Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Cheesy Christmas Newsletter.....

Every year, I tend to find a letter in the mail around the Christmas season, that is a family "newsletter" of some sort telling everyone what their family has experienced throughout that year. I have always wanted to write one as a joke with false information, just for fun. I think that sometimes they are kind of lame, but then I was looking at it from another side earlier today. Those newsletters in some way are almost like a short, non-electronic blog about the family, and sometimes I don't find blogs  lame depending on the person. Anyway, I thought about it. I am going to write a "newsletter" style blog with a couple pictures here and there, and tell people what I was up to this year, You can read it if you want, or not if that's what you want to do. I think this is a great year to do this since 2011 through 2013 kind of sucked, and this year sucked less. Anyway here we go.

This year has been a fast and crazy year full of changes and realizations of sorts. I have lived another year, so my plan to live forever is still working out for me. As you may or may not know, I have been divorced for a couple of years, and it only gets better as time goes by. They say that you are more happy in marriage the more time passes, and that works with divorce as well, let me tell you!

Even though I am single, which tends to suck, especially in Utah, it sucks a little less because I have a great four-year-old son who keeps me in check and constantly remembering what is important in life. I honestly feel closer to my faith in certain ways because I have a son who I want to be a good example for, since he has to get it from somewhere, and it helps me constantly realize what is important.

January is always a crazy month for me. The first half not so much, but the second half is the Sundance Film Festival which I have covered for the past six years, with my seventh year coming up in about four weeks from now. It's always a great time to see some great stuff that I will either never see again, or see on Netflix three years from now. If you want some recommendations of great documentary films from Sundance from three years ago that have barely found their way to Netflix, shoot me an email, and I will let you know some great, not so new, docs.

February, Basically, I turned 33. Everything else from that month isn't really coming to me right now, which probably means I wasn't doing anything special unless playing a video game or watching lots of movies is worth noting, but in this case, probably not.

March was fun. Basically auditioned for Shrek: The Musical out at the Empress Theatre. I got cast as Papa Bear and one of the Knights of the Back-up, which, yeah, were super small roles, but the friends I made in that show were great. Basically, April and May are me rehearsing for this show and performing them with some cool movie screenings in between. Most notably Captain America: Winter Soldier in April and May a couple too.

Also in May, I will just skip April, we performed Shrek: The Musical, and I auditioned for The Addams Family: The Musical.  I went in wanting the role of Fester, and I ended up in the role of Fester, and it was awesome, but we didn't really get started with that until......wait for it......

June,  Shrek: The Musical ended and I started right into rehearsals for The Addams Family. Everything about the show was a blast. It was double cast, so I had fun working with people who I didn't end up performing with...except for the one time Dallon and I switched nights so he could do something, but didn't want to miss out on a performance.  Anyway, Dallon was fun to work with. We played the character very different, but it was fun.

Also in June, we had a fun time with  Elliot and my nephew and two nieces, Carson, Elizabeth and Olivia. The summer was met with lots of splash pads and trampolines with sprinklers under them.

July and August was full of movie screenings for the summer as well as The Addams Family performances. I was at either a movie theater or the Empress.

Here I am on Fox 13 News in the Morning with Big Budah. It was a fun interview.  We had a good time.

Also in August, I gained a new niece, Stella.

September was a good month. Elliot turned 4 years old, and I can't believe that he is already that age. Four years seems like a long time, but when you have a child or multiple children, four years in nothing.

Also in September, I was made an uncle for the fifth time. My new niece Sophie was born!

Totally kidding, here is the real picture of Sophie, but really, that monkey is freaking adorable!

October was fun. I got back in the swing of things with The Jesters Royale out at the Empress. If you didn't know already from my annoying advertisements on my Facebook page, it is the Improv Comedy troupe that I play with on Friday nights. If you haven't seen us, you really should come check us out. Really, Magna is a lot closer than downtown SLC for most of the Salt Lake Valley.  We had a fun Halloween show. Elliot came and we went Trick or Treating before the show. He was a Blue Power Ranger Pirate from one of the 17 incarnations of the show.

Here are all of the kiddos in their Halloween get-ups. Olivia is the Witch, Elliot the Blue Pirate Power Ranger, Carson as a Karate Kid or Ninja, Lizzy as what every other girl in the country was for Halloween this year, Elsa from Frozen, Sophie as a Strawberry and Stella as a Cupcake, I think.....

