- As a teen, Jason Buhrmester created skateboard and punk rock zines with names like “Slappy” and “Mullethead Illustrated” as a way of escaping the confines of his small hometown in rustbelt Illinois. Today, the journalist, editor and novelist is adding screenwriter to his resume by transforming his book “Black Dogs: The Possibly True Story of Classic Rock’s Greatest Robbery” into a film. It’s a fictionalized account of a real life robbery in which Led Zeppelin lost $203,000 in cash while on tour in 1973, just a month after Buhrmester was born.
Your hometown of Kankakee, Illinois was rated the worst place to live by “The Places Rated Almanac”. Was it really that bad?I hated it the minute I was born. You couldn’t keep me there. If I could get to the train or get hold of a car –even illegally– I was going. I actually drove to Chicago at fourteen in a friend’s brother’s car. I felt like I was meant to born somewhere else. I never bought yearbook, went to prom, or joined a club. I thought, “Why make friends? You’re leaving here and never coming back. Don’t even bother meeting these people.”
How did growing up in such an awful town influence you?I wanted to be connected to something outside of Kankakee. I had friends in Chicago who were into the same kind of punk rock music that I was. So every weekend I was there skateboarding, going to shows, and meeting girls.
But I was a high school kid and there were times I had to be home. I think that’s what influenced my desire to get into journalism. I would buy mail order records from small punk rock bands. They would send it to me with a note and I’d write them back. I was interviewing bands from the time I was 16 or 17. There was no publicist–it was me going up to them and asking if I could get an interview. I would write scene reports and record reviews for punk rock magazines and they’d send me the magazines. I was isolated but there were other people out there and I could reach them somehow.
Why did you gravitate toward writing instead of forming your own band?It was really all I had to offer. I couldn’t draw. I could play guitar a little bit but there was no one in my town to form a band with and no one that was into the stuff I was. What could I do? The only thing I had that I had any sort of natural ability was writing.
You were a successful editor of Inked Magazine, so why quit to write a book?I remember being at a dinner and a guy said, “I just wrote a novel and it was optioned for a movie.” I was so angry with myself. Why hadn’t I done that? This guy was my age! I have connections, and I work with publicists and publishers. I wasted so much time playing fucking video games! It was like someone had beaten me to discovering America. I quit my job maybe three months after that and started writing. I was that pissed off about it.
Did you have a movie in mind then?
Not really. I thought it would be fun to see what would happen. Even if it just sits in a drawer, I wrote a book. I wanted to see if I could finish it. I knew the idea was at least good, so why not?
Did it get lonely after working in buzzing magazine offices for so long?I only have hobbies that seem to isolate me. I love playing guitar by myself. I love boxing; I can do that by myself. I love skateboarding; I do that by myself. I have no coach. There’s no team; there’s no uniform. Either I do it or I don’t do it. I think all my pursuits in life involve me sitting alone, so I don’t have to listen to somebody else. And when I’m writing, I’m sitting alone.
How does your wife feel about that?She’s used to it–and she’s into her own things. We’re one of those couples who can be in two separate rooms of the apartment for a day and not talk. She’s used to the ebb and flow where I’ll be really panicked and work seven days a week and cancel any plans. You guys go have fun and have a picnic in the park. I’ll be at home trying the best I can. Then there’ll be a week where I finally crack and get cabin fever and am just going out drinking every night and not even looking at a computer.
Writing the book must have been a true labor of love. How did you make the switch from journalist and editor to fiction writer?Several literary agents told me I had a great idea, but nobody would represent me until the book was finished. I guess the book companies learned if somebody gets a check based on an idea, they just fucking disappear. So it became my job to make enough money so I could focus on finishing it. I had the idea but didn’t have the time, so I switched to freelance writing. I’d save enough money so I didn’t have to worry about paying rent for three months. For two months I did nothing but work on my book. That was my 9 to 5 job. I’d get up, sit at the desk and try to write something. When my bank account started going down again, I’d go out and hustle for freelance work and build my savings a bit.
You must have had a pretty rad book tour?If you thought there’s no money in magazines, there is no money in books. Unless you’re a huge author, there is no book tour. In fact, there is no book launch party! The publishers don’t do anything for you. I saved some freelance checks and quickly realized that my meager little budget was bigger than theirs. I fell back on my punk rock DIY roots: “I’ll do this myself.” I did my own publicity, shot a book trailer to post on YouTube, set up readings, threw a launch party, everything. People are pretty receptive especially if you kick at their door. It’s simple logic like weightlifting. Pick up the weight or don’t.
The publisher would call me and say, “Hey, the book’s doing really well!” Yeah, because my wife and I were killing ourselves!
How do you feel about reviews?I’ve interviewed a billion musicians and they bitch about the negative reviews but don’t complain abut the good reviews. My logic has always been that you can’t pick and choose. Either reviews have validity totally or they have no validity. Which is it? So I just didn’t care. A good review to me has about the same weight as a negative one which is none. You just gotta do your thing.
What if the movie flops?I’ll just write something else. I’m like a cockroach; I’ll just keep coming back.
