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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

"So, What Happened?"

I recently had another disturbing conversation much like this xtranormal video:

Whilst working a holiday job I am NOT too giddy to return to (but grateful to have), a young co-worker learned that I had gone to college many moons ago. Here is our conversation:

Her: "So what did you go to school for?"
Me: "I got a B.A. in musical theatre."
Her: "So, what happened?"
Me: laughing uncomfortably, "What happened?!"
Her: "Yeah, don't you audition for Broadway?"

I've had many conversations like these. The kind where that one response:

"So, what happened?"

just repeats and repeats in my ear. Sometimes it pisses me off. Sometimes it makes me sad. This time it just made me giggle. A lot.

Whether or not it as simple as this cat thinks it is. Do I still even want to be on Broadway?

Maybe.

The recent closing announcements of two new-to-Broadway shows, "The Scottsboro Boys" and "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson" has me upset and curious about the current state of Broadway and how it compares to the Broadway that I fell in love with. Two new musicals with compelling storylines and new music MADE IT TO BROADWAY in a time when only jukebox musicals and blockbuster movie-to-musicals which all leave oodles to be desired are being produced and worse, selling tickets. Within just a few short months they get their closing notices and the theatre community mourns their loss. What is the problem here? Is there truly not an audience for these shows? I am inspired by these shows and I have not seen them yet. So am I to blame? I can't afford to see them!! Even at a student rate (which I am far from a student) I have no extraneous cash (yes, people can actually not have an extra $25-35 for a ticket). I have relied for the past several years in this city on the kindness of friends who work in box offices and theatre marketing companies for all of my theatre-going needs. Even when I receive a comp, my word-of-mouth can only go so far. I am well-connected but, to a sea of artists much like myself. I know numerous people who would thoroughly enjoy and support work like this but who do not have the means to. Is that where things stand? Is the only true audience for shows such as these the very theatre community which cannot afford to support it?

Since I have limited time for research on this topic at this moment but really want to get this off my chest, I did a very quick search. The following is from a review of "BROADWAY: THE GOLDEN ERA", (a documentary being shipped to me next from Netflix!) by Seattle Post-Intellegencer movie critic WILLIAM ARNOLD

"If you don't believe Broadway had its greatest years in the two decades between 1945 and 1965, all you have to do is open a theatrical section of The New York Times on any day in this period and you'll see row upon row of listings for plays that are now classics.
It was the heyday of Tennessee Williams, William Inge and Arthur Miller; of Rogers & Hammerstein, Lerner & Lowe and Cole Porter; of "The Glass Menagerie," "Death of a Salesman" and "Guys and Dolls," of Shirley Booth, John Raitt and Carol Lawrence.

And the plays were performed in intimate theaters, mostly without audio systems, at ticket prices that were often less than that of a first-run movie in New York, so that theatergoing could be an affordable part of any New Yorker's life.

Now, according to the nostalgic documentary, "Broadway: The Golden Era," it's all gone, replaced by endless revivals and English imports targeted at tourists, performed in large auditoriums with canned music, at hundred-dollar-plus ticket prices."

Though I have often been saddened by the current state of Broadway, there is always a part of me that feels that if putting an American Idol 13th runner-up in a "Rock of Ages" is what will get a younger audience interested in musical theatre, then I can't totally discount it. But when nothing new can survive in the theatre next door how will that new fan crossover to something closer to theatre?

The good news is that there is still amazing theatre being produced elsewhere. The truest of theatre-goers have been looking Off-Broadway for the past several years to find the creativity, inspiration, and art of live theatre. Clearly Broadway is not where it's at, and even when it is, no one can afford to support it.

So while I begin reassessing my life-long dream of performing on Broadway, I'd like to propose my co worker's question to Broadway itself:

"So, what happened?"

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

"So...what are you working on?"

If you are creative or artistic in any sense of the word, you have probably experienced the frustration of the knowledge that you DO have something MAGNIFICENT to share with the world combined with the incapacitation of perfectionism/procrastination (and yes, they are sometimes one and the same!).

I have many creative aspirations and often find myself overwhelmed by them. I am overwhelmed because there are so many different directions I can feel drawn to, but also because I have this sense of perfectionism. I don't want to do something unless it is going to be absolutely perfect (to my often impossible standards) and the most UNIQUE thing that has ever been created. If I do not have the time, energy, or inspiration to produce this product I refuse to even begin. While I embrace and am grateful for that perfectionism in regards to creating things I am proud of, I have learned recently that this is sometimes just another way of procrastinating what I am capable of. I am learning that there is something much more admirable in those who create for the sake of creating rather than the sake of being considered "brilliant". I have created some of the most amazing things from moments when I let go of that need to be the most "perfect/unique/brilliant" and just DID SOMETHING. This is a current goal of mine and I promise it has NOTHING to do with Nike but...

JUST DO IT!

But...sometimes we are entirely too hard on ourselves.

