• All Blog Entries,  Family & Life,  NYC

    Walking Home on 9/11

    For all these years, I felt my 9/11 experience generally banal, so I haven’t shared it for fear of looking like I’m trying to insert myself into a tragedy. So many who weren’t here have fetishized it already. I’ll skip the details of the morning (it was a beautiful fall day, I was at work, etc.) & the days after…my mom asked me to share about my walk home.

    It wasn’t until I saw the movie Dunkirk in 2017 that I realized I had experienced a trauma specific to me (and the thousands of others with me) as we walked home on the 59th Street Bridge. I’m curious to hear if anyone else was “with me” remembers or experienced this. It would have been around 2 or 3PM that day, I’m guessing. Possibly even closer to 4pm as I did journal that the relatively short walk took almost 3 hours

    I left Rockefeller Center around 12PM with Jeff, Mitch & Rich, the attorneys with whom I worked. We walked north along 5th Avenue. We made a pit stop for a round of drinks at the Plaza’s iconic Oak Room before we all had to split up and go on our own ways: Jeff & Rich to the UWS, Mitch to the UES and me, alone, but not alone, across the 59th Street Bridge to Queens.

    The walk was slow due to the crushing number of people and cars crowded on the bridge. People meandered through cars and hitched rides on the backs of trucks, rode skateboards and rollerblades while hanging on to side mirrors. About half way across the bridge, there was the piercing, shrieking, ear blasting sound of a jet that was very close and moving very fast. There was no where to run, nothing to do. We all collectively sucked in and held our breath and looked toward the sound. Then the sight of jets. Fighter jets. USA jets. Seeing the American flag and recognizing that we weren’t in danger but they were there to help save and protect us, we let out our breath with a collective cheer.

    This took place over *maybe* 2.5 seconds. So fast. But seared into my memory.

    Fast forward to 2017. I was watching the movie Dunkirk and was bombarded with scene after scene after scene of airplanes targeting and bombing people stuck on bridges and piers. They had nowhere to run. It was familiar. Too familiar. It surprised me how wrecked I was by this movie. I came home and sobbed. Grieved. Released some pent up emotions. I called my mom and told her about how overwhelmed I was by it all. I had no idea how close to the surface that old trauma was.

    I avoid 9/11 coverage mostly due to the aforementioned fetishization and more. But also to avoid those feelings.

    To be on the island of Manhattan on 9/11 –a city under active attack and you a sitting duck– was traumatizing. The horror and terror when a 2nd plane hit and we knew this was deliberate and think “What do we do now? Where do we go?” was traumatizing. Then the images that followed in real time was traumatizing. But that walk home on the bridge. Those 2.5 seconds contained a whole beginning, middle and end of a war movie with a triumphant end.

    Were you on the 59th Street Bridge with me that day? Do you have any memory of this? Please share, if so. It’s one of those nagging memories that I would like to resolve.

  • All Blog Entries,  NYC,  QED

    Live Comedy is Still Banned

    Several have asked why QED isn’t hosting shows when places like Bartolino’s Restaurant in Astoria are. The DoH and SLA have approved the 5-page proposal I drafted for reopening. The only reason nothing has changed is because Gov. Cuomo has not signed off on it. If you’ve not read it, it’s available here: www.tinyurl.com/savenycomedy

    That means that any ticketed arts and entertainment at any licensed venue is not allowed. If you are seeing it happen at venue that sells food & beverages, it is illegal. It’s a known risk for some or willful ignorance, flouting the rules, rolling the dice. Insert whatever idiom or description you want, it doesn’t make it more legal.

    Selling food & beverages in an unlicensed venue is also illegal. A venue has to have license from the Dept of Health in order to allow any handling of F&B. To change the situation and allow ticketed arts & entertainment at licensed venues, Gov. Cuomo has to allow it. He’s the only one. He’s the solution and the problem.

    We tried calling him out on this publicly during our 9/22 press conference. We got more press than I’ve ever gotten for any press conference I’ve helped on ever. It made zero bit of difference. Why? Cuomo. Again. He’s it.

    Options to reopen legally:
    1) Get the Governor to acknowledge the arbitrary and contradictory rules and change them / approve our proposal.
    2) The State Legislature reconvenes and strips away his absolute power (Andrea Stewart Cousins and Carl Heastie hold this power, I believe) and then what? Maybe individual mayors can decide?
    3) Is there a 3? Just wait until a vaccine or new Gov, whichever comes first? I don’t have time for that so I don’t think there is a 3. Am I forgetting another option?

    His right hand Richard Azzopardi is active on Twitter. He’s the only one I know of that we can directly contact w/ any direct and immediate line of communication to the Governor. https://twitter.com/RichAzzopardi

    If you have other insight or questions, drop them in the comments below.

  • All Blog Entries,  Books & Publishing,  Food & Drink,  NYC,  QED,  Recipes

    Astoria at Home – Cookbook

    Here’s something fun AND useful. Curated by and for Astorians, the Astoria at Home cookbook celebrates the neighborhood’s vibrant food scene while raising money to support the Astoria Mutual Aid Network.

    QED Astoria has a cocktail recipe in here as well as a story written by me about the time an NBC Sports announcer dissed my neighborhood during the NYC Marathon broadcast and my subsequent reaction to his nasty comments.

    Order your digital download here & proceeds will benefit the Astoria Mutual Aid Network.

  • All Blog Entries,  Craft Projects,  Family & Life,  NYC,  QED

    Art Auction for QED

    Hey there! How are you? I started painting about a year ago and shared some of my work online along the way. Folks asked if I’d ever sell my work. I didn’t intend to but, well, I didn’t intend to get wrapped up in a pandemic either so…

    Money raised will go directly to QED and a portion to our friends at Mount Sinai Queens where I had surgery and treatments for cancer. They are the heroes here. My heart is aching for the special village we’ve carved out of the big city of New York. Thank you for your bid and contribution to making sure we can rebound from this. The pendulum will swing back. It always does. 

    The eBay collection is not live yet so it’s blank but here’s the link. And if you want to check them out on the QED site, here you go. 🙂 I might add a few more over the next few days.

  • All Blog Entries,  NYC,  QED,  Running

    NYC Marathon Memory & Queens Pride

    A @nycmarathon@nyrr memory & how a flippant comment inspired: In 2009 as women leaders ran through my neighborhood an @NBCSports TV announcer said, “the runners are now in the less-than-picturesque part of Queens.” I was appalled. How dare he? I LIVE HERE!

    Of course no one was there greeting runners so it looked like an uninhabited sh*thole. The announcer kinda had a point. I mean on my block the only lame playground is across the street from a strip club. Mornings were littered w/syringes, Four Loco cans & bloody, ripped t-shirts*.

    Paquita & her sign

    I vowed to return the next year to that very spot the announcer dissed & REPRESENT! In 2010, I made a sign for me, (bright orange “Welcome to Queens”) and my Chihuahua (¡Andele! ¡Andele!).

    We stood at the foot of the Pulaski Bridge & made a ruckus. No way an announcer would have the gall to say something nasty now! A happy lady & her dog were standing in that sh*thole proudly holding her homemade sign!

    FF to 2015 a friend texted me a picture of a portait hanging in the @MuseumofCityNY & asked, “Is this you?” Why, yes it is! Don Emmert snapped it for @GettyImages@AFP & the Museum included the photo in its exhibit celebrating the NYC Marathon https://mcny.org/exhibition/new-york-city-marathon

    This glorious portrait & memory serves as a reminder that even sh*tholes are comprised of real *people*. We the people can choose to gripe about a rude comment & demand to speak to the manager, or we can invest our time & energy into making that announcer wrong. Very wrong.

    That jerk announcer injected me w/some #Queens pride! Since then, I’m so invested in this “less-than-picturesque” part of the @NYCMarathon that I tattooed the iconic World’s Fair Unisphere onto my body & built a performance/community space @QEDAstoria from scratch. F that dude.

