Christian and I attended a special screening of Prisoners tonight at the Museum of the Moving Image followed by a Q&A with actors Melissa Leo and Jake Gyllenhaal, director Denis Villeneuve, and screenwriter Aaron Guzikowski.
Christian loved the movie. I liked it too, mostly for the stellar performance by Hugh Jackman. I expect some nominations in his future. Jake was charming and Melissa was quirky. Both were funny and I loved their interactions with the director and screenwriter.
I love this museum so, so much and am grateful to have such a unique resource within such a short walk from home. I always wonder what the A-list actors, directors, writers, producers, etc. think when they hear the pitch for a museum Q&A gig in Long Island City. Happily, they say “yes” time and again and I think they leave pleasantly surprised at what a lovely space it is and how generous the audiences are. And I’m certain they enjoy the stellar view of Manhattan on their way back home.
To me, a membership is a no brainer, but I’d highly recommend it for anyone in NYC. If anything, it’s worth a visit and super cheap and yummy happy hour at 5 Napkin Burger or a brewski at Sunswick. But if you do that, you gotta drop me a line so I can join you. :o)
Part way in, my cable box froze & rebooted. Murphy’s Law! From what I saw my dentist will be very angry that I have rebuffed his repeated requests to fix my bottom teeth, I need Botox, my family was upgraded to the suburbs and no one really knows or speaks sign language in the reenactments.
But my cable box came back to life quickly and the rest I saw was really well done. Even if it had been awful, I am grateful for any opportunity to share my story.
Seeing how they edited my interview was very interesting. They condensed it into an average domestic violence case (What? No shed? No trailer? No Deaf Culture commentary? Just a dude who beats and tries to kill women?) and yet still made it compelling.
Of course, personally, my CODA / Deaf experience and my dad’s childhood and our collective isolation and poverty is what fueled my story for my book, so that’s important for me to still tell and get across should I get another chance. And I learned a lesson to make sure to understand the angle the producers are going for, so I can speak to that and they won’t have to edit so much!
My sweet Paquita made a brief posthumous cameo. She is looking longingly at Christian who is lavishing love and kisses on Griswold. Awww.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed it and thank you again for all the kind words and support!
*The collective outrage of the women posting on Lifetime Movie Network’s Facebook page about the movie network not showing movies is worthy of being a Lifetime movie. If I -and all of you lovely people- didn’t have a life with better things to do, I’d suggest we flood the LMN Facebook page with overflowing praise. Hopefully we’ll still get a movie made and we can tell the whole white trashtastic tale and satisfy all those disgruntled LMN subscribers. So much time on their hands these women! Sad.
But…lo! It is scheduled to air this Sunday, Oct 27 on Lifetime Movie Network (LMN) at 10PM EST and again at 2AM Monday, Oct 28. Since it’s a pilot, it doesn’t even have a logo or show page on Lifetime’s website, but the description and name matches what we filmed.
I’m honestly terrified to watch it because they have re-enactments by non-Deaf people and, well, re-enactments are usually kind of cheesy to begin with. I’m mostly worried about having my story in someone else’s creative, editorial hands. Who knows how they’ll piece together my words and spin it? We shall see this Sunday! And if it’s truly god awful, well, it will make for a fun story to tell on stage.
Highlights from my classic New York week in a nutshell:
— Worked on “The Following” where I cheek-kissed Connie Nielsen about 20 times & ogled Kevin Bacon for 12 hours.
— Ran 7 blocks through crowded streets in Queens & raced up 3 flights of stairs at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts to vote in the mayoral primary with only 30 seconds to spare before polls closed. It was as intense & stressful as any chase scene in a movie. I should’ve had German techno music playing in the background.
— Finished my Playwriting I class with a 1st draft of my solo show script.
— Got into a screaming match with a cab driver.
This week I’ll work on “The Good Wife”, hang with my protégé after school & accompany Christian Finnegan to his headlining gig in Virginia Beach. No screaming matches allowed.
