Friday, March 30, 2007
Whilst walking through the West Village on Sunday evening, I saw one of those street psychic places. Now, I have been bemoaning the fact that I don't have a good psychic here, nor have I had much luck finding one, but the street psychics are in abundance. I walk past them almost everyday. My first street psychic experience was in San Francisco. I had never been to a psychic before so I was definitely curious. When she said my aura was violet and she mentioned be involved with music, I knew I had to have a session. But I'm getting into another story here. My second experience was in Oakland. My third was in downtown San Francisco. I would go back thinking that for some reason the experience would be different, but it is AMAZING how exactly the same each visit would be. A visit goes something like this:
You see a big sign in a window that says "Psychic Readings $10". You go in and request your reading. The psychic will then say, "You've had love, but have never really been satisfied with it. Your job does not inspire you, and money comes and goes but never stays. There is a dark shadow surrounding you. It is evil. You have been cursed. Now I can remove this curse. I will have to go to the church and pray tonight. I will need to light 10 candles and let them burn. When the candles have burned out and when the curse is gone, you will have all the happiness you deserve. You will meet your soulmate, you will find the job you need, and you will have better luck with money. You can't tell anyone you were here. Now, I can do all of this for **insert obscene amount of money here**" At that point, I would say, thanks but no thanks, and then they would tell me that evil will be surrounding me until I have it removed. That I would be... DUH, DUH, DUH... CURSED!!!
Well, I did tell people I was there, and it is amazing how many people have had the exact same experiences... even with different psychics. Is there an underground script circulating? I remember I went to my trusted, non-street psychic Hilda and asked her if I was cursed. She said there is no way anyone could have that kind of power over you unless you let them. Curses always go back to the one who casts them. So, I guess she never really answered my question, but she told me she didn't believe in curses, and so that was good enough for me.
But I do feel down sometimes, and it annoys me that someone would tell me it's because I'm cursed. Everything bad in my life is because of a curse. Well, where does personal responsibility come in? Apparently no where. Bad choices are from a curse. And it makes me mad that these are the only psychics I see around me... the ones that would tell me I'm cursed instead of actually helping me come up with a constructive solution to my negative feelings and situations.
So, these are some of my thoughts on my way home from the West Village. I was so engrossed in my own thoughts about curses that I decided they were really too absurd to believe in. When people give them SO much power that personal responsibility is no longer part of the equation, then THAT in and of itself is the curse. So walking down the street between the subway stop and my apt building, I declared to myself that curses were ridiculous and not real. I was then distracted by a cat sniffing some garbage bags. I apparently had startled it and it ran in front of me to hide under a car. Right as it was going under the car it hit some light, and I thought to myself, "What a beautiful black cat!!!" And then the irony of the situation hit me. I laughed and laughed all the way home.
So it was the Universe that gave me a good laugh that evening. Here I am contemplating curses and declaring they don't exist, when a black cat crosses my path at the exact same moment. Or was it EVIL warning me that I should take my curse seriously!!!
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
You can purchase this product at any drugstore: Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, Duane Reade, etc.
I also recommend purchasing a humidifier while you're there as well.
So, I figured I would post some helpful information for you singers out there who suffer from nasal drainage problems. If you know of any other remedies, please post them in comments.
So when I collected the mail today, there was a envelope addressed to Neil Totton, and above the address part, this biblical phrase was written in a large purple font. So, first of all, WHO is Neil Totton? Second, I didn't know the Lord was distributing His fragrance through the USPS. The return address is in Tulsa, OK, so is that where Heaven is? I don't mean to be blasphemous or anything, but wouldn't it be really nice if God DID write a personal letter from Him to you. What do you think yours would say? Now for all of you who know me, I'm really not one to talk about some sort of biblical lesson or preach a sermon. That is not my style at ALL! BUT, I have been thinking a lot about my path. Being in a new place and having a fresh start is exciting, but it is also overwhelming. I don't know where or how to begin. I suppose past griefs and fears have some share of the burden. So, it would be nice if God could send me a letter written by His hand. I'm going to write a letter to myself as if it were from God since we are a part of Him (I believe), and I encourage you all to do the same. If you want to post yours in the comment section, I would be interested in reading it.
