Saturday, August 30, 2014

Up To Now.....

When I was 21, I was exiting out of a horrific relationship. It was nearly this time eight years ago. I still remember getting the phone call. His voice was frightening, frantic. My ex begged me to take him back. I had left the relationship. Everything was wrong with us as a couple. We were physically violent towards each other, and the arrangement was mutually abusive.

The ex made me give up the one thing I loved most, my puppets. I didn't know what else to do. I was 21, and maybe I was getting too carried away with them. I still did comedy, but lacked that thing that made me myself. Not to mention I stayed hidden from friends and all else during what was supposed to be one of the most vital times in my life. I made my world very small, because I didnt want the people who were close and cared about me to know what was really going on. These days, as I let details eek, it usually upsets them quite a bit knowing that perhaps this could have and should have been stopped.

I remember my ex begging me to take him back. There was a part of me that wanted to go. I didn't know what life on the outside without him would be like. Would anyone ever love me again? Maybe we could work it out this time. I was eating, as opposed to before when I wasn't. We both swore we wouldn't drink together, a deadly combo. We talked. He told me he was sleeping with an ex of his who was working as a hair dresser abusing heroin. I knew this girl, she had tried to worm her way into our lives and get me out of the picture. Yeah, the trash pit. Looking back, her self-worth was worse than mine. She knew he still wanted to be with me, yet she was still sticking around. These days I pity her.

"I couldn't go back to something that ugly." My ex explained.

Weeks later, ironically, she sent me a letter telling me she wanted to shoot me. If only she had known about this conversation. I think the bullet might have gone a different direction.

I told my ex maybe he could move to New York, because his sponging had brought him down to North Carolina. We could work it out, play house and live with his Pops in Brooklyn. That is when he said the words that still stick with me. "If I see you I will kidnap you. That way no one else can have you and I won't ever lose you again."

That is when I knew I could never go back and had to keep going. I did. I made it my business to bust my ass as a comedian, and brought my puppets out of the trunk. As I cleaned my life up, I found opportunities presenting themselves because of my puppetry skills. When I was 23, I performed in a show produced by a former reality television star. I not only did all the puppets, but also did the voices. The following year I connected to a puppetry guild. Then the year after that, I produced a piece, somewhat of a disaster, with all puppets. Oh and then I made some puppet short films as well. And then I was a part of a weekly puppet show for children in Long Island City after that.

From there, I began performing ventriloquism once again in comedy clubs. I mixed it in with my standup. These days I make sure both are solid. Some is to give the audience a different, all around experience. Some of it is also to show I can do a set if a club doesn't book an act like mine. And if the club doesn't book an act like mine, it's their loss.

I also started doing shows for kids, something I had dreamed of doing since I was a teenager. I performed at several puppet festivals, and even several high end corporate functions. It was always a nice feeling knowing I made children happy. It also was cute whenever they either thought my puppets were real, or cracked the code by screaming, "YOU'RE MAKING THEM TALK!!"

This past summer, I was blessed to do a project with the Harvard Film Lab called The Breakup. I did the puppet work for Mortimer. It was an all day shoot where I got wet because it was filmed in the bath tub. This week, I got news our film moved to the second round of Project Greenlight, yes the Ben Affleck and Matt Damon brain child. We went from a pool of a few thousand films to a mere 200. While there is still more to be revealed, we made it past peer review which is a big deal.

I also fulfilled another dream, releasing a DVD. My DVD is now streaming online as of this week. We are working out some kinks, my webmaster and I, but I am grateful to have him on my side. It is called Broke and Semi-Famous. This contains the mixture of standup and ventriloquism I spoke about. These days I also crack jokes about the ex who used me as a punching bag, nearly made me give up the thing I love most, isolated me from my family, and wanted me dead. By laughing I win.

In a week or two, I will release a music video with you guessed it......puppets.

There is a lot of uncertainty in my world at the moment. I don't know what is next. There have been emails about possible opportunities my way. Or they have let me know I am in the running. No yeses yet. Not to mention things might or might not or Dear God lets not go there....

My stomach goes tight. This has been the past several years of my life. My puppet children and myself. My trunk that weighs as much as I do. What if these things don't happen? Maybe I will get old and be a failure.

Then I remember I am not a failure. I escaped hell with a mere brush burn, and kept going. I had a goal that kept me from going back. There are those that are not so lucky. My goals have not only made me a better woman, but they have kept me alive. Had I gone back, I have a feeling I would be dead. I do have a different mailing address so the man can never find me. The rewards I reap from my hard work, dedication, an willingness to show up are simply cherries on top of the proverbial cake. Not to mention I do what I love despite the adversity the world sometimes throws my way. I am not a failure. Rather, I am a champion.

Yeah, puppets have been good to me. I will still continue to be their mother. This fall I turn 30.....eeek. It is bad news for some women in show business. However, I write and work with puppets. It doesn't matter how old I am. I can do those things until the day I die. Add in that ironically, I look a lot better than I do when I was 21. I eat well and regularly. Don't drink. And would never dream of touching a speed based diet supplement. Coffee is my only vice. I exercise regularly, and am ageless. I look better and am wiser, perfect combo.

This dark spot in my life is far behind me, but I keep it close to my heart reminding myself things could have been drastically different. Those days I had real problems. These days I have luxury problems. May Wilson lost her shoe. Sweetie Pie Kincaid needs an upgrade. Snap Dragon, we need to work on that routine.....

Off I go.

Check out my DVD Broke and Semi-Famous

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Flamboyant (The Pet Shop Boys)

I was having a conversation the other day with a friend of mine, Melvin. The child of two Broadway actors, Melvin makes his living as a projectionist. Growing up around the theatre, Melvin was kind of gun shy seeing his parents ebb and flow in the stability department. This past summer, genetics kicked in and the acting bug bit Melvin hard. One thing people talk about when they discourage a loved one from entering show business is the financial instability of the profession. However, they don’t talk about the other draw back. The people.

We were discussing the myriad of characters we met that chase the dream. Actually characters is a generous word. A lot of people we meet along the way are swimming in a sea of character defects. Perhaps that is more apt. The people we have encountered have been cursed with a variety of mental illnesses that masqueraded under the label of dramat. Then there have been those egomaniacs without the credentials to back themselves up. Oh, and then there are those small time producers and directors who not only force would be actors to slave in the salt mines, but are also incredibly abusive. Add in small time bringer show producers who work aspiring comedians to death, draining them of energy and friends in order to have audience for their craptacular escapade. Lest we not forget the sleaze baggers occasionally met on craigslist, who try to fenegel sexual favors or nude pictures out of female talent. Oh, and then those overdramatic dramatics. Yes, the ones where all the world is a stage, we are merely players, but they didn’t get our rewrite where their annoying asses walked into traffic and did the world a favor and got run down by  mac truck. Welcome to show business, ladies and gentlemen.

As we talked about the anti-talent we met along the way, two women came to mind. One is an aging actress who has been in the business for sometimes whom I will call Nancy. She actually has an MFA from American Conservatory Theatre, same place Denzel Washington graduated from. However, she doesn’t have Denzel’s career and frequently talks about how untalented he is. She also name drops pretty frequently about people she knows and people who she has worked with. Then she talks about how all of them have screwed her over in some way. According to her, Amy Heckerling stole her idea for Clueless. Well she is delusional and clueless, because Amy Heckerling would probably say, “Nancy who?”

Anyway, Nancy is closer to 50 but still lies and says she is 25-30 on her age range. When she strolls into auditions, she wears clothes designed for my college aged baby cousins. It is awkward because she is trying too hard to be young and sexy. Instead of being believable, Nancy is more desperate and sad than a Greek Tragedy. On her face she wears layers of kiddie makeup, but it can’t hide the crows feet. Usually, the role goes to someone age appropriate. Someone who not only is more grounded in reality, but more believable. Once, Nancy lost a commercial to a 22 year old. I heard her thunder on the phone outside the theatre, “HOW COULD THEY GIVE THE ROLE TO HER! SHE CAN’T EVEN ACT! SHE DOESN’T HAVE MY TRAINING! SHE WENT TO A COLLEGE IN NEBRASKA!”

I have worked with Nancy on a few occasion, and each has been a nightmare. Once, she came in late to a rehearsal and her hair was still wet from the shower. Not only did she arrive in a tardy, diva like fashion, but she had a crazy story to go with it. Apparently, her landlord, a Chinese man who was spying on her through the hole he drilled in her wall, was trying to kill her. Another time, I was cast in a reading with McMess and Nancy again arrived late. Not only did she come in with a horror story about how her new roommate was trying to smother her in her sleep, but she forgot her script. On both occasions I performed with her, she has been like dead wood onstage. From being unfocused and unprepared, not all the connections and training in the world could make this smoldering pile of calamity a star.

However, over time I have met others who have worked with her. Our shared Nancy experience has bonded us, and as a result we have become friends. It has been sort of like a POW experience for those in NYC Comedy Theatre. Through this accidental Nancy network, I have gotten auditions and even booked some legit work. Perhaps she was good for some things.

