State of the Blog Address: 20 February 2010

Thank you for joining me today. There are a few issues that need to be addressed as to the state of Sketchy Details.

First and foremost, I would like to extend a sincere apology for my inconsistent posting these past few weeks. I am being pulled in many directions right now in the real world and have struggled to find the time to consistently produce new content.

You see, there are many things falling together all at once. For starters, I've been tasked with producing a website for my family's charity fund that has been a great struggle. I have asked for months for a list of necessities--such as a mission statement, or proper title--to be provided so I can begin preliminary designs; I received them last night. This is a matter of immediate family communication as my parents have insisted for months I never gave them a document (dated November on the computer) before the last time we discuss it. The organization is on edge about gaining a web presence. I'm honored to be able to use my skills to honor my cousin's memory, but it's frustrating to work with less-than-web-savvy people on this kind of project. Someone suggested just setting up a Google Site and being done with it; the group deserves better and I can easily provide it.

Second is the apex of a three year battle with my current employing school over my salary. The first year, I was hired and promised almost three times as much as I wound up being paid; the director of the drama department supplemented my income in a great way that helped pay off the debts I accumulated bringing their equipment up to date for modern educational theater. The second year, I was promised a substantial pay increase from the Board of Education, only to have most of the paycheck stolen in the chaos surrounding the director's untimely passing right before the show. Pay I was promised for working on their musical, theater festival, Thespian Society induction ceremony, and cabaret fund-raiser was slashed or completely denied. This year, I was promised the position of music director by the principal, vice principal, and numerous Board of Education officials. However, the principal worked behind my back over the summer to hire new people to fill my position and attempted to string me along to assist in transitioning to a new director without pay. Instead, the new director, who wanted me as the music director, has been forced to hire me as a rehearsal accompanist. I was promised the same pay I received last year, but the Board of Education just approved a motion to pay me less than $4/hour for showing up every day and basically acting as the music director. I'm still teaching all the leads their songs, working out new arrangements for the chorus and orchestra, figuring out all the cuts, and collaborating with the director on what music she wants where. I am currently working on finding out how the communication fell out to see an 60% pay cut from last year. Everyone, from the director to the Board of Education officials who will speak to me, insist that I will be paid what I was promised; they just all have a different idea as to what that amount is. I have turned down other work because I feel an obligation to my students who are still struggling with the tragedy of losing their beloved director last year. If it was not for that, I would have been working a much better job. It's a total mess, a constant stress, and it has made me ill.

Third, a corollary: that production is still happening in less than a month and I have to go to rehearsal. If nothing else, the show will be a key part of my resume as I pursue music direction work elsewhere as it's the first time in five years I've been able to get my fingers into a standard, rather than rock/pop/jukebox, show.

Fourth, I'm being given the runaround by a lot of different people and organizations as I attempt to find my next job. If you follow my Twitter, you're well-versed in the Rent non-communication drama. What you don't know are the five summer camps, three educational theater groups, four music schools, and nine local theater/music groups that are promising to get back to me or calling me in for second, third, or fourth interviews about upcoming work. I swear it would be easier to hook on the streets for a few weeks and start my own theater company.

That's not even accounting for school, major family drama, my usual vocal coaching/arranging/transposing work, last minute fill-in gigs, and my non-blog web/writing obligations.

What it comes down to is this: by March, I should be able to return to a six day a week blog posting schedule. Until then, please keep in mind that I have not abandoned this blog and am sincerely sorry for being so inconsistent with maintenance.

Thank you for your understanding.

Let the Culling Begin: Broadway's Dark Holiday

Watch: Chita Rivera, "Kiss of the Spider Woman," 1993 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade