Too many landmark events have already taken place in 2009 that I cannot possibly weave them all into one unified blog post. This will be one of those ‘current event’ entries, chronicling The Life of Me for my own posterity and for those few who are interested in the things that keep me busy. Please, make way for a very self-indulgent, rambling and disjointed list of My Year So Far.
The first significant event is that Circuit City announced their upcoming liquidation and closing of all stores. This news knocked us over for a few days, but I am proud to say that we are hopeful. I know that what is happening is God’s will, not mine, and that His is always better, even if it is more vague. Knowing this means that my anxiety now comes in small waves instead of crushing typhoons; which is a vast improvement. My husband is intelligent, capable, immediately likeable and extraordinarily hirable, so I have no doubt that he will find a job. While I suppose anything that pays the bills will be fine, I really want him to have a job that he loves and that brings him as much joy and pride as possible.
The good news is that, unlike so many others this quarter, we have been given advance warning and a severance package to cushion the blow. This surprise will hopefully lead us to something even better. Nonetheless, keep us in your prayers and let us know about any job opportunities that you hear of.
The next event is Christmas. Yes, in January. My parents’ favorite thing to do is to give extravagantly to those that they love, which always works out well for me. Watching them prepare for birthdays and anniversaries is really cute; every year they raise the bar a little higher. They seem to live for surprising each other.
For Christmas 2008, my mom bought premium tickets to a Cirque du Soleil performance in Atlanta, complete with hotel suites and a fabulous dinner at her favorite gourmet Mexican restaurant in Atlantic Station. Since we’re all big-time Cirque fans, we were excited just to see their new show, Kooza. As it turns out, they were Tapis Rouge tickets, which meant that we had access to a private tent where they served hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and champagne before the show and desserts (chocolate fondue, anyone?) at intermission. Tres chic.
The show was indescribably cool. From the trapeze to the contortion, the high wire to the juggling, the charivari to the Wheel of Death (everything sounds more menacing when you put ‘of death’ at the end of it), the entire performance was spectacular! I was completely blown away by the Unicycle Duo – a couple who did the most beautiful pas de deux I’ve ever seen while riding and balancing themselves on one unicycle – the aforementioned Wheel of Death that makes every part of my body tingle just wondering what it feels like to be on that thing, and of course all of the lighting, costumes, makeup, scenery, music and sound that makes Cirque so superior to…well…everyone else. I want to run away with the circus.
As if this experience could possibly be topped, the next night we were treated to an evening of entertainment that can only be titled ‘once-in-a-lifetime.’ To make a long story short, years upon years ago, the then-non-profit Savannah Theatre Company produced The Wiz, with my mom as Assistant Director. I was only eleven at the time, so I’m a little fuzzy on the details, but somewhere along the way our title character dropped out of the show, leaving us without a wizard. What I do remember precisely is the day that Darryl Jovan Williams auditioned to fill the role. He introduced himself very quietly, was instantly warm and kind with everyone and then knocked our socks off with his powerful, smooth tenor voice. Over the years, he would become a dear friend to my mom and dad and a mentor to me. He taught me where Middle C was on the piano and he explained to me how to tell when cows are in heat, both invaluable pieces of information when you’re doing live theatre in Georgia. Darryl and my parents shared many adventures together, each worthy of their own blog post.
Fast-forward about thirteen years into this movie and you’ll find my parents, Vann, Darryl and I having lunch in a little restaurant in downtown Atlanta just hours before his opening Jesus Christ Superstar the Gospel at the Alliance Theatre, with his name in the program as Musical Arranger, Choral Director and the leading role of Judas. This re-working of the 1970’s musical was sanctioned by the Really Useful Group with the blessing of Sirs Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, thanks to the musical genius of Louis St. Louis and, of course, Darryl Jovan Williams. He invited us to attend the red carpet events prior to the show, the opening performance itself and a rockin’ after party where we got to rub elbows with the cast and crew.
It’s hard to express the emotions that I was feeling that night; awe and pride are among the top two. The show was…incandescent. The gospel arrangements added a whole new depth and flavor to the piece that the original now seems to be lacking. The performance made me smile with my whole self every time I saw or heard Darryl, but then it made me literally weep during JC’s (played sublimely by Darius de Haas) Gesthemane. I could go on and on about this performance and all of its amazing attributes; the lighting that enhanced every dramatic moment or the gospel choir that could wail so fiercely that your ears might believe they’ve died and gone to Ear Heaven or the subtle changes in plot and intention that they made to the script, but I would just be spoiling it for everyone that will get the chance to know and love this musical when it goes to West End and Broadway. Oh, and guess who got their picture taken with and kissed by Ben Vereen – the original Judas, among other things! – at the after party? Oh, yeah. That’s right. Me.
I think Darryl put it best when, after the performance, he said ‘I feel like we’ve come full circle.’ Darryl has been that wild card why-isn’t-he-famous-yet? member of my family for so long that seeing him there, that night, completely in charge and in his element, the proverbial man of the hour, seemed very poetic. I’m so proud of him and so excited for him. Everyone should be blessed to hear this man sing. If you haven’t, well, get yourself to Atlanta before the end of this month and prepare to be amazed. J
As I said, I could talk about this forever, but I would eventually run out of adjectives and you would be bored. And then I would never move on to writing about Bonnie and Brian’s wedding! It occurred to me as I was getting dressed for the ceremony that I’ve never been in a wedding other than my own and I all of a sudden became very nervous. What if I trip as I walk down the aisle? What if I have a sneezing attack during the ceremony? What if they make me do a toast? Fortunately, none of those things happened to me or anybody, and the entire weekend went off beautifully. Bonnie was truly beautiful and that’s all I can say about that without being superfluous. She worked so hard and so long planning this event of her dreams that it was really gratifying to see her enjoying herself in her imagination-turned-reality-winter-wonderland. I think everyone gets a little anxiety that real life can never really live up to your expectations, so it’s always a wonderful surprise when it really does. We wish many blessings and much bliss to the newly wedded couple.
Other notable events this January include having my car towed, learning Italian, realizing that I’m much closer to debt-free than I thought and reading a 365 Bible divided up for easy daily reading. So that’s my January…I told you it was busy. We shall return to your regularly scheduled blog programming next week. Thanks for sticking with me.