December 2014 Archives

Quality > Quantity

2014 was an interesting year. There were lots and lots of ups and lots and lots of downs. I took a lot of risks and learned a lot about myself. I got into, and then out of, a major depression coupled with a heaping dose of anxiety. I answered some hard questions and made lots of realizations. And now, in the final days of the year, I feel like I am able to look at things a lot clearer than ever. And I am so happy to say that things are great.

I tried to do everything in 2014, and I did an awful lot. I am so proud of everything, too! Here is a short list of projects and accomplishments:
*I started a dance company and produced our debut show.
*I directed and choreographed a burlesque show-play, and maintained it and trained all the understudies for months.
*I directed a new SNORF show each month.
*I became the DJ for She's Crafty.
*I was a character in the monthly variety show The Plucky Show.
*I did a number of one-off performance nights: Funny Ha Ha, Scene Missing, 20x2, The Gogo Show, the Ideas Potluck, etc etc etc.
*I guested on a couple of awesome podcasts.
*I choreographed my first kid's musical.
*We produced season 8 of Impress These Apes.
*We had a 10 year anniversary show for Don't Spit the Water.
*Steve Gadlin's Star Makers! A season in the can and season 2 airing in a couple days!
*I started dancing with a new company.
*We swam 2 miles in Lake Superior.
*I did another triathlon.

And a million and one other things.

In thinking ahead to 2015, I decided that I needed to try to do less and make it all mean more. So I've recently turned down 5 shows and pulled out of 2. It was hard--it is hard to turn down paid work, especially when I left my job to be full time creative. But I learned my limits and what I like and what isn't right. So for 2015, I am going to focus on 6 major projects:

*Modet Dance Collective--the dance company I started is going great! We are all working on pieces for our upcoming show, which is scheduled for June 12-14 with Shmib Dance. I love it so much. Everyone is great and dancing is making me so happy.

*Shmib Dance--Melissa Talleda's dance company! I am loving being a dancer in a company that I am not in charge of. All the dancers are so sweet, and Melissa's style is out of my comfort zone, and I love it. Dancing is going to be my main focus for the new year. Also, I feel like I am a whole new person--rediscovering this lost love in my life and feeling stronger and better than ever. Amazing.

*Steve Gadlin's Star Makers--Season 2 starts this week, and in a few weeks, Steve and I are going to NATPE in Miami to try to sell it to distributors. We are filming in a new studio, and the new episodes are so great. So much talent! So much humor! We've filmed 12 of 26 episodes--almost halfway there!

*SNORF--The Saturday Afternoon Monster and Piggie/ Comedy-Variety Show is going strong, and recently really hit it's stride. We are having more fun with the show, and the guests are great! Starting in March, we will be in a new home theatre--details to come soon!

*She's Crafty--Chicago's All-Female Beastie Boys Tribute is SO. MUCH. FUN. We've been doing a lot of shows lately, and have a weekend tour scheduled in Iowa in February. I love the women in the group, I get to rap (!!), and suddenly I am in this world of gigs and bands and it is so funny and surreal to me. Can't wait for more!

*Drunk Monkeys--Drunk Monkeys! Still going! It's not always easy to find times to film, but when we do, it is so fun. I love all our episodes, and I am going to try to get more donations in the new year so that we can keep cranking with the reviews. Plus, it's a fun excuse to hang with Jen.

So, there you have it! I am sure that I am going to do some one-offs here and there, but I am going to try to be smart about all of my decisions. Plus, I am working a part-time contract job that goes through May. And I have the inkling to do a full triathlon or a half marathon this year...we'll see what happens with that.

Happy New Year, everyone. I think 2015 is going to be a good one.

WWE Holiday Show 2014

WWE Holiday Show Chicago

In 2015, NetherRealm Studios (the folks who make Mortal Kombat) is releasing a game with WWE called WWE Immortals.

This is a big deal, because Fuzzy is the producer.

We've had to be hush hush about it until now, but now that it is announced, I can say that this year, our lives have been consumed with professional wrestling. And I have to say, I love it.

I didn't know what to expect when we first started watching, but as a producer and a choreographer, I can say that the WWE is BRILLIANT. The moves and choreography are amazing. The spectacle and show is over the top. The camera work and commentating is admirable. And the wrestlers themselves--I love them.

Up until last night, I've only just watched it on TV, but for Christmas this year, Fuzzy got me tickets to the WWE Holiday Tour at the Allstate Arena, and through work set up a meet and greet with us and the wrestlers before the show. It was super awesome.

We got to meet some big guns, too.

WWE Holiday Show Chicago
Fuzzy and I with Bray Wyatt.

WWE Holiday Show Chicago
With The New Day: Kofi Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods (aka the nicest guys ever) and Tyler Breeze. (with a blurry walk-by of Bad News Barrett and Titus O'Neil--who is huge--in the background.)

WWE Holiday Show Chicago
A selfie with the super dreamy Roman Reigns.

WWE Holiday Show Chicago
Pre-show chillin, with Tyson Kidd.

WWE Holiday Show Chicago
Bray Wyatt

WWE Holiday Show Chicago
Our seats were awesome!

