Friday, October 28, 2016

Hate Speech

The other day I was perusing facebook like I typically do. I had been down and out with the stomach flu. The week before had been spent at my cousin's wedding, and then on the plane to Las Vegas acting as credentialed press for the Presidential Dates with Donald J. Tramp. Things were shaping up fabulously.

Then I woke up Tuesday morning feeling dizzy. I figured I was tired and got a glass of water. Next thing I know the contents of my stomach are spewing everywhere. For the next several hours I couldn't keep anything down. Not water. Not coffee. Nothing. The next call was to my mom. Then to my sister Skipper. She said to take it easy, rest. This wasn't going to kill me, just be annoying for the next 24, 48 hour time span.

So I decided to see what my friends were up to. One is a guy I will call Mike Spratt. Supposedly, Mike was involved with the mafia back in the day, or that is at least what he likes to tell people. Apparently Mike became hooked on coke and dope, and found the message of God and recovery through AA. Dedicated to his sobriety, Mike attended 3 meetings a day every day, and church daily as well. When he wasn't drinking the kool-aid instead of the booze, Mike was trying to get his own reality show. This is how I met him, for better or for worse.

Mike had come to a comedy show of mine once. He came with another guy he met from his meetings. Mike informed me that his psychic powers had guided him to me, and God told him specifically I needed saved. (What could possibly go wrong?)

The waitress then told Mike and his friend he had to order two drinks. Mike's friend, a nondrinker, ordered a bottle of water and didn't want to make a scene. On the other hand, Mike began to verbally berate the waitress for making him drink. He was in recovery. How could she? When the waitress and Mike's friend explained that he could order a nonalcoholic drink, he got more belligerent. The club manager not only banned Mike from ever entering the venue again, but encouraged me never to invite him to future shows. I felt that this was a wise decision.

Fast forward. Years later, despite his claims, Mike never got a reality television show. Seems like The Long Island Medium had more star power. However, Mike had decided to become political. Since the start of this election, his posts have shifted from the eccentric orders from God to just plain vile. Each week, they have been getting more and more disturbed. In each post, he has been talking about how the Jews and Muslims have declared war on The White Christian Male. Yes, I was at the meeting last week. They are plotting against you and you alone.

This latest post was the straw that broke the camel's back. In it, Mike spoke about how the Muslims were infiltrating the government. He believed Barack Obama was a Muslim, and wanted to make Islam the official religion of America. Mike also said Nancy Pelosi had secretly converted to Islam, and was secretly hiring members of Isis as spies on all the Christians. After which Mike insisted that when Muslims prayed, they were really praying to Satan. Now, Salmon Rushdi called, he wants his idea back, idiot.

The end of his post called for a holy war against Muslims.

This wasn't just paranoid bordering on delusional. It was dangerously removed from reality in every way. Actually, it made me sick to read. In anger, I responded, "You should go back to drinking, you sounded better on the sauce."

Then I knew I was sinking to his level. I would never get through. So I blocked him. Still, it made me glad both candidates were travelling with security. People are too crazy right now. Words sometimes are not just words. We dismiss them as just that, and then the individual spewing the hate does something drastic.

Clearly my pal Mike Spratt has more going on than being an ex drunk who's hooked on God. He needs mental help from real professionals outside of church basements. Hopefully those are just words, but also, hopefully someone else sees his ramblings and gets him help before it's too late. 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Some Jingle Jangle Morning (Mary Lou Lord)

The other day, I got a call from a friend I have kind of become close to in this past year. We knew of each other, but only recently started to hang out more. This past year he went through a terrible divorce with an ex wife who is a real bitch for lack of a better word. The woman fights dirtier than Mike Tyson did in the Holyfield fight. She'll go for the ear.

She did a cheap shot when it came to the house they shared. She an underhanded play when it came to getting custody of his son, lying to the court about how he had a drinking problem which he doesn't. She's an asshole who wants to win at all costs, even if it means using her kid to do so. Not to mention she intentionally quit her job so he would have to pay her alimony. YUCK!

