3.31.2008

Monday

Brandon: So what are you up to today?

Me: I have that audition for that indie film. I guess Sam Rosen is playing the lead in it.

Brandon: Who?

Me: Yeah, exactly. I'll check imdb.

Sam Rosen

Filmography

Actor:
  1. Four Boxes (2008) (post-production) .... Rob Rankrus
  2. Anna on the Neck (2005) .... Vegan Mike
  3. "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" .... Steve (1 episode, 2005)
    - No Exit (2005) TV episode .... Steve
  4. Herman U.S.A. (2001) .... Eddie
    ... aka Taking a Chance on Love (USA)
  5. The Hymens Parable (2000) .... White Rapist
    ... aka Saint Cassandra (USA)
Me: Oh right, of course. "The Hymens Parable."

Cat: You know, I really liked White Rapist. He was much more believable than Asian Rapist.

3.30.2008

Peer Pressure Wins!

Introducing:

http://punchesthenflowers.blogspot.net


Nice one, Jason!

Have stories? You know you do. Email them to punchesthenflowers (at) gmail (dot com). Theater-y blogger pals: do me a favor and spread the word?

I will post my very very favorite theater story, which actually happened to Brandon.
File under: touring children's theater.

Brandon was in a touring production of "Frog and Toad Are Friends" which went around to various libraries and school cafeterias. It was geared towards a very young (kindergarten, 1st grade) audience.

Brandon played Frog, a fastidious ... um, frog, who at one point in the story loses his button. Frog then searches for his button everywhere, including out in the audience among the children, who would explode into gigglefits as he would look behind their ears, under their bookbags, etc. As the show developed, he discovered that the kids loved it if he named them silly names like the names of the other characters in the play: Maybe Mister Dragonfly has my button! No? Well, maybe Miss Butterflywings has it! Maybe Mister Squirrelpaws has it!

...until the fateful day when, exhausted and sick of doing the show seven million times, his brain switched over to autopilot as he went through the sea of giggling 6-year-olds, singled out one little girl, and called out, "Maybe Miss Cameltoe has it!"

Turned upstage in horror at what he had just said. Snail and Toad's jaws were wide open. Apparently Snail punched him, hard, as soon as they were "offstage." No amount of apologizing could convince her it was a complete accident.

Amazingly, no one caught it except for one teacher, who told them that she thought it was very funny but warned them that maybe others wouldn't think it was as funny as she did.

tough nights

Allow me to talk theater. Just a moment.

Last night ...was a tough night.
Among other things: I don't care how big your house is; an audience of nine is not going to enjoy a comedy. NO ONE is going to enjoy it.

I once was in a long-form improv show for an audience of three. In a house that seated 140. That, too, was a tough night.

My friend Jason is theoretically compiling - though I hope it turns into something real - a collection of theater war stories, tentatively titled Punches, Then Flowers. The title comes from his time spent doing improv and sketch in the Netherlands, where, no matter how much the audience seemed to not only dislike but RESENT the show being presented for them, the performers were always, without fail, given flowers.

Surely there should be a website for this. An online forum, where actors and crew everywhere can log on and tell their war stories, recent and distant - because they never end.

I used to work in broadcast news, and there was a site where newscasters everywhere could anonymously post the disasters that would happen during live newscasts. It got so popular that they eventually started charging users for access. (...Jason?)

Now A Newscasting "Punches, Then Flowers" Story:
Newscasting, too, is a somewhat-scripted, thoroughly live form of entertainment with its own cast of divas [anchors], jokers [sports] and socially awkward players [meteorologists].

I was running camera for the Dallas/Ft. Worth NBC-affiliate 10:00 newscast one night when a reporter was covering a story that somehow related to AIDS. To give the disease some context, he casually mentioned -as a side note- live, on air, that AIDS had originated in a group of homosexuals in New York City during the 1970s.

We cut to commercial and the director -who happened to be gay- half bellowed, half shrieked, 'THAT IS NOT TRUE!' There was, nonetheless, no retraction. And many people watching the 10:00 news on channel 5 that night heard that and thought, sure, that sounds right, the gays did start AIDS.

