I joined a theater group that was run by a bully and then realized that I was not merely hungry for theater but starving for it, and yet unwilling to deal with bullies, so my friends and I started our own group and put on a play and that was great.
Someone I loved died and someone I did not love died and the ending of both of those chapters echoed in strange and sad ways throughout the year.
On a dare I did and then kept doing stand-up comedy and figuring out what I want to do with that and why. I started hosting an open mic night for other people with the same desire to perform in an fairly stress-free and friendly environment. I performed (briefly!) in Bratislava, Berlin, and Brno, and in Vienna, which does not start with a B.
I re-evaluated my need for love and approval and while I don't have it sorted I'm closer than I've been before to learning how to give as much of my own love and approval as I can without giving beyond my means and without expectations. I said "learning".
I turned 50.
I threw out/gave away several boxes of things and felt increasingly lighter, though still more burdened than I would like to be by things I can't let go of.
I am slowly coming to accept that I am an obsessive thinker, a picker of scabs and a terrier of thoughts, and that rather than trying to stop that what I can do is try to be more deliberate in what I obsess over.
I found several old friends and lost one.
We had the parquet floors sanded and refinished, during which time I got extremely squirrelly and realized how thin the line to being insane, and other than a joke that only works in Czech there is not much to say about the whole thing; the floors look almost exactly the same as they did and I look almost as sane as a regular person.
I ran for public office. I didn't think I had any chance of winning, but I tried and that felt good. I have felt so hopeless politically that doing anything, no matter how unlikely to succeed, feels like a step. I met some good people. I talk to my neighbors more than I used to.
I got a new tattoo and I love catching sight of it. I think I cried more this year for no especially compelling reason than I have in many years -- today, for example, I cried over a commercial, a pop song (99 Red Balloons), a Kate Bush interview I read, three news articles. Sometimes it feels like everything is unbearably painful. On the other hand, I pushed myself a lot harder to be brave and open, so I may just be crying from exhaustion. I fell asleep while getting the tattoo.
I saw more concerts than usual (Tiger Lillies, Half Waif, Fink, Iron and Wine, Peter Hook, Rufus Wainwright, David Byrne, Raduza, Dessa, Abby Wolf, Vojtech Dyk, plus Ant Attack and the Ukulele Orchestra and another band I forgot about), and mostly enjoyed them, partly because they were mostly excellent and partly because even if I needed earplugs and even if I didn't have a good time I got to think about performance and purpose in ways that made me reflective and better as a performer and as an audience member, I think. I read less than I wanted to but I generally enjoyed what I read, which was pleasant. Similarly with movies. Maybe with most things: I did less than I wanted to, but I mostly enjoyed what I did.
I remained stunned and delighted by the people I love, by their kindness and brilliance and honesty and braveness.
I went to a musical/opera thing last night. It was the Czech version of Leonard Bernstein's "Mass", performed in the DRFG arena. Here are my thoughts:
The curtain speech was short, clear, and to the point. Some shows I've seen, these speeches last long enough for me to do my taxes, and are about as interesting, so this was nice. Like a good introduction at a party: Audience, meet play. Here's an interesting detail. I'm sure you two will hit it off.
The songs were all in English. The subtitles were presented on screens behind the stage (functionally the backdrop) and the presentation of some of the subtitles was really fitting to the music -- like watching a good sign language interpreter for music. I saw a presentation of "West Side Story" that projected the translation of song lyrics very creatively, and I'm happy to see this becoming a part of how English-language production is done here.
I liked the simplicity of the costumes and the set.
I liked, although I found it weird, that people seemed to wander off and back on the stage. It felt super casual and I liked that in some ways although I felt like where do they keep going, anyway? bathroom breaks?
Gratuitous male nudity! I'm sorry no it was totally intrinsic to the story.
The acapella songs were lovely.
Some of the film clips projected on the screens were nice and seemed to complement/further the story, especially the ones that interlaid footage of the actors.
The dialogue parts, which were in Czech, were mostly well-enunciated enough that I could understand them and follow along for those parts of the story.
If there was a narrative to the pictures and film clips on the screen, they could have slowed it down so that uncultured people like me could understand it. It was incredibly fast and distracting from the action on the stage and it made me feel jumpy. They slowed it down for one whole song to focus on a woman's chest, with a crucifix. Sure.
The orchestra was louder than the singers; as a person who cares about the words much more than the music, this was not ideal for me.
The doors to the stadium don't close, so I got to watch the well-lit doorway across the way with ushers milling about, plus people walking out of the performance (sometimes in groups; sometimes I think these were just bathroom runs).
The pronunciation on some songs was ... poor.
The number of things that were distracting to me were over the top, and left me thinking snarky Anne-narrative thoughts, like:
I have issues with children performing in any high-pressure situation (school groups on stage for concerts is fine, but "carry your country to the Olympics" is, in my opinion, a form of evil) and I felt.. problematic about how much of the turn of this story rested on a child under 10.
This is a hockey stadium. Hockey players are well paid. I wonder if these performers are as well paid? Oh, are we doing sports vs. arts now? That always ends well.
Uhm so all the characters were unhappy when they were wearing gray sweaters, and all they had to do was take the gray sweaters off and then they were happy? Seems like they could have thought of that a lot sooner. Those sweaters are pretty cool, though, I wonder if I could get one.
I personally felt like, between the rapid jumps on screen and the incredible loudness of the orchestra, that my eyes and ears were screamed at for 2.5 hours and I did not like that. I thought it was a bit expensive for what it was. I think it's cool that so many people went to see it. I loved seeing one of my friends on stage, and I felt so proud of her and I liked trying to single out her voice. I was glad to go with my friends and talk with them about it after.