JULY/AUGUST 2014 Issue • 406
P E E BL
THE CAST OF THE OFF-BROADWAY SHOW PAGEANT
ICELAND’S SUPERSTAR PIANIST VÍKINGUR ÓLAFSSON
SUMMER COCKTAILS WE’RE IN AUSTIN FOR A FRESH TAKE ON SUMMER CLASSICS
PICTURE PERFECT PICNIC THE LITTLE HIPPIE CHEF MAKES OVER YOUR PICNIC PLANS
Acrobat Joshua Dean, dancer Charlie Williams & choreographer Camille A. Brown talk about
THE INTERSECTION OF ART & FITNESS
JAKE SIMPSON IS ONTO SOMETHING BIG IN THE BUSINESS OF BOWTIES
THOSE PIERI TWINS ARE OUR ‘BLOGGERS WE LOVE’ - ONE LOOK & YOU’LL LOVE THEM TOO
2 RING CIRCUS AND THE ART OF BEING A CIRCUS PERFORMERBLEEP 1
n i p e e bl inside: 10 30 32 36 42 46 50 56
A DIFFERENT KIND OF PAGEANT
We talk with the cast of the new Off-Broadway revival of Pageant about why their show is important this summer.
YES, THERE ARE TWO A’S
Christiaan Smith-Kotlarek started playing guitar when he was ten, and is now conquering the worlds of opera, pop and musical theatre. He’s one to watch.
This Icelandic pianist is in a league all his own and is bringing his music to the masses.
GO GO GO JOSEPH
Joseph Rosko knows what it takes to meet his goals. Whether it’s on stage or in the gym, Rosko gets results.
CAMILLE A. BROWN
She’s a dancer. She’s a choreographer. She’s a visionary. Camille A. Brown is a creative force to be reckoned with.
He’s the co-owner of the 2 Ring Circus and his high-flying stunts leave audiences breathless.
He’s danced everywhere from a Broadway stage to the stage at the Academy Awards. Charlie Williams works. We caught up with him to find out all about it.
DOMINIC SERVIDIO IS A TRANSFORMER
While the Transformers are busy crushing the box office, Dominic Servidio has them beat. He transformed his physique for a role in a play and tells us why and how. BLEEP 3
n i p e e l inside: b
60 66 74 80 4 BLEEP
2 RING CIRCUS
Circus arts are some of the most astounding and difficult of the arts and we chat with the founders of New York’s 2 Ring Circus about what sets them apart.
Everyone knows that to get the dapper look, you need a good bowtie. Jake Simpson has flipped that idea on it’s head and is creating bowties that are fresh, funky, and more than a little punk rock.
THOSE PIERI TWINS
Our “Blogger(s) We Love” this issue are none other than those Pieri twins, and these two Italian Stallions have one of the coolest men’s fitness and fashion blogs around.
At BLEEP, we love photographers and we love seeing the world through their lens. We talk with Correia and some of his favorite models about why they do what they do.
BLEEP CREATIVITY. UNCENSORED. RYAN BRINSON Editor-in-Chief SARAH ROTKER Business & Audience Development Manager PABLO SALINAS Social Media Associate BEN HUMENIUK Cartoonist RACHAEL MARIBOHO Culture Editor COVER PHOTOGRAPHER: Alberto Milazzo FEATURE EDITORS: Nathan Robins Brad Beskin WRITERS: Caleb Bollenbacher Hatley Moore 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 Our Facebook timelines have become warzones, have they not? Today, the news that the film adaptation of “Into The Woods,” a musical some consider to be a classic, will differ from the stage production in a few distinct ways. Basically, the edge has been taken off the show and the concept has been retooled to reach the busy family-centric holiday box office. Cut to my Facebook timeline instantly becoming a cursefilled, anger-fueled battleground of Broadway aficionados digitally shouting from their keyboard mountaintop of what a disaster this is going to be, as if they are personally offended by the changes made to the show they love. Something you must know about my Facebook friends is that many of them are either passionate Broadway die-hards or are actually in the business of making theatre, so there’s always some snarky comment about this show or that show (something I find interesting in an industry that prides themselves on supporting each other - they are the quickest to tear each other down). But this “Into The Woods” news was on another level. I was reminded of recently when “August: Osage County” was released and my timeline was full of a multitude of comments stating “the play was better.” It’s true, there is a dynamic that a stage production is able to create that a film can’t reproduce. That’s why we go to the theatre, to be in the same room as the action and to breathe the same air as the characters. But when “The Producers” was released into theaters, basically a shot-for-shot reproduction of the stage production on film, it was universally vilified. I enjoyed it quite a bit because I felt like I was watching the show all over again, but then again,
what do I know? So if people aren’t happy with the most Tonywinning show of all time being turned into a film with little to no changes from the stage production, and they aren’t happy when “Into The Woods” or “August: Osage County” is altered for the big screen, then the question really becomes: When will they ever be happy? This war will rage in the digital sphere and in bar conversations long after the film has released but I think when art from one medium transfers to another medium, there will be, and almost must be, an allowance for conversion. When the graphic novel of “Sin City” became a frame-for-frame replica in film version, it was met with a mixed bag of yays and boos. Having said that, perhaps the most universally loved movie musical (if not film in general), “The Sound of Music,” differs greatly from the stage production, as demonstrated by NBC’s live staging of the show in 2013. But I haven’t heard a complaint about that film, much as the next generation of people who will grow up knowing this film version of “Into the Woods” probably won’t complain that the stage production differs from the film. But the war of pointed opinion will rage on, as we air our daily grievances out in the social media spaces we occupy. My opinion? If you like the original show, then watch Bernadette Peters on Netflix. That’s why it’s preserved there. I’m just thankful movie musicals are being made at all anymore, both on the big screen and on TV. Artists everywhere should celebrate that, and that’s all I’m going to add to the Facebook timeline fire.
Ryan Brinson Editor-in-Chief BLEEP 7
BLEEPon the scene Broadway’s Biggest Night On Sunday June 8, we at BLEEP partnered with Broadway_Buzz to throw a Tony Awards Viewing Party at BEA in Hells Kitchen. Perfomers including Justin Sargeant (Spider Man: Turn Off The Dark, Rock of Ages) and Jamie Cepero (“SMASH”) came together with fans and industry professionals to cheer on their favorites on Broadway’s biggest night, enjoy giveaways and meet fellow Broadway lovers. Thank you so much to our sponsors: Marek + Richard, Axiom products, The Accidental Pervert, Anthem, and BEA in Hells Kitchen.
Loudest applause of the night? When Audra McDonald made history winning her sixth Tony Award.
BLEEP Editor-in-Chief Ryan Brinson, Justin Sargeant, Broadway_Buzz Editor Bryan Campione
BLEEPbliPs First look: the men of Pageant
Talent, swimsuit and evening gown. Those are the components of not just your typical pageant competition in America, but also of the Off-Broadway production of Pageant opening this month in New York. But, unlike pageants on TV where the judges pick the winner, you, the audience, gets to decide who nabs the crown. “We don’t know who is going to win every night and if I don’t win, she [my character] gets pretty upset. Since I play this proper pageant girl, I have to have this perfect smile hiding the rage inside,” Alex Ringler says, “So whenever I don’t win, I kinda like it so I get to play that. It’s a lot of fun.” “It’s interesting. I feel like there seems to be this thing in New York City theatre right now where all of the men are in dresses,” cast member Curtis Wiley said. “ Going back to La Cage Aux Folles, then Priscilla, then Kinky Boots and now Harvey [Fierstein] has a play that’s open with men in dresses and it’s incredible to see this kind of openness and awareness of gender play. It’s exciting.” When asked why Pageant is important for today’s theatre-goers, Nick Cearley says frankly, “Look at the street right now. Walk down the street and you see a bunch of boys in dresses. I think what’ different about our show than say, Kinky Boots, is that we are actually playing women, whereas they are playing drag queens. So we are honestly portraying women and while we are in drag, we aren’t playing drag queens.” “In many respects,” Wiley says, “We are trying to honor the pageant tradition, but there’s real comedy in the pageant tradition. When people come see this, they won’t see a bunch of dudes in dresses. They will see a bunch of dudes trying to inhabit what we as Americans see as pageant culture. It’s funny, then it’s touching, then it’s funny again.” Ringer puts it perfectly: “It’s fun, it’s drag, what’s not to like?” For tickets, head to www.pageantmusical.com 10 BLEEP
Photo by Kevin Thomas Garcia BLEEP 11
the intersection by
Since I have a comic book out now, it seems only fitting to talk about the medium itself. There’s a million reasons I love comic books, and nearly all of them are the little meeting points, the intersections, between moving pieces that churn together to make something beautiful. I love the intersection that is collaboration. As someone who loathed group projects throughout my entire academic career, this is saying something. While most writing I do is a solitary endeavor, comics are a far cry from it. I love the back and forth procedure that is collaborative creation, having someone there on my team, someone who understands the process and makes my work better (Tyler Ellis, take a bow). I love seeing how this translates into the comics I buy on a weekly basis, how artist and writer work together to make something that neither would be capable of alone. Given the fact that I follow the work of several specific comic book writers, I never tire of seeing how their different books are entirely unique offerings based on which artists they work with. I love the intersection that is movement and moment. As opposed to screenwriting, which is more ambiguous, and prose, which is more fluid, comic writing focuses on very specific moments in time. The nature of the medium is that it is single panel after single panel of comparatively concrete shots, which means the creators have much more complete control over what the audience sees. Each image is intentionally chosen by the writer and portrayed by the artist to give the maximum bang for buck. While the intended illusion is that of movement, each frozen segment has a purpose. Nothing is wasted. I love the intersection of genre. The evolution of comic books has absolutely exploded from a fairly limited spectrum of content (superheroes, horror, not a whole lot more of note) to a fully fleshed-out form that can carry its weight with any other art. My only real problem when I go into a comic store lately is that there is too much choice. The books I frequently come away with range from westerns to tales of 12 BLEEP
deep sea science fiction, Victorian mythology to high fantasy…all that and the many adventures of the X-Men, Batman, and the rest to boot. There’s no end of topic, to the point where there truly is something for everyone. I love the intersection of stories. Comic books are a rare sort in that their walls seem flimsier than other mediums. And I mean that in the best way possible. The serialized nature of the form means that so many stories have been continuing on for decades, with the layers and layers of stacked and interwoven stories contributing to vivid mythology. The tales of beloved characters meld together under their combined weight to the point where the whole truly becomes greater than the sum of its parts. Then there’s crossovers, which when done right are a thing of beauty (and are utterly obnoxious when done wrong). Here’s where the walls get fully torn down: where characters cross from one story into another and create something that shows story has no boundary. It’s something so strange it ironically approaches reality, because sometimes a lack of rules to the point of absurdity is the only rule we can count on. This lack of parallel movement is what makes comics so overwhelmingly alive for me. It’s an utter mess of cogs, moving in a hundred directions at once, and the resulting mess is so kinetic that it becomes irresistible. This is why I read comics. This is why I create comics. And this is why comics aren’t going anywhere: because they’re going everywhere. Get Caleb’s graphic novel “Marlin & Percy” on Amazon!
