For my birthday, my lovely husband, Christian, got me a pass to the 2019 New York Musical Festival. We saw a matinee of “Illuminati Lizards from Outer Space” (Because with a silly title and premise, how could we not?) and a few hours later I saw “Ladyship” on my own, then we met up in Foley Square for the Lights for Liberty vigil.
Both shows were on Theater Row at the Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre, a gorgeous, accessible space with a big open cafe/bar and lots of varied seating.
At Illuminati, a lovely woman named Doris was escorted to the single seat next to me. We quickly struck up a conversation as I helped her with her things. Doris is elderly and has trouble seeing, holds a PhD in communications and lives in Jackson Heights! So close to us! She hadn’t heard of QED but was delighted to hear all about it and asked for a card or brochure. Sadly, I didn’t have any as I packed light for my 12 hour day walking around the city, but I scribbled down my phone number since she doesn’t do email or the internet. ?
Doris has macular degeneration and said it was all happening very quickly so she’ll be completely blind soon.“But I’m here!” She said. “Yes, you are! You showed up!” I read to her bits of the program –the premise of the show, some of the other programs at the festival, etc.– and then it was showtime!
Illuminati Lizards from Outer Space was silly and fun, funny and cringe-y, smart and dumb, good and bad in the way a new musical with that title should be. Conspiracy theories, lizard people living amongst us, the Illuminati…all sounds pretty dumb, huh? And yet…well, here we are! We laughed a lot, Doris was delighted by the show. “The best thing I’ve ever seen!” and we said our goodbyes. I don’t know if she’ll call me, but I’m glad to have shared a very brief moment in her long life.
Christian and I parted ways, I had a treat at Pinkberry between shows and then returned to see Ladyship about Irish sisters condemned to the Penal Colony of Australia during the 1780s and sent on a 10+ month journey across the ocean. Bleak, to put it mildly! Well acted with lovely costuming and staging.
After the show, I headed down to Foley Square for Lights for Liberty: A Vigil to End Human Concentration Camps to protest the inhumane conditions faced by migrants.
Christian joined me and a friend Valerie. It was lovely and we ran into our friend Eric whom we hadn’t seen in a while. But we wondered what good this vigil does, really? Trump and his followers are ramping up racism, rhetoric and hate and show no signs of stopping. I fear where we are headed. Will a vigil matter? I don’t know, but I don’t want to be a person that doesn’t speak up in the face of wrong.
As Martin Luther King has said:
— “There comes a time when silence is betrayal.”
— “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
–“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
So I spoke by showing up to the vigil. My new and short friendship with Doris taught me that showing up –being present– is the most important part. This might not change anything…
But I’m here! Yes, I am! I showed up!
I will remember this day as a wonderful example of the things Life brings, good and bad.
I walked through the park and paid a visit to General Grant, an American hero and patriot who arguably did more for the advancement of civil rights than any other of his generation. Afterward, I saw the original Hoffman paintings of Jesus donated by John D. Rockefeller to the Riverside Church. They’re worth over 100 million dollars and are just there…not even shown or guarded. I asked Raymond in the gift shop if I could see them. He opened a couple of cabinets and voila! He said he gets asked about 15-20 times a week. Not that often! I told him I’d tell people.
It’s a beautiful and vibrant area with the park, Hudson River, Barnard and Columbia Universities, Grant’s Tomb and the Riverside Church where MLK Jr gave many sermons including his very famous anti-war speech not long before his assassination.
Afterward, I enjoyed a slice of apple pie and vanilla ice cream at Tom’s (famous for Seinfeld but really just a great, fast diner) where I & two other diners shouted at the TV incredulous at the Brett Kavanaugh inquiry. I hit up the Morningside Heights Library where I knew they wouldn’t have TV and recharged batteries, answered emails and wrote in my journal.
Finally, I meandered to Times Square where I took in “Come From Away,” a musical based on true events that occurred on and after 9/11 when 7k passengers were rerouted and stranded in Newfoundland. It was good. I got a rush ticket for only $30.
I got rained on a little bit as I walked to meet Christian for nachos. While telling him about my day, a live mariachi band played “Happy Birthday” three times in a row and then other songs I didn’t know.
