Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Wet Blanket Friends

A few years ago, I hit what is known as a snag in life. After ending things with a romantic partner who was emotionally abusive and physically violent towards me, I found myself in a tail spin. I found myself in an unscripted Lifetime Movie. To cope with the stress of an ex who wouldn’t let go and ultimately getting a separate mailing address, I rededicated myself to my art. Through it all, I leaned on my friends who were there for me. I considered myself grateful to have what seemed to be their unwavering love and undying support.
One friend in particular was very supportive. I will call him Jeff. A close, plutonic friend, he was part of the larger group I ran with at the time. The two of us were a closer pairing than a lot of the others. Jeff and I had a similar sense of humor, and our guilty pleasure was old Beavis and Butthead reruns. When we hung out, he would ask me what to say to the current girl he was pursuing. We were Elaine and Jerry minus the previous romantic history. My inner Teddy Ruxbin said, “We are going to be friends forever.”
While I pushed with the art, success did not come overnight. As a matter of fact, it seemed like I was waiting for Godot. Some of it was because of the nature of my particular art form, ventriloquism. Then there is the factor that I am an artist who creates her own work. Finally, it was just timing and the way I developed as a creative person. However, soon the tide started to shift.
Opportunities presented themselves because I showed up for my career but most importantly, for myself. I found myself working as a talking head on a web network performing for young people all over the world with my puppets. Despite a lifetime of wanting to try, I was now dabbling in music. Some of my songs got internet radio airplay, and a cover I did was number one on several online stations for weeks. I took the first steps at publishing what turned out to be my first book. Paying my dues looked like it was starting to pay off. All my friends were happy my life was starting to come together. That is, except for Jeff.
When I posted updates on facebook, Jeff would leave a snarky comment or two. At first I brushed it off. Jeff had been through a rough patch losing his job, and then discovering his girlfriend was cheating on him. This wouldn’t last.  Jeff did it again. After this happened several more times I wrote Jeff a facebook message telling him I didn’t find his comments funny, but rather hurtful. I pride myself in having a good sense of humor but this was just mean. Instead of apologizing, Jeff snapped back telling me I was too sensitive and that I was getting a “big head.”
I went cold on Jeff for about a month, figuring he had to work out whatever he was going through. That is when he dropped me a line wanting to know if I wanted to have coffee. I thought, “Why not?” I missed him anyway. So we got together and talked like we never left off. Then he asked me what I had been up to. In my naivite, I mentioned the new projects I was working on. At that point, they were the front and center of my life. I thought if the old Jeff was truly back he would be happy for me. Wrong. Jeff began to rip into me telling me hated the “April Brucker superstar affect.” He then proceeded to tell me my career was more imagined than real, and it’s not like what I was doing would lead to anything. I sat stunned for a brief second before my legs did the thinking. That is when I got up and left.
For days it nagged at me. Had I changed? Was I now an arrogant wench of a girl? Later that week, as I was hanging out in my local deli reading my newspaper and drinking my coffee, I posed my dilemma to my neighborhood friends. For the most part, these are guys who work the high rises on 10th Avenue. We click because they love football as much as I do. I posed the question to my buddy Terrence, an elevator mechanic and closet book junkie, who not only has traded books with me but read mine several times. When I was done Terrence explained, “You have met what is known as a spirit snatcher. Or as my mother used to call them, a wet blanket friend.”
Terrence explained that a wet blanket friend was someone who was your friend when you were down, because it gave them a chance to be on top. Therefore, they appeared to be a “good person,” and it also fulfilled their need to be superior. However, now the tables were turned and I was no longer down and out. Jeff had lost his footing, and now had to knock me down in order to get it back. Terrence’s explaination made sense. While it hurt, it guided me to the next right action. That is when I got home and blocked him online.

