Saturday, December 9, 2017

#MeToo

This morning I got a friend request from an the best friend of an ex who was abusive. The whole experience was jarring to say the least. I know I am safe in the studio I am subletting for the residency in Culver City. Still, this piece of my past is one that is like the Indiana Jones Holy Grail. I look and there is a part of my spirit that gets sucked out.

I never disliked my ex's friend. He was actually a nice dude. But the memories are like open wounds with lots of poison being poured in.

It's always like that with DV. There are never enough laws to protect you. And when there finally are it's because enough women are dead. There are people who don't believe you because they don't see your partner at his or her most evil.Or they think you should get over it. Everyone has all the answers for world's most unwelcome party guest.

There are well meaning people telling me it is a part of the past and it is. But when your ex was part of the reason you invested in a PO Box it's kind of hard.

My ex threatened me physically, emotionally, and sexually. We need to keep the dialogue going. That way men like OJ can be convicted, showing the world women like Nicole matter regardless of their color.

My life is different and better now. I am not afraid. I am also not afraid to press the block button because clearly my ex's friend is just like him. Yes I do need to get on with my life. But again we need to keep talking because without a conversation there can be no change. Now to change my underwear. Because yeah, my mom always said to go to school with fresh panties.......

Had to end this blog on a light note.

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Sunday, December 3, 2017

New Adventures

Tomorrow I begin a new chapter in my life. I have been accepted into Antioch University's Low Residency MFA Creative Writing Program in Los Angeles. Yes, LA. She who has no car let alone license is going to the very city where you need one. It will be a firm and shocking change of pace from the subways that I have grown so used to.

I have always wanted to do more with my writing and now is my chance. Plus I am entering a program where I can work, have a life, and am committed for 10 days a semester. That way I can continue my comedy and tour. I am also networking in a city where one gets eaten up easily. And I am getting to know the place without being tied into a lease before I really know where I want to live and if I even want to live there at all. And it is creating a chance to be bicoastal. Additionally, I am paving the way for a career in academia if I so choose to go that way.

And yes, I will have a masters.

I applied on a whim because I felt I needed a change and got in. There are some family members who aren't supportive and that's okay. I am an adult and don't need their approval. Sure, it stings in it's own way. But at the same time, I am paying for this myself and as an adult, I don't need to justify my decision let alone myself.

I will be in LV/LA for basically all of December. I will be filming a TV show in Las Vegas, going to school in LA, and then spending Christmas in town because of all I have to do.

I look forward to this new adventure. I say I was raised in Pittsburgh and grew up in NYC. Now it looks like I will become an adult in LA

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Friday, December 1, 2017

Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer (Elmo & Patsy)

It was the summer of 1998. On Saturdays, we typically did yard work and then had a late lunch/early dinner. My mother thought it would be a special treat to eat on the back porch as we had been working all day. The house was cluttered as it always was in those days. After all, three kids ages 16, 13, and 10 lived there, respectively.
A week previous, our neighbors across the street had gotten robbed. There was a lot of talk as a mysterious jogger had suddenly been seen in the neighborhood. One neighbor asserted that this family, nicknamed the Clampets, had faked the robbery in order to get insurance. No one knew for sure.
We were a gun owning family, but not a vocal one. My Dad wanted us to know there were guns in the house and to respect firearms. He felt it was important. We also knew how to fire a gun if we had to. For a time my parents even belonged to what was known as a local “gun club.”
However, gun culture proved just to be too overwhelmingly stupid for my parents for lack of a better word. My dad wasn’t a hunter. Because of his career and work hours he didn’t have time, and my mom felt it was disgusting. Plus a lot of those folks were toying with starting their own militias and spouted Second Amendment rhetoric frequently. My dad studied it and knew while the Second Amendment was important, there was no truth to this hillbilly paranoia. When he explained no one was going to lose their guns anytime soon he was met with resistance.
My dad would explain as a lawyer this couldn’t happen, there would have to be many, many, many lawsuits before the Second Amendment was overturned. But they would interrupt him explaining one could never trust the government for very long. My dad would say they were giving the government too much credit. They couldn’t even deliver a piece of mail on time. But this fell on deaf ears, and some were really and truly losing their hearing because they were around guns so damn much.
Out of our family, the best shot was actually Skipper. I was a terrible shot. My skills behind a gun were tragic. Skipper could shoot a bullseye without effort. Later, she would go on to become a champion markswoman.
My dad’s whole thing was that yes, we owned guns but we were never to tell anyone. It was because he didn’t want them stolen or used in a felony. He also knew that if one of our moron friends accidentally shot themselves, it would be a shit show for lack of a better term. But yes, we had them and that was all we had to know.
After dinner, we were cleaning off the table. Dishes were about to be washed and the TV was about to be turned on. Auspiciously placed were my brother’s cleats from summer football practice. Not so far away was my notebook from writing camp. Pick up after ourselves…..ehhh……you know how it goes with kids.
Just then, there was a loud banging from downstairs.
“What was that?” My dad asked curiously.
“Nothing.” I said. “Probably some crap from Wendell’s football.” I said glancing over at my brother. While the season had yet to start, my brother had weights and other things he was using to buff up. Cumbersome and annoying, I had stubbed my toe on several.
There was a second bang, now it was more like a slam.
 “I think it’s the boxes we stacked.” Skipper said, referring to boxes of books we were getting rid of. These books were old, outdated encyclopedias in our basement that still referenced the former Soviet Union. My father felt they were obselete and we needed space for other things, so my mother, sister and I had stacked them one night while our dad was working late.
The noise grew louder. Now it was as if someone was walking. We all froze in panic.
“No one’s home.” A male voice was heard saying.
We all gasped in horror. Oh shit.
 “Guys, stay out here. Dad is going to get his gun.” My mom assured us.
Then she instructed, “If there is a group of intruders, run out the back deck. Run to the nearest neighbor and get help.”
Note this was before the age of cellphones so this all made sense.
My dad went and retrieved a firearm from a place in the house where it was hidden. Meanwhile, we were in the Florida room closes to the deck in case my father couldn’t shoot the intruders in time. These burglars might have been bad but they had never seen my dad when his was pissed. He was just a Western Pennsylvania man defending his home and he knew that at the end as a lawyer, he knew his rights and would get off.
Skipper began to cry. I held my sisters hand, and Wendell covered us both. “Keep it together. They can’t know we are here.” She said.  
“Beware mutherfuckers.” My dad said under his breath. “I will kill any sonvabitch that comes in my home.”
My dad’s dark eyes flashed. There was no way these intruders were making it out alive.
Sure, these guys might have been bad, but they never saw my dad when he was pissed let alone defending his home. My dad was a nice guy, but when you crossed him he could cut a bitch for lack of a better term. One former associate at his law firm referred to my dad as “Satan” because of the way he spoke to opposing counsel. Yet when someone who heard this story saw our Dad with us at a local restaurant, he could hardly believe it was the man he had heard so many horror stories about. Bottom line, you didn’t fuck with my dad and come out unscathed.
“If any of you see their faces before you run for it, remember them. They are going to ask you in court.” My mother instructed.
Wow Mom, way to make a bad situation even worse. My stomach lurched at the thought of the potential tragedy that was about to happen. My heart beat and I felt everything freeze. I got ready to run, bad ankle and all. Skipper could go the fastest and Wendell wasn’t notorious for his speed. My mom always tripped and fell when she got nervous. It was a tick she had. Gosh this was going to be a shit show.
And shit show it was.
The door opened and I was expecting a scene from what would be a 20/20 crime special in seconds. I expected tragedy. Instead I heard,  “Wendelin, that is no way to greet your mother in law!”
Fear disappeared and now we were just startled and amazed. My mom sprinted inside as my father dropped his gun to his side. The look on my dad’s face was priceless. Standing there was my Nuni, barely five feet tall with snow white hair and a light purple summer pants suit. On her head was a summer bonnet. Her lips had frosty pink lipstick. With her was a man who looked like the disenfranchised son of Charles Manson.
“MOM!” My mother said, shocked and pleasantly surprised. “You didn’t tell me you would be stopping over!”
“I tried to call but you didn’t pick up and your message machine was full. Here’s the book I promised you. You know the one about raising a teenage daughter with an interest in the arts.” My grandmother handed my mom the book.
Nuni continued, “It was from Barb.” Barb was my cousin’s wife. Their son had gone to film school and wanted my mom to have the book because I liked to write and work with puppets. He was currently living in LA with some girl from Brazil. The book was to give my parents hope and to assuage their fears about my dreams.
 “Get in here and give your grandmother a hug.” My mom instructed, trying to make the most of an awkward situation. Meanwhile, my embarrassed father disappeared to put his firearm back in the undisclosed location.
When he reappeared she said,  “Wendelin can’t kill me! He has to do my will first.”
“Who’s this?” My sister Skipper asked pointing to her friend. Her strawberry blonde hair had recently been cut and she was wearing her summer shorts and top.
“Oh this is Bob.” Nuni explained. “He’s a friend of Rachel’s from the Ren Faire. I saw him at the Walmart and he needed a ride.” At the time, Nuni worked as a greeter at Walmart. She was literally the mayor of the superstore. Nuni was so incredibly popular that she was even featured in several of their local television commercials.
Aunt Rachel worked at the Ren Faire. It had become her yearly gig and the only thing in her life that was constant. After breaking up with Rick and then running out on her wedding to Josh (subject of another blog) Rachel had sough solace in the Ren Faire. While my grandparents had blown their life savings on a wedding that was never to happen, they were glad their wayward creation was finding an outlet.
As for Aunt Rachel’s friends, they were notoriously nondrivers or had their license’s suspended for whatever reason, so Aunt Rachel was the chauffeur of the group. On this day, Bob needed a ride to wherever he was staying, probably a halfway house. Who knew…..
Either way, Nuni, who’s conduct never ceased to shock, awe, and amuse thought it was nothing short of hysterical that my father had almost shot her. Meanwhile, my father’s face was twisted in that state that was a mix between embarrassed, confused, and somewhat pissed. Nuni explained she would have knocked but when she parked her car, she saw the garage door was open.
Yes, Nuni was notorious for never using a front door let alone knocking. She had let herself in my Uncle Seth’s townhouse once because he left the back screen ajar. Needless to say he caught her youngest son and his wife Taylor sharing a moment of passion. Talk about killing the mood. Of course, Nuni freely and fearlessly relayed this story as my dad continued to stand there, mouth gaped open at this happenings of the day.
Minutes later, Nuni and Bob departed. My dad was pissed, but not for the reason we figured. Nevermind he had almost blown his mother in law’s head off. As he explained, , “A STRANGER CAME INTO MY HOUSE AND IT WAS MESSY! I WAS SO EMBARRASSED!”
“Honey…..” My mom said trying to calm him down.
“I WORK TWO JOBS TO KEEP THIS HOUSE GOING AND YOU GUYS SIT AROUND ALL DAY EATING BON BONS. I ASKED YOU TO CLEAN THE BASEMENT!” My dad roared.
My dad had not come from much and having strangers see his house messy always got under his skin. However, we didn’t know we were going to have company. My dad continued, “GRACIE, HOW COULD SHE! I ALMOST SHOT HER! I WASN’T PREPARED FOR COMPANY. THERE IS THIS FUCKING THING CALLED  A PHONE. YOUR MOTHER COULD USE A FUCKING PHONE! OR BETTER YET, A FRONT DOOR!”
My mother said nothing expect, “Sorry, you know how she is.”
“HOW SHE IS ALMOST GOT HER FUCKING KILLED!!!” My dad was on a roll. “AND THEN FOR THIS STRANGER TO SEE MY HOUSE MESSY, HOW DO YOU THINK I FEEL!”
“Dad the stranger was probably homeless, it’s better than he normally lives.” Wendell reasoned. We all nodded in agreement.
“Nuni is hardly a housekeeper.” I said. It was true. And if Bob had been to Nuni and Pop Pop’s house, our place would have been the Palace of Mr. Clean in comparison.
“It doesn’t matter what you think or feel at this point.” My mom said trying to smooth things over.
“You almost shot grandma!” I informed him. “How we feel completely matters.”
Skipper ran over and gave our dad a hug. He probably needed one after that. “How about this, lets red off the table and forget this ever happened.” My mom suggested. I thought she was in good spirits seeing her mother almost got shot. (Red in Pittsburghese means clean off).
My dad shook his head. “Okay, but April has to vacuum the basement and Wendell has to pick up first.”
“Why do I have to vacuum?” I protested.
“Because I said so.” My dad snapped.
Wendell and I marched down to the basement to clean. After that, my dad calmed down and the gun was returned to the undisclosed location. We watched some stupid Adam Sandler movie and the incident became a piece of the family’s woven fabric.

And from that point forward, we all remembered to close the garage when we were done for the day. That way, if someone got shot it was a burglar and not grandma.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Rick

Growing up, your aunts tend to date the darnest guys. This was no exception in my family. When I was about 9, my Aunt Rachel dated a guy named Rick. File Rick under what parents don’t want their daughter to come home with.
Days before my Pop Pop met Rick for real, Rachel showed up to our house with her newest flame. The reason for her visit was because Aunt Rachel had just been fired from another job. It wasn’t her fault. Most employers don’t understand vacation at will. It was a flower shop, and apparently she wanted to hang out with Rick and didn’t show up. Now she needed a few bucks to get through the week and she knew my mom’s door was always open.
Rick was a sight for sore eyes. He had dirty blonde hair, an AIDS era mustache, and a wife beater shirt. While he told us he usually styled his hair in a mullet, an admission that no one anywhere should make at any time, the Navy made him dawn his current do.
When Aunt Rachel brought Rick, I still remember the roaring of his pick up truck waking our quiet suburban block. Rachel, my mom’s kid sister, walked in with her conquest on her arm. His too tight jeans made him look more like the LGBTQ comic book star Tom Finland than the tough man he aspired to be, but why tell Rick.
Aunt Rachel wore a low cut shirt, a short skirt, and had terrible posture. All made my gym teacher mother gasp. Yes, her kid sister who struggled in school with severe dyslexia before it was understood. This same kid sister who had low self-worth. This same kid sister that my mom always had to keep an eye on. And this same kid sister who was now shortening her lifespan.
“This is Rick. The dream boat I have been telling you about.” She informed us as he walked in.
“Dream boat I am, so dreamy the United States Navy can’t even certify me.” Rick chimed back in his Southern accent.
My mom told Rachel she wanted to speak to her privately, probably to exchange twenty dollars and to confront her about her latest in a string of bad decisions. Our mother instructed us to show Rick our backyard gym. Our dad had installed a chin up bar and a rope because he felt it would be good for our upper body strength the previous summer. Wendell, who dreamed of playing football, was on their faithfully day in and day out trying to tone his muscles and get fit for the upcoming season.
 “They make us do chin ups in the Navy.” Rick said to Wendell, “And a man has to know how to do chin ups.”
“I can do 5.” My brother Wendell said. While he was strong, his body was still pudgy and growing. Wendell jumped up on our backyard chin up bar and did 5.
“Well in the Navy they make us do 20 or more.” Rick said. And then he jumped up and did several. Skipper and I stood in awe of Rick and his strength.
Just as this was happening, my dad pulled in the driveway from a long day of work. Rather than enter his garage, he stopped his car. It wasn’t to watch. No, like a hungry Great White he was lurking and wanted his prey to know he was there.
Stopping his car engine, he exited his Buick and walked down to the jungle gym. Sure, he was a lawyer off the clock but was ready to kill if need be. The look in his eyes indicated that he already disliked Rick, possibly because he knew my mom was going to give Rachel a few bucks and these two would have not stopped by had he been present.
Wendell also made the proverbial kill list. He was tardy with his room cleaning and the deadline was today.
Skipper and I ran over to hug our dad and Wendell stood in shock. Sensing the silence as we were no longer cheering, Rick jumped down from the chin up bar.
“Why aren’t you cleaning your room?” My dad snapped as he saw Wendell standing there.
Instead of butting out, Rick obliviously chimed in. Gosh, he was dumber than the grass under our feet.  “Hi, are you the man of the house?”
“Yes, I own this home, my wife is inside and those are my children.” My dad said putting his arms around us. His glance never left Rick.
“And where have you been?” Rick was now proving to be the brain trust he was. I wanted to tell the dumb ass to shut up now but it would be of no usage.
“Working.” My dad replied. His eyes not moving. I could tell he was freaking Rick out on purpose.
“Do you ever use the chin up bar?” Rick was now curious as my dad was in excellent shape. Meanwhile, I was curious as to how Rick was still alive.
“No. I don’t have time. I have a job.” In not so many words, my dad called Rick an idiot and a loser. At that moment, Rick got it. He gulped. And that’s when he found my aunt to make his exit.
My Aunt Rachel departed along with Rick in the roaring pick up. Actually, fled was more like it. While Rick seemed too stupid to be evil it was funny to see him sweat like that. But my mom was not holding her tongue over dinner.
Aunt Rachel said Nuni had seen him in McDonalds looking all handsome in his Navy Uniform. Nuni, my mom’s mother, was a character. Friendly and outgoing, she made friends everywhere she went and talked to everyone. She had fixed my parents up initially, and thought she could do the same with Rachel. This was a fail.
“Wendelin, what was she thinking!” My mom demanded. “This guy is a loser!”
“Gracie, your mom never thinks. That’s the damn problem.” My dad said shaking his head.
“She wants to move to Alabama and live in his trailer after he’s discharged!” My mom bemoaned. “Two years ago, when Rachel dropped out of college my dad called me crying. I said let her work. Let her get it together. Now she is dating THIS LOSER!!”
“Let it go Gracie, it’s not our problem.”
“But he could do a ton of chin ups.” Skipper said.
“That’s what unemployment looks like.” My dad informed her.
“In all fairness unemployment was kind of good looking.” I told my dad.
“It won’t be when he makes you a single parent.” My dad cautioned me.
Wendell laughed. “He was seriously jacked Dad. I could only do 5 chin ups…..”
“And so that’s why your room wasn’t cleaned! You were screwing around with that redneck!” Wendell gulped. The table went silent. My mom changed the subject to the fact Wendell’s science project was a finalist in the contest at school. The uneasy transition proved to work as my dad quickly forgot about Wendell’s room.
That evening, I had a dream. Rick came to our house, except his pick up truck was roaring and jumping over fences and people’s houses. The dream was pretty cool actually. And Aunt Rachel was yelling with joy the entire time as Skipper and I were in the truck bed. So what they were risking our welfare and breaking several laws? It was awesome.
The next morning my mom woke us up. As it was late spring we still had school as summer had not quite come. My dad was getting ready for work. Seeing him I said, “Dad, I had a dream. Rick came with his pick up and was jumping over houses and fences. Aunt Rachel was in the truck, and Skipper and I were in the back of the pick up.”
“That wasn’t a dream.” My dad said shaking his head.
