dani communes with the devil. among other things.

It was a dark and (not) stormy night in a gated SoCal community in Rancho Palos Verdes.  Rolling hills, beautiful mansions, endless seascapes, and an eery quiet which hung on the neighborhood like a shroud.   A young maid (like … Continue reading

britt goes DOWN UNDAH

Friends, as you may have noticed, I have gone a bit off the grid and am currently living in a strange and glorious land. A land where bars are often referred to as hotels, where coffee is taken white, and I am … Continue reading

VagaBritt strikes again!

After living out of a suitcase since the beginning of 2015, Vagabond Britt (or “VagaBritt”, as I am now known) is on the move yet again.

On Wednesday morning, I depart with my girl Molly Elizabeth Parker (who flew out to The City of Angels from The Big Apple TODAY!) to Mammoth Lakes, CA for the inaugral Mammoth Lakes Film Festival,

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these bitches be on the road again!

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…coming soon to another resort town film fest near YOU!

and, about 24 hours after my return to LA, will hop on a plane to spend the NEXT 5 WEEKS IN SYDNEY AUSTRAILIA to do some pretty cool shit.

….and spirit quest. And eat Australian bacon. And work a lot. And probably be drunk constantly. And play Aussie Bingo (pet a koala, ride a kangaroo, steal a dingo, get high off of eucalyptus, etc.) (okay I just made that game up) (okay shut up) (okay I will try not to get arrested).* tumblr_lwz0nmlky91r8cvzdo1_250 I cannot tell you how intensely I went back and forth on the decision to go DOWN UNDAH (well, at least for the first couple hours). But then, I quickly realized, there are basically NO cons to going on this adventure. 

So… I stopped thinking so hard about it.

tumblr_lz91wcoviO1qeivwho1_500 So many things are happening, and oh, so fast… and I am ready for THEM ALL. Hopefully this will be the first of many epic wanderings and adventures.

First stop: KTjmJ Next stop: meanwhile-in-australia-00025 After that: fuck_that_space_shark So… eeeeee!!

I’ll see you guys out there.

And, lastly, let me just leave you with this:

You’re welcome and g’day.

Britt

*P.S. You have no idea how many “Kangroo Jacking Off” ** GIFS I had to go through to find a more “family friendly” Kangroo GIF.

Because 2EA is FAMILY FRIENDLY.

**Also don’t google that.

You’ll get put on a list. Just as there is a list of Kangaroo Sex Offenders. kangaroo_drunk_beer Don’t google that either.

Bye.

New York, I Love You

“You know, this is what I’ve always liked about New York. These little moments on the sidewalk, smoking, thinking about your life. You can watch the buildings, you can feel the air, look at the people, sometimes meet somebody you feel like you can talk to.”

Almost exactly three years ago I was in New York, staying in Astoria, Queens, taking the N train into Manhattan, and dreaming big dreams about my future.  My apartment back in Portland had been annihilated by flooding days before, so I had no home to speak of, my heart was at least half broken, and I was on my way to Colorado afterwards, another place that was not my home.  I was sort of desperate but I had a sense of perpetual motion propelling me forward, so I was happy in a way, and elated by New York. 

The first time I got on the N train this time around, I was watching the Manhattan skyline approach before the train plunged under the river to spit me out in the heart of Manhattan to perform my culminating USC Acting Showcase, the last project of the most transformative, important, and best three years of my life, and I couldn’t help but cry.  I couldn’t stop.  The deeper under the river the train carried me, the more my tears insisted on leaking out of eyes.  I did not have the same shaky fear and deep insecurity that accompanied me the last time I rode this train. I was not the same person and yet I was more myself than I had ever been. 

On my last day in New York,  I wandered the East Village and Greenwich Village and I found myself in a quaint gluten-free Italian restaurant, a cozy sanctuary from the bitter Spring breezes where I could write and drink espresso (spiked by contraband Irish whiskey because let’s be real).  New York is poetry in motion.  There is something about this city, about the struggle combined with the triumphant moments that make it a transcendent place to exist.  

