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Thursday, December 3, 2009

So you wanna rock the mic?

In honor of our fast-approaching Karaoke Gala, and because I’ve been promising this for a long time and I don’t want you to take my promises in vain… I present to you:


+  STEP 1: Do not give a f***. Attitude is the most important thing. If you have a crazy hat or scarf or some other costume element, wear it. The crazier the better. People will love it. Seriously, this trumps singing ability any day. You can be a great singer and bomb at karaoke by having no presence. You can be a terrible singer but rock out by being flamboyant. Presence is way more important than hitting the right notes.

 +  STEP 2: Pick a song you know backwards and forwards and love with all your heart. And if you’re not feeling super confident in the voice department, pick an easy one. There is a reason someone always sings a Neil Diamond song, and it’s because his songs are very easy. Same goes for Phil Collins, Nancy Sinatra and Jimmy Buffett (but please don’t sing something by Jimmy Buffett). You’ll be fine if you pick something you sing along to on the radio or in the shower. Don’t think about it too much, just pick something. And word to the wise: be careful of Pink Floyd, Mariah Carey and Tina Turner. You want to avoid long guitar solos and diva wailing (unless you’re well-prepared, crazy or drunk). And showtunes... I don't know, I'm on the fence about showtunes. Once Jonathan and Erin did an amazing duet of that "Will you light my candle" song from Rent which was all the more amazing because Jonathan had never heard it before. So who am I to say.

 +  STEP 3: Read the crowd. If you’re in a country bar, this might not be the time to bust out the Prince. Are there a lot of old drunks at the bar? They might appreciate some Hank Williams (or they might kick your ass if you don't do it justice... but never mind that). Do you find yourself surrounded by drunk frat boys? Dear god, this is not the time to sing Tori Amos (or maybe it is… I am a fan of the “throw down and walk out the door” technique, myself).

 +  STEP 4: Whatever you pick, sing it with gusto – but not so much gusto that your voice cracks. Keep a tiny bit of yourself pulled back so you can hear your voice and how it sounds.

 +  STEP 5: Work in some moves – turn your back on the audience then whip back around, lay down on the floor with arms outstretched. Again, it’s not precision that counts here, it’s guts and enthusiasm. Which is why people get drunk. Though be careful – this could also get you thrown out. Once my friend was singing “Dr. Feelgood” and he ripped open a bunch of sugar packets and shook them everywhere then tried to body surf on a table. The crowd loved it, but the KJ cut him off and we had to leave.

 +  STEP 6: Don’t repeat a song that you rocked out the last time you were out. You will likely have a diminished effect. And come on, it's cheating. In my opinion, if you don’t bomb half of the time, you’re not taking enough risks. Speaking of which...

 +  STEP 7: What to do if you bomb. Here’s what I say: bomb big. If you realize in the first 3 notes that you don’t actually know this song, sing it loud and sing it proud. Ask the crowd to help you out. Stop singing altogether and launch into a ridiculous dance routine. Go into the crowd and give the mic to the person who is singing along the loudest. Sing horribly, gleefully off-tune. Or you can always try speak-shouting with passion, that works sometimes.

 Things to remember: some of the worst karaoke experiences I have had involved songs I thought I knew backwards and forwards. Some of the best I’ve had are with songs I was totally unsure about going in (or didn’t know at all). Either way it’s done after three minutes and the crowd doesn’t care that much.

And a story to bring this all together: once I was at my favorite karaoke bar – Chopsticks III, the How Can Be lounge – and this girl was celebrating a birthday with a huge party of friends, with a huge birthday cake sitting untouched on the table. A man walked in, and when his name was called he put a chair on the dance floor and proceeded to do a seriously bizarre version of “A Little Less Conversation, A Lot More Action.” He started out sitting in the chair, whispering the song, and he ended up flailing around the room, screaming the song at the top of his lungs. When he was done, he put down the mic, walked directly to the birthday girl’s table, grabbed the cake and walked out the door. Five minutes later the bartender asked if anyone knew who that guy was, because he’d smashed the cake on someone’s car and driven off.

