention and we were very proud of what we did. WHAT ROLE/PROJECT IS YOUR DREAM TO WORK ON? I would love to work on Chekhov. I saw Cate Blanchett play Yelena in Uncle Vanya last year in New York and she made Yelena seem so vibrant she was almost, literally, vibrating! It made me interested in tackling a role that complex and complete, and one that has lived for so long and continues to captivate us. I’m drawn to the tragic, often hopeless characters who INSIST on lightness and hope and who, perhaps, fail. I’ve also dreamt of working with Tim Burton and Alejandro González Iñárritu. I think my aesthetic lies somewhere between the two of them; my childhood looked like Burton’s films and my dark side responds to Inarritu’s perspective. I can generally find worth in any project, however, so dream roles come and go all the time. I count myself lucky that I get to fill their shoes once in awhile. WHAT IS NEXT FOR YOU? I’m working currently on a NYC Premiere of a play called Stockholm, written by Bryony Lavery, a very talented British playwright. I am an Ensemble member of a theatre company, One Year Lease Theater Company, and I was able to workshop this piece last
summer in Greece and now am performing it here at home. Working with a theatre company allows you to have some real creative freedom and ownership of the work you do and I have always found that I can work fearlessly within that safe place. The play is about a co-dependent relationship that nods to the companionship found between people suffering from Stockholm Syndrome (in which a captive falls in love with his/her captor) and it’s fascinating to explore that syndrome through a relationship that, even on the surface, is incredibly relatable. It’s a chance for me to explore a darker side than my last role and still, thankfully, be a fierce woman. I love playing strong female characters. I’m also in Post-Production on a film I wrote and directed last fall, “Fireworkers,” which I shot under the umbrella of my Production company, The Neboya Collective. It’s a kind of “Big Chill” for my time and follows six friends as they honor a late friend by completing her final, incomplete to-do list. I am very excited about the footage and hope to apply to the festival circuit for 2015. I find that filmmaking works out a very different creative muscle for me and, where I am happy to be a cog in the wheel as an actor in theatre, I truly enjoy managing every detail in the editing room and directing an audience to see through my eyes as well as their own in the vastly different world of film. I’m someone who needs lots of expressions and filmmaking has allowed me to flex them all when I’m not working on a role. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART ABOUT YOUR JOB? My favorite part about my job is the freedom. Yes, sometimes it feels constrictive. But I am able to truly follow my art and attempt to make my life out of what I love, and I feel extremely lucky to have been able to do that as much as I have. When I get down on it and it feels hard (which it very often does), I am reminded that just by aiming my compass in this direction, I can be satisfied. I just want to make the very most out of my short time here and this, for whatever reason, feels like the best I can offer.
WHAT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT PART ABOUT YOUR JOB? Some days, it’s hard to be creative and it’s stifling to have to put that role on each day. Acting and filmmaking are very difficult on the ego and the confidence. Rejection has never been a problem for me, as I guess I’ve long since accepted it as a part of this field, but endurance is tricky. Some days, the push to keep going and trying seems futile and those are the dark days. Everyone feels those, but it sometimes seems that actors have to manufacture the will to go on, on a daily basis and 24-hours a day, and that can be truly exhausting. Any artist who doesn’t admit to wanting to quit more often than not is, I think, lying to themselves. DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR ASPIRING ACTORS? Don’t quit! If you really want to express yourself this way, it is crucial that you do. I once told a friend I wanted to quit and he said, “But the world would be missing you. You can’t quit.” I have met so many actors who hit plateaus and considered moving onto something else and then, turn a corner to more work than they can take. The surprise and the hope is real and there is always a corner to turn. At the same time, I’ve seen people who have quit in their hearts and don’t want to admit it, and I notice that when they are honest with themselves, they aren’t happy anymore. That’s okay, too. I think you have to give what you have to give, and if there’s something else that feels good that you can offer, we’ll all be better for receiving that. Don’t white-knuckle it if it’s no longer fun. That’s part of the point: play. If it doesn’t feel playful and hopeful and expressive, even in the hard times, find another game and play it as hard as you can. But, I have to say, I am an actor myself. It’s hard to give advice. I could ask YOU for advice if this article could talk back to me. I think the dialogue is important. Artists are community people; we need support and assistance every step of the way. I certainly do.
