Friday, June 29, 2012

The Skinny Part 1


It was two days ago when I got a message from Sean Lynch to be a part of his latest project. I was dizzy from new author land. My dear mother, my partner on my publishing venture, had read in a book that the pages should be off white. I told my publisher who gently told me most book sellers don’t care. It inspired me to perhaps write a book, The Writing of the Writing: A Woman’s Journey to Literary Superstardom and How She Almost Developed a Heroin Habit Along the Way. Translated, her head is spinning as much as mine. Our heads are spinning together. No wonder we work so well as a team.
As a part of the email, Sean also invited me to be a part of his show at Skinny Bar and Lounge on Orchard. I am not getting up enough these days so I thought why not? Last weekend I had done a spot in Bushwick and literally blew up the house. I remember leaving the venue feeling like a rockstar. That same week I had done Buttermilk feeling like a rockstar. But as of late, not much comedy. Throughout May I was so injured I could barely leave my house. Plus I was still bitter over a split I had with a club I had worked with and earned a lot of money for. While my bitch was with the club system and it’s selfish owner, the resentment transferred onto standup, an art form I am guilty of loving. I remember May consisted of me crying because my knees and ankles hurt so badly, but then asking myself if I did the right thing by pursuing comedy as hard as I had been in the past.
I had met Sean a few months ago at the Underground Lounge. Right away, I was struck by his positive energy. I am a firm believer in energy, and can often read a persons essence within meeting them. When I met Sean I liked his vibe. He was a fabulous storyteller and spun this yarn about his days in Catholic School, and how as a joke he and his friends put a porno in the VCR for health class. Needless to say the nun wasn’t laughing but we were. Sean also has a distinctive, infectious laugh himself.
After the show I remember Sean and I talking at the Underground. Apparently, Sean is a fan of puppets. Every once in a while, he does an act with a black ventriloquist dummy. Hence the project we are working on together, more on that later. Either way, I remember thinking he was pretty cool.
I made my way to Orchard St after dinner at a Spanish restaurant. I figured the rice, beans and food that was filling would offset my usual diet of cheese twisties. When I got to the Skinny, I saw the usual suspects. Chewey Mai was there and yes I still do have her pretty pink umbrella. Kyle Bostic was also at the bar having a drink, and it was nice to see him since his debut on Adult Swim. Rob Shapiro came, and was well, Rob. For as crazy as this super twin is, when he gets onstage he brings it in a way that still amazes me after all this time. Soon Angela Cobb walked in, looking spiffy as ever. The question remained, where was Sean?
Minutes later, he wandered in with Chad Plaines carrying a huge wooden stage. I looked at the both of them lugging this malevolent fiend only capable of giving one a hernia. Sean was huffing and puffing, and Chad had the other side. My neck hurt just seeing them. The show was to be in the back of the bar. I walked back to see the space. It looked like the wall of an AA meeting complete with light that you had to pull to turn on. This was either going to be awesome or an awesome disaster. There was no in between for an evening like this.
The show started and as Sean told his first story, we all laughed and people began to drift back into the show space. Sean’s storytelling was incredible, and he told us all he had a feeling it would be a fun night. Suddenly, my attitude began to change. This wasn’t going to be a trainwreck of a bar show but awesome. Especially when Sean said he lugged the stage for twenty blocks. That’s not just suicide, that is dedication to the do it yourself aspect that makes standup so special out of all the art forms. Actors require so much prep and fuss with their props. Singers warm up for hours and musicians must tune their instruments. As comedians, it is a mic and a stage. We have no tune or eloquent monologue to hide behind. It is baptism by fire, we either shit or get off the pot.
And awesome it turned out to be.
The show began and Neruda Williams took the stage. At first I wasn’t sure if he could follow Sean’s lead but he did quite well. At that point I knew it was going to be a good. Angela Cobb went up soon after, and I remember her being rather green when I first met her. However, she had grown into quite a funny lady from what I saw that night. In that mix was Carolina Hidalgo who I always enjoy. Spliced in was a saucy redhead with an Irish sirname who’s first name escapes me that was a girl after my own heart. Chad Plaines also did quite well, and I laughed especially hard at his Sleepy’s joke. Kyle Bostic also did well too.
In between some guy kept tapping me on the shoulder in hopes of scoring until finally he was told by Sean and the owner of the place, also Sean, to watch the show or get out. He got out. I had two knights in shining armor. Still, I wanted to know, would he pass me a note that said, “Do you like me?” And I was to check yes, no, or maybe?
Of course then there was the guest star from 30 Rock which made me say, “Damn, Sean Lynch is the man.”
Just when it looked like the energy in the room would die, Sean Lynch kept it going. Not only was he a good storyteller but a fabulous emcee. I found myself entertained and wanting to stay and support rather than do what I usually do, go outside and join the smokers cause I am bored. Rob Shapiro went up and destroyed. He reminded me not only what a good comedian was, but why I looked up to him as much as I did when I started out.
Then there was the peanut gallery, a few kids who were fans of Sean’s shows from the Underground. One girl, who couldn’t hold her liquor, began stumbling around. Her mouth started flapping, however she was no match for Dave Lester. As usual, Dave destroyed.
Then a girl went up who had attended Ukranian school as a child. She was funny which was good. Then I went up. Would I hit the mark or would I miss it completely? It was nearly the end of the night and people were getting tired. While the liquor had set in, some were in the stupor. And at this point they would either love me or hate me.
So I got up, said fuck it, and went to the stage.
I went up and had an awesome set. It was especially wild because mid-set May betrothed herself to Rob Shapiro. It wasn’t Madison Square Garden but I was having fun, rocking the house, being myself. Sure, in the past few years I have had my share of TV time. But this was the best I have felt about my standup in years. I wasn’t as eager to impress, I wasn’t trying to prove myself, I was rocking and rolling and having a great time.
Chewy closed the show, and she did a great job. She had also come a long way from the last time I had seen her, which made me proud of this youngster. I always like to see comedians grow out of that green stage and into their skin. As a vet it makes me smile to see someone focusing on the art and what’s important, and actually honing an act. A plus.
When the show was over I had a chat with Sean’s girlfriend Christina who is currently attending Columbia. She too is a writer. Much like me she has written a memoir. Christina is still penning her manuscript, but I have a feeling it will be excellent. From what she told me it is a heart touching story about how one’s death can change a person. I know I would buy it. The death of my dear friend Roger Ferrer made me fly right. Joe Cannava got me to write my book. That’s why I know in my heart I know in my heart people will pick Christina’s book up a million times and read it. I know I would.
Sean Lynch then swooped in declaring Christina the best girlfriend ever. She supports live comedy, of course she is the best girlfriend ever. So I implore on you Sean Lynch, KEEP HER, KEEP HER, KEEP HER. And every once and a while dine and dash at a nice restaurant. Or steal her a nice present.
Wait those are my boyfriends, nevermind.
The show at the Skinny made me remember why I do standup. I don’t do it for the TV time. I don’t do it for the fan mail. I don’t do it so people will talk about how fabulous I am.
Okay, maybe I do
But bottom line, I do it to make people laugh.
Love,
April
PS. I returned the Skinny again the following night for an different adventure. Part 2 soon to come xo