This experience taught me a lot about what friendship was. While a friend is someone who is kind to you when life isnt, they are also kind to you when times are good. I knew I deserved better than a bully as a romantic partner, and now I deserve better than a bully as a friend. Self-respect is the rent I pay for living in the house of self-esteem. Being ambitious, driven, and successful only makes me a snob to losers. Cutting out a toxic friend is like cutting out cancer, not only does it make you feel better but you live longer. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

April Brucker Wrote a Book

This past week has been a time warp. I have found myself back in my hometown for a book signing event. I have been writing since I was a little girl so maybe this was a reach, but maybe it was also expected. High school was the best and worst time in my life. It was good because I love learning and had some terrific teachers. It was also horrible because well, kids can be cruel. So there you have it.

Friday I went to speak to some classes at my old high school. One class was a journalism class, the other creative writing. When I walked into school it felt like a scene from Peggy Sue Got Married. Except I didn't hit my head and wake up in math class to find myself receiving a pop quiz. Instead, I was greeted by some familiar faces of people still working there which was nice. Still, it was surreal. Some of the teachers I had retired. My old high school, a set of buildings, has been ripped down. Now it is one big building that looks akin to a small college.

The first class I spoke to was journalism. It was taught by Mr. A, who is a former cross country teammate of my sister's. This was crazy to see him teaching and to hear he is married with a baby on the way. Nonetheless, things have changed for the better. Now the journalism class is the newspaper. To boot, these kids were really stoked about writing. Plus they really liked Mr. A. When I was in school the journalism class and the newspaper were two separate animals. Thus why our newspaper never came out. Now the paper comes out, kids write, and they are enthused about the process. It was beyond a pleasant surprise. It was refreshing.

I found myself interviewed for the campus TV station the next period by a student journalist. A cute girl with blonde hair and glasses she reminded me of myself at fourteen or fifteen. Like her, I was a history buff who loved to write. The tech ed teacher running the media center was also my sister's classmate. Unlike the olden days when the media center was located in the library building, it was now its own animal. We were sound tested and off to the races we went. There were television kiosks in the hall as well. My high school indeed had come a long way.

The next class I spoke to was creative writing. They too were stoked about writing stories and such. These kids had a lot of questions, which was good. We talked a lot about writing, publishing, and marketing. Their teacher had covered these topics with them as well. Again I was pleasantly surprised. This was not like this when I went to school there. We spoke about writing your truth, writing what you know. We also spoke about how to compose, start, and finish a book. These kids weren't just excited about writing, they wanted to be informed. It was another refreshing surprise.

Despite popular belief, this generation is not screwed. High school has changed. With all the attention coming to bullying, now kids seem kinder with each other. The world is different now. It's a good thing.

I found myself giving these kids a piece of advice I wish someone would have given me at sixteen. That piece of advice is to be nice to yourself. Yes, be kind. Reward yourself after you show up for your art by writing daily. Don't beat yourself up and expect everything to be perfect. No adult ever said that to me growing up. Maybe, just maybe, if they had I wouldn't have been such a basketcase for so long. I found once I stopped beating myself up I got so much more done.

Today I did my book signing which was really exciting. Saw a lot more people from my past. My third grade teacher came which was exciting. She was the woman who really turned me on to reading and writing. I wrote her a nice message in the front of her book. She is a wonderful woman and I am grateful and blessed to have known her. However, somethings never change. No matter how many times I write a man's name on my notebook he never returns my phone calls. I still hate math. Oh and my handwriting still sucks.

So yes, Peggy Sue Got Married.

And April Brucker wrote a book

I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Showing Up

Lately things have been busy with the career. I have had a lot of opportunities thrust my way. Many have to do with both the telegram job and the book, and some with the ventriloquism. A few even have to do with the straight up standup. It has been insane, rewarding, and stressful.

I will admit I am a born control freak. I have worked long and hard for everything I have in my career. For years I had the door shut violently on my finger tips for being different. I was too alt for alt. I was too female for female. I was too this or too that. Setbacks, closed doors, sexism, and whatever in the works. I suffered long and hard. Now that I have it, I want it to go perfectly. Translated, it has my claw marks. There is probably a head of development or two that thinks I am just insane. It happens, whatever.

