Saturday, March 31, 2007

My First Menage a Trois!

I got to experience participating in two shows last night with Brazilian Wax Museum (BWM) (9 PM) and Faceplant (midnight). Both shows went really well. BWM has been sold out every night, which is always fun to play to, and has become even more solid and faster in pace each time we perform it. Faceplant debuted to a decently-sized house (it is at midnight after all), and was a lot of fun to perform. I think we caught the audience off-guard big time with the material and the fact it was a musical. So, it took them a while to get used to the idea that it was a rather raunchy musical, and that it was okay to laugh!

My voice, on the other hand, is not 100% right now. I felt it starting to slip during the first show. I did warm-up properly by stretching, starting with my newly created warm-up scales/exercises, and bubbling the whole way down to the place and more. I feel it's directly a result of the fact I ate something with chicken in it the day before, which normally zaps my throat area. I was okay during BWM but I knew that I had to lay off my voice during the two hour break and keep it warm. I bubbled a lot and walked around. A mandatory bio break was in effect which afterwards, made me feel sooooooooooo much better. My voice came back even a bit stronger as a result. During all of Faceplant, my voice was very useful and manageable. The last song, however, I feel I blew it out So, I cooled-down on the way home and layed off of it as much as possible. That's what I get for eating chicken!

Today I have musical improv class and am debating going. I probably will go since we're in the midst of putting up a show, but I will refrain as much as possible from singing. I need a good day to let my voice patch itself up after the amount of use/abuse I went through this weekend.

Currently listening :
Stone Cold Rhymin'
By Young MC
Release date: 20 February, 2001

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Yes, Yes, Y'all...And You Don't Stop!

I am getting way back into rhyming to every beat I hear. Before my latest shows, I've been freestylin' everytime to the show music to get hyped up and out of my head. Although I keep using a lot of the same rhymes (typically those ending in "o" like "ho, yo, mo', though, dough, etc"), I always end up doing some new rhyme scheme or some near, multi-syllabic rhyme that makes me grin ear-to-ear because I have no idea how it got there or if I'll ever do it again!

I listened to an Eminem freestyle he did on a radio show and am now really inspired to record one of my own in the studio. I've got the tracks ready to go. Anyone care to join me?

Currently listening :
The Marshall Mathers LP
By Eminem
Release date: 23 May, 2000

Note: This was originally posted on MySpace with comments at:
http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=16074757&blogID=247069696&Mytoken=688E2758-B404-4096-99E56CF37693A14175540959

Sunday, March 25, 2007

A Merry Gentleman

Well, folks, it's official. I did not get to be in one frame of film tonight. I was pretty disappointed when I left and the folks around did their best to console me. I did thank each and everyone of them for their efforts and eventually left.

My friend Sheryl used to tell me that when something happens that makes you emotional, dwell only on the positive aspects of the situation. So, I did. I thought about how cool it was to be around a movie again, how cool the cast and crew were this time around, how cool it was to actually eat with the cast and crew and not be relegated as subhumans to an "extras" table, how I was allowed to linger on set without someone treating me like a 5 year old and shooing me away, how I was able to go into the character I was given (a bum) by just taking on a posture and an emotion and playing it so well, and that I made general people passing by nervous like they do around an authentic homeless guy


As I drove home, a thought popped in my head. Why not invite the director and anyone else he feels would like, to my upcoming shows?! As I continued driving, I figured that it wouldn't hurt and that it would most likely be seen by the director because he's going to be in town for the next few weeks, and his homebase is in downtown Chicago. My spirits began to lift a bit.

After getting home, I decided to go on a walk with Lola. I thought about what I would say in this invitation. I decided to thank him and his crew for the opportunity to potentially have participated in the film (which is more than what some people get), and formally invite him to the show. Why not circumvent the industry-set chain-of-command and get to know the guy personally? Even if he can't make it or maybe never receives the letter, at least I made a formal and heart-felt attempt to get to know someone I respect and admire in some ways.