I’ll tell you what… that guy may have been genuinely crazy and he ruined that poor girl’s cake, but that was a memorable effing karaoke experience. So if you can work a prop cake into your routine, I say do it.

See you tomorrow night!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Directions in Portland Contemporary Performance

We were so thrilled with the response to this event and hope to provide more opportunities for discussion and action in the future.  There are still so many issues to address specific to making new work in Portland.

How do we communicate the value of new work as a whole while also articulating  our individual missions?   What  new systems of support are necessary to maintain and grow this community?  What are we doing now that is and is not working?  How can we ensure that when people talk about Portland as a creative, vibrant,  progressive city, they understand the role and potential of the arts, particularly performing arts?

These are notes from the discussion that followed each artist presenting their history and process.

Directions in Portland Contemporary Performance
A community discussion and presentation hosted by Hand2Mouth Theatre
November 15, 2009

Artist presenters:
Linda Austin (Linda Austin Dance/Performance Works Northwest)
Mizu Desierto (Mizu Desierto Butoh)
Angelle Hebert (tEEth)
Trisha Mead (Fertile Ground Festival/Portland Center Stage)
Rikki Rothenberg and Kathleen Keogh (Woolly Mammoth Comes to Dinner)
Hannah Treuhaft (Sojourn Theatre)
Jonathan Walters (Hand2Mouth Theatre)

Moderator: Tim DuRoche (Portland Center Stage)

Trisha Mead: No one has all of these skills in equal measure.  Connect with others who can bring them to the table for you.

  1. Translation skills: understanding your work/vision and being able to translate it for others.

  2. Social skills: knowing 3 people who will bring 3 friends to your show is more important than any ad you’ll place in the Oregonian.

  3. Design skills: ability to communicate your work visually (photos, graphic design etc) and preparing it for publication.

Monday, November 16, 2009

On not being different from everyone else

One of my favorite bloggers is Penelope Trunk. She technically writes about career advice – but what she really writes about is her own life, what she’s learned and how she’s tried and failed and triumphed. She is unusual in that she is willing to be absolutely (sometimes brutally) honest about things that most people – especially people who write about careers – sweep under a smiling, soft focus exterior.

I just came across this post of hers from a while ago, about bloggers and the tendency to think of their field as unlike any other that has come before. She could just as easily be talking about our field – a field so strange and unique I’m not even sure what to call it. Aha! See how I do this without even thinking? I’m so special there isn’t even a WORD for what I do.

Here is what she says about this, and she is right on:
One of the most dangerous things you can do in your career is to think you are different from everyone else. The biggest validation of that idea comes in AA meetings – it is widely understood by this group that thinking you're different is just an excuse not to get help, an excuse to think you live outside what we already know to be true. It's a dangerous way to live because you are reinventing the wheel for yourself and you risk just spinning in place.

Also this:
Very few of us ever have a totally unique career problem. Most problems come down to five or ten situations that happen all the time. I think we get clouded by the specifics of our own story, and that makes us unable to see why we are just like everyone else. Each person's details are different, but the problems we have repeat themselves over and over again—especially in careers. That's why a community of people helping each other with their careers works so well.

Fact is, whether it’s theater or dance or dance theater or performance or live art or conventional or classical or experimental – it’s still

Friday, November 13, 2009

Check back for H2M Guest Bloggers!

CoffeeComputer-smlIn the spirit of all the great artistic social networking goings-on in the Portland blogosphere/twitosphere lately (see this and this and this) we've invited the "experts" to see Everyone Who Looks Like You and they are going to blog about it!  Over the next couples weeks, keep your eyes on H2M's blog for posts from some of our exciting guests:

  • Margaret Eichler: Assistant Professor in the Counseling Psychology Department at Lewis & Clark College, she is a Nationally Certified Counselor and her research interests include:  Creative therapies for children and adolescents,  and Relational Creative dialogues in counseling and supervision.

  • Jonathan Krebs: Performer and Marketing Coordinator with BodyVox, and all-around cool guy.

