Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Very Knitted Christmas

This Christmas everyone in the Clement clan who was not living in the desert got a knitted present from yours truly. Here they are!
Claire and Harald the Houseplant Monster

Mom in her Burberry Cowl

Stephen in his Christmas Scarf.

How did this man get so handsome?? His girlfriend Hillary gave him the wooden tie and pipe for Christmas.

Dad in his Clockwork Scarf

I love this pattern; it grows in a circle so eliminates the excess bulk of other scarves.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Absurd things that Laura Weber made me ten years ago...

While sorting through a box of old papers this morning that my mother found in my closet on Rosenberry Hills Drive, I happened upon countless collages which my childhood best friend Laura Weber made me. I was so floored by all the effort that the Binker went to in order to celebrate my birthday, congratulate me on my latest play, or MJ me. I must note that we had an unhealthy obsession with the late Michael Jackson which began on a Girl Scout camping trip where one of us taped a photo to the other's back without their knowledge... Thus "MJ-ing" someone was born. Enjoy these pieces of history.

This is an excerpt from my Michael Jackson scrapbook which Laura made me for my 16th birthday. Yes, that is me and my parents at the BET awards.

That is my crew from Hogwarts. This was a gift to celebrate playing a witch in Macbeth in 2003.

This is me winning an Academy Award. I'm so glad Jennifer Love Hewitt was there to see it.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My wish for you, dear reader...

Treat yourself to peace of mind this Christmas. Although there are people we've lost and we miss, although work is hard, although our dreams seem distant and unattainable at times, although we are "never quite free," it still is a beautiful world.

It's so good to learn that from right here the view goes on forever
And you'll never want for comfort, and you'll never be alone
See the sunset turning red, let all be quiet in your head
And look about, all the stars are coming out
-The Mountain Goats, "Never Quite Free"

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Shakespeare Quotes about Knitting

The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together:
our virtues would be proud if our faults whipped them not;
and our crimes would despair if they were not cherished by our own virtues.

-All's Well That Ends Well
I mean, that my heart unto yours is knit, So that but one heart we can make of it;
-Midsummer Night's Dream
To hold you in perpetual amity,
To make you brothers, and to knit your hearts
With an unslipping knot, take Antony
Octavia to his wife
; whose beauty claims
No worse a husband than the best of men.
-Antony and Cleopatra

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I've never been more proud.

We learned this dance to send as a video Christmas present to our brother Jeffrey serving as a Marine in Afghanistan over Christmas 2011.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Great advice for people in their 20's.

Excerpt from Relevant's article 11 Things You Should Know at 25(ish)

"There is a season for wildness and a season for settledness, and this is neither. This season is about becoming. Don’t lose yourself at happy hour, but don’t lose yourself on the corporate ladder either. Stop every once in a while and go out to coffee or climb in bed with your journal.

Ask yourself some good questions like: 'Am I proud of the life I’m living? What have I tried this month? What have I learned about God this year? What parts of my childhood faith am I leaving behind, and what parts am I choosing to keep? Do the people I’m spending time with give me life, or make me feel small? Is there any brokenness in my life that’s keeping me from moving forward?'

Now is your time. Walk closely with people you love, and with people who believe God is good and life is a grand adventure. Don’t get stuck in the past, and don’t try to fast-forward yourself into a future you haven’t yet earned.

Give today all the love and intensity and courage you can, and keep traveling honestly along life’s path"

Monday, November 21, 2011

On Monday, she writes a poem.

Someone's writing "forgive" all over Chicago
November 21, 2011

Someone’s writing “forgive” all over Chicago:
on the urban reservoir between 18th and Ashland
on the sidewalk outside Steppenwolf
on my Lake Street walk to the elevated train
in front of the yarn shop where I work with my hands
along the great lake which can be mistaken for the ocean
outside of the only bar in town which sells our favorite beer

Someone’s writing “forgive” all over Chicago
and I wish you could see it.
I don’t mean to say I wish you had come here too
(we’re past that)
 and I don't mean to say I wish you would forgive me
(although I do)
It's just that someone's writing "forgive" all over Chicago
and I really wish you could see it.

