Guess Who’s Back… BACK AGAIN.

…the Twins are Back. Tell a friend.    

January 7th, 2013. We were born. We offered you consistent radness until January 7th, 2014, Our First Birthday. Then. We disappear without a trace… trace… trace…

Which do you like better? Our obnoxiously omniscient, loud (yet attractive) voices inside your head at all times as we litter the Interwebs by spewing our lives’ details all over the frickin place?

Or the beautiful, comforting silence of our absence? 

Too bad. We are the going back to the loud option. NO ONE IS SURPRISED.

‘Sup bitches. It’s me again. Britt.

And me, Dani.

And we are Two Evil Actors.

As you may recall, in October of 2013, Britt moved to Los Angeles, and I peed my pants with excitement at her glorious arrival.  tumblr_n5h6wbwxWo1r4q7zxo4_250 And you were all thinking, “MY GOD THEY’RE IN THE SAME CITY NOW!!  IT’S A WHOLE NEW WORLD OF TWO EVIL ACTORS POSSIBILITIES!!” thatssotrue_11735_1338616849 And then we were all like… static WE WERE TOO BUSY LOVING EACH OTHER TO WRITE. AND WE’RE SORRY. 

SORRY.

But! Here’s what we’ve been doing while living together and being awesome.  

———————–

2014 in Review

This is like our Christmas card to you. Except it’s late. DEAL WITH IT.

January:

Dani fixes the garbage disposal

photo That’s right, bitches. I single-handedly took apart the sink, fixed it, and put it back together again. LIKE  A BOSS. I will never do anything ever again that makes me respect myself more. Except for right now, when I fix it again, because it’s broken again. Exactly a year later. 

Britt is unemployed for like nine-million years and plummets down a death-spiral of depression and angry clown dreams.

  …Enough said. It was a rough month. 

February:

Dani stops thinking about the apocalypse and starts thinking about a bike tour

photo 2 So, you know how when your mind wanders it tends to wander to the same thing(s) over and over again?

Yup. Like since that one time when we went to Aldo over the summer I’ve been obsessing about buying silver sparkly jelly shoes just for nostalgia. I don’t even think they are in stock anymore. Some other place might have them but it wouldn’t be the same. I want THOSE ones. They remind me of being six.

Right.

I think the point is, I think about being a kid, like, ALL the time.  And wearing jelly shoes. 

Exactly. Like that. 

Well. For the years of 2012 and 2013, which is a solid two years of my life, and I mean ALL THE TIME AND ALMOST CONSTANTLY, I was thinking about the impending violent end of human civilization as we know it.  You want to talk about dystopian literature with someone? I’M YOUR GIRL. You want to theorize about the many ways in which climate change might dramatically kill off large portions of the human population in the next 100 years? I HAVE IMAGINED THOSE SCENARIOS. It was a terrible mental habit, and yes I have a series of mostly-joking-but-really-I’ve-thought-this-through plans for surviving various scenarios, but I finally managed to break this habit! …By planning a 1500-mile bicycyle tour with a budget of $0.00 and having never done a bike tour before!

D, let’s be real. You were pretty much just finding an excuse to prepare for the apocalypse some more. But with bikes.  bicycles-post-apocalyptic-vanished My plan was to take about a month to ride the approximately 1500 miles from Portland, Oregon to Los Angeles, California with my post-apocalypse partner-in-crime Sister Suz. 

(Note the bicycle tattoo)

(Note the sexy bicycle tattoo)

So instead of constantly thinking about a food shortage or water war, I spent over half of 2014 wondering if I had enough gears on my bike and learning how to at least crudely repair every moving part on my bike. I rode hundreds and hundreds of miles. I spent hours at the Bike Kitchen. Starting in February, I thought about little else besides this trip. 

Britt gets what she wished for and works a horrible corporate accounting job of death

IMG_6737  Dear world. This is not a stock image. This was the actual view when I walked outside of my building. This is not beautiful. This is suffocation. This is a Corporate Cage of Suffering. 

March:

Dani does Shakespeare’s worst play

Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 11.18.17 PM Have you ever heard of “Pericles: Prince of Tyre”?  Yeah that’s because it’s a bad play.  They think that a couple of Shakespeare’s lackeys wrote it while drunk in a bar and then turned it in to Shakespeare and he was like, “What the fuuuuuu? Oh shit I don’t have time to fix this I’ll just add some pirates. Who wants shots??” 

Britt turns 27. Her Saturn returns. Which, we hear, is good.

IMG_6375IMG_3249 I’m all grown up I’m all GROWWWWN UUUPPP

April:

Dani becomes a valet

MV5BMzYwMjcwNjgxMF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzU1ODk1MDE@._V1_SY317_CR1,0,214,317_AL_ That’s right, I too have a menial service job. Now I’m OFFICIALLY an actor in Los Angeles. Turns out I’m really good at parallel parking. Please hire us to work your event. I’m poor. 

Britt begins tutoring

You know what’s better than being an Internal Auditor? ANYTHING. Heh. Well. Specifically: Being a TUTOR! With kids! (Mostly big kids.) This job is so much fun, you guys. I work for the coolest company around (Quantum Tutors), I have the best boss in the History of Ever (Anna Clark), and sometimes I even get free food (Seder Dinner, yo!). Not only do I get to help students feel confident about themselves and their abilities, I get to up my Geek-Status a level or two (I teach math & SAT prep, people). It’s a win-win.  Throughout the rest of 2014 I will work to try to tutor enough kids that I can leave my various accounting jobs behind. This is my quest. This is my goal.

May:

Britt flies to Portland to witness the collegiate graduation of her little Not-So-Little bro

brograd Go Pilots!! That’s TWO Harris Pilot Grads for the price of ONE! …Okay wooa wooaa that is definitely not true. UP, you made double-bank offa our tuition and infinite student loans. You’re welcome. Pilots till I die. 

Britt does an E-Cig commercial and studies with Larry Moss. Not like those should in any way be lumped together. But I’m an evil actor, biatch. I lump what I want.

Unexpected lesson #274 that I’ve learned from being an actor. It is more painful to chain smoke electronic cigarettes for a single day while shooting a commercial than it is to chain smoke real cigarettes on the set of a feature length film for multiple weeks.

Unexpected lesson #275 learned from being an actor.  If I look at a rock the wrong way I will start weeping uncontrollably.  

Drawing by Evil Genius Allie Brosh. Go to her blog right now and read all her shit. Actually finishing reading our blog and then go read her blog.

Drawing by Evil Genius Allie Brosh. Go to her blog right now and read all her shit. Actually finishing reading our blog and then go read her blog.

It turns out Antigone is a really brutal play and it will get at all of your inner Freudian tragedy. It also turns out that Larry Moss is a genius acting teacher. 

Dani and Britt witness Sister Suz graduate with an MSW in Wizardry.

IMG_6537IMG_6543   Congratulations Sister Suz! We are counting on you to change the world. Which you already are. 

June:

Dani writes her first feature-length screenplay

Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 11.29.51 PM

Title page, biatch.

It’s a coming-of-age story set in rural Idaho that forces a girl and a community to confront their old, stale beliefs about race and identity.  I wrote it because I wanted to examine how racism is subtly ingrained in the majority mindset, and how microaggressions allow oppression to continue in more extreme ways. There are also jokes in it. 

Britt performs at the Hollywood Fringe Festival

p_1801_i_1783540  I worked on a parody of The Twilight Zone in which five episodes from the series were brought to life ON STAGE. There was a gremlin on the wing of an airplane, water was spat into Britt’s face, I heckled some audience members, more water was spat into Britt’s face, I wore a mask of my own face on my actual face (meta) and I just went from third person to first person twice to third person then back to first person and I’m not quite sure why. I also played a guy named Drunk Dino. He was my favorite. 

July:

Dani hikes 200 miles

DCIM100GOPRO See those two beautiful women?  That is Sammi and Jenny, and they made a pact to hike the entire Pacific Crest Trail (that goes all the way from Canada to Mexico) over the course of the next 7 years. Because they are the best humans in the world, they invited me along. In less than two weeks we hiked over 200 miles, which is about half the state of Washington. On multiple occasions, I thought my feet were going to fall off, but I discovered more internal strength than I ever thought possible and formed deeper friendships with these women than I ever thought possible. It was totally life-changing. 

Britt and Dani get married (okay, Sister Liz does, but let’s avoid technicalities here).

1487895_866387051534_2029421003196335355_o In a fit of pure madness, Sister Liz included Dani and me in the group of women who would wear matching dresses and stand by her on her wedding day.  Needless to say, everyone at the wedding reception was forced to “bend over and make their knees touch their elbows” to the sultry sounds of Lil Jon in his wedding classic “Bend Ova.”

August:

Dani almost rides a bike

So by now I had rebuilt every moving part on my shitty used bike by hand with shitty used bike parts and jerry-rigged a trailer to go on the back of my bike. I had lost my travel-buddy Sister Suz to a job in Los Angeles, so I was going to do my first bike tour, 1500 miles, totally solo. (Anybody see any problems with this plan so far?) I created an instagram account called daniridesabike to document my journey. 

  And then, as you might expect, I had total equipment failure and was shut down before I could even really attempt it. My shitty beginners craftsmanship did not hold up to coastal winds and passing semi-trucks, and it became clear that the solo bike trip was a terrible, terrible idea. 

