Saw a Cindy Sherman exhibition at Moma for the second time yesterday. Perhaps that’s what prompted my photoshoot today.
I am extremely grateful…this week has been otherworldly and wonderful and I don’t think I can thank the Gods enough.
Monday was my fifth day on the set of the new Coen Brothers movie and it was just such a pleasure. The sets, the costumes, the people, it was magical and mystical and we had a singalong with Justin Timberlake, one of the stars.
I spent most of the 14-16 hours per day laughing my head off with the new friends I met on set and managed to take a couple of photos too.
A small group shot
Thank you, universe for an amazing week or so. Love, Desira.
You know one of those days that is like 18 hours long and you can’t remember if this morning was indeed this morning?
That was today. Now, it is over and I am drinking wine and eating popcorn and clipping coupons from Whole Foods, grandma style. It was a good day and yet I am glad it is over. I worked on the tv show, Smash!, for the fourth time and was 3′ from Anjelica Huston, who is amazing and has amazed me since The Witches, The Addams Family, Buffalo ’66, Royal Tennenbaums, and Alexander Calder’s jewelry model and others that I have forgotten to name in my tired stupor. YAY!
This is a good ending song to the day and it’s playing on shuffle right now anyway:
Oh man, I want to go on a trip soon. I like traveling too much to be sedentary. I guess I can always watch Planet Earth…
Godspeed, goodnight, Gute Nacht
I was just published today in the great storytelling blog, Loop. I wrote a story corresponding to the theme of “running away”. Originally, I was going to write the gory tale of getting myself lost in NYC alone at 9 or 10 but seeing as it’s holidaytime, I opted for something more bittersweet.
Here it is and then a link to the rest:
by Desira Pesta
Growing up an outcast in Scranton, Pennsylvania, I’d often dreamed of running away and being someone else. I ran away often. My family owned a suburban home in our large town and sandwiched between other homes belonging to people we couldn’t stand, I felt trapped.
At school, I traversed the halls with my head down, picking it up only to answer questions in class, to be engaged with my studies and nearly nothing else. I ran away constantly to the minds and bodies of others in works of fiction and non, burying my head in books, sometimes laying out in the sun and finishing a whole novel in one sitting. I also ran away through my own works of fiction, by the time I reached sixth grade, I would complete one nearly full-length novel with characters who were on physical journeys, the journeys I would take with them. I played other people in my spare time as well. Years and years before Twilight and Harry Potter would debut, I hunted and escaped bites from my vampire neighbor who kept a garlic wreath on his door; and used my amulets and amethyst stones to procure magic in my neighbors yard. I was constantly bobbing up and down between fantasy and reality, tying real life into the dreams and fictions I lived out in my head. I sometimes had accomplices in my journeys, a best friend named Michael who was equally in need of escapism. I once ruined a brand new outfit after dunking myself in a pool of mud as I was tried as a witch in Salem and found guilty, my mother ready to punish me as I emerged from my dream.
The beautiful thing about my hippie family was our large property in the woods just a few miles from our home. We planned to build there one day, but until then, we just spent 2-4 days a week in the woods. It was here that I lived out my greatest escapes. I ran blindly through the fields of trees I knew as well as the back of my hand; and took off at lightning speed escaping imaginary captors, wicked warlocks, and sometimes just a life as an orphan. My parents let us roam far and wide in this woods, knowing we knew our way, but once, I went too far. For hours I walked and walked, weaving in and out of paths, following no clear direction and after the sun was lowering in the sky, I knew I was lost. Weaving this reality into my tale du jour, I decided that I would sleep in a burrow I would carve out, eat some of the plentiful teaberries and raspberries I knew the woods grew, and drink from the cool clear creek that undulated and turned through the length of the acreage we had. I was not afraid, I was an experienced warrior in the forests of my ancestors and I would emerge a hero at journey’s end. As the sun was setting, I grew not scared, but despondent, the thought that my parents would freak out broke my excitement and fervor for my adventure. I wasn’t afraid of the dark, or so I thought. Taking up screaming “hello!??” for a while, while walking in what I felt was the direction towards the car, I somehow reunited with my parents and made my way to my home, my fantastic journey thwarted by stoplights and radio banter.
A few months later, during the summertime, my sister, her friend and I set off on an epic adventure, following the creek that ran northward through our property and up to the next. We forged the creek, which sometimes poured down rocks and sometimes merely trickled. We climbed up steep embankments, braving the 90 degree angles using all fours to continue. At one point, the path grew perilous and the steep walls that we would have to cover to continue following were very difficult to cross. As I groped and footed my way across the wall, I started to slip.
Grasping for leaves and roots around me, I found no savior and tumbled into the cold pool of water below. Fully under and splashing, I emerged to hear my sister screaming for my help above, despite the fact that I had already reached the place she was afraid of heading. Her friend grabbed her and helped her to safety further on the bank and I made my way out. Fully drenched from head to toe, my thirteen-year-old self declared that I would get frostbite and I removed my pants. We decided that in efforts to save my life, we should head back. An hour later, we caught site of my father up ahead, chopping wood. Seeing my pants-less legs, he yelled “What’s wrong with you?” Weird people were living in the woods and I would be an easy target for foul play.
