Katie AZ Log #11: Saying goodbye.

So it's been a week since we opened "Red Planet Respite" at ASU, and I have been back in San Diego since Sunday.  I should have gotten around to this sooner...but I really did have this cathartic experience out in the desert, and I owed it to myself to properly process what all that was before I said goodbye. 

So these are my final thoughts on the Arizona residency:

  • I am one lucky woman.  The time I spent obtaining my degree was at a point in my life where I was falling apart.  While I learned so much from that process and my growing pains, I really wasn’t in a position to fully reap the benefits of a higher education (in my current opinion).  Coming back allowed me to really remember the values I gathered through my education- and in many ways let it sink in.  I feel like I came back to a painful place triumphantly, and likely to many people’s shock- in a much more emotionally evolved and healthy position than when I left.  I think the chance to do something like that is rare in life- and I feel like I am a better artist because of it.  
  • The people you work with really MAKE (or break) an opportunity.  With all due respect to my 2008 cohort, I did not choose that specific group to work with.  We were all picked separately and had to collaborate again and again, often on projects that we had fundamentally different belief structures about.  This did not always breed the most fruitful creative environment.  THIS residency allowed me to mostly pick my team.  Well, at least my cast.  And I know I’ve bragged about these people- but I don’t think I’ve ever done their awesomeness real justice.  No matter how stressful a day was with street harassers or challenges back at home in San Diego- I would walk into a rehearsal and all of that wouldn’t matter anymore.  My 6 cast members (and my Stage Management team and Designers) were present, willing, and absolutely wonderfully down for whatever in our explorations.  I’ve never felt as much fearlessness to create good art as with these sweet people.  AND they made me laugh constantly.  In the end I felt like I made a new family in this group, and I honestly haven’t had a pure experience like that in years.  And while the piece itself has some steps to take forward in development, I am overwhelmingly proud of the passion that currently rules the Lyceum stage.  I would absolutely work with every one of these people again and again if I could. 


  • In the end, I am the captain of my own ship.  That metaphor seemed appropriate for this, and it has never felt more true to me than right in this moment.  When I left San Diego in January, I felt uncertain about what I was coming back to.  Some things seemed really up in the air, and leaving felt like I was abandoning those responsibilities and taking such a big scary risk.  But I had to.  I have to continue exploring and taking those risks to achieve my dreams.  Because of this residency- my goals seem clearer, my aspirations more achievable, and my passion is rejuvenated, and isn’t that beyond ideal?  If leaving and making art in new places brings such spirit to me- there must be something to it.  And if I have any say in it, I will work towards finding more opportunities just like this one wherever/whenever I can.  San Diego will always be my home base- but I want to bring new experiences, and different community stories back to this home- so the impact of our work can grow just like we are. 

So today, all I am full of for this experience is love.  And all you need is love.  And sometimes money.  But mostly love.  I love you ASU production of “Red Planet Respite”.  And if you’re in AZ- you had better go cheer on my babies tonight, tomorrow, or Sunday before you miss out on something special. 

Thank you ASU, for continuously supporting me as an artist, and helping me to find my path.  Every success Circle continues to find will have a great deal to do with you. 

And make sure you check out ‘Red Planet Respite’ when it comes to San Diego in September, but in the meantime grab a ticket to “No Place Like Home” (May 23rd-June 7th) where you can see/hear Soroya’s beautiful piece featuring myself ON the stage!  A new (terrifying) adventure for us both! 

Until next time,  thank you for caring about our work. 





My cast, asm(s), and myself post-hike.



Soroya AZ Log #10: The Big Day

Well… today’s the day.  The day that we open Red Planet Respite, a futuristic Sci-Fi play about the first group of people to inhabit Mars.  As I reflect on the past three months of my life I am overwhelmed with gratitude.  To all of the people of ASU School of Film Dance and Theatre, to all the people who work in the Arcadia Housing complex and to all of the Scientists that gave us the inspiration and helped us to develop this work: words are not enough to convey how incredibly grateful I am to all of you. 


This has been an experience that Katie and I will never forget.  This experience has made us realize that residencies should be a major part of our work in Community Based Theatre.  To go where new stories need to be told.  To boldly go where no theatre company has gone before… ok maybe that is a little dramatic.  But I am feeling very emotional today. 


Tonight we celebrate all the hard work of our designers, crew, and our very special cast.  And this play is certainly something to be proud of.   We love you all.  We will miss you terribly.  Now on to the next adventure…




Katie AZ Log #10: Coming Together

I learned a lesson:  it's terribly hard to blog during tech week.  I brought my laptop to rehearsal every day this weekend, fully intending to take an hour of downtime to take pictures, or chat with a designer...but that didn't really work out.  

I love tech.  Honestly, I just love theatre (doy).  I really do.  Nothing about being in a tech for 8 hours makes me feel bored.  Tech is an exciting adventure full of drama, hidden plot twists, and lots of really good snacks.  What's not to like about that?  I mean, check out how cool-looking our set/media/lights all look together at the top of ACT 1: 

It's really such a thrill seeing your art come together.  And while tech can be incredibly stressful- knowing that we're all working together in the dark/cold space for that goal...well it makes it all ok.  

My good friends know that I do tend to get anxiety during these things.  I'm a perfectionist.  I want the opportunity for my hard-working actors to engage in all of the elements of the play for a long time before we open...but that doesn't always work out unfortunately.  Sometimes it just isn't until the last minute that you get a sound, a prop, a costume piece, a bit of media- or more.  And honestly?  That freaks me out.  

But it is exciting, working to make it right.  And it's going to be pretty wonderful when it gets there...and after the bit of hold-ups we encountered- I know it will get there.  My designers are champions.  

The best thing about this weekend was that whenever I felt stressed I found one of my cast members and checked in with them.  I know I go on and on about my cast...but they really are a special group of young people.  I mean, look at Shannon in her costume: 

How could anyone feel worried with an excited face like that in the room?  This is the kind of sweet energy they all give me constantly.  Hugs, jokes, smiles, stories, and hammocks- my cast, crew, and designers are full of them.  That to me makes the best environment for creativity and process.  I've certainly been involved in techs that have been ruled by anger and fear....I prefer an environment of respect and consideration.  

That's just me.  

Want another cell phone tech pic?  Well here you go!: 

I imagine I've got one or two more AZ Journal entry in me stay tuned for the big finale.  (:  WE OPEN 'RED PLANET RESPITE' ON FRIDAY!  AHHHH!  

Click HERE for tickets!  



Soroya AZ Log #9: An Ode to Technicians

Today's blog is dedicated to the women and men of technical theatre.  When you say you work in professional theatre, one often assumes you mean as an actor.  However the majority of people working in this field are not actors but Designers, Carpenters, Electricians, Stitchers, Stage Managers, Sculpters, Prop Makers, Painters and many more.  These dedicated theatre makers pour everything they have into their work 50 plus hours a week to make a production possible; and far too often they go unrecognized by the audience.  But they don’t do it for the glory and they certainly aren’t in it for the money either.  These people have an intense passion and love of theatre far more pure than any actor I’ve ever met.  They are amazing people.  They are angels.

As part of my tribute to the unsung heroes of Theatre I want to share with you this video interview with one of our Assistant Stage Managers Jessie Klein.

And here is a photo of the good people at work.  Katie and I stopped into the theatre today to check out the set and light hang in progress.  We were overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude for the amazing work done by our designers and technicians.