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Pink Cloud


Since my book went to print and will be on shelves and available online in 8-12 weeks, I find myself in an awesome mood. Aside from telling anyone who will listen, I feel peace and serenity. Some of me feels too good to be true, but another part of me feels as if a door has been blown wide open. I don’t feel over-elated but rather peaceful.
My mother has always said my writing would open the door for me. There’s nothing wrong with that. It opened the door for Dan Ackroyd, Prince, Bruno Mars and many others. People have always read my blogs, and the things that have taken off have always been my original ideas.
My mom is stoked. She is singing and dancing. My dad is already plotting my musical version of my book. Last week my mom had the big yearly, “What are you doing, where are you going?” meltdown. We were still settling on publishers. Perhaps it was her fear that it wouldn’t happen and my book would continue to sit in my drawer. We were so close.
This week she is walking on Cloud 9 with me. Monday she encouraged me to get my nails done. She was so proud. She is already plotting my next book, and she is starting her book on infant swimming. My mom helped me edit my book, now it’s my turn. We are also talking about doing a children’s book together.
I am filming a pilot for MTV2/Adult Swim Today and tonight I am doing some standup. In the meantime, I am telling anyone who will listen about my book.
Two summers ago, I sat in a hot apartment without air conditioning banging out a very rough first draft at the behest of my late friend Joe Cannava. He wouldn’t shut up until I wrote it so I did it. Before that my mother had been pestering me for years to write this book. I kept telling her no. It was the combination of my mother and Joe. I finally did it. I just remember the sweat pouring off of me and the walks by the pier in between chapters. I thought writing it was fun but almost killed me at the same time. But I knew it would be worth it.
The following summer I pitched the book to a literary agent who panned it. Then I was with a different publishing house but we didn’t like the contract. In between all of that I remember editing the book while drinking black coffee the weekend of the hurricane last summer. It rained all weekend and we were afraid of flooding. I had my canned food, my munitions, and just lived on black coffee for almost forty eight hours. I read, reread, and reread some more. I ultimately passed on the smaller publishing house that wasn’t giving me the contract I wanted. I didn’t know where to go next.
My friend and former NY Post columnist Mandy Stadtmiller encouraged me to self-publish on Kindle. A friend of my sister’s had done it and she had some ideas.  We proceeded on that track, and my mother and I spent all winter editing my book just one more time. For three months, we had several phone dates a week and we just went through the book to make sure it sounded the way we wanted it to. We made sure no one in the family was unintentionally slandered, and that it read the way we wanted it to. Even until the end, my mother agonized over the ending more than I did. Nonetheless, it was the next step we took and as usual, my mom and I took it as a team.
Soon I began to look at places to self-publish. During that time I went through a lot of things. I got injured kickboxing. Money was tight. The weather sucked. Career breaks that looked incredible fell through. I just remember it felt like I was walking through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. It felt like the end of everything and perhaps I had made a wrong turn by embarking on a life and career as an artist.
Then I landed on a place.
Last week was the agony over the contract, the final draft. Monday I sent everything off and in eight to twelve weeks I Came, I Saw, I Sang will be available online and in some stores.
The sun is shining and I feel on a pink cloud. I feel incredible and contented. I feel, pardon the metaphor, the next chapter of my life will be incredible.
I don’t know why, but as I told my mother, “Mom, this isn’t the end but the beginning.”
My mother agreed. As I said she is plotting my next book. My dad as I said is plotting the musical. I just want to tap dance and tumble my way to heaven.
Love,
April

