An Injury is No Hinderance

Hi Scouts!!

I hope the start of this month has been productive and creative!

I have been extremely excited to get to work. For me, September means heading back to school, studying film acting technique at Stonestreet Studios. We are already two weeks in and I have found myself quite busy with my own growth as an artist, making plans for The Scout Archives, auditioning for musicals, and writing scripts to eventually put up onto the screen at school. 

Of course, there are moments when something in the universe reminds you that although the art is constantly flowing and never stops, sometimes we are human and we need to slow down. Unfortunately, I sprained my foot days before a final callback and now find myself out of the audition game for now and hobbling around New York City in a boot. The more unfortunate aspect of all this is that this has happened to me for the past three years on the same week. Spooky. But it does remind me that I can get too excited about too much and it forces me to focus on what art is important, what I should be focusing on. 

As I am slightly hindered by my injury, I look to my former teacher and now (dare I call her) friend, Laya Barak. It is quite surreal to me that the woman who shaped so much of me is on The Scout Archives. Laya has always been an incredibly important influence in my life and I have looked up to her quite possibly since the day I met her. Even as she taught our class from a chair when her ankle injury left her unable to dance full-out, I was mesmerized by the stoic badass-ness with which she held herself. I also found it quite hilarious that during our interview she voiced that she never knew how much her class meant to me. Although I was relieved to hear I had successfully played it cool all those years, I was glad Laya finally knew the truth about how I felt, because being a student in Laya’s class taught me a huge amount about commitment, hard work, and strength. Now Laya is the woman of the hour, choreographing and directing Broadway Bares, the BCEFA benefit concert that occurs every year and is a well-known celebration for the theater community. She is certainly a woman to watch and I am learning from her even years after leaving her Hip-Hop class years ago. Thank you to Laya and thank you to all of you for reading and for listening. I hope you enjoy learning about this badass boss lady!

Have a lovely September and we will be back next month!


Stay safe

Stay excellent

xx,

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THE WAY WE DO OUR ART

Hello Scouts ! 

Last month was extremely exciting in terms of the art I saw. I have spent my summer taking a much needed break from my work as an artist but still finding inspiration from my peers and colleagues as we release another feature this summer. 

At The Scout Archives, we celebrated pride in so many ways - seeing extraordinary and passionate work from artists of all places, shapes, genders and sexualities in a colorful display in New York City and participating in the celebration in our own ways. There was so much self expression in the community, especially from what those I saw were wearing on their person. It reminded me of how artists are constantly discovering more about themselves and how to best show the world who they are. Things were so vibrant, especially in the fashion I saw on people walking on the NYC streets and on display in museums. I was lucky enough to travel to London to catch the Christian Dior exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum and boy, talk about self-expression and an incredibly well-curated exhibition. And then there was the Camp exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which was in its own ways, astounding in its vibrancy and innovation. It is quite awesome to think about how each artist views their world and in what medium they choose to express it. 

There is one person in particular who expresses herself and her view of the world in a very specific way - through the viewfinder of a camera. That person is the exquisite Julia Swain. I was so excited to photograph and get to know Julia because she HATES being in front of the camera…and I love it! But she wanted to be comfortable which I get, so I let her pick the location…and she DID US UP because we got to shoot at Panavision - crazy! I can’t wait for you all to hear what she has to say - she is incredibly wise, funny, and in the face of so much adversity, a fighter. She is a brilliant artist as proven by her body of work and it is a great honor to introduce her to you. 

Have the most wonderful rest of July and to all of my New Yorkers - stay cool! This heat wave is insane but it’s the only reason I’m getting any work done at all!!


Stay creative.

Stay excellent.

xx.

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FROM CRISIS, FROM FULFILLMENT

Hi Scouts!

 

I hope wherever you are, you are enjoying the summer weather and using nature as a means for inspiration. I am proud of what The Scout Archives has put out recently and the kind of response we are getting. It is truly fulfilling and keeps me excited for the future. So thank you to those who read on a phone, a tablet, a computer, over a friend’s shoulder, who like a photo of ours on Instagram.

