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Dmp Dmp Da Da Dmpdadmp

So I think I’ve mentioned that I do this really dorky thing called a cappella. Most of you normal people may associate this with the movie Pitch Perfect, and you are more or less correct. In the three years that I have been in Extreme Measures, we have recorded our first studio album, traveled to Ohio, and competed in the International Competition of Collegiate Acappella three years in a row. Most recently, our quarterfinal was last month at the University of Chicago, and we won!

This was an incredibly exciting moment for the group. We all agree that we have been steadily improving over the last few years, and our ICCA scores have really reflected that. In addition to winning the competition, we won special awards for best soloist and best arranger. We had the support of several EM alum in the audience and we frantically had to throw together something to sing as an encore. So now, we move on to semifinals in St. Louis over Northwestern’s spring break! I have never been to Missouri and I can’t wait to experience a new place with a group of people that I love.

Extreme Measures has been my family since the very beginning of my freshman year. Being in an a cappella group, while admittedly kind of a silly hobby, has provided a sense of security and comfort that has been very important during my time at Northwestern. I came to college without having a single friend or even acquaintance that I knew on campus, so I have always counted on this group to be there for me.

In case you want to watch the video of our ICCA set follow this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T64U03x2pFE

I can’t wait to take a trip with some of my very best friends and to explore a new place! I’ll be sure to share my thoughts!

Happy almost spring, betchez!

Stay hot and keep it messy,

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The Ventality

Thriving in a city environment is all about the attitude. Us Chicagoans have a nicer, more Midwestern reputation than our counterparts on either coast, but it is important to be able to subtly assert a “head bitch in charge” vibe when it becomes necessary. This ability is crucial to survival as a city-dwelling twink, though I would consider it a helpful tool in any young person’s arsenal of ferocity. Over the past few years I have developed a couple personal tricks that I like to use, such as always walking into an audition with a bottle of Fiji water… asking someone to remind you of their name on the second or third meeting even if you do remember it… refusing to friend request a freshman on Facebook, etc. But, of all the status symbols, my most prized is the venti Starbucks drink. The power behind this lies in the venti mentality or, as I like to call it, the Ventality.

The venti has nothing to do with whether or not you can drink it all or whether or not you are that thirsty. The venti has everything to do with displaying your importance to the world. If I am walking down Halsted or Michigan Avenue holding a venti, it says to the every passerby, “kindly move the fuck out of my way.” The drinkers of the venti have an extensive laundry list of very important things to accomplish on this day, and a grande will JUST. NOT. CUT IT. The holders of the venti do not have time to chitchat, they do not have time to smile, and they certainly do not have time to notice you. They are the people that run the world, with twenty ounces of caffeine to fuel them.

My venti drink of choice is the caramel frapuccino, unless it’s really much too cold, at which point I will replace it with a macchiato, always with whip. Pro tip: especially if you are getting a cold drink in a clear cup, ask for the barista to put your venti specialty drink in a trenta cup, and now you are really a force to be reckoned with. Unless, of course, you are just ordering straight up coffee or iced tea, in which case you should be ordering the trenta in the first place.

The most important part of the Ventality, however, is confidence. Holding a ginormous six dollar cup of blended coffee gives you the self-confidence to walk through the Loop and be given the respect and slight amount of fear you deserve. Walk forth fiercely, younglings, and the world is yours for the taking.

Next lesson in twink school: how to rock the bowtie.

Stay hot and keep it messy,

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I haven’t posted in much too long. I’ve been quite the busy beaver working on these “thrilling” costume designs! So proud of being a part of this incredible show! Read this review of She Kills Monsters, and I hope you get a chance to see the show!

WHAT: She Kills Monsters
WHEN: February 15 – April 21, 2013 (schedule)
WHERE: Steppenwolf Garage Theatre (1624 N. Halsted St.)
RUNTIME: 90 minutes, no intermission
WHO: Buzz22 Chicago
PRICE: $20


Each year, Steppenwolf’s Garage Theatre explodes with new talent in three repertory productions from some of Chicago’s up-and-coming theater companies. Storefront City takes on Garage Rep 2013, starting with Buzz22 Chicago’s She Kills Monsters.

If you’re like us, you know what Dungeons & Dragons is: an epic game of wits, stamina and adventure (and, ultimately, creativity), it represented an epoch when tabletop games were the norm and your imagination could take you anywhere. Buzz22 Chicago’s She Kills Monsters is not only an extremely fun romp through the world of fantasy, but also a meditation on our perceptions of those we love, and how they exist in their own minds.

In Qui…

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Ten Things Ain’t Nobody Got Time For

There is rarely a white space breaking up the rainbow of my weekly gCal. Even my social interactions must be carefully scheduled (which has caused me to really start liking their corresponding color: forest green). In dealing with the daily bullshit and nuisances that pop up in our lives, my roommate Rachel and I have started frequently singing the auto-tuned refrain of “Ain’t nobody got time for that” as a sort of mantra. Last week, the Hot Mess Express celebrity, Erin, posted a Thought Catalog article with the same title as this blog post. I was inspired and I now present you with my personal list of the top ten things ain’t nobody got time for.

