10K Saturday with Casey Johnson!
Lulu: Hey everybody, and welcome to 10k Saturday, our fun little mini-episodes that we drop every Saturday, under twenty minutes (because our producer makes us do that). If you’re looking for our full episodes, those drop on Wednesdays, check those out. That’s where we have our crazy imaginary luxury travel days. On Saturdays we talk to someone super interesting — PS, everybody’s interesting — and we ask them our 10k5. Alison’s not here with me, so I get to call it that. She hates that. 10k5. So I am here today with Casey Johnson. Hi, Casey!
Casey: Hi, Lulu.
Lulu: Casey and I work together a lot, actually. We both are on creative over at Norwegian, and so we have been in many intense rooms together. We have sat at the beginning of many weeks and thought they were going to be the easiest week of our lives. They were not. We’ve also had weeks that we thought were going to be really hard, and then the power goes out in the studio, and you just go and drink.
Casey: Yeah, exactly.
Lulu: So that works out.
Casey: While it rains outside.
Lulu: Where do you live?
Casey: I live in Arizona. I just moved there recently. I built a house.
Lulu: I didn’t know this. But that’s very exciting. Have you gotten to pick all the things?
Casey: I got to pick from the ground up. Yeah. It’s amazing, like a dream come true.
Lulu: Oh my gosh. So peaceful.
Casey: Very peaceful. My sanctuary. So I live out there on purpose.
Lulu: You’re a nester.
Casey: I’m going to be, yeah.
Lulu: So I’m going to ask you some questions, and I feel from you a little bit of pressure that everything has to be the ultimate answer.
Casey: No, I’m just going to free flow.
Lulu: I love that.
Casey: It’s a jam session. Whatever comes to mind, I’m going to say.
Lulu: It’s gonna happen. And it’s gonna be fine.
Casey: Fire away.
Lulu: All right, so I’m going to ask you: what are you obsessed with right now?
Casey: There’s several things, actually two things. Aside from Game of Thrones. Videos about grandparents finding out that they’re going to be grandparents.
Lulu: Whoa. That’s so specific. Do you type that into Youtube? Grandparents reveal?
Casey: No, they just pop up! Like people finding out that they’re pregnant and their reactions. It’s my new obsession and makes me immediately happy. I think it comes from when you watch a video with someone from the service surprising a family member. I love those reactions, too. So it’s that. That reaction of, the excitement of being a grandparent. I don’t know. I’m obsessed with those videos.
Lulu: That’s a good obsession. And Game of Thrones… What I know about you and Game of Thrones is that you didn’t start watching it until late in the game, and your Facebook feed was pretty much a play-by-play of your emotions.
Casey: Of my emotions as if it was happening in real time. People were like, you are five years late. (Laughter)
Lulu: But you’re like, but it’s real to me now.
Casey: But it’s real to me and it’s happening right now.
Lulu: Okay, so now you’re caught up and you’re watching it in real time.
Casey: And I like it, because it gives me a week to decompress.
Lulu: You know I’m not watching it until it’s done. It’s putting you through it.
Casey: This last one… whew. Stressful.
Lulu: I saw the vaguebooking happening about it.
Casey: Because no one wants to spoil —
Lulu: People are trying not to do spoilers, but they still feel the need to tell the world how they feel about the episode, so it’s just like a “whew, that put me through it.”
Casey: Yeah, “Stressed, and a need a nap,” or whatever. And then the spoilers are in the hashtags.
Lulu: I hate it. Yeah, I know. It’s like “Sixth Sense. Whoa, what I movie!” #iseedeadpeople #hesaghost,” (Laughter) So my next question for you — Q2 — is what is on your wishlist?
Casey: Okay, I’m just going to throw a dart at it. It would be either Bora Bora or Singapore, because I travel for work, but I feel like I go to the same places all the time. And I want to branch out and go somewhere that I have not gone, that I wouldn’t normally go.
Lulu: Have you been too either of those places?
Casey: No, I have not. And Singapore — I heard about it in Legally Blonde, the rules about spitting and chewing gum, but Crazy Rich Asians happened and I was like, oh, it’s the Hawaii of Asia. I’ll go there. I don’t know if it’s actually like that…
Lulu: Oh, I was just there.
Casey: Okay. Do you feel like it’s the Hawaii of Asia?
Lulu: It is very humid. But a lot of that area is humid. What I loved about it is it feels really safe, it’s really clean. I was by myself and I just walked around on my own. I didn’t even really worry about what section I was in, the metro was easy to use, everything was really, really easy and clean, and I had a great time. I loved it.
Casey: Okay, good. It looks beautiful. And I want to eat the food.
Lulu: Oh, the food is so good.