 

This month on The Artist Date, I had the pleasure of introducing you to Cecelia Bonner, one of my dearest friends, who has completely inspired me in the way she is devoted to her craft and disciplined in becoming a better artist. She is currently on set as assistant director on her friend Emmi Shockley’s film. Cecelia and I had a wonderful conversation about auditioning and the differences between film and theater as well as how to keep structure to your life as an artist after any kind of schedule (be it a tour schedule, school schedule, work schedule) is removed. In Cecelia’s case, the removal was premature and her own decision, and she has completely mastered the art of an unstructured artist life. Our conversation is on The Scout Archives: Live podcast now! I want to give a huge thank you to Cece for taking the time to talk to me!

 

I wanted to make sure that the June feature included someone who would appreciate the creation of art outdoors and in nature, and there is no one better to feature than Emily Lautch. Emily has laid her soul bare in her art and it is inspiring to watch. She may describe herself as a mess, but that is certainly not what the outside world sees. I relate to this a lot. Back in December, when I experienced my own serious bout of depression that was scary and debilitating at times, I thought about how eloquent even her words about her experience with mental health, something that is so abstract and difficult to describe, were. I knew what I was struggling with because of her description. I persevere because she does, at least in my eyes, and uses her experiences and struggles to write and perform. She said something quite incredible in our interview: “Art is a great vehicle to process pains of life but exquisite art can come from someone in crisis or someone who is living a fulfilled and well-rounded life.” I stand by this statement whole-heartedly. It reminds me that while hard times may come and go, art never leaves. And it is imperative that we make it in crisis and in the fulfilling times of life. I want to thank Emily for sharing her thoughts with me. She truly is an artist to watch.

 

Please reach out if you ever have any thoughts about the interviews or any of the work on The Scout Archives! I would always love to hear from you. Until next time!

 

Keep creating,

Stay excellent.

 

xx

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PROCESS OVER PRODUCT

Hi Scouts!!

We are back in action! It’s so nice to see the sun break through the clouds, letting us know that winter is finally over (unless you are a Game of Thrones fan) and it is now the season to create art outside! I actually roll my eyes at summer weather, but I love making art in the outdoors so I can’t resist how much I love being able to walk into the park and make a movie or paint on my rooftop! 

Last month we focused on a rebranding of the site and of the Instagram, and even introduced a new podcast segment, The Artist Date, where I converse more casually with some of my friends about the art we have seen and what we want to create. The first guest was Max Weinstein, who could not have made me feel more comfortable about the unstructured setting because he ALWAYS BRINGS THE CONTENT. I hope you enjoyed listening - Max is extremely introspective and his thoughts on being an artist always get me thinking really hard about my place in the world and what I want to say. We are lucky to have him in our community.

Recently I have been so proud of the work I have seen. I am currently studying film acting and in our program we have to create our own content. Now that the weather is nice, my classmates are slowly starting to film their projects outside, and in viewing rough cuts of their work I can now see the visions they have as directors, writers, and film makers. And they are wonderful. I am extremely proud to be a part of a group of people who continue to turn ideas to actions. 

Rebecca Ocampo is one of those people. She is constantly thinking about what she can contribute, whether it be to the young children she mentors, or to her friends who are also in the business or to the business itself. Now that she is branching out artistically, she is learning new things about what she wants to say with her artistic voice. She is extremely interested and finds comfort, which may be even more important, in the process. I’ve been told so much to rely on process and not product. But with Rebecca, I can see the benefits in her work and in her outlook on life and art. I am thrilled she is our guest this month. 

As always, if you have any questions, concerns, or thoughts, please reach out to us! We are delighted to hear anything and everything!


Stay excellent. 

XX

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REVAMPING OUR ARTIST

Hello Scouts! And happy spring!