But I read somewhere that Patti’s dreams for Sam weren’t his dreams
and I know the dreams I had for you weren’t yours.
So it occurs to me that maybe
someone’s writing “forgive” all over Chicago for me.
Maybe I have to forgive myself
            for leaving
            for lying
            and finally, for telling the truth.

Maybe my poetry has too many maybes,
the water tower doesn’t say “maybe forgive,”
god didn’t say that either.

Along Lake Shore

"You know, the dreams you had for me weren't my dreams. Maybe those dreams are meant for you.Just Kids by Patti Smith

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Poem for not letting the Robots get you.

and then I heard the boom boom

Can you hear the terrestrial heartbeat?
I heard it only once.

Mostly I hear the whirring of the broken air conditioner
creating clouds in the classroom with no windows,
the tap-shhhh-tap of the bicycle with broken gears
which I bought for two day’s pay,
the orange hum of Tapioca Tan
which dries out my neighbor
until her skin looks like cracked desert clay,
the brshhhhhzzzz of the phone
I wish I hadn’t put on vibrate
during the meeting I was late to,
the flicker buzzz of my neighbor’s tv
and I wonder what he’s watching
instead of looking up at the stars.

Are you pale sickly for want of the Sun?
The earth groans for its children.

We are zombies, the undead, interlopers between two worlds
and the buzz-shhaaa-creak-ding-ring-ping-don’t fucking miss the bus world is eating me alive.

I will never forget jumping off
a cliff in South Carolina into a rock quarry,
wearing pink Converse sneakers
so the water, hard as concrete, wouldn’t break my toes.
I jumped
shattered the glassy surface…

My ears filled with water
and I heard it.
boom boom.
boom boom.

The terrestrial heartbeat.

Cliff jumping in South Carolina, 2007

Monday, October 24, 2011

Poem for a Monday

A blue whale’s tongue weighs as much as a full-grown elephant.

The blue whale does not think
he is god
as he sings his whale song,
though his low hums
rock the whole sea.

But you clench your fists
for the illusion of control,
and fight the currents around you,
dragged down heavy by
your head full of trivial pursuits
and delusions of importance.
Tension is a good way to drown.

You fool!
You wonderful, stupid fool.
Don’t you know how little you are?
Revel in your own smallness.
Let god be god
just as the whale is the whale
and you are only you.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Tale from the Pink Line: Riding Trains in Chicago, Episode One

Maura set out from her home in little Mexico wearing a new red dress she’d bought for $3 at a thrift store; it was the perfect compliment to her black velvet knee length jacket her dear friend Tina had helped pick out. She had a scarf wrapped around her head, as she is want to do, because it was raining and windy and because she enjoys dressing like she is in a play. She boarded the train going to the Loop. The train was very crowded and she stood next to a kind looking man who was seated along the window. Maura felt the older man’s gaze looking up at her and they exchanged a glance and a smile. He was about forty, clearly foreign with graying hair.

At one of the stops, more people boarded the train and Maura moved further into the car. She was now standing directly behind the seated man. Another young woman, with tan skin, curly hair and a leather briefcase, took Maura’s place beside the man. As the train rumbled along, the man stood up, turned to Maura behind him and said sweetly, “Would you like to sit down?” with a Middle Eastern accent. Now Maura was faced with a dilemma because clearly the available seat belonged to the woman standing beside it, not Maura behind it. But he had offered it to her and she felt it rude to refuse, so she thanked him, eased around the other woman and sat down. Maura felt slightly guilty but smiled at the man and took out her knitting. The kind gentleman began to make his way toward the train door to exit at the next stop. Out of no where, the other young woman raised her over plucked eyebrows and said to the man in a superior tone, “If you wait till the train has stopped to move, you won’t bump into people as you leave!”

Maura was shocked. Who did this young woman think she was? What right did she have to educate other passengers on her version of train etiquette? Maura didn’t think that anyone had the right to impose his or her opinions or preferences on strangers. Perhaps where he came from, the polite thing to do is to ready oneself to exit the train as to not delay departure. Perhaps he wanted to look at the map above the door. Perhaps his foot was asleep and he needed to regain blood circulation before setting off on his journey. Or perhaps he wanted the pretty girl in the Victorian traveling costume to have a seat on the Pink Line, since she was obviously exhausted from all the time travel she'd been doing recently.

