My friend Evan packed Schuba's last night, then proceeded to charm the pants off everyone.
Evan: (exuberantly, between songs) THANKS! For all the CLAPPING!
Sure. I wish I was thinner.
I feel very healthy, I know I'm very strong, but I wish I was thinner.
Sometimes I think I would be a more successful actress if I were. What with the skinny ladies in the media and all.
Sometimes, I come home and find a random catalogue in the mail. I really like catalogues. A lot. I never order from them, but I loooooove looking through them.
Today: Peruvian Connections. A predictably ridiculous catalogue about .. Peru? And ... connecting ... there? With a bunch of overpriced crap you would never wear if you actually went to Peru, which, chances are, you won't.
Then, just when I was getting on my soapbox about an all-white-models catalogue CALLED Peruvian Connections, I saw THIS model.
Sometimes, I hear the statistics on how many girls struggle with eating disorders and with really, truly hating their bodies because when you're 11, you believe magazines. You think you should ACTUALLY look like that. This makes me really angry. This gets me going on something that is a whole other post which is about being a lady and what that means and don't even get me started on the two weeks I spent in Egypt when I wasn't permitted to leave the house without a male escort and multiple layers of fashion statements from Amish Connections.
So I called the 800 number.
And I pressed the right numbers to talk to a person.
And I asked her to look at the picture on the left (either one would have done).
Then I told her I thought that model looked FREAKY skinny, it was unhealthy and an irresponsible image to promote. I told her I understood it wasn't her decision, she didn't personally book this model or have anything to do with it, but to please pass it on to her supervisor: that I wanted my name removed from their list immediately because they were using too-thin models.
I was nice. I'm always nice. Well, less so as I get older. But still.
This girl thought I was a Fuh. Reak. Ing. Nutty nut job.
But here's my dream:
Sales person Judy: You'll never believe this. Some nutjob called to unsubscribe because one of the models was too thin.
Sales person Allison: OMG. What a nut. Probably a lezzy.
Sales person Jen: You'll never believe this. Some nutjob called to unsubscribe because one of the models was too thin.
Salesperson Trina: OMG, shut UP. I had one of those calls a few days ago.
Sales person Heather: You'll never believe this. Some nutjob called to unsubscribe because one of the models was too thin.
Sales person Geoff: Yeah, I get a couple of those a week.
Executive Susan: Alright, people, the next catalogue needs to feature healthier-looking models. We're getting unsubscribes for that real skinny one who did the Peruvian Bay: The Regrets Collection look.
Skinny skinny model: Gee, I'm not getting booked. I should start eating some peanut butter and dairy products, and start a foundation to work with girls about self-esteem issues and being proud of their bodies AND their minds.
AND THAT IS HOW WE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD! SUCCESS, BITCHES!
See? I love catalogues.
It is really funny, and smart, and it smells like soap and flowers.
I like it because she is exceptionally successful in a very difficult field but still has a day job and a limited amount of non-preowned furniture. And that is sort of what this blog is about. In a way. I mean.
Oh man. That blog is making me all tongue-tied and nervous.
FAILURE! At being a decent person, behaving like a pro, and in general not being totally lame and narcissistic.
Things not in my mind in bold.
(Costume Designer presents dress)
Costume Designer: Blah blah this works for the play and I’m the designer. Go put it on.
Me: (verge of fighting tears) It’s ugly.
GrownUp Me: Are you CRYING? Are you serious? Go put on the fucking dress.
Me: It’s butt. It’s ugly.
GrownUp Me: Gee. TOO BAD. Go put on the fucking dress.
FormerCostumeDesigner Me: Um. Hi. Excuse me. Hello. Do you REMEMBER designing costumes? Do you REMEMBER how mad you got at Jen Hines because she felt “frumpy” in the only thing you could find for her -which totally WAS frumpy, but it was within the budget and it worked, dammit - after panicking for weeks? Do you REMEMBER the moment when you turned off your sympathy for people's body image issues because you just had to get some freaking clothes on them? Do you REMEMBER understanding why people hate actors and promising yourself you would always, always put on whatever someone handed you and smile?