Dear Opera Singer,
You need to be very patient with yourself. Things don't happen all at once, for if they did, you would be truly overwhelmed. Remember to breathe, for it is in breathing that gives you life. It is what brings fervor and zest to your voice. Best of all, breathing will help you relax.
I can't tell you what your path is. Your path is your choice, and it is up to you to decide where it leads. Know that I will be there to support you with every choice you make, but you MUST make a choice and step forward.
If I could give you a back massage, I would, but you see, my hands are not physical. You must try to feel my hands on your back supporting you like a loving parent. With my support, you don't need to hold onto your stress.
Most importantly, don't forget to keep singing. It is my gift to you. If others can't appreciate that gift, I will send them to Hell.
Friday, March 23, 2007
Every day before I put on my shoes, I reach into the top drawer of my dresser, and pull out a pair of fresh, clean white socks. I always neatly fold them in a special way... the way Aunt Hilda (name not altered... yeah, you TRY to find her!) in Germany does them. The special way to fold them is that you place the two socks together in a parallel fashion with one lying on top of the other. Then you fold the pair of socks three times so that it forms a square. The next part will be difficult to describe. It's much easier to demonstrate. Take the outer sock and pull open one side from the opening, then wrap it around the pair which will turn it inside out, but the pair of socks will be wrapped up nicely inside.
Well, occasionally I will pull out a pair of incorrectly folded socks, and although mildly annoyed, I think endearingly of my friend Coco (name altered) aka my game Soulmate, and I think back to that day when she spent an afternoon helping me pack back in San Francisco.
I had also been doing laundry that day, and because I was so incredibly busy with my move, any help in any aspect of my life and daily duties was welcome. Coco helped me fold my laundry. I kind of showed her the appropriate way to fold my socks, but I didn't go into much detailed instruction because I thought it was rather obvious. She seemed to have it down. 20 minutes into folding, she asked in her cute way, "Now, is there a particular way you want these folded, cuz I'm not sure if I'm doing it right?" I looked with horror at the pile of "folded" socks before her.
I said, "Well, how are you folding them?"
"I've been putting one sock inside the other. Isn't that what' you're doing?"
"Yes, but HOW are you putting the one sock inside the other?"
"Well, I'm folding the one sock and sticking it in the other."
I was thinking, "No, No, No!" But I remembered how to curb my control-freakish tendencies during my time in San Francisco so I just said, "That's not the right way. You have to do it MY way, like this." I then demonstrated the Aunt Hilda fold in a determined, Germanic manner. Coco gave me a blank look... no judgement, no emotion. After a pause, she said, "Well, I'm not refolding these socks. You will just have to think of me when you unpack them."
Then we joked about how I would curse her name whenever I would pull out a pair of her folded socks, which I do (with humor), but all is EASILY forgiven. I do get annoyed that they aren't folded correctly, BUT the socks bring me back to that day with my friend and the time we spent together laughing at my quirky behavior.
Coco, this entry is for YOU! I miss you!