    Tomorrow as the @nycmarathon runners exit the Pulaski Bridge, I’ll be there again welcoming them to my fair borough w/the same sign (different dog) before I head to @QEDAstoria, a brick & mortar symbol of my devotion to #Queens. Be the change…yada, yada, yada.

    But seriously, F that dude.

    *The playground has been closed for renovations for almost two years now with zero work done on it over long stretches of times. The strip club continues to thrive and is actually quite nice.

  • All Blog Entries,  Family & Life,  NYC

    9/11 Souvenir Photo

    I don’t usually post on 9/11, but this souvenir photo booklet spilled out of a box in my QED office today. Haven’t seen it in years and so it must have wanted to be shared. It’s from a visit to NYC in ’98 with my theater friends from Ohio. The next year I came back several times, weaning myself away from my friends and old life before finally making the big, permanent move.

    I wrote about it a little bit in my memoir: “I was approaching my one year anniversary of living in New York City when, on September 11, 2001, terrorists flew planes into the twin towers of the World Trade Center. Some new residents were spooked by the calculated evil attack and fled to the perceived safety of their hometowns. My reaction was the opposite. I dug in my heels. I had finally found a place where I belonged and I was staying.”

    On that day, I was in Rockefeller Center. I walked home over the 59th Street Bridge and kept the shoes I was wearing until 2 years ago when I finally threw them out. I have a picture of them, though. I don’t know why but I wanted to have them to remember that awful walk home. Here’s a pic of them on flickr: https://flic.kr/p/ndejG

    Every year I think I’ll share a little about the walk home but never do. I haven’t wanted to feed tragedy fetishists or exploit the monumental loss with my relatively banal experience. Maybe tomorrow. September 12th.

    I was pretty pissed off on September 12, 2001. I woke up at my usual time and went to work. “It is better to die on one’s feet than live on one’s knees,” I thought. I was fuming with rage. I *refused* to be too afraid to live my life. I had already gone through that after my Dad’s attack on my mother. Then, I was 17 and lived in fear of what the locks on my doors didn’t do. I married a man, took his last name and fled from it all.

    Not this time. Nope. Not a chance.

  • All Blog Entries,  Family & Life,  Family & Life,  NYC,  Theater

    NYMF 2019 & Lights for Liberty: A Vigil

    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.

    Lights for Liberty Vigil at Foley Square, Friday, July 12, 2019

    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!

  • All Blog Entries,  Family & Life,  NYC

    If You Can Make It Here

    You know the old saying about New York, “If you can make it here, you’ll make it anywhere?” Well, I always say that it’s less about competition and the struggle to stand out and more about the daily slog of everyday life that New York makes so much harder. It is HARD to live here. Physically and mentally. Today was was one of those days for me.

    I helped out a house-bound friend and left my umbrella on her table. I got a bad cancer screening (my 3rd in a row since ending my cancer treatments) and found out another biopsy would be needed. I emerged from the hospital shocked and disappointed only to see it POURING rain outside. That’s when I realized I’d left my umbrella at my friend’s house and she wasn’t replying to my texts or calls. I was already pretty wet so had lunch, donated blood and finally gave up and trudged home in the muggy heat and pouring rain dodging under awnings and vestibules when the rain got too bad. I got home and it was still raining, but by the time I got up the stairs to my 4th floor walk up the sun was doing this shit. ?

    The &$@!? sunshine started showing its face AFTER I just after getting a bad breast cancer screening and donating blood?! That is the ultimate F.U. from the Universe. Doing all the right things did not pay off. :

    Grrr! NYC is Tough, Man

    Tomorrow is a new day! I’m going to give mock interviews to recently released inmates then put in some hours at QED to get ready for a big weekend of parties and shows. And I’m gonna wear rubber boots and raincoat the whole time. ? Photo of my outfit today. Alright NYC, I ain’t playing.

    Back at you NYC!

    I’m a volunteer with Fortune Society, conducting mock interviews and welcoming new clients. I am captivated by their logo. It’s so perfect: A dove emerging from caged bars to freedom. ?

  • All Blog Entries,  NYC

    Civil War Round Table Guest Ed Bearss

    I’ve been studying the Civil War and Reconstruction at Columbia University online taught by Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian, Professor Eric Foner. It’s been enlightening and has helped satiate my hunger for knowledge of early American history, as brutal, ugly and discomfiting as it is.

    Reconstruction, in particular, is all very depressing. But there is also some comfort to be gained, especially during this tumultuous and violent-#MAGA-racist-Trump-agenda, Charlottesville-era we’re living in. The history of the US has been consistently cyclical. With each advancement, there is an immediate backlash and reversal of the progress. 

    Interested in meeting some like-minded history buffs so I can really talk about this stuff, I joined the Civil War Round Table of New York. Their dinner meetings are held once a month at a gorgeous mansion on 51st Street in Rockefeller Center that is now the Women’s National Republican Club. Their placard made me pause when I saw it upon entering. The building, event link and Google address promoted it as 3 West Club, a special event space. Methinks their rentals wouldn’t be as fetching for New Yorkers with the R word in there.  

    Each Civil War Round Table meeting features a guest speaker and discussion topic. My first meeting was in September and the first of the new “season” with guest Ed Bearss on the topic “Ask Ed Anything”. Intriguing, but so different from all the other speakers I was seeing on the site who were scheduled to talk about specific topics such as “The Common Man in the Civil War” and “The Court Martial of Fitz-John Porter”.

    Mr. Bearss is 95 yrs old at the date of these photos and a delightful, knowledgable historian. He was introduced by a very colorful character whose name escapes me but who clearly participates in enactments as evidenced by his long wavy locks and thick beard. Mr. Bearss spoke without notes, answering questions and eliciting laughs.

    The best part was Mr. Bearss’ going off on tangents to tell personal anecdotes.

    When asked how he felt about certain movies and their depiction of events, he mentioned going to see “The Horse Soldiers” in 1959. “I was courting my wife and took her to see it. Had I not been courting her, I would’ve walked out. You can play with history; but you can’t play with it too much.” Okay, I’ll mark this movie on my “Don’t Bother” list. 

    While talking about his military service he mentioned a very tough drill instructor who, if you were caught chewing gum, would make you stick it up your butt. “One man was not very smart and got caught twice.”

    My favorite was Mr. Bearss declaring, “I once gave an anti-Chamberlain speech in Maine.” The audience gasped and ooohhhed which was followed by knowing laughter. “Chamberlain” is the revered (to Mainers, at least) Joshua Chamberlaindecorated Union General who served one term as Governor of Maine. I laughed hard, too. Not at the joke (I actually had to look  Chamberlain up to see what I was missing), but at how this group knew a super specific punchline to a super specific anecdote about a random General in the Civil War. Nerds! My people! I have found you!

    Ed Bearss Civil War Round Table
    Kambri Crews & Ed Bearss  

    After he spoke, he stayed to greet people. It was an honor to have met him and I’m grateful he has shared so much of his love of country with so many generations. I haven’t been back to the Round Table, unfortunately. They changed their meeting night to Monday which is when I’m running things at QED. If the stars align and I’m off on a night they meet, I’ll definitely go back even if it’s held at the Women’s National R$@%! Club. ?

    Ed Bearss at the NY Civil War Round Table

  • All Blog Entries,  Family & Life,  NYC,  Theater

    Come From Away to Grant’s Tomb & Riverside Church

    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.

  • All Blog Entries,  NYC,  Theater

    Hedwig and the Angry Inch

    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.


    NPH Hedwig

  • All Blog Entries,  Anipals,  Christian Finnegan,  Family & Life,  NYC,  Random

    My Fool’s Day

    Turning 41 on a Tuesday can be pretty blah. If you looked at our day on paper, it probably was.

