virtualDavis

Posts Tagged ‘Westport New York’

Serene, Patinaed Fantasy

In Adirondacks, Champlain Valley, Memoir, Renovation & Rehabilitation, What's the story? on September 29, 2011 at 11:41 am
Apartment buildings lining the south side of E...

East 57th Street between First and Sutton (via Wikipedia)

Accustomed to living out of a suitcase, I pendulumed back and forth between Manhattan where Susan was wrapping up a degree in interior design following a decade-long career in video production, and Westport, New York, where both of our parents owned homes and where we’d met a couple of years prior.

Susan had recently refinished a one bedroom apartment in The Galleria, and she was itching to sell it and start a new project. I was intrigued by the prospect of collaborating on a project and plugging my recent Paris experience into a tired but dignified New York apartment, but the Adirondacks were pulling me. After almost half a lifetime living in cities, I yearned to return to the rhythms and pleasures of rural life.

My idealized notion of a country house had its roots in a small farm that my parents had bought in Washington County while still living in New York City in the 1970s. Initially a getaway for my recently married parents trying to balance life and careers in New York City and later, albeit briefly, a full time residence, The Farm underpins my love for countryside and provides my earliest childhood memories.

The perfect place, I explained to Bruce, the friend and realtor who shuttled me from property to property, would be a small, simple farmhouse in the middle of fields with a sturdy barn and some acreage, maybe a stream or a pond or access to a river. Barns, in particular, pulled me. Secluded places with good light and views, forgotten places with stories still vaguely audible if you slowed down long enough to hear the voices. No loud traffic. An old overgrown orchard, perhaps. Asparagus and rhubarb gone feral near the barn. Stone walls, lots of stone walls and maybe an old stone foundation from a building long ago abandoned, the cellar hole full to bursting with day lilies. A couple of old chimneys in the farmhouse with fireplaces. A simple but spacious kitchen. A bedroom with plenty of windows. A room to read and write and collage the walls with notes, lists, photos, drawings and scraps. Someplace I could tinker at myself, gradually restoring the walls and plaster and roof. Timeworn wide plank floorboards of varying widths that I would sand by hand to avoid erasing the footpaths and dings and cupping from a burst pipe years before.

Although I’d painted the picture often enough, my budget and unwillingness to abandon the serene, patinaed fantasy resulted in a few false starts but mostly a very clear idea of what I was not interested in buying. On the upside, I came around and helped Susan select and renovate a coop in a 1926 McKim, Mead and White prewar located on 57th Street just off Sutton Place. An elegant apartment in a handsome building. Great bones, view and sunlight enhanced with a top-to-bottom environmentally responsible, non-toxic renovation. A success!

Though there were occasional fireworks when our aesthetics and convictions clashed, we enjoyed working together and decided to look for a North Country property that would suit both of our interests…

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See you at Depot Theatre Tommorrow

In Daily Munge, Monologues, What's the story? on August 2, 2011 at 8:52 am
Rosslyn boathouse, Essex, NY

Rosslyn boathouse, Essex, NY

Adirondack storyteller and writer, George Davis, needs you to help him kill a few stories on Wednesday, August 3 at The Depot Theatre in Westport, NY. Prepare for a pell-mell parade of vignettes, monologues and readings ranging from a wader-wearing Amazon named Rosslyn to a perennially pickled bathtub yachtsman… This solo performance pokes fun at the idiosyncrasies (and absurdities) of renovation, marriage and North Country life while inviting the audience to participate in editing a memoir… “Along the way I collected too many stories to fit in one book. The audience will help me decide which stories live. And which stories die. Basically, I’m asking otherwise compassionate, peaceful people to commit story-cide… It’s quite a unique opportunity!” (Adirondack Almanack)

I’m almost ready to redact Rosslyn Redux tomorrow night in Westport. Still playing with timing, transitions, and trimming. Always room to cut it shorter, shorter, shorter. If you come, you can help by “gong” editing… What? I guess you’ll have to come to see what I mean…

When I step onto the boards at the Depot Theatre tomorrow night, it will mark the first time that I’ve shared any of the material from the Rosslyn Redux manuscript, much less asked my readers to help me figure out what direction the final draft should take. Of course, much of what I’m reading will not make it into the final draft, and some of the vignettes aren’t even in the manuscript, instead created specifically for the performance. Suffice to say, this is an experiment, inviting readers and audience into the creative process, into the revision and redaction process. It could get very messy… Or it could be wildly successful. I’m gambling on the latter. In either case, I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

An exuberant Adirondack bear hug to the good folks at Adirondack Almanack for posting “Storyteller, Writer George Davis at Depot Theatre August 3“.