I was never one of the fair haired favorites in the comedy scene who had the carpet rolled out for me. There is still a bit of a chip on my shoulder about that. I have been trying to get rid of the chip but it is something that as hard as you try never goes away. I know I am kind of one of the cool kids but not really. I don't know. I just hate the cliquish bullshit. Just like high school. On the other hand, I am getting farther than the idiots in the cliques and on occasion they have been forced to admit defeat to me after treating me like the fat, ugly outsider. I like doing my own thing. It rocks.

I talk to my old high school in a few days about writing a book. My whole time there I had big dreams and planned to conquer the world. I still have big dreams and am planning to conquer the world. I am closer than I was before. Some of my dreams have been realized, and I am closer than I have ever been to conquering the world. I am just hoping they don't look at me and think I am old and boring. They say don't trust anyone over thirty. I am getting closer and closer to that don't trust mark. I am talking to the class of one of my sister's former track teammates. This is crazy I know.

Time passes. Time is cool. Time is our friend. Part of me is scared I will never get where I need to go. That I will chase dreams forever that will never come true. That I will always be a creepy girl with a bunch of dolls. That for as much TV time as I get, for as much as I publish, for as many followers I have, I will always be an outsider. I will always just get an A for effort like the retarded kid that eats paint chips and wears a fanny pack.

Part of me is unsure and wants to know the five year plan. I want to throw my money away at some psychic who tells me I am not where I need to get because I have an evil spirit attached to my soul. I want to drink some liquid and hold some stupid rock to make the evil spirit go away. It is foolishness, but whatever. It's all fear.

Where will I be in five years? I thought ten years ago I would be somewhere different. If I would have gotten what I wanted I would have short changed myself. I would have never written my book, been on the shows I was, or did the things I did. I don't know. I thought I would be doing a shitload of theatre. Whatever. I like the TV time I have gotten. I like my book.

Part of me is excited to see what is next. I am showing up too hard to fail. It is just the way it is. I need to stop being scared. It is hard. I need to be excited, not scared. I know, this is crazy. Time for more coffee.

I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl

Monday, October 21, 2013

Tacky Bitch

I am in a weird place in my life. Yes, I am still young. While not as painfully stupid as I used to be, I can still be so stupid I chew pebbles and wonder why they are crunchy. At the same time there is a lot I still do not know. Since moving to New York at the young age of eighteen, I have done a lot. My name is still not front and center, but I have done a lot.
I am what they call a Z lister. Sometimes I get recognized on the street. Yes, they know me as The Puppet Girl from TV. Sometimes they even have gotten a singing telegram from me. Sometimes they have seen a youtube video. Sometimes they have seen me onstage. Sometimes they have even read my book. Yet my bank account indicates none of this mind you. Anyway, I had a long weekend and found myself grungy and scrungy running around Times Square in my sweats. In this daring ensemble I found myself wandering aimlessly in Forever 21.
I looked at all the young people buying clothes and did like some of them. While I am not terribly young, I am not terribly old either. It’s a weird netherworld. Riding the escalators I thought of some of the theatre people in my home town because I will be doing a signing there in a week.
One was a production company that did musicals. The alumni of this place has gone on to national nonunion tours of various shows for low pay, and to stomp and whistle on various cruise ships around the world. Some have even worked at Disney. For the most part they are at the top of the small time. I remember one mother always had this painted on tan and wore these tacky high heels and sequin tops. She always looked like she was going to dance at a low class strip club where she would probably receive her paycheck in slimy quarters. She was a choreographer of some sort. Her daughter finished high school to work on a cruise ship and now is married with a kid. She still follows her dream by being the lead singer in a wedding band. I don’t know. She was always nice. Just never understood her mother’s fashion choice. A lot of the rinky dink musical theatre people were like that in my town. None of them ever worked in Vegas. None of them had ever seen Hollywood except for the sign in the movies. None of them had ever been on Broadway except to walk on it as a tourist in my fine city. The question is, why do they feel like they need to wear the costume pieces on the street? Not judging. Just don’t understand. Actually fuck it. I am.
One of my favorite dance teachers in college always looked sweaty and like she was worn out from a long day at the studio. A former Rockette who worked on Broadway, I don’t think I saw her in sparkles once. I also have met and known my share of famous people and worked with a few too. For the most part, on the street they are low key. It’s jeans, ball cap, sweats. They don’t have to announce their presence as performers. They don’t have to look like they walked out of the life story of Gypsy Rose Lee. Maybe it’s because they know they have made it and don’t need to prove their identity to the world.
As a Z Lister, someone who isnt quite invited to the party’s yet, which way should I go? Do I wear the ball cap and secretly rely on my own inner self worth to guide me? Do I assure myself that I am a good enough writer and comedian? Do I tell myself the sweats I wore to the studio all winter/spring to feel comfy in the cold to record my audiobook was good enough? Yes, the place where women came in dressed for the jiggle fest for the most part? Sweats and the ball cap make me take myself seriously when I wanna feel comfy.
On the other hand I show up relentlessly for my career. As a woman comedian, I work ten times harder than my male peers and only get a third as far. Not to mention I am only taken an eighth as seriously. Despite all my hard work, sometimes I am shafted because I am a woman or whatever else. For as hard as I try, sometimes things just don’t fall into place. Nothing is ever released on time in my time. As I get older I see the clock ticking. Yes, I have some fans who will live and die for me but I am not a household name. Do I break out the tacky outfits? Do I bedazzle myself? Do I get my high heels and paint on tan, strutting around and pretending to be a big star?
Today a barker for the club that fired me stopped me on the street. He tried to sell me comedy show tickets to the shit hole that fired me. An alum from a show I did a cameo on that has been cancelled was headlining. I remarked that her career has certainly nose dived. The barker didn’t know how to take my cynicism except to deny he was working and affiliated with the biggest shithole ever. Of course the barker kept saying this chick was on this show and that show which was a lie. Maybe she should invest in the tacky outfits, the bedazzler, the high heels, and just spray on that damn tan. Or maybe not. I heard through the grapevine she is nice. Too nice for that shiteous wardrobe choice. I will shave the skin cancer look a like contest for those I hate.
There was a part of me that when this idiot asked who I was, I wanted to reply, “Don’t you own a TV?” Part out of my still raw resentment from a club that worked me to death, got the best publicity from me ever, and then kicked me out like a homeless man camping out in the bathroom.
And when the barker asked my name. I told him April. He asked my last name. I told him April was fine. I should have said, “The name is April, but it is Ms. Brucker to you, Sir.” That is when I decided to walk away. While I am a Z Lister there is room to move up. I am not ready for the skin cancer looking spray on tan. I am not ready for the high heels that no one can walk in. I am not ready for the bedazzled sequins and bad hair. I am not ready to rip off my wardrobe from a Las Vegas show girl. I am not ready to pretend that I was something great, when I could still be something great. I know in my heart I am the real thing.
Yes, the sexism is stifling as the men step on my bones and the women stab me in the back making them feel equal. Yes, the male world makes me feel like I am not enough while the female world excludes me because apparently women who look  like me have some in. Yes, it is just another excuse to have a terrible attitude and to be a professional victim. Maybe I need new comedy friends, but the idea of friends is so foreign since I started to see some success. When the idea of support from my so called amigos was to spread rumors about how I got ahead, and throw all I had been through in my face. Who knows? Who cares? I know I am a smart, capable, career orientated woman.
Either way I am not ready to be a tacky bitch. So what I might walk around in sweats? If I am recognized by a fan they will recognize me because they like me, I am enough. If I feel like dressing crazy that is my business too. Yes, I am enough. That is my message to young people, especially young women. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone. You are enough.

I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl
I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Deep In Vogue (Malcolm McLauren)

Today is the three year passing of my dear friend Chacho Vasquez. Drug addiction not just marred his life, but ripped him from this world. In a way it makes me angry when people say my friend's death was "preventable." Drug addiction is a disease. No one wakes up and decides to stick a needle in their arm. It's like that scene in Annie Hall when Woody Allen's classmate stands up and states, "When I grow up, I wanna be a heroin addict." It isn't a direct quote. It's what I remember.

