britt loves on her girl.

A huge thing happened this past weekend. IMG_3531 IMG_3533 …Can you guess what it is? IMG_3527 Also, #sparkleshoes.

Also, #parkinggarageglam.

YOU GUYS.

DANI

I IMG_3584

GRADUATED

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FROM

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THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

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WITH HER MASTERS OF FINE ARTS DEGREE

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IN ACTING

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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As if that wasn’t enough to impress you, Dani was also chosen to be the class speaker,

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Note the kiss mark.

in which she delivered a soul-igniting speech to a packed Bing Theatre,

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Blurry because of my tear – soaked eyes.

that of course moved me (and everyone else in the house) to tears. vma-crying-5

And even though the wizard hood took a couple of tries, IMG_3525 and required a of couple gentleman (of the finest quality), IMG_3521 Dani remained regal, majestic, and wizardly. IMG_3518And although the choice of celebratory alcohol thrust D into making a gut-wrenchinly difficult decision under a lot of pressure, IMG_3591 she made an informed life choice and STUCK WITH IT (like a ADULT). 

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She chose: ALL of the alcahol.

And even when some random street urchin crashed Dani’s nice graduation family brunch,

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I am very happy with my new mom and dad. I hope this is my new forever home.

She did not turn the urchin away, NAY, she took said street urchin out of the harsh, harsh LA cold and to a very fancy commencement celebration in which Street Urchin forgot to wear nice clothes. And Dani and her sweet Gentleman loved Vagabond Street Youth anyway.

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“I can still be seen with you?! THANKS GUYS!!!”

Ah, yes, The Big Three:

1.) Staying regal, majestic and wizardly in times of struggle.

2.) Making an informed adult decision and following through with that decision.

3.) Taking in street urchins out of the cold and not shaming them for their choice of beany and Grand Prix checkered outfit (The “You made it to the finish line!” grad theme did not quite work in hindsight…).

THIS is what a beautiful, talented, well – equipped, successful artist, human, and scholar looks like. IMG_3583 And I am so, so proud. IMG_3578 I remember the day Dani told me she was going to start applying to MFA programs and I remember the night in our Logus Apartment in Portland, OR when Dani made the decision to say yes to USC. This decision changed the course of both of our lives forever.

Dani, you are the reason I am physically in LA. You gave me the courage to to do this: to move here and to call this crazy place home. I learn from you everyday, am inspired by you everyday, and am constantly anchored by your strength and friendship. I am so, so proud of you. My dear North Star, you have helped me make incredible life discoveries by trusting your gut and believing in mine. I am so honored to call you my best friend. I cannot wait to (continue to) see what badass shit you create in this world. 

And now, I will leave with a final little nugget of crazy, a “slice of life”, if you will:

“An MFA Prepares (at 3am the night / morning of her party hardy grad party):

That’s muh girl.

Congratulations, my Dani. I love you sweet sister. IMG_3352 All my love,

Britt

28 things you need to know about britt in her 28th year

…Well, I suppose that TECHNICALLY this is my 29th trip around the sun, but Earth Culture assures me that I am 28 years of age. My Saturn is returning. And all that stuff. Planetary. giphy Thank you, Neil.

And now, today, on this, the 4th Day of the Month of May (it rhymes!), about 7 weeks after my actual, special Friday-the-13th birthday (whoops), and about 970 weeks since my last post (sorry), here are a few things to catch you up on in the incredibly not-boring goings-on of my life:

1.) I’ve got Homes in Different Zip Codes.

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My dear friendThe Suz gave me this beautiful plant, which I affectionately named Nan, to anchor me wherever I stay.

Read as: “Vagabond”.

I currently reside in Park La Brea, Altadena and Echo Park (I promise you I am not joking), with pit-stops in places like Culver City, Silverlake, and Hancock Park in between. What can I say? My sterling house-sitting reputation precedes me. As a wandering artist subletting her room, I am not complaining.

