Doing what she loves
Battery Park City resident performs one-woman show
By Melanie Wallis
Dating is one of the most talked about topics of conversation, generates a roller coaster ride of emotions and is now a growth industry. Some of us may feel a little shy about sharing our dating experiences, but one Battery Park City woman is spilling the beans in the form of a one-woman show.
Chris Haley, a clothes designer by profession, has planned a comedic musical show about all the different methods of finding a date.
Im not afraid to laugh at myself, Haley said. Haley was inspired to do a show about dating following the conversations she had with her other single friends about how dating has evolved.
What the hell happened to dating? It never used to be so hard and I dont think it would be hard if people didnt come up with all the new concepts, Haley said. People arent interacting anymore because of the internet.
The one-hour show, entitled Dating in the 21st Century: So many men, so little rope, will include big and ballsy songs on topics such as internet dating, singles mixers, 8-minute dating, 3-minute dating, personal ads and dining-in-the-dark dating.
Haley jests about the dining in the dark dating event.
I dont know how you know where your food is, she said, and you probably run out screaming when the lights come on, she laughed.
Sitting in her apartment in Gateway Plaza peting her dog, Moose, Haley is relaxed and softly spoken, far from what you expect from someone who talks about the intimacies of dating in front of an audience.
Im a whole different person when Im up on stage. Im there to entertain and Ill do whatever I have to do, Haley said. Haleys friend of ten years, and fellow performer, Thomas Dee, describes her as a complex character.
She wears a lot of outrageous fashions and then when you meet her she can be very shy, Dee said, its on stage that she really lets go and tears the roof off, he said.
Haley has been singing and acting as a sideline for years, while earning her living working in sales for Avon. But she yearned for more.
I was brought up to believe I had to work in an office. I always wanted to sing but didnt know how to go about it. In the end I just tried to fit in, she said, and according to my mother, I had to grow up and get married, she continued. So far shes only conformed to one these wishes. Haley has never been married, but says she is not opposed.
As far back as she can remember, Haley pursued her singing and acting interest, but it wasnt until eight years ago that she did her first public performance. It was through her theatre group that she was asked to perform three songs for a showcase. Since then she has branched off on her own to do seven one-woman shows. She admits it took a lot of courage to start performing for the public. She doesnt get as nervous as he used to, but says its her nerves that keep her going.
Her Battery Park studio apartment expresses her creativity and individuality. With a purple and green color scheme throughout, theres not a clear space that is not filled with an unusual creation most of which she made. There are fluffy covered chairs; a screen made with a montage of pictures; a framed picture of broken vinyl and a large irregular shaped mirror. Haleys interior design work goes beyond the insides of her own apartment. She also did the interior of Mama Roses, at 219 2nd Ave on 13th and 14 Streets, where she will be performing her show.
Haleys creativity doesnt stop at singing and interior design. She also does clothes design. All the time she was at Avon, she also worked side jobs, designing and making clothes for boutiques, private clients and herself.
Ive been making clothes since I was 19. Not just everyday clothes, but some pretty outrageous clothes for club wear, she said. Her clients have included such people as Billy Idols guitar player, Steve Stevens and Nona Hendryx. She eventually opened her own boutique in Soho in the late 80s, but has since closed it. It is now, from her clothing designs, that she makes her income, along with trading collectable items of clothing on E-Bay.
Shes a great designer. Sometimes you see her in the street and she looks like moving art, Dee said.
Accompanied by a piano player and virtually no props, or costume changes, Haleys show concentrates solely on her entertainment qualities.
Shes known for her blockbuster comic medleys, where she puts together 10 or 12 songs to tell a wild story, Dee said. Her shows always get the crowd going and are full of surprises. .
As for Haleys future, she plans to continue with her creative pursuits.
The fact that I have many creative outlets makes me very charged up and happy, Haley said. To add another string to her creative output, she is planning to write a book. She wants to do a story about her dog, Moose, called Adventures of Moose-man. Hes so funny. I see how he interacts, I want to take that and make it into something, Haley said. She also plans to continue with her clothes making, now extended to dog-wear, and her singing.
Im happy being able to perform, even if its in a small way, she said. As long as I can support myself through my talent, life is good doing what you enjoy.