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The Nutcracker in Baytown, TX

December 15, 2018

Hello, all!  Bay Area Houston Ballet and Theatre has come to Baytown, and they are doing The Nutcracker with the Baytown Symphony at Lee College’s PAC for two more performances.  Last night was opening night, so I’m running late again, but I can vouch for the show because I’m the light board operator, and I’ve seen it twice, now, if you count dress rehearsal.  There’s a show tonight at 7:30 PM and a matinee tomorrow at 2:30.  If you’re in the bay area and you haven’t seen The Nutcracker this year, this could be the show for you!

You can find PAC ticketing info here:

Thanks all, and I hope you’re having a great holiday season- E.G.D.


Santa’s Christmas Magic 2018 Has One More Weekend!

December 12, 2018

Photo Copied from an e-advertisement sent by Dr. Jerry Ivins

Ladies and gentlemen, I am late again.  The first weekend of SCM went brilliantly, and we have one weekend left.  As with the past 4 previous years, I am the music director for this year’s production.  If you come, I can pretty well guarantee you a good time!  Here’s a copy of the add that showed up in my e-mail in-box:

“2018 Santa’s Christmas Magic:

The Musical”

The 23rd Annual Family Christmas Play


It is time again for those mean ol’ characters to try and steal Santa’s Magic!  Will they succeed?  

San Jacinto College Central Department of Theatre and Film is getting into the Christmas spirit again.  They will be presenting a musical fantasy centering on a sinister plot to steal Santa’s magic.  This year’s production has over 85 performers (over 35 community children ages 4 on up were cast!).

This is an event filled with classic Christmas songs, elves and living toys.  It is an opportunity for children to visit and have their photos taken with Santa during intermission.  Community and college singers, dancers and actors make this a very unique event!

When:            Dec. 13, 14 and 15 – 7:30 pm Curtain

                                    Dec. 16 – 2:30 pm Curtain (Matinee)

Where:           Powell Arena Theatre – San Jacinto College Central in Pasadena

Cost:               $10 per person for general admission

Box Office:    Will open at 1:30 pm till 5 p.m. Monday – Friday – Powell Arena Theatre – 281-476-1828

Just two more days of Mary Poppins at San Jacinto College Central!

October 26, 2018

Hello, all!  I’ve been so busy with classes (I’m teaching 8, and two of them are accelerated), rehearsals, and auditions for the Christmas show that I have fallen woefully behind on this website.  I’m sorry I’m posting this so late, but you still have two days left of Mary Poppins at San Jacinto College Central if you haven’t come to see it yet.  It’s quite a magical show!  As usual, I have been the music director for the production.image004

I do hope some of you can make it, even with the late notice!  Thanks as always- E.G.D.

5 Years of Fun (and a whole lot of hard work)

June 23, 2018

Ladies and gentlemen, I recently hunted down some bootleg footage of various projects in which I have been involved since becoming an adjunct professor of theatre and film.  I stuck bits of it in iMovie and the following trailer is the very fun result!  I hope you all enjoy it.


Mentorship: Paying it Forward, but Sending Back Hugs

March 6, 2018

In the process completing a job application recently, I contacted my MFA graduate committee to ask if any of them would be willing to help me revise my cover letter.  They provided me not only with insight and thoughtful feedback, but also markups of the document.  It became something of a multi-person digital conversation.  Not surprisingly, the cover letter has gotten vastly better in the process.  This got me thinking about the value of mentorship, and how, when it works, it really can be a lifelong relationship.

Ladies and gentlemen, I graduated with my MFA almost seven years ago.  It seems normal to continue to exchange holiday cards and the occasional e-mail update, and for the first few years after graduation, I’ll admit that I knocked on the e-mail doors of my various professors on a regular basis when I needed academic references or letters of recommendation. The remarkable thing is that I am still comfortable asking for help after so many years, and they are willing to jump right in with both feet and give that help, even though they are busy with their jobs as educators, researchers, and theatre professionals.