Maura was now assuaged of all guilt. This snooty woman did not deserve a seat on the train at all. Maura thought the best way to counteract the other young woman’s negativity and general nastiness was to enjoy the seat as much as possible. She stretched out her legs, adjusted her kerchief, smiled once more at the man and knitted happily away until the train reached Clark and Lake.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Krochet Kids

The Krochet Kids are 3 good looking men... who crochet... for a good cause.
I think I'm in love. You all may be getting some of their hats as gifts.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Poem of the Day

Hanauma Bay, Hawaii. Clement family vacation, 1995

Natural Resources
by. Maura Clement
Spring 2009
If Dylan Thomas loved with an Irish heart,
I live with a Hawaiian one.
I suppose Irish hearts are made of
A 7 year-old Maura feeds the fishes at Hanauma.

Green hills, ballads of love and dire famine.
Hawaiian hearts are made of coral
Like the world below the surface
Of the undulating water in Hanauma Bay.

Hawaiian hearts live
And breathe salty tears.
Sharp spikes line my heart
Protecting the vacuoles and ventricles,
The life which lives within me,
Beautiful enough to slice a wayward limb.
Careful not to touch the reef,
tourists swim around and assume to know me.
Lindsay Sablan, Jeffrey and I snorkeling in the Bay.
My heart is not one entity,
But a colony of identical individuals.
I am an ecosystem,
Can you say that?

Break off a piece of me to take home
With you to Seattle or Salt Lake.
Show all your friends.
Although you have me,
Because you have me,
I am dead.

I belong to the sea turtle and not to you.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Reflections on a Summer Spent Playing Next to an Old Yellow House

"There is no end, Believe me! 
to the inventions of summer
to the happiness your body is willing to bear." 
-Mary Oliver 

The 2011 HVSF Acting Company and Terry O'Brien, Artistic Director

How should I reflect on four of the most crazylovely months of my young life? Gabra Zackman shared this poem by Mary Oliver with us during one of her yoga classes. If there ever was a summer that encapsulated those few phrases, this was it.

I have always been an actor. But now I feel like an actor. I can live happily for months out of two suitcases.

My summer at Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival was one of many "firsts" for me: my first professional acting job, my first time living in New York City, my first mention in a major newspaper's review, my first time playing a three breasted woman, my first time performing stand-up comedy and the list goes on... How fun was the three day party during Hurricane Irene? Trips to the waterfall? Six Flags? Running on the Appalachian Trail? The Batman Show? The Margarita Party? Pool parties? Chopper setting off the fire alarm? The Fourth of July? Stand-up night? Laying on the lawn at Boscobel? James Hickey? Matt's surprise party? Nights on the Rock at Graymoor?

MC Hamlet, Matt Amendt, an alum of the UM/Guthrie Program who played the title role this summer at HVSF, shared with us this insight on storytelling and leading a company of actors. He said: "When you are playing Guildenstern, (and I can say this because I have played Guildenstern) your job is to lift up Hamlet's story with as much humility and specificity as you can. When you are playing Hamlet, your job is to make everyone in the company feel like they are doing something special, together." Matt certainly practiced what he preached, for I have never worked with a more gracious, more positive actor... not to mention that his talent and work ethic are both overwhelming.

This summer for me was a summer of lifting up one of the greatest stories ever told (Hamlet) and one of the most absurd (The Comedy of Errors). [I also spent a good amount of time lifting things up, things like letters and cups. That's right, I was the Royal Danish Hander-of-Things-to-the-King.] I found such joy in playing fantastic small parts in these plays. I found joy in the actual storytelling, which I did not always have in school. In my conservatory program, we would be cast in each of the shows "prescriptively." That is, the faculty would choose a part for us and tell us what acting challenges they wanted us to work on in that role. For example, when I was cast as Maria in Twelfth Night during sophomore year, Steve challenged me to work on variety of actions & making bold, impulsive choices. In retrospect, I think this mindset led me to a sort of tunnel vision, where I focused on being the best Maria I could be, rather then collectively trying to tell the story of Twelfth Night in the most engaging and honest way possible. Now acting school is just that... SCHOOL, and those acting challenges must be identified and worked on in a specific way. And indeed, without a doubt, I know that my four years in the BFA Program, whether tunneled or not, prepared me to be able to perform, grow and listen the way I was able to at HVSF this summer.

