Saturday, September 27, 2008

Paul Newman

From the NY Times:

"We are such spendthrifts with our lives," Mr. Newman once told a reporter. "The trick of living is to slip on and off the planet with the least fuss you can muster. I'm not running for sainthood. I just happen to think that in life we need to be a little like the farmer, who puts back into the soil what he takes out."                

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Seattle Weekly Review

Virginia Zech of the Seattle Weekly writes here

"Ambitious, ballsy, and hilarious, Yoga Bitch is surely the best one-woman show I've seen all year."

Monday, September 22, 2008

Breathing through the shitshow that is the economy

Here's a piece from the New York Times offering advice on how to deal with the current economic crisis. Basically it offers the same advice everyone offers right now: Keep calm. (One can only assume the New York Times is speaking to everyone but those people who are losing their homes or jobs, yes?)

Keep calm. That's not what interests me. What's fascinating is the unexpectedly yogic bent. Apparently we're all supposed to make like the yogis and "breathe through it." 

I've been writing a lot over the past few years years about how yoga is being used to sell everything from credit cards to herpes medication, but seeing yoga in the business pages as advice (as opposed to its usual presence in these pages-- as an industry being breathlessly analyzed for its unexpected longevity and frequent reinvention) strikes me as extraordinary. A page has been turned.

As for what's on that page we just turned, how far through the book we are, and what, even, the book is called or about, I cannot tell you. Sort of how I feel about the economic situation. Generally speaking, I'll only read the business pages if there's a story about yoga or the arts in them, or if there's a particularly interesting Enron-esque scandal going on. (I can hear my father sighing in disgust right now, and it's making me feel guilty enough to read this.) What can I say? It's a character flaw, I know.

What I can tell you is that despite my many years of yoga, and the fact that I get what is meant by the analogy and who it's directed at, I still think it's kind of lame to compare the idea of breathing through a difficult yoga pose to the reality of losing your home or job or retirement funds. I think it's lame to say breathe through it when taxpayers are going to be paying for this for the next couple of decades. When our hopes for universal health care, a better education system, improvements to our crumbling infrastructure will likely be shelved while we bail out Wall Street. I think the appropriate response is not to breathe deeply but to freak the fuck out.

Brent Kessel is the man with the yogic take on the crisis, and his shtick is marrying your finances to your spirituality. Um. Speaking of my character flaws: I believe I've already done this, right here

On the other hand, you gotta love this country. So long as people are repackaging the get-rich-and-happy-through-eastern-philosophy bestsellers, the economy can't be doing that badly, right? Suze Orman and Eckhart Tolle, lookout! Now we can get you both in one book. But don't freak out, Suze, Eck. Just breathe through it. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Year of the Man?

Teresa Rubick writes here in response to the New York Times' declaration that 2008 is the Year of the Man. (In the theater, folks. Don't worry, it's still the year of the woman everywhere else. For reals.)

Year of the man? Please. It's the year of the Bitch!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Friends, Family, Yoga-phobes-and-philes,

I'll be performing Yoga Bitch in a month-long engagement with Seattle's kickass performance space and drinking establishment, Re-bar, starting this Friday, September 19th, and running Fridays and Saturdays through October 11th. 

I couldn't be more excited about it. We had a tremendous response from audiences at Bumbershoot over Labor Day weekend, and I'm hoping many of the good folks who were turned away from those shows will make it now. Re-bar is a great space, with a great bar, and great, comfy booths-- so you won't have to go far to get that after-show drink.

Come on out! I'll do the yoga, you do the drinking, and together we'll reach some approximation of enlightenment. Seriously. We'll palpate your chakras.



When Suzanne Morrison arrived in Bali for a two-month yoga retreat, she thought she was on the path to inner peace and killer abs. She imagined that she would return to the States a changed person, no longer a cynical, chain-smoking cocktail waitress but instead an enlightened being who would greet each day with a salute to the sun, and at night swaddle herself in cashmere apres-yoga wraps to welcome the moon. But the universe had other plans for her . . .

In a show Time Out London called "New Age Nirvana," Morrison explores her attempts to find her higher self in a strange world where blenders become possessed by spirits, Prada lust is at a fever-pitch, a milkshake can throw a guru into a rage, and everyone around her tries to make her drink her own pee.

Directed by Jean-Michele Gregory (How Theater Failed America, 21 Dog Years), Yoga Bitch comes to Seattle's Re-bar after playing sold-out shows in London, Oxford, and Maui, offering both yogis and skeptics alike an irreverent glimpse at what can go wrong on the road to enlightenment.

