Thursday, March 22, 2007

Fond FRIGID memories

ANDREA will be picking up again at The Marsh in July. I'll also be back in New York in June for Speakeasy Stories. For now, check out my new blog!

A big, big thanks to everyone who came out to see the show! Those people include:

- Jeff Trocio
- Zach
- JoAnna Rodriguez
- Sherry Weaver
- My dad
- My boyfriend (now fiance, as of the Saturday-night show), Adam.

I was very grateful to be able to share my work with you all. I look forward to doing it again!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Back in Berkeley

The last show went great. Sherry Weaver of Speakeasy Stories turned up -- and booked me for June!

A week on the NYC stage, a booking for spring ... and an engagement. What a wonderful, wonderful week. Thank you, FRIGID, and thank you, NYC.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Second to last performance ... with a twist!

The show was AWESOME tonight. I riffed a lot and it felt good.

Then I finished the show and was giving my little spiel when Adam came out from the audience and got down on one knee. Out came the ring.

I said yes.

By the way ... last performance is tomorrow, 1 pm!

Let's hear it for Costco rings. :) We're very, very, very happy.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Upcoming Costa Rica workshop!

For those of you who have ever wanted to improve your writing in a tropical climate (and who hasn't?), may I suggest this: Costa Rica!

Okay, there's a fair bit of self-interest here. After all, I'm teaching a workshop there in December 2007. But please, give it a look.

In December 2006, I was a resident at the Julia and David White Artists' Colony, where I met Royce Slape. Royce is kicking ass putting this thing together. Yes, please do have a look!

A few things ...

- Very sad to hear about the Greenwich Village shooting. I was in the East Village at the time, didn't hear anything until today when (1) I heard some cops talking about it on the subway platform ("Lotta crazy shit in this world, ya gotta be careful, keep your head up.") and (2) my mother emailed me. So sad.

- Had some great Ukranian food last night. How appropriate, since the show is set in Eastern Europe (though it's Central Europe, if you ask Czechs).

- Now at the Tea Lounge in Park Slope. Makes me want to move here!

- Am I the only person who can go to Williamsburg and not find a hipster?

Hope to see people come out tomorrow!

Third performance

Five people, sweet audience. Thanks for coming out, everyone.

Tomorrow is a well-deserved break. Then things pick back up on Friday, 10:30 pm! Can't wait!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Nine people last night!

I feel like I got a great crowd ... especially given the fact that it was a school night! Keep on coming!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

ANDREA review

Check it out here! I really appreciate Frank Anthony Polito's generous and honest assessment.

The show continues through Sunday, March 18.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Opening night was fantastic!

I want to thank everyone at FRIGID central -- you guys are so relaxed (and at the same time, so hardworking!) and down-to-earth ... you made it so easy for me. Justin, tech god, you're a doll, and Morgan, thanks for the kind words before I took the stage!

Five more performances ... but the hard one's over and now the real fun begins!

ANDREA debuts tonight!

I'm sitting at the Yaffa Cafe across from Under St. Marks. Tech time starts in 20 minutes. The show starts at 6. I can't wait!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

In Las Vegas!

Free wifi at the airport ROCKS!

Can't wait to take the stage tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Is bad art fraudulent art?

Time Out New York's David Cote on that subject.

"Art" is a huge word. Does it connote that something is of high quality -- or, for that matter, of any quality? My cat can call himself an artist. What does that word even mean?

The suck of it all is that someone can put their heart and soul into a performance, a book, a painting -- and it can still, well, suck.

Hence comes talent.

Talent comes from that place that's indefinable. It can be honed, for sure, but I really think it's there or not. It's pretty unfair, but it's (to my subjective mind) a fact.

So who are the frauds? Totally another post altogether.

I work my ass off to make a good show. I want people to applaud because they feel it, not out of politesse. That's part of why I'm looking forward to having a New York audience. San Francisco audiences are very kind -- almost too much so. It's hard to gauge how you're doing, because they want to like you, and they want you to feel good, and somehow the truth gets a little muddled.

I'm not looking for tomatoes to be tossed at my head, but if I'm a fraud, please, call me on it.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Free and discounted ANDREA tickets

Interested members of the media: Please contact me if you're interested in attending/reviewing ANDREA. I'm happy to provide comps at the door.

If you're a member of the general public interested in discounts, please contact me.

Friday, March 2, 2007

A little more than a week!

I'm so excited about making my NYC stage debut. If you'd told me when I was pacing around Prague, freaked out, that I was going to do this ... I may just have believed it.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

A great event-listing site: Upcoming. Check out the ANDREA listings -- and other FRIGID events!

