Sunday, March 30, 2014

Bitches & Quitters: The Challenge

I have a pretty straight forward set of rules that keep me out of trouble.

1) Don't do anything you wouldn't want your parents or your boss to know about. (Luckily, I have supportive hippy dippy parents who probably do weirder stuff than I do...)

2) Don't post anything to facebook that you wouldn't want your parents or boss to know about.

Facebook. What a bizarre sense of space--to be connected with anyone anywhere in the world at any moment you desire. I'm still impressed by the interwebs.

I am by no means a facebook quitter.  Generally, it's a good tool for booking, mapping out show attendance and the most efficient way to share crude puppet shows and talking cats with my siblings.

Lately, in my own personal facebook cosmos it feels like there has been an abnormal amount of negative funk. I'm not talking about global politics updates or oil spill information--

Negative as in passive aggressive bitching and careless whining that can be potentially dangerous.

It's like coming home to your apartment to find your disgruntled roommate has left snide post it notes on everything in the fridge.


It's not news, but it's an interesting idea to revisit:

The internet is an extension of our physical lives, and just like in your Real Life once you say something stupid, it's incredibly difficult to take it back. And odds are pretty good you actually know some of the people on your "friend list" in this dimension.

When we agree to participate in facebook (and the larger umbrella of the internet), we choose to participate in a community. It is not a vacuous confessional where complaints go to die.

You can hide things. You can delete things. But you can't Un-See things.  

The sloppy and thinly veiled screed about your fr-enemy hurts more people than the intended target.  Rants about everyone you encounter being a drooling idiot makes us pity you. Carelessly complaining about your coworkers or boss can and probably will get you fired...

It's a bit 1984. (Okay maybe a lot bit.) But it's not all bad.

It shouldn't make us scared. It should make us considerate.

Manners are sexy.

We can do better!

Here's the challenge: 

For the entire week, keep your posts positive. Show us something beautiful. Share your favorite song. Tell us all about your project. Tell us about what you love. Make us laugh. Teach us something. 

If you need a little extra Good Juju Drama Cleansing you can post this picture to your page to smudge it out!

I'll be sharing special content on the Dreamsicle page all week long!

Are you up to the challenge, kittens?

See you in cyberspace, cowboys. XO

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Ask a Dreamsicle: How do you...

How in the eff do you do all the stuff you do?

Excellent question. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure.  Probably drugs.

It's no secret that I love being busy. I can't think of anything I'd rather be. (Other than a mermaid.)

There are tomes of self help information, advice and lectures on how to be a Productive Time Altering Wizard.  Some of this information is incredibly helpful and inspiring, but much of it assumes CEO's are the only humans who want to go forth and Do Things. (Not that there's anything wrong with being a CEO. Go get it!)

But 'Zeroing my Inbox' has never done anything but make me feel bat-shit crazy.

 It just isn't always relevant for the existence we're trying to style. Dig?

Here is my gloves-off answer to Effing Doing All the Stuff You Want to Do.

Be afraid and ignore it. My friends know I am essentially a ball of crippling chipmunkish anxiety.
If we wait to make a move "when the time is right" (which is code for: "until we're no longer afraid") it will never happen. Fear is a totally normal reaction, just don't let it own you.

On your mission to Do Stuff, you're going to feel crazy. You're going to juggle. Trust it's for the best.

Align yourself with humans who are aligned with you. There is NO way I'd be able to complete projects without a tribe of super heroes to help.

Aligning means finding a friends you can bounce ideas off of and support the mayhem of your life, making connections with enthusiastic humans who share your interests, or possibly an employer that understands and appreciates your life outside of work. (Networking. It doesn't have to be gross.)

Implement a system. I know-- It sounds terribly sexy. My prefered system for scheming is a hard copy calendar. Use what works for you: journals, google calendar, timers, folders, weekly powwows to brainstorm, accountability coffee dates, or setting aside a specific day of the week to womp on your goal.

If you need ideas, this is my favorite system. It's effective and has lots of pictures. We like pictures.