This summer I discovered a shift in perspective. A shift from "What am I doing?" to "How am I telling the story?" Because I was not speaking, I learned to listen. To listen with ease.

After a summer of lifting up these stories, we, the apprentices, were hungry for the chance to tell our own... and what better story to tell than Romeo and Juliet? I was able to do many of my favorite things in this production of R&J, directed by Ryan Quinn: play a guy, play a complicated mom, roll in the dirt, carry Vaish on my back, sing The Foundations, carry a (really embarassingly small) knife, and get yelled at by Dave Klasko. I really enjoy playing multiple characters in a show because it forces me to have incredible vocal and physical specificity to differentiate them. And boy, did I fall in love with these two people...

I would consider naming my firstborn son Benvolio. We should all be so lucky to have a friend who loves us as much as Benny loves Mercutio and Romeo. He likes dancing and drinking, but can sense that this age of innocence is coming to an end. It's a coming of age story, as much as a love story. This group of childhood friends, of brothers is ruptured forever by one of them falling in love and the consequences that brings. To honestly and simply tell the story of Mercutio's death and Romeo's murdering Tybalt was tragic and heartbreaking and beautiful.
Mercutio (Vaishnavi Sharma) and Benvolio (yours truly) conjuring Romeo. Photo by Will Marsh

And maybe it's just all the Mad Men I watched this summer, but Lady Capulet has something of a Betty Draper about her, a bird in a cage. She is vain, but not the type of vanity that makes her think she's beautiful. The type that spends all day in the spa because she fears wrinkles and the inevitability of death. She drinks, but only in secret. Her husband hasn't touched her in months, not that she'd know what to do if he did. No one ever listens to her, and even if they do, they don't do what she says. She loves her daughter but doesn't understand how to talk to her. It was a blast to play these paradoxes of vanity and insecurity, love and total resentment, desire and repulsion. I found the key with her (and with Benvolio too) was subtlety... seeing how small I could play a big action, which I don't think I've ever really done before. The smallest tilt of the head or movement of the hand could tell her story fully. (Because if you know me... or you saw me play Arkadina, or Mamma Wahl, or Maria in the BFA... or Lucy in You're a Good Man Charlie Brown at West Cary Middle School... you know I have a flair for the loud and proud...)
Lady Capulet gives advice to her daughter, Juliet (Susanna Stahlmann). Photo by Will Marsh
This summer brought other changes for me personally. After two great years in a serious relationship, I find myself single again. I look forward to meeting new people, but more importantly to finding out more about who I am as an adult woman, an artist and a citizen. My brother Jeffrey went back overseas for his second tour in Afghanistan. I continue to keep him and our other servicemen and women in my prayers, as this year marks 10 years that the US has had troops in Afghanistan, that's longer than our troops were in Vietnam. My kid sister started college at UNC... that means Jen and Dave Clement are free birds! Just in time to lend me a car and take an epic road with me to my new home... CHICAGO.

That's right, the windy city just got windier. Maura is moving to town. I loved New York. I will be back in New York, but for now I want to work and I have a hunch that Chicago is the place for me to get non-Equity work so that I can continue to grow as an artist, without depleting my savings to zilch. But for now, thank you New York. Thank you Terry O'Brien. Thank you Hudson Valley Shakespeare acting company, production staff, company management, house staff, audiences, donors, and everyone in between. A humble thank you.

Friday, August 19, 2011


I got my name mentioned in my first professional review in the Wall Street Journal! Check it out here.

It includes a very excellent complement for our production of Hamlet:

"I've never seen a more attentive "Hamlet" audience—or heard a quieter one."

