Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Importance of Being Happy For Others

The entertainment industry is competitive to say the least. You always have to be on top of your game. Someone is always prettier, younger, a better singer, a more skilled dancer, funnier, a more awesome wordsmith, you name it. That is why it is important to know who you are and have a good attitude. That brings me to another matter, the journey. You work for that moment in time. Sometimes it comes quickly, sometimes it comes slowly. As you sweat away at the odd jobs you wonder when will it happen?

As I said for some it happens quickly. Sometimes they are at the right place at the right time. Whether they have a certain look, are a part of the hottest ethnic trend (especially true in comedy), or just have the right connections it seems like it falls into their lap. Sometimes it happens slowly. There are people, especially character actors and comedians, who slave for years unknown in theatres and live on the poverty line until they are almost forty. Suddenly we talk about how awesome they are. Am I repeating myself? Yes. I am making a point.

When it happens quickly for some, or seemingly so, it can be easy to fall into the trap of jealousy. It not only denotes a lack of gratitude, but also takes away the focus from you and your goals. I remember several years ago, as it seemed everyone's career was taking off and mine was not, I found myself saying some awful things about others who were "making it" on comedian car trips. The convo started where someone brought up a guy who got something and we ragged on him as a good looking douche bag. We never talked about how we worked hard touring most of the year and was living out of his car. Or we talked about a hottie who wore next to nothing that was on TV a lot. We never spoke about her work ethic or the fact she never took no for an answer. We wanted to hate. It put the focus on them and took the focus off of us and our shortcomings.

Then things started to happen for me. Some of it was luck. Much of it was hard work. I found my fellows, people I once called friends, turn on me. Some showed their true colors by sharing their feelings about me anonymously online. Others would smile to my face but as soon as they believed I was out of ear shot they would gossip. Then there were those who stopped speaking to me in general. These were people I shared car rides with, or kvetched about how the business was giving us all the short end of the stick. Now they were strangers when they saw me. Finally, there were those who went right for the jugular. Once I came to an open mic and made an off the cuff comment and someone who had once been a friend bit my head off to the point where I was near tears. Another time I mentioned to someone I had too many facebook friends and she replied, "The more friends on facebook the less friends in real life." Another friend if you will. Suddenly I found myself alone, angry, and wondering why this was happening.

I got a worse dose of kharma. Someone who I had gossiped viciously about came to my defense and sought me out to tell me how proud she was of not only my career, but where I was going. Then it occurred to me. If I wanted people to be happy for me, I had to learn to be happy for others. Not only because it was good energy,  but I knew how it felt when people were mean and nasty in response to my success.

So here are some things you need to remember, and it will help you be happy for others.

1. You never know how hard someone had to work or what someone had to go through prior to what they achieved. Despite outward appearances, they may have a hellacious backstory. They may have escaped an abusive husband, terrible childhood, lived in a car. Or they might have worked hard, busting their behinds and working their fingers to the bone paying their dues in ways you could never imagine. So they might not just deserve this. They might triple deserve this. Envy is not only arrogant, but it shows a total lack of general awareness.

2. Say they did just get lucky. Luck eventually runs out. Just remember every dog has their day. And just as that dog is having their day, you will too soon enough.

3. Everyone's path is different. The way I explain this to young people is during the race everyone starts at the same place. However, eventually everyone goes to different lanes in the race. Some people continue performing. Others work behind the scenes. Some become writers. Then there are those who become managers and club owners. The beautiful part is, if you continue to run the race and focus on your own game, everyone who finishes the race ends up working together.

4. They may have worked for this particular thing. Yes, sometimes people get breaks and we are like, what! Well if they have been singing since they were little and get a record contract, they worked for it. If they have been auditioning for years for a Broadway show and book a role, they worked for that. If they have been slaving away in the comedy clubs for years and book a TV special. They worked for that. Yes, they earned it. This was their gift. Get over it and move on.

5. Not Every Break Is For You. While it would be awesome to be right for every job that comes your way, it just ain't going to happen. A few years ago a classmate of mine from college was in a Tyler Perry flick. It was cool to see her on screen. But also, there was no way in hell I was even going to be scouted for that job. Another classmate of mine did a stunt job. Wasn't getting that one either. Just as they probably weren't going to be called for the puppet stuff. So concentrate on who you are and what you are good at.

6. This Might Be It For Them. Back in the day a girl I knew graduated high school early and got a national tour. I was pissed. Why not me? My mom told me that I should be happy, because this girl was probably reaching her peak. Yes, my mom was right. Soon after that tour, she worked in Disney, met her husband and got married. While she now sings in a corporate wedding band with her husband, she did not have the big Broadway career she was touted to have. So be happy for them, this might be their first and last.

7. Hocus Pocus Keep The Focus. Yes, focus on your own damn game. The more time you spend grinding your teeth and wishing for them to break both legs in a car crash in time taken away from achieving your goals and reaching where you need to be. Their game is their game. Yours is yours. Focus on yours. That is the only way to win.

8. It's A Marathon. Several years ago, it seemed like several people got things handed to them. Well when things got hard they decided this wasn't for them and quit. I also ran into several women who decided the path was to be a wife and mother instead of an artist. Bottom line, while someone might run out of the gate quick it doesn't mean they finish the race. Part of success is staying in the game. When you continue to show up and play, it will pay off.