by Alex Wright
There are a lot of things about acting in Los Angeles that no one prepares you for. When first moving here, everyone has the obligatory coffee date with that acting acquaintance who has a few acting years under their belt, and rarely ever is the truth spoken about the business. Maybe no one shares these things because they weren’t shared with them either, and out of out bitter pride and resentment they keep their mouths shut about the ins and outs of Hollywood. Or maybe it’s because anyone who has been here for any period of time knows that everyone’s journey is different and random, and that to try to prepare someone by gifting them with the knowledge you’ve acquired from your own experiences would just be fruitless; plus, it’s important to grow that tough Los Angeles hide, which is only possible through experiencing these bouts of new knowledge that comes with learning the secrets of the business. Or maybe it’s because the last thing anyone wants to do is bash away the green optimism from a new Angeleno transplant. The biggest lesson, the one that most new actors need to hear, is that unless your parents are famous or unless you are willing to sleep your way to the top, you will have a difficult time being seen, and without being seen, you can’t work. I had wrongfully assumed that I would quickly make relationships with casting directors, and that within a year time span, I would be auditioning like crazy. But if you break it down by numbers, you quickly realize that that isn’t possible: for every part, there are about 1,200 actors submitted. That casting director will maybe only see a tiny fraction
of those submitted. They’re going to choose the actors they’ve worked with in the past, or the actors who have been around for many years and have a lot of credits. That’s why they say it takes about ten years for your first break, because in that ten-year time span, you’re making connections and building important relationships. That’s also why it’s important to have a specific type—there are a million white twentysomething girls in Los Angeles, so it is more difficult for me to get seen that say, a twenty-something middle-Eastern boy. It all comes down to type and relationships. I’ve been incredibly fortunate in that I’ve been able to make a living doing theater work in Los Angeles. I got my foot in my first audition room because I knew someone who worked for the theater company, and ever since then, I’ve been working steadily—even having to turn down jobs because of a lack of time. However, something I’ve learned from all of this is just how important it is to define success for yourself, because there will always be someone else making more money or booking more jobs than you. If it just comes to down to fortune and fame, then shoot, all you need to do is release a sex tape. But if what you’re craving to do is act, then by all means, act. I could not be happier with where I am, and I count that as a success. Sure, there are some people who disapprove of the life of a struggling actor, but there is nothing else I would rather be doing. And maybe that’s why it’s impossible to prepare someone for this lifestyle—it’s more beautiful, thrilling, challenging, heart-breaking and heart-fulfilling than anything you could ever expect. BLEEP 13
the editor’s editorial thought
A vote for colorblind casting (and Brandy) Why hasn’t Brandy announced she’s joining the cast of Cinderella on Broadway? Rather, why haven’t the producers seen this as an obvious casting choice and made it happen? It’s no secret that Broadway has become a prominent battleground for tourist dollars and the winners of those dollars tend to be the shows that have stuntcasted their way to the top of the TKTS flyer pile. The incredibly successful production of Cinderella currently playing at the Broadway Theater is one of those shows, casting pop star Carly Rae Jepson and TV mainstay Fran Drescher as Cinderella and her stepmother. Already one of Broadway’s biggest earners, Cinderella’s box
by Ryan Brinson
office was further bolstered by the duo. Which brings me to Brandy. Known mostly for her string of hits in the 90’s including “Almost Doesn’t Count” and “The Boy Is Mine,” in 1997 she was cast in the made-for-TV reinvention of “Cinderella” alongside Whitney Houston, Jason Alexander, Whoopi Goldberg, and Bernadette Peters. For people in my generation, this colorblind telling of the classic tale wasn’t just a movie of the week, but it was a home run. I’m 31 years old now, but the mention of this film to people in my age bracket garners nostalgic memories of what was must-see-TV. We weren’t alone. More than 60 million people watched the classic story told in a new way. It didn’t matter that the prince was Asian and his parents were Victor Garber and Whoopi Goldberg. It didn’t matter that Bernadette Peters’ characterization of the step mother had two daughters, one black and one white. What mattered was a fun evening in front of the television and timeless music sung beautifully by a pop star we knew could actually sing. The message of Cinderella isn’t that white people should believe in love. The message is that people should believe in love. Colorblind casting is something that has been done both very well and very poorly, but the stage is a prime home for telling stories in this way. Much in the way Norm Lewis, a Tony-nominated black actor, is currently knocking out audiences as the first black Phantom in Broadway’s longest-running Phantom of the Opera, why can’t Cinderella be portrayed by a black women on Broadway? Or by any other nationality for that matter? Colorblind casting has a few obvious roadblocks, especially when it comes to telling a story of cultural significance to a certain people group or demographic. But this isn’t a colorblind casting of Miss Saigon, which is rooted in cultural and historical importance. It’s Cinderella. Who cares about the skin tone of the characters who fall in love? The story is just about love, breakable footwear and turning animals into fancy carriage drivers. And while this current production
on Broadway may have breathed new life into the show when it opened, it’s also been open for long enough where it’d be nice to see new life again. Especially with the slow fall months coming, a notoriously treacherous time for any show that isn’t Wicked, Jersey Boys or The Lion King. In 2013, around 12 million people took in a Broadway show to the tune of over 1 billion dollars. In a land where money speaks, it’s hard to dismiss the idea of reviving a much loved princess who can more than hold her weight eight times a week. If you don’t believe me, you need to look at Brandy’s YouTube channel from recent years. She can sing. So there it is. I vote Brandy for Cinderella in the fall. Maybe my vote doesn’t count for anything, but I think if we are going to continue to cast pop stars and TV stars who’s shows got canceled or are on hiatus, then perhaps we should look at who has the chops to back it up. And Cinderella could have colorblind casting and
it would work. Grease and Little Shop of Horrors would work as well. When you come to the theater, you’re already suspending your disbelief and giving in to make-believe. That’s part of why we go. So why not live in that land of make-believe a little longer and just see talented performers put on a good show, regardless of if their skin color matches the person standing next to them on stage? BLEEP 15
BY LISANDRA CARABALL
TS S AND TREATS
LO - THE LITTLE HIPPIE CHEF
SUMMER GARDEN PEA PESTO GRILLED CHEESE
What you’ll need for the Pea Pesto: 1 Bag Frozen or Fresh Peas ½ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil 3 Tbsp. Garlic 2 Tbsp. Brown Sugar 1 Tsp. Onion Powder 4 Tsp. Grated Parmesan Cheese Salt + Pepper
What you’ll need for the grilled cheese: 2 White Onions 4 Slices of Cooked Bacon 1 Tbsp. Minced Thyme Smoked Gouda Cheese Mozzarella Cheese Handful of Arugula Fresh Italian Ciabatta Bread
To make the pesto place the peas, garlic, brown sugar, onion powder, parmesan cheese and a dash of salt and pepper into the food processor, as it is pureeing, slowly start to pour the olive oil in, letting it become smoother and thinner from when you first started. Set aside. To caramelize your onions, start with a sauté pan and put 4 tbsp. of olive oil in it followed by your thinly sliced onions. Keep on a lowmedium flame to achieve that sweet, brown, caramelized taste. Slow and steady is the trick to these onions! Now to put this bad boy together! Spread butter on both the top and bottom pieces of the ciabatta bread, on the inside of the bottom bread piece but a generous smear of pea pesto to coat the bottom and then layer on top your smoked gouda, mozzarella, thyme, caramelized onions, bacon and a handful of arugula. Before you close your sandwich, smear another heaping amount of the pea pesto on the inside of the top bread piece and then press down on the sandwich for about a minute or so, so all that delicious cheese becomes melted and oozes from your pan to your plate. Cut to share… or not to share, but definitely 18 BLEEPenjoy!