Thursday, August 11, 2011


A charcoal by Toulouse Lautrec
by Maura Clement

Sabine bathes but does not wash her hair,
red curls carrying the smells of sorrowful music
and the sea, the wooden boats docked at La Rochelle.
She has run out of money and should return home,
but defeat lacks charm and where would she leave the cat?
So when the crippled artist asks her to lay, she lays.
The bed’s been unmade since Pentecost but she’s not religious.
Falling on her back, her eyes close though it is not night,
collapsing under the heat of the stilly, moist day.
Black stockings are all that separate herself from herself
and though she feels his bespectacled eyes watching her,
her hand slides up the torn silk slip trimmed in lace,
which was once her finest garment and now her only one.
She hears him work the charcoal on brown paper
and wonders if he thinks her beautiful,
because he often paints ugly people (or he paints people ugly.)
The bells ring on Montmantre, the artist sketches,
And Sabine takes pleasure in being alone.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

When I'm onstage, please talk back to me.

Last night at during a performance of The Comedy of Errors, I experienced the incredible joy of having children in the audience speak back at us, like they were characters in the show (as indeed they are!) These boys were two friends about 9, one black and one white, both dressed like they were colorful cartoon characters complete with striped shirts, red sneakers and backwards baseball caps. They sat in the front row, laughing and elbowing each other.

During the fifth act, Balthazar and the Courtesan (Dave & yours truly) stand on the sidelines of the back of the stage as all the plot highjinks get worked out by the other characters. These two kids talked to us throughout the whole scene. They were totally with the story of the show. For example:

On Antipholus not recognizing his father Egeon: "Oh, that's cold."
On the reveal that the Abbess is actually the twins long lost mother: "That's their mom, right??"
On our collective "OHHH" after said reveal: "You guys just got that??"
On the Courtesan getting her ring back: "You got your ring back! That's great!"
On Antipholus kissing Adriana, the bearded woman: "She's got a beard! Doesn't anyone else notice that!"
On Dave and I shimmying: "Look at that man shaking it!"
On the Riverdance at the end of the play: "I know this! This is Irish dancing!" (they begin to imitate our arm movements)
On the play in general: "I'm about to stand up and tell everyone this doesn't make sense!"

It is the best feeling as a performer to look out into the audience and see people, young and old, with smiles plastered on their faces. Audience members look aglow as they watch Luciana, the mermaid, grow legs after receiving true love's kiss. In times like these, it is no small feat to bring 500 people together to smile, let alone laugh and cheer.

Ephesus, as Kurt Rhoads has created it, is a magical place where everyone is a freak of sorts, so therefore no one is a freak. The Comedy of Errors is a play about finding your other half, your soul's mate. It's an absurd tale about becoming whole again. That's not so silly after all.

Photo: Will Marsh

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Power of Theater for Change

Let us hope that one day—please, not too far in the future—we’ll be able to convince or force our governments, our leaders, to do the same; to ask their audiences– us–what they should do, so as to make this world a place to live and be happy in—yes, it is possible—rather than just a vast market in which we sell our goods and our souls. Let’s hope. Let’s work for it!

-Games for Actors and Non-Actors, by Augusto Boal

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Hamlet Thought of the Day

In Act V, Scene i, Hamlet has returned from England and has been challenged to a fencing match by Laertes,  his childhood friend who now desires revenge because Hamlet killed his father and drove his sister Ophelia to her death. Horatio, Hamlet's only confidant, warns him that the fight may be a trap and that he should make some excuse to exempt him from the match. Hamlet replies with these beautiful lines about our own mortality:

There is special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be, 'tis not to come. If it be not to come, it will be now. If it be not now, yet it will come. The readiness is all, since no man of aught he leaves knows what is't to leave betimes. Let be.
    -Hamlet, Act V, Scene i

I was struck last night hearing Matt Amendt speak this line in the last act of Hamlet. I will paraphrase it as I understand it:

"God plans for the death of even the littlest birds. If it (the moment I shall die) is here, then it's not coming. If it's not coming, then it is here. If it is not here, it still will come. All we can do is prepare our souls and live every day. Since no man knows what he leaves behind when he dies, what does it matter if we die early? Let it go."