WWE Holiday Show Chicago
Excited for the show to start!

WWE Holiday Show Chicago

WWE Holiday Show Chicago

The energy of the crowd was amazing, and the show was non-stop excitement and entertainment. I loved it all.

WWE Holiday Show Chicago
The New Day in the ring with Goldust and Stardust.

WWE Holiday Show Chicago
Bray Wyatt's entrance.

Oh man, all the entrance and exit videos were super great, too.

WWE Holiday Show Chicago

WWE Holiday Show Chicago
Main Event: Dean Ambrose & Bray Wyatt.

Everyone kept chanting for a table. This match had lots of chairs, sticks and 2 tables. Here is how one of them went:

WWE Holiday Show Chicago
Happy Campers! Wrestling for the win! Thanks, Fuzzy!

Full photoset here!

One of my favorite times of year is when Shannon comes into town for the holidays. We always plan an epic day of hanging out and getting into trouble. A few months ago, she mentioned that she wanted to see the Bowie Is exhibit at the MCA, which I also wanted to see! So last Friday, we met up and headed downtown to experience the magic.

Bowie Is

"What's that sturgeon doing in that freshwater hydrant?!?!"

Bowie Is

Bowie Is

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Bowie Is

The exhibit was amazing, of course. So much fashion, so much genius. It was so inspiring and amazing. Plus, the technology of the synched-up audio depending on what you were looking at was way mega cool. I loved looking at all his notebooks with crossed out lyrics and notes, cause it was similar to how my choreography notebook looks. I am in awe of how we all have our gifts: some people see music, some people have the gift of words, I was blessed with the gift of seeing movement when I hear music. I feel very lucky to be an artist, and I hope that I can make an impact to others in the world.

When going through the exhibit, I was also overwhelmed with life and how small it is and how fortunate I am to have the life that I have. What is my typical day in and day out is probably really amazing and crazy to others. I was specifically thinking about this when reading that Bowie was inspired by Kander and Ebb and Cabaret--I remembered a voice mail I once had from John Kander when I was working at the Goodman--and looking at a David Bowie/ Philip Glass collaboration--Philip Glass also did a show at the Goodman and was in and around the theatre a lot. So people that I have interacted with have inspired an iconic trailblazing musician who has inspired millions.

Then, it hit me. I am IN A PORTRAIT BOOK WITH DAVID BOWIE. Who is naked in his photo. We were photographed by the same photographer in the same studio.  How insane is that? All 3 of these experiences are from my time at the Goodman, which I am eternally grateful for. So yeah, life is pretty freaking great.

And now, I can't stop listening to Life on Mars? on repeat.

This outfit was in the exhibit. Shannon was obsessed with that tie, which was stunning in person.

Bowie Is

Thanks for a great day, Shannon!

Bowie Is

*That quote was regarding Bowie's costume for the Ashes to Ashes video. Now it's mine and Shannon's current favorite quote.

Who Dat!

Last week, we had the pleasure of going to the Saints at Bears game, courtesy of our awesome friends Zach and Brynn. I've always wanted to go to a Bears Game (I'll never forget the way they thrilled the nation with their T-Formation), and when the tickets they had turned out to be a rare free night in Team Gerdes-land, we were thrilled! The icing on the cake was that it was also a Saints game. WOOO! Sadly, Brynn had to miss the game due to work, but we rocked it out with their friend Bill. The evening was a total blast--it was cold and there was no cotton candy, but I was willing to overlook those issues for the fact that the seats were awesome, the game was great, and the experience was incredible. Here are some pics!

Saints!

I was not afraid to rock my Saints wear in the United Club. There were a few of us representing in there, though it was mostly blue and orange. Everyone around where we sat hated me, cause I cheered a LOT for the Saints.

Saints!

Saints!

Party People!

Saints!

I have a friend on the drumline somewhere out there!

Saints!

Bear Down! I was actually super happy the Bears scored a couple of touchdowns, cause I love the fight song soooooo much.

Saints!

There were lots of pyrotechnics and fireworks.

Saints!

Saints!

Saints!

Stretch it out, Drew Brees.

Saints!

Saints!

Thanks, Zach and Brynn! Geaux Saints!

Daily Inspiration

Cedar Waxwing! Cedar Waxwing!

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Growing up, the Reid family loved to go to Jackson and to the mall, and we did so every few months. It was always a big deal, and we always loved it. Christopher and I never tired of hanging out at the mall, and I never tired of the Piled High Oreo Yogurt Pie from Chili's. Dad always made the same wrong decision (and had the same subsequent frustrated exclamations) on County Line Road, we always parked in the same lot at the mall each time we visited, and we developed bits that would be repeated and repeated throughout our lives ("One of these days, this will ALL be yours! Da da da da, da da da da, da da da da da da! Woo!")

One time, when Christopher and I were teenagers, as we arrived in the parking lot of Northpark Mall, Dad FREAKED OUT EXCITED. He pointed and started exclaiming "CEDAR WAXWING! CEDAR WAXWING! CEDAR WAXWING!" We were puzzled. He explained that they were a kind of bird that he loved and that always made him so happy to see. A tree on the premises was FULL of them.  They were chattering away, doing a good job of being birds.  We, of course, teased him, and subsequently made fun of him every time after that when we went to the mall.  We're Reids. It's what we do.