Okay. That was a tough night.

3.29.2008

necrosis

Disgusting!

Fascinating!

I messed my left index finger up with a screw gun this week and tore a nice meaty hunk off. Now there's a chunk of flesh that is dead/dying, but still hanging on and protecting the part underneath it as it heals.

...AND IT SMELLS BAD!

Disgusting!

Fascinating!

Who wants pictures of my rotting flesh? Who wants to smell it?

3.28.2008

TGIF

(Brandon leaves for work. Cat and I stare at each other.)

Cat: So... you're still here? Again? What do you do, exactly?

Me: I'm a full-time actor. Remember?

Cat: Oh, yeah. (pause) Then shouldn't you be acting somewhere?

Me: Well, remember, I had an audition yesterday.

Cat: That didn't take very long.

Me: No. It sure didn't.

Cat: Don't get me wrong. I appreciate the fact that you spent this week doing your taxes and cleaning your apartment and even helping Brandon out at his theater. But I'm starting to get creeped out by how much you talk to me.

(a tense moment ensues)

Me: If you were a dog, like I really wanted, we wouldn't have this problem.

Cat: You don't have time for a dog, remember?

3.27.2008

seriously? yow.

It's still a ways off, but it won't be too long before the non-hardcore among us can start biking again.



Wear lights and a helmet, yo.

3.25.2008

lit crit

Cormac McCarthy is, hands-down, my favorite author. I'll just say it once: read The Border Trilogy. Do it.

The man is capable of writing passages like this:

...what cannot be held, what already ran among the mountains at once terrible and of a great beauty, like flowers that feed on flesh.

FLOWERS THAT FEED ON FLESH, DAMN. If I could roll around in that passage like a dog in a dead thing to cover myself with its smell, I would do that.

Then you've got chunks like this one:

He sighed and seemed himself weary and cast down. He said that while one would like to say that God will punish those who do such things and that people often speak in just this way it was his experience that God could not be spoken for and that men with wicked histories often enjoyed lives of comfort and that they died in peace and were buried with honor. He said that it was a mistake to expect too much of justice in the world.

BOOM, y'all.
I hope these don't lose their punch out of context. Fine, I'll say it again: READ THE BORDER TRILOGY.

The one I've been thinking about lately is this one:

She said that to be a woman was to live a life of difficulty and heartbreak and those who said otherwise simply had no wish to face the facts. And she said that since this was so nor could it be altered one was better to follow one's heart in joy and in misery than simply to seek comfort for there was none.

Interesting. I misremembered this passage. When I went back and found it (all these are from The Crossing) ... well, I expected to read a harsh but truthful condemnation of my relationship - the sort of thing of fiery, extreme passion = only real happiness; comfort and stability is a delusion at best. That stuff.

Apparently I made that up.

I read a bunch of my old love poems from college today. The fiery misery passion of then vs. the tender, kind calmness of now.

The final sentence of that last passage I quoted - you know, the one about women's lives being fraught with difficulty and heartbreak - is this:
Lastly she said that if women were drawn to rash men it was only that in their secret hearts they knew that a man who would not kill for them was of no use at all.
Which kind of makes me think that the Mexican grandmother in this story led a very different life than I do.

3.24.2008

just like that time with Sue Scott.

Who the hell was I talking to. Damn. Somehow it came up: Why do you do this? What do you love the most about it?

I love working with people who are amazing at what they do. They make me feel honored and inspired.

I shared a sound booth today with Danny Goldring. Wow. Does he consider himself a success? Man, I sure do.

3.22.2008

happy saturday

remember when I worked here? Man. I'm so glad that's over.
When I first moved to Chicago, by some kind of miracle I got picked up by one of the best agencies in town. As an added bonus, they offered me a part time receptionist job AT the agency.

Shortly after, one of the four On-Camera agents had a breakdown and left. The head of the department asked me to fill in and take on her duties. Shortly after THAT, she offered me the job.

