Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Never Let Me Down Again (Depeche Mode)

Today marks 7 years since my best friend died as a result of drugs. They found his body in a dumpster. It was horrible. There is a piece of my heart that still goes this time each year. It's like it's ripped out, pissed on, and thrown across a room.

Awful and horrifying are not just words that describe the pain that still lingers. On this day each year I meet some fuckhead who totally pisses me off. I always want to ask, "Can I trade this shit for brains for my best friend?"

Yes, he was a character. Chacho was my Ratso Rizzo. He was always in some shit. We had three rules:

1. No calling me in the middle of illegal activity.

2. No detailing sex practices involving chocolate syrup

3. No detailing sex practices involving cherry syrup.

Yes, he was my gay boo. Chacho I fucking miss you. Yes, he sold drugs. No, he didn't like to be called a drug dealer. He preferred entrepreneur or small business owner. Yes, he was a bad businessman getting high on his own supply. Yes, he got government assistance and spent it on designer clothes. Sure he didn't have a house but he had his Gucci.

It's been years and it gets easier. But there are moments where my heart still breaks into a million pieces. Watching someone die as a result of an addiction is like watching someone dig their own grave right in front of you, shovel and all.

This year I didnt remember the day because I have been working so much. But then I saw the reminder on my phone. I had just mailed out my mom's birthday present and then oh shit. Yes that painful day each year.

To compound the pain, I was walking to a friend's show last night and saw my ex boyfriend nodding off in front of the Port Authority. I knew he was homeless and back on drugs. I also heard through the grapevine he was blaming me for every awful thing that ever happened to him. But to see him nodding off in his own piss and vomit made it more awful than I could ever describe.

Sure, he did plenty of fucked up things at the end of the relationship. Yes, he hurt me a lot. But he didn't deserve this.

A few minutes later some asshole hit on me. You got it a white, cisgendered, male asshole. Wanted to see my Patriarchal Pleasure Pit. It made me want to vomit, my former lover only feet away nodding off and destroying himself worse than my words and hexes ever could. And what hurt more was my gay deceased friend, gay bashed in his neighborhood and slashed across his cheek. Yes, he always had his compact to cover up his scar. But it hit his heart in ways I could never describe.

So I did the stable thing of screaming at this scumbag to get away from me. He ran. It felt good. It felt good to scream at the cisgendered man who would have made my friend Chacho feel lesser because of his same sex attraction. It felt good to scream at the cisgendered man who encouraged the toxic masculinity that made men like my ex feel they needed to go to war and fight for a country that could give two shits about them. Yes, fuck the man.

Or as a wise person once said, "A junkie is someone telling society there is something wrong."

Minutes later I got an email from a coordinator in my graduate school. I forgot to turn something in. FUCK! Work had gotten so busy as did the Onion workshop I was in that I forgot. I took a breath. Time to go to the show. No more mind fucking tonight.

Today I turned in my assignment for graduate school. I formatted it wrong. (FUCK!). I also had a snafu with something I am releasing to sell that made me want to break everything in the fucking room. I hated the fucking world. And not to mention that when I told someone my ex was homeless and nodding off in Port Authority they said, "Wasn't so smart to be with him."

Really Sherlock Holmes. Tell me something I don't know. He gets off his ass to get dope each day which is more than I can say for you.

Either way it's fine. I just feel like I want to explode. I will say this both shows were good last night. Made me inspired to write some good comedy. Maybe even make Chacho a character, because he was funny. He wouldn't want me to be sad now. If anything, he would kill it onstage.

Although it feels like it currently, I don't suck at life because I am choosing life. Choosing life is always the hardest thing. My ex isn't choosing life. It's sucks but just as Chacho failed himself my ex is doing the same. That being said, I am grateful to be alive, even if it is with this discomfort. And stay tuned, there are more exciting announcements coming.

April Unwrapped










Monday, October 16, 2017

The Crippling Patriarchy

For weeks, I have been on pins and needles to write this blog. I have written a lot about gender and domestic violence in the past. It always makes men uncomfortable. It puts them on edge because it's not the fluffy sexy stuff people want to read. Domestic violence is the unwelcome guest at any party. People feel terribly for an abused woman, but they want to remain at arms length because of the codependency and other issues the person often has.

I get it.

It's amazing how our culture promotes both domestic violence and rape. Straight men are literally raised with this toxic idea on how to perform masculinity. Gender is such a social construct that part of the reason DV is so constant is that men don't know how to behave. It's like they are so busy pounding their chests and asserting their manhood that some will do it at the expense of health and respect in the relationship.