After spending the last 3 years moving around Vermont, Colorado, New Orleans, and the Hamptons, Lisandra Caraballo now lives in Manhasset, NY and has begun building up a substantial following on social media for her delicious eats and treats. Her specialty? Well that depends on who you ask. “My Dad would say it’s my breakfast sandwiches, but I think my specialty is my bacon chocolate chip cookie pie, or my smoked paprika salmon dish with wild rice and herbs,” Caraballo says. She fell in love with cooking, baking and experimenting with food when she was a child helping her mom prepare Thanksgiving with her sisters. “We would all be given a job by my mother, mainly just to keep us entertained and from arguing with one another,” she says, “but little did she know that bringing me into the kitchen was going to turn out to be a full on love affair with food and the culinary world.” For more, find Lisandra at @LittleHippieChef on Instagram, @LittleHippyChef on Twitter & if you’d like to place any orders or have her come and host a dinner party, shoot her an email at LittleHippieChef@yahoo.com
PB & JELLY PIE What youâ€™ll need:
12 oz. Cream Cheese 1 cup Peanut Butter (I prefer smooth & creamy for a better texture) 1 package of Honey Graham Crackers 4 Tbsp. Melted Butter Â˝ Cup Confectionary Sugar 1 Cup Strawberry Blackberry Preserves (or whichever is your favorite) 1 Pint of Heavy Cream 2 Tsp Vanilla Extract 9 inch round pan
First, lightly grease your pie pan than crush up the honey graham crackers until they are in small sand like pieces and mix together with butter. Take mixture and evenly distribute in pan just to coat the bottom. Set aside. Then go ahead and cream together in a large bowl the peanut butter, sugar and cream cheese to a smooth and fluffy consistency, 1-2 minutes, than spoon this delicious mixture into the pie pan. Next you want to take your preserves and mix it for a little to loosen it up a bit and I like to put a generous layer of the preserves right on top of the peanut butter mixture. With your heavy cream and vanilla extract, put into a separate bowl and beat on high for 3-5 minutes, till this too is light and fluffy. Spoon your homemade whipped cream on top of the pie and spread evenly. Place pie in the fridge to chill for 4-6 hours, decorate with slice of strawberry, graham cracker dust & a sprig of mint. And all-time classic favorite dish transformed into a tasty dessert!
CHOCOLATE AVOCADO MOUSSE What you’ll need:
2 Ripe Avocados ¼ Cup Ghirardelli Unsweetened Cocoa Powder ¼ Cup Honey ¼ Cup Almond Milk 3 Tbsp. Chocolate Syrup 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract Raspberries & Almonds to Garnish! Place avocados, cocoa powder, honey, chocolate syrup, almond milk and vanilla extract in food processor, blend until creamy and smooth! And BAM! Chocolate mousse, delicious and healthier than most! Garnish with raspberries and slivered almonds, or other fruits and nuts to your liking!
those lazy, hazy crazy, (boozy) days of summer Summer is in full effect down here in Austin, Texas. It’s HOT, folks. I mean air you can wear, four showers a day H-O-T. Still, I love summer. BBQ, sunroof, pool time, and, of course, summer cocktails. We’ve turned summer porch sitting and cocktail sipping into a varsity sport down here (mostly because it’s too hot to do much else). But, alas, the heat has wreaked havoc on one of my favorite ingredients. My poor mint is in really rough shape. To be honest, it was pretty much decimated after Derby Day. BUT the point is that I’m now stuck buying two sprigs per pack from the store for $5.99. No, thank you! So I’ve turned to a trusty second who loves the heat and packs a flavorful punch. In this, I’ve reworked for you some of my favorite summer cocktails with basil. First: about the ingredient. There are several species and subsequent varieties of basil. The two we’ll use, sweet basil and Thai basil, are part of the same species of plant. Sweet basil is what you’re used to in Italian food; you know what it tastes like. Thai basil has a sharper, less sweet, and almost sour flavor with anise notes. The point here is that you should taste them, learn what you like, and use them. Then go and find the others, like lemon, cinnamon, and holy basil, to see what those do. What follows are recommendations, so let your palate be your guide.
Sweet Basil Negroni 1 oz Gin 1 oz Sweet Vermouth 1 oz Campari 4 â€“ 5 Sweet Basil Leaves
I love the way the bite of Campari and the balance of vermouth combine in this classic. The rework here is easy: just add basil (and it works for many other simple classics). Smash the basil leaves between your hands once, then drop them into your mixing glass. Add the remaining ingredients, fill with ice, and stir for ~30 revolutions. Double strain (to keep the basil bits out) into a chilled glass, garnish, and head to the porch. Some folks like to add a little soda to the top of this one for some pep.
Thai Basil Blackberry Julep 3 oz Bourbon 1 oz Basil Blackberry Syrup
No mint? No Problem! No one said the julep was the exclusive domain of one herb. For syrup: puree four cups of blackberries in your food processor. Check the volume, then bring it to a simmer on the stovetop in a shallow pan. Add equal volume of turbinada, stirring constantly until dissolved. Remove from heat, add basil, and stir. Cool mixture, then strain it thoroughly through fine mesh and cheese cloth. This will keep in the fridge for a few days. For your cocktail: Combine bourbon and syrup over crushed ice. Top with more ice, garnish, and sip blissfully. Youâ€™ll probably need a strawâ€Śor a napkin.
2 oz Gin or Vodka Half oz Lime 1 oz Tamarind Juice 1 tbsp Thai Tea Leaves A healthy handful of Thai Basil Prosecco
Letâ€™s up our game a little with this one, whose flavors all work deliciously with our star ingredient. The tamarind adds some complexity to the flavor, and the tasty tealeaves create a beautiful orange color. Combine your ingredients (but NOT the Prosecco) in a shaker with ice and shake heavily for 10 â€“ 20 seconds. Double strain into a chilled glass, top with Prosecco, garnish, and return to your pool float. BLEEP 27
The Great Divide As an obsessive movie-goer, the contrast between blockbusters and independent films are at times as extreme as heaven and hell. And most people, unbeknownst to themselves, often associate one to their “heaven”, and one as their “hell.” For example, an adolescent teenager with an affinity to young, sparkling vampires falling in love would associate blockbusters to their heaven, while an intentionally disjointed movie with a pace slower than a snail slithering on asphalt full of metaphorical allusions would probably drive that person insane. On the other end of the spectrum, a movie of a guy driving in a car for an hour and a half may be the greatest thing that ever happened to someone, while a three hour movie of robots fighting each other would make that same person go mad. Obviously, not every indie film is avant-garde, and not every blockbuster is a mindless action flick. If you look closely, you see many of the greatest films ever made are a mix of original style and content, yet done in a way that has people we recognize with a conflict that at times is predictable, yet we don’t care because it’s engaging. I go to the movies a lot… probably too much. I personally enjoy the juxtaposition of going to a movie theater with two completely different goals in mind for what I want my experience to be. I’ll explain. Last week, I went to a movie called “Locke.” The entire movie is Tom Hardy, Locke, driving his car and talking on the phone to different people. It was fantastic. While this concept would drive many people up a wall, the experience was great because it makes the audience fully engage in Locke, and while he emotionally spirals throughout the film, so do we. It intensely makes us think and analyze, which is something that very few mediums can achieve. I love having the opportunity to not focus on my life for a few hours and empathize in another life. I’m not saying films are a living person, but for indie films, most of the time, we’re directly diving into the 28 BLEEP
by Hatley Moore director’s heart as they spill their personal thoughts onto the screen in their unique way. Because independent films are so emotionally exhausting, or because at times there is no emotion at all in the film and that causes it’s own psychological hysteria, by the end of it, if you were engaged, you’ll need a second to recuperate. The first time I saw “Reservoir Dogs,” “Donnie Darko,” or “The Usual Suspects,” I was blown away because they were stories that took me on an emotional journey that was done in a way different from the typical linear narrative. On the other hand, I love going to blockbuster movies. It’s nice to just zone out and watch something mindless that doesn’t make you rack your brain too much. My de-stresser in life is watching a mindless action movie that I don’t have to think too hard because I know what’s going to happen, and just watch the cool special effects and actors I already know the names of. Last week, I also went and saw “Edge of Tomorrow.” This film was like a real-life video-game with Tom Cruise fighting aliens in a way different from just normal fighting. It was awesome. I could pretty much guess how the film was going to play out, but I didn’t care because it was mindless action fun. Even if the ending was completely Hollywood-ized (way too conveniently happy), it doesn’t matter because that’s what I expect from a Hollywood film. Don’t make me think too hard, make it fun to watch, and don’t make me leave the theater more depressed than I was coming in (which is something indie films love to do). For this reason, I think both factions of films are important for the movie-watcher to view. Both styles bring different things to the table that mix in a really great way. There’s emotionally exhausting movies and there are movies that are escapes from real-life emotional exhaustion. That’s why I love movies, you can get just about any cathartic response you’re looking for.
one to watch Raised in Milwaukee,
Christiaan Smith-Kotlarek started
playing guitar when he was ten, piano before that and would get lost in the music the instruments made. When he was 12, he joined a punk rock band with friends and played at parties throughout high school, but it was his mom who encouraged him to take voice lessons. He told her it was for nerds. But she wore him down and when he was 16, he started taking voice lessons and has been studying and singing ever since.