I had the pleasure of reading this blog post at Affirming Spirit many months ago and was so excited by the relief/inspiration it provided me. She could not recall the name of the artist/psychology major who had self-published a book about it.

Here are the breakdown of the four stages as Nancy recalled them:

1 | Gestation

This is the stage where things are quiet creatively, but you are feeling hopeful because you are noticing interesting experiences, gathering ideas, deciding what you want to work on next. This stage comes after the creator emerges from the Renewal/Rest stage.

2 | Inspiration

This is the stage where you find a new idea, or series of ideas, that really feels *exciting*. It might be a single idea, or one idea that quickly spawns many additional ideas. It may be something you observe outside of yourself or something that pops into your mind. The topic feels juicy and pregnant with potential. You begin whittling down the ideas collected to decide what you really want to focus upon.

3 | Creation/Birth

This is the stage where you begin taking action toward materializing the inspired idea, from start to finish. The creator’s energy is high, and they often feel full of life and vibrant. The work may take on a *life of it’s own*, possibly even going in a new direction not considered in the Gestation or Inspiration stage.

4 | Renewal/Rest

This is the stage creators enter upon completion of the Creation/Birth stage. Often, the creator has been focusing so intensely on the previous two stages, that this stage may feel like a comparative shock. New or inexperienced creators may find this stage comes relatively unexpectedly.

This can be a very critical stage for creators because most find themselves feeling low, possibly even feeling depressed, in comparison to the high-energy stages of Inspiration and Creation/Birth. Unprepared, doubt, worry and fear can easily creep in during this time, and in this low-energy stage, the creator begins questioning if they will ever do anything worthwhile again. They simply don’t have the energy to contemplate something new, and often feel defeated because of the low energy levels.

In extreme cases, a creator susceptible to addictions may retreat to drugs or alcohol to deal with the low energy, and/or soothe doubt, worry, and fear. However, if the creator is aware of these stages and knows *this one, too, shall pass*, they can embrace it and move through this stage relatively quickly~sometimes hours or days, versus months or years.

The creator knows they have left this stage when they find themselves entering the Gestation stage as they gently begin gathering more data and being intrigued by new ideas of theirs or other creators.


As a human being, I am a firm believer that we are constantly ebbing and flowing in SO SO SO many aspects of our emotions/world. Any woman knows how cycles affect our moods/over-all well-being. We are just lucky we have been given an explanation for it. Men just keep their insanity to themselves! With so many people on anti-depressants/anxiety medication I wonder if we all couldn't do with a little sit-down about our natural cycles. Everyone feels down sometimes. It is natural and part of the normal cycle of life. I realize there are extremes to this but for me, just KNOWING that these cycles exist and are so NORMAL helps me to feel better.

As an artist, I am even more relieved to read how NORMAL it is to feel so inspired at one stage, to productive in another, and then to just chill out and regroup afterwards. What a relief! I used to feel like such a schmuck when I wasn't "working on anything". As performers we are all so very familiar with this feeling. When making conversation, friends and new acquaintances like to inquire "So...what are you working on?". Sometimes they truly mean well, while others may be judging. I have always HATED this conversation. If I have nothing to say I feel like a loser and if I have something to talk about I feel pretentious mentioning it. What a RELIEF it is to know that we shouldn't ALWAYS be inspired to be DOING DOING DOING! There is a time and a place for it, of course, and if you find yourself stuck in the "Gestation" or "Inspiration" phases for too long (which is different for everyone) perhaps you can give yourself a kick in the arse but just to know that each of these phases are legitimate and necessary to the final product...ESPECIALLY the "Renewal/Rest" stage makes me feel so much better!

As performer who often relies on other people to cast me in order to "allow" me to create amidst "their" show, I imagine these cycles can be a bit more difficult to manage. All us theatre-folk know the depression that follows closing a show. On top of the loss of such magical quality-time with an incredible new group of friends paired with creating something as a performer we must then return to the "what next?" feeling. As performers in NYC we are encouraged to just keep getting out there and auditioning. Sometimes you need to regroup. You need to be able to regroup without feeling like you are lazy. Resting/Renewal is a crucial part to our art as well! I feel like artists in other formats may have a little more control over which part of the cycle they are on whereas performers spend SO much time in the "Gestation" and "Inspiration" cycles while often having to keep putting themselves out there over and over again until someone "allows" them to be in the "Creation/Birth" cycle. No doubt our cycles are naturally continuing regardless - thus causing an overall feeling of unease when some of them don't come to tangible fruition! Oh right...and then we have to work "day-jobs" on top of this! Oye.

Do you feel better knowing that these cycles exist and are perfectly normal? Can you let yourself off the hook and just enjoy your "Resting/Renewal" phase? I would love to know your thoughts!