The other that comes to mind is a woman who is a star fucker. Yes, she is using the casting couch, throwing out her back. May Wilson and I joke about it onstage. This chick whom I will call Melissa does it for real, though. Melissa was a hot property in Chicago where she originally started. A raven haired beauty, she worked with such top notch regional theatres like Steppenwolf. Once, I saw her acting reel and was rather unimpressed. Yeah, she was alright. Yet how was she getting some of the roles she was. Her choices weren’t spectacular, and not to mention she was being out acted by those around her. Then a friend of mine who knew Melissa once upon a time explained that rather than master her craft and use her beauty as the cherry on the top, she became a temptress sleeping her way to some of the best roles the Windy City had to offer. Apparently, Ms. Melissa made a career out of dating casting directors and playwrights in residence. As a result, she got several roles that probably should have gone to a more chaste, slightly more homely, but ultimately more talented actress.

This new upset me, and I told my friend to stop with the horrid rumors. However, during a cocktail mixer Melissa showed up with her latest squeeze, an indie screenwriter. She also bragged about dating a respected playwright and confessed to blowing her way to several roles. I was floored. Melissa was a fucking pig, and a dumb one that that. She tried the same tricks in New York, but they wore thin when things ended horrifically with the screenwriter. Then she moved on to leading men. One was earning his stripes on Broadway and in film. Melissa, who was starting to gain some traction as an actress in New York, latched onto her man’s contacts and even got a few nice walk on roles, and  a meaty role in an indie film he wrote and produced.

Well Mr. Leading Man liked Melissa, but his focus was his career and he was content just to live with her. Melissa, on the other hand, saw him going to the stars and saw the roles she wanted. Mr. Leading Man was in no hurry to commit. So Melissa had the bright idea to go off her birth control. She would saddle him with child, and that way he would be trapped with her. That way, he couldn’t escape and he would have no choice but to keep making introductions to further her career.

The plan backfired on poor Melissa. She didn’t think it through. Children require time and energy, and friends will only do you so many favors as you pass your crying infant on so you can chase your pipe dream. Not to mention she wasn’t sleeping a whole lot, and being a mother doesn’t allow you to visit the nail salon and Sephora store as much as you need to. On top of that, Melissa forgot that when you have a baby, you gain weight. It takes nine months to put on, and at least nine months to burn off. Never much of an exerciser, Melissa had a hard time shaking off the maternity pouch. Adding to her troubles, she actually gained more weight, packing nearly 60 pounds on her once svelte, seductive frame. Oh, and the hair color and cut she had, a mix of salon and self-centeredness, was now a mere mousy brown. The looks faded as well, and she finally resembled the ugly troll on the outside that she was within. Mr. Leading Man did try to get her introductions, but she looked like hell and had marginal acting talent. Who wants that?

Finally, Mr. Leading Man decided that while he liked being a father, he didn’t want to be in a relationship with her. The split was nasty, and he is now married to a costar of his who is quite nice. While I know neither well, when they see me they always say hello and compliment me on my puppet skills. Selfless, they have always tried to assist me when they could. However, Melissa these days is almost unrecognizable. She sneers whenever she sees me, and always has a scowl that has become her fixed facial expression. Melissa played dirty, and she got thrown in the mud. Looks like the star fucker got fucked.

As I thought of Nancy and Melissa, judging them in the most painful and bitchy way for these antics that tested the patience of those around them, my nineteen year old self came to mind. I still see her, too much makeup. So much so that the bright, blood red probably taken from the road kill she got the shade from melted off her face in Courtney Love-esque fashion. I was high strung, and sometimes said crazy things and did crazy things to get attention. Everything in my life was a constant 10 on the scale of 1 to 10. Some people thought my antics were funny. Others were annoyed. Some were oblivious and had other things to do. I was dramatic. I was a theatre major. This was New York damnit.

Underneath the strange makeup and wardrobe choices was a gnawing anxiety. Sure, I had gotten into NYU’s acting program. Yet there was a part of me that honestly believed I was an imposter. Maybe they made a mistake. Nevermind my grades had always been excellent and I aced my audition. Perhaps they were just being kind when they let me in, sort of like a charity for the less talented. Some of my insecurity came from the words of an acting teacher who told me I ultimately wouldn’t be an actor but a producer. Later on, I learned this was normal for acting teachers to say this to students who showed academic promise as a way to sort of grandfather them out of the starving artist existence.  She said I proved I could act, but creating would be my strong suit. Never did she say that April Brucker, self-starter, had to stop acting. I let the vibration of her words poison my mind, and now I had to constantly tell everyone how awesome I was.

As a result my world kept spinning at hyper speed leaving me in a constant state of dizziness. I came on too strong, scaring potential friends away. Sometimes I tanked in a class, and it wasn’t lack of talent, it was because everything was spinning so fast I couldn’t focus and access my talent. A lot of the time I was constantly on, constantly entertaining, but constantly lonely. Then I was depressed because everyone around me was so good, and I never felt like I was enough. Plus I missed my family. Yeah, I used to be a mess.
A talk with a teacher changed everything. She had been a pedagogian, and knew students left and right. This woman had my MO. Basically she told me I wanted what I wanted, and I wanted it at that moment. Then she said some words that stuck with me. She said, “The more you expend in life, the more tired you are when you get to the stage.” Bingo, she hit the nail on the head. At that moment, the anxiety began to melt. It took years for this insecurity to melt completely, but it was the start of a positive shift.

The massive layers of makeup decreased. Not only did I look better, but my skin was eternally grateful. I also stopped trying to assure people of how awesome I was. The need to be the constant center of attention decreased, and I began to let others have their moments as well. Not only was I able to make more friends, but I didn’t feel exhausted and drained all the time. My acting and comedy also improved. The notes about connecting and eye contact ceased to be a normal thing. As for the comedy, the more calm I got the more I could connect with any audience. Most people live on a normal reaction scale, and as my scale normalized, I was able to connect with them more.

These days, as I am striving towards my goals, I will admit my public and online persona is outlandish still. Yeah, I have puppets. Sure, I sport costumes. True, my fans are rather vocal. Fact, whenever I have a big show I do diva it up either in a cake costume made by a special designer, or in a dress and shoes with hair fit for Broadway. Whenever I do a photo shoot, the clothes are sexy and somewhat Maxim worthy. My live shows are high energy, and my videos are out there. So yes, I will wear the name tag. Then there are times when I feel like dressing like a peacock, trotting around my damn neighborhood, usually after a shoot because I like my outfit that much.

Yet on the other hand, when I am not performing, it is a t-shirt, ball cap, shorts, and running shoes. I go to the gym, do laundry, and live a life that is kind of mundane. Plus I just need to handle business like cleaning my apartment. Everyone does. Due to my increasing work load and other demands, when I don’t have to be on, I don’t want to be on. A mentor I am working with now emphasizes how important it is not just to be an artist, but a person as well. I get what she means. Fans also appreciate when you are real. It’s because they are real. Together we can all be real. That way I can share my art and my gifts with you as a service, and then we can all run the rat race we are forced in my society together and break the rope as a team.

Aside from all of that I am a daughter, sister, cousin, and friend. My family does shorten my life span, but I love them. It looks as if my sister Skipper will marry in two summers, and I have been designated maid of honor. My datebook will be filled with work, but also appointments at fitters, numbers of venues, and the wedding party phone list. The experience is not only a part of my fabric as a person, but there will probably be a short film or story in there somewhere.

Oh, and I love my friends. They are fun, colorful, and always up to something crazy. In a way it is a relief because I am not the one who is on center stage. No matter what happens, they are truthful and honest with me, but it is because I can live truthfully and honestly.

I still do act and perform obviously. However, I also write and produce my own work. Sure, I cast myself. I dip my hand in many pots and enjoy having many artistic lives. Years later, I realized perhaps my acting teacher was trying to help me because she saw I was “intelligent,” but truth be told she can only suggest. Words are just words if you don’t give them any weight. I know who I am, what I can do, and when it comes to my life and career I can make my own decisions. No one medium contains me, and that is beyond alright.

More than anything in the world, I know who I am. And that person is not only good enough, but she is enough. Whenever I see the small time personalities, whether it be the overdramatic dramaticos or the star fuckers, I laugh. In a way they are entertaining. One thing I have noticed though is most truly successful people in show business are real and grounded in reality. Again, it’s because they know they are enough and these is enough for everyone.

However, I also feel a tinge of pity for the dramatic dramaticos and star fuckers of the world. Had I not calmed down, I could have been joining their party. I also know why they do it. They feel so worthless and so empty that they have to prove themselves to everyone, and in the end they prove nothing. As a result, they live an empty, sad, barren existence. So to them I will say that you should let your talent and hard work alone speak for itself. The world is a stage, but you don’t always have to be the center. Maybe if you become real for a minute, you’ll see it’s not so bad and things will get better.