“What he is saying is, your aunt made a terrible decision.” My mom shared.
Two days later, my grandparents had a party in their backyard. My dad was unable to come as he had a huge case he was working, and there was a filing date with federal court that Monday. The party began as usual, my Nuni telling colorful stories as she flitted in and out like a butterfly looking for a new flower. With white hair and a plethora of pastels, she stood barely five feet tall and was akin to a tropical creature each time you saw her.
“Mom, what were you thinking?” My mother said confronting my grandmother as people came in. “Rachel is dating a guy who has probably been voted most likely to go to prison!”
 “He’s handsome and Rachel needs to meet men.” Nuni said.
“She would be better meeting men at the food stamp office.” My mom was now livid.
“They aren’t getting married. Relax Gracie.” My Nuni said. “I never thought you would marry yours. Besides, he’s in the service. He has a job of some sort. It could be worse. He could be like Phyllis and Rob.”
My mom rolled her eyes. Phyllis was my mom’s other sister who was dating Rob, a man who fearlessly lived off of women. He had a glue on rug, glue on chest hair, gold chains, and announced that he was training to be a porn star. Phyllis and Rob would have been there, but Rob had been beaten up in a street fight and was currently in the hospital.
“Anything is better than Rob.” My mother seethed.
Just then, the rest of the cousins entered and we found ourselves in the backyard. My Pop Pop, a quiet, gentle man, put out bread crumbs to feed to his pet squirrel Jinx. Well it wasn’t really his pet, Jinx was sort of a pest my grandfather adopted. In many ways, my Pop Pop was the antithesis of my dad because he would have just killed Jinx.
Pop Pop was an the type everyone loved. Because my father had lost his own dad young, Pop Pop adopted him at times. My Pop Pop had been a college man and then World War II broke out. After graduating from The University of Pittsburgh, he enlisted in The Navy. Because of his engineering degree, he went through officer training and at the time of his discharge was a second lieutenant. My Pop Pop never spoke of the war or his Navy days but always remained friends with his shipmates. The war ended and life went on.
He coached my mom as well as the rest of her siblings in swimming, owned his own life insurance business and played tennis religiously. Of course as my mom bemoaned my Nuni’s bad decision making ability to her sister Magdelene, who’s children were dancers, Rachel entered with Rick.
I knew they were coming from the Duke’s of Hazzard roar of his pick up truck. Rick entered carrying Rachel. As soon as they saw my Pop Pop he set her down. Some of us laughed. Some of us gasped in horror.
 “I bet she’s pregnant.” My cousin Starboard said.
Starboard was Magdelene’s younger daughter. Mindy, a dancer, was in New York for the summer hoping to become a professional ballerina and Starboard hoped to join. She had a head of dark, springy curls and always dressed like Blossom. Like Skipper, she had been named for my Pop Pop’s love of ships and the water. While he said nothing else about his time in the service, he taught his kids all about boats because he felt it was important.
“Hello Mr. Wallace, pleased to meet you.” Rick said extending his hand. My grandfather, gray hair and Mr. Rogers sweater, looked confused. He looked very scrambled. My Pop Pop was sharp, this was a whole new thing. Seemingly disinterested, he continued to throw crumbs hoping Jinx would catch them. Was he getting dementia? My friend’s grandmother had that and it was nasty.
“Good to meet you too.” Pop Pop said, seemingly not focused as his big task was feeding Jinx.
“Rick’s in the Navy.” Aunt Rachel explained. “Just like you, Dad.”
“Oh yes, that was a very long time ago.” My Pop Pop said looking up laughing.
“Mr. Wallace, you would be pleased to know young men like me are making the US Navy strong!” Rick declared.
My mother marched over. Ever ready to micromanage a shit show, the oldest child in the family had to let Rick know what time it was. “Dad wasn’t just any Navy man. He was an officer, weren’t you, Dad?”
“Yes, Second Lieutenant. I was aboard a military aircraft carrier.” Pop Pop said. “We were in the Okinawa for much for the war and near Japan. But it’s over and I don’t like to talk about it.”
“I didn’t realize I was in the presence of an officer.” Rick said. He stood up and saluted my grandfather.
“Please, sit down. That wasn’t necessary. I haven’t been a member of the military since 1946.” My Pop Pop assured him gently. But Rick was standing there with complete salute.
“I hope she isn’t knocked up.” Starboard said again.
“What does knocked up mean?” Skipper, age 6, asked.
“Shhhhh……” I said as Rick continued to stand with a complete salute. At first it seemed he was mocking my grandfather, but he was tragically such a simpleton it was no longer even funny.
“At ease.” Pop Pop said. Rick relaxed his salute and sat down. He yammered on and on about something stupid and his thick drawl didn’t help. As Rick talked and Rachel chimed in, my grandfather’s eyes closed.
“He always falls asleep at parties.” I observed as Starboard stood near me.
“It’s because he’s old.” Skipper said. “Old people always sleep.”
“Maybe he’s dead.” Starboard offered. “My neighbor died like that.” Yes, Starboard, age 8, had all the answers.
“He’s not dead. His hand is moving.” Skipper observed. Her sunkissed strawberry blonde hair sporting ringlet curls from a perm my dad suggested she get to give her hair more volume.
“Also, if he was deceased his color would change.” Skipper educated us. “When there is still some red, you know there is blood moving.” Skipper had been reading a medical book she got for Christmas and announced her plans of becoming a doctor.
After my grandfather had been out for sometime my Nuni entered the backyard. Carrying a tray of something that resembled shish kabobs, she called to my Pop Pop, “Wake up Mike and stop being an old man. The kids inside think you are dead.” Yes, she never had the filter.
“Shut up Loretta. You are going to kill me one day.” Pop Pop replied.
“I would have done it already but I spent all your money.” Now we were all roaring. Yes, my grandparents were literally a comedy duo at times and today was one. Rachel laughed as Rick now looked confused. The two braincells he had were doing an awful lot of thinking.
“Being married to you is like life in prison. Except with life in prison I would have a chance at parole.” Pop Pop said now giving the zinger that finished the routine. We all applauded. How could we not?
Rick and Rachel than said they had an errand to run. We didn’t want to ask, and we prayed they weren’t going to get eloped. As they exited, Pop Pop perked up and went back to feeding Jinx. Murmuring to himself he lamented, “Enlisted men, they never change.”
Pop Pop had not been asleep. He had been tuning out an idiot in the most effective way possible. In the days before the block button this innovation was genius. For his bravery in the line of stupidity he was to be commended.