    We slept till 10:30 and in between the rush of showering, dog walking, coffee and breakfast, I gave Christian (the birthday boy) his gifts:

    1) A doggy DNA kit for our mutt Griswold,
    2) Tickets to “Hedwig & the Angry Inch” starring Neil Patrick Harris, and
    3) A neon sign from the set of his sitcom Are We There Yet? that an eagle-eyed photographer from the show snagged at a junk store and shipped to me from Connecticut.

    Christian went to therapy and had an MRI for his knee & hip while I worked. Afterward, we took Grizzy to an empty dog park. Bummer. Grizzy was hankering for some play time. We were finally joined by a guy with a rambunctious puppy named Fliffy. Making small talk about our dogs, we asked Fliffy’s dad what breed Fliffy was (poodle, Wheaton terrier mix). He asked what Grizzy was. I said we didn’t know but that I got the doggy DNA kit for Christian’s birthday.

    “Today’s your birthday?” the guy asked as he walked toward Christian with his hand extended to give a shake. “It’s mine, too.”

    Weird! “Happy birthday, Fliffy’s dad!”

    “What year? I’m 1973.”

    WOW! WHOA! WEIRD! What are the odds?

    Hungry, Christian, Grizzy & I left the park for LIC Bar. We ate Vietnamese food and drank beer in the rapidly diminishing afternoon sun followed by dessert at Monika’s Cafe Bar. We came home to swab Grizzy’s cheeks for DNA, watch TV and not much else.

    Turning 41 on a Tuesday can be pretty blah. If you looked at our day on paper, it probably was.

    Christian & Griswold

  • All Blog Entries,  Family & Life,  NYC,  Random

    Fly, Baby, Fly

    NYPDTweetI saw a tweet  from the NYPD and thought it was cool. It’s cool not only that in 1988 Mary Lowery was the first woman assigned to the NYPD’s Aviation Unit, but also because that same year Mom was wiring avionics for Heli-Dyne in Hurst, TX. She was even in a Budweiser commercial during the “For all you do, this Bud’s for you!” advertising phase. Four helicopters they built was for…you guessed it:  The NYPD.

    After the helicopters were completed, the NYPD gave Mom a baseball hat with their logo on it. Dad used it to try to get out of a traffic ticket. I was with him and acted as his interpreter. Dad told the truth to me, and I interpreted a better lie to the cop . We got off. We didn’t need the hat.

    Years later, when I moved to NYC, I worked with the lawyer whot represented the NYPD in their precedent-setting licensing efforts. Less than two months after the license was granted, planes flew into the Twin Towers on 9/11 and the NYPD’s trademark became invaluable. Months were spent at Ground Zero confiscating unlicensed NYPD hats.

    The only aerial pics taken on 9/11 were by a photographer in an NYPD helicopter that Mom built. (TW: Actual footage on YouTube taken on 9/11 from one of the choppers Mom built. If you FF to 14:50 and onward they show the helicopter and its interior equipment, etc.)

    The pics were published in the book Above Hallowed Ground: A Photographic Record of September 11, 2001 in which the lawyer & his team (me!) were thanked. Funny how things go full circle. 

    Heli-Dyne I always loved that Mom didn’t have a “traditional woman’s” job. That she excelled in her industry inspired and empowered me. With each generation we women can learn from and lean on each other.  There’s something weird going on in the USA with women’s rights. I can’t fully wrap my head around it and why it’s happening now, but I have faith that it’s just a phase. We still have the right to vote, something our [great] grandmothers didn’t always have and women in other countries *still* don’t have.

    Exercise that right, ladies.

    Build your own helicopter and fly.

    Below are pics of the tweet / photo of Mary Lowery and a photo of Mom (the redhead) with two other women in avionics with two of the four NYPD helicopters, wiring others and the NYPD choppers in action at the World Trade Center and the Brooklyn Bridge. Plus a pic of the bambi bucket being tested in Hurst, TX.

    NYPDTweet Heli-Dyne NYPDChopperBridge NYPDChopperWTC NYPD Chopper MomWiringChopper MomWiringChopper2 NYPDChopperTest

  • All Blog Entries,  Comedy,  NYC,  Random,  Theater,  Writing

    Solo Shows & Storytelling

    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.

    midnightexpressLast 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.

  • All Blog Entries,  Family & Life,  Mentoring,  NYC,  Rock House

    Christmas 2013

    I had an especially awesome week leading up to Christmas. I had three separate dates with my protégé which was the biggest treat. We hopped aboard a vintage train (pic at right & at bottom) to Midtown where we shopped at the Disney store and Toys R Us Times SquareNostalgia Train, and got tickets at the TDF booth for Newsies the Musical. Our seats were pretty high up in the mezzanine but this musical’s set design allowed for great viewing. The choreography was phenomenal and we enjoyed the show very much.

    During intermission, Jeaniah pored through the program matching each actor’s headshot and bio with their characters. A few minutes into the second act, the lead male was singing in earnest and Jeaniah whispered, “He has a very pretty voice!” I agreed and took note at how enthralled she was. At curtain call, she applauded politely for chorus, loudly for a few of her favorite supporting cast members, then screamed the highest pitched dolphin squeal that could’ve broken glass when the lead male took his bows, like we were at a One Direction concert. Her unbridled enthusiasm made me happier than any gift could.

    On the subway ride home, some boys started breakdancing in our car and could’ve rivaled any dancer in the Newsies chorus. Our car wasn’t that packed so it wasn’t too obnoxious and they were seriously talented, so Jeaniah gave them a dollar.

    A few days later, I picked her up after school. She opened my Christmas gifts for her: a bracelet loom, tons of rubber bands and charms for making the bracelets, and a jewelry organizer for her new bedroom. These were met with gasps of OH MY GOSH! and COOL! I also packed her bag with her favorite treats that I normally would put in a stocking like some gummy bears (Gummy bears?! I LOVE gummy bears!) and a bag of Goldfish crackers (Goldfish?! I LOVE Goldfish!). This cracked me up. I’ve known her for two years now, so of course I know what she wants and likes to eat and do and see. Her surprise was delightful.

    She mentioned that she had cards for her two teachers but wished she had gifts, so I let her pick two gifts from a shopping bag of heavily discounted Christmas items I had just snagged at Rite Aid. She chose an amaryllis and a candle/holder.

    Later that week, I picked her up after school to go see “Frozen” in 3D. We both really loved it and the theme song “Let it Go”. In the movie, it’s sung by Idina Menzel but when then end credits rolled, it’s this Demi Lovato version. Dang it is a catchy tune! I felt so happy from the movie, so the heck with it….I’m gonna SING! We sang what words we knew (not many) at the tops of our lungs and mumbled the rest and bounced around in our seats. I gotta take this girl to a real concert.


    A couple of days later Christian and I joined her and her family at the annual Hour Children Christmas party with gifts supplied by the Marine’s Toys for Tots program. We got a few really nice pictures and made some crafts before Christian and I scooted out to LIC for the LIC Flea and the gorgeous view of Manhattan with the ESB decorated in green & red for Christmas with an awesome light show timed with music airing on 106.7. Fun! (Click here for the YouTube video of the light show.)

    All in all, it was a great week in the city with all it has to offer, but I was happy to leave it behind for a long “vacation” at our cabin upstate. We enjoyed dominoes, the wood fire, Vince Guaraldi, lots of good home cooked meals, “Cheers” on Netflix, making pomander balls, way too much candy and almost too much laziness. Among other gifts, I gave Christian a pair of Hunter boots and Morrissey’s new autobiography and a bunch of tech gadgets; he gave me a gorgeous vintage tub planter, a much needed wallet and  a 3,000 piece jigsaw puzzle. The latter was really a gift to him: I stayed busy and out of his hair for a whole week. ;oP

    We rang in the New Year quietly around our fire, writing out our goals, the theme of which seemed based on this Samuel Beckett quote:

    All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

    Onward and upward to us all in 2014!