(Wo)Man’s Best Friend
Christian Finnegan & Kambri Crews
Originally performed by Christian, Kambri and Paquita in front of a live audience on “Yappy Hour” at UCB Theater on 11/1/10. And, yes, Paquita performed this exactly as scripted. Remarkable little girl.
SFX: Sexy music
I’ve been waiting for you.
Come to me, Paquita. Come to me now!
Paquita comes running in and leaps into Kambri’s arms.
Oh, I’ve waited so long. Kiss me,
Kambri and Paquita kiss passionately.
No no stop! No need to rush. I want
to savor every moment of this. Have
Paquita drinks from Kambri’s wine glass.
And can I offer you some…cheese?
Paquita perks up.
I knew you’d like that. But I’m
going to make you earn it, baby.
Let me take a look at you!
Kambri gets Paquita to “go around” and “roll over” a few
times, periodically feeding her cheese.
The way you move, it’s so sexy.
It’s like your some kind
of…animal! Not like my husband,
that pathetic little worm!
But he’s out of town on business,
which means we have the whole night
to ourselves. Isn’t that wonderful,
darling? High five!
Kambri and Paquita high five.
Enough with all these games. I want
you. But I need to know you want me
too! I need you to speak! Speak!
Oh, I can’t take all of this sexual
tension. Take me! Ravage me! Let’s
make our own gravy!!
Paquita starts humping Kambri’s arm. Kambri begins writhing
in sexual extasy.
Yes! Yes! Give it to me, my little
Honey, I’m home!
Christian enters, wearing his jacket and carrying a
Great news! I was able to close the
Mortensen deal, so I took an
Christian stops, in shock. Paquita and Kambri continue their revelry, unaware.
What…the…FUCK IS GOING ON
Kambri snaps out of it and clutches Paquita to her chest.
Christian? What are you doing home?
What is the meaning of this? My wife?
Nothing! I mean, Paquita just came
by to…I mean…
I knew something was going on!
After all I’ve done for you, this
is how you thank me? By two-timing
me with this little bitch?
She’s twice the man you’ll ever be!
Yeah, that’s right–Paquita is my
lover. And she does things to me
you could never dream of? Don’t
you, Paquita honey?
Kambri and Paquita kiss.
Stop it! Stop it! I can’t take this
Yeah, well what are you gonna do
about it? Ha ha ha! What a loser!
Kambri cackles while she and Paquita high five and kiss.
I can’t take it…can’t take it…
Christian slowly pulls out a gun (his hand). Kambri notices
and is mortified.
I’m a loser, huh?
Christian, don’t! DON’T!
If I can’t have you, no one will!
Die, you canine-loving whore!!!
Christian points his finger at Kambri and “shoots” her
BANG! BANG! BANG!
Kambri writhes as if being shot.
(With her dying breath,)
Unh…unh…Good dog, Paquita.
And you. You happy now, Paquita?
Was it worth it? Ruining my life,
just for a little bit of cheese?
Christian dangles a baggy of cheese. Paquita runs over.
Look at you! Even now, it’s all you
can think about! You were supposed
to be my best friend! Well fine,
Christian tosses her a morsel of cheese.
Consider it your last meal…bitch.
Christian pulls out his “gun”, stoops down and…
Paquita plays dead. Christian keeps his gun on her for a few seconds, then looks away. Paquita gets up.
Oh, still alive, are you? BANG!
Paquita again plays dead. Again, she eventually gets up.
WHY WON’T YOU DIE?? BANG! BANG!
Paquita dies in Kambri’s arms.
Now that my book tour is over, I’m back to working on adapting it into a full-length theatrical production and a solo show. Think my Moth piece but about 45 – 60 minutes with light and sound cues and visuals. Anyone interested? Let’s meet!