I found the silver lining after all. The silver lining is that this was my wake up call to get my arse in gear and get listed with talent agencies. I want to avoid what I went through emotionally today, hone my art, and finally, actually have fun on the set as an actor, not as as an extra hoping to be an actor.

Thanks for those of you reading these last couple of blogs. I hope you get something out of it as I did.

Currently listening :
Sultans of Swing: The Very Best of Dire Straits
By Dire Straits
Release date: 27 October, 1998

All Dressed Up And Nowhere To Go

I got an urgent call from a buddy of mine on the set of a new movie getting shot here in Chicago Wednesday night. He left me an urgent message saying something to the effect of "Nelson, I need you to get back to me, like, 5 minutes ago. There's part in this movie that we need you for and it's specific thing we're looking for, and, like, get back to me. Bye!"

So, I text back Homie and he calls me back and offers me a featured extra role with a good possibility of upgrade to an actual line. I had made a promise to myself that I wouldn't do anymore extra work for films unless this exact situation came up. Since the circumstances lived up to my threshold, I agreed to show up this morning.

I kept my options open. Based on my experience with Quebec, I knew that a lot could change between Wednesday and Sunday. Everything could even change during the shoot as well, so, I didn't want to tell everyone that I got lines in a movie and then get disappointed. However, I kept my optimism in check through the week.

I got here this morning at 6:30 AM along with 4 other extras and we sat for the wardrobe department to come and grba us and dress us up. They took us out to the directors trailer and we were then given our roles. I was given a completely different role than what was described to me by the casting director that he felt I fit better. OK. Well, I was ready for this change. No problem. I am sure there is a good reason why I got switched out. So, we headed back to wardrobe, got fitted and we were whisked away to the first set of the day.

I did get to experience the fun of having tons of makeup put on me and getting my beard hacked off! It only took me a week to grow it to where it was so, no biggie. So, that was fun. I got a lot of compliments regarding my looks like "Wow, we need to rough him up a bit because he's too good looking to play this part." So, my ego was stroked quite a bit by the statements.

So, as usual, filming is a lot of hurry-up-and-wait. I stood, sat, and slept on 4 different locations today. The other extras were very nice and amicable. As the day went on, they got to go home while I stook around...with no real idea of whether or not I was going to get used. I was placed in a scene but apparently it wasn't the right scene for my character.

So, I am still here now. I have to come to grips with the idea that I may be payed $100 pre-tax to have sat around a movie set for 14-16 hours (so, basically earning minimum wage) and have make-up put on me with no time to actually be shot. I am struggling a lot with my current disappointment. I am trying to be as positive as I can that I will get used for the "night" scene, but I cannot shake these feelings of anger, resentment, envy, and fear that this was all for naught at the moment. I know it's nobody's fault really but, oh, am I looking for someone to blame right now. The only finger I can point at is one at myself . I made the decision to come here knowing full and well it can happen the way it has thus far, therefore, I bear all responsibility .

Let's just hope for a night scene. Big props to the casting director and personal PA for attempting to keep my spirits up throughout the shoot.

Currently listening :
Biz Markie - Greatest Hits
By Biz Markie
Release date: 21 May, 2002

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Two-way Tickets To Toronto

Looks like I'm making a road trip to Toronto in September 2007. I'm going to the Virgin Festival in Toronto. It's where all us virgins or near-virgins gather together, start bonfires, dance around the fires naked, and eat lots of red meat while discussing our feelings, relationships, wants, and needs followed by a series of activities such as getting into inflatable, plastic sumo wrestling suits and pushing each other out of the ring, dressing into Velcro suits, getting a huge running start, jumping on a springboard, flying through the air, and landing on a pad of Velcro and getting stuck on there, or even gambling for pretzels throughout the night! Actually, it's a music festival put on by the Virgin Corporation featuring my beloved Smashing Pumpkins. Other acts include Bjork, The Killers, Interpol, Paolo Nutini, Amy Winehouse, Tokyo Police Club, and Jamie T. As many as 30 other acts will be announced in the weeks to come, so, I hope I get to see some really good bands/acts while I'm in the conquered land of Canada (as long as it's not Canadian rockers Nickleback. Gawsh I hate listening to their one song that they've cleverly manipulate to make "new" songs, i.e.,every damn song sounds the same! Then of course, now Daughtry sounds like them due to Chad Kroeger writing songs for them )!