 

At the start of this year, although we were still in winter, I was focused on a major spring cleaning of my life. I realized that certain relationships I was a part of had run their course, I discovered new opportunities in new places, and I found that dreams I once wanted to pursue no longer seemed as important as they once did. Coming to terms with many of these things was much easier said than done, but by the time spring was upon us, the dirty work was done and I was beginning to see the rewards of these decisions.

 

I decided that I would extend this spring cleaning to my work and my thought process as an artist. It was a full revamp of how I, as an artist, market myself and find integrity in my work, whether it is finding new methods to get results or collaborating with new artists. I am now committed more than ever to the quality of my work and creativity. 

 

I recently went to Los Angeles. Because I was there on Scout Archives business, one of the greatest creative joys in my life, I was able to open my eyes to just how creative the town is – everywhere you look there is someone working on their passion project. People are always renewing their artist and how they look at art in general. I believe that is why some of the greatest interviews I have had about art and life have taken place in Los Angeles. 

 

The first interview I conducted during my time in Los Angeles was with two women who are defining their artistic imprint, the band January Grit. Maddy and Rose are so clear about the vision of their music and have so much creativity inside of them as well as love for each other and a mutual understanding of the blurred lines between artists and romantic partners. They have also realized the administrative work that comes with having artistic vision and after the year they have had, they too realized that they may need a renewal in order to strengthen their artistry. They have created a wonderful album and our discussion reminded me just how important art is and how it is imperative to make it. There may be needed slower moments of recovery and relaxation, but overall we should continue to strive to be more authentic and honest artists each time we return from the rest period. 

 

So lets revamp our artist this spring season and continue to blossom into the wonderful artists we are destined to become.

 

Stay excellent.

xx,

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IRRATIONAL THOUGHTS

Hello Scouts!!

 

My gosh, it has been a while. And I am so happy to be back writing to you again. I have been extremely busy with a summer of traveling around Europe, finding my footing, finding inspiration and finding myself. The return to New York City has been relieving at times, but there have been moments of anxiety and anger as well. I no longer find myself in the romantic and slower-paced land of pasta and Renaissance art. I find myself in reality. Still great, but very much harsh at times. 

 

There have been a lot of shifts in my life recently – the biggest shift is my learning how to be alone. Just with myself. And how to love being just with myself. It’s funny – when I am with people I usually long to be alone, but once I am by myself I wonder where everyone went. I am learning to find the balance in shifting friendships. I weave a very connected web so when friends become close with other friends of mine, it is so easy for me to feel less than wanted. But I’m working hard to change that narrative for my own well-being. It’s boring and its irrational…and if you know me, you know I’m great at overthinking and being irrational…so every day I make sure to give my attention to what is important and find the authentic truth. 

 

We must learn that nothing is that big of a deal.

 

There is an assignment we are given in our first year in musical theater training at NYU called an “Artist Date.” The “Artist Date” happens on your own – you can do anything, whether it be as extravagant as taking yourself to a Broadway show, or something simpler like taking a bath, so long as it is something that includes no one else. I remember hating this exercise when I was in my freshman year. What was the point? I DESPISED being alone and hated so much the idea of doing things by myself. However, slowly but surely, these dates with myself went from the small activity of going on a walk to the extremely frightening eating dinner by myself; now these are my favorite days. I usually like to take myself out on Thursdays.

 

Someone I know who implements self-care and love in her own way is Sierra Fisher. Sierra has always carried herself in a very down-to-earth, caring, and almost ethereal way, which was perfect for the production of Hair we both found ourselves in. Her personality seemed to mirror the way her body moved around the space: easy-going and free-spirited. While she has real dreams, fears, and thoughts, Sierra seems to navigate with ease what is most important and emphasizes that nothing matters if you are not being true to who you are. I knew that the next interview after someone as true to themselves as Ray Iman had to be someone I was sure I believed in. Sierra is one of those people. In a program and in a city that can be unforgiving at times and hard to crack, Sierra has one of the most easy-going attitudes and it is refreshing – I believe it is what will get her very far. I am so excited for you all to get to get inspired by her.