In October, I also attended a Gala for The Empress Theatre, where we had The Emppys, which are awards for the shows for the past season. I was nominated in two categories:  Best Supporting Character in last year's Christmas show, The 12 Days of Christmas (We were supposed to do A Christmas Story where I was cast as the father, and then we had to change the show when the rights became unavailable to do the show due to a Broadway touring company wanting to do an East Coast tour, and we had to learn a new show within two weeks. It was crazy.), and Best Character Actor for Fester in The Addams Family.  I have said it before, and I will say it again, I am flattered that people loved me as Fester in that show, but you telling me that "I looked the part" isn't exactly a compliment, ha ha ha. The Gala was a masquerade, so I had Elliot color some cheap paper bear masks, since I was Papa Bear in Shrek this season. I was Papa Bear, Elliot was Baby Bear for the gala.

October ended and November began, which saw me rehearsing for A Charlie Brown Christmas. I played Linus in the show, which was great, but I will get to that a little later. I had Elliot more consecutive days in a row over Thanksgiving than I have ever had him before, due to the schedule I currently follow for the times we have him. I realized over this break that life isn't as good without Elliot around. I miss him tremendously when he isn't there and time seems to slow down when he isn't around, which isn't always a good thing. A few days almost seems like months when you want to see your child. It's hard to explain and hard to understand if you don't have your kid all the time. Some parents look for breaks from their kids...I wish I didn't have any. November was a good month. I also attended an Aquabats concert where Kepi Ghoulie, one of my favorite punk rock artists, was the opening act, which didn't disappoint, and the Aquabats were awesome too, and then a week later, I went to see one of my favorite bands, Coheed and Cambria. It was great.

Finally the end of November, and throughout December, most of my life consisted of rehearsing and performing A Charlie Brown Christmas. People in the theater world tend to not do Christmas shows because life gets so busy around that time of the year, which is true. Since 2007 when I started getting into performing a lot, I have been in five Christmas shows. Some have been great, some have not, lol. My first one in 2007 was an old time radio style version of It's A Wonderful Life, and that was a great experience. I loved everyone in the cast and had fun with it. Over the years, they haven't all been the best, but I almost feel like the holidays aren't special unless I share my talents on stage with other people by helping to tell a story to remind people of the spirit of the holidays.

This year, however, was probably the best time I have ever had with a cast, Christmas show or not. There were nine of us in the cast, and three musicians, one director, and a couple technical crew. That's super small considering for Shrek we had over three times that many people in just the cast. Anyway, the cast was made up of a couple of friends from past shows I was in, and then a couple friends from improv, and then a friend from my fourth grade class back in the day, and then one new person who played Lucy, which was weird considering that I had never met her before, and the first rehearsal I had was with just her, blocking out our scenes, and maybe she didn't feel this way, but it felt like, to me, that we had been in shows together in the past, and we knew each other and how we worked and acted. It was really cool meeting someone new and feeling like we were friends already. The show has only been over with for about five days now, and I miss it like crazy.

The 17 performances we had flew by. We would hang out and get food after rehearsals or performances. Saturdays were crazy between a matinee performance and evening performance, but we had lots of fun together with food and movies and games. We played Rock Band and Beatles Rock Band for hours after Saturday evening shows. We worked hard on the show, and then we played hard after. It was great. I am excited to be rehearsing a new show, Into the Woods, for January, with Chalese, who played Sally in the show, but I am going to miss Margo, Connie, Robert, Kevin, Kristina, and to a lesser extent, Justina ( who is going to be doing sound for us for Into the Woods), David (who is on the improv team with me), and our music director, Nancy (Who is our director for Into the Woods). Also, Lindsay was an awesome director and Nancy, Larry and Zach were a wonderful Jazz trio. I love you all so much, and thank you for making this holiday season wonderful.

Another great thing about doing A Charlie Brown Christmas, is that my character, Linus Van Pelt, or Li-Li V.P. as he is known in Detroit, Michigan, is kind of a know-it-all, but at the same time has the same amazement and wonder of a little kid, and his character is pivotal in the show as he helps Charlie Brown discover the true meaning of Christmas. Every show I had the wonderful opportunity to quote the Christmas story from the bible, but I truly believe in what I was quoting, with all my heart, and so being able to quote those passages was a way for me to be able to share my testimony of the birth and mission of the Savior, and I can't think of a better way to end the year, than by doing that.

As I look back at this past year, sure, there were cool or fun things like getting a Playstation 4 or going to lots and lots of movies, or concerts or whatever, but what really stood out to me this year were the talents I was able to share, the people that came into my life, the new family members gained, and the time spent with the friends and family that I love which are more dear to me than anything else. Sometimes in life, we get caught up in things and we sometimes gloss over the experiences we are having with friends and family. We work on achieving goals that are important, sure, but like John Lennon used to say, and wrote into a song, "Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans". It's profound, but simple. Remember this coming year to focus on the little things in life that make up your everyday life, and not just to the big moments, because the little things that happen are what make us who we are and that make us truly happy.

Here is wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous 2015.

Nate and Elliot Unck