9. Use Their Success To Inspire You. After writing my book, I remember seeing at Brown I was on the bookself next to Junot Diaz. At NYU I was next to Ophira Eisenberg. One won a MacArthur Fellowship. The other has a movie deal. In the old days I would have said, "Screw them both." Now I flip the script and say, "Look at who I am blessed to share shelf space with. Maybe I could do these amazing things too if I keep up the good work."

10. Jealousy Doesn't Have The Outcome You Want. Yes, bad mouthing that jiggle bunny in the low cut dress feels good. Or spreading the rumor that she got her record contract because she blew some dude feels better. But you also look like a total tool. Or doing something to ruin someone's efforts blows up in your face. Bottom line, jealousy is a terrible color and makes you look like a vicious troll that lives under a bridge.

Hope I helped

Follow your dreams and your heart

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

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Brain Surgery

Today I ran into an old friend that I had not seen in years. The last time I had seen her she was getting ready to have her first child. She's a stepmom to her husband's older twins from a previous marriage. Whatever the story is, she seems like she adores her stepkids and life in general with her current husband who by the way gave her a nice ring. WOWSA. We caught up and she mentioned her stepson, the boy in the set of fraternal twins, had brain surgery.

I asked her what happened. She told me he is epileptic. This was one of two he had. As she spoke about it, she mentioned during dinner at the high holy days he was showing the pictures, and in the hospital he was ripping the IV out of his arm. Of course this grossed everyone else out but he is a seventeen year old boy. They love guts, gore, and too much information. Sickness and health does not change that. We laughed about how it takes men forever to grow up.

Then I thought about it. As women we talk about our feelings and tend to over emotionalize everything and everyone. Men, they don't. They stuff them down until they think they will go away, and unfortunately they don't. Or better yet, they laugh about it. In that way, men are beyond women because they don't take themselves let alone anything that easily. So yes, the showing of the gross pictures and the ripping the IV and running around the hospital with his friends was this young man's way of coping.

My birthday is tomorrow. It seems like my years have flown by. Is life what I want it to be? Yes and no. I have fulfilled some of the things on my bucket list. In other respects, I am not where I thought I would be. This point in my life looks different than I thought it would. Not better, not worse, but different. I was hit with a weird depression. I have nothing to complain about really. Some of it is fear. I have been in this place before in my life where things were moving forward and all of a sudden the wheels stalled. I am so scared of going to that place again. 

Someone I ran into recently, a fellow actress and writer, mentioned that instead of fear one should transform those feelings into excitement. Maybe it is the aches and pains I have been feeling lately. My gym time has been thrown off because of my physical ailments. Oye vey. The thing about pain is it makes you depressed. Then I am doing some cool things with my writing and more on that later. Still in the never ending process of releasing the audiobook. My musical is coming along. Got scouted for an exciting project and have others. Things are hippedy hopping.

On my way back from a telegram delivery I saw someone from my past who used to be rather supportive of me. Instead of saying hello he turned as not to speak to me, giving me the big diss. I didn't understand it. He used to be really supportive. Had I said something to him? Just then it occurred to me. He was nice to me because he didn't view me as a threat. All of a sudden I am on TV, writing books and blah de blah. A friend once explained that I shouldn't take that crap personally. My success would not be easy for everyone. That is when I gave myself a pat on the back. His idiot action meant I was doing something right. 

So, he, not I needs brain surgery.

I am not afraid. This next year of my life I will be excited. I should be proud. Every once in a while our minds need to be cut up whether it's physically or metaphorically.

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

Monday, September 23, 2013

Cleaning House

My birthday is coming up this week and it's a big one. I won't say the number. I don't know what is worse. That I don't really care that I am getting older. That I am so busy I didn't even notice my birthday was fast approaching. Or like a career minded woman I haven't cleaned my house in Lord knows how long.

Yesterday I started on this monolithic task. I made up my mind that there would be no more sorting out my audiobook upload drama, writing my musical, or doing anything else until my house was clean. Basically, my room looked like a drag queen had vandalized the place. There were sparkles everywhere. Oh and the eyelashes, please. Costumes on the floor. Puppet children thrown about missing their errant puppet mother and violating curfew. Cats and dogs getting married. Need I go on?

So I began the task yesterday and am doing more of it today. I guess I have this prejudice against people with clean rooms because growing up, all the girls with neat handwriting and clean rooms all had perfect skin. Of course I had cystic acne and they made fun of me, making school hell. I know I should get over it but sometimes the scars still remain. I always told myself while they would be getting stretch marks I would be a successful career woman. They are getting stretch marks.

 Am I a successful career woman?

Well I could list my credits and all the things I am up to but that would make me sound insecure. Fuck it, I am insecure. I am a woman with a chip on her shoulder. Read my blogs and witness the bitching. While it is not as miraculous as Jesus, let me tell you it's a miracle I stop sometimes. However, out of all the kids that I did acting classes with growing up, I am now the most successful. Out of my college class, not only am I one of the few folks still at it, but I am part of the group that is pretty successful. Some are more successful than me, most not. I think it is because while I have the chip on my shoulder, I have the ability to take my hits standing like John Wayne. Plus I am not a jiggle bunny who can easily be replaced. That will take you far in this world. I come about who I am honestly.

Now back to the topic. Yes. I am cleaning. No. I am not cooking yet. Maybe if I do both I will steal the husbands of those who made fun of me for having cystic acne. That would be pretty funny. Or not because then I would have to put up with a man telling me to cook and clean and fuck that shit yo. They say the best revenge is living well.