2.) Continuing on with the vagabond theme: I’ve been on more airplanes this year than ever. (And I hate flying.)

This is how I fly now. Remind me to tell you about my whirlwind Seattle trip later.

Who AM I even?! This is how I fly now. I am a monster.

… I think I’m getting better at the whole flying thing, though. I’ve got a supplement-popping, face-covering, booze-in-flight drinking system that works for me, so don’t worry about it.

‘Cuase let’s be real. I’m not flirting with that bitch mono again.

3.) Birds of Neptune is majorly making its presence known in the festival circuit this year after its smashing world premiere at Slamdance Film Fest in January.

I just got back from Arizona International Film Festival in Tucson, where Birds of Neptune won the award for Best Dramatic Feature!! Holy CRAP! BON AIFF And if that wasn’t an honor enough, the film was also selected to screen again on the final night of the festival for the “Best of Fest” celebration. 11118363_10101271935952336_419600120065064236_o …An encore screening? Yes, please!! Thank you, Tucson! 😀 

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with BON director Steven Richter.

Up next on the festival trail? Mammoth Lakes Film Fest at the end of the May. Hopefully you’ll be seeing me all over the globe promoting this film. This is just the beginning! 😀

4.) In addition to the humbling love we received for the film in Tucson, I received a Special Jury Award for Best Performance for my work in the film.

Holy FUCK!!

Holy FUCK!!

This is how that made me feel. (Nothing feels better than skipping down the red carpet. Nothing.)

This is how that made me feel. (Nothing feels better than skipping down the red carpet. Nothing.)

WOOOOAAAA! I am on cloud 9 from this, truly. Tucson was such a special, surreal, magical place, and this recognition is such an incredible honor.

5.) I still self-employed and loving it.

One of my many offices around the city. I promise I am working here. #WORKINGIT

One of my many offices around the city. I promise I am working here. #WORKINGIT

A detailed look at my cubicle.

A detailed look at my cubicle. Somebody pinch me.

6.) Dani and I went aboard The Queen Mary to witness the marriage of our dear college friend Hillary:

What a DREAM she is!

What a DREAM she is!

…Which made me think that perhaps I should live on a boat at some point in my life. Because, COME ON.

We make this look good.

We make this look good.

7.) DANI IS GRADUATING FROM HER MFA SOON. This means we are writing sketches and screenplays and music. And romping around outside. And actually using our Twitter account.

So, basically — Two Evil Actors, the Content Creators, are stampeding your way SOON, betch!! Mark my words! FEAR US!

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What’s not to love?

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But really though. You want this.

8.) I am writing a lot of music these days. I hope to record my stuff later this year, so I will keep you posted on that. All of this material is all super personal to me so it is SCAAAAARY. Which obviously means that I have to do it. guitar9.) Speaking of recording music, I had the opportunity to record music with my very talented brother for the first time in March.10947417_604953582940001_8820304260459440803_oI was lucky enough to be in Seattle for an audition when my brother Nate and my cousin Cameron were recording the first EP for Nate’s music duo, NW Passage. (Think of Nate Harris as the Ryan Lewis to NW Passage’s Macklemore. He is a genius.) They asked me to record vocals on some of the tracks. It was SO fun.

In studio with my cuz Cameron, sound engineer extraordinaire, and musical genius, my bro, Nate.

In studio with my cuz Cameron, sound engineer extraordinaire, and musical genius, my bro, Nate.

Look! Cute photos of me and bro in the studio!

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Nate being annoyed of my Genius.

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Me being annoyed of Nate’s Genius.

10.) STILL speaking of recording music– I have finished recording basic vocals for the first No Vanquished album!  Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 9.30.07 PM It won’t be long now ’til we release and UNLEASH this music into the world!

11.) I am in love with Los Angeles, IMG_2832 but Portland has my heart.

And I am in a constant state of reconciling this emotional and geographical dissonance.