This week started out with Christian and I acting like Ward and June Cleaver. Christian woke up early (?) to head into his Manhattan office (?!) to work while I stayed home (!), went to the grocery store (???) and made dinner (#$@&*!!!!). If I didn’t know better, I’d say these were Signs of the Apocalypse.
In reality, Christian’s office is just a temporary home this week as he ramps up to film a pilot for a cable TV network this Thursday. It’s a game show he’s been working on for over two years and suddenly it feels like it’s being whipped together in a week. I’m scared and excited for him, but mostly scared. You give birth to these things and then your baby is thrust into the care of another person. Hopefully the nannies don’t drop the baby on its head.
And while I did stay home, it was to Skype with my editor and work on my memoir. The cooking part came because, well, I was famished. I ran a few miles as part of training for the next half marathon I’m running and needed some nourishment in a bad way. On the way home I grabbed some groceries and the mail which contained a new letter from My Jailed Deaf Dad. He needs dentures like I need oxygen but he says the prison dentist won’t assist. So, I spent a good two hours researching prison rules, case law, and a dentist in Huntsville, Texas who makes “house” calls.
So, yeah, I suppose we are the 21st Century’s version of the Cleavers, if June had a homicidal father in jail with missing and rotten teeth.
Our cast has an abundance of Eddie Haskells, but our dog and rabbit will have to count as Wally and the Beav.
The best part of posting a clip of nude ukulele players? Getting an email from a friend saying she works with one of them. She sees him clothed. At work. Had no idea about this, erm, side of him. Gah!
I most certainly will remained clothed when I throw my name into the hat tomorrow night at The Moth held at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. The theme is Inspired so naturally I am going to tell a story about David Lee Roth if they draw my name. There’s always a part of me that hopes they won’t. It’s nerve wracking, especially so when it’s a new story such as this one that I’ve never said aloud before. Regardless of how tomorrow night pans out, I WILL tell the story on Saturday night at The Creek & the Cave in Long Island City. The free show starts at 8:00.
Now it’s off to write, write, write at an outdoor on this beautiful September day.
Life is good, but not so good that clothes shouldn’t be required.
We all knew the day would happen when 9/11 became uncomfortable self promotion day. “Sorry for your loss, but can you come out to my comedy show at Chuckle Hut? Hey, I’m exercising my freedom of speech! That’s very American!” But an interactive naked ukulele cabaret seems too soon. (Link SFW)
What exactly might one expect at a naked ukulele cabaret? Check out the clip below which is also safe for work, I suppose, but my eyes. MY EYES!!!
I have a confession to make: I’m closing in on the big 4-0. Yes, I know I’ve been telling many of you that I was 40 for a few years now. I lied. Forgive me. Now that we’ve gotten past that, let’s move on to the subject of this post. I’m re-vamping my “Things To Do Before I Die” list. Let me refresh your memory from an old post…
I was 17 and a senior in high school when I got hitched and was 23 years old when my divorce from the sailor was finalized. After six years masquerading as a Midwestern housewife, I was free to be Me. Trouble was, the definition of “Me” had yet to be determined. I decided this huge upheaval of my life would not be for naught. I would reclaim my lost youth by creating a list oh-so-creatively titled “Things To Do Before I Die.” However, I never had a plan on how I would accomplish a single thing.
Ten years later, during a move to a new apartment in New York City, I purged lots of old journals, letters and pictures and came across this list. I was tempted to throw it out; some of my items were downright embarrassing. “Be serenaded.” Really? I assure you, I didn’t want that then, and I most definitely don’t want it now.* I clearly wanted to be loved.
In looking closer, though, I was pretty astounded at how earnest and mundane most of the items were. Ride a train, eat sushi, see a parade — check, check, check.
Growing up in the woods, being responsible for myself, working full time at a very young age, I simply hadn’t done anything. See a Broadway play, learn to golf, vote, ride the subway, have my hair styled, handcraft pottery, learn to bike, go on a cruise, picnic, ice skate. Check, check, check, check, check, check, check, check, check, check.
A week to the day the auction ended in which I sold my memoir to Random House, I remembered my List. I dug out the journal and scoured the numbered items and found:
8. Write my autobiography.
Seeing it written so plainly in my earnest naivete — as though writing a book were as simple as riding a train, eating sushi, or seeing a parade — makes me marvel at one’s ability to get things done. Other “never in a million years would this ever happen to me” stuff I listed did, in fact, happen: walk the red carpet, attend a movie premiere, and be self employed.
I’m proud of having broken free and carving out a pretty interesting, varied life for myself. That said, there is still quite a bit of simple stuff on my list I have yet to accomplish. There is no other time like now to “get busy living or get busy dying”. Thoughts DO become things and so I want to write a new list of things to do. Below are some to get me started:
Ride on the Orient Express.
Master the ukulele.
Compose a song.
Get a pedicure.
Get a massage.
Drive across the U.S.
Build a snowman.
Participate in a rally.
Ride a camel.
See the Grand Canyon.
Go sled riding.
I’d love to know what’s on YOUR list and input on what should be on mine.