There is always an idiot or two that says the woman pushed him. It's codependency, they push each other. It's a vicious cycle. Or they say she deserved it. No one deserves to be abused by a partner. And then they tell me I am bitter and to get over it. Yes, I am bitter the laws did more to protect my abusive partner than they did me.

No, I will not "get over it." If you have a friend or family member that is stalked or harassed by an intimate partner you never get over it. You are fucking furious.

It's amazing how much straight cisgender male culture promotes the slavery and entrapment of the straight cisgender female. Straight men do it unknowingly, even the good ones. I am by no means saying all straight men are evil. No, there are lots of good ones who are wonderful friends, brothers partners and fathers. But there is this construct that makes women subservient.

For instance, a man isnt a so called gentlemen if he doesn't pay for dinner. When I suggest both people split the check and get the relationship off on an equal footing women especially hate this. It's like they are not conditioned to be equal but demand it. And when they get it, they don't know what to do with it because they lose their status on the punishing end. It's always also assumed the man is the bread winner and has to take care of the woman. This is a terrible notion and a punishing one at that. It's an insult to people of both genders.

Then it is one set of rules for the man and the other for the woman. The man can parade his ex's around and speak about them at his leisure because he must mount his conquests on the wall. The woman when she speaks about hers isn't "over him." The second the woman says something about them she is demonized for her jealousy. Yet when the man says something about a woman's past partner he is asserting his manhood.

Lest we forget the cliche that a man can have as many partners as he wants and be king and a woman has as many partners as she wants and she is a slut. A lot of women slut shame not because they are even evil, but it's the internalized fear we have of the judgement and therefore we would rather have stones to throw at others rather than ourselves.

A man who is friends with all of his ex's is not a nice guy ever in my experience. This is a straight cis male enjoying being on the top of the patriarchy. This is a straight cis man parading his trophies. Often, this man is using these trophies as a way to keep his woman in her place, letting her know what came before her. When she gets jealous it's all her fault. It's like saying she deserved it because of what she wore, this is the same metric.

As a woman, we always fall into the trap of bad mouthing the woman before us, growing jealous. Meanwhile it is just the man's way of keeping us in our place. If we are jealous and do not focus on the fact he is trying to control us through the structure the paradigm has created, we cannot question his ineptness in the relationship let alone lack of so called manhood. This is just a mirage and distraction from the real issues.

More often than not, you should be weary of a man being friends with an ex. If there are children involved, it is understandable if they are friendly. You should be for the sake of children. While your relationship might not have been stable, you need to create a stable ground for the children.

But if the ex is regularly irking in without these factors, beware. This is a woman who is readying to do his dirty work upon the break up. She will too as as they are all tethered to the paradigm. He is the evil man behind the curtain and they are his demonic workers ready to torture you on command, and ready to again be a mirage to a larger social issue.

My view on DV is this, that the issue is not in fact with the fathers but with the mothers. Many times, women are taught to be more demure and kind in relationships. This means not standing up for themselves. When men with weaker mothers meet women who are willing to oppose them, this becomes too much for their challenged manhood. Therefore they lash out physically and emotionally.

I remember once as a kid I got into a fight with my brother about the clicker. (This dates me I know). My brother hit me because we were kids and sometimes you hit your siblings, it's what you do when you are 8 and 10. My mom came down on my brother like bloody hell fire. She said, "You have to do all your sister's chores. You could have hurt her."

When my brother protested, my mom informed him, "Someday that will be a girlfriend or wife. You will get in big trouble if you settle your disputes that way."

But the bigger issue is that we are so married to gender construct. This is why there is so much homophobia and transphobia. Because the LGBTQ crushes the straight cisgender construct. Actually this is for the best. Because gay relationships are much more equal than straight ones. Someone isn't always asserting their dominance and ultimately wanting the upper hand because of what is or isn't between their legs. While they have issues like every couple does, there is not the issue of gender dominance.

I find that many straight men accuse lesbians of "man hating" because they reject the notion of straight sex. Really and truly, these women experience sexism and homophobia at once. There are some who are on the defensive because they have been bullied by small minded cisgender men who don't realize that this is a situation where their manhood is not needed and it isn't personal.

A lot of cisgender straight women accuse butch lesbians of "not trying to be beautiful" because they don't wear dresses or makeup like such things make a woman beautiful. It's not wit, personality, or style. It's the clothes she wears and the man she fucks. YIKES! In my experience many butch women are the most beautiful people I have ever met inward and outward.

Then there is the transphobia that you have to be the gender you were born even if the gender doesn't fit who you are. You need to fit into the box of the social construct. Transfolk crush the social construct. They have found a way around it. They embrace fluidity. We should all in my opinion. I am not saying there is anything wrong with being straight and cis, but don't be so married to performing the roles you are given to the point where it makes you a toxic, bigoted, bully boy/girl asshole.