What marvelous gems Shakespeare has hidden for us in this 4 hour play! (Hudson Valley's production, I thank ye, is only 3 hours, thanks to nearly 1,000 lines cut.) In the most famous speech from much earlier in the play, To be or not to be, Hamlet debates the question of living and death, action and inaction. But it is in Act V where the Prince of Denmark beautifully expresses the uselessness of fearing our own deaths. We must "let be" because we can never know when our time will come. Our moment of death is coming every moment that has not arrived. "The readiness is all" in Shakespeare's time would have referred to preparation of his immortal soul through confession and the holy writs. But in modern times, a perhaps more appropriate meaning is "living every moment is all."

As I stood under the tent along the Hudson River, smelling honeysuckles, surrounded by astoundingly talented people, performing Shakespeare's greatest tragedy, I felt incredibly blessed to be alive, incredibly blessed to be.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Three Weeks in NYC Hit List (plus a few Mondays off)

A completely biased list based on solely my opinion.

Best Quote:
"Maura, your phone is so vintage that it's cool."
Yep, everyone in NYC has a smart phone, it's like being in the future. Bob and I pride ourselves on our lack of need for them... but then again, we often seem to be lost.

Best Park:
The High Line, Chelsea. This park is New York City's newest park, made by converting miles of raised rail lines into grassy areas and benches. Perfect for a stroll, perusing the local artists who display their wares there, an impromptu knitting circle, or getting a lovely view of the Lady Liberty.

Best Salon:
Sam Brocato Salon, SOHO. Caroline Cooney recommended this salon to me. If you want NYC swanky salon treatment at a North Carolina price, make an appointment with a "New Talent" stylist at this Salon, (make sure they are "new talent," cause you can't afford the other people). I was very happy with the way my hair turned out and even purchased some of their line of leave-in actives. I felt pretty glam.

Best Rooftop Bar:
Birreria, the beautiful brew pub on top of Eataly, Madison Square Park. Clayton Fox took me to this new brew pub in Manhattan. Here you can drink delicious cask ales brewed in collaboration with Dogfish Head, Baladin and Del Borgo just 30 feet from where you sit. A lovely view of the skyline transported me above the busy city below to an Italian summer's day.

Best Pricey Seafood:
Ocean Grill, the Upper West Side. Matt and Rich took me to their favorite restaurant and it was amazing. First off, you've never had a better chopped salad than the one they make. I know, what can be so great about a chopped salad? I don't know. But this one is SO GREAT. For my entree, I had the Blackened Swordfish with Chorizo Whipped Potatoes, Broccolini and Chipotle Red Wine Sauce. The portions were perfect and the fish was cooked to perfection.

Best Thrifty Date Place:
Bianca, the East Village. You really can get your money's worth at this great tiny Italian place in the Village. The dining room opens onto charming Bleeker street. The vino is choice. I had the "Tagliolini Ai Frutti di Mare with clams, mussels, calamari and shrimps sauteed in garlic, extra -virgin olive oil and lite tomato sauce." All that for $11.50! This place is full of simple goodness and NYC romance.

Best Pricey Performance:
PUNCHDRUNK'S Sleep No More. This 3 hour sensory experience is a thrilling, film noir version of Shakespeare's Macbeth. The audience, behind the anonymity of their birdlike masks, is given free rein to wander through the McKittrick Hotel. You can rifle through Lady Macbeth's desk and read her private letters to the King, follow Macbeth through the graveyard as he is tormented by the three witches, or spend some time in a pre-war psychiatric ward. PUNCHDRUNK "has pioneered a game changing form of immersive theatre in which roaming audiences experience epic storytelling inside sensory theatrical worlds. Blending classic texts, physical performance, award-winning design installation and unexpected sites, the company's infectious format rejects the passive obedience usually expected of audiences." Plus Neil Patrick Harris was there the night Susanna and I went. Totally worth the week's wages I spent on it. (Don't fret, I don't make that much a week...)