12.) I took a few covert Portland visits this year to feed my heart. 

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My sweet little mini me, Agatha.

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I love her!!

Short and sweet and sad, it hurts me a bit to come back to Portland now. It confuses me and makes me wonder where I am supposed to be. I don’t think it will always be that way, but…. what is it they say in that one song?

Yeah, something like that.

Anyway. My heart is in Portland. Y’all knew that.

13.) Surprise, Mom! I got a new tattoo. IMG_2493 I was born ass-first on Friday the 13th (it ALL makes sense now, right?!) and my birthday happened to fall on Friday the 13th this year. So, naturally, I needed to get a Friday the 13th tattoo. 

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I also got this tatted across my back. Kidding. Not kidding. Wait what?

I must note that Dani and our good friend and housemate Raisa got Friday the 13th tatts that day as well. Because we are part of a gang.

14.) I am officially the USC MFA program’s biggest stage-mom. I could not be more proud of my Dani, who recently completed her THREE SHOW REP (AND NY & LA Showcase!), each of which, I saw two times. Trust me, I would have seen these shows every night they were running if I could clone myself. This girl inspires me everyday. True to her nature and talent, Dani killed it in each show with every character she lived in, but her portrayal of Nina in The Seagull especially took my breath away.

Nina is SUCH a difficult role to nail, you guys, and it takes a REALLY gifted, insightful, brave, and effective actor to be able to play the arc of this role. It was one of the most incredible performances onstage I have ever seen and I wish I could show each and every one of you her incredible work. I feel stupid even talking about it because I can’t quite find the words to quite articulate how much I look up to my best friend and how proud of her I am.

So, I’ll just dumb-it down by saying: “YOU ARE AMAZING, DANI!!” 

My little DaniBird. D in USC's production of

My little DaniBird. D in USC’s production of “The Seagull”.

15.) As if the film fests I am already going to haven’t been enough, I decided to party-crash a good chunk of the Newport Beach Film Festival with my new Aussie friends that I met at the Arizona International Film Fest.

I tend to look more legit when at parties I ninja into. Also, my mom took one look at this photo and told me I had Drunk Eyes. Thanks Mom.

I tend to look more legit when at parties I ninja into. Also, my mom took one look at this photo and told me I had Drunk Eyes. Thanks Mom. Pictured: EP Sam Eather of Aussie film “Love Is Now” (look it up).

I drank a lot and ate a lot and consumed 7 s’mores at one event and had a very nice time, thank you. 

Also, I felt fancy.

16.) I am really itching to travel. I hope that the stars align to grant me an international trip (or five) this year. I think the odds may be in my favor.

(Come on, come oonnnnn Birds of Neptune International Premiere..!!)

Yeah. You like what I did there??

Yeah. You like what I did there??

17.) I’ve decided that I really want a pet but am truly TOO VAGABONDY and poor to be a good dog or cat mom (see #1 & #2 above). 

See?! I'm even in my car in this pic! I am never NOT DRIVING.

See?! I’m even in my car in this pic! I am never NOT DRIVING.

18.) SO I’ve made many new dog friends around town. (Also my ulterior motive for all of the house-sitting I do.)

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dog spoon > every boyfriend, ever. Sorry.

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WOAAA PUGGLE

19.) AND I’ve made many new cat friends around town. 11044993_10152921894767639_8296777836104554201_n20.) I’ve discovered that the older I get, the more I dress like a child.

Do I ever wear NOT animal prints?

Do I ever wear NOT animal prints?

Pretty sure I had this same outfit at 4 years old.

Pretty sure I had this same outfit at 4 years old.

21.) Okay… uhh.. god… thinking of 28 things is actually pretty hard… let’s see, um..  ….I’ve been eating a LOT of pizza lately? Like, a lot?

...surprise, surprise, in airports, too, people.

…surprise, surprise, in airports, too, people.