I think I'll make a weekend of it since I have friends that live in Toronto, Second City has a theatre there, and there's always something to do in Toronto provided you do it before 10 PM cuz that's when the town shuts down .

Excellent, aye?

Currently listening :
Freaked Out and Small
By Presidents of the United States of America
Release date: 20 March, 2002

Monday, March 19, 2007

Acting Into June, Folks

I just added a 5 week run of Recapitulation shows running from May through June to my profile. We're also in the midst of putting together gigs outside of SC so, there shoul dbe even more shows.

I promised myself I wouldn't take on anything new (unless something incredible like a $100,000 contract comes my way), and I am definitely sticking to that promise. I took Sunday off and loved sleeping all day! It looks like SC is going to give me all the shows I want through July


Currently watching :
Star Wars - Episode III, Revenge of the Sith (Widescreen Edition)
Release date: 01 November, 2005

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Moving into 2002

I finally have achieved the goal of getting myself a killer, flat panel TV. It's a 46" WinBook flat panel TV and boy, do I love it! Even though I don't have HD programming, everything we watch on it so far has been bearable/acceptable to watch. I also picked up a refurbished RCA 750W Home Theatre System. I might return that cuz I want it to be a bit louder but it does the job nicely. Right now it sits on a stand where my old TV was but I am going to look at getting a formal wall mount for it that allows it to tilt and actually come off the wall and swivel! Rock on!

Currently watching :
Bachelor Party Vegas
Release date: 25 April, 2006

Note: This was originally posted on MySpace with comments at:
http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=16074757&blogID=242738129&Mytoken=31DEA765-A493-4B33-8D1AA01EABB713C661395485

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Girls Gone Wild Gave Me a Phone Number!

I called 1-800-FREE-411 to get the # for a Domino's Pizza near my house. It's a semi-automated system. The conversation with the computer went something like this:

COMPUTER
In order to better server you, please just answer the questions as they are asked. What city and state, please?

NELSON
Chicago, IL

COMPUTER
Chicago, Illinois. Is this correct?

NELSON
Yes

COMPUTER
Are you looking for a business, government office, or residence?

NELSON
Business.

COMPUTER
Please state the name of the business.

NELSON
Domino's Pizza.

COMPUTER
What street is it on?

NELSON
Pulaski.

COMPUTER
There are so many locations. Please hold for a customer service representative.




The lady came on and asked me all the same questions before and found the right place.




COMPUTER
This call is sponsored by... (creepy guy's voice interjects) GIRLS GONE WILD! WE'RE WILLING TO SEND YOU TWO GIRLS GONE WILD VIDEOS ABSOLUTELY FREE. YOU JUST PAY SHIPPING AND HANDLING.

(Back the feminine voice) The number is 773.650.3030. Press 1 to repeat the phone number. Press 3 to receive a text message of this phone number. Press 2 to connect to (creepy guy voice again) GIRLS GONE WILD!




Holy shizzle! It creeped me out and made me laugh hysterically at it.
Currently listening :
As Ugly as They Wanna Be
By Ugly Kid Joe
Release date: 15 October, 1991

Friday, March 16, 2007

Comics and Comics

I've gone back and been catching up on my comic book reading. I was an avid Wolverine collector, and still have my comics sitting in a box in their mylar bags just waiting to be sold to the highest bidder.

In my quest to meet chicks in middle school, I thought it would be cool to pretend I was Wolverine sulking around the neighborhood with my arms stretched out with fists just waiting to pop my claws out of my knuckles with the cool sound of "snikt" being muttered by me at all times. I would climb trees like a monkey trying to spy on girls and use my mutant healing factor (a.k.a, a band-aid) whenever I would get hurt on my missions.