*Was “serenaded” to by my husband on our 4th wedding anniversary. He sang “Any Way You Want It” by Journey during karaoke at Sunswick in Astoria at my behest. Now THAT is more my speed.
What a difference a few years makes. The first time I brought Christian down to visit my mom at her home in Magnolia, Texas, she made us dinner. The appetizer was chips & queso followed by a main course of cheese fudge. Why, yes, that IS a two course meal made entirely of cheese. Well, not if you count the chips which served merely as a vessel with which to ingest MORE CHEESE.
This visit, she was on the South Beach diet and prepared a healthy breakfast of veggies and eggs and ate big, delicious salads in downtown Montgomery. She’s lost a few pounds already and I hope she’ll hop on the treadmill soon so we can do a 5K the next time I see her. (Heck, I hope *I* can do a 5K. My right knee and both feet have been troubling me since running the half marathon.) Either way, kudos to her for taking the first step towards getting healthier.
Cheese lover, but have limits. Cheese fudge pushed them.
Super excited to be working with this guy. Yeah, THAT guy! His name is David Koechner (pronounced Kek-ner) and he’s been in dozens of great films & TV shows. Check out his client page on Ballyhoo Promotions to learn more about his impressive list of credits. Also, follow him on Twitter @DavidKoechner and/or join his fan page on Facebook if that’s your sort of thing.
When bowling, Christian does this little stutter step move every single time. It gets funnier with each new turn. He cannot bowl without doing it. He tried and failed to do so a few times after my mom and I were in hysterics and teasing him.
My nieces and sister-in-law gave me this “medal” and awesome notes of encouragement and congratulations on finishing my 1st half marathon.
I’ve been laid up with extensor tendinitis since last Wednesday & have been missing running. Their notes made me miss it even more. I hope to get back there soon and earn another “medal” just for them!
I’ll Stick to Perrier. See if I care!
— Water trough in front of Rawhide, a rough & tumble, leather & Levis gay bar on 14th Street in Chelsea.
My spontaneous purchase of popsicle makers resulted in this yummy treat. Sugar free chocolate pudding pops made with 1% milk and chopped up chunks of bananas and strawberries = DELICIOUSNESS WITHOUT GUILT!
An all AC/DC station for free on iTunes radio? Well, hello, Utopia.
- Now that we have a car (!!!!) we can do things like shop for large items without concern if we can physically carry them home. We took the Thunder Nugget out for a spin and filled him with things from Bed Bath & Beyond, a magical place where I believe I am a master chef and homemaker.The first set of sliding doors opened and I grabbed a bag of 100 tea light candles from a display and tossed them into the shopping cart. I WASN’T EVEN IN THE STORE. The second set of sliding doors opened and I was bedazzled. WHERE DO I BEGIN!?!? Christian had the same wild-eyed look. It was like we had broken into Santa’s Workshop.“Okay, we need to calm down,” he panted. “Let’s look at our list.”Right! Our list! We smartly and thankfully made one:— Trash Can (SimpleHuman and worth every penny! Who knew a garbage could be improved upon and so very awesome?!)— Shower Head (Installed in a jiffy by yours truly)— Toilet Seat (Also installed by yours truly. No photo. Did you really want one?)This cream pitcher turned vase and Ped Egg were things I did not need but suddenly felt I MUST HAVE THEM! They are mine now. So are these popsicle makers, a bajillion AA batteries, felt pads for the bottom of chairs, Brita filters, a soap dispenser and tons of other stuff that I simply could NOT leave behind in the store.Not everything is irresistible. It is unlikely I will shake my way to firm & fabulous arms despite what the box tells me.$375 later, the Thunder Nugget was filled with STUFF. We didn’t even need to put the back seats down, but we did because we CAN! After a quick and delicious lunch at Jackson Hole Diner f/k/a The Air Line Diner, we were home and unpacking our new “toys.” I was gleeful and inspired to make sugar free pudding pops with chunks of bananas and strawberries with my new popsicle makers. Domesticity is fun again.
The Ped Egg? It’s LEGIT. No matter who you are, if I draw your name in Secret Santa this year, you will receive this.
I just ran 13.1 miles!I feel pretty good, physically, and like a million bucks, mentally. My morning didn’t start well. We drove our new car — my first time ever riding in it! — and parking was already full. We knew we should have left sooner, but whatcha gonna do. So, we drove around looking for street parking which was harder than it should have been. All the street closings and pressure to find a spot made us go the WRONG way on a freeway exit ramp! GAH! Cars were flying towards us honking, trying not to have a head on collision. Luckily it was 6:30 AM on a Saturday and traffic was light. We managed to turn around, find a spot and high tail it to the starting line.Being late and shaken up, we didn’t get to stretch or buy bananas. That said, it went well. It was hot & humid to be sure, but there was a nice breeze in some spots. I stopped at every water station as recommended by a few articles I read for 1st time half-marathoners. My shoes were SOAKED by the end so my feet felt mushy & gross. It wasn’t painful, just a distraction.The best part was seeing all the new sites of Flushing Meadow Park where much of the race was held. (Photo set here.) I ran past the Unisphere, an Aquatic Center, the Queens Zoo, Citi Field, Arthur Ashe Stadium and lots of lovely marsh land. Who knew it was all down the street from me?