Then maybe you’ll stop acting, stop chasing bullshit, and realize you are not just good enough, but more than enough.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tale of a Tennis Ball

I was walking down the street after a weekly trip to the post office. It’s part of my Monday ritual, mailing bills and then seeing what else I owe. After being greeted by an empty PO Box I agreed no news was good news. As I made my way down the street, I passed a high rise building. It’s a place where the waiting list is years long, and a great many actors live there. As well, families who have been in the neighborhood forever also reside there. When I pass this establishment, I usually get a pang of envy because they all pay next to nothing in rent. However, the pang usually leaves the second I realize I have another errand to complete.

When I was almost past the building, I heard a chorus of small voices calling. I couldn’t tell where they were coming from. When I looked up, I saw they were coming from the roof top. Just then, I remembered they had a playground next to the health club in the building. The voices, while loud, were also extremely high pitched so the words coming out of their mouths were next to inaudible. Actually, I would have had better luck translating a dog whistle. After about a minute I realized they were speaking to me. “Hey, you! The bushes!” They screamed.

Confused, I looked around. What on Earth was in the bushes? “WHAT’S IN THE BUSHES!!!” I called.
“Our ball is in the bushes!” They informed me, a mix of shriek and panic. That is when I finally realized their crisis. Their tiny worlds had tumbled when they accidentally and errantly tossed their ball off the roof. What were they doing playing with a ball on a roof top playground anyway? Were they aware someone could get hurt? Either way, the universe had anointed me to somehow save the day.

So to the transplanted Manhattan shrubbery I went. From the roof, they gave me the best direction they could in their tiny, high pitched voices. I scanned the greenery, no luck. I searched for about two minutes until I came across a bright, lime green tennis ball. “This it!” I shouted to the roof.

 “YES!” They screamed with glee. I had rescued their ball. As I held it in my hand, I realized how jaded adulthood makes a person. At this moment, the bright, lime green tennis ball was the most important thing in their lives. Sure, they could have probably been prepping for school to start by doing summer reading, or helping a parent with a chore or two. But this ball was crucial, and if they didn’t get it back it would be devastating. For better or worse, I held the key to their happiness.

“THROW IT UP!” They commanded, excited that their ball had not only been rescued from the evil, adult world below, but that they might get the coveted possession back. Yes, the bouncy thing that brought them much joy but brought any adult that encountered it much grief.

With all the strength in me, I tossed the ball to the roof. It bounced off the building and returned. The children let out a painful gasp. Perhaps they were not going to get their ball back after all. Undaunted and not ready to be defeated, they commanded me to try again. I tried and failed I did. If anyone knows me, they know my ball throwing skills suck. Kickball was my thing, and I was mediocre at best when it came to that.
So I came up with a solution, “Maybe one of you could come down and get it from me.” I suggested. It would be better than me tossing the ball, which I had done pitifully.

“We can’t.” The children said. Then it clicked. They were probably allowed to play on the roof as long as they were in calling distance, and if they left the roof they would get in trouble with whatever caretaker they had. This is why they couldn’t retrieve the ball in the first place. While that caretaker should have gotten them a better, safer toy, we were back to square one.

“Get that guy to do it!” The kids instructed as a random man walked by. Decked out in a suit, tie, and designer shades, he was now their savior. I had dropped the ball so to speak. Perhaps feminism lied. Men were still better at some things, and now their happiness rested on his shoulders.

“Excuse me, random dude. These children lost their tennis ball and I have tried to throw it up and failed. Could you perhaps help me?” I asked, feeling odd that I was now passing the mission given to me onto a complete stranger minding his own business.

To my pleasant surprise, the man in the suit took the ball from my hand. Without attitude or a bad word, he tried to toss the ball up to the roof. He too failed. Again, the children wailed miserably. Without their ball, life could simply not go on. Sure, there would be other balls, but in their small and developing world, this game they were playing was what their time and energy revolved around. For a minute, it looked as if all was lost.

Just then, two men sporting Roca Wear walked up. They were the last hope. It was all on them to save the ball for the children. Would they help? Could they do it? Walking up to these two random persons I pleaded, “The kids lost their ball. I have failed to toss it up. Could you please help?” I begged. The young humanoids atop the roof had desperate looks in their teeny eyes. Time was running out.

Like the man in the suit, the men in the Roca Wear didn’t protest. Rather, the one with the afro and comb stuck in his hair took the ball from me. With the tossing power of Mark McGuire minus the steroids he successfully tossed the tennis ball to the roof. The children cheered. This was a victory for all involved.

They had their tennis ball back. “YOU RULE!” They shouted. Within seconds they shook off the misadventure they had, and back to their game they went.

As I went back on my way, I said to the tosser in the Roca Wear, “Thank you, you were a life saver. You have no idea how desperate these kids were. I tried and failed. I cannot toss a ball.”

“No hand eye coordination.” The other dude in Roca Wear said. He had a hat on, opting for the lazy, no comb look.

“None.” We all laughed.

Just then I looked over at his buddy. I noticed that his hand was in a cast. The man who had tossed the ball onto the roof had only one arm technically!!! Both the suit and I had been out tossed by a dude with a handicap!!!!!!

I said, “You were the one to get the ball on the roof and you have one arm.” The two men laughed. What were we to do?

“That’s messed up but it’s true.” The tosser said. We all laughed again and on our ways we went.

The beautiful thing about this story, is that children remind us what is really important. In a crisis adults are so quick to meltdown, but the problem solving skills on the part of these youngsters was amazing. They lost their ball, they didn’t meltdown, and they asked for help until they got what they needed. Also, sometimes life is as simple as tossing a ball and having fun with your friends, it’s people who complicate it. Yes, there are people who will do the right thing for the right reason, even in New York. Of course, when things are busy and one is feeling overwhelmed, they should also take time to help someone else out, especially if they person can’t help themselves.

Sure, these whipper snappers could have invested in a better toy. However, the Tale of the Tennis Ball is a gentle little stick it note from the universe to keep it green.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Matilda Rides Again

Last night my friend Nishu hosted a party. It was a birthday/going away for his girlfriend Hedda. You see, they are still staying together, but before they met Hedda got a job teaching English in Spain. So basically, she landed this employment opportunity and then enter Nishu. The two are going to long distance/skype it. Despite the trepidation and fear of commitment not only on the part of Nishu, but also on the part of Hedda, these two have endured monogamy for six whole months. Knowing Nishu as long as I have, this is the equivalent of 30 years.

Nonetheless, it doesn’t surprise me as I have said before. He’s always been a good, loyal, and caring friend. So it would make sense he would be that kind of partner when the wild streak was out of him and the puzzle pieces clicked.

The evening started out relatively subdued for a Nishu get together. One by one, the usual suspects arrived. Jeanie and I were some of the first, helping Nishu and Hedda to prepare. It’s appropriate, because not only have we grown the closest to Hedda, but hung out with Nishu on the regular to begin with. Plus Nishu is our neighbor. Jeanie is another telegrammer at Broadway Singing Telegrams, and yes, she brought the chairs and some of the booze.

After some prep for the party-theme Thanksgiving in August-entered Vlad. Born and raised in the former Yugoslavia, he is an architect of some sort. Every Nishu party requires a weird, quiet, creepy guy. This man fit the bill. On his person he wore Alphine shorts, circa 1938, as seen on both Hitler and Rolf from the Sound of Music. Apparently they were the fad before the building of the Berlin Wall. Apparently he was a friend of Marcurio’s. Yes, Marcurio who had one date there at the last gathering and called another to collect on the blow job he had been promised. That Marcurio.

Then came Jessi. She is our friend who works in film and television production. I hadn’t seen her since Nishu moved from his old apartment on the East Side. She knew many of the characters Nishu had tossed aside, many of those fast and whacky women, before the arrival of Hedda. We all agreed Hedda had been the metaphorical Xanax Nishu needed in his life. Yes, while there was skype, it made me sad that this woman who made the playboy a real human man was going to be an ocean away.

As Jessi and I chirped about what she had been up to, she informed me her crazy roommate Prestina moved out. Yes, Prestina. Oh gosh. As we spoke about Prestina, Keeley entered. A makeup artist/activist, Keely is always at the edge of the latest political conspiracy. Earlier this year, she was homeless and living in a storage elevator. Now she was living with Bobby, Nishu’s friend from the old days, the playboy life he has slowly eased out of over the last several months. Although they were friends, Nishu has never been keen on Bobby. Actually, like the rest of us he’s nice to Bobby because Bobby has this boat we like to use. Yes, the friend that has the possession we all like a turn on, but we don’t necessarily like the person. It’s like the sorority member no one can stand, but she has rich parents and an awesome vacay home in Cancun.