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Pride


On Gay Pride Sunday I didn’t have many plans. I woke up with a neckache, backache, headache, and my nerves were shot. To make a long story short, whatever could go wrong did the previous week. Because Mother Nature only recently decided it was summer and was sticking with it, I was sick as a result of her bi-polar mood. Not to mention I was finishing my book and readying for publication. Work had been rough. I had a client give me not one but three wrong phone numbers, and another recipient was just annoying. I love my boss and I love my job, but it was like the last few weeks had been great with either wonderful clients or awesome recipients.
Ryan O’Regan made me feel better by taking me for iced cream. You would be surprised how chocolate, a mystery flavor, and lemon change a person’s outlook.
Sunday my mom messaged me wanting me to change the ending on my book. My mom has been my partner in this whole publication process. She helped me edit my book and is now helping me bring it to publication. I rewrote the ending and made my way to my friend Marcus Yi’s show. I was tired, would see the show, and then was meeting another friend for coffee. While it was Pride Weekend I had no plans. My mother, still hearing I was sick, encouraged me to get some sun.
I saw Marcus’s show which was excellent. As usual, he knows how to write well, and he knows how to place his actors. I had to run out and meet my friend afterward for coffee. I decided there would be no talk of anything.
Then my friend texted me. She had to leave town for a family emergency.
Figuring Marcus and company had left the theatre I made my way up Fifth Avenue and caught some of the Pride Parade and kept an eye out for friends. I didn’t want to hang out per se, but just wanted a walk in the sun. As I walked along, I began to plan on spending all day in bed watching Discovery ID. Just as I was escaping, on 23rd street, I saw my friends Brad and Octavio with Octavio’s cousin from DR. They saw me and asked if I had any plans. I told them no. That’s when they invited me to the Pier Dance as a guest of Eddie Biaz. They told me I could get in for free but would have to be there by three thirty. I was stoked. Brad and Octavio let me know that in order to get to the desired destination I had to jump in the parade.
Suddenly, I found myself marching down 5th Avenue with the homos!
As glitter filled the air, drag queens skipped, and the divas were heard from all sides I asked Brad and Octavio if it was appropriate if I pulled out Officer E, my gay cop puppet. As we pretended to march for couples where one was a citizen and the other wasn’t, Officer E came out. Many gay couples marched with their children. They quickly pointed the puppet out to their little ones and one asked, “Are you a nice cop?”
Another asked, “You won’t arrest my dads will you?”
A third asked by prompting of her two mother’s, “You don’t stop and frisk do you?”
Marching down 5th Avenue many of the parade participants stopped to take photos with my gay cop and I. Let’s just say suddenly I was in the sunshine and I began to feel better. There was this peace and harmonic energy. Later Brad and Octavio would tell me the cops would fight over who got Pride because there was more making out than anything, and for the most part the only damage would be glitter. If there were fist fights they were the Dykes on Bikes. But they kept it in the house and it was squashed after a minute.
At that moment it hit me what Pride actually was. For the LGBTQ folk, it means pride in who they are not just for their sexual/gender identity but as people. For the straight allies like myself, it means being proud of my gay friends for having the courage to be who they are in a world that isn’t always so tolerant.
Marching down the avenue I thought of my college dance teacher Jeffrey who not only was passionate about teaching and dance, but was passionate about those he taught not being afraid to move.
I thought about Jen and Tiff, married in Central Park and how they fought like hell to exchange vows when so many just do it on a whim in Vegas.
Of course there is my kickboxing instructor Jeanene who not only loves to fight MMA, but works to teach women rape prevention and children how to protect themselves from bullies.
Lest we not forget my boys who do hair like Carlos, Denis, Joey, Egardo, Juan, Dustin, and Justin who do hair. In that mix we have Eduardo who designs wardrobe and Hassan who designs window displays, all using their talents to make this world a more beautiful place.
Then we have Ray, Jill, and Charles who’s passion for changing the world and teaching brings them to high schools to help inspire young minds.
And then there is my boss Jon at Big Apple who not only works tirelessly to make an event special with the telegrammers he has on staff, but also is dedicated to his livelihood to the point where he will take a telegram order whether he is in NYC, on South Beach, or sliding down the slopes on his snowboard.
When we speak of telegrams we cannot forget Bernard who not only is Big Apple’s Michael Jackson, but also is a hardworker who’s positive energy lights up a room.
In that mix I have Carlos who’s a talented writer and videographer.
Then I have Big John, Rei, Fabrice, Pedro, Derek, and Fernando in Astoria.
Let’s not forget Ross who’s laugh lights up a room along with my neighbor Shawn.
And then there is Michael who’s from Pittsburgh who’s hugs and laugh always make me smile.
Roger and Richard from Savannah Media with their poster girl Savannah who swoop in to remind me of my message.
Amy and Chanelle who brighten up the world with well crafted jokes.
Then there is Marcus Yi who loves to write and create music and will be the Lady Gaga of the Far East.
My friends at Manhattan Plaza health club who are dedicate to changing the lives of other’s through fitness.
My poppyseeds Boo and Colin
Of course there was Joe Cannava who got me to write again, Spenser Kimrbough who was the first person in NYC who convinced me to pursue comedy, and Roger Ferrer who told me to stop looking broke and poor, and John Lea who had the best laugh of them all….RIP Dear Hearts.
The list goes on. I probably even forgot a few
Anyway, when we got to the Pier Dance Officer E came out and we partied all night with Brad and Octavio. Officer E and I took photos for a bunch of publications we may or may not make, and took a few more photos with admiring fans. Shirts and garments came off, and the dance floor was soon packed. In our party we had two convincing looking transwomen who could pass for female and veteran ball child under the name of Xtravaganza. The three of us danced together, celebrating Pride in who we were as people.
The two transwomen got smashed, and one got into a fist fight with Officer E and then she hugged him and motorboated him on her fake ta tas. God bless Pride.
Despite the large number of people everyone was relatively well behaved. During  the evening I also ran into Christopher Shea, Christopher Pagano, and of course my kickboxing instructor Jeanene. While the puppet was crazy, there were plenty of crazy costumes and glitter.
The next morning I talked to my mom before signing the contract with my publisher. She had a mini-meltdown over my life again, but then suddenly changed direction by telling me how proud she was that I was her daughter, and that she was proud I was publishing this book. I just remember as my mascara ran down my face, it hit me why the universe had placed me in that parade.
Pride isn’t just about celebrating my gay friends but all my friends and family members. It’s about my amazing life and the adventures I get to go on. In eight to twelve weeks my book will finally be available. I am proud of myself. This weekend was the anniversary of Title IX, I am proud of my mother for being one of the first women to stand up for equal athletic facilities/rights for female athletes. I am also proud of her for encouraging me to write and will allow the yearly meltdown.
The next day, when I announced to my homos, who were all tired from their big weekend, that I had inked with a publisher and that my book would soon be available they all told me how proud they were of me. They all announced plans to buy it, after all they have heard enough about it.
Essentially getting to march down 5th avenue was just icing on the cake. I am ever so blessed not just to have them but all my friends, gay and straight, in my life not just for entertainment value and support. My friends and family members are awesome.
It gives much Pride to say that. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Rockstar