T minus less than two weeks!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Friday, February 9, 2007

Mike Daisey and Camus

Another article about Mike Daisey. I'm researching solo performers who inspire me.

Great quote: " 'Camus once said that the only real philosophical question is whether or not to kill yourself,' he said in a recent workshop performance at Collective Unconscious in TriBeCa of his new monologue, 'Invincible Summer,' currently running at the Public Theater as part of the Under the Radar festival. 'I’ve always wanted to start a wedding toast with this.' "

FRIGID Fest gets publicity!

Check it out!

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Mike Daisey, solo performer

This guy is my hero. I'm re-reading 21 Dog Years, and I wish I'd taken the chance to see him when he was at the Berkeley Rep years ago.

Seattlest got a great interview with him earlier this month.

A few of my favorite lines from it:

"I also like the live wire aspect of the work--people watching know that the story is driven and created fresh right at that very moment, and will never be recreated, which is a terribly rare thing in our theater. I think I do it because I believe in the supremacy of live experiences, and I am dedicated to doing theater that justifies its existence now, in today's world, and isn't mouldering and festering 19th century warmed-over bullshit. It is also enormously gratifying when I survive the performance."


Audience want to be surprised and subverted, upturned and unmoored from the familiar--the best theater does that, and I aspire to reach that end by dissolving the boundaries between the audience and myself. There is no script, and as little pretense as possible, and this allows a degree of honesty in the bounded space of the stage that is rarely achievable. Whatever investment audiences are willing to put in any piece of theater is an enormous responsibility--it is their time being gifted into your hands--and I think audiences want to be paid back for their time with insight, pleasure and catharsis. In a very real way when an audience roots for me, they are rooting for themselves, because it's the sum of all of us, audience and performer together, that determines just how any given evening is going to go down."

Inspiration for my stage time next month.

Slightly off-topic, but ...

In writing about office jobs, I was doing a little online research.

I came up with this, which was written by Angela Hoy of Writers Weekly. Angela is a consummate writer's advocate who deserves ten times the praise she gets.

For people like me, who are trying to make a living on my own terms using my talents, it's crucial to know what to go after and what to avoid. Thanks, Angela, for making the road that much smoother for all of us.

ANDREA expansion continues

Today I'm writing about office jobs and their dullery (and, in the words of the show, is that even a word?) -- and how I was scared of having to get one after coming home from the Czech Republic.

I can't sit behind a desk. I should never try. I should have learned that long ago.

On another note, I used to write poetry. I still do, but not as much. Here's an oldie that just got published on one of my favorite (and local) lit sites. Enjoy.

Berkeley Daily Photo

As I prepare for ANDREA next month, I've got my camera out here at home. So what better time to launch Berkeley Daily Photo? Please join us!

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Paying it forward

Deb Ng runs an incredible blog that's a great service to freelance writers like me. She's not only a pro but a helpful one -- every day she collects job leads from which I and writers all over the country (all over the world, really!) benefit.

And she plugged ANDREA today! Thanks, Deb!

Monday, February 5, 2007

The Moth

After my performance on March 13, I'll be hustling over to put my name in the hat at The Moth. I've been wanting to tell a story there and I hope I get the chance!

Know thyself

Self-awareness is a major theme behind ANDREA.

When I moved to the Czech Republic in 2002, I wanted to believe I would be happy teaching 300 elementary-school students in a small town. I wanted to believe I could get along in a place where I spoke only snippets of the language. I wanted so much to believe that life in Europe would make me happy and carry me along to a better place.

This brand of desire is mirrored in ANDREA's opening lines:

I want to like her.

If I like her, then I'll like the room. And if she likes me, I can rent the room. And if I rent the room, I can move to Prague. And if I move to Prague, I'll be happy.

It's the if-then brand of thought. That carried me through my time in Europe. It didn't make me happy, but it did give me plenty of material.

From the expanded ANDREA

I’m amazed at how they managed to put me out in the boonies of a place that really isn’t all that bad. You can cross Pardubice in 20 minutes, but this part of town feels like it was exploded out, far-flung, set off in the Czech version of Mars. To get there you walk down a pissed-off feeling street framed with hedges that look like lesbian haircuts, cruelly chopped and asymmetrical. It’s bordered by houses whose backs are turned toward the front in the Czech style, cold architecture, hidden and removed. All the houses are protected by gates, and behind each gate is a barking dog.

I like to curse at the dogs as I walk by, trying out my few words of Czech: dopre dele, kurva. Roughly translated: Up your ass, whore. My students taught me the curse words one day, and in return I told them the story about how I once freaked out on acid-laced pot in Amsterdam. It’s all about bargaining.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

ANDREA's updated press release info


Contact: Allison Landa

2214 ½ Grant St.