At home, we played with the dogs and watched the news. I cried and got wound up about it all so then watched “Fargo” and now it’s time for bed.
What a day.
We had fantastic crowds* at The Peoples Improv Theater and my husband turned in excellent performances in his solo show THE GORGEOUS MOSAIC.
I have a decent video of it to share with his manager and agent. The feedback from audience members tells me that this show’s got a lot of heart along with the humor. What to do with it next is the big question. Keep it at the PIT for a regular showing? Tape it and produce a CD/DVD of it? Take it to an Off-Broadway theater? How much should we re-tool it? Is there too much standup and not enough storytelling or was it just the right blend? So many questions that I hope won’t spoil the whole thing for us.
Anyway, thanks to everyone who made it out and I hope we’ll re-stage it again soon.
*Fantastic except for the dumb drunk chick in a sparkly hat sitting in the front row talking, cheering, & texting. Why anyone who is craving attention insists on sitting in the front row of a performance is beyond me. They must know that any attention they will get will be negative right? Ugh.
This week has been a very good one for my awesome, funny, talented husband. His new comedy album THE FUN PART debuted on SiriusXM’s comedy channel and is available for streaming or purchase on Netflix, Amazon, and iTunes.
Then, last night he presented his new solo show THE GORGEOUS MOSAIC at the People’s Improv Theater about his 23 years of living in NYC. In this hour show, he talks about awful apartments to the bizarre urban dwellers and hopes to remind us why we came to the concrete jungle and, more importantly, why we stay. It’s really funny but I find it very inspiring and sweet, too.
The New York Times, Time Out New York and Village Voice all selected the solo show as something worth watching in NYC this weekend. Time Out also ran this great joke (pictured right) of Christian’s from his comedy special THE FUN PART.
Finally, check out this Q&A with Christian and The Comic’s Comic. And below are screen grabs from his special and Netflix. Good stuff all around and I’m immensely proud of how prolific he’s been!
Thank you to my fellow storyteller and writer Julie Threlkeld for asking me to take part in this Writing Round Robin Blog Tour Thingy™. To read Julie’s response to the Writing Round Robin Blog Tour Thingy™ and to check out her other work, click here. So, here we go…
What am I working on?
Good question! If bingeing on seasons one through three of Game of Thrones so that I’m caught up and the Internet can no longer ruin it for me is “work”, then that’s what I’m working on. During my downtime (a/k/a “As the HBO Go App’s Wheel Turns”), I’m tinkering on a few things.
1) I adapted my memoir about me and My Jailed Deaf Dad into a solo show which I produced and performed a few months ago. I am giving it a tune up based on those shows. I’m re-thinking the ending mostly and trimming off the fat in other parts. Maybe I’ll enter it into a festival or keep taking it to colleges if they’ll have me.
2) I’ve got a new solo show idea in mind about my love for David Lee Roth and how he became my spiritual advisor when I was a vulnerable teenager. I’m calling it “The Book of David” or “The Gospel of David” and the show will be like attending church service but with Diamond Dave as my lord and savior. I think it could be funny, charming and, believe it or not, insightful. We’ll see. I plan to enter it into the next SoloCom or another festival for new works.
3) This summer, I’m taking a class on TV writing. I’ve got in mind a sitcom pilot but need to get some book learnin’ under my belt. I’ve never considered myself a writer and, even after banging out a memoir, still don’t. It’s not the thing that makes my motor hum the way producing and performing do. But without a script, I’ve got nothing to produce. Hence the class. It’s mostly for fun but I never thought I’d get a book deal from telling stories for fun in Ochi’s Lounge, so who knows?
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Since my work is all autobiographical –blogging, solo shows, memoir– it is uniquely mine by default. While our stories are universal, they come from our own experiences and points of view. I’d say my POV uses sarcasm and humor to counter some of the more brutal or sad stuff. Lately, thankfully, not much has been sad…just bizarre when it comes to living in NYC, having a comedian husband and a deaf dad in a Texas prison.
Why do I write what I do?