I have been performing a lot lately and am loving it. I did a show at Buttermilk this past Wednesday and did another in Williamsburg this past Saturday. Both experiences were awesome. My talented friend Jonathan Vergara booked Thursday night at Buttermilk and Ross Moreno painstakingly built chuckles plus from the ground up in the studio of artist Mike Delucia.
Anyway, both experiences were awesome. When Jonathan invited me to do comedy in a night of bands I expected anything. Truth be told, I have been to a great many music nights that have been awful. Once I judged one with Spinderella from Salt n Peppa and it was a mix of talent and anti-talent. Someone needed to import Simon Cowell to tell the jiglette that despite her wiggling she could not sing on key. To top it off, we had an A and R guy judging who wanted to award her the prize just to get a blow job. Yes, she might have a hit record sir, but how long will a team of people stand behind someone who can’t even hum on tune? On second thought maybe those titties can.
When I got to Buttermilk I expected anything. My mind was open. Jonathan informed me I would be going up first. To my surprise the Park Slopers liked April and May. They were very supportive and cool in a way Manhattanites aren’t. I felt out of place having no tattoos. Still, the music had not started. The night might or might not go downhill.
Well it only got better. That Moon impressed on guitar with original vocal selections, and did a Bare Naked Ladies cover that was actually better than the original in some ways. I was impressed by both the skill and originality behind the musicianship. Following him was another female comedian, who while green was quite confident in her stride which is always good. A hot looking woman, she admitted to being forty, and surprised us all. The recent divorcee then met up with some greaser at the bar and went on a journey to possibly destroy her life. Actually she is just letting off some steam. I remember doing that at the end of my engagement. The decisions are never the best but they are the most fun. Made me laugh a little because I have been there, done that.
Following them was a duo that reminded me of Mystic Spiral, Trent’s band from Daria. The vocalist was definitely Trent with blonde hair, while there was a cello player which made the sound more experimental in a good way. Both the vocalist/guitarist and the cello player were also impressive with their talent and originality. After them was  an acoustic cover band who did Sublime songs. While their material was not original, their musicianship was quite good. They were fun and tolerable unlike most cover bands which make me cringe. I associate coverband with wedding band, and these guys were too talented to be booked to sing some horrid song for the first dance.
Headlining the night was my friend Jonathan’s band. Despite the fact he is doing my track and it sounds quite good, I had never seen him play. Much like my cousin Bobby Kircher who tours the world as a trumpet player, Jonathan is the type who masters an instrument right away. Jonathan’s band had no name and I was eager to see them play. While the evening had been good this could go either way.
Sure enough, they were awesome. With a sound like the Pixies, they had a male guitar player and a female bass player that were both active on the vocals. The other guitar player was impressive and Jonathan just blew me away on the drums. Jonathan swears he has no luck with women and does not have girlfriends everywhere. In between the dark and mysterious appearance which makes his ethnicity ambiguous and the midnight black eyes that can not be read, he plays drums like he’s with Kiss in an arena and his fingers grace the guitar strings with no effort. My humble opinion is that Jonathan is lying to me. Then again, it is his right to lie. Superstars are like superheros, they have to pose in a humble disguise or else Lex Luther might steal their ability. Or maybe not.
Jonathan is a rockstar. I am almost a rockstar.
Saturday brought me to Bushwick/Williamsburg to perform for Ross Moreno’s Chuckles Plus 3.0. Ross had invited me the week before to see the space. The event took place in the studio of one Mike Delucia. Dusty and musty, the ideal playground for mice, I wondered how they would make this artist’s warehouse into a place fit for a comedy/variety show. Ross had the idea of splitting the show into two parts, part A and part B. He explained that the place would look different. Space conversion excites me. While I frequent basements, crack dirty jokes, and float around in my panties in my videos I am still an NYU grad and therefore somewhat of an art snob. Ross’s mission excited me.
The whole thing was reminiscent of a happening. The only way one could get the address of the venue was to RSVP and the location was a secret. With the enthusiasm surrounding the event, I wished more comedy producers were like Ross Moreno. Rather, many are entitled who rarely appreciate the pains of finding stage time. Ross on the other hand, he creates the stage and defies boundaries which is not only artistically brave but refreshing.
Saturday came and off I went to Brooklyn. Stepping off the L train I swear to God Father Time must have turned Mother Nature out before breaking her little heart because the weather did not know which season was which. I felt the sneeze coming on as a result of her wrathful heartbreak, always the fault of a man in my experience. Men are to be blamed for most disasters. They make women crazy the way they are, but that is the topic of every April Brucker blog; tired and contrite. Enough of that.
I went to get something to make me stop sneezing because I  had no interest in shrinking to dwarf size. To kill some time I explored the streets, and that’s when I ran into Justin who was hosting the event. Off to the space we went and I was not so surprised but impressed to see that Ross had converted the warehouse into a spectacular looking venue. There was  a traditional looking stage, a large stage for the headliner, a side table for another act to perform, and a DJ table for the sound guy. There were sparkly streamers and colors all around. The evening had not started and already I gave Ross and A plus.
Joey B on the turntables was also refreshing. For my intro Joey told me ahead of time he engineered “Puppet Master” by Metallica for my introduction. Everyone was getting the kinks worked out beforehand, and then a light fell and broke. While there was some panic we all breathed a sigh of relief that it didn’t happen when the event was taking place. People began to shuffle in as if we were throwing the party of the century. Most people were between the ages of twenty five and thirty five, and probably childless. We were married to the Peter Pan syndrome and the life of the artist.
The show began and there were some technical difficulties with the sound. However, they worked so seamlessly that no one could tell whether it was a glitch or if it was part of a revival of a happening in the spirit of the days of The Living Theatre with Beck and Molina. Either way, whatever this was it was original, it was classic, and people loved it.
Shane Webb took the stage first. While I have only met Shane a few times, I had no idea she did magic. It was a pleasant surprise to find out someone I occasionally share a stage with has a bonus talent. I also didn’t know she had opened for Marc Marron. Go girl. I also saw some uke action from Sweet Sourbette. Her instrumental skill as far as the technical aspect went was on the mark, and her voice was sweet in that jazz sort of style. The songs she sang were funny, quippy, and catchy. Ross Moreno, however, was the one who I have to give the award for awesomeness to. Ross not only engineered the event, but he dawned a spandex blue body suit and clown wig to do an impromptu mime act with the host. Brave, funny, and original I gave him a ten for both humor and vision. However, Ross topped his performance second half of the show by not only performing magic but also by stripping to thong underwear.
Go Ross, you are a rockstar.
I had fun performing. The crowd was awesome, young, and wanted to laugh. So often I am faced with crowds who I have to “work” to get to like me. Sometimes it’s because of my age, my gender, and what I do. Not these people. They were awesome. Of course the cherry on top of the cake was Joey B on the turn tables helping me out with sound effects. We played off each other well. Joey B was the unsung star of the evening. His sound effects were on the mark and he played off each performer well. May asked Joey B which one of us he would sleep with and he did this sound effect of a grumble which got a huge house laugh. Joey B equals awesome. The second half of the show he was one of two human puppets I had, and then broke character to rant about how twenty twelve was the end of the world which was awesome.
Joey B is a rockstar.
The next day the long week and Mother’s Nature’s heartbreak caught up to me. I was grounded and in bed with chicken soup. I had to cancel my photo shoot, but delivered a telegram where I got an unexpected tip. Sure I may have been a rockstar, but I had  no voice.
No Madison Square Garden for me.
I was supposed to do a photo shoot in a Civil War Era Cemetery as well. While I was too sick to be photographed, my father enjoyed his Father’s Day presents. One was a book about Lincoln’s Assassination. The other was Darth Vader’s Father’s Day. My dad also suggested taking a project I am doing to a new level. Like Napoleon, he is revving up the battle plans. I just want him to keep my book into the present. Let’s publish before we turn it into a great musical. But that’s my dad’s way of saying that he’s proud. By being the idea man behind the curtain. Second of seven, first in his family to get a bachelors, masters, and law degree. Not to mention he and his choir made a record where he had a solo back in the day.
My Pops is a rockstar.
I also called my grandfather who’s ninety three and who’s hearing is going because sometimes he doesn’t turn on. When he does sometimes it buzzes. But until recently he was swimming and playing tennis several times a week. He defeated cancer five times, survived a blood clot, and served in the army during World War II. He also served as an official and championed my mother during swim meets. When I started performing comedy here in NYC, he sent me an envelope with his favorite Henny Youngman jokes.
My Pop Pop is a rockstar.
Yesterday I finally did my interview with Tasteless T on FJS Radio. It was awesome to know that “Stay” has stayed on the countdown longer than any other indie song and that I have been number one for three weeks. Despite my voice feeling scratchy and like it was going to give out at any moment, I did the interview. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards probably do interviews constantly even though they died long ago and the coke keeps them alive. Nonetheless, it was nice to be able to reach my fans on the Indie Session and know that my accidental folly into recorded music has been worth it.
Tasteless T and I aren’t just rockstars, we are headed to the hall of fame.
Before that I settled on a publisher who is penning my contract. I felt productive. Then I got three fan letters and a hater who couldn’t spell suck. Actually, his version was sukk. I thanked him for listening.
I am a rockstar. I am a rockstar.
In a few minutes I will purchase my bus ticket to see my family for the Fourth of July. I will come home. My mother will make me do housework. That’s when I will turn back into a petulant child and tell her about how I absolutely rule and how my fans love me and how everything in my life is so awesome. That’s when my mom will say, “Yeah, and it’s because you listen to me. It’s because we have always done everything so well together as a family. It’s because I fought like hell with your father so you could come to NYC to pursue your dream. Now your father will be home in five minutes and all you have done is whine. Dinner isn’t done and the vacuum still needs to be run. You have too much leisure time. Now get to work.”
My Mama is the ultimate rockstar.
Love,
April