I proudly declared that I didn’t want to get frostbite and he brashly replied, “you can’t get frostbite in 50 degrees”.
I hated my town and left for college as soon as I could, but over the years, I have gotten a pain and it’s deepened as time goes by. Since leaving, I have found myself, found “my people” and ideologies and adventures in real life; and as much as I wanted to escape the place I found to be so unbearable as a young person, I come back to it. I miss it. I miss the things that plagued me as a child, that I wanted to replace. Our shabby chic home, I wished was more grand, the tractor I had to drive to cut the grass or the two ton duel wheel pickup truck of my dad’s that I drove to high school when everyone else drove BMWs, Mercedes, and Lexus’. We were different, I was different and it took running away from this place to make me come to a realization that this is just fine, in fact, it is awesome.
HAPPY NEW YEARS EVE!!!! I don’t know what everyone has planned, but I hope it’s a great night for all. Here’s a moment I love from a hell of movie:
Things are looking up for ole Desira.
My dedication to acting has started to really pay off and I am getting excited!! For the last two years, I have been taking a variety of classes, workshops, improv, intensive programs, casting director meet and greets, seminars, informational meetings, auditions, & have been part of films, tv shows, commercials, print ads, a theater company, and life. This summer I spent 2 months in Los Angeles, where I enrolled in the SAG Conservatory Intensive Summer Workshop Series, which was about 40 hours of auditions, cold readings, improv, industry Q & A’s, seminars, and classes. I also was thankfully selected among a 100 applicants to participate in 13-one on one meetings with LA Casting Directors as part of the SAG LGBT Seminar this summer. A week afterwards, I took part in the Deena Levy Theatre Studio Weekend Intensive, a life-changing event… In October I worked as the costume designer on the independent feature, Yaatra, shot in NYC. I have been going at this nearly full-throttle. The next step is getting an agent and really getting to work!
With that said, I had scheduled an audition at One on One for the end of November and then decided to reschedule it for after December 1st, to really allow myself time to work on the two contemporary monologues they requested for the audition. I had one picked and down and was practicing it like crazy, but couldn’t find another that suited me or excited me. One of my theater company buddies and I had talked about both setting up auditions at One on One to motivate each other, but he wound up going in several weeks before me. When I told him that I had finally set up my audition time, he implored me to wait, to work my butt off on the monologues with critique because it was much harder to get in that he thought. He had not gotten in, but was well-liked by the casting director and told to come in again soon. Said friend was worried about my sake and said that they were only admitting 30% of those who auditioned and I really needed to be at the top of my game. Two days before the event, I was wavering. Friend had made me nervous. The next day, I called to ask about their cancellation policy. I didn’t get a hold of anyone, so I waited. Then, something hit me and made me decide to say, “No, I am ready.” I decided to throw myself into the monologues, practicing like a zealot, adjusting, altering, and finessing my delivery the night prior. I also set about really developing these characters for myself. I created their stories, their backgrounds, where they lived, who their familes were, what kind of demeanors they had. I wrote and wrote, making the monologues’ words on a page, my own. I didn’t sleep as well as I had hoped that night, but I woke up ready. The day’s rain thrashed against my house and made for uninviting exteriors to venture out to.
I decided on a vintage 1960’s dress for myself to wear. The two monologues I had selected were very different in period, environment, and character, but it’s best to wear something flattering. My busted umbrella hardly fought off the rain, but I made my way to the offices, furthering the stories of my characters on the walk, the subway, and in the waiting room. I don’t know what brings this on, but lately, I have become very able to feel alien in my environment and disengage myself from myself and my surroundings. I psyched myself out in the waiting room, becoming the livid woman I needed to be for the first monologue. I wrote out countless things that would make me this way, recounting people, events, and feelings that brought on immense anger, rage, and frustration.
I got called into the audition room about a half hour late, so I had that extra half hour to prepare. I went in, did my thing, talked briefly with the CD, who drilled me on my training, classes I have taken and are taking, and he sent me off with the promise of letting my know my acceptance within 24 hours. I was sincerely uncertain of what he thought of my audition and I was leaning towards, no because of his somewhat neutral reaction towards me.
My theater company was holding new member auditions uptown all day, so I set out to watch and read to the applicants, which was both a blast and an utterly baffling experience–the latter because of the insane asylum-worthy few who showed up at our door. One woman, who had come completely unprepared with so much as a scene to read with us, refused to leave the premises for over an hour; spouting promises that she was so amazing, we needed to have her with us, despite her inability to contribute to our monthly member dues. I digress in efforts to avoid speaking distastefully. We got some really stellar auditioners and made some careful and sometimes easy choices for who we would admit. After a few hours, I got an email from One on One. Afraid to open it, wanting to leave my disappointment for when I was alone, I caught sight of the word, “congratulations”. Shocked, I opened the email to see that I had been accepted! Oh my word.
