britt gets a life upgrade

You and I, Blogersphere, have not caught up for a few weeks. In fact, I think it has been nearly a month since we’ve caught up last. Man, I’m not going to lie, it’s pretty hard to keep on track when my Evil Actor Twin Dani has been gone for weeks in India. But friends… ooooohhh, friends. My life has been changing (would you expect anything less from me?). But this time, it is nothing but good stuff. No more house fires, cancer scares, and hit-and-runs. Only life-wins. Only complete badassedry. Only TOTAL LIFE UPGRADE.

totallifeupgradeLet me give you the epic highlights.

First: I have a new room! A real room! With a door! Look, look!!

1

hello happy yellow room!

please note and appreciate my shark pillow.

please note and appreciate my shark pillow.

3

please note and appreciate my OK Computer poster.

4.

it’s SO YELLOW UP IN HERE.

For my friends following along at home, you know that this is a huge step up from my frat house basement-dwelling and air-mattress in the living-room dwelling days. Rooming with Liz* and Shane* is pretty much the best. They even feed me sometimes, if I’m really good.

Second: I got a new phone (thank you, Shane)!! 

For those of you who have not had the pleasure of hanging around me from February to June 2013, you have not experienced my old phone in all its glory:

I lived with this beauty and its "spiderweb filter" for four months.

Yup. I lived with this beauty and its “spiderweb filter” for four whole months. Roughin’ it.

And now, oh NOW, this is how my iPhone looks. And this is how I look when I am spending quality time with it.

A shatter-less screen? What LUXURY! I feel like I got a new prescription on my contacts or something. I CAN SEE AGAIN! YES!!

Third: I bought myself health insurance! Because I am a grown-up!

(And also because one major health scare is quite enough for me, thankyouverymuch.)

Fourth: One of my very dearest, closest friends,* Liz Evans and my boy-twin, *Shane Winters (both of whom I now have the pleasure of living with) GOT ENGAGED this past week!! And I was there the night it happened! I almost peed myself! (Thank you, magic of UP Reunion Weekend. Go Pilots.)

aren't they ADORBS?!

aren’t they ADORBS?!

aren't WE adorbs?!

aren’t WE adorbs?!

Aaaaanddd… (Drumroll, please)… Fifth:

I gave my notice at my day job.

desk prison

OH MY GAW!

This is both exhilarating and terrifying for me. Shit’s getting real. Goodbye, Safety Net. I’m doing it. I’m really doing it… I’m moving to Los Angeles!

Oh, LIFE! You crazy fox!! Let’s just keep doing what we’re doing.

In other news, here are the rad activities have been keeping me busy enough to think that I don’t have time to write to you…

My (past 3) week(s):

These past few weeks have been jammed packed with a lot of awesome things. In the midst of rehearsals for various projects, callbacks, and a couple of readings of new work that I got to participate in (a new screenplay co-written by Portland staples Greg James and Mike Prosser called”Tidepool” and a new piece by NY playwright Deborah Copeland entitled, “Love Story for Eros”), I also had this shaaaat goin’ on:

I shot a commercial a couple weeks ago where, for the first time ever, I played a MOM.

…And I had not one, but three children. The oldest of which was probably about… eight. What’s up, people?! I’m 26. Do I not get to play teenagers anymore?! WHO AM I?!! HELP!!

But for real. The commercial shoot was really fun and the kids were great. I can’t wait to see how it turns out. When I wasn’t shooting, I hung out on the swing set and nomz-ed pretty hard on craft services. It was an awesome day of work.

As my time as a company member at Theatre Vertigo comes to a close, so does Vertigo’s tenure at the Theater!Theatre! building (located in SE Portland). After serving as a home to both Vertigo and Profile Theatre as resident companies for the past decade, Theater!Theatre! closes its doors. I didn’t expect to get too weepy during The Great Move weekend a couple of weeks back, but I definitely did. (In the privacy of my own car afterwards, but it still counts.) I was sad to say goodbye to that place. It made my departure with Vertigo and (my soon-to-be) with Portland seem much more real.