On the other hand, I don't remember my friend being a sad sack. Hell no. If anything he was entertaining. Gay as hell, Chacho always had the latest designer fashions. But the thing was, he was a drug dealer and was old school. He had been to prison but barely touched on it stating, "It wasn't a happy time in my life. My cellie broke my heart." Then he would launch into the tale of how he would never fall in love with a red head again. Red heads, according to Chacho, were cursed. His cellie got out of jail and went back to his woman. Damn the pussy. Then after putting some clean time together, Chacho relapsed when he fell in love with a Korean man. Nevermind that he was off his psych meds. Chacho then swore all Koreans were evil. Maybe they are. I never dated one. Who knows? Probably not. Chacho had an anti-talent for making terrible decisions and never seeing his role in any of it.

Despite the outward appearance, my buddy did have that bad ass streak. Once, when Chacho was on the phone with his sponsor he was not having it. His sponsor wanted him to open up more in the meetings. Chacho replied, "Hell no, I don't want to incriminate myself." Or then he would talk about smashing someone's head in with a "lock and a sock." Afterwards he would take out his nail file because he didnt want his fingernails to look ragged.

Oh and nevermind Chacho was on benefits. He still found ways to cash that money and hit the Louis Vuitton counter. Sure some don't like the way he lived his life. He is an inspiration never to pay taxes. But the world screwed him, and the government screwed the gays in the 80s and 90s. Sure, it wasn't what they call right but I understand. Screw the damn government.

At the end we weren't speaking. His anti-talent and anti-logic got to be too much. Watching someone lose the battle to addiction is like watching someone dig their own grave in front of your eyes. Sometimes I felt I lost him well before I did. When he died I didn't get to tell him that while I loved him, I didn't love the decisions his disease made him make. I also knew in my heart it's not that he wouldn't change, he couldn't.

For a long time I blamed myself for our last conversation. It was tough because although I was no longer taking his calls, he phoned me the night he passed. For three long weeks I oscillated between bingeing on wrong men, not sleeping, and of course wanting to deck everyone I saw. Then it hit me that Chacho would have wanted me to make the best of my time on the planet. So I stopped with the idiot men and began living more than I ever had. Within a year I did more with myself than I felt I had in three. I got on TV a bunch, made music, webcasted world wide, and took the first effort to publish my book. I felt something shift in me. Like the world was mine.

For as much as Chacho's anti-logic gave me a headache, he also had some good points it turns out. Maybe he was homeless, on welfare, had HIV, and a drug problem he couldn't kick. But he always dressed like he was ready to buy a piece of real estate. So whenever I feel down now, I dress up. When Chacho had a bad day, he always spent his benefit checks at the nail salon or the Louis Vuitton counter. While I don't quite throw money to the wind like he did, whenever the nails do get chipped I head to the salon. Whenever I do something good I buy myself something nice. Yes, the way he lived his life made me want to strangle him but I was always too busy laughing. And then when he was done, he did have a few good points.

I know God took Chacho because it was his time. My buddy would have made a terrible old person. He loved his black market plastic surgery. I think had he lived to be old, Michael Jackson would have had more human skin. Chacho would have never done well with wrinkles. Not all the botox in the world could fix that. He is somewhere that the party never stops, designer labels come for free, the hot guys are a plenty, and he is forever young.

I know despite the fact we didn't part on good terms, if we saw each other now we would probably he cool. Actually, I know we would be. The truth is, sometimes I don't feel my friend has left me. In fact, sometimes I feel like I have this fierce and fabulous guardian angel from the Legendary House of Revlon who has my back. I know he is also saving me a seat in the after life. When we meet again, hopefully I will be old. Of course he will insist I meet the plastic surgeon in the after life and tease me about my Alfred Dunner nightie. And then he will tell me about how we have to avoid certain arch angels and demons cause he slept with both heaven and hell in the after party that never ends. Oh and then he will say, "This is my friend. She has been on TV. Told you she was coming."

And then he would tell me my nails look like crackhead nails and yell at me for putting a designer label on the floor. Off to the salon we would go as he reminded me that yes, black men were good in bed but Cubans- white Cubans-were still the best people in the world.

To come to think of it, these bad boys do look a little Cracky McCrack Crack.