1: Excessive Self-Consciousness
Learning how to present myself well is consistently at the top of my “life-makeover” list. One thing that I simply cannot handle when helping a friend with an audition set, assisting a customer in finding a dress, or especially when I am on a first date is people who put themselves down and get in their own way by refusing to be confident in what they have to offer. Stop wasting time, and start believing in your own worth.

2. Shame
Shame is a useless emotion. Be who you are. Don’t let anyone make you apologize for it. This is similar to the last one: just own it.

3. The Message “Hey”
What do you want? You clearly have an intention for contacting me, why don’t you start by expressing that? At least ask me how I am. Do not waste my time with one word greetings and emoticons.

4. Haters
As I told Erin, don’t let others try and out-bitch you. If we are going to rule the Chicago theatre scene and potentially reality TV, we have no time for wenches who are tryna bring us down.

5. Virgin beverages
I don’t drink it for the taste. I drink it because I’m a hot mess and I want to be drunk. XOXO, Gossip Will.

6. Rescheduling
Flakes are my least favorite kind of people. Don’t bail on me last minute and expect me to be able to fit you in sometime tomorrow! Ugh!

7. Explaining Your Life Choices To Your Parents
I must have separate conversations on a weekly a basis with both my mother and my father trying to enlighten them on the reasons behind why I do what I do. Why the classes I take are important. How I choose to balance my time with homework and extracurricular stuff. How I manage my finances. What my summer plans are. The purpose of me going to this school. The way I dress. The way I carry myself. The way I think. The way I exist. I AM BUSY, I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THIS PHONE CALL, PLEASE EXCUSE ME WHILE I TRY TO UNDERSTAND WHAT THE FUCK HAROLD PINTER IS GETTING AT.

8. Rihanna
Why is anyone still paying attention to her? What is the last piece of interesting music she has created since Umbrella? Why is she making all this money? Why does this fucked up world adore her? I will never know.

9. Waiting for the Purple Line
This is really only relevant if you are a Chicagoan, but SERIOUSLY. Every single time I pull up to the Howard stop, I have to prepare myself for a fifteen minute wait while my face gets viciously attacked by freezing wind because those heat lamp spaces can only accommodate 3.6 times the body mass of the average El rider. If I am ever in a position to publicly instigate or support social change, same-sex marriage and environmental advocacy will come right after petitioning for the express train to be always running.

10. Putting My Own Cream Cheese On A Bagel That I Order
I will never order a bagel from Dunkin Donut’s again. After paying the extra $1.50 to get cream cheese with my bagel, I was handed a bag containing a dry bagel and a plastic container of cream cheese. EXCUSE ME?! I ordered this here so that the food could be prepared for me and I can immediately begin to eat it. If I wanted to spread by own damn cream cheese, I could have done this at home without forfeiting my hard-earned money to the diabolical hands of your corporation!

The list goes on and on, but those are the big ones in my life at the moment.

I implore you all to recognize the importance of your time and not waste it with any of the aforementioned atrocities, and, if you ever work in food service, don’t you dare give your customers condiments in a package.

Stay hot and keep it messy,

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So, I think we all get it by now: that I’m not into labels, I’m a pretty liberal lad, and I embrace all identities of gender and sexuality. The phrase “Gender is a construct!” is something I yell on at least a daily basis. It has become something of a tagline or an inside joke in my a cappella group. (Have I mentioned that I do that? It’s dorky, but yeah. Look us up! Extreme Measures!) Currently in acting class, my friend Josh and I are working on a scene from Taming of the Shrew  between Kate and Petruchio. Obviously, I am realizing my dream of playing Kate. Our substitute acting teacher, Robby, (our normal instructor, Cindy Gold, is busy being famous aka making her Goodman premiere) asked me if I am playing the character as a man or a woman. I, being the douchebag that I am, refused to answer the question, insisting that gender did not need to inform the relationship between two people.

Yesterday, my friend, Ella, told me that her older sister refers to her long-term boyfriend as her “partner”. Personally, I love this concept. Why do we feel the need to gender these terms as if they serve different categorical purposes depending on their sex? The function of a boyfriend or a girlfriend is essentially the same. Why do we need to have two different terms?

Here is where this intersects with my life as of late. Allow me to paint you a picture. I am in a room of crowded people. Some of them I recognize, some of them are dear friends, some of them are complete strangers. My gaze lands upon an individual with shaggy hair, soft features, a flannel shirt, and a cute smile. I walk over to introduce myself and do my whole charming, coy, flirtatious routine. After asking several questions about this person’s history, just as I was about to move to the disinterested, your-turn-to-attract-my-attention phase, I said, “I’m sorry, what was your name again?” “Oh, I’m Nora! Nice to meet you!”