Created and performed by Suzanne Morrison
Directed by Jean-Michele Gregory
Re-bar, 1114 Howell Street
Fridays and Saturdays, 8pm
September 19-October 11

"Morrison is engagingly honest whilst still being downright hilarious . . . Yoga Bitch will likely keep you laughing no matter if you've practiced yoga, and even if you've never even heard of a 'kundalini' experience." -- Daily Info, Oxford

"Accomplished and entertaining . . . aside from the humour, the play also intelligently offers a window into the world of those peculiar souls perpetually clamoring for 'enlightenment' and the next spiritual high. Impressively, it did so honestly, neither with condescension nor reverence." --

"Virtuosic . . . Morrison hit all the right notes." -- Maui Weekly

Speaking Out About Sexual Abuse and Stretching Outside Yoga Perfection

That's the title on Sound Focus's home page regarding their show today.

When I first looked at it, knowing that the "Yoga Perfection" mentioned here has to do with my show, Yoga Bitch, I thought to myself: Did I talk about sexual abuse in this interview, too? I could have said something-- it's entirely too possible-- about what in more repressed times we referred to as self-abuse. But, huh. I mean, I was really wracking my brain to come up with something. 

Then I noticed that I wasn't the only person being interviewed that day. Ding-ding-ding! Answer!

I'll be on KUOW (94.9) today at 2pm, talking about the difficulties of living an extreme yogic lifestyle when all you want to do is smoke, drink, and screw. Um, and when you're also a total narcissist. 

Sound Focus's charming Jeremy Richards conducted the interview.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

mf Magazine interview

Here's a link to an interview I did at Bumbershoot with Erik Schultz of mf Magazine/European Weekly. 

It was great fun chatting with Erik about Yoga Bitch and the process Jean-Michele and I went through in developing the show. 

Back story: I had just come from the Gage Academy drawing room, where I sat in lotus for just under an hour while artists both professional and amateur drew me looking muy serene. When the Gage coordinator asked me if I could sit like that for an hour I acted very nonchalant: Of course I can. I am a yogini. See the poster? Yoga Bitch, bitches. 

By the time I met Erik at the Center House to conduct the interview, I could barely feel my legs. I had to tell myself how to walk. (Step, step. Step step. Step again. And again.) I haven't sat in lotus since. I effing hate lotus.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Reading, Writing, Rehearsing: A Saturday Update

In an effort to make good on my promise to deliver everything I'm reading, writing, and rehearsing, here's today's update:

What I'm Reading:

Just finished Joyce Carol Oates' collection of short stories, The Female of the Species. I love mysteries and creepy stories, and this book did a mostly-good job of satiating my desire to get lost in a good plot. One thing, though: I don't dislike stories narrated by a young child, but when they're written in the present-tense, I think it almost never works. I'm thinking about Oates' story The Haunting. What I dislike is when the narrator, in this case a first-grader, is supposed to be quite young, and says all sorts of cute, young-sounding things, but then, mid-cute, starts making observations that are far too sophisticated and/or dramatic for a child to be making. As if suddenly this six-year old begins looking at the world through the eyes of a much older person. A person that sounds a lot like Joyce Carol Oates. Example: 

"I shut my eyes and rub them. It's like there's woodsmoke in my eyes, they burn and sting. I feel myself freeze like a scared rabbit. . . When Daddy went away, and we were told he would not be coming back, you could see in people's eyes how they didn't know what words to use. They could not bring themselves to say Your father is dead. They could not say like Calvin, Daddy is dead. Dead-daddy. My teacher can't bring herself to say Every morning you look so haunted, for this is not anything you would say to a little girl whose father has gone to hell to dwell with his own cruel kin."

If this were written from the perspective of a woman recollecting an event in her childhood, that's one thing. But this story is narrated by a six year-old. Do you know any six year-olds who talk like this? I don't. 

Just starting Lauren Slater's Lying: A Metaphorical Memoir. So far, it's just lovely. And here's a good example of writing that captures the feeling of being a child but without the cloying cuteness of being narrated by that child:

"My mother believed that will, not love, was what made the world go round, and I agreed. I was a wrong girl but I had always worked hard at what I did. I owned a pair of skates, nubby tights, and a white muff made from real rabbit fur. I had gotten my ears pierced when I was only eight years old, and all dressed up in my skating outfit, I looked like a holiday."

