Thursday, October 23, 2008

The 1st Annual Critics Circle Awards

Please forgive the number of pics applied to this post - but there were many more I didn't post - it was hard to edit. I will be sending out a snapfish album of all my pics to the folks that are in them and anyone else who wants one.

It has taken me a few weeks to write about these awards for a couple reasons but mostly because I had to let the dust in my brain settle and try to find a good way to describe it. I am not sure if any dust has settled but I will give it a go anyway.

I was not sure what to expect out of the evening. I made a couple of index cards with some notes as to the order of the show and Dave T. gave me some things to say as far as introductions go - but I always like to put my own little spin on things. I think my friends were expecting me to be funny - and let me tell you that is the scariest thing in the world. I could barely bring myself to think about it until the day before the awards. Then I just kind of felt panicked and not ready. - you know - the usual. I had a few things I wanted to say but wasn't sure how to say them. My friend, Robyn O. was very helpful for letting me pick on her a bit (and she wasn't even going to be there) then I thought - will people just think I am being mean? Will anyone get my sense of humor? The doubt started taking over. Robert and BFF just said trust yourself - you are funny - put in all the jokes - put in even more jokes! By Sunday morning I had pretty mush decided to stick to a straight script with maybe one joke on Robyn O. thrown in for good measure.

Also I had promised her I would wear these ugly earrings because I lost a bet with her a while back. - So there I was - hours away for standing in front of 100 of my peers plus the critics, wearing ugly earrings and not having anything really funny to say.

At times like these I just stop worrying because there is too much to worry about if I did. The fun kicked in a couple hours before I was supposed to arrive at the Firehouse. Steve O. was meeting me there from work so I left early and met Robert and my BFF at White Dog for a little last minute encouragement (and a drink). I also ran into Grieg Leach who was missing the event because he was bar tending. That helped put everything in perspective for me. Then we were off to the Firehouse.

Thankfully Steve Moore was was there to get the audience laughing before I even had to step on stage. That was a huge help. Everyone looked beyond beautiful and everyone was having a great time just being all together. There were so many folks there I didn't get to see and talk to everyone I hoped to.

I had an absolute blast on stage. I got braver as the night went on and it seemed that my audience of peers did appreciate my humor and did not boo me off the stage.
In the end the awards are what they are - as Roy Proctor used to explain - they are someones opinion and that is all, but the evening itself turned into more than an award show. It was a reason for all of us to celebrate each others contribution to the theatre arts in our community - even those who could not be there and that made it worthy of the dress code and all my worrying and self doubt. I should also say that I don't believe it could have turned into such a success without the positive, happy, kind attitude of all who were in attendance (seriously - the room was full of love and not petty feelings of competition) and because of that I am most proud of this community. Critics can often divide people and companies but on this night that the critics created, I witnessed only a strong sense of respect and admiration between fellow theatre artists and I can't imagine a more successful event than that - ugly earrings and all!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

OK Robyn, here ya go.........

This post has nothing to do with food.

My friend, Robyn, who has definitely won the first round of our weight challenge, was complaining that there hasn't been a new blog entry in a while - so this one is for her!

I recently saw Robyn as Daisy in Sideshow and she was beyond excellent. I think they have 2 weeks left so go see it already!

Muffin face is deep in preparation to host the first ever Richmond Theatre Critics Circle Awards. Sunday all my peeps (well, not all of them) will congregate at The Firehouse Theatre and yours truly will stand before them and tell them they are all winners. Or something like that. I hope to throw some lame jokes in between introducing the presenters - most of which are normally responsible for either paying me or judging me. Sounds like fun, no? I can't believe they are letting me do this - be afraid Critics, be very afraid!

The event will benefit the Theatre Artists Fund which was founded by the Richmond Alliance of Professional Theaters and provides money to local actors and other theatre professionals in need of medical care or other financial help due to situations beyond their control. Unfortunately for me, it does not cover the lipo I want on my double chin. But seriously - I am a huge supporter of the Theatre Artists Fund and am very thankful it is around. You may remember last year when I hosted The Barksdale Holiday Cabaret for a night stepping in for Erin Thomas (and in fact claiming to BE Erin Thomas) - that was also to support the Actors Fund - and to make fun of myself and some of my fellow actors. Thankfully they have all forgiven me and we have moved on. Ahh, good times.
I am sure I will have some stories to tell after Sunday about these awards - I just hope they don't involve me and humiliation.

It could only be so bad - there will be alcohol involved.

Although I was not nominated for anything, I am tickled that the Critics Circle has asked me to host. Hope it goes well!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Biggest Loser

There is not much I love more than a night alone with nothing to watch but cheesy reality programs. Last night I caught an episode of Biggest Loser family. I decided to plan a menu for myself in honor of the contestants. I am so glad I was alone. Eating fried veal , shells and cheddar and drinking red wine and crying while watching the biggest loser family. Seriously. If I wasn't crying I would have been laughing at myself. (It was a particularly sad episode Y'all - someone had to send their fat daddy home.) But at least I had the food to comfort me.

I love veal and I am always looking for new ways to cook it. Last night I made wiener schnitzel style veal. Which I thought could only be made with veal until I looked up a recipe that said I could use veal, pork or chicken. Wiener schnitzel is a Viennese cutlet. It is fairly simple. I pounded the veal until it was very thin - dredged it in flour, dipped in egg and covered it in bread crumbs. One of the tricks to wiener schnitzel is to resist pressing the bread crumbs into the meat. Heat in pan and make sure it is swimming in oil. This way the crust does not stick and forms a nice raised seal around the meat. I warmed the veal in the oven on a low heat as I pan fried the pieces in small batches. At the end I threw some lemon juice on top and added capers and ground black pepper.

This was so good it was hard to resist eating the left overs for breakfast. Very hard - OK , I just had one piece before noon. Like you've never had wiener schnitzel for breakfast before??

I highly recommend watching an episode of the biggest loser while eating your favorite high calorie dinner.