My love affair with comic books died when two things happened. 1) Comic books were hitting the $1.50 an issue mark, which on a $5 week allowance, chewed up a lot of my income, and 2) I figured out girls don't like dorks who live out comic book characters. When I realized I wasn't cool, my days of collecting were behind me.

Fast-forward to year 30 in my life. I walk by comic stores and look at all the cool artwork and posters on the wall. I started feeling the twinge of excitement I had felt when I was 11 and patiently waiting for Wolverine #22 to hit the shelves at the local Stop N' Go. So, I picked up the Ultimate Wolverine collections and picking up where I left off with Wolverine #50. I read through all of those in a hurry and got caught up and reacquainted with my old friend Wolvie (He lost his adamantium, went through a crisis with his own wanting to continue being Wolverine, fought Sentinels, got a bit more into the Wolverine/Mystique back story,etc.).

I've just finished reading the first volume in Wolverine:Enemy of the State, which according to the comic book store owners, is a killer series. So far so good on that. So, I've come full circle in my uncoolness. This time though, I am happy being who I truly am and accept it .

Currently reading :
Wolverine: Enemy of the State
By Mark Millar
Release date: 25 October, 2006

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Things That Make You Go "Hmmmmmmm?"

I came home after my class yesterday excited for the first time in a very long time for a first day of class. I got an instructor who I have had before so I kind of expected him to rehash a lot of the same stuff we went over in previous classes, which would normally consists of a lot of lecturing about improvisation and the true art of it and almost no time to actually play. I was happily surprised when we spent the first half going over what satire truly is (vs. sarcasm or cynicism) and how to find out the target of the story. We then spent the second half acting out ideas. I can see me having fun with this class as we're preparing to go into our ubber-level shows with written material based off of improv. Also, the instructor demands a lot of respect from the class so a lot of the horsing around going on in previous classes subsided to a more acceptable level , thus, we could actually pay attention to each other and treat each other with artistic respect. Once again, very cool! Finally, the ensemble for the first time formally decided to make an email/phone/contact list! It's only been, what?, 18 weeks we've been playing together! I see this as a big shot in the arm of the group and if our previous shows are any indication of our potential to put on great shows, all this work is going to make our next few shows even better!

Out of class yesterday, I was happy with a good blackout I came up with. I plan to write that bizzatch out. That now makes 3 good blackouts that I feel are strong that came directly out of improv.

In other news, I've been asked to formally join one of the theatre companies I play with as a full-fledged ensemble member. I need to get back to them with my answer soon but I think I'm down for it. Cool! Now I can add "Ensemble Member" to my resume.

For my show Brazilian Wax Museum this Friday, I'm going to work on getting all buff. I get to show a little bit of skin on stage. That Bally's membership is actually going to get used this week! Only 1 time!

And finally, a old friend of mine from Texas found me on MySpace. Cyberstalking is awesome! J/K Teri Ann. So, I look forward to chit-chatting with her a bit and playing a 10+ year catchup game!

More to come!


Currently listening :
Chiquita Banana
By Edmundo Ros
Release date: 10 February, 1998

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Cut Your Time In Half By Strapping On Your Wheels!

I took my dog for a walk/run today. She used four legs. I used 8 wheels. We turned our usual thirty minute walk into a 15 minute run. It was awesome! She should sleep well tonight!

Any of you out there Rollerblade?


Currently listening :
Shoofia
By Tom Cloud
Release date: 05 April, 2005


Note: This was originally posted on MySpace with comments at:
http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=16074757&blogID=240748601&Mytoken=31DEA765-A493-4B33-8D1AA01EABB713C661395485

Monday, March 12, 2007

Wreck Magnet

As I cruised towards my morning rehearsal yesterday, I made a few stops along the way. I made entrances at Target and Kohl's to find a shirt and tie to bring for my morning rehearsal/show (I must admit, I did look pretty damn fly ). I then headed into Pit Lane to pump $50 of 93 octane gasoline into the MoMo at the corner of Elston and North Avenue. Then tragedy struck.