 

Until next time – I assure you there is more to come.

 

Stay excellent.

Remember what is important.

XX

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A RECOVERY

Hello, my lovely, daring, and special Scouts,

I have to begin with a humongous thank you for your patience. I have received an outpouring of love and questions about when the next interview will drop and why we take such long hiatuses. So here is the truth: there are many technical aspects that I think about when conducting and dropping an interview, and to authentically express the vision of The Scout Archives in displaying each subject, we require certain outdoor space, something quite hard to find in the dead of winter in New York City. We want to share content that is thoughtful and planned. And sometimes that means that there will be breaks in order for us at The Scout Archives to regroup and put together an interview that we are all proud of.

As we all know, winter brings doubt, long coats, dark nights and cold mornings. And this season has been one of the hardest for me as an artist and human being. So here is another part of this truth: I, Allegra Levy, had to go through a complete mental breakdown and it is not until now that I am picking myself back up and starting the long overdue spring cleaning of my soul. This winter, I experienced a version of myself I did not recognize. My artwork, friendships, and self-esteem suffered tremendously. In many ways, that experience left me hollow and lost; I understood what it was like to feel as though I was a ghost of myself, having an out of body experience each day, where I could see myself living life but could not connect my body and my mind. And it may not be over yet – the emotions ebb and flow. Although, from where I stand now, I can say that it taught me so much about art, so much about my relationships and so much about myself. It was not until I accumulated all of the pages I had written during this time that I realized I have a short book. While in the moment these pieces of paper seemed like a release of random spouts of emotion I would have in class or by myself that I kept crumpled at the bottom of my bag, I realize now that it was my creative soul pushing through to use art to overcome the experience and document it for later. Every experience is important to us as artists, and we need to continue to live in the pain and feel what we need to feel while channeling it through a creative outlet. That is what we were born to do. I am now so thrilled that I have a compilation of my writing during what could have been one of the darkest times of my life, because it may also have been one of the most creative times of my life.

If I think of someone who has used their overcoming adversity to further engage in art, it is Ray Iman Tyson. After dealing with a horrific episode before being diagnosed bipolar, a life of questioning their identity, a pronoun change, and an unconventional family life, you would think Ray has a pretty cynical view of the world. But that is where you would be wrong. Ray teaches me everyday the balance of self-care and compassion for others, that the way to fight any battle is through love and art. Our interview took place while walking through Ray’s favorite exhibit now showing at The New Museum; we were discussing life, love and art in the presence of such important pieces of work. I am humbled to make my comeback from the life I was living this winter with this interview, because Ray is the epitome of what we believe our Scouts are: those who seek authenticity and use art to do it, no matter what kind of path it may lead to, no matter from what path they have come. I hope that you enjoy what Ray has to say and that we all enter these next months with more spring in our step, accepting whatever life may throw in our way and using our passion to overcome it.

 

Stay excellent.

xx,

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BECOMING YOUR OWN BEST FRIEND AGAIN

Hello Scouts!

 

I hope this finds everyone healthy, happy, and ready to embark on a new year of art and self-discovery. I am certainly ready to start a new year.

 

As each year comes to a close, I am often guilty of thinking towards the future without reflecting on the past. I obsess over what I need to change rather than being thankful for what I have given myself and what experiences I have allowed myself to have over the past 12 months. This year has been a time of immense growth for me, personally, as I hope it has been for you. Although this year has been one of struggle and heartbreak, I have to remember that this year I was open with new people, I took risks, I spent a month alone in Vermont, I started my own project.

 

We must remember to be kind to ALL of ourselves, not just the parts that are easy to like. We cannot only focus on what we want to change in the new year or what resolutions we strive to make, but what parts of ourselves have gotten us through the struggles of the year. Personally, I have learned a lot about myself in the face of struggle this year. But I have also had the most amazing support system: the women I met in recovery in Vermont, my close-knit group of friends at NYU, and my incredible family members who have all kept me going during some very difficult months recently.

