..."an actor, who makes her living as a graphic artists, even though she is a writer who sings"
That's how Bekka describes her life in New York City, on her Facebook. But let me tell you, it's not that easy to describe her talents. I have seen her act, sing, create videos, and her art, and all are excellent.
Her are some of Bekka's thoughts on all of that, and of course living in NYC, because that what this series is all about.
Q; Your FB says you are "an actor who makes her living as a graphic artists, even though she is a writer who sings" I love that because I know what you mean, ...can you explain it to my readers who may find it a bit confusing...and how living in NY allows all of that to happen?
This is the sentence I came up with when faced with this blank on Facebook. And I wanted to keep it to one sentence.
I'm very focused on being an actor. Yet most of my life I've made my living as a graphic artist. However, I hate to discount the writing I've done. And then I remember, I'm so happy when I'm singing. And while you often don't make a dime at singing or writing or acting or the graphic arts – you have to practice them quite a bit to be good at any of them. You have to do them. Practice.
When I was a little kid I didn't care for practice. I didn't see the fun in it. Now that I'm older and time moves faster, I'm able to see the difference that practicing makes sooner. So, I stick with it.
I write every morning. I have clients that pay me to think about positive and negative space and move bits around (graphic design) -- nearly every day. I try to sing a little bit every afternoon. And the thing about singing is, it's better to get in singing shape and stay there than it is to fall in and out of it. To sing you have to be physically alive. Head clear. Throat open. Heart strong. Lungs fierce.
Willa Cather said somewhere, in order to write you have to be "fit enough to sing." And I agree with her. And since one state enables two activities; might as well practice both.
I also follow another guide, Joni Mitchell, who when asked about being both a painter and a composer pointed out the importance of crop rotation. I grew up in farmland. I know what she means. Being able to cross disciplines means you always come up with something. Sometimes corn. Sometimes beans.
Q; How long have you lived in NYC and do you think you could live anywhere else at this point in your life?
I've lived 27 blessed years in Gotham and treasured each moment here. And the answer is no. No where but NYC. I was made for New York. And New York was made for me. We heart each other.
One of the infinite things I love about this town is the vibe on the street. You feel it the minute you land here. Like an electrical charge, and you have to adjust to the increase in input or you just can't sleep or walk or complete a thought. Once the adjustment to the incredible humm that is New York City is made, for some of us, it is a life force. That enables us to do incredible things.
Every place has a specific feeling. (Even if it's numbness.) Paris also has a feeling that I love. In my dreams, I could live in Paris. With no bounds, I would be living in Paris on cigarettes, wine and espresso. But it ain't so.
So I live in NYC on local organic vegetarian fare. Which is pretty heavenly. And I don't partake of tobacco, alcohol or caffeine. And English remains my second language. Images being my first.
|The one, the only>Bekka|
Q; I've seen you sing-beautifully, and act wonderfully, you also have degrees in Cinema at NYU, Designing, Religion, Art, Philosophy, and you enjoy gardening and carpentry... if you were kidnapped by aliens and taken to another planet where you could only do one of the above which would you choose? Or would you have to be a rebel and do more?
I'd sing "If I Had A Hammer" as a prayer to not lose my mind while I designed an escape route using what I learned from "Grand Illusion," "Stalag 17," "Shawshank Redemption," and "Battlestar Galactica."
Q; You are married to another talented woman Donna Jean Fogel, so I must ask you your thoughts on the recent legislation passed by NY State, on same sex marriage.
Mainly -- thank you for the question. That's the blessing in this. That gay rights are being put into the public eye and all is terrific. Every time it happens more people figure out it's okay if we're not all alike.
Weird part-- the personal part is, using the word "wife." For some of us women, that word is charged with some not so hot undertones. Some of us, never set out to be some body's "wife." It's been a word that often cut a person short of their full being. So it's been interesting taking that word back. Because it IS the most accurate and swift of all our choices. "Partner" is too confusing. "Spouse" is so check-the-box. "Wife" is understood immediately. Guys get "husband." The ladies get "wife." So we're going to take it and fill it out. Change it up. Rehab it. Like we do neighborhoods. When the breeders come back in, it'll be better than before.