Britt and Dani take a road trip

IMG_7111 Luckily, I was driving back to Los Angeles in my sweet new ride (2003 Honda Accord, bitches!) and needed a driving buddy to talk about boys with and blast Beyonce.  Dani was stuck in Portland with all her bike gear, so she hopped in. I always wanted to go to San Francisco and drive over the Golden Gate Bridge, 

and I always wanted to go on a road trip with Britt,

And we were trying to figure out the perfect song to play as we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge at night with all its pretty lights. 

Except Britt‘s phone wasn’t working and time was running out. 

At the perfect moment, XO from Beyonce’s new album randomly came on and melted our brains BECAUSE WE LISTENED TO THAT SONG OBSESSIVELY AT NEW YEARS 2014. It was one of those perfect moments that is hard to describe. That song is what it feels like to be in love. 

Which we are. *Sigh*

Dani hikes 100 miles

Once our badass road trip was over, I was pretty bummed. After all of that hopeful planning and preparation, for my bike trip, I had failed. Just straight up set a goal and failed miserably. I had nothing to do for a month and my mind was starting to return to its old habit of constantly daydreaming about the apocalypse. I needed to reset. So I did the logical thing. I bought a couple maps, tossed all my backpacking gear in the trunk, and drove to Mammoth Lakes, California. I set off on an 8-day, 100-mile, solo backpacking trip in the Inyo National Forest and Yosemite back country. Just me, my gear, and all this pretty: photo (1)

Dani turns a Quarter Century OLD.

10548710_10203292730493301_4989329901981872816_o BEST BIRTHDAY EVER. We moved the couch to the backyard, had a little campfire, and drank much wine.  All of my beautiful roommates handmade me beautiful gifts, and my beautiful Britt wrote me an amazing song and made everyone at the party sing it. I also ate 5 different kinds of gluten-free baked goods. 

September:

Dani starts rehearsing her Master’s thesis, The Three Play Rep

Britt joins a social-change punk-rock band

10608504_10203380068196085_7491220549764919846_o

 Britt moves into a REEAAAAL room! After a year of living in a fake one! 

1

Before (glorified sheet room):

Apt 2

After (real room with real people walls and doors):

Apt 4

Look! I have stuff! Look at my stuff!

Okay okay so maybe these look exactly the same, but I PROMISE YOU I am a little bit more like an adult now because I have walls for walls and not sheets for walls. Also I have my own bathroom and shower and closet and kitchenette so THERE.

October:

Britt celebrates her One Year LA-Versary

oneyearLAversary This was probably the most challenging year of my life and definitely the year of the most growth.  I could not be more full of love for the people I have in my life and I’m so incredibly lucky to live under the same roof as my best friends. I win everything. 

DAMN STRAIGHT. Britt freakin’ killed it this year and fought like a badass to work towards living the life she wants to live. I could not be more proud of my girl. 

November:

Britt is self-employed. AKA Professional Life Scavenger. 

IMG_6302 Step One:  Drive to Culver City for therapy.  12 MILES

Step Two: Drive to Hollywood for a work meeting. 8 MILES

Step Three: Drive to Calabasas to tutor a student.  24 MILES

Step Four: Drive to San Pedro for rehearsal.  50 MILES 

Step Five: Drive home to Echo Park to pass out.  26 MILES

Total-Distance-Driven-in-Britt’s-Average-Day: 120 MILES

Total-Waking-Hours-Of-Britt:  17 HOURS

Total-Taylor-Swift-Jam-Sessions-in-Car: CANNOT COUNT THE NUMBER. TOO HIGH. 

Britt does a light classic Greek comedy.

Oedipus You may have heard of this hilarious romp. It’s called Oedipus the King and it involves a lot of incest and self-mutilation.  Apparently 2014 was not done making me do super brutal and Freudian Greek plays. Also, there is nothing quite like standing around outside in the rainy cold by the coast half naked and covered in body paint to teach you about commitment.  THEATRE IS HARD PEOPLE. 

December:

Dani goes to Russia

seagull Ok not actually. But I did start rehearsing a play called “The Seagull” by which is set in Russia. So in my mind I’ve been spending a lot of time in Russia. Part of the Master’s thesis. More to come on this subject… 

Britt and Dani have a very, VERY Ke$ha Chri$tma$ (again).

IMG_0628   Say what you want about us, but we can sure throw a party. Especially if it is Ke$ha and Miley themed. 

Britt is going to Slamdance

BON Slamdance A film I did in 2013, Birds of Neptune, is having its world premiere at the Slamdance Film Festival in Park City, UT!! Holy BALLS!!! This is such a huge honor. I am so proud of my BON fam. The festival runs alongside Sundance, so we will be able to take advantage of all of the fun and badassedry that is attached to that, as well. But basically… I am freaking out. Like a little girl. SO. Excited. ————

….anything you wanna know more about? Write it in the comments and we’ll retro-actively post. Just live that shit all over again, like it’s No Big Deal.

———–

Stay tuned for a sneak peak into our 2015 Evil Plans to Take Over the World. BECAUSE WE’RE BACK Y’ALL!  BACK WITH A VENGEANCE!

HELL YEAH!  BETTER WATCH OUT WORLD, WE ARE COMING FOR YOU! WHY ARE WE YELLING?! WE SIMPLY CANNOT STOP. OR MAYBE OUR CAPS LOCK IS BROKEN AGAIN… FUCK.

FUCK. I THINK THAT IS WHAT IS HAPPENING, ACTUALLY. BRITT, WHY ARE WE SO POOR?

 I DON’T KNOOOOOOWW 

MUCH LOVE,  

DB

dani sings hallelujah

There is SO MUCH to celebrate!!!  

I kind of can’t contain myself.  Let’s just try to count the things.

1.  I have returned to blog-land! 

I kinda look like Steve Buscemi right now. It’s been a long semester.

Oh man, I’ve missed you guys.  This week marks the completion of my 3rd semester of grad school, and I’m pretty sure that they were actively trying to kill us this time.  It has been an incredible 16 weeks, but I am so thankful I get to come up for air for a month before diving back into the deep end again.  So now I just get to enjoy…

2.  Christmas time!  

Even though it is a “frigid” 50 degrees and sunny here in Los Angeles, it still feels like Christmas for some reason.  I don’t know if it’s my newfound Christmas Break freedom or what, but I literally want to kiss everyone I see and sing love into their hearts.  Wait a second, I know where this “joie de vivre” is coming from…

3.  Britt!

Image

A beautiful Britt in a beautiful backyard.

For the past two months, I have had 70-hour weeks at USC.  And for the past two months, all I’ve wanted to have is 70-hour weeks in Britt‘s arms.
MY BESTIE IS IN LA, Y’ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I can’t even handle it.  

This dog who is so freakin' happy, he just physically CANNOT.

This is the only photo that captures how much I CANNOT EVEN HANDLE my Britt-related-joy right now.

We were too busy hugging each other in our rare spare time to write any blogs together, but we’ve got something in the works, never fear.   But one thing that is so exciting to me now that I have a moment to catch my breath is how fuckin’ PROUD I am of my girl.  Britt is KILLIN’ it, y’all.  She would be the last person to say that probably, as she is keenly aware of her own struggles and challenges, as are we all, but seriously, she is DOIN’ it.  Moving to LA is hard.  I don’t think I felt at home in LA until… right now.  Or at least not until the last couple of months.  It wasn’t until I had struggled to adjust for 9 months, spent 2 months in India, and then all my best friends moved here.  So really, I just got lucky because I got to go to India and then move in with my best friends.  LA is a whole can o’ worms… Oh!  But this leads me to…

4.  The house!

Image

Suz cannot even handle her excitement about the new soaking tub.

Oh. My. God.  We have a home.  I believe Britt has introduced you all to our roommates: Suzzane, Dean, and last but not least, Napoleon.  You know.
This hottie: 

Just kidding.  Napoleon is a dog.  He IS ACTUALLY a stud though.  If anyone wants their dog to be mounted by a purebred Pomeranian, go ahead and contact us through our blog.  Seriously, Dean could use the money.  We’re ready to start whoring out the dog.  

5.  Art!

As exhausted as I am, it has been a hell of a semester.  My ensemble, the Class of 2015, The Ten Commandments, The Ten Fingers, The Bad News Bears, whatever the hell you want to call us, put up it’s very first full production.  The ten of us tackled William Saroyan’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1939 script The Time of Your Life.  Our ensemble of 10 took on a cast of 25 characters who float in and out of Nick’s Pacific Street Restaurant, Saloon, and Entertainment palace.  We cut a few characters, but long story short, I got to play a boy…

photo 1

Willie Faroughli: Marble-game-maniac and ultimate CHAMPION

AND a girl….

photo 2

Elsie Mandelspiegel: “A dark, dreaming girl…” Although I look pretty happy backstage.

…within one two-hour play.  My Mom touched my hair wistfully after the show and said, “It was interesting to see what you would’ve looked like if you were a boy…”  Aw comeon, Mom, didn’t you like having a daughter?  Just kidding, I know that you don’t secretly wish I was a boy. …Right?  But I also had one gay dude and two straight girls say that I was hot as a boy.  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.  And I tricked my Grandmom completely–my Mom had to tell her who I was.  