Rachel would later break up with Rick after he was sent to sea on a submarine, had a nervous breakdown, and spent time in a psych hospital. It wasn’t the time in the psych hospital that drove her away, but the fact she fell in love with his best friend, Josh. She figured Josh was more soft spoken, better looking, and had a better double wide I suppose. I dunno, that story is for another blog……

Monday, November 27, 2017

Posters, Calendars, and Books, Oh MY!

December is the time for ho, ho, ho. And there are some folks that are going to be calling me that. All shitty jokes aside, Cyber Monday is here and why don't you unwrap some of me this holiday season:

Here is a calendar of yours truly. Perfect for the hardy heterosexual male who wants to keep track of important dates and times. And perfect for any of my ex boyfriends. However fellas hide it from your wife. You know she doesn't like me. 

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April in the morning, April in the evening, April at supper time. When you can have April on a t-shirt you can have April anytime

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Maybe you need to accessorize your college dorm room or man cave. And if you are a wife or girlfriend who doesn't like me, your dartboard. What I am trying to say is, I sell posters, too. Also, this poster would be okayed by any prison warden anywhere. What I am trying to say is, send one to any of my ex boyfriends that might be guests of the state or federal government this holiday season. No one ought to be alone on Christmas. 


Perhaps you are aware I wrote a body positive book. If you want a woman who thinks out of the box you have both book and poster options for your pleasures. Note, this is not prison approved, so if you want to send one to an ex of mine, send it to one who's currently a fugitive. 

Do you like President Donald J. Tramp? Well you can be liberal and conservative at the same time by wearing him on a t-shirt. 

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I work as a singing telegram girl in the Big Apple. Want to sip some whiskey and read about my adventures/bad decision my holiday season? For the record, this is my mother's favorite thing on the list because I am fully clothed. 

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Friday, November 24, 2017

Basic Needs

When I was about 8 or 9, I forget which, I was in the third grade. My dad's mother, Mema Ralph, was babysitting us. She was a character to say the least. Mema Ralph was probably not the best parent to my dad let alone any of her children. She was terrifying in her own way with a brutally honest streak. In between she was also a tad of a shit stirrer, but it added to her charm. As a babysitter, she was a combination of every child's worst nightmare and every comedian's greatest wet dream.

Her greatest charm was she didn't give a flying fuck.

Looking back, she was a Great Depression and War era kid. Her husband worked long, strange hours so she was essentially left to raise a house of kids on her own. He died when my dad was 19, and she still had four young kids at home after her oldest three flew the nest. She worked and was a single mom even though most days she was overwhelmed.