I couldn't take the job and keep acting. I remember thinking, 'this conversation could change the direction of my life,' but knowing exactly what to do, and telling her apologetically, "I've worked too hard to quit so soon."

I've said no to some amazing, acting-prohibitive careers. Talent agent. PA at the Oprah Show (a few times). Teachingwriterwhatever at Jellyvision. Most recently and least temptingly, Head of Benefits Administration at DayJobCorp.

As far as I can tell, only one other person from my college acting class is still acting. Everyone else quit within a few years of graduating.

So. I am a little
  1. ashamed by and
  2. sorry for
the negativity earlier.


I sheepishly thank folks for telling me what I
  1. should have known OR
  2. do know but forget or ignore.

Even with the occasional periods of discouragement -which can be downright profound, because rejection is part of the job- the fact that I have not quit makes me immensely happy and proud.

3.21.2008

among my many failures

...I will add 'posting a youtube video twice, then not knowing how to remove it so that there's only one clip and I don't look like a moron' to the list.

among my many successes, I will add 'cooking a tasty chili made with chicken, green chiles and white beans' to the list.


Mm.

Here's to successes whose tastiness outweigh the inconsequentialness of failures.

and to the art of impossibly obtuse sentence structures.

moving on.

Persistence. Hard work. Unflinching pursuit of excellence.

It's what the robots have that I don't.

It's why the robots are going to not only win... but also get cast in that Johnny Depp movie AND as Constanze in Amadeus. DAMN YOU ROBOTS!!!!



I particularly salute the blond woman for being both the quietest and the best.
That is hard. She does it.

3.20.2008

too much free time is deadly

I do not feel successful at all lately. In fact, I feel rotten, angry, and disgusted with myself. I had three big opportunities in the last three weeks. I blew all of them.

I can't argue the logic of when I feel successful or why I should. I guess that's why I started this blog.

I know that I should find a rubric for success that is entirely separate from the utterly random and whimsical process of getting cast in projects.

This is my new job. task. goal. thing.

Last night I was lying in bed, trying to sift through Things. I was so frustrated and dejected that I was not even paying attention to the cat snuggled against my neck and purring in my ear, or my boyfriend next to me, breathing peacefully and holding on to my arm as he slept.

3.19.2008

YAHOO!

Okay, so yesterday I was tooling through my sometimes-beloved, always-timesucking Google Reader, and saw this headline on boingboing.net:

Interview with Johnny Hiro creator Fred Chao


Hm, I think. Fred Chao, like my old friend from college Fred Chao. That guy was amazing. But surely there are a lot of Fred Chaos in the world.

Then THE NEXT ITEM on my reader list was my friend (and Fred's friend) from college, Matt Griffin's website. Which had this headline:

Holy Crap! Fred Chao is, like, famous! GO FRED!!!


ACK! It IS Fred Chao! THIS FRED CHAO!



My friend Fred Chao who, as we were walking through [I think it was] Munich, we came across this graffiti and I made him pose next to it because Anarchy graffiti anywhere is just PERFECT, I mean it's like how a tattoo on a big burly guy is SUPPOSED to say 'mom' with a heart, that's just what it is supposed to be.

FRED!

So anyway, my old friend Fred is live, in effect, and kicking ass at comickery! Way to go, Fred. I'm so happy for him. Here is his website. LOOK AT IT if only just for the main image, which is BEAUTY, and I want it on my wall.

Apparently his comic is smart fun and exploding with adventurous joy, sort of like Fred. "Johnny Hiro: Half Asian. All Hero."

Sounds like he is happy and pursuing art and life. I beam in his general direction.

3.18.2008

Pardon the New Ageiness

I imposed my own Waiting Period before posting these, because I thought, surely I'm just a little emotional/overcaffeinated/tipsy, but it's been a few days and I still love them.

Courtesy of Stefan Sagmeister, a design badass you know about if you're in the know with design knowing. I didn't know about him.