But in all seriousness it was actually a really incredible experience.  Willie Faroughli spends almost the entire play onstage playing a pinball game, and Elsie Mandelspiegel has one love scene right in the middle of the play.  So I got to go from this young, driven, focused, ambitious, determined guy with nothing better to do in Depression America than conquer a marble game, to this extremely sensitive, feminine, nurturing, compassionate young woman who sees the tragedy of the Depression.  The experience of going from this incredibly masculine, prideful outlook on life to an incredibly feminine, gentle outlook on life and then back again was actually kind of life-changing.  It was an incredible reminder of why I love acting so much.  The opportunity to explore all these parts of yourself and all these viewpoints on the world.  The opportunity to be explore the masculine and the feminine.  The opportunity to breath life into a character and allow their story to live.  The opportunity to enter a state of communion with the audience and with the other actors.  The opportunity to channel your own ego through the ego of another.  It’s so fucking fun.  By the time we were done with the show I felt like I was ready to do a six month run of it.  But, as my Britt has said, these things are transient, which is part of what makes them beautiful.  

My station backstage.  Starring The Big Dick which my friend lent me as inspiration.  (Don't look at me like that, 3 of these Dicks were juggled onstage in an MFA show last year.)

My station backstage. Starring The Big Dick which my friend lent me as inspiration. (Don’t look at me like that, 3 of these Dicks were juggled onstage in an MFA show last year.)

There are other worlds that I am bidding farewell to now that the semester is winding down.  I’m saying Goodbye to the life of a desperate housewife in Depression America in our black-box studio work on Clifford Odets’ Waiting for Lefty.  I’m saying farewell to Hedda Gabler, Pussy Riot, a Bakersfield Bimbo, and other characters from our work in movement class.  I’m saying See You Later to Chekhov, until tackling that son-of-a-bitch again next semester.  I’m going to miss our film class with the inimitable John Rubinstein,

photo (18)

Kim Flores, Sedale Threatt, and Michael Bernardi on set for “Revolutionary Road”

I live in Los Angeles, I’m a Master’s Acting student, and I know next to nothing about film.  But I’m working on it! Stage and Screen are two different mediums for the same kind of transformative acting that I’m interested in doing, and the differences between the two are just technical things.  The art form is different, and I’m developing a real itch for it.  My body understands live storytelling, and I want to understanding storytelling through film in the same way.  We are taking two more film classes next semester, so the exploration will continue!

Speaking of transformative, I think the most transformative acting experience of this semester was actually the doing my Solo Performance piece.  Despite the number of roles I’ve explored in the last few months, the experience of going deeper into myself, finding my own story, determining the story that I needed to tell… That experience was life-changing.  And despite it being a “solo performance” experience, it bound together my ensemble irrevocably. We shared pieces of our souls and helped each other shape them into pieces of art, and we culminated in a 90-minute performance during which each of us shared a piece of our solo work.  

But enough about art!  I am on VACATION.  (Which apparently means drinking a lot of booze and thinking about the art that I want to be making.)  In the meantime I am going to figure out how to make gluten-free baked goods, enjoy sweating like a construction worker in December, and kick it with these crazies. 

photo (19)

Dean, Suzzane, Britt, Dani, and Napoleon.  A Very Ke$ha Christmas 2013

So in honor of being HALFWAY DONE with my MFA in Acting, here is this guy, who was my Muse this semester.  This is what commitment looks like.

OHHHHH WE’RE HALFWAY THERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

XOXO

Dani

britt learns stuff about LA

I’ve been in this fair City of Angels now for two whole weeks.

…How do I feel, you ask?

Okay, well actually I can get on a plane and fly away, Ms. Poehler, but THAT IS BESIDE THE POINT.

The point is … I am overwhelmed in many ways, but… I love it here. I am learning so much about myself and this city, and about myself IN this city, everyday.  It’s magical.

SO! In light of my new-found Los Angelinan WISDOM, let me share with you some of the things I’ve learned about LA so far (you know, ’cause I’m totally a local now):

Bob… Bob… BOB!!

Here are the things I have learned about LA:

-One should have at least $20 worth of quarters in the glovebox or drink-holder at all times. Those good old-fashioned parking meters still exist. Y’know.. .the ones that only take quarters? The ones located by the beach you happened to go to and therefore are your only option? Yeah, those.

-Trader Joes is a way of life. If you don’t have a TJ’s in your neighborhood, there is pretty much no reason to live there.

-Everyone is beautiful here. Sometimes I just stare.

-The “Waze “app is a god-send.

-You must plan your life around street cleaning. If you happen to live in a structureless vortex like I do at this time, you’ll at least know what day of the week it is because of your street cleaning parking violation paranioa.

-People are reeeally into juice here. $12-kale-coconut-elixir-of-life juice. I’m not against it. It’s just… give me twelve dollars please. So I can consume it.

-LA Parking signs make the SAT feel like cake.

are you fucking KIDDING me?

 -People wear long-sleeves/pants/winter-wear when it is 75 degrees outside. I was really proud of myself when I wore my denim jacket over a tank-top in 73 degree weather the other day. (…See?! I’m a LOCAL.)

-There are more parking patrol cops here than there are purse dogs. I know this is hard to believe.

-Every coffeeshop in Los Angeles has a group of actors sitting next to you bitching about their auditions and agents and acting classes. Or bitching about their lack of these things.  -I am pleasantly surprised at how walk-able certain neighborhoods are.

-More often than not, traffic is traffic for no reason. Was there an accident? No. Was there a stalled-car on the highway? Nope. It’s just right-of-passage to spend an hour on the onramp to the 110. “That’s the only way it’s fair to everyone,” says the Universe.

-In the desk-job hunt, telling a potential employer that you’re an actor is not too far away from telling her that you’re a leper-werewolf-umemployable crazy person. Perhaps you should work at In-N-Out instead.

-I don’t get how everyone has so much money… and I have none. It simply makes no sense. -I found these fun things on the Interwebs that tell me all about the Best Restaurants in LA, LA Neighborhood Stereotypes, and Things People Say About LA (my favorite: “Los Angeles is like San Diego’s older, uglier sister that has herpes.”), so now I feel like I know everything.

-LA is Serendipity. I have had many serendipitous encounters and experiences so far and it fuels my belief in this place. LA is a current. You can fight against it or you can go with it. And in my limited experience so far, “going with it” is really the only sustainable choice. And going with this current makes for a very exciting ride.

Here are the things I have learned about myself, in LA:

-I am very very white and one day I will be a different, tanner shade of white.

– I fucking love my neighborhood. Silverlake is DA BOMB. I claim it in the name of REAL (Portland) hipsters. (I will show them the way.) -Going on Facebook makes me feel incredibly homesick. 

-I would die without a smartphone and GPS on said smartphone.

-I have been sneezing and breaking-out like a mofo since I got here. I’ve been told this is normal. I guess this poor little Northwesterner is having trouble adjusting to the air quality!

-I need to watch more TV. Seriously. It’s my job now.

-I don’t know how I went through this much life without a Bluetooth.

-Oddly enough, I’ve been doing more hiking here in LA than I did in the Pacific Northwest. I guess I took it all for granted…?

– I love the street art here. There is so much to look at, everywhere. From the most beautiful, intricate mural, to harsh graffiti, to a simple doodle of a robot on the sidewalk– there are so many stories being told. I want to document more of my discoveries as I find them. photo4photo8

-I need a separate allowance for coffee. And for gas. And for parking.

-Some nights I will experience an overwhelming low or anxiety, then experience a day-long high upon waking the next morning.

-I can roll with it.

-I have my team. It is so essential to know that people have your back. I am so lucky to have my team here. You know who you are. I am so incredibly grateful for you.

But mostly, I have learned that this whole adventure is about me finding myself here. Finding myself in Los Angeles, getting to know myself in a scary new place. Being calm and clear in the midst of all this crazy. Yes, I’ve had freak-outs and breakdowns and “WHAT AM I DOING”s. Yes, I will continue to. But more so, I have moments of extreme clarity and purpose and know that I am where I need to be. I am fortunate enough to live a life full of big, beautiful love, even in a brand-new place. And that is pretty awesome.

You know what else is awesome?! WHAT I DID THIS WEEK! 🙂

My Week:

Much of this week was spent job hunting (and I got one! Thanks, Accountemps, Los Angeles!), reconnecting with friends in the area, and spending quality time with my TEAM (once again, you know who you are and I love you!). I am also constantly basking in the utter joy of knowing that I am living in the same city as Dani (come November 1st, Dani, Suzzane and I will have our own place TOGETHER!). Holy. Crap. So rad!!

I also got to visit my family! My mom, dad, and brother spent this past week in Palm Springs for vacation, which is only two hours away from where I live. I drove out last Wednesday and stayed for a day and a half for some for some good, quality FAM TIME.

The drive to Palm Springs from LA

The drive to Palm Springs from LA

Our backyard!

Our backyard!

Sibs.

Sibs.

A beautiful desert flower that Dad and I spent time admiring together.

Beautiful desert flowers that Dad and I spent time admiring together.

This week also brought me some incredible beach time:

photo7

livin large with matching pedicures.

with THIS lady:

the SUZ!!

the SUZ!!

We “studied” and “did work” all day long in our sandy ocean front, beach-towel office:

Productivity at its finest.

Productivity at its finest.

…But mostly we just talked about kombucha and men. (Typical.) I could get used to days like this.

I’ve also been doin’ a lot of hikin’! I have gone with Scott and Gertie the Puggle a couple of times to Elysian Park and went on my first hike up to the Griffith Park Observatory with Mr. Tim True:

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Leave it to a couple of Portland kids…

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…to hike in LA on a gray day.