Katie AZ Log #9: Women Named Chelsea are from Heaven

Man, am I happy.  I freaking love what's happening in our rehearsals.  We've had so much fun, and TIME!  Time feels like such a luxury when you're a marathon worker like me.  So with the exception of some pesky bouts of insomnia I am one excited/overstimulated camper.  

So this week's blog is dedicated to the glorious women named Chelsea that Soroya and I have met out here, and how much we want them to join our coven.  

First is the badass warrior woman Chelsea motherfucking Pace.  I apologize for the language, but the woman warrants some enthusiasm.  She's an MFA Performer, an incredible Fight Choreographer, and an all-around rockstar.  She just completed working on her Thesis Piece: Asking For It: The Consent Project, and trust me, if you know what's good for you you'll be on the lookout for where this woman ends up.  

So lucky us to nab this gem as our Fight Choreographer for Red Planet Respite!  And boy did she choreograph us one crazy freaking zoo-fight!  Check out some stupid blurry cell phone pictures of all of the fun:  

That's Chelsea in black.  Making magic happen with Colton and Kevin.  

That's Lucian getting his wiring sorted out by Addy.  

And here's the whole gang post-shenanigans.  The fight makes me laugh hysterically for about 5 minutes, and we have Ms. Pace to thank for that.  

My next Chelsea-praise belongs to the absolute savior that is Chelsea Allen.  This sweet gal is the Stage Manager of 'Red Planet Respite'.  Get to know her in this ridiculous interview she and I had last night after rehearsal.  Seriously, we're (I'm) delirious.  If you can count all my hair flips you'll win a prize.  Enjoy:


More to come soon, some design images are just around the corner!  Thanks for reading friends.  




Soroya AZ Log #8: The Race to Space!

“In the year 2044 GlobalCom Venture Capitals, an American corporation, has developed the first interactive resort experience on Mars with the Marsimerica space research institution.  Red Planet Respite is the story of the premiere crew sent to test out the luxurious resort intended for the socially elite.”

GlobalCom and Marsimerica are fictional companies, however I thought it would be fun to use this weeks blog to share some of our research on the real life Companies that helped to inspire this play.


1. SpaceX

SpaceX was founded in 2002 by Tesla CEO Elon Musk.  The company designs, manufactures and launches advanced rockets and space-craft.  True to Tesla form, they incorporate sustainability conscious methods into their work such as re-usable rockets and solar power.  The CEO and Chief Designer, Elon Musk, served as the main inspiration for Robert Downy’s Tony Stark character in Iron Man.  He is young, brilliant, ridiculously wealthy and… kind of a dick.  Hey I would be more of a dick too if I knew I was one of the smartest people on the planet.  We couldn’t help but be inspired by Musk’s personality either.  So we created Dr. Lucian Adams who in the world of our play has revolutionized bionics and even refers to himself as “The Modern Day Iron Man.”

SpaceX predicts that they will be able to land humans on Mars by the year 2022 and plan to transport over 80,000 people in the years that follow for the low low price of $500,000 per passenger.  They predict that the total cost of the first mission to Mars will be around $36 billion.  That’s less than half of what NASA predicts it would cost to send a manned mission to Mars($100 billion).  This initial expenditure would be for all of the set-up needed before tickets can be sold to the general public.  This would include some sort of self sustaining food production.  

The goals of SpaceX may seem lofty but the innovative company has already gained the respect of NASA and the Space community through a number of mile-stones. “The SpaceX Falcon 1 was the first privately developed liquid-fueled rocket to reach orbit. In 2008, SpaceX won a NASA contract to use its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft to commercially provide the cargo transport function of the space shuttle, which was retired in 2011. In 2010, SpaceX became the first commercial company to successfully recover a spacecraft from Earth orbit with its Dragon spacecraft. And in 2012, SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft became the first commercial vehicle to successfully attach to the International Space Station and return cargo to Earth.” 

To get people on Mars, SpaceX plans to adapt their Dragon Spacecraft for human travel.  If their past successes are any indication, I have to say I would bet my money on SpaceX to be the first company to land humans on Mars.



2. Virgin Galactic

Virgin Galactic was created in 2004 by another inspiring figurehead,  Sir Richard Branson, who founded and runs his enormous empire of over 400 companies known as the Virgin Group. Branson and his companies served as the major inspiration for the fictional corporation in our play, GlobalCom, and it’s CEO/Founder Theadore (Teddy) Kinney.   

The Virgin Group is best known for it’s Music Label, Airline and Mobile Phone Company but Branson believes there is a healthy market for Space Tourism as well.  It appears that he is correct.  Virgin Galactic has been accepting deposits from private citizens across the globe and so far over 530 people have paid a portion of the $250,000 per ticket cost to reserve their spot in “the worlds most exclusive club”.  Their website is filled with language like that.  Their marketing angle is all about social status through space tourism.  We borrowed this angle for our own world.  We also borrowed Virgins emphasis on safety.

The spacecraft created for Virgin Galactic by Aerospace engineer Burt Rutan is simple, safe and completely different from any spacecraft previously invented.  Instead of using a rocket to launch their spacecraft from a vertical ground position that is perpendicular to Earth, VirginGalactic is using a unique looking “mothership” called White Knight to launch its SpaceShip horizontally from 50,000 feet in the air.  This method is better, cheaper and safer for many reasons.

“Ground launch comes with intrinsic dangers. The craft has to pass through the lower, denser regions of the atmosphere whilst rocket motor's exhaust is ejected at very high velocity-- Of course, traveling at very high speeds in the lower atmosphere creates a great deal of drag, produces high structural loads and needs a stronger heavier fuselage. Large quantities of fuel are required for the longer duration burn, meaning a bigger-still fuselage, leading to yet more weight, leading in turn to a requirement for more fuel to lift the extra weight, and so on. Effectively detonating a huge bomb at ground level means everything has to go right first time - if it doesn't there are generally few options for those inside.

Burt Rutan calculated that the safest and most efficient strategy was to air-launch his spacecraft from around 50,000ft, a height at which it is already above most of the Earth's atmosphere. This also meant that the rocket motor had to burn only for a very short time in order to reach space and that if there were any problems during the boost phase, the rocket motor could simply be shut down and the spaceship would return as a glider to the runway.”

Virgin Galactic believes it will be ready to fly private passengers into space by the end of this year. Sir Branson and his two children will be the inaugural tour guests and the event will be televised by NBC.


3. Mars One

Unlike SpaceX or Virgin Galactic, which are both For-Profit Companies operating out of the United States, designing and building their own machinery; Mars One (founded in 2011) is a Non-Profit Organization, operating out of the Netherlands, that plans to purchase existing technologies from outside suppliers in order to get humans to Mars.  And for Mars One Astronauts this is a ONE WAY trip.  Their plan is to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars.  And they believe the technology needed for this already exists.  Now it is just a matter of raising the funds and selecting astronauts. 

In April 2013 Mars One announced their search for the future residents of Mars and within months they had over 200,000 applicants.  Now they have sifted through the applications and whittled it down to 1,058.  The next phase of selection will include rigorous training and testing.  Mars One plans to send about 40 pioneers (4 at a time) over the course of several years starting in 2024.  However, before any people are sent to Mars, the settlement must be built by 2 rovers that Mars One plans to send to the Red Planet in 2020. 