Anyway, Bobby and Keeley have been roommates for the past several months. In a stream of drama that has included each calling the cops on each other several times, the latest is that Bobby has stolen her check she got from a makeup job she was doing. Keeley lamented that life had gotten so low after two years in eviction court that she was forced to live with Bobby. Of course, Bobby called the police on Keeley when she moved in, and in turn Keeley called the cops on Bobby after a fight they got in. They are due in court in three weeks. Keeley is unsure whether or not she wants to press charges, but the district attorney is pressuring her. Meanwhile, Bobby is trying to kick Keeley out, but won’t because he is a slob, Keeley is a neat freak, and he doesn’t have to splurge on maid service. So depending on whether she gets kicked out or not, this man is due in domestic violence court. Insert The Odd Couple theme music.

The party seemed rather calm, and Keeley looked great. Of course, Marcurio entered. He informed us Sandra, the girl who had been his date during The Night of the Living Blow Job (For story read here She had sent him a text informing him she left the gathering because she was uncomfortable and would not be seeing him again. Sandra texted Marcurio the following words, “Have a good life.” That is woman lingo for go fuck yourself, I hope you get cancer, are uninsured, and die slowly and horribly.

Without missing a beat and wanting happiness to happen at his party, Nishu casually mentioned Matilda, the Croatian Cleopatra who had philanthropically offered Marcurio a free blow job, would be attending the gathering. Sandra was out of the picture, and Marcurio seemed hopeful. Then Nishu bit his lip. Matilda was bringing a date. Would this stop her? Matilda was owned by no man or master. Who would this gentleman caller be anyway?

The news was hitting the wire and we were all curious. I just wanted to see how the evening would pan out. Hedda meanwhile invited some of her work friends from New Haven, where she lives and is employed as a pastry chef. Her skills were making themselves apparent as we ate the food she so lovingly cooked. I can’t cook so hats off to her. Within a few minutes, her friends arrived. While not as whacky and eccentric as those Nishu associates with, they are colorful and outgoing enough that they fit within the fabric of our group without incident.

We chatted, and Jennika, Hedda’s roomie and best friend filled me in on the happenings in her life. I had not seen Jennika since her birthday. Yes the one where Jeanie and I sang, and she thought we were lesbian strippers. As we chatted about Jennika’s cat pants and looked at the body art she had on her arm, there was a loud noise. Matilda and her gentlemen caller had arrived. Making an entrance, Matilda looked as if she could take over the Hudson River. Standing nearly six feet tall, her black hair with a red tint was cut in a blunt style, and she wore a black, backless top. With her was a man who despite it being summer was dressed in full biker gear, and had long hair and mannerisms like he had escaped from an 80s metal band. Yes, I suppose there is a pot for every lid.

“We got you some presents.” Matilda said to Hedda in her thick, Eastern European accent. “And excuse our lateness, we have been drinking all day.” She handed a cat of nine tails to Hedda and explained this was to be used on Nishu to keep him in line. Matilda also invested in a penis ice cube tray. While completely outrageous, the gesture was thoughtful.

“TIME TO PARTY!” The man in the biker gear exclaimed. But as the night wore on, I realized him shouting an exclaiming was just him speaking. That is when he high fived Nishu and semi arm wrestled him. The dude was pretty built, so he almost snapped Nishu’s arm off. As the music blasted, this rather wound up date to Matilda walked over to Nishu and began to dance to the music with the host of the party. As they danced, the heavy metal biker dude began to do a semi-grind, semi-dry hump on our unwitting friend. Usually the ring master, Nishu had completely lost control of the circus.

As Nishu turned redder and redder, the heavy metal biker dude exclaimed, “MAN, I DON’T DO HOMO! NO HOMO!”

We all pretty much could not contain our laughter at this point. As a matter of fact, my sides completely hurt that’s how hard I was laughing. Finally, I decided it was time to introduce myself. “I’m April.” I said extending my hand.

“MY NAME IS AUGUST 3, 1963. NICE TO MEET YOU!” He exclaimed shaking my hand in the same manner he had Nishu.

Then the man commanded at his same loud volume, “YOU HAVE TO SAY SOMETHING COOL!”
“By the Power of Gray Skull…” I said summoning my inner nerd, not knowing what to do now that I was thrust in this situation. Granted, the party had been calm up until this point. He Man always worked, right?

“The power of Christ compels you.” My friend Jessi piped in as she nursed her red wine. I was wrong, He Man sometimes failed but The Exorcist always worked.

So the man in all leather and I shouted in unison, “THE POWER OF CHRIST COMPELLS YOU! THE POWER OF CHRIST COMPELLS YOU!” Translated, this was now a typical Nishu party, and no God or group of Gods could save us now.


Just then the heavy metal biker dude and paramour to Matilda got out his cat of nine tails. He offered to spank me. I decided to go for it, test out the new toy my friends would be using later. So he swatted me. Ouch. I got up. He said, “MAN YOU ARE A SOFTIE!” The party roared in excitement. The noise level had just gone up about a gazillion decibels. I was whipped twice more, before retiring and letting someone else take a turn. Either way, I was now laughing so hard soda was coming out of my nose. The night was incredible on so many levels.

As the party roared on in full force, the heavy metal biker dude informed Nishu he had been married for 18 years, was divorced, and all he wanted to do was party. Matilda then joined the circle. She told me while the heavy metal biker dude and she were friends, she he wasn’t her boyfriend per se so she could still give Marcurio his blow job. Matilda’s love life was quite complicated. Out of sheer curiosity she slept with a black dude, but found that while she liked him as a person she was not a fan of the sex. Same with her lesbian experience. She was also still semi-homeless depending on the day. That is how she met the heavy metal biker dude, doing laundry in a place she occasionally lived. It didn’t make sense to me, but it made sense of her. Hey, who am I to judge?

During the whole exchange, the candles melted in an odd fashion. In my mind, they looked like the labia of Jenna Jameson, but Jeanie had a mind less in the gutter. She said they looked like Mick Jagger’s lips. Jeanie put the two candles together, and Hedda, Matilda, Jessi, the New Haven friends and myself began to sing “Satisfaction.” The heavy metal biker dude entered adding his own sound effects. Hey, I wasn’t anticipating a sing-a-long but what the heck.

Just then, the dude in the biker gear began to recite some verses. He opined, “GIRLS, GIRLS, GIRL, GIRLS OF THE WORLD…..”and began to move in a rhythmic fashion. At first I was not sure what was going on. Was he attempting a poetry slam? We all laughed because it was funny, but we were also confused. He swayed his body slowly to the beat of his own drum, the one he lived his life by. Just then, during his slam he slowly and seductively said, in the direction of Matilda, “Talk Dirty to Me.”

Believing he meant the Poison song, we began our sing-a-long once again. Like he had before, the heavy metal biker dude added sound effects. After which he went inside to do something, I don’t know what and didn’t want to ask. Matilda then followed. None of us had gotten his name, only a guess. Because he was someone who shouts when he speaks, sometimes things are lost. Nishu believed his name was Ren. Jessi had heard Ken. Jeanie thought it was Ken or Ben but was not sure. Either way, we could hear him talking from the other room.

As the deck quieted, Keeley began to tell me more about the drama that living with Bobby entailed. Apparently, Bobby was working less as a porn producer these days and more of a pimp. He was outsourcing one of the young women who was tied up and eating an apple in the last film he made. Said young woman had stolen some of Keeley’s jewelry because she thought she would look better turning tricks in it. Wanting her jewelry back, Keeley had gone over the John’s house to retrieve it. However, the John was having none of it and pimp slapped Keeley like one of his hos. Adding insult to injury, she hurt her back when she fell while secretly living in a storage elevator.

There was no more time for Keeley’s problems, because she as she poured her heart out Ren/Ken/Ben came out and was leading a dance line. Pharrell’s “Happy” was playing. “CONGO LINE!” He snapped his fingers commanding I get up.

 And that I did. In the congo line in addition to myself were Jessi, Hedda, Jeanie, and some of Hedda’s New Haven friends. The congo line stopped in Nishu’s living room and we all played Paddy Cake as the song grooved on. We were jumping up and down, having fun, and laughing.

 Just then Ren/Ken/Whatever His Name was lifted me up. “YOU’RE JUST A TERADACTYL!” He remarked as I squawked in surprise. Sure, I’m teeny, but random heavy metal biker dudes should give me a heads up when they lift me.

As I was being lifted Nishu entered and shouted, “WATCH OUT!” I looked up. My head was only inches from the fan, and I was inches from being beheaded. I had a great uncle get beheaded in a storage elevator as an idiot kid sticking his head out. Now I had narrowly avoided the same idiot headed fate. Still, I would have died while having a blast. As this was going on, Nishu’s parents of course face timed from India. Oh timing….Sigh McSigh Sigh.

Meanwhile, on the deck Jennika had brought a joint. After a long day making food for the rich Yalies, she was entitled to a creature comfort. It worked out of course, because Matilda had also brought a joint. The smell of weed wafted through the air, and Nishu commanded those sparking up to the smoking area. It was sort of déjà vu to college, except no one was stuffing a towel under the door, and no Nazi RA was roaming the hall. Jeanie, Keeley, Nishu, and another random stranger sat out the pot smoking. Weed has never been my thing. Plus I hate the pungent odor this plant has, and I hate how it dumbs people down. And then there is the added distain because a lover I had to let go self-medicated with it instead of taking his much needed bipolar meds.

