“You can’t get so hung up on where you’d rather be
that you forget to make the most of where you are.”
In the month and a half it took for me to conjure up the courage to write this blog, here’s what’s gone down:
St. Martin/St. Barth/A Blue Christmas
For the first time in Thrash family history, we ventured outside of the home-for-the-holidays norm and travelled to the Caribbean for Christmas. A unique experience in a home rather than a resort lent itself to pure and utter away-ness. The ultimate blend of family time and being adults together time. Beaches galore, a cultural melting pot, and French cuisine to die for, the four of us spent seven days in paradise (…undeniably with a few bumps along the way. See: weak stomached mom and Lex ride choppiest ever hour-long ferry to and from St. Barth). Notable views: a beach directly beside the airport where tourists willingly brave the blast of revving jet engines on the runway, wind surfers in the quiet cove on the north side of St. Barth, layers upon layers of ocean waves crashing to shore as fresh coffee smell wafted poolside from the wide-open kitchen doors, my dad swimming for the first time since his accident.
Rigning in 2017
DC for a night of old friends, new friends, and a daring evening of multi-course cuisine-ing. It was when the chef’s choice menu brought octopus tentacles and beef tar tar that I thought to myself… I’m not fancy enough to do this kind of thing on the reg. The upscale scales rose up even higher when our host provided freshly cut charcuterie and all the men showed up coats and ties. This is adulthood.
APAP in NYC
Every year in January, the dance community in NYC gears up for the American Performing Arts Presenters conference. APAP encompasses presenters from music, theater, and dance, bringing together art folks from all over the nation to see what’s new in each field. Though the conference provides amazing seminars and opportunities for arts presenters to network, a handful of dance organizations around the city formulate a series of pop-up showcases, open rehearsals, free exhibitions, you name it… all to showcase what’s current in choreography this year. A most incredible whirlwind of dance. After the final count, I determined I saw a grand total of 45 different dance companies from the city and beyond. Everything from full-fledged, big-stage productions at The Joyce, to an informal, hilarious showing alongside ten other audience members, wedged against the wall of a 4th floor walkup-turned-yoga studio. I ate my dinner while running from Union Square to the Peridance Center. I hailed a cab amongst seasoned middle aged dance lovers outside of City Center. I saw the Martha Graham Company perform historic work in an open studio rehearsal. I saw the Limon Company for the first time in my life. I met some incredible people. The dance world from a presenter’s point of view.
Everything’s Bigger in TX
What stood out to me most about this trip was family. Sometimes, we can choose who our family is. In my case, my blood family was blessed with two other chosen families. Kids are starting to get married and that family is expanding. I had the distinct pleasure of spending time with this newly-formed family in their natural habitat, experiencing those things that make them who they are as a young couple. San Antonio’s culture is vibrant and alive, but you ain’t seen NOTHIN till you’ve seen Austin, TX. Talk about liberal, artsy, eclectic, and SO not what my mental picture of Texas looked like. Despite the fact that it was apparently colder and cloudier than it has been in a while, I could see myself there. Living and thriving. After farmer’s market, boutique-ing, a recliner movie theater, local bar drinks and a river tour, the trip home brought unexpected fate: an overnight in Dallas.
The Power of Art
After having just seen Passengers the day before, this unexpected layover was somewhat of a little message from the powers that be: relax. There’s some things you can control, but most of the time, you have to loosen your grip on the reigns, and ride the road that’s spread out before you. I couldn’t control the fact that my first flight was so delayed on the runway that every single passenger missed their connection from Dallas. I could, however, revel in the new friendship made with Maureen, a lovely New Haven native who became my travel partner for the next 24 hours. We shared dinner and red wine and tales of our lives – mine about 1/3 the length of hers thus far. We made sure we made the 3am bus together. We bought each other coffee as we waited in between flights the next day in Charlotte. It was a happy accident. It made me grateful I’d heard the messages Passengers told. It made me remember how beautiful people can be, despite the state of our world.
LA LA Land. Another movie that’s revived my belief in the power of art. Color, cinematography, and pure happiness made this movie what it was: a modern take on the classic old hollywood film masterpiece. Yes, I could badger on about Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling’s sub-par singing and dancing abilities. Instead, I’ll swim in the simplicity of the story, the whimsical nature of its telling, and the hope it re-instilled in me, an aspiring artist.
My work collaborates with the contemporary art museum in the Berkshires to bring risky, often interactive performance art to the area. Last week, it was MASS MoCA + Jacob’s Pillow: Richard Move. This artist is known for his impersonations of Martha Graham, and one of his works Martha@20 commemorates his 20th year of Martha performances. Richard’s second work – a showing in progress – deals with the concept of living as a transgender person in the early 1900s. Both works were especially meaningful to me on the day of our new President’s inauguration. An open minded and inclusive piece of art juxtaposed with the beginning of a four year journey led by a narrow-minded national leader. This brings me to my next point.
When fear wins we all lose.
I refuse to let fear continue to reign in my life. Being in Boston on the Saturday after the inauguration was like something out of a hazy dream. It was a day of questions. How did all of these people get here? How can THIS MANY PEOPLE all over the nation and all over the WORLD feel this way, and no changes be made? I wonder why he’s marching? I wonder what brought her here today? The sheer amount of reasons people marched was mind-boggling. After being absolutely scared out of my corduroy’s to attend my first-ever protest, I am so incredibly happy I joined those so many thousands of people who didn’t let fear win.
Bungalow at Phoenicia
It was a very ski weekend at Hunter Mountain. I got back on the slopes after a ten year haitus, and as soon as I did, memories of my dad and brother leading me through beginner slopes flooded my thoughts. Making a “pizza” to stop momentum. Drinking hot cocoa in the Timberline lodge in WV on my Mom’s lap. Being that rebel child at age 6 that knocked my skis together on the lift only because the instructors said not to. After a day of getting our powdah-shredding muscles back into the swing of things, it was Catch Phrase, and the old school deck-o-cards for “Oh Hell.” If you ask me, the real star of the weekend was the clutch Airbnb complete with a mismatched plethora of rugs, blankets, and wall hangings that somehow all came together to create nostalgic, cozy, lived-in feeling digs.The seven of us were damn lucky. Most of our time was spent around the wooden kitchen table. Best vintage flatware collection of any home I’ve ever seen. Lack of cell service combined with an unsaid commitment to be fully present with one another reminded me – yet again – of the importance of taking life as it comes. Being here. Not fighting so hard for what could be that what actually IS feels less-than.