12 April, 2008

Serendipity smiled...

It was a hot week in more ways than just the recent heat wave.

This week, I had to stretch myself and receive a round of goodies and blessings. It began with receiving a gift from a friend that I had ooohed and ahhhed about when we were out shopping together. It was so sweet of her to purchase it on the sly and then hand to me later when we were about to part. The gift afforded me a chance to witness my response at receiving and the "dance" I did within myself about it when I brought it home. It allowed me to witness some very old patterns crop up when I noticed that I was reluctant to take the gift out of the box and actually own or use it. Hmmmmm.

Then there was the launch of the new Starbucks blend, Pikes Peak, created in honor of the name of their original store location. On Tuesday, between 9:00 a.m. and noon, Starbucks gave away a free eight ounce cup of the new brew. It goes without saying that I was at the store at 9:01 a.m. The company has also reissued it's original brown logo design for the cups--with a slight modification of the raunchy mermaid to keep prudish critics quiet. As it turned out, Tuesday was also the day that Jamba Juice launched it's new breakfast line of smoothies and meals and offered a freebie to anyone who showed up before 10:00 a.m.

There may not be a free lunch, but I got a free breakfast and coffee!
Okay, so I wasn't thrilled with either one but that is not the point of the story.

On Wednesday, I happily filled in for someone on an ushering team that ushers at the Old Globe, so I got to see "Dancing in the Dark", the new musical based on the M.G.M. movie musical, "The Band Wagon".

Donning my black slacks and white blouse--de rigeur wardrobe for any professional theatre volunteer usher--and showed up at the plaza outside the Old Globe. It was a beautiful evening and made all the more beautiful to be at the theatuh, darling. Suffice to say that I know something about theatre--ushering, house managing, stage managing acting, producing, directing--so this was a no-brainer for me. It was also bittersweet to be in the theatre before the 'house' opened because I did have the privilege of performing in a production at the Old Globe back in 1985. (Gulp! That is waaaay too long ago).

May I go on record as saying that I miss being/working in a theatre. Watching the actors walk across the stage or do their warm-ups. I can't tell you how it feels-the smell of the greasepaint and the roar of the crowd-- even moreso, the sound of an orchestra tuning up before curtain -- Oy! I could plotz and I am not even Jewish!

The production itself was okay. I far prefer the movie version and that is usually not the case. I am sure that many people were quite surprised at Scott Bakula's singing and dancing abilities but for me, he does not have a stage personality. The lovely voice of the ingenue and her athletic ability was very nice but she did nothing for me. There certainly was no real chemistry between them. I did adore the character role of Lily (inspired or influenced no doubt by the lyricist, Betty Comden) played by Tony award-winning Beth Leavel. She was fantastic and so clearly, a stage actress with star qualities and fantastic musical abilities. The production and the youngish cast came across to me as if they were in their first week of performances--not quite gelled or crisp but I enjoyed hearing the music and so many of the familiar songs.

It amused me that early in the first scene, Scott Bakula's character uttered a line about "there's no such thing as a free ticket." And I thought, HA! That's what you think.

06 April, 2008

God Biz

There is usually method to my proverbial madness.

Years ago, I was inspired to purchase my personalized California license plates, GOD BIZ. My good friend Carrie (who presciently had purchased her plates DOT COM) thought the license reflected a perfect blend to honor the two facets of my life and work: Having come from the Land of Show Biz; and to work and serve as a full time minister, I was now doing God's business. Hence, GOD BIZ. I do feel I have a unique perspective for two very predominant influences in our world society and culture.

This weekend, the new metaphysical film, "The Moses Code" opened (a theatrical term, by the way) showing in churches, centers and peoples homes around the country and maybe the world. This film written and directed by James Twyman, produced by Drew Heriot from "The Secret" and co-produced by author, Debbie Ford, is picking up where the film, "The Secret" left off.

The message of the movie is not particularly new or original but is done well; and features some movers and shakers within the New Thought movement--Neale Donald Walsch, Ilyanla Van Zandt and Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith. The film is enjoyable and inspirational. However, I think I would have preferred it with a bit less theatrical camera work. The talking heads are filmed very much as they were in "The Secret"; with an addition of having the narrator, James Twyman often facing to the side, away from the camera instead of to the camera. Cinematic dramatic, baby. There is even more of show biz in all the new-agey stuff these days. I feel right at home.

It will be interesting to see how popular "The Moses Code" becomes. This morning, I participated in a Peace Vigil teleconference led by Debbie Ford. I have done several teleconferences and I am still fascinated by the technology that allows me to share a group such as today with people from Norway, Switzerland and Australia as well as other folks from across the United States. Debbie spoke and prayed and one person even sang an opening song to set the tone. Of course, Debbie talked about "The Moses Code" and shared that the basic key is the Biblical phrase, I AM THAT, I AM. (I don't want to give away too much and spoil how this is all presented to the viewers). What was quite wonderful is that she asked us to chant that phrase together on the phone call. Simultaneously, we were sharing this powerful affirmative phrase. I was intrigued to listen to how my own process with the chant varied in delivery, rhythm and speed. And then, while watching the movie I learned that the way I had chanted this morning, was instinctively the way we were encouraged to do so during the film in order to achieve the deepest experience.

It is exciting to think about another wave of awareness taking place as a result of this film being released. More consciousness is always a good thing--especially in an election year.

Later this month, we will be screening this film at The HeartSpace along with the new Louise Hay movie. And then we will be scheduling a weekly discussion group to support the film's concepts. Please let me know if you might be interested in joining us.

As a side note: I found it just a teensy bit interesting that the same weekend that now that we have a new Moses Code from Hollywood, Charlton Heston passed away. And by the way, I had the privilege of working with Mr. Heston in a production of "A Long Days Journey Into Night" at the Music Center in Los Angeles many years ago. He was a very nice man. He was very serious and committed to his work. Although I didn't particularly think he was a great actor (not had I been a fan) I did respect him as a successful, working actor. So, as a neophyte thespian, I asked Mr. Heston if I could interview him and he agreed. The one thing he was very much wanted to be sure I knew was to learn how to rest and relax. He was an advocate of napping and pacing himself. At the time, I thought it was an odd teaching point to stress because I was looking for some magic information as to how to get the acting jobs and became a star. Now being older and wiser, I appreciate the insight he was trying to share with me about self-care because of the stress and strain of the business.

My condolences to his family.

City Slackers

No, I did not misspell the title of this post. Yes, I was playing off of the comedy film title, "City Slickers" about a bunch of...