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
The very same day I moved here, my mother (she helped me drive here from San Francisco) and I unloaded the HUGE SUV I rented, and then immediately went to IKEA in NJ. I LOVE LOVE LOVE IKEA! I bought a full size bed including the mattress, mattress pad, sheets, quilt, quilt cover, and pillows. I also bought a bookcase, some dressers, and shelves for my cd's and dvd's. Because I painted (had help from my San Francisco and New York roommates) 3 of my walls with a lighter spring green and one accent wall with a darker, earthier green, I felt I needed other colors to balance out the attack of grass colors on my walls. So I chose red. My quilt cover has very shades of reds on it: red, magenta, burgundy, and even some various shades of orange. I even bought a red rug for my hardwood floors. But now to the best part. It is the lighting in my room that really makes everything pop. Just by altering the lighting, the room can have multiple atmospheres, and my favorite atmosphere is the one I create when I am watching my dvd's. For that, I have two 12" lamps called MYLONIT that are red. Go to www.ikea.com and do a search under that name I can't pronounce. Of course, they come in green, white, and blue as well, but I had no idea that with those two red lights on alone, my room becomes bathed in a rich, red light. Think red light district in Amsterdam, but without the booze, sex, and drugs. I bet the same effect could be achieved with the other colors as well. I should get two of each color just so I can alter the color of my room for various moods and such. Of course, if anyone reading this wants to buy a housewarming gift or two, I wouldn't object to having more of these lamps, but just in other colors. They are only $9.99 a piece and you can order them online and have them shipped anywhere. :-)
So late at night with just me and my dvd's, I lay on my bed, and watch my shows and movies on my computer until the wee hours... all in the comfort of my own personal IKEA showroom.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Since I am on the topic of New York celebrities, I have to share another celebrity story. I was talking to one of my psychics on the phone last week- yes! I have more than one, but I was not speaking to my primary psychic. I was speaking to Lorraine (name altered). My good friend Karen (name also altered) referred me to her a year ago. I haven't conversed much with her, mainly because her advice is sometimes too simplistic for my needs although she is good at putting complicated situations into perspective. Anyway, we were talking about my move when she has an intuitive flash. She said I needed to contact Rosie O'Donnell. She had a serious urgency in the tone of her voice. I responded, "O.... K....?" She promptly said, "The angels are telling me you need to make contact with her. She is meant to be an angel in your life, and she will help you with your career." At this point, it was all I could do to keep from laughing. But Lorraine was SO SERIOUS. And I mean NO disrespect for her, but the cynic in me laughed so hard inside. She said the message was so strong that she was getting goosebumps. Now you might be thinking, she just wanted my money, but the truth is, she wasn't charging me for this information. Lorraine is a very sweet but straight-forward woman (in her 60's or 70's, I think) who charged me only for our initial automatic writing session. After that, she said if I ever needed to talk, all I had to do was pick up the phone and talk.
So after laughing the rest of the evening and into the next day, I started thinking about it. I mean, it really couldn't hurt me to contact Rosie. The worst that could happen is that she wouldn't respond, or she would take out a restraining order on me. Neither of those situations would really bother me. So the question then became, what would I say, and how would I say it. Well, Lorraine told me what to say: "Tell her that a psychic intuitive told you to contact her and that the psychic intuitive says that she is meant to help you. Tell her your story, that you are an opera singer who just moved to New York, and that you need her help. She will love hearing all of that. She is into the psychic intuitive stuff." So between my own laughing and trying to be open, I finally decided to write to Rosie.
It took lots of mental preparation. I had to be professional, and I had to add humor to soften the strangeness of a "fan" writing her because his psychic told him to. So I will post below my letter to Rosie which I dropped in the mailbox today:
Dear Ms. O'Donnell:
My disclaimer: I think this letter will be very strange, but I’m hoping (and betting on the fact) that you’ve received stranger.
I am a 29 yr. old male opera singer who just moved to NYC from
So while in
Here is where the letter takes a strange turn. I was speaking to one of my psychic intuitives last week on the phone and receiving advice, and she said I should contact you and tell you my story. She said that “it is divine providence for her to be an angel in your life.” She said she felt the message so strongly that she got goosebumps. After I hung up the phone, I laughed non-stop for several hours and on into the next day. I was seriously wondering what was wrong with her. But once I finally stopped laughing, I figured it certainly wouldn’t hurt my cause any if I were to write, except that you might never take my mail again. And if nothing else, you should at least get a nice laugh out of it, too.