22.) Ummm… it rained in LA a lot this past month? And that was weird? IMG_2838 23.) I don’t know why I am ending things in question marks all of a sudden?  giphy-2 24.) Maybe because I’m avoiding big parts of my life?

hyperbole-and-a-half-thank-you-sorry-sad-cry-frenchyincali

(c) Allie Brosh, my spirit animal

Kellie9

(c) Allie Brosh, my spirit animal

25.) Okay, let’s get real here for a second. Because 2EA believes in that shit. 

Also, we are a meme. So automatically anything we say is awesome.

Also, we are a meme. So automatically anything we say is awesome.

After all, we are real humans with real feelings.

adpost4

(c) Allie Brosh, my spirit animal

So… sigh. Okay.

Though the external evidence of this post may suggest otherwise, I have a pretty sad heart right now. For the first time in, well, ever, I am unclear of what is next. My internal compass, which is usually pretty strong, is not so strong right now. I don’t know what it’s supposed to mean or what I am supposed to do. I feel sad and scared and slightly stupid. I don’t know, it’s hard to explain and weird to talk about. Depression has been a thing. Top Tier / Grade A / Boss-Level Heartbreak has been a thing. Crippling anxiety spiral has been a thing. 

And yet, here I am. Still bravely loving, still going hard at my dream, still refusing the conventional day job… 

I am doing my best. I know that one day I’ll crack the happy code. One day I won’t feel so misplaced and scattered and alone-on-an-island-y.

Good Portland omen.

Thank you, Good Portland Omen.

Luckily, I have learned more about myself and what I truly want out of life during these weird heart times. I’ve had to make some really hard decisions, decisions that more often than not have left me with the exact opposite outcome of what I thought I wanted, and through this, I am learning to trust. I am learning to trust my instincts and the order of the Universe. I am learning to breathe into my decisions and into my follow-through. To tell those I love that I love them. To not expect anything back. To be vulnerable. To be a voice of reason. To be a hard-ass. To be a softy. To be what I need for myself in this moment. To acknowledge that no one and nothing is forever, yet allow myself to take comfort in the feeling that some people and some things never truly leave.

Perhaps knowing what I want has somehow made the path I travel seem more indirect or treacherous. Maybe I’ve finally realized the true challenge of committing myself 100% to living the life I want. This is not a life of allowing cop-outs and stifling my feelings and feeling obligated and beating myself up. I realize now that there is nothing more challenging (and more important) than taking care of myself and taking care of my sweet dear heart in the same way that I wish to take care of those I love. It’s no easy thing.

And let’s be real, being a human is just fucking hard. 

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(c) Allie Brosh, my spirit animal

26.) I’ve also had the feeling that this year may be the kick-off to some very important self-discovery: 

I’ve discovered that I feel the most myself when I am on the move. In transit. Exploring. Adventuring. Wandering (I’m sure you’ve picked up that vibe in this post so far). This is also when I feel the most lonely.

There is still so much to discover within myself and sometimes (most of the time) that internal terrain is so rocky. I cry every time I am in an airport. Every. TIME. It’s an odd feeling: always leaving the ones I love, always coming back, this weird ping-pong sensation — but there is truly no feeling that compares to the huge hug feeling from a loved one upon arrival or departure — that pure happycryjoy or happycrylonging –that is the shit that makes me feel alive.

11071470_10203850372608232_7585567630056711546_n 27.) I have the very best friends in the world.

Sweet sweet incredible Dani threw me a surprise party the night of my birthday in March and I seriously had no idea. I felt so loved.

My sisters. Dani and The Suz.

My sisters. Dani and The Suz.

Joy.

Joy.

Class Photo: The Current and Former Residents of the PRL. Missing: Aussie Michael and Electric Grandma Lucia Babe. And Napoleon the Pomeranian.

Class Photo: The Current and Former Residents of the PRL. Missing: Aussie Michael and Electric Grandma Lucia Babe. And Napoleon the Pomeranian.