What I'm Writing: Emails. Lots and lots of emails in preparation for the run at Re-bar! A birthday card to my sister, Jill, who turns thirty on the 12th. Also considering editing a chapter of Yoga Bitch in which a Prada bag is an object of erotic interest, but I'm also considering writing nothing creative at all and instead going downstairs to watch episodes of Arrested Development.

What I'm Rehearsing: A memory. For the past few days, I've been thinking about a book I read a very long time ago. Floating in My Mother's Palm, a collection of linked stories by Ursula Hegi. I read it when I was about fourteen years old, while camping out on a couch at my aunt & uncle's house on the Cedar River. It was the end of summer, and I had been swimming in the river all that day, and in the evening there was a fire in the fireplace, and the couch-bed I was lying on was warm, and the house had one of those particular smells-- of the river, of green plants, woodsmoke, and in certain seasons a faint scent of the bloated salmon that had spawned upriver and now lay dead on the banks of the river-- that I can still conjure in my mind. That house is long gone; after the Cedar flooded their house for the second time, my aunt and uncle moved out and now live near the ocean. But I can smell that house when I think of that night, and remember what it felt like to be a kid. 

I've been thinking about this book because it was one of the first books I read that wasn't a sordid young adult novel (I loved the ones where teenagers actually had sex) or an Agatha Christie mystery. It was considered literary fiction, and I had no idea what that meant. The stories in the book centered around a young girl in Germany who lives in an apartment building, and her relationships with her neighbors. I loved it. I'm curious to know if the child's-eye perspective would bug me now, or if I'd still find it as magical and beautiful as I did when I was fourteen. But I don't know if I want to risk a re-reading.

The summer is ending, so the nights are colder in Seattle than they were a month ago. Even though I know I'll miss the sun in a few months, at this time of year I always get excited for the fall, and I always think about that night on the Cedar River, reading what felt at the time like the very first book I had ever read.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Back to School at Live Girls! Theater

Tonight I'll be reading a new section of my book, Yoga Bitch, at Ballard's Live Girls! Theater. Details below-- and yes, there will be drinks.

The Live Girls! Cabaret is bringing you some Back to School action!
Friday, September 5th, 8pm
Tickets $5 at the door

Doors open at 7:15
Live Girls! Theater in Ballard
2220 Market Lower Level 

Feauturing straight A students Polly Wood and Miss Elaine Yes, 5th year seniors Keli Carendar and Saskia Doloroes, glee club president Joanna Horowitz, dance team captain Sylvie Davidson, class clown Jessica Strauss, "health" teacher Lanelle Guiste, new student Adra Green and our PE teacher who's dabbled in enrichment classes, Suzanne Morrison. And MORE!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Yoga Bitch at Re-bar!

Hey lovelies!

Thanks to everyone who came out to see Yoga Bitch at Bumbershoot this past weekend. We sold out both performances and had to turn away over 200 people. We packed the audience so full there were two rows spilling onto the stage, which gave the performances a fun, informal vibe I thoroughly enjoyed.

Thanks in particular to the grand folks at TPS who sponsored my show. They put on an entire season's worth of shows in one weekend and made it seem easy. I can't wait to work with them again.

For those of you who waited in line and missed it, I'll be performing Friday and Saturday nights at Seattle's Re-bar from September 19-October 11. I've been in meetings all week to prepare, and I must say, I can't wait to begin.

You can purchase tickets here.

One highlight from the first Bumbershoot performance: After most of the audience had cleared out, I walked back onstage to clear my yoga mat, meditation cushion, and a discreetly stashed urine sample container. The mat and cushion were exactly where I'd left them, but the urine sample was not. It was in the hands of a male audience member, who was in the act of unscrewing the lid and smelling its contents. 

I won't reveal our conversation here, as portions of it will give away crucial plot points in the show. But allow me to present the image of a man sniffing a stranger's urine sample to you here, because he represents everything I look for in an audience member: a strong-enough stomach, a dash of moxy, and a compulsive urge to sniff out the truth. If that sounds like you-- see you at Re-bar.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Final Day of Bumbershoot

In two hours I'll be back onstage at Bumbershoot! Yesterday's performance was so much fun, a great big warm audience that made my work easy. If you are trying to make the show at 1pm today, get there early; we sold out yesterday's show twenty minutes before show time, and had to turn away a lot of people.

Hope to see you there!