Now, honestly speaking, I don’t know much about you except that you do/have done musical theatre, are a host on the View, and that you have a family. So, I’m just writing to let you know my story and that a psychic told me you could help me. I don’t know the why, when, how, where, and what (the psychic left out that part), but if this letter pressed your intuitive “OH MY GOD! I must help this one, and I know how! I’ve been waiting for [The Opera Singer] to contact me my whole life!” button, please feel free to contact me. (My contact info is below.) Otherwise, thank you for taking the time to read this very strange letter. I think I will save it on my computer as “Psychic Referral.”All the best,
[The Opera Singer]
So that's my Rosie O'Donnell experience. If any developments occur, I will add it to this blog... unless she decides she wants to be my best friend and requests discretion. And to my primary psychic, Hilda ( I hope you recognize your altered name if you are reading this... especially since you are psychic), if you wish to provide any of your intuitive input into the situation, it would be welcome. Will she be my best friend? Will we be anti-American Idol, truth-speaking, truth seeking, 5th chakra soulmates? Or should I expect a restraining order in the mail?
Monday, March 19, 2007
On a separate note, I have to say the first thing that annoys me about New York, and not surprisingly, has to do with public transportation. If it weren't bad enough that the incoherent signs underground lead you through a maze of tunnels and train stops only to lead you back where you started after half an hour, you finally get on the right train to find you are headed downtown instead of uptown. But wait, you were supposed to know that to get on the uptown train, you had to enter the station across the street down three alleys behind a dumpster. One hour later and with most of your hair missing after your ripping it out, you finally get on the train. Now, for me, subway time is ME time. After weaving through thousands of people for an hour to get to my correct train, I need some quiet time. Don't talk to me. Don't look at me. Then IT inevitably happens. Three or four thuggish looking ghetto types who get on at the same stop as I do, turn on their low-quality ghetto boombox at a very high volume and begin to breakdance. One time, this guy smacked his head into a pole. I secretly laughed. It's not real breakdancing unless you break your face which he, unfortunately, did not. Therefore, I didn't feel he earned his donation so I declined to give it to the thug with the hat. Sometimes though it's someone other than 80's wanna-be's. This other time it was a little Mexican or Spanish group like you see in the restaurants. They have two guitarists and even a double-bassist. Oh... and don't forget the man with the hat who collects donations. That music was nice and it sounded really nice, but I'm anti-hat. Five minutes after they left, a group of congo drum players get on the train and start beating the drums. They also had a man with a hat. So, all of these things tie into my annoyance with public trans in New York. I don't mind Subway entertainment if 1) it's good or 2) it happens when I'm in the mood for it, but it kills it for me when it's obvious they are shoving it in my face to earn money. It takes the joy right out of it. They may as well be homeless people asking me for a bite of my food while I'm in a restaurant eating it.
Anyway, those are my updates for now. I tried to keep it short but it didn't work out that way. Let's see if I can tie the two separate paragraphs together in some sort of metaphorical, cohesive fashion... Riding the subway in New York is a fungus jungle. There is always something about it that will crawl under and grow on your skin preventing you from having a stress-free existence which in turn hinders your career development. To make it simple, if you ride the subway, your career will die... just look at all those people performing there! :-)
Wednesday, March 7, 2007
At the point in my life when I called my parents and told them I had been accepted into SFCM, they were glad I was accepted, but they still wanted me to stay close to home (Tennessee). First of all, they didn't understand the opera world so it was hard for them to be supportive. They didn't know how to support me. They only knew how to dictate practicalities such as money, money, and more money. "How will you support yourself?" "How will you get to San Francisco?" How do you expect to pay for school?" "What will you do for work when you graduate?" I didn't find their practicalities very supportive. They were very limiting. I felt like this noose was being tied around my neck, and the messages they were sending me was that if you don't have money, you can't do anything or be anything. I think they were just feeding me fear to keep me from going, but I went anyway. The call of my San Francisco was much louder and stronger than the voice of fear so I followed my heart.
