Friday, March 28, 2014

My review for American Idiot

American Idiot

The show burst to life with one of Green Day's biggest songs: American Idiot. The stage was exploding with energy and excitement! Bright, flashy lights drew everyone's eyes to the stage. The energy levels continued to rise with electrifying choreography. American Idiot opened at The Broward Center for the Performing Arts and left the audience feeling ecstatic!

I loved the music for this show. It was so fun and energetic! The cast really did a great job performing each song and keeping the stage alive with high-energy choreography and incredible, powerful voices.

The lighting for American Idiot was crazy! It worked really well together with the dancing and music to make everything feel so energized. The set was really cool too, and pulled together the whole feel of the show.

They did a really great job of building the energy levels up to a climax again and again to keep the show popping. The music was phenomenal. When I left the theater all I could hear were people saying “Wow, that was amazing!” and “That was so good” and “The music was awesome!”

If you're a Green Day fan you'll love American Idiot! If you're not too familiar with Green Day, I think you'll be a fan after this show! Student Rush tickets are available two hours prior to every performance for $25 per ticket and you can get two tickets per student ID. It's here until April 6th, you don't want to miss this exciting show!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Sunset in Paris Painting

I made this painting of a sunset in Paris for my mom's birthday. She's always wanted to go to France and finally gets to go next week!

If you'd like to order a print of this painting you can click here to go to my Etsy shop.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Artsi Ali on Etsy

I just opened up a store on Etsy to begin selling paintings, check it out and share with anyone that might be interested in buying :)

Click here to access ArtsiAli Store on Etsy

Friday, February 28, 2014

New York Skyline Painting

This painting didn't take me very long last night but it was fun!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

My review for Gold Coast Jazz- Freddy Cole Quartet

Gold Coast Jazz- Freddy Cole Quartet

The Amaturo theater was packed at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts on February 12th for the Gold Coat Jazz society’s Freddy Cole Quartet performance. The night was filled with the jazziest songs from everybody's favorites to new compositions and different spins on classics. It was a great show, I really enjoyed it!

The Freddy Cole Quartet is comprised of Elias Bailey on bass, Randy Napolean on the guitar, and Curtis Boyd on drums in addition to Freddy Cole who played the piano and sang with his wonderful, velvety voice. He captivated the entire audience. Freddy Cole is the brother of the famous Nat “King” Cole, but is truly unique.

Freddy Cole sang a song called “I'm not my brother, I'm me.” It isn't difficult to note the similarities between Nat and Freddy Cole, but there are also differences that make each of them unique and this song really hits on that point. Freddy Cole is not his brother, he is a unique singer with a remarkable voice.

As the quartet played each song you could really see how much fun they were having! Freddy Cole and the instrumentalists really love what they do, they were so into the music. My favorite song that he sang was L-O-V-E. I really like that song and he sang it so smoothly.

The Gold Coast Jazz Society society has three more great shows at the The Broward Center for the Performing Arts this season. You don't want to miss them! Student tickets are only $10- you can't beat that!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

My Review for The Miami City Ballet Program I: First Ventures

Miami City Ballet Program I: First Ventures

The orchestra begins to play and the curtain opens to reveal the dancers, all arranged gracefully across the stage. It's the opening night of The Miami City Ballet's first program of the year: First Ventures. First Ventures is comprised of three dances: Ballo Della Regina, Polyphonia, and Serenade.

My favorite of the dances was Polyphonia. This is the first time the Miami City Ballet has performed this piece. Polyphonia is a very unique and contemporary dance. The costumes were very simple, which was perfect for this performance as anything too elaborate would have been distracting from the beauty and drama of the dance. The lighting cast shadows of the dancers against the pale backdrop. It was a wonderful scene. I really liked this dance because it was so different from most other ballets. It was interesting to watch and the dancers were flawless.

Ballo Della Regina and Serenade were similar in style. My favorite of the two was Serenade. This piece was simply beautiful. The entire group of dancers on the stage moved so perfectly in unison. It was unbelievable. With lovely skirts that flowed with each movement, this dance was very graceful.
In a single word it was mesmeric. You can almost see the music through the dancers, it was amazing. What most fascinated me about Serenade was that there was actually no plot. As I watched the dance, I could almost imagine that a story was unfolding but in fact, there is no story to Serenade at all!

As always, the Miami City Ballet performers were the picture of perfection. They were so elegant and graceful. Each movement flawless and precise.

The Miami City Ballet Program I: First Ventures is here at The Broward Center for the Performing Arts through October 27th. You don't want to miss this beautiful show. Get your tickets now as it's only here for this weekend!

