Thursday, May 31, 2012


I havent blogged in a few days because I have been busy. The book is one step closer to being published. The edits are almost done, now I am searching for the perfect indie publisher. Many are the same, and then it’s the glossy pics. My mom and I were discussing it the other day. Which one do I go with? The decision must be made by this weekend. I have so much to do and just don’t feel like doing any of it. So weird that way.
I don’t feel like researching online publishers. I don’t feel like paying someone. I just don’t.
Then I have to make a video for this ventriloquist scholarship thing. They make you say why you should win. Meanwhile, I have been compared to the guy who’s name it is in on National TV. They already said I had a long way to go before I would equal him. Shouldn’t that be enough? I sent a video demonstrating my skill, but they didn’t tell me my video needed to say why I should win.
Cause I am broke. My money goes to my puppet children. Maybe that’s why I should win.
I went to my first open mic in sometime Tuesday. It was good to see some old friends. There were some new faces. I have basically been going just to test out new stuff with puppets other than May Wilson. May is down pat, now lets get ready for Vegas. I really don’t care as much as I used to about making friends and getting booked on shows. I am just going to stay sharp. I am also going to places where I like the hosts and know I am amongst friends. I am almost a big ticket item, I have had some hefty National TV Time. That way, if something doesn’t hit the way I want, I don’t have everyone gawking at me. Some of the reason I laid off a lot of mics was after I was on TV a bunch people went on various message boards and talked about what routines I was working out and wasn’t. That way, I didn’t have the option to pick and choose which jokes I wanted or didn’t want. Plus they were doing it in a malicious fashion, and why waste my money with no ones when the bigger clubs shun me to begin with? So I am only going to places where I know I am safe, where I can work things out, and where I don’t have to face the bully boy mentality that the NYC Comedy Scene perpetuates towards women.
Actually, in a way it has been humbling just to work on new stuff too. For as much as I have done, and for as much fan mail as I have received in regards to my videos and webcasts, I know there is still a lot of work to be done. My newest character, Mom, is getting a good start but I want a live club act with her. She is still not where I want her. Not nearly. The nice thing is, I know the game, I know what to do. If I tank it’s part of the process. I am in a safe place where it doesn’t matter. I am being gentle with myself.
While it’s a little ego deflating that the hype surrounding some of my TV time has dissipated, it’s made it easier just to work and stay under the radar as far as fashioning new routines is concerned. I did not one but two mics yesterday. For as nice as being on the Today Show is, and for as nice as it is to have everyone kissing my ass and taking photos with me, it was nice to just get onstage and work out kinks. While I keep telling myself that I am not like ninety eight percent of the people there, probably received more national television time than they will ever dream of, at the same time I am just working out like everyone else. The best part is, the pressure is off because no one important is watching.
Because standup is no longer the goal, I am not busting my ass to get stage time like the old days. While I resent paying for it, and if I were a male comedian with the same amount of credits I probably would not have to, it’s still okay. I feel a bizarre sort of peace amidst the ego deflation. While I feel the need to tell myself I am more accomplished than everyone there, I don’t feel the need to prove it. If anything, I am there to stay sharp in case I get a cameo on National TV, my specialty, or am called to make a commercial/video.
That’s more my goal these days. I don’t care about standup superstardom. In reality, the days of standup superstardom are dead. Most shows want improvisers, and most so called superstars in the community are not known outside of NYC. If a club spot happens, it happens. Otherwise, whatever. I am not dealing with the male dominated community, one that encourages jokes where women are the physical and metaphorical punch, unless there is money or opportunity for substantial career growth involved.
Eh, but being onstage is fun though. Especially with my favorite people, my puppet children.
As for the music, I was number one last week and submitted “Stay” to be played on a much bigger station. While the single has garnered a life of it’s own without me really doing much, I am being realistic. I know I am not a musical genius like my cousin Bobby, nor can I sing like Leslie and Lynn from Big Apple. But I have a song that charted on the internet radio. When it comes to comedy, I know what to do next. Same with acting. Same with writing. But this music thing is baffling me. For some reason though, for as much as I tend to suck at music, it has always been a part of the story. From high school on down. I am asking God for guidance as to what to do next. This is awesome and I want to keep the momentum going, even if it’s a one time thing.
This is why I support music education.
Anyway, I will be doing a Panic Girl double feature next week. This weekend is going to be spent finding the best publishing service for me.
Writing and publishing a book are hard
More sexy photos to come soon
Love April

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Moon

One of my side jobs is reading palms and tarot. I rarely talk about it or do it for that matter, because once you profess that you can read palms or tarot you are subject to all sorts of crap. There are the people who say, “If you can read palm or tarot when will I win the lotto?” Or they tell you no for the sake of telling you no. Worse yet, you are hitting the nail on the head and they want to know answers to heavy questions like the health of a loved one.
Or then there is the classic, “Why can’t you see into your own damn future?”
That’s a good question. Wish I could. When one reads their own cards they cannot see clearly. It can drive a person nuts. For example, the Romani woman who taught me the ins and outs of reading people is currently homeless because she couldn’t see that her landlord was crazy, however, she helped one woman through a terrible divorce and saw that her husband was going to drag her through the mud.
But I wish I could see into my own future. Then I wouldn’t be questioning what to do next. There is the acting track. While I went to school for it and have been doing more of it this past year than ever, there are many women who are actresses in this city and many who are gorgeous and talented. Not to mention they want someone who is straight theatre, even though I can act better than a lot of those bitches. Still, boring and hollow is what they want sometimes. Make that stupid, boring and hollow women.
Of course there is the comedy track, the one I used to give my life and youth to. After being fucked over by a club I made a lot of money for and put their name front and center on The Today Show (would love to see their headlines do that), they fired me. Plus no bigger clubs opened the doors to me, and I was shunned in a community I so thought I was a part of. I am really past the point where I should be paying for stage time and am definitely passed bringing. While I love performing live and I am good at it, I always leave pissed. I would love to see some of these (predominately male) comedians who appeared on some stupid assed cancelled show get as much TV time as my puppet children and I. What I am trying to say is, it would take a lot for me to return like I once did to comedy, aka a promising TV spot and the need to prep. Otherwise, I have better things to do with my time. God I could go on all day.
Then there is music, a door that opened wide for me this past year. “Stay” was number one this past week on FJS Radio. After charting number one on a highly regarded indie station, I don’t know what to do next. Heck, before I even recorded “Stay,” I had “Jungle Woman,” “Shuttlecock,” and “Ms. Wannabe” getting indie airplay as well. While I have worked for years as a singing telegram person, I never dreamed of recording music and putting it on the airwaves. Now I have a song that charted. I am literally feeling my way in the dark, not knowing what to do next. While “Stay,” is getting airplay and charting online, I want it to go on Billboard. I don’t know what to do. On the other hand, I also know that there are many pursuing music who actually can sing rings around me and can play instruments. While I can sell a song better than anyone I know, there are those like my cousin Bobby Kircher who master an instrument the second they pick it up because they are so gifted. I know I am just a reality star trying to gain momentum for my puppet children and I. People like my cousin will trump me any day, as they should, and that’s fine; they have the gift.
Of course there is the idea of getting on Reality TV again. My puppet children and I do love our spotlight. However, I don’t want to become a Reality TV jumper. There are many people who only set out to be reality stars now, and many actually nauseate me. The women are vapid and believe they can sing, only to trill off tune. If I did a reality show, it would have to be geared towards people like me, not some flipped out challenge.
Then there was the web jockey gig I had. While that ended, well, the way it ended, I have been approached by their rival network time and time again. Sure, it is a better deal and gives me more freedom of speech, plus they like my puppet children, they have not talked about money. It’s their fancy way of getting out of paying me. I would love to web jockey again, but I want to be paid well and be on a network that supports me, and gives me support when there are cyber bullies in the chat. Not a place where they cut out the mods and stop advertising to cut costs. Not to mention not a place that wants to hide my show because we are not sponsor friendly aka we have gay people.
There is the writing road which is opening up. My editor is a nice lady, and there have been some delays on my manuscript due to her familial emergencies. However, I am looking forward to having my ebook published. I also have recently gotten another offer to write a YA, Young Adult, book. We are still ironing out the details like money and plot. I think once I am a published novelist doors will open for me. Just like my performance, my writing is not for everyone so beware.
Lets not forget modeling. But most of the time they only want you if you are five seven or have big tits. And if you are asked to shoot topless they don’t want to pay you. That’s the kind of gig that could end up with a girl on a meat hook.
Lastly, there are my videos. I will be making more soon. That is a promising door, I just need to get a better mic.
I entitled this blog The Moon, because the moon card is tarot means emotions are muddying your view and confusing you as where to go. It means you are questioning yourself. When the moon appears in a positive place, it means the path you have chosen is right for you, and just to follow the light of the moon. Translated, calm down.
It also signifies that sometimes, the beauty of the future is the surprise; it’s not knowing. Heck, back in 2007, the surprise was that May and I were on Last Comic Standing. Then in 2008, the surprise was that my Rachael Ray clip made the Soup. While it seemed humiliating at the time, it actually was  a blessing in disguise, because it gave more momentum to the TV appearance. In 2009, the blessing was being called to shoot a promo for Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? Not only did my part make the cut, but I got to meet and work with Jeff Foxworthy who was wonderful. Then when 2010 came, the surprise was breaking away from standup a bit, branching out, and making my little puppet videos with celebrities. I also spent that summer writing a book; one that I am now publishing. Not to mention I filmed with my puppet children and got on TLC as well as the Today Show and other programs.
Unfortunately, I didn’t see myself getting fucked over by the club I put on National TV and made so much money for.
On the other hand I made lots of videos, got a talking head gig that was paid, got music that was played on the radio, and made two more TV appearances on both the Travel Channel and Bravo. Not to mention I got to work with someone whom I admire.  Plus I became active in activism, te he he.
This past year although I left the online network and havent been doing as much comedy, I was on CBS Sports and the OWN Network. Not to mention my song charted and people write me fan mail because of my videos. Oh and I am a spokesperson for a campaign.
The beauty of all these things is that I didn’t have the script. I didn’t know and that’s what made this all more wonderful. I don’t know what is next for me but I am in a good place. I don’t know the next step, but I know with some thought and hard work the universe will send it my way. As a human, I want the answer now.
I know the moon is my card, therefore I will trust God and His magic fairy dust to guide my way. Cause the next thing, no matter what it is, will be good.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