I was given a treasure trove of material to write with the family and life experience I got. I’d be a fool not to! Also, as a hearing kid in a deaf family, I was often serving as an interpreter and told what to say and how to say it. Having a mom who hated her private business being fodder for Deaf community gossip emphasized this even more. She gave me frequent warnings of not to tell anyone –even family– about stuff. Writing about my life with no boundaries or strict rules or fear is very liberating. The truth sets you free, yada, yada, yada. I’ve considered writing fiction but it’s a bit of an enigma to me. The endless possibilities overwhelm rather than excite me. And the fiction that I’ve thought about writing is all based on true events, so…yeah.
How does my writing process work?
By deadlines. Without deadlines I do not write. Once I have a deadline, I generally meet it. I took a playwriting class last summer during which I banged out my solo show. Since the show was based on my memoir, I wasn’t writing from scratch and it should be a cinch, right? But I had no deadline looming over me to say I need this script by X date. By signing up for the class, I was able to accomplish that goal. During the thick of writing my first draft of my memoir, I spent a lot of time cleaning house. Scrubbing, washing, dusting, organizing are all ways I free my mind to wander. There’s a lot of talking to myself, acting out, crying, yelling, laughing. Saying things out loud are important, especially if done in front of an audience. So I sign up for a lot of open mike type storytelling shows and work on my pieces that way as well.
So that’s it for me. Thanks, Julie, for tagging me! Next up on the are these terrific people:
DAVID DICKERSON is a writer, humorist, video blogger, teacher, editor, storyteller, and radio performer. I vividly remember the first time I met him in Ochi’s Lounge, the space I ran in the basement of Comix. That’s how instantaneously charming, smart as a whip and nicer than most he is. David’s writing has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Story Quarterly, The Gettysburg Review, and Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. In 2009, he released his greeting card memoir, House of Cards, which is currently in development as a sitcom with USA. He is now working on his next book, a road trip/travel narrative tentatively titled Tomorrow Might Suck Less.
JENNIFER TRESS is vibrant, intelligent, has the best laugh and is one fiercely driven lady. She’s the author of the memoir You’re Not Pretty Enough. Though the book is a collection of funny, heartfelt stories, the title story refers to something her ex-husband said to her as the reason he was having an affair (which is why, ahem, he’s her ex-husband). She is also a speaker and the founder of the Project by the same name, which is aimed at building higher self-esteem by providing a forum and discussions around beauty norms and their impact on the individual.
JENN DODD and I had the same high school drama teacher back in Texas exactly 10 years apart and now we both live in Queens. She writes more sketches and characters than anyone I know. Her solo show No Show: A One Woman Show won the Best of Studio Award at the “Out of the Loop” Fringe Festival last month and Jenn has been a finalist in the Andy Kaufmann Awards. She is a graduate of Circle in the Square Theatre School, in the cast of the off-Broadway hit The Gong Show LIVE in which she plays multiple original characters, and is a member of The Final Edition Radio Hour. You can see her live every month at the The People’s Improv Theatre where she hosts the monthly character showcase Buttski & Glasscock’s New Talent Blow Out.
So good. So, so, so good. Neil Patrick Harris is perfection. I first learned about Hedwig when I was still a tourist traveling to the Big Apple with my Ohio theater friends. We’d pile in a van, drive to NYC to jam-pack four, sometimes five shows in three days before the drive home.
On one such trip in 1998, Hedwig and the Angry Inch was playing Off-Broadway at the Jane Street Theater. Torn between which shows to see during my limited time, I decided to skip Hedwig in favor of some other big Broadway show. It was a choice I regretted as soon as I saw my friend Eileen, fresh from the show and out of her mind with enthusiastic love for it and its writer and star John Cameron Mitchell. I couldn’t tell you what I saw that night instead.
I’ve loved the music for years, singing, screaming and weeping out loud in my car to Wig in a Box, Wicked Little Town, Origin of Love.
Last night I remedied my mistake by seeing it on Broadway. It moved me. Not just Harris’ fantastic (definitely Tony Award nominated, probably winning) performance but the journey of the show from Jane Street to here and my own from a tourist to a 14-year New Yorker. The art and love of it all had me in tears a few times. And the music. God, I love the music.
