Tuesday, October 30, 2012

My Life is an Episode of LOST: A Story of Music, Life, and "Death"

I love musicals.

Growing up, I watched Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison in My Fair  Lady enough times to where I am confident I could recite the entire performance, including humming the intermission music. I remember watching The Sound of Music for the first time, and desperately wanting to dance in a dress like Liesel's in a gazebo in the rain.
In eighth grade, I shared homeroom and honors English with a boy named Weston, who had just moved to Santa Maria from the L.A. area. I'm going to be honest, I have no idea what the first thing we talked about was, but to make a medium-sized story short, we hit it off. And I have a very distinct memory of trading him a burned copy of The Who's Tommy, for a stack of musical soundtracks and cast recordings, including Wicked, Rent, and, still my favorite, The Phantom of the Opera. All of these were new to me, and I was currently in a phase of listening to The Ramones, Flogging Molly, and Led Zeppelin; it's frankly kind of amazing that musicals about disfigured, misunderstood musical geniuses would catch on so quickly [then again...].

Wes and I continued our friendship through those days of junior high [for the sake of everyone involved, I'm skipping photos of this particular time period], and all throughout high school. We never really stopped singing lines from musicals in the hallways to each other. [A particular favorite role will be my Roxie Hart to his Billy Flynn in Chicago's "We Both Reached for the Gun".]

Insert LOST "flash sideways" sound effect here.

When I was about sixteen years old, I started playing music with a classmate in my film production class. His name was Cole, but we soon became known as My Name is Circus. I'm including a photo this time.

My Name is Circus: The Early Years.
We wrote a few of our own songs, and played our first shows at a local bar. Once it came time to find someone to share a stage with, we wanted to ask someone whose shows we had been to, whose album we had, and someone who knew what they were doing - and that man was Chris Lambert. To rip off Casablanca like so many others, it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
We eventually grew into a three-piece, adding our mutually-close friend Jake on percussion. Many weekends were spent driving to San Luis Obispo, Isla Vista, Santa Barbara, Arroyo Grande, anywhere else I've forgotten in my old age, to play shows. But, in that nearly-two-year span, the amount of venues in our hometown took a nosedive. In the midst of our senior year of high school, we stopped playing shows. But, as spring approached, a plan was hatched between Chris and I to go on tour that summer. Santa Maria was out of places to play, but the rest of the world certainly was not! In a summer of adventure, romance, California, Oregon, and Nevada, we toured the west with a guitar, MicroKorg and and tambourine.

Chris and I on tour, at Echo Curio in Los Angeles <3
Since those shows played in high school and those on tour [somewhere around fifty altogether], I haven't played since. And I promise this partial life-story [and trust me, I'm condensing] was not written just to give you an anti-climactic ending. [Although I do have a love for those.]

Over six months ago, Weston, who is currently a student at UC Berkeley, came to Chris, with a script he had written with Jake [I know, things are getting crazy, right?], for a musical. In an amazing whirlwind, Chris composed a score to accompany the lyrics and script, and the musical was accepted by Berkeley's Bare Stage Productions. Now, why did I give you such a huge lead up to this? Because through completely different circumstances, times in my life, and some movie-quality coincidences, music has brought some crazy talented people into my life. I am still completely floored that somehow fate brought together Weston and Chris, and that this musical is being performed on stage - in two weeks!

If you live in California, Death and Other Hobbies will be performed at the Cesar Chavez Center in Berkeley, starting November 9th. You can see more on the event here, and purchase tickets here. I could not be more proud of my boyfriend, and am dying [I swear that was not an intentional pun on the title] to see his music performed by an orchestra!! [Yes, you read that correctly: An orchestra.] 

I'm seriously tearing up at this point, which means it's time to stop writing. Please check out Death and Other Hobbies [you can find a banner for it on the right-hand side of this page], and I promise to post many photos when we head up north to see it! 

I promise this is the last link for today.

-AW

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