I also saw American Werewolf in London screened at The Hollwood Forever Cemetery on the night of a full moooon! Ahhroooo!! I went with Scott and Suzzane and it was awesome.

photo5The event is called Cinespia and it is my favorite thing that I have experienced in LA so far. They even had Elijah Wood DJ-ing the event, because why not?! It was so cool. Let’s do it again.

Whew! So.

I have been in LA for two weeks now. I’m surviving. I’m having fun. I’m getting work done. I think I’ve earned the overpriced juice that I’m going buy myself after I finish this post.

I keep finding places here feel like home; pockets of the city that feel like mine. Sometimes it’s a new-to-me bar, a friend’s living room, or a familiar coffeeshop that I had visited before the move here.

One of these places is a coffeeshop Suzzane and I frequent called Mornings Nights in Silverlake.

photo1

When I was getting work done there yesterday, I noticed that I was sitting between an advertisement that says “you belong here” and a sign hanging above the door says “welcome home”. I took a big breath and exhaled. I felt really happy in that moment.

I can’t wait to see what the next two weeks here will bring.

All of my love to you, my friends, I so adore you.

~britt

dani’s poppin’ bottles (of kombucha)

BRITT‘S IN LA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

GABLAGFROMYGAHWHAHOWSWEETBABYJESUSGLABBOLDAFLAIMSOHAPPYYYYYYYYYY

I don’t know how I’m going to write this blog post.  I think I’m going to have to communicate only in gifs.  Because after MONTHS and MONTHS of excitement and buildup and anticipation my very favoritest Britt and bestie and soul sister in the entire universe of everything that exists is OFFICIALLY LIVING IN LA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  

There are truly no words.  I would like to say that since Britt arrived we have been doing nothing but lying on the beach, running around like two Tasmanian devils, and partying like it’s 1999.  After all, if you have ever been to a dive bar with me and Britt you know that we will play Miley Cyrus on the jukebox, laugh like hyenas, and piss off the regulars until the sun comes up or we get kicked out of the bar.  Especially if we are also in the company of Suz, whom you met in Britt‘s last post.  There is some sort of chemical thing that happens when we are all together that makes my blood turn into liquid neon and makes us all a little crazed in the best possible way.  

Summer 2013: Britt helps Suz make the roadtrip to LA, prior to her own big move in October.

Summer 2013: Britt helps Suz make the roadtrip to LA, prior to her own big move in October.

But with Suz at USC for her Master’s in Social Work and me at USC for my Master’s in Acting, smack dab in the middle of Fall Semester, grad school has completely eaten our lives.  EATEN THEM.  So instead of being like this:

We are more like this:

image

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t bummed about it.  The first day that Britt and I spent together in LA we wanted to be poppin’ bottles and livin’ it up, but we were in coffeeshops and juice bars with our noses in laptops and books, trying to get our lives together.  Truth be told, we probably spent more time pouring our souls out to one another than doing actual work, but it was amazing just to be together and share the truth of our lives with each other.  And right now the truth is WORK.  This girl truly is family to me, and that means sharing the stressful times and the fun times.  With Britt making a huge move and with me in the throes of grad school, maybe it was a little overly hopeful to think that our days would be nothing but sunshine and rainbows.  My girl brings some major light into my life, but unfortunately I still have a cubic shit-ton of work to do.  

And what is the truth of my life right now?  What the hell am I doing all day?

My Life:  Year 2 in Grad School

Bein' a bimbo.  Complete with duck-face.

Bein’ a bimbo. Complete with duck-face.

Physical transformation.  Movement class with David Bridel is 4 hours a week of pure FUN.  Since the beginning of the semester I have worn (literally) a dozen masks, and transformed into a cranky old man, a sweet old lady from Rhode Island, a Bakersfield Bimbo (see above), and a member of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot.  For the rest of the semester, I am working on Henrik Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler, in which I will get to hate my husband and ruin a few people’s lives.  You know, like you do.

Steph Schroyer improvising a Victorian gown on her model, Amaka.

Steph Schroyer improvising a Victorian gown on her model, Amaka.

Choking on Chekhov.  In our “Space and Movement” class, we are delving into the late 19th century Russian plays of Mr. Anton Chekhov, and it is completely fascinating and difficult to me.  Chekhov is known for telling stories that require you to completely read between the lines in order to know what the hell is going on, which makes it perfect for a class focused on how you use space and movement to tell a story.  If you can’t say what you’re thinking, how does that thought communicate through your body?  Between that challenge and the challenge of immersing myself in a world that existed 120 years ago, this is one of my hardest classes.  

photo (17)

Playing with stuffed animals.  Those things in the middle of my class are “phonetic pillows” and they are in the shape of the symbols of the International Phonetic Alphabet.  We have been doing all kinds of fun activities with these fuzzy little guys, and they are helping us learn accents in Voice class.  I am pretty much a big, giant child.  It’s great.  It’s also been helping us to get down New York accents for a black box/studio version of this play:

Waiting for Lefty by Clifford Odets (Original production @ the Group Theater)

And helping me to work on a Swedish accent for an iconic transformation into…

The inimitable Greta Garbo

Thankfully, we do not have to worry so much about learning accents for our FIRST FULL PRODUCTION AT USC…

photo 1 (1)

Directed by our fearless leader Andrew Borba, looking directorial in the middle there.

Time of Your Life, by William Saroyan. Set in 1939 San Francisco, this Pulitzer-Prize winning play is born of the Great Depression and seething with social unrest seen bubbling under the surface of the people seeking solace at Nick’s Pacific Street Saloon, Restaurant, and Entertainment Palace.  The whole play takes place in a bar by the waterfront, and people come and go, bringing their troubles and joys with them.  This is the only show we are doing this semester that is fully produced (set, costumes, etc.), and it runs November 21-24 at the Scene Dock Theater.  

After that show closes, we will get to focus on our other big project of the semester, Solo Performance.  All semester we are working with Luis Alfaro to write our own one-person plays.  Let me tell you, if getting through year 1 of grad school together wasn’t enough to bond my class, or if the requirement of spending 13 hours a day together this year wasn’t enough, we have been brought together by Luis Alfaro’s class.  This man fearlessly plunges into the deepest darkest places and he accepts no less from his students.  All semester he has been encouraging us to write the story that we need to write, not the story that we want to write, and I have learned so much about the incredible people I spend my days with by hearing their stories.  We are going to have a stunning night of Solo pieces by the end of this semester.  

Last but not least, there is film class over at the School of Cinematic Arts: “The Art of Collaboration” with John Rubinstein and Eugene Lazarev.  We’ve been working with directors in the MFA Film Directing program to explore the relationship between actors and directors in film, and we’ve created some pretty rad projects.  We are screening all of them tonight, and hopefully I can post a little something for you guys soon.

THAT’S IT!

whew.

So although what I want to be doing is partying down with my Britt and/or writing sweet blogs about all the stuff going on, I just get to do the things.  All of the things.  I am exhausted, exhilarated, consumed, focused, determined.  Some days I feel completely overwhelmed and under-rested and unable to bring myself fully to the work.  But by the same token, I get to imaginatively explore all these different worlds and all these different facets of humanity every day, which makes me one lucky actor.  And when I am lying on top of my bed on a Sunday evening, trying to find the motivation to get up and prepare for another week of grueling 13-16 hour days, I find myself in the snuggly embrace of my best friends, the muses that inspire me every single day to take the road less traveled and do the work necessary to get there.  And it is totally worth it. 

Reunited, and it feels so good.

Reunited, and it feels so good.

❤ ❤ ❤

Dani

britt runs THE BIG MEAL at Artists Rep

It’s been a while since we’ve caught up, friends. But I’ve been stuck in a world. A powerful, overwhelming, beautiful whirlwind of a world. 

Britt Harris, Andy Lee-Hillstrom, Val Landrum, Scott Lowell, Vana O’Brien, & Allen Nause (c) Owen Carey

…Yup, that’s the one. 

A world where I feel drunk all the time and throw my hands in the air like I just don’t care and wear pink sweaters.

THIS is the World of The Big Meal. 8 actors, 5 generations, and 26 characters… in 85 minutes. I’m not sure that I ever want this crazy carousel to end.

This incredible show opened on Saturday, Sept. 7th at Artists Repertory Theatre in Portland, OR as a West Coast Premiere. I have been rehearsing this show since August 5th (you may recall me gushing about it earlier during the whole rehearsal process). This play has been on my mind in my heart since the day I auditioned. It is very special to me and has changed EVERYTHING. I wish I could explain this in a way that makes sense on paper, but I can’t quite articulate it. It is too personal and too universal. Too simple and too complex. I don’t have the vocab to pinpoint what this story has meant to me and my life, and my growth and fulfillment as an artist and a human.

But I can say this: I found family.

We, as actors, are very lucky to find fast families in every cast we are a part of. But this one is truly something special.

I mean, just look at us.

So much FAM! (c) Owen Carey

Agatha Olson, Britt Harris, Allen Nause, Scott Lowell & Andy Lee-Hillstrom (c) Owen Carey

My fam. The cast and crew of The Big Meal.

My fam. The cast and crew of The Big Meal.

Disgusting, right? We are pretty fucking cute. And we love each other a whole helluva lot.

Meet my family:

4

Allen Nause, Vana O’Brien, Val Landrum, Scott Lowell, Andy Lee-Hillstrom, Britt Harris, Agatha (Gertie) Olson, & Harper Lea

I laugh and cry daily with these folks. I even laugh until I cry. Or laugh until I pee.