    Hour Children Christmas Party 2013 Hour Children Christmas Party 2013 Hour Children Christmas Party 2013 Nostalgia Train Nostalgia Train Nostalgia Train Nostalgia Train Newsies LIChristmas 2013 Tree2013 Tree Christmas 2013 Pomander Balls  Fireside Chat

  • All Blog Entries,  Family & Life,  NYC

    El Nombre de Mi Hombre Deli es JOSE!

    I’ve been going to the same deli for nine years. Working there were two Latin dudes named Juan and Jose. One was a short order cook and the other the delivery guy / sometimes cook. Both are so damned nice considering their grueling hours and commutes that they inspire me to enjoy my life and work half as much as they do.

    The problem is, I never knew who was Juan and who was Jose. It didn’t matter much since I could just say Hola Juan! Hola Jose! And they both would smile, wave and say good morning. At Christmas, we delivered two envelopes with a card and cash as their “holiday bonus” one addressed to Juan & the other Jose and handed both to whomever was closest. So, they sorted that out.

    Then the short order cook moved back home. It was sudden. One day he was just gone. Who was left? Juan or Jose? We didn’t know and the more time passed the more awkward it became to find out. I listened intently to anyone who would address the remaining guy but no one ever said his name.

    Last week, I hosted my 10-year-old niece for her first trip to NYC. I devised a plan to teach her some phrases in Spanish with the ultimate goal to find out my deli guy’s name. Her first day in NYC I ushered her in to the deli and introduced her to the owners and Juan/Jose:

    Me: Hola! Buenos días! Esta es mi sobrina.
    Her: Mi nombre es Kaelyn.
    And the mucho importante part
    Her: Como tu llames?
    Him: Mi nombre es Jose!
    (Kaelyn and I high five. Mission accomplished.)
    Kaelyn: Mucho gusto.

    She’s now addicted to Duolingo & trying to learn Spanish and I am now calling out to Jose by name every chance I get to make up for lost time.


  • Acting,  All Blog Entries,  NYC,  TV & Movies

    “Prisoners” Screening & Talk Back

    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)

    Prisoners AMMI

  • All Blog Entries,  NYC,  PR & Marketing,  Theater

    La Soirée Giveaway & Discount Offer

    I have FOUR PAIR of tickets that I am GIVING AWAY to see La Soirée, a sexy mix of cabaret, burlesque, circus sideshow and contemporary variety. Check out this video to see what I’m talking about!

    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.

    Performance Schedule
    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.




  • Acting,  All Blog Entries,  Christian Finnegan,  Family & Life,  NYC,  Theater,  TV & Movies,  Writing

    Classic NYC Week

    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.

    — Invited to perform on the first ever Solo Comedy Festival #SoloCom at The Peoples Improv Theater with the script from ^.

    — 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.

  • All Blog Entries,  Christian Finnegan,  Comedy,  NYC

    FREE! Christian Finnegan Workshops a New One Hour Stand Up About NYC

    Comedian and Queens resident Christian Finnegan will present free workshop performances of New York City-related stories and stand up comedy called THE NYC PROJECT.

    Finnegan, a resident of New York City since the age of 18, will tell jokes, stories and other “only in New York” material during a one-hour show titled THE NYC PROJECT. Why only New York material? “Over the years I’ve written lots of jokes about this glorious mess of a town, and it’s some of my favorite to perform,“ Finnegan said. “Unfortunately, bits about Duane Reade salespeople and Astor Place skateboarders don’t travel well, so they rarely get told. They tantalize me like an overpriced artisanal pickle in a Brooklyn shop window.”

    Christian’s stand up albums, “Two for Flinching” and “Au Contraire!”, are available on iTunes and at Amazon. Visit www.christianfinnegan.com for more.2868336266_924010a2dc_o

    SUN, JUL 14 – SAT, JUL 20 @ 7PM (SHARP!)
    The Creek and the Cave
    10-93 Jackson Ave.
    Long Island City, NY 11101

    FREE! General admission. No minimums & no RSVP required.

  • All Blog Entries,  Family & Life,  NYC,  Random

    Chicken of the NYC

    I was standing on my corner waiting for the light to change when an older woman of European or Middle Eastern descent with a utility push cart suddenly stopped and asked me, “Do you eat tuna?”

    “Sorry?” I was sure I understood her, but wait. What?

    “Tuna. Do you eat it?”

    “Oh, tuna, yes I eat it.”

    “Do you know of this Chicken of the Sea. Is good yes?”

    “Sure,” I shrugged. “Brands are kind of all the same.” I didn’t think it worth it to parse out the differences between oil and water, chunk, light, blah, blah, blah.

    “Because my husband say it CHEAP!” She then launched into a scathing detailed account of how she came home with the groceries and he bitched about the cheap tuna demanding she go back to the store to return it. She disagreed and said, “He eat what I bring home!”

    Strong words for a woman who was on her way to Western Beef to exchange the tuna.

    I laughed and said, “I don’t think the brand matters but look for solid white albacore.”

    “Huh? Al-buh-core?” She repeated, unsure of this new word I was introducing to her vocabulary.

    “Yes, A-L-B-A…You know what, I’ll just show you.” So she and I walked along with her pushcart to Western Beef, her complaining of her nitpicking husband the whole way.

    In the canned meat section of the store, I showed her the difference between tuna packed in oil versus water and chunk versus solid white.

    I gave her a wicked little grin and said, “Take home Bumble Bee, so your husband will think he’s right.”

    “He will complain about something else then! He eat what I bring home!” She said as she placed the Bumble Bee in her basket.

  • All Blog Entries,  Family & Life,  NYC,  Running

    Run, Baby Run!

    I was so happy to accompany my pal Liam on his first race, a 5K on Roosevelt Island. I ran a 10K soon after his race started and we met up at the finish line to walk home for a celebratory brunch. He’s been following the Couch to 5K program that so many people swear by. Judging by how well he did –never stopping and clocking in at a 13 minute mile pace — I’m endorsing the program, too.

    He was beaming afterward and we’ve already signed up for the next race. (I dare you to run a race and NOT want to recapture the feeling ASAP.) He and I will be running a 5K & 10K again on Memorial Day and welcome any and all to join us. It’s an ice cream social, too!

  • All Blog Entries,  Family & Life,  Mentoring,  NYC,  Theater

    May Days! May Days!

    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!

  • All Blog Entries,  Craft Projects,  Family & Life,  NYC

    Broadway Bound

    My niece turned 10 years old! As my gift to her, I’m treating her to a trip to the Big Apple. I filled a box with some NYC trinkets and a homemade boarding pass so she’d have something tangible to open and think about before the actual trip happens. Happy birthday to her!

    A bell’invito stationery box filled with some NYC goodies.

    Boarding pass to NYC & tri-fold holder.

    Good for one round-trip airfare to NYC!

  • All Blog Entries,  Family & Life,  Mentoring,  NYC

    Taking My Protege to “Work”

    Tomorrow is “Take Your Mentee* to Work Day”. Since I work from home and have an unconventional life and schedule, I figured I’d show her a little bit about publicity and the daily newspapers and then spend the day learning about other worthwhile stuff.

    Searching for things to do, I was frustrated that so many museums and exhibits are still out of commission from Sandy. I was especially disappointed we can’t visit the “Bodies” exhibit. It is moving to Discovery Times Square so we will hit that soon enough, but the others? Who knows.

    Instead, I’ve decided to take her on an adventure through Lower Manhattan focusing on the plight of the immigrant. We’ll ride the subway to the World Trade Center, view the 9/11 Memorial, take the Staten Island Ferry to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island up close (both are closed due to Sandy damage), walk through Chinatown and Little Italy as we make our way to the LES for a tour of the Tenement Museum.

    At least that’s the plan. NYC is unkind lately. Let’s see how the craptastic NYC weather treats us (cold and biting wind, I bet), how my wallet fares even with the free ferry ride (empty, surely, the Tenement Museum is ridiculously expensive but since Ellis Island is shuttered, it is what it is), and what memories we make (with googly eyeballs and smelly unidentifiable things for sale all over Chinatown, this has got to be a goldmine).

