My instructions were simple: Sunday. San Diego’s Little Italy. noon. Go to State and Fir. Look for the eyeball. Wait there. You will be approached by a man who will give you directions. Follow his instructions… wear walking shoes!
That’s pretty much all I knew about this ‘play’ I was going to see with my friend and writing pal, Christine Ashworth. Had I done a little bit of homework, I would’ve known that Accomplice ”Offers a completely unique theatrical experience, unlike any found on any stage, taking its audience on an adventure through the city streets. You’ll be sent on a mission, aided by clues and mysterious cast members strewn throughout various locations such as street corners, bars and out-of-the-way spots.”
Um, yeah, that would’ve been great to know beforehand, but really I’m glad I went in not knowing what to expect. I mean, THIS was our stage:
Where the scene began…
Pretty cool, right? After getting our instructions, we set off on our adventure. It took us a few minutes to figure out the clues, but once we did, we rocked it.
Nothing was safe from our prying eyes!
Part of the fun were the businesses that got involved in the play. They had clues for us, but we had certain tasks to complete first. Sort of like on The Amazing Race, but without all the stress or other competitors chasing after us. Plus, we got food and wine. Sweet!
The chips and dip here were divine.
We dashed around San Diego’s Little Italy and I saw parts of my city that I’ve never seen before. We’d duck into shops and around corners discovering new things. The pub we went to in the pic above I’ll definitely return to for lunch or dinner, as well as the final restaurant. The play was as much a love letter to San Diego as it was an adventure, which I absolutely adore.
Another great thing about this play? Whatever food or beverages you consumed, you totally worked off running up and down the streets! We must’ve walked five miles. Okay, maybe just two, but still. It was a hot day and damn, my glutes were burning after some of those inclines.
When the play ended, I was a little sad. I was having so much fun, I didn’t want it to be over! By then, I was fully invested not only in the story, but the characters were so charming I loved hanging out with each of them and wanted to meet more. But alas, all good things must come to an end. Afterward, Christine and I hung out to watch other groups come through. Watching them and their reaction to the end of the play was almost as much fun as when we experienced it ourselves.
Our partners in crime also stayed with us for a bite to eat and we ended up talking about books. Turns out, Jeff, Holly, and Tiny are avid readers! Tom (Christine’s husband and one of the actors in the play) was able to join us between groups. He’s not pictured to keep his identity a secret. It was a delightful afternoon spent chatting with friends about words. Bliss.
Our fellow conspirators ~ Jeff, Holly, and Tiny
Obviously, not all of you live near San Diego, but if you do ~ go see Accomplice! It’s fun, quirky, and a good time. There are other cities that do this sort of thing, so check it out and see if you live near a town that does. Or, get together with some friends and make up your own play for a summer treat. Okay, maybe that was just crazy talk, but I loved this experience that much. I can’t thank my friend Christine enough for taking me. Without her, I probably never would have done something so unusual, but now, I’m going to look for more wacky adventures like this one.
Accomplice: San Diego is produced by the La Jolla Playhouse, to learn more about this amazing theater and the play, check out the website here.
What are you doing this weekend? Got any wacky, quirky, adventurous plans? Have you ever seen a play like this? What’s the strangest play you’ve ever seen? Share with us in the comments! We’d love to know.
As you know, last weekend I attended the DFW Writer’s Conference ~ if you didn’t know, then you can catch up here ~ well, before the conference started, Debra Kristi and I had a day to play. Here’s what we did.
First, we had to get some much needed caffeine, so we followed the not-so-easy to understand directions the really nice guy at the hotel gave us and found a Starbucks. Trust me, when he says, “It’s just under the freeway to the left”, and there’s a crapton of construction going on, it’s NOT just under the freeway to the left. Or maybe it was, but we took a detour through another county to find it, but find it we did! And look who wanted to be in the picture. Sweet, right? I think he wanted my chai tea, but I wasn’t about to share.
After we (finally) got caffeinated, we headed off to find Gloria Richard. She told me about this great store called Sassy Flamingo. I’ll be honest, I thought it might be a shop for gay cowboys, but Gloria assured me I’d find all sorts of fabulous things there. She was so right!
I don’t even know what these are, but they sure are shiny!
I didn’t get a hat or boots, but I got something better.
Gloria and Debra at Sassy Flamingo
After laughing our guts out trying on outrageous things at Sassy’s, Debra and I scooted to the airport to pick up Melinda VanLone and head straight for downtown Dallas when what do my wandering eyes see, but the Fake Louvre! Yes, you read that right! From between buildings I spotted a Fake Louvre and knew we had to see it, but how? Where?