Speaking of– I documented some of my fave quotes during the rehearsal process of this show for your reading and judging pleasure. Enjoy.

-“So, I’m taking a picture here and he’s over there dying.” -Vana, “Woman #1”

-“Juice it up with your spit.”- Harper, “Boy”, 10-year-old castmate

-“Britt, Scott, you need to tighten up the Hand Work.”- Damaso, Director

-Butthole under the table” -Val (“Woman #2”) to Gertie (“Girl”, and other 10-year-old castmate)

-“Three-mouthed pitcher. That used to be my stripper name.” – Scott (“Man #2”), re: reading the tag on the water pitcher

-“FINGER BATTLE!” -Andy, “Man #3”

-“Asshole in the clear!” – Allen Nause, “Man #1”

-“Kegel up that scene.” – Chelle, our Stage Manager, to all of us, at different times

-“…And then you can go back to your wine cave.” -Damaso to Val

-“Do you have your Kegel Rewards Card?” -Andy

-“Oddly enough, I want to add more time to Group Love.” -Damaso

-Harper, to Vana: “What’s wrong with your eyes?” Vana: “I’m not wearing mascara.” Harper: “Oh.” Vana: “I know, I know, I look like a hamster.”

-“Let’s do less Skin Work”- Damaso, once again, to me and Scott

-Vana: “ET! Come home!!!” Scott: “Well, I guess we have to change all of the posters now.”

…And those were just the tame ones. Goddamnit, I love us.

Okay, okay, enough of the Big Meal lovefest. Let me catch you up on the other lifestuff that’s been making me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

My Past Few Weeks:

What a surreal blur this month has been. I am feeling so incredibly grateful and overwhelmed and busy and giddy and freaked out and full of love and just… Everything. All of the emotions. ALL of them.

Yeeesssss. So let me regale you with some of the highlights, hmmm?

Well, first off, let me just shout from this metaphorical mountaintop that I….. MOVE TO LA IN LESS THAN TWO WEEKS!! (Get ready, Dani and Suz!!)

…So there’s that.

And, of course, during this emo-month-blur, we opened The Big Meal at Artists Rep and enjoyed a splendid Opening Night Celebration! It was pretty fuckin rad.

Britt sandwich with the lovely Chelle Jazuk (Big Meal stage manager) and sexy Amy Newman

Britt sandwich with the lovely Chelle Jazuk (Big Meal stage manager) and the sexy Amy Newman (to appear onstage with ART later this season)

This past week I took another day-tip to Seattle for a couple of commercial callbacks (awesome podcasts + new music heaven = car nirvana. Take that, I-5),

and had a voiceover session for the film Goodbye, First Love at KBOO.

Inside the KBOO studio...

Inside the KBOO studio…

I also started going through, like, everything I own in anticipation for The Big Move. My rule is this: Anything that doesn’t fit in my Hundai Elantra ISN’T GOING. Period.

Inventorying my wall art. From L or R: "I Left Accountancy for Booze" poster, my Radiohead poster, and a show poster of me in a bikini. Pretty much Britt in a nutshell.

Inventorying my wall art: “I Left Accountancy for Booze” poster, my Radiohead poster, and a show poster of me in a bikini. Pretty much Britt in a nutshell.

…At least I can fit all of my wall-art in the trunk. #brittwin

Once the show opened, I went back to the office.

office

…it’s a trap.

Okay. So it’s not reeeeeeallly how I’d like to spend my last weeks here in Portland, but this sister needs the MONEY. STAT.

This past month I also had the honor to witness two of my very dear friends (finally, after 23 years!) get MARRIED!!

CONGRATS Gary and Jamie!!

CONGRATS Gary & Jamie!!

AND I had the honor of witnessing my cousin Charrise’s marriage to Nancy (finally–AGAIN!–after a decade!!).

CONGRATS Charrise & Nancy!!

CONGRATS Charrise & Nancy!!

This wedding was especially fun because I was able to spend quality time with my family in Tacoma, WA for the festivities! Can you tell we’re related?!

Fam!! Our generation is pretty damn hot.

Fam!! Our generation is pretty damn hot.

My little second cousin/niece/whatever, Tessa!

me and little Tessa!

I was lucky enough to go wedding dress shopping with the incredible Liz and the rest of the Evans clan. You wanna know how awesome my Evans family is? THIS awesome:

For those of you playing at home, Liz is wearing a bra on her head. Veils are a thing of the past.

For those of you playing at home, yes, Liz is wearing a bra on her head. Veils are a thing of the past.

Ahhh. Family. I’ve been thinking so much about family these days. My Big Meal family. My Portland family that I have built. The time I want to spend with family in Tacoma before relocating down South. I know that as I leave one family in the Pacific Northwest, I will be welcomed home to a new family that is already waiting for me in Los Angeles. I am one lucky girl. I am taking pieces of my chosen family with me, everywhere I go. And for that I am so, so grateful.

During this crazy and unpredictable time in my life, I could not be happier.

Love to you, my family and friends,

~britt

britt confronts cancer fears and has the best road trip EVER

My life is crazy. Seriously crazy. In the past week and a half, I confronted my fears about cancer, took a road trip from Twin Falls, Idaho to Los Angeles, California, and went to a theatre-nerd prom. Simply existing has been a thrilling yet frightening rollercoaster with all of the best payoffs (although I think I may be getting a little motion sick from it all).

But good news!

I think I can say with moderate certainty, dear friends, that I am out of the woods with all the major life-threatening drama. I swear that sometimes it feels like Portland is trying to dispel all of the toxic shit floating around me before I move to Los Angeles. Fine, I’m down with that, Portland. Let’s do it all now. As long as the pendulum swings the other way in time to bring me a pleasant and successful transition into my new life. Got it? Good. Thanks, Portland.

But yes! Good news! Before I tell you the bottom-line of this saga, let me take you on a journey of my past week or so.

In my last post, I tried to address in a somewhat tactful way that I was going through a bit of a cancer scare and was pretty freaked out about it. It was a tough thing for me to write about. The whole experience and “waiting game” that came with it made for the longest few weeks of my life.

Last Tuesday, I got a biopsy on a class 4a solid cyst was found in my left breast (as I have learned, fluid cyst= good news, solid cyst=reason for concern). My mom drove down from Tacoma to take me to the procedure. I could not have been more thankful to have here there. Thanks, Mom.

I felt pretty strong while we were in the waiting room, but when I put on the patient dress thing and walked into the room where the procedure would be done, I started shaking. I assumed the position on the cold, reclined chair where they have you lie down really still while they poke needles in you and vacuum out of your insides. This is when I started to cry. I cried on that chair in my pathetic apron, feeling stupid and helpless and scared, while my mom held my hand and told me I was being brave. I felt like I was 7 years old. I felt embarrassed and I’m not really sure why.

I got most of my tears out before the radiologist and technician came in, thank goodness. The experts walked me through the procedure (I realize I had no idea what a biopsy entailed exactly, and I’m glad I didn’t know until then) and I nodded calmly in response and they asked me if I had any questions.

“Can I watch the screen while you do it?”

I can’t remember if I actually asked that question or if it remained within the walls of my skull because my voice-box stopped working. But either way, they did shift the screen on the monitor in a way that I could watch the procedure if I wanted to. And I did.

I looked down my apron as they stuck a huge-ass needle in my boob, I watched as they removed the needle that numbed the area, I observed intently down my chest as they inserted a vacuum to extract a biological sample of the cyst. I also watched the monitor.

At this point, I was genuinely academically intrigued. It was pretty incredible. I saw the different instruments puncture through my skin and penetrate the gumball-sized lump in my chest. I watched them poke and prod, I watched the mass change shape slightly in the monitor as in pulsated and moved around, reacting to the foreign attack.

The most unsettling thing about the procedure, however, was the way the vacuum felt as it sucked out parts of my body. I can’t really describe it, it just felt unnatural and horrible. But luckily I had other things to focus on while they were doing that. Like coughing.

Among other things on my mind that day, I was getting over a pretty gnarly cold on the day of the biopsy. I was in the part of the cold process where I would have extreme coughing fits at any time and would need to chug a glass of water to get it to stop. While the procedure was underway, I was concentrating so damn hard on not coughing while the needle was in my chest–such a delicate fucking thing– that I kind of forgot about everything else that was happening. It took every ounce of my concentration, breath control, and will-power to keep that cough at bay while the doctor was at work.

I never warned anyone in the room of this (which, in hindsight, was a mistake), but I told my mom about it afterwards. I think she was half impressed and half alarmed. But whatever, I did it. I am awesome.

The second most unsettling thing about the whole experience was when the doctor told me that he diagnosed a 21-year-old of breast cancer a month ago. I don’t remember why he felt the need to tell me this. I think his point was something along the lines of: “you never know”, and “it’s good to catch things early”. But still. Thanks, Doc. Minor heart-attack happening, here.

But yeah… eye on the prize, people. Eye on the prize! I got through the biopsy just fine. And now I have a rad battle scar (until the bruising fades, at least) and it is a fucking badge of honor. Black and blue and green and yellow and bandaged. This, my friends, I call ZOMBIE BOOB. And I am proud!!

Good job, boob! You did it!!!

And best news, my friends?!

…I got the results from the biopsy back last Thursday… and I am CANCER-FREE!!!!

