I’ve officially completed improv level two! A week from tonight, I’m performing with my classmates at the Magnet improv training center, but after that, I’ll be in level three. There are six levels total at the Magnet, so I’ll technically be halfway through the curriculum when this 8-week programs ends. Hard to believe how far I’ve come since starting level one in late April.
For our final level two class, the instructor had each of us play roles outside of our comfort zone or improv tendencies. The French guy, who has a ton of energy and brought lots of life to the course, had to take on a more subdued character. My friend who often portrays cynical characters had to be overly excited about everything on stage. When I got up there, I was told to emulate Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross.
“You always have a smile on your face,” the teacher said to me. “There’s a patience about you and you’re very present and sensitive to others. But I want you to be a vicious, shark-like boss. Not loud, but biting.”
It’s hard for others to believe, but I do have somewhat of a mean streak inside me — not a hot headed one like Alec Baldwin, but an emotional one nonetheless, and I take things much more personally than I should. I don’t believe in berating people the way his characters do, so I struggled being nasty, manipulative, and emotionally abusive. When I get upset, I’m more like a flustered elementary school teacher than a raging Alec Baldwin. I’m probably better for it, and so is my health. I actually worry about him sometimes — he’s known for having outbursts and random altercations, and that can’t be good for his well-being. That said, I wish I could be tough sometimes, and I know he’d be a solid coach in hardness.
Until I can make Alec Baldwin my no-nonsense mentor, I’ll just channel my real spirit animal: Jessica Day!
Back to improv — I start level three in two weeks. My time in New York is numbered, but the good news is I can continue doing improv in So Cal once I move. I may have to go back to level one or two since improv studios everywhere are different, but maybe I’ll be more comfortable that way. Either way, I know I’ll love the improv community out West. The Magnet has done so many great things for me this year, and I appreciate that it expanded my social network and gave me the work-life balance I needed. It was nice to meet people outside the media world, which I fled anyway.
For the first time in almost a year (!!!), I went to Brooklyn last night for a friend’s birthday. More specifically, I was in Williamburg, which I LOVE. It’s too bad living in Bed Stuy left such a bad taste in my mouth about Brooklyn because Williamsburg is so much fun. I have a soft spot for seedy dive bars and weirdos, and I finally got to check out the Brooklyn pier:
I liked the calmer bar scene of Williamsburg too — no fratastic colossal doucheface guys that lurk my Upper East Side neighborhood every weekend. Speaking of which, I’ve spent a lot of time complaining about terrible NYC bros lately, and some of my friends have said I’d have more positive stories to share if I roamed Brooklyn more often. There’s definitely some truth to that, but in the long run, my life isn’t supposed to be on this side of the country. I’ve had my fun here and will continue doing so until the day I leave, but nothing could keep me here long-term.
I was pretty amused by the L train platform last night, though. This guy was playing a harmonica and doing some crazy shit with barbies and toys:
He made the baby doll screw one of the barbies from behind, so that was uncomfortable and creepy … but the entire platform was swarming with people, all amazed by this peculiar yet galvanizing street artist. I had a fifteen minute wait for the next train to Manhattan but didn’t even care. This guy was just too entertaining to look away from. One girl was filming him and kept yelling, “I’ve been looking for him for months but now I finally have him on camera!” Whoever this fellow is, he’s talented and amusing, albeit a little odd, but so is Brooklyn, and while we’re at it, all of NYC. That’s what’s so great about New York. You can be whoever you want here. I’m hoping LA will be just as accepting of individuality. It’s California, so I’m not too concerned.
Wherever you are, keep your city/town weird. You’ll be so glad you did.