Taking apart the Arena Stage. :(

taking apart the Arena Stage. 😦

Some beautiful show debris I found under the theatre seats.

beautiful show debris I found under the theatre seats.

Some friends gather to say goodbye to the space.

some friends gather to say goodbye to the space.

and some more friends...

and some more friends…

...and even more friends.

…and even more friends.

But lucky me, I got to take home a part of the space!

6

This beautiful souvenir is now hanging on my wall. Along with the box office sign and the lobby sign and the green room sign. It’s possible I overdid it a bit. Whatever. I get sentimental.

Anyway.

Rehearsals for Portland Shakespeare Project‘s The Tamer Tamed have started!

tamer

This show runs as a staged reading in rep with PSP’s The Taming of the Shrew this summer and I am excited to for it to take off!

I got new headshots!  I can’t wait to see how they turned out. Liz and I did headshot sessions together with the ridiculously talented Gary Norman of Gary Norman Photography with the incredible, one-and-only Gavin Hoffman assisting. Pretty much, it was three of my favorite people in one place, which was stupid fun.

My boys Gavin and Gary, and their hot hot asses.

my boys Gavin and Gary, and their hot hot asses.

Everything is stupid fun right now.

Especially this Intergalactic Leopard dress I just bought.

dress

Total Life Upgrade. In epic dress form.

There is no more to say.

until next time,

~britt

dani goes to india

In two days I’m getting on a plane and leaving for India for 2 months.  

image

Wheee!!!

 As Britt and I have mentioned about 10,000 times, and as is currently evident by the fact that Britt is living on an air mattress on our friend’s floor after losing her house, we are gypsies at heart.  Because that is the case, when I chose to go to grad school until 2015, I made a deal with myself.  I could only go to grad school if I used the two honest-to-God summers that grad school includes to travel.  I had to find ways to go places in this big crazy world before life sets in and bitches start coming after me for student loan payments.  

To be honest though, India wasn’t really on my radar.  Despite things like this…

And this…

Taj Mahal, India…

And this…

…It had just never crossed my mind to go there.  

But then, back in January, I got to talking to Tarah.  

Image

This is Tarah. (And Britt and Sedale and Amaka)

Tarah has just finished year 2 of her MFA in Acting at USC.  Put another way, she’s a year ahead of me in the program.  Here’s a picture of Tarah without sunglasses on, lookin’ all serious n’ actor-like n’ whatnot.  

Image

she’s amazing. just try to deny it. impossible.

Tarah was telling me about how for years now, her good friend Khen Rinpoche has been trying to get her to come up to Ladakh in Northern India and see the school that he runs there–The Siddhartha School.  She decided she was finally going to go this summer so she could attend the school’s anniversary celebration, but she was nervous about traveling abroad for the first time alone.  We talked for a long time that night, and somehow, in her infinite generosity and love and wisdom and amazingness, she invited me to go with her.  

OmigodOmigodOmigodOmigodOmigod. Seriously?  What?  I said to her what I usually say when people say things like, “We should get lunch sometime” or “We should be friends” or “You should come with me to this cool place” which is

“Be careful about inviting me.  Because I’ll go.”

5 months later, we’ve done all the preparation we can muster and now we are itching to get on the plane and just go.  

image

Okay well we’re not actually going to paaaarty.  As they say.  We’re actually going to do some of this:

image

yoga!!

As Tarah and I planned our trip, we realized it’s not actually cost-effective to go to India for a short amount of time, because the flight over there is expensive, but it’s super super super cheap once you’re there.  So the longer we stay, the further my tiny summer budget will stretch.  Cause let’s be real, I’m living off my leftover student loan money, y’alllllll.  Anyway, we both had an interest in studying yoga, and Rishikesh, India is not far South of Ladakh, and it’s the yoga capital of the world.