My Mema Ralph was a survivor with her clip on earrings, fire engine red hair, caked on makeup, nails with multiple coats on, perfume so strong she could kill an animal, faith in God, and most of all her foul mouth. Yes, she was a survivor, as in she would knock you out and would ask no questions. As she hit her 70s, her eyesight was bad too, so she might actually knock you out if you were walking on the sidewalk because she was starting to drive there......OOPS.

Mema was babysitting. My parents were somewhere, I think my mom's father, my Pop Pop, was in the hospital for some reason. Probably prostrate or skin cancer, he had both quite a bit unfortunately for some time there. This would have meant my Nuni, his wife, would have been with him. Either way, Mema Ralph was always last on the list to babysit and with good reason.

Much of it had to do with the circumstances around my brother Wendell's birth. At the hospital, my Mema Ralph told my dad to get some food as my mom was in labor. My mother told my father he was not going anywhere. And then when Wendell was finally born after 24 hours of rough labor and C-section, my parents carried her first grandchild out. Mema responded by informing my parents, "Don't expect me to watch that kid."

She caved in and watched us a few times. Each being a bigger disaster than the next. Once, my brother broke a box lid and she made him tape it together and kneel in the corner until my parents came home. Needless to say my mom was beyond pissed and said to my dad, "Wendelin, I do not care if she is your mother. She is not watching my kids ever again!"

My dad tried to defend my grandma of course, but it fell flat. He knew she was crazy. He never tried to hide it. But on this particular night, my folks were desperate for a babysitter and Mema Ralph was called. My brother hid in his room, and my sister was no where to be found. It was just me and Mema.

So here we were in my parent's kitchen. It was a Thursday and I had social studies homework. The only crinkle was I forgot my book and that's where the answers were. So I figured I would rely on my grandmother's knowledge, age, and expertise. After all, she was near 70 years old. She had to know a few things. Whenever I forgot my book my mom knew most of the answers. My Mema Ralph had to work the same way.

This is how the conversation went:

Me: Mema Ralph, can you help me with my homework?

Mema: Yes Dear.

Me: What are the three basic needs?

Mema: Air, water, and God.

Me: That doesn't sound right.

Mema: Nonsense without air you suffocate and die! Now back to your homework and let me help you.

Faithfully, I scribbled the answer down. My grandmother went on to help me with the rest of my homework and without question I continued. Mema gave information with authority, and I didn't argue. She was my grandmother. She had to know.

That is, until I got my paper back the next day.

It didn't have any wrong. It just had SEE ME PLEASE in big, red, nicely written teacher handwriting. The woman I had for class had been teaching a long time and was nothing short of an angel. With a bemused look on her face, she wondered what happened to me, perhaps the best social studies student in the class, because this was not typical.

I explained frankly, "My grandmother helped me with my homework."

She laughed and agreed to let me do it again. The second time around not only were all my Mema's answers wrong, they werent even close. Turns out the basic needs are food, clothing and shelter.

Moral of the story, never forget your book. Never ask grandma to help you with your homework. And maybe grandma's do know something because without air you suffocate.

All that aside, I know she would have mixed feelings about this photo but she would agree some hot guy with money might want to extract my digits. Miss you, Mema.

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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Tired

The last several weeks have been busy. That's why I haven't been around. During the weekends I was in Sleepy Hollow working with puppets at a haunted house. On week days I delivered my telegrams. In between I applied and was accepted into Antioch University's Low Residence MFA Program in Los Angeles. Then there was the line of merch I released. And I also readied and debuted my show in the Solocom Festival. This was after completing my workshop for The Onion. And I also take acting class once a week.

Over extended? Yes. Insane? Oh absolutely. Tired? Fuck yeah.

I love all of it every second. I loved each train ride to Sleepy Hollow even though the rides back got tedious with the late nights and milk runs of the local. I loved each crowd that came into my tent from the young kids who thought I was real, to the kids who wanted to be scared, to the tween boy who proposed to me in corpse bride full body puppet gear. I loved the adults who were either screaming surprised or had a witty comeback. I loved the drunks who were eager to dance. I loved them all. It was bittersweet when Halloween ended.

Although the weekends literally drained me most of the time, I loved each person I delivered telegrams to. They were all amazing. My favorite being a Marilyn Monroe to a man who had a son with special needs. His son who was ten and physically as well as developmentally handicapped sang along with me. It was amazing. It was awesome. It was a why not moment.

Applying to the low residency MFA Program in Creative Writing nearly killed me. I love to write but when you have to write it's different. The reason I chose the program was because it was a responsible way to familiarize myself with LA and to network. And if I ended up not liking LA I am not locked into a lease. Straight away I loved the people I spoke to, and because of the program model I don't have to put my career on hold and can tour. They just own me for 10 solid days straight each semester. And they love writing as much as I do.

As for the line of merch, that is the coolest and craziest thing I think I have done to date. Yes, I have a gift shop. Yes, it is crazy. Yes, I love it. Wow, I can't believe I did a gift shop in between everything else I had to do. Yes, I had some help with it. Yes, you should buy my merch. https://www.redbubble.com/people/aprilb?asc=u

The Lady and President Tramp debuted at Solocom. It was a wonderful night and I made a new friend with the very talented Scott Kremer who was my hour mate with Character's Unleashed. My only regret is that I was under the weather but tis the season. Either way, it was an amazing experience.

The Onion Workshop was incredible. My teacher was adorable. It also helped me see through some of my own bullshit. For the longest time I had a resentment against a comedy theatre in NYC. I saw them as preppy white kids who wanted to be on SNL and would slit your throat to get there. I saw them as snob who didn't like anyone who wasn't on the farm like them. I saw them as that obnoxious high school clique that you were chronically trying to escape. This workshop made me realize that perhaps some of that had been my own bullshit and the bullshit we all fall into. I saw them as young people like myself with dreams. I saw them as people who loved comedy and performing to the point where they were obsessive. I saw the good and together we all had an awesome experience in this workshop because of our shared love.