You can purchase tickets at Broward Center for the Performing Arts

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Interview with Joey Bland!

Interview with Joey Bland
By: Ali

Joey Bland has been a performer with the Improvised Shakespeare Company for the past seven years. The Improvised Shakespeare Company will be performing at The Broward Center for the Performing Arts October 19th, 2013

When did you begin acting?

I started like a lot of people start, in high school doing theater stuff and then I did a lot of that in college as well. So I did regular plays in high school. I did the musicals in high school. Then in college I also joined our college improv group, which was sort of something I didn't have a lot of experience with and then that became my favorite thing to do in college. And then when I graduated I moved to Chicago to take more improv classes and study; And that's where I started acting professionally. I've been doing the theater for about twelve years.

When did you first get interested in Shakespeare?

Probably about the same time, high school. I guess everything started there. I had to read some parts for high school. I had to read Romeo and Juliet and I didn't really love that. I had to read Hamlet in my high school and I thought it was ok. And then I read Henry IIII part one, we got assigned that and I thought it was the coolest thing I'd read in a long time. Then I just started reading a lot of it on my own. I took Shakespeare classes in college and stuff like that, and then this group got put together seven years ago and I was one of the first people who as asked to be a part of it, because I knew the guy who was running it and he liked me and I liked him and he kind of had an idea about how to do the show.

That's great, do you have a favorite Shakespeare play?

My favorite is probably Hamlet, I feel like it's sort of the greatest bit of Shakespeare. It's a pretty big one and a pretty standard one but that's always been my favorite.

So being in this show how is the role that you do different from any of the roles you've done in the past with other shows that you've been in?

Well the fun thing about this show is every time we do the show it's completely different. Every show is improvised and made up on the spot so we have no idea what's going to happen in the show once we start. And the fun of it is every time I do it I get to play a different kind of character. I'll play a king, I'll play the villain, I'll play a young lover, sometimes I'll even play the young girls that the lover loves, I'll be the girl lover, the boy lover, whatever. The guys in the show play all the different parts. Every show's completely different and so it's always different from anything I've ever done, every show in that we do with Improvised Shakespeare Company is different.

So then tell me what what you think about doing an entire show improvised. What are the challenges and what do you like about it?

What I like about it is the constant surprise. So the audience never really realizes that every time they're surprised by the show, we are too. We just have to try to stay in the show and not laugh as hard as they are laughing. That's the fun of it, the constant surprise. The challenge sometimes is listening to everything that's going on and remembering everything that's going on in the show because for that hour and a half we create this world and it's all brand new, so if somebody calls me, “Antonio” I've got to remember that. And we're all good at doing that, we don't mess that up very often, but that's really the challenge of the show, to focus on all the details and make every little thing that happens in the show important no matter how small it is. So if somebody refers to the fact that there's going to be a party we have to make that party a big deal. Everything has to be kind of picked up and made important. And that's the challenge of improv, is to listen to everything and make everything really important.

Have you ever made a really big mistake when you're improvising a play, that you can look back now and laugh at?

Yeah, I wish I could think of a specific one but we've all messed up each other's names and things. A lot of times in the show we will rhyme stuff so that it fits with Shakespeare. Sometimes we'll make up songs for the show where we'll do a monologue that rhymes, and anytime you're rhyming you can get trapped in a corner cause you don't really know where you're going and we mess those things up all the time. The fun thing about improv is that any mistake you make someone can instantly make important, so if a guy in the show has been named Marcus and everyone has called him Marcus and then I go out and call him Julius, he can always fix that by making himself be a different character or correcting me to say, “Oh his name is Marcus Julius” whatever it is, there's no real mistake you can make that won't get fixed or celebrated as part of the pattern. It's kind of like whatever pattern you think you're playing and somebody breaks it, that becomes the new pattern. And so with improv it's kind of cool because you stop thinking in terms of mistakes or failing or getting stuck or messing up, all of those things become part of the way you play.

How do you prepare or practice for a roll that is completely improvised?

That's a good question. For kind of a metaphor it's like initial practicing for a sport. So if you're a basketball you never know what's going to happen when you go in the court and play the game, but you should certainly practice. So you practice all the drills on delivering plays, you do exercises to keep your body fit, you practice drills on shooting, you can also practice free throws, lay outs, three-pointers, all that stuff. So we're able to practice parts of our show for example, like I said we rhyme stuff in the show sometimes, so we have drills to play were we challenge each other to rhyme or we challenge ourselves to doing lots of rhymes, we practice doing plays that of course we'll never do the plays we do in practice again. Just drilling the whole mindset you have to be in for improv and just being playful. The more times you spend in that mindset the easier it is to get in front of an audience. So we practice and practice but what happens on the day of the show we have no idea. We just hope that we've worked that muscle enough.

