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 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

dani goes to india

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

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Wheee!!!

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

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

And this…

Taj Mahal, India…

And this…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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yoga!!

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

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

Flying - GIF

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

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

xoxo

Dani

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