Since leaving the 92YTribeca, I haven’t been able to commit to any gigs or new clients because of my book tour and speaking gigs. So, to make a few bucks and get out of the house during the time between tour dates, I’ve worked as an extra (or “background” as some prefer) on a ton of TV shows filming around NYC. I even booked an AARP commercial. I was not the RP, thankyouverymuch. I was a jogger that the RP was checking out. That said, I did get a callback for a menopause relief medicine. See also: definition of “bittersweet”. /ˈbitərˌswēt/
During a meeting with a commercial casting agent I was told I’m “a big girl” & “older”, had a great look that was perfect for soccer mom roles & pharmaceutical companies. It was a weird few minutes of feeling bloated, old and ugly, but hire-able because I’m photogenic and not morbidly obese. I can’t imagine embarking on this journey when I was an insecure 20-something. Now I’m a totally secure 40-something who just needs to lose weight, get Botox and a tan. This feeling is strongest after I see myself onscreen. Blech!
At least it wasn’t me who Wardrobe point to and said “Okay, so you’re my ‘lady of the night’. You look great.” She was *not* a “lady of the night”, simply a bar patron. Oops. Oh, schadenfreude, you make me feel so young!
But I’m having fun, getting paid when I’d otherwise be day drinking. During down-time on set I’m able to watch tons of “Cheers”, read dozens of books, and meet great people from Liza Minelli and Annie Potts to other everyday folks like me. I’m not loving New York City much these days, but where else but here could I truly swing this odd balance of freelance entrepreneurial gadabout?*
*Seriously, tell me, because I’d like to move there.
My first week as Director of Publicity at Comix, I came up with an ad campaign idea tied around the phrase, “Life’s tough. Laugh more.” I dubbed it as our official tagline after seeing it in an email from our videographer thinking he sure did sum it up quite nicely. Now, two years later, the campaign has finally started coming to life. First up, a commercial to air on Time Warner (or RCN / Verizon Fios) beginning in the next week or two. Coming soon, more commercials and a site where you can submit your own funny examples of just how tough life can be. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy our first attempt at the theme with a piece I wrote loosely based on Christian’s real life experience and starring me and Sean Crespo:
Last night marked the 15th time I’ve gone on stage in NYC as myself. Sure, I’ve been on stage hundreds –maybe even thousands– of times as an actor back when I used to do that sort of thing, but that’s different. It’s an entirely other beast presenting something you’ve personally created to an audience with no 4th wall to protect you. Each time gets easier and I am, I think (hope), better and more confident.
Beginning next Friday at “The Family Hour with Auntie Sara” I’m going to try telling a longer story divvied up into “episodes”. I hope this will help me craft more details and jokes into my stories that I always feel like I have to rush through because we only get 6 or 7 minutes on stage. The next story I will begin with next week should wrap up in three weeks total giving me a good 21 minutes worth of new material. I might even video tape them for my Love, Daddy blog and add captioning for my hearing impaired readers. It would be time consuming so it’s a lofty goal. Don’t hold your breath.
Meanwhile, tonight at Ochi’s Lounge begins a new open mike show called “Ochi’s Motel” run by John Morrison, creator of “Morrison’s Motel.” It will be every Saturday from 6:00 – 8:00 and you can throw your hat in the random ring by emailing John at ochismotel[at]gmail.com. Drink at Work follows with their hit variety show and ends the night by challenging audience members to Guitar Hero. I love the little performance space I’ve created. John loaned us some fancy lights, we’ve expanded the cheap menu and the comedians and audiences can’t say enough about how warm and fun the room is. I think you should come check it out soon, don’t you?
How about on Monday the 3rd when I perform on “Slumber Party”?
While playing Belle, I felt much like Princess Di on her wedding day. There I stood on a balcony edge, waving, waving, waving, smiling, smiling, smiling, eyes bright, not blinking, just posing. At one point, I spontaneously picked up a young child named Annie with no intention of hurling her off the balcony. Yes, it was quite touching. She was cute and very enamored by me. What can I say, I was stunning.
There was only one kid, a girl not Annie sweet but instead jaded and pissy, who really ticked me off with her claims of my being a fraud and insisting to all that I was, in fact, wearing a wig. She suffered death by an accidental fall off the giant Toys R’ Us ferris wheel, but only in my mind. “Listen, I don’t know what you’re talking about. Mrs. Potts did my hair and I think it’s quite lovely. If you have a problem with it, go see her.” With that, little jerkface pissypants went off in search of the conveniently absent Mrs. Potts. Ha ha, I win!
