7

One Step Closer to a Dream

It was actually quite an exciting day today.

So, I’ve sung with my friend Hanna’s band twice now, and I’m performing with them for a third time on Saturday. I made a few song suggestions a few weeks ago,` and to my luck, she decided to include one of them in the set list, so for the first time ever, I will get a chance to publicly perform one of the best songs of all time, “Be My Baby.”

I showed her Leslie Grace’s bachata version, and she enjoyed it so much that she chose to adapt it for the band, and at tonight’s rehearsal, we sang it for the first time. The arrangement is a little different than what I initially thought it might sound like, but at least I know the words by heart. We’re also singing it in Spanish, so I have to learn that, but I have six whole days. We practiced my other songs, but spent the bulk of two hours (one just us, one with the whole band) working on getting “Be My Baby” down.

Read more about “Be My Baby” here, at this Classic Song post from awhile back.

I’m pretty darn excited.

Also exciting is another 6-continent day, so the customary hellos to: North America (USA and Canada), South America (Brazil), Europe (UK, Spain, Czech Republic, Italy, and Croatia), Africa (South Africa), Asia (Philippines, India, and Cambodia), and Oceania (Australia and Tonga)!

8

Confessions of an Subconscious Mind

I don’t usually remember my dreams, but last night, I did.

And were they strange.

Dream #1:

I was logging onto my Wisc account to check my numbers for class sizes (for the record, I currently have 76 students total – 19, 19, 20, 21), and I was shocked to find out that my numbers were down. I looked at my classes, and saw a lot of names that looked familiar, and I realized that a bunch of my students from last semester re-enrolled.

Dream #2:

I was applying for jobs, and I asked myself, should I change my email address? I’ve had it since middle school (which is true), but it was jacobisasupersexualfreak@gmail.com, which is not my email address at all.

Dream #3 (the weirdest):

I was at a really fancy dinner with my parents, and a lot of family and friends. We were all eating, and we didn’t know why we were called there. Then, in walks my sister, and announces “I suppose you’re all wondering why you’re here.” Then, she starts to beat box, and this really sweaty redhead in an orange suit comes in and raps, and they dance around the room rapping and singing about how they met at a grocery store and eloped and how we’re all losers because we thought they’d never make it.

I wonder which of those dreams caused me to walk straight into the wall this morning on my way to the bathroom to brush my teeth. Or maybe I just needed my glasses. Or coffee. But probably coffee.

And it was almost a six-continent, so hello to North America (USA), Europe (UK, Germany, Croatia, Netherlands, and Belgium), Asia (India, Indonesia, Singapore, Republic of Korea, and Israel), Africa (Egypt), and Oceania (Australia and New Zealand)

0

Masterpiece YouTube: “For Good,” Kristin Chenoweth & Sarah Horn

That’s So Jacob Presents: Masterpiece YouTube

Episode 5: “For Good,” Kristin Chenoweth & Sarah Horn, 2013.

I’ve heard it said, that people come into our lives for a reason.

Not only is that the opening line to the song “For Good” from the musical Wicked, but aptly sums up my feelings about tonight’s episode of Masterpiece YouTube.

I first saw this upon moving to Madison a few months ago, and I was just as amazed as the rest of the world at this completely fortuitous pairing of professional singer/actress Kristin Chenoweth (who originated the role of Glinda and sang this song as a duet with Idina Menzel as Elphaba) and a random woman at one of Chenoweth’s Hollywood Bowl concerts in August 2013. It turns out that not only is the woman a huge fan of Chenoweth, the show, and the song, but she knows all the words. And on top of that, she’s a vocal coach for a living. And not only that, but this girl can sing

The video starts with Chenoweth meeting the completely starstruck young woman, who introduces herself with a brief fangirl moment before the music starts. Chenoweth sings, it’s kind of usual, and then it’s her turn. And BAM. The pipes not only hit the viewer, but Kristin Chenoweth, who looks on in shock, saying “oh, sing it.” After the solo, they take a beautiful, and according to Kristin Chenoweth, a harmony worth a “holy crap,” before concluding the song (but not before Chenoweth takes a glance at the audience like “really, now?” when the woman hits Elphaba’s high notes) and wrapping up in a big hug. Bows, the woman is led offstage, and Chenoweth’s all “what just happened,” saying “note to self: never bring up anyone better than me,” adding a dose of humor and humility to her character. Good PR move, Kristin. She goes on about how wonderful this woman was (well, duh, we all just heard it) and how she’s “teaching our young people.” Either way, I love how this professional is just completely brought to her knees and reacts in an appropriate and witty way.

Who is this mystery woman, you ask? Her name is Sarah Horn, and she’s a voice teacher at California Baptist University, from Riverside, California. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, she quashes any doubt that she was plant, saying that it had been a coincidence and a lifelong dream. Previous to this video, she was known for absolutely nothing, and now, she’s somewhat of a something but still your average 26-year-old. She calls herself introverted, which I can totally believe, given her initial timidness on stage, and probably got some buzz out of it, but it will only help her career as a teacher or a singer (or both) – whatever she wants to be. She seems nice and approachable and very sweet and cool. But what’s so special about this unassuming video, then?