Berkeley, CA 94703

(510) 654-6512 – home office

(510) 588-6943 – mobile

Think Your Roommate’s a Nightmare? Meet ‘Andrea’

NEW YORK, NY – February 3, 2007 – Allison Landa first developed her solo performance ANDREA at San Francisco’s Marsh Theater. Now ANDREA’s headed to the East Coast for its New York stage debut.

ANDREA is based on Landa’s teaching stint in the Czech Republic. Eager to escape a small town and a stifling job, she went house-hunting in Prague. There she met Andrea, a chain-smoking Bostonian with an axe to grind and a room to rent. ANDREA recounts that meeting and the bitter, funny wake-up call it provided.

In 2004, the piece was adapted for the San Francisco television series SEEING VOICES. According to the show’s director, Brandon Nash: “Ms. Landa employs her characters to dramatize the question – to what extent are our failed relationships due to the ideas and prejudices that we accept, uncritically, about what relationships and other people should be?”

Landa will perform ANDREA at FRIGID New York. Opening night is Monday, March 12, at 6 p.m., with subsequent shows on March 13 (7:30 p.m.), March 14 (6 p.m.) March 16 (10:30 p.m.), March 17 (5:30 p.m.). The closing performance is on March 18 at 1 p.m.

All shows take place at Under St. Marks, 94 St. Marks Place (between 1st Avenue and Avenue A) in Manhattan’s East Village. Tickets are $5, available online through SmartTix (; code AND17).

In addition to the Marsh, Landa has performed at Bay Area storytelling events including Inside StoryTime, Tell It On Tuesday, and Porchlight, A Storytelling Series. In May 2007, she’ll return to Europe to perform ANDREA at the Prague Fringe Festival.

For more information about ANDREA, call Allison Landa at (510) 654-6512 or visit the show’s website at For more information about Allison Landa, visit or call (510) 654-6512.

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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

ANDREA's growing!

I'm expanding ANDREA for the New York debut. Here's a fresh-off-the-pixel snippet (subject to editing, of course):

My bank account’s dwindling because I make – can you guess? Take a guess. Two hundred fifty U.S. dollars a month. Yep, that’s right. Oh, I get a few freebies thrown in with my teaching contract – free soup in the school cafeteria, which I and the rest of the teachers choke down at our table in the corner while the kids scream and bicker and throw spoons. You can tell the teachers’ table from the kids’ table because we have a cloth tablecloth, and they get paper.


Check out the TheatreMania page on ANDREA!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

That last posting got me to wondering if CZ train fares have gone up. Looks like they've climbed, but (by US-dollar standards) aren't too bad!

Kundera rides the rails

I'm on the train from Pardubice to Prague. It's 2002. I've got Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being spread out across my lap.

I've forgotten the sparse fields, which in less than a week during spring will blossom green and generous, outside my window. I've managed to tune out the snoring old man en route to a doctor's appointment. I've somehow ripped my eyes away from the wild-eyed Czech girl sprawled across from me, her shirt entirely undone save for one button near her midriff.

I'm busy.

I'm reading.

Tomas came to this conclusion: Making love with a woman and sleeping with a woman are two separate passions, not merely different but opposite. Love does not make itself felt in the desire for copulation (a desire that extends to an infinite number of women) but in the desire for shared sleep (a desire limited to one woman).

I wrestled to make sense of that then.

Today I've stopped wrestling, but I still find Kundera's concept interesting.

Doesn't love tie these two desires -- sleep and sex -- together?

In Prague, they didn't. But in Prague, what I had was not love. What I had was a name, a single being on which to focus my feelings when the loneliness grew like ice.

Today, what I have is different.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

ANDREA's on special for teen audiences!

Check it out here!

"Good Day"

I learned to love this song after I came home from the Czech Republic -- the overseas stint that inspired ANDREA. Just such a simple, happy little bit that makes you feel good.

Good Day

Well I wake up to a sky so blue
With my girlfriend in the other room
Got the coffee on and the pancakes done
The cat's sleeping outside in the sun

The tv sings its morning blues
And it’s all the same with all the news
But she walks up, smiles, kisses me
And says your coffee’s done.

Then starts singing.
Yeah yeah yeah
She is singing.

Well It’s a pretty good day.
I’m lookin’ forward to tomorrow
To have a pretty good day.

Well it’s a pretty good day
I’m looking forward to tomorrow
To have a pretty good day
Yeah we’ll have a good day.

