britt gets a life upgrade

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

totallifeupgradeLet me give you the epic highlights.

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

1

hello happy yellow room!

please note and appreciate my shark pillow.

please note and appreciate my shark pillow.

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please note and appreciate my OK Computer poster.

4.

it’s SO YELLOW UP IN HERE.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

aren't they ADORBS?!

aren’t they ADORBS?!

aren't WE adorbs?!

aren’t WE adorbs?!

Aaaaanddd… (Drumroll, please)… Fifth:

I gave my notice at my day job.

desk prison

OH MY GAW!

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

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

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

My (past 3) week(s):

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

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

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

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

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

Taking apart the Arena Stage. :(

taking apart the Arena Stage. 😦

Some beautiful show debris I found under the theatre seats.

beautiful show debris I found under the theatre seats.

Some friends gather to say goodbye to the space.

some friends gather to say goodbye to the space.

and some more friends...

and some more friends…

...and even more friends.

…and even more friends.

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

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

Anyway.

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

tamer

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

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

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

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

Everything is stupid fun right now.

Especially this Intergalactic Leopard dress I just bought.

dress

Total Life Upgrade. In epic dress form.

There is no more to say.

until next time,

~britt

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

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

britt talks cubicles, ke$ha, and getting enough SUN

Last you heard from me I was cracking out on sunshine and recovering from a stress-induced lizard-woman disease. (I know, I know, I am so attractive sometimes.) But you know. Just trying to keep you up to speed here. Trying to keep it real.

Anyway.

The SUN! Oh god, the SUN!! It was so beautiful and so fleeting! And then the rain came back! And then the rain left again and then the sun came back! And now we are BACK with a second round of Portland Summer Fake-Out!! BOOM!!

portland summer meme

As if my last post wasn’t enough of an indicator for you, I kind of lose my shit when the sun comes out. And all of the baaaack and forrrrrth with this hot love affair between PDX and the sun has really been toying with my HEART. It has been getting more and more difficult for me to stay focused at my day job when the sun is blaring through the windows and skylights (and thank goodness for those, let me tell you, I’ll take vitamin D where I can get it). My restlessness has become overwhelming and my ability to sit still for more than ten minutes is now a thing of the past. I find that I have been taking far too many walks during my work day for it to be considered acceptable.

Oh look, where am I walking to? The Broadway Bridge? Whoops! I am accidentally NO WHERE NEAR my work anymore...

Oh look, where am I walking to? The Broadway Bridge? Whoops! I am accidentally NO WHERE NEAR my work anymore…

Ohhhhh the many distracting qualities of clear blue skies…

Staying cooped-up during the daylight hours (and being expected to sit down and stay still for so long) is difficult for me. And it’s not just during the sunny days. It’s pretty much all the time. I’m discovering that being an office-monkey is becoming more and more unrealistic for me…

OMG OFFICE-MONKEYING!

My girl Dani once kept a blog devoted entirely to the topic of Office Monkey-ing and office humor from the perspective of an artist trapped in a corporate environment.

Okay… perhaps “trapped” is a strong word… Or, maybe not, actually. But you know what I’m talking about, right? For a creative or an especially social person, or for someone who needs to work with their hands or on their feet to be productive, cubicle life can be damaging. I know at least for me, it zaps my energy in a very odd way. The whole right brain/left brain switch often leaves me feeling off-center and scattered if sustained for too long. And don’t get me wrong… I am SO thankful for my job and its flexibility with my schedule and the comfort of a regular paycheck, but… I have to at least be honest with myself and acknowledge what truly drains me. Is this schizo-lifestyle sustainable? Who knows.

But get this. Cubicle life can zap my energy, sure… but it also makes me act out in odd ways as if to creatively compensate for all that I am repressing for 9 hours a day…

Exhibit A:

Once upon a time, when I was fresh out of college, I worked at a prestigious public accounting firm called Deloitte & Touche. Yes folks, I am also an accountant. It is still, in fact, what I do for my day job now. It’s hard to believe… I know. But just go with me on this one. Anyway. While I worked at Deloitte and had no time for creative outlets in any capacity, I may have gotten a little too cray in the workplace.