This post was in part inspired by a male comedian who wrote in effect that if women comedians market themselves as sexy they deserve to be disrespected by creepy bookers and harassed. It made me angry. Like the Harvey Weinstein victims deserved that predator as well. This is the straight patriarchy who serves and promotes rape culture and this idiot was just their facebook messenger.

In closing, Kleopatra killed herself because Augustus Caesar was going to take her captive. She didn't want to be his prisoner in chains and would not let that vicious patriarch win. Shakespeare tells it as a love story between her and Mark Anthony. This is the historical falsehood society has embraced because it makes Kleopatra in need of a man because therefore she is more feminine. If the truth were told, she would come from a position of strength. And that position of strength would be one more thing to challenge the patriarchy.

So yes, here is a sexy photo of myself that I took with my consent. It's red lingerie. Some will hate this blog and say I deserve to be assaulted. Others will hate me. Either way, I am not your prisoner in chains mutherfuckers. So take that rape culture, take it around your bloody fucking neck.



April Unwrapped

















Wednesday, October 11, 2017

LOSER!!!!

About 2 years ago at this time, I ended a relationship with a mentally ill partner. It was a challenging decision, as my ex had been with me during one of the darkest episodes of my life. Yet when you are with someone who refuses to be medicated despite psychotic breaks that put you in not only emotional but physical danger, the choice is painful yet clear.

I was also in a legal battle with my then landlord. Rather than cure the issues with my apartment, he instead chose to torment me with the legal system when I called the city on him. Yes, I wasn't paying rent. But it was because my work property had been destroyed due to bed bugs and mold he refused to treat. Because of this, I could not book jobs. The property I did have was infected and being treated, so it was unavailable. As for the times I could work, I couldn't be present because of court dates and lawyer visits. My landlord was in court once a week himself for safety violations and he was no stranger to the housing court judges of New York City.

I was forced to move in a hurry after my landlord attempted to burn my apartment down while I was at a court date. He knew I was going to be away and sent his brother in his place. As this was all happening, my then ex was committed because his psychotic symptoms got to the point where he could not be in public. Apparently he had other legal issues he hid from me, but as these were being taken care of, his other behaviors could not be hidden. While I was grateful he was finally in a place where he was properly medicated, it didn't stop his friends and family from tormenting and threatening me.

A week after my move, I tested positive for cervical cancer. It was an awful time, especially as my mom was in town that weekend to help me move. I hoped I was sick and could just die. When I went to the doctor, he told me I wore my immune system down so badly from stress that it couldn't fight off infection. I had to stay well, eat healthy, and keep my stress level down.

Fortunately I have been healthy since, but it was one of those things that made me wonder what was next. Was an asteroid going to hit me and end this misery?

To top it off, my hair had basically fallen out. I styled it so people couldn't see my bald spots. Bed bug bites covered my arms. Sometimes my bites popped open and blood went everywhere. I looked horrid, and I had also lost an ungodly amount of weight. Ironically, this is when I started working with someone who became quite a mentor to me.

One evening, I was down on myself. I was trying to master my Donald J. Tramp routine and sent him a video. It wasn't coming together. Donny was on the wrong side. The jokes were all over. The notes were obvious. I broke down and started crying. I couldn't do anything right.

I told him I was a loser and not even to bother with me. This was useless. No one would ever hire me.  He immediately told me he was insulted because he was spending a lot of time guiding me, and he didnt guide losers so this made him a loser.

So the fact I was a "huge loser" became our running joke.

Slowly as I started to put the past behind me and laughed at myself, life got better. I mastered my routine with Donny. A year after my ordeal he was the spokespuppet of Stand Together Against Trump in Cleveland and was credentialed press at The Las Vegas Debates. We also showcased at APAP.

I also became a model for a clothing line and The Lady and President Tramp has run several times Off-Broadway. Last week, I found out it was chosen as a part of SOLOCOM, a festival through The People's Improv Theatre.

This week I began a workshop with The Onion I was invited to. I have read it for years and even submitted writer's packets always to get the rejection of a girl who passes the note to a hot guy only to have it end up in the trash. Now I am part of the Diverse as Fuck Festival. My teacher, a senior writer for The Onion, looked at me as we were giving introductions and said, "You had Donald J. Tramp in your packet."

Oh yeah!

This past year I not only began working as a spokesmodel for Sirenaz Crop Tops. This past week I was asked to take more photos. I also released a body positive, burlesque inspired comedy book. I look better than the death on a Ritz Cracker I did previously.

