Tuesday, March 12, 2013

"Spotlight on Jamie Lin" by Jamie Lin

This article is from the January 2013 issue of KC Stage

I have always loved to perform. When I was little, I would watch my dad compete in karaoke contests and I hoped to be as good as him. I dreamed of one day dying my hair blonde and becoming a pop star. The dream has changed, but the desire to be a part of art that would move people to their feet still remains. Why does any artist do what they do? To affect people in a way that they won't forget. That, and we like the attention.

I'm Jamie Lin, that slightly Asian, extremely sarcastic local girl just trying to leave my mark. I dabble in all kinds of art, but my forte has always been performance. I often fantasize about my life turning into an actual musical so that I could break out into song and dance whenever I wanted without everyone looking at me funny. I participated in what little theatre was offered at my alma mater, Smithville High School (they now have a beautiful performing arts center and a theatre program run by the very talented Taylor St. John ... so jealous), but it wasn't enough to quench my thirst. I sought opportunities elsewhere and found a place in the Gladstone Theatre in the Park family. When I started attending Northwest Missouri State University, I was originally minoring in vocal music, but in my sophomore year I changed it to theatre performance. I just couldn't stay away from the stage. Joining Theatre Northwest transformed me; the things that I learned and experienced there are a major part of who I am today. Even though I majored in secondary English education, I was in the theatre more than some of the majors were. I had found home. Ironically, I feel most myself when I am pretending to be other people.

I enjoy comedic character roles the most because I get to be silly and larger than life, things that are generally frowned upon in polite society. The parts I look back on most fondly are Christmas Eve in the Jewish Community Center's Avenue Q, Ursula Merkle in Leawood Stage Company's Bye Bye Birdie, and a crazy Jersey Shore version of the fairy godmother in City Theatre of Independence's Cinderella. They weren't lead roles, but I had so much fun becoming those characters! Perhaps I had a little too much fun. I have often been accused of pulling focus and stealing scenes - sorry about that, guys. I also enjoy goofing off with the fellas of Ogrot, a local performance group, by donning some fairy wings and a Jewish accent at the Renaissance Fair (among other wacky things that don't make a whole lot of sense).

Because these silly characters are my favorites, when I started doing burlesque I decided to make my alter ego one of them. Annie-Mae Allure (a pun on "anime" for those of you who didn't catch that) is a goofy cartoon character whose main goal is to make the audience laugh. If she is ever sexy, it's accidental. I had never seen burlesque until a few years ago when I went to see some friends perform. Two of my cast mates from the Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre's Tommy, and my personal idols, Katie Gilchrist and Aurelie Roque, were among the talented group of performers. Katie, or should I say Ms. Kitty, and her partner in crime, Sweet Louise, performed a hilarious clown themed duet. Lunaire d'Etoile (Aurelie), acting out the part of an angry server, sang "Forget You" by Cee Lo. When I created Annie-Mae, I wanted to combine the things that my two heroes brought to their performances; comedy and singing. I started out with Evolution of Burlesque by answering a Craig's List advertisement; after two years with them, I am now an independent act, picking up jobs where I can. Lately, I have been doing a lot of shows with the new group in town, Cirque du Risque. They picked me up for their zombie show, Burlesque Bloodbath, and I joined the "Bathsalt Beauties" for a few performances of undead undulating.

When I can't be on stage, I find other ways to create. I've been an official reviewer and contributor for KC Stage for a couple of years, so I get many opportunities to stay in touch with the writer in me, though I prefer fiction. I have written two one-act plays (one of which was produced by Theatre Northwest in my senior year), a 10 minute play, and a short film. I'm also working on a memoir of sorts with the working title Comments, Questions, and Snide Remarks: A Demonstration of Humor and Ego. With as much humor and ego as I have, who knows if that will ever get finished. I also design and manage my personal website, as well as Ogrot.com. I recently had several of my paintings displayed at the Pop Up Art Gallery. Other than all my artsy-fartsy activities, I spend my free time with my amazing 8-month-old son, Braedon. When "real life" takes over and I can't live in la-la-land, I'm a shift manager at the local McDonald's. Let me tell you ... I'm lovin' it. I keep pretty busy.

Really, I'm no one special. I'm a jack of all trades and master of none. I've gotten the chance to do some amazing things and work with some very talented people and I truly hope those opportunities keep coming. But who am I, really? I'm just an artist hoping to keep acting, keep singing, keep dancing, keep writing, keep painting, keep on keeping on for as long as you will let me.

Jamie Lin will be performing with Cirque du Risque in January. For more information about Jamie and her upcoming performances, visit www.jamielinperformer.weebly.com.

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