Today marks part four of our Behind Our Blog Team series—where we give our readers all a chance to get to know our team a little better. I crafted a few serious and a few funny questions for our Program and Production Assistant Liz Uyeda, where she delves into her dreams of living in the sea, helping others, and becoming a dragon.
Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii where my time was equally split between school, the beach, and ballet class. I lived there until I graduated from high school, when I moved to Virginia to attend the University of Richmond. It seems a strange move to many, but it worked for me and here I am, a little less tan, in Virginia some six years later.
What is your favorite Wolf Trap memory?
Embarking now on my third summer season at Wolf Trap, it starts to become difficult to pick a favorite among so many special memories. One that particularly stands out is my first Filene Center show day when I was an intern in 2009. It was A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor. I had never seen a Wolf Trap performance before, but there I was, backstage with my radio, clipboard, and three inch pumps. I mean, if Barbara Parker can work a show in heels, why can't I, right? So very wrong. After my first very successful 16-hour show day, my feet covered in blisters, I walked barefoot to my car with a smile stretch across my face. It was easily the most exciting and exhausting day I had ever had in my life and I couldn't wait to start it all over again the next morning (in flats).
What is your favorite song now or of all time? What speaks more strongly to you, the music or the lyrics?
I've always been drawn to music lyrics. The combination of word and sound is where the magic of songwriting lives, but I must say that I am particularly drawn to the poetry of music. Picking a favorite song feels a little like choosing a favorite child; I don't want to slight the other songs. But my favorite song probably lies somewhere in the repertoire of my favorite band, Radiohead. Easily my favorite rock concert to date is seeing Radiohead perform in Osaka, Japan, where i studied abroad in college.
Do you have a musical guilty pleasure—something you don't admit to liking in casual conversation?
I do have a few... in my younger years I had an affinity for heavy rock/metal. The spectrum ranged from Metallica to System of a Down. (My favorite Metallica album is S&M, which they recorded with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. It is actually quite beautiful.) I can't say that I listen to much Metallica these days, but System is still one of my favorite bands. Maybe I'll see you at their Verizon Center concert in August?
How do you consume recorded music? I.e. iPod, Spotify, Pandora, vinyl...
All of the above! My iPod has weathered many hard falls and long cross-country drives. I don't have a record player YET, but hopefully I'll find one I like very soon.
What is your go-to karaoke song?
Hands down I always go for The B-52s' "Love Shack." However, I discovered a new fun pick a few months ago. My friends and I went out to sing karaoke for my birthday and someone put on Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart" and it was a huge hit. I definitely recommend it.
If you could have one fantastic non-musical talent, what would it be?
Well, this question could go a number of ways, but just off the top of my head I would say to breathe underwater so I could build a new civilization on the bottom of the ocean that would rival Newt Gingrich's moon colony. There may be some finer issues to work out, like sharks for example, but I think it would all come together with time. We could call it "Atlantis II," although that might not bode well. I'll keep working on it.
Fill in the blank: "If I didn't work in the performing arts, I would be a _____ for a living."
Let me start by saying, I can't imagine my world without the performing arts. The arts have always been a vital part of my life, something I maybe didn't realize at the age of five, putting on ballet slippers for my first dance class; or perhaps at 17 when I played the trumpet in the Macy's Day Parade as part of the Hawaii All-State Marching Band; or maybe even when I decided to complete a minor degree in Dance. Looking at my track record, I think the performing arts are in my life to stay.
But because I know this is a hypothetical fun question, I'll give it a shot. If I did not work in the performing arts, I think I would be working another lifestyle job directed toward helping people. I'm not sure in what capacity that would be exactly (local, global, etc.), but I love working to help the community and I have always admired the efforts of people who work for the betterment of humanity on its most basic levels.
If you could interview any celebrity, alive or dead, who would it be?
There are many people past and present that I would love to speak with, but one person I have always been curious about is Hayao Miyazaki. He is the animator and film director behind Studio Ghibli productions like My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, and many others. My Neighbor Totoro was my favorite childhood movie and I am very curious about the inspiration that brought forth the fanciful characters and uninhibited adventures that appear in Miyazaki's movies. I once heard that he draws characters and frames first and then creates a plot to link his animations together.
If you could turn into an animal, what would you turn into?
If I could turn into any animal (I am, of course assuming this include mythical creatures), I would be a dragon. Apart from being able to fly and breathe fire, the dragon is my Chinese zodiac sign and it's one that I feel a strong connection with. My nana, mother, and myself are actually all dragons (watch out...), but we are each a different element: fire, water, and earth. Dragons are known for being honest and passionate but weaknesses include quick-tempers and pride. Obviously zodiac signs are meant to interpret personality traits and cannot represent the entirety of a person's identity but I think they are very fun to read. Especially since my 4'11" nana is maybe the most fiery person I know.