Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Eight of Swords

Sometimes in life you feel stuck and you don't know why. That is what they say the Eight of Swords is. This card is appropos because lately I have felt stuck and uncertain. I felt after all this time I should be further along, know more, have more money, be more successful you know the whole kitten caboodle. Not to mention the direction of my career has changed quite a bit. Years ago it was looking like standup was the way I was going to go and I was actually pretty good at it. There were some events that happened that I won't go into and I got tired. But other things happened. I got on TV and then hosted online and then made music that got on internet radio and then wrote a book and then elected to use a shitload of bad grammar.

I always feel that this time of year. I felt it back in 2009 especially when I had been on Rachael Ray and we all know how that turned out. It was a TV appearance people give me street cred for but I was a mino swimming with the sharks on that one. Anyway I just remember relentlessly touring that summer and all the shitty hotel rooms I stayed in, one even had a blood covered blanket. That fall I just got tired of the grind and began to melt down. So I began producing my one woman shows. That lead to others and than videos.

I remember I was resting on my laurels quite a bit though. At the time, 2010, I was hosting a mic at a club that was working me to death. While I was being short ended I didnt care. It gave me a chance to do my own thing, get stage time, get other spots. Sure I could have done better. But everything changed when Chacho died. I always cite his death with just changing everything. When he passed I suddenly realized how incredibly stuck I was. I had been comfortable dwelling on the bottom, spending my time in basements with dreams going nowhere. Chacho's whole life he had dressed in clothing that cost as much as a Manhattan studio despite being homeless. He had gotten blackmarket plastic surgery to look beautiful. While his antics made me chuckle when he lived whether it was sex with the nearest stranger, his attempts to score a rich boyfriend, or letting me know the various places he had done the nasty. But when he passed Chacho made me realize something. He made me realize he did the things he did because he desperately wanted to be someone. Sure, Chacho was dead, but I was still here. Therefore I had a shot. Chacho would have wanted me to take that shot.

Right after Chacho died I remember talking with one of the managers at my former club. He told me sometimes I had to settle. I remembered Chacho who would never carry a Chinatown ripoff. Chacho would do whatever he had to do to get the Louis Vuitton even if he didnt eat for a few days. Then it occurred to me for as crazy as my buddy was, he never settled. Despite his faults, and trust me he had many, my buddy was very strong in one area that I had no strength at all in. Whether it was the rich boyfriend, the look, or the attitude he never went less than all the way. I realized that I was settling and I was going to die if I stayed where I was.

Chacho and I didnt part on good terms. Some of it was his fault, actually most of it, because he was a drug user. While Chacho made his choices there was a part of me that felt maybe if I was a better friend he would have finally gotten clean. That's not the way it works though. I loved him just not what he was doing. So I decided because I never got to tell him I loved him and not what he was doing to himself, I would dance as fast as I could twisting in the wind. Unlike my deceased friend it wouldn't be towards drugs or unhealthy men but rather towards a positive goal. I know if I were to see Chacho now we would be cool. But if I wanted to make an amends to my boy this was how to do it.

Shortly thereafter my puppet children and I got on TV and the the flood gates started to open to more and more TV time. I always say these things were Chacho's passing gifts to me. I don't know if they were for sure but hey, it's what I like to believe in my twisted head. In that year I did more than I had in the past several. I got on TV once, twice, three, four, like eight times and then two more times. I was on a highly trafficked web series. I made music. I also took some of the first steps to publish. The world was my oyster it seemed. Did I mention I dated a celebrity? Werq it girl as they would say in the balls.

Over time things got better. Last year I got a hit on the internet with "Stay." Then I published my book which Joe prodded me to write but that is a different blog altogether. It seemed like I was a wrecking ball with all this momentum. Britney Spears plugged my book on her site. Mensa said it was a must read. Brown decided to carry it in their bookstore. It is available on Amazon, Kindle, Nook, and And in between I recorded an audiobook that will be available shortly and met Deborah Harry. I also believe my sound engineers are the best. And I shot a TV pilot.

But then I got into this rut where I got stuck. There has just been a lot going on lately as you know if you have been reading my blog.