So I am back to cleaning my house. And I will live well in my spotless domicile.

Unstable woman out

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

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Idiots at the Gym

I go to the gym quite a bit. Okay I am admittedly a gym rat as they say. I worked at a gym in high school. College in my junior year I lived in a building with a gym. I go to the gym every day now. But the thing is, some people don't act as they should at the Temple of Health.

I was in the weight room the other day and this dude was average height and weight. He was lifting a moderate amount of weight on the squat. Out of no where he starts grunting. WTF?!?! First off, you are not lifting enough to grunt like that. Second, did you read the sign? It says no grunting, swearing or any other obnoxious noise!!!! Am I the only one that sees this! Of course he proceeds to do it again. I am like, dear God. This hyper-masculine bullshit is really getting me down. I wanted to know what cave Mr. Neanderthal came out of. Grunt, grunt, grunt. Do you come with a club to hit your future bride with over the head you moron!!!

Then there is this other girl who, first time I ever saw her, was cavorting her way around the free weight area. She had spandex shorts and this badly dyed blonde hair. Of course she dressed trashy enough to look attractive while trying to work out. It's bad enough she ruins it for every member of my gender trying to make it the right way. Well Jiggle Bunny walks over to the squat rack and has no weight on there. She squats down far enough and sticks out her ass enough like, "Guys, I like it in the boot." I just wanted to smack that trashy ho on the ass and tell her to put some pants on her flabby rear. I also wanted to put some weight on that bar. Make the bitch work.

The last was the couple who got PDA in the free weight area. I realize you are a couple. It's great you bump uglies and may or may not procreate in the future polluting the gene pool with your miscreant genes. However, I don't need to see you two drooling all over each other and making out in the free weight area. YOU BOTH ARE DISGUSTING. NO ONE WANTS TO IMAGINE YOU NAKED.

I don't know. They are lucky I am not like Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany who used to carry a stick around and beat people who didnt act accordingly.

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

Friday, September 20, 2013

Wanna Go Back (Eddie Money)

Peggy Sue Got Married never gets old. I never saw it the whole way through until 2010. That is, until I was cleaning my house for the TLC crew to come film me and my babies. It was a weird point in my life. I had just buried a friend, Chacho, who regrettably lost his battle with addiction. I had a roommate who was like a sister leave me. Suddenly I felt all alone without my live in big sister figure. When I saw that movie, I cried. Not because it's not wonderful, it is, but because we always think. What if.....

Recently, I got a lovely fan letter from a former classmate of mine. He told me how proud he was that I had written a book, and that I was showing all those people who used to make fun of me in high school. For as much time has elapsed since high school ended, sometimes it still hurts. It's weird how the scars remain. While I am not overweight, I still feel like a fat girl. While not by any means unpopular with men, sometimes I want to crawl into a corner because one asked me out as a joke again. While I don't struggle with cystic acne anymore, I still freak when I get a blemish on my face. 

I know my baggage is not unique. Everyone has hang ups about the past. Hindsight is 20/20.

In a positive way, I am doing what I always wanted to do. I talked about being an actress in high school. I am doing it. I talked about being a talk show host. I have done that. While still not with a big network it could happen. I talked about being a comedian. Am doing that. Talked about being a ventriloquist. Oh I am so doing that. 

The crazy thing is, I went to my mall to do a few pics. The girl at the photo place had seen me on TV and felt bad about recognizing me. I told her it was okay. I grew up in the burgh. She could say hi. I actually thought it was cool to be recognized. I think that would have thrown my sixteen year old self for a loop. So would the idea of doing all the things I have done and all the places I have been. I want to go to more though.

I was asked what I would do again if I could do it again recently when a newspaper in my hometown interviewed me in regards to a book signing I was doing. I said I would have done my makeup better in high school.

I also think I would add the following:
1. I would have taken my time and not have been in such a rush.

2. I would not have taken myself so seriously.

3. I would have been more outgoing with guys in college.

4. I wouldn't have worn some of those ugly shoes

5. I wouldn't have been such a Hanson fan that I still know how to spell MMMBop.

6. I would have embraced being a strong, independent woman much sooner. 

Either way, it is about growth. As I start on this next phase, successful career woman, I can say while there are some things I didn't know then and I would do differently with what I know now. However, you can only do the best you can with what you have and the knowledge you have at your finger tips. While maybe I am not going to where I want to as fast as I want to be there, I am getting there.

 Ironically I recently met Kathleen Turner briefly. Later that day someone recognized me from a television appearance based off of my voice. In high school people used to make fun of me for the way I spoke. Guess some things do change. 

Peggy Sue Got Married still makes me cry. I didn't wear waterproof mascara. Some things never change. 

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

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Bible Tells Me So....

When I was younger, I was raised in a place where sometimes religion was used as a weapon. The town I grew up in, people were into their faith. Some were quiet about their practice with God. Others were downright scary. Actually, as I said it was used as a weapon. If you did not share their religious beliefs they didn't leave you alone. They more or less hunted you down like fresh game.

At the beginning of high school I was invited to this thing called Campus Life. School was never easy for me. I had friends, but wasn't terribly social. Not to mention I always was kind of a misfit. I was real arty, which in mainstream America makes you an outsider. High school was tough, and all I wanted was to fit in. So the kid in front of me in study hall invited me to this youth group. He prefaced it by saying, "A lot of people say it is a cult, but don't believe everything you hear." He drew me a map to his home. I was going.