Don’t make the same mistake I did in 1998. Go see it.
I’m in a really bad mood, but my husband knows just how to pull me out of the spiral. He sent me a link to this! It’s a combination of my loves Neil Patrick Harris & Jason Segel singing “Confrontation” from Les Mis. The only thing that could make this better is if David Lee Roth flew across the stage wearing spandex pants carrying a boom box.*
Bad mood is now on the back burner set to simmer.
*ETA: The How I Met Your Mother series finale included Neil Patrick Harris dressed as David Lee Roth. Head exploded!
The first time I saw the Oscar-winning movie Midnight Express was the summer I turned seven years old. The Academy Award-winning film was based on the memoir by a young American named Billy Hayes who was arrested in Turkey in 1970 during an attempt to smuggle hashish out of the country by taping it all over his body. His sentence of four years was, for various reasons, converted to a minimum of thirty years to life. For trying to smuggle pot. Crazy.
Life in a Turkish prison is pretty horrific as you can imagine, and Mr. Hayes’ story left an indelible mark on my young, impressionable mind. The movie is rated R for violence, a gay-lite prison sex scene (hubba, hubba), tons of nudity (including full frontal male, hubba, hubba, hubba), and a prison visit masturbation scene (hubb…oh…wait…this is heart-wrenching).
Obviously, it was highly inappropriate for me to watch it. Yet I did…alone…dozens of times thanks to a summer spent at my deaf grandparents who had cable TV. This should serve as a testament to powerful storytelling that a seven-year-old kid would watch a long, quietly intense drama about a Turkish prison experience.
Last week, I went to see Mr. Hayes in his solo show “Riding the Midnight Express”. It’s just him and a stool and a bottle of Poland Spring followed by a Q&A and book signing. He was generous of his time and gave us his all even though it was a light crowd on a Wednesday afternoon during a snowstorm.
He told the same story he wrote in his memoir — the memoir that Oliver Stone turned into a movie that won an Oscar. After winning, I’m sure plenty would think, “Hang up the hat, dude. You did it!”. Now, 40+ years later, Mr. Hayes is touring the world with a solo show.
This is encouraging to me as someone who is worried that I’ve squeezed all the juice from the lemons life gave me.
My memoir is almost two years old and even older to NYC alt comedy and storytelling audiences. Now, here I am on a train to Rochester to give a speech at RIT/NTID and am in the early stages of producing a solo show of me telling the same old story. Really? YUP!
So the timing of seeing Mr. Hayes could not have been more perfect. There are billions of people in the world and all but several thousand of them have never heard of me, my book, my storytelling, nothing. Add to that, that I actually have a *message* of hope and societal change to share, why would I stop now?
I’m reminded of Mike Birbiglia, too. I saw him tell him tell his Sleepwalk with Me story many times as a long stand up comedy bit about ten years ago, give or take. It progressed to long form storytelling on This American Life and, most recently, a feature film.
Like Mike, I have other stories to share and hope to not be telling the same story in 40 years, but even if I am? Fantastic. What a privilege it is to have people come out, spend their hard earned money and precious time to see me. Thank you, each and every one of you, who have given me that honor.
It’s in NYC for a limited engagement after winning raves and wowing audiences from Paris to Sydney. You’re not gonna want to miss it and, hey, why not see it for FREE or at a discounted price of $49?
To win FREE tickets, simply enter here. Super easy, no strings attached.
ONLINE: Visit www.ticketmaster.com and use code LSMKT
BY PHONE: Call 1-800-982-2787 and mention code LSMKT
IN PERSON: Bring a printout of this offer (download it here) to the Union Square Theatre, 100 E. 17th St.
Tuesday – Thursday: 8:00 PM
Friday & Saturday: 7:00 & 10:00 PM
Sunday: 5:00 PM
*Offer valid on select seats and subject to availability and prior sale. Not valid on prior purchases and cannot be combined with any other discounts or promotions. All sales final; no refunds or exchanges. Telephone and Internet orders are subject to standard service fees. A $1.00 theatre facility fee is included in the price of the ticket. Limit 6 tickets per order. Offer does not include 11/7. Other blackout dates may apply. Offer Expires November 27, 2013. Offer may be revoked or modified at any time.“PURE ADRENALIN-FUELED ENTERTAINMENT AT ITS BEST.” – Time Out London
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.