Monday, November 8, 2010

"The Rally to Restore Sanity Which Nearly Made me Lose Mine" (Part 2 of 2)

Well hello and welcome to my "Part 2". I set out to write solely about my experiences for the Rally but suddenly out came all that other stuff about the evolution of my eagerness turned disillusionment leading up to this Rally. So, if it interests you, fix those pretty retinas here.

So Stewart and Colbert are throwing this Rally and Arianna Huffington is providing free buses. Awesome! I normally don't try and gravitate towards crowds like this, but it was worth it! These guys were coming together for something positive and, more importantly, funny! I was in. I knew it would be a lot of people because of the press it was getting. When Oprah mentioned it I knew it would be even crazier. What I didn't know is that, due to incredibly poor planning for the 10,000 people Arianna Huffington so graciously bussed in for free, the story I will be telling my grandchildren is a lot more embarrassing and uneventful than it ought to be.

Here's the scoop. You invite 10,000 people to meet you at Citi-Field in Queens at 4:30 a.m. for a 5:00 a.m. departure time, you should probably organize. We got to the stadium at the ass-crack o' dawn and the Huffington Post folk were all very sweet but none of them really had anything useful to say or do. We had to form our own "line" and police ourselves, which grew more and more impossible as each 7 train that arrived dumped more and more people off. Eventually our long squiggly poor-excuse of a "line" became just a mass of people. Oh yeah, and we clearly did not leave anywhere close to 5am. We stood out in the cold for hours. Our buses were all lined up waiting for us, so why were we waiting there? Well, around 6:40 or so, Ms. Arianna Huffington herself came by with her cameras and shook people's hands and evidently hand-picked people to come with her on her bus. I am pretty sure we had to wait for her to get this photo-opportunity before we could leave because soon after she was done...things started to happen. Now, once again....NO organization from the HP peeps. Just a mass exodus toward the buses. You can guess it, my friends and I...and several other hundred people who had been standing patiently since 4:30 a.m. were now the last to board buses, while folks who just arrived at 6:30 and should have MISSED it entirely got on first. Yet we remained patient and calm, all-be-it irritated and cold. Finally we board our bus, which looked like it was stolen off a movie set. Our janky bus from 1969 still had an old school scrolling destination sign on it and there was a sign in the window that said "Jimmy". Our bus driver looked like one of Tony Soprano's peons and definitely looked like a Jimmy. We were informed just before we left that his name wasn't "Jimmy", it was "Jude". We still aren't entirely sure of this "Jimmy"'s whereabouts but we have our suspicions. Now our bus stank and the heat wasn't working. I was confident it would at some point but, no, it never did. The ride was long. The bathroom nasty. Jude kept pulling off the road to go to the bathroom. We hit traffic and after a while we couldn't see any more buses on the road with us. It was after 12pm and we were still on this bus! Jude informed us that his G.P.S. just went out and he was going to have to ask for directions. We wondered if he was even supposed to be part of this whole trip to begin with, he seemed like he just stole a bus and went along for the ride. Suddenly we start seeing national monuments off in the distance, realizing we are now IN the city. We weren't supposed to be dropped off there, we were supposed to go to a stadium about 10 minutes by subway away and we were on our own to get in to the National Mall. One of the passengers uses his G.P.S. on his phone to navigate us where we need to be and Jude drops us off a few blocks from the Mall at 1:30 p.m. With an hour and half left before the mass exodus to the subway and then buses, we get as close as we can to the field. We didn't have a chance. It occurs to me that even had we arrived on time, we wouldn't have a had a chance. You would have had to be in early that morning to get a spot anywhere near the action. Sure, I have lived in NYC long enough to know you can't just show up at the start time of the movie at Bryant Park and get a spot on the lawn but I thought this was different. There had been SO MUCH MEDIA about this I sort of imagined Arianna Huffington would be interested in us actually SEEING something once she bussed us there but obviously she couldn't care less about that, let alone getting us there before the Rally began. We stand near urinals listening to the muffled sounds of, probably Jon Stewart. We can't make out anything on the screens or stage. We walk around a wee bit. We are hungry, so we go wait in line for a hot dog. Then we wait in line for the Smithsonian restrooms. We walk around for another 5 minutes before I suggest we start to head to the subway. In about 5 minutes, the millions of people at that Rally will be doing the same thing. We patiently wait for the subway for about 40 minutes only to find a new line has formed since the Rally let out and we are all filtering into the same stairwell. Once again we patiently do what's "right" while a bunch of other fools essentially cut us. But what can ya' do? Once in the subway terminal things went way faster than I had imagined and soon enough we were on a newer, less janky/smelly, sans mobster-driver bus. It was on our journey home that we found out that all the other buses were given free snacks. Yeah. Free yogurt from Stonybrook, free pistachio nuts, and free Coca-Cola. Our bus got NUTTIN'. Maybe Jude ate it all.

That's what happened when I went to the Rally kids. Grandma rode on a janky bus for 6 hours just to eat a hot dog and pee before turning around and coming back and watching clips of what she missed while she was there on the internet.