Sunday, June 17, 2012

My Dad Says the Darnest Things

In honor of Father's Day, there's are direct quotes from my Pops:


10. “Bottom line, Mitt Romney is a poser. He never did mission work. He lived in a condo with a manservant. That says poser all over it.”
9. Me: “Rick Perry is anti-American, Anti-Gay, and Anti-Woman.”
    Dad: “Honey, Rick Perry is so stupid he is lucky he knows how to breathe. He just stands there during the debates like duh, duh, duh.”
8. “Kids, smoking is bad for you. It’s like having a cake and taking a shit in the middle of the cake. If I ever catch you smoking, I will take this board and beat your ass, understand?”
7. One time my dad cooked for my mom for Mother’s Day. He attempted scrambled eggs and this is what happened
Brenna: “Dad, there are shells in these eggs.”
Dad: “Just shut up and eat them.”
6. “A liar can never be trusted. He who lies in big things lies in small things. And if you associate yourself with a liar, you are a liar by association. Got it kids?”
5. “Kid, your grades were bad this term. You are sucking bottom. Look on the bright side though, I am sucking bottom with you.”
4.  My dad’s advice to me after breaking up with an ex of mine who couldnt stop lying,“April, let that loser you seeing go wherever he is going, because frankly, he doesn’t even know where he is going.”
3. My Dad after I broke up with my lawyer boyfriend: “April, to tell you the truth I don’t like most lawyers. They are mentally unstable, are lousy with money, and I can’t stand them and I am one. You need an accountant. They have a job, are good with money, and aren’t idiots.”
2.” Kids, when someone won’t work, wears a toupee, has glue on chest hair, and wears gold chains, that is someone you should never date let alone marry. Understand?”
1.” Kids, when someone says no one understand them, it means they are an asshole and everyone knows it.”