DAMMIT. This person was not an effeminate man, but, in fact, a lesbian. Now, I would be lying if I said that this was the first time that this has happened this year. I have encountered this situation a handful of times recently. And each time, I have reacted the same: feeling wildly inappropriate, I drop the game, and distract myself with something else for the remainder of the time we occupy the same space. But why? Didn’t Nora look the same as she did before? Wasn’t I attracted to that physique anyway? What’s the difference between a feminine man and a masculine woman? Is there one? Does it matter?

If any of these questions were posed to me out of context, my immediate retort would be “GENDER IS A CONSTRUCT!” But can I translate this idea into real life? In this situation, am I supposed to ignore this person’s gender? AM I SECRETLY A LESBIAN?!

I have literally no idea how to even think about finding these answers… What is my life? And how have I not taken a gender studies class yet?

Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all! Do something freaky for yourself.

Stay hot and keep it messy,

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It’s Called… Acting

I get that typing is very much a thing in the theatre industry. It is important to be cognizant of your type so that you can market yourself effectively. However, at the young age of 20, I am already worried about being pigeonholed as a “gay actor.” The two major credits I have garnered for myself outside of school have been gay-centric shows. I am about to play a flamboyant, fabulous queen of a character in Romance, and most of the roles I find myself in callbacks for feature the word “gay” in the character breakdown. Before I go any farther, I must say that I have been and continue to be beyond thankful and consider myself incredibly lucky to have had these opportunities. Nevertheless, I can’t help but worry a bit for the future.

My queerness or whatever you want to call it is a large part of my identity, but I would never say that it is what defines me. If someone were to ask me to tell them about myself, queer would probably be the ninth or tenth descriptor after things such as a theatre artist, passionate, fashion-conscious, thin, strikingly gorgeous (just kidding); you get the point. However, a part of me fears that if a stranger were to ask a friend of mine, “Who is Will?” the first thing out of their mouth would be “my gay friend.” I might be overly sensitive to this after devising a show my freshman year about the duality of sexuality and identity as separate, yet intrinsically connected topics. To quote our very popular tagline, I am so much more than who I fuck.

I think it is fairly obvious that I will never play Gaston or an overtly masculine character, because that is not the energy or aura I exude. But I would be offended if I were told that my range is limited to only gay characters. I think that a vicious upper east sider or an awkward, shy teenager are types that are well within my abilities, but they don’t have to be gay for me to access who that person is. I firmly believe that an actor needs to find where a character intersects with himself to perform with any notion of honesty, but, believe it or not, I’ve had a lot of life experiences that have nothing to do with being queer. I would say the same must be true for any gay actor in this city.

It’s very possible that I’m over-reacting to this whole situation and that it won’t become an issue, but I’m interested in how events will unfold over the next several years. Conversely, there are plenty of actors who make a ton of money by filling one particular niche. Would I be okay with being the token gay guy? It seems like that life would be far better than one where I don’t have a successful career at all. Things to think about…

Time to plot when and how I can play Peter Pan! … And make a list of things that I can do to stop being a stereotype of myself…

Stay hot and keep it messy,

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Letting Go

I have a hard time letting things go. When it comes to friends who eventually drift apart, I have a hard time accepting that they don’t have time to Skype with me anymore. With regards to the shows that I have completed, I can’t get over not seeing the cast every day anymore. What my life lacks right now more than anything is stability, which is something that may be propagated by my heavy involvement in theatre. We are trained to develop intensely trusting and personal connections throughout the course of a six week process and then move on to the next thing immediately, possibly never seeing those people again. Lacking that through-line is hard for me, and its affect on me is part of the reason that I consider myself a clingy person. But, sometimes we just have to let go.

Recently, I was tempted to unwisely rekindle an old flame. Suffice it to say that this person was a very big part of my life for a lot of reasons, and I think he will always be important to me in some way. This person and I, however, are not soul mates. Or anything close to it. Last weekend I had to make the decision whether or not to let myself get sucked into a black hole of emotions and thoughts that I had tried very hard to bury. And I had actually fooled myself into believing that I succeeded in that. But, if I am going to ever attain this stability that I yearn for, I have to take responsibility for it.

My options were to give in and go back to something familiar or to stop allowing people to mess with my heart. I chose the latter. No longer can I deal with the back and forth, capricious, inconstant attentions and feelings of men. I already have a circle of friends that is constantly in flux depending on what show I’m working on and what class I’m taking, I shouldn’t have to subject myself to men who are but selectively devoted.

It was a really hard conversation to have and even harder to look back upon, but I’m proud of myself for being mature enough to not put myself in a situation that would only end in more hurt. Don’t mess with me boys, because this bitch will not be taking you back. Stability (maybe even sanity?!), here I come!

Stay hot and keep it messy,