I usually like to comment on social and political goings on, but instead this week I figured I’d just make everyone jealous. Isn’t that what being an artist is all about? Oh those artists with their extravagant bohemian lifestyles throwing caution to the wind, indulging in their need to express themselves. Yeah, that’s me this week and you know what? It’s awesome!!!!!
A month ago I finally decided to be the artist I am and without any government funding, eccentric rich friends with remote cabins in picturesque environs, or overseas citizenship (Say BBC? Any new television shows for us to remake this year?), I did what any red-blooded American artist would do – I took unpaid time off from my part-time jobs and made my own writer’s retreat by getting a cheap ticket to Denver and crashing out at a friend’s place.
It still blows me away that I did it, but I’m so happy to say that I’m currently in Colorado workshopping my one woman show with Denver theater director and actor Mare Trevathan. In case you don’t know, workshopping is an intensive working, rehearsing and revising of a script to get it closer to its final draft. In emotional artistic terms it’s like waking up every day to Debbie Allen from FAME:
“You’ve got big dreams, you want fame, well fame costs and right here is where you start paying… in sweat.”
Except I’m not sweating. It’s Denver in October and it’s f’ing beautiful! I get up early, run so I can clear my brain, shower, rewrite using yesterday’s notes then it’s off to the Denver Theater Center’s rehearsal rooms where Mare and I read over the script, try out some staging, rearrange wording and then laugh our asses off at our brilliant ideas. After all, brilliant is what all artists think their ideas are. And like any fantastic artistic retreat there’s also been wine, unexpected performances by fellow artists, and fabulous philosophical discussions. Mare read written work with members of the Colorado Chamber Players playing Dvořák’s music beside her on my first day here. How thrilling?! And in an art gallery! How apropos! Then with the music still fresh in my mind and inspiring the new direction of my work, we made our way to The Kitchen in Boulder where we partook as true Bon Vivants in their late night happy hour. C’est cheap? C’est bon.
Still, what I’ve enjoyed most and in all seriousness I can’t explain with enough words or with enough emotion, is how truly incredible it’s been to be able to get away and approach my work with clean perspective and without daily duties getting in the way. I used to give my old roommate Don Hamersley a bit of hell and call him lazy when he’d tell me he would be able to finish his screenplays if he could just get away to write. “Write. Don’t talk,” I’d cheer all around the apartment to encourage him to finish his work. Now if someone told me that I’d say do it! Get the hell out of town! If you can’t wait five to six months for some non-profit to hopefully choose you and your work to support and hook you up with an established artist’s retreat then get a cheap ticket, find a friend who can let you stay at their place to work, and find someone (a third eye or guide) who is willing to do the work with you and give yourself a much needed creative retreat. In other words… MORE WINE!!!!