I call it the “Susan Boyle” effect. An unassuming random nobody takes the stage, a bit nervous and out-of-place, and goes on to shock the world and show their incredible talent. This one, I believe, is even more special as it features not only an amazing singer but one that can hold her own in a once-in-a-lifetime duet with her idol, rather than freaking out, getting stage fright, or messing up the words or the tune. It inspires me to keep on practicing and doing what I do because someday I might meet one of my idols, just like she did, and that dreams can come true from the places you least expect them to. From start to finish, this video is pure magic. Right place + right time + right girl = a six-minute rush of talent and pizzazz, with nary an AutoTune to be heard.

This episode of Masterpiece YouTube was brought to you by Daylight Savings Time and possibly a bit too much caffeine for this time of night.

Works Cited

Abramovitch, Seth. “YouTube Singing Sensation Sarah Horn on Fame, Fans and Those Stubborn Skeptics (Q&A).” The Hollywood Reporter. 29 August 2013. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/youtube-singing-sensation-sarah-horn-616870.

0

Happy Places

Getting in bed late last night, I was trying to calm myself down after a hectic day (well, mostly a hectic three hours’ worth of throwing a six-page paper together), and decided to travel to my happy place.

What is a happy place?

A “happy place” is something that I first heard on Friends, in the episode where Phoebe is trying to calm Monica down by asking her to access her happy place. Monica admits she doesn’t have one, so Phoebe lends her her own happy place, but admonishes her friend “…but please don’t move anything.” Phoebe then goes on to describe the happy place, which includes a waterfall. This fails to make Monica calm down, but does make her want to pee. Actually, I kind of have to pee now too, but I’ll finish writing first.

Probably not a great idea, but we’ll see what happens.

So, back in bed last night, I was attempting to find my own happy places, and realized that I don’t have that many. Then I really took a good long flip through my memories, and found that there are plenty of happy places for me – I just fail to recognize them as what they are. For a place to count as a happy place, it must be a concrete memory, and not just “the beach” or “in a garden.” It’s gotta be personal.

I’ve been short on stories lately, so here’s a list of random memories of times and place where I felt best, my true “happy places.”

Childhood

  • Not in my memory, but a picture of myself sitting on a brown blanket at the park near Wellwood Elementary, with my family. There are two pictures of that day that conjure up only happiness in my mind. In the first, I am a chubby toddler in a striped shirt and tan shorts, laughing and looking slightly south of the camera. In the picture, it’s just me, and for a moment, I am just happy with myself, by myself, just enjoying life. The second picture is one from that same day that my dad probably took. I am sitting on my mom’s lap at a picnic table. I know it’s from the same day because I’m in the same outfit. She’s bouncing me on her knee, and I’m laughing, and she’s looking down at me and laughing. In that frame, there’s no worry, anger, anxiety, or stress, just happiness.
  • Evenings spent sitting by my mother as she graded her third graders’ work. She sat, as my dad says “like a deer, on her haunches” on the blue bedroom carpet by the heater with her work in very specific piles around her, and usually me among them, talking to her or just sitting and reading or watching whatever channel my dad has decided on for the moment. Being situated between my parents was comforting, and such a familiar scene helps me feel like I’m right at home, in an easy part of my childhood.
  • Riding in the car with my mom, wherever, whenever, but listening to good oldies music. It seems like many of my childhood happy places seem to be close to my mother. I wasn’t really close with my father until I entered adolescence, really. Also, no school memories come to mind at all.

Adolescence/Teenage Years

  • Spending a peaceful Shabbat at home, usually involving a rotation between the couch, the brown chair in the basement, the plaid chair in the living room, my parents’ bed, and my bed. Extra happy if I got to finish at least one or two books.
  • Spending Shabbat in Ocean City. I’m not as huge on sitting on the beach reading as my dad is, usually because it’s cold, but coming with a suitcase of books and between the beach, the deck, the couch, the chairs, my bed, my parents’ bed, and my parents’ deck, worming my way both around the house and through several books could only be described as happy.

Amherst Years

  • Being lost in a bookstore. Any bookstore. Food for Thought, the big one on Pleasant St., the one in the mall in Northampton, some of the little ones in NoHo. Brattleboro, Vermont? Even better. A warm cup of something from Postcard Cafe, or Sylvester’s, (or Mocha Joe’s in Brattleboro), and a quick duck into Acme Surplus, just celebrating my freedom by hopping between stores.
  • Friday nights with any arrangement of Daniel, Goldie, Nora, Neta, Sarah, Cory, Kelsey, and Zippy on the couches at the Hillel windows for our weekly entertainment: cars getting towed on Phillips Street with their owners absent, standing by, or the best kind – running shoeless and coatless from a frat/sorority house only to watch their ride leaving without them – literally; or, watching guys pee in our parking lot, banging on the window and catching them midstream, and seeing their reactions. Pure fun with pure friends.