Alas, the Fake Louvre would have to wait. First we did the JFK tour where we saw the Book Repository, grassy knoll, and road where JFK was shot. I’m not going to lie, it was creepy. Especially when some guy pointed out the X’s on the road marking the exact spot where JFK was when shot. I didn’t like that. Not at all.
Being that close to history, though, was interesting. Being in the same place where something world altering happened, it was powerful.
The Book Repository
The Grassy Knoll
Our tour of downtown (and my secret search for the Fake Louvre) led us to some interesting buildings. There was a bizarre cowgirl sculpture atop one building ~ I didn’t get a very good angle on it, but it will be on the Pinterest board when I get it up later ~ and many glass buildings. I loved the play of the clouds across the glass like with this one.
I loved the mix of old and new buildings downtown.
I finally asked a few nice men if they knew of the Fake Louvre and they pointed us in the right direction! Guess what? It’s a cafeteria. What a letdown! Here it is… the Fake Louvre:
We then ambled down toward the Old Red Courthouse where they used to hang people, so you know it’s got to be haunted. It’s a great building with gargoyles!
After cruising downtown, we headed out to a little town called Addison where my friend Sydney Aaliyah had blogged about this super cool park that had poetry engraved in the steps. After reading her post, I knew I wanted to visit the park. There wasn’t any water when we were there, but it was just as magical as Sydney described.
That’s Debra in the far background.
Melinda investigating the many wonders of the park.
We had an amazing day tour of Dallas. From touching history through one madman’s actions to reading (not quite so mad) men and women’s literary achievements etched in stone, it was a day that will stay in my memories for many years to come.
When you travel, what are you favorite places to visit? Do you stay off the beaten path, or do you like to do the touristy stuff? My next conference is in Atlanta and I’ll have a day to explore while there ~ do you have any ‘must sees’ for me? Please share! I love to explore and learn.
And finally… my favorite purchase from Sassy Flamingo:
What an amazing weekend! It officially started last Friday with some shopping and sightseeing, but you’ll have to wait for that post because today is all about the conference.
The DFW Writer’s Conference is held in the quaint little town of Hurst, Texas where they talk with accents, decorate with cowboy boots, and call the ladies ‘ma’am’.
I’ll be honest, I am not a fan of the way they set up the schedule at DFWCon. Some workshops are an hour, some an hour and half. This left odd gaps in my schedule that I usually filled with hanging out with all the other awesome writers at the conference.
Of course, being social was my favorite part of the weekend, but I was there to learn, too. Of the five workshops I attended, one was a dud, two were stellar, and two were total rock stars.
David Corbett started off my conference experience getting me excited about characters. Best takeaway from his workshop? Your opponent has as much will or desire to destroy or undermine what your hero wants to achieve. Wow. I’d never really thought of my villain’s motivation like that. Kind of fascinating. His lecture spurned all sorts of ideas and thoughts for my antagonists that I’m excited to put on paper.
Kelly is ridiculously gorgeous and super sweet. Love her! She also made me realize that I should always wear lipstick. See how her face lights up and mine, well doesn’t? Yeah, lipstick. Always.
Kelly Simmon gave us some great marketing tips, but my favorite takeaway from her? When going to book signings, she reminded us that the people who come to the signing will have made an effort. It’s important that we make an effort, too. Take a little time to look good. As one of her authors once told her, “You will be photographed when you don’t know it. If you don’t take the time, you will look like butt.” No one wants to look like butt. Take the time. Kelly is the founder and owner of InkSlinger PR, a marketing company for authors.
Roni rockin’ the website workshop!
My absolute favorite workshop of the weekend was Roni Loren’s. It had so much goodness in it, I was scribbling notes the entire time. The topic? Creating a website readers will love. She walked us through her website and taught us things I didn’t know I didn’t know. Now I know! Roni’s one of those genuinely sweet people that once you meet her, you feel like you’ve known her your whole life. Go on and check out her website, while you’re there, take a browse at her books. They’re a little saucy, but so good! Best take away from Roni’s class? Everything! If I had to pick one thing? Use Spotify for playlists. That way, the artist gets paid each time a reader clicks through. Brilliant.
Of course, the weekend wasn’t all about the workshops! There was much mingling going on, as well as far too much laughing. I finally had the chance to meet tons of my online friends that I’ve been chatting with for years. I also, of course, made new friends.
The wigs, alas, stayed in the hotel room. There was some debate whether they were unprofessional and I am ashamed to admit, I caved to pressure and didn’t don my confection of pinkness. Next time, I’m rocking that damn wig no matter what anyone says!
One of the other cool things about DFWCon is the access to agents. They are everywhere! Even if you don’t have a set pitch time, you can just chat with the agents or editors in the hallways, at the cocktail party, etc. On Sunday, they had a Gong Show where query letters were read aloud (they’re kept anonymous) by this guy with a movie trailer voice. When an agent would normally stop reading, they would bang the gong. It was hilarious and enlightening. Only one query made it all the way through. Even though we were all laughing at the antics and goofiness of the show, it was a great learning process to get inside the minds of several agents.
That’s how the weekend ended! With a gong.
Here are a bunch of pictures to make you feel like you were there. Also, if you want a slightly shorter and much funnier recap, read Jess Witkins’s The DFWCon Stalkathon post here. Or, you can read Syndey Aalilyah’s My #DFWCon by the Numbers post here. She gives a quick and dirty breakdown of the weekend. I’m just way too wordy. I’ll work on that, promise.
The incredibly sweet and most handsome David Walker.
Diana Beebe and Sydney Aaliyah! I finally got to meet both of them.
If you have a minute, here’s a cool video of the groovy lights they had in the banquet room. I pretty much want this in my house now. My son added the music, he’s so cool.
My rock star daughter who doesn’t let a big BUT stand in her way. She rode her bike from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Now she’s in Hawaii twirling fire.
Everyone has a great idea.
For a business ~ mine is to open a laundromat/coffee shop/book store/movie theater or a tea shop complete with wacky hats and glitter on the floor.
Or an amazing book, a vacation, a career, or even a great idea on how to improve the internet. It might even be as simple as making a garden with the limited space you have in your backyard. Everyone has a great idea.
And everyone has a big but.
It’s that part of your idea when you start to say, ‘I want to write this book, but I don’t know how…’ or, ‘I want to lose weight, but I love cupcakes…’
Because, you know, doing something for real is hard. You have to sit your ass in the chair and write the damn book. You have to look at the cupcake, enjoy the smell of it, but not eat the damn thing. AND you have to learn the craft as well as the business of writing. It also wouldn’t hurt if you got your ass out of the chair to do some cardio and weights.
We can talk ourselves out of anything. That insidious BUT can kill a dream quicker than Roundup on weeds in summer.
The next time you start to tell yourself BUT stop. Rephrase what you were about to say. Replace your but with something empowering. Instead of, “I wrote a book, but the agent said no.” Try, “Hot damn! I wrote a book! I’ll find the right agent for this book and for me.” Or, “I’m eating right, but I’m not losing weight.” Try, “Damn, girl. You look fine! And your body is loving all the healthy food you’re putting into it. Keep up the good work.”
I know, it sounds a little silly, but you might be surprised at how it changes the dynamic of your inner monologue. Also, did you notice that little ‘but’ in there? Sometimes a little but is good. Just don’t get carried away with them. Keep the talk positive and motivating, that’s the goal.
Speaking of empowering ourselves, right now there is a huge shift happening in the publishing industry. Self-publishing is stepping out from the shadows of New York and taking its (rightful) place on the literary stage with the big guns.
It’s an exciting time to be an artist, especially a writer, and I wanted to share with you something I read yesterday. It comes from Seth Godin’s blog, in which he was expounding upon the idea that an artist doesn’t have to wait to be ‘picked’.
The artist who struggles in obscurity, unfairly ignored because he hasn’t been picked–that’s a poignant sight. But at some point, the artist has the obligation to seek a different path, one that isn’t dependent on a system that doesn’t deserve him.
Seth always has thought-provoking posts that are concise little nuggets of brilliance. If you aren’t reading his blog, check it out.
As you head out today to do whatever your heart desires, I want you to think of that last line. Yes, it starts with a BUT. A very good and big BUT. It gives you permission, no ~ validation, to do what feels best for you.
Don’t let your BUT stand in your way, work it to your advantage. Go out there with your big BUT and be amazing.
I’ll be in Dallas this weekend for the DFW Writers’ Conference where I’ll be hanging out with my WANA pals. We’re going to be a little bit crazy (here’s a teaser to the weekend on Jenny Hansen’s blog). I promise lots of photos next week and a complete recap of the hilarity!
What’s your big BUT? What keeps you from living your dream? More importantly, how do you overcome your big but? We’d love to know!
I think you need to know that before we go any further in this review. I don’t care that he jumped on Oprah’s couch and proclaimed his love, and while I was bitterly disappointed with him for that divorce debacle with Nicole, there are always two people in a marriage and the last time I looked, I wasn’t one of them in his.
His personal life, like ours, is his own and really you don’t want to go snooping in my closets nor would I want to take a gander in yours, so whatever religion he wants to follow, I don’t give a flying flap jack about.
I like him and his movies.
And I LOVED this movie.
It held all the promise and richness that the trailer promised. It was much more of a love story than I think many would like it to be, but I’m okay with that. In fact, I would argue that at its core ~ this is a romance. A romance with action elements, if you will.