As the five of us sat down, Nishu leaned in. “We have to quiet this guy down. He is super loud.” The host of the party shared worriedly.

 “I’m worried they’re gonna call the cops for noise. And they’re smoking weed.” I said in a tone barely above a whisper. “Let’s not everyone get arrested at once.”

“Exactly.” Nishu nodded.

However, St. Bud did for us what we could not do for ourselves. The weed calmed Ren/Ken/Ben down. He went from a shout to speaking at a normal volume. Maybe drugs could solve someone’s problems after all. In turn of events, one of Nishu’s neighbors did come down to complain about the noise. However, when all he smelled was some weed and heard everyone at a normal volume, he got a beer and joined the party himself. As this happened, Ren/Ken/Ben and Matilda decided they were pAArtied out and departed for the evening. From there, others began to turn into proverbial pumpkins. I stayed a little longer, talking to Vlad from Croatia and some strange man who insisted on touching my freshly shaven legs and doing other spooky things. Then I myself said goodnight.

Hedda, the party girl, was passed out on Nishu’s bed. While this had been her celebration, she had too much cheer. It felt good to be a part of her life in New York, and now to be a part of her sendoff. Whatever happens and wherever her experience takes her, I hope she knows she always has a group of friends, while totally crazy, who love her as well as the rest of those in the circle unconditionally.

Yes, my friends are all nuts. Maybe they are in states of homelessness, law breaking, and other dysfunction. But in the department of being honest, true, and loyal they cannot be rivaled. I have to say I really lucked out there.

Check out my book I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl
Available through Barnes and Noble and Amazon

Friday, August 22, 2014

Washing Dishes

Last night it was a thunder storm. It looked majestic from my New York window. I thought about going out, but why? Most of the time on rainy nights any perspective comedy spot is cancelled, and when there is lightning I run. It’s for the simple reason that I had a cousin get struck three times and live. Of course, despite his freakish feat of strength he’s still doing better than his sister who got knocked up in high school, and has subsequently gone on to have children with two other different men.

Because it was stormy out, he was the perfect night to catch up on house keeping. That has been the theme lately. To get my career to the next level, I am now working with a manager. She and her assistant have been wonderful so far. For the first time in years, I have someone in my corner and I am not alone. I also have a mentor I meet with every two weeks, who is an awesomely brilliant woman that is helping to guide my career. While I never know what is next for me, I don’t feel like I am wandering in the dark anymore. I also had a new acting reel made, something I have been dragging ass on forever. I also listed my DVD on EBay and this week was the accidental poster girl for their facebook blast.

Add in yesterday, before the storm, I was walking down the street. I saw a man who is a cabaret legend and highly regarded. He told me that my show/book signing event was a joy. And he wants to do it again. He complimented me and everyone I worked with. This man has seen everyone live and in concert from Judy Garland to Barbara Streisand to everyone else. This made me so happy I almost cried.

Despite summer being as busy as it was, now things are starting to slow. From April-July, I didn’t have a moment to myself. Rent paid itself, which was a change of pace from the financially interesting winter I had. However, being busy means you don’t always know what is going on in the home front. For the last several months my refrigerator has been in some state of broken. At first, it would work and then just wouldn’t, but would work again. I have an upstairs neighbor who sometimes runs too many things at once and blows a fuse. Sometimes my ice cream would melt, but then things would work again. Finally, one day my refrigerator stopped working altogether.

Actually, that’s not true. The bottom part didn’t work at all, but the top part that was a freezer didn’t freeze food but still kept it cold. I was so busy I didn’t have time to pay attention. I figured maybe I just needed the top part to work. But then I started to get horrible stomach cramps and diarrhea. Some of me thought it was overwork and fatigue. Yet it kept happening. Someone told me that the way I was living with my semi-working, nonworking appliance could give me Legionnaires Disease. One of my character defects is that I need to have my back against the wall and the shit hitting the fan before I take action. This was most definitely unmanageable. So I called my super Spooky Juice.

Spooky took a look at the appliance and said it was old and I needed a new one. He filled out the paper work. A crew of men who work with my super took the refrigerator from my apartment. Thing is, I have lived there for sometime. When things get busy, I don’t do my dishes. Instead, they somehow get left in my refrigerator or oven. Then I wonder why I have no clean dishes. Suffice to say, there were some interesting dishes removed from my refrigerator with some interesting food particles on them. Oh, and my oven had quite a collection, too.

The oven trick is one I learned from my mom. Truth: Things got busy in my house when I was a kid. Plus we would have one of my eccentric relations or one of my dad’s clients feel they could pay a surprise visit. In order to make it look like three kids didn’t live in the well kept home on Foxtail Drive, my mom stashed the dishes in the oven. Of course at some point the dishes were removed and done and no one was any the wiser.

One day my dad found out and he was fuming.  Actually the correct term is shit fit. It was quite by accident, and I had no idea why he was looking in the oven in the first place. My dad in the kitchen would be like John Boehner at an LGBTQ function, out of place. Anyway, he discovered the dishes, flipped, and wanted to know how long it had been going on. My mom explained the hiding place was only temporary, and the dishes would be done. Meanwhile, the man had only cooked twice in his life: both for my mother on Mother’s Day. Once he burned the food entirely, and the other time the eggs had a bunch of shells in them.
We had a dish washing party/my dad acting as drill sergeant. It was terrible. I mean, my sister and I were in dance class. My brother was starting football, and my mom was our driver. All my dad did was work. No one was home. What did he want? 

After that, my mom came up with a plan, keep Dad out of the kitchen. So as soon as dinner waned down, he was in front of the television on an exercise bike or lifting. She guided him gently to the basement away from the kitchen, and my Pops was none the wiser.

So I had a little dish washing party of my own. The thunder storm fumed, and Soul Food reruns played on youtube. Yeah, they are a black family, but I can relate. For starters, anyone with a family can relate regardless of skin color of ethnicity. Sure, the Joseph Sisters are nuts, but when the going gets tough they do stick together. I have an aunt and uncle like Max and Kenny. I also have two aunts like Teri. Oh, and I have a cousin like Bird. So the show sucks me in. Maybe we don’t deal with the race issues per se, but we deal with the same family theatrics.

As I washed dishes, I cursed my existence. My life had gotten big and busy. When I wasn’t working, I was in a class of some sort furthering my acting and writing. Maybe if I would have taken care of what was in front of me, I wouldn’t have all the shit going on in my body that I do. Of course, my refrigerator leaking has gotten a mouse or two in my apartment. Yes, Mordeci who will not die. This Rasputin-esque creature has alluded capture and death. He already escaped one glue trap, and now knows the trick. Now he just taunts and annoys me. Of course, the exterminator came earlier that day. My house was a mess. Maybe I earned an “A” in my graduate level writing course, but in the domestic department I fail with a flying color wheel.

Then with my soapy hands my love life ran through my head. I have been having a no strings attached relationship with online dating. Sometimes I go on and smile at a dude, and sometimes I just don’t. The whole thing was my mother’s idea. She has been obsessed with the idea of my sister marrying Boomer, and now she is also obsessed with my nonexistent love life. You see, things have been so busy on my end for the last several years that the thought of a lover has never even crossed my mind. Most of the time, when I get a moment alone that is what I want, a moment alone.

The other day some dude sent me five questions on EHarmony. I was in a strange mood. A man who had been a friend to me at one of the toughest junctures of my life passed suddenly-and maybe someday I will write about what happened entirely. The whole thing messed with my mind. So I was still in a weird place and I can be a bit of a devil. There is a place you can fill in your own answers. I did. I told him the ideal date would be him not stuffing me in a trunk and killing me. I mentioned I didn’t care what we did as long as I didn’t end up duct taped and dead. I told him the ideal man was someone who didn’t ask so many damn questions. Afterwards, I felt remorseful and I apologized.

Now he wants to talk on the phone and I can’t. I just can’t atone for my little evil streak. I can’t explain I acted out because I was grieving and therefore turned into a fucking asshole. I can’t. I also want to inform him I know he has some sort of malfunction because he wants to talk to me. No man with their shit together ever wants me. Growing up, none of my hot male classmates wanted to date me, but their dads always did. The class president didn’t want me even though I painfully pined for him, but the kid skipping school with the drug rehab stint did. Even as I got older, the distinguished gentlemen at the cocktail party didn’t want me, but the kitchen help who was a guest of the state for a few years always did and still does. My sister doesn’t have this problem, and neither does my mother, but several of my female relations do.