He identified these as 'patterns that have made him more happy than not.' I bolded the ones I should probably have tattooed on my own forehead. Any ones you really like?
  • Complaining is silly. Either act or forget.
  • Thinking life will be better in the future is stupid. I have to live now.
  • Being not truthful works against me.
  • Helping other people helps me.
  • Organizing a charity group is surprisingly easy.
  • Everything I do always comes back to me.
  • Drugs feel great in the beginning and become a drag later on.
  • Over time I get used to everything and start taking if for granted.
  • Money does not make me happy.
  • Traveling alone is helpful for a new perspective on life.
  • Assuming is stifling.
  • Keeping a diary supports my personal development.
  • Trying to look good limits my life.
  • Worrying solves nothing.
  • Material luxuries are best enjoyed in small doses.
  • Having guts always works out for me.
The only one I can take exception with is that last one, because I have said some stupid things that I THOUGHT were gutsy but were actually just inappropriate and uncomfortable.

This dumb life.

Yesterday morning.
  • Waiting to tell my agent how fantastic that film audition went.
  • Prepared/excited for the Big Stage Audition.
  • Afternoon/evening planned of building a set, working box office, seeing show, hanging out with friends.

This morning.
  • Now know that any chance I thought I might have had of being in that film is a freaking joke and a complete waste of a Saturday and two tons of hair goo.
  • Confused & dismayed by Big Stage Audition.
  • Felt old and cranky at the bar as I repeatedly thought WHY is everyone just being SO LOUD? ...QUIT yelling BALLS. SERIOUSLY. STOP IT.
  • No auditions set up nowhere for nothing.
  • NOWHERE.
  • for anyone.
  • or anyTHING.
  • because I am a hack
  • and everyone is completely aware of it
  • and yesterday was officially the last time I'll ever get asked to audition for anything.
  • ever.
... um, okay, as I was writing this I got a voice-over booking for this afternoon.
BUT IT'S JUST A RADIO DEMO! That's it! That's the lowest paying KIND!

I CAN STILL COMPLAIN!
DON'T you UNDERSTAND?!?


...


Later this morning.
  • Feel ridiculous.

3.17.2008

Goals

just remember that comedy can be this simple and this beautiful.

3.16.2008

Palm Sunday

Did you do this when you were a kid? Cause I sure did. Every Palm Sunday.
My older sister did it, then I did it when I got old enough to be in Grades 3-6 Choir at First United Methodist.

Line up at the back of the church. You get one palm frond - two if you're lucky. DO NOT HIT YOUR NEIGHBOR or YOU WILL LOSE your PALM FROND.

This had to be yelled repeatedly to the boys.


The choreography is even simpler than the melody. Hosanna, sing hosanna (raise both arms up) Hosanna to the King (cross arms over your head, lower again). Repeat, seven million times, walking towards the front of the church, singing, walking, trying not to trip on your choir robe or giggle so hard that you can't sing.

Easter was a major holiday. New Easter Dress, new Easter Hat, (yes we wore hats to church, we are rural and we are godfearing) big Easter Egg hunt, and a massive gathering of 40 or so members of the extended family. We did bunny, chick and egg-centric crafts WAY in advance and left pastel and easter grass shrapnel wherever we went.

Easter has all but disappeared from my life now. Brandon doesn't miss it at all. "It was a lot like Halloween," he explained to me last night. "It just meant that I got candy." His folks didn't go to church. That's why they're so much nicer than my family and they still actually speak to one other.

OH, I'm JOKING.
...maybe.

I wonder how to put those memories and traditions back into my life in a way that doesn't fake excitement about a religion I no longer identify with, but still continues my culture and the wonderful, wonderful thing that is Spring and the world coming back to life after being dead and frozen for such a long time.

Only for you, Johnny Depp

...will I spend THREE AND A HALF HOURS transforming my hair from this



to this

a 100% bonafide FINGER WAVE. Check it.

please no callback please no callback please no callback. that took forever.

...and had the unexpected side effect of my bathroom afterwards looking like I was once again 13 and getting ready for the District Council on Youth Ministries Fall Dance.


That was the best audition I've had in months, by the way. Geez... If only I'd felt that good about Stratford.

Time to focus on the next big 'un: Amadeus at Chicago Shakes.