FormerCostumeDesigner Me: DO YOU?
FormerCostumeDesigner Me: Then shut the fuck up, put on the fucking dress, and smile.
Designing costumes is a pain in the ass and she's working really, really hard.
Me: (putting on dress)
Fellow Cast Members: Whoa! That is BUTT! UGLY!
GrownUp Me: You guys are not helping.
Costume Designer: So what do you think?
Me: It’s butt.
Me: Appropriate for the play blah blah I swear I am trying not to be a total baby.
Costume Designer: You bitch. Why can't you cut me a break. Please Lord, let the director like this dress and make my life a thousand times easier.
Director: Ah. Let’s see the other dress.
Me: I love you, Director. Costume Designer, I am truly sorry I am so lame.
Me: I'll go change.
He [wisely] pointed out that you will get mixed signals which you can and should rightly ignore. For example, your conservative relatives will not dig a play about incest. Some people will already love the movie, and any other interpretation will just seem incorrect. In short: you can't please everybody, so figure out what you need to do to please yourself, and work towards that.
And I was like, SHUT UP! I TOTALLY have a whole blog about this.
No. Not really. I did not say those things.
It's a great idea and a great acknowledgement to make, right off the bat. But ... (fussy sigh here)
I guess this is where art gets hard: many of the things we wanted, certainly I want, aren't quantifiable. My goal is to make people in the audience feel for this crazy and somewhat despicable character. How do I know if I've done that? Take a survey? Pass out comment cards?
On a creepily related note... thanks everyone for taking the surveys at the top right hand corner. And for leaving comments.
It makes me feel like I don't just come across as a ... crazy and somewhat ... despicable
1., I saw There Will Be Blood, which was excellent but will not make you feel good, exactly. Especially about parenting.
2., My mom called just to tell me that the flowers from the bulbs I gave her for Christmas smell like rotting garbage.
In the meantime, I got married, got a potentially VERY exciting freelance job which will allow me to work from home with complete flexibility, and realized that I only have five more days of DayJobbery after today.
So... No, I don't want kids. Yes, I still consider that to be a defect in my personality, but it's going to take a while, and in the meantime, there's a lot more exciting stuff to focus on. Being sensitive and susceptible to mood swings is annoying even to Person Being Sensitive and Susceptible To Mood Swings.
And paperwhites do not smell like rotting garbage. They're freaking beautiful.
Poker last night. The conversation segued from Movies We'd Seen Lately to Seemingly Arbitrary Names of Improbable Sex Acts. Dirty Sanchez, space docking, etc.
Group discovery: the magic combination for a believable-yet-made-up improbable sex act seemed to be
a) the name of a small Midwestern city (better if it's in Indiana), andExamples:
b) an oral hygiene product or activity.
a Ft. Wayne flossWe tried to come up with personalized ones, like the old soap-opera name/porn-star name formula: your street, your first pet, etc.
the Valparaiso toothpick
a Lafayette gargle
Tutaj: Okay... it's your hometown, and an oral hygiene product you use every day.
Sarah: ... the Brookfield Mouthwash?
Tutaj was recently nominated for a Jeff design award which he didn't win (Tutaj: I ... (sigh) I lost out to a puppet, it was a ridicu-- nevermind), but the same night, was privately congratulated and praised by a Jeff committee member whose work Tutaj really admires.
Tutaj: I think it's about respect. In the community. You know, from people who you respect.
I like it. It's a good criterion that doesn't hinge on money or an arbitrary critic.
See? He's a genius. And I TOTALLY kissed him today.
I know this is irrational. I know this is not entirely the norm.
But it's how parent/child relationships operate in my family. My sister doesn't speak to my mother. My father doesn't speak to my sister, who doesn't speak to him, he doesn't speak to me, we are four human beings who have done an amazing job of estranging one another. We probably all stopped speaking because we said all the awful words we knew in all the awful combinations we could think of, and once those were said, we just quit talking. And that was about eleven years ago.