I remember just feeling depressed for almost these past two weeks. Where to go next? What to do? Do I try to get an acting agent? Do I pursue the standup with the vigor I did as a younger person, battling out like a scorpion for spots? Do I try to sell my book to be a screenplay? Do I webcast? Do I record an album? I had no idea where I was going. Despite my TV time, my book, and my other accomplishments I felt lost as ever.

Sunday was especially hard. I went to the studio and had a hard time focusing cause I was just spinning so fast. Some of it was that I was antsy because I just wanted to get this done and the self-centered fear that my sound engineers are sick of me. Plus it was literally the hot dude parade in the studio Sunday. I found myself chuckling because Chacho would have been going crazy too. There is this hottie with a bunch of tattoos and piercings that always hangs out. Luckily he wasnt there otherwise I would have totally been bouncing off the wall. Archie and Anthony, who havent slept in days and are probably quite tired not just of my bizarre Mae West/Minnie Mouse/Cyndi Lauper sounding voice as well as tired in general and in no way would have been equipped to handle April in heat but I digress. Actually Chacho and I would have been fighting over the hot new intern.....

Sunday I found myself speaking of Chacho for the first time in quite a while. A friend of mine mentioned he carried two phones and told some story about how even though Chacho had stopped selling drugs when I knew him he still carried three phones. The story was cute and funny. And then I realized that again, we would be fighting over the same guy.

Then Monday night I found myself back at an old haunt of mine, Jimmy's No. 43. I got to see Jimmy Carbone again, who owns the bar and gave me a chance when I was just a nubling starting out. Jimmy was one of the few people who was kind to me when no one was. I caught up with Jimmy which was fun and made me feel good. Plus Jimmy bought a copy of my book and told me about the summer reading series he was hosting as well as his beer podcast. Love my Jimmy. Also took part in Pop Culture Fondue, a cool new show. It wasnt just fun but I loved the people, and it made me realize how much I really just love making people laugh and smile. While I get caught up in the shit called standup comedy politics and the stupidity involved in the business of show, I sometimes forget I live like a pauper in a house of squalor cause I love what I do.

Yesterday I chucked my pride and ego and did an open mic. While I deplore paying for stage time it was a friend's mic and plus it is always fun when I go, and you do get supportive and honest feedback. When I went I saw my buddy and had a great time onstage. Sure I didnt kill it like I had the night before but I just talked about my uber-dysfunctional family. I had fun and have some good new things there. Afterwards I spoke to my buddy who is folding his mic and passing it on to a promising new comedian who is not only very funny but very hardworking. During our convo, this friend who has always supported me told me he found himself doing more producing than performing, and decided that was not why he got into comedy. He had done it long enough, paid his dues, did his thing, and now it was time to get on TV. He deserves it. I found myself talking about what happened after Chacho died for the first time in forever.

On my walk to the subway I saw someone who looked familiar. His head was shaved and he was dapper. Behind his ears were three blue Russian stars. I would have known that tattoo anywhere, the blue stars outlined with a bizarre mix of fire engine red and Halloween orange. I found myself mouthing, "Chacho." But then I realized it couldnt be. Chacho is kinda cold and dead. And the guy turned around and I saw it was not my boy. However, it hit me. My friend was sending me a message from the after life. There was a reason he has been on my mind as much as he has been lately. My friend's spirit is around me and he is letting me know it. I have been stuck and depressed. Chacho is letting me know to keep dancing, keep daring, and not to settle. And for Godssakes to throw some shade. While we are there, I have a feeling he gave me a little attitude because I found myself wanting to strut down the street suddenly. Or maybe it was a hot day and guys were cat calling me.

Actually, that might not be true and I might be totally out of my mind. Wait, I am a ventriloquist, that has already been established. The intellectual in me says there is no evidence of an afterlife or soul. It is the thing humans lean on in times of need. It is the opium of the people. But the artist and dreamer inside of me would like to believe it though. Either way, it made me feel good and I don't feel so stuck anymore.

I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl
Paperback available on Amazon and 877-Buy-Book
E-Book available on Kindle and Nook
Audiobook available on itunes and Audible this Spring
Portion of proceeds go to RAINN

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