I Want to Introduce You to One of My Heroes

So, if you’ve been following this blog for a while, you would have probably (Hopefully) read my blog posts about Lighting Design and Teaching. Well, I didn’t end up where I am by accident. I got here by working hard and loving what I do. Technically my degree is in Creative Writing, so most people think I’m going to be an English Teacher or a starving writer, but I’m not really using it in either of my jobs.

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RUN DAVE!

As a Lighting Designer and a Drama Teacher, I am one of those few who can actually say that I make my money through theatre. I started my career in community college and had only briefly worked backstage in a high school production my freshman year. Well, Until I met Dave.

Dave was my Theatre and ASL Teacher in Community College and, the first week of class, pointed at me and informed me that I was the Stage Manager. I loved it! I ended up finding myself drawn towards the lighting aspect of the stage, though, and that’s now what I introduce myself as. I have thought about doing an SM job at some point soon… I digress.

Dave is so amazing, though, beyond just being one of my Teachers. He is Director, Actor, and Writer with titles such as Rescuing Awen, Guild of Immortal Women, and Angakok.

Oh and he likes to float around under water breathing canned air. I only make it sound strange because I am hugely jealous at what he gets to do and see when he is going scuba Diving. More amazing than that, Dave is a PADI instructor at Seattle Scuba who is gay friendly and will teach you in ASL if that’s how you prefer to learn.

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Damn you, Dave.

So, if you want to check out more about my wonderful, director, mentor, fellow actor, and friend, you can check out his website here.

For now, let’s dive into his actual brain in this entry of…

end of MY rope

with David Alan Morrison

1) What do you like to do with your free time?

I have a lot of varied interests. I wish i could chalk it up to being an interesting man, but the truth is more mundane…I’m restless and A.D.D. I spend a lot of time directing community theatre, line dancing and 2-step (country/western dancing). I used to do quite a bit of scuba diving, but a while ago, my apartment burned down and I lost my equipment. I still haven’t replaced it all.
2) Are there any creative projects you are working on right now?

I’ve been doing two things: 1) making edits to my middle-grade book, RESCUING AWEN and 2) outlining a new book I’m working on. Unfortunately it’s going slowly, though. I keep getting hung up on how much (and what kind of) sex to put into a “romance”. (Thoughts, readers?)
3) Tell me about your books.
I would love to do that! I have four books out: a middle-grade book, RESCUING AWEN, a memoire, TRAVELS WITH PENNY; OR, TRUE TRAVEL TALES OF A GAY GUY AND HIS MOM; a Magical Realism, GUILD OF IMMORTAL WOMEN; and ANGAKOK, a gay-themed suspense thriller. RESCUING AWEN is one of my favorites – it’s about a sentient planet that is dying from pollution and ecological disaster. She gives a young Earthling super powers in an attempt to heal her. TRAVELS WITH PENNY is a popular one with women – especially mothers. It centers around coming to grips with the definition of “family” and how it effected my coming out process.
4) Give me the craziest drama you’ve experienced in your theatre career.

So many! Probably doing an original one-act in a local pub – we used the alley in back as our dressing room. Not only embarrassing, but the night it rained, it made for a very wet evening.
5) What is your interpretation of Satanists?

I’m not sure. I haven’t had enough exposure to know. I don’t believe in “hell” or “satan”, so I reject the idea that it is worshiping some kind of “evil spirit”. I also reject that it is akin to what some refer to as “Black Magic”. I think of realists; those who understand that for every YIN there is a YANG and every good deed, there is a bad. Which means Satanists can see the order in chaos; the sanity within the insanity of today’s world. Rather than throw personal power aside and let “Jesus Take The Wheel”, they choose to exercise their power of choice and forge their own way amongst the fucked up-ness we see around us. Am I right? What do I win? (Five Starts for Dave: 𖤐𖤐𖤐𖤐𖤐)
6) Do you have a religion you subscribe to?
I follow a belief system most people call “Pagan”. It’s actually a combination of traditional Paganism and Taoism . I believe that there is a series of events that we have no control over, as life is a complex combination of the fates of all humans. That belief, mixed up a devout belief that humanity is tied to our Earth – makes for an interesting lifestyle.
7) Which celebrity (dead or alive) is your dream man?

I’m not too picky – I have quite a few of “wanna haves”: although I must admit, 1970’s Burt Reynolds was pretty hot.
8) Tell me your favorite joke.

I can’t – it’s a joke I learned in American Sign Language and has no direct English translation. Besides – jokes are so firmly rooted in culture, that while Deaf people may think it’s hysterical, Hearing people won’t get it.
9) What is the most amazing thing you’ve seen while diving?

An ancient Sea Turtle who floated just feet from me, chowing down on some underwater plants. He seemed totally unfazed by me and my fellow divers. Such grace! The creatures are amazing.
10) What in your life are you most proud of?

I am *tremendously* proud of students who I have taught who have then gone on to great success. Whether it be using their theatre education, or sign language, I fill with pride when I hear from them and they tell me how I helped kick-start their future.

