* STORY AT BEDTIME: *
Note: The internet is a 'public' place so I have declined the urge to go into greater detail about the persons I have known and, so, in most instances, have simply not mentioned them. I feel it is best to leave personal information regarding other individuals OUT (in case they sue your ass!). That, in essence, is a shame, as there are so many stories and there is no way to even modestly intimate their breadth and depth on these pages, but I'll start here:
I grew up in a leafy green Westchester paradise - a big house amongst acres of trees, stone walls and white pebbled pathways. The house on Rye Lake - 'Brugler House' - had been a 'Center for Theosophical Study' and a retreat for missionaries journeying from around the world. The most exotic flora could be found dotting the landscape from small un-named flowering bushes to towering Himalayan pines book-ending the gates at the end of the drive.
By the time I arrived, the missionaries were long gone. In their place were dogs, cats, snakes, birds, horses, and a pet sheep named 'Baby.' This landscape, a haven of solitude, gave me space and time while growing up to explore the natural world around me. My passion for nature was only rivaled by my love for all things musical. My mother having her own as of yet unfulfilled artistic yearnings, encouraged me in all forms of self-expression. She plied me constantly with materials; crayons, paints, papier mache, pastels, clay, until one day she realised, I liked playing the keys on my sister's piano and singing. I liked music.
And that was lucky... because music was a constant in the house. 4 older brothers and sisters with tastes spanning Motown, to folk to rock to basanova and jazz, plus a mother hooked on Callas, created a mixed soundtrack to my childhood, making it impossible to be genre-bound as an adult. More or less 'formal' studies began at the age of 5 with the piano and recorder. Dancing (ballet and modern) at the age of 8. Various instruments (flute, clarinet, glockenspiel and triangle!!!) were added to the mix at school as was singing in the the Glee Club and later for the Westchester Chorale Society. It sounds boring and structured, but it wasn't quite like that. I had endless boundless freedom. My childhood was as wide and crazy as the sky and wild as my mother's untamed heart. A tiger, pacing a gilded cage in Chanel shoes. Any leanings I have to the 'art' of living, I owe to her.
Between 10 and 13 - I developed an unearthly obsession for the San Francisco LSD-stoked, 'sex, drugs n' rock n' roll' end-of-the-60's/(welcome to the 70's) end-of-an-era death of a culture, you name it, but specifically on hearing Grace Slick's voice 'Don't You Want Somebody to Love' - epic.. and 'Born to Be Wild', "Whole Lotta Love", Jimi Hendrix seducing/savaging his strings, "Pearl" drowning her wailing sorrows and the loving thunder from Yasger's Farm. (It's funny, but pre-teens and teenagers are so painfully DISNEY TWEENY now.. oh yeah... there was surface disposable pop-sh*t like Disney is now, then... but I didn't listen to it.) I longed, desperately, to be years older, to be going to Woodstock with my sister's friends, to be part of that incredible cultural/political history. I still wish I had been, or maybe just been a molecule in Dr Hoffman's t-shirt on that famous bicycle ride. How wonderfully strange is the universe and life on this small planet hurtling through space?
soon as the Pyschaedelic 60's influences had settled in they were diluted,
kicked out, corrupted and just bumped up by an early 70's TV show called Soul Train, which
seduced me com-plete-ly with War, Chaka
Khan, Kool and the Gang, Parliament Funkadelic, Bootsie; all that incredible music to get down to.
Dancing became EVERYTHING. (Favourite Music
Dancing became EVERYTHING. (Favourite Music & Influences)
**At 15, a crisis at home (my father's illness) sent me to live with my newlywed sister and her husband in Barcelona, where I didn't actually 'attend' school, but studied ballet, languages (Spanish, Catalan and French), jazz and belly dancing. Also, for a time, I had an apartment - of my own - yes at 16 - on a tiny little street between Paseo De Gracia and Rambla Catalunya called, Pasaje de la Concepcion (Passage of the Conception). My neighbours were 5 university students: all male - Majoring in 'Birds & Bees 101' & 'Grow Your Own Sinsimilla'. Intense study required. I wasn't innocent for long, if ever.
After a year in Barcelona, I returned to New York to continue with professional voice, dance and drama training (Herbert Berghof Studios). At 17 a teacher from Julliard guided me towards serious operatic studies. I continued with opera, dance, drama (plus a one-year Studio Engineering course at New York University) for the next 3 years, but my passion was for harder, more immediate, less by techniquedby music and dance.
**[Other things happened through those adolescent years. Lots of journeying. My first trip to Hollywood (which I LOVED) to hang out with my other sister who was the enamorata of the vice president of MGM; the guy who went on to be president of Columbia Pictures. I remember him well. What a rapacious and successful dude he was.. for a while. Then a winter in Arizona spent in a tee-pee in the mountains above Chino Valley and mucho Pey-o-te, walking miles of sunsets.. scanning endless horizons. Those were the days my friend. A hawk would sit on the cross bars at dawn and the coyotes would sing at night. Several more months with my brother in the cities and mountains of Colombia. Not the place to be if you're blond and a girl, but a great 'learning' curve. I was always going somewhere else, everywhere else; anywhere else but 'school'!]
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