A YEAR IN REVIEW
It’s been a year since I moved to NYC. July 1st 2014. It has been one of the more challenging circumstances I’ve found myself in, making a living, dealing with the NYC day to day grind. However, I’ve made lifelong friends, secured enough work with both, acting, children’s poetry, and teaching artist work to realize I made the right decision, and I’m looking forward to what the next 12 months will bring.
In the year since I arrived: I’ve done background or stand-in work, multiple times, on 12 television shows, and 4 motion pictures. I’ve made it a point to watch the directors and technicians set up scenes, ask questions about how they do what they do, soaking it all into my bone marrow. I look forward to when I graduate to principal work, which is speaking parts in film and television.
I’ve been commissioned to perform or conduct workshops for my one person show POETRY TIME in NYC, Brooklyn, The Bronx, and Queens. The responses have been encouraging, and best of all, word of mouth has procured me more shows later this year.
I have worked as a teaching artist for Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, which got me to expand my thinking in terms of lesson plans for students, gave me the opportunity to work with other teaching artists whose work I admire, and have students realize that poetry and art are all around us, we just have to pay attention.
I’ve seen more free shows than I can count. Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, operas, classical music concerts, classic poetry readings, exhibits, gallery openings, painting contests, and more! This city is bursting at the seams with cultural events. And don’t get me started on the food! It’s tough to get bored in NYC.
I also would like to thank the Actors Fund Job Work Program for helping me secure sideline work alongside my acting and children's poetry career. They've also been so helpful to me with resumes, computer time, and an occasional hug. Good folks! http://www.actorsfund.org/services-and-programs/sideline-work-and-new-careers
Having written all of this, I do miss Florida very much, both my work friends and personal friends. I also miss Disney. Never underestimate the power and security of consistent theme park work, and using part of that money to nurture and launch your own passion projects.
Since my last blog post, I’ve worked on multiple jobs for the government, performed as a background actor for film and television, as well as worked for a company called Healing Arts Initiative which brings performers into nursing homes and mental health facilities in NY. I had the pleasure of performing POETRY TIME for the residents of a facility in Brooklyn. I also have been commissioned to perform POETRY TIME for the Queens Public Library. So far, I've performed at the Fresh Meadows, Forest Hills, Glen Oaks, Glendale and Laureton branches. What a lovely audiences! It went so well, in fact, that they asked me to perform at 4 more libriaries in August.
I received word that the children's poetry anthology AMAZING PLACES, edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins, is scheduled for a Fall 2015 release. My poem "Fenway Park" appears in the book. As many children's poets will tell you, making a Hopkins anthology is on their poetic bucket list. Thanks for believing in me, Lee. http://www.leebennetthopkins.com/
My poetic friend, Amy Ludwig Vanderwater, invited me to share my notebooking process for teachers and students in a new blog series she helped create called SUMMER NOTEBOOKING. My post is called "Say a Lot with a Few Words." Thanks again for the invite, Amy! http://www.sharingournotebooks.amylv.com/p/hat-has-helped-me-quell-storms-in-my.html
Another poetic friend of mine, Michelle Heidenrich Barnes, showcased my poem on her blog as part of a writing exercise that children's poet across the country participated in. http://michellehbarnes.blogspot.com/2015/05/dmc-friendship-lemon-by-charles-waters.html
I saw the play, IMAGINE DAT! at the Triad Theatre in NYC. It's a one person show about the life of comedian and singer Jimmy Durante, starring my friend Jon Freda, and directed by my pal Eren T. Gibson. I'm so proud of both of them for creating and launching their own show, which is no easy feat, I assure you. http://stage72.com/ai1ec_event/imagine-dat/?instance_id=
Got a free ticket to see the Off-Broadway play, QUEEN FOR A DAY at The Theatre at St. Clements. A story set in an abandoned warehouse about the high stakes world of the Mafia. Filled with more twist and turns than a dance contest, and featuring, among others, David Proval and Vincent Pastore from my favorite TV show THE SOPRANOS, it was a lovely afternoon at the theatre. http://aqueenforadayplay.com/
Got a free ticket to see the Off-Broadway play THE 39 STEPS at The Union Square Theatre. A comedic spoof of the classic 1935 film directed by Alfred Hitchcock about a man trying to clear his name, it featured 4 actors playing over 150 characters. What a herculean task to pull off such a show, but they all made it flow. Enjoyed myself immensely. http://www.39stepsny.com/
Saw a free show Broadway show called GIGI at the Neil Simon Theatre. Set in the magical world of La Belle Epoque Paris the legendary writing team of Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe spin a tale of fashion, class, love and dance. The acting and singing were lovely and the moving set pieces were VERY impressive.
