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Leo Ascendant

Summer festival with You Are So Lucky and Cirque du Nuit

Summer festival with You Are So Lucky and Cirque du Nuit

It's summer, it's Leo season. With the new moon this past Sunday the 23rd, we entered a time of fire and strength, a time to start new projects with great ambition.

 
Dark Moon Leo Ascendant Reading

Dark Moon Leo Ascendant Reading

 

Astrologically speaking, Leo is my rising sign, the qualities of which tend to show themselves most when operating instinctually in response to stress, or meeting new people. Those with Leo ascendant in their charts like to make things happen and make sure they are at the center of it. Now is a great time to harness the fiery energy of Leo, whether rising or not, to take a leap, make a splash, explode onto the scene like the star you are.

The eight major arcana in the tarot - Strength - traditionally prominently features a lion (as seen above), a creature that can be playful, or deadly. Strength is always a card that has featured prominently in important readings for myself and others, and is one of my favorite cards in the deck.

This seemed like an opportune time to get new headshots to reflect my new look, and to update my website accordingly. Check out my new headshots here, as well as sharp new shots throughout the site. This is a fresh start for LindsayHopeSimon.com and for Lindsay Hope Simon herself!

Please click around the website and stay tuned for further updates!

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Forever Ravenclaw

I've mentioned before that as an actor and a theatre artist I consider myself to be a perpetual student. Really, as a person, I have always been an academic; I didn't need a sorting hat quiz on Pottermore to tell me I'm a Ravenclaw. But particularly in the arts there is always more to learn about the craft, more films to watch and actors to study and theory books to read, even if actual classes may be financially out of reach. The Summer Sling reinvigorated my love of the atmosphere of study, and in the two weeks since I have filled my free time watching fight films, rereading old books on acting and audition techniques, seeking out new plays, and submitting myself for various acting/company membership/fight director opportunities. 

Four days of constant critical thinking about what makes effective fight choreography made me realize how passive I had become with my craft, even while I was auditioning and performing. Not that I didn't put work into the projects of which I was a part, but just that I was not doing everything I could to enrich myself as a theatre maker in the in-between times (and let's face it, there are a lot of long in-between times). Perhaps what I am finally grappling with is the melding of career and craft, recognizing that they are two distinct but inseparable aspects of the life of an artist.

College was four years of honing my craft, gathering as many tools as possible to make myself a better actor/designer/collaborator etc. It was a time to learn as much as I could about what is available to learn, and to be constantly hungry for more knowledge, more skills, more experience. I believe I used my four years at NYU well, taking on perhaps too many projects in my quest for opportunities and challenges.

The first couple years after graduation were, in large part, focused not even on career but simply on financial stability. Goal number one was work enough, earn enough money at whatever day job, to be able to stay in this city to keep making theatre. It has only truly been in the last year or so that I have started to have time to actually focus on my career, creating this website and a backstage profile to really be able to put myself "out there" for auditions and to be able to promote my work as a playwright and fighter.

The shift in focus, after school, to the business of being a theatre artist, resulted in an absence of time spent reading new plays or books about craft. It is thrilling, now, therefore, to be able to return to my true love, the study of artistry and the creation of the artistry itself. Earlier this week marked my eight year anniversary of moving to this city I love to do what I love, and I want so much more but I'm so grateful for where I've gotten.

Here's my Ravenclaw wisdom for you: 

 
Happiness is having something that satisfies you while also having something for which to strive.
 
Photo by Theik Smith Photography at the 2016 New York Summer Sling.

Photo by Theik Smith Photography at the 2016 New York Summer Sling.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

 
 

The first tarot card I drew this year was the same as the first card I drew last year: XIII - Death. Many see it as an ill omen, a foreboding warning to receive at any time. But I always interpret it, especially at the new year, as rebirth, clearing away the old to make room for the new. Maybe it's my strong connection to the phoenix, to the idea of rebirth, but death always leads to something new. When major arcana cards come up in a reading, they symbolize larger shifts are at work in your life. I've had a lot of major arcana coming up in my daily readings lately.

I wrote a post many months ago about the 16th and 17th cards of tarot's major arcana - The Tower, and The Star. The tower warns of impending change, often of a destructive or unwelcome nature. I said in that post that I already felt poised on the precipice of major change this year, and that was just in February. I was considering leaving some of my old jobs. I was considering leaving the country. Now it is mid-June, the eve of summer, and change has come for me, whether I like it or not. Two of my old jobs, places I have worked for four and six years, will be closing at the end of the summer, and a third is likely to have little work for me in the coming months. I will soon be very close to unemployed whether I like it or not.

I had forgotten that back in the dark days of winter, in the tumultuous weeks after my trip to Israel, that I was thinking of making big changes in my life. I got back into the routine of my day job and my night job, writing in free hours or on the occasional day off. I talked daily with my best friend about how much we missed Israel and how out of place we felt back in our regular lives, but it was still easy enough to walk through the years-old routine on the outside, even as tectonic shifts happened within. That is certainly the danger of a comfortable life, that in a routine we can become complacent. I have continued to push myself artistically in the months since that post, auditioning for plays, finishing my script, landing a gig. But I have continued to be safely housed in the familiar home of these jobs I've had for most of my adult life, almost all of the time since graduating.

This summer came with the prospect of change as I did not return to the New York Renaissance Faire this year, offering new freedom I've never had. In fact, this is their first weekend of camping for rehearsals, and I am comfortably holed up in an air-conditioned building all day, and will sleep in a real bed tonight. I'm focusing on the positive. But it seems now that the changes will keep coming as my familiar jobs disappear. An empty September yawns in front of me on my calendar. And so the free fall tumble of XVII - The Star comes sooner than expected. I don't know what life will look like, a couple months from now. I'm tempted, as ever, to drop everything and live abroad. I still miss Israel every day and think I'll end up there one day. Today I literally googled "how to move abroad" and "can I live in Berlin" among other queries. I also googled "how to find the perfect job," just as lofty an ambition.

I spent part of this morning looking for new work, laughing at the $9/hr postings I found for jobs in New York City, as if anyone can afford to work for $9 an hour. I recognize some people can't afford not to, but that's ridiculous. I suppose the one comfort is be the end of 2018 minimum wage in NYC will be $15 an hour. But honestly, being released from a multitude of hourly or shift pay jobs all at once seems like a sign that I shouldn't just settle into another one. There are some potential opportunities at box offices or other theatres where I could work, and maybe make comparable money to what I make now, doing similar jobs. However I think it's time to embrace the upcoming chaos, the unpredictable fall to an unknowable landing. Maybe this is the real shove to become a working artist, making my living as an actor or a playwright or a lighting designer. (Ideally all of those things.)

I started immediately looking for new jobs to fill the voids that will blossom as summer ends, but I'm tempted now, to let the ground remain far away for a while. I'm tempted to let this push/leap into underemployment be a gift. I will still have my nanny gig, and I'll be able to claim unemployment from the layoffs, leaving me unheard of amounts of time to audition, write, and collaborate with others. Times will be a bit lean, but I will be able to get by, especially if I work hard over the next couple months. It wouldn't be the first time I've made a fiscally questionably decision. (I can hear Suze Ormann yelling at me through the ether but I'm choosing not to listen, as I have so often done before.)

My last post was about doing scary things outside of my comfort zone. It would appear as though it's time to get uncomfortable. (Turn and face the strange.)