I heard this news in Twin Falls, Idaho, where I flew out to road trip with my dear friend Suzzane to Los Angeles (she is starting her grad program in social work at USC– you go girl!). The doctor called me when Suz and I were watching episodes of Parks and Recreation on the couch at her mom’s place. My phone rang and I froze and didn’t answer. I hid in the bathroom for a while and had a minor panic attack. Then Suz held my hand and encouraged me to check the voicemail. Bless her heart.

And it was the best news I have ever received. I am so grateful. So happy.

..And to top it all off, we woke up at the ass-crack of dawn the next day to road-trip to our new home (well, my new home in a few months)! 14 hours in a car, 10 pee-breaks, 2 alien-themed jerky tourist-trap stops, and epic fun. It was one of the best days ever. EVER. My little heart was pounding the happiest of beats in my chest every mile of the way.

What a journey. 

Let me take you on a journey. A journey of epic shit I did this WEEK!

My Week:

After the close of “Aloha Say the Pretty Girls” with Theatre Vertigo (my last show as a company member… sniff sniff, cry cry!) last week, I welcomed a much-needed “break” between projects of mine. Well…”break” is such a relative term. ‘Cause let’s be real. I never rest.

So! Last Monday was the annual Drammy Awards, which is the biggest cast party/awards ceremony/reason for theatre people to drink that Portland has to offer. It is the Tonys, Oscars, and nerd- prom all rolled into one. And this year, my amazing friend Nicole Gladwin MC’ed. She is the Baddest-Ass there ever was. And the best stage manager ever. And the best human ever. I love her.

So anyway. Each year the Drammy Committee books out the McMenamins Crystal Ballroom downtown and hundreds of theatre professionals get dressed up in their hottest suits and dresses to celebrate all things theatrical. Pretty rad, right?

This is what a sea of theatre people looks like.

This is what a sea of theatre people looks like.

No, THIS is what a sea of theatre people look like.

No, THIS is what a sea of theatre people look like.

I very was proud to sit at the Theatre Vertigo table this year with my company. Because we kiiiinda TOOK IT HOME. We won Best Sound Design (GO RICHARD MOORE!) for our winter show, The Velvet Sky (which I helped produce as Company Artistic Liaison to the director) and Best Actress in a Supporting Role for our fall show, Mother Courage and Her Children (GO BROOKE CALCAGNO**!). Company Member Kerry Ryan also received the other Best Actress in a Supporting Role award for her work in Post5 Theatre‘s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream (HELL YEAH!).

Brooke and I were joking that night about how our spring show, “Aloha Say the Pretty Girls” was a shoe-in for Best Production (the show was kind of a train-wreck), but HEY. Ya can’t win ’em all, right?

Oh, theatre. You slay me.

But anyway. For the most part, we were kind of a big deal that night.

**Also, for what it’s worth, I was wearing the now Drammy-Award-Winning Brooke Calcagno’s dress to the ceremony that night. So, obviously, that gave me hot and talented points.

See? Hot and talented points. And yes. I did get ready by myself in the dressing room of the theatre. I'm having some separation anxiety issues already, okay?!

See? Hot and talented points. And yes. I did get ready by myself in the dressing room of the theatre. I’m having some separation anxiety issues already, okay?!

In other news.

On Wednesday of last week, I had an audition for a theatre job I reeeally wanted to get at a company I reeeally admire, but alas. I dropped the ball on that one. That Wednesday I gave a vanilla, not-dailed-in, super-distracted audition. Sigh. It happens. I had to remind myself at least eight times to “let it go” as I walked back to my day job after the audition.

To be quite honest, I just couldn’t get my head in the game after the biopsy the day before. I was scared and shakey and was having trouble sitting up straight and moving my left arm without feeling pain or a weird weak sensation. But most of all, I was scared to death of finding out the biopsy results at any given minute.

But whatever. It’s about showing up and doing the work no matter what, and I showed up and did the work. It’s okay if it was not my best, I cannot always deliver my best. I am not a machine. I am HUMAN!

And, as you know, I found out the (terrific!) results that next day, on Thursday. So I was not in limbo for too long. 🙂

…Which is when I began my EPIC TRAVELING ADVENTURE with Miss Suzzane Cawthra to Los Angeles, from Portland, via Boise/Twin Falls Idaho (don’t try to understand it, just go with it). It was beautiful.

Suzventures

#suzventures

That Thursday through Monday was one of the most amazing stretch of days I’ve ever had. There was so much to be thankful for, to be happy about, and even more to look forward to. I feel like I have already received my prize.

You guys, I simply CANNOT WAIT to move down to LA. With each trip I make down there (and clearly, I cannot stay away) I feel more and more at home. During each trip, a couple more tiny pieces fall into place. And some of the most important people in my life, the ones that I have chosen to call family, are there. It feels right. I’m going with it.

I am wanting to talk more and more about this experience, but I will save it for next time. This post is already too long and even I’m starting to get bored reading it (Quick, Britt! Put in more GIFS!!).

Done.

But if there is one thing my life isn’t, though, it’s boring.

I am in a good place. I am so happy to be out of the woods after the BIG LIFE THREE (burnt-down house, hit-and-run on car, cancer scare). I am grateful to be back to the “normal life” stresses of trying to not-perform-shittily at auditions, paying-off massive credit card debt, double-booking myself and worrying about letting people down, breaking my own heart, and being deathly afraid of failure. No, that’s not melodrama people. That is my amazing life. Chock-full of challenges, ups-and-downs, and major successes and payoffs. I feel much stronger today than I did a month ago. And I have so many amazing forces in my life that have carried me through and leveled me up in life.

… Not the least of which were the three tubs of Salt and Straw ice cream (2 pear/blue cheese-my FAVE-, and one strawberry balsamic and pepper!) that found their way to me, like magic, after my biopsy.

Sigh. Amazing.

Sigh. Amazing.

And also, thank you, dear Dani, for your love from afar. Even though you are in India, I feel lucky to have little gems like these to get me through your two-month stateside absence (yup, you knew this was going to end up on our blog somehow… I LOVE YOU!):

(Ladies and gentlemen, that is my soul mate.  So BACK OFF.)

love from the lucky girl born on Friday the 13th,

~britt

britt is not a pathological liar

My house burned down. I’m going through a bit of a cancer scare. There was a hit and run on my car outside of my house a few days ago and I am now carless.

On paper–and in outloud-speech– I sound like a pathological liar. Or, the unluckiest person alive. But I assure you, I am neither.

Let me back up. Some major developments have occurred since we last caught up. For one thing, Dani is having the time of her life on a 2 month adventure in India, and if you haven’t caught up on her incredible experiences so far, you really should. I already miss her like crazy.

Dani sent me an email from Rishikesh the other day asking if I felt compelled to write a post about the scary things that are happening in my life. “Or,” she said, “You could just write a post about how much you love sharks or something.” (I love my D, she always knows how to talk to me.)

Mostly, I’ve been avoiding writing all together (which is always a good indicator that I am running away from something) and have been spending a lot of time sleeping and staring blankly at walls to avoid my fear and all the stress that comes with it. The most hopeful and empowered I have felt in the past couple weeks have been when I am writing music or when I’m on stage. Music and theatre have truly saved my sanity this past while. Which brings me to this–

The point of blog is to hold myself accountable to an unconventional career path as a creative professional, to keep me on track with what I want out of life, to get to know myself better, and to simply be… real. I have no interest in writing about fake shit. When Dani and I teamed up on this blog, we joined forces with the intention of creating a fun yet no-bullshit narrative that intimately follows each of our journeys as young actors and human beings.

And all of this scary stuff I am currently experiencing? This IS my journey. I can’t run away from it. It is mine. I can choose to embrace it and be empowered by it. And writing about what scares me gives me power. So in this post today, I am going to write to you all about what scares me.

Okay. So cancer talk. Here we go.

That shit is scary. How do I begin to describe this nonsense? It’s been overwhelming for me to even think about, so let me give you the bullet points. Because bullet points are manageable.

I found a lump. It is huge and came out of nowhere. I went to a couple of doctors. They were concerned. Got an ulatrasound. Ultrasound was labeled as a Class 4a cystic mass and was flagged it as suspicious. Meaning it needed immediate attention. Radiologist said there would be one of three possible outcomes. One, it’s a benign cyst that they are unfamiliar with and are not used to seeing, and that my body will eventually take care of it and that I am fine. Two, it’s some other kind of benign cyst that will continue to grow and be invasive to my body and I may want to get it surgically removed. Three, it is cancerous and I would need treatment immediately.

My heart stopped after hearing that last one. I have never been so scared. The third outcome is unlikely for someone of my age and health, but I need to be checked out to be sure. The next step is a biopsy. I had no health insurance. Biopsy would cost thousands of dollars and any treatment or follow-up that may come after that would cost much more. I applied for grants, independent health insurance, and various financial aid programs for days. I got accepted into a program called the BCCP (Breast and Cervical Cancer Plan) a couple of days ago, which will fund all of my costs and reimburse me for what I’ve already spent. This was a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders. However. The fact that I got accepted into a program called the “Breast and Cervical Cancer Plan”, when they seldom accept people under 40, frightens me more than I can really articulate.

BUT! The money thing was a huge roadblock to me getting the medical attention I need. So now I am one step closer to finding out that I am A-OK and healthy, or, less healthy than I thought and on the road to treatment and speedy recovery. I scheduled the biopsy for this Tuesday. I was told to expect results anywhere from 3 to 7 days post the procedure. Wow. Alright. I can do this. Let’s do this. Onward.