One of the clients I had as a first year auditor made this fucking rad commercial:

And this one:

Let’s just say I was obsessed with the absurdity and amazing-ness of their advertising. Once I discovered these commercials on the ‘ol youtube-s, I simply could not let it go to save my life. I could barely focus on the work that I was there to do. What was to come of this? Let’s just say that it is true that a picture is worth a thousand words, because….

This is me, circa 2009, as an employee of Deloitte:

soy sauce betch

Now. How I got a hold of this costume is not important. What is important is that I did this on a dare and put my whole auditing team to shame with my epic awesomeness. And let’s just say that the Managing Partner of Deloitte may have seen this photo… and for a hot minute I thought I was going to get fired over the thing (as I suppose this wasn’t the most professional attire to audit in while at the client’s corporate headquarters), but… instead it went down in Uncle D history. This moment captured on film was the very peak of my auditing career and I am proud.

I also asked the CFO of Yamasa if I could be in their next commercial. “I want to be a Yamasa girl,” I told him. He said he’d think about it.

Four years later, I am still waiting for that phone call… sigh. One day, folks. One day.

Ah, cubicles. You make loco.

I don’t even remember what I am talking about anymore. Mostly because I have been sitting at this very desk for too long already. Perhaps I have nothing else to say about cubicles and their side-effects.

Okay, so… what the hell have I been up to outside of the cubicle this week? Well, there’s been some stuff…

My Week:

This week brought about the last week of “regular” rehearsals for Aloha Say The Pretty Girls with Theatre Vertigo.

aloha

Britt Harris and Beth Thompson
(c) Gary Norman

And now…. dun dun DUNNN… we are in full-on tech/dress mode to be in gear to open this Friday. It is ON, people!! This means we finally got to move into our theatre (after rehearsing in our small ghetto rehearsal room for a couple of weeks and then a week of rehearsal time in the lovely Oregon Children’s Theatre space):

our theatre! finally! GLORY.

our theatre! finally! GLORY.

And then TECHPOCALYPSE finally began. During which time our director went to the ER for 6 hours. Don’t worry, she’s fine. Just passing a kidney stone, no big deal. But we got this. We’re working our shit out. Just another Vertigo tech.

Techomplishment.

Techomplishment.

And as if komodo dragons, mummys, babies, hot ladies, men turning into lizards, portals and Santa Claus weren’t keeping me busy enough (when you see the show, you’ll get it), I made another whirl-wind trip to Seattle on Friday for a film audition at 1pm,

drivenerd

i’m so cool right now, I even caught myself off guard.

…only to zip back to PDX by 5pm for a commercial audition (which I booked!! Yay! Good thing I didn’t end up canceling that one…). But it was so beautiful and sunshine-y the whole drive and I was heavily caffeinated, so it was awesome. I blasted  Ke$ha* (go ahead, judge me, I don’t give a shit) and ran lines with myself the whole time. It was a million times better than being stuck in my cubicle all day, where I run lines/sing Kes$ha in my head. Like a crazy person.

*I’m sorry, but how could you now love her?!

So anyway. Speaking of Ke$ha. Next time you hear from me I will be in Los Angeles with my most amazing Dani. Okay so maybe that has nothing to do with Ke$ha but the thought of knowing where I’ll be in a week makes me just as excited as:

See, that glittery ho gets me. I love you Ke$ha.

I think Ke$ha might be my spirit animal. I’d like to see someone try to put her in a cubicle. Mehtinks it wouldn’t end well.

stay crazy with me betches,

~britt

britt talks SUNVENTURE.

WHAT IS GOING ON.

WHAT is that bright blaring orb-thing up in the sky? WHERE is that sudden tingle-y euphoric feeling coming from? WHY am I all of a sudden sweating in my three layered cardigans, wool leggings, and Doc Martins?! SOMEBODY HELP ME!

Ahhhh yes. That’s right, Portland people. Bust out your Toms and trade in your black-rimmed hipster specs for $12 plastic neon sunglasses at Buffalo Exchange, because shit is about to get REAL. It is that time again…

…It is TIME for the Annual Portland Summer Fake-out!! OMGGG!!