28.) Let me say it again: I have the very best friends in the world. We build slip-n-slides in our backyard out of trash bags, tarp, and baby oil.

Dani and I engaging in a little bit of competitive Slip-n-Slide drag racing. NBD.

Dani and I engaging in a little bit of competitive Slip-n-Slide drag racing. NBD.

TRIMUMPH. You put up a good fight, D.

TRIMUMPH. You put up a good fight, D.

In closing, so far, 28 is looking like this: Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 4.07.56 PM A little bit scary. A lotta bit fun. I may accidentally sprain an ankle trying to get a running start down that Big Slippery Blue Tarp of Life, or belly flop in a way that fucking HURTS and knocks the wind out of me, and I may cry about it for a while, or curl up in the fetal position for a sec, but I will always get up.

And, let’s just call it like we see it, folks: Really. I don’t even take that shit off for slip-n-slides. 

Thank you for reading, friends. And for your love and support in my life. You keep me going. ❤

Harris, upon the Returning of her Saturn, OUT. IMG_2048

dani talks preparation

Word on the street is that grad school is hard. But you know what I hear is even harder than regular grad school?   Med School.  Now, I’m not a medical professional, but I assume that the reason for that … Continue reading

britt gets a job, a house, and an LA attitude

I am in it for the long haul, baby.

Now that’s an LA attitude.

Oh man. So much to tell. It’s been a month and a half since I last wrote (seriously?!) and it’s been nearly two months since I’ve moved to The City of Angels. I’ve already lived here long enough to know that if I’m going to get any work done in this place, I have to think about the Not So Near Future. The Ten-Year Plan. The Thirty-Year Plan. The I’ll Retire When I Get My Own Theme Park Plan. The Long Haul. And I am down for it. I am so down.

…So here’s what’s UP.

Living in this city is fucking hard. I have no money, I hate the way I am making the little money I have, and my soul is craving the work I want to do but I have no idea how long it will take. That is the hard reality of this new life. In Portland, I could create all the time. Here, it’s not so easy. The community is not the same and the barriers to entry are so incredibly high. But I’m embracing this reality and the endless work and recurring self-doubt and daily falling asleep in my cubicle with the knowledge that a good work ethic, preparedness, and the ability to laugh at how utterly ridiculous my life is (and, I suppose, always has been) is my best aid for throwing myself into the deep end.

But for only two months, I gotta say–I’m doing pretty well! I got a job with a temp agency to do accounting work and am currently working on an internal audit for the LA District Court. Crazy, right? I definitely didn’t see that one coming.

I never thought I’d go back to my accounting roots so quickly, but I gave in after 2 weeks of living in LA with no idea of what to do for work. My next goal is to do this kind of work within the industry. I bet I would like accounting a lot more if I was doing it in Entertainment. And let’s be real, that paycheck would be nice.

BUT! Focus!! That is not why I am here.

This is not why I uprooted from the home I love to a scary new frontier. I had so many gut-pulls bringing me here and I am just beginning to find out what they all mean. I am finding my Self here and I fit. I am making new discoveries every day and feel a strong connection to this place and its people and all the crazy shit that comes with it. It is exhilarating.

Long haul, baby. 

I know this year is going to be especially hard (how could it not be!), but this place is incredible. It has its own pulse, its own lifeforce, its own story to tell. It has a current surging through it. Everyone is questing for something. No one is idle. It is a dream for me. My favorite people on the planet live in this city and I have an incredible house in an incredible neighborhood and draw inspiration daily from everyone and everything around me. I want to become a part of this huge force that drives this whole city forward.

Alright. Enough Dear Diary-ing. You guys get it. You know what I’m about. On to the important stuff.

HOUSE!!! DANI AND I GOT A HOUSE!! And our house is awesome!!

I live with this girl:

the SUZ.

the SUZ.

And this guy:

our new BFF, compliments of Craiglist. THANKS, CRAIGSLIST. One of us, ONE OF US!!