Am I a little irked with Arianna for treating us as props to make her look fantastic in the media while feigning interest in our participation once her free buses dropped us off late? Of course. Do I wish I could still get my hands on those pistachio nuts? It'd be cool. But do I regret going to the Rally? I don't think so. At the end of the day, this Rally was HUGE. HUUUUUUGE! A police officer in D.C. said he hasn't seen anything this big in years (other than Obama's Inauguration). It would have never been that HUGE if it weren't for all the media attention Ms. Huffington created with this free bus bullshit. Thousands of people got together FOR something. Something positive and funny. I still can't understand why some media were forbidden by their employers to cover the Rally, but regardless of that fact, people still know what happened that day and how many people came to support it. And I did too....it's not my fault the day was a huge-ass bust for me and my friends. I went. That's something I can be proud to tell my grandkids. Now I better get busy over here and start on the kid part first 'cause I'm gonna be one crazy-awesome Grandma!

"What will we tell our grandchildren?" (Part 1 of 2)

I spend a lot of time imagining what great tales I will have to tell my grandchildren one day. This is a bizarre fact being that I have no children nor any immediate prospects and I just ain't gettin' any younger. Okay I know 33 isn't old but seriously, I've got lots of story-times planned with my non-existent grandchildren and only an occasional date through OkCupid so you do the math.

Still, I will be proud to tell my grandchildren that when I was a young lady living in NYC the Bush administration finally made me pay the fuck attention to politics and was just so out of control that I finally compelled to DO SOMETHING. I finally felt driven to get out in the streets or find ways I could change an unhealthy situation. There was the Pro-Choice Rally followed by an Anti-Bush Rally all on the same weekend I moved into my 2nd apartment here. My mother's fears of my heading out to an anti-Bush rally were based in her experiences living through the tumultuous 60's. These were dangerous times! I know....I saw "Forrest Gump". What I experienced that year (just before his reelection) was incredible and peaceful. Nothing violent occurred in the slightest-which is fantastic, but I can't help but wonder if that really was for the best. Taking to the streets with like-minded individuals on the streets of my now home of NYC was liberating. This bubble of like-minded folks blinded me to the reality that the majority of our country still wasn't convinced we were up shit-creek and Bush was continuously tossing our paddles out of the boat as we just kept handing them to him! I canvased in the swing-state of Pennsylvania on election day and went to the bar to watch the results with my fellow canvasers. Unfortunately we saw how that one panned out. To say that this changed me is to understate something I still haven't found the words to describe. Up to that point, I had never experienced anything quite so life-altering as I did that election day.

Throughout the next four years I attempted to continue supporting issues that were important to me. Excited by the notion that, if enough people were pissed off about Bush and what he was doing, at SOME POINT they would ALL feel compelled to get out there and DO SOMETHING...even if that something was walking down the street screaming something out....letting it be known that they did NOT approve and support him. I traveled to one rally in Washington D.C. the week that the now majority-Democratic Senate was back in session after the holidays. We were there to show our support and remind them what we wanted them to accomplish in there. The organization we went with also had some other things on our agenda that they hadn't been all that informative about prior. We were, evidently, also there to don orange prison outfits complete with black hoods over our heads - Guantanamo-Bay-style and kneel on the lawn with our hands tied behind our backs. This was in protest of the poor treatment/torture of suspected "terrorist" prisoners. We did as we were told but most of us hadn't signed up for that! Nor did we sign up to walk the streets of D.C. with these hoods over our heads while holding up GIGANTIC heavy signs they wanted us to carry. The worst part about all of this was the fact that we were told thousands of people were meeting us in D.C.. When we arrived, our numbers totaled about 300 or so. We were this tiny smattering of New Yorkers bused in for some huge rally that just never came to be. My heart sunk. Didn't people CARE?!?! Weren't people even more ready now to DO SOMETHING? Evidently not. I don't think anyone even knew we were there that day. Needless to say, I was not inspired or proud. I felt like an idiot running around in my black hood. It was around this time I started realizing the power of being "for" or "against" something and how most protests are "against". This one definitely was. I started to understand that, were I to take part in something else such as this, it was going to need to be FOR something positive.

So yeah...I did go out and canvas in Pennsylvania again for Obama. I lost my voice screaming in Times Square when he was elected. I've been to rallies in support of gay's rights to marry and things of that nature, but haven't felt too inspired to "go anywhere" until John Stewart and Stephen Colbert's "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear". The timing of it and the free Huffington Post buses were all too hard to pass up. Little did I know that this is what I will get to tell my grandchildren about that day....

Monday, August 23, 2010

Baby Arms

So, I am a bit busy doing some shows this summer, but have taken some time to compile some pretty wacky pictures I've been taking up here....

If you are bored and have as weird a sense of humor as I, please enjoy:

May I present to you.....