I came in 2435th place overall and 115th in my age/gender group. Finished in 2:20:22 at a 10:43 pace. Christian did well, too. Came in 999th place overall and finished in 1:56:56 at a 8:56 pace.
Here are the stats for you running nerds:
Distance: 13.1 Miles, 21.1 Kilometers
Date/Time: July 24, 2010, 7:00 AM
Location: Flushing Meadow, NYC
Weather: 86 degrees, 63% humidity, wind 12 mph
We bought a car! It’s my first one in 10 years since giving up my darling and beloved Cabrio. For Christian, this is his very FIRST car EVER. Crazy, huh?
Memorial Day has come and gone. I was *supposed* to be in Los Angeles running a half marathon with my cousin’s wife and her brother. Instead I spent it moping around my NYC apartment wishing I were there. They ran it without me and did quite well. I’m so proud of her and her incredible transformation. Since October ’08 to date she’s gone from a 213 pound woman who couldn’t walk a mile to a woman who is fit and can run a half marathon!
I was so frustrated and disappointed to not be there to see her cross the finish line and, damn it, I wanted to cross it, too. Why wasn’t I there, you ask? Because I’ve let work take over my life. I feel at the fed up point she did back in ’08 when she said, “Enough. I’ve had enough.”
No, I don’t have weight to lose and, yes, I already run (I ran 10.75 miles today, in fact), but the small things in life are passing me by. I am, by nature, a workaholic. I’ve actually had days when I never saw the sun because my office is in the basement and I don’t come up for air. I haven’t seen my dad in 3 yrs, for crying out loud.
Enough. I’ve had enough. It’s time for a change.
It’s time for my annual free Oscar watch party at Comix and I came up with the 1st drink name called “Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire Gin & Tonic”. My pal Julie Reed suggested “The Blind Sidecar” reminding me why this is our favorite time of year.
There will be $5 drafts, $6 bottled beer, $7 well drinks and $18 draft beer pitchers along with those fun specialty cocktails and food specials like:
Lord of the Wings
You’ll have the newly revamped Copper Room and the Comix Theatre to enjoy with big flat screen TVs showing nothing but the Oscars. They’ll have ballots for sale with chances to win lots of great prize packages given out during commercial breaks. Even if you show up late, you won’t be out of the running to go home with a prize.
Brush up on your trivia, too, for even MORE chances to win.
Doors open at 6:30 and seating is first come, first serve for those who have RSVPd.
Doors will open to the general public once the Oscars begin at 8:00 PM.
Everyone is welcome, so invite anyone and everyone who loves the movies!
**Please RSVP to email@example.com with your name and number of party in attendance **
And on the 7th anniversary, Christian shall urinate while talking on the phone with me.
The upside: he was in the dressing room on the set of a new sitcom he’s on.
This morning I went to my normal Sunday deli, my regular deli being closed on the Seventh Day. Back home, I settled into my leather recliner, newspaper in one hand, homemade Deaf Hope coffee mug filled to the brim in the other. The coffee had more half & half than I would like, but whatever. Then I tasted it. Blech. The cream was sour. So I dumped the coffee and waited an hour and a half for the corner cafe to open up.
Cafe el Maya is a new little mom and pop operation and serve up delicious tacos and burritos. They’ve been advertising breakfast and I loved the idea of supporting them. I was the only customer so sat down at a big table and requested a cup of coffee with a little half and half. What I got was a bowl of half and half with a splash of coffee. I *wish* I were exaggerating. I was a little embarrassed to ask for it to be fixed — I try not to be a high maintenance customer, especially in a little shop like this, but I am a regular and, well, I was jonesing for java. It took three tries but finally I got a steaming cup of delicious coffee while I waited for my ham, cheese and onion omelette. What came out was a plate of thin, fried egg thing with no ham, no cheese, no onions and two slices of dry white toast. No butter or jam. After the frustrating coffee exchange, I just didn’t have it in me to send it back and *hope* they’d get it right. I was so hungry and in need of coffee that I felt exceptionally angry and helpless that I couldn’t just get a simple, no frills order.
I finished my coffee, left the plate of food untouched except for the one bite I took to see if maybe there was ham, cheese & onion hidden in the eggs that I just couldn’t see, paid the $5 bill and walked to Panera. At least there, I knew I could get coffee.
I just missed Panera’s breakfast so wasn’t able to get an egg souffle but no matter, there were tons of other tasty choices. There was plenty of coffee, served however I liked, reasonably priced and served quickly. Panera was packed full of happy looking people, laughing, chatting or using the free WiFi. As much as I hate the homogenization of America and my little area of Astoria, Queens, I was thanking God for this chain restaurant for getting everything right. And it seemed like every other person in Astoria had already figured it out. I suppose that’s why chains exist and take over the quaint towns of the nation, but it makes me sad. I will never give Cafe el Maya another chance except for the 2:00 AM $2 chicken taco. They do get those right. Or do they? It could be that I’m just too drunk to care.
