Need a Signal Boost…

I have a problem knee. It started years ago after a car accident, and ended (or so I thought) about 3 years ago after the gradual wearing away of the cartilage in my right knee started to become painful. I had it treated, I went to Physical Therapy… and it was fixed. Or so I thought.

A little more than 3 years later and I start having knee pain again. Another round of treatments, more physical therapy, and it was starting to get better again. And then…

One evening earlier this month, during an otherwise uneventful hike through Griffith Park, I took a step up an incline and felt a sharp pain and a large crunch. But because I was at the top of a mountain, I walked it off and got back to my car. And after the initial crunching, honestly, it seemed okay. The next day it was sore. I chalked it up to the normal soreness from overexertion, put some ice on it and went on with my day. The day after that I woke up to my knee the size of a grapefruit and the inability to bend it at all. It was stiff, sore and HURT. Again, walked as much as I could, got it loosened up, iced it and gave myself the next 3 days off working out and generally sat on my ass as much as possible.

Flash forward to 3 weeks later and though it’s gotten generally better and it’s manageable, I am noticing that it’s always stiff, it’s always sore and remains a bit swollen. I can’t bend it. My range of motion is limited and I’m in constant pain. So back to the doctor again. Another MRI, and this time, it’s not just the same old thing. The crunch I felt during that hike was apparently a pretty big tear in the already weakened cartilage. On the MRI I could see the spot where it was missing plainly. No need for doctor translation on this one – look there’s a chunk of my knee missing – easy to see.

And this time, I will need surgery to repair the damage.

And herein lies the problem.

I am a freelance photographer. And I don’t get paid sick days. I have been told by my doctor that recovery from this surgery will require me to be on crutches for up to 6 weeks. Which means, I will not be able to work for at least that long. I have health insurance, but I am going to be responsible for paying part of it and even with insurance, I’m looking at a couple thousand dollars.

I hate asking for help.

But there it is.

I need help.

What I am asking for is this – simply a signal boost.

I have an Etsy store filled with prints of my photography work – I need to sell them. A good number of them are already framed from having shown in local galleries over the last few years. I have a few things I’m selling on eBay (and I’m sure once I’ve taken a moment to go through my closet, I will have more).

Here are the links:

Lauren Elisabeth Photography on Etsy (etsy.com/shop/laurenelisabethphoto)

and my seller ID on eBay is TheTankGyrl, my auctions are here:

http://www.ebay.com/sch/thetankgyrl/m.html?_ipg=48&_sop=12&_rdc=1

Friends and readers! I would appreciate it greatly if you could pass these links along to your followers.

Also, for the next few weeks before the surgery, I’m going to need to work as much as possible. If you need headshots, portraits, have a party or event that needs coverage – my work is at http://luxela.net.

Thanks for taking a moment to read this.

Why Yesterday I Didn’t Wear Pants

I’ll be honest. Last year wasn’t a great one. 2014, while it didn’t kick my ass across the room like 2013 did, did have more lows than highs, and in general it just wasn’t great.

There were of course, moments of greatness – like getting to spend some time in Paris with a very dear friend who I hadn’t seen in FAR too long. Also, getting to know my newest niece. Cause even at just over a year old, she’s pretty frakking amazing. And a couple of people came into my life or became bigger parts of it, who I now can’t imagine my world without.

But then again, there was the severe lack of employment, leading to a severe lack of funds, leading to a questioning of myself, what I do and my talents for doing it, and just generally putting me in a head space that wasn’t only unhealthy but downright destructive at times. I had a few medical problems, some rather serious, that had to be dealt with. Those weren’t fun. And paying for them isn’t going to be fun for quite some time I imagine.

But that’s all behind me now – at least as much as it can be for the time being. And as the new year started recently, I started looking at the things I wanted to change in my life, my work and my relationships. The news year’s resolutions started to form, though I really hate the term “resolutions.” Resolutions, for me aren’t a thing that you should measure. They are just things you do. And they shouldn’t be started under the pretense of New Year’s or for any other reason that begins with social pressure to “make yourself better.”

Instead, I set myself GOALS at the onset of a new year. Goals are tangible. Goals have a definitive success level that can be measured. When you reach a goal, you can see the result and say “Hey, I did that. That’s good.”

