Monday, February 16, 2009

ArtUnderground Interview with Mike Anderson

Well, Valentine's Day has come and gone, and we are all still here and in one piece, overall.

I was interviewed for next month's issue of ArtUnderground Magazine by the handsome and charming Mike Anderson.

When I sat at the table in Bohemia Cafe, in Nashville's historic "Arcade," I immediately began kicking myself for getting there so early. I was meeting Jenn Blake for lunch. She is my dream girl. A model, with a long, slender build that would make George Balanchine drool. She likes video games, rock and roll, and reading Dostoyevsky. I had interviewed her twice before. Once, for her art display at Fokus Cafe in 2006, and for her role in the acclaimed play "Marcus Eardis in the West" by William C. Fancher. I hadn't seen her since we sat in Layl'a Rul on 20th Avenue in Nashville and drank and laughed, and officially became old friends.
When she walked walked in the door and saw me there, a smile crept across her perfect lips. We exchanged our hellos, and after a moment of smiling at each other, and we order our food, the interview officially begins.

Mike Anderson: Thanks for coming. I haven't seen you in a while. You look great. I know you're probably very busy these days with school, a budding acting career, and preparing for your art show. Not to mention, you are one of the United States' freshest new faces in the world of modeling and fashion. How did you find the time?
Jenn Blake: Oh, Mike. I'd make the time for you if I couldn't find it. Thank you for having me. I'm not actually all that busy, if you'll believe it. I graduated with my degree in Theatre Performance in December. So, school is not really an issue for me anymore. The other things are keeping me pretty busy, but I'm busy at my own pace, if that makes any sense.
MA: Congratulations.
JB: (laughs) Thank you.
JB: That reminds me of something. My good friend Georgia and I graduated on the same day. We were in the same program, you know? And we talked about it. On the day of graduation, everyone you meet says to you, "congratulations." But after a while, you get tired of hearing it. Especially if you don't already have some incredible dream job in your field lined up to start in a month. So by the end of the day, we were really bitter about hearing it, and it became this little joke between us.
MA: Well, Congratulations all the same. Let's start by talking about your acting career. What's new since the last time we saw eash other?
JB: I just finished The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler. It's the third time I've done the show, and it is something I really love and think is important. I have an audition coming up, too. It's for the short film Foreplay. I'm excited.
MA: Do you think you'll get the part?
JB: I hope I get the part. The part is a young woman in a passionless marriage. And I get to be in my underwear.
MA: Your underwear? Uh oh. Can I preorder a copy before you audition?
JB: (laughs) I don't know. I can give you the director's phone number, or you can look him up on Facebook.
MA: (laughs) Maybe I'll do that. 2008 was a rough year for everybody, do you think 2009 will be better?
JB:It's already better. Last year was so hectic. For the last four years, I had to try to work everything in my life around school. And last year was especially hard because I was trying to graduate. I was traveling on weekends and doing homework on airplanes and in cars and on buses. I was trying to make time to spend valuable time with my family and friends, but it was tough. A lot of good came from it, though. I got a lot of inspiration last year.
MA: I hear you're working on a book of writings?
JB: Yes. It's a collection of poems, sketches, short stories, and thoughts. It's a stream of consciousness portfolio, of sorts.
MA:What about your art? I hear you're gearing up for a show in Nashville that's a little unconventional.
JB: Yes. I am in the process of working on a series called "Mama Gaea!"
MA:A play on "Mother Earth?"
JB:Yes. The show is in Centennial Park on March 28. I'm doing it on that day, because it's the day that Earth Hour takes place. The show will begin at 6:00PM, and there will be music and we encourage a Peasant's Feast potluck kind of thing. So we're hoping everybody will bring a little something. It ends at 9:30, when Earth Hour is over.
MA: What is Earth Hour?
JB: On March 28, at 8:30pm, people all over the world are turning off their lights for one hour. Earth Hour, get it? It's a global effort mobilizing more than a thousand cities in the effort to encite action by world leaders to working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It began in Sydney and now there are 35 countries participating. It's like, 100 million people. Seriously, they turn off the lights at The Colosseum in Rome for this.
MA: That's incredible. How did you become involved in this?
JB:I've always been conscious of the state of the planet. I was raised to respect nature and to rely on it, as opposed to technology. I heard about Earth Hour originally from Brandon Boyd [lead singer, Incubus] and I knew I had to be a part of it. He's like a shaman to me.
MA: You go wherever he leads you?
JB: He's not my sherpa. (laughs) Well, I seek guidance from people who seem to be tapped in to the creative well. He has a beautiful mind, and I love him.
MA: Sounds like you have a crush.
JB: (laughs) Oh, I'm blushing. Gosh. Yes, I have a crush on him, but you know, I'm boy crazy.
MA: Speaking of, Valentine's Day just passed and there are rumors floating out there that you're dating a certain Grammy winning bass player of a certain Nashville based band of brothers. True or false?
JB: Haha. I'm not falling for that one. Yes, I am involved with someone. We've known each other for a few years now, and we're just taking things slow, feeling things out, being friends first, and anything else second, but that's all I'm going to say about that.
MA: Did he treat you to a romantic Valentine's Day?
JB: It was great. Perfect.
MA:Now that you've sucessfully broken my heart, how much are tickets to "Mama Gaea!"
JB: It's free. It's kind of a 'get-out-and-enjoy-the-weather" kind of thing. I'm doing it because I'm hoping, since people are going to have their televisions off anyway, maybe they'll remember what's so fun about going outside to play. Maybe it will inspire somebody to turn off the news and go outside for a walk every once in a while.
MA: Well, what's next for you in the world of fashion? You recently wore the signature piece for the new fashion house "BellaDonna" for their Spring 2009 fashion show for their debut line "Bella." You were shot recently by Photographer Shelynn Taylor, one of the world's hottest fashion photographers. What else do you have on your plate?
JB: I've worked with Shelynn three times since December. She is a goddess. Her photos really capture the essence of the model and the garment. I love working with her. The entire process is completely fluid and channeled. The work I've done with BellaDonna [Bella St. James and Donna Delane] has been a dream come true, as well. This is their first line, and they are going to be big. I predict it. Their designs are made to make you look not only incredible, but glamorous and fun. They really understand what women want to wear, and they know how to make it couture. I've also been working with Get Infamous Apparel! [GiA!] and the always wonderful, incredibly talented Ford Fairchild, when I'm at home. I've worked with Ford three times now, and every time the experience is just better and better. He takes marvelous photos. I think because he's young, he understands funky and fun in a way that people seem to forget as they get older, but he also understands class and sophistication that most people his age don't necessarily comprehend. His photos are wise beyond their years.
MA: Thank you so much for coming. It's been a pleasure to talk to you. I hope I see you again soon. And maybe next year, you'll be my Valentine.
JB: Thank you again for having me. And I'd love to be your Valentine next year. [MA]

from ArtUnderground Magazine, March 2009

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