Except for my mother and me, and if you read this whiny blog you know that isn't going so well lately.
So when my friends want to have kids, I think they are nuts. Straight up NUTS.
And when my friends have wonderful relationships with loving parents, I am alternately
a) moved to tears, and
b) so jealous I want to punch walls.
I'd like to get over this.
The first part of that is knowing it's there, right?
He moved very slowly and had limited use of his right arm.
Man: Hello Miss. How are you today?
Me: Not so bad, thanks. How are you?
Man: I am not so bad, thank you, considering I was hit by a semi.
- Young mother with first child, who has cancer. Somehow managing to be a mother, a wife, and a human being while trying to make medical decisions to save her daughter's life or at least spare her some pain. I've never met this woman but I check their blog daily. She (and her husband) absolutely floor me.
- Late-middle-aged mother whose daughter calls daily to threaten suicide, demanding to know why ex-boyfriend left her. This has been going on for several years. Husband recently threatened to kill her. Later claimed it was a strategy to calm down daughter.
- My-aged mother with her first baby and a house far away from the rest of her friends. Very alone for days at a time except for intermittent visits from her own mother, who is caring for her dying grandmother. "I'll be telling her something, and then the baby will do something cute and she'll get distracted; then I realize she wasn't listening to me all along. Her mind just isn't here. I mean, I don't blame her. It can't be."
Mostly sunny and bitterly cold with suspended ice crystals.Alright, Midwest. I've lived with you and your godforsaken icy winds and encased meats and beer for seven years now. But this? What fresh hell is this?
It sounds like a Bjork video. That will lacerate my lungs.
Stage manager mutters something to director.Oops.
Director: Oh, yes. And you'll be striking the set every night after each show.
Me: (a little too loudly) WHAT.
Here's the deal: I got spoiled at Chicago Shakes. I mean, people were paid to wash my underwear, for crying out loud. They bought us underwear.
(That's standard in Equity houses. If you are confused as to why, I'll explain it in the comments but it has to do with often-revealing, semitransparent costumes and two-show days when you get REAL sweaty, if you know what I mean.)
So this is a little different.
In some ways, I suppose you could say I've taken a massive step backward.
- The Amazing Race. (I have never watched this show in my life. Then, I watched twenty minutes of it last night. Tears.)
- Being mildly reprimanded for an email that apparently included an offensive use of italics. (I thought I was just being clear. Apparently... well, I angered the head of DayJobCorp. and caused some stress for my boss)
- Putting on boots to go to last night's fundraiser. (What?)
Being crazy is even irrational and annoying to the Person Being Crazy.
There's a lot I want to say, but I've started worrying primarily about how it will be received, which is a terrible way to write or really do much of anything.
So I went to Arnie's breakup blog for some inspiration on how to gracefully, succinctly express grief and loss.
Lately, I've been making sure I drink myself to sleep every night.
If I don't, I lie awake and I think of all the things I've done wrong. Then I wake up every hour, I remember those things, and think of more.
I did not do that tonight because I realized I was doing it last night, but now I'm afraid of going to bed.
Yeah... no, that's what I meant. Another story, maybe I'll link to it later.
Anyway. This is a barn not far from their home.
I think ...
ah. Why do I like this so much?
I like it because it possibly makes any political statement you want it to make.
AND it kind of implicates Italy in The Battle of The Alamo.
It would be pretty stupid to launch into a tirade about Second City – since to be fair I’ve never taken a class or… ah, even seen a show.
Although I *was* in a show produced by Second City Theatricals, which I love touting on my resume, but that’s another story altogether.
POINT BEING: I do know this:
Since I moved to Chicago, I have had several friends who have worked for Second City as teachers, directors, mainstage performers, etc performers, touring performers, and touring understudies.
They have all, in varying amounts of time, quit in disgust, frustration and disillusionment.
