Archive for June, 2008

25
Jun
08

Bust A Move

In the streets

I can’t convince me to believe in myself as an artist. But I’m surrounded by less talented people who make better money.

Over the course of my life I have used several performance verbs to describe how I spend my time: act, sing, write, dance, direct – none of them having stuck around for a career. And yet I cling desperately to my sealed university parchment – underwhelming in its thoughtlessness “BA in Sociology Drama”. I had to go through two majors – tuition and all – but apparently I was not worth the investment of two degrees; or at least one that distinguished my two specialties rather than one odd field of Social Science performance that confuses people.

And it turns out I confused so many people, myself included, that I am indeed in some odd performance and social science realm – one where benefits and salaries are never guaranteed, competition is fierce, and you’re expected to go above and beyond for less than nothing. But that’s not what grinds my gears. I am at peace with giving myself for something I believe in. I just think somewhere along the line I got stuck giving and never getting anything in return.

At work, I don’t know what the hell I’m doing, but I’m really good at it. In love I can’t choose which side has greener grass – so I live in an eternal flux of co-dependent loneliness. I am getting better at dealing with my family, but only because I’m getting better at self medicating. And the only outlets that get me through lately are dancing, writing, and reading. But when do I have time to do that? That’s where I get pissed off. There seems to be no time in my life anymore to pursue what makes me happy.

When I work my ass to the bone, and can’t afford a $12 Capoiera Class, I have to ask – where does my money go? I was “making it” just as well when I was waiting tables at Bubba Gump’s and washing plastic for Jamba Juice. And now I’m a manager at an increasingly panicked non-profit, supervising and supporting dam near everyone, prostituting the agency for money from anyone, while trying to thrust morale and momentum into an unknown future displaying only that my hours will soon be cut.

When I come home I want to dance. Thank GOD for Carnaval – at least I got to shake my stuff in the streets. Unfortunately, the middle school girls who were a large portion of our contingent were afraid of the half naked chubby bald man with the crazy skirt, breasts bigger and hairier than theirs, and metallic body paint. Fitting how the two skinny guys whose idea it was to go “topless” flake out. So it’s me and the girls dancing. I could have drummed like the other guys…but I wanted to dance. So I did. And if nothing else, the rehearsals worked me out, and I learned the moves quick enough to help a few rhythmically-challenged girls get it together. I won’t be joining the crew for PRIDE, however, because I do not want to be stuck with the little girl crew on the day where all the hotties are naked and celebrating. I’ll have to get my dance on at the stages…

During those dance classes, and in the streets of the parade I felt so light and free. As much as I love theatre, I do not think I am a great actor. Decent writer, yes. Great scene director, for sure. Techie? Not really. My acting resume is saad, and there is not one performance space I’ve worked in that hasn’t been school-related. And that does not make me feel too cast-able.

As far as writing, now that I’m Captain Save-a-Non-Profit…I do not have as much time; or choose to rest my writing muscles outside of work. This sucks I know, as is apparent by the rusty and whiney tones of my recent blogs. I wanna write about life and all the obnoxious lessons I’m learning lately, but self medicate so much that I just wanna sleep when not living through the stress.

Then there is dance, or any opportunity someone gives me to bang a sexy drum. That seems to be when I feel most alive. Other than sex, camping, good friends and food that is.

Let’s see – if I had to break down my current dance history to pretend I had the least bit right to claim proficiency, what would that look like:

Exaltation Youth Choir. We were Kirk Franklin-esque and choreographed our concert and competition pieces. Half step team, half soul train…some moves were great, and a welcome relief from a revival sermon.

Middle School and High School Dances…I won’t pretend I was good at any of these, but I have rhythm and I tried.

Big Sister. I would always swear to hate her, but loved dancing with her when she was left to care for me…which was often. Now we’re as close as ever, and all we need is a living room and a CD player. She also gets credit for introducing me to an eclectic music taste and trying new sounds.

Musicals. If you didn’t know I was gay yet, there you go. I had to ease on down the road in ‘The Wiz’, do the funky chicken in ‘Oklahoma’, embrace an awkward waltz in ‘Street Scene’, scoot out a British line dance in ‘The Mystery of Edwin Drood’, and absorb some minimal stylistic movement and combat skills for ‘Julius Caesar’ and ‘Romeo & Juliet’. If nothing else, these experiences got me to think about connecting emotion and movement to build pictures.

Dance classes at SFSU. This is when I finally decided to try something. 2 units a semester of a physical fun class to make sure I didn’t nerd out 100%. I took two semesters of African Haitian (which showed me just how inflexible I was and began to wake my spine up). It was in African Haitian that I was introduced to drums, loas, mambos, a dance rooted in community and culture, and some sense of feeling filled. I also took a semester of Modern Jazz, which was…eh.

Loco Bloco. Awesome troupe housed in San Francisco that welcomed me into their contingent for Carnaval 2007 and 2008. It is here that I re-find drums and the dances of my ancestors which both relieve all the tensions that entrap me in my daily grind.

Hip Hop @ The White Horse. Who knew my random side job as a barback would pay off? With Thursday night Hip hop classes, and smaller clienntel – I often find myself on the dance floor grooving away my worries and being the happiest guy cleaning glasses you ever met.

So that’s the story of me and dance, and I know I want more of it. But I can’t seem to find a creative way to fit dancing into my life. Sometimes I feel stuck in my situation, but know I am choosing to fight a particular battle right now. I just want to get more aligned with my spirit, so I can sustain the fight. That’s the part of me I feel suffering, and is affecting my balance and presence in all areas of my life. I am taking baby steps, but not the stylish leaps and bounds I should be.

I really do have to find a creative and accessible way to bust a move.