I drove back to NYC for one day and making time to see my two favorite Big Apple ladies. First I’m picking up my protege Jeaniah from school to see “Jurassic Park” in 3D followed by dinner with Jenn Dodd. Then it’s off to the RUBBER CAPITAL OF THE WORLD! That’s Akron, Ohio for three whole days. I’m so excited to perform in my friend Eileen Moushey‘s play alongside some of my dearest, funniest, funnest acting buddies for the first time in about 15 years.
Then it’s a jaunt to Philly to perform 1812 Productions storytelling show raising money for Women Against Violence before I head back to NYC to see my buddy H. Alan Scott & take him to record an interview with Chemda Katg. Follow that up with another week at our cabin, throw in a 5K race, an appearance at the SouthCarolina Book Festival, a 10K race and another date with my protege and holy, wow…
May: I love you already!
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 protégé Jeaniah and I had an awesome date at the Big Apple Circus! In fact, I think this was our best date ever. We were both in great moods, excited for the show and had lots to talk about as we rode the subway to Lincoln Center*. The big tent itself was set up in Damrosch Park. We got our complimentary tickets (thanks again Marianne Ways!) and hit the concession stand where we loaded up on drinks, popcorn, Sour Patch Kids and cotton candy.
J asked, “What color cotton candy do you want?”
“It all tastes the same, so what color do we want our tongues to be?”
She and I both looked at each other, smiled and said in unison, “BLUE!”
Our seats were awesome –we were on the aisle just four rows from the ring!– but being in the round and only about 1,800 seats there really isn’t a bad seat in the house.
The theme was LEGENDARIUM: A Journey Into Circus Past and it was spectacular! Every act was cute, charming or downright thrilling, but we definitely had favorites.
One such favorite was Zhang Fan who performed a slack wire act. I’ve never heard of such a thing and was mesmerized. He made the tight rope seem like child’s play. That rope is taut & still. The slack wire is just that and it’s constantly in motion. On this wavy, swinging wire, he carried out spectacular tricks like doing forward & backward somersaults, balancing himself with a ladder, and riding a unicycle. Upside down. On his head. Pedaling with his hands. Can’t believe it? Check out this photo of him I found online. What an incredible athlete. Olympians should train for the circus. Yowzah!
I also enjoyed the juggling tango dancers. A husband and wife team that danced a beautifully choreographed tango all while the husband juggles balls and clubs. I’m not sure a kid can appreciate how much trust must be there for this act to be possible, but I was awed. I wouldn’t trust Christian throwing clubs all around me, let alone while we’re dancing a tango! But since Christian says I dance like a Sims character, we can safely assume this will never, ever be tested.
Our favorite performer, no question, was the contortionist Elayne Kramer. Or as Jeaniah said, “I loved Elayne and her flexibility tricks.” The girl was a jellyfish. She can’t have any bones! She folded herself backwards and on top of herself and even held herself up with her mouth (see photo). That’s what blew Jeaniah away. I was screaming, “NO WAY! NUH UH! GET OUT!” every five seconds but was slack-jawed when it came to Ms. Kramer’s final trick. Turned upside-down (you know, how one does), she shot a bow & arrow with her feet. Yeah. You read that right.
Not only did she shoot an arrow, she was aiming the arrow at a balloon, and hit her mark. Holy. Wow. I don’t have a picture of it but found this one online. Incredible, isn’t it? It’s one thing to be born without a spine, but this is skill, people. Strength, training and skill!
Back in Queens, we stopped at my place. Jeaniah wanted to see our apartment**, meet my parakeet and make geodes. I showed her my wedding dress and she tried on my fascinator and had the dogs do tricks for treats. Before I drove her home, we hand wrote thank you cards to Marianne and the Big Apple Circus publicist who gave us the free tickets. Back at her place one of the other kids in the group home said, “You’re her mentor? She talks about you 24/7!” [Sideways huge smile face.]