Their plan sounds well thought out but most experts in the world of Space Travel chuckle when Mars One is mentioned.  The main reason for this skepticism is that Mars One really hasn’t done anything other than sign up astronauts and raise a small amount of money.  Last December they launched an indiegogo campaign with the goal of $400,000 and were able to raise most of it.  But this is a small number. Not even enough to score a ride on the SpaceX Mars Mission.  And if you check out the list of funders on their website, I’d be surprised if you recognized any of the companies listed.  They also don’t list the donation amounts which leads me to believe they are not very big.   But Mars One is inspiring and we loved their images and plans for the proposed colony.



Of course you cant talk about space travel without discussing NASA.  So far NASA is the ONLY organization to land anything on Mars.  Thanks to Phil Christensen and the Mars Space Flight Facility at Arizona State University WooHoo! (  NASA and ASU have successfully landed 3 rovers on Mars and orbited 6 satellites around the Red Planet.  The hard work and expertise of NASA has been our main source of inspiration and research for our play Red Planet Respite.  Unfortunately, NASA has no plans to send any humans to Mars.  Due to continuously shrinking funding, they have resolved to reserve all resources for the most scientifically advantageous missions.  And since the rovers can do far more advance analysis for a smaller cost and risk, any plans to send humans to Mars have been abandoned. 

Another sad fact is that NASA doesn’t currently have the ability to send any humans to space AT ALL.  We retired our Space Shuttle fleet in 2011.  Since that time, the ONLY way American Astronauts have gotten to the International Space Station is via RUSSIAN space missions.  And with all the current tensions between our country and Russia, this is a pretty scary bit of information.  It’s a good thing that SpaceX is starting to pick up that slack.  Hopefully within the next year they will be able to use Dragon to send American astronauts to the Space Station.  

It looks like the USA will reclaim our dominance of space thanks to private enterprise. However, what will be lost when space exploration becomes dominantly commercial?  If profit needs to be made, what priorities will change?  This is the question we explore in our play Red Planet Respite opening April 18th at ASU's Lyceum Theatre.





Katie AZ Log #8: BLOCKING!

We're blocking the show!  It opens in less than a month, and the press is already calling it a "MUST-SEE"!  Thanks Phoenix New Times!

We cannot wait to share all of the cool stuff that's getting packed into "Red Planet Respite"....all the media, the awesome costumes, and everything else!  But..we don't have that yet.  All we have are adorable actors working their butts off in rehearsal.  So look at them!  


From left, meet Colton (Dr. Noah Sellers), Rivka (Dr. Grace Rosario), Shannon (Dr. Jennifer Castron), Jeremiah (Dr. Lucian Adams), Kevin (Theodore Kinney), and Caitlyn (Addison Lee)!  

That's my head watching these brilliant/hilarious young actresses do their thing.  

The theatre we're working in is so big (by CCdd standards), that I get to do a lot of exercise running up and down stairs into the audience.  I'm going to have killer glutes by the end of this.  

One of my favorite funny moments in Act 1.  

I don't know what I'm saying to Kevin in this picture...but this is a shocking moment for me in the realization of how short I am.  

And this is the face I always seem to be making throughout our rehearsals.  This week has been such a joy.  

I'm going to try to grab one of these rockstars to write a blog for us in the near future too!  


More soon friends!



Soroya's AZ Log #5: Becoming Deimos

Deimos is a virtual flight-attendant/tour-guide/bar-tender in our new play Red Planet Respite. She was named after one of the two moons of Mars.  The other moon of Mars is named Phobos.  I’m glad Katie didn’t pick that name.  Deimos is the ultimate customer service personality, always helpful and smiling; so this was a perfect role for someone like me with 10+ years of customer service experience. 

Deimos needed to be filmed so Spring-Break ended early for me.  I woke up in California at 6am Thursday morning, drank my weight in coffee, and headed East.  As a theatre professional, I hate waking up this early, but I’ll do whatever it takes for my art, plus I was able to catch a gorgeous sunrise! Haven’t seen one of those in years!   

To prepare for the shoot, I spent some time doing research on Virtual Personalities and Artificial Intelligence.  I was amazed at what I found. 

Meet Evie! 


Evie represents one of the major steps humans have taken in the development of Artificial Intelligence.   She puts a face and a voice to the AI Algorithm called Cleverbot.  What is amazing about this program is that it learns from communicating with humans.  Cleverbot has been conversing with humans since it’s birth in 1997 and picking up our words, definitions, phrases and conversation patterns along the way.  You can talk to Cleverbot and Evie too! And its FREE online!

Talk to Evie at:

Talk to Cleverbot at:

The technology is still pretty primitive compared to what sci-fi predicts.  I think part of the reason for this is all the random input the program is receiving from so many different humans.  We are quirky, divers, confusing thinkers.  This aspect of Cleverbot is hilariously illustrated by this short film WRITTEN by CLEVERBOT! 

Do You Love Me - written by Cleverbot


A different sort of AI, the Intelligent Personal Assistant(IPA), is used in the every day lives of modern-day smart phone users. The IPA can manage your schedule, give you directions or look up anything and everything on the web.  Apple’s Siri is the best known example of this technology but Samsung, LG, Micrsoft and countless other companies have created their own versions.   This technology was used to create the Virtual Assistant Denise and her little sister Hellena.



I find it noteworthy that all three of these examples of Virtual AI have basically the EXACT same features.  They all look like 20-something Caucasian women with long-brown hair and light eyes.  What the f#*k is up with that?!?  In all of my research of Artificial Intelligence I found an upsetting relationship with this quest to “Create the Perfect Woman.”  If you want to be freaked out watch this video about a robot named Lisa(  Luckily this was a hoax and Lisa was really a human actress.  She was really good!  I definitely used Lisa for inspiration when creating Deimos. 

Even though brown hair seems to be a requirement for Virtual Assistants I didn’t think that fit right for Deimos.  She isn’t really an Assistant.  She is a flight-attendant/tour-guide/bar-tender.  We considered Purple, Pink, Blue and White but finally settled on a silver-blonde color.  I used my favorite Swedish Pop-Singer Robyn for hair-cut inspiration.  I love her futuristic references in her music and her fashion!

“I’ve got some news for you! Femme-bots have feelings too!” –Fembot by Robyn


I also really love Janelle Monae for the same reasons.

“I’m an alien from outerspace. I’m a cybergirl without a face, a heart, or a mind.” –Violet Stars Happy Hunting by Janelle Monae.


Deimos’ Costume and make-up were designed by our very talented Grad-Designer Anastasia Schneider. 


All the elements came together nicely on Friday morning.  I met with our lighting designer Noel Miller and our Media Designer Boyd Branch.  It was a real pleasure to work with such professionals.  We were set up and filming before 10am and finished shooting less than 3 hours later.  After that I had lunch and passed out from exhaustion until I woke up and wrote this blog.  Becoming Deimos is hard work, but I know the results will be worth it.

Arizonians will get to meet Deimos when we open Red Planet Respit on April 18th at the Lyceum Theatre at ASU. San Diegans will get to meet her at the La Jolla Play House this September.





Katie AZ Log #7: Cray Cray Week

Hi again everyone!  I think this picture of me best depicts how crazy this week has been:  

Tonight I'm driving to San Diego with Patrick Kelly for Spring Break (WOO)!  It's going to be a nice little break from the wonderful workathon Soroya and I have been in since we got back in February.  And while I have plenty to accomplish while I'm away- I'm really looking forward to at least a couple of days of nothing.  I'm going to make sure I get it too.  