And yes, there are two aâ€™s in Christiaan.
HOW DID YOU CULTIVATE YOUR LOVE OF MUSIC? I went to college for music and I have three degrees in Opera. In undergrad, I was really focused on jazz and pop. That’s been the theme of my musical studies. A jazz band I put together opened for Obama before one of his speeches, I sang opera at school and I also performed in musical theater roles. WHAT IS THE LAST THING YOU DO BEFORE YOU STEP ON STAGE? I really like to collect my thoughts, stand with my eyes closed and think about what I’m going to do when I walk out there. YOU PERFORM ALL TYPES OF MUSIC. WHAT MUSIC INSPIRES YOU? All good music inspires me. In any genre, there’s good stuff and not-so-good stuff. It’s that innate, soul-shaking, feeling you get when you’re listening to good music. You feel like you’re plugged into the flow. FOR SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO GET INTO THE BUSINESS, WHAT IS ONE PRACTICAL PIECE OF ADVICE YOU HAVE TO GIVE? My biggest advice is to generate output. That’s the biggest and most important thing a musician can do. Create something people can listen to, whether it’s in concerts, recordings or videos. In order to generate output, you have to have repertoire and finding the repertoire that fits you and suits you is important. Listen to as much music as you can and then follow where the rabbit hole can take you. It’s all about creating. WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU? Right now I’m working on Carmen at Music Academy of the West. After that, I’m singing in Kansas City and then I’ll be back in New York, working on my own cabaret. I’ll also be covering an opera role with Gotham Chamber Opera this September. Find more on Christiaan on his website and hear his music on Soundcloud & YouTube and follow him on Facebook & Twitter. www.christiaansmithkotlarek.com
Photo by Saga Sig
The Icelandic master musician you need to know about - by Andrew Mellor -
For a couple of weeks in June, a rusty old shipping container was plonked on the elegant, award-winning piazza in front of Iceland’s spectacular new concert hall, the Harpa. Some tourists contorted their limbs and cameras in an attempt to erase the industrial eyesore from their postcard photos of the building’s spectacular façade. Others seemed more fascinated by the metal box – peering through its makeshift windows and purposefully framing their photos to pitch its rough, off-white corrugated iron against the shiny black-blue glass of the concert hall behind it. Either way, the shipping container was entirely unignorable in-the-moment – sat there, right in the middle of the no-mans-land that separates Reykjavik city centre from its hottest new attraction, bathed in the 24-hour sunlight that graces this part of the planet at the height of summer. It was a clever trick – if an obvious one – from the man who put it there. Inside the Harpa for the duration of the container’s temporary stay on the piazza, pianist Víkingur Ólafsson was directing the third Reykjavik Midsummer Music Festival. In the days before and during the festival, Ólafsson would stride out to his container – which became affectionately known as the ‘shed’ – to practise on one of two battered old pianos, drink coffee and make final decisions concerning the content and interpretative
nuance of concerts with his musical collaborators. “My idea was that people could come by, see some of the rehearsals and see some of the decisions being made,” Ólafsson says. Over the course of his five day festival, the shed became something of a focal point – a constant reminder that there were odd and alluring things going on down by the water. But for some of us, it also became a physical manifestation of the pianist’s rampant imagination and reflex-like instinct for thinking, if you’ll excuse the phrase, outside the box. On that front, Ólafsson has form. He founded his own record label pretty much by accident in 2009, and shortly afterwards persuaded Iceland’s state broadcaster to let him front a prime-time television series in which he focussed on the detail of musical interpretation. His festival, now two years old, is a tightly-conceived yet off-the-wall blend of ‘standard’ classical music with landmarks of the avant-garde, improvisation and provocative acts beameddown from seemingly distant musical planets (this year’s festival included an appearance from the uncompromising Icelandic ‘noise band’ Ghostdigital). Nor is the event’s insistence on breaking free from standard confines restricted to the activities in the shed. One evening, after we’d decamped to a local bar following Ólafsson’s intense traversal of Bach’s BLEEP 33
piano monolith the Goldberg Variations, the violinist Pekka Kuusisto stood on a chair and announced that he and three members of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra were about to perform Steve Reich’s Violin Phase. They did, people listened, then cheered, then carried on drinking and chatting. Only in Iceland. As fascinating as all those projects are, the most interesting thing about Ólafsson is not what he’s done in the past, but what he might do in the future. I first spoke meaningfully with him on an eight-minute, four-stop London Underground journey in 2013 after we’d attended the same concert. It didn’t take any longer than that – nor any heightened powers of perception – to realise that here was an artist with a remarkable view of the world and its cultural discourse; one with the propensity to have new ideas and the readiness to act on them fast. That, Ólafsson tells me in Reykjavik a year later when I finally get him to commit to an extended conversation, is an Icelandic trait. “Somehow in Iceland everything becomes possible,” he says. “Things don’t take a long time and that’s a compliment to the nation and it’s also not a compliment, because it can be a bit chaotic. But we’re flexible, and this flexibility is the reason we’ve come out of the recession much faster than anyone anticipated.” It has also helped create a strangely unique attitude to creativity in the country for which the Harpa has been something of a catalyst. Attendance at Iceland Symphony Orchestra concerts is up 63% since the Harpa was built, with the equivalent of each person in the country attending an orchestral concert every year. “As soon as the Harpa was there, I knew it was time to start a festival” Ólafsson says, “…the time to invite fantastic musicians from abroad and team them up with Icelandic musicians to create
something.” The country’s canny PR machine – itself a survivor of the boom and bust (and now boom again) that cast a shadow over Iceland at the end of the last decade just as the Harpa was rising from the ground – wants us to see this small land of 320,000 inhabitants as a hotbed of creativity which knows no boundaries. Is it true, I ask Ólafsson, that genre-boundaries are far weaker here – that you’ll find Björk at Iceland Symphony Orchestra concerts and orchestral musicians spinning discs at nightclubs afterwards? “Well, I’ve played with Björk, many people do and many people in the orchestra are playing Tchaikovsky on a Thursday night and might be playing with a metal band in town at the weekend.” he says. “But that’s sort of happened in Iceland in the last ten years – it wasn’t like that before, and it’s why I could do something like invite Ghostdigital to play last night for the same people who will be listening to Beethoven today.” I witnessed a handful of special performances over course of the festival, but there was a particularly curious energy when Ólafsson, fellow pianist Davíð Þór jónsson and percussionist Pétur Grétarsson improvised at their instruments as a prelude to Morton Feldman’s The King of Denmark and Steve Reich’s Different Trains. It was an oddly delicate, tense experience in which you felt the audience was compelled to listen as hard as the musicians were. “To be honest with you, this was only the second time I have improvised in my life,” says Ólafsson. “We just did it, but I had great people with me: they are expert improvisers, I am not.” In a sense, that improvisation could serve as a handy metaphor for the way Ólafsson is pursuing his life as a pianist; after four years at the Juilliard School in New York he founded a record label because “I’m a bit
The other day I got this lady giving me a hard time, asking me ‘you’ve got string quartets, you’ve got a chamber orchestra, you’ve got a DJ, you’re doing a solo recital… what is this festival?’