What IS the Annual Portland Summer Fake-out, you ask? It’s that beautiful little vortex in the spring when we Northwesterners get glorious mid-70’s degree heat for three days–and then another 2.5 months of rain–before the reeeaaal Portland summer starts. Everybody FREAK OUT!

Seriously, I did. I freaked out. I lost my shit. The sun came out on Friday and I didn’t know what to do. The office cleared out at like… 1:30pm. It was as though someone in power called in a reverse snow day and it was no longer practical for anyone to be productive in any way. We even got free ice cream, delivered straight to the cubicle. Fudge-cicles, ice cream sandwiches, AND drumsticks.

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See?! Fucking DRUMSTICKS!

Something in that ice cream made me lose my fucking mind. I mean, we’re talkin bat-shit-summer INSANE, here. I’m pretty sure I ran circles around my car in the parking lot for 5 minutes just trying to expel the extra Vitamin D crack energy that was suffocating my brain.

And after successfully achieving that special sugar high that could rival any 12-year-old, I left the office early with an insatiable desire to find SUNVENTURE.

And I found it, my friends….

photo2photo3

…I found it.

I spent the weekend sunbathing, park-hopping, binge eating and beer drinking. I wound up at a barbecue in my old college house that I hadn’t set foot in since college. I hung out with me & Dani’s best pals, Liz and Suzzane. I drank some more. I napped it off. I inhaled burgers. I drove around town with all of the windows rolled down and music blaring. I consumed Salt N Straw until I thought I was going to puke. I dominated those two pear with blue cheese cones like I had something to prove. I napped some more. I painted my nails neon colors. I drank more beer. I passed out again. Glory.

And because it is the PDX Annual Summer Fake-Out, I also impulse-bought this ukulele:

SUMMER UKE

SUMMER UKE

I am naming it Feste and I am currently completely obsessed with finding a way to play Lady GaGa’s “Speechless” with the only five chords I know. I cannot rest until I crack the code. I’ll keep you posted on that (lucky you).

And as I am writing this, I’m realizing that perhaps I may have brought sunburn upon myself… DAMNIT.

But this week wasn’t all sunshine and bumblebees, my friends. I actually spent a crap-ton of time inside…

This Week:

First things first. My blue hair is gone!! GAH! Bittersweet! Blue hair was soooo cool…. Yet so high maintenance. Let’s just say I could not be more relieved to not have to explain that whole saga again next time I go into a commercial audition…

In other news! Aloha Say The Pretty Girls with Theatre Vertigo is in full groove! After two days of forced hibernation and three days of Drugged-Out-On-Meds-Rehearsal-Time-For-Britt (where I was constantly sweating and feeling like I was going through menopause three decades early… wheeeee!), we are really starting to see this show come together. We had our first Designer Run on Sunday and we are finally starting to birth a plaaayy…!!

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You can’t tell from these photos, but we are birthing a PLAY, you guys.

BI_Lt6HCEAELAhu

… a play with PEOPLE and THINGS!

I also had the pleasure of being a part of Steven Dempsey‘s 50 Female Faces Project with my dear friend Katy Beckemeyer this week:

photo

Britt
(c) Steven Dempsey

Katy (c) Steven Dempsey

Katy
(c) Steven Dempsey

Steven may be one of the most awesome people on the planet. Not only is he crazy talented and incredibly fun to work with, but he was also in a band called “Naked Grape”once… so, come on… what’s not to love. Katy and I pretty much jump at the chance to work on anything with Steven and Glenn Scott Lacey (my other favorite person ever, who aided us greatly that day by making us look goooood) of Americonic Films.

Check out this last Americonic project Katy and I worked on, the official music video to Tyler Stenson‘s “This Too Shall Pass” (featuring me and my girl at 2:00):

Such beautiful work. I am such a fan. Please take a moment to check out more of Steven and Glenn’s awesome stuff at Americonic Films and Steven Dempsey Photography. I love these bros.