That evening I asked my mom for a ride, telling her of the new club I joined. I figured my father would be happy I was finally fitting in. Getting me to go to the bon fire the week before had been a struggle. It's not that I lacked school spirit, I didn't see the point. You gathered around, watched some stuff burn for thirty minutes, and then it was over. Anyway, when my mom found out she said, "You are not going there. That is a cult." Seconds later she said to my brother, "Wendell, they tried to get April today." That is when my brother regaled me with stories about those involved and their blood thirsty devotion to the man known as Christ.

I saw my brother was right. These young disciples were encouraged to recruit their friends and when they got so many, they had a pizza party reward system. While many teachers were private about their faith, some encouraged this. One teacher held a Bible study in his classroom during lunch. While religion is a wonderful thing, I don't think it should be on school property. As if that was not bad enough the youth group leader trolled our cafeteria looking for fresh blood. He had snow white hair and pale skin, and spoke real slow. Actually, the dude reminded me from the guy in poltergeist. We spoke briefly once, but he didn't waste time on me. Probably because I wasn't an easy target and had a solid sense of self.

I had several friends get caught up in this cult fervor. One in particular went from outgoing and bubbly to an apostle willing to preach at the drop of a dime. This ended our friendship forever. Another could not operate without the okay from this youth group on anything. Of course some were insane. One fought with me in government class. The issue was abortion. She said, "What if God wanted her to have that baby?" My response was that we were arguing reproductive rights and not the existence of God. Then again, a better response would have been to laugh at that whacko.

It's not like a faith in a higher power helped this population to be happy. They didn't watch certain movies. Some didn't celebrate Halloween. Many were homophobic to the point where years later, I wonder what they were suppressing. A great number were racist, clearly absent for the reading where Jesus spoke about all of his children. One former friend of mine became very entrenched. She entered an abusive sexual relationship with an upperclassman. However she was determined to save me. Despite the fact she got knocked up in high school, she was okay. Apparently she knew Jesus and I didn't.

Because of the pull of this population, we didn't have sex ed. Instead we had speakers coming in telling us to abstain. As a result my high school had one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the area. I once said onstage that in high school I didn't know how to use a condom but knew how to throw a baby in a dumpster. Yes, this is what the word of God has reduced people to, idiots who don't know about their bodies.

This population belonged to several churches in the town. One was a mega church down the street from me where they did Christian counseling and conversion therapy. Another was a splinter sect where a class mate of mine had a fanatical mother attend. She gave the family's savings, and the pastor took it and ran off with a hoochie mama in the parish. Of course then there was the extreme splinter sect who decided the mega church was too secular and met in the high school cafeteria. They couldn't marry outside the circle of thirty people, thus all becoming their own grandpas.

Half way through school we got a new principal. He threw the cult leader out of the cafeteria, and told the teacher he was to discontinue the Bible study. The new principal cited the first amendment, something foreign to these zealots, about how church and state were to be separate. While it made the cult members angry, school was much more tolerable for anyone else with a different belief system. Of course sophomore year they still tried to lure my sister Skipper with a game of frisbee in the guise of Bible Study. However, it was much better than it had been in previous years.

A year after being banished, the cult leader was arrested for molesting several young men he ministered to. Surprise, surprise. Did I mention he was quite homophobic?

Over the years I have met religious people who are nothing but loving. They also understand the Bible. The tale of Sodom and Gomorrah is about kindness to your neighbors and not being greedy, not that LGBTQ people are sinful and evil. Also, they welcome people of all colors into their churches. Their God loves all people, not just those who are white. Also, God doesn't shame people for their sex conduct and knows they make mistakes. And yes anal counts even if you wear a promise ring. I have met people of all belief systems, or lack thereof. Bottom line, just try to be a good person.

I am not saying having faith is bad, it can be a wonderful thing as long as it is coupled with spirituality. My Nunni-Mom's mom-was very into the spiritual side of her Catholic faith. She visited my cousin and sent him presents when he was in jail for holding his girlfriend hostage, a time when many turned their back on him, his own family included. My brother's former high school football teammate ministers to drug addicts in the worst section of Pittsburgh. These are good things. But dogma alone can make a person nuts and devoid of all reality.

What made me think of this was last night I was walking to the train when a woman who was dead behind the eyes said, "Miss, do you know when Jesus is coming? Those who are not saved are doomed to hell." I nodded bilking it. And she proceeded to follow me. When I thought I dodged her and was safely home I saw her again in the station and she began following me again. So I bilked it faster.

 Part of me knew she was clearly mentally ill. The other part of me wanted to say, "Listen freakshow, I grew up with assholes like you. No one, not even the angels in heaven shall know the date, hour, or time. Read the Bible you fucking crack infested, non bathing, scizo, homeless fucktard. Then again, you probably can't read. And trust me, you aren't scary. You are nothing compared to some of the religious assholes I knew growing up."

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

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Lil Moonstruck

Last night was a full moon in New York City. This can be interesting, dangerous, exciting, mystifying, and most of all glorious. It had been a strange kind of day. Woke up with aches and pains. I would have gone kickboxing except I woke up three minutes too late. I was too sore anyway. This weekend I binged in the worst way on diner food. Not to mention the weather here has been crazy. One minute it's hot, next minute it's cold, just like a woman I suppose.