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Shut Up, Woman


Recently, someone outside of comedy asked me what I thought of everything that happened as a result of Eddie Brill being fired from Letterman. This person, while a friend, foolishly believes everything the media prints. I explained that Eddie Brill is not prejudice against female comedians, and overall does not hate women. They asked me how I know. One, in this piece of old news everyone knows that the “journalist” did a hatchet job to further his own dubious career, and second, I know Eddie. Eddie has always been supportive of me in my endeavors. Plus just because you take a workshop with a producer doesn’t mean you will get on the show.
There are plenty of factors that make a person Letterman friendly. One is age, the second is funny, and thirdly do Dave and the booker like you.
What seemed more abhorrent was how people were willing to throw stones at Eddie Brill, a man who is a friend to all comedians regardless of their gender. Did this outsider friend not follow the story, seeing how the women in comedy rallied around Eddie? At least those that knew the truth did.
What offends me is how women hate is allowed sometimes and not allowed other times depending on the individual in question. We love in a culture that no doubt is sexist, chauvinistic, and the glass ceiling, while barely visible, still exists. Sports commentators time and time again make veiled anti-woman references yet they are allowed to keep their jobs. Not to mention Sean Connery once said in an interview it was okay to hit women, and Hollywood still hires him. Mel Gibson and Charlie Sheen actually hit women and they are saluted as anti-heroes who, while we claim to dislike these hooker buying cokeheads who abuse women, we buy the tickets when they come to town.
Don’t even let me get started on rap music. On nine out of ten rap albums there is a song about raping women, abusing women, and Eminem even goes so far as to wish the mother of his child dead in the trunk of a car. The word bitch is used as a proper noun to describe females as well. Yet this music that perpetuates that it is okay to hit a woman is allowed to remain on shelves, and these woman abusers are millionaires.
What is wrong with this picture?
You ask me what makes me an authority on men who do and don’t hate women and how I can tell? When I was twenty one years old I almost married a very abusive, sick man. Suffering from borderline personality disorder, my ex had abandonment issues. Being a nice college woman, I thought I could change a man who did massive amounts of drugs, dated strippers as well as other women who worked in the sex trade, and had a violent temper. I was wrong. I was always wrong because I was a woman. My ex couldn’t stand that I had more friends than him, was more educated than him, and ultimately had more of a future than he could ever hope to have.
My ex controlled me by telling me which of my friends I could and couldn’t talk to. Then it was that his friends thought my ventriloquism was stupid. Meanwhile, these rejects can be found living in your local trailer park. After that there was the fact I couldn’t wear makeup. And then he offered to kill his mother to get the money to be with me because she had a hefty insurance policy, and that is just the tip of the ice berg. He would also call his own mother a whore on the regular.
After we broke up he told me he wanted me dead and humiliated me publically whenever he could. The stalking got out of control to the point where I now have a separate mailing address. I think I have a good idea of what a woman hater is.
These days I can spot it quicker than a fat boy catches a jelly donut. I can tell you Eddie Brill does not hate women. I can spot these attitudes within minutes of meeting a man. Most real men with a quarter of a brain don’t hate women. They don’t think abuse of women in any way, shape , or form is funny or tolerable. Most of the time they don’t have a problem with me. We actually get along well. Most guys with half a brain know that women are meaner to themselves than they could ever be, so they actually treat us kindly.
Because I can spot it I call these mouth breathers out on it. They don't know what to do when I tell them, "Your problem is you hate women, and I don't care if you like me because I wasn't created to lay on my back for your needs." They never know how to take the fact that they have been busted. Yes, I am the nightmare of those assholes and I am not afraid to fight with them. Just like any bully, they don't like a victim willing to stand up to them, and yes they do back off in shame. Dickwads. 
It’s that minority of guys however who are troubling. Yes, I am talking about RFK, Jr. His recent claims was that his wife beat him. I don’t believe that for a second. And if he did they left out the part of the story where he kept telling her about his affairs with other women. Or about how she had to find out from others that he wantonly molested women at cocktail parties. I would have beat my husband too. Actually, her mistake was not beating him to death with a crow bar and burying his body in the back yard.
That’s what I would do. Then if anyone asked I would say he left with an eighteen year old cheerleader.
I know from experience how painful it can be. My ex fiancĂ© used to tell me that he had to sleep with other women, such as his stripper ex girlfriends, because I didn’t do it for him. This was often followed by terrible, violent arguments that got physical. Why did I stay? I thought my love could change a man who was so twisted against women it wasn’t even funny.
But as I said, I can usually spot a guy who dislikes women. One such person was a former Last Comic Standing contestant who shall remain nameless, but I will say he was on between seasons 4-7. This individual was just so arrogant and when I spoke to him literally in not so many words let me know I was created on Earth just to give him sexual pleasure. He bragged about preying on the women in the New York City comedy scene. On top of that, he bragged about preying on the various women he worked with, and often tricked women into doing his dirty work. I wondered how he did it with his limited success and talent. Of course, the writing was on the wall when I saw how he humiliated a beautiful female contestant on the show. Then again, his career has gone down which is God’s fitting way of punishing this moron.
My question is, why aren’t pricks like this being crucified in the press, and why are they going after male bookers who help women as being anti-female?
What is worse, is when this anti-female minority raises their voice they are stupid is as stupid does. Whenever I speak in defense of women these men, who clearly don’t have a brain in their head, accuse me of being a man hater. When I say domestic violence is wrong as well as beating women, belittling women, and abusing them I never say I hate men.
Then again, idiots never listen.
Of course there are the morons who think my comedy is anti-male. I never say I hate men in my routine about my ex. I talk about a disaster of a breakup and how it’s funny. I have been called “bitter” by idiot male comedians and even bigger idiot male bookers. At the same time, most men, bookers and comics as well as audience have been receptive.
What’s wrong? Did I strike a nerve? I wasn’t crawling in the dirt like you wanted me to be? I told the truth so that makes me a bad girl?
As long as we are getting ready to do a public hanging, put me next to the guy unjustly accused of hating women because someone wants to do a hatchet job. Let’s leave the morons who treat women like crap and prey on them to continue their game. Of course, they are without fault.
What am I talking about? I am just a woman.
Sheesh
Love,
April