So what did we do this week?  Well first, Patrick Kelly came to visit!  It's amazing what his presense does for my mood, my morale, and my heart in general.  I know, I know, gross.  But I am happy that he keeps coming out and wants to be a part of this residency as much as possible.  Here he is not posing in a picture with me (again): 

He's been here since last Friday and has eaten at least 3 hotdogs from the Dog House on campus.  He will likely have another one today.  The man loves his hot dogs.  Read into that what you will.  

Anyway, moving on.  As Soroya had shared in her last blog, we participated in "Night of the Open Door" on Saturday with a reading of her new blues musical "No Place Like Home".  What she didn't mention was that it was raining buckets on us the entire day.  Which is very weird for AZ, but honestly despite being soaking wet for the majority of the day, it was nice to hear the rain and see the little green in AZ flourish because of it.  


After her successful reading on Saturday we had to get the cast of "Red Planet Respite" ready for our own community reading that took place last night at the Lyceum Theatre.  Every time Circle develops a new production we host at least one reading for the community and a couple of additional guests to provide us with feedback on the piece we've developed, and essentially give us their blessing to move forward with the show.  In Community-Based Theatre there is always the potential that the work you develop on a community may make them feel more vulnerable than they had realized.  If this happens you HAVE to respect this reaction and make the piece something that protects those emotions.  

In my experience in developing these pieces, I've never had a community tell me to scrap a piece.  I've definitely had to rewrite, rework, and re-visualize a play- but I've never had to start over (knock on wood).  

Despite my great track record in making collaborative communities happy, I'm ALWAYS afraid of this.  I think it's some sort of defense mechanism in my crazy head that prepares me for the worst.  

So that was the majority of my week, feeling that concern for "Red Planet Respite" and the future development of the script.  

But how could I be so concerned with this wonderful group?  Here they are staging the reading and preparing for it to begin (sorry for my crappy cell phone shots):  


This cast and the not-pictured crew and designers have made this experience for Soroya and I.  They are just so ready and committed, and excited about the work.  They are also all so kind.  I will always say, I prefer a nice person to work with over a "talented" jerk.  Lucky for me this group is both nice and talented, and I can't wait to get back to them after the break.  

So how did the reading go?  

Well.  It went great.  Except that only 4 people showed up.  

Didn't expect that, did yah?  Well neither did nervous, freaked out Katie either.  We sent out invites to all of our interviewees, the staff involved in the production, facebook friends and more.  In San Diego, these readings are usually packed!  But apparently when it's midterms at ASU people just can't make it.  

This won’t mean that I won’t get the feedback that the piece needs.  I've sent the script out to our community collaborators, I've also gotten extensive feedback from our Astrophysicist Dramaturg Patrick Young....but you would have been nice to have more attendees at this event that I spent the entire day sweating uncontrollably about.  

But- that's just how it goes!  Community-Based Theatre can be really unpredictable, and apparently our energy would have served us better elsewhere.  We had a wonderful time working with our cast this week, and I appreciate what good has happened with the script because of their incredible input.  

But we gotta work on our Arizona Marketing!  (:  We will.  

Well friends, that's all I have to report today.  There is a good chance that I will be taking Spring Break (WOO!) off from blogging, but I promise more is coming soon.  Including Soroya's adventures in filming Deimos- our Futuristic Flight Attendant character that she created for the piece!  That's going to rock your socks off.  

Have a great week all!  




Soroya AZ Log #6: CCdd's First Musical!

I inherited acting from my father and music from my mother.  My father was actually performing in a play at a community theatre in Northern California called The Red Bud Theatre the night before I was born.

My mother learned to play guitar in the 70’s.  She made music a regular part of her curriculum when she was teaching 3rd Grade on the Hupa Indian Reservation.  “Baby Beluga”, “Apples and Bananas”, anything by Red Grammer or Raffi, became an important influence in my early years. 

As a child I would strum clumsily on my mother’s nylon acoustic and make up songs about Skeleton Families, Animals, Witches or other crazy things my 5-year-old imagination came up with.  But it wasn’t until I was about 14 and started having crushes on boys in rock bands, that I finally asked my mom to sit down and teach me how to play.

What started as a way to impress boys became a life-long passion for music. I sang in the choir, I performed in musicals at my high school and in my spare time I played songs by all my favorite bands, which I’m embarrassed to say included Blink 182 and Avril Lavigne among other gems from the early 2000’s.

I didn’t start writing my own music until college when I met my BFF Andrew Steele.  Andrew and I learned right away that our musical chemistry was something very special.  Andrew was already writing his own songs.  He inspired and encouraged me to do the same.  A musical partnership was born. 

So now here we are almost a decade later.  Andrew and I have performed together in at least 3 different bands and countless theatre projects.  We have developed a vast array of original music for our repertoire and we are bursting at the seams to marry our love of writing music with our love of live theatre.  So when I asked Andrew to help me write the music for Circle Circle dot dot’s new play No Place Like Home, his answer was a resounding “Duh! Of Course I will!” 

Unfortunately Andrew could not be by my side for our first staged reading of the piece; which occurred last weekend at Arizona State University’s Night of The Open Door Festival.  This was a very stressful day for me.  I had the help of a wonderful cast of ASU Students and Faculty.  They sacrificed their entire Saturday to help bring No Place Like Home to life for the first time.  

I was lucky enough to have two of my actors that will be in the San Diego Production(Katie and Patrick), here in AZ with me.  But we only had 2 hours of rehearsal time so I had to perform nearly all of the music myself.  This killed my nerves.  I had palpitations all day.  I worried about the songs written for Andrews vocal range or guitar skill level (which is a million times higher than mine). But I am proud to say that the reading was perfectly successful.  It was a beautiful experience to hear the piece aloud.  The audience response was very positive and I got some terrific feedback from my cast about ways to make the piece stronger.  I am so excited to bring a new and improved No Place Like Home back to San Diego. 

No Place Like Home is a Blues-Musical based on the lives of residents of PATH (People Assisting The Homeless). It follows the story of Daisy who suffers from Cerebral Palsy and is kicked out of her home at the tender age of 19.  Follow her and the friends she makes along the way in their journey to find a place called Home. Opening at The Ocean Beach Play House on Friday May 23rd.  Save the Date!



Katie AZ Log #6: Going back.

Things are swimming along nicely in our artistic residency at ASU.  The script is in its' rough draft form and now we are work-shopping with our marvelous cast and crew.  Design details are being finalized, and soon we will be hosting a reading with the community that inspired our piece so we can get some great feedback and do our rewrites during Spring Break. 

All in all, we are right where we need to be.  

I decided to take a moment in today's blog to reflect on the experience of returning to a meaningful place after being gone for a long time.  This has been quite a remarkable experience for me thus far, and I think this is a good place to take a look at it.  

My History at ASU

Me and my best Grad School friend Cathan. Circa 2007.

NINE years ago (really?) I was accepted into ASU's first restructured Graduate Performance class.  I was excited to take on the new challenge, but to be entirely honest I applied to Graduate School from the "I don't know what to do with a degree in theatre" place.  Not the strongest reason to go more into debt- but I'm grateful that my fear of the 'real world' provided me with some clarification.  