    *Protégé. The word is protégé. “Mentee” sounds like an immature manatee or a dental hygiene product. My lady is neither of those things, she is befitting of an elegant word from the 1700s, not one made up in the mid-1960s when people were dropping acid.

  • All Blog Entries,  NYC,  Running

    Eye of the Tiger!

    I’m back in fighting mode…well, let’s be honest, I’m moving at a pace faster than a sloth. Geez, who are you my mother? So, anyway, I’m running again after over a year-and-a-half of book publishing bullarkey and the ensuing tour which I loved. Loved a leeeetle bit too much say my jeans that split apart at the ass crack during the most inopportune time ever — as if there’s ever an opportune time for flabby white cellulite to poke out like sausage escaping its casing, but that’s another story.

    To put my money where my mouth is (Wait! My mouth was on food…hmmm. Flawed cliche.) and to meet my 2012 New Year’s Eve goal to “always have a race” I signed up for two in NYC. I’m not a fan of the NYRR (they make terrible PR choices and their very well-paid top management is to blame, plus their races are damned pricey), but the first race is relatively affordable, a good warmup for my 2nd race, and for a good cause (who doesn’t hate butt cancer?). The second race is an exciting course in Brooklyn which needs the love as its shoreline was damaged from that bitch Sandy.

    I promise I won’t post all of my training and bore you with stats or make you feel bad if you’re not feeling like moving right now or ever. Instead, if you want to follow (a/k/a stalk) me on Runkeeper.com, I’m letting it all hang out…sausage casing be damned. My profile is here and, yes, I’m at 158 pounds and aiming for 145. I’m already down 12 pounds since last fall (My tour was THAT good. Damn you, Madison, WI! And I didn’t work out or diet from November till late January so I’m pretty stoked that I stayed steady for the holidays!)

    I perform better when I’m in “put up or shut up” mode. Hell, that’s how I wrote a book. I told everyone “I’m writing a book!” and then had to manifest that shite.

    So yeah, I’m running some races, bitches! Catch me if you can!*

    Because I’m at the cabin for the weekend and am afraid of getting complacent while holed up in front of the fire and ice & snow outside, I decided to do some other type of cardio workout besides running. Enter Bob #$%&*@! Harper. HOLY MOTHER OF GOD I HATE/LOVE HIM FOR WHAT HE DID TO ME. I highly recommend these two DVDs, but unless you’re in really fit shape start out with his 25 minute workout. TRUST ME. I’m hobbling around like a $10 hooker on 8″ platforms. I. Am. WRECKED.

    For many years, I’ve also enjoyed Jennifer Kries’ pilates workouts. They’re much less strenuous but no less effective when it comes to toning and core conditioning. For me right now, though, I’m working on getting my stamina and cardio health back up to being able to run. Enter this S.O.B.:


    *You can. Please don’t hurt me for the smack talk. I promise, I’m just kidding and trying to PUMP US UP!

    P.S. I don’t care if you think I didn’t need to lose weight or if you think I’m fine how I am. My clothes don’t fit and haven’t for a long while…since Comix closed, I’d guess. I have nice clothes, and I’d like to fit into them again.

  • All Blog Entries,  Family & Life,  NYC

    I Need a Trip to Paramus Mall

    I’ve been feeling pretty worthless and insignificant lately. Past my prime? My biggest accomplishment behind me? I don’t know. I just have nothing really to look forward to or work toward. I’m not the same “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” kind of gal. I’m more “I’ll sleep [eat, drink, watch TV], because I have nothing else to do” kind of blob.

    Normally, I’d move on to the next adventure. Find another city, a new career, something else. But here I am, stuck in the supposedly greatest city of the world feeling lonely, bored, aimless. Feeling used and forgotten. Washed up and dried out. Done.

    Maybe I just need a quick trip to Paramus Mall.

  • Acting,  All Blog Entries,  NYC,  Theater

    Call for Producers / Directors

    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!

    The Moth Mainstage

  • Acting,  All Blog Entries,  Family & Life,  NYC,  Theater,  TV & Movies

    Extra! Extra!

    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.

  • All Blog Entries,  Family & Life,  Mentoring,  NYC,  Theater

    Big Apple Circus Review

    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!

    *Check out this video I took of a cool subway busker we stopped to listen to at the Times Square station.

    **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.


    “What’s that?”

    “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.

  • All Blog Entries,  Family & Life,  Mentoring,  NYC,  Theater

    A Decade Ago & Today

    Here’s a fun retro blog entry from 10 years ago today “The Morning After” which chronicles the first time I met Christian in person and mentioned him on my site. Feels like yesterday.

    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.

  • All Blog Entries,  NYC,  Random

    In the Papers

    I feel like today’s NY Post should have it’s own exclusive “In the Papers” segment with Pat Kiernan.

    The cover is a heartwarming story of an NYPD officer Larry DiPrimo buying socks and a pair of $75 boots for a homeless man. So touching, right?  People all over the country have been so incredibly moved by his selfless gesture that the Post devoted the cover and two full pages to the story. All I can think is, “Giving a shoeless homeless man pair of boots is very kind, but the man is probably mentally ill and still on the streets…but go ahead and put the bandaid on open gash.” Pfft. I know I’m being a buzzkill but I can’t shake the cynical, pessimistic thought. Luckily the bum seems harmless unlike some of the lunatics that roam city streets. But, yeah, kudos to the officer. Nice job, dude. I hope they enjoy their fifteen minutes before the Post digs up some salacious info on one or both of them (hope you never sexted anyone, bro!) and rips them apart.

    Then there’s an article on Lindsay Lohan‘s latest run-in with the law. Oh LiLo, did Britney not teach you anything? Nothing surprises me here. That the Post would devote two full pages to the once promising actress’ ongoing trouble tornado (Officer DiPrimo, take note! Nothing pleases the Post more than to tear down what it helped build.) or that Lindsay socked a lady in the face. What would be a surprise is she actually had to serve time. It helped straighten up Paris and Britney. Girl needs help. Incidentally, the precinct where Lindsay was taken is the same one I picked up ArIes Spears from when he *allegedly* forcibly touched a lady at the comedy nightclub Comix.

    Finally, there is an article covering a bizarre incident during the sexual abuse trial stemming from charges that a 12-year-old girl was molested by a leader in the Hasidic Jewish Satmar sect. I’ve always found Hasidic Judaism stranger and more cult-like than other religions which are all pretty strange and cult-like when you slice and dice them. Hasids are almost as strange as the time I saw one of my Dad’s extended family writhing around on the floor of a church moaning and crying and panting like she was being shtupped by the Holy Ghost. And, ladies, let me tell you, the Ghost had found her G(lory) spot. I felt the same way watching it as when seeing a clip of a hidden camera show or celebrity sex tape and thought, “I shouldn’t be seeing this.” Shudder.

    Anyway, back to the case. The case is full of twists and turns and stunning revelations worthy of gang or mob trials like witness intimidation and that the girl’s father secretly recorded his daughter having sex and other creepy stuff. Today’s report is that four Hasidic men were charged with photographing the unidentified girl and posting it on social media sites. One of the accused photographers? His name is Lemon Juice.


    If every news cycle were this interesting, Kiernan could have his own national talk show.

  • All Blog Entries,  NYC,  Random

    What’s Wrong With This Picture?

    New York, I’m very disappointed in you. This subway ad has remained unmarred for three whole days.  I might just have to take my Sharpie and show you how it’s done. For educational purposes only, of course.

    Kambri Crews — Giving new meaning to “twisty moustache” since November 2012.

  • All Blog Entries,  NYC

    Average Tuesday Night

    Last night I accompanied my friend Larry to Donna Karan‘s loft / studio space to see the world premiere of some musician I’ve never heard of and doubt you ever will either. The space was incredible, with an art exhibit featuring the work of Stephen Weiss, Donna’s late husband. He was a talent for sure and seems to be very much loved and missed by his family. There was an outdoor garden with a giant felled tree turned into a beautiful bench, free & yummy cocktails provided by the Russian Tea Room, and a notable guest…some guy named Sir Anthony Hopkins. Just your average Tuesday night.