Feed the beast. The moment I get bored or feel creatively underwhelmed, all momentum comes to a screeching halt. Here are a few tactics for getting inspired NOW.

Take care of yourself. (Duh.) It's so obvious, but for some reason it's really hard. Giving yourself what you need keeps you from burning out. It's tough enough to make it through the day as it is without sabotaging ourselves. It's ALL about snacks and naps.

Say no to things you can take care of later.  Sometimes (usually) Getting Things the Eff Done means taking a pass on the hangover or working on your couch groove. 

On her site, GetBullish, super blogger Jen Dziura implores,

 "Be Productive or Be Awesome".

Here's the idea: Either fully commit to being productive or commit to totally decadent relaxation. None of this willynilly half-lounging-kinda-working-mostly-surfing-facebook business.

Get your Shit Done like a boss or listen to a trashy book-on-tape in the tub with bubbles up to your eyebrows, taking pulls of honey whiskey right from the bottle.

There may or may not be Tom Jones on the turntable...

And Finally,  Accept that you're never going to have more time.  "Someday when I have more time" is a time made of lies. The time is Now.

Go get it.

What are your tips for Kicking Ass? Share with the class-- Meow in the comments!

Do you have burning questions you would like to see featured in Ask a Dreamsicle
Leave your question in the comments or inbox me on facebook.

Forever Yours,

Thursday, March 13, 2014

A Love Letter for Us

It's been a tough week, hasn't it puddings? While slurping coffee and staring in to space (as is customary) I fought writing something syrupy. People want to know how to DO things and see pictures of frustrated cats.

But alas, I was compelled to write you a love letter.  I feel like we could use it.

Dearest Kitten,

I know you're tired. You show up to work on time, are considerate of other drivers, serve up your heart and remember to recycle. It's incredibly sexy.

It hurts to wake up and feel like you're moving backwards--as  if somehow while you slept the river pushed you back several miles and you're back at the campsite.

Feeling like you are giving more than you are receiving can be like living with a nasty cold you can't kick: your body hurts, stirring your tea is exhausting and all you really want to do is move into your bed and give up. 

Or write a strongly worded email. Or eat a box of donuts.

But I want to assure you that you are growing, muffin. Even if you can't see it right now. We pretend that growth is an expensive eye cream that works over night-- blissful and painless.

But stretching yourself is exhilarating and usually uncomfortable. Growth starts in the dark--

in the dirt.

Olympians know it. Flowers know it.

Those aches mean you are on the right track.

It's okay to want good things for yourself. It's okay to gently shut off the compulsion to please-- to not answer every message, to not appease every stranger, not to demolish the seemingly endless tire fire of imaginary tasks...

You know the difference between being busy and being productive, because you're sharp. It's one of the many reasons I adore you.

Your work does not go unnoticed.  Everything you do makes a difference. I learned that from The Butterfly Effect...

or  maybe It's a Wonderful Life.

Whatever. What I mean is that we're all in this together-- that you've done big things before and can do big things again...

You're doing great, the moment is now and your hair looks perfect,

you magical cloud of  hot moving molecules. 

 Let's meet at the bike rack and talk about the future.

Affectionately yours,

Monday, March 10, 2014

Magic Monday: Wanderlust

I've got the Wanderlust. Hard.

This year is packed with trips and I'm itching to stuff my blue floral suitcase, throw my boots in the trunk and get Nowhere fast. If birds and butterflies can make it across the country, so can I.

Secret Caves. Pink Mountains. Painted Desert. It's time to make little tracks on the map--

Explore places I've never been, hike and horseback in the heat, get lost, find stars, discover unloved juke boxes and watering holes...

Grow out my hair and get bugs in my teeth. Maybe change my name and join the circus as a professional Mermaid.

Or just get really sunburned. Stranger things have happened.

What dimensions do you want to explore? Where will you be wandering?

Happy Trails,  Dreamers.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Girlness, Rockness, Wholeness.

For the last few months I've been working with a fabulous team on an event that I couldn't be more jazzed about.