Update: I’ve just received some dapper Rosslyn Redux embroidered caps that will find their way onto the pates of some participants, and a stack of gift certificates to the finest dining establishments in Essex sit on my desk beside me. Participants will be entered into a drawing for caps, gift certificates and one-day-some-day books!

Redacting Rosslyn Redux

In Monologues, Renovation & Rehabilitation, What's Rosslyn?, What's the story? on July 27, 2011 at 2:08 pm
Rosslyn Boathouse in Essex, New York, May 1, 2011

Rosslyn Boathouse in Essex, New York, May 1, 2011

What: Reducting Rosslyn
When: 8:00pm, Wednesday, August 3
Where: The Depot Theatre, Westport, NY

What happens when a storyteller writes a book? When a talker becomes a typer? When the audience’s laughter, sighs, snoring, heckling and applause vanish? When margins and page count provide only the most porous parameters?

I’ll tell you what. Story glut. Plot inflation. Unchecked character sprawl…

For the past year I’ve been writing and revising a memoir about the four years that Susan and I spent renovating the W.D. Ross property in Essex. I’ve discovered that building a book is a bit like rebuilding an old house. No matter how great the bones, how stunning the view, how well preserved the architecture and design, and no matter how clear and enticing the goal, you can’t do it by yourself.

In the case of our home it took the world’s most intelligent, beautiful and stubborn wife plus a vast community of contractors, carpenters, advisors, family and friends to rebuild Rosslyn. In the case of my book it will take your laughter, your sighs, your heckling (and even your prodding and booing and advising) to build Rosslyn Redux.

Please join me at 8:00pm on Wednesday, August 3 at The Depot Theatre in Westport for a solo performance of Redacting Rosslyn, an evening of readings, storytelling and vignettes ranging from a wader-wearing Amazon named Rosslyn to a perennially pickled bathtub yachtsman. I’ll poke fun at the idiosyncrasies (and absurdities) of renovation, marriage and North Country life while plunging you into the creative process. Are you ready to help build a book?

You are invited to a reception in the lobby following the performance. All participants will be entered into a drawing for Essex gift certificates and Rosslyn Redux swag. All proceeds from this performance will be donated to The Depot Theatre. Here’s how to get tickets:

Depot Box Office:
Call: 518-962-4449
Monday, Thursday, and Friday from 10am-10pm
Saturday and Sunday from 12pm-10pm
Tuesday and Wednesday from 10am-5pm

Depot Online Ticket Sales:
http://depottheatre.org/tickets

Thank you. I hope to see you!

The Voice of Redacting Rosslyn

In Monologues, What's the story? on July 18, 2011 at 2:20 pm

For the last few weeks I’ve been working on Redacting Rosslyn, a solo performance of vignettes, monologues and storytelling from Rosslyn Redux. Join me on Wednesday, August 3 at The Depot Theatre in Westport, NY. (Did I mention there’s a cocktail reception?)

Lights, stage, audience, action! I’ll morph from storyteller to author right before your eyes. With a little help from the audience…

I love to perform, but I always apologize for my voice.

It’s funny. When I rehearse — aloud or in my head — my voice is Bourbon and caramel. Resonant. Enveloping. It’s the secret weapon of a guerrilla storyteller!

And then I hear a recording of myself or watch a video, and I’m certain the sound isn’t working properly. Bad mic? Is the equalizer busted? Probably the speakers are blown. I don’t have that pre-pubescent, one-dimensional voice that scurries for the rafters every few minutes. Really, I don’t.

Only, I do. It’s me. That voice is my own. And though I’ve come to terms with it, I do have moments when I’m preparing to perform that I daydream… What if I woke up sounding like James Earl Jones?

This video is a response to a question from Al Katkowsky’s Question of the Day (@QOfTheDayBook) book:

What is the most important thing you want, that you didn’t grow up with?

I’ve always longed for a deep, velvety radio announcer voice. A disk jockey voice. An actor voice. But no dice or wrong DNA or something…

After almost four decades of vocal shenanigans I’ve accepted my lot, but if I wake up tomorrow with the voice of Darth Vader instead of Luke Skywalker, well, let’s just say that I’d be okay with that!

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