And yes, I am in acting class once a week. Ironically, my teacher is from said theatre and he is very knowledgeable and very objective about the work. I have really come out of my own skin and am actually really nipping my bad habits onstage in the bud. I also feel safe to create and perform my own work there, which has never happened to me before in an acting class. And I don't feel stupid when I make mistakes either. I don't feel resentful because I am not a part of the clique in this comedy school. Again, we are all young folks trying to go to the same place.

Either way, I am exhausted. I still have to clean. Today I have a monologue coaching session because why not? I also need to pack because this week is Thanksgiving and my dad's birthday. Tomorrow I am doing an event where they have food. Why not?

No rest for the weary.

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Friday, November 10, 2017

Here I Go Again (Whitesnake)

Last night I had a run in with someone from my past. I used to call her a friend until my ex tried to cheat with her. They both sucked. He sucked for trying to cheat on me in front of my face. She sucked for trying to cheat with him knowing I had a boyfriend. I wouldn't have cared, she's the town bike. Everyone has had a ride. But he was sharing my personal business with her and that's a problem.

Then again my ex is a loser and so is she.

I was willing to let bygones be bygones but last night this bitch stepped over the line. She unleashed a victim blaming post on facebook. It was basically saying the Spacey victim was to blame because he was at an adult party. And the Louis CK victims were idiots for what they got. When I tried to tell her as much she told me I was stupid for calling other people stupid.

This whole thread and reply was so locked and loaded. I wanted to tell her she was stupid for all the victim blaming because back in the day she was always whining about the men who sexually took advantage of her to the point where it was comical. Sure, the guys were in the wrong but she was like the girl in the xoJane article who kept getting into the vans and after her 10th van we were like WTF?! Not to mention she travels constantly and has worked as an escort in the past. Either she is working as an escort again or she is rolling someone. And my belief is despite the song she sings about being clean and sober she's at it again with the drugs and has been for some time.

Sure, it hurt to see her make bad decisions with herself and to keep choosing destructive men, I supported her. I always believed her. I always believe the victim because I have been in the path of predatory men. Read my other blogs. So for her to victim shame was just mind blowing to me because having walked that path and knowing how hard it is, to do such a thing is just plain evil. But that's just me. Defending women and victims. Raising my voice for women who are abused at the hands of a partner. Working on those doggone CODA issues.

An idiot guy she was probably sleeping with, because she has bragged about sleeping with every man on her friend's list, called me a Marxist because he was offended. I explained I was offended by the misuse of the word Marxist and I realized I was indeed an idiot for even wasting my damn time

That's when I calmly told her I had no room for her in my life and blocked her ass. She stole her damn look from a Whitesnake video and now we know why the band broke up. As for my ex, he can have her. At this point he is my shit I flushed a while back. He's a loser and she's a pig. Maybe they can make a race of mutants. As far as I am concerned I should have stepped aside and let the lady win. After all, I was no match for her stupidity and outright abuse of 80s too tight jeans. They deserve each other they truly do. And if he was willing to cheat with that.....bitch please, at least cheat with something that is almost an upgrade.

Either way, my deceased friend Chacho Vasquez said it best, "Sometimes, people are in your past for a reason. And if you look back they are right where you left them doing the same shit and wearing the same bad clothes."

And after that breakup I felt bad for cutting people out. It goes with ending things with a mentally ill partner. Now I don't. In the words of Whitesnake, "Here I go again on my own!"

That being said, come to my show next Thursday https://www.broadwayworld.com/cabaret/article/April-Brucker-to-Debut-THE-LADY-AND-PRESIDENT-TRAMP-at-Solocom-Festival-20171110

And don't forget to buy my merch April in the Desert


Thursday, November 2, 2017

Everyday is Halloween (Ministry)

I have been rocking Halloween kind of hard for the last month working in my haunted house in Sleepy Hollow. Halloween was kind of bittersweet in it's own strange way. It was like the end of a long, strange, magical, and mystical journey of growth.

Although it wasn't official, I was kind of sort of head puppeteer in my tent. Each night they designated me with the walkie. Each night I did wellness checks. Each night I handled the drama if it came my way. I was also head puppeteer in a way by virtue that I was the most experienced when it came to that world. I had a good crew. Yes, they were characters in their own way but I grew to love them. I was aptly nicknamed "Tent Mom" by one.

I ran a tight ship in my own way. I wasn't a tyrant, but because of my skills as a comedy club emcee I squashed any trouble makers who came into my tent. I kept them laughing or let them know bad behavior wasn't going to be tolerated. I also kept my people calm. One night, one young woman had her glasses break as well as her puppet. It was a bad night.

I asked her how she was holding up. She replied, "I feel as if it was something I did to make this happen."

I wanted to lose my damn mind. I wanted a pack of cigarettes and a bottle of diet coke. It's what one of my mom friends confesses gets her through kid troubles at times. But then I remembered something my beloved mentor once told me about leadership. A former army officer, he told me the best way to disagree was to address the problem and not to lose your shit. So I said, "I need you to maintain a positive attitude. Do not let this temporary setback undermine the good work you have been doing all season."

It worked. Help came. But I wanted that damn pack of cigarettes, diet coke and a possible gun to my head as a girl lost her cellphone minutes later. All the while the troops were losing their morale as it was cold and the night was long. It's kind of apt that my mentor was an army officer. Because actors are more or less a platoon in costumes, and in our case we were a platoon with puppets.