Monday, June 11, 2012

Sunday in Harlem


This past Sunday I was at my friend Chanelle Futrell’s house filming a sketch. She lives up in Harlem on Malcom X. I had actually been to her hood plenty of times when my friend Enrique lived there. Unlike Hell’s Kitchen, chalk full of locals who have been there for what seems forever as well as the homos who are starting to trickle in, Harlem still has it’s original feel. Thoughts of Langston Hughes and his beautiful words flew through my mind as I ended up going for a cup of coffee because I was on the early side.
In the bodega, a Middle Eastern clerk made my coffee. I spoke to him in my limited Arabic and he spoke back. Just then I remembered a mosque was not far. A man known as Divine Prince was big into the black Muslim movement in Harlem. He spoke of Islam, what it meant, and how the young kids didn’t know who he was and his station in the community. I thought of him, glancing across the street and seeing the Betty Shabazz Community Center.
 Poor Betty, such a sweet lady. Put up with her big mouthed civil rights leader husband and crackhead daughter who’s little crack baby burnt down her house. Divine Prince had crossed paths with her saying she was a sweet lady. Maybe if Malcolm were alive he would have set them all straight, he had an ability to set anyone straight, especially whitey.
Inside the bodega, there were families coming from church or going to, all in their Sunday best. Being a part of the white world, we slum it down for church. Where I came from there was a priest, a Croatian, who printed in wicked letters in our bulletin that church was not a water park therefore shorts were not to be worn. The same went for jeans. Where I grew up you dolled up for church. These white people in New York get their clothes out of the hamper. Their black counterparts on the other hand, you know those clothes are fresh pressed and ready to go. The women have hats and they have fans. They also want to know why Tyler Perry is capitalizing off of them.
Filling the bodega, they were getting the essential food groups like coffee. I understood that. The children were well behaved. While they jonsed for candy, they did so respectfully. One little girl in a flowery dress was dismayed when they were out of Starbursts. I would have been dismayed myself. Perhaps some things do truly cross color lines. The smaller children were all very well behaved too. Probably because Mama could and would knock them out. The funny thing about white parents in the city is that they count to three, they talk about it. A black mother on the other hand, there is no such thing as time out. I think that’s why I have had a lot of black friends. Because when we talk about our childhood we know two things: 1, Your Mama will knock you out if you get out of line. 2. You knock anyone out who knocks your Mama or anything about her.
Call me old school but you mess with my Mama and I will follow you to the ends of the Earth to beat your ass.
I got my coffee and left the bodega. On the block covered in churches of various denominations from AME to Presbyterian to Pentecostal it seemed God had his parking spaces. Various folks seemed to be shuffling out, both young and old. Not far down of course was the liquor store. I wondered how many would be hitting that after the service. Where I grew up, I was used to seeing some “Christians” hit church in the morning and then the liquor store or bar in the afternoon falling off the stools. Maybe it was the Communion wine that drove them to it. Either way, I don’t think Jesus ever turned anything into Jack Daniels.
Then again, some of the fundamentalists in my area tended to screw the Bible to their liking. In their version Jesus hated anyone who wasn’t white, straight, or not like them. Their version of the Bible also left passages out about ripping off the government. They also edited the parts out about church leaders abusing their authority like a deacon who couldn’t keep it in his pants. Not to mention they seemed to forget Jesus mentioning one must love their neighbor. We colored in Sunday School. The Fundies must have colored in the pictures of their Caucasian Jesus and then whited out the passages of the Bible they wanted to ignore.
As I crossed the street and saw in front of one church there was a game of tag in progress. It was a little boy and a little girl, both dressed and clearly not eager to go inside. The little boy had been tagged and was fighting with the girl over whether or not the tree was a safe spot. They could not have been more than six years old. Running like two greyhounds, this game of tag meant everything to them. I remembered those days, happy and care free. Tag was an Olympic sport in our minds. While there was no gold metal at stake, there was ones rep on the play yard.
As they ran, I almost wanted to go back to that stage of my life. These children were innocent, merely running around and loving life. They were free from the jaded cynicism and corruption the adult world does to a mind. They could get joy out of a simple game of tag. Still green, they were too young to hate. They knew God as only the man in the sky, the dude in the cloud. Maybe their God was even black. In their world, they wanted to get church over with so they could play some more. One even said so to his less than thrilled mother when she came to scoop him up.
I wanted to tell her to stop pretending she liked going to church so much. Then again, that’s what’s wonderful about children. They are honest.
Looking down the street, I saw an extreme church. I had remembered seeing it the summer I visited my friend Enrique quite a bit. The marquee always called for an extremely violent measure of faith. I remember in 2010 the sign read, “President Obama is a terrorist. He must pay with his blood.” That church scared me, but more than ever I was more frightened for the children walking in the door. With blank slates, they were being taught to hate and kill in the name of Jesus. They were being taught to hate anyone who wasn’t them. Later, I would find out the kids from that psycho church tortured my friends dog. This was revealed when my other friend’s daughter, gentle as a lamb, wanted to play with it.
The dog recoiled in fear and then the story came out. Did these children not know Jesus loved animals? He referred to his followers as his flock? Then again, what would I expect from a pastor that calls for the assassination of the President? Sunday school there must be an adventure in hell.
However, I will say The Temple of Doom was no representative of all the churches on the block. Most of these people seemed like quiet family people trying to find a solution and a way to cope with this thing called life. They were trying to find answers to whatever ailed them, and were doing the best they could with what they had. They weren’t causing any trouble. The kids were just playing tag.
On a street with two rival funeral parlors, it made me wonder if the places ever dueled over dead bodies. I wondered if there was ever an undertaker battle grand royale.
I also saw the game of tag resuming as soon as that mother turned her back. Engaged, I found myself rooting for the underdog, the little man in the green shirt and suit pants who’s ass would probably be grass later.
Hey, Jesus always roots for the underdog. Love, April