I’m a sell out. A sated, full, caffeinated sell out.
Going to Subway for lunch and Applebees for dinner and Regal Cinemas for my entertainment.
Due to the failed bombing attempt of a Delta plan flying into Detroit, the TSA won’t let you stand, retrieve personal items, use the restroom, or even read a book for the last hour of flights now. That means on a 5 hour flight terrorists will have only 4 measly hours to work with.
Gosh, how will they ever find the time?
The past few weeks I’ve been lax about going the the gym, opting instead for burgers & beer & friends. But today I went and ran a 10K in 68.52 minutes. It felt GREAT! I know it should be a priority for me but when work calls, running is the first thing that gets shoved to the side.And work has been running me ragged. One thing I’m excited about is further movement on the “Life’s Tough. Laugh More.” ad campaign I developed three years ago. It’s finally seeing more action than just the sole TV commercial that aired last year. (Click here to watch. I wrote, directed & appeared in it, but wish we had a 30 second spot instead of the 60 sec. spots Time Warner gave us). I was able to get an amazing deal on as at a PRIME location in the NYC subway system (the N/R/W stops at the corner of 49th & 7th Avenue) and in the mall at South Street Seaport. So I got photographer/designer guru Kirill to shoot some spots with Scott Ramsey (my BFF & Tex in the City partner) and Ophira Eisenberg. I have two more shoots up my sleeve but since we’ll have a FOUR month presence, I have some time to work those out. Facebook users can check out a few of the behind the scenes shots taken at the shoot here on our Fan Page. I can’t wait to see what hoodlum New Yorkers draw on their faces! HA!Then there’s the upcoming Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival for which I am helping publicize. All the famous celeb chefs have sold out their shows, of course, so I’m working to help bring attention to Alicia Silverstone‘s demonstration. She is coming to Comix Oct 10th to showcase recipes from her first cookbook “The Kind Diet.” Tickets & info here: http://tinyurl.com/nt3kyuI’m still plugging away on my book (I’m in the midst of doing an annotated scene list so my editor can wrap his head around the whole thing), we had a road trip to Boston for a wedding, my mom is coming for a visit in October as is an old high school friend and Tex in the City is resuming its First Friday Roundups beginning September 4th. Phew! My head spins. Now you see why it’s so easy to beg off the gym. But man I do feel better, less stressed and happier when I’m at my fittest. I’m not 20 any more so it’s easy for fatigue and bad eating habits to show up on my face and butt.Sometimes I wish I could check myself into “rehab” so I’ll take care of myself. There’s got to be a better way!
Happy anniversary to me! Christian was on Olbermann and gave me a shout out at the very end. Awww! Awesome and sweet!
I am truly honored to have been invited as the Keynote Speaker when DeafHope presents their 8th Annual Tea Party “Defying Gravity” in Livermore, California. The tea party is a fundraiser to support direct services for abused Deaf women and their children at DeafHope. I will read or tell a story or something (guess I’d better get cracking on that) along with Mistress of Ceremonies and President of the National Association of the Deaf Bobbie Beth Scoggins and this year’s DeafHope Trailblazer Award Recipient, Marlee Matlin.
The September 26, 2009 event includes delicious food by the Food Divas catering and tea with a free mug made by Hildy Licht and a silent auction.
The tickets are $75.00 per person and address and directions will be sent to you after your payment. You may pay via Paypal (link and info on their site, here) or send check payable to DeafHope to following address:
470 27th Street
Oakland, CA 94612
One last thing…on DeafHope’s site, they have a banner that rotates various photos of people and their completion of a sentence that begins “When violence against women stops…”
Mine will be: When violence against women stops, I will ride the subway alone after 11:00 PM.
Seven years ago, I was hanging out with a “B” as in “boy” -illionaire till the wee hours of the morning. At one point he grabbed my hand and deliciously whispered into my ear, “Kambri, when you live in my world, you can do anything you want.”
Indeed, in his world, you can.
At the same time, 1,542 miles away, Dad was stabbing Gloria.
I spent the morning of my 38th birthday perched on my fire escape like I was in the balcony of a theater.
Not quite 5:00 AM, the sun was making its rise to my right. The Chrysler and Empire State Buildings were still shadows to my left. Their lights were out and the sun was not high enough to make them glisten.
Below me, drunken club goers shouted in Spanish, threw punches and bled on the sidewalk. Bouncers from the corner Latin dance club swarmed to the scene. With lightening speed, they shoved half of the warring factions into a compact car that squealed its tires through a red light.
This is New York City Masterpiece Theatre at its rawest.
I hadn’t slept in nearly 24 hours, but I was happy.
Pass the popcorn, please.
Tired and happy.
Click the photo to see the answer inside of this year’s handmade card sent to me by Dad for my birthday. What a treat to see it in my mailbox today. He never fails to crack me up. (In case you can’t see the details too well, the front has a square panel cut out, revealing what looks to be buttocks.)