of a control freak” and got his TV series commissioned “because I had some time.” At the very least, the improvisation was representative of his festival. “I’m using this festival as a playground” he concedes, “and I don’t think the questions should be answered before it begins. The other day I got this lady giving me a hard time, asking me ‘you’ve got string quartets, you’ve got a chamber orchestra, you’ve got a DJ, you’re doing a solo recital…what is this festival?’ I think she felt lost. I thought it was funny, because she was giving me a hard time for exactly what it is that I want people to feel like.” The subtext of the woman’s comments were, when you consider it, totally anti-improvisatory. In that sense, they were every bit ‘classical’; a festival should have a black-and-white route-plan, followed to the letter, just like a Beethoven piano sonata. As we talk more about the challenge of that act of improvisation, the boyish, slightly hipster but thoroughly easygoing Ólafsson lurches into a softly-spoken attack on what he feels is musical creativity’s biggest threat: fear. “It has to do with what’s going on in the conservatoires and the music schools. There’s way too much fear, fear of making mistakes, and I think that’s overwhelming in classical music today and I think we need to get rid of it. We’re obsessed with imperfections and the whole mindset of classical musicians is to be negative towards themselves, whereas in other genres of music-making people nurture their strengths more.” It’s a little odd, coming from a man who prepared for months on end to perform Bach’s finger-twisting Goldberg Variations from memory, and with sufficient ‘perfection’ to garner a standing ovation, two nights before. “Well, I’m not free of it… I spend six hours a day at the piano working on doing things better. Often I’ve been happiest with a performance right after a concert which years later I haven’t found to be my best. And
almost all the ones I cherish are the ones I’ve been devastated about afterwards. But it worries me. I still sense a lot of fright in classical music. It has to do with the process and that’s very deeply rooted in us.” Which brings us back to the ‘shed’, which like the TV series was designed to allow others to glimpse the process for themselves, to see a performance not just as the polished result in the concert hall, but the end-point of an often dirty process that involves sweat, struggle, self-exploration and self-doubt. “It’s important to me to find new ways of communicating the process of music making – how an interpretation takes shape – and the shed meant we could put that element of the pianist’s life on display,” Ólafsson says. “All sorts of people came, some didn’t quite know what was going on, whether they were allowed to listen, and I thought that was quite beautiful.” And it unlocked something in the pianist himself, too. When he’s done with the second series of his TV series Útúrdúr (“Out of Tune”), and collaborating with video artist Yann Malka on a multimedia performance of Messiaen’s Catalogue d’oiseaux in Milan in November, he says he wants to flip his recent experiences of Bach’s Goldberg Variations around, “perhaps with an app, or a website, where I’ll share my thoughts on the process of interpretation – you know, one app or micro-site per variation, that sort of thing.” All this work, most of it based on sharing experiences – offering a handle on the most helpful or significant aspects of sometimes unfathomable masterpieces – is it born of a sense of responsibility? “I don’t believe in responsibility when it comes to music,” Ólafsson says. “I don’t have a manifesto. I just do what comes to my mind, and it tends to be different things.” Watch this space. For more info and to buy Ólafsson’s music, head over to www.vikingurolafsson.com
go go go Bit by the performing bug in the 7th grade when his girlfriend at the time convinced him to audition for the school play, Much Ado About Nothing, Joseph Rosko had no interest in theatre and didn’t know anything about Shakespeare. “But, I just wanted to be with this girl so...I obviously auditioned,” he said. “The problem was that I was cast in the play and she was not. Needless to say, I did not enjoy the experience. As a young jock, what did I know about theatre, let alone Shakespeare.” But that changed for Rosko and led him to where he is today. HOW DID YOU GET FROM YOUR FIRST SCHOOL PLAY TO A LIFE IN THE THEATRE? To this day I give thanks to my career as a performer to my middle school choir teacher, Kelly Scurich. The next show that year was, Guys and Dolls Jr. After my awful experience with the first show I had no intentions of ever auditioning for another play again. But, Mrs. Scurich sat me down on the bleachers of old middle school gym during a choir class study hall and convinced me to give it one more try. Getting to be a rough gangster who shot craps was an awesome sell to a 12 year old jock. From there I was hooked. HOW DID YOU TRAIN/SCHOOL FOR BEING AN ACTOR? I had a great experience at Canfield High School with Kelly Scurich, Rebecca Heikkinen, Nancy Dove, and Kandy Cleland. I was fortunate to have had such a great drama program at my school and got a lot of great experience playing lead roles in musicals from
8th grade to my senior year in high school. I then went on to receive a BA in Musical Theatre from Coastal Carolina University. I owe a great deal to my mentors and friends David Bankston and Monica Bell. WHAT HAVE BEEN SOME OF THE DEFINING MOMENTS, FOR YOU, IN YOUR CAREER THUS FAR? Being apart of my favorite musical, The Light in the Piazza, at Maine State Music Theatre. Being apart of the inaugural summer season at The Prizery Theatre; a lovely theatre in South Boston, Virginia that is run by Chris Jones. Playing Joseph in Joseph at Sight&Sound Theatre where I played to audiences of 2,200 people, road on camels, played with rats, flew, wore beautiful costumes, performed on a 300 ft wrap around stage, standing beside set pieces that were taller than two story buildings, and being interviewed by Christiane Amanpour in a nationally aired ABC special. I would like to BLEEP 37
thank Earl Grove for that amazing opportunity. AT WHAT POINT DID PHYSICAL TRAINING BECOME IMPORTANT TO YOU? It has always been important to me. I grew up as an infant/toddler going to my aunts and uncles sports games and went on to competing in my own. I have video of my dad taking a broom stick and putting 2, 2 1/2 pound plates on each side and having me do clean and jerks with him in the garage at the age of one; I really had no choice. HAVE YOU SEEN YOUR PHYSICAL TRAINING AFFECT YOUR ART? Without a doubt. I joke with my clients who are actors that it’s not, “Triple Threat,” it’s Quadruple Threat.” Actor, Singer, Dancer, Body. All joking aside, it is obvious things, like being able to dance hard and maintain your breath better than most to sing well because of your fitness level. Or, having the seemingly never ending options to choose from in regards to partner lifts with a girl due to the strength you obtain. YOU’RE TRAINING OTHER ACTORS NOW. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ASPECT OF IT? I enjoy training athletes the most who are wanting to improve their abilities in their given sport. I specialize in sports enhancement training. I enjoy training actors equally the same due to the fact that I consider actors to be athletes. Being a performer can be heavily demanding. I enjoy knowing what show my client is preparing for and helping them obtain a skill or look needed to fit their role. Whether it’s a dance heavy show and I program their sessions to help with cardio endurance, muscle stamina, and explosive power for leaping or, I am programming their sessions to help them gain or lose size for a certain role requirement.
The time is now. It’s not what you did yesterday or what you will do tomorrow. What will you do today? I don’t know how else I could say it to stress it enough. 2. 80% of fitness gains are acquired in the kitchen. You can work out all you want but, if your nutritional habits (not diet, nutritional habits) don’t match your efforts in the gym then it is basically all for not. You will never see or feel your full fitness results if your nutrition isn’t right. Stay on the outside of the aisles at the grocery store. Keep it simple. Meats, Vegetables, Nuts and Seeds, Some Fruit, Little Starch, No Sugar. Stay away from sugar. 3. There are good habits and there are bad habits. In the end, it’s not THAT hard. You just have to make it “normal.” Once you live a certain way long enough it just becomes normal and you don’t know any different. Once you drink coffee black for long enough, it just becomes normal, as opposed to your old normal that used to be loaded with fattening cream and sugars (No fat, no calorie, no nothing creamer STILL is no good for you). Get a plan...stick to it. WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU? Continuing to be a personal trainer and CrossFit coach. My business, 2 Train Fitness, is thankfully thriving and the schedule is busy. After 2 years of Joseph and doing around 700 shows in 2012 and 2013 I am enjoying the down time from the stage...for now. WHAT’S YOUR DREAM? My dream is to always be doing something that God would intend for me to do to make me happy and make others happy. I feel that your purpose in life is to find out what you are good at, do it, and use it to help others.
IF YOU COULD ONLY GIVE OUR READERS THREE TIPS TO LIVING A MORE HEALTHY LIFE EVERYDAY, WHAT WOULD THEY BE? Need help? Shoot Joe an email at Rosko27@gmail.com 1. Start now. There is no better time than now. and find him on Instagram/Twitter at @itsmerosko 38 BLEEP
BLEEP CREATIVITY. UNCENSORED.
camille a. brown telling visual stories that matter. 43 Photography by AlbertoBLEEP Milazzo
When Camille A. Brown was about three years old, she would watch Michael and Janet Jackson videos and try to learn the routines. Her mother took note of her innate love of dance and put her in dance classes. Now, as the leader of her own dance company as well as being Broadway choreographer (A Streetcar Named Desire in 2012), she is readying new work and challenging stereotypes. WHAT ARE SOME STANDOUT MOMENTS FOR YOU THAT HAVE DEFINED YOU? When I was asked to choreograph on the Ailey company and then a couple years later, while it was still in the repertory, dance in my own work with the company. I was never considered to have the ideal body, there was always something wrong. I had my teachers that I call my angels, who looked at me and taught to my body. Then I had people who didn’t think I fit into their image of what a dancer was. So I struggled with negotiating those two different energies. So as I got older, there was something I had to pull from inside and I said I wasn’t going to let anyone tell me who I was or who I wasn’t. To then have Judith Jameson as me to set something on the company and then step into my own work as a dancer who was once told I didn’t have the ideal body was amazing to me.
certain companies, but we need to be aware that we can create our own path. It might be hard and it will be a struggle. And even if you’re defeated, take your time and level out, we all need that. Then get back up and start again. SO YOU DID JUST THAT, YOU CREATED YOUR OWN DANCE COMPANY. I never wanted my own company, I just wanted to get some dancers together and put on a show. I was doing commissions and I liked doing it, but then it flipped and I began to enjoy the process with my dancers more than the commissions. I needed a group I could spend some time with and the only way I could do that was to create my own company. WHAT’S COMING UP FOR YOU? My company is touring, we have a great summer of festivals. I’m the choreographer for the musical Fortress of Solitude which opens at The Public in the fall. That show is really wonderful and I’m excited about it because it’s the first opportunity I had in theatre. I’ve been on the project for four years and the director liked my work so much and believed in me even though he knew I didn’t have the experience. Technically, someone else who had far more experience than I did could have gotten that, but I’m excited to move forward. I’m also working on a new piece with my company, tentatively called “Black Girl,” and I want to represent the full spectrum of black girls. I think we live between two stereotypes: the angry black woman and the strong black woman. I’m exhausted by both and I want to talk about the inbetween. That premiers sometime next year.
WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY TO PEOPLE WHO ARE TOLD THE SAME THINGS YOU WERE TOLD, THAT YOU AREN’T THE RIGHT LOOK FOR WHAT YOU ARE TRYING TO DO? For more information on Camille and her dance You definitely have to pull from inside and it might company, check out www.camilleabrown.org get hard. But if you don’t see the type of work or the type of company you are wanting to be in, then -Interview by Ryan Brinson create it. I think we get caught up in trying to get into
Photography by Alberto Milazzo
o j huA
dean the new face of high flying circus artistry
My first interaction with Joshua Dean was as he dangled above the audience during one of his areal routines as a part of the 2 Ring Circus show in Brooklyn. I caught up with the multifaceted performer (once he landed) to find out more about the art of the circus and what it takes to maintain the highest caliber of performance in one of the most expressive and highflying artforms around. CIRCUS PERFORMING ISN’T AS ACCESSIBLE AS GYMNASTICS OR DANCE CLASSES. HOW DID YOU BECOME INVOLVED WITH IT? I started becoming a circus performer around 10 years ago. I started off as a dancer and was in a show where two people had to learn a circus act. I wasn’t one of those people, but I met the people who trained them and told them I wanted to learn. I had some classes and from there, started my training and have been going ever since. WHAT’S THE CONTINUOUS APPEAL OF THIS TYPE OF ART TO YOU? The constant work. It’s not like I can quit training and still do what I do. I have to continue training everyday, I have to continue my workouts and stretching and 48 BLEEP
every aspect of keeping my body fit from how I eat to how I feel in the air. Keeping all of that active in my life is the fun thing. You have to be a hard worker if you are going to do this. HOW DO YOU KEEP IT FROM BECOMING MONOTONOUS TRAINING? What inspired me is that I’ve tried to work on many different areal equipment. So maybe I do get bored with fabric, so I’ll play on the rope or the trapeze or adding new ground skills. It’s just finding all the different disciplines that are in the circus arts. That keeps is alive for me. YOU ALSO TEACH WHAT YOU’VE LEARNED IN CLASSES. I’m a co-owner of Areal Arts NYC which is a great areal and ground circus school here in New York City. I think it’s fun to share the skills I’m so passionate about and finding other people who are passionate about it. We have people who just want to come and have fun and it’s like their gym. Watching them find the joy is wonderful for me as well. WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU? Next thing for me with 2 Ring Circus is getting ready for our tour in China. We have a couple things coming up with our “Boys Night” which is our all-male review. For more info on Joshua and the 2 Ring Circus, head over to www.2ringcircus.com
- Interview by Ryan Brinson
Photography by Alberto Milazzo
a true song and dance powerhouse
williams BLEEP 51
When Charlie Williams was in third grade, his elementary school did a production of Midsummer Night’s Dream. He didn’t get the part. But it planted the desire to perform inside of him. Now, he’s performed on the Emmys, the Oscars, the Kennedy Center Honors, on Broadway, and this summer you can see him dancing alongside Neil Patrick Harris in the film “A Million Ways To Die in The West.” WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER YOUR BIG BREAK? I would say that would be my Broadway debut, which was Memphis. I was able to break into the New York scene, I was living in LA at the time. So to come to New York City and come with a new musical, record a cast album, it won the Tony - it was all in one great package.
were working with Charlize Theron and Channing Tatum and then Dan Radcliffe - working with all of them and then to perform for basically all of Hollywood, it was a crazy energy. To look out and see any movie star you’ve ever seen in the room, that was a crazy highlight. Also, doing the Emmys, I got to meet Elton John. I’m such a huge fan and meeting him was really insane. WITH WHAT YOU DO, YOU HAVE TO STAY FIT AND THEN YOU ALSO STAY FIT BECAUSE OF IT. WHAT DO YOU DO TO STAY FIT OUTSIDE OF DANCING? I go to the gym a lot. I’ve been able to make the gym my quiet time and my personal time. Everyone has their own thing they do to relax and get centered, and for me it’s the gym. I go six days a week and mix it up with free weights and cardio. I get stressed out if I don’t go. WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU? I’m working on Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Broadway as the movement associate. That’s a cool step. I was the assistant choreographer on How To Succeed, but this is fully on the creative side. I’m not in the show. So it’s a cool step for me to take, being the associate to Spencer Liff, the choreographer. It’s a great show and I’m excited
WHAT WAS THE MOST SURPRISING ASPECT OF BEING A PART OF MEMPHIS? It was surprising how quickly it all goes. We Top: Performing with Daniel Radcliffe in How To Succeed In Business opened in October and it felt Without Really Trying. Above: Performing with Neil Patrick Harris on the Emmys. like June and the Tonys came around so fast. I’d done the show in both out-of-town to be working on it. productions and it was surprising to see how the show was reinvigorated and became new. For more info on projects Charlie is working on, head over to www.iamcharliewilliams.com WHAT ARE SOME OF THE PERSONAL HIGHLIGHTS SINCE THEN? Definitely dancing on the Academy Awards. We - Interview by Ryan Brinson 52 BLEEP
EMAIL US FOR DETAILS THEBLEEPMAG@GMAIL.COM
Domenic Servidio on his physical transformation into the brawniest (maybe not brainiest) character in GableStage’s production of the Tony Award winning Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Dominic Servido & Hayley Bruce in GableStage’s production of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. BLEEP 57 Photo by George Schiavone
WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO BE AN ACTOR? The first stage production I ever saw that really affected me was The Drowsy Chaperone. It was on tour in south Florida, I was a freshman in high school and my mother knew I had an interest in acting so she felt it was time to pop my theatrical cherry. Back then, I hated musicals. I thought they were cheesy and the acting was always contrived and fake. I saw the show and my life was changed. To this date, it is one of only two shows to ever make me cry the other one being Les Miserables. I remember sitting in the audience thinking “ screw football and sports, I wanna sing and dance.” HOW DID VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE COME ABOUT? Gablestage is a very well known Equity house in Miami where I am attending school and I knew it was in their upcoming season. So having read the play, I felt like Spike was a character I really connected too and in true Spike fashion, I just went for it. After trying to contact the director several times and getting no response (Who was I? I was just another no-name actor trying to get his foot in the door.) In one final attempt, I sent an email with some shots of my torso in it being that the role requires a physically fit actor. He replied almost instantly and I went in for a callback. HOW DID YOU GO ABOUT TRANSFORMING YOUR BODY FOR THE PART? With every role you take on, you have to endure some sort of physical transformation, some are just more drastic then others. The role of Spike calls for the actor to be very physically fit. I believe it is important when doing a show to obviously pay attention to what you say about yourself but more
importantly pay closer attention to what the other characters say about you. Throughout the play, almost every time Spike is mentioned, they discuss how he is a miraculous physical specimen. I knew when I took on the role it was going to be a long grueling 8 weeks. I come from a very athletic background playing sports my entire life and my mother is a personal trainer, so fitness has always been a very big part of who I am. But I looked like a beefy thug and Spike was a sleek California playboy. I lost about 20 pounds in a month and got my body fat percentage down to 7% which is an all time low for me. I consumed basically only lean meats like fish and chicken and veggies. I also ate probably 10 eggs a day. I also carb cycled and went from eating carbs only on every third day and even then the carbs only consisted of complex carbs such as; Sweet potato, brown rice and quinoa. Accompanied with the drastic diet change came and intensified gym routine. I went from 3 days a week to 6 times a week often twice a day. My regimen changed from heavy lifting bulking to more light lifting sculpting exercises. After 8 weeks of day dreaming about doughnuts on the treadmill, I transformed my body into a lean, mean, acting machine and Spike was born. HOW DID TRANSFORMING YOUR BODY AFFECT YOUR PERFORMANCE IN THE SHOW? I made sure my body was in peak physical condition so when I was on stage I could focus on what really mattered which is the acting and my relationships with the other characters. I was just having fun and living truthfully in the circumstances and not worrying about how bad my muffin top looked that performance. Performing half naked for an entire
Becoming “Spike” Selfies
show was one of the most terrifying and liberating experiences of my life. WHAT PARTS OF YOUR NEW FITNESS REGIMEN ARE YOU GOING TO STICK WITH? I like being trimmer because it allows me to be more versatile as an actor and opens up a plethora of roles to me rather then if I was just a big guy. But I also enjoy transforming my body for roles. The body is such a beautiful and miraculous machine that is so resilient and easy to adjust to whatever you throw at. I’m certain this is not the last time I will transform my body for the a role.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU? I am currently pursuing my B.F.A in musical theatre at New World School of the Arts in Miami. Until I graduate, I’ll be in south Florida, hitting the gym and doing shows. Then I’ll be making the move to NYC and hitting the pavement hard to pursue my dreams. I view my career the same way I view my dreams. Always raising the bar for myself and never ever giving up.