One thing I have noticed lately, straight couple have a real disadvantage. For same-sex couples, there's a wonderful clarity that comes from not being able to blame stuff on gender difference. It seems to me a lot of stuff gets blamed on being different genders that really has to do with being different people. This assumption that men always... or women never... is very misleading.
Q; Are you part of any band or group that performs together regularly? And if you r I want to review them!
Working on that.
Q; Any future plans for the wonderful production of MoM A Rock Concert Musical...and is it as much fun doing it as it is to watch.
Things are looking up for MoM. There's going to be a tour coming up. MoM's gonna hit the road! ... that's all I can say for now. Much more to follow.
And YES it is crazy FUN to do the MoM show. Being in a play is a blast. And being able to play music together with a bunch of people is really a special experience. To combine the two is just -- out of this world.
I feel incredibly fortunate.
...We could wrap this up right there, but you urged me to tell you about anything on my mind, so I wanted to tell you about this remarkable thing that's happened. It means telling a story. I hope you don't mind. Here goes.
I went to college in Iowa, because I grew up there. I'd pretty much finished my art major, and practicality not being one of my interests --I was backing that up with a major in philosophy & religion. One of the last classes I took was "Film Appreciation." It was the first time I ever saw a film made by a woman. It was an old black and white. "Meshes of the Afternoon" made in 1943 by Maya Deren. I was mesmerized. Only 14 minutes long.
You know that feeling like you've been dropped back into your seat when the lights go on after the film is over? Dazed, I looked around the room and noticed people in the class were staring at me. The professor said, "Yes, it's true, class. Bekka does look a lot like Maya Deren, doesn't she?"
(This was back before my hair went suddenly blond. ;^ ] )
I'd found my path! I wanted to know more about film. Films like Maya Deren made. So, after a brief 4 year stint of being employed in retail (!),-- I managed to get into New York University's Cinema Studies program and I moved to New York City. I got my master's in film studies.
My first film was a letter to Maya Deren. It began with me writing on a piece of paper, "Dear Maya, I thought this might be the best way to get in touch with you." Turns out it wasn't.
Then,- then the rent was due. Again. You know what I mean? I finished my degree and became a magazine art director. And then I did design work freelance. Fast forward many years and finally I decided I really want to pursue acting... (I know, I know. One practical idea after another. Can you imagine what it's like to be my parents? Bless them.)
Anyway -- I am a member of this tribe of Catskill lesbians. And most every year we (Linda, Pattie & Carol)celebrate the new year by starting this barn fire down by the Esopus River. It's customary for us to write our gratitude's and wishes on sticks and then throw them in the fire. We've manifested jobs, homes, mates for all sorts of people. And for ourselves. (We could scare the hell out of Michele Bachmann. I went to grade school in Waterloo, Iowa. We turned out very differently.)
New Year's Day, two years ago, I wrote on a stick my great gratitude for the luck I've had on stage. I've gotten to play pretty wonderful roles in the theater. Thank you very much. And I wrote that I would like to be in a film of real merit. And meaning. Threw it into the fire and went into the house to get warm.
My hosts, sweet friends from way way back, introduced me to a new comer --- Barbara Hammer. ! The first out lesbian filmmaker. I studied her work at NYU! I tell her, "I KNOW who you ARE!" We hit it off and chatter away -- I wind up telling her about the first time I saw "Meshes of the Afternoon" --- she says, "Yes, you do look like Maya Deren. Say -- I'm making a film about finding Maya Deren's sink. And we have permission to go film in the house where "Meshes" was made. Do you want to play Maya?"
I'm pretty sure the fire was still embers down by the river.
So, all that to say -- "Maya Deren's Sink" by Barbara Hammer got made and played at the IFC here in NYC for the last week.
No kidding. I had to share that. It's been a remarkable experience.
Yes, I would say I feel very fortunate.
.....Thanks soooo much Bekka, for a great read!!!
by Pete Carma.. follow Pete www.twitter.com/petecarma