And yet the last time I was here I yearned to stay here, to exist in the fast-paced struggle and glory. But this time, my weak-ass palm-tree-loving sunshine-basking LA blood was like “daaaaamn you’re not gonna move here right?”  New York, I love you, but I also love LA.  It’s the same madness but it’s more spread out.  Plus in LA there is this:

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Observe. Sunshine, Sand, and Britt Harris

I’m from the wild west and I love the wild west. 

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Yeah that’s right, mysterious cowboy. Life has a way of giving you exactly what you need at exactly the right moments, and I trust that I am exactly where I need to be. 

After the showcase on Tuesday, I budgeted three days to be in New York to take all of the fabulous meetings and auditions I would have from all of the people who were just dying to work with me and I got…

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Ah yes. That moment as an actor when your ego gets bitch-slapped and you have to just take it in stride and trust that you are still on the right path. That moment when your friends can’t hang out because of all their auditions and meetings.  That moment that your friend calls you and asks for help preparing to audition for your favorite musical of all time.  That moment when you try to drop your headshot off at a casting office and get rejected hard. 

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So what does one do in New York when one’s dreams of working here have been snatched away by the cold, quick hand of reality?

1. Hang out with these angels.

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These are my hosts with the mosts offering me tequila and gluten-free cookies on my first day in New York. That blue-eyed Oregonian boy on the left is the soon-to-be-world-famous Connor Bond, a badass actor with whom I have shared the stage many times. 

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…Okay we also may have shared a couple shots of tequila as well.  That’s a throwback to the good old college days. 

Anyway, the blue-eyed Oregon boy on the right is the soon-to-be-world-famous Devin Olson, another actor extraordinaire with whom I have shared the stage many times. 

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That’s a college throwback to “Rumors” by Neil Simon, when I unsuccessfully tried to seduce Devin but successfully used him to make my husband jealous. Check out that hair flip y’all!  Proof of my inner PIMP. 

Connor and Devin live in the very same apartment shared by Devin and Sammi the last time I was in NYC. 

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You may recognize Sammi from my hiking adventures.  

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THE POINT IS that this family runs DEEP and this entire trip to New York would have been worth it just to see my boys.  

2. Take yourself on baller ass solo dates. 

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My favorite theatre in NYC is The Public Theatre and I got to see “Buzzer,” a sexy new topical play by Tracey Scott Wilson.  The play was great, and the guy sitting next to me most definitely had Tourette’s, which was a new play-going experience for me.  And let me just say, it was great.  We had like all the same reactions to the play but he got to have, like, BIGGER reactions.  It was seriously awesome. Shout out to you, brother. 

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This is the view from Senza Gluten, the only gluten-free Italian restaurant I’ve ever encountered, and the place from which I wrote a lot of this post. Baller. Ass. Solo. Dates. 

3. Kiss a monk on the subway. 

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That’s Khen Rinpoche, my host when I was in Ladakh, India two years ago.  I hadn’t seen him since I was in India. And it was so nice to be reunited with him.  He is just pure presence and pure love.  And he loves holding hands and giving kisses.  Even if you are getting on the subway and people look at you like you’re crazy. He also loves selfies. 

4. Go to Happy Hour. 

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‘Nuff said. Who says I wasn’t taking care of business in New York?

5. Check out an awesome independent bookstore. 

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Look at that nerd nerding out super hard in the nerd section. #winning

6.  Get drunk and ride the subway. 

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You guys. I have an uncanny homing device when drunk and alone in cities.  It has never once failed me.  Washington D.C., Amsterdam, Shanghai, New York, Los Angeles. BRING IT ON. Also I’m sure I’m not the first lady in a pretty dress to pee in an inappropriate place in New York.  Am I oversharing? I promise I’m not an alcoholic. 

7. See “Hand to God” on Broadway. 

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Okay so if you’re in New York maybe you’re all like, “Ooooo I want to see The Lion King” or “Maybe a nice Rogers and Hammerstein would be nice.” Let me just say, and pardon my French, FUCK THAT NOISE AND GO SEE “HAND TO GOD”.  Sweet holy crap-monsters this was like, top-5 playgoing experiences of my life.  The sheer technical mastery of the actors alone is worth it, not to mention the writing, and the subject matter, and the soulfulness of the show, and the TOTALLY UNAPOLOGETIC COMPLETELY BADASS experience.  It is not for the faint of heart but like, grow a pair of ovaries and/or testicles and fly your ass to New York and go see it.  It can and should change your life. 