Speaking of what we’re
We’re obsessed with “Philomena.” This Oscar nominated film is not a front runner in every category, but it’s nonetheless one of the most funny and thought provoking movies of the year. One of the few movies I watched and then immediately started over to watch again. Speaking of movies: “The Guardians of the Galaxy” trailer. It’s absolutely perfect. The cast looks ideal for their parts, the tone is fun, and it blends two of our favorite genres (space opera and superhero film) into something we can’t wait to experience. Speaking of the current comic book craze: “Black Science.” There have been a TON of fantastic new comic book series’ out lately, but “Black Science” is easily the best of the bunch. Rick Remender is one of the best comic book writers we’ve encountered in the last couple years, and the potential in this story is off the charts. Plus the art by Matteo Scalera is so sharp. Speaking of sharp art: Well written and engaging political dramas like “House of Cards” and “Scandal” feature strong women and strong storylines. Two of our favorite things. Speaking of strong voices: Podcasts. Best thing ever to listen to in traffic. This American Life, Strangers, Snap Judgement, Stuff You Missed in History Class and, of course, The Ensemblist. Speaking of things on your iPod you need to listen to again: Tegan and Sara. They may have released the best pop album of 2013. It deserves a re-listen folks. Speaking of re-listening to something: Chvrches’
cover of Arctic Monkeys’ “Do I Wanna Know?” The original is one of the grooviest songs of 2013, and the cover is by a hot up-and-coming band that puts such an original spin on it that it’s like a totally new song. Plus it’s part of the really fun “Like A Version” YouTube series of covers, which are usually excellent. Speaking of YouTube series’ you need to be watching: The Art Assignment - a new Youtube channel that finds new artists, interviews them and then assigns viewers their own “homework” to post. This new Art Assignment channel is going to be really cool. www. youtube.com/user/theartassignment Speaking of things you need to find on YouTube: Aloe Blaac. He really is the man the man the man the man. This is smooth, soulful and addictive music. Speaking of things that are addictive: “True Detective” on HBO. The writing is fabulous, and Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson are great. Speaking of things that are great: Tribal influenced prints...sweaters, scarves, socks, tee’s...it’s cute, cultural and works in both neutral and colorful palettes. Speaking of things that are colorful: Robin Williams on “The Crazy Ones.” This show is smart like “30 Rock,” allows Williams to be himself, and has the best supporting cast since “Parks and Recreation.” Speaking of “Parks and Recreation:” Michelle Obama will be on the season finale. She nailed it with Jimmy Fallon and Will Ferrell on “The Tonight Show” and we are confident she will knock it out of the park on TV again, this time against Leslie Knope and the gang.
bleep Quiz I am... rarely afraid to speak what’s on my mind. I’m here because... my parents got crazy one night and created this little bundle of dancing joy! What makes me happiest is... dancing with my best friends. And knowing that we’ve grown and matured together both as people and as artists. The color that best represents me is... gold, at least that’s what I’d like to think. What I hope to accomplish today is... cook one meal, engage in some sort of fitness, and call my mom. My best friends are... my light. Ryan Steele and Grace Buckley. The greatest dancers I know. I can’t live without... nachos. Between an Olympic champion or an Oscar winner, I’d rather be... an Olympic Champion. I’m more of a full-speed-ahead kind of guy. I can give you an hour of balls-to-the-walls effort and then I’m exhausted. If I wasn’t me, I’d be... pretty sad. I’m really loving my life these days. I like it best when you... cook for me. God is... a huge historical part of my upbringing. I went to Baptist school from 4th grade til I graduated high school. All of my curriculum was heavily rooted in Biblical teaching. I’m hungry for... the stage, and then some nachos after that. I cry… when I feel disappointed. Style means… exuding confidence at all times, even if you don’t really feel it deep down. I want to go... oh-oh all the way-ay-ay, taking out my freak tonight. The most obnoxious sound in the world is... babies on airplanes. What makes me weak is... talent. No matter what the talent may be. When someone is good at what they do, I die. At this exact moment, I’m passionate about... the projection of warm weather. I need it. I crave... chips and beer. My inspiration is… my group of friends. Hands down. I’ve known many of them for years and I grow to love them more and more every day.
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