Either way, today is the day you became an angel or whatever you are. Wherever you are, I know you are voguing with the best of them. And you are probably giving someone a major migraine too.


I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

New York (Alicia Keys)

This past weekend I received a surprise family visit. Friday I had gotten done working and I got a facebook message. My Uncle Bob was in New York. A little background, this uncle is one of my faves. He's a good dude, my sister's godfather as a matter of fact. Plus he is a huge Steeler Fan. Anyway, Uncle Bob and his chums take a big trip once a year to follow the black and yellow. They have been to Florida, Arizona, Colorado, and other places. However, this was their big guys trip to New York.

When my Uncle told me he was at a bar two streets and one avenue up from where I lived there I went. I spent Friday night with the crew. They ended up seeing Times Square, some had never seen it before. Of course I took them to my pal Richie's bar. Sitting across from Manhattan Plaza we all wondered about the stories in those windows. What was the truth behind each door. One of my uncle's friends, a union stage hand in Local 3 (New York is 1 and Chicago is 2) wanted to know the layout of the city. He wanted to know how close Brooklyn was. How close Queens was and if he could walk to either. He wanted to take the subway. I explained that since they were too far to walk. However, I also remember my first time to the city, thinking Brooklyn and Queens were different counties. Now I go to the boroughs like it is nothing. Kind of crazy.

It is crazy how long this city has been my home. I know it like the back of my hand. I have my favorite spots and such. As we were talking in Times Square I told my uncle and his friends Paul McCartney had done a surprise impromptu concert the other day in Times Square after appearing on The Today Show. They were like, "WOW call me the next time that happens."

My uncle and his friends headed to Jets stadium Sunday, somewhere that I have been many times to perform. Of course today, I was in my corner store having my bagel and coffee and reading my paper. This was right after working out at Manhattan Plaza Gym. Trivia, Alicia Keys grew up in that building. Anyway, my new friend Jimmy from Yemen was teaching me how to count in Arabic. While there I met a new friend who was from Egypt. He told me I was very beautiful and he had a food cart. He told me to stop by and he would give me a free hot dog.

Some have a dowry, others have Nathans.

Either way, I am grateful and blessed to live in such a city.

I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Old Movie Star Angel

I am a pale imitation
Growing up as a kid you always look for idols. Someone who is like you. Someone who you can relate to. I remember the first time I met mine. It was a Saturday night in my basement. My family was blessed and cursed without cable. The attitude of my parents was, "We are readers and thinkers." It wasn't about the world being evil, although at times it could have been and this helped shield us away from the traps kids fall into.

PBS was showing My Little Chickadee. Mae West flounced onto the screen. She had blonde hair, a massive grin, green eyes, and a smart assed drawl. I was a quiet kid. Encyclopedias were my friends. Even though she was considered "lame" by modern standards, then she broke all the rules. My dad said, "I know she looks young but she is almost fifty years old right here." My mouth dropped open. It made me like her even more. This was awesome. She was awesome. Apparently she was only five feet tall. The girls in that era, the one she started in, were bone thin flapper types. It was not the shake I was given. In a world where one in put in a box and you are or aren't, she made her own rules and said fuck it. For the first time, as I was a bookish kid who struggled with my weight and myself, I felt a ray of hope.

For as much as I tried to fight it, the stage always beckoned me. I always found the most success when I did my own thing. So did my hero, Ms. West. Even as a young, starving artist in the Big Apple, at the times I have gotten attention are for being myself. When I made my own puppet videos, wrote my own music, staged my own one woman shows, wrote my own book. Although I have yet to go to jail for my artistic expression I know I would be in good company if I did. There have been times I have been called the bad girl of ventriloquism. Why? For telling the truth. I have alienated some of the Christian Ventriloquists. Some of them have issues with the fact my puppets like to party. I think their main issue is the gay puppet. Of course the black puppet doesn't help any. But Mae West liked blacks and gays, so I say screw em.