When I was growing up I remember going to school with a kid by the name of Russ Kurtz. We were in sixth grade and he made us laugh because he could do some disgusting trick with his eyelids. That year he was in my homeroom. This was long before 9/11, long before George W. Bush got us into a war because of his hubris. Long before the market popped. We were in an era where everything was simple, The Real World was reality TV and that is so tame compared to the Jersey Shore.
Of course I got to know Russ a little more because time went on, not just because we went to school together but he played football. My brother played football and was a few years ahead of us, plus my sister went to school with Russ’s sister. Russ was a good guy, we all liked him. He was always laughing, always smiling, and he was pretty much liked by everyone who met him.
After high school he made the decision to join the army. I lost touch with him because I was in NYC following my dreams and having my misadventures. While he was probably in basic training I believe I was dating a very cute loser type who lived in a hotel. But that’s not the point. The point is, several years out of high school Russ was killed in active duty in Iraq.
When people speak of the government these days, it is with an air of distain. I understand. When people speak of the war in the Middle East saying there were no weapons of mass destruction I understand. The Iraqi’s were not our enemies. That is not the point though.
The point is, today we remember people like my classmate Russ Kurtz who gave their lives for our country. Maybe we do not support the war, but as Americans it is our duty to support the troops who fight it. In supporting the troops who fight the war, we support every young man and woman who decides to enter the armed forces whether they are enlisted men or on the Officer Training track like my friends Darren Joyce who graduated from West Point or my comedian friend/Lieutenant Colonel Dave Rosner.
Memorial Day isn’t about whether or not you support the war. It is about honoring the soldiers who died in the bloody fields during the American Revolution, so that the colonies could have their freedom. Let us not forget the young men who fought in the War of 1812, so that American ships could have freedom to sail the seas safely. It is remembering the young men who fought the Civil War, a conflict that pitted brother against brother with an ending that America could be one. Of course there was the Spanish American War, with Teddy Roosevelt charging up San Juan Hill, with American soldiers letting Spain know there tenure in North America was over that they could oppress no more. World War One had many American losses, and those young men fought bravely to let the world know that monarchy’s reign was over and democracy was now King of the Mountain because the United States was now a World Power. World War Two had many young men fighting in both the European and Asian Theatres, ending tyranny and hate from one Adolf Hitler, letting other tyrants know they could not simply kill off a race of people because they wanted to. While the Korean War is the forgotten war, today we do not forget those brave young men. Vietnam, while widely protested, had many young men merely nineteen forced to fight in a jungle far away from home and many either met their end or did not receive a hero’s welcome; as Americans today we give them a hero’s welcome. There was Persian Gulf, Operation Desert Storm and so many others where the American GI was there.
Sometimes the US does not pick their battles so wisely. They pick them based off of oil and money. While this all is true, when many see American soldiers it is nothing but a ready sigh of relief for the people. I have heard tales of people in concentration camps cheering when the American GI’s arrived, same with Iraq.
Both my grandfathers served in the South Pacific during World War Two. My dad’s father, whom I have never met, told stories of Japanese soldiers playing dead and men having to shoot them a second time so they would not risk the “dead” soldier springing back to life for a second attack. This particular grandfather also talked about how devastated Tokyo was after the war, and how many times children, orphaned because their parents were killed in the blast, were forced to pick food out of the trash can. While the Japanese were our so called enemies, my grandfather always supposedly said he respected their work ethic and that they were worthy opponents.
My great uncle, Gregory Columbus Diffendal, who was a genius at profanity, was part of the forces who went in to liberate the people from the concentration camps. Despite being of German ancestry, he had only pure hate for what Hitler did to the Semetic peoples. Although he had a mouth that would have made both a sailor and trucker blush, he was tolerant of people’s belief’s. He understood that while a person may be different, it is not a reason to persecute or to kill them, and had nothing but disgust for what the Nazi’s did to innocent children.
My Pop Pop, my Mom’s grandfather, was also in the South Pacific and seldom talks about the war. Although he was an officer in the Navy, he sort of always kept those stories to himself. Once, my brother interviewed him for a school project. My grandfather told a story about riding on the train with Japanese Troops shortly after the bomb was dropped and they were in the process of surrendering. My Pop Pop said the train ride was tense, but overall, they respected the Japanese military. Not only were they hard working, but once the city was decimated, they didn’t harbor anger or resentment. Rather, they took it upon themselves to not only lose with grace and dignity but to rebuild their city.
Today we remember the American GI, the ones who raised the flag on Iwo Jima. We remember the scared young man whether he was in the trenches or Normandy or in the jungles of Vietnam. We think of American soldiers who died on our soil, whether they were marching with American uniforms against the British, clad in Union Blue or Confederate Gray. We also think of the young men and women fighting right now in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Yes, we might not like the government. There might be people occupying wherever, but once upon a time there were many minute men who charged Lexington and Concord, underarmed against the British, so that we could have this right to protest peacefully.
Today, when we are on the boat or having our BBQ, take a minute. Think of the American GI, whether he is coming by land, air, or sea. Remember all the brave men and women who died so not only others could have rights; but so you can have rights as well. Think of the young men like my former classmate Russ Kurtz who not only died a hero, but will not be joining his family this year for a Memorial Day Celebration because he is being celebrated.
What I am trying to say is, just take a moment and be grateful. Love, April

Sunday, May 27, 2012


This Sunday I went to a new church. It's RC, but Croatian. I sort of lean towards that sometimes seeing that one of my priests growing up was Croatian. The mass was quick, and the priest moved it along. There was no music which made things move even faster, which is nice. A family sat in front of me. They were cute for the most part. The littlest one tried to open the door going into the church and couldn't reach it. It seems when you are small, the only one who doesn't know that you are small is you. When a person is small, they long to be big. Then when you are big you long to be small.

Life is strange that way.

I have so many things to do and just don't feel like doing them. This summer I want to go to Vent Haven, and I am applying for the Terry Fator Scholarship. They want me to make a video talking about why I should get it. Can't you just give it to me because Jerry Springer said I would never be the ventriloquist you are? Can't you just give it to me because my puppet children are cute? I also have to do work on my book. I am so close to completion but just feel tired of all the work I have to do. Then of course with the recent success of "Stay" I have to see where else it can go.