I am back to acting class and I love my teacher. In college, I got a BFA and therefore overdosed on acting class. I fell in love with comedy and creating my own work, plus there is no money in stage unless you get on Broadway. And I didn't have the money to move to Hollywood. However, I forgot how much I loved my acting classes and teachers, and how safe I was. The old habits are still there like a thorn, but I am slowly nipping them in the bud.

I also just recently got admitted into a graduate program that is right for me and my life. While I still have no idea how I am going to pay for it, I applied on my own like a big girl and got in. The department head was an NEA Fellow. This particular program would allow me to perform, tour, and pursue a graduate degree.

LAstly, my weekends are booked as I am operating a full body puppet in a haunted house. It's three nights a week. My coworkers are hysterical. Mostly young folks, they inspire me each time I dawn this full body suit and learn this new form of puppetry. When I was younger I wanted to master all forms but got down on myself and didn't have the confidence.

Now I do.

I was talking to my mentor Saturday and spoke about everything happening to me. He said, "Grad school, acting class, puppet job, Onion workshop, festival......LOSER!!!"

And then we both laughed.

Yes, sometimes as I look at all that's going on I don't know how I am going to juggle it. Especially since I have a calendar coming out, too.

Either way, better get to my Onion homework or else I will be a real LOSER.....

Instead of a fake LOSER

LOSERLOSERLOSER

Gosh I hope this mood lasts.....

It won't. But eh, you need the rain to appreciate the sun.

April Unwrapped

















Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Unplugging

I have been extremely involved since the start of election season. Donald J. Tramp was a spokespuppet for an anti-Trump group. We marched in Cleveland. Then we covered the debates in Las Vegas. When things didn't go our way, we marched with NYCLU.

Then there is The Lady and President Tramp. It got into it's first festival. I am excited.

However, as of late I have been feeling some activist burn out. A friend of mine who has been involved in ACT UP for over two decades cautioned me to pace myself. He has been arrested a bunch of times and more. He even admits he takes breaks.

The whole kneeling thing has made me crazy. I have never met more obnoxious people and have seen more nasty mud slinging on both sides. There have been people on the left saying more cops should die. People on the right have been insisting on violence against the kneelers. I just wanted to tell them that if they care so much, why don't they march or volunteer?

Oh no. That would take work.

My mom was a Title IX activist in college. It was the 1970s and the women's team wanted letter jackets for their winning season. The men got them and their season was not as successful. As the captain, my mom acted as media spokeswoman, not only speaking to the press but ultimately requesting they had special meal times and study halls like the men.

I am proud of my mom for her activism, but like many Second Wavers she had enough of the infighting in the movement. Plus it takes a lot of time and energy to be an activist. So when she graduated from college my mom taught, coached, married, had kids, and enjoyed her life. Her contributions helped many other women, but the sun had set on her time as an activist and she was moving on.

Then again, that is the thing about activism, the freaking infighting. There have been events I have been at where Black Lives Matter shows up. The middle class white activists cringe each time fearing they will get violent. Meanwhile BLM are allies in the movement. I have never had anything but wonderful experiences with the vibrant, fresh energy of BLM. They have always been positive in my encounters with them. But the racism and.....dont even get me started.....

And then of course in the LGBTQ there are so many cisgender queer people who are transphobic. I have seen this too at political marches and have played den mother. I want to scream, "STOP IT! FUCKING STOP IT!"

Then among women there is the sex positive thing, but the shaming of Hugh Hefner. Then there is the argument burlesque is feminist and then there is the argument that it is stripping. There is the believing the victim, but also not encouraging the victim to take responsibility to see their patterns and perhaps learn so they don't forever become a victim. When I bring this up, and I qualify myself as a DV person, I get shit. I want abusive men punished, but codependency is a two way street. Both partners are sick in an instance of DV. Yet it seems none of these people, many who have never experienced it, do not want to hear me.

I want to say that if we want to be strong we can take responsibility. We can not buy things that offend us. Change the channel. Anything but the whiny stupidity.

And then who can be considered a woman. I have been to feminist events where trans people have been barred. If someone wants to take a paycut and be cat called come on in. If someone wants to identify as nonbinary I am not stopping you. But there are people who disagree with me violently.

I just can't with any of you anymore.

To top it off, the weekly fights with right wing nuts have been too much with their grammar errors and other hate flinging on the internet.

The straw that broke the camel's back was Las Vegas yesterday. A man who is mentor and means quite a bit to me lives there. He was safe in bed during the shooting as he has been hard at work on an event, plus he is 70. While he is very active in the entertainment business, like many Las Vegas locals he has no use for the free concerts on The Strip.

