Monday, April 7, 2014

Ghost Lights

The other night, after finishing my shift at Kinky Boots, I made my way out through the house instead of the lobby.  It was completely dark except for the lamp onstage.  I stopped and took a moment backstage to look. There was a dark, peaceful feeling to the place, in such stark contrast to the light, music and energy of an hour before.  The seats were empty that were filled to capacity.  The history of the theater really drew me in for those few moments.  But what really drew me in was the lamp.

In theater, there is always a lamp on an empty stage that never goes out.  It's called a ghost light.  Nobody needs anyone to fall off the stage while making their way across to the lighting console, or tripping over a set peace.  So it is definitely there for safety reasons.  But like so many things in theater, there is folklore and superstition surrounding the ghost light too.  Because Wikipedia explains it so much better than me, I defer to it:

The superstitious have various justifications for the ghost light in relation to the supernatural. A popular theatrical superstition holds that every theater has a ghost, and some theaters have traditions to appease ghosts that reach far back into their history. For example, the Palace Theatre, London keeps two seats in their balcony permanently bolted open to provide seating for the theater ghosts. Similar superstitions hold that ghost lights provide opportunities for ghosts to perform onstage, thus appeasing them and preventing them from cursing the theater or sabotaging the set or production. This is also used to explain the traditional one day a week that theaters are closed.
Others hold that the use of ghost lights predates the invention of electricity, when theaters were lit with coal gas lamps powered by coal gas generators. Leaving a flame burning would prevent the buildup of pressure in the gas lines which could cause an explosion. Several hundred theaters burned down from 1800 until the invention of the electric bulb.

When I was hired onto the National Tour of Les Miserables, I joined the company in San Francisco.  That was amazing for me in and of itself, to join the company of a show that I had watched on that very stage when I was 11.  But that's a different story.  I remember walking across the stage at night after the show and after my rehearsals.  There was a lamp on the stage of the Curran Theater, and that was when I learned about the ghost light.  Just like the one at the Hirschfeld, where Kinky Boots plays.  Just like the ones at many large and historic houses, I imagine.  I was entranced by it every time.  It drew me in, almost like it wanted to tell me the stories of all the people who had been on that stage.  It was kind of eerie, but fascinating and beautiful at the same time.

I love the ghost light.  It is magical and symbolic for me.  It speaks to me of the history of theater.  It is a tradition that has endured through generations, and seen so much.  It is a call to those of us who need to be in its soft glow after a performance, when all is still.  Those of us who relish the quiet of a theater after the curtain drops, after the applause stops, a job well done.  I may not be in the show that is on that stage at the Hirschfeld, but the ghost light calls to me anyway.  It is a call to my soul, and my soul knows it.  The ghost light is a symbol of my love for the theater, my art form.  It has stories to tell, and so do I.

I looked at it for a while, took the picture you see above, and then left, feeling all was right with my world.  I'm where I need to be, working for something really beautiful.

And it just looks cool.

Friendsies Post

So I like my friends.  They're great. 

Like my friend Melanie.  She moved here a year ago, and we became friends pretty quickly.  She's funny, kind, loves food, and would do anything for anyone.  I'm glad to have her here.  For her 1 year anniversary in the city, she decided to to a 10K.  But not a race.  A 10K of her favorite places to eat in NYC.  So we met at Prosperity Dumpling in Chinatown and worked our way through the city, eating at 6 different places; one for every mile of a 10K.  It was so fun, and hysterical.  I did a pretty good job of pacing myself.  I also started out STARVING so I had a head start, I would say.  But it was a great way to celebrate Melanie.

Prosperity Dumpling with Jon, Ros, Mel, and Dallin

This picture just needed to happen.

Rice to Riches

Their signage is pretty great...
The group.

Artichoke Pizza with Mike, Deb, and Brendan
Then there is my friend Carolyn.  Her birthday is a few days before mine, and we surprised her at her apartment with Koronets pizza and ice cream, and a Levain cookie.  Well, I showed up later after a class, but you know.  I was there in spirit.  Carolyn is someone that I love.  She is so genuine and darling, and GOOD.  She helps me keep perspective on things that are important.  And she makes me laugh.  

I like them.  I think I will keep them.

Living In A Destination City Is Fun.

First night in town Schmackery run?  Check.

Because sometimes people come visit, like MY BROTHER!  Yes, Gary, Melissa, and entourage came to spend their spring break in the big city.  I mean, who wouldn't want to come to NYC when it is still freezing outside, with no sign of spring in sight?  But, come they did, and though I didn't get to spend the whole time with them, I saw them a ton and loved every minute.  I got to tag along on a lot of their adventures, playing a tourist for things I wouldn't necessarily do myself, like the Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building.
These crazies...
And these...

Favorite quote from Chris: "Is that the Olympic Torch?"
It may not be the mountains, but seriously...
Gary having an experience at Levain
I also introduced them or steered them to some of my favorites food places, like Shake Shack, Schmackery, Levain Bakery, and Cosi.  After Gary's first Levain cookie back in October, he was determined to make it back, and I fully supported that notion.   Gary took us to an authentic Korean restaurant in the Korean district, called K Town.  He spoke legit Korean; it was amazing.  And Chris further solidified his place as the family clean up guy.  We took a walk through Central Park and down Fifth Avenue, including a stop at FAO Schwartz.  They got to come to church with me, where they charmed my ward thoroughly.  We then went to hear Vespers and an organ recital at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church and reconvened at my place for Sunday dinner.
Don't be jealous of my fancy apartment.
I like this girl.  A little bit.

A little bit of rainy day reading at Barnes and Noble
This cute picture...
Is actually this. Sorry Gary...

And this is just the things we did together!  They did all kind of stuff other than that, like going to see some of Gary's old areas from his mission.  I think they were pretty tired and happy by the end of the week.  It was so great to have them here; it made me so happy.  It meant a lot to me to have family come, and to be able to show them my city.  And they even got to see NYC gems like this.  If you come to visit me, maybe you too can see a backpack in the form or a stuffed tiger in Korea Town.  If you're lucky.  But I will definitely buy you a cookie.