I had planned on an evening in, soaking in my bath. That is when I was called to deliver a singing chicken. So I made my way downtown and called the contact. He said he was in a plaid shirt. Well another guy comes out wearing a plaid shirt and I was like," You Anthony?" He was like, "No, but Anthony was looking for you." I pointed out Anthony was in a plaid shirt. The guy explained they were gay and gay men dressed alike. While as a member of the majority I work to dispel stereotypes, sometimes when people perpetuate them it's hysterical in a way. Anyho, I got changed and they had a sparkling hat for me to wear. So I put it on. I began my routine and they shouted, "Tweark!" So I taught him how to do the birthday chicken tweark. I was awarded a generous tip and left into the night.

As I walked down the sidewalk I saw two adult men racing hot wheels cars. Nothing against those things, we owned a few ourselves. But if you didnt see their makeshift race track your foot and the hot wheel could have crashed together. When I saw this I was thinking, "Is this happening?" And it was. The only thing I could utter was, "My word!" As in, what the freak is going on?!?! Well the hot wheels racing continued as I walked down the street. I told myself the adventure was over. What more was there to come?

Well there was much more.

As I made my way down the street I saw a man with a telescope and people were lined up to look at the full moon. Apparently he usually gathered locals during events where Mercury was in retrograde and Saturn could be seen. The locals at the telescope bragged about how one could see the rings of Saturn. So we lined up and looked at the moon. Let me tell you that thing was bright. It glowed like the night light in my room as a little girl. I remember how safe I felt but when I stared at it for too long I went blind for a minute. After looking at the moon it took a minute for my eyes to adjust. I mentioned to the man it was just so bright I was still reeling. He mentioned it was normal and some people were trying to take pics but it was just one big bright blob on their cameras.

I mentioned to one of the kids in line that I felt like I was trapped in the movie Moonstruck. That is when he mentioned his buddy was obsessed with that movie. The Nicholas Cage character is hot. He is just insane. But he man can cook. Just the way I like them.

Going home I walked through Washington Square Park. The place glowed under the full moon, especially the arches. The fountain also seemed other worldy. Rather than water it looked as if it was sprouting diamonds. I remembered studying in the park, reading in the park, and heck, playing frisbee in the park.

I also remembered several years ago having a manuscript for my first book on my computer. I had just finished it. They told me they were interested in having me on a certain reality show with my puppet children. People were in and out of my apartment to interview me. Usually my cleaning binges were me vacuuming like  a mad woman and either having Moonstruck or Peggy Sue Got Married playing on my youtube as I rushed to throw my clothes in the closet and hoped the cameras wouldnt look under my bed. Did Cher have these problems? I dont know. She's got better hair than mine. That's for certain.

I also remembered growing up, bagging groceries in the supermarket. It was fall I think, and the women in the front end were all planning their evening. They were getting off work, sending their husbands out,and having a hen night because Moonstruck was on. While the rest of the world goes cray cray during a full moon. My city is somewhat special during that time. We are crazy yet we come together. Whether it is a twearking chicken in a sparkling hat, hot wheel races, or looking at the orb through a telescope. Where is Cosmo the Plumber when you need him?

I didn't find him. Instead I went home to read the first draft of my friend's salacious sex memoir she is writing. More on that later.

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

Sunday, September 15, 2013

New York (Alicia Keys)

I love living in New York City. Even when the place gets on my last nerve, there is always something to make me smile. As in, there is some distraction and diversion that makes me say, "Oh it's gonna be alright."

Yesterday I was having brunch with my friend Jenny. A transplant from Dublin, she has a sweet brogue that is reminiscent of ancestors I never met. My great grandmother was one hundred percent, drank like a fish, smoked like a chimney, and loved to gamble. We were having brunch and talking theatre. She is a former stage manager who is now ASMing again at the New York Theatre Workshop (home of Jonathan Larson's Tony), and wants to perhaps be a writer. As we were talking about how she wanted to make a grand return there was this girl who caught my eye. She was across the street. A bigger girl, and I don't say this in a demeaning way cause she was, she was rocking this cute little pokadot dress. What made me look at her was she was dancing. She was bopping to some song and just dancing while waiting to cross the street. The light changed and instead of walking across the street, she danced! I nudged Jenny. "Look!"I pointed. We both started laughing. I just thought, you go girl. I don't know many people of any size who have that much confidence in themselves.

Of course the day before I was Lady Gaga way out there in Queens. I found myself in my ex's old hood which pissed me off I won't lie. Anyway, I ended up delivering to a Raggae label. It was some lesbian drama. You know the old joke about a lesbian relationship: when they are together there is all the conflict in the world. And then when there is no more conflict, you break up. The girl was sweet and I think she made up with her gf which was sweet. Anyway, after my delivery, my mom called. My mom asked, "What is new?" I said, "Well Mom, I am in Queens dressed in a bullet bra and tutu."

And then the day before that I crashed a bagel shop in Queens in a birthday cake outfit. The locksmith around the corner was nice enough to help me get dressed. The whole thing was awesome, especially since people were taking photos.It's the only place in the world where a stranger can help you get dressed and then you crash lunch in your frosting. The trip home was even crazier. This schizophrenic dude or something was on the train. He kept reading all the signs on the train. And then he kept saying that women needed this and that and just wouldn't SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!! We all kept glancing at each other like, "Dear God!" Asians who are the most stoic people on the planet even cracked me the "why the fuck us?" look. And then this Arab dude shot us the same look. And then a white dude. The black dude just gave us all the yikes look as the crazy man kept going. And then I realized the dude was holding a bag of garbage. Welcome to New York.