Though I am still a long-term mentee,  I am at a point in my career (especially as a professor, but occasionally as a colleague or theatrical director) when I am frequently asked to write letters of recommendation.  The shoe is on the other foot, and it would seem a good number of people are looking up to me as a mentor.  I have students from past years tracking me down in the hallways and asking me to critique and/or give advice for their current theatrical work or vocal development.  In the past three months or so, I have written and submitted at least five letters of recommendation for college programs, jobs, and leadership organizations.

Is this the academic circle of life?  In general, it appears to be a pay-it-forward system.  It has me wondering, actually, if seven years from now my students will remember me and the things I’ve taught them.  Will any of them drop me a line and ask for help with a cover letter or another academic or work related endeavor?  I like to think that I will be just as happy to help as those members of my graduate committee.  Maybe I can repay them by paying it forward.

In the meantime, I am seriously considering sending them flowers or a fruit basket.  At the very least, while paying the mentorship effort forward, I think I should occasionally send back a thank you and remember that nobody has to be a mentor.  It is a wonderful, special, amazing relationship that at the very least should make a mentee want to send back a few hugs.

Wild Winter Weather! Happy Holidays ^_^

December 24, 2017

ChristmasCard2017Ladies and gentlemen, I haven’t exactly been in-touch on this website, but for those of you who don’t know, it’s been a truly peculiar year here in south-coastal Texas.  We’ve had wind and water to boot, and we recently had snow that stuck on the lawn and shrubs until mid-morning!  The kids across the street had a snowball fight while I tried to take pictures of the white dust of snow on my front yard (this was the point at which I finally admitted that my camera is definitely broken, because none of them turned out very well!  I ordered a new one during the crazy internet Christmas sales).  The photo I used for the card isn’t great, but you can see that all 3 of my pineapple plants had to be moved into my screened-in porch, there’s snow through the window, and the Christmas cactus on the table is blooming ^_^.  Mission accomplished!  Sending hugs and warm holiday wishes to all- E.G.D.

Happy Holidays from the Seasonal Card Big-top!

December 25, 2016

Annual bizarre card art by E.G.D.

This may not be immediately apparent, but this year the holiday-card version of me is juggling vehicles and tight-rope walking.  I feel I have represented my holiday admirably!  Bwahahahaha.  Anyhow, season’s greetings to all! – E.G.D.

When in Gotham, do as the Gothamites Do!

November 3, 2016

Well, if you’ve read the first Halloween costume post, you know she’s a cop when she’s on duty.  Here’s what Elisa Arakawa, GCPD officer, does when she’s off-duty!  After all, when in Gotham…

And yeah, I know this is getting repetitive, but there are two more that I recorded outside in a different lighting situation, for those of you who are really curious!

Also, at least in the modern day, I seriously don’t think any of the other bat-ladies wear skirts, so that makes this costume distinct as well.  Tada!  Two part costumes for the win.  Now, I just need to finish my Renaissance Festival costume collage set, and post about the upcoming Christmas show at SanJac, and I’ll be all caught up ^_^.

Gotham City Police Department has a new imaginary addition for Halloween

October 27, 2016

When I decided to be a Gotham City cop for Halloween this year, I was originally thinking about putting together a costume that reflected the 1960s live-action show.  I figured out pretty quickly, though, that that would be a rather expensive costume, and anyway, female police officers in that version of the world are scarily incompetent.  I turned around and put together a 1990s cartoon Batman cop uniform for $6… so I suppose all’s well that ends well!  The women on the more recent versions of that particular force are a heck of a lot cooler, anyway.  As you can see in the collage below, I doctored a picture of Detective Renee Montoya (of 1990s comic book and cartoon fame) to make her blonde and stuck her right on my ID.  Also, I decided to go with my Japanese family’s family name because the only other female Gotham City cop that came to mind was Detective Ellen Yin.  It seemed somehow more DC-ish to give the character a family name that makes the character sound specifically multicultural.  Anyhow, this character isn’t supposed to be me.  Those of you who know me well can see that this Gotham City police officer is older than I am, unless her story is set several years ago (which could well be the case, seeing as the uniform is inspired by 1990s Batman cartoons).