Baby Arms

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Play Me, I'm Yours!

I was born in what was to become The MTV Generation I was a little late for the explosive freedom and liberation of revolutionary changes in the 60's and 70's where music was taken out into the streets uniting people for causes beyond the concert stadiums. I was a child of the 80's and listened to music made on synthesizers and very large computers. Madonna and Whitney Houston were my heros and banana clips were my friends. Somehow though, as I aged, it did not take me long to realize that the music I truly love is that of the 30's and 40's. Of course I can appreciate modern music but I am certain I was born in the wrong era. I long for the days when a party meant everyone gathering 'round the piano and singing some rousing tunes. I feel strange that I know how songs like THIS...


was once a pop hit!

So it should come as no surprise that when I heard about "Play Me, I'm Yours", an art installation of pianos randomly distributed throughout Manhattan and many outer boroughs for New Yorkers to see, play, and enjoy, I was anxious to find some!

I had little idea just how cool it would be when I found one. The first I encountered was at Columbus Circle just behind the huge statue this past Wednesday. I got so giddy! I sat down to wait for the friend I was meeting and listened to the man playing the piano.


Everyone watching him was smiling and enjoying this just as much as I! When I thought about finding one of these I was hoping someone might be playing a song I knew and I might feel inspired to hop up and sing along. Instead, I was stunned as a sort of scroungy older man in the audience (who could have passed for homeless) hopped up and ran over after the other man left and started ticklin' those ivories! The crowd sat full of smiles as we enjoyed his tune, when a woman with a stroller carrying two babies wheeled over next to me. She pushed her babies towards myself and an older woman beside me saying hurriedly, "Would you mind watching them for a moment while I play?" Of course we agreed and she ran over and sat down only to play the most brilliant and challenging song we had heard just yet! "Oh MY!!!" giggled the older woman next to me as she started a round of applause! I watched as one of her babies repeatedly attempted to pull himself out of his slumber. I wondered whether he recognized his mom's tune. On she went only to be replaced by a tourist with bag from the M&Ms store. I was really considering jumping in but the only thing I thought I might be able to play was the Oscar Meyer Wiener song, and decided against it. It was then that my friend met me and we had to proceed with our day. I still want to find myself at another one of these pianos and sing some old standards just to have that experience out on a street somewhere, but wow is this public art incredible! We move to this city to be near this type of energy yet so many of us wrap ourselves into our solitary cocoons with earbuds and our own agenda. We steer clear of the "touristy" areas that initially drew us to this city and grumble at the crowds. I love when someone places something like this in our way and I watch as we come back out of our shells, and smile, and laugh, and connect...the way we were born to do. So get out there and find yourself a piano!

“Play Me, I’m Yours” is an artwork by British artist Luke Jerram who has been touring the project globally since 2008.

From 9am-10pm each day, 60 pianos will be available to play across New York City. Presented by Sing for Hope they are located in public parks, streets and plazas the pianos will be available until 5th July for any member of the public to play and engage with.

Be sure to check out the "Play Me, I'm Yours" NYC site for more information, locations on the pianos (including Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island!) and to post pictures/stories/videos of piano sightings!

And to you fellow artists out there who are looking for ways to volunteer, I am excited to learn more about the folks presenting this art along with Luke Jerram, Sing for Hope. Go check out ways you can get involved as well!


*****Update*****I finally got to play my wiener song....poorly...in the middle of Times Square to a smattering of applause! (6/26/10)


Monday, June 21, 2010

"An Anorexic Vanilla Latte Please!"

I went out to meet a great friend at a Starbucks this evening and encountered, quite possibly, the most unhappy Starbucks employee I have ever had the pleasure of dealing with. I must say, on the whole, I have found Starbucks employees to be quite pleasant and joyous in demeanor. So it should go without saying (but it's too late now) that this grumpy barista sticks out like a sore thumb.

We'll call her "Grumpypants", and she didn't look entirely different than this photo of Jabba the Hut.



Now, unreasonably irritable and unfriendly customer service associates are something of the norm these days outside of Starbucks so I am pretty used to not taking it too personal. Now I have always had trouble ordering drinks at Starbucks. I have grave difficulty remembering all the correct words to describe what I'd like and even in all these years, I still don't fully have it down. Also, I have been a bit out of practice as of late and when I went to order, this is how it went.

Me: "Hello, can I please have a grande...er I'm sorry, I'd like a venti, non-fat, vanilla latte please.
GrumpyPants: "Iced or hot?"
Me: "Oh!, Iced please!! Thanks so much for asking! I have a problem remembering all these words, sorry."