 

As the sky grows dimmer faster and the wind gets colder, it is easy to feel that we are alone in the dark. I currently feel very afraid of being alone with my thoughts. But we must implement self-care. Love and spread kindness, but do not waste time on those who cannot reciprocate that same love and kindness to you. Most importantly, love and spread kindness to yourself and learn how to be your own best friend. Learn how to enjoy your time alone in the dark. Maybe that will be my resolution for 2018.

 

Nicole Chan is a very good friend of mine. Watching her navigate the past few months being her best friend and her own boss is extremely inspiring. I am so excited that she was able to share her wisdom with me because I needed to hear it. Maybe you will feel the same way. I was going to hold off on interviewing her, as she is graduating from Gallatin at New York University in the spring, but recently her dedication and authenticity in her art has her thriving in a way I have never seen in her before and I want to capture this moment in time. So thank you, Nikki, for spending a day with me and sharing your stories with us.

 

I hope everyone has a healthy, happy, and safe holiday season. Whether you celebrate in the dark, cold New York City or in warm and light Mexico, know that you are loved and you are whole just as you are. Become your best friend this next year. And don’t waste your precious heart on people who can’t give theirs back.

 

Stay excellent.

xx,

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REGROUPING AND SMILING BACK

Scouts! Hello! It has been quite a while.

 

Thank you so much for being patient and allowing us at The Scout Archives to take a much needed regrouping vacation. There has been a lot going on in the world and in our lives as people with passion and drive; sometimes it is important to take a look back at what was achieved and look forward to change the mistakes you made in the past.

 

The past few weeks I have had to remind myself to stay positive in a lot of ways, and to always stay true to myself. There are things that sway me and push me off kilter, but I have learned that if you know who you are, the getting back up after a fall is much easier.

 

This idea is especially true for our leading lady in the most recent interview, Morgan Higgins. I cannot tell you how much this girl smiles. Sure, maybe it is through gritted teeth when she is sad, mad, angry, or hurt. But I see her almost every day of the week, and she always has me fooled. The way she carries herself in a class is fearless, willing to jump at every opportunity and always try her best. And yes, she falls down, she misses a step, she fails at an exercise. But she is someone that I know will have the strength and faith in her place in the world to immediately get back up and try again, no matter who was there to watch her fall. And she rises from the ashes with a pearly white smile. It is quite exceptional to watch.

 

She also reminds me of the beauty of being corny. The way she talks about love, her family, and her work might be cliché at times, but that is who Morgan is and she owns it. She owns all of herself, and it works. She is a magnetic being. And you know what? Sometimes we have to be corny and obvious. It is okay to say what you mean sometimes, even if you heard it from a black and white film with language that is foreign to us. Say I love you to someone today and mean it. DON’T SAY ILY. Say I love you. Look them in the eyes. Judging by how Morgan speaks about love, I think she would be proud of you.

 

Until next time, I hope you all have a great week. Again, thank you for being patient with us as we at The Scout Archives figure out the best way to fall and rise with a smile.

 

Stay tuned,

Stay excellent.

 

xx

 

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LOS ANGELES LIVING AND GLITCHES IN THE SYSTEM

Hey scouts!

 

I hope it has been an exciting and fulfilling few weeks since I last wrote you. I have been overwhelmed with the support that has come from places near and far, friends old and new, with The Scout Archives. It has truly been so rewarding. I am now revved up more than ever to keep The Scout Archives up and running. So thank you for your undying support and thoughtful feedback.

 

This past week I spent some time in the city of angels – and angels I found. The next two interviews you will see on the site are of Nell Teare and Jesse Madera, best friends since childhood, who now live as adults right, next to each other in the Hollywood Hills. The support they give one another not only as best friends, but as partners in Los Angeles and artistic life, is one we should all emulate. Coming from a high school graduating class of 32 strong women, this cheerleader attitude towards other women is one I love to see.