So yeah. Perhaps a little sun got into my brain this weekend and made me a little more crazy than usual (is it possible? I donno). But can you blame me? After being bed-ridden at the week’s start, that weekend SUNVENTURE was a mini vacation to the sweetest part of insanity and back.

And look…! Just like that? The sun is gone. Aaaaand… Portland’s back.

untitled

…Damn it.

Sending you warm gooey thoughts,

~britt

britt talks where to look for freedom

In the past couple weeks I have been desperately searching to find a place to land, some space in my life to settle, and a less chaotic rhythm to fall into as I adjust to an ever-changing routine. In the midst of big life changes and plans and crazy life surprises one after another, it’s been hard to find some peace.

When I start to get life-tired and overly emotional from wearing myself too thin and neglecting sleep (which has been quite often over the past few months), I try to assess what I can cut out of my life–how I can give my heart more space to live in a place of happiness. So, true to Britt-fashion, I made a list of my current obligations before bed the other night.

What I found was an overwhelming list of ingredients to a budding dream life… a life that I have been trying to position myself into for years (minus the desk job, of course). In scanning my list, an overwhelming feeling of gratitude washed over me. I thought to myself, “Holy crap, I am fucking exhausted, broke, and overworked, but…my hard work is getting results.”

I can’t deny these results, and not just tangibly– but in my quality of life. I am SO much happier than I was a year ago… I am constantly surrounded by the most beautiful and supportive people on the planet. I am spending time on projects that fill my soul and challenge me as an artist and inspire me to be a better human. My life fucking ROCKS.

Making this list like, woke me UP. It energized me. It’s like feeling the burn after a good workout and celebrating that hurt. That good, sweet hurt that tells you that you’re going in the right direction, that you are making progress. That is what this exhaustion is for me right now. And I want to celebrate it. This uprooting and constant movement I am experiencing is somehow giving me more freedom and exhilaration than I have ever experienced. I love it.

So Exhaustion, my dear friend, I thank you. With you, I am finding my freedom.

My Week:

Dear Exhaustion, let’s tell these folks what wonderful projects have made you a constant in my life lately!

This week has brought me much excitement with rehearsals starting up for the premiere of “Crumbs,”  a workshop of the original musical from composer/playwright Amir Shirazi, directed by Avital Shira.

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CRUMBS is a prequel to the Hansel and Gretel fairytale that explores the question, “What could compel a father to cast his children out of their home and abandon them in the woods?” Written in the wake of the loss of Amir’s father, CRUMBS takes those experiences and more on a journey into new territory with a family broken by loss, yearning to rebuild their family from crumbs. It is a beautiful journey of love, grief, and what it means to rebuild family — or tear it to pieces. I cannot talk-up this project enough. Amir’s music is incredible– it fills my heart up to the brim to work on such beautiful words and notes. I am honored to work alongside such a talented cast and production team!!

This week also brought the excitement of a successful and sold-out opening night at Theatre Vertigo!

(c) Gary Normanactors: Andy Lee-Hillstrom & Nathan Berl

(c) Gary Norman
actors: Andy Lee-Hillstrom & Nathan Berl

I have been working on The Velvet Sky (producing duties) with the company for months now and it is always such an amazing feeling to see all of that hard work pay off. I’m truly proud of my dear company and the high-quality work it continues to produce, no matter how overworked we all are. And speaking of hard work, MANY hours go in to producing a show in a company with eleven resident members and no artistic director. That’s right, this little commie company worked hard into the dead of the night this week to prep for the show…

photo2photo1

…but we had plenty of pizza and beer to keep us happy, so it was totally worth it. Go Team.

Rehearsals for Steven Richter‘s feature film Birds of Neptune is ramping up, as we locked in the shooting dates for March 4th-22nd. Eeeeeee! I have been lucky to get to play with many musical toys to prep for this role (my artistic wet dream fully realized):

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But I think what I am most excited for right now is the opportunity to take a month off of my day job to concentrate fully on these creative endeavors. For this four-week period of time, I will be entirely–financially–self-sufficient as an actor. Uhhh… what?! This stint of artistic oasis rarely happens, so I plan to enjoy the hell out of my four weeks of Dream Life.