Of course after getting off the train I saw some girl I hate. She used to perform comedy and was just a negative attention seeker in every way. She lied about her father molesting her in order to get more stage time. Oh and she slept with a variety of more established headliners for spots. I wouldn't have cared except she stole one of my jokes RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME and then just said some evil things about me too. Well I come to find out about a year ago she was diagnosed as borderline personality disorder and that she was heavily medicated. So here she is, walking down the street. She looks like a bag lady who has gained fifty pounds. Her baby blue eye makeup is running off her eyes and her red lipstick off her face. I thought it was pretty funny. I said, "Yes, there is a God." But then I felt bad because she is a clearly troubled person. While I don't care for her, this didn't make me feel good that her life had taken such a turn down the shitter. Suddenly I felt like a bad person.

Then walking through Times Square I high fived a klingon and Darth Vader gave me a hug. That's when I forgot about it and knew everything would be okay

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

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


I am coming off of a rough patch. August was a crazy month in both a good and bad way. A good way because I found myself in the midst of three rewarding projects. A bad way because I saw the disillusion of both a big project and a friendship.

You find out who your friends are when you work with them. My former friend and I well, maybe if we had never worked together we might still be friends. In my line of work when there is an opportunity you need to jump on it. When you don't, you probably will never see it again. It's just the way it goes. Usually in my line of work if you want a personal life three things happen. One, you die alone. There is a building with a lot of older actors around the corner from me and they are all alone. They have their plays, TV shows, stories, and will carry them to the grave. Or maybe you marry fifty times. It's not because you are a bad person, work brings you all over the globe and you keep long hours. Absence never makes the heart grow fonder. And then your exes and kids hate you. Or maybe you get lucky and find someone who understands. But that is like a needle in a stack of needles.

Granted, this is why a lot of people elect to teach. It lets them have stability and a family life. But in doing that they forfeit the adventure and artistic fulfillment of a life without being weighed down. 

At the end the working situation got abusive. It was to the point where I was spending money without impunity and just was losing my mind. Usually I am better with money but at the end of the month it was like, "Shit, how am I gonna pay my rent." God came through and I did it though.

Sunday I did the Ferragosto Festival in the Bronx. I do Commedia del Arte there with a troupe of actors every year. Our leader is from South Africa originally, and she teaches at a local college in Virginia. Once a year she comes up for the festival. I always like doing the festival after a big disappointment. Several years ago, it was after a breakup where I found out a dude totally misrepresented himself. Then it was after another business relationship with a former friend went south over a similar project. While he wasn't lazy, this particular ex friend had a gambling problem and that took his focus away. There is something about putting a mask on, prancing around in tights, and having my photo taken with strangers that lets me know it's all going to be okay.

This year my character was El Capitano Cockadoo. Basically, he was a captain who boasted of feats of strength but when challenged to a duel or any fight he either backs out or lost. I had a few kids kick my ass in the street.

For lunch I had octopus. They make it the best there. I decided just to go for it. Brain food. And eating that octopus made all the difference in the world.

It gave me a second wind in my period costume in the hot sun. It made me realize it was going to be alright. It made me realize that sometimes in life we put our tentacles on things.

Between yesterday and today I finally uploaded my audiobook. Perhaps that octopus paid off.

Maybe that octopus will make my brain work better and faster. Perhaps it will make my dreams come true. Octopuses they say can be psychic. There was one at a zoo that was. And when it comes to signing contracts


But seriously, I know it is going to be okay. The worst of it is over. More good things to come.
I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl

My eight tentacled friend and a good lunch

Friday, September 6, 2013

Coming So Far....

Yesterday was one of those days. It was my first official day back to work after a resting beside my mother's pool. She has waited thirty five years for that thing. Of course this means she is nicer than ever to my dad. It was weird going back home in a way. My yard didn't look the same. When I was a kid I had this sprawling yard that had sort of a tilt on a hill. I had a swing set, rope, parallel bars, hand over hand, and killer jungle gym our parents built. We even had a treehouse.

That was all gone. Built for the pool. Sure my childhood was ripped asunder. However, we now have a pool. That is actually way more awesome than the killer jungle gym if you ask me.

I also went to my old high school where my baby cousin is earning his stripes as water boy. Got to see some of my old teachers. It was cool and kind of bittersweet at the same time. Cool because I have grown up, but bittersweet because yesterday is gone. I went to the mall and was recognized by a girl who had seen me on TV. I tend to get recognized more in New York City. Celebrities are in a higher concentration here as well as Hollywood than the rest of the world. It was neat to get recognized though. She said she was familiar with my work. The kid was about sixteen or so. I remember being her age and dreaming of being on TV, writing a book, doing all the things I am doing now. It is so cool and strange to be doing them for realz.

I am also doing a book talk at the Barnes and Noble in South Hills Village. I used to go there as a kid and get lost in the shelves. Now my book is on their shelf. It's kind of crazy how these things just happen. I remember my parents used to have to pry me out of there. The great part about the book shelves is that is where a weird misfit like myself could feel safe. Now I have a book there. My book is also in my local library too. When I was a kid I used to doggy ear the pages of my books. Librarians and book sellers lost their minds with me, shoving book marks in my collection. After writing one I understand. You treat that book with respect. Someone worked long and hard to write it. I saw a friend doggy eared my pages. I remember leaving his house and was so agitated I called another friend. My friend said, "It's a show of love." I couldn't get passed it. So now I use a book mark and encourage others to do so. Doggy erring the pages damages them. Maybe I need to get over myself. I don't know. On one hand, I have a whole new respect for the Nazi librarian. She really does care for books and respects authors. On the other hand, I am becoming self important and annoying.