I have five this year. The first four are indeed personal and rather normal. They are the boring ones – paying off of credit cards, going on a specific vacation I’ve been wanting to take for ages, lose the weight I put on due to my medical problems last year… you know, the usual bullshit sorts of things that people talk about. But then there is the last one. And this specific goal is the one that made me take off my pants in public yesterday.

I WILL, AT LEAST ONCE A MONTH, DO SOMETHING NEW THAT IS WELL OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE.

(Honestly, I hope I do these things more than once a month, but I figure once a month is a good starting point.)

So I did it. One down, eleven more to go. Yesterday, along with over 100 other people, I took off my pants and rode around all day on the Los Angeles metro. And I liked it.

I participated for the first time in an annual event simply called the “No Pants Subway Ride.” It is organized one day a year spanning 59 cities in 29 countries and I can tell you, it’s a blast.

I arrived at our meeting point, where there were a varied group of people of all styles and subcultures standing around sort of aimlessly, until we all started asking each other “Are you here for the no pants ride?” At some point, about 15 minutes before we all headed into the actual metro station, someone announced that it was time to de-pants. And we did. Some straight off with no issues, and some of us (I assuming the other newbies like myself) taking an extra beat before pulling off our outerwear.

But then, there it was. A group of mostly total strangers all standing around in our underwear. Some wore costumes, some made outfits out of their underthings, some had themes, and some, like myself, just didn’t have on any pants. Which is sort of the point. The idea of the mission is to act like there is nothing off or wrong or different about not wearing pants. We were instructed to get on the train in small groups. To act as if this was just a normal day on the train.

So we did. Several times, the friends I was with were asked why they weren’t wearing anything below the belt – particularly because they were specifically dressed in Hogwarts uniforms sans pants. One of them just pretended she’d forgotten them. The other blamed his lack of trousers on a spell gone wrong. I just looked at the questioning parties as if I had no idea what they were talking about.

But that was just part of the fun. Now, I’m no prude by any means. I will wear the tiniest of skirts to a nightclub without batting an eyelash. In that environment, I am totally comfortable. But this was not a nightclub. This was not an expected venue for the outfits (and lack of them) that were seen and worn. Which is what I feared would take me out of my comfort zone. And it did. For a little while. But not for as long as I thought it would. The sheer absurdity of being in a group of people all walking around without their pants on in the middle of Los Angeles – at Union Station, on Hollywood Boulevard, was brilliant. And un-surprisingly freeing. To be honest, I lost all self-consciousness in minutes.

Also, not surprising, was the friendliness with which everyone greeted each other. It’s hard to throw attitude when your junk is on display, unprotected by nothing by thin cotton panties, teeny tiny briefs or form hugging shorts. If that’s all it takes to break down cultural strata, maybe we should all go pants-less more often.

I could try to wax on about the day and how life changing it was, but the truth is that it wasn’t that. It was just exactly what it was supposed to be – a brilliantly fun day, and after the subway riding portion of the day ended, my friends and I adjourned to the Pig-n-Whistle for some beers and burgers until it was time to put our pants back on and head home. And I did accomplish what I had set out to do – I did something new that took me out of my comfort zone. I highly suggest that everyone try to do that more often.

With this goal in mind, already I feel like even if this year isn’t overall better than last, at least it’s going to be a hell of a lot more fun.

Me with the No Pants representatives from Hogwarts.

Me with the No Pants representatives from Hogwarts.

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Part of my favorite no pants clan – a Star Wars group. A Stormtrooper, an Ewok, Han Solo, Darth Vader and even a Wampa – all without pants.

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The crowd with no pants heads up to Hollywood Boulevard.

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Just a normal day on the metro… without pants.

Body Confidence. Also, Please Stop It.

This morning, while sipping my coffee and perusing the internet, I came across this headline on an MSN article:

“How To Get Cameron Diaz’s Arms”

It was next to the accompanying article “How To Get Abs Like Beyonce.”

This bugs me. But why should it? After all, these are articles that are meant to be inspiring to women everywhere to get in shape and be fitter, healthier and (in theory) generally happier with themselves. It’s not the reason behind the articles that bothers me so much, its the method.

Why can’t those “aspirational” headlines be more actualized and less sensationalized. I’m never going to have Cameron Diaz’s arms, Beyonce’s abs, or Jennifer Lopez’s butt. Why must we be beaten over the head with these bullshit aspirations to look like women who, let’s be honest, WE WILL NEVER LOOK LIKE. It does us, as women, a huge disservice to encourage us to reach unrealistic goals. We should be encouraged to be ourselves, be beautiful as we are and own our flaws. It’s not the perfect bits that make us beautiful. Its our flaws that make us unique and therein lies each and every woman’s own beauty. Let’s stop clicking on those links, stop buying those magazines, just STOP supporting the ridiculousness of all this until the magazine and website publishers who perpetuate these articles start offering us articles that inspire us to be the best of ourselves, not the impossibility of being “just like” someone else.