There were two cars heading south on Elston to turn east onto North Avenue. I pulled out from the gas station behind the second car. Suddenly, a semi heading west on North decides to make wide right turn onto Elston to head North. Both cars in the turning lane decide to rear up. I look at the situation and begin honking my horn to get the car in front my to stop since I was behind them but no avail. *CRUNCH* The right front panel on my beloved MoMo got hit!

We pulled back into the gas station, exchanged information, and went along our unmerry ways. The person was very cooperative and I spent the entire time working on being calm and collected although I was incredibly upset about the situation. No amount of yelling at this person was goig to do any good so I kept myself as professional as I could. I was pretty impressed with the way I handled myself considering I could've ripped Sunday edition newspapers in half at that time.

This is the second claim in 4 weeks on the MoMo . The other time, the MoMo was parked in the parking lot of a grocery store and some dude backed up into it. What is it about my beloved vehicle people just feel the need to run into it?

Currently listening :
Mandy Patinkin
By Mandy Patinkin
Release date: 25 October, 1990

Note: This was originally posted on MySpace with comments at:
http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=16074757&blogID=240118036&Mytoken=31DEA765-A493-4B33-8D1AA01EABB713C661395485

Saturday, March 10, 2007

You Know You're A Drummer When...

...you realize that playing the drums is 25 billion times easier when you have good equipment! I went to Guitar Center today and bought some new heads for my toms since I had an epiphany recently when I replaced my snare drum heads after using a head that's been there since the Industrial Revolution, and my playing improved 50% since the sticks would actually bounce off the snare like they should! That got me thinking - maybe I should buy some new tom heads and cymbals.

I know my kit needs a new hi-hat stand and cymbals so I tried a few they on display. OMG, did they feel sooooo much better than what I'm playing now. I felt I could pull off my Jimmy Chamberlain licks pretty easily with the equipment they had there. I cant wait to buy a new stand!

I got used to playing shitty kits ever since I've been in bands and though that my cruddy sounds were a direct correlation to my playing ability. Apparently, there was a Shitty Equipment factor in the equation that I was unaware of until now. I'm one step closer to feeling like a true drummer!

Currently listening :
Peel Sessions
By Smashing Pumpkins
Release date: 12 February, 1993

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Nelson V Performing With Liquor and Dreams

Hello folks:

In case you missed my gig with Liqour and Dreams last month, here's the full video from the show. Enjoy!


Nelson V Performing with Liquor and Dreams

Add to My Profile | More Videos

If you want to download it, watch this version:


Peace,
Nelson V
Currently playing :
Need For Speed 3: Hot Pursuit

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

High Figh-Eev!

I plan on buying Borat today on DVD and throw a small "Bolat" party. I'm going to invite a bunch of different people to the home to enjoy it as much as I do. Happy times!

Currently watching :
Borat - Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (Full Screen Edition)
Release date: 06 March, 2007

Note: This was originally posted on MySpace with comments at:

Monday, March 5, 2007

A Recycled Attitude

In the never-ending cycle of growth and exploration, I've returned to one of more fundamental crossroads in my life. It's the crossroad where I choose to decide what I want for myself or what I think others want me for me.

Case in point, in my theatre classes, I've been having a relatively rough term due to a number of reasons. The root cause is because I am trying to act within some rules I made up for myself to guide my scene work which then requires me to guess what those people are thinking in their heads and what direction they are going, which in turn, requires me to act a way they want me to. The problem is, they can't read my mind (I thought clairvoyance has been acquired by everyone on Earth as a natural result of Darwinian evolution ). So, I'd act completely "in my head" instead of through emotion and pretty much, most of my scenes sucked as a result of it.

Through the tutelage of the SCTC staff, it was beat in my head eventually that I needed to act through an emotional want or need. Once acted upon, stick to it, and commit, commit, commit! After one of my classes, I went up to my instructor and said, "So...basically, you're saying 'Fawk it!', right? Have fun and let those things you've taught us naturally come out in our scene work." He laughed and said, "Yeah...that's it!"