Yesterday was kind of crazy in a cool way. After being given a wrong address for a telegram, I sped uptown to get to the correct place. I cursed God for steering me wrong. He didn't seem to take offense as I swore my head off. When I got there it was one of the best deliveries I had done in a while. The people were GREAT! I can say I am blessed to have the job and work for the boss I do. He is so cool. Of course they asked for business cards too which was neat.

As I left hitting the sidewalk, I saw a young man selling comedy tickets. That is the worst job in the world in my opinion. You have people saying terrible things to you and then expect you to be funny on the spot. Some of the clubs in the city make you lie and say people who have been on "HBO and Comedy Central." Yeah, either as extras or they watched it at home. Translated, they are selling you fake credits. It's not their fault. It's the greedy club owners. I know because I have done it. So usually when they approach me I actually stop and talk to them. I have been in their shoes in the worst of weather. I know that pain. This is how the conversation between me and the kid happened:

Me: What club you work for?

Kid: (Random Comedy Club in New York)

Me: Oh performed there millions of times. As a matter of fact I have worked with some of these guys.

I point to the folder

Me: As a matter of fact, Judah Friedlander is one of the nicest dudes in comedy.

Kid: Really, the guy from 30 Rock?

I shake my head

Me: Oh yeah, funny and down to Earth.

Kid: Wow.

Me: He's like Jeff Foxworthy. Who by the way is the nicest guy in comedy. I got to work with him once and he was so cool. I mean, granted, I wagered no opinion on him but after working with him I was like wow, he is so cool. I am a fan just cause I like the dude.

Kid: You are famous, aren't you?

Me: Eh, I've been around.

Kid: You look really familiar. I know I have seen you on TV. I have, haven't I?

I nod. In the back of my mind, I want this kid to give this memo to my bank statement. Apparently, my financials have no idea how famous I am. Neither does my landlord because As Seen on TV, no matter how beautifully written on the rent check, will not do. So I put my finger to my lips like, "Shhhh...."

Kid: Sorry to be weird. But I know I have. Can you take off your sunglasses please?

I lift my sunglasses.

Kid: HOLY SHIT I HAVE SEEN YOU ON TV! Look, I don't mean to be weird, but can I have an autograph? I will add it to my collection. This is soooo cool!!!!!

I nod. I pull out one of the post cards for my book. I ask the typical autograph questions and sign it.

Me: Buy my book kid. Great to meet you.

Kid: Thank you! This is amazing! You have no idea!

No kid, you have no idea. You have no idea how many times I have wanted to turn back. How many times I have wondered what the hell I was thinking coming to a city where I knew no one to pursue a pipe dream. How many times I wondered if living in a shoebox and slugging it out treading the poverty line was worth it as my high school chums married, had kids, and had the dream home. You have no idea how many times as a kid I would dream about being so famous someone would ask for my autograph. You have no idea how cool this is for me. And how I will hold onto this moment when the bills come in the mail dragging my white ass back to reality. Yes, this is amazing, and you have no idea.

When I got home of course I spoke to my mother who is organizing my book talk. Also made some web pages for some projects and checked on other things. She said to make a list of all the things I am doing. Also back to musical land. My mom suggested I invite some of my old high school teachers to my book talk. It will be great to see them. Also, it would be great to let them know what I am doing with my life. Mr. Youngs would like to know I wrote a book. Mr. Kuczawa would like to know about some of the things I am doing with music, such as writing a musical. Dave Cable would like to know I am working as an on camera host again. Perhaps Mr. Beutzow and Mrs. Nogar will turn out. And I know the spirits of Mr. Teitz and Mrs. Reid will also be in attendance.

As I spoke to my mother I realized it had been forever since I had been onstage. All the other projects have distracted me. For as much as I have a love/hate relationship with the art form it's made a lot of what I am doing now possible. I have to start chasing spots again, cause people are chasing me to be a part of their shows.Not to mention I still have a long way to go so it is useless to rest on my laurels.

 Because once upon a time, I was twenty years old standing in Times Square begging people to come see my show. Every once in a great while, I would see someone who is in the position I am these days. I would watch them in awe hoping to be them someday. I would hope to get a look from that established comedian as I endured hours of torment from passerbys with a life just for five minutes onstage. Sometimes they were nice, sometimes they were jerks. I hoped in my heart I would be one of them though. Part of me knew my hard work would pay off, but there was always that tinge of doubt. As I thought of signing my chicken scratch for that kid, I remembered how hard I worked and continue to work. I remembered how scary it was to leave home and go for it. I remember thinking how cool it would be to have an autograph seeker. I'm not worried. I know my financials will catch up one day.

Just as the memory flashed through my mind, I made myself some dinner. In contrast to the nourishing food I grew up with, it was the vodka sauce, random lunch meat, and cheese recipe I came up with on a whim. Then I realized that I had forgotten how to cook.

Sigh, you can't have everything.

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

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Unhooking The Stars

When one is young and they have a room for an infant, they install a mobile in the crib. I remember I had one when I was that age. It had moons and stars. They fascinated me so much that I would just tug at them. I pulled off the moon. Then I pulled off a few of the stars. And then one day the whole mobile came crashing down. Maybe this was foreshadowing the fact I would be so ambitious.