I took performance classes like voice, movement, Meisner technique, Viewpoints (hallelujah), and more. I also took theory classes, and studio classes that allowed me to write and develop my artistic backbone.  As mentioned in a previous entry- this program made me the artist I always wanted to be.  I never saw myself as only an actress. I wanted more from this complex (and incredibly challenging) world of theatre.  This school gave that to me.  

But I, Katie, was also going through many changes as a person.  I was becoming an adult.  I was dating and engaging in new personalities, and I was figuring myself out.  

I remember feeling so much pressure to be perfect.  Where the hell does that come from?  And I remember that I would do anything it took to be that.  Sometimes with consequences that part of me still wishes I could reverse.  I think we all as people have these great moments of change in our lives, and Grad School was all of that for me.  

So while my education and the opportunities that were given to me were fantastic- I was not always fantastic.  I took my time here to fight some demons, and while I am grateful for what that fight has turned me into...I couldn't help but reflect about what it might have been like coming to this school AFTER I experienced that turmoil.  

But that would be ridiculous I guess.  I think in the grand scheme of all unfolded as best it possibly could.  And even though I wish I could have avoided publically dealing with some of that pain...I'm grateful to the friends and teachers that stood by me while it was happening.  

I realize I'm being vague...but hopefully you understand my sentiment.  Somewhat.  

Returning to the Source

When Circle first heard that we were accepted into this residency...I experienced the entire spectrum of emotions.  I was thrilled to take the work Circle does to a new state!  One of my many big dreams for this company is that CCdd can hold residencies in new places every year.  I want to bring Community-Based Theatre to everyone that wants it.  And in return, I want to bring this new work developed in a new environment back home to San Diego when we’re done.  That’s one of our biggest goals.  The fact that we got our first residency in such a short time made me jump for joy.  This is the start of this new chapter for us. 

But obviously I also had a lot of fear inside of me.  I immediately thought of poor 22 y/old Katie just starting out.  I thought of how pathetic and sad I felt a large amount of time throughout obtaining my Masters.  It was embarrassing.  And at some point since I left and became a healthier and more confident human, I started associating that old pain with this place.  With Arizona in general.  I didn’t know if I was ready to face that place again. 

I felt like blogging about this because I came to a realization today how completely over this fear I’ve become.  Whoever didn’t like 22 y/o Katie in the past has either left or forgotten.  Or perhaps my current state of joyful/confident Katie allowed that old vision of me to vanish.  And the work I’m doing is exciting.  And people want to participate!  That means more than any conflict from my past. 

I guess what I’m trying to say is: don’t let the past hinder your future.  Just because you sucked when you were 22- it doesn’t mean that you suck when you’re 32.  Or 42.  Or beyond.  I took a great risk in being miserable out here- but I did it because I love what I’m doing now.  I want to share the work Circle does with the world- and that’s much more powerful than any insecurity I held onto from when I was younger. 

I used to chant in my head as I felt the sucking depression keep me down back then that “this isn’t forever, this is just for now”.  And future Katie wants to thank past Katie for believing that message enough to get through it. 

Because the only way out is through. 

And if there is anyone reading this right now that’s thinking about giving up or struggling with themselves in any way- I hope you get that message.  And I hope it makes a difference.  And when you survive that horrific transformative moment in your life, you will always be thankful that you allowed it to let you grow. 





Soroya AZ Log #5: Rehearsals and Research

It has begun! Rehearsals have started, the script has been written (mostly) and our new play “Red Planet Respite” is taking shape. 

One of the many reasons I love working with Katie is that she is uses Viewpoints in her new play development.  Viewpoints is a movement/acting/improvisation technique developed by Anne Bogart and Siti Company.  We have been using Viewpoints to explore our characters and their relationships in this early stage of play development. 

Pictured above are some of our cast members in the middle of a viewpoints composition.  From left to right we have Rivka, Kevin, Shannon and Jeremiah.  We love our talented and energetic cast. 

With viewpoints, you start to create a physical, gestural and emotional vocabulary for your character before the text is even introduced.  It’s a lot of fun.  So much fun that Katie can’t help but jump in from time to time. 


The first week of rehearsals concluded last night after a tour of the Mars Space Flight Facility on the ASU campus.  We had the amazing honor of a private presentation by the one-and-only Phil Christiansen. 

Phil has been a major player in Mars Exploration since the 70’s.  His body of work includes designing and building a major instrument in both the Spirit and Opportunity rovers called mini-Tes (Miniature Thermal Emission Spectrometer ). Mini-Tes measures the properties of minerals such as temperature.  Using this information scientists are able to analyze each mineral and determine if it could have been made by water.

Have they found water?  Yes, but only in the solid form of ice.  Dr. Christiansen believes the canals on Mars could have been created by snow-melt, but that Mars has never been warm enough to sustain life.  It is indeed a cold planet.  On the hottest day of summer, on the equator of Mars, it may reach a temperature as high as 32 degrees Fahrenheit, still freezing.  There are a few reasons Mars is so cold.  Its further from the sun, has a much thinner atmosphere and has no Magnetic Field. 

The reason a magnetic field helps a planet keep warm is because it protects the atmosphere by catching and deflecting solar wind.  Scientists believe there was a time when Mars had a much thicker atmosphere.  There is evidence of magnetized rocks that imply the planet was once polarized like earth.  But somehow Mars lost its magnetic field and the solar wind was able to sweep most of the atmosphere away.

Could Mars have sustained life in it’s early days when it had more of an atmosphere? Maybe.  But scientists have yet to find any evidence of biological life, as we know it.



Katie AZ Log #5: The Play!

Hi Everyone who reads this blog!  I learned last week that there are quite a lot of you.  Mostly friends and family- but thank you for reading.  Thank you for your interest in our work!  I'm sorry I've been greatly delayed in getting back to it.  

As I mentioned in my crappy last blog- I went to San Diego for a week to check out the beautiful "San Diego, I Love You 2.0".  Did you get a chance to see it?  What I loved the most about it was how delicate each moment was.  I really felt like I was invading someone's private moment.  It was fabulous and romantic, and what a beautiful weekend in San Diego.  Boy I do miss home.  

However, I am rocking it out in Arizona!  As soon as we got back last Thursday Soroya and I had to lock ourselves in our perspective writing locations and get some work done on the script.  We needed a good jumping off point.  We've been working with outlines, and scene breakdowns to help the designers visualize the work they have ahead of them, but now I'm proud to say that 2/3rds of the script is in its' first draft mode and we're moving forward on some of the awesome designs that the students assigned to our piece have developed for us.  Check out one of Grad Designer Anastasia's beautiful costume renderings: 

It will be a little longer until the script is entirely complete.  I have to go back and forth a couple of times with my dramaturgs (who just so happen to be Astrophysicists), and we will be hosting a reading out here at the beginning of March so I can get some final notes and comments on the piece before Spring Break.  

BUT, as promised, I wanted to give you a little sneak-peak on what exactly we're developing out here.  So, sweet blog readers, here is the first act breakdown outline of Circle Circle dot dot's next production: "Red Planet Respite (Working title)"  This outline is very rough, and the final show will likely be very different, but this is our starting off point.  So enjoy!: 


Red Planet Respite

Developed by Circle Circle dot dot in collaboration with Arizona State University’s School of Theatre and Film and the School of Earth and Space Sciences. (Subject to changes). 

Cast of Characters: 

Dr. Grace Rosario:  First Space Engineer.  Captain of the ship, head engineer of the Marsimerica Pod Planet Resort.  Widow.