    Ummm, yeah, it was a fun “only in New York” night watching how the other half lives before we left to enjoy something more our style: Burgers & bangers & mash at a nearby pub.

  • All Blog Entries,  NYC,  Random

    Extra! Extra!

    I have been two degrees from Kevin Bacon since 1997. Today that all changed. I was an extra on his new television show The Following which premieres in January. I was in a very, very short scene –think 5 lines and ten seconds– with some guy named Shawn Ashmore and a lady (Ann? Anne?) from Law & Order (though her character on that show {an ADA?} was killed off).

    It’s unlikely you’ll even see me, but what a fun day with awesome food and people. A guy got “stabbed,” there was blood everywhere, and I got paid!

    Tomorrow I’ll be pretending to walk my dogs in the park and having lunch with my husband.

  • All Blog Entries,  Food & Drink,  NYC

    Home on the Grange

    In my last post, I mentioned the rooftop farm across the street from us. It’s worth mentioning again because it’s so incredibly resourceful. The operation is run by Brooklyn Grange and the Long Island City, Queens  location is its flagship farm. Produce is harvested six floors up on top of the Standard Motor Products building, which houses the namesake American car parts manufacturerJim Henson Studios, and Coffeed, the new restaurant which uses the produce to prepare the items on its menu. The Grange’s produce is also sold at farmer’s markets and pop-ups and to restaurants.

    Check out where to find Brooklyn Grange products here and check out the video below for some wonderful photos of the operation.


  • All Blog Entries,  NYC

    Hurricane Sandy & Volunteering at City Harvest

     I’m a big fan of thinking globally, acting locally but, day-ummm, this is a bit too local! When Hurricane Sandy hit, I was on my book tour in Texas and Christian was stuck in West Palm Beach where he’d headlined the Improv. While we were safe, our dogs were still in harm’s way. They were boarding at Camp Bow Wow in Long Island City. As you can see from Google Maps, they’re just steps away from water that leads from the East River. The kennel owner, Steve, stayed overnight with the dogs and had an evacuation plan that involved moving all the dogs to the 6th Floor. Luckily, he never had to implement the plan as water never flooded the building. There was lots of debris, a broken window and the billboard that used to be on the roof is now in the alley.

    Christian finally made it home Thursday after the hurricane, flying to Atlanta to Scranton where he rented a car and drove to our Rock House to check on it and get a few hours of rest. Thankfully house was fine save for some downed trees and branches. He drove back to Queens and picked up our beloved “babies”. I flew home Friday after a whirlwind, exhausting two plus weeks. But I couldn’t rest knowing my city was in pain.

    Rather than move hell or high water (or waste precious gas) to get to Staten Island or the Rockaways, Christian and I responded to an urgent request for volunteers  in our own neighborhood at the City Harvest headquarters at the Long Island City waterfront Saturday morning. They’ve delivered over 42 MILLION pounds of food to New Yorkers this year alone. They deliver food Every. Single. Day. So, they’re obviously set up to handle an operation like this. Sadly they lost a lot of trucks from water damage (their lot/building is on the same exact trail of water that didn’t hurt Camp Bow Wow), but their operation was still in full swing.

    We jogged there at 9:30 AM and joined the assembly line and proceeded to bag food and water. Final count at City Harvest at the end of the day: 64,668 pounds and 5,389 bags of non-perishable food items heading to Red Hook today.

    Exhausted, we walked home, and passed a ridiculous set of lions in front of a home (So Queens-y. So klassy!), and another home that had a bench, fake lawn and garden gnomes (one holding a miniature bottle of Smirnoff) inviting anyone to sit on it.

    We continued on past 5 Pointz where I snapped pictures of two new pieces that I really liked (see below) and stopped by Coffeed, the new store across the street from our apartment which is on the ground floor of the building that houses the a rooftop farm run by Brooklyn Grange.

    I got back to my apartment at 4PM. I’d been back in Queens for less than 24 hours. Working with our neighbors for a good cause then walking home surrounded by the quirkiness and talent and ingenuity that makes NYC so special reminded me that broken or not:

    There’s no place like home!


  • All Blog Entries,  Family & Life,  Mentoring,  NYC

    Life is Fun

    A 21st century birthday is like no other thanks to Facebook giving folks the heads up. Thank you everyone for the emails & comments & phone calls & texts. It never fails to overwhelm.

    Christian was headlining in Atlanta, so I chose to spend my 41st birthday with my lice-free, nine-year-old protégé “J” from Hour Children, a non-profit dedicated to supporting incarcerated women and their children. After two postponed dates due to “dem bugs” infesting her head, I took her to the Spy Exhibit at Discovery Time Square Museum followed by ice cream for dinner.

    During our subway ride she gave me a birthday card. She could hardly contain her excitement as I opened it and giggled and squirmed in her seat like she might pee herself. If she had, it’s the NYC subway so no big whoop. Pee on yourself all you want little lady. Here is the card:


    Man, you could have ended my birthday right then and there before we even got to DO anything and I would’ve been fine with that. What more could I get than the love, admiration and appreciation of a little girl? Tears, people. Gives me big ol’ crocodile tears.

    But, we were on the subway on our way to learn about spies! Taking a kid whose parents are in jail to an exhibit about all sorts of illegal activities and the consequences of such was either a bright idea or a really dumb one. But it was interactive, educational and fun. We took our photos & added wigs, glasses, facial hair and hats to disguise our images and there was a laser maze we navigated like Catherine Zeta Jones in “Entrapment”. But my derriere was less like this:

    And more like this:


    In spite of all the fun things, we surprisingly spent most of our time going over a timeline of major world events. Using a touch screen, we selected a year which then gave us dates to choose. One at a time, I educated her on events like the falling of the Berlin Wall, World Wars and Vietnam. Man, kids don’t know ANYTHING!

    I kept expecting her to get bored at the history lesson, but she wanted to know more. Especially about the capturing of terrorists, 9/11 and the killing of Osama Bin Laden. It was his photo on the big screen that had attracted J to the exhibit.

    “I’ve seen his picture on TV!” She said as she ran over to the display.

    I trailed after her. “Oh, yeah, that’s Osama Bin Laden.”

    “Who’s that?”

    “He masterminded 9/11. Have you heard about that or the World Trade Center?”

    Nope. She hadn’t. She didn’t know about the buildings, the planes, nothing. She wasn’t even born. So with each event on the timeline I explained the whole thing. “I don’t like that man!”

    Yeah, me either, kid. Me either. All this talk led to more questions like just why did he hate us so much which led to thoughtful discussions about different religions, extremists, and tolerance. She’s a smart one this girl and quick and thoughtful. I don’t know how often, if ever, current events & such heavy dialogue are part of her life but I’m glad to be there to answer her questions with patience and honesty.

    As we meandered through Times Square, we saw all sorts of weirdos, people in costumes, a guy with eight rats dyed a rainbow of colors sitting on his shoulders and a beautiful dragonfly that seemed attracted to me & J. Let me repeat that: we saw a DRAGONFLY in TIMES SQUARE. I’ve lived here 12 years and have never seen a dragonfly in a park let alone Times Square. It flew with us for a block and even hitched a ride on her arm.

    She kept saying this was the “most fun ever” then added, “Weird, but fun.”

    I told you she’s smart. Life is fun. Weird, but fun.

  • All Blog Entries,  Books & Publishing,  Family & Life,  NYC

    NYC: If You Can Make it Here…

    Gift Bags

    A colossally badday in NYC!

    I was walking around in the rain, carrying two heavy bags filled paper sacks (in the rain!) that are meant for my book launch party. I was hangry, cold yet sweaty from wearing an overcoat while slogging through the sloppy streets, futilely trying to use an umbrella, but can’t go any faster because my mom is trailing behind me with her bum knee. I hang up a call that was  frustrating PR news, and that’s when Mom calls from behind me:

    “Kambri? I think your jeans are split.”