However, my worry was his daughter would have been there with her boyfriend or cousin. They are 22, free concert age. But luckily they weren't there. None of my LV peeps were there. However, the daughter of my mentor had a friend who was critically wounded. I was sick for that young man and his family.

Still, the talk of the event made me sick as people wouldnt shut the fuck up about it. And then they want gun control. And then they want to talk about mental illness. Having had a mentally ill partner I can educate people on the subject. I tried a few times to tell people how we need to talk about BOTH. It was like talking to a wall.

Especially since my ex, a mentally disturbed Iraq War vet, fired his service weapon at the wall during a psychotic break in which he believed the ghost of the soldier that tried to kill him came back to get him. Needless to say, there was no ghost. However, there were neighbors who had children. The cops were called and there was a lesser charge he plead down to in exchange for some information on another crime. The firearm was taken away obviously. No one was hurt thank God.

Still, my ex withheld this information from me when we got together. I found this out after we broke up. The fact my ex and people like him can get a weapon frightens the living fuck out of me. Either way, when people began to deny Sandy Hook I had to log off. This shit was waaaaaayyyyyyyy too fucking much.

Last night, I was talking with two kiddos who identify as nonbinary at the haunted house I am doing full body puppets at. The election came up. Tensions flashed. Both were quick to remind me as a cisgender white woman I would be fine. I wanted to tell them how involved I had been and how my life and political experience eclipsed theirs. We were all politically opinionated positioned in our perspective corners.

Then one said, "No more talk of politics, it's too stressful."

No wiser words had ever been uttered in the last several months. The tension bubble was burst. They were like me. They couldn't do it anymore. They had burnt out. They put up a boundary and I more than accepted it. I wanted to borrow it for my own use.

Another one of the kiddos, a nonbinary person who went to Smith, admitted that they had been knee deep in activism marching quite a bit themselves. However, like myself they were taking a much needed break. At that moment, we connected. We showed up. We made our statements. Now we just couldnt........

This is why the haunted house was such a stress release. And we are operating full body puppets. I have done ventriloquism obviously, hand and rod, bunraku, Balinese shadow puppets and even marionettes but never full body. While they are heavy at times it pays alright and I look forward to the challenge. Plus people seem relatively nice and chill. I need the laugh. I need the break. But most importantly, this is a chance to learn and grow as a puppeteer.

This young kiddo from also told me she is set to attend a South Asian family wedding this next weekend. I learned they were practicing the dance of the single cousins, aka their version of the bouquet toss. It would be two days of fun, and henna tattoos. That was so much more interesting, informative, and fulfilling than any political conversation I have had in some time.

And a week before, as I was leaning towards taking a break, I met from guys going to the Mets game who were middle of the road Trump supporters. They saw my trunk and I did a show with Donny. They laughed. They weren't evil and didn't have fangs. They just voted the lesser of two evils.

Monday I went to an acting class and did a fun monologue with an amazing teacher. I return next week. Days before, I applied to graduate school for my writing and am awaiting a response. (GULP). I have also been accepted into an Onion writing workshop that I look forward to, and am set to do more modelling and release a calendar.

As for my show, it will be at SOLOCOM in November at the PIT Loft.

I intend to be back to fight for the rights of people who are HIV/AIDS positive, abused women, LGBTQ, mental health/addicts, and others who suffer under abuse of those in power.

However, I need a break to stretch and grow. I need to take a breath and get my brains back before I shave my head, open my window and throw out my computer. You have your right to your opinion, I have my right to mine.

But we are both currently assholes.

Now for my nightly mango.

April Unwrapped















Sunday, October 1, 2017

My Playboy Story

Back in 2012, I was working as a singing telegram delivery girl, performing ventriloquism, and embarking on a career as a writer. My first book, I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl had just been published. It was a wonderful feeling being a published writer. As a youngster who filled yellow legal tablets with words I now cringe at, putting my work on a shelf was an honor and dream come true.
Things were even more incredible as I Came, I Saw, I Sang found shelf space next to Ophira Eisenberg, Junot Diaz, and Anne Frank. After a book signing event at Brown University, I felt like I had arrived as a young writer.
Then a friend suggested I submit my book to Playboy. A male friend who was about 50, he told me they had a lot of wonderful articles. Maybe they could review it. Maybe they could do an interview. Maybe I could even write a piece.
It was a zany idea but I decided, why not?
I googled Playboy enterprises and found only the number for the subscription company. That is when I called 4-11.
Me: Hello, I need the number for Playboy Magazine.
Female Operator: Sure, coming right up.
Me: I am not a model. I am a writer.
(Operator laughs).
Female Operator: Hey, my daughter is trying to write. You need to get published where you can. I will connect you now.