There have been times I have been guilty of emulating my hero a little too much. In college I had an acting teacher who got upset because I could impersonate her so well. She claimed I was "losing myself as a person." In reality, I think she was always angry she didn't have a career, and was incensed when she found a student that knew themselves so well. Still, Richard Pryor tried to be Bill Cosby before growing into his own skin, and once Pryor found his own skin Cosby was happy for him. I suppose you need to start somewhere great to go somewhere great. But I knew who I was, tough, fast talking, and yes I liked bad boys. So did my hero. So what? Take us to the back and shoot us.

Several years ago I was down on my luck. I had just seen the departure of a roommate who was like my sister. I was also having a conflict of faith because I had a falling out with a friend who would not stop using drugs. A month later, he would die as a result of the disease of addiction. It was a huge storm and I was set to travel to do a gig in Queens. A tornado hit, and the J line was delayed. I somehow got there, and was the only comedian to show up. The place was called Nier's Tavern. I ended up not only performing, but getting all the money in the bucket. After I was done the host explained, "This place is legendary. It's where Mae West used to perform."

My mouth dropped open. What are the odds I would be in the spot where my hero used to do her thing? I remember getting a ride home from the son of a murdered Mexican Rodeo Star, don't ask. As I stepped over the power lines that were down and the trees that were struck, I felt alright. Yes I felt down and out. But I had just performed where my hero had more than eighty years earlier. This was not a mere coincidence. One month later my puppet children and I would appear on national television. My life would never be the same again.

I am different am like my old movie star angel in many ways. For one, we both did burlesque and vaudeville. While hers was more the real thing, I have done the neo version. We both have to create our own work in order to stand out, and have received a plethora of positive and negative attention for it. Not to mention it took her a while to see success, and it has taken me longer than the cookie cutter folks. But when we get it, we get it in bigger and better doses. We are both our own people, and no one censors us. We both aren't afraid to stand up to sexist men or jealous women. She doesn't come with puppets and I do. That's fine. I think we can both live with that.

Either way, I just got news I made my hometown paper. I am working on a one woman show version of my book and a full Broadway musical. I am producing my own content. Life is good. Maybe my boobs aren't as big and maybe I don't speak with a complete drawl, but I sound like a redneck chipmunk when I get fired up. My career is and isn't like hers. However, this morning I saw her picture front and center on my bathroom door. It was a nice reminder that while I am enough without completely copying my hero, I had a good person who gave me a good path to follow. I had a woman who let me know I could be myself, create my own work, and for the unique beings success doesn't always come easy. I had a person who let me know it was okay. I had Mae West, my old movie star angel.
"I'm no angel but I've spread my wings a bit."

I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl

Monday, October 7, 2013

Waiting For Guffman

A lot of a career as an artist is waiting by the phone. When the phone rings, it is another hope. Did I get the job? Do you potentially want me for this job? Did you read my treatment? Do you believe in my dreams?

When the phone doesn't ring it is stressing. How will I pay my rent? How will I eat? Will my dreams come true?

Will I forever be an almost D-lister who sometimes get recognized by a fan? Or will my fans go away? Will I languish in semi-obscurity forever?

Lately things have been decent. I have been working a lot which means I have money in the bank and the bills are paid on time. At the same time, I am up for several projects. Two I pitched, one I am pitching, and of course one was just released and is not taking off as fast as I wanted. Two are in the works but still need t get on their feet. I was just interviewed for one and rocked it, never heard back. Someone was interested in my writing, never heard back. I know, it is still Monday.

I need the next break to come. I am starting to get momentum and am so scared of losing it. I had it years ago, lost it and I had to fight like hell to get it back. When I did, doors opened in ways I never dreamed. Now it is back and I am scared of losing it again.

I have a lot of people interested. A lot of people saying they will be in touch. No no's yet. No yes's. Just maybe's. A lot of maybe's. Maybe is a weird place to be, a gray area. Maybe it will never happen. Maybe I have seen my best days.


But maybe it might happen.

Yes it is raining. I am feeling better. Off of my Z Pack. My bills are paid. I am financially comfortable. They say God is never late, always on time.

Get here quick Big Guy/Girl.