8.  Write love letters to someone far away. 

love letters

…Wouldn’t you like to know?

xoxox

Dani

dani gets lost in the wilderness

I’m listening to Brandi Carlile and crying right now.  Right?? SING TO ME BRANDI!!  YOU ARE MY EVERYTHING!!** I mean hell. Britt and I talk on the regular about the things that we scream-cry to in the car. Personal favorites … Continue reading

britt goes from The Big Meal to The Big Move

Well, my friends, I made it. I am alive and well, living in Los Angeles!!

Exactly one week ago I drove from Portland, Oregon all the way to Los Angeles, California. I did it. I finally DID it. Holy shit. I used to live here: Portland%20skyline%207%20from%20Eastbank%20Esplanade And now I live HERE: hw Well, actually, I live here: new hood

Welcome.

This is Silverlake. It is pretty much the best neighborhood in this whole sunny smoggy place. It is a hip, mustached, tattooed, coffee-addicted, food-centric paradise. It is walkable, bike-able, and almost completely fueled by yoga, booze, and raw foods juices. Okay, so it’s pretty much like Portland in SoCal… so obviously it feels like home. I suppose you can take the girl outta Portland, but you can’t take the Portland…

…you get the idea.

Anyway.

Looking back on my life a week ago–and letting everything truly sink-in with where I am now, both geographically and mentally/emotionally– I realize what an incredible thing I just did. And also what a potentially stupid thing I just did. But mostly… what an incredibly AWESOME thing I just did. So yeah.

A week ago I packed everything I own into my Hundai Elantra. Anything that didn’t fit, didn’t come with me. I took my clothes, my books, my computer, my guitar, my ukulele, some miscellaneous bedroom décor and sentimental items, and my embarrassingly small “LA Move Nest-Egg”  (I will disclose the actual amount to you after I have achieved some small amount of success and/or stability) and left town the day after The Big Meal closed at Artists Repertory Theatre. I wouldn’t allow myself much time to think about it–I had to go. It was time; this was the time I had planned to leave.

So I did it. I drove away the very next morning. It was the farthest I’d driven alone in my car and the whole drive was very meditative and powerful. I didn’t get too tired. A vast array of emotions and adrenaline would check-in with me every two minutes to be sure I was wide-awake. I was thrilled to make a new home in a big new place and give myself permission to be the person I’ve always wanted to be. I was proud of myself for making the bold change. I was melancholy to close a show I loved with people I now consider family. I was excited to see my best friends Suz and Dani, happy to be caravanning down with Scott, worried I’d be making a mistake of leaving Portland at the wrong time, uncertain as to how and where and with whom I’d be making my new life, and afraid of doing it all wrong. I was forgiving of myself and mistakes I have made. I allowed myself to feel many different uncomfortable and often contradictory feelings and acknowledge them, so they could pass by. 

In this way, the 14 + hour drive was this odd cleansing process for me. I didn’t expect that. I thought I would listen to NPR and a crap-ton of podcasts during the long drive–as one is want to do–but ended up listening to music and having thought-conversations with myself the whole way. Music was my constant companion  on the journey and helped me allow my thoughts to run. My heart was heavy yet happy, and my chest was light and buzzing.

When I drove into Los Angeles city limits on the second day of the journey, the song “Safe and Sound” by Capital Cities came on my ipod:

And when I drove off of the exit into Silverlake, my new home, the song “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros came on:

Yup. That is when I started tearing up. I was so overwhelmed in that moment–after the long drive, after a year of planning and dreaming and fearing that I’d back out at the last minute, after countless people questioning why I’d want to made a move like this and never really having a good enough answer for them, I made it. I am here. Through moving in with a bunch of college boys, surviving a house fire, living through a cancer-scare, experiencing epic broke-dom, and dealing with countless auto issues, I made it. I had dreamed of making this move since undergrad and I was never quite sure if I had the balls to do it. But I grew balls. Great big lady balls. And I made some moderately irresponsible/risky/okay-I-guess-I’m-moving-another-couple-rungs-down-the-adult-ladder decisions. But I stick by those decisions. And I am proud of them. I am so proud of me.