On top of that I am sort of starting to book spots again. I should probably get some stage time, but am struggling to find a place where I don't have to pay for it, and won't be bumped by those simply on Comedy Central once upon a time but really have done nothing since. For as much as I miss performing like I used to, the heartache that goes with it isn't worth it. The only times I perform these days are if I like the venue/club, if one of my fans is producing, or if there is money involved.

Especially if there is money involved. I will be there.

I have been wandering aimlessly seeing that I haven't been on TV in a little over two months. Despite the fact so many voted for "Stay," I feel as if all my fans have disappeared. I have been trying to break into modelling, but they only want you if you are five seven or if you will pose topless for free.

I have also been looking for a new web network. The rival of my old one wanted to recruit me but doesn't want to pay me. Big problem.

I am in a precarious place. The next move on the chess board is critical. I am almost a superstar. What should I move to kill the King?The Knight or the Queen? Questions.

Oh well, maybe I will enjoy the sun. Meeting a friend for coffee in a bit anyway xoxo April

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Digging For Fire (The Pixies)

This past week has been better than the weeks have in a while. After some serious disappointments, things are beginning to look up. My book is one giant step closer to being published. It would be edited by now, but my editors grandmother passed away so there have been some delays. The book will be finished up soon enough though. That will make me happy and it will make my deceased friend Joe happy.
Friday was a good day. “Stay” charted number one on FJS Radio. It was very cool to have a song chart number one. Here I was, not having a reputation as a singer where I grew up- actually the opposite-and here I am number one on a highly regarded indie station. Somehow, hearing that made up for the last three weeks of mental, emotional, spiritual and physical agony. When I heard “Stay” for the first time by Madonna, which it is a B Side, I knew I had to sing it. While it took me a little bit of time to actually put the pedal to the metal, when I did the result was fabulous. I currently have the song on three stations and am looking for more. I have it on soundcloud. I want to put it on itunes but have no clue how. Statue of David is happy as ever that we are number one though. If we ever chart they are most certainly going to the bank with me.
I have been thinking about what is next for me lately. The book is not quite published and one song is doing well on internet radio. Sure, both are decent progress but I need the next break.
Lately, because of the success of the song “Stay” on internet radio, I have been thinking of recording music again with my friend Marcus and possibly a country song. The music business has it’s own ups and downs and I am learning as I go. Plus I am using it to keep the momentum going from my numerous TV appearances. So far it is gaining me the exposure I need, but I still havent charted on Billboard. That’s what I need right now.  While I am not sure music is the way I want to go, it is a door that has opened wide this past year. It’s a dark path and I have no clue where it is taking me.
The book is almost published, and many of my fans are waiting to buy. I know it won’t be a ton of money but being a published author will shut up the men who want to see me on the ground in cheap lingerie ready to give them a quickie and the women who jealously want me there. Not to mention it will turn a bigger publishing house on to me. My mom wants me to plan my next book. Meanwhile, I will be lucky if this one doesn’t kill me. Still, I am actually gearing up to write my next one. I have a few ideas, just don’t know which way to go. It will be funny but will have a moral.
I have been going back and forth as to whether or not to go back onstage again like I used to. Part of me-a huge part-misses it, but it’s not that simple. Despite my numerous TV credits, numbering more than many regulars at the NYC clubs-male regulars-I am bumped for them because they appeared on Comedy Central in 2006. Nevermind I have seen more TV time in two weeks alone than they will again in their entire careers. They appeared on Comedy Central therefore that is somehow cache over the Today Show and the OWN Network, a show and a channel that are quite notable and that people know more. Plus they are male, they dominate the “art form.”  They have the leg up. The clubs are more their home than mine. Funny doesn’t matter. For years I thought it did, and maybe that’s what was so infuriating when I started getting fan mail around the world and got shit it return from people who I gave my time and youth to.
Not to mention with all the TV time I have gotten, the webcasts I have done, and the videos I do I don’t fit in the open mic world anymore either. I have had more media recognition and have seen money from comedy, something open micers don’t and many never will. The fact I have so many TV credits under my name makes it abhorrent that I even pay for stage time. Plus why? To play in front of eight people who hate me anyway? No thanks, I will save my time and energy for my fans. Plus what am I going to talk about with these people? Where the next pay for play is? Who produces the best bringers? Where someone will con me into barking?
These days I really don’t show up for a club date or live performance unless it is worth my time or energy. If the club is decent or I owe someone a favor making a special appearance, I do it. If it is a private event and the money is decent, I will come. Otherwise, I will make music, music videos, and videos for my fans. That way I can continue to inspire them without losing my mind, and the male comedians who view me as a hole to stick their dick in can choke on it as I read my fan mail from around the world. Oh, and the fucking club that fired me after I put them on national tv and the network gave them a donation, they will never fucking get that publicity again.
Yes, I put them front and center on the Today Show. Note to self: that was a mistake. Should have been a no name, nothing, waste of space intern.
The crazy thing is, while I am not yet a name I was told I am almost a big ticket item by a promoter who probably didn’t want to give me the bump because I was a woman. Anyway, being almost famous means people want to almost pay me meaning they want me to work for free. Someone from my past looked me up a few weeks ago and has a show on cable access and wanted to know if I wanted to do it FOR FREE. I spent a lot of time on cable access and since that time have been on national TV several times. If I am going to do TV it’s going to be a national appearance. I did cable access this past year as a favor to an old friend, but at this point I can fall up or fall down and that would be falling down.
Since becoming the poster girl for Panic Girl I have found my way into some modeling. One photographer approached me about doing a rockabilly shoot where he wanted me scantily clad. I was leaning towards no but sent him the rate anyway. He said it was too expensive. Fuck that. Then of course there was one guy who buttered me up and said he wanted to do some shots of me. I asked if there would be compensation and he said no. I looked at his work, everyone was topless. I told him I wouldn’t do topless. As long as he wasn’t paying me, why should I comply? Then he said the shoot was implied topless. WHO APPEARS TOPLESS FOR FREE? DO THEY WANT TO END UP ON A MISSING PERSON’S POSTER THAT BADLY?
In between all that I was approached to host my own radio show. They were buttering me up and told me they were a fan of my videos. I was like “YAY!” Then I asked about money. They told me I would be paying a studio fee. WTF?!?! Hell no, working for free would be the better deal.
Of course there was the offer for the reality show about puppets where they were even slimier about money. I asked them what they were paying me. They kept going on and on about how I would get a cut, a partnership. I asked how much the cut and partnership would be and they ran me around a few minutes more until they basically told me that I would be WORKING FOR FREE.
A friend of mine suggested I do a podcast. But that is more working FOR FREE. Not interested, sorry. I have done enough labors of love in my career. Now let’s get some money.
I have had a few managers and agents approach me, but no one has really gelled per se. One lady sends me for stuff but it’s too early to tell. It’s like I am on a weird bridge. Part of me wants to go the acting route. I went to school for it and know I do it well. Still, there are a thousand women that look like me going for the same role most of the time. Plus the fact I do ventriloquism is what casting directors zero in on, not my acting credits anyway. However, my series King of the List has gotten some serious viewage on youtube and koldcast.
I could go the music route, but that’s it’s own heart ache and again I am doing it to gain momentum from all the TV Time I have gotten this past year. Plus I know that for as good as “Stay” is doing on internet radio, there are people who can sing a hell of a lot better than me and have a hell of a lot more of a gift than I do. Not to mention I have some way to go before I chart on Billboard, but I am still closer than many.
I could go back to the comedy route, but that has proven to be a dead end where unless you are male or appeared on Comedy Central-a network not as prestigious as OWN-you are bumped for these less deserving, less talented idiots. Not to mention appearing on The Today Show doesn’t matter, even though I do believe it has a higher viewership than Live At Gotham. However, I love performing live and am good at it. Still, for as much as I love it I am refusing to work for food alone anymore-if that.
Then there is the writing route. Yes, I have a book coming out. However, for as many writers as there are, there are few writing jobs. Once someone gets one they stay in that job until they die because the money is steady. While my writing is good, it’s not for everyone. There are several people, literary agents and professors, who expressed dislike. However, it still has it’s share of fans.
Of course there is the puppet route. Crawdaddy is currently in the program of the International Puppetry Festival in Russia which is cool. While I love puppets, I am a ventriloquist, sort of the bastard child in the puppet community. While what I do takes more talent that just moving the mouth and the hands, they want people with hand and rod experience. Still, I am passionate.
So I guess as the bridge becomes dark and the lights go dim, I am lost, wandering around, hoping not to die the career death of every reality star there is.  There is no light and all the entrances seem magnificent yet each floor has it’s own trap door. So I guess you could say on this rainy Saturday, I am trapped in the haunted mansion that is my mind. Should I get a sailor and look at something cute to get rid of this discomfort and confusion.
NAH! I’ll just dig for fire. Love, April

Monday, May 21, 2012

Panic Girl-Kate Greer

An actress, screenwriter, producer and fundraiser, Kate Greer's newest work, That's What She Told Me... is taking the indie world by storm. Long before the film graced the eyes of festival judges around the globe, I was privledged to not only see the premiere of the film, but to get a glimpse into the creative process of such a rare genius. A gentle mixture of funny, thoughtful, and nostalgic, That's What She Told a must see. In an era where women on screen cheapen as second rate sex pots in order to appease a mainstream audience, and conversely where many female filmmakers make pieces that are self-aggrandizing to the point where they turn off their audience, Kate Greer's That's What She Told neither. With wonderful writing, masterful acting, and a throwback to the classic age of cinematography, That's What She Told Me....and Kate Greer are not only redfining the genre of indie film but the role of women in the movie business, making the them strong figures and making being a creative genius chic. That is why Kate Greer is this week's Panic Girl.

Kate Greer: Actress, screenwriter, and all around creative genius

1.       What inspired you to make the film That’s What She Told Me...?

This story came from a recurring dream that I would have about waltzing with my father on a sea of floating phone books. I think I wanted a creative way to work out the true fact that I had never met my biological father, and just simply needed to tell the story and get it out of my system.  I was also at a place in my acting career about five years ago, where I wanted more creative control and the ability to create something from the ground up, and telling this story seemed like a good place to start. This particular story had been rolling around with me for a very long time, and I was finally ready to explore it. It was just a matter of do I want to write this for the stage or screen.  I chose the screen. It seemed to work the best for the story. The idea of an artist struggling with the next choice in her life and who is trying and make sense of her personal/creative life really spoke to me.

2.       The making of That’s What She Told Me... took a few years. Could you explain the process and the ups and downs involved?
Yes, it definitely did take longer than expected, especially since it is a short film!  Mostly it took so long due to unexpected budget issues. We had the money, then lost some money, but the director and I decided to go ahead and shot the first part which came in way over budget. Then the financial crash of 2008 happened and people that were planning on funding the rest of the film simply couldn't and pulled out. I had to start over again.
          So it is kind of like we made two films. We shot the first half in 2008. Took all of 2009 to raise the rest of the money needed to finish, and then shot part two in the fall of 2010. A lot of the time I wanted to quit, thinking it would never happen, but I felt such a responsibility to the film's contributors  (250 to be exact), and obviously to the story, the cast and the crew--everyone who invested their time, money, blood, sweat and tears to make That's What She Told Me... happen.

3.       You wrote and starred in That’s What She Told Me.... In addition, you also played a large part in directing, producing, and fundraising as well. What was it like being a female Charlie Chaplin, a woman who wore many hats? How did you manage?
A lot of people say I starred in the film, but to me it was a total ensemble experience. Every actor brought huge insight to their role, and so elevated the story.
I actually did not direct the film. the multi award winning Kim Cummings did, and she was an incredible collaborator on all levels.
Wow. I never thought of myself as a female Charlie Chaplin, but I will take it!  As far as how did I manage--well, I had a very large team of experienced people working with me. Bringing Kim onboard was great b/c she brought her experience and her crew network to my project. I also always had at least one other producer working with me at all times--especially since I was playing the lead role and needed to be able to hand over the producer reins once we got to shooting.
I should give a shout out to the incredible Molly Pearson, whose Producing workshop is where this all started,  and she helped me be able to take one hat off and put another one on.
The key here is surround yourself with a VERY good and professional team.
The fundraising was a whole other beast-I often felt like a concert promoter and event planner!!   I had help from my producer friends and other key crew people and of course Molly's workshop--where we break all this stuff down into managable portions.

Carly North and her boyfriend, Costa the Cowboy, shortly before her meeting with the Ghost of Johnny Cash

4.       Roberta Wallach played a supporting role in your film. You also worked with Arthur Bartow, former head of NYU Tisch Undergraduate Theatre. What was it like working with Hollywood royalty as well as an accomplished theatre educator? What lessons did you learn from this great wealth of talent?

Ha! Roberta = Hollywood Royalty, and yes, the apple doesn't fall very far from the tree! Actually she is affectionately known among the cast and crew as the Grand Duchess of Riverside!--I am kidding of course. Roberta Wallach signed on to the project by way of one of our Producers and co-stars: Rebecka Ray. Rebecka is an amazing acting talent in her own right, an excellent editor/collaborator, and has believed in this project from the get-go. In all seriousness though , working with Roberta was nothing less than spectacular. She is a true pro and it was an honor to work with her, not to mention that she is a lot of fun and one of the most generous actors I know.
Arthur Bartow came to us by way of our director, Kim Cummings. He was also a prince to work with and brought an intense emotional gravitas to the role of Carly's father, Basil North. We were very lucky to get these two well-known actors.

Carly North and a magical moment with the Ghost of Johnny Cash.

5.      Can That’s What She Told Me..  be purchased online? If so, where and how?
Not yet, as we are hot on the festival trail, but in 2013 we will be seeking out distribution/online viewing opportunities.

6.   That’s What She Told Me… is now being screened at festivals. What are some of the festivals it is being shown in? Are you planning on making any red carpet appearances?
Why yes we are!!! We just played the Connecticut Film Festival in April and are official selections of the Long Island International Film Expo in July in Belmore, Long lsland where we are up for Best Director and Best Short, and The New York International Film Festival in August--right in Times Square--and yes there will be a red carpet there! We are all very jazzed about it. We continue to submit to many festivals and are looking forward to screening at many more here and abroad!

7. You filmed an underwater scene in That’s What She Told Me… That was some awesome filmmaking. What were some of the challenges associated with filming underwater? Can you give away your secret or is it a cinema secret you are taking to the grave?

Ah, the underwater scene! One of my favorites in the film. Yes, it was incredible thanks to the amazing Art Dept. we had, led by Jennifer Breen, and shot by the uber talent Cinematographer, Christina Voros (named one of 25 filmmakers to Watch in Filmmaker Magazine). Kim (our Director) and I had often said we should have documented the experience. We shot the film in a pool in Queens, and they needed to make it look like a pond.  The art department took giant bolts of fabric and lined the deep end of the pool to make it look darker, like a pond. They would tie weights to the fabric and dive down to the bottom of the pool to secure it. It was Incredible. Then Christina (DP) had a water-proof box that the camera would stay in to get the underwater stuff. There were all kinds of vines, flowers and phone books swirling about in the water. It really was spectacular and scary at the same time, as I did my own stunts and almost drowned!

8. If you could give one piece of advice to young women, what would it be?

Get into a good school. Study your craft. Surround yourself with good people and help each other out. . Just GO FOR IT! Do what makes you happy and if you have a story to tell, tell it. We need more female voices in the world of film and T.V.  We want to hear yours!

Johnny Cash, on location, filming, That's What She Told Me...

9.  If you could work with any famous Hollywood legend alive or dead, who would it be and why?

Calli Khouri-Not a legend per se, but wrote one of my all time favorite movies. Thelma and Louise and she won an oscar for it!
I always wanted to work with Robert Altman (director of SORT CUTS and NASHVILLE). He was a brilliant filmmaker with a strong point of view.
The Cohen Brothers. O Brother Where art Thou is one of my all-time favorite movies. I love the surreality they always seem to infuse in their films.

Sissy Spacek and Susan Sarandon.
Roberta Wallach as Stella LaRue, the woman with the snake tattoo and answers

10.   What is this Panic Girl’s idea of a dream date?

Flowers, a candle light dinner and plans of a trip to Cannes or Venice!
Poster Jacket for That's What She Told Me....

Panic Girl Stats
Name: Kate Greer
Hometown: Baltimore, Maryland
Status: Single
Sign: Aries
Height: Tall enough
Weight: Liberated, educated, and hitting those Hollywood so-called heavyweights in the metaphorical way

Photos by Vesta Goodarz

 Facebook Page for That's What She Told Me.....

 Nick of Time Films

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Nephew of Sam

It was the summer of 2007. I was up and down, falling apart and being built back together. At the time I was making an attempt to stop drinking which would ultimately be successful as well as to kick the diet pills as well as the destructive eating habits. Most of the time I was tired. In between meltdowns I fought with my mother. While usually my best friend, she had become something of an adversary. I was twenty two, desperate to live my own life. She didn’t understand that I didn’t want to tell her who my friends were, what club I was performing at, and I didn’t want to wish her a goodnight over the computer.
At the same time I wasn’t acting like an adult. About a year earlier, I had been stalked by an ex-fiance of mine who wanted me dead. My mother had every reason to worry, after all, she had my ex’s name on her refrigerator in case I were to disappear. During this phase in my development I was dating ex-cons. Nice guys were scared away when they found out my an old lover was stalking me, shame on them. Especially when he would start harassing them online. However, cons weren’t scared of that sort of thing. Being crazy and messy like myself, they sort of welcomed the drama.
At the time, I was seeing an ex con by the name of Keith. I had met Keith in the neighborhood, and while we weren’t serious per se, we were friendly and he always was taking me out. Keith had escaped from prison at one point. Although recaptured, Keith was still a bad boy. My mother wasn’t thrilled about my choice in men and goaded me to dump him. Somehow though, I couldn’t. In between my ex-fiance and the damage there and wanting to live my own life, I didn’t want to listen to one word she said.
On this particular day, my mother and I had a terrible fight. It was one so horrible I hung up on her. I remember slamming down the phone, cutting her off coldly. Who was she to control me, or what I believed to be controlling. I believe I even told her I hated her. Looking back, the defiance was rather childish, but at the time I felt like an adult.
That day, I was at the diner with Keith when I met one of his old friends, Darryl. Keith had known Darryl during one of his many times when he had been a guest of the state. Darryl was on and off drugs, and he had gotten so bad at one point his dealer had apparently cut him off. He looked like someone who had been through the mill. His hair was brown and scraggly, combed over to hide the fact he was balding at the top. The shirt he wore was too big, probably torn off of a corpse somewhere. The shorts he wore were too tight, hot pants. When Keith asked Darryl where he found this fashion collision of hell he replied, “The lost and found of the flophouse I am staying in.”
We laughed, as Darryl revealed a mouth with missing teeth, probably from hitting the pipe a tinge too hard. The teeth in his mouth were black from decay, which would have been the nightmare of any dentist there was. Nonetheless, despite the fact his face was eaten by years of wear and tear from hard living, he seemed like an okay dude. 
We sat outside where Keith and Darryl could both smoke. Keith and Darryl both needed the nicotine seeing that they were trying to kick respective drug habits. While Keith was more successful, Darryl was struggling. Both men bitched about the law, the prison system, parole, and life following the law. Keith reminisced about the cat burglaries he committed, and Darryl regaled us with stories about the car radios he used to steal while living in the Bronx. I sat silent as the third wheel companion.
Finally, the subject of David Berkowitz came up. It was after some man, crazy as hell, came running down the block screaming about a dog giving him orders. “It is certainly hot enough that I could kill, dog speaking to me or not.” I said laughing.
“Actually, he was the minister once when I was in prison.” Darryl told me.
“What?” I asked.
“Yeah, he’s a serial killer turned minister. I never bother with serial killers. I steal, don’t kill. Too much blood.” Keith said as he took a puff from his cigarette. Despite the worn out look he had from years on the street, Keith had a machismo about him that was dead sexy.
“You guys knew Son of Sam?” I asked in disbelief.
Both men shook their heads. “Yeah, he was a good guy. After being imprisoned, he became a Born Again Christian. I became skeptical at first, but then I saw him preach and said, ‘I could get into this.’ So I started going to church whenever he was preaching in chapel. He was good to hear.”
“Wow.” I said, “Did you guys ever talk?”
“All the time. Once he told me I had anger issues.” Darryl replied.
Both Keith and I burst out laughing. “That’s like Robert Downey Junior telling you that you have a drug problem.” I said.
“Or Kate Moss telling you to eat.” Keith countered. We all laughed again.
“Yeah, he said that once I managed my anger I could manage my life.” Darryl told us.
“But he takes his orders from dogs.” Keith reminded Darryl. I shook my head in agreement.
“I know. I told him this and instead of fighting with me, he leveled. He said that he was doing a bunch of LSD, had a psychotic break, and that the dog talked to him and told him to kill. Really, the LSD opened the door because he couldn’t keep a lid on his anger.” Darryl said.
Keith and I sat silently for a minute. That was intense, heavy, and ultimately strange. “That was a memorable defense he had in court. Never had one like that.” Keith said.
Just then I looked down at my phone. My mom had called twice. I wasn’t talking. There was nothing to say. “Who called?” Darryl asked.
“My mom.” I said contemptuously. “She’s nagging me again.”
“Mom’s do that.” Keith said.
“Yeah, but she’s being a pain in the ass.” I growled and proceeded to tell them the story.
Instead of an agreeing audience, I got two people who stared at me as if I were speaking a foreign language. When I finished, Keith proceeded to tell me how hard being a parent was. While his eighteen year old son was not speaking to him at the moment, he said he missed his kid and was ashamed of getting arrested and being away. And he also told me he wondered if things would have been different if he had a mother that nagged him. Maybe he wouldn’t have started committing burglaries at ten years old. Then maybe he could be there for Keith Jr., instead of constantly worrying about whether or not his son was okay.
“My mother makes me so crazy I think I might start taking orders from dogs.” I said, still not convinced they understood.
That’s when Darryl decided to lay the proverbial smackdown. “You think you know everything and you want to live your own life don’t you? You think you can just hang up on your mother and it will be okay. Well let me tell you, after years of fucking up my family won’t speak to me. At least you have your family calling you to nag you. Stop being such a little brat and call your damn mother and apologize.”
“It’s late.” I whined.
“I’m sure she would love to hear from you, especially thank you and I’m sorry.” Darryl snapped. “And maybe I love you would be good. Your mother just doesn’t want to see you screw up your life. Shame on her for being a good person and caring about her child and who she hangs around with.”
I nodded. “Can I go around the corner?” I asked as I threw down five dollars.
Keith handed it back to me. “I got you.” He said.
I bid both men goodbye and then called my mother. To my pleasant surprise she was up. We ended up having a fifteen minute heart to heart conversation where I apologized and told her how grateful I was that she was my mom, but most importantly that I loved her. She told me she just wanted to know who I was with so I would be safe, and that’s all she wanted. What was best for me.
When I hung up the phone I realized in my quest to prove I could be my own person, I had made plenty of bad decisions. I had almost married a nightmare, and dated plenty more after. The best part was that while I was being my own person, guidance was only one dial away. Sure that guidance might not have always approved of my male company, but she supported me in anything I did. She was my mother and my best friend, and I was blessed to have her.
After that evening I never saw Darryl again. I heard through the grapevine that he had relapsed and was locked up again. Maybe he never got the whole living sober thing, or got the memo on how to live a so called successful life, but he taught me one of the most important lessons of my young adult life:
Your mother is always your mother. You may not agree with her on everything, but she always has your best interest in mind. Don’t treat her as an enemy.

Friday, May 18, 2012


I was at the beach recently and remembered a story by JD Salinger called, A Perfect Day For Banannafish. Basically, the story is about Seymour, who is a shell shocked WWII vet talking about how bannana fish kill themselves to a little girl named Sybill. Sick it may be, but it is one of my favorites. In the end Seymour kills himself by the way.

Going to the beach though was a fun experience. I got to see my parents and I got to eat a lot of crab. Their house, The Grandview, was beautiful. Myrtle Beach is the post-Confederate secret. School is not yet out so the beach is not crowded with children or rowdy young men playing pig skin football or volleyball. The pier is not filled with men and women on the prowl. There is quiet, tranquility. When the sun shines on the ocean, it is the color of an emerald sapphire. Coming out of the clouds, the rays from the yellow orb emit a heavenly light. The birds fly below making you wonder if you are indeed in the Garden of Eden. It is a relief because there are no naked people running about on the beach. The people who feel the need to run about naked on the beach usually are the ones who should keep their clothes on.

Why can't they be like bannanafish, who crumble into the mud and die as Seymour describes? It would not only be good for our morale but our eyesight.

Of course it was bike week at the beach. When we were laying by the pool, a repairman came to fix a pump. His name was Roger, just like my deceased friend. Roger explained the oyster joint was named Suck, Bang, Blow not just because it was a dirty name; but that is the sound a bike makes as it is getting ready to go. I have never had a problem with bikers although they scare the locals at Myrtle. To me, I have always gotten along with these kindred spirits who are owned by no one. Once, when I was in my early twenties I did a show for a bunch of bikers who got into a fight after my set. We lost the venue, but they loved me. It was all my friend Rich Carucci's doing. There was once a woman on Unsolved Mysteries claiming her daughter got kidnapped by bikers, but she seemed like a space cadet.

My mother reported she saw an old biker on the beach collecting sea shells. Apparently, he waved to her and my mother had a gentle laugh with the man. I wonder if my biker friend John Clearly collects sea shells. I wonder if he has ever seen a bannanafish.

Walking along the beach I see jellyfish. They are spineless, ugly creatures who should be damned to the deep sea. One strung my sister once and it was a hellish experience for her. It was nothing compared to my father who got stung by a sting ray. I remember both had to go to the hospital, but they got my dad just in time before he got severe blood poisoning. In a way, I am glad the bannanafish got neither. Although the banannafish is supposedly fictional, I bet it's bite is poisonous and he is worse than Jaws. It didn't help matters that after a long day in the sun we saw a program where a woman was being mauled by flesh eating fish.

What would a bannanafish's bite be like? Dear God do I even want to know.

Seeing the jellyfish brought me back to this past week of my life, where I have gotten not one but two opportunities to talk about being a dating violence survivor. While I want to let young women know it will be okay, on the other hand it brings up some unwanted memories. The last guy I dated, well, I will admit I made him ditch me. He had some traits in common with my ex who was abusive. While the guy I was recently seeing was not abusive, he was becoming my ex's whipping boy. That was not fair to either one of us. After a nightmare where I saw him walking down the street and he ripped off his mask in order to reveal my ex, I blocked him online. Maybe one day I will rekindle the friendship with the gentlemen in question, but for now he needs to stay as far away as possible from me. There is no nice way to say, "You remind me of the prick that used to abuse me and stalk me."

Then I remember Seymour. At that moment it occurs to me, "Dear God, I would have dated him, ahhhh!!!!"

Yesterday I returned from the beach and ended up at a roof top party. The place was a comedy bash, and I just saw it was free. Apparently, there was a festival affiliated, and of course I was not a part of it. I saw some old friends which was fine, although the party didn't have many people. While I have been apart from the standup world for some time, I missed it in a way. During the party, while it was wonderful to make new friends I sort of felt alien. I hadn't been pandering for spots, and since my appearance on the reality show where many in the comedy world let me know that they felt my puppet children and I lied to get on TV, I really haven't bothered at the clubs. I don't feel like yelling and screaming, explaining I have done more than the male comic who is bumping me has in three months than he has in five years. I didn't feel like being the unwelcome guest in the boys club, and the thorn in the side of the female comedians because I wasn't an ugly gossip who refused to wear baggy clothing. I made one new friend, a noncomedienne, who was teaching in China for a year. There was one woman I met though, who seemed peppy, put on, and fake. Maybe she wasn't, maybe it was my tired speaking.

Either way I began to feel for Seymour. It was as if there was some sort of memo I didn't get. While I wouldn't make up a disgusting story about fish who die in the mud to tell a child and then blow my brains out, I felt like Seymour and like my uncle's brother who was a Vietnam combat vet. Sure, unlike Seymour and my uncle's brother I had never served in a foreign war, but like both I knew how it felt to be unwelcome in my own land and to be shunned because of a wrong I supposedly did. Either way, I ducked out of the roof top party.

Last night I began to wonder if I had spent my early twenties the right way. I had gone to college during the day, and my nights were spent pounding the stage. I thought I would defy the gender barrier and the male comedians who treated me like their personal sex object; believing I was stupid enough to be pried with drinks while making me simply the next joke in their bed. Much to their chagrin, neither happened. I took the drinks and walked away from those underemployed wannabes. Only after being a talking head on a website and getting fans around the world did I realize that unfortunately the standup clubs were more their home than mine. Only after my puppet children and I not only appeared on National TV not once but close to twelve times did my home club fire me from the open mic that I rescued and was quite profitable, but it seemed every freaking club closed their doors to me. Nevermind I have performed for royalty. Perhaps I should have been more like other female comedians, so loud and obnoxious albeit letting myself go that everyone assumed I had to be funny. Or I should have been pandering to men, doing sexual favors for stage time. It was rumored I did, but the rumor was not true. Another thing started by the male rumor mill and spread by the women who wanted to appease them.

No wonder Seymour was so damaged. The world leaves you wanting to be angry, wanting to fight back. Especially when the ambitions of those less talented are realized because either the world favors their gender identity or they are easier to fix into the proverbial box. Or it's because they follow the proverbial rules. Either way, the whole experience made me so bitter I refuse to do shows for the club system I left. In addition, it has left a terrible taste in my mouth when it comes to the so called community.

Then for as angry as I get, for as much as I feel like I wasted my life, it gets me no where. Yes, I put the name of my home club on National TV. Yes, they screwed me over. However, I was a talking head and cyberjockie and got kids who saw my puppet children and I all over the world following me. I have fans devoted until the end. I have had people fly in from all over the world to meet me. My song, "Stay," was number three on FJS Radio's countdown, and it is a well respected internet station. I am getting ready to publish an ebook in six weeks. I am also getting ready to be a part of a neat show in Times Square, keep you posted. In addition, I am also the poster girl for Panic Girl. My TV appearance got me all these things. Standup got me my TV appearances. Sure, it might not have fit in the narrow minded box the community constructs, especially for women, but eh. Perhaps in the end, standup was not the destination but rather the train that got me where I needed to go. This is not the end for me, merely the beginning. If I perform it is not to appease a structure that enslaves and a community so limited, but rather my fans who matter more than anything in the world. Maybe I will never be a part of some New Talent Best Of Series at some top club, but who cares? I have fan boys from Italy, Germany, Russia, England, and elsewhere telling me how beautiful I am. I bet no one in any Breakout Artist Series has that.

Maybe in the end, although Seymour felt like he was a bannanafish, damned to crawl in the mud and die, I feel like rewriting the story. I feel like telling him to dump his dippy wife and that way he won't have to tell scary stories to children. I feel like telling him it will be alright.