So, performing Shakespeare there's a lot of vocabulary you use that we don't really hear very often anymore. What's the most interesting word you have learned from your shows?

Well, that's funny. You know, it's funny because we read a lot of Shakespeare together and we do vocab tests with each other and we learn all these crazy words. Sometimes we'll do a vocab test and we'll challenge each other to all these new words and for a while the words we learn will be in every play because we're trying to work them hard. There was a time when we had a vocab list with the word, “conventicle” in it, which is like basically a little convent, which is like a little meeting or a little room and so we were using that word every time we wanted to talk to each other. We were like, “could I go to the conventicle with you?” so we pushed it really, really hard and then we were like we are way overusing that word so we stopped doing it. So we learn new words and then we practice them hard to use them in the show and force them into the show sometimes and then eventually they stick. It's funny too that a lot of people attribute things to Shakespeare, that he created a lot of new words or at least the first time certain words were kind of written in literature, they appeared in Shakespeare. So some of that might be coincidental that he was just the first person to write it down. But sometimes we kind of think that Shakespeare coined certain words that we use today. And so sometimes what we'll do is by accident we'll mess up a word or screw something up, we'll create brand new words in the show and we'll leave those as part of the language even though they mean nothing. And I can't really think of any examples right off the bat with those, but the fun thing is we can kind of create new words as well.

What's one of the most important things you've learned in your entire acting career so far?

As an actor you learn that you never work alone so all the things that sound really really basic like, work well with others, are really important whether you're offstage, onstage. You kind of work off of your reputation to a degree too so if you're tough to be around or with our show we tour so much, if you're tough to tour with it could result in you getting less work and less of those opportunities so you kind of realize that everything you do offstage, just being a personable person, and a good, kind of cool person to be around as a friend so to speak, all of this really plays into your role, you get a reputation pretty quick. So if somebody is tough to be with, it travels through communities pretty quickly if that makes sense, but basically you learn that it's not all about your skills, as an actor but it's a lot of stuff you don't think about, like the kind of person someone wants to be around. That's really important.

Some of the people that are going to read this interview will be young, aspiring actors. Do you have any advice for them?

Basically I think, acting is a game where you don't always feel like you have a lot of power because people are very often telling you yes and no as far as either someone's offering you a job or you're trying to get a job and it's not going your way. So sometimes you feel powerless as a performer because you're not getting the parts you want or you're not getting enough parts. You can put more power in your own career or your own job as an actor by doing a lot of different things, for example: one thing you don't think about lots as an actor is you can write, you know you can practice writing. As an actor sometimes it's a good idea to make work for yourself. To create parts for yourself, to create opportunities for yourself, to put together your own group of actors or your own pieces. Even if they're small-scale and they feel like they're silly and nobody is going to come see them. The more you can do to empower yourself is always a good idea. And on that level too it's always really cool as an actor, especially when you're young to take classes in things that you don't know how to do or know much about. Practical things like learning how to play a musical instrument. I know really basic guitar and it's only stuff I learned from having to do it for parts. If I started taking guitar lessons when I was fifteen I'd have so much experience on it and that's such a valuable skill for performance. Taking singing classes, dancing classes, even acrobat classes or those kinds of weird physical skills, learning how to juggle, all that stuff can lead to cool jobs as well as ways to make characters seem more fun. You can be a character and say, “oh you know I can juggle also” the directors will love that kind of stuff. So learning those neat skills when you're young and when you're a teenager you'll realize how much time you have. You can put years into a funny little skill like that and by the time you're twenty-five and you can still play anything you want you got ten years of guitar behind you or dance if you've got a lot of experience. So take as many classes as you can on anything weird like that.

I have one final question: if you hadn't been born in this century, when and where would you choose to live?

That's hilarious, that's a great question! If I wasn't born when I was I think, I mean the obvious answer to this would be, “It would be cool to live in Elizabethan England” and I think if it wasn't such a terrifying time, you know my chances of being killed in Elizabethan England would be pretty high probably and my chance of being really sick and dying; well certainly it's a less friendly place to be. But I think that era and that time period are so amazing with everything that was going on in England and London and also shooting out from there into uncharted continents and stuff is really cool too. I also think, it would be cool to live in Renaissance Italy or something like that. They probably didn't know it at the time, but maybe they did, that those kinds of times in history, when it got to us, when it got to the twenty-first century that we would look back at those times and be like, “that's when everything changed and everything was different.” It would be cool to be at a place like that, I wonder did they know, like, “man we are really changing culture, we are changing everything right now.”