Save over 55% on tickets to the hilarious musical “Toxic Avenger” with the discount code: TOBALLY5 More info here: http://tinyurl.com/nhlg5x
I went to wish someone a happy birthday on Facebook and saw his status that said my grandma is on her death bed.
I didn’t know.
I didn’t leave a note. What was I going to say? “Yay, happy birthday, my grandma will soon be dead but, hey, you made it another year. Yippee!”
My brother didn’t know either. Well…he does now. Life in the digital age is strange new territory. The internet has made keeping in touch easier but the social etiquette of things isn’t all laid out nice and neat. I think it’s safe to say, though, immediate family should be informed before a status update. Or maybe Twittering an actual death is the best, most modern way of spreading the news. It worked for David Carradine.
So, now I have the task of telling my dad that his mother might be dead very soon. She’s 92 so it’s not like it’s not been a long time coming, but he’s been asking about her a lot lately. Not because he’s worried about her so much. He’s more interested in protecting the furniture he made her and other material things. He has nothing and so he broods and worries and frets and boils over and hems and haws and…well…you get the picture. He’s got TIME on his HANDS.
I worry that when she does pass, he will enlist me with another laundry list of To Dos. Ask about this, make sure about that. Well, guess what, Dad? If you weren’t in jail, you could do this yourself because I really don’t care about *things*. I’ve shed myself of house and home and junk more times than I can count. I like being portable. I don’t want cars or furniture or stuff.
But…he has no advocate. No one is listening to him and that’s a big bugga boo for him for so long. To not be heard. So, if he needs help in being heard, I’m the only one here to give that to him.
And I will.
And I’m not sure why.
Here’s a nice write-up by the lovely and talented Joanna Parson. In it she reviews her “Happy Hour Salon,” a show that features folks working on new works of all sorts. I read from a chapter I was writing for my memoir and she had lovely/funny things to say about my piece.
Anyway, fun show. Check it out sometime.
For anyone who is writing or thinking of writing their memoir, here is a great essay. The whole site is an excellent resource as is NAMW.org.If 2 people disagree about a conversation yesterday, how can we agree about the details of a whole life? It’s an important puzzle for every memoir writer.
I feel like I’m on a “This is Your Life” tour! Having a whirlwind week in Texas with Christian who’s here touring with his DVD “Au Contraire!” We hit Austin Monday, did radio there yesterday, then he performed at the Alamo Draft House. But not before we had a great dinner with some of my long lost high school friends and a Tex in the City pal. I’m seeing most of them again very soon when we return to Texas for my birfday. But the show was good, decent crowd for a Tuesday at a non-comedy venue. It’s actually a movie theater so the setting made for not ideal lighting and sound for comedy but it was great nonetheless.
Speaking of Tex in the City, this Friday is the last First Friday Roundup at Comix. We’re taking July and August off but we’ll resume in September. We’ve already raised loads of cash that will go towards helping Texas theater students come to NYC. More on that later but it’s a dream project of mine and Scott Ramsey‘s and how easily it came to be makes us know we’re doing the right thing. I love Scott so much and doing this with him has warmed the cockles of my heart.So, back to the tour. We were on The 950 radio this morning talking shop with Outlaw Dave. That was fun. Tonight we’re at the Improv where Christian will headline in front of a pretty large crowd, I think, which includes my mom and a bunch of friends from Ft. Worth (where I attended high school) and Montgomery where I grew up. Then we have to leave at 2:15 in the morning. IN THE MORNING!? To drive to Dallas for morning radio on KZPS 92.5. Oh, Christian pre-taped a segment for Dallas radio with a guy I graduated with. Will have to find the name of the show (some alternative rock show?) but while Christian was getting interviewed we all figured out the connection and now I’m Facebook friends with him. Fun.The Dallas show is the only dicey one on the tour. At 10:30 on a Thursday night it’s a tough spot and, on top of it, the club has a FREE show beforehand. Arrrgh. Hard to compete but hopefully there will be at least 30 people – that’ll make it fun and goofy. Some of those folks will be high school friends, too, but my camera is FULL. Bring cameras, pleeeease? All of us are meeting up for dinner beforehand so we’ll probably be giddy and tipsy.No time to visit Dad in the clink, unfortunately, but at least I’ll get some laughs with Mom tonight. Thanks to everyone who bought tickets and sent notes of support. Hope to see you soon somewhere out there.
I’m not as confident as the four panelists for the NY Post –one of whom was Christian– who all picked Adam Lambert to win. But I will be watching tonight and I’m kind of happy all my favorite shows are ending for the season. I really have too much going on to be wrapped up in Toddlers, Tiaras, Idols, and Survivors.
TMZ caught some video of me, J@mie Kennedy and Jennifer L0ve Hew1tt going to a TV show yesterday. Eek. Glad they couldn’t see MY bald spot from my cancer surgery. But I guess they weren’t really interested in me. Heh. But why does TMZ or any celeb gossip have to be mired in such catty negativity? I’ve never understood that since to really get good scoop, you have to have the trust of the celebs and their reps.