So, I took my FI attitude to heart and reminded myself that I am only responsible for myself on stage and just stick to that. As a result, I've had satisfactory to excellent classes, killer shows, and fun rehearsals! Like on stage as in life, I remembered that Nelson must do what Nelson wants and only when he wants it.

Currently listening :
Stone Cold Rhymin'
By Young MC
Release date: 20 February, 2001

Friday, March 2, 2007

Just Let Me Blog!

I've tried 4 times to post up a blog concerning my activities. However, whenever I touch on the first subject below, my computer crashes ! I think some Harponian Goddess has cast a spell on my PC, thus, keeping me from espousing my beliefs!

Men Are From Mars, Women Are For Oprah.
I got to go to Oprah a couple of weeks ago for the taping of Chris Rock's appearance to promote his new flick I Think I Love My Wife. Oprah treated us to a free prescreening with free popcorn and drinks. Then we got fed lunch prior to the taping all the while taking charter buses to and from the theatre and Harpo Studios. We saw Chris Rock, Fantasia, and some Discovery Channel Earth guys for the hour and a half. As we left the taping, we received The Color Purple coffee books and a complimentary issue of Vibe. Thanks Oprah! That beats getting a free house or car!

Here are some quick observations I had while at the taping:

  • Oprah Can Do No Wrong
    Women treat Oprah like a rockstar. I heard conversations about her age, weight, longevity, charitable works, ruthlessness, wardrobe, and make-up. These ladies gossiped about it as if they lived with the woman, made her breakfast daily, and played psychiatrist to her every need. No matter what they said, they were there at that taping so it couldn't have been all that bad.

  • Women Love Oprah...But Don't Know Why
    As a man, I knew that my viewpoint on Oprahdom was already biased/skewed. I asked women why they love Oprah while in the waiting room. Not one could give me a more definitive answer as to what they love about Oprah other than "She's just sooooo great" or "CUZ SHE'S OPRAH!".

    My theory is that they love the fact she is rich, therefore, powerful and can do just about anything she wants to. They aspire to be in a position like her, but not necessarily be her. They love what she represents.

    If anyone has a better explaination, please let me know

  • Oprah is a Brand Name
    The entire time I was there, I felt I was being marketed to. "Watch my ABC special on my new school for children! I did the voiceover for blah blah blah. I am sick but I've never missed a day! In my latest issue of O Magazine..." I like the cool things Oprah has done for herself and for others and that is good. I just feel that it's self-ingratiating at times. Does she have to show she opened up her school in Africa and revel in the fact celebrities from the US were there to support it? I just felt it was a little bit pompous in presentation.

  • I had fun overall and am grateful I got to go. I've learned that there is still so much about women I need to learn about.

    My Warped Recording Session and Photo Shoot.

    MWR hit the studio last week and we churned out a new recording of a song called Dust on our MySpace. Go check it out and if you like it, add it to your page.

    We also did a band photo shoot where you can check out pictures of me looking a bit goofy at Union Station.


    Shows, Shows, and More Shows!
    I am in a new musical called Faceplant with my good friend Greg Landgraff and my musical ensemble Recapitulation. I'm also doing a musical staged reading tonight at SC. I had an excellent SCTC Level 3 Conservatory show which did get taped and will be posted up on MySpace/YouTube over the weekend. I have a show coming up with Recapitulation on March 11th. And finally, my show for Brazilian Wax Museum starts Friday March 16th!


    Technological Social Retardation.
    I listened to a bit of the Hugh Hewitt Show where they had two experts discussing how technology has either hurt us socially or improved us socially. I side with the guys arguing it's hurt us. I am dealing with folks in general who don't know how to act or work together as a cohesive unit but yet are masters of IMing, texting, and email to communicate. Your thoughts folks?

    I know this is a pretty terse rendition from my normal blogs. I am just trying to get something up before the PC crashes and I get a stop-and-desist letter from Harpo, Inc.

    Currently listening :
    The Colour and the Shape
    By Foo Fighters
    Release date: 07 October, 2003