    And now there’s a giant hole near my ass, the day can screw me a little easier now!

    “If you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere…”

    So the song goes. People assume this line is true because of the cut-throat competition, the hordes of talent that live and work in this town. I think it’s much simpler than that. If you’re not wealthy, day-to-day life in NYC can be tough and unrelenting. It’s days just like today that make many a newbie throw up their hands and say, “I quit! You win New York! You win you filthy, filthy whore.”

    If one can suck it up and stickit out, one can be rewarded with the best the City has to offer. Then after a few years, if one chooses to leave, the world is a much simpler place to navigate and dominate. A world in which you own a car and have a place to park it and a dishwasher and laundry facilities inside your very own home. Like the Jetsons! Can you imagine?

    This city can be like an abusive boyfriend. Every now and then it beats you up, but then it loves you harder and better than before as if to say, “I’m sorry. Truly. Don’t leave me…see, look how amazing I can be?”

    In my case, it was having my book published by Random House, throwing an amazing party with free (paper) gift bags filled with free goodies, free Lone Star Beer, bonafide celebrities blurbing my book and at my event to help celebrate. By the end of the night, I’d forgotten about the beating NYC had given me and decided to give it one more chance.

    Mom & Me Songs in ASLMomMe, Lisa Lampanelli & MomMom & Her iPhoneMom & My BookKambriKambri Bob, Me, Christian & MomCake WreckSonya, Me & RyanME!The BookChristianPerformingBright Sunshiney DayBright Sunshiney DayGone!Stop!Me, Lisa Lampanelli & MomSonya, Me & RyanGift Bags

  • All Blog Entries,  Deaf Culture & ASL,  Family & Life,  NYC

    Take This Job & Shove It!

    I just received a text from my mom that read: I’m RETIRED!

    It made me strangely weepy. My mom is the hardest working person I know. She used to build helicopters and was in a Budweiser commercial during the “For all you do, this Bud’s for you!” advertising phase.

    My mom helped wire a helicopter for the NYPD and got a hat from it. My dad put it in the rear dash of our junky Thunderbird to try to deter cops from pulling him over. It didn’t work. We got pulled over one day and he grabbed the NYPD hat to try to butter up the officer. I was with him and acted as his interpreter. My dad told the truth to me, and I interpreted a lie to the cop which was better. It worked. We didn’t need the hat.

    Years later, when I first moved to NYC, I worked for the attorney that represented the NYPD in their precedent-setting licensing efforts and confiscated unlicensed NYPD hats. Funny how things go full circle.

    Throughout my life, Mom never once turned down overtime and sometimes logged as many as 80 hours a week. Congratulations to her for finally being able to take a break and reap the benefits of a lifetime of hard work. Mom, for all you do, this Bud’s for you.*

    *Bud sucks. How about I give you a Brooklyn Lager?

  • All Blog Entries,  NYC

    Cafe Wha? The Hell!

    Y’all. Apparently Van Halen is playing Cafe Wha? in Greenwich Village right now and not a single one of you told me. Now how am I supposed to meet Diamond Dave if y’all keep failing me like this? I’ve got his bim bam banana pops right here!

    I’m not there but some of my “friends” are. I say “friends” in quotes because they are dead to me now.*

    To add insult to injury, Van Halen announced their tour dates and are playing the Garden on guess which night? MY FLIPPING BOOK RELEASE / PARTY NIGHT!

    Oh Heavens, I curse thee for your cruel Gift of the Magi crap you’re pulling.

    Looks like fans will be disappointed to see Sammy Hagar on stage because I am totally going to pull a Casey Anthony and chloroform Diamond Dave, stuff him in my trunk and bring him to my party. He might be dead but HE WILL BE THERE!

    I’m actually tempted to switch the party to February 29th so Dave can attend. When I mentioned my idea to Christian he said, “It’s like I need to tell you there is no Santa Claus.” Pfft. Party pooper. He also totally gave me the green light to have sex with Dave (even though I never asked to and don’t think I’d want to) but if that makes Dave more excited about coming to my book party then, hey, let’s go for it. (I’m such a mensch.)
    ‎*Except for Larry Getlen. He’s there and he’s still my friend. But, Larry, don’t freak out, but I want to kill you and wear your skin so I can pretend to be you and get in to see them. Please tell me they were awesome and that Dave kicked butt.
  • All Blog Entries,  NYC

    Strip Clubs & Other Playgrounds

    As I watched live coverage of the NYC Marathon two years ago, the announcer said, “Now the marathoners are entering the less than picturesque part of Queens.” That’s where I live.

    There is zero in the way of outdoor park space except for a tiny playground that is across the street from a strip club.

    Yes. The only playground is across the street from a strip club.

    Most mornings the playground looks post-apocalyptic as if zombies had raided Queens and I survived till morning to witness the carnage. Garbage cans overflow and needles, used condoms, beer and liquor bottles, and broken glass litter the ground. Just this morning, Christian took this photo of a bloody t-shirt next to an empty Four Loko can.

    For a year, the door man at the strip club Riviera barked me to come in. Never mind that I would  have a dog in tow or would be carrying groceries or wearing gym clothes.

    “Why would he think I’d want to go in there?” I would wonder even as I wore the lesbian uniform of jeans, Chuck Taylors and a softball t-shirt.

    Finally, he said something that made me reconsider: “Ladies drink for free!”

    Whoa. Beep, beep, beep! Back the truck up.

    Free? I’ll be here Tuesday. What time do you open?”

    Prepare to lose your rent money Mr. Jiggle Joint Owner because my pal Jenn & I will clean out your stash of white wine!

    I imagined the bar manager taking inventory Wednesday morning and firing a cocktail waitress for swiping bottles of Pinot Grigio. Because, really, how would they go through so much so quickly? Men in strip clubs aren’t exactly heavy imbibers of crisp white wine. I, however, am.

    Without consulting with each other, Jenn and I both wore summery dresses and had on makeup. Something about being around naked women made us want to look our best. We arrived so early there were only two other men there wearing suits and seated at the ring of seats around the stage.

    The doorman escorted us to a table of our choice, away from the stage. We didn’t want to take a seat from a legitimate customer looking for thrills. He also introduced himself to me officially. His name is Abdelaziz Essafoui and he is a Greco Roman Wrestler who competed in the 1996 Olympics for Morocco. In addition to serving as security for the strip club, he competes in cage matches in the Bronx.

    We pulled out our notebooks and had a great time brainstorming, catching up on gossip and, of course, drinking free wine. As we were new customers, a dancer was sent to the stage and took off her clothes. It was like Jenn and I were hanging out in the locker room at the gym with one of those particularly extroverted women who stands around with her top off for a long time for no real reason except to show off and/or make me uncomfortable.

    Soon, two casually dress guys in their late twenties came in and took the table next to me and Jenn. Again, a dancer was sent to the stage to welcome their arrival. According to the emcee who sounded like a morning radio DJ, her name was Licorice. She was wearing a one piece, stretchy bodysuit which, to me, seemed like an odd choice. If I were a stripper, I’d want more pieces to take off as part of the tease, but what do I know? I put on pants on after I put on shoes. But in one simple move, she was butt naked save for a sliver of string that covered her hee hoo.

    A few more gentlemen came in while Licorice was finishing up her song and the DJ called for Candy to take over. (Hmm…theme night?) The song ended but Candy was no where to be found.

    “Candy, make your way to the stage,” the DJ bellowed. “Gentlemen be ready for some delicious Candy.”

    Licorice looked positively bored, maybe even irritated that she was still on stage without anyone paying her any mind, and moved with the least possible effort required to simulate writhing. The emcee beckoned again, “Candy, has anybody seen Candy?” Still no Candy.

    Licorice had had enough. She picked up her body suit and began to get dressed.