Thursday, May 17, 2012


This past year I have found myself involved in some Women’s Issues Activism. I have made videos speaking about this, I have spoken about this online, and I have written about this. When I was on My Strange Addiction, in a way I sort of, unintentionally, became a symbol for female independence and solidarity. My man made me choose him or the puppets. I chose the puppets. I got fan letters from many young women telling me how men mistreated them or how they escaped the throws of an abusive relationship.
As a result I chose to take the activist route. My mother told me it wasn’t the thing to do, but I feel I have a bigger duty to young women.
As a result I have been called names like: man basher, dyke, lesbian, man hater, etc. Many of these honorary titles are bestowed by males who have no idea what they are talking about. Just because I speak out against violence when it comes to women doesn’t mean I date other women. It doesn’t mean that I hate men like my father and my brother who are doing the right thing; standing by their families and supporting their very talented and brilliant wives. Just the opposite. I hate men who abuse women whether it is physically, sexually, emotionally, or spiritually.
It’s funny to me when these Einsteins start speaking. I want to tell them that they are taking it personally if I am not referring to them. When I speak of men who lie, cheat, and abuse I don’t speak of all men. I have never once said that. Yet I am bound and gagged by these fools constantly having to defend myself against the patriarchy.
Recently, I have gotten opportunities to do activism; to tell my story about being in an abusive relationship. Sometimes it is hard to go back to that place. Actually, it always is. There’s nothing like remembering how a man called you names, how you were a doormat, and how he wantonly cheated on you. Then when I defended myself against him and his cohorts, all of whom had something to say about me, I was a “man hater.” Or I was considered less than because I was a woman, and it was no speaking unless spoken to.
Perhaps this is why I lash out against the patriarchy the way I do. Perhaps it is because I have been bullied, and I am not a fan of bullying in any way. As a result, whenever I see certain attitudes prevalent in men and I hear an expression like, “boys will be boys,” it sickens me. It not only cheapens their gender, but also makes way for a societal double standard that paves the way for feminine embarrassment and abuse. It’s the language we use in our culture, the attitudes, that gives the okay for things like dating violence. While as a whole we do not condone this behavior, we enable it with song lyrics like, “Smack up my bitch.”
Then there are jokes where the punchline is hitting a woman. Whenever I get testy there are male comedians who say that it’s a joke and tell me to “calm down.” The truth is, it’s not a joke when you have been on the receiving end. And as a society we should not calm down. There are plenty of other things that are funny. Abuse of women is not funny. While it might be ha ha at the club, it okays a disgusting behavioral standard that should never be allowed.
Until recently, there were no real laws protecting stalking victims. Even worse, in the mid-twentieth century, whenever the wife called the cops on a husband who was beating her they usually let it go. Legislation in these departments have come a long way. Unfortunately, as a society we forget all too quickly.
In a way I am glad I went through what I did with the ex. Sure I don’t trust or love as easily, but I am smart and can spot a bully and an abusive male with laser vision. I can also spot a man who has a view of women as inferior, and has a complex and therefore will treat them badly. In addition, while having someone in your life is nice, I know it’s far from the end of the world if I don’t have anyone. I know in the end not to depend on a man but rather to depend on myself. This goes for anyone, male or female.
A lot of women break their necks to get married and have children only to divorce anyway. I don’t feel that need to answer to a power structure that pins it on me if it doesn’t work out. I don’t feel the need to conform to some standard, that when lovely is very lovely, but when terrible is nothing but societal imprisonment. I don’t feel the need to yes some man because I don’t want him to leave. I don’t feel the need to serve an outdated model that has made so many feel so unhappy because they felt this is what they needed to do, this is where they needed to be, and this was how they were forced to live.
If you have someone, great.
If not, no biggie. Life goes on. I know from experience I would rather die alone with my puppets than be with a man who takes them away, makes me feel like crap, occasionally hits me, and promises to kill his mother in order to get the insurance money to be with me. All the while making me support him.
While I have made my way into the world as a standup, I find that a boys club where they are as thick as thieves. Once I was told by a male booker that being a woman and looking the way I did would work against me. Then I was basically told by other male bookers that talking about my breakup with my ex in a comedic way made me look bitter. Meanwhile, the routine is about my ex trying to make a comeback, one, and me rejecting him. Second, my so called bitterness is more about me taking my hits onstage like a man instead of laying down like a woman which would be oh so easy for them. Maybe they didn’t like it, but the fans, male and female, do.
I guess my mission is that I want to be the next feminist icon. Perhaps I will be more Wonder Woman and less Gloria Steinem. (But our dear Glo was a Playboy Bunny, ya know). But I want to be that force that makes it safe for young people, especially young women. While I do not exclude young women from my mission statement I am more familiar with being a young woman, because that is my gender identity.
If wanting to smash a double standard that keeps so many down-male and female-makes me a femanazi, I will gladly wear that crown.
If wanting young women to stand up against men that prey on them makes me a femanazi-put that on my vanity plate.
If wanting young women to know that they are worth something makes me a femanazi-I think I will get that tattooed on my bicep.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

T and A

When I was fifteen I was a bit of a gawky kid. Slightly overweight, my wardrobe piece of choice was either a black rain hat that when pointed up made me look like a witch, or fire engine red lip color. Usually, the lip color was smeared, and the hat didn’t help matters. My activities included volunteering at the public access television station or writing death poetry for the literary magazine. When I wasn’t doing that, I was performing ventriloquism at the local nursing homes or writing articles for the youth page of the local paper. English teachers loved me, and my history teacher adored me.

Guys didn’t. It seemed they spoke this weird language of grunts and stupidity that seemed lost on me. My friends went nuts over them, one going so far as to have her mother drive past the house of a boy she was in love with everytime they were on a shopping errand. Other friends carved boys names on notebooks in red marker with hearts. That wasn’t my tune or my scene. One guy I liked a little said I was angry. Translated, he wanted a dumb bimbo with a popsicle stick body who nodded and smiled.

One day, my mom took me for our usual walk after school. We discussed my day and my life, which friend was doing what. My mom was always supportive of what I did as far as the creative endeavors went, and I believe we were discussing something of that nature when my mom breaked and asked, “April, do you know what a man likes?”

“A girl with a personality and a brain?” I asked. While I knew in my heart it wasn’t true I wanted to believe. I had seen these movies where guy gets girl, and the girl he was usually after wasn’t the pretty, heartless, iced queen, but the bookish girl. The one everyone made fun of, the one like myself.

“NO!” My mom exclaimed. This woman, not even five feet tall, was all fired up. Working as a fitness instructor, she was missing her whistle. If she had it at that moment she would have given it one big blow.

“What?” I asked.

“T and A!”My mom shouted.

I shook my head. My mom explained, “April, guys like T and A. Yes, the T and the A. The tits and the ass. That is why it is important that you stand up straight and continue to work your pecs in the gym, and also that you keep running to tone that  butt. Because first the guys look at the T and then their eyes go to the A.”

A saddened look came over my face. What about looks not being everything? What about a heart and a personality? Did those count for nothing. When I posed this question to my mom she said, “Not really. They are nice to have but T and A. T and A, guts like T and A. And as your new personal trainer, starting today we are shaping up your T and A.”

To make matters worse for my young self, my mother kept shouting, “T and A!”  Going down the block I wanted to bury my head. Maybe I would move to the island and get six cats. Seven hundred pounds later after three published novels, I could say I died a smart and learned woman. I posed this to my mother, but the shouting did not cease it only continued.

Finally I said, “Mom, I get it. T and A. It makes me more cynical about the world but I get it.”

Then my mom said, “Good, because if you keep up with that rotten feminazi attitude you will be wearing flat shoes and wear no makeup and no one will want to be around you. Now let’s talk about the exercises one can do to tune up their T and A.”

Just as I thought I was going to be subjected to more torment, a group of guys one class up from me appeared on the horizon, fast approaching. I wanted to bury my head in the proverbial sand. “Say hi.” My mom commanded.

“No.” I snapped.

“I am your mother and I am giving you’re an order.” My mom commanded.

“Then you say hi.” I told her.

“The Commandments say honor thy mother and father. God wouldn’t want you disobeying your mother because that would mean you would be going to hell.” My mom told me changing her tactic.

“Assuming there is a heaven or hell.” I countered.

“Do it or you are taking out the garbage instead of your brother.” My mom snapped. Somehow that got me.  I hated the garbage and it was my brother’s job. For the past few weeks I had to do the dreaded task because the week before my sister and I got into a heated fight over a brush, and the week previous to that my brother had a physics exam and claimed he had to study.

As the boys approached, I recognized the three. The first was Dan Howard, a member of student senate. The second was Bob Davies, track star and boyfriend of Denise Unkler, female track star with perfect body. The third was Preston Sewars, tennis team member and perpetual lady’s man. All were good looking in that Abercrombie and Fitch sort of way. We didn’t associate and I wanted to keep it at that.

“Hi.” I said sheepishly.

“Oh hey Brucker. Saw the article you wrote framed in the writing center. Good job.” Dan said. He was referring to an article I had written for the local paper that had won an award. While my teachers were proud, the student body was seemingly apathetic. Maybe they weren’t after all.

“Yeah. Good job Brucker.” Preston said.

Bob sort of shook his head and then added, “Oh, hi Mrs. Brucker.”

“Hi.” My mom said, as if she were an innocent little woman approaching fifty, not as if she had put me up to this errand of hell.

Then the three were off. Leaving me with my mother who somehow I actually did not want to strangle.  To tell you the truth, the whole thing put a smile on my face. Maybe guys weren’t these stupid cave creatures who spoke in grunts, but rather things I could approach if I simply said hi and smiled.

“Was that so bad?” My mom asked.

“No.” I told her. And we both laughed about the whole encounter. Perhaps my mother, for as crazy as she could be, knew how to bring the best out in people. In those little bones there was a big amount of knowledge, and a certain kick butt that could never be rivaled.

And my mother was right, men like T and A. Once you know that the journey gets easier from there.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom.