  • Trisha Mead: P.R. and Publications Manager at Portland Center Stage and Director of the Fertile Ground Festival of New Works. She is also a presenter at the upcoming discussion: Directions in Portland Contemporary Performance.

  • Steffen Silvis: Associate Arts and Culture Editor and theatre critic for The Willamette Week from 1996-2005; Writer/ Editor for The Prague Post from 2005-2009. Now Steffen has returned to the northwest and has something to say about our show.

  • Gordon Wilson: Portland native and photographer/videographer of countless local dance, theatre, and other performance arts events.  See his photos of Everyone Who Looks Like You here.

And more to come... (we'll update this post with additions over the next week.)
Also, try checking out these other great arts blogs/publications in town; perhaps you can catch some more chatter about our little family un-drama:

  • Bloggorhea - Blog of the infamous literary madman genius Mead Hunter

  • Neighborhood Notes - A perfect place to visit frequently for information and commentary on great events in all four corners of Portland. They already posted a fabulous EWLLY preview by Eve Connell and photos of the show by Ken Aaron.

  • Followspot - As close as PDX gets to an all-in-one-place performance listing, reviewing, and archiving site.  You have something you'd like to add to the conversation about the show? This is a great place to start.

  • Culturephile -  This Portland Monthly blog does a great job keeping an up-to-date and well-curated selection of local arts events and bonus: they give insightful commentary.

H2M Special Events Starting This Weekend!

You may think that after opening a show we'd be content to sit around sipping Mai Tais or watching football on our off days.  Well friend, let me tell you something.  H2M just don't quit!  Exhibit A:  workshops, Exhibit B: community discussion

|H2M Workshops|
@ Theater!Theatre, 3430 SE Belmont

Sunday, Nov. 15, 1 - 4 pm
ENSEMBLE THEATRE CREATION, led by Jonathan Walters, Artistic Director

Saturday, Nov. 21, 1 - 4pm
VOICE & SONG IN PERFORMANCE, led by Faith Helma, Company Member/Vocal Director

- Download the pdf of workshop descriptions and instructor bios.
- $15 each workshop or $25 for both with an "Everyone Who Looks Like You" program.
- $30 each or $45 for both, regular price
- Registration: email maesie at hand2mouththeatre dot org

|Directions in Portland Contemporary Performance|
Monday, November 16, 2009
7 - 9 pm @ Theater!Theatre!
Cost: $5 General Admission; FREE with "Everyone Who Looks Like You" program

Join Hand2Mouth Theatre for presentations and discussion with some of Portland’s most exciting performing artists and companies.

The evening will begin with short presentations from artists on their work and process and then move into discussion on our direction as a performance community and what needs are arising particular to creating original work.

Presentations by:
Linda Austin (Linda Austin Dance)
Mizu Desierto (Mizu Desierto Butoh)
Angelle Hebert (tEEth)
Trisha Mead (PCS/Fertile Ground)
Rikki Rothenberg and Kathleen Keogh (Woolly Mammoth Comes to Dinner)
Hannah Treuhaft (Sojourn Theatre)
Jonathan Walters (Hand2Mouth Theatre)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

"Everyone Who Looks Like You" Media Roundup 1

The reviews are starting to come in!

Carol Wells at the Oregonian says "The accumulation of the play's evolving sense memories transcends the specific and elevates us to the universal. This is where we enter the realm of authentic, groundbreaking art."  Why thank you very much!

Read the entire review here.

Over at Neighborhood Notes, Eve Connell wrote an awesome preview article on the show with photos from the rehearsal room by Ken Aaron.  Ken also joined us for Thursday's final dress.  His gorgeous shots really showcase the work of our incredible design team.  See them all on Flickr.

Photo by Ken Aaron
Photo by Ken Aaron

Photo by Ken Aaron
Photo by Ken Aaron

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Live with Dmae Roberts

Check out this rocking live KBOO Stage and Studio interview from this morning. Thanks KBOO and Dmae, we love you!