Okay, now… car. Car, car, CAR. One needs a car to move to and live in Los Angeles. A few nights ago, I had just driven home after performing in my show at Theatre Vertigo. I was talking on my phone in my parked car for 20 minutes outside the house before going in, as I have crappy reception inside the house. I finished my conversation and headed inside to open my mail and chat with my roommate Shane in the dining room. I hadn’t been inside for more than 5 minutes when Shane and I heard what sounded like someone slamming into trash cans with a car. We looked out the window just in time to see a white SUV speed away. And you know what? The drunk fucker smashed the front driver’s-side panel of my car in, thereby screwing up the alignment, knocking out an axel and making the thing unsafe to drive. I filed a police report, but there’s no way that douche is getting tracked down, we didn’t get outside fast enough to catch the license plate.

Ugh. So anyway. Rage-spiral aside–Had I talked on the phone a bit longer in my car before heading inside, I could have been in the vehicle when the collision happened and would have been hurt. With these three incidents in a row (house fire, health, car), you can understand why I am beginning to feel as though I am a character written into Final Destination 6 or something. I mean, COME ON.

So, no, folks… I am not a pathological liar. These events and their alarming proximity to each other are 100% real. And as for being the unluckiest kid in the neighborhood….? That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Read up on the house fire incident. If one little thing had gone differently, my brother and I could have been very hurt or killed. (LUCKY.) If I had been talking on my phone in my car the other night for just five minutes longer, I could have been very hurt. (LUCKY.) When I get the results back from this biopsy and I see how healthy I am, I will be the most grateful girl in the world. (LUCKY.) Or, if the results turn out to be scary, I will have caught it early and will be one step closer to a full recovery. (LUCKY.)

And boy, am I lucky to get to do the thing I love every day. The stuff I get to do for work? Pssh. The BEST. And this past week, despite all of the scary nonsense, was no exception. Check this stuff out.

My Week:

Last weekend I went to the Portland Premiere of Fantini Cinema‘s “Future Perfect“. This is the first feature film I have worked on to be released, and, as evidenced by these sick photos, I was pretty pumped about it:

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Fantini Cinema also discovered this past week that Future Perfect was selected to be shown in-flight on Hawaiian Airlines for 6 months. How cool is that?!

This week also brought about the closing of Theatre Vertigo‘s “Aloha Say the Pretty Girls“. This was my last show as a Vertigo company member before moving LA and was also the last performance by the company in the historic Theater!Theatre! space. So I got a little emotional. But! This week’s shows were a LOT of fun for me (especially on Monday’s industry night)…. once again, as evidenced by these photos:

My last day as Myrna. With one of my favorite props.

My last day as Myrna. With one of my favorite props.

Actor Brooke Calcagno and her striking resemblance to my mummy. Beautiful.

Actor Brooke Calcagno and her striking resemblance to my mummy. Beautiful.

Actors Zoe Rudman and Beth Thompson.

Actors Zoe Rudman and Beth Thompson.

Take 2.

Take 2.

Actor Tom Mousey looking sexy. With laser cats.

Actor Tom Mousey looking sexy. With laser cats.

Actor Tyler Ryan looking fabulous. Okay, so maybe I have a laser cat problem...

Actor Tyler Ryan looking fabulous. Okay, so maybe I have a laser cat problem…

I think that “Aloha” was one of the most challenging plays I have ever worked on. The script was confusing and frustrating as hell, the character I played was a walking enigma, and I struggled through the rehearsal process. When we went into production, however, I began to drop in and felt much more in my element. But, I cannot tell you how difficult it was to truly live the whole “the show must go on” thing in light of recent events. I had to bring myself to the theatre in full-action the day after my house burnt down. I had to find a way to be there when I was scrambling to find a car to use last-minute. I had to show up when I was scared about my health and afraid to talk to anyone about it. I’ve had crying fits and laughing fits in the green room. I danced it out to 80s pop and gangsta rap in the dressing room. I loved hard on my cast and grabbed their asses at any and every moment it seemed appropriate. Or inappropriate. I found myself on stage. I found my little enigmatic character, “Myrna”, on stage. Or rather, she found me.

On stage, things made more sense. Screw what’s happening in the rest of the world outside of those stage doors. All that I could control was on that stage, right where I left it. And what an incredible feeling that is. How lucky I am.

Although many of the reviews did not look favorably on our little play, I was honored to receive good reviews on my own personal performance despite my recent life hardships and my own insecurities about effectively translating my mysterious character onstage. Wow, what an indicator that I am exactly where I need to be, doing exactly what I need to be doing. Check out the reviews here (Portland Mercury) and here (Portland Monthly).

—–

I was joking with my mom that for a girl born on Friday the 13th, at age 26 (13+13) in the year 2013, I’m allowed to look a little unlucky. But let’s be real. We know that’s not true.

I’m a fucking force to be reckoned with.

And I just may be the luckiest girl on this planet.

infinite love to you my friends,

~britt

britt starts over

Last time you heard from me, I was processing the traumatic event of watching the house I live in with my younger brother burn down. Now that the dust has settled (a way too relevant idiom to use, I know) and I have almost fully recovered from the event, I am experiencing a strange new giddiness about life that I cannot shake. (Not like I would want to.)

In some weird way, this whole sudden homelessness thing has been a blessing in disguise. This period of uprooting has offered me so many things that I wouldn’t have been able to discover and experience otherwise. And for that, I am so grateful.

First and foremost, I have the incredible opportunity of living with one of my very best friends, Elizabeth Evans.

we take our kombucha very seriously. we've been drinking a crap ton of it since I moved in.

we take our kombucha very seriously. we’ve been drinking a crap ton of it since I moved in.

Liz and I have some pretty epic living-together history, you guys. We roomed together in college (okay, so I wasn’t technically on the lease, but I essentially lived on the couch at Liz/Dani/Suzzane’s house throughout school) and for my first year after college.

We’ve also, of course, grown-up a lot since our last living-together adventure:

sorry for vandaulizing your room, Liz.

sorry for vandalizing your room, Liz.

i am SO much more growun-up and mature now, you guys.

i am SO much more grown-up and mature now, you guys.

But for real. We are ADULTS now. Liz even owns her own house and stuff. And has FOUR animals. Well, only three of them are hers, but still. I mean, the woman brews her own kombucha. She’s kind of a big deal.

Anyway. Yesterday Liz says to me: “Britt. It’s like my whole house is your walk-in closet. You’ve done pretty well for yourself.”

Truth. I should be on Cribs right now.

(But let us allow these fotografias speak for themselves.)

Check out my awesome Living-On-Air-Mattress-In-Living-Room-Suite, complete with fireplace, flat-screen TV, and cats:

living large.

living large.

Hotel Liz comes with free cats.

Hotel Liz comes with free cats.

Pretty legit, right? I should get my house burned down more often. I’m kind of loving this.

The first morning I woke up in Liz’s Living Room Suite, I had a cat sleeping on my back (Pancho), another cat sleeping on my legs (Queso), and a dog laying on the ground next to my face (Moe). It was awesome. I was kind of hurt that the third cat (Jasper) didn’t join in on the snuggle puddle, but I got over it. Jasper is the only animal not owned by Liz or her boyfriend Shane, so I didn’t hold it against him.

Liz also cleared out a coat-closet for me to use as my own personal closet:

not too shabby, huh?

not too shabby, huh?

God, she’s the best!! I’m pretty sure I have more closet and storage space available to me now than I had in the basement-closet-room at my brother’s college house (RIP, house). This is the most backwards Life-Upgrade I have ever experienced. So I’m going with it.

So yeah. As far as residing on a living-room air mattress in a house with 6 adults and 4 animals goes, I have won the jackpot. I am truly happy and oddly feel more settled and centered than I have in a really long time. Liz and I play/write music together almost every evening. We have lazy Sunday mornings where we drink jugs of kombucha, read tarot cards, and examine our aura colors over breakfast(#CatholicSchoolFail).  We watch crappy TV and listen to good music. I am inspired to eat better and exercise more. I am reminded what Family feels like. I could not dream of a better place to call home before moving to Los Angeles in 3 short months. Life is so crazy sometimes.

Speaking of life being crazy sometimes, check out what my past week was like:

My Week:

In the midst of trying to maintain (what was left of) my sanity while systematically going through everything I own after the fire (as all of my shit is currently scattered about Liz’s dining room, waiting to be sorted), life refuses to slow down. And that’s okay. I like it that way.

This week brought about three callbacks (two of which I booked, one of which I’m waiting to hear back from… take THAT, fire!), a full-time work week at the ‘ol day job, and a major writing binge I had to get out of my system. I also somehow found time to watch a couple new episodes of Arrested Development (YES!) and The Bachelorette (for SHAME). This whole “starting over” thing has given me such a renewed sense of energy and purpose…or perhaps I am just too afraid to slow down and process the state of my life and the scary changes ahead? Whatever. Either way, I am thankful for this constant movement. It at least reminds me that I refuse to sink.

In the Theatre Vertigo world, we now have three weeks of the “Aloha Say the Pretty Girls” run under our belts. We only have two weekends to go until we say goodbye to this wacky-ass play…!

Photo by Gary Norman

Photo by Gary Norman

Another highlight of my week was the release of this video on MTV Hive and elsewhere:

A year or so ago I had the pleasure of working with one of my very favorite bands, Hey Marseilles, on this music videoThese boys are mad talented and this video is incredibly beautiful. I simply cannot stop watching it. The song is called “Heartbeats” and it is my favorite track on their new album, “The Lines We Trace“. Please do yourself a favor and watch this powerful video. Watch it NOW.