Without much reaction she began preparing my drink. When I saw her pour Reduced Fat 2% milk in, I asked
Me: "Oh...do you guys use 2% instead of non-fat/skim?" (I don't know why this sounded right to me.)
Grumpypants: blank stare as if to say "Bitch, are you going to fucking make me start over?"
Me: "You call skim 'non-fat', right?"
Grumpypants: "You need to say 'slender'."
Me: "What? I though it was 'skinny'? or...'non-fat'".
Grumpypants: "You didn't ask for non-fat."
Me: (still unecessarily polite) "No, I know I said 'non-fat vanilla latte', I forgot to say "iced" which you helped me with, thank you."
Grumpypants: (evil glare as she dumps it out and begins again and...I can't be certain, but she may have just used the same jug of 2%, I couldn't really see...but it was the same damn color.)
Me: (continuing unnecessary politeness) Sorry...thank you!
Random Guy Behind Me in Line : "I heard you say 'non-fat'!"

When I shared this story with my friend I learned that Grumpypants is always this much of a "pleasure" and gives everyone a hard time. I also didn't really notice until I retold this story that she actually said I should have called my skim milk "slender". Now that's a new one. Please tell me she made that one up on the spot?!?! I really wouldn't be surprised if it's the newest ridiculous word in the Starbucks vernacular but geez, when will it end? My friends told me of some awesome twist on the Caramel Macchiato where you order it "upside down". They literally just include the same ingredients but make it in reverse. Evidently it tastes like an entirely new and delectable $5+ treat! F.Y.I. This is one Grumpypants REFUSES to make (at the Starbucks on 49th Street b/w 8th & 9th Ave). I still don't know who discovered/named this, it had to be one of the more pleasant Starbucks workers.

I want to start making up my own.

"I'll take a 'Fat-ass Vanilla Latte with Spanx and a Smile' please!"
"Please pick me up a 'Bow-legged/Big-Boned Caramel Macchiato!"
"Ooh, I'd love a 'Tall-n-Lanky Frappachino with Freckles' please."

In case you care....

Oh man, I really wish I could feel like I have something decent to blog about regularly. While I don't want to stress myself out about it, I realize that the things I love about the blogs I check up on are that they always have something new every time I visit them. I know a mom who just added twins to her 2 younginz and she is still keeping up with her blog every other damn day! Of course she has a highly successful blog with tons of readers who are waiting to hear what she has to say. I must say it is easy to blow this off when I feel like no one ever reads it. Not to offend you if you happen to be reading this and don't happen to be my brother (thank you Scott!). I'm just sayin'. It give me huge license to ignore it until something huge happens that really makes me giggle or think. Now it sounds like that is rare in my world, and that would be a lie. I giggle and think quite a bit daily. I swear I do! Sometimes I even do them simultaneously. But I don't suppose I look for something every other day that I should come here and tell you about. I try to wait until the mood hits. And unfortunately it hasn't really hit for a second. I was busy getting geared up to do my first solo NYC cabaret, which somehow went smashingly. But now I am back, and I am going to stay focused on finding something to tell you about every other day. Even if that doesn't occur, I imagine I will get here more often than I have been.

And I thank you for your support.

Monday, May 10, 2010

"Extra Extra! Read All About It SUCKER!!!!"

If you know me you know of my obsession with "The Onion", a brilliant satirical newspaper that is often the only news source I can genuinely trust. I have often found myself obsessed with their horoscopes, but not as of late. Just in case you haven't seen this brilliant periodical, you should do yourself a favor and visit their website and enjoy their news videos. The physical newspaper itself is not only awesome, it is FREE!

Well, a few years ago after a particularly long day out on the mean streets of NYC, I had been looking for the new issue of The Onion to pick up for my subway ride home and every spot I'd come across was out of them. I am pretty sure I even went out of my way to seek it out in a few choice spots, but to no avail. I was dragging my weary bones down 8th Avenue looking for a place to rest my soul when a sort of crazy-eyed homeless guy approached me with a stack of newspapers. I figured he was selling the "Homeless Times" paper that some of these folk are peddling. Just as my auto-response "oh, no...sorry" was about to begin, my eye caught sight of the old familiar font and Today's Weather looming off to the right. This man was trying to SELL me "The Onion"! I couldn't help but laugh. This man thought I was dumb enough to pay $2.99 for "The Onion"? He even pointed out the joke price that used to be printed on it that looked legitimate but was just part of it's brilliant satire. I could NOT stop laughing! I figured this was worth the $3 for the amusement I was getting, and besides, I needed the new issue anyway. So I told him I WOULD buy one off of him, just because I thought it was hysterical of him to sell it. I walked away grinning from ear to ear only to realize, as I glanced down in jest, that I already had this issue, and it was WEEKS old. This swindler not only sold me a FREE newspaper, but he sold me an issue 3-4 weeks old! That bastard still GOT ME! At least it was actually one of my favorite issues. I know that sounds strange but I told you I was obsessed. Every single inch of that issue had cracked my shit up and mostly out loud....so at least he sold me a good one!!

This has long-since been one of my favorite NYC stories, much like the time I saw a "blind" panhandler with a walking stick walk off the subway reading his newspaper.