Minutes later, I found myself connected to a nice young man. He spoke clearly and was incredibly friendly. This is how the conversation went.
Travis: Hello, Playboy Enterprises. This is Travis. How can I help you?
Me: Hi, my name is April Brucker. I wrote a book. I was wondering if I could send it to Playboy Magazine to review…..
Travis: What is your book about?
Me: It’s called I Came, I Saw, I Sang, Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl. It’s about my job as a singing telegram delivery girl.
Travis: Really, what is the craziest job you have ever had?
Me: I have been a chicken, gorilla, hot dog, Marilyn Monroe, but I was used as evidence in a court of law once. You see, I was delivering to a guy who I was supposed to apologize to dressed as a dancing heart. I was saying I’m sorry. So I get there and he is good looking. Answers the door. This guy is standing behind him and says oh no. I hope it’s not another guy. So I am singing and the guy I am singing to says, “Do you know what she did?”
Travis: Shit, what did she do?
Me: He says, “It was New Years Eve. She ran over my foot. And as I was screaming in pain, she drove away laughing. Now I am taking her to court tomorrow to sue her for damages.”
Travis: Wow.
Me: I was like, would another song from the I’m Sorry Heart do the trick. He was like, “This will be used as evidence to show of her recklessness.” And I was singing “Goodbye, goodbye!”
Travis: This is awesome. Send me a copy.
Me: Of course. What do you do at Playboy?
Travis: I’m the butler.
Me: So that is what they are calling executive assistants at magazines these days? Or is this just a joke at The Playboy Office?
Travis: No. Like a butler, butler.
Me: You’re a real butler. Like a butler in a mansion? Like the Playboy Mansion?! DID I JUST CALL THE PLAYBOY MANSION!
Travis: Yes m’am.
Me: HOLY SHIT! I JUST CALLED THE PLAYBOY MANSION!
(Travis and I are both laughing).
Travis: So you had no idea?
Me: No, I just said connect me to Playboy Enterprises and here I am. I bet you get  a lot of whackos.
Travis: Yup. And you are one.
Me: Ouch.
Travis: But hey, at least you are interested.
(Travis a random guy)
Travis: Hey, this one actually did something. She wrote a book.
(sounds in background)
Travis: He says he might be able to get you on Playboy Radio. Anyway, we are getting our day started here, but send us a copy of the book, okay?
Me: For sure. What is your address?
(Travis gives me address)
Me: Wow, this is an amazing story. This was amazing.
Travis: Yes it was. Stay safe.
Click


Nothing came of me sending my book to Playboy, but at least I got a good story out of the whole thing. Hef, I called your house and your people were at least cool. There is something to be said for hospitality. RIP Pimp Daddy. 

PS. In recent times I have addressed my sexy side as a female writer and now I wouldn't be so timid about calling if the mansion were still the epicenter of things. So check out my new book April Unwrapped