Best Free Performance:
Asscat at the Upright Citizens Brigade. Sunday nights at 9:30 the Upright Citizens Brigade puts on a free Improv show. $3 PBR. The talent is fabulous: Horatio Sanz, Zach Woods, and Bobby Moynihan performed the night we went. Get there early, eat McDonalds in line, you'll make friends, you'll laugh, you may even give the most mocked suggestion of the night.
[Performer: "Give me a movie everyone has seen." Susanna: "The Notebook!"]

Best Place to NOT buy a vegetable quesadilla:
The Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, Fulton Pier, Brooklyn. After the failed quest for Chicago's finest hot dogs, we settle for a quesadilla from the stand and have this interaction:

Man at stand, completely serious, in broken English: "We have two kinds of quesadillas, chicken and vegetable. But we are all out of vegetable, so which would you like? Chicken or vegetable?
Us: (look at each other, dumbstruck) "Chicken?"

Turned out to be quite good. But the vegetable quesadilla must be freakin amazing, as they are always out of it.

Monday, May 2, 2011

UM/Guthrie Theater BFA Training Program Class of 2011

Zero to Twenty: In honor of the graduating class of 2011
 My graduation speech, by the numbers...

0—the number of couples in our class that made it to graduation.
1—piece pants suit that Claire wore in London.
2—minutes, average length of a hug from Ben Gansky
3—This one belongs to the “rule of 3.” My boyfriend has a theory that if you have 3 or more BFAs in a room, all they can talk about is BFA-related topics. Thank you to him and the other non-BFA significant others (you know who you are) who have loved us and put up with us, despite our appalling lack of ability to vary our conversation topics.
4—the number of years we’ve been in college together.
5—The number of years my parents have paid for me to attend college. Thanks, Mom and Dad.
6—The number of other classes, before us and behind us, I’ve had the pleasure of watching. I hope that we sent a good example for those to come.
7—out of 20 of you have played my children in one of our projects or plays. I am honored to be your mother.
 8—We are the 8th graduating class of this training program, that means that we are actively creating the reputation that the Program has in the world. I hope we all make that reputation one of generous, committed artists.
9—The number of days I have left in Minneapolis before I leave for my first real acting job.
10—Is the number of beats in a line of Shakespeare in iambic pentameter.
11—Of course, is the Class of 2011.
12—The number of the floor that most of us lived on freshmen year in Middlebrook.
13—1300 miles is how far my parents and siblings travel one way every time they came to see my shows.
14—the number of letters in “Guthrie Theater”
15—Represents your 15 minutes of fame… I hope you get at least that.
16--On a scale of 1 to 10, 16 is how sick of you all I’ve been come winter break each year. On a scale of 1 to 10, 16 is also how much I’ll miss you after this is all over.
17—The number of matching glasses and cowboy boots that Judy Bartl has.
18—The number of outstanding teachers and directors I have had in this Program. You have taught me to breathe, dance, think, and live onstage. For that I humbly thank you.
19—The number of extraordinary people I’ve have the pleasure of being trapped in small windowless rooms for hours on end these past years.
20—20 people with bright futures ahead of them. 20 people who are empowered, not limited by their numbers.
I have one more number: infinite. My love, my hopes, my wishes for you… ARE INFINITE

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

In Memorium for Juliano Mer-Khamis

The global theater community has lost a great advocate for peace. Juliano Mer-Khamis, Artistic Director of the Freedom Theater in the Jenin Refugee Camp, was shot five times by masked gunmen on Monday April 4, 2011. This is a man who was creating theater that was so powerful, it warranted bullets.

This is an excerpt from a paper I wrote last semester on the Khamis' work which I greatly admire.