So here is a brief summary of my years in San Francisco. As I said before, I arrived in August of 2001, and for the first time in my life, I felt at home. I made really good friends effortlessly. I did really well at SFCM, and I was well-liked by the student body. I had the freedom at SFCM to grow into myself as a person and as a performer. I got side work at local small opera companies during my first year, and during my second year, I was able to support myself by singing with the San Francisco Symphony Chorus. My life felt perfect! Then school ended in May 2003. I thought I'd take my talent and my master's degree and audition in Germany. I was sure that I would get a contract somewhere, but I didn't. When I came back, I felt lost. I had lots of debt, and no job. I had missed the fall auditions in SF so I didn't have anything lined up. I had quit the Symphony Chorus "knowing" that I would get solo work in the Fall. 2004 was an uphill struggle. I had worked 5 to maybe 7 different jobs (2 of which I was fired from for unspecified reasons) ranging from a model scout for a scam company to a collections call agent for a legal software company to a singing waiter position... which I got FIRED from because "it's just not a match." So with more financial debt in tow, and with my morale at an all-time low, I auditioned for the San Francisco Opera Chorus and got in. To say I was elated would be an understatement. I could finally start paying off my debts (which I still have to this day), and I could finally afford voice lessons. Plus, I could get quality professional experience as a performer without all the heavy duty responsibility that comes with being a soloist. BUT being a fast learner comes with a price. During 2006 I started getting restless. My personal work as a performer was improving and I was forming relationships with the "right" people, but by this point, the "right" people saw me as a one of those people who always works to improve, but never actually gets to do. I knew I was ready for the next level. I auditioned for some Young Artist Programs, but I couldn't afford to be everywhere for all the auditions. Plus, I couldn't miss work to fly everywhere too. I didn't get hired for any of the things I auditioned for. I even auditioned for the SF Opera as a soloist. The lack of opportunities began to take it's toll on my well-being. So, I knew I had to go where I could find numerous opportunities.
Leaving San Francisco has been a VERY painful process. But if I had stayed, I would have been miserable. I hadn't had ANY solo work in the past two years, and I had begun to feel my voice being squelched by how others chose to define me as a chorister, or as one who just works really hard, or as one who sings just like everyone else. I wish that the people in San Francisco who had the power to give me solo work could have seen and appreciated the development and progress of my voice, if only so I wouldn't have had to leave to seek out those who would be more than willing to open doors for me. I have pulled the rug out from under myself, and threatened my entire sense of security based on the belief I have in myself.
So, now I am in New York City. I live in Manhattan, and I've been crying or on the verge of crying every day because I miss my friends and family back on the West Coast. I miss walking up and down the hills while the fog rolls in. I miss the Metreon. I miss my game soul-mate. I miss the climate. I miss getting my gourmet burger at Flippers and renting a dvd at the local video store. I miss the energy of SF, the nuts and flakes. I miss my psychic. I miss the New Age bookstore where I'd get my crystals, candles, and books. I miss the wine and liquor aisle at the grocery store. I miss walking two blocks to work at the opera house. I miss the sourdough bread. I miss the view of downtown from driving down Twin Peaks. I miss visiting Comp USA in downtown for the latest computer games. I miss seeing the cable cars. I miss having my voice lessons in a place where there is a view of Alcatraz. I miss going to the beach. I miss the ocean being right next door. I miss the drag queen bar around the corner from where I lived. I miss singing Journey at The Mint (karaoke bar). I miss Gavin Newsom being my mayor. I miss my favorite Japanese, Greek, and German restaurants. I DON'T miss MUNI.
I don't hate it here in New York, and I don't feel lonely or overwhelmed by any of it. I'm a city boy at heart, but my heart is in San Francisco with my people. But my passion is in my career. It is my dream. I HAVE to follow it. This blog is my NY story.