Anyway, press went really well, Jamie was a trooper and the shows were packed. Jennifer was a dutiful girlfriend and sold merchandise for Jamie after the show. Ah, yes, I remember those days. I miss being able to travel with Christian and help him after shows. But I WILL get to do that as part of his “Au Contraire!” tour when it swings through Texas in a couple of weeks. Check out his calendar for dates and times which also include his appearances at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival!
Squeeeee! Christian Finnegan’s new one hour of comedy dubbed “Au Contraire!” is on sale at iTunes.com!
Look at how funny Paquita was on this episode of “Jokespirations,” a series of interviews with Christian as “Rolly Chedwick” interviewing the inspirations to his jokes. All the episodes will be on his DVD “Au Contraire!” in stores May 12th.
My husband Christian Finnegan will be kicking off his tour for his DVD “Au Contraire!” soon and there are three Texas dates. The Dallas one seems lame and odd (10:30 on a Thursday night at Hyenas…Hyenas? Really?), but it’s better than NOT having a Dallas date, I guess. Anyway, I’ve copied & pasted the info I have so far:
06/02/09 Austin, TX Alamo Drafthouse Cinema (Lake Creek)
Time: 8:00pm. Admission: $15.00. Box office: 512.219.5408.
06/03/09 Houston, TX The Houston Improv
Time: 8:00pm. Admission: $15.00. Box office: 713.333.8800.
06/04/09 Dallas, TX Hyena’s Comedy Club
Time: 10:30pm. Box office: 214.823.5233.
http://www.hyenascomedynightclub.com/Dallas/hyenas-dallas.htmlI hope to see y’all there!
Yippee! I’m so excited for Christian at his Entertainment Weekly review giving him a “B”. Of course, the review is of his Comedy Central special which is an edited down version of his full hour set.
And I just set the DVR to record CHRISTIAN FINNEGAN: AU CONTRAIRE! on Comedy Central Fri, May 8 @ 11:00PM EST. Psyched to see it on the TVGuide.
Ben Bailey just dropped by Comix to shoot a promo for his upcoming headlining appearance on May 29 & 30. Does this disqualify me from being a contestant on “Cash Cab”?
Janeane Garofalo & I will be out & about tomorrow. First stop is 101.9 RXP with special musical guests The Walkmen. I’m hoping I can charm them out of free tickets for their show tomorrow night at Webster Hall.
Just finished the 1st draft of my memoir. It’s very rough but my brain dump is complete. Huzzah! Off to celebrate!
Christian will be doing the Countdown thing on MSNBC tonight. He’s using his new Twitter page @ChristFinnegan to get suggestions on which random word to work into a joke. David Schuster is guest hosting and should plug Christian’s upcoming DVD “Au Contraire!”
Speaking of, Warner Brothers put together a trailer for the DVD which turned out really well, I think:
And, finally, I saw some footage of the pilot Paquita filmed for Scoop & Shanda. I snagged a couple of screen captures. She was so cute and composed in front of the live studio audience. I can’t wait for you to see the video footage of her on Christian’s DVD extras, too. Those videos will be added to his above YouTube Channel soon. Meanwhile, click on the pic to take you to the few photos from the pilot.
“Be honest, Kambri,” Donna said dripping with accusation in a morphed New York, London, Virgin Islands accent. “Whattuv yew bin doin’?”
“What are you asking? Have I been lifting weights? Noooooo, of course not.”
“Kambri….whattuv yew bin doin’?”
“I live on the 4th floor of a walk up and the subway is two blocks away. What do you think I was doing?”
OF COURSE I was active. Even the Asian lady and Jose the short order cook at my corner deli asked where I was when they saw Christian with our dog for my morning coffee run. I needed to be with my people. The whole no walking two blocks thing was meant for the old folks they usually deal with anyway, right?
Wrong. My stitches were removed and, as I discovered, the whole not walking two blocks thing was real and that extra third week tacked on for my healing was much needed.
Okay, so the cancer was POW! ERADICATED! but there’s still the gaping hole in my head that needs some tending to. And the hole, while on the mend, is still a fleshy divot that looks like a giant ingrown hair. Think Godzilla size if Godzilla had a hair follicle that grew in. In fact, I have to make an appointment to go back to the doctor simply to remove the ingrown hairs they’re expecting. I really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really wish I could be the one to free them. But the doctor said NO! with a kind of gross shock and awe guffaw reply, “You won’t be able to reach them!” But why the shock and awe? YOU GET TO DO IT. Not fair. That is some satisfying shit like popping a zit or freeing a baby from a well.
Christian has been a fabulous nursemaid but the road beckons. He is headlining at the DC Improv this weekend and today is his birthday. Some celebration taking his wife to get stitches taken out and examining my new hair follicles in way too bright of light. I’m sure he’s fantasizing about my stubbly gash right now.
In his absence, banished to my 4th floor apartment, I ordered prepped meals from Fresh Direct arriving some time between 4 & 6 tomorrow, and my buddy Jose swung by with some necessities to tide me over till then. You know: V-8, toilet paper and beer.
