Friday, May 31, 2013

My Birth Month

I love the month of June. Yes, I'm totally biased - my birthday is in June. In fact, my birthday falls on the longest day of the year (most years). I tend to celebrate my birthday all month long in little ways like buying myself ice cream, or treating myself to new clothes/shoes, etc. because I feel less guilty doing so when it's "for my birthday."

This year though, I wasn't looking forward to it much at first. Maybe because here in Southern California we have what is known as "June gloom" where the mornings are just gray and hazy until the afternoon sun can finally burn off the clouds. Or maybe it's because no one showed up for my birthday party last year (and when I say nobody, I really mean not a soul. It was a pretty low point in my life, yet I still smiled and told people it was a fun night when they later asked how it went). Or maybe it's because this year I'm turning 30 and feel like I haven't accomplished anything worthwhile.

My older sister, knowing it had been a rough year for me called me up in April to tell me that she had a birthday present for me - she was going to come out to Cali to spend my birthday with me! I'm excited! I get to celebrate with my best friend! Then the news got better; my little sister wanted to come join the festivities as well!

Don't get me wrong. I still think turning 30 bites. But I am looking forward to my sisters' week/end and am glad to know that at least this year for my birthday someone will show up for the "party."

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Levada Searsee

I received a phonecall today from someone asking for Levada Searsee. Now, I don't know who she is, or if I'm even spelling her name correctly, but it's not the first time I've received a phone call for her. When I first got my current phone number I would receive calls for her every week. I didn't mind much at first, because when you get a new number it's bound to be someone's old number.

But the calls continued coming, and from the sound of it these callers were probably not her friends. It sounded like she owed people money.

For a while I stopped answering calls from numbers I didn't recognize on the caller ID. Which probably wasn't beneficial for me or them; I'm sure many callers tried again and again thinking that I was Levada and trying to avoid them. I finally started taking the calls to let people know that I was not the gal they were trying to reach.

It worked. The calls started dying down, and eventually disappeared. For a bit. Then a new wave hit. by this time I was convinced that this Levada character was still giving out my phone number to people to get away with whatever she was doing. I talked the next wave of people down, and until today, I hadn't received a phone call for Levada in a very long time. This had better not be wave 3. I kind of want to track her real number down myself to pass on to those who call me.

For goodness sake, I've had my number for 5 1/2 years now.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Under the Big Top

Friday night a dream of mine came true. I GOT TO FLY ON A TRAPEZE RIG IN A CIRCUS TENT! Now let me give you the back story.

Monday afternoon I went to the Santa Monica pier for a flying trapeze class where I was introduced to Christina. Christina is a pro flyer who has been in Pop Circus in Japan, Circus Vargas, and is getting ready to leave for Orlando where she will be in Cirque du Soleil's La Nouba. Monday however was not one of my better days flying (the pier isn't my favorite rig, and I felt a little stressed by present company) and I ended up embarrassed to do so poorly in front of a pro.

A few days later I met up with a friend for dinner to discuss a project that I agreed to help him with. Another friend, Krista, was also in attendance with Robert- another pro flyer who is currently a catcher for Circus Vargas. Robert invited us to come see them perform, to stay after the show was over to see their flying trapeze practice, and maybe, just maybe get a chance to fly on their rig!

So Friday I headed to Orange County and enjoyed the show- and noticed that Christina was flying. After the show Krista and I were invited to fly (yay!), and up the ladder we went.

The Vargas rig has two trapezes side by side, and is about 10 feet higher than the rig I fly on. I won't lie, I was intimidated. I stood up on the pedestal for a while watching the pros take their turns and could feel my heart pounding in my chest. I was nervous that I was going to fly as bad as I did on Monday. When my turn finally arrived I took off and gave it my best. I flew much better than I had anticipated and loved getting coached by the pros. Talking with Christina afterward she gave me some compliments, some advice, and commented on how different (aka-better) of a flyer I was when I wasn't attached to heavy safety lines or worried about who was flying with me. It was a fantastic night.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Working the Weekend

Right now I work three days a week. Yep - just three! This would be perfect if it was a super well-paying job, yet even though I still have to search out other sources of income throughout the month in order to survive, this schedule has it's perks. For example, since the three days I work are consecutive, I get a four day weekend. Every weekend! That's a lot of time to fill with whatever activities I want (insert slightly devilish grin here).