My Past Few Weeks

The past six weeks my life revolved around the run of The Big Meal, a show very dear to me. Writing about my experience working on this show feels very daunting because it is so significant to me in a way I can’t quite articulate. All I can say is that it was exactly what it needed to be, at exactly the right time. I am so thankful for such a joyful, love-filled, challenging, life-changing experience.  I miss it already.

I also had an epic going away party at The Blue Monk (a bar central to my social life, linked mostly to my Theatre Vertigo days) the Thursday evening before my departure:

Liz, Shane, and Me being a pirate. Thank you Liz for capturing this moment of pure insanity.

Liz, Shane, and Me being a pirate. Thank you Liz for capturing this moment of pure insanity.

I was humbled by the amount of people that showed up and wish that I would have taken more pictures. I drank lots of hot-toddies and gave lots of hugs. By the end of the night I was a happy weepy mess and felt like the most-loved girl in the world. I am going to miss my Portland family more than anything.

The Sunday that followed was the closing of The Big Meal. We had a matinee and an evening show and had an incredible cast party at our usual spot, Cassidy’s. I laughed until I peed, multiple times, that night. Let’s just say, shit got REAL.

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We partied and packed late into the night. Well, at least Scott and I did. The next day, on Monday morning, Mr. Scott Lowell and I fueled up our cars, pulled out our walkie-talkies, at hit the open road with a Puggle for our two-day, 14-hour drive from Portland to Los Angeles.

Legit.

Legit.

We had many fun adventures along the way. Most notably, time spent in beautiful autumnal Ashland, OR, home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival:

photo4Sadly, we didn’t have time to stay and see shows, but we did make time for enjoying good sushi, letting Gertie the Puggle tour-guide us through beautiful Lithia Park,

gertie lithia park

…and still had time for me to climb shit like a spider monkey.

And what a vision-quest it all was.

But now.. NOW! I am in Los Angeles!! Since being in LA, I’ve been living in three places (2 in Silverlake, 1 in Echo Park), because, as we all know, I am a freaking vagabond. Aside from scattering my belongings and my person at Dani/Suz’s and Scott’s house, I have been fortunate enough to house-sit in Echo Park for my dear friends Stephen and Marina. I get to hang out with their cat Chance in this cool place:

photo3And yes, in many ways I am still living out of my car (my shoes and all of my accessories, among other things, are still packed very tetris-like in my trunk, so the final phase of My-Getting-Ready-for-the-Day-Routine is to sit inside my trunk and complete my outfit), but I have only a couple weeks left of vagabonding around the ‘hood until I get to live with my two best friends in our new house in Silverlake!!

I started to get out of the neighborhood and into the city a little bit over the last couple days. Here is some photographic evidence of me hanging out with some of my new friends I made at the Los Angeles Natural History Museum:

OMG, Dinos!

OMG, Dinos!

OMG, elephants!!

OMG, elephants!!

…Like a boss.

Scott and I went to see a friend’s show site-specific to the museum and it made for a pretty fantastic evening. Seeing my first live thing in this city got me both pumped and depressed– it evoked both a call to action and a paralyzing fear of not knowing what to do next–or first.

But I forget. I’ve been in this city for a WEEK. I think I need to calm the fuck down a little bit. I have done so much and come so far. I will solidify the job/cash-flow thing. I will have my own space soon. I will seek representation. I WILL GO TO THE BEACH.

See?! Look at how happy I am!!

See?! Look at how happy I am!!

Everything will fall into place. My mom once made me repeat the mantra, “I am calm, I am confident, I am strong”. Yes, yes, yes. Let go of the stress you accumulated for yourself in the Pacific NW and let yourself be calm amidst the crazy of this city. This is my own check-in.

And that extra vitamin D sure does’t hurt.

So… remember when I first made the public proclaimation that I was moving? A lot has happened since then. And I could not be more proud.