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Dave is really one of the best people I’ve ever met and can either be the nicest person in the world or a total bitch, depending on if he likes you or not. Or if he’s hungry… or hasn’t had a soda for a while… LOVE YOU, DAVE!

That’s it for now, kids! I’ll see you all tomorrow, a day further down the left hand path.

HS!

LH

I’m Not a Satanist (Yet).

Hold on, I know what you’re thinking. “But, Lauren, you blog is called I’m A Satanist And…”. I know. But hold on!

So, there are degrees within the Church of Satan and each comes with its own title. As I’ve said before, I’ve interviewed Witches, Magisters, Warlocks, Magistras, and even people not associated with the Church who still identify as Satanists. Fuck, I’ve even interviewed a Devil Worshipper! So, I thought I’d give a little bit of an explanation on where I fall before we get onto the Internal Interview.

These are the various degrees within the Church of Satan according to their site.

  • Registered Member (no degree)
  • Active Member—Satanist (First Degree)
  • Witch/Warlock (Second Degree)
  • Priestess/Priest (Third Degree)
  • Magistra/Magister (Fourth Degree)
  • Maga/Magus (Fifth Degree) 

So, I fall right in the first one with no degree. I just got my Red Card in February and my Active Membership application is probably sitting quietly, waiting to be read. They have a lot of work to get through so it may take up to a year before it even gets glanced at! That’s fine with me because it literally doesn’t matter. With or without Active Membership, I can still be a Member of the Church of Satan who is active. I think that’s what it says on the top of the page, come to think of it.

Today we will be talking with somebody who is a First Degree Satanist in the latest installment of…

end of MY rope

Our victim today is Satanist Laz C.! I sat down across the table from a computer and sent him over some hard-hitting questions to get to the bottom of what is going on in that brain.

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He sent me on like a sweetie
1) What do you like to do on your free time?
What is this “free time” that you speak of? Hah! When I’m not in the workshop, I’m usually gaming. I can’t do that because my video card is broken and those things are very costly, so I’m ignoring it for the time being.
I also like to catch up on the latest episodes of my favourite true crime podcasts such as Sword and Scale, Casefile, Courtjunkie, Canadian True Crime, They Walk Amoung Us etc. Also This is War, where military vets tell their stories.
I also like to go fishing. So many fish, so little time.
2) Describe your ideal vacation. 
Hopping on a boat (I hate flying) to a desert island. Also camping in the middle of a forest, with a river for fishing purposes. As far away from other people as possible.
3) What brought you to apply for Active Membership?
I’d been a member for about 6 years previously, and I wanted to step things up. I’d just gotten Southern Star Woodworks started, I just wanted to become more active with Satanism in general. I tend to take my time with things, but the time was definitely right.
4) Do you think Satanism affects your driving?
I don’t drive! I rely on walking, public transport, lifts, taxis etc.
Does it affect my lack of driving? Eh, perhaps in a way.
One thing that separates us Satanists from the rest is our ability to make things happen. Where life obstacles stump other people, we can carry right on through. So if I need to get somewhere, I get there somehow.
5) What kind of projects are you working on right now?
Let’s see… I have 3 plaques I’m working on at the moment, one is almost ready to ship. 3 altar tiles, and one card holder. I’ve just sent a headphones stand off. I’ve got new items for the store I want to finish and put up when I can.
That explains the lack of free time! (I’ll be ordering something for my alter soon so be prepared)
6) How do you like to celebrate your birthday? 
I just like to take the day off and have it for me. I’ll shower myself in snacks and cool beverages. Perhaps a bit of life reflection. I usually start celebrating a day or so early. Why only have one day? It’s mostly a quiet affair.
7) Does your family know that you’re a Member of the Church of Satan? Friends?
The only family I have to speak of now are my two sisters. One knows, I’m fairly sure my other sis does, but we have differing life paths so it doesn’t ever come up. I think being able to have good relationships with people who are living their life in a different manner to you is important. It transcends the limits people place on themselves.
Mum knew and thought it was great, I gave her The Satanic Bible to read and she read it. She was quite spiritual, but on some things we could find common ground.
I’m open about it with friends. I think sometimes my reputation precedes me and word spreads, which is fine. It’s magic. I’ve never found myself in a negative situation with it.
8) Which era would you live in if a wizard made you pick a new one? 
If there’s a wizard walking around forcing people to choose a new era to live in, I’d say that’s a rude wizard! Also, this is a hard question. I’m gonna need another coffee, BRB.
I’m going to choose… the 40’s. The fashion, the war, the music, the birth of new technology and the invention of Tupperware. It’s not so far back that I’m going to lack medical care, and not so close to now that things are familiar.
9) Which Satanic Rule of the Earth speaks to you the loudest at the moment?
I’m always a fan of #1. It’s the breaking of that rule that really ticks me off. But then again, can’t realistically hold other people to my lofty standards. Currently I’d say #11, especially with the goings on in the world. I try to avoid the news as much as I can, but some of it still filters through friends etc. I’m all for leaving other people the fuck alone.
People seem to latch onto that one in confusion. Destroying someone/something isn’t limited to physical destruction. You could perform a destruction ritual, however small. Just forgetting about a stranger who’s ruined your day could do. Or in practical terms, say for example the guy who runs the corner store is a twat, and you just so happen to know illegal activities of some kind go on over there, you could be sure the police would like to know about it. It allows for creativity. And I’d say that creativity is the perfect remedy for negativity.
10) How do you define Satan? 
He’s the knowledge and mysteries of the universe. He’s the drive that keeps me going when I’ve been pushed down. He’s my rationality when I feel irrational, and most importantly, he is me. He’s the ultimate symbol of rebellion and moxie and I aspire to be the embodiment of this.
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This is Nacho average feline 