Rebel Rebel,  is a benefit for Girls Rock Milwaukee that smashes together creative designers, drag, performance and rock & roll. As the event draws near, it seemed like an appropriate time to open a discussion and tell a few stories about the girl experience, music and why it matters.

Story Time. 

Many moons ago as a tweenaged dreamsicle, I wanted to be a singer. Or thought I was a singer.

After a middle school choir teacher informed me I should forget classical voice and shoot for radio or phone sex, I decided I wasn't a singer anymore.

For those of you who have never been a middle school girl, let me assure you that if you were given the hypothetical choice between a second go-round as a middle school girl or selling your arms to Satan-- you'd cut those suckers right off.

You're dumpy. You're fat. Your boobs are sad. Your teeth suck. You're bad at sports. No one likes you. You aren't good at anything. You're awkward. Your hair is greasy. If you kiss a boy your a slut. If you say no, you're a bitch. All of your friends actually hate you. Your skin is terrible...

Top it off with being told you have a whore man voice and see how good you feel about life on the planet.

I was sure that every time I opened my hideous mouth it sounded like two orca whales fucking.

Enter my incredible Mother who brought home treasures like Julie London, Peggy Lee, Nina Simone and Sarah Vaughn to cure me of my Alto Shame. I was a singer again.

As much as I loved singing jazz (and still do) I desperately wanted to be the front man of a Rock and Roll band. There was a power and a freedom in it. You could be effective.

Hardcore culture reigned supreme in my high school and despite my best efforts, haircuts, tape collections and show attendance it was impossible break in. It was maddening to stand right outside of the action, watching these boys express themselves in an exciting and demonstrative way.

The Berlin wall of Band-dom was made of assholes. Like big ones, and lots of them.

Boys coiffed, collected records, created bands, performed,organized shows, were signed to labels, bought vans and went on tour. That was scene.

Girls box dyed their hair, collected the same records, attended the shows and purchased merch. We were posers.

There was an invisible electric fence around music. We loved the same bands. We wanted the same things. It was as if our feels didn't feel as deep as "boy feels" and we didn't really understand and merely pretended we could.

Somehow our experience was less real.

I joined my first "real band" as a freshman in high school. As bands came and went the end results were the same: we would never achieve Rock and Roll Nirvana.

The question arose: Why was I trying so desperately to carve a space in a culture that clearly didn't want me? (This would later lead to a seemingly ongoing crisis about how a subculture can hypocritically claim to be feminist and progressive, yet be so blatantly anti woman. But THAT is another article, kittens...)

It felt like I was being kept away from my Purpose. These were really ugly years. 

Since I was busy finger painting in the early 90's, I was too young to grasp Riot Grrrl before it was "over". Truthfully, Riot Grrrl didn't even enter my consciousness until my gender studies exploration as a freshman in college.

I was ashamed of my girlness and believed it was holding me back. My solution to get out of musical exile was to make my art as masculine as possible.  It failed.

Some years later while making my first recording in a studio, there was incredible disappointment that I couldn't scream like a man. The only way to be good was to be something I wasn't. More shame-- the negative cycle validated itself.

The next decade was spent wandering around trying to figure out how to be a "Girl Singer".

Hell, I'm still figuring it out. 

When I first learned about Girls Rock, lightening bolts ACTUALLY shot out of my eyes.

The girls attend camp and learn how to play instruments, write songs, form a BAND and have the opportunity to perform their work for the public. The campers not only get a chance to shred and grow as artists, but gain leadership skills, self confidence, creative problem solving abilities and teamwork experience. 

They're basically Super Heroes. 

My heart gets so big it pounds on my ribs when I think about these girls in their life after camp-- Knowing in their guts that they are capable, talented, dedicated, supported, confident and just as real as anyone else...

Knowing that they are badasses that can make something good, that their girlness is good. Knowing that they are powerful both on stage and off. I like thinking that these Wonder Women in training will transform into radiant humans who know their Truth and change lives.

It makes me proud. It inspires me.

Because it's not just about music. It's about living a Whole life where you have Purpose--
a life where you can heal and create and fail to heal and create again. 