When we were all in Vicksburg this past February for Mom's birthday and to bid Memaw and Papaw Reid's house goodbye, Susan gave us some papers and things of Dad's. Among them, was an elementary school report that included essays and drawings of different birds. Flipping through, Christopher found the best thing--Dad's report and a drawing of the Cedar Waxwing.

It was such a special moment. It all clicked--Dad had loved them since he was in about 2nd grade or so. We were so touched. I took the report home with me. (I do not have a picture here because it might take a little while to locate the report, and I am choosing to not let perfect be the enemy of the good.)

A few years ago, Fuzzy made a comment about how I should get a frog or a turtle ornament each year for the tree in memory of Dad, or that I should keep buying him trinkets like I used to. Since we went to the Christkindlmarket on the anniversary of his death, this would have been the ideal time, yet, looking at the frogs and turtles, nothing felt right. I already have a number of them on the tree, and nothing stood out to me. I decided not to make a purchase.

The wildlife ornament house is organized by species, so a little bit past the reptiles were the birds. I love the German glass bird ornaments--they are so ornate and colorful and have beautiful feathers. I stopped and had a thought--if they had a cedar waxwing ornament, I would buy it in a heartbeat. But surely they wouldn't--I pour over the ornaments each and every year, and most definitely would have purchased one in the past if I had seen one, so I knew it was a just a lofty thought.

And then I looked over and saw this:

CedarWaxwing.JPG

WHAAAAAAAAT?

I couldn't believe it.  I still can't.

I think Dad put those there just for me.
So I could have my own moment of exclaiming "CEDAR WAXWING! CEDAR WAXWING!"

CedarWaxwing3.jpeg

Thanks, Dad.

Protest 12.4.14 UPDATED

I've been feeling sort of stuck and lost and hopeless ever since the shooting of Mike Brown this summer. I've spent nights awake watching the protests unfold over twitter and seeing how the police in Ferguson responded. My schedule is crazy and I was never free to attend a vigil after his death. I was speechless when Darren Wilson was pronounced free of charges. After this week's non-indictment of the cop responsible for Eric Garner's death, I felt like I wanted to scream. And suddenly, I found myself free on a night of a Chicago peaceful protest. I was one of the first people to congregate, and I bet I was on all the local news channels (there were a lot of cameras. Also, a lot of helicopters and police everywhere). We took to the streets, stopping traffic and chanting. We laid down in the intersection of Roosevelt and Wabash, right before the Bears game at Soldier Field.  Throughout the night, the numbers in the protest grew by the thousands, and proceeded to shut down the expressway and Lake Shore Drive, among other things. I was only a part of the protest for the first hour, but they carried on throughout the night, covering some serious ground.

I feel like this is an important time in our country and our history.  I feel like we can't be silent right now.

Here are some photos of my experience.

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Seven Years

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Today's the 7 year anniversary of Dad's passing. Thanksgiving is always a challening holiday, as it was such an emotional time for us all 7 years ago. We decorated the house for Christmas for Thanksgiving that year, because Dad wanted to see the lights and we all knew he likely wasn't going to make it to actual Christmas. So we did. I have been sort of panicky about this day for the last month, cause I never know how it is going to go, and how I am going to do. But I am doing ok.  I am spending the day alone today, and I think that is a good thing. I talked to Mom and I talked to Christopher for a long time. That was awesome. I am watching Fishing With John throughout the day, and it seems like this perfect fit for today. I did a lot of grief shopping at Target a little while ago. I mostly bought sweatpants and mason jars. Seems fitting.  Tonight, I think Fuzzy and I are going to watch a Reid-ian movie, like Jarmusch's Stranger Than Paradise (also featuring John Lurie.)

But it is a "strange and beautiful" world (this post apparently has a theme):

This morning, when I woke up, I had a text from my amazing friend Amanda, and it read (among other things): "We're driving through Vicksburg today. I've never been to Mississippi before..." I couldn't believe it! So I told her to stop in to the Attic Gallery & the Hwy 61 Coffee Shop if she had time, to say hello to Daniel and see the tribute to Dad. I told her that it was the anniversary of Dad's death.

A few hours later, I get this photo:

Amanda 1.JPG

I couldn't believe it! It made me super happy and super emotional.

Amanda 2.JPG

So special.

There's not a lot left in Vicksburg that feels like home. Almost all the houses we grew up in are gone, we stay in hotels when we are there, and there's a lot of sad memories associated with many things. But the gallery and coffee shop feel like home. I love that someone special to me was somewhere special to me and met someone special to me on a very special day. Amazing.

Christopher blogged his feelings about today here. I agree with it all, whole heartedly.

I think Dad would love everything we are doing. I think Dad would be so proud of us.

Things are great. Things are hard. That's life.

I have a dance show tomorrow. How incredible is that? I never would have guessed that I would be dancing at 35. Dad would love that!

I am thankful that I had the time that I had with our pop while I was able to. Those years were so special.

KOG

David at Highway 61 Coffee