In addition to me and my Beast, there was a young thin man posing as Superman. His thin one-piece outfit was too short and therefore exposed much too much of what Superman doesn’t wear under his briefs. Quite pornographic for a children’s party, I should say, so I reveled in the awkward wrongness of the whole situation as he crouched down beside youngsters getting his photo snapped. Beast and I had a good hearty laugh in the Green Room wondering how great it would be if Superman popped a woody. Whatever they paid him for his night, it wasn’t enough.
Male toe is just plain wrong.
Tonight’s the night. I’m gonna pretend to like children and know how to waltz as I play “Belle” to a bunch of little kids who actually believe in that fairy tale shit that Disney sells. I fast forwarded through the movie during my lunch break and learned that Belle’s Papa, as she calls him, was an inventor and therefore considered to be the town nut and that girls who read are considered odd and should find “better things to do with their time.” Nice message there, Walt.
So tonight, as I make my way through what promises to be the two longest hours of my life at the Times Square Toys R’ Us, my turkey is thawing. Yep, you read that right “my turkey”. You know what this means? Christian and I will be getting salmonella after eating my first ever Thanksgiving dinner. I’m actually kind of excited about my attempts and we went grocery shopping together to make it more of a joint venture. He is determined to help prepare something, so I gave him my mother’s “Watergate Salad” recipe and the ingredients. This salad is quite possibly the easiest, cheapest, most trailer trash thing ever, but I’ve had to give him instructions and reassurance several times.
“So I just put it in a bowl and stir?”
“Yes! Just dump everything in. Don’t think about it. Don’t chop or cut anything. Just stir.”
It’s almost as painful as teaching Jack how to copy and paste on the computer. I need to record the instructions for later use. “Open the can, dump the contents, open the box, dump the contents, open the bowl, dump the contents, open the bag, dump the contents. Stir!”
Just dump it in a bowl and stir!
I haven’t been wrought with cheer lately. With Thanksgiving looming, I’ve begun thinking about the holidays and how I can possibly enjoy myself. So I, lover of children and dancing phenom**, have gone and gotten myself a gig playing “Belle” from “Beauty and the Beast” at the Times Square Toys-R-Us. This could mean my end.
**Lie. Complete and utter lie.
Child hater and sufferer of White Man Overbite Syndrome
When: Spring 1988 – Age 16
Where: UIL State One Act Play Competition; University of Texas; Austin, Texas. Cutthroat and serious competition. We youngsters were on our best behavior.
What: Heard a smattering of gasps and giggles mixed in with familiar guttural noises and high-pitched nonsensical sounds reverberating through the sound system. Look up to the stage to observe a deaf-mute man doing his best gyrating Elvis impersonation into the microphone. A few people rush the stage and the emcee wrests the microphone from the offender’s hands. The deaf Elvis doesn’t leave but rather continues to perform more enthusiastically to the crowd.
The emcee announced, “If he belongs to you, would you get this monkey off the stage?”
The monkey? My dad.
Happy birthday, Dad.
After seeing Showgirls with the oh-so-cute-and-fun-and-always-up-for-a-good-time Sarah & Bob, I am now confident that my starring roles in such classics as the short film “Plain Trouble” and a satirical infomercial spot touting the “Abort-O-Matic” will have no harm on my career. Whew! That was a close one. Of course, I would have to actually GO on an audition to have a career. Umm…never mind.
That monstrosity of a movie has not dented the careers of neither Gina Gershon nor Kyle MacLachlan; nay, not even the disastrous Elizabeth Berkley. Okay, so maybe it didn’t propel Ms. Berkley’s career, but was it ever really propelling in the first place? Perhaps had she worn twirling tasseled pasties, she could have thrust herself into another flick. Alas, she was sans accoutrement and only managed to *ahem* rouse controversy.