Monday, September 25, 2017

Stop Using Our Vets As An Excuse To Stand

I am a kneeler. I intend to kneel until Trump is out of office when “The National Anthem” is played. I don’t care if this loses me jobs or opportunities. Those weren’t doors open anyway.
I kneel because I am a domestic violence survivor, and for years the fans saw no reason to protest the NFL as they protected abusers time and time again. I kneel to protect the right to marry the person of my choosing regardless of gender or sexual identity. I kneel to protect the immigrants in my neighborhood who work hard and want to become a part of the American fabric. I kneel to protect my right of choice. I kneel because our president is more dictator and less leader.
Stop telling me about the sacrifice of the vets. It’s just plain asinine, tired, and frankly pitiful. First off, our tweeter and chief called Neo-Nazi’s “good people.”
Both my grandfather’s fought in WWII as did my great uncle. As a matter of fact, my great uncle was a part of the troops that liberated the camps. He always cracked dirty jokes and seldom spoke about his experience. While as a child he frightened me, now I know he experienced things more horrific than we could ever imagine. To hear Trump call the Neo-Nazi’s “good people” would make him roll over in his grave. It would be disrespectful to the many brave young men who died in combat against the Nazis. Some no older than 18.
Trump does not honor the greatest generation rather he degrades not only their bravery and contributions, but every soldier who bravely served. Both my grandfather’s have their flags up in their hometown. They were called to service and went.
Trump dodged the draft the first chance he got like a prissy rich boy. John McCain served and was captured. I do not always agree with McCain politically but I respect his bravery and journey. I respect the face he struggled with PTSD and made a career for himself in politics after being a POW. If I met him I would shake his hand and thank him for his service.
Some are not so lucky. My ex boyfriend was not one. Actually I would call him my former partner because while we were not engaged we spoke about getting married and starting a home. He loved America and loved the fact he did two tours, one in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. During one of his tours he was even injured in combat.
During a duty where he was to catalogue the dead for the day, an Iraqi soldier who was playing dead sat up and stabbed him severing an artery in his arm. Although he recovered and still worked, he could never completely straighten it. Like many returning vets, he was unaware of his rights and the United States government found ways to make him unaware of the benefits he was eligible for. He also took advantage of the 6 months of free counseling through the VA, and was put on meds that only made his paranoia worse. Like many young men returning from combat, he fell into drugs but was clean for a substantial time when I met him.
In many ways he was the most wonderful man I could ever ask God for. He was there when I was down and out and didn’t judge me once. Armed with a good sense of humor, he cracked jokes and was lively. Not to mention he loved my puppets and demanded one be named after him.
Like many returning soldiers he was  a giver. It’s no accident a great many vets end up as cops or firefighters, as they are professions where not only do they serve but they save. Many of our biggest fights were about him extending kindness and generosity to people who were flat out users.
But he was sick.
This meant mood swings. Psychotic breaks.
Daily tasks were next to impossible. He would keep a job but not for very long. While he would want to work the PTSD made it nearly impossible to get from A to B. Crowded city streets freaked him out as did loud noise. A crowded theatre and long line at a Broadway show meant a cold sweat. Sleep was something that he just didn’t engage in. He couldn’t.
As the psychotic breaks grew closer and closer together and he refused help and medication, I had to end it. There were people who told me I was a bad person for doing so, but it was more humbling when other friends confessed they were worried he would completely go off the deep end and kill me one day. Would he have hurt me? I would like to think no but the episodes were getting more and more unpredictable.
It ended badly as all relationships with the mentally ill who refuse treatment do. There were a million times a day when I had to remind myself that he was sick. It kept me from breaking everything in the room because of his actions. I also told myself his experience was the result of the trauma he suffered in combat, and that hopefully one day he will get the help he desperately needs to be a functional human being.
Currently, my ex is homeless and back on drugs. It’s less about him being a junkie and more about the fact he self medicates for pain and experience we as average Americans could never fathom let alone understand. He is not the exception but unfortunately not uncommon. America sends her troops to die and when they return too damaged to function they are on their own. And then when they end up on the street or in the correctional system we respond by telling them to “get it together.”
Once, shortly after I ended things with my ex, a vet was begging for change. He had returned from Iraq and lost his leg. I gave him a dollar. A man with a thick Southern accent said they were mercenaries just sent to die and there was no reason we should give them money at any time. It took every nerve in my body not to punch him. My bet is he stands for The National Anthem.
We freely make fun of the mentally ill in this country but we would never do that to someone with cancer. Because we don’t believe people with cancer deserve their fate even if they smoked 20 packs of cigarettes a day. Yet I have heard people call combat vets murderers and say they deserve their PTSD.
I have also heard people joke about mental illness. They make fun of people who have hallucinations, psychotic breaks, and mood swings. Crazy is a word we throw around casually. Once you know someone who suffers from a mental health issue, crazy becomes a word that is outright cruel. Because that “crazy” person might be a vet who is trying their best to get through the day.
Standing for the Anthem is your choice. However, don’t use the vets as an excuse for your bigotry and hate. Don’t use their sacrifice and their continual suffering as an excuse to silence the free speech of others. Don’t use the dead soldiers to denigrate the players. Many are young, black men who didn’t come from much but had the brains and ambition to use their athletic talent to get an opportunity, education, and better life for themselves and their families.
And I repeat, none of you would probably talk to a vet let alone help a homeless one. Trump is exploiting the vets shamelessly and has since he decided to run for office. He will throw them under the bus first chance he gets. Trump is also starting wars and will send more young men and women to die, or to come back damaged into a system that doesn’t support them.

So if you care about America and the vets, don’t stand. I will be taking a knee for a while it looks like. 

April Unwrapped

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Interview With Alain Nu: The Man Who Knows

1. How long have you been a mentalist? And how did you get started in the art of mentalism?

I became interested in mentalism around the time I was 8. I first learned about mentalism from (I believe) a book by Walter Gibson, called, The Master Magicians. It mentioned Alexander, who was the original "Man Who Knows." Mind reading and mental powers has actually always intrigued me. Around the same time I saw Uri Geller on the Merv Griffin show and was hooked. It was that combination of the two: One guy who I read about, and a more 'modern' guy who I actually got to see on TV, that showed me that entertainment could be expressed in a purely mental way.