Or maybe sometimes it is symbolic of how something so beautiful and so perfect can be destroyed by humans.

Most recently, I had a huge falling out with a friend and co-collaborator. We were doing big things. We were writing, getting ready to film a television pilot, the wheels were turning. I ended up sort of a part of his circle of friends. He became like a brother friend, and I hadn't had one since my friend Joe who sadly passed a little over two years ago. I also really liked his fiance. I was like new friends, "YIPEE!!!"

So we started working together and it all seemed good. Out of the projects I had under my belt this was the closest I was to being on a time line. I was set. The wheels were in motion. We were booking the spaces, making the outlines, booking the guests. And then he had an announcement. He was honeymooning in Hawaii.

Granted, he was getting married. So he was unavailable to begin with sometimes. Then when he announced he was honeymooning in Hawaii it meant suddenly he was saving his money and wanted everything for free. Free and New York City aren't the same thing. I felt like I was being pushed around as at first I scouted out discount space and then when asked to split it with me he insisted I pay EVERYTHING. What was worse was that he sat back, barked orders, and then insisted I do all the work. When not done to his specifications, he would bark more orders. When I tried to make him a part of things he was busy at his spinning class. Tensions were running high. That was the understatement of the century.

Nothing with this whole thing was coming together either. As time went on, I began having anxiety attacks. The bullets on his end turned from professional to personal. I was a man hater for being a strong woman instead of the pedigreed princesses he believed all women should be. I was a Simon Legree because God forbid I make him do his share of the work. Last Thursday everything came crashing down. I got us a good deal on a space and apparently it wasn't good enough. It resulted in us cussing each other out via text. From there, he disfriended me on facebook, disfollowed me on twitter, and of course went the extra mile to subtract me as an admin from a page with mostly my followers. The falling out hurt. I won't lie. The only thing I did was demand someone do what they were supposed to do and treat me fairly. Nevermind he was so manipulative and demanding I could barely eat and lived on ginger ale

I miss having a big brother friend and the friendship we had. However, I don't miss him putting down every little idea I had and insisting I had issues with men that weren't there. Yes, all men want is sex. Most dudes can be honest. Why can't you? Plus don't you think it's a little creepy that you tell people if you weren't marrying what's her face that you would be with me?

As for his fiance, I really liked her. I thought she was a decent person. I think she was desperate to get married and have a baby. Her plans would have thrown us off course if she had gotten knocked up. I think she settled and could do so much better. But on the flipside, I don't know how good of friends we could have been. She has been planning her wedding since she was five and expects the dude to pay when he takes her to dinner. I am on the other side of the spectrum. I don't need a guy and I don't care. Actually, I spend most of my time making fun of women like that.

Overall, I think I will be fine. I have some other neat projects. One being a musical. Two others being awesome. And the third being my audiobook which should be up by next week.

I guess the loss of a friendship hurts. But being worked to death and used hurts much more. I am glad things didn't go forward. It could have only ended badly, and we would have spent a lot of money. There is a part of me that says he can enjoy knowing that everytime we went out, people always recognized me from television. There is another part of me that feels maybe I could have done things differently. But there is a third part of me that may never know.

Either way in the end it was a collision of instincts and knowing that sometimes a dreamer and a doer cannot play together that was the lesson of the day.

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

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Sparkle Motion

I came home for the first time in forever this past weekend. Things had been a hippin and a hoppin in The Big Apple and let me just say I needed a bit of a rest. So I spent Labor Day weekend crashing by my mother's pool and chillin with the grandparents.

Friday night I found myself back at my old high school though. It was Friday night lights. Both football teams were on the field and everyone was ready. After all, this is Western, PA. Of course anyone who is anyone is there from the mayor on down. The school board superintendent was there along with the school board publicity person. This is just the start of fall. The start of football weekends. The start of the half time shows good and bad.

Our home team was winning. My baby cousin was on the field working as a water boy on the field earning his proverbial wings. All was well in the little hamlet outside of the Steeler Nation. That is when the home team's band began the half time show. You figure their football team sucked. Maybe their band will rock it out. At first it started out innocently enough. I always cut them some slack because they are kids. Granted, I live in NYC, where we have the greatest talent pool ever. They began their set with some lackluster eighties song and went downhill from there. When the band and football team suck, at least there is always the closing number, right?

Dead wrong.

When the band announced their closing number, I expected them to prove me wrong. Blow me out of the water. That is when they announced they would be performing "Ode to Joy." The band absolutely butchered this classic by the great Beethoven. To add insult to injury, their drill team did this terrible dance rendition to it. They were out of sync with each other. The girls were leaping at different times and even Stevie Wonder could see that they were off. Then the baton twirlers kept dropping their batons. Then one girl dropped a flag.

I kept thinking,"It is Friday night, you are in the spotlight. Get it together or get off the stage."

Of course I also pictured poor Beethoven, who had long suffered his entire life. He had been overshadowed by the more handsome, more commercially successful, but albeit 17th century hack Mozart. Not to mention he was so poor and desperate that while on a walk home in the rain he grabbed a pen off of Shubert's grave. Then lest we forget his father beat him until he mastered the piano. And then he lost his hearing and died in poverty. Now this man who suffered so much was stabbing himself in the head with the pen he stole from Shubert in the afterlife. Oh the horror! As I pictured the poor aggrieved composer I remembered a line from Donny Darko that surmised this series of events best:

"Sometimes I doubt your commitment to sparkle motion."

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