I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of  a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl
Check out the first chapter of my audiobook https://itunes.apple.com/jp/album/i-came-i-saw-i-sang-ep/id704930346?l=en

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Money, Success, Fame, Glamour (Party Monster)

I have been really sick lately. It's a seasonal thing. To arm myself against the elements of further infection, I have been taking a Z pack. Yes, it's all the stuff in all the other cold medicines times twenty. So my boss calls me to do a singing cop downtown. Okay, here I come. I had been feeling like a craptacular mess the last two days. Suddenly, I felt better when I kickboxed this morning. I can do this. I know I can.

The day had been good so far. I had somewhere important express interest in my writing. More on that later. The night before, despite being under the weather, May Wilson and I had kicked ass at Otto's Shrunken Head. Oh and I also delivered a successful rapping chicken to the assistant of Melissa Harris-Perry. Walking past their office, on the other end of the hall, was SNL. In some ways I have given up on that dream. I am not an improviser nor am I a woman you can easily box in. On the other hand, after seeing Johnny Carson's photo I thought maybe, just maybe...

Of course this was after a hot week last week, where I discovered that I was up for a huge project. And then got good news on another one. And this week nothing. Welcome to the nature of my life. Sometimes you are on top of the world, and then the clouds are taken.

Going to the gig, I get a sudden cramp in my stomach. I tell myself it's the Z pack. It is working. I just hope I won't poop my pants on the street. Okay, the term is shit myself. But I have been doing lots of shows for kids lately. When you start dropping cuss words in real life, then it slips out at the church function and you are fucked. Okay, so much for that shit. Anyway, it was pretty apparent, I was going to shit myself. So I searched for a Starbucks in Tribeca. None, fuck those assholes. Okay, the nonswearing promise ran out long ago. Oops. I am desperately trying to contain my bile and find a bathroom. Finally, I sneak into a bar. I run to the back and oh my gosh, relief. Then as I went to flush the toilet I saw what I believed to be overflow. I don't know what was worse, the fact I stealthed the toilet or the fact that I almost broke it. Either way it did flush. Still, I felt weak after that. Must mean the medicine is working, right? Yes, it is working. It is killing everything inside me, including myself.

I went to the gig and the cop went smoothly until I slipped into my dyslexia at the end. The telegram was from the Makeable Group, not the Marketable Group. Usually I can handle something like that, but I was becoming so lightheaded from all the water loss I had experienced. The client told me it was okay. I had knocked it out of the park until then. I kinda did look like I was knocking on death's door. At times like these I fear she might call my boss and ask if I am on drugs. No, only a Z Pack and DayQuil. They seem to be far more lethal than heroin without the high.

The trip home was brutal. I got the train that did the milk run. I feared being one of those passengers that fainted, holding up the train and making everyone hate me. I survived the train ride, and bought myself some chicken soup. I have been living on that for days. I don't know why but it works wonders. They call it Jewish Penicillin. It does work. I slept a bit until I had to run out and get some curlers. Then got a Dunken Donuts Collata.

Of course in between there my mom and I talked about my book signing. We discussed me possibly speaking to my former teacher's creative writing class. In a way it could be a good thing. At the same time, I see myself as a sixteen year old kid. How would I react to seeing myself? Would I be in awe of all the things I accomplished? Or would I think, what a desperate loser trying to be cool? Would I wonder what it was like to meet famous people? Or would I think, she isn't a household name yet, screw her? Maybe I would recognize myself from television and be armed with some smart ass remark? Or maybe I would be my own hero? As I pondered this existential dilemma I realized it had been a month since I had been on television.

Yes one month. I filmed a pilot last Sunday. I did a skype interview for something a week ago. I also have some other things in the works and no news. A fan has not stopped me for an autograph. My inner Norma Desmond phoned in. Was I fading? Damnit, I had not even reached Sunset Boulevard. My buddy had seen me by accident when he watched a rerun of some show I was on in the library. Still, when fans stop you for autographs you get Joan Crawford like spoiled. Yes, I am that fucking insane. Move over Miley.

Just then my stomach growled. I had to run to the toilet yet again. Living the dream people.

I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl
Download the first chapter of my audiobook https://itunes.apple.com/jp/album/i-came-i-saw-i-sang-ep/id704930346?l=en