Saw a free Off-Broadway show called CHURCHILL at New World Stages. This one person play, about the life of the former British Prime Minister, was set in March 1946 after he lost an election and was in forced retirement, painting, smoking cigars, drinking bourbon, and recounting his life. Ronald Keaton was magnificent in the title role.
Went to a free classical music concert celebrating the works of American composer George Perle (1915-2009) at The New York Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. Perle was a Pulitzer Prize winning composer whose works were performed all over the world. A number of musicans from The Boccioni String Quartet, Da Capo Chamber Players, and The Sylvan Winds, among others performed his compositions. What a lovely 2 hours it was. http://www.nypl.org/events/programs/2015/05/21/george-perle-centennial-celebration
I witnessed my first live art battle at TACT Studios on 20th Street and Broadway where my Rush Foundation friend Ashley-Simone McKenzie and Chicago's Colm Dillane had 90 minutes to create an art piece on a 10' X 6' canvas. Both finished pieces, Ashley's buddha creation, and Colm's version of a non-caring grandmother, were funny and inspiring. I had never seen an artist create a piece from blank canvas to completion before, it gave me an insight to how important imagination can be for all people. We all need an creative outlet in our lives, and how cool is it that some people make their living doing it? http://www.alboeart.com/
Read-a-Poem or R.A.P. My rallying cry to bring children’s poetry to every human being in the world continues rolling along. Not every book I mention has to be about children’s poetry but that’s the main thrust. Since my last blog post I have read:
GOOD SPORTS by Jack Prelutsky.
CLIMB INTO MY LAP edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins.
TAR BEACH by Faith Ringgold.
HELLO, BABY by Mem Fox.
TWO MONKEYS by Mem Fox.
TIME FOR BED by Mem Fox.
TEN LITTLE FINGERS AND TEN LITTLE TOES by Mem Fox.
I'VE READ ALL YOUR BOOKS, INCLUDING THE TRULY PATHETIC ONES by Mem Fox.
BOOK! By Kristine O’Connell George.
THE AMAZING AGE OF JOHN ROY LYNCH by Chris Barton.
THE CASE FOR LOVING by Selina Alko.
THE OTHER SIDE by Jacqueline Woodson.
ALL ABOARD by Rebecca Kai Dotlich.
ALL KINDS OF FAMILIES by Mary Ann Hoberman.
A HOUSE IS A HOUSE FOR ME by Mary Ann Hoberman.
STRAWBERRY HILL by Mary Ann Hoberman.
BIG BUG by Henry Cole.
IF YOU WERE A DOG by Jamie Swenson.
IMANI'S MOON by JaNay Brown-Wood.
OVER THE HILLS AND FAR AWAY edited by Elizabeth Hammill.
CRACKLES OF SPEECH by Steven Withrow.
HOW I SHED MY SKIN by Jim Grimsley.
I end this blog post with a poem about something that we may have all imagined when we were kids, and even when we’re adults, too.
Strobe lights shine
Rainbow rays of glory
As I begin my air guitar solo.
© Charles Waters 2015 all rights reserved.