The year is 2077, sixty years after Earth was attacked by aliens and our moon destroyed. Humans no longer live on Earth, but on Titan. Jack Harper and Victoria are two of the last remaining humans on Earth, their job is to maintain the droids and water things ~ I don’t know really what they are, they did stuff for some big black triangle in the sky. Really what I wanted to know was, why the hell did Victoria get all dressed up everyday~including heels and makeup~when there weren’t any other people around? Seriously, I’d be in yoga pants 24/7.
But I digress.
So, Jack. He’s this awesome bad ass tech guy. Tech 49 to be exact. And they live in this gorgeous glass house about a thousand feet above the ground, but Jack gets to go to the surface every day see what Victoria refuses to see: the beauty that remains of Earth. Even through the destruction, there is beauty.
That, in part, is what makes this film wonderful. The lush photography. When you realize you’re looking at a dystopian version of our world, but it’s gorgeous somehow, that makes it not so chilling.
Every five years or so Jack and Victoria get their memories wiped just in case they get captured by ‘Scavs’ ~ alien scavengers that roam Earth wreaking havoc on the drones that patrol the planet. It’s Jacks job to keep the drones running and the Scavs’ job to try to kill Jack on a daily basis. Fun, right?
It’s been five years since Jack’s last wipe, and he keeps having memories of a certain woman, of a certain time and place. The Empire State Building pre-Earth’s destruction to be exact. But that should be impossible with the memory wipes. Which is very distressing to our poor Jack.
When a spacecraft crashes on Earth who do you think is inside? Yep, his mystery woman. Oh, be still my romantic loving heart!
I loved how they worked this part of the story and there were just enough twists and turns that kept me intrigued. I’m not going to give anything away here because I hope you all are going to go out and see this movie. I’ll probably see it again in the theater and I’ll definitely buy it when it comes out on Blu-Ray. I loved it that much. Not just for my Sweet Tom, for the story, the visuals, the ‘wait! what just happened?’ moments, all of it.
And of course, for the ending. Ah, yes. The ending. I feel a happy sob choking me right now. Yeah, I’ll definitely see this again.
Have you seen Oblivion yet? Did you love it as much as I did? What other movies have you seen lately? What movies are looking forward to this weekend?
I’m a child of the 80′s and as such, my first Vampire Crush was Lestat de Lioncourt from Anne Rice’s novel, Interview With The Vampire. That enigmatic, a-sexual (hyper-sexual?) predator of men, women, and children. With his marble skin, blue eyes, and pale blond hair, I always pictured Sting as a more fitting Lestat, certainly not Tom Cruise, but whatever. It’s not like Anne Rice asked me her opinion when casting the movie. They should have, by the way. I’m not sure I would’ve picked Brad Pitt for Louis, either. Although, Kirsten Dunst nailed Claudia. I still get chills from her performance.
Louis is a brooding, conflicted vampire, but not Lestat. He relishes his role and embraces his amorality. It’s hard not to be enchanted by him and beguiled by his charm. He knows exactly who and what he is and makes no apologies for being the killer that he is.
I thought it would be cool to travel the world with Louis and Lestat (as long as they didn’t snack on me). Claudia scared the crap out of me, and I sort of hoped she would stay home on our adventures. Think woman in a child’s body and you’ve got Claudia.
If you’ve never read Anne Rice’s Interview With The Vampire and you like those kinds of books, you should. Seriously. The story is richly drawn and you’ll fall in love as much with the vampires as you will New Orleans.
Whatever you do, read the book before you see the movie. Just trust me on this.
There you have it. Lestat was my first vampire crush. Who was yours? Do you have more than one?
After bumming you out earlier this week, I thought we needed to start the weekend with some laughs!
Who better to do that than our favorites guys and gals from The Big Bang Theory?
Think Sheldon in drag and you’ve got giggles galore, right? The cast got together to put on a fabulous rendition of Rocky Horror’s ‘Time Warp’ to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Foundation. What great people! The first minute is them talking about what horrible singers they are, but it’s a good cause. The singing starts at about the one minute mark. I wish I could find a recording of the whole thing. But this is super cool for now. Enjoy!
And because I love all things princessy, I had to add this short clip of the girls from TBBT. It’s from an episode where the gals ditched work and went to Disneyland. They ended up going to a special boutique at the park where they dress you up like a princess. In the episode, there was some *ahem* discussion who would be Cinderella and Bernadette was the clear winner. I could go on, but want you to enjoy this little clip, it’s cute even if you don’t have the entire episode’s back story.
Have a fabulous weekend! What’s on your agenda? Any plans to play hooky? Are you and your prince charming doing any exploring? What about the Time Warp? Think you’ll drive anywhere unexpected and make some new friends? Mwuahahahahaaaa!