Neither place, however, delivers Bacitracin or nurse services and trying to swab a gaping wound in the reversed mirror image of your own head is a weird / hard / painful / gross / fucked up / sad / laughable trial and error with heavy weight on the error part. Basically Bacitracin is serving as a deep conditioning treatment for the new hair growth which is surprisingly thick and dark. Very dark. So dark, I might go brown when I finally get to get a shave and a haircut since I will never go in the sun again ever. EVER. You hear that, Texas?
Ummm. What else? Oh, yes, so it’s Christian’s worst birthday ever, and I snuck a thank you / birthday card in his suitcase. There really are no words to express how thankful I am to my friends for stepping forward with some chocolate, US Weekly, morbid humor, normalcy and general occupation with stupid emails. But Christian? This Bud’s for you (if you drank Bud) and I tried to say so in a note that made him cry…
On the toilet.
ON THE TOILET.
He read my heartfelt thank you for taking care of my stubbly gash when I thought I was burying myself and willing my dog and things to friends and writing the final chapter of my book…nay, my life…ON THE TOILET WHILE TAKING A DUMP AND STARTED CRYING.
What can I say, it was moving. Hey-O!
Comedy Central just bleeped “Holocaust” and followed it up with a Girls Gone Wild commercial.
Well done, America. Well done.
Now that I’ve gotten the all clear from my doctor, I feel like I can unload what’s been occupying my every thought, every hour, every minute, every second of every day: I had some cancer scooped out of my scalp.
Basically, I had a half dollar-sized birthmark on my scalp that went haywire and required a chemosurgery called Mohs Technique. Sometimes it’s not a good thing, the Internet, because I spent the week preparing for surgery doing Google image searches of Mohs and generally freaking myself out. Even though the survival rate of Mohs is quite high (upper 90s percentile a/k/a seriously-ridiculous-to-worry level), I had planned a very elaborate funeral and Scott & Brian called dibs on my dog Paquita.
After the surgery, I sent Mom and a few close friends a wrap-up which I’ll share part of here:
Subject: De Pain, Boss! De Pain!
So that sucked, but thank God it’s done. Despite some minor downsides, I think it’s all good.
It went from “Do you have Tylenol at home?” to “Have you ever taken Tylenol with Codeine?” to “Are you allergic to Percocet and Oxycontin and Tramadol?”
I was awake for the whole thing and, um, yeah, it’s surreal to hear your scalp getting cut away with scissors and to know it’s not going well. Close your eyes and imagine the sound of chewing a mouthful of Cap’n Crunch except the crunching, tearing sound isn’t cereal, it’s your head. Still hungry? Neither was I.
To put my Humpty Dumpty scalp back together they called in Oliver, a Spanish fellow who thinks Lil Rounds is going to win this season American Idol*, to push and pull and grunt and hold my scalp in place while they clamped it shut. WTF? How far we’ve come with medicine but it takes some hairy man arms to pull me back together. He did everything except use his feet to leverage more strength. Barbaric / Awesome.
The major downside is that due to the extra scooping and cutting they had to do, an extra week was tacked on before the stitches can come out. I am only allowed to walk two blocks at a time but, since I’m on the 4th floor of a walk up they said that’s definitely out. So, thank heavens for DVRs, DVDs and the Internet. But Facebook + Wordscraper + Percocet + Tramadol + Oxycontin = zero writing on my book.Christian canceled his week at the Ft. Lauderdale Improv so he could take care of me. Twice a day for over two weeks now he has cleaned and bandaged the giant, bloody gash on my head**. I can’t thank the Universe enough for bringing us together. Although we’re kind of getting sick of being around each other this much — usually I’m in the city and/or he’s on the road for at least part of every week — there’s no one else I’d rather annoy or be annoyed by.
Late Thursday, I learned that I’m all clear. No further surgery, chemo or radiation required. So now, I just have to get the stitches out and grow my hair back. For the non-squeamish, here’s a link to a photo of the scar in the making. It’s not a small area as you can see and two and half weeks after the surgery, my hair is only 1/8 of an inch long. I haven’t gotten a haircut in months and my hair is scraggly and patchy and awful. I’ll be glad to see my hairstylist Daniel again and have him whip up some magic around the gash.
Christian’s DVD tour will be starting soon and I was looking forward to traveling with him to Texas to see old friends — some for the first time in 20 years. And while I would rather not sport a short ‘do, it’s better than being bald or, you know, dead. So, instead, I’ll see y’all soon wearing a snappy new spring beret and pretending I’m your French cousin.
*Clearly Oliver is there for his braun not brain. Lil Rounds has as much of a chance of winning American Idol as I do starring in a shampoo commercial. Ain’t happening.
**No sooner did I praise him before he got on the radio and said my wound looked like a second vagina. Bloody gash, indeed!
>In a pre-produced piece about Obama’s Leno appearance. He’s in the very last few seconds and they made a really strange choice in quotes. Anyway, here it is:
Christian was on Olbermann again on Wednesday night making it two nights in a row. Sweet! And Keith plugged Christian’s headlining appearances at Comix this weekend. Four shows, tonight & tomorrow. www.comixny.com. Meanwhile, here’s the video:
Christian on Olbermann with guest host David Schuster and Comix got two plugs from David. Nice!