Casey: It looks very exotic, maybe. And there’s a lot of it?
Lulu: They’re a very food-oriented town. So you can find food everywhere. It’s the best. I really like Singapore. I was only there for fourteen hours.
Casey: (laughing) Plenty of time to walk around.
Lulu: It was one of those. I got off the Jewel — plenty of time to walk around. I mean, I died at the end of it. I think I walked twenty thousand steps that day.
Casey: Wow, that’s a lot.
Lulu: It was. But it was fun. It was a good time. So Singapore or Bora Bora…
Casey: Bora Bora, it’s the thought of going to a hotel or some Airbnb-type-esque thing where you’re in the little hut that’s on the water. I’ve always imagined — it’s one room, and you don’t have a TV, electricity — it’s just you, you’re basically camping —
Lulu: (slightly panicked) — no electricity?
Casey: Yeah, just camping, or glamping. And then you open the door and you can just hop into the water.
Lulu: Yeah, I’m with you…
Casey: Maybe those huts have electricity. I don’t know.
Lulu: I’m a big air conditioner person, so…
Casey: I lived on Guam for a year and a half, and it was pretty hot. So I like the heat. Yeah, Arizona, Tampa…
Lulu: That’s funny, because right now we’re rooming together in corporate housing, and I’m very happy with the temperature you keep the apartment. Inside our apartment, guys, it is cold. And I like it.
Casey: I like it crisp.
Lulu: You might be the only roommate I’ve had at this gig that keeps it where I like it.
Lulu: This is working.
Casey: I like cold, and then blankets.
Lulu: Me too!
Casey: If you’re cold, put a sweater on.
Lulu: Layers! I look cute in layers. So I want every environment I’m in to allow me to wear layers. That’s all I ask.
Casey: I concur.
Lulu: So if you had ten thousand dollars… what would you do?
Casey: Oh, this is different. Okay. Ten thousand dollars. So I’m not going to overthink it, but one other thing on the wishlist… one of the things I would do is I think I would spend a month — or the summer, actually — in Barcelona. Go there, because I’ve been there and I love it. There’s an opera house there that I want to get involved with somehow. Go and be a supernumerary, like third soldier from the left, but experience that, in a way. Get a flat right there on La Rambla and have the money to just experience that city for a long period of time. I stayed there once for five days after an install, because I was transitioning to go to Venice and get on a cruise for vacation. So I had seven days to play with. And I think I spent four days in Barcelona and then three days in Venice. And those four days in Barcelona, I loved. Walking, like you did, but experiencing maybe in a way I hadn’t before. But I found myself not speaking. I took Spanish in high school, but… it was a long time ago, and I don’t remember anything. So I thought I was immersing myself. Not really, not in the way that I thought. But I started talking to myself.
Lulu: In Spanish?
Casey: No, just In English. Like literally be walking down the street and be so lonely that I would be thinking and observing this experience, and I would say things to myself in my head, and I’d start laughing at my own joke. And then I’d start talking to myself in English. It’s kind of weird, but now it made me think when you see people talking to themselves on the street, maybe they’re just a stranger in a strange land, and they have no one to talk to. That’s what I felt like I was. But anyway, that’s what I think I would do with ten thousand dollars. I would go and stay… Barcelona, or maybe even Berlin… (slow gasp) … somewhere that —
Lulu: You got so excited when you thought of Berlin.
Casey: Because I read about it in a book. In the Garden of Beasts — read it. It’s really fascinating.
Lulu: Being in one place for a while to really get to know the vibe — that’s such a luxury.
Casey: Yeah. Make friends, you know what I mean?
Lulu: All of that’s great.
Casey: I think that’s what I’d do.
Lulu: Okay, so that’s what you would do if you had ten thousand dollars. But is there some place that you would love to donate ten thousand dollars to?
Casey: Donate ten thousand dollars…
Lulu: A charity, a nonprofit…
Casey: I’ve done several industrials for Make-a-Wish Foundation. I think that’s a great foundation. I like the idea of making someone’s dream come true, whatever that dream is. So something like that or Big Brother Big Sister. I feel that it’s our responsibility wherever you are as a human being, in essence to somehow foster a child, either bringing them into your home and giving them a safe space to live or mentoring in some way. I feel like as a director, that’s kind of what we we do. We have certain people who we connect with and resonate with, and we follow them along their career, and it feels like you’re fostering them, kind of. That idea of a Big Brother or a Big Sister — not a parental connection, but something casual and that you could always call or text in a hot second. I think programs like that are important.
Lulu: I think you’re right, that that is so attractive to people like us, because we spend a lot of our time teaching emerging artists, trying to find their way of personal expression.