***Silly thought that popped into my head when I read that headline: Cameron Diaz’s arms would look really funny on me. I have a bigger frame than she does. If my arms were as thin as hers, I’d look like I had twigs stuck out of my shoulders and except for Madonna – no one wants that.***

But seriously, for once, I would like to see an article with a more realistic approach and headline “How to Be the BEST YOU THAT YOU CAN BE” would be nice. Or maybe “How to Be Fit and Healthy, Taking Into Consideration Your Own Body Frame.” I suppose those headlines just aren’t attention grabbing. Though for the ladies that I know who are learning to be comfortable in their own skins, I think they would be.

Every woman’s magazine, fashion magazine and online beauty site constantly tells us we have to look like someone else. And it’s infuriating.

I work out just about every day. I do. I’m proud of the body I have achieved and I work hard at making it the best it can be. But I also have problem areas that genetically speaking are never going to be perfect. And that’s okay. Yeah, sometimes it bugs me that no matter how many dumbbell curls or tricep extensions I do, my upper arms always look flabbier than I’d like. But I’ve come to accept this. That acceptance came last year, when I discovered that even with that unwanted jiggle on my arms I was able to lift and carry a full 50 quart cooler from my job site to my car. Those bicep curls made it not only possible, but not really that hard. My PA saw me do it. She was impressed. And honestly, so was I. It felt good to know that even though I wasn’t achieving the visible results I was striving for, I was actually a lot stronger than I’d thought. Suddenly having “ripped” arms just didn’t matter so much.

We shouldn’t be aspiring to be something we can never achieve. We should be aspiring to be the versions of ourselves that make us happiest. We should aspire to be healthy, fit and strong. We should eat salad one day and cake the next. We should be enjoying ourselves and know that the secret to real happiness isn’t directly proportional to how close to the same dress size as Keira Knightly we are, it’s in being confident and happy with ourselves. I know women who are happy and confident at every size and shape imaginable – and that’s exactly how it should be for everyone.

It makes me sad when I see a girl who is beautiful, talented and extremely stylish post a photo of herself that says “I hate my butt and thighs.” Because what I saw in that photo was a girl with a great ass and nice legs. But we’re so heavily bombarded with these unattainable goals, she doesn’t see it. So – in case you read this – you’re gorgeous. Own it.

Apparently this is Body Confidence Week 2014.

Well, screw that.

I say we own our imperfections and share our struggles and make 2014 Body Confidence Year.

The Problem with Wonder Woman

Earlier this week, the announcement was made that in Zach Snyder’s upcoming film Batman vs Superman, we get yet another important character introduction – in the form of everyone’s favorite Amazon – Wonder Woman. She is to be portrayed by an Israeli model and actress Gal Gadot. In the time since the announcement was made, the internet has blown up with reactions. Some were positive, some were questioning… but most, that I saw, were very negative. But the question I pose to you is this – WHY?

Once again, as it was with the Ben Affleck/Batman announcement – the general consensus is that the actor picked for the role is totally wrong for it. And most of the comments I saw were based on no more than a quick trip to the actress’s Wikipedia page, IMDB page and an extensive array of images of her as an actress, model and most notably – a Miss Universe contestant. While I agree with the fact that I’m not sure that she fits MY vision of what Wonder Woman should look like, I don’t know anything about this woman. And I would venture a guess that most of the more vocal haters don’t either.

I’ve never seen her act. At least not in any English-speaking roles – I do remember (only because it was on TV yesterday) she played the Israeli girlfriend of Mark Wahlberg’s security operative in Date Night. But most of her screen time was 1) spoken in Hebrew and 2) pretty much focused on the fact that she wasn’t wearing much. That was her role – the hot non-English speaking girl in the room. And she was cute in that role, if not very memorable. But then again, that was meant to be a throw-away role set as a bookend to accentuate Mark Wahlberg’s awesomeness compared to Steve Carrell’s NOT awesomeness so in fairness, I really can’t base an opinion on that.

