Thursday, July 28, 2011

Prose-colored glasses.

The show last night was a hit!  If you haven't heard, Spinner's End had our big debut in Sarah Ruhl's Eurydice at the Princeton Public Library last night, as part of their Page to Stage series. It went so well and the audience loved our musical spin on the story!  I'm fairly sure there are some pictures and videos floating around out there, so as soon as I get my hands on them I'll post them to the blog for all of you lovely people out there to see.  It looks like some Important Theater People may have liked the show enough to give us another staging opportunity.. fingers crossed!  If we get to produce the show again, I'd love to expand on the music we wrote and maybe even involve some more musicians in the process.  We shall see!  Either way, a nice relationship has been established between our band and the amazing people that work to bring art programs to Princeton's gorgeous library.  Hopefully more opportunities will follow!

I'm so jazzed by how well things went that I've decided to be a little brave and post some of my prose on here.  I'd like to include some of my writing from time to time as a feature on the blog here, so consider this the first of many.  I don't normally write prose, I'm really more of a haiku poet and lyricist, but in the name of bravery I figured I'd jump right out of my comfort zone with my first post.  However, since I've been working furiously for the past few weeks on Eurydice, I don't exactly have anything new to share.  So this is a piece I wrote about three or four years ago that I'd love to share with you all.  Feel free to let me know what you think, I encourage constructive criticism and would love to discuss the piece in the comments with anyone who has something to say.  I call it "the boy in the car behind me."  Check it out after the jump.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Hello friends!  Ali here, with a little update on what we've been up to lately...  Ryan and I have spent the past two weeks working on a unique theater project, writing a score for a staged reading of Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl as part of the Princeton Public Library's Page to Stage series.  We were also cast in the play, as the Stones.  Spinner's End is a relatively new band, so being offered this kind of opportunity was a real thrill for both of us.  Now, I am close friends with the amazing director Brandon Monokian, so that may have been part of the reason we got the gig.  However, we are not the type to take an opportunity like this lightly, nepotism be damned.  We dove headfirst into this project and wrote the bulk of the music in three furious writing sessions.  It's been a hell of an experience and we are both so excited for the show tomorrow!

In case you've never heard of this beautiful play, here's the story.  It's a modern twist on the classic Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, this time through tragic heroine Eurydice's eyes.  Eurydice and Orpheus are young and in love - maybe too in love.  They're getting married!  But then, tragedy strikes on their wedding day when the Lord of the Underworld aka A Nasty Interesting Man comes along and decides to make Eurydice his own.  She "trips" down a huge flight of stairs and dies.  In this strange world, when you die you are dipped in the River of Forgetfulness & you shed all memories of your past life.  In the underworld she encounters the Stones.. a group of three strange creatures that serve as the Lord of the Underworld's gatekeepers and welcome committee.  Things get really interesting when Eurydice's father, who died when she was young, appears and somehow remembers his daughter.  Add in Orpheus's unwavering devotion to finding her and bringing her back to life, and you've got a recipe for an emotional, poignant, and sweet tale of what it means to love and be loved.

Usually, the Stones are played by three actors, the Little Stone, the Big Stone, and the Loud Stone.  In our version, the Stones have been consolidated and morphed into me, Ryan, and the piano.  Every line that would normally be spoken (save one sarcastic line that goes to Ryan) is instead sang by me, accompanied by Ryan.  I went to college for Acting, but I haven't actually done a play since I graduated.  Though I love acting, my focus has definitely shifted to music and making Spinner's End my number one priority.  It's been really amazing not only having an opportunity to act again, but also for Ryan and I to take Sarah Ruhl's beautiful and brilliant words and turn them into songs.  The surreal, heightened, poetic quality of the lines translates beautifully as lyrics.  I'm so proud of the work we've done these past two weeks, and I think that the audience tomorrow is in for something really unique, interesting, and honest.  The other actors in the play are giving really strong performances and Brandon's directorial vision is really beautiful.  If any of you internet folk out there are free tomorrow, Wednesday the 27th, and live in the Princeton area, please come check it out!  And if you're not able to come, I still suggest you get your hands on a copy of Sarah Ruhl's Eurydice.  You won't regret reading it.

Details can be found here.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

heat death.

I don't know about any of you, but I feel about like my brain has melted into mush and oozed out my ears. Summer is usually my favorite season but this heat is so oppressive it's making me long for cool autumn nights. Ryan and I have spent the past few days holed up in our bedroom, for lo there is the air conditioning, and it is good. However for those moments when you have to go out and face the terrible sauna outside (like going to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 in IMAX, like we are tonight!), it's good to have some tricks to keep cool.

My tip for the ladies is milkmaid braids.
They're really cute and surprisingly easy.  Just part your hair, make two long braids on each side of your head, & use bobby pins to stick 'em to your head.  
I'm not too careful when I'm pinning, as I like my hair to look a bit disheveled, but you can make them as tidy as you like.  I also like to wear a floral crown on top, as it hides some of the mess and makes me feel like an elf.  I made this floral crown myself, actually.
It's really the best hairstyle for this weather.  I love my long hair, so it's nice to have an option like this too keep it all off my neck.  It especially helps on those days when the humidity is making me seriously consider shaving my head.

Ryan's tip for the menfolk: mustachio!
He finally caved in the heat and decided to shave off his beard.  His facial hair had gotten really long, so I made him promise me that he'd shave the beard off first and let me take a picture of him with a silly mustache.  I thought it would just be for a laugh, but now I actually really like it.  Ryan's decided to keep it for now, as a mustache is much less sweaty than a beard and therefore still acceptable for the weather.  I think it makes him look like a Spanish Conquistador or Musketeer or George Harrison.  Whichever it is, 'tis yes.

So does anybody else have a silly tip for beating this awful heat?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ron Weasley (Please Notice Me)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two comes out in the US this Friday.  Ryan and I (and my brother, who helped us out with guitar) are huge Harry Potter fans.  HUGE.  We figured that in honor of the final movie in the series (tear!) being released, we would post this little video.  I, like many awkward girls around the world, identify a lot with Hermione Granger.  I, too, was a mousy little bookworm when I was younger, though my nose was buried in Harry Potter books rather than Hogwarts: A History.  I had an epic crush on my best guy friend in high school (Ryan) who seemed completely oblivious, so the Ron and Hermione story always resonated with me.  The song takes place during Half-Blood Prince, during that awful time for Hermione (and subsequently Harry) when Ron is dating Lavender.  I have always felt a deep connection to this love story, so much so that this song practically wrote itself.  When I was cheering for Hermione, on some level, I was also cheering for myself.  The lessons I learned from those incredible books will be with me for a lifetime.  J.K. Rowling's characters are so vibrant that they seem to take on a life of their own, and I know I'm not alone when I say that I cherished them almost as if they were my friends.  We would like to dedicate this song to J.K. Rowling as a thank you for the beautiful world she created, a world that helped us escape from our own, and the characters that we will carry in our hearts forever.

Lyrics behind the jump:

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Cape May.

Greetings from Cape May, NJ!  Well, actually no, we're home now.  But we just got back from a really great weekend away with my family.  If you've never been to Cape May, I suggest you make a trip.  It really is the cutest little beach town.  Everything from the architecture of the homes to the quirky little shops is very picturesque and old-fashioned.  I think the best way to describe Cape May to someone from out of state would be this.  Picture everything you think you know about the Jersey Shore: Snooki, the Situation, the fake tans, the fake boobs, the you-can't-possibly-be-a-real-person nightmares.  Now imagine the complete and total opposite in every way.  Welcome to Cape May.
Finally, some photos of our shining faces.  More behind the jump!
Ali & Ryan