As I reflect on this stint of awesomeness, I realize that all of this insanity and uncertainty is what brings me the most joy… and it offers me great freedom inside of it. I am the master of my own universe. (Watch me, I’m getting all WOO WOO again.)

Every day I’m discovering how and where to look for freedom. See you on the other side, Cubicle.

~britt

britt goes viral

The Internet is a strange place.
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You may recall my mention of a short film project I was shooting with Chris R. Wilson of We’ll Fix It In Post Productions in my last post. The film starts out with this introduction: “Cleverbot.com has been touted as one of the most advanced artificial intelligences ever. The website allows users to chat with the A.I. Cleverbot. But how good is it, really? I sat down with Cleverbot and collaborated on a movie script. What follows is a movie written by a machine.”
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Chris emailed me about this idea on a Wednesday night while I was pleasantly tipsy enjoying a Backfence PDX event with my friend Suzzane. The whole concept sounded hilarious to me at the time. Or maybe the booze made it seem like a funnier idea than Sober Britt would have thought. But whatever, I promptly emailed back, “I’m in”. Thank you, two pitchers of McMenamins Ruby Beer.
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We woke up early that Saturday morning and drove out to a forest East of Portland in the freezing cold. We put on crazy costumes, talked in crappy English accents and exclaimed complete nonsensical dialogue while hikers looked back at us in shock at a distance. The six of us shared a bag of Lays chips (thanks, craft services!) and I mistakenly sat on Zach Persson’s PB&J sandwiches (which he’s probably now selling on e-Bay) and we successfully wrapped in a few hours. It was rad.  ‘Twas a perfect Saturday to run around in the woods with your friends doing crazy shit. I drove home happily afterwards to a warm shower and a three-hour nap.
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But what came of all this was kind of insane.
Our little video about artificial intelligence blew up and in under a week achieved over 117,000 views and was written-up by popular blogs and news sites such as reddit, mashable, Daily of The Day, The Laughing SquidAnimal New YorkBuzzfeed, and The Huffington Post.

Cleverbot

Cleverbot his/herself even put us on the home page of their site! Hello! Nerd Alert!
Cleverbot Home Page
My favorite media quote reads: “Cleverbot wrote an amazing short film called “Do You Love Me”. It’s Academy Award material. And, Cleverbot? The answer is yes, obviously.” Thanks, Buzzfeed! Oh, Internet, where will you take me next?
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Seriously, Interwebs, you be CRAY.
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So, at the risk of beating this video to death….here is this Virus of a Video in case you missed it. Cause you know what? Eff it. I am going to enjoy every second of this 15 minutes of fame. Once I move to LA, I may very well drop off of the grid and into the soul-sucking abyss that is the inner-circle of actor hell forever…Ever..everrr.. .(Echo echo)…
…just kidding.

Not kidding. Sort of kidding. Maybesortofkiddingidontknow. Whatever, Just WATCHIT.

And although the explosion of this video in Interweb-Land made me waste many an hour sitting at my desk at the ‘ol day job this week, I was up to some other shit besides Robot-Cinema as well:
My Week

Rehearsal and prep work for the feature-film Birds of Neptune have been keeping me pretty busy. As indicated by the photo below, I think I had a bit too much fun at our makeup/camera test this past Saturday:

Molly Elizabeth Parker & I are sisters in real life, apparently.

Molly Elizabeth Parker & I are sisters in real life, apparently.

Seriously, we are escapees from the asylum in this one. Aaaand to cleanse your palate from that frightening image, here is a less-frightening one:
(c) John Campbell

Photo by John Campbell


I was also lucky enough to get back on the horse for NBC’s Grimm this week. I auditioned and got called back for a guest star who was… in her 30’s. Seeing as how I’m playing an 18-year-old in the movie I am working on currently, I have no idea how I come across in terms of age for casting anymore. Maybe this is a good thing. I don’t know. Mostly I am just constantly having an identity crisis. Typical actor.