So.  We fly into Delhi on Sunday night, and after a brief visit to Agra to see the Taj Mahal, we’ll journey North to spend a month studying yoga in Rishikesh and a month visiting Ladakh.  We’re hoping that by the time we fly home, we’ve figured out how to levitate so we don’t have to take a plane.  

Flying - GIF

In all seriousness, though, I could not be more grateful and excited and humbled to be making this journey.  We’re as well-prepared as you can possibly be, and I feel so blessed to be Tarah’s companion on this trip.  I’m ready to go to India with a savvy mind, a free spirit, and an open heart.  Let’s doooo it. 

I will post as much as I can to TwoEvilActors while I’m gone, but I’m sure Britt will have plenty to tell you about until I come back, and once I am back in the U.S. it won’t be long until the Two Evil Actors are reunited in sunny Los Angeles.  Until then, namaste…

xoxo

Dani

dani gives thanks for life

Britt and I had finished the 1st draft of our dual blog post for last week when our writing process was interrupted by BRITT’S FUCKING HOUSE BURNING DOWN.

Pardon the f-bomb in the first sentence of this post, but SERIOUSLY you guys. WTF.

Jesus Lord. How would you expect me NOT to drop the f-bomb right about now?

Britt being a total superhero, we managed to get our post up, but I can only imagine how surreal and gut-churning and awful it is to watch your house burn. Because of Britt’s beautiful writing I can at least get a clear picture, but I can say with confidence that it is strange and uncomfortable to NOT be there when loved ones are going through a difficult time. To hear about the hardships over the phone and to be able to do absolutely nothing to assist. One of my classmates, Kim, a native to NYC, struggled with this in a huge way last fall when Hurricane Sandy hit her beloved hometown, leaving friends and loved ones homeless and isolated from one another. Another one of my classmates, Elmira, moved to the United States from Iran only three years ago, so has to deal with a constant onslaught of dubious news from across the globe.

Kim Flores and Elmira Rahim.  Strong and brave and talented women!!

Kim Flores and Elmira Rahim. Strong and brave and talented women!!

What do you do when you can do nothing to help because you are hundreds of miles away? The only thing that makes sense to me is to do your best to offer at least emotional support, and continue to live your life to the fullest. Everyone benefits when we are being our best as individuals, and life needs joy to balance out pain.

To be quite honest, my life in LA has been extraordinarily wonderful for the past week. No sudden tragedies, no gathering belongings from the wreckage of my home while simultaneously working a full-time job and acting in a play every night and still getting great reviews. And I know that Britt, in her wonderful sister-ness, would feel nothing but happy for me that I’ve had an enjoyable week after the end of my first year of grad school.

In light of this dichotomy between mine and Britt’s experiences over the past week, I can draw two conclusions.

1. The thesis statement of Two Evil Actors is still correct. Not all blondes are the same.

The Grady Twins: The original Two Evil Actors

Unlike the Grady Twins, Britt and I are not agents of Satan and we don’t do everything in tandem. Hence the irony of this blog. Most of the time, we are living total different, yet parallel lives.

2. Life has immeasurable value and beauty.

Thanks to facebook, I stumbled upon this kid’s incredible story as I was writing this blog. Zach Sobiech is a teenager from the Midwest who found out he had terminal cancer and less than a year to live, and instead of giving up, he lived the SHIT out of his last days. He wrote a ton of music, he fell in love for the first time, and brought a ton of warmth and beauty and happiness into the lives of his loved ones. He passed away this week, May 20th 2013.

If you have the time, I suggest watching some more of his videos on youtube. He’s incredible and inspiring and he will make you want to live your life to the fullest. I also like him a lot at the moment because he reminds me of Britt’s little bro Nate, who I am very glad is currently alive.

On the bright side, I have been blessed with a full and happy life for the past week, so while attempting to NOT sound like a braggy douchebag about it, I’d like to share some of my joy with you.