Also, let us not forget one of the most important parts of this post… the very BEST thing about this move and the impetus for doing so in the first place is…

Because of THIS GIRL.

my D

My Dani. The best friend and sister a girl could possibly have.

That’s right, folks. The Two Evil Actors are reunited once more. And it has, is, and will continue to be the most GLORIOUS thing ever. photo (2)

And I have ALSO been reunited with our best friend Suzzane!!

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This is pretty much the best thing that has ever happened, EVER. And come November 1st, the three of us will be living together in a beautiful house on Waterloo Street.

Watch out world.

Love to you, my friends, thank you for all of the support you have given me in making this big step. I cannot tell you how much you all have helped propel me forward.

~britt

dani tries to figure out wtf country she’s in

I just got off the phone with my very favorite Britt and as usual, I felt instantly inspired to write (and make movies and make art and make fun, but I have this blog to write and so I am going to WRITE).

I have felt somewhat at a loss for the past couple of weeks since being back from India because, as I mentioned, I have been experiencing REVERSE culture shock. As in, you leave your country for a while and go experience another culture and then you come back home and you’re like:

wtfamerica

And it’s hard not to go into a downward spiral that goes kind of like…

WTF is wrong with this country?
WHY did I come back?
CAN I just go back to India forever? Is that throwing away all of the opportunities I was given by being born in this country?
HOW SOON can I go back?
WHY do I feel this way?

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Except that’s NOT TRUE, Emo-Dani, it’s just NOT TRUE. We live in a global age and bajillions of people have traveled and moved and immigrated and gone through this stuff over and over again and it’s just NOT TRUE!!

So let me rewind a little bit.

INDIA IS AWESOME. It is this incredibly diverse, chaotic, beautiful, crazy UNIVERSE of possibility where there is quite literally a billion different ways of living your life and being in the world. Total FOOD for my actor-brain, and the best kind of nourishment for my soul. For the first month, Tarah and I were traveling around India like the twentysomething backpacking bums that we are:

Dani and Tarah arrive in Rishikesh

Dani and Tarah in full backpacker mode

We spent a couple of weeks doing yoga in Rishikesh when intense flash flooding hit the state of Uttarakhand, upriver of where we were staying. Seemingly overnight, the big, beautiful Momma Ganges River turned into a rageful and torrential stream of destruction.

Right as the floods started, our new Canadian friend Kelsy happened to leave for the mountains which would soon become incredibly dangerous, Tarah and I had AMAZING astrology readings with this spiritual guru lady named Amodini, and I got horrendously sick with the flu. We were completely safe in Rishikesh, but there was no electricity or internet anywhere for days, so bad news from upriver trickled in slowly–corpses of wild elephants, cars with bodies still trapped inside, remains of ancient temples… It all flowed by somewhere under the raging river a few hundred yards down the hill. And I was pretty much bedridden with a fever and no voice, the words of Amodini echoing in my head with talk of my birthright, my spiritual relationship with Jesus and Buddha, and god knows what else. It was a surreal time.

Tarah took these one day.  See that big white building? The first floor is covered in water.

Tarah took these one day. See that big white building? The first floor is covered in water.

After a few days, Kelsy came back with some terrifying tales of spending three days and two nights on the road fleeing the floods, and while she was happy to be in the safety of Rishikesh, she needed to get the hell out of the mountains and out of sight of the Ganges, and so we decided to go south to Udaipur:

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ISN’T IT FUCKING GORGEOUS??

Wait wait wait I’m getting ahead of myself again. So we decided to flee Rishikesh:

I swear we are not as freaked out as we look.

I swear we are not as freaked out as we look.

No really, I swear Kelsy is not ACTUALLY as upset as she looks in this picture. Or maybe she was. But I’m pretty sure we were just messing around. Anyway, here are some of the sights we saw as we left Rishikesh for Delhi, and they really help paint of picture of what I mean when I say India is a place of POSSIBILITY.

Donkeys moving bricks!

Donkeys moving bricks!

Oh sure, GIANT TRUCK you can pass that tourist van on the shoulder of this one lane road next to these stacks of bricks. Just make sure you don’t run over that unsupervised donkey that is in charge of moving all of those bricks.