So he was forced out of his house, and moved into an apartment. He misses seeing his little boy terribly every day. I wanted to name their divorce saga Beauty and the Bitch, because this troll has successfully poisoned all of their mutual friends against him, too. Not to mention she has done things to put his career as a musician (he plays concert piano) in crisis several times.

He called me in a daze late Saturday to talk. He was getting used to an empty apartment. He felt lonely. He felt empty. He felt weird. He felt pissed his ex wife had a new boyfriend. No, he didn't miss her. He was pissed this woman was bringing a man he never met around his kid. And his ex wife moved her new boyfriend in. This stranger had taken his place. Yet he was also glad to be rid of the troll he was married to for 15 years.

 It is the pallet of feelings that goes with change.

While my situation is different than his and I don't understand, I identify. You can read my previous blogs to know what I mean. Either way, it felt good to be a listening ear. Change is weird. Change is scary.


I think in a way that's what attracted me to my current living situation. My landlord, who is very different from my buddy, grew up in NYC when it was really NYC. His stories are colorful. He managed a strip club. As a kid, he and his friends went with the hookers in the neighborhood who would give them free rides. He also had women throwing their underwear in his car. Apparently he was a hit when he was young.

Then he met his ex wife. Yes, she pursued him. Got him gifts. When he tried to break up with her, she hung out with his mom. Then finally after 10 years, 2 kids, and a bunch of changes in her psych meds he left. Now she tries to poison his kids against him. The woman plays ugly too. He wants his teenage  kids to go to college, do something with themselves. She tries to undermines his efforts. She sucks as a human.

When I moved in, it was his family home and he was in between jobs. He was figuring out how to be a single parent to teen boys. He was leaving early to make sure they got to school each morning, because their mother could have cared less. Sure, he's obsessed with UFOs and believes the conspiracy that Michelle Obama is a man, but he's a good dude. Either way, he is looking for work now, and trying to figure out what to do.


Heck, things have changed for me. A year ago I was talking about getting married. My living situation was much different. And it also looked like I was moving to Europe because I was getting press there, and a few managers even expressed interest.

I had the whole pallet of feelings as shit hit the fan. We always do. Not only was my then boyfriend ripped away by the throws of mental illness and the consequences of the choices of someone who doesn't follow through with treatment, but my heart was ripped out of my chest. My living situation, one that I had been in happily for nearly a decade, went belly up. Thinking about the loss of my last apartment makes me angry but also makes my stomach turn. Europe also went belly up because no one could successfully get me a Visa, and if I was going I was going as a headliner.

A year later, things are very different. Some good, some bad.

My new living situation is safer and cheaper, but the 7 train is a fucktard at times.

As for my ex, I have mostly forgiven him for some of the damage he's done, but the mixed feelings are still there. I get angry, but then I have to tell myself he's sick literally one hundred times. Then I remember his kindnesses, and even his sister said despite his troubles he was the kindest person she knew. Suddenly there is a part of me that misses him, not even to have him back as a lover but just a friend. That's when I remember he can't be trusted and isn't a safe person.

I also get angry about the idiots that weighed in on my living situation and break up. They are out of my life like the human cancers they were.

Obviously I didn't go to Europe, but I am steadily becoming a regular headliner in the states. I am working with wonderful people. My career is not where I want it yet, but it is getting there. Not to mention that while my bank account might not know about how famous I am in some circles, I enjoy comedy more than I have in years. I love getting onstage again.

Sure, the cancer scare sucked but it woke me up and now I am eating better than ever.

Losing everything and applying for aid made me have those difficult money conversations, especially those about the future. Now I'm not scared and want to learn more about how to manage my money.

As I was drinking coffee in an East Village diner hearing two girls bullshit before my 7:45 AM delivery, it felt surreal because that had been my stomping ground in college. I was a Manhattite always and forever. My mom even called me Manhattan Barbie. Alas, nothing is forever.

Thank God nothing is forever. Had shit not hit the fan I wouldn't have gone to the RNC to be a part of history. I wouldn't be working with the cool people I am now. I wouldn't be having fun each time I get onstage. I talk to people about getting paid, and am not a nice girl when it comes to dough. I am more fearless about telling people to get fucked. I am vocal when I have a concern about something whether it's my manager or landlord. I don't wait until my back is against the wall when I can no longer run from the monster.

When the smoke clears, that is when you can truly appreciate the miracle.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

This Is Growing Up (Blink 182)

I am an adult in some ways, and in some ways I am not. Currently I am 32 year old. I live in a house with 2 dudes. One is a talented painter who is never home. The other is my landlord who has funny stories about NYC back in the day and is obsessed with UFOs. His parents live downstairs, and when they need anything they yell up. My home life is like a sit com.

My life outside of home is like a rambling nomad. I live from gig to gig and can live on pocket change if need be. I am working on managing my money better.......kinda......on Mondays. I am living off the snack food my mom sent me. She also has to call me to make sure I eat sometimes because I do forget. Yeah, real adult.

As for my outside life, my comedy and activism with one Donald J. Tramp has been sending me all over the place. First to Cleveland. Then to Las Vegas. After which I went to Long Island. Then I will be at the debates in Vegas again. Life is exciting.

This past July I went to Cleveland during the RNC and marched with Stand Together Against Trump. (STAT). I arrived at the RNC right from my sister's wedding in Pittsburgh. One stressful event to the next. Everyone kept asking me if I was nervous I might get killed.

Truth, as the maid of honor helping to plan her wedding nearly killed me. Everyone kept acting like I should have been jealous or bent out of shape because I'm older. I have had a fiance and 2 boyfriends I talked marriage with. I know full well you kiss a frog and he becomes a price, but alas, that prince becomes a man.

Nonetheless, the wedding weekend was an odd paradox. It was a throwback to my parents' generation, that of the Vietnam War. There was the establishment and the anti-establishment, at the same event. Both well educated. Both able to argue their point.

It was analogous to the time Richard Nixon walked his daughter Pat down the aisle on national television as an example of family values to what he viewed as the disruptive protest generation. My dad is hardly Nixon, but my sister was dressed in white walking down the aisle representing the establishment. Standing next to her on the alter, the one not getting married and heading to the protest after her fun was done, I was a representing the closest thing we had to the protest generation. The blushing bride and the dirty hippie, side by side at the same main event.

Skipper is hardly political, but at the same time she now had purchased a house and had a husband. Boomer had been a Ron Paul delegate years before in 2012. Now they were settling down. I was a rambling wheel, unattached. There would not be much collateral damage if my idyllic values got me killed. My parents would cry. I hadn't much property aside from my puppets or books. Despite the fact I was older......yeah she's the adult.

During the wedding, I steered away from discussing Donald J. Tramp or Cleveland. It was my sister's day. Skipper was decked out in white. If there was going to be drama, I didn't want it to be because a drunken Trump supporter relative and I got into it.

When my dad mentioned it, they wanted to know if I was afraid. I was excited. You see, my sister was marrying Boomer but I was marrying the revolution. For years I had dipped my feet into the activist pool and then ran away. Now I was being pulled back in to stop a man akin to Hitler. The thought of being political scared me at times, that's why I never committed. Now I was fully committing to my destiny of using my gifts for the greater good and I felt complete. So one could say we both got married in a way that weekend.

As for being afraid.......I was afraid when my former fiance's violent temper came my way. I was afraid when he hit me. I was afraid when he tried to choke me. I was afraid when it looked like I was going to be kicked out of college. I was afraid when my drug addict former roommate was stealing from me. I was afraid when I was living off my laundry money because I was so broke. I was afraid when I was stranded in Long Island in the middle of winter. I was afraid when I was stranded late at night on the Jersey Shore and missed the last train. I was afraid the first time I climbed a mountain which was in a rainstorm and slipped. I was afraid when I was handed eviction papers. I was afraid when I had to go to court on my own in front of the judge as the bully boy lawyer taunted me with his straight, male privilege. I was afraid when my former soldier ex boyfriend had a psychotic break when he thought Isis was watching us and Barack Obama was their leader. I was afraid when his sister called me and threatened me after we broke up. I was afraid when my evil landlord tried to burn down my apartment. I was afraid when I tested positive for the virus that gives one cervical cancer. I was also afraid at age 9 when I nearly drowned in the ocean and grabbed my mother's leg. I was afraid when mold and bed bugs overwhelmed my former apartment to the point where my hair was falling out and I couldn't breathe.