Israel

  • Midnight to 2 AM in the Nahum Lifshitz apartment, watching marathons of Hannah Montana, That’s So Raven, and Lizzie McGuire with Rael (and later, Adina). The routine: I get home from whatever I’m doing that night at the theatre or at the gym; if it’s the theatre, I put on the pasta and make the salads. If it’s the gym, I get out the veggies, put on the pasta, and leave the door unlocked for Rael so she can let herself in to check on the pasta in case I’m not out of the shower yet. In either scenario, at this point I take out my pasta and bring it to the table, as well as our salads and beverages. We watch show number one while Rael’s pasta continues to cook (she likes it stringy and mushy – I still don’t understand why, but whatever suits her appetite) and usually by the time show one is over, her pasta is ready and I focus on my salad or eyeball whatever dessert Rael has brought. The company, the conversation…man those were happy times. I can’t believe we’re so far away now. We did the midnight walks through Jerusalem as well…okay, this is bordering on tear-worthy nostalgia…
  • Being busy at the theatre. The busier, the better – I’m in control, I feel alive, and I’m in a million places at once, doing it all as hard as I can. Dedication, commitment, and in spare moments, a sweet garden to lounge in, or my insanely large office with the couch that served as a nap spot for myself and numerous others. Everyone comes to Jacob’s office.
  • Sunny days off, wandering around Jerusalem. Old City, New City, a different neighborhood anytime. The Old City’s the best though, the shuk, the Western Wall, getting lost and meeting locals and tourists, on the precipice of both myself. So fab. And in my happy place, I can have less acne.
  • Sitting by the sea in Kyrenia, Northern Cyprus, with the whole sea to myself. Sketching, reading, white wine, Mediterranean breeze – it was just one afternoon but it couldn’t have been more perfect. A language I don’t understand? Perfect for zoning out and being in the moment.

Houston Years

  • Hanging out in the apartment. Just knowing that I have this luxurious nest that I can go to and just lie on the couch watching TV, sit on the porch, or holing up in bed.
  • Studying at the Julia Ideson Library in downtown Houston. Leather couches and chairs, Greek statues, old bookshelves, roomy tables, free wifi, picture window views of Houston. Usually alone –  Houston’s hidden gem. Sometimes I just couldn’t sit still and got up and danced around the room – quietly, of course.

Bonus Happy Place: Vacation

  • Prague. A bench along the Vltava. A sunny Saturday. Getting lost in a book – but then looking up and seeing the most beautiful picture postcard in the world. And not only can I see it, I can feel it, I can touch it, it’s all there. I could sit on that bench forever.
2

Things I’d Like to Acquire Shortly Before or After My Move to Wisconsin

Ha…thought you’d think I’d write a things I like post, but guess again, my friends. This is a to-do list post, before I forget. I have many post ideas each day but forget them, so while lunch is in the oven, I’d figured I’d start a list.

Things I’d Like to Acquire Shortly Before or After My Move to Wisconsin

  • More long-sleeved shirts. I actually got the idea for this post while folding laundry earlier, and realized that I have only 3 quality long-sleeve shirts and 0 long-sleeve polos. Wisconsin will be cold, and layering is fun, so I will need them. Ideally, I’d like to get them in white or black, but any solid color will do (I currently have white, blue, and green).
  • A new chair. Since my “friend” broke my chair at the 4th of July party.
  • A premium Geocaching.com membership. I know, it’s only $30 a year or something, and if I got it now I could do a zillion more caches in the area but I don’t need any more ammo. In Wisconsin, however, I will be there for a longer period of time, might have more time, and there are only about 3500 caches within 50 miles of Madison (unlike the 10000 within 50 miles of Houston…and most are inside Houston, because Houston is ginormous).
  • A pet. I think my building allows cats. I don’t know if I’m ready for one yet, but maybe when I get settled in.
  • New dishes. My current dishes are hand-me-downs from my sister. They are blue and red plastic dishes. They’re getting more dirty and grungy, are probably not kosher anymore, and are ugly. They would make very nice frisbees, though.
  • More sweaters/sweatshirts/hoodies, including a University of Wisconsin one. See above. I already have 4 hoodies (2 APO, 1 UMass, and a plain black one), but I think only 3 or 4 decent sweaters, two of which are the exact same shade of red. Also, zip-up jackets are nice, and both of the ones I have are blue.
  • New laundry hamperMine’s full of holes, plus, having to go to another floor to do laundry, I can’t just throw the dirty stuff on the bathroom floor, or throw the clean laundry on the living room floor, like I did a few days ago, which I just folded today.
  • Real wall art. I love my posters, but they’ve been on so many walls that they’re just not as pretty as they used to be, and some have water stains on them.
  • More real-person clothes. Including: more belts (I currently have 3), more ties, loafers, nice pants, more adult-looking shirts.
  • CookbooksOr maybe just some websites where I can print out good recipes.
  • More scarves. I have my awesome, amazing, all-purpose red/orange scarf and a special, super-soft blue plaid scarf. Still mourning the loss of my maroon chenille scarf that I got in Amherst that kept me warm and stylish in Israel, that I lost somewhere in New Haven, Connecticut.
  • Better snowboots.