Meet Dean, our new BFF, compliments of Craigslist. THANKS, CRAIGSLIST. One of us, ONE OF US!!

And this dog:

Meet Napoleon, Dean's partner in crime.

Meet Napoleon, Dean’s partner in crime.

and of course, my girl DANI!!

that is one hot twin.

that is one hot twin.

And we all live together in a spacious house that is ridiculously (unintentionally) hipster (that’s how you know it’s real hipster) in Echo Park. We own a bunch of street furniture, neon animal art, and lion lamps spray-painted a very”timeless teal”. We have also been known to spray-paint home décor bright pink and throw glitter on top of it. We also may be having a “Very Ke$ha Christmas” housewarming party in a couple weeks. We are an LA field trip episode of Portlandia waiting to happen.

no caption needed.

no caption needed.

And look at this yard! How cool is this yard?!

THERE IS A SWING.

THERE IS A SWING.

THERE IS A SKYLINE VIEW.

THERE IS A SKYLINE VIEW.

THERE IS A STAGE.

THERE IS A STAGE.

THERE IS A SWING AND A STAGE. I need not say more. There is nothing more to say. We win. We win everything.

We moved into our house on Halloween night, which none of us seemed to think was a bad idea. But I mean, come on, we got the keys early, so we had to…

AMERIKEY, FUCK YEAH

AMERIKEY, FUCK YEAH

Cut to: Britt, Dani, and Suzzane carrying a mattress up the hill to our new house, from their old house, while costumed children jumped out at us and screamed, “BOOOO!!!!”, to which we calmly respond: “We’re dressed up as boring old movers, kids, move along. There’s nothing to see here”.

Cut to: Britt Dani, and Suz moving the box spring up the same hill fifteen minutes later. Cue the same costumed children running up to us and screaming: “BOOOO!!! We said, BOOOOO!!!” Yup, you got us last time, actually, precious children. Just please, for the love of all things sugary and sweet, shut UP and stop running around the moving bed!

It is very, very hard to drag a box spring uphill in the dark when you are laughing so hard you think you might pee. God bless the little children demons.

I think that was one of the best Halloweens ever.

And for those of you who have been following along with my life, you know that I simply CANNOT live in a REAL bedroom like a normal person. I am sure you will not be surprised to hear that I live in a makeshift room with fake walls in our Hipster Mansion:

Dani & Napoleon, chillin in the nook outside my make-shift room.

Dani & Napoleon, chillin in the nook outside my make-shift room. Not hipster in the least.

That’s right. Check out those sweet Ta-Da, These-Were-Once-Bait-And-Tackle-Diplays-But-Are-Now-Walls walls!! Dani found these suckers off Craigs List at a (you guessed it) Bait and Tackle shop in Sherman Oaks that was going out of business. Dani strapped these bad boys to the top of her car, Franca. It’s a miracle that we didn’t flip the car, die, or get pulled over. We are wizards.

cray D

WIZARD.

Wow. I am so overwhelmed with updates for you all. I have to simply accept that this post is going to make no sense whatsoever. I will now skip to highlights for this month in LIST FASHION!

I don’t know why I felt the need to bring SpongeBob into this. I am sorry.

My Past Month:

The Portland-based webseries, Random Acts, began airing episodes this month! You can check out the first three episodes here.

I saw this show:

12

Starring this guy:

'STACHE!

‘STACHE!

…THREE times. It was so good. I am in love with Pasadena Playhouse and think they should have run that show for five more weeks.

I also saw this show:

season-9-gidionwith my Third Rail friends at Furious Theatre. I am excited to see Third Rail Rep produce it in Portland this season!! It is such an incredible script.

And then… there’s Dani.

Ohhhhh, Dani girl… I am so blown away with your talent and presence.