I suppose you have to like who likes you, and I am the pinup of the month at the local methadone clinic. My female rels feel the same way. You see, they date guys who are so below them that they can be stepped on. Yet they fall for these guys and they get dragged down too. I have yet to be dragged down by one of my male companions but I have come close on a few occasions. In my head I tell myself I eliminated most other vices from my life, and these bad news dudes are my drug of choice. Yes, it’s called codependency, I know. Yet I can’t help but like a bad boy. They think my surprise foul mouth is adorable, and I know how to handle this clientele. Maybe this is why I lashed out at the dude sending me questions. It scared me that a potential man with his shit together might want me and I couldn’t handle it. I still am disappearing on his ass though. The stunt I pulled was a little dickface.

And then I realized I still had more bowls to wash….

Of course what would I do with a decent dude if I had one? I should really invest in a dog cage. That way, he won’t be able to escape. Sometimes I want a lover. I see all these weirdos sucking face in the park. Once, when I was street performing with one of my puppets, we told them to get a room. I thought they were going to kill us. Yet maybe I need someone to get a room with. That’s why I am losing my mind.
On the flipside, my career is busy. I don’t have time to babysit another adult let alone myself. Men are people, and they don’t understand when you are too busy for them. A lot of guys like the career, until I am unavailable. Or they think it is something I will just give up. Maybe after having caved for a short period of time, I am afraid I will cave again. Then there was one with lots of money who told me I would never amount to anything in comedy. Yet when something happens, there he is, the first to congratulate me.

Makes me think of a dude I partnered with for an aborted business venture. We started out as two visionaries looking to make people laugh while we helped them. Truth: He never treated me like an equal. According to him, my dating record was a nightmare. It’s true, it is. However, I can tell someone how to get out of hell and to keep going. Hell, I can even tell them how to spot hell and the licking flames. That knowledge should count for something. Maybe it made him self-conscious of his own shortcomings. Yes, he and his fiancé were in couples therapy and hadn’t even walked down the aisle yet. If you are blowing up in diners and breaking up on someone else’s schedule, don’t get married. We all know that. You think a Hawaiian honeymoon was expensive, you have never been divorced. Hell teaches you a lot of lessons. I don’t recommend people go, but maybe don’t judge others who have been. If anything, they are fountains of wisdom you have yet to tap.

Then of course there was the ex that I cheated on nonstop and treated like crap. I regret it and want to apologize. His wife or girlfriend or whatever that monster is hates my guts though. Maybe it’s because he still wants me. Men like it when a woman treats them badly, it makes them desire her more. Maybe that’s why the dude from EHarmony wants me to call him. Yeah, he likes to be beaten. Maybe he’s not normal after all. Still, the ex who I treated like crap flies in and out of my mind. I hope he’s happier than he was with me. I know he still looks me up. I know he does.

Of course Holden and I are speaking again. He was the last time I said I love you and meant it. We were two alley cats that could have made a home. I had to let him go. He owed back child support, was off his much needed bipolar meds, was abusing controlled substances, and of course had several warrants out for his arrest. These days he is no longer working as a rent boy, but is clean and sober. Holden lives in a sober house, and is currently high on God. I don’t know how I feel about that. I am happy to have him in my life again.

Part of me thinks there could still be a chance with someone that I truly loved, but the other part of me is content to have him as a friend. Either way, he will always be special. It also still hurts to talk about him. House cats don’t understand alley cats. We got each other. Maybe this is why I like men who are bad for me, because I am an alley cat and so are they. An alley cat and a house cat never go together. Maybe this is why I cheated the way I did the last time I had a boyfriend. Maybe this is why I can live in shit until it backs me up against the wall. Maybe this is why my life doesn’t kill me and my friends are insane. I am an alley cat.

As the thoughts rushed through my head, past merging with present, I put my dishes on top of the temporary refrigerator my landlord gave me. I figured I am a shiteous housekeeper, awful cook, and don’t do dishes. I wash windows. Maybe the dude I end up with can do the housekeeping, cook, clean, and raise the children. I can earn the money and fool around on the street. He can look for my ass, and I can tell him I pay the bills. Gender bending at it’s best. Who’s the bitch now, suckers?

Then I realized my dishes were dry, and my hands had become wrinkled. The Soul Food reruns had also stopped playing in a loop. The thunder storm had calmed. Perhaps it was time for my brain to do the same, and time for a bath.

To Horrendous Housekeeping. 

Check out my book I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl
Available on Amazon and through Barnes and Noble

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Go All The Way (The Raspberries)

Back in the spring of 2007, I stumbled upon an adventure. After meeting a group of men, I was invited to join a penis enlargement forum. Yes, it was a place on the internet where men could talk about their dick size, and then come up with a plan on how to get bigger, bolder, and give the ladies more bam. Okay, that is totally cheesy, but it is true.

The first time I logged onto the forum, it was men talking about how much they grew as a result of using a set of weights to enlarge their magic stick. It made me giggle the way they were so obsessed with how big their pleasure wand was. There were two rules on the forum. One was that you needed to check your spelling, and your post had to be grammatically correct. (Yes, when you talk about your dick you must have some dignity). The second was not to denigrate the penis size of any dude. I found out rule number two the hard way after posting some stupid comment about men with small penises. Anyway, I was verbally lambasted by the moderator. This was a sensitive issue for those involved.

When I went on the first few times, it was like a men's locker room. These guys were talking about what they did to chicks and where. Some talked about their sexual prowess as if they were treasure hunters who had cracked the female code. Others complained that they asked a girlfriend about her ex boyfriend and how he was in bed, and to compare the performance. Additionally, they also wanted a comparison on penis size. After not getting the answer they wanted, they engaged in revenge fucking. Then they went on the forum to whine. And then there were those guys who dated women, found out that they slept with a shit load of guys, and talked about what "sluts" these women were. As a woman, this made my head explode.

Finally I had to chime in. I let the bedroom gangsters know more often than not, they were disappointments and yes, we were pretending to enjoy it. Unfortunately, we would never get that night of displeasure back to tell them. I also told the ones who wanted their ladies to kill and tell about the past not to ask questions they didn't want the answer to. And then there was the genius of love who called a woman who screwed 50 dudes a slut but he himself had slept with 80 women. I informed him he probably had children somewhere he didn't know about, and might or might not have caught something nasty so he should be one to talk. I couldn't hold my tongue. These idiots had to be told.

There was an insurrection. A woman made the place unsafe for their manliness. I got a talkin to by one of the mods and was told to shape up or ship out. I thought about it. Female insecurity is all about weight. It is all about the face and the hair. Not to mention we never feel our useless mammary glands are big enough, or that are butt and thighs are tight enough. We fear getting old because no man will want us once we pass a certain age. For years I thought men had it made. They didn't have to worry about being sexually assaulted. As they got old and rich they could still get as much ass as they wanted. Fat guys could get by on their personality. Maybe I was wrong.

Maybe there was more to this whole dick pic than I was seeing. Perhaps this wasn't about penis size, but the way male insecurity masked itself. Men are visually driven, and therefore they want to sexually please. However, after you get rid of that total biological factor, they still wanted to be good partners. They just had different fears and worries. They worried that if they weren't sexually pleasing, they wouldn't make a woman happy. What they were really saying was, they were afraid overall, again, they wouldn't have what it took to be a good lover let alone romantic companion.

So I made nice and gave my input in discussions. Sometimes these guys had a boneheaded way of approaching women. I would gently tell them that perhaps they should change their tact. Other guys felt shy about approaching girls in general, especially a lady they liked. I would encourage them to put themselves out there. It was the only way this girl would ever know they were alive. If she didn't like them, it was her loss not theirs. And then there were those fellows who were getting to the point where things were going to go hot and heavy, and wanted some advice. The guys would recommend sex tricks, I would recommend just talking to the lady to see what SHE LIKED. While this boggled many minds, the advice did prove helpful.

A lot of young dudes on the forum began to message me. Some wanted to know what turned a woman on in bed, and if I girls truly looked down on guys who weren't as packed. They wanted to know if they should use mood music as well. I told them again, just get to know a girl. See if you want to sleep with her. Talk to her. See what she likes. Every woman was different. Again, while this boggled their minds, they found the advice helpful. It was funny and adorable at the same time. They sincerely wanted to make their ladies happy. They wanted to find true companionship with a partner. Yet sex was on their mind first and talking came second. Still, the aim was sincere and their little hearts were in the right place.

I ended up on the forum a few more months. However, I backed off. Life got big, and I didn't have time to dick around so to speak. And I made the mistake of dating a moderator, who FYI, was not well hung.

However, I will say I am grateful for my time on the forum. It got me to understand dudes in a whole new light. Men do have feelings, so much moreso than women. However, they are not as emotional. Guys do want to go out of their way to be good boyfriends and husbands, but at the same time get hung up on things like penis size. Yes, they have sex on the brain, but they also want happily ever after, they just don't express it the same. Maybe their hang up-no pun intended-is the whole penis thing. But we all have our own hang ups.

We are all crazy and insecure in our own unique way.