Typical street scene

Typical street scene

Check out that food stall. These food stalls pop up about every ten feet and feature a cooler (or cardboard box) with some cokes in it, and a giant wok. If you own a wok, you can own a restaurant. Can you imagine trying to do that in the US? Also check out the mish mash of Indian and “Western” clothes that people are wearing, and the ratio of men to women in this picture. Both are pretty typical.

On the road...

On the side of the road…

“Hey guys I think we should start a custom cabinetry business.”

“Yeah man, I think we can set it up between those trees where the pigs hang out.”

……yeah!

Paharganj, New Delhi

Paharganj, New Delhi. Quintessentially chaotic

Amidst all this chaos, Tarah and I managed to stand out; Tarah with her pale skin and me with a mane of blond hair. We made a ton of friends, people openly shared their kindness and hospitality, and we occasionally had to avoid a hustler trying to make a buck off of the “rich white ladies.”

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ERMAHGERD I’M RICH

But you know, who can blame them? As you can see, if you have ANY idea of a way to make a living or a way of living your life, then India is your oyster. Being there felt completely liberating. It didn’t matter what we wore or how we acted or what we did because we stood out whether we were quiet as mice or completely ridiculous. I know that we were excused from a lot of social expectations because we were foreign tourists, but I think that in general Indian culture is more accepting of differences; the Indian imagination is much bigger when it comes to humanity…when it comes to the things they think people are capable of.

Imagine going from that to Los Angeles: the judgiest place in the human universe.

becky look at her butt

Within my own culture, and especially as one of a million blond actors in LA, I am keenly aware of the fact that people I don’t even know (without even thinking about it or without even trying to) are constantly judging and classifying me depending on my weight, on my skin, on my eyebrows, on how expensive my clothes look, on the car I drive, blah blah blah. This Sunday I was at a coffeeshop in Silver Lake watching a parade of hipsters trying so hard to BE something or to NOT be something, and then later in the day I was at a jazz night in a fancy hotel watching a parade of supermodels and wannabe starlets also trying to BE SOMETHING and NOT be a failure or something…

I guess ultimately it’s the same thing…. The people struggling to survive in Delhi are the same people trying to find there place in the world in LA. It’s just difficult. It’s not easy for anyone–from the skinny eighteen-year-old model at the bar in the fancy hotel to the skinny twelve-year-old kid in India with more tattoos than my musician brother. In the end I guess it’s just about accepting that I am another gypsy soul trying to find my place and my purpose in the world. Trying to find meaning in it all.

An ACTUAL gypsy in Rajasthan

An ACTUAL gypsy in Rajasthan

AHEM.

…..

Man, people with Emo haircuts are really keeping this blog in check today. Thanks, dude.

So I got sidetracked and only really talked about 1/4 of my trip so far… Let me explain something real quick: For the first week that I was in LA, I was LOSING MY MIND. I felt like sleeping all day (as the nice British man explains) so for some reason I decided to combat this by doing a bunch of crazy shit during the daytime in order to stay awake, but then at nighttime I was wide awake so I just continued doing a bunch of crazy shit and not sleeping. So I have not been on top of my blogging game.

yeah… like that.

Anyway! To round out this edition of Dani-tries-to-figure-out-WTF-country-she’s-in, I’m going to call in the aid of another dude with an Emo haircut to tell you about jet lag. After two minutes he changes the subject, so feel free to go about your day after that.

….Yeah. India. Jet lag. Transitions. Emo-hair.

mic drop

–dani

guess who’s back. DANI’S BACK.

WHOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!

Exactly a week ago, my plane touched down in Los Angeles after a two month trip to India.

Landing at LAX at sunset

Landing at LAX at sunset

It’s been a whirlwind week back in the United States, and I’ve spent an embarrassing amount of time poring over Britt‘s posts from this summer, getting misty-eyed about how amazing and inspiring my best friend is, and pondering what I could possibly say at this time to sum up the last two months of my life AND riff off all the inspiring things Britt had to say in my absence.  It’s nuts to me how much my girl has been through in the last few months: shooting a million projects, juggling a million jobs, being in a million plays, taking care of her health, enduring major life upsets, leaving her day job, closing down a theater, and just continuing to be hilarious and charming every step of the way.  I don’t know about you guys, but it makes me dizzy just thinking about it!