Well....I was hangin' out in Times Square this past week....acting like a hippie with flyers for "Hair" when this man wanders through.....




Now this is NOT the man who swindled me, but I have never seen anyone else trying this since then and that was at least 4 years ago. So I had another good laugh. I told him all about it...and he kept saying it was probably him. I knew it wasn't but I still needed some documentation. This man was very good humored about it all even though it hadn't been him originally. He mentioned that they stopped putting the fake price on the paper and he assumed it was so that people like him couldn't sell them on the streets. He also mentioned that he recently returned from being "away" for the past 4 years. By "away", he definitely meant "in jail"...which he was also, oddly, good humored about.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Oh where oh where have my crack-tacos gone? Astoria Taco Truck where are YOU?

I must begin with my deepest apologies for my last post being of the boring insights and disgusting image of Mortadella. I have been mortified that I left you all with that gem as my last post in entirely too long. I know full well there aren't that many of you who even swing past here all that often and those of you who do ought to be rewarded with something other than the world's most hideous looking luncheon meat.

Now...onto more pressing matters.

Those of you who know me know of my infatuation with the Taco Truck here in Astoria, NY. You may recall it from a past voicemail, Facebook status or any number of endless ramblings stating my suspicion of their use of actual crack amidst their delectably unique and fresh ingredients which keep addicts like me running back for more. If you ever heard tell of my new found adoration of limes and radishes, these are the people responsible.

The Taco Truck, otherwise known as "El Rey del Taco" and always parked in front of the Rite-Aid at 30th Avenue and 31st Street (except on Mondays) has recently gone missing, and I am not the only one who cares. I recently read a worried friend's status this past week, as he lives right near it and hadn't noticed it there for about a week. I had my regular two $2 chicken tacos (otherwise known as heaven) about 3-4 weeks ago but hadn't been over there since. I was worried about this when another friend casually mentioned her plans for the taco cart that evening on her way home, and had to warn her that her plans may be thwarted due to it's absence.

On my way to a party late Friday night near their corner, I approached the silhouette of a trunk nearly the same size and shape of the Taco Truck. As I got closer, however, I noticed it was slightly smaller and was covered with some graffiti-type artwork that was drab and frightening. A man loading boxes into this truck saw me slow down as I noticed this menacing impostor and thought he'd try flirting with me (since I was all dolled up and walking alone at 1am). All I could do was look at him sullenly and say "you're not my Taco Truck....where's my Taco Truck?" and sulk away.

Well, I am not sure what the explanation is for the disappearance of one of my most reliably delicious and insanely cheap-ass dinners/snacks, but I am ecstatic I am not the only one who is concerned and people are already trying to get to the bottom of this.

I also had no idea that the people who owned it recently opened an actual restaurant not too far away that sounds pretty delicious as well....though, I'm still gonna need you to bring me back my cart, mmkay?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Mortadella?

Am I the only person disturbed by the sight of this luncheon meat in my bodega's deli case?

Now, I love me some pistachios, and I can appreciate that they might taste delicious in a lunch meat but man, does it look disgusting! It appears as though it may, at times, contain berries, though all I see here is chunks of FAT. Is this the fruit cake of lunch meats? Does someone actually like this? I don't think I have ever heard anyone order a "Mortadella on Rye", or on anything for that matter.

I am not sure why I need to get to the bottom of this, but if you or anyone you have ever met happens to enjoy a fine Mortadella, please enlighten me!

Friday, February 12, 2010

French Fries and Copious Amounts of Bird Poop

I remember the first time I visited New York City. I remember the shows I saw, the stars I got my picture with at the stage doors, the grimy streets, and my brother getting swindled in Times Square by some sketchy dudes playing cards on cardboard boxes. I remember the energy I felt in the air and I knew that I would move here one day. Just before all that, I recall my very first step onto a NYC sidewalk just left of the crazies outside of Port Authority. A pigeon shit on my head. Welcome to New York. I knew this was the town for me! That day and many times since, I have been told that a bird pooping on your head is a sign of good luck. While there is no doubt that I am enjoying my time here in the big city...it's been nearly 8 years now and I am pretty sure I am still waiting for that good luck to prove itself.

Last night I had an odd dream. We (castmates, classmates of some sort, and just friends in general) were all staying in the woods near a beach. I'm not sure what we were doing there. En route one afternoon from wherever we went everyday back to our cabins in the woods, we were all crossing the beach when french fries started falling all around us. I don't know where they were coming from, but the sinking feeling in the pit of our stomachs told us that if:

beach + fries = seagulls and birdshit

then:

beach + copious amounts of fries = well...you get the picture


So we started to run just as hoards of seagulls came swooping in eating the french fries that just kept falling. This was obviously followed by large amounts of poop on our heads. We had just barely reached the woods we were living in when the 'storm' got real bad. I just remember all of us drenched in seagull poop and wondering who was going to get to use the shower first.