 

In Nell’s interview, we discuss what it means to recreate your destiny and never give up on what you believe you were meant to do, all with having an attitude of gratitude. Sure, I give Nell a hard time because she can be SO LA, so bright and sunny and warm to everyone. But spend a couple of days with her, and you, too, want to be that person who feels invincible because they are truly interested in, and never judgmental of, all human experiences.

 

I must say that there is a method to the madness that is The Scout Archives. The way I curate the interviews is the way in which I see my subject, and through that, I hope you guys can see me. I choose my subjects and the order of how they appear on the website in a very specific way. So when Jesse Lynn got tired and we couldn’t shoot at our original location, I got frustrated. But art never ceases to grow and change, even when there is a slight glitch in planning or vision (or when your laptop ends up on a bus for a whole day without you). The pool idea was one I was not initially interested in, but the way it turned out seemed too perfect. Jesse’s calm juxtaposed with the bright color of the water made it seem very enigmatic to me, and that is how I always saw Jesse. I hope you enjoy her interview. It was a blast and I am so happy I finally got to know more about Jesse, since she has been in my life for the same amount of time as Nell has, but I never knew her as I do now after our interview.

 

So please keep reading, keep checking the Instagram, and and I hope you had a wonderful eclipse!!

 

xx

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FINDING BALANCE WITH THE LAUNCH OF THE SCOUT ARCHIVES

Hi everyone!

 

Welcome to The Scout Archives. I am thrilled to be launching this project. The Scout Archives is a space for all of us to grow – as people, as artists, as readers, as listeners. It has been in the works for 2 years – not because of layout problems or technical difficulties, but because the thought of having a blog or website seemed self-indulgent to me and I was never quite ready to let people know me in a way that was anything other than a hard-working actor. But in the 2 years that this project has been on my mind, so much has changed and now I could not be happier to share more of myself through how I see the very important people in my life who will show up on The Scout Archives.

 

In high school I did a lot: painting, directing, dancing, co-heading a Handbell club, among other things. But when I entered college and fit into a specific category of study, I thought that if I did not devote my whole self to it and only it, I would fail. I would get very frustrated with people around me who were picky with how they spent their time and what they did, and it wasn’t until I left and moved back to New York that the reason they made their own work and devised other projects not having to do with their major was because it made them happy. They were not just one type of person – who wants to be one-dimensional?

 

When I left Boston, I started working with Broadway Style Guide, a platform where Broadway meets fashion. I am constantly inspired by the people with whom I work – their dedication, humility, work ethic and the confidence with which they wear their many hats in the company. Many of them have a title for which they are most known, but that does not stop them from exploring the many layers of their personalities. Throughout my time working with them, I have learned that there are stylists, actors, creative directors, musicians, photographers, jewelry designers, and producers who come to set; they make time to express themselves in many ways and they seem like happy people to me. Working with them has shown me that I can wear many hats too, and I don’t ever have to hide one to wear the other.

 

Anna Jurew is the perfect person to help launch The Scout Archives. Yes, she is known for her intense speed and passion for track, but she has another side to her: a delicate, intellectual, slower side that is just as compelling, as seen through her photography and writing. She has never defined herself as anything, and she balances each part of her personality with ease and strength. In the interview, she discusses how the two parts of her life require opposite skills but never stray too far from one another. Her athlete influences her artist and vise versa. We can all learn great things about the life of balance from her. I know I do.

 

I have learned recently that it is not what you do, it is how you feel, and right now I feel full of life and possibility. The Scout Archives is my love letter to my friends and colleagues as well as to myself, as I continue to grow as a writer, reporter, photographer, friend and self-sufficient human being, striving for happiness in whatever I choose to do. Please enjoy, tell your friends, and for heaven's sake if you are not doing what you absolutely love, please start!!

 

xx