Having no information on Gal Gadot’s acting history aside from that one small role, I looked her up. Apparently she’s been in a Fast & Furious movie or two. I can’t speak to that, having not seen the films from that franchise that she’s in. Again, I’m pretty sure most people who are hating on the choice haven’t seen her act much either. So let’s not talk about whether or not she’s a good actress. What I really want to get into here is the commentary that she is “too skinny” or not the right look for the role.

Let’s see how she stacks up against the description of the Amazon tribe Wonder Woman comes from:

1. Amazon women are meant to be tall. She’s 5’9″ according to her IMDB page – so throw her in a pair of stack heeled boots and BAM – SHE IS TALL.

2. Amazon women are meant to be strong and athletic – well – this girl is a former member of the Israeli military – arguably one of the most well-trained and most capable military forces on the planet. Having lived in Israel – I have known more than a few Israeli soldiers. You do not want to fuck with them. Trust me. So I’m pretty sure she will be doing most of her own stunts. Or at least she’ll be able to, even if they don’t let her.

3. Amazon women are meant to be beautiful. Check. No one is disagreeing with that. The girl is beautiful.

Now let’s look at the character more specifically.

1. Wonder Woman should have ultra dark hair and blue eyes. Okay. So, no one in Hollywood has ever dyed their hair or worn colored contact lenses to portray a particular character, right? I’m pretty sure if they can turn Christopher Eccleston into an evil white elf with glowing crystal blue eyes and seamless super pointy ears, they can handle a box of L’Oreal blue-black hair dye and some Acuvue tinted lenses.

2. Wonder Woman should be voluptuous. Okay, I’ll give you that – Ms Gadot is not particularly voluptuous. However, we have seen more dramatic body transformations in Hollywood than on the Jenny Craig website, so let’s again, give them the benefit of the doubt. It’s not only men who can bulk up, build muscles and gain or loose weight as needed. So there is no reason to assume that just because she’s thin now, she won’t be bulked up for the role. There is no reason you can’t be curvy AND athletic. And with the wealth of nutritionists and trainers available to her, I’m confident, that she can alter herself physically to fit the more curvy and buff look of Wonder Woman.

3. Wonder Woman’s accent won’t be right. No, not kidding. Not a huge concern I’ll grant you, but I saw one hater post that said “She talks funny.” Um, have you ever heard a woman from the long-lost Amazonian colony speak? Yeah, neither have I – so who’s to say what she should sound like. As long as they don’t give her a misplaced psuedo-British accent, which as we all know, is the go-to “you’re not from American, but we shouldn’t know where you are from exactly” accent, then it really doesn’t matter. Also, dialect coaches. Hollywood has them. Bet hers has already been hired.

Not one of the arguments I saw about this announcement had anything to do with Ms. Gadot’s ability as an actress. They all had to do with what she looked like. So, based on the lists given here, all of your shallow and pointless arguments are now invalid. Could we all agreed to let it be until we actually see how GOOD Ms. Gadot is or isn’t in the role?

My concern with this role, isn’t the look of the actress, but with the way that Zach Snyder seems to treat female characters the way an adolescent boy envisions them. Even his most empowered and strong-willed women tend to give up their power to a man at some point in the narrative. That is something that Wonder Woman would never do and I cringe to think at what may be going through Snyder’s head in planning her portrayal.

And what worries me more, is that I just don’t think that Snyder is a very good director. I mean, look at Man of Steel. He took several talented and proven actors and turned them into walking cardboard. Granted, they’re pretty walking cardboard but still cardboard. Man of Steel would have been a more engaging movie if it’d just been Henry Cavill standing shirtless in front of the broken landscape of Krypton for 2 hours. At least I would have enjoyed it more.

Who knows if Gadot will be a good choice for Wonder Woman or not? There is no way to know if the role is something that she (and Snyder) can handle with the respect it deserves. But let’s also remember, no one thought that Heath Ledger was going to be a good Joker. And a lot of people hated the idea of Christian Bale as Batman too.

Okay, so now that we’ve got that all out of the way – let’s talk about what the uproar is really about.

After months of speculation, discussions and and teasing on the part of any number of entertainment and comic book “insiders” – the problem you’re all having with the new Wonder Woman is simply this:

She’s not Jaimie Alexander.