So I lace my boots up and step outside
Catch a cab cause my car died
And I go to work with my friend Dan
Paintin’ houses the best we can

On my way back home I try and mix it up
Walk halfway then take a bus
And as it pulls up and the doors open
I hear the bus driver say "step up" please "STEP UP"

And I’m singing, And I’m singing
Yeah yeah yeah
And I’m singing yeah yeah yeah yeah
Some guy looks over and says ‘how ya doin’?’ I say...

Well it’s a pretty good day
I’m looking forward to tomorrow
To have a pretty good day
Yeah yeah yeah

Well it’s a pretty good day
I’m looking forward to tomorrow
To have a pretty good day
Yeah we''ll have a good day

And through the window
There’s a whole world
And I’m watching all the people
All the faces and the places I have yet to go

And the sunshine now it’s fading
And my girlfriend she’s waiting
And I bet that she’s outside
Sleeping in the shade

Cause it’s a pretty good day
I’m looking forward to tomorrow
To have a pretty good day
Yeah, again...

Well it’s a pretty good day
I’m looking forward to tomorrow
To have a pretty good day
Yeah, we'll have a good day

It’s a good day
It’s a good day

Monday, January 22, 2007

Constant Contact

I'd like to give a shout-out to Constant Contact, a piece of free (for a trial period) software that's helping me get the word out about the show. I have no professional stake in them -- they were recommended by the FRIGID folk -- but I've found them very personable and their software a lot of fun to use.

I've also been finding TheaterMania and Fractured Atlas great resources, and wanted to give them a public thumbs-up.

Vinohrady, that's where I want to be!

I'm excited to be staying in Vinohrady, my favorite part of Prague, during the Prague Fringe!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Be ANDREA's MySpace friend!

Visit ANDREA's MySpace page and be as cool as my 21-year-old brother. Come on, you know you want to.

Get your daily dose of ANDREA updates!

It's easy: Subscribe!

It's right over there -- yeah, there, to the right.

If you subscribe, I promise not to spam. I promise to entertain. Pinky-swear!

Friday, January 19, 2007

The official FRIGID page(s)!

Here's the main show page -- scroll down to "Under St. Mark's" to find ANDREA.

And here's the show-specific page. Check it out!

Show Schedule

As found on the FRIGID Fest website, here are the dates when you'll be able to see ANDREA:

Monday, March 12, 6 pm;
Tuesday, March 13, 7:30 pm;
Wednesday, March 14, 6 pm;
Friday, March 16, 10:30 pm;
Saturday, March 17, 5:30 pm;
Sunday, March 18, 1 pm.

All shows will be at the Under St. Mark's theater, 94 St. Mark's Place between 1st Ave and Avenue A. Subway denizens: 6 to Astor Place. Tickets are $5. I'll buy drinks for those who applaud the loudest.

Here's "Andrea"!

Here's the official press release I'm sending out about the show. More details to follow!


Contact: Allison Landa

2214 ½ Grant St.

Berkeley, CA 94703

(510) 654-6512 – home office

(510) 588-6943 – mobile

Think Your Roommate’s a Nightmare? Meet ‘Andrea’

Berkeley, CA – January 18, 2007 – She’ll make a key for you. But if you bring friends over, make sure they don’t steal nothin’.

Allison Landa decided not to rent the room. But she’s re-enacting her meeting with a frightening potential roommate – and this time, you’re invited. Landa will perform her solo show “Andrea” at New York City’s FRIGID Fest from March 11-18, 2007.

“Andrea” is based on Landa’s six-month teaching stint in a small town an hour outside of Prague. “I did more learning than teaching,” she recalls in her show. “I learned that I wasn’t a small-town girl. And I learned that I wasn’t a teacher. Obviously, things were going to have to change.”

That hope for change materialized in the form of Andrea, whose Prague apartment just happened to have an empty bedroom. Furnished, even. But the deal wasn’t so sweet.

“She represented everything I feared at the time,” Landa recalls. “She was lonely, angry, a substance abuser, a McDonald’s addict. She hated the world and everything in it. And at the time, I was starting to feel the same way.”

She declined Andrea’s offer and rode out the teaching gig. Then she came home to the San Francisco Bay Area and began to build a life she could love – a Masters degree in fiction, a career as a freelance writer and editor, and a relationship with a nice Jewish boy she met almost immediately after coming home from Europe.

“Maybe I should thank Andrea,” Landa says. “Who knows?”

She may actually get the chance. Two months after the FRIGID Fest comes to a close, Landa will bring “Andrea” to the Prague Fringe Festival. “If she shows up,” Landa says, “I’ll make sure she gets in for free.”

For more information about “Andrea”, call Allison Landa at (510) 654-6512 or visit the show’s homepage at To learn more about Allison Landa, visit For more information on the FRIGID Fest, visit

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