My Week

1. Sunset bonfire at Dockweiler Beach in El Segundo:

photo (5)

This beach is AMAZING. If you live in Los Angeles and you are reading this, then hit me up when I am back from India this August and we are going here EVERY DAY. It’s the most wonderful glorious beautiful place. I will fight the competition for claim of a fire pit. I will sleep there for days and claim my turf on this beach. I went with my amazingly beautiful friends Andrea and Daren. We made friends with some Christian teenagers from Northridge who shared their ‘smore stuff with us, we accidentally played extras in an Indie film that’s going to Sundance next year, and then we starred as the only non-Asians at Karaoke that night. Fun central.

2. Viva Las Vegas!

Kim often goes to Vegas to teach salsa workshops.    Here are the ladies at the Salsa Social!

Kim often goes to Vegas to teach salsa workshops. Here are the ladies at the Salsa Social!

The stunning Kimberli Alexis Flores invited all the ladies in our class (that is, all four of us) to spend the weekend at her bro’s apartment in Las Vegas. We talked each others’ ears off about life, acting, grad school, USC, then got all gussied up and went out on the town. We ended up feeling super fancy at One Oak and I danced with a Puerto Rican military doctor from Miami. Unfortunately, I lost him in the crowd. If you are reading this, sir, thank you for the dance. You were a perfect gentleman.

The second night in Vegas, Elmira and I snuck away to see Cirque du Soleil’s “O” and my brain exploded approximately 10,000 times. I’ve heard that people have almost religious experiences at Cirque du Soleil but seriously. It is incredible. There are no words.

Actually, there are these words.  These words were in the lobby outside O.

Actually, there are these words. These words were in the lobby outside O.

On the way back from Vegas, Elmira, Amaka, and I stopped at Peggy Sue’s Nifty 50’s Diner.

Amaka is a movie star!!

Amaka is a movie star!!

I met a dinosaur!!

I met a dinosaur!!

3. Amaka and I joined up with a bunch of other USC people to go see our teacher David Warshofsky in a reading of Jessica Goldberg‘s new play, put up by Echo Theater Company. It was absolutely incredible. She is a brilliant playwright and the acting was BOMB, especially for a reading. If you are in LA you MUST go check out Echo Theater’s production of “Bob” this summer. It is by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, who also wrote “Hunter Gatherers,” which Theatre Vertigo produced in Portland last year.

Go see this!

4. With the help of some of my USC friends, I discovered The Bigfoot Lodge in Atwater Village, an awesome bar adorned with so much Pacific Northwest paraphernalia that I don’t know how they fit it all in one bar. I felt so at home! Plus they have karaoke on Mondays!

I don't think this is a real place, but it should be.

I don’t think this is a real place, but it should be.

5. Once again under the guidance of my USC friends, I discovered the glories of Wi Spa. We paid $15 to spend 6 hours on Tuesday in this Korean spa, pampering ourselves. What a deal!

The Salt Sauna. Amazing.

6. I discovered yoga and samba at Brazilian Yoga and Pilates in Atwater Village, thanks to Groupon. Such a wonderful little yoga studio with extra-awesome classes. Right now they just have yoga and samba, but they also occasionally have capoeira, pilates, and drum circles. So badass!

Class

This is what yoga looks like. In case you were wondering.

7. Tarah and I went on a shopping spree to buy all the essentials we need for our big trip to India!! Thankfully, Tarah’s friend hooked us up with 50% off at Patagonia, and REI’s anniversary sale just happens to be going on right now, so we were able to stock up on everything we need for the trip! Two months in India and one backpack means one has to choose wisely what one brings. In that picture are ALL of the things I’m bringing.

I conquered that mountain. Boo yah.

I conquered that mountain. Boo yah.

Phew! What an amazing week! I don’t know what to say about it besides the fact that I am so deeply grateful to the universe for providing me with such incredible rest, relaxation, fun, and friendship to fill my days. I haven’t really gotten to do a whole lot of recreation or relaxation since moving to Los Angeles, and it turns out this city has a whole hell of a lot to offer. It’s been a long 9 months of work since being down here in Grad School, and I’m so thankful for this little interlude of incredible fun-ness and friend-time before setting off on my summer adventure.

