Monday, May 18, 2009

University of Hawaii, Hilo Tour Diary

Aloha Diary,
Sometimes flying is not about freedom. Sometimes it's about sleeping with your head on the tray table and moving so people can go to the bathroom in the appropriate locker-sized room in the back of a collection of steel vessels that somehow gets me from East Brooklyn to Northern Hawaii. Josephine Baker and I both elected to function on no sleep en route to the Big Island. We could have attached little anchors to our eyelids as we walked through the Phoenix airport, but we decided it would get in the way of the lost cities of Atlantis we were dragging from our eyelids, and we didn't want to mix our metaphors too early in the day. There's appropriate and then there's inappropriate, and Josephine Baker and Julia Child know the difference. (As if I really had to say that to YOU, diary.)

We made it to Hilo sans Aphra Behn, who was sitting on the tarmac in Atlanta. God was punishing her for being hopeful about an upgrade to business class. The stunning Myhraliza greeted us with leis and a ride to our glorious accommodations next door to Coconut Grove, where we drank Hawaiian beer and pretended to be awake in paradise.

Julia Child
April 5, 2009

Aloha Diary,
Today we gave a poster-making workshop to the folks in the Hilo Theatre Department, as well as to their radiant Chair, Jackie. They were masters at theatre warm-up games like the name game, which we retitled "I'm Jumpin' Julia." (But of course.) They were also quite adept at silently granting one another permission to take each other's places in a game called "yes." Sadly, we had many false starts when we started to play Big Bootie, but I can't say I didn't contribute to our collective failure to have rhythm we could all be proud of.

Then we wrote down all of the issues we're extra passionate about in Hilo, and got down to the business of making posters. Three groups made brilliant, powerful collections of taglines and images about Drugs/Peer Pressure, Domestic Violence, and the ever-complicated Hawaiian Identity and it's political implications. Applause to the
charismatic geniuses in the Hilo theatre department.

We also took a stab at rehearsing our show, "Silence is Violence," but we were pleasantly distracted by some traditional hula rehearsal in the outdoor halls on campus. We sat and watched the nuanced gesturing of 40 or so folks in sarongs for more than an hour. Could have been days. We were entranced.

Then we couldn't find any restaurants open past 8:00. Yummy!

Julia Child
April 6. 2009

Aloha Diary,
Today we hung out in Downtown Hilo and I got the raddest airbrushed shirt from Auntie Beth's. She put a piece of lace over the shirt and airbrushed the pattern with purple paint. I keep trying to wear it in New York with flip flops, but every time I go outside it's absolutely frigid. So I put my Quebec sweatshirt on instead. (Remember what I
said about appropriate?) I also patronized Bear's Coffee while I was downtown, and they made a fab soy latte. Though I have to say, it did out price a NYC soy latté at $4.50. I must have looked like I would pay that much for a soy latte. I would and I did.

Then we performed for a nearly full-house in the Hilo cafetorium. The audience was so generous with their laughter and applause. Sometimes we weren't even saying funny things and they were in stitches. Mayhaps I was sporting a "kick me" sign I wasn't aware of? Lei'a was our student volunteer, and she was a fabulous improviser. Sure to be a force to reckon with in the world of political theatre in the future. Lola and Myhraliza kept bringing us the yummiest selections from the beautiful buffet, steamed buns with
pork inside, fried tofu, the freshest pineapple this side of heaven, the works!

Then we went to the only bar open in Hilo, Shooters, and had the bartender make us the only touristy drink he could think of: The Rock Bottom. Karaoke was a dollar a song and even though it's a recession, 10 dollars pretended like it wasn't. I enjoy being a girl.

Mahalo and Aloha,
Julia Child
April 7, 2009

Day 1: April 5, 2009
Julia Child and I arrived on the Big Island today. I have to admit, I was a little taken aback by the very rainy weather. It wasn't cold, but a little chilly, and not really what I was expecting from Hawaii. But seriously, after the very unspring-like temperatures in New York, I'd take it!

Upon arriving, we found out that Aphra had been having trouble with her flight, and were instructed to meet up with Myhraliza instead. Aphra would be in later that evening.
Myhraliza was amazing from the beginning. She greeted us with beautiful lei's, drove us to our hotel, and made sure we got in safely. Needless to say, after a 12 hour flight, we were pretty exhausted, and thankful for her hospitality. Without it, we would have had to wait another 2 hours in the airport for Aphra!

We settled in, and the first thing I did was take a shower. I had to get that airplane funk off! Dinner was a salad from the hotel restaurant. And let me tell you, the bed was welcome!

Day 2: April 6, 2009
Today was workshop day! It went great. They were theater students! Theater students are full of great ideas, and aren't afraid to be silly and outgoing during warm-ups.

This group was pretty enthusiastic, although there were one or two who were having a hard time letting themselves go completely, and not over-thinking everything. It was also apparent that the group was having a hard time understanding the more internal and specific aspects of free association.

By the end, though, there were 3 great posters. After all of the ideas that were thought up, they were narrowed down to Domestic Violence, Peer Pressure, and Hawaiian Commercialization and Stereotypes. The domestic violence group did the best at collaboration and their poster had a fantastic and compelling image.

We were also able to find an amazing volunteer from this group! Her name is Lei'a. I could tell immediately that she would be great.

Day 3: April 7, 2009
Well, it's show day. I have to admit, I'm kind of nervous. I always am before donning the mask and taking on my Guerrilla Girl On Tour identity. Stay tuned….

The show went great! They loved us! There was no need for me to be nervous. They laughed where they were supposed to and we got in some awesome adlibs. The improvs turned out perfect. I'm glad we worked on them so much. I think that made all the difference. Lei'a was great, as predicted. She was an instant Guerrilla Girl On Tour, and slipped right in to the parts we gave her.

Now, I know I say this every tour, but this one was my favorite tours. OK, it was in Hawaii and I definitely needed to get away. But U of Hawaii at Hilo was so hospitable, and the audience was amazing. I had a fabulous time! Thanks Hawaii. I can’t wait to return.

Josephine Baker