Friday, October 30, 2009

I've Never Told You This Before

We've been working on this show for a year.  And now it's ready.

Hello friends,

It is a very exciting time at Hand2Mouth Theatre as we rev up to see if our long exploration will resound with an audience, to see if we have made a work that makes people feel something.  As always we are confident, excited and nervous one week from opening.

This new show is a huge stylistic leap forward for the company. It is more elegant and gentle, the entire piece swims in a soundscape that seems to react to every word spoken, we move and dance nearly the whole show, there are hundreds of stories, confessions and sentences, more text than all of our last shows combined!

Its been over two years since we have created a piece for the stage by ourselves...no international collaborators, no trips to Mexico, no guest directors, no huge installation projects...just the company creating exactly the piece we want to make.  I think this work shows what we've learned in the last two years, and the kind of strange quiet, immediate live event we want to create.

This is a piece about our families.

It creates an unusual space that doesn't exist in the real world, but should, a space where all the things that you can NEVER say to those closest to you in your family ARE said, and said to total strangers, said to the public, one after another, after another.  There is an attempt to try and make a stranger FEEL what it is like to be a member of ones own family, all the historical trigger points, the essential stories and memories that define the emotional sense of belonging and alienation one has towards their family. This attempt, of course fails, but somehow succeeds in bringing people closer to understanding how truly unique and special their own family experience is.  Because, truly, only YOU can be a member of your own family.

Somehow because of the hyper-personal nature of it, the refusal to generalize, its really becoming a piece about FAMILY.

Over this last year we have struggled, fought, laughed and cried, so that we might share with you something very personal and very beautiful.

Please join us as we celebrate the opening of our new show,
Jonathan Walters

Artistic Director\Hand2Mouth

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Watch the trailer. Spread the word. Help us go viral!

Everyone Who Looks Like You - Trailer from Hand2Mouth Theatre on Vimeo.

And make sure you and everyone you know comes to see this show. Don't wait. Be a pioneer and come on the first weekend!
Use the SHARE button

Wednesday Inspiration

Maybe it's because I'm realizing that the rainy season has truly set in.  Maybe it's looming midterms.  For whatever reason this recent post on Culturebot got me all mistyeyed in the middle of the workday.

Andy has written a deeply personal and heartfelt reflection on how we make our lives as artists and how we make peace with our lives as artists.  It's a beautifully written piece, so I won't spoil it by talking about it too much.  Enjoy!

For more inspiration, check out writer Elizabeth Gilbert's TED Talk on "the maddening capriciousness of the creative process" and why we need to talk to fairies.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Open Rehearsals and Thank You to Scratch!

For H2M there is always that period in creating a show when we need an outside eye, someone totally objective to view the piece and to react to it.  Our relationship to the audience is always a huge element in our shows and how the hell do you figure out what that relationship is if you have NO audience.  We have gotten in the great habit of showing our work along the way in order to understand this relationship.  We are always amazed how much the show changes, how the meaning of certain moments morph when the audience arrives.  We consider the audience another member of our ensemble and we certainly don't want that person in the room for the first time on opening night.

Well . . . we are definitely at that stage.  WE NEED AN AUDIENCE! We are a little less than a month away to our opening night and we are very eager to share our work.  And, the other night we were able to.  Every month on the second Saturday you can head on down to SCRATCH and test out your piece in front of a crowd.  We performed a 10 minute chunk of Everyone Who Looks Like You and then, of course, had the opportunity to see other various works being created in Portland.  Dancers, Monologists, ensembles.  It is a great place to spark conversation about art-making and to connect with other artists.  Check them out at  Scratchpdx.com.

To help serve this function we have also built in OPEN REHEARSALS.  A chance for people to come into our rehearsal room and see what we are up to.  Please join us on the following afternoons:

Sundays October 18 and Nov. 1 | 1:30 - 3pm

Hand2Mouth Studio @ Milepost 5 | 900 NE 81st Ave, studio 402

RSVP: mail@hand2mouththeatre.org

Hope to see you there!!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Woo-Hoo it's a Bar-B-Q!