Gotta run, friends! There’s still tomorrow! To new adventures! Follow your bliss! Love your life!

xoxo. Dani

britt talks moving into her brother’s basement

That’s right people. The winds of change, they are a-blowin.

…A-blowin me straight down the rungs of the adult ladder. As I am a fully capable adult moving into a 100 sq. foot room in my 21-year-old brother’s basement.

But hey, I need to save money, a good chunk of money. And fast.

Why, you may ask?image

That’s right, I’m going on an adventure! A big, fat, I’m-Moving-to-Los-Mutha-Feckin-Angeles adventure.

I went public with this decision in my last post, and told you all that I am about to make some major changes in my life. Starting with squatting in the basement of my brother’s college house (read as: “glorified storage unit that I will use as I classily couch surf around Portland for 7 months”).  It is totally worth the $500 I’ll save each month for my big adventure. Cool, I’m in.

In theory this is a brilliant money-saving plan. But what about in reality? Will I be able to maintain my sanity? I would have to thoroughly inspect this testosterone-charged collegiate nuthouse to find out.

When I went over to examine my future “room”, I stumbled into a door laying horizontally in the dining room, fulfilling its true destiny as a beer-pong table.

“Ohh, yeah.. that’s the door to your room, I’ll put it back before you move in down there,” says dear brother.

Okay, excellent. I’m so down with that. College, whooo.

As I go downstairs, I hear:

“Uhhhh that gerbil will not be in there when you’re living in there either, so… we’ll move that.”

Sure enough, there was a caged gerbil chillin in my room among a twin-sized mattress (questionable), a stubby green couch (also questionable), at least six empty beer cans and a mason jar filled with mold and red slush, which I deduced to be moldy red wine.

There may have been a hobo squatting in that room for all I know. And honestly, I was impressed that this hobo fit all of that shit in there.

But worry not! I shall make my brother deep clean all surfaces and I shall make this tiny basement cellar my own! I will make it a shoebox of inspiration and fully realize the power I have to leave this city! I will put Every Cent I Save In Rent A Month into a savings account to move to LA! I got this!!  

…Right??

Sigh. I’m going to miss my studio apartment in inner SE Portland more than anything. It has been a sanctuary to me for the past 15 months I have been living there, with its view of the downtown Portland skyline and it’s 20 foot ceilings…double sigh. Luckily, it looks like my dear friend Suzanne will be moving into my old place, so I most likely will be spending quality time there. All things considered, it seems that this move was meant to be. I needed a way to save money fast and this situation fell in my lap in the course of a week. Thank you Universe, I’ll take it.  

And in the midst of all of this shenanigans, other artistic progress was made this week, too, friends.

My Week:

One pretty rad thing about living with my brother is that we will have lots of time to write music together. This week we focused on mapping out a plan to record music we have written. Below is a cover we did two years ago–this will give you a taste of our sound. Also, my bro makes a lot of really odd faces. Which is fun. I wish I could give you a sample of an original song we’ve written, but you’ll save to just stay tuned for that.

The whirlwind of events came at the end of the week. I had a madcap day trip to Seattle for an audition:

Seattle

Had day two for the Kodomo music video shoot where I got to play a SCIENTIST (nerd-win):Kodomo

And attended the designer run for the show The Velvet Sky that I am producing with my theatre company, Theatre Vertigo:

Velvet Sky

So as I uproot myself from my home to move into a room the size of a closet in a house full of college boys, life still chugs along around me.

Movement.

This is what is important. To move in the direction of my dreams. And sometimes that means moving into your little brother’s basement for a half of a year.

If nothing else, at the end of these 7 months I will have a pilot written about an adult woman who moves into the basement of a frat house.

After all, “Everything is raw material. Everything is relevant. Everything is usable.” Thanks for backing me up, Twyla Tharp. This is going to be fun.

Me and my bro, Nate. What could possibly go wrong?

Me and my bro, Nate. What could possibly go wrong?