Khamis and The Freedom Theatre sought to fill a phenomenal cultural void in Jenin. In Khamis’ words, “this is a people in hunger, not for bread, but in hunger for lights, for music, for something except the sewage of the camp and the tanks.” Theater and arts provide needed leisure for people of all ages living under the stress of occupation. Freedom Theater believes in “utilizing the magic and fantasy of theatre to offer some respite for a population that continues to live in a daily reality of violence, aggression and almost total isolation.” The impact of this theater cannot be overstated. Over 16,000 people were in attendance at over 64 performances in 2009. Giving these refugees an opportunity to escape, to go to imaginary places improves the quality of daily life. Theater feeds the soul in a place with tremendous poverty of spirit and hope. Now in it’s 4th season, The Freedom Theater is busting at the seams and money is the main limitation. A practical man, Khamis tried to keep the community grounded in reality:
They say, ‘The Freedom Theatre, oh, it’s gonna be big, Jenin!’ [I say,] ‘Wait, wait, we don’t have money to pay the bills or the electricity.’ They say, ‘yeah, but we must dream!’ I say, ‘OH!’ I didn’t hear the word dream for a long time here. So hope is there.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Thrifty Finds... or Spring, where are you??

I am moving to New York for the summer to perform at the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival! That means I need to get rid of nearly half of my possessions, especially clothes. Thus, Anna and I went to Buffalo Exchange today in Uptown Minneapolis to sell some clothes and perhaps pick up some flirty summer wear. It's not the cheapest of the thrift stores in the Twin Cities, but it is clean and has lots of cool options. Best of all, they bought some of my clothes so I had store credit... With my store credit and the spirit of spring in my heart, I purchased these awesome snakeskin sandals and two vintage dresses.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Best Beret

This hat pattern is how I learned to crochet. It's from a great old book of my mom's... a perfect, one skein project.

Everyone needs a great red hat, right???
Great pattern from an old book of my mom's. Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Needlework

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Pattern Two


By. Maura Clement

Here's a new scarf I improvised. It was commissioned by my friend Ben Gansky.

Size 8 needles
Plymouth Yarn's Galway Worsted
4 skeins (2 green and two light blue
($6.25 a skein) 

CO 44 stitches, long tail cast-on. Knit in two-color lattice stitch...
For my purposes, Color A is blue and Color B is green. Color A is the outline color. Color C is for the lettering and tassels.

On the RS, slip the stitches with the yarn in back; on the WS, slip the stitches with the yarn in front.
Multiple of 6 + 2 CO with Color A and knit one row.*

Row 1 (RS): With Color B, k1, sl1, *k4, sl2; rep from *, end k4, sl1, k1
Row 2: With Color B, p1, sl1, *p4, sl2; rep from *, end p4, sl1, p1
Row 3: With Color A, rep Row 1
Row 4: With Color A, p1, sl1, *k4, sl2; rep from *, end k4, sl1, p1
Rows 5: With Color B, k3, *sl2, k4; rep from *, end sl2, k3
Row 6: With Color B, p3, *sl2, p4; rep from *, end sl2, p3
Row 7: With Color A, rep Row 5
Row 8: With Color A, p1, k2, *sl2, k4; rep from *, end sl2, k2, p1

Repeat these 8 rows until scarf is desired length (note that if you are wet blocking, the scarf will stretch). Cast off using Color A. Weave in ends.

A border is desirable because the scarf does a good bit of curling in on itself.
Create a crocheted border of triple crochet two rows thick along each side of the scarf in Color A.
Add tassels along the bottom of the scarf using Color A and C.
Now comes the fun of wet blocking. Wet block the scarf so that the lattice stretches out and the scarf lays flat.
In Color C, embroider a word along the scarf in big loose stitches. Mine says "Patience."

*This text has been copied from:

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Short Colonial Dress

 My brother Jeff and I, 1996  
 Over Christmas break, I sewed this lovely little dress from Simplicity's New Look Pattern 6567. I made it in a size 12, probably could have made a 10 but better a little big than too small. The pattern is very simple and easy to follow. I completed the dress in just 2 days.  The length is perfect on me, although I did add 3/4 of an inch to the waist length because my torso is a bit longer than average. I will probably wear it with a belt or sweater to create the hourglass shape which I like so much. I love the floral pattern, so bright and joyful.

The sleeves are my addition to the pattern. I've always loved circular sleeves since I was a little girl. Felicity was my first American doll and my mother made me dresses like her. These aren't traditional circular sleeves because I ran out of fabric. Rather I gathered a rectangle to give the sleeves fullness.