Dr. Noah Sellers:  Second Space Engineer.  2nd in Command.  Specializes in guest experiences in relationship to the Pod Planet Resort. 

Dr. Lucian Adams:  Billionaire plastic surgeon playboy.  Specialized in bionics, sold his business.  Considered a “hero” publically.  Has some skeletons in his closet. 

Theodore (Teddy) Kinney:  CEO of GlobalCom Venture Capitals.  Texas teddy bear drunk.  Great in a crowd, great in public.  Man’s-man.  Good in business, not with life.  Throws money at problems. 

Addison (Addy) Lee: 2044 Olympic Silver Medalist in Women’s Marathon Swimming.  From Kansas.  Girlfriend to Lucian.  Likes a good party and being treated like a princess.  Not what you expect.    Always has a pad with her for notes on her travel blog. 

Dr. Jennifer Castron: Agro-Geologist hired to maintain AgroPod.  Has been stuck in the pod for a year without much contact when the crew arrives.  Foster child.  

Part 1: Exiting Earth: 

The piece opens at a press conference in 2044 where the audience meets the crew of 6 that will be taking a maiden voyage to the “Mars Lava Land Space Resort”, a project developed by a future corporate conglomeration (think google+Disney+Virgin) that combined their financial powers to develop a tourist attraction for the wealthy in the underground Lava Tube Canals where engineers have managed to carve out a small(ish) inhabitable destination. 

This Press conference will introduce audiences to each of the travelers- investor to scientist.  We’ll see where each of these characters falls in social importance on earth, and play with the futuristic way our population obtains their news. 

Part 2: Boarding the Ship/First day in space.

This scene will open up on a video presentation that will introduce us to the attraction’s computer flight attendant “Deimos”- a perky interactive presence that will be played with throughout the script (CCdd Company Member Soroya will provide the recording for this scripted character).  She will introduce the travelers in the standard intro to the voyage, and give audiences a chance to hear how the mission/project developed over history.  This information will be flushed out with collaborative scientists. 

After the presentation the ship starts a week-long voyage (thanks to new nuclear rocket transportation)!  We see how the different personalities will interact. 

Part 3:  End of Flight onto Pod 1

This scene will begin at the end of the voyage and will display restless and eager voyagers that will likely be sick of each other in the tight quarters of the ship. They land & we see their excitement as they enter into the first pod- the entrance of the attraction.  Here they will make contact back home and give statements to the press conference happening back to earth.  Celebrating, etc. until a big outage- we will be cut out from contact to earth.  The engineers work on reaching back out while the rest look around, interact, discuss the issue but seem unafraid, assuming a glitch. 

Part 4: The Pods

While the engineers work, the additional group members open up the “pods” that have been planted to build the attraction community. 

We’re imagining that there are 6-10 pods that can be represented with projections in one environment. 

They can include: 

  • ·         Main entrance pod (with large communication screen.  Here you can access Earth, telescope monitors, and communicate with Deimos). 
  • ·         Café/Agro Lab.  This is where our geologist will monitor crops and “space fair food” is sold. 
  • ·         Sleep pod: Sleep cabinets that induce perfect rest are held here. 
  • ·         VR Quarters:  Virtual Reality Gaming quarters. 
  • ·         Medical Pod
  • ·         Bar pod. 
  • ·         Supply Pod

We will likely see short scenes broken down with the individual characters interacting in the various pods.  We will make a note that the Supply Pod cannot be opened without a security code.  Eventually the 4 non-engineers end up in the Virtual Reality Pod.  They play with locations until they make the choice to visit the Grand Canyon.  They enjoy the view and are excited about their expedition until they are interrupted by one of the Engineers calling them back to the main pod. 

The first Engineer tells them to look at Earth in the telescope monitor and the group views out in horror at an image of a planet in distress. 

End of Act 1


More to come!  And now that we're starting workshop rehearsals we'll have even more to share!  


Thanks for reading friends.  



Katie AZ log #4.5

I know, I know.  I owe you a real post friends....but you're going to have to wait a little longer.  

In a few days I will be posting our first description of the Mars Play!  So it will be worth the wait, I promise!  

I fully intended to write a big long blog last week before I traveled to San Diego for the opening of "San Diego, I Love You 2.0" and last night's Critic Circle awards...but I got super busy and didn't have time.  I fail.  

Right now I'm wrapping up my San Diego trip with my family.  So I promise my next entry will rock your Sci-Fi loving universe.  

Here's a cute picture of the Circle crew from last night's ceremony to tide you over.  Until next time!



Soroya's AZ Log #4 The 4 Pillars of Sci-Fi

With our newest endeavor, Circle Circle dot dot is exploring an unfamiliar territory: Science-Fiction.  Our play currently titled “Terraforming Mars” will be based 30 years in the future and will follow some of the first humans to step foot on Mars.  Doing justice to the genre is really important to us, however, we are not exactly what you would call experts on the topic so we have been doing our research.  There are pages and pages on the Internet with opinions about what goes into a great Science-Fiction story.  I found that 4 main qualities are consistently referenced through all articles.  I have titled these qualities “The 4 Pillars of Science-Fiction Writing”.


Pillar 1)    Real Scientific Research

Good Science-Fiction is based on the scientific knowledge of the time it was written.   Mary Shelly is often referred to as the first Science-Fiction novelist.  When she wrote Frankenstein, modern science had just discovered that when you shoot electricity into a dead body it can cause the body to move.  Shelly took this discovery and used her imagination to explore what else might be possible with this technology in the future.   Readers of her novel found the scientific possibility of creating life through electricity to be accurate and plausible according to their modern scientific research.  Science-Fiction must be plausible and reasonable, if it is not, then it is more in the genre of Fantasy or Horror.  That is why, now that we know life cannot be created through electricity, we categorize Frankenstein as a Horror story.


Pillar 2)    Quality Writing

You may have exciting things like space-ships and laser-guns in your story but that is no cover for bad writing.  A good Science-Fiction story has all the same qualities of any well-written piece of literature.  You must have well developed characters with real goals and real obstacles so that your audience will root for them.  Your antagonists must be developed just as carefully.  All stories are really about human relationships weather they take place in the future or not.


Pillar 3)    Visionary Ideas

Ray Bradbury said, “Anything you dream is fiction, and anything you accomplish is science, the whole history of mankind is nothing but Science-Fiction”.  Consider any piece of technology we use today: TV’s, computers, cellphones, cars ect. All of these things, before they were invented, were conceived in a work of Science-Fiction.  Good Science-Fiction pushes the boundaries of modern knowledge and challenges scientists to create new technologies that improve our standard of living.


Pillar 4)    Phiosophical Issues

Good Science-Fiction addresses our modern philosophical issues and fears.  Science-Fiction writers take problems they see in todays society and explore those problems in the extreme.  This is why topics like overbearing government, artificial intelligence and environmental ruin come up in Science-Fiction all the time.  Good Science-Fiction, like any good story, works out our needs, hopes and problems with the ultimate goal of making our world a better place.