It was a day we won’t soon forget. We can’t recommend the Big Apple Circus enough. Thank you to everyone who make the show possible. We are still floating!
**I asked Jeaniah if my apartment was what she excepted. She said, “No. I didn’t think there would be this many rooms and I thought you’d have more…what do you call them?”
She gestured with her hands like she was holding little things.
“Souvenirs, collectibles, trinkets?”
“Yeah! Because you travel all the time I thought you’d have more stuff.”
What can I say? I hate clutter and the dust that goes with it.
But it’s not. It’s today.
Today, I climbed down some precarious steps into a basement in Bushwick to record an indie / alt rock music video. I was there to film b-roll chorus footage of me and two other ASL signers for my pal Mike Doughty‘s music video of the song Sunshine off his new CD The Flip is Another Honey.
Hot and thirsty, I took a quick swig of my drink. Mike saw me guzzling from the bottle and asked, “Is that…chocolate milk?”
Yeah, I guess most 42-year-old women don’t drink chocolate milk and definitely not from bottles with cartoon rabbits on them. But, this one does! MMM! And she signs, too!
I used the rest of my day to run errands and relax with my dogs as tomorrow is going to be a long and exciting day. <Whisper Voice> Don’t tell her, but I’m treating my protégé to a showing of the Big Apple Circus! </Whisper Voice> This is all in courtesy of my friend and superstar booker/producer Marianne Ways and the generosity of the circus. It means a lot to my Hour Children protégé to experience things like this, so big heartfelt thanks to them for the guest passes. We will be sure to write a review.
Save over 55% on tickets to the hilarious musical “Toxic Avenger” with the discount code: TOBALLY5 More info here: http://tinyurl.com/nhlg5x
Freestyle Love Supremewas awesome last night, as usual. The now rich and famous but still eternally lovely and loved Lin-Manuel Mirandawas on the bill. This time, however, his “In the Heights” director, Thomas Kail, was in the audience. It became quite surreal when Miranda used his Tony Award winning role as inspiration for his freestyle rap of the audience-suggested word “smoothie”. I wish I could tell you all the salacious details but you should have bought tickets since the money went to their pet charity the VideoVoice Project. You can redeem yourself this January 5th, when they return to Comix and the first Monday of every month thereafter. That’s a recurring calendar entry you can guarantee is worth the effort.
Couple that with the ever crush-worthy Chris “Shockwave” Sullivan (The Electric Company!!!), Anthony “Two Touch” Veneziale (the ridiculously generous, effervescent and gracious founder of VideoVoice Project), and Utkarsh “UTK” Amudkar (eminent rapper/ actor whose birthday was also yesterday), and you have yourself a magically delicious night.
They really make me want to eat my face just to get the extra taste of smiles and happiness that I devour after looking at a room full of their audience members.
Yesterday Jackie Hoffman (Xanadu), Julie Halston (The Class), David Rakoff (This American Life), Peter Frechette (Tony Nominee), Maria Thayer (Strangers with Candy) spent the entire day at Comix rehearsing for tonight’s performance of “Posteriors” @ Comix. It’s a fully staged reading of a movie classic (in this case Woody Allen’s “Interiors”) and from what I saw, it’s going to be a hoot.
Because they were rehearsing, I had to tiptoe around the showroom with the producers of a Discovery Channel show. They’re scouting Comix and its staff as a potential episode for one of those makeover type TV shows. This one is about being green. I really don’t think our chances of getting picked are high because Comix is fairly new. That means all our machines are efficient, plus we use local vendors for our produce, we recycle our oil, we’re very conscious about our electricity consumption, etc. But, we would make for *FUN* episode, that’s for sure. We’ll see.
While I was giving them a tour and the rehearsal was going on, MTV came by to go over some tech stuff for the show “Man & Wife” which is not only becoming a huge hit, it was all filmed at Comix. Sweet!