It was a wonderful magical day and after spending six of the nine hours watching and participating in the new member auditions for 68 Cent, I am so excited to see how our company grows and morphs with the new talent we’ve added.
xoxo Happy Weekend!
Mr. Big Cover Song
Threadbanger.com How To Sewing Video
Desira Pesta’s // Williamsburg Fashion Weekend 2010 Show Video
Costumes Designed/Sewn by & Desira Pesta // Performance
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Monologue
Annie Hall // Ending Monologue
Long weekend full of work despite it being week’s end. I’m exhausted! Even still, I am happy to be on set of Law & Order SVU in my third installment as
Court room sketch artist. I actually did my best court room drawing on Friday and wish I could share it, but can’t! (til after the episode airs)
I really like working on this show. Everyone is really nice and zany AND in September, they had me audition for a principal role! (it was between me and another lady and she got it, but sheesh, so awesome to be in that room!) Anyway, great peeps.
I’m incredibly overwhelmed by how much great work is out there right now, be it television, books, films, plays, gallery shows…
There are SO MANY movies I desperately want to see, but that gets so freaking expensive. In no particular order, they are:
Martha Marcy May Marlene
The Skin I Live In
Ides of March
We Need to Talk About Kevin (missed a chance to see it and Tilda Swinton talk last week because of a play i performed :(::::; )
….like 60 others.
I got free tickets to The Artist in December. Woohoo!
Speaking of theater, my theater company’s Los Angeles chapter, 68 Cent Crew Theater Company, just opened a show this weekend… link!
If you’re in LA, go check it out. Theyre one of the top theaters in LA and are full of some really talented people. James Franco is going to guest direct soon!
Have a great day!
I just realized something, I have been blaming myself and turning my anger about the shitty economy inward. In the last two years or so since countless jobs have been lost and wallets have gotten beyond tight and open only for necessities, I’ve allowed this all to take a toll on my ego. Etsy and private sales and wholesale accounts, which were my all-consuming sole source of income just two years ago when I had a magnificent studio overlooking the ocean in Red Hook, Brooklyn, have become a distant drone of crickets in the present. Although I have branched out and focused my energies on acting as well in those two years, I also can’t help but point out that even a year ago, my studio was my constant companion. While watching an interview on CNN about Occupy Wall Street, it dawned on me, I have been covertly hating and blaming myself for my decline in sales. As an artist and fashion designer, when you sell your creations, you get a great sense of pride and self-worth from these sales. In the last six years, I identified myself as a fashion designer and my clothing and accessories were my prides and joys. They defined my income, brought me praise and appreciation and named who I was in the grand scheme of life.
Just like any job (in a good economy), there is a direct connection between profitability (in m case enough to pay bills) and ego. When that profit or sales is slight, the ego suffers. I seriously have been beating myself up over the last year thinking no one likes my designs anymore or enough to buy them, yet when I look at the state of the economy, the trillion more sellers who now inundate Etsy’s pages/blogosphere, AND the number of people who call my designs favorites or the inquiries I get, I find that that’s just not true. I swear, I just put two and two together. I know that there are some other factors in here and I should spruce up my shop, but I hope that I can breathe a little easier today knowing that it isn’t me, we need to keep on trucking, supporting Occupy Wall Street, small businesses, independent designers, and each other.
Now is a good incubation period for my design ideas and I have been dreaming up a whole bunch of houseware ideas (my first love, decorating, has been calling out to me lately). Thankfully I have been able to do a bunch of acting, freelance sewing gigs and restaurant work in the last year to supplement the gabillion dollars it takes to live in NYC.
I hope that things improve soon, but if they don’t, at least I know it’s not me. It’s also not my friend R, who can’t find paid work, K, who is a brilliant geographer, but is working at a shop and who hasn’t even been getting rejection letters from potential employers, businesses that have been shuttered, nor is it any of us who are not on Wall Street or any place near it.
I really like this stuff:
So I decided to make it fresh every day and avoid spending loads of money on pre-packaged varieties. I literally have spent over $100 on LaraBars in the last year and probably a few hundred in the last five years. I bought a food processor, loads of nuts, dried fruits, coconut, seeds, and got to work. You blend them and just add a tiny bit of water to bind them all. HIGH FIVE!
Now, I have severe celiac disease and severe erosive gastritis because of it, so my stomach is constantly in a state of owwie or eeeeeeee. Ginger, the stellar almighty sacred plant of the stomach gods is the perfect natural antidote to any kind of gastro-induced blues. It takes great, makes me feel great, and is all-around AOK, alright, happening, and groovy.
–chop fresh ginger into small pieces
–bring a pot of water to boil and “boil the shit out of the ginger”
–after the water has turned a slight golden yellow, remove from heat
– once cooled, add honey to taste, put in a jar, shake up and serve hot or cooled
I actually really like it ice cold in these summer months.
The DesiraBars, LaraBars version aren’t as amazing as the real thing, but saving lots of money and time is a good thing.