I also know this:
Second City makes a lot of money. My friends have seen very, very little of this money.
And finally, this:
There are a lot of legitimate schools that teach the nuts and bolts of trades like modeling, acting, improvising, and also gymnastics. They have good, honest teachers and want to see people succeed and they will be very realistic about your chances of doing so.
There are also ones that exist to take your money while promising you’re juuust about to break into the big time. You’ve got some real promise, kid. Just take another class.
(post ends here)
…AND ANOTHER THING.
In case I don’t make it abundantly clear in this blog, I love performing for a living. It’s a wonderful thing. And if you do it right, it’s also very hard work. It involves long hours, a lot of stress and accountability, giving up any dividing line between your personal life and your professional life. Among other things. And I absolutely believe that you should be able to do your hard work, and if you make that commitment to work your 40 hours a week, you should expect to earn a living wage. A. LIVING. WAGE.
The attitude of ‘if you don’t like it, there are a hundred people just dying to take your place” is probably fair in a free market, capitalistic sort of way, but it absolutely infuriates me.
Think Yosemite Sam. At a union rally.
I envied the emotional workout my friend got while playing Cressida in ...well, Troilus and Cressida, but I was also stunned by the wide range of responses. You REALLY can't please everyone. And even if (IF) you do please all the right people (yourself, your director, press), there will still be some moronic blogger who swears you only got cast for your tits.
Would I be strong enough to just let that roll off my back? Seriously? I'm so sensitive it's stupid. And I crave validation far too much to NOT read reviews. Or blog-search my plays.
But I think it's about time.
I just got cast in a fantastic [lead] role in an amazing play with a small theater company, going up at a terrible venue.
So, here we go.
Fistfuls. Of raw meat. This seemed brilliant to us at the time.
Amazingly, we got one (ONE!?) complaint, ... and we totally made fun of her afterwards.
I'm going to the Chicago Sketchfest tonight to do a 5-minute bit that is not particularly hilarious but should be visually stunning and really delightful. I'm fairly sure that, at 28, I'll be among the older comics at the festival tonight.
I'm not entirely sure why sketch comedy is such a young thing.
I guess because there is NO money in it, ever; it's hard work and frankly, it ceases to be fun when you've sunk $300 into renting a theater that smells like cigarettes and pee on a Wednesday night at 10pm, the pre-show music is blasting, you've preset all your props, you got someone to run box office and you even found someone to run your lights, and you're going over your lines, and
to your show.
And 10:15, that is just a nasty lonely time. Because no one is there.
I have drank so many beers in an empty theater with my castmates and somebody's one loyal friend who actually made it out. It isn't a reflection on the quality of your show or even your friends; it's just that sketch is a pain in the ass. And it doesn't save the world or change lives, so around your late twenties you wise up and leave it to the 23 year olds who can't wait to take their pants off in the office sketch.
This is a long-winded way to get to a question I've been wondering a lot lately:
When is it wisely walking away, and when is it giving up?
If you take out the pauses where I was digging my fingers into the arm of the sofa, this is how the ensuing conversation went:
Mom: Well, I think I'll just write Brandon a check. How much should it be?
Me: That's entirely up to you.
Mom: Well, whatever he spent on us. How much was [gift Brandon sent]? Twenty?
Me: ... No, it was forty dollars.
In a few moments, this appeared:
It's like she paid a bill for an exact amount due.
I haven't told Brandon I have this.
I've been carrying it in my purse since December 25th.
I'm very embarrassed to give it to him.
His parents sent me pottery and art.
EPIC TURNOUT FOR DEMS -- We Are Out of Ballots!
Now I have to go audition for a horror film, call to confirm a callback for this weekend, and then work on a costume to create a giant rock monster like this one from Time Bandits.
You can see it this weekend at Sketchubator if you want. No chickens, though.
Good day, sirs.
Sketchubator happens at midnight on the two Saturdays of the festival. The audience is 99.9999% drunk sketch comics. Basically, any group from the festival can ask for a 5-minute slot in the program. Anything goes as long as it's under 5 minutes.