Katie AZ Log #4

Due to the depressing nature of my last blog on here, I decided to take the time to write a "what I love about Arizona" blog to juxtapose that negative situation.  I don't want readers to think that Soroya and I are living in a sexual warzone and constantly fear for our safety.  This is far from the case.  95% of the time we are fine. I wrote last week's blog because I was shocked by what was happening/continues to happen in the College neighborhood.  But I really do not want, nor would I ever let that experience ruin anything about this amazing opportunity.   So I'm going positive today and sharing all of my favorite things in AZ both from my past experiences and present.  Enjoy my top 5 short-list!:  

1. Arizona sunsets. 

These are like no other sunset I've seen.  They electrify the sky and the entire surface of the world below radiates with pinks and oranges.  For those few sacred minutes everything looks like a neon coloring book.  It's breathtaking.  And it's impossible to capture on an iphone, but I tried.  

2. Stray Cat Theatre

I've seen a lot of theatre that I loved in Arizona, but Stray Cat Theatre was always the most consistently awesome and beyond worth the price of my ticket.  In San Diego, there aren't a lot of arts organizations that are as willing or able to be as brave, gruesome, inappropriate, and unapologetic as Stray Cat Theatre.  Artistic Director Ron May has been able to carve out an environment where he can do whatever the hell he wants, and critics/audiences will support him.  He is a wonderful and talented man.  If you're in AZ and haven't caught one of their shows, you're missing out on something special.  Their next show "The Whale" opens on February 14th, and Soroya and I are very excited to attend!  


3. Camelback Mountain

Do you like to hike?  Do you prefer your hikes to be an athletic challenge, rather than a stroll?  Well then meet my friend Camelback Mountain.  It's a 2.30 mile hike that gets your heart pumping and gives stunning views of the Valley below.  This hike made a great impact on my fitness goals while I was in Grad school, and I missed it when I moved.  


4. Arizona Architecture.  

I am no Architect.  I wish I was.  But if you love looking at beautiful buildings like I do, AZ is jam-packed.  My images will hardly do the buildings justice, but I've been snapping pictures of some of the structures just around campus and the surrounding neighborhoods that are lovely: 

This upside-down pyramid is City Hall!

Can you tell that this is a fountain?

These light beams are by the MU. They glowed beautifully, and then they changed colors!


Last one. I'm a sucker for pretty lights.

This is a picture (not taken by myself) of the beautiful Grady Gammage Auditorium that was designed by Frank Loyd Wright.  Wright spent the later part of his life in AZ and created many structures out here that are equally as beautiful.  This building just happens to be right across the street from me- and I am very grateful to look at it, and see shows in it while I'm here.  

5. ASU's School of Theatre, Film, and Dance program.  

The very best things about Arizona to me are all wrapped up in this incredible program where I obtained my MFA, and where we get to now play.  This program made me the artist I am.  It's full of overwhelming talent and support from a brilliant faculty; who I owe greatly for helping me to find the artist I am today.  Circle is rooted in ASU's fantastic freeing performance education.  If you love what we're doing in San Diego- you have ASU to thank.  

This video of the MFA program is pretty great:  

MFAs in Performance, Design and Directing - ASU School of Film, Dance and Theatre from ASU Sch of Film, Dance & Theatre on Vimeo.



Well friends, that's all I've got in me for now.  I gotta run to a workshop with the cast of our production! I promise my next blog will be more production-related!  






Soroya's AZ Log #3 from Sci-Fi to Street Harassment

We came to Arizona to write a play about Mars.  And it’s starting to shape up nicely.  Our team is large, at least by CCdd’s standards.  We have 6 cast members, 3 crew, 4 designers, about 5 design mentors, several collaborative scientists, a bunch of people working in the costume and set shops who I haven’t even met yet and 2 director/writers (that’s Katie and me).   With our powers combined we are going to produce an intermediated, futuristic, Science-Fiction Play that follows some of the first people to inhabit the Red Planet.

Sci-Fi is sort of a new frontier for theatre, especially stories about Space Exploration.  This probably has something to do with technology.  But since we are now in the Information Age, I say it is time for a Sci-Fi revolution in theatre.  I am so excited about this piece.   I even get to act in it! Well…Sort of.  I get to create the screen personality of a computer brain named Deimos(named after one of Mars’ moons) that interacts with our travelers along their adventure and provides important information to both the characters and the audience members.  We are thinking of a futuristic flight attendant outfit for my costume (maybe like Britney wore in her Toxic music video!) and maybe this will even be an excuse for me to dye my hair purple!  Fingers crossed that our Costume Designer likes my ideas.

We did NOT come to Arizona to write a play about Street Harassment, but the topic seems to be calling us.  We were surprised and touched by the response from Katie’s recent blog post about the harassment we’ve been subject to on Mill Avenue.   We received words of support not only from our friends and loved ones, but also from Professors and Administrators here at the University.  The wonderful, progressive people at Arizona State University have become increasingly aware of Street Harassment as a problem here for their students. And thanks to recent movements like Hollaback a momentum is starting to build behind ending street harassment in America and Worldwide.  By creating a theatrical piece about it we can add to this momentum.  We proudly accept this call of duty as strong, female artists.

I have a confession to make.  I have never been the girl that hollers back.  Like most girls, I have been taught my whole life that when presented with conflict I should stay quiet, be patient and kill them with kindness.  Last weekend after one of about 5 instances of harassment that happened that day I felt terrible, powerless.  Katie asked me why I didn’t say anything back to the group of boys.  Was I afraid?  It was daylight and there were plenty of people around.  I guess I was scared.  But maybe I was more afraid of getting into a conversation with these creeps and having that unpleasant interaction with them more than I was afraid for my actual safety.  If I ignore them and walk on, then I don’t have to deal with it.  But I am starting to think this is bigger than me; I think I am being called upon by the universe to address this problem through my art and in my daily life.

So street harassers be warned. If I’m in a public place, and it’s daylight, and I hear you harassing me or any other sister, I am going to walk right up to you and say “Why did you do that?  Don’t you know it makes women uncomfortable, scared and makes you seem like a creep? You need to stop.”  



Katie's AZ Log #3

Something a little off track from our project this time.  I promise this won’t happen often.  

I forgot how different Arizona is as a community than California.  Soroya touched on it a bit in her first blog. 

For the most part, people are lovely.  All of the businesses we visit are staffed by wonderfully sweet and helpful people (Cafe Boa gets a special shout-out for the off-menu hot toddy they made me).  We feel like we make friends with staff at all of the places we go into.  

The school staff is beyond wonderful.  Everyone greets us with kindness and is more than willing to solve any ol' problem we encounter.  They cannot give us any more attention or support.  The students in our class and part of our project are some of the sweetest, most enthusiastic young people I have ever met.  I'm thrilled with our weekly encounters, and I love the work we get to do.  This is an artistic dreamland.  

The *only* thing that's off about working in Arizona is the aggressively large amount of in-your-face attention we get when we walk around the surrounding neighborhoods of the school.  

The best way I can describe what I mean is to detail the events of Soroya and my afternoon walk that we just returned from.  So here you go:  

Sweet Soroya and I slept in this morning and decided to relax and be a bit lazy.  So around 3pm we ventured out for a walk around Mill Ave since it's the local shop/restaurant/ frozen yogurt gatekeeper.


The journey takes us from our dorm apartment through part of the ASU campus right onto Mill Ave.  It's a nice walk.  Especially on such a beautiful day as today.  It's warm and there's a little cloud cover.  The second I stepped out of our room my mood lifted, I felt good to be alive. 

Then, seemingly as soon as we stepped onto Mill a crew of boys in a truck honked and yelled something derogatory at us.  

Soroya and I laughed and brushed it off.  She said: 

"Do you think that was for me, or for you?  Or for us?"  