My Tattoos Are NOT An Invitation to Grab Me

This morning, while running errands, I decided to stop off at a Starbucks for a lovely much needed caffeine infusion of the iced variety. It is after all Southern California and it is summer. And it’s hot. As I was waiting in line for the opportunity to order my sugary frosty treat, I noticed that a man in line ahead of me was staring at me. Now, I am not a vain person, however, I am aware that I am somewhat cute and pretty physically fit – and sometimes men look. That’s fine. Whatever. I gave the dude a half-smile and went back to scrolling through email inbox on my phone. The line moved. I looked up and took a step forward and there was the dude. Still staring. This time he asked me, “May I see your tattoo?” referring to the somewhat large piece of ink I have on my upper arm. It was dim in the Starbucks, and I was standing with my arm turned away from him, so I said sure and turned it towards him so he could see it more clearly. I am used to this. I have a number of tattoos. Sometimes you can see them. Sometimes you can’t. And today, in a tank top (I said it was hot), there they are – in all their colorful glory for all the world to see. But then….

He took a step forward to look at the ink in question and grabbed my arm. Just below the elbow and twisted it towards him. Like I was made of rubber. Not only did it hurt a little to have my arm shockingly turned sideways in an unnatural position, but my offer of letting him look at my tattoo more closely DID NOT give him permission to grab me. Or to touch me at all. As one of my friends said when I told them the story “Look with your eyes, not with your hands! Didn’t we learn that in kindergarten?” My point exactly. I asked him to let go of my arm. I did not make a snarky comment about his having had grabbed me in a rather agressive manner without my consent – which would have been easy to do (and honestly, is usually my first instinct). I, also, did not punch him in the nose (which is usually my second instinct). I did, however, pull my arm back a little to let him know it was NOT OKAY TO TOUCH ME and said “Sorry, but do you mind letting go of me?” His response was to let go of my arm while muttering under his breath, “You don’t have to be bitchy about it.”

I’m sorry – BUT WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK????

Dude, you just grabbed a girl without her permission and twisted her arm sideways. You do not know this woman, you have never seen her before, you do not know anything about her. What the fuck makes you think that by asking to see her artwork you now have her permission to grab her? Or for that matter to touch her at all? Not only is it a violation of my personal space and my right not to be touched by random dudes in coffee shops, but let’s put this in another situation – say you see a girl wearing a t-shirt with a logo on it that is printed clearly over her breasts. You say to her “What does that say?” She turns to you so can read the shirt. Does this brief interaction now give you the right to grab her boobs? Yeah, didn’t think so. In fact, you’d get arrested if you did that. So what makes you think that my body art is any different? It is my body. It is my space. You are not invited into it because you may be an admirer of how I present it to the world.

I would just like to put this out there – a tattoo is a piece of artwork. You wouldn’t grab a painting in a museum to get a better look, would you? No. You would not. So what makes you think that just because I carry my artwork around with me all the time, I want your unwashed hands touching it? It’s not scratch and sniff. You’re not going to get anything extra out of it if you get to touch it. It is, as most art, meant to be looked at, not touched. So keep your grubby hands off me.

The next time you see a girl or anyone with a tattoo you admire, and you ask them to see it more clearly, please respect their boundaries. Yes, tattoos can be beautiful artwork, but they are also part of PEOPLE. Do not assume that the art takes away from the fact that it is on someone’s body. Be respectful. Look, don’t touch. Ask questions if you’re interested in it. I, like most people who have tattoos, are happy to answer any questions you have about them. If you want to know if it feels any different, then ask me that. But, if you are, like I suspect this guy was, just interested in touching me – at least have the common decency to ask me out to dinner first.

And then don’t call me a bitch if I say no because you’re a creepy douchebag.

Thoughts on the New Instagram Terms of Service, And It’s Subsequent Responses

Earlier today, a friend re-posted an article with the tweet “by someone who actually bothered to read it” regarding the new #Instagram Terms of Service debate. Well, dear person who wrote that, I would kindly like to invite you to go fuck yourself.

Contrary to that snarky little troll’s suggestion that all the uproar was by people who didn’t even read what they were complaining about, I did, in fact, read the new ToS that Instagram posted and the terms and language was pretty damn clear to me. I am a photographer and producer who constantly deals with the legalities of image use both in my own work and for other photographers. There was no question to my mind, or the minds of a number of other users what the intent was.