Casey: And they’re so close, and you’re like, you know what? Just think about it like this. And lightbulbs — that’s another one of my obsessions, too. It’s like when (snaps) they finally get it. And they’re like, oh my gosh, so easy.
Lulu: It’s addictive to watch light bulbs happen. That’s addictive.
Casey: So I think it would be Big Brother Big Sister, or Make a Wish.
Lulu: Those two foundations, you can find them everywhere. So if you’re inspired by those organizations, no matter where you are listening to this podcast, you can get involved in that.
Casey: I think a lot of time kids — that’s the sad thing — their life situation has nothing to do with who they are as a person. And I think a Big Brother or Big Sister could help them show that. That you can grow up and succeed or have any life that you want in spite of the current life situation you’re in. To show them there’s a way, you don’t have to repeat the cycle, or you don’t have to carry that.
Lulu: It does make you who you are, but it doesn’t have to be who you are. We only have one question left. I told you this was going to be easy.
Casey: Totally easy.
Lulu: Yeah, it’s not crazy at all.
Casey: No, but it’s got me thinking now. Blue sky-ing, and being involved. Or thinking about the things other than the things we obsess about on a daily basis.
Lulu: It’s funny, because when Alison and I started this podcast, by magic of inspiration and serendipity, we have had these same five questions since episode one. We didn’t have that period of “how are we going to structure it.” And it just seemed like, oh, what can we talk about? We knew that we wanted to have a section where we talked about how would you spend ten thousand dollars in a city. Then we were like, our warmup can be what we’re obsessed with, and our wishlist and this and that, and what it’s turned into is a really great checklist to kind of go, what am I obsessed with right now? What is really cool that’s happening around me, that I really like? Or, what interesting things are happening that I want in my life? And then, if I could just do something for me, what would I do right now? And then, what’s happening in the world where people are helping each other, I want to be tuned into that. I want to see the different things that people are doing, because a lot of people spend their life thinking that people who do charitable work are other people. And in reality, they’re everywhere. We’re everywhere.
Casey: It takes a village. Just one person. If everyone contributed, it wouldn’t be a huge sacrifice. It’s volume.
Lulu: I have stopped myself from donating that I believed in because I didn’t think I had enough to donate.
Casey: Yeah, like your contribution’s not even going to make a splash.
Lulu: Like, I only have five bucks, and that’s going to look so weird, and people are going to think — you know what I mean?
Casey: Totally. But if everyone thought that —
Lulu: And yet, if every one of your friends gave you five dollars, are you kidding? You could accomplish whatever goal you wanted to accomplish. So I’m really happy about it. And my last question is my favorite question, which is: what’s making you happy today?
Casey: I think it’s this. I think it’s new things. Like, you know how you said “you seem nervous”? I don’t know why you think people would feel nervous being asked questions. I think it’s just wanting to say the right thing or not feeling like you don’t have answers, but I feel like that’s the beauty of it. Taking a beat to think about things you don’t normally think about to somehow enrich your life. Like, I’m so career-focused and so job-oriented all the time, that the one day off we get a week, it’s go to the beach or go to yoga or brunch, and that’s when I like getting into conversations talking about something that’s not work-related, but that’s one day out of the week. So this is nice. I feel happy about doing something different that is thought-provoking in a way. I mean, I’ve never thought about these questions — charities, or what I’d do with ten thousand dollars. I mean, what would I do when I hit the lottery? But specifically a small chunk of change that is quite epic — I think a lot of people would love to have ten thousand dollars. So thank you. That’s what’s making me happy today. A friend asking me to think about something that is like, oh, I’ve never thought about that before. Because I feel like you grow from year to year by the books you read and the people you meet. I’ve heard that said. And I feel that. I’m grateful for you, Lulu.
Lulu: So many in a few years we’ll do another 10k Saturday with you and see how it compares.
Casey: Yeah! In like ten years…
Lulu: Ten years! Oh my gosh, this podcast is going to take off. It’s going to be my life’s work, apparently.
Casey: That would be fun. Because then I’ll be like, oh yeah, I’ve been doing that.
Lulu: I think it’s a really cool five questions, and we didn’t plan for them to be as epic as they turned out, but even you saying “what I’d like to do is spend ten thousand dollars in one place and just sit there”… and to me, what that says is what you want is to be immersed in something different, you want a challenge of culture, you want a chance to just focus on that for a little bit. So underneath the actual act of what you would spend the money on is what you want for yourself.
Casey: Like what fuels me.
Lulu: So, Casey Johnson, so excited — we didn’t even tell you guys, he’s a director and a choreographer, so if you need people, give him a call! We’re going to have his info on our Saturday blog. Say bye, Casey.