Please join us on Saturday afternoon for an autumn BBQ at the Chill Palace, the name we’ve given to the beautiful azumaya that our firend Josh built last summer in our backyard.  We will be grilling up a storm and sipping delicious drinks brought to you by Ninkasi and New Deal.  And, if you haven’t yet treated yourself to a game of Cornholio, now is your chance!  My main man Casey has handmade our set and it has now skyrocketed to the tip top of my backyard game list.  We’ll have Dj Brokenwindow spinning records and a fire in the firepit!!  Most importantly the yard will be teeming with dear friends and supporters.  We never have enough time to just hang out and relax with the beautiful people in our town, so come on out to the Palace and chill with us.

I also want to send a big thanks to Ninkasi Brewing, New Deal Vodka, Kookoolan Farms, Saint Cupcake, Sunshine Dairy, Columbia Gorge Juices, Nature Bake, Safeway and Hood River Organic for generous donations to help make it all possible.

Oh and it’s company member Julie Hammond’s birthday on Saturday so when you see her say something sweet.

We hope to see you on Saturday!!  Details are below.

Hand2Mouth's Big Ol' Family Bar-B-Q

Saturday, October 3 | THE CHILL PALACE : 4912 NE Going Street | 3-7 pm |

$10 covers all-you-can-eat-and-drink!

Come Chill with us!

Woo-hoo it's a Bar-B-Q!!!

Please join us on Saturday afternoon for an autumn BBQ at the Chill Palace, the name we've given to the beautiful azumaya that our firend Josh built last summer in our backyard.  We will be grillin up a storm and sipping delicious drinks brought to you by Ninkasi and New Deal.  And, if you haven't yet treated yourself to a game of Cornholio, now is your chance!  My main man Casey has handmade our set and it has now skyrocketed to the tip top of my backyard game list.  We'll have Dj Brokenwindow spinning records and a fire in the firepit!!  Most importantly the yard will be teeming with dear friends and supporters.  We never have enough time to just hang out and relax with the beautiful people in our town, so come on out to the Palace and chill with us.

I also want to send a big thanks to Ninkasi Brewing, New Deal Vodka, Kookoolan Farms, Saint Cupcake, Sunshine Dairy, Columbia Gorge Juices, Nature Bake and Hood River Organic for generous donations to help make it all possible.

Oh and it's company member Julie Hammond's birthday on Saturday so when you see her say something sweet.

We hope to see you on Saturday!!  Details are below.

The Chill Palace
Portland, OR

Friday, September 4, 2009

Good Thinkin'

About a week ago an old friend pointed me toward a new blog called The Collective Arts Think Tank, and I haven't stopped thinking about it since.  It's written by a diverse group of NYC performing artists, presenters and support organizations, and if the first post is any indication, this will be a great forum for discussing (in their words), "the rapidly changing ecosystem of live art."

Their first post is a letter to the field that diagnoses and then provides recommendations for challenges in the field of contemporary performance.  The challenges and solutions range from micro to macro, artists to funders.  No one is left without responsibility, a comprehensiveness that I appreciate.

Yes, it is New York-focused and some of the information isn't directly applicable to us in Portland, but for companies like Hand2Mouth that are touring and striving to work on a national level, it's incredible how much we have in common with our New York colleagues.

Just to give you a taste, I'll pull one item they identified as something that isn't working.  It's an issue I've been wrestling with since I moved to Portland: the arts and social benefit.
Mythologies around ideas of community
Venues and other presenters are increasingly asked by funders to justify projects based on funders’ notions of ‘sustainability’ or community / social benefit, and conversations about aesthetic quality get left aside in favor of more easily measurable and politically correct outcomes.  While the effort to level the playing field for traditionally disenfranchised communities is laudable and valid, the way this trend has manifest has been to suggest that art itself – as made by artists and seen by audiences - must engage overtly with a social issue, “underserved populations” or youth groups in order to be successfully funded.  We argue that cultural output and creative expression are critical, underlying parts of any healthy society and all communities within that society.  Both arts professionals and others often forget that they are members of several intersecting communities and that their work by its very nature galvanizes and engages those communities.  If we shift the measuring stick away from audience demographics or trite definitions of “innovation” and towards questions of excellence, rigor and relevant engagement with content, form and audiences, it inherently forces artists and arts organizations to unflinchingly examine their own output and sustainability.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