As I mentioned earlier, I spent $6 on this costume.  That is because I already owned the shoes, socks, pants, shirt, and tie, and a friend was kind enough to loan me the hat.  I hit the 99 Cents Only Store and the Dollar Tree and got a simple black belt for a buck, two cell phone belt-case thingies each for a buck, a pair of plastic handcuffs for a buck, and a police-toy play set that included a bright orange gun, a little plastic radio, a badge, and a tiny plastic watch… all of which together cost me a buck.  The last buck went toward a silver sharpie to help me make the toy badge look decent after I hit it with a bunch of epoxy clay.  I actually made the gun holster out of old Renaissance Fest scraps and paint, and I painted over about ¾ of the gun’s orange with the same black paint I used on the holster so that it would be a little less loud, but still broadcast that it wasn’t real.  I think I wound up looking reasonably authentic!

This character sprouted a crazy-interesting story while I was building the costume, by the way.  She’s originally from Keystone City (yes, from the old Flash comics), though she transferred to Gotham City very shortly after graduating from the Keystone City Police Academy.  Her first partner in Gotham was a really upstanding man who never took bribes or made deals with the crime lords and gang leaders, but after he was very nearly killed in a hit most likely paid for by those crime lords and/or gang leaders (though he and Arakawa could never prove it), he grew angry and jaded with the corruption in the system and he packed up his family and moved out of town.  Officer Arakawa’s second partner is a pretty normal Gotham City police officer, in that he isn’t above taking the occasional “gift” and enjoying the “perks” of the job.  It didn’t take Elisa Arakawa long to realize that her first partner had been actively sheltering her from the worst of the department’s (and the city’s) corruption, and said corruption was much worse and ran much deeper than she could ever have imagined.  It is not safe to be a good cop and keep your nose clean in Gotham City.  Of course, when in Gotham City, do as the Gotham City dwellers do.

Officer Arakawa is now leading a dual life, spending her days going through the motions as a seemingly middling-dirty cop, flying under the radar and rooting out deeper corruption from the inside.  After hours, she fights that corruption as Bat Mask, yet another in a long line of Gotham bat vigilantes!

I know, I know, you’re all probably going “Bat Mask?  Seriously, Elisa?  Bat Mask?”  But in fairness, Bat Girl, Bat Woman, Black Bat, Bat Wing, and Nightwing were all already taken (not to mention Huntress, Bluebird, Spoiler, Robin, Red Robin, Red Hood, Gotham and Gotham Girl.  Man oh man that city has a lot of vigilantes running around).

Here’s the really fun part: this is now officially a two part costume.  Both of this woman’s alter-egos are going to look amazing.  Bwahahaha!  Halloween is going to be so darn much fun this year- E.G.D.

P.S. – Further Halloween costume work and this year’s Renaissance Festival costume set are coming soon.

One more reason to join your local library’s summer reading program ^_^

June 23, 2016

E.G.D. doodled this in the Gimp.  The sun’s a cool dude!

Summer is nuts.  Totally nuts, I say!  I’m down to 2 jobs for the season, and it hasn’t made me any less busy.  Granted, I’ve done some other things on the side, too, like presenting a string of 6 Japanese/Chinese/Indonesian theatrical movement workshops for kids at the TNT (Texas Nonprofit Theatre) Youth Conference, which was conveniently hosted by Lee College (one of the colleges where I serve as an adjunct drama professor) this year.  Mostly, though, I’m teaching a breakneck-accelerated Film Appreciation course through Lone Star College and performing a truly remarkable number of shows for Mad Science of Houston aaaaaaaaaaaaall over southeastern Texas.  Incidentally, a very large percentage of those shows are hosted by local library systems, so if you’ve ever wanted to go to a Mad Science performance, it’s possible your tax dollars have already paid for your admission ^_^.  Since I’ve been spending a lot of time making things light on fire and go boom in libraries lately, I thought I’d pop into this site to remind the world that summer reading programs are happening now, and all the libraries I’ve visited this summer have programs for both kids and adults.  You should check out the schedule of events at your local library, and if you’re south of Dallas and east of Austin, I might just be headed your way with a show sometime in the near future… if I haven’t been there already in the past month!

Happy summer, everyone, and I hope you get the chance to beat the heat with a good book at least once in these crazy hot months- E.G.D.