WHAT’S THE MOTIVATION TO STAY FIT? “Fitness first” is my motto and it always will be. Without your health you have nothing. Acting is my mental and creative health and I nurture that daily but my body is just as important so I give it equal attention. You’re either moving forward or backward and there is nothing more gratifying then setting fitness goals for yourself and seeing your body transform. You’re essentially a giant lump of clay and you can sculpt yourself into whatever you want to be, and that is with whatever you want in your life. You can be anything you want to be as long as you put in the proper work. Its all about having the heart for your dreams. I also really want to play Batman one day so I need to stay fit.
2 Ring Circus is the original brain child of Ben Franklin and Joshua Dean. No, not that Ben Franklin. After having worked together for some time, the duo had a need and desire to merge all of their projects and collaborations under one umbrella. Thus, 2 Ring Circus was born.
HOW DID 2 RING CIRCUS GO FROM BEING AN IDEA TO A MULTI-FACETED PERFORMING COMPANY? Joshua and I had been working together as a circus duo and we really wanted to take our other previous training and add that to the mix. Both of us were from the theatre, dance and musical theatre worlds and we really wanted to create intimate spectacles of all different genres and types with the combination of those skills in addition to circus. We partnered with our dear friends Lani Corson and Kenneth Ziegler and created “Cirque Le Jazz;” a contemporary vaudeville with a big band and Great American Songbook show perfect for ages 3-93. Then to go in a different way, we created “A Vintage Affair;” a sophisticated and more adult wild party where anything can happen and all of the audience members are cast to be the guests at the party of our outrageous hosts. We were already performing the seasonal offering of “Boys’ Night: An All-Male Cirquelesque Revue” with our friends Eric (Mr. 62 BLEEP
Gorgeous) Gorsuch and Jason Mejias and it just made sense to include it in the production catalog of 2 Ring Circus. And then we have our 2-Man Vaudeville “2 To Fly” where just Joshua and I perform a full length circus cabaret. Plus, we tailor event performances for all manners of parties and businesses. WHAT SETS YOU APART FROM OTHER CIRCUS TROUPES? With all of the Nouveau Circus that is hitting the market, we really come at our shows from the angle of “Broadway takes to the air.” So, in our shows, we sing, dance, play instruments, clown, juggle, hula hoop, do partner acrobatics and perform on virtually any aerial apparatus with a traditional American spin. We take the classic format and bring it into today. And our casts range in size from 2-6 performers so our shows are very intimate. We like to say that we take the “triple threat” and quadruple it. We make “Huge Little Shows” that are designed to tour and play virtually any space.
WHAT DO YOU DO TO KEEP WHAT YOU DO FROM GETTING OLD? We are always refining and creating new things. 2 Ring Circus doesn’t like to sit still. We are constantly coming up with new show ideas and building our performance repertoire. Each time we perform “Boys’ Night” we have an all new show. And for the others, we are continuously changing and mixing things up. So, if you have seen “Cirque Le Jazz”, it may be worth looking at again because we like to add new numbers.
Tour to China and the Philippines and are beginning pre-production for our collaboration with newly minted Tony Award-winning director Darko Tresjnak for his production of “The Ghosts Of Versailles” at LA Opera in January. Also, we are performing all around NY and TAKE ME THROUGH A TYPICAL TRAINING DAY. A typical training day varies. Most times, we are preparing the newest offering of “Boys’ doing the necessary workout to keep us in shape on Night” coming at the end of summer to our particular apparatus’ like trapeze or fabric or rope. Galapagos Art Space. OR we are drilling our ground acts to stay strong and polished. But we also balance this with rehearsal for HOW CAN WE GET MORE INFO? You can always find out what we the nearest upcoming performance. So currently, we are doing a lot of rehearsal for “A Vintage Affair” are up to by visiting our website: Just join because we are tweaking the show for our journey www.2RingCircus.com. our mailing list to learn about our down to Clemson University. But, we are always juggling multiple shows and performances. So, I upcoming shows and tours and like us suppose the most concise answer is that it depends on Facebook (2RingCircus), follow on on the day and the schedule. However, we are in Twitter (@2RingCircus1) or Instagram (@2RingCircus). 2 Ring Circus has rehearsal multiple times per week. something to offer for every person and every taste. WHAT’S COMING UP FOR 2 RING? We are gearing up and finalizing our first Asian 64 BLEEP
simpson Heâ€™s transforming the bow tie into a statement piece that will transform your wordrobe, no matter what your style is. We talk to the designer who has harnessed digital retail to sell his work and make a name for himself.
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WHY BOWTIES? Last year at New Year’s Eve, I wanted a really interesting bow tie to go with my suit. I looked everywhere and couldn’t find anything I liked enough, so, like a lot of things in my closet, I decided to make one myself. It turned out great and I got lots of compliments at the event. Numerous people requested I make more to sell, so I decided to try it out and it has grown from there. WHERE DOES YOUR INSPIRATION COME FROM? My inspiration comes from random objects and things I find all around me. A lot of times I will go to thrift stores just to look through everything they have. Some of the things I find I have no clue what they’re even used for but I can immediately see how I can incorporate it into an outfit. HOW DO YOU KEEP WHAT YOU DO FROM BECOMING MUNDANE? I think the main way I keep my designs from becoming mundane is by always trying to think of ideas I’ve never seen before anywhere around me. Most of my ideas just come completely from the top of my head, I never know if it will really work but I always love it and I hope others will. WHAT ARE THE STAPLE PIECES IN YOUR OUTFIT? Well it definitely depends on where I’m going but shoes are always a staple piece to me no matter what. I like small pieces that make a bold statement, like an all black suit with one of my spiked bow ties and very fun shoes. TELL ME ABOUT YOUR FAVORITE PIECE YOU’VE CREATED? My favorite piece I’ve created so far would have to be when I hand painted chains and spikes to be a matte black color with a black leather that matched perfectly. It had no shine to it at all, the finish was 68 BLEEP
you do and really love our designs. WHERE ARE YOU FROM? WHAT ELSE ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT? I’m from a very small town in South Carolina, most people wouldn’t guess where I’m from. Even though I was very different than my environment there, I did have a lot of people in my community along with my family and friends that really supported my art and appreciated something different for a change. I’m also very passionate about photography, specifically fashion photography, which has also been my full time career for the past 5 years now. Theatre was a huge part of my life for 10 years as well until photography took over.
very dull, but it still stood out a lot and made even the simplest outfit look amazing.
HOW CAN PEOPLE GET ONE OF YOUR BOWTIES? They can view and purchase any of my bow ties on my Etsy shop at www.Etsy.com/Shop/JakeSimp. I will soon have a website just for the bow ties with lots of different options.
DIGITAL RETAIL IS ALLOWING PEOPLE TO SEE THEIR DREAMS OF SELLING THEIR WORK. HOW HAS IT AFFECTED HOW YOU DO WHAT YOU DO? Digital retail has helped tremendously of course, in so many ways. I’ve always created all types of arts from drawings, tattoos, paintings, and clothing but a while back, I never knew how to show a wide audience. Now that my work is online, it’s out there for everyone to see. It’s also very motivating to see how many different people in the world support what
WHAT’S YOUR END GOAL/WHAT’S YOUR DREAM? I’ve always dreamed of being a full time fashion designer, so my goals would be for my business to get to that point. Then I can also use my love for photography to help put my work out there for everyone to see. I would also love to start creating men’s suits in lots of different patterns to go along with my bow ties. I am fully self taught, so I’m working extremely hard to achieve all my goals and I can’t wait to see what it will become.
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As they put it, Andrea and Matteo Pieri were born and raised in “the land of pasta and pizza, twinning since 1991.” After graduating from university, they joined forces to create a men’s fashion and fitness blog, Those Pieri Twins, and have been helping men all over the world look their best ever since.