While I'm living it up on wall street in this new york city town, in the real world they're shutting detroit down

So, we are in New York Effing City! The midwest girl inside me emerges, dewy-eyed. My god, New York, you crazy all night bejeweled ratty epic rollercoaster love song. I imagine that when you live here you don't stay out every night until 3:30 a.m. Right? You find a way to not do that? Because I have not yet. I am definitely living the diva lifestyle (minus the diamonds and the wardrobe and the personal hairstylist and the thirteen adopted children). If only someone would start a nasty rumor about my eating habits/dressing room requirements/crazy surgery, my life would be complete.


This is the longest stretch that I've ever performed "Undine" at a time, and I am relishing the chance to really test it out. Sunday night there were two old men in the audience who were sort of like the old guys on the Muppet Show, if those guys were vaguely dirty-minded WW II vets (which maybe they were, come to think of it). At the beginning of the show, in answer to my question, "are you celebrating something?", they shouted back, "BEING ALIVE!" and then asked me why I was barefoot.  I wasn't sure if they would turn into full on hecklers but they just muttered and wolf whistled through the rest of the show which made for an interesting dynamic. I am always surprised by the profound effect the audience has on the show. So far they have been either dead quiet or loud & rowdy. 


We are, by the way, sharing the bill with two of my very favorite artists (not to mention people), Mike Pham & Rachel Hynes of Helsinki Syndrome, and it has been a joy to spend time with them and watch their show as it grows and changes. Their vision of the Importance of Being Earnest involves Prince, a purple spangly skirt and hot pink heels, honey, cardboard boxes and King Kong & Godzilla. It manages to be mad and demented but also... dare I say... earnest. In a good way. I am trying to convince them to do Les Miserables after this. 


I've been feeling a bit lonely out here without the whole H2M crew (though of course Jonathan & Liam are kick ass), so imagine how heartened I was to walk into the dressing room on opening night to find a big bouquet of flowers from them! And Julie left a "pump up speech" on my voicemail which helped me to go strongly into battle. What a team. I am so lucky to be part of it.


When we aren't at the Ontological, Jonathan and I are chilling at the fabulous Bushwick apartment/office/rehearsal and storage space of Banana Bag & Bodice directors Jessica & Jason. They are in Ireland the exact two weeks that we are here, so we have the space (and their two delightful cats) to ourselves, complete with a DVD of Battlestar Galactica so I can finally participate in the 21st century.  I am loving me some Edward James Olmos. Actually I've always had a soft spot for him, ever since he gave an inspirational speech at my high school in Lansing, Michigan (about an hour and a half away from the 'real world' aka Detroit). Anyway, now Edward James Olmos is a space commander. See? Dreams really do come true. This is good preparation for the Future H2M Production, which is currently untitled (right?) but which (in my mind) has something to do with the six stages of epic sci-fi:


1. Crash/arrival on an unknown planet

2. Encounter with other life forms

3. Misunderstandings/battle/prison

4. Grudging respect 

5. Escape!

6. Mindwarping final plot twist: They are Us! (or: this unknown planet is actually Earth! or: the aliens are actually humans! or something along those lines)


These may just be the six stages of Planet of the Apes. But I think they apply to others as well. I have to do some more research.


Until then, ever battling my acute case of diva-nerves,


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Everyone Who Looks Like You can be watched, now!

The full version of Everyone Who Looks Like You (work-in-progress performance) is up on h2m's vimeo right now. If you're working on the show this fall or just want to see what you missed out on this last spring, check it out.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Left Coast Team / East Coast Press

While those of us in Portland relax for a few final days before rehearsals for Everyone Who Looks Like You kick into high gear, out NYC crack team has been hitting the boards and blowing minds at the Ontological-Hysteric Incubator with Faith's solo show Undine performed in a double bill with our dear friends from the north, Helsinki Syndrome.