…Okay. Did you watch it? Good. I can tell by the tears splattered all over your keyboard that you did. I TOLD you that shit is good!!

In other big news, I have officially set my Move-To-Los-Angeles date:

LA MOVEThat’s right! It’s ON!! I could not be more excited. And coming from a girl who was born on Friday the 13th (it all makes sense now, doesn’t it?), I’m pretty sure this is the luckiest moving date I could have chosen.

3.5 months. Holy crap. 3.5 months until I am reunited with my Dani and living in a  completely different place with a completely new life. As I was happy to read in Dani’s last post, we are both swimming in gratitude and love of life and are both excited to start very new chapters in our lives. (As in, the incredible Dani is leaving for an epic adventure to India this Friday… Is she awesome or what?!)

And to keep this gratitude train chugging along, for those of you wondering how my brother Nate is doing after the Epic House Fire of 2013, here is the update! He has moved into (free!) on-campus housing with his roommates until he finds a new house to live in and is starting a new job at my office next Monday (two Harris kids in the same office? Uh oh…)! Nate is currently focusing on making money to get back on his feet and to save up for new instruments. He’s got this. When it comes to music, the boy is determined.

And so, one day at a time, we journey on..!

…As long as I have enough kombucha for the road.

** #jesuiteducationforthewin #paganways

** #jesuiteducationforthewin #paganways

Thanks for reading, friends.

infinite rainbow love,

~britt

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 watches her house burn down

When I was 8 or 9 years old I woke up in the middle of the night from a bad dream. I don’t know what intuitive force led me out of my bunk-bed and out onto the deck in the dead of night, but the feeling was strong so I went with it.

I grew up in Tacoma, Washington on a beautiful piece of land called Day Island. The deck behind the house overlooked the Puget Sound, Narrows Bridge and the Narrows Marina. It was a beautiful sight to behold.

When I walked outside that night, I saw the marina up in flames. I ran into my parents’ room screaming bloody murder and they called 9-1-1. Emergency vehicles were on the scene in what felt like seconds–but even as the firefighters tended to every charred dock and boathouse, I couldn’t sleep for fear the fire would start up again. My dad had to walk me down to the marina after the fire was put out to show me that no one was hurt and that the fire had stopped. When we approached the marina’s entrance, a sunken yacht had just been pulled up to shore. The boat was black and melted and pieces of wood jutted out at odd angles. In the eerie glow of the docklights that night, I believed it to be the spookiest, most unsettling thing I had ever laid eyes on. It was something from nightmares.

Although I gained some calm from knowing that the fire was stopped, the image of that dead ship has been seared into my brain. It haunted me night after night and I still think of it sometimes now.

That was the most frightening moment of my childhood. That, and the time when I let my brother out of my sight for a second at the park when I was supposed be watching him and my mom freaked out. (As she should have.)

But the most frightening moment of my adult life happened this past Friday, when the house my brother and I live in in North Portland burned down.

That night I had performed in a show at Theatre Vertigo and was exhausted from a fun and sleepless week in Los Angeles. I could not wait to get home and get to sleep. But before that sleep I made a pit-stop at a neighborhood bar with my dear friend Suzzane, as we had important life things to discuss (per usual). On the drive back to my house at around midnight, I saw that the street I lived on was blocked off by police cars and there were four firetrucks in front of my house. And my home was in flames.

Everything in my vision seemed to change color and any movement I witnessed seemed to happen in slow motion. The most frightening moment of my life to date was the two minutes in which I could not locate my brother, Nate. I didn’t know if he was in that house.

In those two minutes, I was somehow able to park my car at a curb and not in the middle of street (I don’t even remember doing that) and ran through the mob of college kids, firemen, police officers, university public safety personnel, and onlookers trying to find my brother. I remember shouting his name and running around and having this horrible panic in my chest for what seemed like an eternity. One of brother’s friends saw me and rushed me over to Nate who was, understandably, very upset. But that was the best feeling– locating him, hugging him. I could give a shit less about that house and the possessions inside it at that point.

Now, here are the facts that are important to this story: No one was hurt (THANK GOD). No one was home (of my four boy roommates, two were out of town and two were out at a party a couple blocks down). The fire started in the backyard and at the time of investigation that night, the investigator suspected an electrical issue to be the cause, but did not rule out arson. At the time of me writing this post, the event is still being investigated and we still don’t know who or what caused the fire. Our neighbors called 911 when they saw what they first believed to be a bonfire gone awry. Firefighters put out the fire within 3 minutes. The upstairs was completely wrecked. My brother’s room was almost completely destroyed. He lost nearly everything he owns, including his guitars and musical equipment, which are very important to him. I was lucky enough to lose nothing as the fire did not make it to the basement. The bottom level of the house had only minimal smoke damage. But I wish I had been the one to lose my crap. We had no renters insurance. Witnessing my brother’s loss absolutely kills me.

The most frightening part of this story, however, is thinking about how horrifyingly different this whole situation could have been if occurred just one hour later. Or if I had come home that night after the show and gone straight to bed instead of going out for a drink with Suzzane. If Nate had passed out in his bed when that fire hit, or if I was in my closet-room (which I know fully realize to be a fire trap… my poor parents!) when it happened, we could have been hurt or killed. Neither of us would have had an easy way out of that situation.

But I don’t want to dwell on the what-if’s anymore, I’ve already nearly driven myself insane by doing that. I would like to share some documentation of the event, though. Seeing these images scare me, but they also offer power and closure in knowing that the event is over.

So– welcome to our world this past weekend:

my brother's room

my brother’s room

more damage.

more damage.

what was left of the upstairs bathroom.

what was left of the upstairs bathroom.

shower melting into the wall.

shower melting into the wall.

scary stuff. :(

scary stuff. 😦

this gives me shivers.

this gives me shivers.

my poor brother's favorite guitar. :(

my poor brother’s favorite guitar. 😦

Okay, so that’s over and done with! We survived. All is well. Nate and I are alive and happy and temporarily homeless.

My Past Couple Weeks:

Before the real-life nightmare and subsequent uprooting, three big things happened in my professional life since my last post that I would like to report (because that is what I do on this blog):

1.) I spent four days in Los Angeles with my Dani girl in preparation for my big move:

LAX

twins

2.) I opened a show at Theatre Vertigo called “Aloha Say The Pretty Girls”:

These are our opening night faces at front of house.

These are our opening night faces at front of house.

This is my opening night face on stage, apparently. (Photo by Gary Norman)

This is my opening night face on stage, apparently. (Photo by Gary Norman)

This is my opening night face in the dressing room.

This is my opening night face in the dressing room.

3.) I had a rad callback. Remember that film audition in Seattle I had a few weeks back? I got the callback! So I made that beloved PDX to Seattle/Seattle back to PDX trek once again.

YAY 6 hours of DRIVING!

YAY 6 hours of DRIVING!

I was super jazzed about this opportunity because the film stars Kiera Knightley and Sam Rockwell! These are the big leagues, guys. It was definitely worth the drive and I learned a lot from the audition. Like the fact that I can memorize completely new (8-or-so-page) sides in ten minutes when the appropriate pressure is applied. Gotta love that shit.

So yeah– those things happened!

So, while in the midst of one of the scariest events of my life, I have learned a lot of beautiful lessons and have achieved a renewed sense of gratitude. I am lucky to be an alive and functional human being. I am lucky to do what I love for a living (for the most part). I am lucky to have my parents and my brother. I learned the true meaning of “the show must go on” after I reeealllyy didn’t feel like I had it in me to run a show the day after my house burned down with 2 hours of sleep, tapped-out adrenaline, and heightened nerves. I re-realized how lucky I am to have the best friends in the entire universe.

Which reminds me. Miss Elizabeth Evans (and her other half, Mr. Shane Winters) is the most amazing human in existence.

Shane and Liz. My heroes.

Shane and Liz. My heroes.

Liz has been one of the most important people in my life since 10th grade and she was a guardian angel for me and Nate during this whole ordeal. Not only did she and Shane show up on the scene after I called her at 1:30am as a sloppy weepy mess, but she helped me and my brother move items out of the house LATE that night, EARLY the next morning, and gave me and Nate and Nate’s friend from out-of-town couches to sleep on that night. She also set up free on-campus housing at The University of Portland for my brother and his roommates until they get back on their feet. Now THAT is family. She gave it no thought, she just acted. And now Liz has offered me her home to stay in until I move to Los Angeles.

Jesus, Liz!! MOST AMAZING PERSON OF THE YEAR AWARD. Truly, she is family.

Family.

Family is the best. The morning after the fire, our parents drove down to help. I’m sure we gave the both of them near heart-attacks with that phone-call. The four of us went through the house to salvage what we could. At this point Nate and I were a little giddy to be (almost) on the other side of such a stressful ordeal. To commemorate this accomplishment of survival and pure luck, I took these photos of my brother with this grotesque backdrop:

my very alive brother

my very alive brother

...in his very dead room.

…in his very dead room.

In all seriousness, I know I could have been in a lot of trouble in my basement closet room if I was there that night, and I could not be more thankful for the safety of my brother and all those boys who lived at the house.

So this is me signing off and reminding all of you to check your smoke alarms and fire escape routes. Seriously!! Please! I will give you a big hug as a reward. Come and claim it, ’cause I am all about the hugs right now.

Love to you my friends,

~britt