What a day! As for today, I’m gtting dressed early for a photo shoot with a New York Post photographer. Look for the story about married couples managing their joint finances in tomorrow’s paper. Tonight is “Posteriors” and a comedy show my pal / former producing partner Molly is putting up at Bowery Poetry Club with the most insanely great lineup. With all these things, I’m still trying to figure out when to carve out time for writing. I might have to take up a few offers from friends to use their country homes for a week. Until then, my Saturdays and Sundays are spent in silent isolation on my couch writing non-stop for hours. That’s not very glamorous! But as friends have told me, I gotta “keep my eye on the prize!”
Something’s gotta give!
This weekend was full of treats. Saturday, Ed Helms held his 2nd annual holiday bash in his awesome Brooklyn apartment. Everyone was in fine holiday form, literally and figuratively, and Ed is a gracious host. But earlier in the day I was running around in the cold which made me slightly under the weather, so my attendance at Ed’s party was cut short. That trip I took on the tram to and from Roosevelt Island just for fun was hardly worth it. The ride and the views were just so-so.
Sunday, Christian and I cashed in *free* tickets to see the Tony Award winning Broadway hit Avenue Q. We thoroughly enjoyed the performances, score & book, but the Golden Theater stinks. Our usher was a crotchety bald woman who angered more than one patron and continually barked orders to no one in particular. The seats were the tiniest I’ve ever crammed my pa dunk a dunk trunk into, and poor Christian looked like he was the last man crammed into a phone booth during a world record setting adventure. Tiiigghhht.
But live theater isn’t about comfort and perhaps, mused Christian, that is why Broadway is dying a slow death. Then the show began and sucked us in and, well, did it matter that there was really no room for anyone to breathe or walk or stand?
Since I’ve been working on a re-design of my website (as I hinted at during my funk the last two months), I’ve been too busy to write anything interesting. Instead I’ll just bullet point some things:
(1) The 4: Your Consideration Art Series event was well-attended considering the time of year. We had about the same size crowd as the first one, but this time, everyone who attended received two free tickets to see 42nd Street on January 22nd. Nice. The Belt Theatre is a neat space and the people there are top notch.
(2) Addicted, Mark Lundholm‘s one man show, was great. Greater still were the free tickets and being able to spread the wealth to all my friends. I’m still in love with the Zipper Theatre. I would love to put on a big show there. One day, one day.
(3) Somebody should take my credit card away.
(4) I’m in the midst of another little home improvement project. I am high from staining a drop leaf table and waiting for it to dry before I polyurethane it. Christian is on his way over to help me mount it to the wall before we eat dinner and watch the Survivor finale. It will be so nice to have a table on which to eat. Now I just need some placemats and napkins and a hanging light and . . . see #3 above.
(5) I was in Williamsburg for Cofounder’s fundraiser and became very annoyed by two grungy little hippie types. They were dancing big and drawing undeserved attention to themselves and they smelled like shit. I wanted to tell them, “You know what? You’re not making a statement, you just stink and look like an asshole.” Everyone else there was great and the music of The Izzys and Dufus was terrific. I would see the former again definitely and the latter if they ditched their smelly, megalomaniac of a keyboardist.
(6) If you’re ever in the Garmet District or go to Madison Square Garden for anything and need a quiet, quaint little restaurant, I highly recommend Napoli Trattoria. There doesn’t seem to be much info on the web about this little place, so their secret isn’t out. It’s extremely affordable and the service was very attentive without being annoying. Their cuisine is listed as “pizza”, but it has a full italian menu.
Okay, time to hang up that table.
Busy, busy beaver.
So 42nd Street is just what one would expect of a grand scale, old school musical (Here, 1980 is defined as “old school”, further memorialized by this photo of the marquee from the original production). It was strange for a moment how un-special the whole thing was. Here I was, sitting in the producer’s seats for free for no real reason other than I am from Texas and so is she and all these people around me were buzzing with excitement and buying the glossy programs and talking about life back in Akron or from wherever they came. I used to travel from Ohio with friends and jam pack two weeks’ worth of sightseeing and theater into a four day weekend and drop a load of cash. It was an event. Now, it was just some random Thursday in November. I may not be rich, but perhaps I am spoiled. I’m a naughty, naughty girl. I deserve a spanking. So naughty, me.