And that is saying something, because India can be pretty dizzying at times.  Honestly though, the reason it has taken me a week to write a freakin’ post is that being back in America has been more overwhelming to me than touching down in India.  Look you guys, they even have a bunch of charts on google to demonstrate reverse-culture-shock:

Graphs mean SCIENCE

Aight, so a lot of that is hooey…  Or at least I can say that a lot of that wasn’t the case for me personally, but still THERE ARE CHARTS PEOPLE.  And I was only gone for two months!  That’s nothing!

But now….

And I’m slowly readjusting to bleach blonde hair and fake tits.  YAY LOS ANGELES!!  Britt, there are so many fake bitches down here! (No offense to all the fake bitches.  I am sure you are all wonderful beautiful people at your core.)

In all seriousness, folks, this city is waiting to embrace Britt Harris and lift her up to the heights of glory, because Los Angeles has never SEEN such an original, authentic, intelligent, beautiful, insightful, creative, REAL woman in all of its days.  I can now safely say that I’ve been all over the world and never met someone with such unbridled passion, creativity, and drive, and it is really, really special.  I’m jealous that you all have had internet for two months and have been able to keep up with all of her exploits.

Meanwhile, I keep going back and forth between this…

and this…

For the past week I’ve been alternating between sleeping/taking care of my self and partying-like-it’s-1999.  My body can’t decide if it wants to sleep for 10 years or take Los Angeles by the horns and ride it like a drunk middle-aged lady on a mechanical bull at a square-dancing bar trying to forget her past.

I don’t know y’all.

The second month of my trip was spent in Stok village, which is near Leh, Ladakh, in Northern India. What????

ladakh map

Ohhhh! Thank you, cartoon-y map!  That’s where it is!  As you can see, Ladakh is actually part of the political province of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), which is part of India.  J&K is frequently subject to political violence and activism, since there have been border disputes between India and Pakistan for years and years and years–pretty much since India became a country when the British left. Ladakh is the part of Northern India that is largely isolated, both culturally and practically, from that political unrest, and is home to about 200,000 Ladakhi people who are mostly Buddhist and much more similar to Tibetans in language, religion, and culture.  Ladakh is often called “Little Tibet,” but in my opinion that’s kind of like calling Canada “Little United States”… a somewhat true/offensive generalization. 

Anyway!  Where was I going with this?  Are you all bored with my pseudo history lesson yet?

Oh yeah! So Ladakh is this stunningly beautiful and sublimely peaceful little slice of heaven nestled in the Himalayas between two incredibly contentious political regions:  China-occupied Tibet and the Pakistan/India territory fight in Jammu and Kashmir.  I lived there for a month with this guy:

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Khen Rinpoche Geshe Kachen Lobzang Tsetan with me and Tarah, my friend from the USA

Khen Rinpoche is an incredible human being, and meeting him was a karmic and life-changing stroke of luck.  I am sure I will talk more about this later, but he taught me about Buddhism (and life) and taught by example how to live with deep compassion for all sentient beings, and use the life you were given to bring compassion and love to the planet.  I’m weeping now just thinking about it.  

So try to imagine with me, for a moment, going from life in a peaceful and remote village with a bunch of Buddhists where this is what you see every day, 

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To LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA.  LA is essentially the breeding ground of America’s largest export:  AMERICAN CULTURE (which could not be any different from Ladakhi culture if it tried).

Thank you, Ke$ha, for personifying everything that I am trying to say. 

So yes.  Dear, sweet, beautiful blog readers.  For the next few weeks before I start the second year of my MFA in Acting at USC, I will be presenting you with a series of blogs which will attempt to share with you some of my experiences from my summer in India, to make up for the fact that I did practically NO blogging while I was gone.  I have nothing but love and appreciation in my heart for anyone who is willing to plunge down this rabbit hole with me and help me to digest these experiences and apply them to my life as an actor in the city of angels.

PEACE OUT!!

dani