In other news, the show I am producing with my theatre company (Theatre Vertigois in tech! I am so excited for The Velvet Sky to open this weekend. It is going to be a beautiful and jarring journey. And all y’all Portlanders should go see it.

Anywhoo… my mind is exploding with all of the crazy-awesomeness that is my life this week.
tumblr_inline_mg19idHdoj1rnbgkp
…Yup, kinda like that.
And all of this busy kind of makes me forget that I am living in a closet in my brother’s basement.
I’ll take it.

Best of luck in your journeys this week, my friends!
~Britt

britt talks 2013

My girl Dani left Portland this past Monday to return to her sunny home in Silverlake. Though I am sad to see her leave, we took full advantage of our time together by packing more fun and awesomeness into one week than I thought possible. I could not imagine a better way to kick off the new year. 2013 is going to be huge, we can both feel it. My dear friend Stephen told me over coffee the other day, “2012 was a year of preparation. 2013 is a year of action”. I could not agree more. This also scares the ever-living crap out of me because it means I can’t punk out on the plans I have created for myself… and I have so many plans. So many huge, lofty, pie-in-the-sky plans.

…Which brings me to this:

Hey Britt!! Let’s have a check-in!

Okay!!

Part of my desire to write this blog, aside from being able to spend quality time with my Dani from afar and help other creative types know that they are not alone in their insanity, is to keep myself in check. To keep myself accountable. To keep moving and to never settle. To do what makes me happy, what pushes me out of my comfort zone, and what moves me closer to my dream life.

So, in brief, my personal blog entries are mainly to remind myself of this:

2 step plan

photo courtesy of http://www.yesandyes.org

SO, here’s my check in.

My Week in Art

Monday. Kicked off a new show I am producing with my theatre company entitled “Velvet Sky”. It’s going to be awesome. I am so lucky to have the creative home that I have at Theatre Vertigo. Here are some photos I snapped from the first read:

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That handsome devil in the mask is Vertigo member Andy Lee-Hillstrom, who will be playing the role of Sandman. I am already having beautiful, beautiful nightmares. More info on the show here: The Velvet Sky. That’s right, it’s going to be fucking awesome.

Tuesday. Had a shoot at the Oregon Coast for a music video. It was a million degrees below zero with a wind speed of infinity, but it was still really fun:

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My favorite thing about this shoot was exploring Fort Stevens. Everything reminded of being on a Walking Dead set (OMG zombies are awesome):

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Wednesday. I had the pleasure of catching up over drinks with the lovely people who created this animation:

…Needless to say, I laughed ’til I peed. For four hours straight.

Thursday. Pre-production meeting for my amazing friend Amir Shirazi’s musical, Crumbs, in production next month. This is us “working”:

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…when what we’re actually doing is a ukulele cover of the TLC song, “No Scrubs” for the entire bar. Cafe Side Door (aka my living room) will forever have my undying love for tolerating my antics on practically a daily basis. We’re a traveling troupe of minstrels, people!!

Friday. Had an afternoon of rehearsal for the feature film, “Birds of Neptune”, being shot in Portland next month:

Birds of Neptune promo shot

Promo shot for Birds of Neptune, (c) Reverie Films

Whew. SO yeah. I had a ton of fun this week. Thank you friends and internet world, for holding me accountable to the self acknowledgement of my progress in creating the life that I want. 😀

But let’s be real. Things aren’t all work and no play (well, a lot of what I do for work is play, but never you mind). Here are some fun things that propelled me through my week:

My Week in Inspiration

This lovely surprise that Dani left me in my apartment before she left town on Monday:

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My “spirit animal” as wall art, per Dani.

This council crest trek with my friend Stephen when the *GASP!!* sun (!!) came out:

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Portland + Sun = GLORY

Books that are currently blowing my mind:

The Creative Habit                         the chronology of water

“Everything is raw material. Everything is relevant. Everything is usable.”  –Twyla Tharp

“I know that will well now. It’s the will of certain mothers and daughters. It comes from living in bodies that can carry life or kill it. ” –Lidia Yuknavitch, The Chronology of Water

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Aaaaaand I’m spent!

I wish you magic and fun in your week, my friends!

Much love,

Britt

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