I believe in the Healing Power of Rock and Roll.

You can learn more about Girls Rock Milwaukee here and RSVP to the Rebel Rebel benefit here.

Let's talk. I'd love to hear your thoughts and stories in the comments.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Rockabilly Girl Productions: Art Carnival, Elvis and Inspiration

 As a Milwaukee based theatrical and art event machine, Rockabilly Girl Productions conspires with a variety of artists and performers to bring the city entertaining treats with a funky retro edge.
Cream City Dreamsicle gets the scoop with producer Alice Wilson on her latest Art Carnival extravaganza.

Alice Wilson of Rockabilly Girl Productions

It's been a busy year for you and we're barely three months in! You're very prolific. Where do you draw inspiration from when creating your events and performances?

Sometimes ideas literally come to me in my dreams, while showering or watching other shows. As cliche as it sounds I'm inspired by life...other artists, musicians, classic movies, thrift store shopping, horror movies & shows, classic cars, traveling...

 I've had a love affair with everything vintage as far back as I can recall. I fondly remember my paternal grandmother playing records on an old Victrola and going to visit my maternal grandmother regularly at the Nobby Grill Diner in my hometown where she made all of the deserts by scratch.

 I've often said that I long so completely for the decades prior to when I was born that I'm convinced I've had previous lives. In 2012 my husband and I honeymooned in Vegas and caught the Viva Elvis Cirque du Soleil show which inspired us to produce The Blue Hawaii Spectacular at Next Act Theatre in 2013.

As a producer, what do you want people to take away from your events?

As a producer, first and foremost I love creating not just a show but an experience. I want people to walk in the door and be able to forget about their problems for a little while and just be unabashedly entertained. 

I try and remember the sheer magical feeling I felt every time I got to go to a play or the circus, a parade or an Ice Capades show when I was a little girl. I hope adults can get as close to that feeling as possible when they come to my events.

What makes Art Carnival particularly awesome?

I think Art Carnival is particularly awesome because it melds many from different disciplines all together...visual artists, burlesque & carnival performers, dancers, actors, [and] comediennes.

So often times events seem to be this OR that. Anyone who knows me well can tell you I'm very much about collaboration. I hope that Art Carnival will broaden the demographic in terms of RGP's audience. There is something for everyone at Art Carnival. Three friends with different interests could all come together and have a fantastic time!

Love it! The March 5th Art Carnival features a figure drawing session with the performers. For our readers who might not be pro figure artists, what can they expect?

My background is not only in theatre but in art as well. My day job is art modeling at many area schools including MIAD, UWM, Alverno, The Art Institute of WI and MATC. Generally speaking a model does a variety of poses which can range anywhere from 30 sec gesture poses to 5 min to class long poses with breaks. In figure drawing classes this is done nude as students are studying the human anatomy & skeletal structure. 

At Art Carnival the drawing portion will last for about 1 hour and involve the performers in costume striking 5, 10 and 20 min poses. Anyone is welcome to try your hand and drawing weather you're a 30 year art veteran or it's your first time. There will be some scratch paper, crayons, etc. for this wishing to doodle for fun. More serious artists will want to bring their sketch pads, charcoal, etc.

This production will feature, Burlesque, Boylesque, Belly Dance, live drawing and games.

What other Rockabilly Girl Happenings should we mark on our calendars?

Art Carnival will be the first Wed of every month so the next three are April 2, May 7 & June 4th

I am particularly excited about May 7th because you will be performing and that one will be horror based (horror=another of my obsessions) in order to promote the Second Annual Horror-O-Rama on Friday May 16th from 6p-10p at Best Place located in the old Pabst Brewery site at 901 W. Juneau.

Tentatively scheduled near the end of August is The Hillbilly Cabaret at The Underground Collaborative. Stay tuned for details and more very exciting announcements from Rockabilly Girl Productions!

Follow the fun on the site and facebook.

Go forth and have fun, kittens!

Want your event or project featured on the blog? Inbox me on facebook!