My soldiers were all good for the most part. Aside from puppets breaking and other technical difficulties they fought the good fight. We had a lot of good folks come through, and some not so hot at times but their energy never wavered. Even when they had issues with the management, which the management at times was far from perfect, I can still say I was proud of the work we did as a unit. Actually, they were nothing short of delightful and I am proud of each and every one of them.

I have long since admired soldiers. After all, my Pop Pop, a second lieutenant in the Navy, had a can do attitude. My mom was struggling in math and therefore this meant it was time to rattle off addition and subtraction facts in the car on the way to swim practice. My mom, who has always been petite, struggled with upper body strength as a child, and my grandfather remedied this by installing a chin up bar. She had to do 10 coming into her bedroom and 10 going out. Theatre itself is about can do. Perhaps it is no accident my cousins and I have found ourselves in the arts.

I was proud of how I sort of stepped up as a leader during my time on this job. Maybe this makes up for all the times I was a literal trainwreck in the past decade of my life. The run is over and I am grateful. My immune system is wearing down and I am exhausted.

I will miss the opportunity to be paid to learn a new form of puppetry. Yet I will not miss long nights in the cold. I will miss channeling my beloved Crypt Keeper as a character inspiration, but will not miss the long train rides and late nights. I will miss my puppeteers and fellow cast members, but am glad for the rest and to have my weekends back for the time being.

When I think of it, every day is Halloween for me. I dress up in costume for my job. I do funny routines all the time. I am someone else constantly who is secretly an extension of myself. Either way, I am glad for the experience Sleepy Hollow gave me. It made me fall in love with the theatre all over again, as if I wasn't in love with the greatest woman ever.........

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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Merch Item of the Week

Hey guys, your favorite Superfoxxx is now selling merch. That's right, you can buy an April Unwrapped T-shirt. (Yipee!)

You can have April in the morning
April in the evening
April at supper time
When you can have April on a t-shirt
You can have April anytime!!!!!
Order Here


And here is my pic of the week. I know, wanna shoot my billiards.


Also, do not forget to mark your calendars, on November 16 The Lady and President Tramp is part of the Solonova festival at The PIT Loft. Hope to see yins guys there xoxo

Until then I will be at Horseman's Hollow Haunted House in the Den of the Wailing Woman puppeting. Priscilla and I hope to see you there this October 26-31.



Sunday, October 22, 2017

Tunnel of Love (Bruce Springsteen)

For the last several weeks I have been working at The Horseman's Hollow Haunted House in Sleepy Hollow. I can say that the gig isn't perfect for a lot of reasons (no job ever is) , but I LOOOOVVVVEEE WERQQQIIINNNGGG IN THE HAUNTED HOUSE EVERY WEEKEND, OH YEAH!!!! It is nice steady side money coming in. Not to mention I get to work with full body puppets. In my journey as a puppeteer, I have worked with ventriloquist puppets, hand and rod, Bunraku, and Balinese Shadow Puppets. Never have I ever full body.

I love the people I get to work with too, which is not the case with every project you do. We even have a theatre family which we nicknamed The House of Cards. Alex, my little friend, is one I have easily adopted. He's not my son because that is too gender affirming but my moon. You get the idea.

Anyway, tonight I was minding my own business working in the Den of the Wailing Woman. You always see me when you walk in. My puppet, whom I have named Priscilla says, "Hey Sugar Puff, I am the ghoul of your dreams. You shoulda swiped right."

To give you an idea, the Den of the Wailing Woman is completely dark aside from glow in the dark florescent skeletons. I am there with 4 other puppeteers. In between patrons I turn on our black light to make sure no one has died since I have the walkie. But enoygh about that. Let's talk about Priscilla

Nevermind she is an 8 foot skeleton. Most folks laugh. Priscilla has become a sort of hit in a way as patrons have returned several times and say, "Swipe right."

Or tonight I wasn't doing the Tinder joke as much, so one kid said, "You have Tinder don't you?"

Several youngins even told their parents how funny I was and how they were begging them to take them to see the attractions, but they got a kick out of yours truly. Anyway, one young lad took it a step further.

During the walk, he asked Priscilla to marry him. I was perplexed. My character is 300, he's 13. To make it even more romantic he got down on one knee. Although the age difference is probably illegal in the State of New York, he asked better than the previous two men who wanted to marry me. Plus he wasn't a total loser with a psych illness or anger management issue. So I said, "Sure Sugar Puff, let's make this happen."

Needless to say his mother decided she didn't want her son to have a zombie bride. So she yelled, "Get up, c'mon, let's get going."

My dreams of romance evaporated into the night air.

Sigh. I am having a great time. The last time I was this happy was at the RNC in Cleveland. I feel like I am having fun, learning, growing into my own skin, learning new things and making a few bucks. I am also falling in love with theatre like I was in college. Plus I might have met my future ex husband.

Did I mention I sold a few calendars? Life is good

Calendar


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Never Let Me Down Again (Depeche Mode)

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

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

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

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

2. No detailing sex practices involving chocolate syrup

3. No detailing sex practices involving cherry syrup.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April Unwrapped










Monday, October 16, 2017

The Crippling Patriarchy

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

I get it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



April Unwrapped

















Wednesday, October 11, 2017

LOSER!!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh yeah!

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

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

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

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

Now I do.

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

And then we both laughed.

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

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

Instead of a fake LOSER

LOSERLOSERLOSER

Gosh I hope this mood lasts.....

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

April Unwrapped

















Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Unplugging

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

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

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

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

Oh no. That would take work.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I just can't with any of you anymore.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But we are both currently assholes.

Now for my nightly mango.

April Unwrapped















Sunday, October 1, 2017

My Playboy Story

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

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


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

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