He came home a little before 5am, so we didn't actually talk until this afternoon.
Brandon: Dude... Honey... Last night, there were two live chickens on stage at Sketchfest.
He did a series of national, played-to-death [read: highly profitable] commercials for some credit card company a few years ago. BEFORE sportscasters peed on themselves just thinking about him.
The ads featured Tom Brady and a few other helmeted, otherwise anonymous football players. Tom Brady agreed to do the gig, but only if the other football players were played by other Patriots.
You cock. Yeah, a pro football player REALLLLY needs more money. That could have paid months and months and months of rent for five commercial actors. Instead, five pro football players had even MORE money to spend on their supermodel girlfriends and pitbulls.
Fuck you, Tom Brady. Fuck you from the lowly commercial actor. I hope you crumple in the playoffs.
... let's see if I remove this in the morning when I sober up.
Who knew this post would make me the #1 web authority on cashmalon? DO NOT BUY CASHMALON SWEATERS, PEOPLE. THEY ARE REALLY CHEAP for a REASON.
That being said... I have a size small blue cashmalon mock-turtleneck for sale if anyone is interested. I couldn't bring myself to ask my grandmother for the receipt, so... let me know, we'll talk.
and NO, google, I did NOT mean cashmelon.
I already made that joke, anyway. Cripes.
No .... seriously.
Why did I...?
Oh, right. It's a $90 sweater for $20.
It is actually cute, I sweater.* And I'm getting over feeling like I have an injured-dog collar.
Did I mention it was $90 and I got it for.. . ... oh, I did.
*I sweater to you, that was completely unintentional. But I had to keep it.
Like most actors, I'm following the strike very closely, checking www.wga.org daily for updates. Our contract is up in June and whatever the WGA negotiates will be the blueprint for all actors' negotiations - SAG and AFTRA.
Obviously, since the major media outlets are the ones the writers are striking against, there isn't a lot of coverage - especially to break down how STUNNINGLY greedy the producers are being. If it weren't for the late night talk shows, who knows how many people would even notice.
Here's a very informative page about the strike, however, if you don't like links, read this (it's the real issue of the strike) while I still have your attention and I'll post some more amusing anecdotes soon.
In the meantime, ponder the distribution of wealth in America and the rich getting unbelievably richer.
What is “new media” and why is it so important?
Industry experts agree that in the next 2-5 years most American televisions will be connected to the Internet and the shows and movies you watch will be transmitted via an Internet connection. Corporate revenue from video downloading is estimated to be $1 billion for the next three years; proceeds from video streaming will be $3 billion during the next two years.
Writers are asking for Guild coverage of writing for the Internet, basic residuals for Internet content reuse, and the tools to enforce this agreement. These residuals are not a bonus for writers; they are a critical part of compensation. The media conglomerates are refusing to grant the Writers Guild jurisdiction over original writing for the Internet, though nearly ALL writing will likely be transmitted this way in the future.Aren’t the CEOs saying they don’t know if the Internet will be profitable?
Yes - to the writers. Then they turn around and say this ...
“Perhaps CSI will be on the network and it will also be on broadband. At some point instead of 27 million people watching it 20 million will watch it and 5 million will watch it on the Internet. But we will get paid for it regardless... We as the network, as the studio, as the producers and production companies, we will get paid no matter where you get it from.” --Les Moonves, President & CEO, CBS. “Viacom will double its revenue this year from digital.” --Sumner Redstone, Chairman,Viacom.
Woman: I am an original. I don't follow in other's footsteps. Or stop to read every word on the ingredient label.
Me: Is this for real?
My agent: I know. Gay, gay, gay.
I really hope I get it, though. It would be a national tv spot.
Yeah, I'd spread the word that reading ingredient labels is totally passe. As long as I can make thousands and thousands of dollars for it.
... or even just fifty bucks. I'd do it for fifty bucks.