It said that Instagram could use my photos for advertising without my permission and very clearly stated that they could even get compensation for my images. There was nothing UNCLEAR about that statement. No, the language did not say that they could directly sell my images, but does that matter? A blanket statement allowing a social media network to use my photos and get compensated for it – however that compensation breaks down – is not okay. Whether its an image from an upcoming fine art series I’m working on that I feel like sharing to get feedback or a random picture of the foam bird the guy at the coffee shop put on my latte, no one should have the right to use those photos without my express permission.

This language was so widely “misinterpreted” that Instagram quickly back-pedaled after the outcry of users who did read the ToS, saying, like a sheepish boyfriend trying to apologize when he knows he’s wrong – “I didn’t mean it like that.”

Um, I’m sorry, but I’m calling BULLSHIT. They meant it like that. The language and intent were clear, there is no question. Instagram only started to “Clarify” after a large number of celebrity users started dropping the service like it was a blanket covered in small pox. Facebook owns Instagram. And Facebook has long been trying to figure out a way to get away with this kind of crap. The ToS on FB is questionable at best and it seems to me that this may have been an attempt to see just how far they could push things before their users would indeed jump ship. Judging from the fact that it has taken me all day to get into Instaport (to export all of my images from Instagram in preparation to leave the service) and that the Instaport service has been crashed from overuse for most of the last day that there is a large number of people who know exactly what Instagram meant and didn’t like it.

And if I was even the least bit unsure of my own interpretation of the ToS language, there is this: http://gizmodo.com/5969619/national-geographic-is-suspending-posts-on-instagram-because-of-instagrams-new-icky-terms-of-service That – to everyone who supposedly “misconstrued” the language in question – is pretty damn clear.

National Geographic – one of the most respected and long running magazines on the planet – has suspended it’s Instagram account because the powers that be at NatGeo thought the language on the ToS was clear enough that they want no part of it. I don’t think the lawyers at National Geographic had any doubt in their minds as to Instagram’s intent when they read the same lines that I did. They think it’s shady. So do I. So should you.

Consuming the Arts

Tonight I would like to write a little something about a project that has become rather near and dear to my heart. It’s called the Consuming the Arts Theatre Project.

Once monthly, at the Lounge Theatre here in Los Angeles, a group of writers, actors, musicians, spoken word artists, poets, and artists get together to put on a themed show of one-act plays and pieces to entertain and amuse for the viewing pleasure of a growing audience. The project was started by my friend Aurora Lizardi and her friend and partner Carrie Morris-Factoran 3 years ago as a non-profit in an effort to bring theatre and art to neighborhoods that don’t have access to shows like this. Not to mention providing a showcase for the amazing group of artists and performers who participate, with no expectation of reward other than the applause of an audience. Each show is woven around a theme that is not only common to all peoples, but meets head on some of the more controversial subject matters that everyone must deal with.

I’ve now seen three of these shows, and this last time, I offered up my services to photograph the event. I was intrigued as to what I might capture both onstage and off. So this past Sunday night, I headed out to the Lounge Theatre to do just that.

Jennica Schwartzman and Christopher Reed Performing "Lion's Den"

The theme of this week’s event was “Forgiveness” and featured a one-act play written by CTA contributor Evan Baughfman, music by Tim Banning, comedy (done as improvisational word jazz for lack of a better way to to describe it) by Matt Geiler and a fantastic set of original spoken word and poetry by Jacole Kitchen, who I firmly believe is my generation’s Lucille Clifton. (And if you don’t know who Lucille Clifton is, go look her up!)

Spoken Word Performer Jacole Kitchen

The last performance of the night was an original one-act play written by CTA’s Aurora Lizardi called “For Keeps.”  (She also acted as the lead and did a fantastic job.)

Performance of "For Keeps" by Aurora Lizardi

Not only was it acted really well by both Ms. Lizardi and her co-star Matt Munroe, but the addition of musician Jake Newton to play in and out of the scene transitions was a fantastic touch and highlighted the play’s theme so well it was as if Newton wrote the song for it.

Singer/Songwriter Jake Newton Playing During "For Keeps"

The performance was so good that the audience gave them a standing ovation, which I am told is a first at CTA, but it was well-deserved. If you have the interest and the inclination, I highly suggest that you come check it out sometime. The performers are fantastic, the event is fun and original, and if that’s not enough they provide a lovely spread of snacks and wine during the intermission for their audience. (Free food is always a bonus.)

It’s good fun. It’s a good cause. It’s just good. Go.

For more information on the Consuming the Arts Theatre Project, follow them on Twitter @feedyourart and check out their next show on March 23rd.