As this last Friday approached I had a basic idea of how my weekend was going to go: 

Friday - go to the beach
Saturday - flying trapeze, help Caitlin (coworker/friend) with her friend's film/photo shoot for a couple of hours downtown
Sunday - church
Monday - help Elizabeth (friend/fellow aerialist) with her film shoot for school

Friday went as planned, I slept in and then got a light sunburn at Venice beach. The last couple of days however ended up being more jam-packed than I had thought!

Saturday I showed up to the studio for flying trapeze with some time to spare, so I went inside to check in with the owner (Ray) and buy a water bottle before heading to the rig in the back. Inside I found my friend Angel and a couple of cameramen setting up lights. I said hello and asked Angel what he was going to be filmed for, he told me it was for an aerial piece for a segment on Dancing With the Stars this upcoming Monday. During our conversation one of the cameramen walked up, introduced himself to me and asked if I would be able to help out - they wanted me to demonstrate the hammock routine that Angel was going to show to Derek Hough. I was unsure at first since Ray was expecting me in trapeze (and cancelling late results in paying for the class anyway), but Ray cleared the way by volunteering to take me out of the class and only sign me back up if we finished filming before class was over. So, suddenly I was filling out a release form to be filmed for television with Angel and Derek! I only wished I had put on makeup that morning. Sheesh. The shoot went quickly once Derek arrived, but since he took so long to get there I only managed to sneak in two swings with my trapeze buddies afterward. Luckily though, Ray let me do those for free.

After a stopover at home to clean up and eat some lunch I headed downtown to meet up with Caitlin's bunch. The film shoot ended up being for a look book for a European clothing line that's trying to grow their presence in the USA, and the shoot required us to sneak out of a 4th floor apartment window to climb up the fire escape ladder on the face of the building to access the roof. I'm sure it was a funny thing to see from the street. The original plan was to just do the rooftop shoot, but since their morning hadn't gone according to plan, they recruited me for a semi-impromptu drive up to the valley to do more filming at a carnival. By the time the shoot ended at 11pm I was exhausted and happy to be heading home.

On Sundays I usually sleep in since I have church at 2:15pm, but this week's schedule was different due to a conference, so we met at 10am. Before I left I received a text from Cynthia, my doubles hoop partner, saying she was going to be at the Taste of Hawthorne event all day with another aerial/yoga studio she teaches at, and that I should stop by if possible. She also told me to bring clothes I could play in. I changed in to some aerial friendly clothes after church and showed up to play around 1pm. Since I was with Cynthia they immediately ushered me to the rig and encouraged me to perform between their little shows. Little did I know that they were really going to put me to work! It didn't take long for the studio owner to ask if I would perform a routine in their next show, and by the end of the day I had performed my hammock routine three times without music (this was while I was playing around), twice with music during their shows, I helped teach paying customers (kids) some basic tissu and hoop skills, and performed my doubles hoop routine with Cynthia twice. We actually surprised ourselves by figuring out how to do our entire routine using a standard hoop - we had only ever performed our routine on a doubles hoop! Some moves were a little more squished, but overall it went really well!