Now, if birds pooping on your head = good luck

What do dreams about massive amounts of bird feces pouring down your face and the faces of those around you equal?

How about copious amounts of random french fries?




Monday, February 8, 2010

"The Anti-Bandwagon Bandwagon"

Y'no what I'm really sick of? The "Anti-Bandwagon Bandwagon". Don't know what that is? Sure ya' do. It's that group of folks in the world who refuse to "get on the bandwagon" for anything and everything that a lot of people have agreed is awesome, purely because a lot of people have previously agreed that it is awesome. You might hear them saying things like, "Oh...that's been too hyped up!" or "Oh God, that's the LAST movie I want to see, it can't be that great...people are stupid." I first noticed this phenomenon when the movie "Titanic" was out. I loved that movie. I know, I know...it isn't the best film ever created, and it was cheesy, but it was a damned great movie. I don't need to defend myself this many years later, and frankly, I don't care whether you agree with me. Myself and millions of other people felt something when we watched that flick and we did that because we allowed ourselves to get on that bandwagon that the anti-bandwagon bandwagoners were throwing themselves off of and under.

What they just don't understand is that the Anti-Bandwagon Bandwagon IS A BANDWAGON. In claiming that they are so individual and so unique...able to make their own choices and form their own opinions...they are making their opinion instantly opposite to the general consensus, usually without even seeing/hearing/trying said "awesome thing". Now that's just retarded. And sure...there are a few Anti-BW's that do allow themselves to experience whatever it is and will still deny it's possible awesomeness anyway, because that is just who they are. Besides, who am I to prove whether they secretly enjoyed it and are afraid to admit it?

The trick here isn't jumping ON one of these bandwagons but, rather, not allowing their presence to deter you from truly experiencing something for yourself. A lot of people sell themselves short from some silly notions of their supposed individuality.

That is my point at the end of all of this....the whole idea behind hating whatever everyone on the Bandwagon digs is based on this idea that you are your own person and you don't just go along with the crowd. I can respect that. But not if, in doing so, you just hop on the wagon that is going the other way down the road, because that is just a different gaggle of lemmings headed to a really boring party.




Saturday, February 6, 2010

"Apple Dapples"

There are a lot of random things that make me happy, but none quite so much as the names of generic cereal. Since some brand named cereals are $5-6 these days, I imagine I am not the only one who has noticed some of them. These are just a few of my favorites.


There are plenty like these ones...with just a silly sound to them that vaguely describes what they are. But we smart folk can generally figure it out based on our familiarity with the original version, the photo on the box, and our experience with context clues:





Why the extra "r"?




And for those that enjoy getting freaky with their fruits...



Then there are the ones that I can still hear churning through the brains of the creative team as the hours dragged by, stuck in a room with no inspiration left yet still, cereals to name. Someone mutters, "Alright, what've we got? Apples, it tastes like apples. We can't just call it apples....we need another word. 'Apple....', ummm.'Apple Bapple'...'Apple Capple'.....'Apple Dapple'...yeah...yeah, that's got a nice ring to it!":



Or the ones that just could not get any more literal and straight to the point.



I'm unsure how, but this one somehow manages being both too literal and too vague. "With Almonds, Oats, & More (and you pour milk over it and eat it with a spoon...and then you chew it with your mouth...and swallow it down your esophagus and digest it in your belly and eventually poop it out...)". And yet the suspicious "More" leaves far too much mystery for my taste.



These evidently are entirely void of inspiration since I suppose you can't call 'em "Poop Flakes":



But why are they allowed to use this identical name?






Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"General Beauregard Lee"

I read today that there is, evidently, not just one groundhog that people look towards on Groundhog's Day in order to predict how soon spring will or won't come each year. Mayor Bloomberg took part in a ceremony involving a one, "Staten Island Chuck", who determined that we would have an early spring which is in direct conflict with Punxsutawney Phil's prediction that we are doomed to endure more of the never-ending winter. Now, I am pretty sure that kindergarten was the last time I actually cared whether any groundhog "saw his shadow" as "they" say, but this is the first I've ever heard of other cities holding these ceremonies with multiple other animals. Evidently, there are several; ie....
"Brandon Bob" of Brandon, Manitoba; "Balzac Billy" in Alberta; "General Beauregard Lee" in Lilburn, Georgia; "Shubenacadie Sam" in Nova Scotia; "Staten Island Chuck" in New York; "Gary the Groundhog" in Kleinburg, Ontario, and "Wiarton Willie" in Ontario, among many others."

Now obviously this just makes this already absurd holiday even more ridiculous, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel like naming a few new ones.


"Goombah Gino"
"Crackah Carl"
"Where-there-be-a-fro-there-be-a-pick Leroy"
"Wigger D-Shizzle"
"Wilma the Butch" (need a lady in there!)


Okay....now it's your turn!