 

I hope you liked my silly questions! There will be many, many more Infernal Interviews coming soon, as well as various rantings from yours truly.

Enjoy your weekend, my Darling Devils!
HS!
LH

 

I Am A Lighting Designer

As I’ve mentioned before, I am a Middle and High School Drama teacher in the Pacific Northwest, but that doesn’t really pay a lot, especially since I’m only a part-time teacher. So, on the side, I also work as a Theatrical Lighting Designer.

“What does a Theatrical Lighting Designer do, Lauren?”

I’m glad you asked.

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Me working as a Light Board Operator

Well, a Lighting Designer in a theatrical setting is responsible for, well, giving the show light in a way that is artistic, but doesn’t distract from the play; giving basic light to the show, but without making it boring or flat; trying to manage complementing all of the costumes, sets, and actors while also matching the tone of the script as well as the Director’s “vision”.

So, the first thing I do when I get a script, is read it three times. The first time, I read it to enjoy it. I just want to go through the story and read it. NEVER watch another production this early in the game because you don’t want to be influenced by another Lighting Designer’s design for a specific show.

The second time I read through a script, I read it for comprehension. I want to find out what is going on below the surface of the characters and the play itself. Something that is important is how characters relate to each other and how they feel about the environments they’re interacting with. Are they in a spooky forest with their lover? Is this character alone in their childhood home? What if that home just burned down? All of these things will inform your design.

The third time I read the script is my technical reading. I want to see where the scene changes are, where any blackouts should be. Pro Tip: Don’t use too many blackouts, because when the stage goes dark, it’s a really powerful statement. I also look at time of day, what kind of building they are in, what time of year we are set in, as well as time period. Why? Because a Denny’s in 1980’s New York City at 11:30pm is going to have different lighting that a cabin in the mid 1800’s at high noon. Dig, dog?

Well, all of this also has to match up with the Director’s “Vision”, which is their idea of how the play should look when presented opening night. This can either be very, very easy or absolute HELL to work with. It all depends on the Director. If you find a good Director, stick with them. If they like your work, or like working with you, you’ll always have a job and they’ll push to get you paid more if they can.

Why does this matter if YOU’RE the designer of the lights? Well, because you might be doing the classic Our Town, but your Director envisions it taking place in a world where humans evolved in caves. These would require two very different designs.

The nest thing you’ll do is find out what kind of lights you’re going to have, how many the theatre has, where the lights are located in the theatre, and what kind of board they have.

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Average Light Board

You need to know these things because you have to prepare to price, purchase, rent, design, focus, hang, and go into dress rehearsal. Producers and Directors will want you to go in and purchase exactly what you need so that when you get into the theatre you can use a team to move the lights where they need to be moved right away. This also includes adding gels. Gels are these very thin sheets of colored or textured plastic-y material that change the color of the light. You can also use these fun little things called gobos, which are these little metal or glass discs that are used to sculpt the light into a design that can be seen on stage.

The faster this is done, the faster you can move into writing cues. This just means you go onto the light board and tell the computer which lights it should turn on; how quickly they should rise and fall; how bright they should be; and, if you have LEDs, what color the light should be. LED lights allow for amazing color variety and this allows your design freedom that traditional lights don’t provide. Sometimes, like in the show I am currently working, you’ll have multiple light boards with no computer to write cues into.

After all of this, you’re ready for the cue to cue. This means that the actors put on their makeup and costumes and move from each scripted cue, such as entrances and exits, and technical cues, such as light, sound, and set cues. This is just a good way to make sure there aren’t any design issues in the show. It’s a good way to see how the light works with the final colors on stage; see any shadows or bright spots; and make sure your design fits with the Director’s vision.

If all of this goes smoothly, you give the cues you’ve written to your Stage Manager (Aka God of the Theatre) and then hang out until the end of Hell Week to make sure the Stage Manager is calling your cues correctly and they’re coming up at the right times. You’ll also be asked to train or manage the Spot Light Operators, telling them where you want them to focus their beams and, if you have multiple SPOs, who should take which character during scenes where they both need to have their lamps on.

Once the show opens, you’re done and can take a long break… sometimes. Other times, especially in small theatres, you’ll be asked to run the light board, too. This will be the case more often than not early on in a career. You won’t often get paid more, if you’re getting paid at all, but you’ll get a good reputation and that is far more valuable in the theatre world.

Well, there it is! I hope you have a wonderful day, Thespians!

HS!

LH