My mom, looking like she is about to cause trouble

Panic Girl: Barby Ingle

Author, activist, motivational speaker, and former cheerleader Barby Ingle has been touring the country and appearing on TV shows advocating for people with RSD as well as others with chronic pain. As someone who suffers from chronic pain, Barby has become a fearless advocate for those in the grips of this debilitating condition. As someone who suffers from RSD herself, Barby is an inspiration because she does not let it limit her, but rather it makes her move forward at the speed of light. Barby also appears regularly on as a talking head, serving as a role model to young women around the world. A mix of beauty, grace, and a 'lil butt kicking spunk, Barby Ingle was easily this week's Panic Girl. 
Barby speaking and educating on RSD

1.   You are involved in an organization called Power of Pain, what exactly does the organization do?
The Power of Pain foundation is a charity dedicated to improving the lives of people with chronic care conditions involving pain. The POPF provides awareness, education, and support for Chronic Pain Patients, specifically those involving Neuropathy Pain, such as diabetes, HIV/AIDS, Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), and Lyme disease. The ultimate goal is to allow chronic pain patients the ability to perform their regular activities in the community and to bolster society’s ability to provide full opportunities and appropriate supports for its pain citizens. Through supporting education for pain patients, family members, caretakers and medical professionals, we make an important contribution to the overall knowledge and treatment of chronic pain. This allows our foundation to affect the lives of the millions of people with Neuropathy pain nationwide as well as chronic pain patients, caretakers, family members and healthcare professionals. Chronic Pain affects females 3 to 1 over men, so many of our programs do address this disparity in our healthcare system. Unfortunately, studies show that there is an under treatment of pain in women and children verses men. You can get more information about the Power of Pain Foundation at

2.   You are a chronic pain sufferer yourself. How has that placed limitations on you, and how have you overcome them?
I have been battling a Neurological condition for almost 10 years now. Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy is a progress Autoimmune Neurological condition that affects multiple systems in the body and needs to be treated early so that disability does not take over. I know firsthand how hard it is to continue looking for relief, perfect answers, and then coming up against healthcare professionals who blow you off or do not believe what you are saying could actually be what you’re experiencing. As I search for a cure, I have become my own best advocate and work sharing the information so that other patients do not have to go through the same struggles that I experienced. Even after seeing over 100 healthcare professionals, having major surgeries I didn’t need, complications such as internal bleeding, medication interactions, kidney stones, tumors, and so much more – I did not give up or give in! I was tested to my limits and realized they are past the boundaries I placed on myself.

I had to become the Chief of Staff of my Own Medical Team. If I can do it, anyone can.  RSD is a very progressive and severely painful condition that can also involve movement disorders, skin color changes, balance issues and other life changing challenges. I fought the disabilities every step of the way, but did end up in a wheelchair for a few years. Finally, I had a Portacatheter placed in my chest and I ended up receiving an Infusion Therapy, similar to the process of a cancer patient receiving chemotherapy. This treatment was over $100,000 to receive, and luckily for me, my insurance company helped pay for the treatment. I am currently in remission and out of my wheelchair. I overcame my limitations through my positive attitude, and inner drive to never let life’s challenges beat me. I also realized that I needed to give my anxiety and fear to God when it came to the pain and what might come from having RSD and focus on being the best me I could with the situation I was in.

3.   You have written a couple of books. What are they called and where can we purchase them?
My first was, RSD in Me!, a patient’s guide to living with a chronic pain conditions based around my story of challenges and how I overcame each one. My second book is; ReMission Possible, based on the year long process of going into remission and what came from the experience. I wrote them to be books of motivation, inspiration and positivity. I want people to know that even when facing the toughest of times that there is hope and help available. The books offer practical advice, tips and tricks for better daily living and resolutions to the challenges of living with chronic pain. My story goes through a nine-year journey with twist and turns through the medical system and encourages the importance of thinking positive even in the worst of times.  They are available at most bookstores such as Barnes and Nobel, Borders Books, Kindle, and Amazon. I decided to donate all of the money raised from the book sales to help further the mission of the Power of Pain Foundation, so that other people can reach the success that I have with my healthcare.  

Barby on the Dr. Drew show. 

4.   Through your advocacy, you have met Paula Abdul, what was that experience like?
I have been a fan of Paula Abdul since the 90’s when her song Straight Up hit the scene. Paula has a very similar background to me. She did cheerleading and dance from a young age as well as singing. I found out in 2005 that Paula also has RSD. At that moment, I made it my mission to meet her and try to get her to speak out more often about RSD and the daily struggles 10,000,000 Americans with it, go through. In September 2011, I finally did it! I got to talk to Paula, before the premiere of X-Factor. I started by saying, "You are my cheerleader of hope and possibility" and she just started talking and we had great a conversation, and she hugged me, and we talked more and then got our picture together. I introduced her to my husband, Ken, and she got a big kick out of us being ‘Ken and Barby’, so that was awesome. I gave her a gift-bag I made for her. The message on the bag said, "You Just Totally Rock!”.  I told her what was in the bag; info on RSD, my books (autographed of ‘course), awareness bracelets for her and her assistance, my cheer megaphone pin from my high school Letterman's jacket from 1988 when her first record came out, and a personal letter from me. It was amazing; she is so beautiful and nice. I don’t know if I will change her mind about speaking up about her RSD challenges or not, but at least I know she has the info, she knows she has support and she now knows a real-life "Barby and Ken". We had a great conversation and she was totally engaging. So, I am extremely happy and got another item checked off my bucket list! The next week in People’s Magazine, she spoke about having RSD in an interview, for the first time since 2005. I am hoping I had something to do with it and I hope it continues. About a month later, I saw Paula again at an event and she recognized me and yelled out on the microphone, “I know you”. It was awesome because people who meet so many other people, everyday, don’t typically remember most of the people they meet. I had hoped that I made a lasting impression on her, and it turns out I did.

5.   You were a cheerleader when you were younger and are still involved in the sport. When people say that cheerleading is a negative thing for women, how do you respond to those critics?
I started cheerleading, dance and gymnastics at the age of 4. I told my father back then that I would be a cheerleader the rest of my life. I knew that was God’s plan for me, it is a part of me and will forever be who I am. I have learned so many life lessons from cheerleading; time management, athleticism, optimism, positivity, motivational skills, social skills, got rid of my shyness, confidence, trust, dedication, determination, equality, and I learned how to always be excited and up for any challenge. I learned business skills and creative fundraising and marketing ideas by having to fundraise for my uniforms, summer camp, private lessons, and competition entry fees. I cheered all of the way through college, and then started my own cheer/dance training company. I also became one of the youngest collegiate coaches at a Division IA school (Washington State University).

6.   You have an adopted sister, Marby who happens to be multi-racial. Has this experience made you passionate about activism in other ways?
My sister is half black and half Thai. Our parents raised us as twins and we didn’t realize that people were different “colors” until we were bullied on the playground when I was in 2nd grade. We were picked on by both, whites and blacks, growing up because other children in our area were raised with racism in their family values. I have seen how differently my sister was treated specifically because of her skin color, even by other black people who saw her as “too white”. My parents were smart to expose us to all types of people with different backgrounds; disabled, different races, gay couples, etc...  Having these experiences as a child helped me learn to accept people for how they treat others and not how they look. I really learned to appreciate that all humans have something to offer society and that there is no reason to bully anyone for race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or any other reason just because it differs from who you are.  
Just a typical day in the life of a Panic Girl

7.   You tour the country as a motivational speaker. What is your favorite city that you have been to and why?
My favorite was Las Vegas for the past few years because of the atmosphere, the lights, the shows, and even if you have no spending money you can just go sit down on the strip and meet people from all over the world. I love diversity and getting to know new people and that is what you get in Vegas. But this January I got to go to NYC and fell in love with it. I will be going back to both places later this year to do presentations and really looking forward to NY and the Pizza, Cannoli, and people watching at Time Square.

8.   Dog person or cat person? If so why?
Dog, for sure! I have had both growing up and I like dogs better because they are more loving and interactive. My favorite dog was a Maltese named Tuci, who I had to give up for adoption after I was too ill to take care of her. I hope to get a dog again when I am not traveling so much, because I am feeling better now that I am in remission, and I miss the companionship.

9.   If you could have dinner with one famous person from history, who would it be?
Jesus Christ.  I’d have a lot of questions regarding human interaction/connection and lots of why this & why that type questions.  

10.                What does this Panic Girl eat for breakfast?
I enjoy a big breakfast. It is typically my biggest meal of the day and consists of scrambled eggs, hash browns, crispy bacon, and toast with grape jelly. The rest of the day I usually eat junk food and candy.

Testifying, this Panic Girl is making it happen

Panic Girl Stats
Name: Barby Ingle
Height: 5' Tiny but mighty
Weight: I was a flyer in my cheerleading days. 'Nuff said.
Sign: My sign is change. That's my sign.
Status: Married, and very happily so. Sorry guys.
Hometown: Queen Creek, AZ