I couldn't be prouder of the work Faith (incredible performer/creator), Jonathan (fearless director), Liam (even more fearless SM), Chis (very fearless lighting designer) and the whole team of musicians, set makers and costumers have done on this piece.

I had the pleasure of taking the traveling crew (Faith, Jonathan & Liam) to the airport last Saturday morning and watching as they justified not bringing a 65 lb wooden trunk (yes it is the main set piece, but won't buying one on Craig's List work?), 45 lbs of threaded rod (home depot is just around the corner!) and half a dozen work lights (see threaded rod reasoning).  The heavy items were amazing, but my favorite moment was Faith shoving her wedding dress costume into a paper Trader Joe's bag and imagining her justifying this third carry on to the TSA clerk: "...but I'm getting married!"

Off they flew, and now the press starts to roll in:

From NY Theatre.com: "two exceptional young shows..."

Meanwhile back at the ranch, we are prepping to begin rehearsals for Everyone Who Looks Like You on September 9. I'm really looking forward to continuing the work we began this Spring and taking it to the next level. We open the show in just over two months (November 6 at Theater! Theatre! in Portland) and have our work cut out for us. Creating some new material, cutting some of the old, and tightening, refining and re-working.

We are bringing on some new designers and old collaborators for the show and I couldn't be happier. From Eugene comes Set Designer Brad Steinmetz and from Portland costumer Kyoko Nelson. Hand2Mouth works so closely with designers in building shows from the ground up that having the right fit is incredibly important. I love the energy and ideas that have started to flow; rehearsals are only going to make it better. Joining us again are choreographers Mike Barber and Philip Cuomo who lent their prodigious talents to Repeat After Me and From a Dream to a Dream, respectively.

Six more performances of Undine and nine more days before rehearsals start. And did I mention TBA starts on Thursday? It's going to be a good week.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Just testing out our blog's video capabilities

Here's a sneak peak at Everyone Who Looks Like You if you didn't see the WIPShowing in the spring.

Everyone Who Looks Like You - Highlight Video - 10 minutes from Hand2Mouth Theatre on Vimeo.

More videos on our vimeo site.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hand2Mouth Big Ol' Family BBQ

Today we starting planning our BBQ bash on Oct 3 at Erin's Chill Palace. We're on the hunt for donated kegs, meats, veggies, and sweets. Our brainstorm session turned up a big list of Portland business that we love, so hopefully we'll have an impressive spread!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sending us off to New York in style

On Monday night, H2M threw a little party to send ourselves off to New York in style. Held it in the lobby of Portland Center Stage's Gerding Bldg, which is a gorgeous place to have to yourself on a Monday to drink beer and play music and watch a beautiful piece of dance come dancing down the curving staircase. Happy to have friends (and hopefully future artistic collaborators) perform for the crowd, circling around the performance area set up with a few mics and pedals.

Al James (of the band Dolorean) started it out with some great heart-twisting ballads some from his soon to be released album. It's rare to see Al play solo, I've seen him with the band plenty of great nights, but Al is going on tour to Europe this fall solo, and it's a great energy he brings solo-style to the strained, slow clear power of his voice, pure and unrushed. H2M is working with Al this fall to create a series of new ensemble-created songs for the premiere of 'Everyone Who Looks Like You' in November.

After he did his thing, Holcombe Waller took the mic and grabbed everyone's attention and wouldn't let go until he'd bounced his deceptively gentle voice off the bricks a few times (his singing can soar to gorgeous powerful heights in a split second, after lulling you into a elegant trance). He covered Paul Simon, Buffy St. Marie and then a number of his own, including an older song I’d never heard, that he's reworking for his new album. He passed on the compliment to H2M that our company 'is down in the grind, working hard' to stay active and create our work. That’s a great damn compliment coming from someone who works so hard himself to create beautiful, disciplined work and show it around the country.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Wow, a blog!!

Now that we have a blog ...