I didn't care.  We agreed this happened a lot.  Seemingly whenever we walk on Mill since we've been here different groups shout things at us.  Things like: 



"Scissor Sisters!"  

Ok, that last one made me laugh.  Apparently being two women with short hair walking on Mill means being two mega dyke slut bitches.  Ok.  Why do you need to shout it at me?  What does that do for your ego?  For your friends?  Does it make you horny?  Does it make you feel powerful?  

When Soroya and I went into the CVS on the block she saw a group of guys come into the store too.  She immediately got scared.  She thought it was the group of guys that shouted at us from the truck.  

"Is that them?  Did you see them?"  

"Who cares" I said.  

When we walked out she told me it made her nervous, she was scared they followed us in there.  I just...what kind of bullshit is that?  I refuse to be intimidated by a group of horny pre-pubescent motherfuckers.  

And I realize that it might be unprofessional of me to use that language on this public blog...but I don't care.  I'm mad.  I'm a big scary mad fucking short-haired shrew that lives in the corner apartment of an all-boys dorm hall while working on an artist residency.  And while the work, the school, and the opportunity is the best thing ever- I'm also experiencing a culture I haven't experienced in a while and I don't understand why I can't walk down the street in this college town without a group of assholes yelling something degrading at me.  

It isn't just cars driving by, it's people walking past us while we try to get to our destinations.  

Today a young man looked me in the eyes as I walked past and said: 

"You are so, so beautiful."  

Ok?  Great.  I'm beautiful.  I respond: 

"Thanks."  We keep walking and he replies: 

"Not you, the other one- your friend."  His friends laugh.  I try to think of something perfect to say in my head.  Something to emasculate him.  Something I can feel proud of later.  Something that makes him feel like a fucking loser for being so rude, so....fuck.  The moment passed.  I looked back and his friend says: 

"No, no, you are too."  

I shake my head.  

I walk on.  There is nothing I can say.  I get to take it.  And it makes me mad.  

Who gives a fuck what you think about how I look?  I don't know you!  I am just WALKING ON A STREET WITH MY FRIEND!  What gives you the power to insult me?  What gives you the gumption to harass a woman as she walks by?  Why?  Do you become better because you take me down a notch in front of all of your friends?  

I exhale.  Soroya feels bad for me, but she doesn't know what to say.  What is there to say?  A group of 6+ men criticized me in public.  Because they could.  Because they weren't afraid of me.  Because I was a woman.  Because I am a woman.  Because something is fundamentally wrong with something.  Because I had the audacity to walk down a street with my head held high.  

"My value would never come from that person Soroya."  

We walk back to our place quietly.  Minutes onto Mill another truck of men honks and yells at us.  We jump, shake our heads, and agree I should blog about it.  

I don't know exactly what to say about any of this.  But I do know something about myself.  

I'm awesome.  And am in incredible positions, and worked very hard to make this wonderful and magical life for myself entirely surrounded in art.  I have the best partner on earth.  I have friends sent from heaven.  I appreciate the environment around me.  I laugh constantly, I love ferociously.  I am more complex and fascinating, and wild and free than most.  I am brave.  I am beautiful, but that means very little in the grand scale of my weight as a human.  I am a force.  

So fuck you street bullies.  Fuck you.  



Soroya's AZ Log #2

Each day passes like a dream.  I wake up, get immediately to work and before I know it, it’s 9pm: time for some dinner and a little TV with my roommate/fearless leader Katie.  This week has been filled with interviews, meetings, music and lots of computer work.

On Tuesday we had two interviews.  The first was with James Tyburczy the current director of the School of Earth and Space Exploration.  He has been a tremendous ally to us, helping us to connect to all the scientists at the university.  His particular field of study is in mineral physics.  He studies the physical and chemical properties of minerals, melts, and rocks or as I like to call it HOT LAVA!  

The second interview was with Edmund Stump.  He is a professor and associate director at the school, but he is better known for his work on the Transantarctic Mountains.  This guy is a real life Indiana Jones.  He travels to remote places to study the way mountains were formed.  The way he does that is by climbing to the top of the mountain and then collecting rock samples on the way down and analyzing their chemical makeup.  But we are not talking about little wimpy mountains here.  We are talking about big, scary, cold, icy mountains in Antarctica.  He literally wrote the book on Transantarctic Mountains and you can purchase it on Amazon for just $21.35. 

Here is what the Transantarctic Mountains look like.  They are much larger than they appear in this picture with a length of about 3,500KM.


And here is a picture of how the mountaineers get around down there.

Something that has been present in all of our interviews is the topic of interdisciplinary work.  Apparently it is not common in the field of science to have so many different kinds of scientists working together.  It is a strong and somewhat novel belief of the School that this interdisciplinary collaboration will lead to new discoveries and more answers… or more questions.  That is something that CCdd believes strongly in as well. I am so excited about the potential in this relationship between Arts and Science.


After a long day of sitting, listening and writing, I like to go for a little jog in the neighborhoods that surround the school.  I was surprised by all of the cool art that lives in people’s yards and the public streets here. 

This person has a dead tree in their yard, which they ornamented with an old bicycle covered in Christmas lights.  At night it looks like it is floating in the sky ET style.

People really love to ride bikes here because it is so flat and parking is mostly illegal.  Re-purposed bikes make it into a lot of the art in this town.

Another thing I enjoy during my jogs is saying hello to all the cats.  Wild cats are all over Tempe.  Like this gang right here:

And the sunsets here are incredible, especially when they silhouette a cool art piece made of re-purposed road signs.



Katie AZ Log #2

Hi again friends!  

After a wonderful week of settling, interviewing, and teaching our first class, (which Soroya summarized beautifully in the last blog), we were ready for a relaxing 3-day weekend! 

I try not to talk too much about my personal life on any of my business publications, but it might be a little hard to avoid on here in some cases.  Like the fact that my sweet boyfriend (who is also CCdd's Technical Director) decided to take an unscheduled trip out to hang out with me this weekend, which made the end of our first week out here amazing.  

Me n' Pat waiting for the Phoenix Light Rail.

I've been a bit of a baby leading into the residency.  I didn't want to leave this guy and the comfortable home we've made together for the past 4 years.  But, Patrick needed to stay in town to help orchestrate "San Diego, I Love You 2.0" (have you gotten your tickets yet?  I'll be there Opening Weekend!), and I needed to be here, so yeah.  I'm a big baby.  But he came to visit me this weekend, which made me feel a ton better.  I know he'll be back soon.  We're not that far, and this is going to go so quickly.  It already has!  I'm just going to try to be in the moment, and enjoy this wonderful ride.  

Anyway, so what did we do with our weekend?  Since I know the area the best, I wanted to take the weekend team to my favorite part of Phoenix- the RoRo Arts District, or Roosevelt Row.  I remembered that this area had lots of fun businesses, arts complexes, and eclectic shops and bars to check out- BUT to my surprise the area had quite the facelift since I was there 6 years ago!  We were thrilled to find an incredibly impressive amount of Street Art, that I just needed to document for our "Street. Art. Prophets." fans out there.  Check out some of the incredible art we stumbled upon: 


Pretty awesome, huh?  And this just barely scratched the surface.  

We had a great time in the neighborhood, and just a great weekend entirely.  Patrick is on his way back to San Diego today, and I'm trying not to get sad about it.  There's too much to do.  

More soon!