The next time I travel could someone please remind me to pack one of those magical suitcases that are inevitably present in every musical about some naive “kid” coming to New York to “make it”. They seem to be forever featherweight depsite someone’s entire existence being stuffed inside its confines. I need me one of those fancy things. Really I do. If I were in the show, I would be so tempted to stuff bricks in the prop suitcases one night just to add realism. Oh the hilarity that would ensue when the actors would actually have to lift a suitcase as though it were full.
Naughty method actor.
My feet must be made of leather. So many people were kvetching about their walk home on Thursday and the sad state of their feet. I walked four miles in 1.5 hours in four inch (motherfu*king gorgeous) heels with no problems whatsoever. Bet you want to suck my toes now, don’t ya? Thought so.
I’m really, really, really proud of Ehren and Roxy for pulling together Pale Idiot, a terrific show with a great ending, for the Fringe Festival. Congratulations!
Rain, Rain Go Away……never fu*king come back again! Seriously, remember the drought of 2002? Well, apparently, droughts are out of style this year here in New York. Oh, sure, leg warmers made a comeback, but nothing like rain. Rain is where it’s at. Go get you some. Don’t have any rain there in ____lands Mall? Come to the Big Apple, and I’ll sell it to you for $1.00 an ounce. It’s the best.
4: Your Consideration Art Series
You! Yes, you! Where the hell were you? You just missed out on the best social/artistic event of the season. I kid you not. We did it. We found our niche. We had a great turnout, an exceptional talkback session with the playwright and, well, you weren’t there, so I’m not going to tell you the rest. Sucka!
So, Urban Cowboy is closing Sunday and I’ve got more free tickets for each performance Thursday through Sunday. Since I know you’re dying to go, I’ll earmark two for the first person to email me. Just make sure you actually can use them. Come on, it’s fun and FREE!
I took seven friends to see Urban Cowboy for *FREE* today. (Have I mentioned how I love being a producer?) Afterwords I was interviewed by Fox TV for my humble opinion. They asked if the show captured a Texan feel. My response was a non-committal, lackluster “Yeah,” before I retorted, “But, my trailer was cleaner!”
Two more are seeing it tomorrow without me. I can’t wait for their review, since I got into a slight verbal spar with one of them about how when she thinks of Texas she thinks of a black man getting drug by chains behind a pick-up truck. Need I remind her of Abner Louima? Should she as a New Yorker take responsiblity of the actions of other New Yorkers? Of course not. I insist on reciprocity or I’ll shoot her with my rifle once I pry it off my gun rack.
The day after another hugely successful Tex in the City event, I just want to grab random people on the street and hug them and kiss them and dry hump them. I walk with a bounce, but not one of those bounces that makes my pony tail swing back and forth. No, I hate that and want to rip those offending pony tails out by their bloody roots and get them DNA-tested for the “You Annoy the Hell Out of Me” gene so we can prevent these gene carriers from reproducing.
But I walk with a jaunty spring in my step. I smile and bite my lower lip and don’t stop when I know I’ve been caught by a passer by. I laugh out loud and sing stupid songs with the lyrics all wrong and say “Mornin’ fellas!” to construction workers and policemen. And if a guy makes a lewd comment about my Pa-Dunk-a-Dunk trunk, I say, “Thanks!” I flash my big Texas smile and the sun reflects off my left canine tooth and goes, “Trrrlllink”.
I love my friends. That means you and you and I even love my Amish ones that don’t blog like Heidi and Scott and Sheila. And I love the new friends I’ve made like Ken and Keith. Even though it’s too early to say “I love you,” I’m going to say it anyway and you don’t even have to say it back because I feel that good, and I don’t need silly affirmations to know that you love me too even though you’re too afraid to admit it you big old scaredy cat.
Oh sure, the *FREE* producer’s seats for last night’s production of Urinetown the Musical and my *FREE* dinner courtesy of the managers at Dallas BBQ were great, but seeing our friend Charlie Pollock give an outstanding performance and then be such a gracious, courteous Southern Boy to all of our Tex in the City guests, well, I just want to wrap myself in saran wrap and slide down a Slip ‘N Slide with baby oil all over me because that just sounds so outrageously fun the way my insides feel. Come on, let’s do it!