Tomorrow (Monday) I'm still heading up to UCLA to help with Elizabeth's film shoot - but just found out a couple of hours ago that I'm not there to help behind the scenes like I thought; I am once again going to be in front of the camera! I'm supposed to be there 830am-2pm, then I've added even more to my schedule and will be heading to the Santa Monica Pier for their 4pm flying trapeze class with a friend who needs to use their groupon. I realized that this weekend has been a great opportunity to test my stamina as a performer - running from gig to gig and being able to put on a show (whether as an aerialist or an actor/what have you) on demand with little to no notice. Anyone who knows me should know that I didn't move out to California to live this kind of life, but it has been a fun experience this weekend! I'll let you know if I survive another day.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Being Friends With Married People

What a wonderful, hilarious but true blog post about the relationship between married folks and single people. Give it a read:

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


I picked up my first paycheck from my part time job today - I felt happy to get the money, then that feeling was quickly followed up by a touch of sadness when I remembered how much I used to make. I'm losing confidence that I'll find a full time job doing something I will enjoy (read - something in my career field), or that pays well; sometimes I wonder if my time in LA may actually be coming to an end. I need something to happen to improve my situation soon if I want to stay in my apartment (that's up for debate anyway) or you know, want to keep paying my student loan and making my car payment. I kind of have a potential work opportunity out of state on the horizon, but there are a couple of (big) factors that are preventing the opportunity from coming to fruition. I just kind of feel stuck. What am I missing? How can I fix my situation? Come on college degree - show me you're worth something!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

To The Aerialists I Saw In E=M Cirque2...

You are idiots. Was that harsh? Well, suck it up, I think you need a little straight talk right now. I saw one of your performances on Saturday April 27th, 2013 at the renaissance fair in Irwindale, California. As a fellow aerial performer I enjoy seeing as many aerial acrobatics shows as possible, and was excited to find one at the fair. In the show I watched there were two acts performed on your freestanding rig, static trapeze and hoop. Though I was seated as close to the rig as I could get I have no idea how well the performances went as my attention was drawn to the base of your rig. Can you see what I see here?

That folks, is a person (a E=M Cirque2 member), holding the rope that allows one to adjust the height of the aerial apparatus being used on the rig. It is not tied to anything; not secured in any way. You aerialists performed your routines while your apparatus was being held up by a PERSON. Excuse the language, but what the HELL were you thinking?! While I sat staring in disbelief after the show, a few of you asked if I wanted to take a picture by the rig. I said no - I actually had a few questions. I asked about the rigging, and asked if you had someone hold the rope when there was a silk performance too. I was told that yes, they could hold the rope for the silk performance, or lock it in place with the device on the rig that was meant for securing such things. I followed up - why wasn't the rope secured during the show I just saw? The reasoning was that you wanted to be able to raise and lower the performer at the beginning and end of the routine, and the performers just needed to trust the person on the end of the rope. SERIOUSLY?? My head was spinning. Since I didn't sense that you had figured out that I am a performer too I let you know that as an aerialist I would never be comfortable performing without the rigging being secured, that it wasn't safe. They asked me if I knew the guy who purchased the rig (I don't), and said I should talk to him if I have questions. I left.

I was so incredibly bothered by this exchange that I couldn't articulate in the moment what I should have: as an aerialist your FIRST concern should be your safety! Know your rigging, know how it works, what it's capable of, and how to properly set it up and SECURE it (consider taking a rigging workshop where you learn about how much you really weigh when doing a drop!). So you say you trust the guy holding you up, but guess what - there are circumstances out of your control. What if he slips? What if he has some sort of medical emergency while holding the end of the rope? You never know what could happen! Lock it in place and reduce the chances of something going wrong!

Let's say something does go wrong. Besides the physical injuries that you may end up with, what are the chances of that fair or other fairs and festivals hiring aerialists in the future? One accident can reduce future work opportunities for all of us. You could even cause the price of specialty performers insurance to go up (if you have insurance...).

Several months ago I was scheduled to be on a television show with my doubles hoop partner. We had spent weeks preparing for the gig and were in full costume and make up when we discovered that the studio was planning on hanging our hoop from a random chain they had backstage. We didn't have any idea what the chain had been used for in the past, or what type of weight it was capable of bearing. The show had specifically sought out aerialists for this episode, but that didn't mean they knew what was required to safely rig our equipment. We ended up walking away from the gig - our safety was more important than the money we would have made.

For the sake of all aerialists - be smart! Take the necessary steps to ensure a safe performance so our livlihood can continue.