    On stage.

    Now, ladies and gents, seeing someone take off clothes might be titillating, but watching someone get dressed is not. In fact, it is an unequivocal turn off. Especially in something like a one-piece stretchy bodysuit. Licorice didn’t care.

    Picture a woman trying to put on a too-small pair of Spanx. She wriggled and squeezed and clenched and thrust her body to squeeze into her outfit all while teetering on 6-inch platform heels. This should be an act on “America’s Got Talent.” It takes SKILL, people.

    As we watched the spectacle unfold, Jenn curled her upper lip like she’d just smelled someone fart after eating nothing but sauerkraut for a week. “She really should do that elsewhere.”


    Finally Candy appeared, as did a large group of men. The music got louder, the lights dimmer and strippers took men to back rooms. The shift in mood was palpable. It was like hungry lions lounging lazily in the sun were suddenly tossed a lone, bloody carcass. And Jenn and I were like caribou whose fellow herd mate got caught and ripped to pieces. Do you stay behind to try to save them and witness the slaughter? Absolutely the fuck not. So we asked for our check.

    Turns out Mr. Olympic Greco Roman Wrestler Turned Doorman at a Strip Club and Cage Match Fighter lied. Ladies don’t drink free. He only bought us our first round. Shocker! And, how could we argue? Present the contract?

    Luckily the wine was priced at typical NYC prices and not the jacked up rate strip clubs often charge. To split the bill, Jenn needed to break a $20. Because the place had gotten so busy with men dropping loads of cash, we were not high priority for the staff. Jenn grabbed the first available stripper, handed her the bill and asked, “Can I get change for a twenty?”

    A stripper? Giving change?

    Maybe in Heaven.


    When a barmaid came by Jenn asked, “I gave that stripper $20 and…” I waved frantically and mouthed, “Don’t call them strippers.”

    “Oh, excuse me,” Jenn continued, rolling her eyes. “I gave that ‘exotic dancer’ $20 for change and she never came back with it.”

    The last time I had been to a strip club was with a famous billionaire. Let us just say, we were treated differently that night. Jenn never recovered her missing $20 which made me feel terrible. The main reason I invited her was for the free drinks and to save her money. Abdelaziz* was conveniently missing in action.

    Now, when I need my thrills, I go to the playground.

    *When an Olympian says free drinks, one expects free drinks. I mean, isn’t there some Olympiad code of ethics?

  • All Blog Entries,  NYC

    The More Things Change

    Ten years ago, I turned thirty. In my first year as a 30-something in New York, terrorists attacked the country, I co-founded a business, and Dad tried to kill someone again.

    September 11th from our Roof by kambricrews

    I moved to New York City in the fall of 2000. I knew one person. I entered my thirties to little fanfare. After finishing the work day as a legal assistant, I enjoyed a few drinks with co-workers at the Rink Bar, the outdoor restaurant in Rockefeller Center that serves as the infamous ice skating rink during cooler months.

    Afterwards, I headed home to Queens on the N train where a tiny Latino man assaulted me under my skirt. His height topped out at my waist, at best*; an excellent access point if you’re prone to fingering slightly buzzed women on public transit. Being from Texas and new to the city, I sized up my assailant and chose fight over flight. I ran after him freely spewing vile curses and threats to his life while wearing my 3.5 inch heels. I was double his size with a fury in my eyes.

    He looked positively terrorized that I’d given chase.

    The strangers around me looked positively terrorized that I’d used such vile language.

    In his desperate attempt to escape, he pushed people aside and jumped a turnstile, losing me.**

    A decade has passed and the goals I’ve accomplished and wildest dreams that have come true are too numerous to count. I’ve pinched myself silly. I ain’t dreamin’. I blinked and now I’m forty. The next ten years has a lot to live up to. I mean, in my thirties, Erik Estrada was involved. Twice.

    Still in New York City, I know more than one person now, but again celebrated a milestone of life with little fanfare. I’ve never been the birthday bash type. I guess I prefer producing fun for other people. But it was very special and spent with my favorite people without assaults by any miniature men.

    I don’t know much, but I do that in my first year as a 40-something, I will celebrate five years of marriage, my memoir will be published and Dad will be up for parole.

    The rest is a mystery. And isn’t that the most thrilling and frightening thing ever?

    *In his defense, I was wearing heels.
    **To this day, I wish I had caught him. It’s probably for the best that I didn’t.

  • All Blog Entries,  Family & Life,  NYC

    How’s this for a Memorial Day weekend?

    Friday, I rode my new bicycle to a protest. Now I just need to grab a granola bar and stop shaving and my transformation will be complete. I WILL be the person I would have rolled eyes at.

    The impromptu rally I attended was in reaction to NYPD officers Moreno & Mata, aka the “Rape Cops,” being acquitted of rape. Luckily, they were found guilty of a few lesser charges so Ray Kelly promptly fired them from the NYPD. Their sentencing isn’t till later in June and, hopefully, seeing the public’s outrage at the verdict the sentence will be the harshest allowed (2 years) for the lesser crime of misconduct.

    Incidentally, “attend a rally” is on my re-vamped bucket list. I had forgotten this until I was actually chanting with the crowd outside the Supreme Court in lower Manhattan. Since writing that post, I’ve also now ridden the Orient Express, though it was in Peru. I still want ride the REAL Orient Express.

    Anyway, all told, I rode about 18 miles through Manhattan, Brooklyn & Queens during rush hour traffic, including the smelly streets of Chinatown, and only fell once (while stopped at a traffic light and trying to adjust myself on my seat — stupid), scraping my right knee but not to the point where I needed to stop for a band-aid or anything. Not bad for my first time!

    I was ever grateful I didn’t injure myself because at the crack of dawn Saturday morning, Christian & I hopped a flight to Akron/Canton for my ex-husband’s niece’s wedding. She didn’t know I was coming as her mom, my ex-sister-in-law Tracy, wanted it to be a surprise. Upon seeing us at the church, Alisha burst into happy tears! I was worried the shock wouldn’t go over well but she was overjoyed. I hugged so many ex-in-laws and friends that my rotator cuffs are sore.

    We flew back to NYC less than 24 hours later, picked up Griswold from the vet where he had been neutered. I headed in to Manhattan for a lovely dinner with Tex in the City pals, Scott Ramsey & Greg Gorman, and today has been video games, writing the acknowledgements for Burn Down the Ground, and general laziness. What a perfect weekend!

    We really need to learn how to operate iPhone cameras because none of our wedding photos are that great. But here we are from top to bottom:  Me & Alisha, me, ex-husband and current husband duke it out, me & my ex-husband (aka The Sailor for those of you who follow my http://www.lovedaddy.org/ blog), and poor little Griswold.


  • All Blog Entries,  Anipals,  Christian Finnegan,  NYC

    Thundersnow & Lightning

    It’s the winter that keeps on giving and last night was a first: THUNDERSNOW. As I worked in my home office, there was lightning flashes, rolling booms of thunder, sleet, hail and by this morning a foot of snow. Paquita was terrified of the storm and the building was creaking and making weird howling sounds so she ran for cover and stayed there all night. Her safe hiding spot: under the toilet.

    I’ve never seen a more pathetic looking creature. When I pulled her out, she squirmed out of my arms and hurried back. Today, she’s glued to my lap.

    The snow has stranded Christian in CT where he is filming episodes of “Are We There Yet?” (TBS, Wednesday nights at 9 CST/10 EST). Which, speaking of, his character “Martin” has a B-plot in an upcoming show where he’s dating  an older woman. And just who is portraying the love interest? Paulina Porizkova.

    He came home that night covered in glitter and in a great mood. Hmmm…not sure I want to tune in for that episode.

    Nothing like having your husband canoodling with a supermodel to make you re-think your diet and exercise plan. Oof.

  • All Blog Entries,  Comedy,  NYC

    It’s a Small World. Keep Your Clothes On, K?

    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.