Check out my DVD Broke and Semi-Famous available on EBay

Monday, August 18, 2014

Night of the Living Blow Job

Last night my friend Nishu had a cook out party for his friend Marcurio. A weird mix of hodge podge, Marcurio is part German and part Latvian. However, he was raised in both Brazil and Argentina, depending on where his parents worked. On top of that he lived and worked in Puerto Rico and NY. It was the big 50, a milestone. A membership to a new club. The night before, the recently divorced Marcurio had partied until the sun came up, drank as much as an errant sailor, and was still going.

Nishu, notorious for being the ring master of a crazy cast of characters, invited some of the usual suspects. Juan came with his Japanese girlfriend Koko. Nishu’s girlfriend Hedda was there as well, the one who has normalized him. Over the past six months, she has acted as a sedative of sorts. Nishu has gone from dating fetish models and answering ads on craigslist to having Hedda on his arm. Last night they were talking about the tentative wedding they were having in India where Nishu is from, and the possibility there would be one dog in the equation. The whole thing is good and odd at the same time. It is odd to see and hear Nishu using the love term when it comes to a woman, let alone only sleeping with one woman at a time. It is also good to see him so focused and so grown up. Despite his playboy past he is actually a good boyfriend. I think he had it in him though, because he was always a good friend.

Marcurio brought two guests with him. One was Marco, his good friend who he met while in high school in Argentina. Now Marco owned a private security firm and rode Harley’s. And there was a woman in the mix with those two. Her name was Sandra. A tall, leggy blonde, she worked for the Catalonian government in Spain. However, she now lived in NYC. While she was not lively as the rest of the group, she seemed fine, like she was blending in. Sure, we can be nuts as a whole, but she was adjusting, and Nishu was making her feel welcome.

I chatted with Sandra briefly. Apparently there is a movement for Catalonian independence in Spain I was not aware of. I asked her if it was similar to the Basque movement. She said it was less violent. I likened it to the Scottish movement for independence. She agreed, and we both discussed that and the IRA. I found her reserved but intelligent. Things were still smooth, still good.

We began to talk about various types of relationships, swinging and such. I mentioned I knew people who were swingers that had a healthy, honest, open relationship. Juan and Koko knew a couple where the swinging got out of control, and the woman developed feelings for her male swing. The subject came up about how feelings come and go, and people can’t turn them off. Sandra got silent, almost judgmental. She shot a hateful glance our way. Shortly afterwards, those two departed. Apparently, they needed to catch an early flight to Japan to visit Koko’s family the next day.

Then I asked Marcurio if he had ever been married. He mentioned he had, to the daughter of a famous baseball star. His ex wife, a Dominican, had tried to kill him on several occasions. Once she had stabbed him with a pair of scissors. Then she threatened him with a kitchen knife. After that she held a gun to his head. We asked why he stayed. Marcurio said, “It’s not her fault.” We laughed. Wow. Then we asked if they were still talking. Marcurio said despite their divorce they were the best of friends. WOW!

After which, I mentioned that as a recently divorced guy we should take him to a strip club. There were several in the neighborhood. I told him he needed the diseased booty of a stripper all over his face as well as her augmented breasts. The party agreed. The question was, which club to take him too. At some, because of the high stage fee, the girls were tip sharks. At others, they didn’t go full nude. These were such crisis and we arrived at a dead end. Still, this man needed lots of action from a dirty, loose, woman with no morals.

And then the name Matilda came up. Yes, he had met Matilda at the surprise party we threw for Hedda’s best friend Meg. Matilda was from Croatia, and up until two days before we met her had been living on a boat with this random Indian dude. They had no where else to go, and someone lent them the boat. Matilda baked these crepes laced in Jack Daniels. I mistakenly had one as a nondrinker not knowing. Within seconds, I offered the rest of mine to a slightly sloshed drinker friend. Anyway, Matilda was ready to rock ‘n’ roll.

A free spirit, she struck up a conversation with Marcurio about blow jobs, and then offered him one. 

Marcurio apparently declined, but got her digits. I blurted out, “You were recently divorced, what the frickety frack were you thinking? It’s a free blow job and you don’t have to pay!”

“Yeah,”  his friend Marco agreed. “Man, that is an offer you can’t refuse.”

Hedda agreed. “When someone offers a blow job for no money you just say yes.”

“And if you get this offer again she might have no teeth.” I reminded him.

“That is the best kind of blow job.” Marcurio informed.

“But she might have a crack habit and AIDS.” I said.

“That is depressing…..Never thought of that.” Marcurio replied.

“I have Matilda’s number, let’s call her and have her come over.” Nishu suggested.

We all agreed. Perhaps Marcurio could finally collect on his birthday present. All the while, Sandra sat there, with gleam in her eye that read homicide. I could tell she didn’t like me especially, but whatever. Mario agreed an up front offer for a blow job would have been a little odd, but he would have considered it. When we asked Sandra, she said in a stilted tone, “If I were a guy, I think I would be turned off by that.”

“But you aren’t a dude.” I countered. Everyone agreed. At that moment, a scowl set in across her face.
Nishu tried Matilda again, no luck. Finally he got her. She said she was in Queens somewhere and might come over. Apparently she was piss faced drunk. Probably laced it in her own food again. The good news was, she now had a residence and was no longer living on a boat. Meanwhile, the wine had run out for the drinkers and Nishu ran to the liquor store. The rest of us were left to debate the evening and the subject of BJs.

We goaded Marcurio into collecting on his much promised present. All the while, Sandra withdrew and got moodier and moodier. Hedda and I teased Marcurio about what had happened, and Mario joined the fun. Hedda suggested she should make the same offer to Nishu. When Nishu returned, Sandra was now downing liquor and unhappily sucking on a cigarette. She was waaaaayyyyy too uptight for our group. Meanwhile, we ordered a pizza. When it arrived, Nishu and Hedda disappeared to find the plates. They were gone for sometime, and we sat there. Mario, Marcurio, and I continued the blow job gag, and even joked about collecting money to get the birthday boy a high priced call girl.

I went inside to see if they needed help finding the plates. The hate from the direction of Sandra was much too much. When I went inside, Nishu and Hedda were both stepping out of the bathroom. Hedda had made the offer and well……That is when I said, “You both did not?” They giggled, got the plates, and out we went. Hey, at least someone was cashing in on the offer, right?

Pizza was punctuated with more inappropriate jokes. Sandra glowered now. Marcurio apologized, “We are a little nutty here in case you didn’t know. Sorry if you feel overwhelmed.”

“I wasn’t even paying attention.” Sandra said, not even visibly hiding her disgust. Hedda, wanting to change the mood from the wet blanket, cut off the lid from the recently finished pizza box and made it into a birthday keep sake for Marcurio. For as nutty as my friends are, they are equally as thoughtful. Nishu and Hedda were trying to make the party a nice experience, and now this woman was just making it awkward.
Minutes later, she announced she was heading out. She claimed she had to work. After she left, Mario, who had been silent for a great while, told us tales of his adventures as a biker. He spoke of the kindness of strangers on the road. We all were sucked into his stories, a nice change of pace from the sex talk that had enveloped the night. A short while later, Marcurio asked, “What did you think of Sandra?” We all bit our lips.
Finally, Marcurio confessed they had met on Tinder, and had only known her about three days. I was floored, I thought she was an old friend like all the others. Apparently she had been his “date”to his birthday party the night before. We asked if he slept with her. Marcurio replied, “Now I never will because you cock blocked me.” 

Thus began a debate about if Tinder was a meet up, dating, or hook up app. The jury was out. On the other hand, some of us felt bad about not knowing she was Marcurio’s date. If we had known, we wouldn’t have called Matilda and pressured him into collecting on the blow job he was promised. I felt bad, and so did Mario. Hedda said we had no way of knowing, and Nishu agreed. Marcurio laughed the whole thing off. But now this strange woman hated us all. Yeah, she was a stick in the mud. Yeah, she was on a whore app looking for love. Maybe we should have been a little better behaved.

Then we thought about it. Perhaps Sandra and her uptight nature made her not the right match for the recently single, ready to rock Marcurio. On the other hand, perhaps Marcurio was the reason for his brushes of death with women in the first place. Then we suggested we call Matilda, call Sandra, and have Sandra see Marcurio collect on his present live and in person. But we decided against it.

Instead, we decided to keep laughing and having fun. We decided to keep cracking jokes and to continue frolicking in the Neverland we somehow inhabited, stilted souls never to develop into full blown adults. The pirate who had accidentally infiltrated our lair would never return again, by hook or by crook. And in unison we shouted, “BLOW JOBS FOR ALL!!!”

Gosh my sixth grade self would have thought this was the best night ever.

The end.
Buy my DVD Broke and Semi-Famous available through EBay

Saturday, August 16, 2014

5 Questions

Everyone knows that E Harmony has the five questions. Yes, when someone gets to know you they send you five questions. Usually, they have an online profile pic that looks like this.

However, that is usually a lie. Because you see, as we know 6 feet means 5'6". Banker probably means bus boy. You get the hint. Oh, and they probably look something like this in person.