Alain with his crystal


2. How are you the man that knows?

The very first Man Who Knows was Claude "Alexander" Conlin who was made famous for this title almost exclusively because of the entrancing posters of the vaudeville era, which depicted this obviously (non-Hindu) caucasian man wearing a Turbin and peering into a crystal ball. The posters of him continued to live past his own very successful career as a stage performer. So, I am not the first Man Who Knows. However, in my opinion, the title of Man Who Knows is a very specific one that depicts a mystery man that is neither a magician or a medium. Originally, I was dubbed the Man Who Knows by my manager, Clinton Billups. He had heard a reporter make reference to it after having seen me perform, and he was drawn to trademark it and dub me as "The Man Who Knows." So although, I may not be the original, if you Google 'The Man Who Knows", I am the top Man Who Knows ranking. This may not mean much to anyone else, but it's the little things in life, right?



3. Spoon bending is a part of your show-you can bend spoons with your mind. Can you let us in on that secret or not?

No! It's the cool and surprising part of my show... and now that we've mentioned it, I guess we'll strike surprising. Spoon bending is still, in some ways, a mystery to me. Sometimes people in my audience have been known to spontaneously bend spoons that they, themselves, bring to my programs. This is the original "Geller effect" in action. I talk about this (and I interview Uri Geller) in my most recent book, State Of Mind, The Man Who Knows Reveals the Secrets of Mind Over Matter. It is oddly hard to explain just what causes metal to sometimes bend so easily. Sometimes the multiple bends that my audience members can make in the spoons they bring, are even more intricate than the ones I bend myself in the show. So I invite you to try it—in fact, the first time we ever met face to face was in NYC and a spoon bent in your hand, remember?

Alain bending spoons on network TV


4. You have performed all over the world. What is your favorite place you have performed? And where can you be seen regularly?

I am really excited to be the Resident Man of Mystery at the famous Watergate Hotel in Washington DC. There, I perform for private groups weekly, however we are right now finalizing arrangements for a ticketed show which I will be premier there called "Secret Asian Man". No recording devices
are allowed, but even if you do, you'll mysteriously find an 18 1/2 half missing gap of audio, he he. Currently, the Watergate is my favorite place to perform. It is a beautiful and historical hotel and the people who come there are pretty excited to be entertained by me. However, the most amazing place I have ever headlined would have to be The Magical Empire at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. It would be hard to explain if you have never been there before, but just my stage alone had a curved back wall of an ancient Chinese mural and flanking both sides of the performing area were two very large, ornate dragons with smoke that subtly wafts out of their nostrils. Since it closed in 2004, nothing to this date has even come close to the spectacle and grandeur of The Magical Empire.

Alain's billboard in Las Vegas


5. You have written several books. What are they and where can they be purchased?

I have two books available on Amazon. State Of Mind: The Man Who Knows Reveals Secrets of Mind Over Matter and Picture Your ESP: Reveal Your Hidden Powers With The Nu ESP Test. You can find them in bookstores, and online retailers like Barnes and Noble and Amazon in both paperback and Kindle editions. State of Mind is really a book that shows you example after example of how to think like a mentalist. It shows you how to do a few simple and beginner mentalist tricks that I have developed, then it shows you how being a mentalist is actually not about the trick, but about how, with an open mind, you can interact with reality in truly mysterious ways.

Alain's fans love his books


6. You had your own TV show on TLC. What was it called and when did it run?

My show for TLC was The Mysterious World Of Alain Nu and premiered in 2005. It was even seen internationally, including Continental Flights from Europe to Los Angeles. The only reason I know that is because I would sometimes get fan mail from people on those flights. It was an amazing experience, but I would be so much better now, if I was ever given another chance to give it another go. As you know, working on TV is totally different than live performance. So the next producer that gives me that challenge, know that I can take it to new heights.

The master at work


7. If you could have dinner with any mentalist from the past who would it be?

All my life, I have been known as an "underground mentalist" and part of that has to do with what constitutes that term. Most underground guys, are creators, and that doesn't mean that they would have had to be god performers. They just need to be clever artists that know the craft, like screenplay writers are to the film industry. Those are my peeps. Some of my closest friends are/were underground kings of their time. So if I could have dinner with anyone, I would want it to be Theodore Annemann. He was a true artist in the craft of mentalism. He was also a bit of a tortured artist, as he ended his own life two weeks before an important show he was expected to perform. But it's the artists within the field who are some of my closest friends, so if I had only one to choose, then I choose Annemann.

8. What is next for “The Man Who Knows?”

That's the one question that I never know. But I can say this: I am moving on up!

Alain amazing this group of people


9. What is your star sign?

Leo on the Cusp of Virgo. My birthday was actually the same day as the eclipse this year, so since you know me, that was quite significant... Lunar shit can't stop me now.

10. What do you eat for breakfast?

Most of the time, it's just coffee. Is that bad?