Yet each time God appeared and got me through it, and each time there was a rainbow on the other side. If I got shot in Cleveland I had lived through worse. And maybe if I went out saving the world, or at least trying, I could go out saying I did some good. If the hose, the gas, and the dogs were my fate I would gladly go the way of better men and women before me.

My parents were thrilled I was taking this step, but nervous. My dad is a lawyer and has been involved in politics behind the scenes for local candidates in the past. So he was proud when I was carrying on the family political tradition of being a good Democrat.

As for my mom, she was a Second Waver and led a sit in so the female athletes could get letter jackets just like their male counterparts at her Division I University. Apparently, my mom was also the go to person for the administration, and even was able to get the woman athletes special meal times/study halls like their male counterparts had for years and took for granted. Alas, she had hung up her activist stripes long ago as life went on. She was a teacher, wife, mother, and now mother of the bride and mother of a peaceful protester.

I am not saying Skipper twirls her hair, cracks gum, and only wants to be a wife and mother. By all means this is far from the case. In some ways she has done more for feminism than I have. Skipper is an ER doctor and has lectured on genetics in Washington, DC. The sciences are hard pressed for women and Skipper is a trail blazer among many who is helping to correct that problem. Additionally, she is a champion marks woman who more often than not gets a crack shot. Her area of expertise is gun safety and bullet wounds. Heck, she knows as much battlefield history as I do if not more. We are easily Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes, respectively.

Unlike myself, Skipper has always been more traditional and dreamed of being a wife and mother. I have never had the pull the way most women have. Eh....whatever.

My brother Wendell has a fellowship at a hospital and is too busy to care about this election. Sometimes he even sleeps in his lab. Politics are the last of his concerns, seeing sunlight his first.

In any event, the RNC will get several blogs of it's own I promise.

Fast forward to last night.  I did a show with Queerball. Yes, it was an all gay comedy show. An all inclusive safe space for LGBTQ people and allies, it was a wonderfully supportive place to display work. When I got the chance to be a part of this effort, I jumped on it.

Backstage, before showtime, I found several of my fellow performers fired up about the election. Some even took the bus to Philadelphia in order to help local citizens register to vote. Others had phone banked or were planning on doing so.  All were anti-Trump and pro-Hillary.  They were all excited to hear not only that I went to Cleveland, but had protested Donald Trump and had an act that mocked the bigot.

Afterwards, remarked that not only had he enjoyed the satirical jab at the Donald, but liked the fact my act had a message. It made me smile to hear that. This also made me realize that just as Queerball founder Timothy Dunn wanted to create a safe space within the NYC comedy community and the UCB, together, we were using our collective talents to make the world a safer space for all marginalized people.

This extended to safe spaces, LGBTQ friendly improv jams, making videos about things that we felt were unjust, protesting with puppets, phone banking, and signing up people to vote. We were pounding the pavement trying to stop tyranny. We were actively embracing the solution, both artistic and political. We were trying to silence Donald Trump, the scary real life ventriloquist puppet of the Republican party, and push down the crumbling infrastructure of a party built on hate.

"I don't want to just sit at the bar and complain about Trump. I don't just want to vote either. I want to do all I can to stop him." One of my comrades said as he expressed his desire to volunteer for the Hillary campaign.

I will close by saying this. Skipper and I could not lead more different lives currently. Yet my parents raised us both to be leaders. Skipper is leading the charge in the front lines of scientific research, and I am leading the charge with Donald J. Tramp on the front lines of history. We are both trying to leave the world better than how we found it.

 Sure, I am wearing Batman leggings and have yet to shower. Eh, maybe I'm doing better than I thought I was........