Anyway, they usually ask you five questions. My answer to all of them recently when a dude sent them my way was, "Just don't kill me." Or "The idea date would not end with me locked in your basement, begging for my life."

Of course, I now have 5 questions of my own. My suitors will have to answer these to the best of their ability. Here they are:

1. Have you ever been to jail? If so, what for and how long?

2. Have you ever been abducted by aliens and do you see/take orders from dead people?

3. Do you have HIV/AIDS/Hep C. Note, legally I have to ask and your answer does not disqualify you.

4. Will your father hit on me at Thanksgiving?

5. Are you in a drug treatment program/probation? If so, what is your curfew time?

Anyway, I think these should clear a lot of air.

Check out my DVD Broke and Semi-Famous

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Grandpa The Street Fighter

Today would have been my Pop Pop's 96th birthday. A gentle soul, he coached all six of his kids in swimming and worked as a meet official as well. My Pop Pop always told outlandish stories, too. It was hard not to love the man, and even harder not to take his passing personally.

A World War II Navy man, he served as a 2nd Lieutenant in his platoon of squids. I never knew much about his war adventures, but he mentioned in passing he was there when the atomic bomb was dropped. My Pop Pop would mention he was in the war, but the other details of his mission remained a mystery. Once, my brother Wendell interviewed him for a school project where he spoke more in detail than he ever had. Pop Pop felt the war was over, life went on I suppose.

Before the war, my Pop Pop had attended the University of Pittsburgh. While a student there, he had been an engineering major and quite a boxer. Once, when I was in high school my parents were away on a college visitation trip with my brother, and Pop Pop babysat. While he was watching us, I left my math book on the kitchen table. When I woke up, my Pop Pop was doing math problems. I was stunned. "Pop Pop, we have a television." I said gently. Later, my mom explained that as someone who was originally an engineer, my Pop Pop was not only good at math, but loved it.

I hate math with every fibre of my being and still do. My brother Wendell tolerates it, like the drug addict relative out of rehab and needing money yet again. As for my sister Skipper, she is good at it but they only have a casual relationship. Pop Pop, while originally an engineer, ended up taking over the family insurance business. It was because the war was over, he was recently married, and had a child on the way. This was the ready job he needed.

My Pop Pop was the type who never spoke about himself, but rather spoke about the accomplishments of his grandchildren instead. Whether it was Mindy and Meara and their success as dancers,one with City Baller and the other at the university as a dance professor respectively. Or my cousin Martin and his art. Then there was my other cousin Timmy who almost went to the Olympics as a skiier. Lest we not forget Skipper and Wendell and their success in the science and medical fields. Cody and Blaze, my younger cousins, excelled in baseball and soccer. And then there's my newest cousin Valery.

My Pop Pop was the first person to buy my book, and read it in a single night. I offered to give it to him as a gift, but he insisted on paying for it. His last outing before he passed Thanksgiving Day was my book signing.

What I did not know was that my Pop Pop was so skilled as an athlete. I had seen him swim, and he played tennis well into his 80s. However, I never knew he was a boxer. This is the video my mom and I took of my 95 year old grandfather demonstrating his moves.

RIP Pop Pop, you were da man.

I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl
Available through Barnes and Noble/Amazon

Monday, August 11, 2014

UnPretty (TLC)

This morning I was at the corner store getting my coffee. In New York City, everything moves kind of fast. Plus the dudes at my deli know me. They know what I want when I walk in the door. Usually, the way a New York Deli works though is that when one person is checking out, the other person orders. Things tend to move quickly in the city that never sleeps.

At the counter is this woman I mean she is a big girl. She looks like the type who lives in an SRO with her six cats because no one has ever loved her. Meanwhile I rolled out of bed. I don't look so great myself. I don't think anything of her. It's New York. We get everyone. So she turns to me, and has this huge growth on her face with hair coming out of it. She looks like a witch crawled out of a Brother's Grimm Fairy Tale. Her teeth resemble more fangs than teeth of course. So she turns to me and this is how the interaction goes:

Woman: Could you wait a second until I get out of here? I know I am fat and ugly but let me finish.

Me: I'm sorry.

Woman: I know they would much rather deal with you because you're a pretty girl.

Me: I am sure that's not true.

Woman: Oh honey, we both know it is. I weigh 300 pounds.

Then she takes her jars of cat food (I was right) box of donuts (like her crazy ass needed those) and off she went. Mohammed, the guy behind the counter, and I exchanged a WTF look as she left. Yeah, the bitch was crazy. There was no arguing with her. I was stunned. Part of me wanted to inform this beast no one made her 300 pounds. It was the shitload of donuts and ice cream she was eating. Maybe she could motivate herself to spend less time with her cats and go to the gym. Also, these days you didnt have to be forced to have a witch growth on your face. Most Obamacare plans cover basic dermatology. Even if she didn't know they did, she could pay a rat a quarter to gnaw that thing off her face. Hey, John Candy's suggestion not mine.

Of course it was funny to me that she thought my life was easy, and people just wanted to wait on me hand and foot. It was hysterical to assume I have always been the weight that I am at. As a high school student I struggled with my weight. Then I had a mini thyroid problem as a teenager. It was hell, the fat girl jokes. I know how it is to walk around in that skin and be the hopeless butt of everyone's jokes. Moreover, I remember the preferential treatment some of the size 2 pretty girls got, and I was always left out of the loop. Dudes talked to me to get answers on English and history homework. And when they did ask me out, it was a joke. My mom says keep it on the down low that I was fat, ugly, had braces with rubber bands, and cystic acne. Truth is, I am not. I need to remind myself of how bad life used to be, but also to let people know that it can and does get better.

Then I recalled a passage in Burn Down the Ground by author and award winning storyteller Kambri Crews. Burn Down the Ground details her childhood being raised in the woods by two deaf parents, and at times having to steal water, etc. After years of living in the woods, Kambri's family abandons their wildling existence mostly because their finances improve, and move to suburbia. Anyway, the crush of a popular girl likes her. So in retaliation, the popular girl, who is a teacher helper and grades papers, crosses out her name and writes Bambi instead. Kambri points out to her this was ironic and funny on so many levels because only months before she had lived in the woods with no proper electricity or running water and was forced to wear a crew cut. Oh perception.

While the whole thing made me laugh in a way, it also pissed me off. How dare you claim to know me lady? I have been through some shit in my life. Yes, I have had some things happen to me that I would not wish on my worst enemy. There have been periods in my life where I have rented property in the Valley of the Shadow of Death beachside because I knew I was going to be there a while. Some of the events on my life's timeline read like a horror show. If you think the ride has been easy, you are wrong. There has been enough self-loathing and then some that could sink the Titanic for efficiently than an iceberg. Seriously bitch. Fuck you. Some of what I have been through would probably kill you.

Then I remembered the words of someone to me once. "When you see someone behaving in a way that is rotten, it's a lesson in how you don't want to be."

However, it also made me think that humility is not thinking less of oneself, but oneself less. She probably has mental health issues, and those carry a stigma that makes a sufferer avoid getting treatment. She probably has compulsive over eating disorder, which is an addiction. The sufferer can't stop and their health suffers. Their world revolves around food at the exclusion of all things else. Not to mention her physical health is a mess and her self-esteem is shit. So like all addicts she blames everyone else for her problems and doesn't see her role, therefore she doesn't change her circumstances because she cant. That is when I actually started to feel sorry for her.

Then it made me realize beauty was not about weight. It's about personality. In my high school, my older brother Wendell went to school with a bigger girl named Katrina. Katrina was Student Government President, on homecoming court, and was the star of the school play. Everyone liked her. She was on the "A" list because she was a good person with an even better sense of humor. Later, she lost weight because she had a Type II diabetes scare. However, she still retained her awesome personality and we loved her regardless. In addition to Katrina, I have met other big girls who have been able to rock it out, get a guy, and enjoy life to the fullest.

I have also met skinny bitches who were just bitches, judgmental to the "T." These women who for the most part were marginal looking at best gossiped about their friends, complained about fat that was not there, and demanded their boyfriends and husbands made them the center of the universe. Once, I was forced to spend time with these mean girls when promo jobs paid my rent. Being thin and "good looking" was their meal ticket, and they enjoyed making snide remarks about others. I was glad to get away from them. Glad to get air. Glad to be away from such ugly people.

Of course, when someone is nasty, even if they are pretty at one point, they still become ugly. A mean girl I went to high school with did not age well. Same with a football player heart throb who wasn't so nice to a lot of people either. Even if you upkeep all day, if what is underneath is rotten, eventually it breaks out and shows up physically in ways you could never imagine.

I still remember brunching with friends and seeing a big girl dancing as she crossed the cross walk. She had her headphones in and her ipod on. We all agreed it was amazing and wanted to go join her. It was a gentle reminder that pretty and ugly is not about weight or shape. Yeah, there is a fashion and makeup component. But more than anything, it is about heart and soul. Just as pretty can come in all forms, so can ugly.

Don't let an ugly person ruin your day