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Just Checkin In


Hi folks, sorry it’s been a few days. I know I have had a bad attitude and I am sorry. The spring was kind of crazy and rough but it’s coming to an end. A bunch of career things that should have happened just didn’t. But things are starting to look up.
For one, “Stay” has been number one for two weeks in a row on FJS’s Indie 5 at 5 countdown. I am so thrilled I can’t even tell you how thrilled I am. As a matter of fact I splurged and got a mani/pedi as well as a new dress. All were pretty cheap, but it was a way of rewarding myself. So far the song is on three radio stations and is possibly being spun on the Ed Tyll show on FM. I don’t know what is next for this but God is sort of taking the wheel. I don’t mind when God takes the wheel, it means I have to drive less and I already drive like Ray Charles.
Actually, Ray Charles is a better driver being both blind and dead.
I am getting ready to record a country song and to make a video going with it. I wrote two and don’t know which one to go with. But the video will have puppets and will be massively entertaining.
The book is one huge step closer to being published. I just have to find a publishing house. So far I am talking to three. The one I have totally ruled out because the woman I talked to said, “I am just a sales person. I work with authors but have no background in writing. I don’t need one.” Then she proceeded to double speak me and try to dupe me into her service. You need to know how to write and appreciate literature as long as you are going to work with people who make their flesh and blood off the written word.
Just saying?
Then again, there are two publishing houses I really like. The one published a book of a comedienne I really admire and one that my dad is a huge fan of. The other is someone who has been in the publishing biz for sometime. I really liked them both. Neither took my stupidity so personally.
Anyway, got to run. Today I make my video. I record my song later this week it looks like. Plotting to make music video perhaps next weekend or the weekend after. It will be awesome I promise.
Love,
April

Friday, June 1, 2012

Just Bloggin

I am so stressed. This weekend I have to pick a self publishing house and submit my manuscript. I want to pick the right one for my baby. All these houses are located all over the place. If I make a mistake it will be a costly one. This weekend I have to get my manuscript back from my editor. Then Monday it will be off to the press. I am so looking forward to having this over and done with. When it goes to print I swear to God I am having a triple chocolate fudge sundae with anyone who will take me. Seriously....

Crawdaddy has made the International Puppet Carnival which makes me happy. It's a festival credit. I am not a big festival person. Some of it is that I never have a decent tape to submit, another is that festivals are so damn political. They want people in a certain kind of mold, that are boring TV friendly acts. Meanwhile, most of the people at those damn festivals go no where. I actually accidentally wandered into one once, and believe it or not was denied which was strange-not even considered-even though when it came to this particular site I was their most prolific blogger easily. Still, if I got into one I would go.

I have to do a video for this thing this weekend and am so lazy I dont want to do it. There are so many things I don't want to do. Actually, I want to do the video but it would have been done had my youtube not been a slag. My friend is doing it though for me which makes me happy. Still, I feel like people should just give me awards and stuff.

I know, entitled.

I just feel like I work harder than everyone else. I probably actually do. Realistically, many people who are getting breaks now are just getting lucky. They don't work as hard as I do. Most of the male comedians most certainly never did. It is like I always have a boulder on my shoulder. When I started I was young, I was a woman, I had puppets. A respected (male) manager told me that there would be three strikes against me as far as getting into the clubs went. I thought being talented and hardworking would conquer all.

Wrong. Now that I put one club on TV and made sure my network donated moolah making them more money in one foul swoop than they make in three days they thanked me by firing me. Talented and hardworking don't mean shit in the male dominated world of standup.

I have been getting back onstage lately though. I have been going to mics where I know I am amongst friends because as I said in a previous blog I am sort of known. It's crazy how for as uneven as my new routine is, I feel safe in a bar basement amidst a bunch of men making dick jokes. The more I get up and work it out the better I feel. For as much as the male strata of this subculture is threatened by intelligence and success, especially coming from a woman, I am not there to be their friends. If it happens fine. Plus many are friends anyway so it's a good place just to kick it. Sometimes, some of the folks there have followed my career and such and look up to me which is sort of nice too. Plus since standup isn't the goal anymore the pressure is off. If I tank, fine.

I have still been on Entertainment Tonight. Ninety nine percent of those people will never get to see the inside of that studio. Does that make me a member of the one percent?

Te he he.

I talked to Tico from FJS and "Stay" will chart but it won't be number one this week. Part of me is bummed, part of me is still thrilled I even charted in the first place. I submitted "Stay" to a very high profile music company. They will get back to me soon. I have no clue what comes next but there might be some terrestrial air play on a smaller station. If I get to be a part of this high profile thing that would be awesome. In some ways, "Stay" has gained a sort of momentum of it's own without me doing a damn thing. For years I banged and slaved as an actress. I put up with the world of standup comedy, allied with sexism on the part of the men involved and extreme jealousy on the part of the females. And now here I am, music. While I have never chased after it music has always seemingly found me. From my high school musical days, to college where I loved my voice class, to my singing telegram job, and now, an internet charting dance hit.

While I know I cannot sing as well as many and am not as skilled as both my cousins Bobby and Christopher, I have the internet dance hit. Damnit, keep your fingers crossed for me.

It also makes me wonder if I wasted my time in the comedy clubs. Should I have gone down this path sooner? Eh, it has heartache of it's own.

Last night I received an IM from a fan that was fabulous. He asked if I gave in and gave up my puppet children.

My reply, never would I ever give up my little puppet children. It's my puppet children, my poppyseeds, and myself against the world.

Love,
April