Andrea Pieri YOUR BLOG FUSES FASHION AND FITNESS. WHERE DID THE IDEA FOR IT COME FROM? Matteo: Ever since we started our Instagrams, people have been asking where we get our clothes or what exercises we do for our booty, arms, chest etc… so we figured why not open our own little hub where we share the fashion we love and our fitness routines and tips. Andrea: That makes it more like an online magazine, rather than a personal blog. It’s still personal because that’s what we like, do and it’s our thoughts, but it’s got the imprint of a magazine. HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHAT YOU FEATURE ON THE BLOG? Andrea: When it comes to fashion, we feature menswear brands and designers that represent our taste and style, but most importantly our vision. We tend to focus on independent and emerging designers. You won’t find any D&G, Prada or Gucci on our platform… these are all overdone in the blogging world. We want to make room for new talent, let our readers know that there’s so much more to menswear than the usual big brands. There’s a lot of work, research and networking that goes into it but it’s so rewarding, and hopefully people are enjoying it and finding it useful. 76 BLEEP
Matteo: As for the fitness part, we try to pick topics that we think would interest our readers and help them achieve their goals. So, lots of practical tips and workout routines. Sometimes we’re like “what are going to write about next?” because there’s only so much you can talk about. But we always try to keep it fresh and come up with new stuff. It’s working so far. WHERE DID YOUR LOVE OF FASHION COME FROM? A&M: We’ve always loved clothes. Style is a way of expressing oneself. It’s not just putting clothes on your body. And when we understood that, during our high school years, there was no stopping us. YOUR LOVE OF FITNESS? A&M: Fitness has always been a part of our life. We grew up doing gymnastics, then swimming, and at 18 started working out at the gym. Our passion only became stronger with time and results. HOW ARE YOU THE MOST DIFFERENT FROM YOUR BROTHER? Andrea: I’m a perfectionist and one who always strives for more. Matteo is at times more superficial. Matteo: I have more fun than him.
HOW ARE YOU MOST SIMILAR? A&M: We have the same taste in everything pretty much and that’s because we’ve always been together and done the same things since day one. WHAT ARE THE STAPLE PIECES IN YOUR WARDROBE? Andrea: Leather biker. Matteo: Sneakers. IF YOU COULD ONLY GIVE SOMEONE 3 TIPS TO LIVING A MORE FIT/HEALTHY LIFE, WHAT WOULD THEY BE? A&M: Train hard, eat well and rest. Bonus: have fun. WHAT INSPIRES YOU? Andrea: People who work hard to make their dreams come true. Matteo: Seeing people succeed. WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU? A&M: Who knows. Definitely moving out of our small hometown in Italy. Then, working hard on expanding and growing our blog. So far all the work has been worth it. www.thosepieritwins.com BLEEP 77
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FOCUS ON THE PHOTOGRAPHER
We talk to photographer Christopher Correia and some of his favorite models in his portfolio on why they do what they do, misconceptions about their careers and staying positive in the face of harsh criticism. When did you become interested in photography? Photography has always been a passion of mine since high school. I had a camera with me everywhere I would go. Professionally, I began in 2011 when I did a photo shoot with my cousin Stephanie for a club promotion flier. We had always worked together since we were younger but this really pushed me to start photography as more than just a hobby. Following that, I completed a degree through the New York Institute of Photography, launched my website and then began booking clients for magazines and book covers. Who or what influenced you to become a photographer? Nigel Barker has played a big influential role throughout my photography journey. I have always admired his work and professionalism. What has been your most memorable moment in your career so far? My first magazine cover which was for Model Up released in 2011, my first internationally published magazine with Physique in June 2012, and most recently being featured in a Barnes and Noble publication called The Horse Backstreet Choppers in June 2014. My newest venture where my passion fully lies is with book covers. Within a little over a year I have over 25 currently out or in production and I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to work with such talented individuals. What do you feel you have to offer, that sets you aside from other photographers? I really like to get to know the model’s I work with prior to our photo shoot. I make it more of a collaborative effort where we, as a cohesive unit, discuss concepts and ideas. Then on the day of the shoot it’s just two friends doing what they love to do. Stay up to date on all Chris’ latest projects and activities at www.cjc-photography.com
How did you get your start in modeling? I started modeling a few years ago when I signed with an agency in NH. They dropped the ball a lot and I almost gave up on it. My good friend Sue gave me the opportunity to shoot with her friend Brett in NYC and she told me to submit to Maggie Inc. They just took me and ran with me. Thanks Sue. The agency gave me all the resources and advice I needed. I’m so thankful to have had the support and love from everyone involved. What stereotype do you find the most untrue when being categorized as a model? Being stuck up and “into” themselves. I have loved everyone that I have worked with thus far and I’ve made some really amazing friends. How do you stay in such great shape? I have a wonderful set of Tupperware. The hardest part of keeping a good diet is being able to bring all your food with you wherever you go and not having to worry about it spilling all over your portfolio. This industry can be very harsh, how do you deal with criticism? Positively, there is no other way. If you take it negatively you will just end up with bad feelings and resentment which is unhealthy for the mind. What has been your biggest accomplishment? Becoming a down to Earth, caring individual. Overcoming obstacles, always seeing the positive side of things. What’s something most people don’t know about you? I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease when I was younger and had to go through some pretty intense chemotherapy which was really rough on me. I am a better person now for that though. What advice do you have for someone looking to get into modeling? Set and achieve your goals. It’s as simple as that. Not only for modeling but for life in general.
What stereotype do you find the most untrue when being categorized as a model? There are several stereotypes when it comes to models. The one thing I’ve noticed more which hasn’t changed over the years, would be the assumption that models are anorexic or bulimic. People think models don’t eat because they are thin. I find this to be very untrue. In fact, I may speak for myself but I usually eat almost every 2 hours. It’s very unfortunate that people judge you by your physical appearance and not your personality or other attributes you may have. Hopefully one day that will change. This industry can be very harsh, how do you deal with criticism? I’ve always had the extra confidence and stability to take on constructive criticism. It comes with the job. I know it isn’t anything personal so it shouldn’t be taken that way. I’ve had a client tell me to my face that I was too fat and I walked away with a smile. You can’t let the criticism define you as a model because there are a million other clients who will fall in love with that “fat face” of yours. What accomplishment are you the most proud of thus far in your career? My dream goal is to be a Victoria’s Secret angel. Last year I got a once in a life time opportunity to walk in the Victoria’s Secret fashion show! I felt like I was one step closer to accomplishing my goal! It was such an amazing experience! Who influences you in the modeling industry? Tyra banks has been a real inspiration for me in this industry. She knows the ups and downs and she’s been through so much as a African American model trying to make it in a “white America” market. She has fought through all the criticism and never given up! She is so powerful in many ways and I want people to look up to me as they do to her.
How did you get your start in modeling? Modeling is something I always dreamed of doing since I was a little girl. Of course, I imagined I would be a super model like Adriana or Gisele. I got my start while attending college in Charlotte, NC with ICE Model Talent Management. Who influences you in the modeling industry? Cara Delevingne. She seems to be a perfect mix of having a fun-loving, rebel ambition that, in my opinion, appeals to a lot of woman aspiring to become a part of the industry. Cara portrays herself through social media as a competent and confident woman. She seems a little quirky, but it comes off as authentic and completely Cara being Cara. She influences me to be my own character and not feel pressured to “fit” in on trends. I am Jess. What trait to do you like/dislike the most about yourself? That I am a perfectionist. Sometimes I’ll see a picture of myself at an angle that to me, is not flattering, but the photographer loves it and finds exactly what he’s looking for. What advice do you have for someone looking to get into modeling? Be realistic. As mentioned, I always imagined becoming a supermodel. But I grew to only be 5’ 8.’’ I’m not runway height, but I am perfect for catalog and lifestyle looks.
What drove you get into fitness? My brothers! Growing up the middle child of 3, I got my ass kicked every day by my older brother. My younger brother and I were very close because we helped each other survive the bullying from our older & much bigger bro. My youngest brother felt the desire to lift weights at the young age of 14. As soon as my younger brother started getting bigger than me, that’s what motivated me to hit the gym & I haven’t stopped going on a daily basis since I was 16 years old. How do you approach nutrition? I eat as much organic and non processed foods as possible. The more ingredients added into a certain food, the longer it’s going to take for your body to break it down. I look at food as a source of energy & recovery for my body & muscles. I want it in & out. I eat every 2-3 hours a day. What stands in your way of your fitness goals? Temptation of fast food! Who doesn’t like to feast on a juicy fast food burger once in a while? The self control and discipline is the biggest thing for me. I almost have to go into “robot mode” and convince myself that I don’t need that stuff. You were a part of “Love in the Wild” on NBC. What was that like? I was 1 of 10 men chosen in the U.S. to travel to Costa Rica & work together with 1 of 10 females to complete “adventure challenges” in the jungle. It was the most exciting thing I have ever done in my life. I’ve never been out of the country before and what better way to go then with a prestigious television network and get paid to go on vacation with hot girls. It was an experience of a lifetime that I will never forget. What is your advice for people reaching for their goals? Don’t ever worry about what anybody thinks of you. Nobody will understand your dreams like you do.
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Charlie Williams (Memphis, How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying), Camille A. Brown (A Streetcar Named Desire) and Joshua Dean (2...