I had the exquisite pleasure of watching Dani onstage at USC twice this month. I saw her play WIllie and Ellie (yeah she played a man and then a young ingénue in the same show, no big deal) in William Saroyan’s “Time of Your Life” and watched her breathe beautiful life into a solo performance she wrote  for her final project. Holy… shit. I cannot put into words what that performance did to me. Danielle Nicole Larson, you are going to bring incredible things into this world. Don’t ever stop telling stories (I know you won’t). You inspire me every day. As an artist and a human being. Thank you.

Yup, that’s right folks… the Evil Twins are back in action in the SAME CITY. Do you know what this MEANS?!

trouble.

trouble.

… it means we don’t have enough time to write blog posts anymore because we’re too busy hanging out with each other.

But we’ll be better about that. Stay tuned for the next Evil Twin dual post comin atcha, ANY TIME NOW. (Hint, hint, to Dani and SELF.)

I will sign-off now with a very LA Attitude thing to do: sharing my personal scoreboard. Enjoy.

Britt Keeps Score:

Number of Meetings with Agents/Managers:

1

Number of Auditions:
3

Number of Bookings:

0 s

Number of Parking Tickets:0 h

YAY NO PARKING TICKETS!! And just for that small victory, I am the master of the whole city.

I will choose to end on that note.

Love to you,

~britt

dani’s poppin’ bottles (of kombucha)

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

GABLAGFROMYGAHWHAHOWSWEETBABYJESUSGLABBOLDAFLAIMSOHAPPYYYYYYYYYY

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

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

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

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

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

We are more like this:

image

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

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

My Life:  Year 2 in Grad School

Bein' a bimbo.  Complete with duck-face.

Bein’ a bimbo. Complete with duck-face.

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

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

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

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

photo (17)

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

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

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

The inimitable Greta Garbo

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

photo 1 (1)

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

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

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

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

THAT’S IT!

whew.

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

Reunited, and it feels so good.

Reunited, and it feels so good.

❤ ❤ ❤

Dani

britt runs THE BIG MEAL at Artists Rep

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

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

…Yup, that’s the one. 

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

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

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

But I can say this: I found family.

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

I mean, just look at us.

So much FAM! (c) Owen Carey

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

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

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

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

Meet my family:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-“FINGER BATTLE!” -Andy, “Man #3”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Past Few Weeks:

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

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

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

…So there’s that.

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

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

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

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

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

Inside the KBOO studio...

Inside the KBOO studio…

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

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

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

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

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

office

…it’s a trap.

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

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

CONGRATS Gary and Jamie!!

CONGRATS Gary & Jamie!!

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

CONGRATS Charrise & Nancy!!

CONGRATS Charrise & Nancy!!

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

Fam!! Our generation is pretty damn hot.

Fam!! Our generation is pretty damn hot.

My little second cousin/niece/whatever, Tessa!

me and little Tessa!

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

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

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

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

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

Love to you, my family and friends,

~britt

britt goes viral…. again!

Things have been very exciting lately in Britternet Land. As you may recall from my last post, I got drunk in space for hundreds of thousands of people to see. 700,623 documented viewers–to be exact (as of 12pm, Sept. 4th, … Continue reading

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!!

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hello happy yellow room!

please note and appreciate my shark pillow.

please note and appreciate my shark pillow.

3

please note and appreciate my OK Computer poster.

4.

it’s SO YELLOW UP IN HERE.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

aren't they ADORBS?!

aren’t they ADORBS?!

aren't WE adorbs?!

aren’t WE adorbs?!

Aaaaanddd… (Drumroll, please)… Fifth:

I gave my notice at my day job.

desk prison

OH MY GAW!

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

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

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

My (past 3) week(s):

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

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

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

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

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

Taking apart the Arena Stage. :(

taking apart the Arena Stage. 😦

Some beautiful show debris I found under the theatre seats.

beautiful show debris I found under the theatre seats.

Some friends gather to say goodbye to the space.

some friends gather to say goodbye to the space.

and some more friends...

and some more friends…

...and even more friends.

…and even more friends.

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

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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 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