3.14.2008

Why, YES.

YES, Johnny Depp, I WILL audition for your movie.

Thanks for asking.



Now tell my agent to hurry up and call back with the details, pronto.

-later-

Holy crap. That really IS a scene with Johnny Depp. That is a FEW scenes with Johnny Depp. Thank goodness this is tomorrow because I'd be losing my fuhreaking mind. Time to bust out the video camera try not to stress over 4 lines/27 words.

3.13.2008

i had a wonderful and successful day today.

...but that isn't really the point of this post.

I ran into my friend Dan today.

The last time I really talked to him, he was GLOWING. His comedy group had been singled out, picked up and flown out to New York. They met with William Morris. They met with Comedy Central. They had big meetings with big people and big things were happening.

Then, as it turns out, their group was too big. I mean... things are still (hopefully) POSSIBLY happening, I mean, it isn't a lost cause by any means. But ... they aren't in New York. They aren't busy writing for their new TV series. Dan was a reader with me at an audition (just as adept at Shakespeare as comedy; he's an amazing guy and quite the looker, gal pals) and has a job in retail. That William Morris did NOT arrange for him.

Things get big so quick. It's easy to feel like you're a big deal because, well, you ARE. ... for a minute or two. Then it changes. It goes away. Another friend landed the LEAD!!! in a NETWORK PILOT!!! shooting here in Chicago! and everyone was dizzy, I mean SO happy and SO excited for her. It didn't get picked up. Now she's looking to move to LA and start bartending again, which she hasn't had to do for a long time.

No career ladder here. No security, no future. And no sense getting yourself all worked up over a success or a failure that's just going to come out in the wash later on.

My play got a good review and then a bad review (both from papers I never read).

I was passed over for an audition, then ended up getting it anyway (for reasons I still don't understand -beyond a few UTTERLY paranoid theories).

I had a great callback for a persnickety director for a national commercial for a thoroughly embarrassing product.

When I was younger, I loved the roller coaster of excitement, the absolute joy of the accomplishments and the nervous poops before the big auditions. Now, I am FIVE YEARS OLDER and have accrued ...just ...a WHOOOOOLLLE bunch of wisdom. Wait. What the hell am i saying?
This day has been long. It was a good day. I felt like I knew a thing or two about acting. I bought a new pair of sunglasses and I drove my car around the city with the windows rolled down.

3.11.2008

Popular Demand, or, Barrel of Monkeys Puppeteering 101

Enough people have emailed me begging for this post, so... fine. Here goes.

HOW TO MAKE A TIGER HAND PUPPET WITH "REAL" EDIBLE BRAINS
for under $3.

1. Go to the Village Discount on Roscoe. Buy this tiger.

2. Explain to this tiger that you're going to make a lateral gouge across his bottom. He will need to poop out some stuffing. This is normal.

3. Show this tiger the sock that will soon be shoved up into its innards.

This tiger will need to poop some more. When he has pooped enough, shove the sock up through his body and head, then sew it into place where you cut his bottom wide open.

4. Ask this tiger if it was really THAT BAD.

5. Show the seam ripper to this tiger. Ask him if he knows that he has a vertical seam running up the back of his head.

6. Rip open said seam.

7. Scoop out this tiger's brain stuffing, and stick a plastic baggie in there. After all, if you eat brains out of a tiger's head, you want them to be clean. Staple it into place, because you're getting a little bit lazy.

8. Remember to buy some red gummy candy tomorrow before the show for full effect. Go ahead and stick some crunchy tortilla chips in there for tonight.

Sharing

Blog Reader: Lacy, I have too much time on the ww.internets. Aren't there any projects you did, then forgot about, then found, and you were like, 'holy crap! This is pretty amazing!'



Lacy: yes. And, technically, it's been on FunnyOrDie for 10 months, and it isn't dead, so it must be funny.

Blog Reader: What if I don't really want to commit to watching that [really, really weird but still amazing] cartoon? Are there other fun activities on that website?

Lacy: sure.

Blog Reader: Anything I should know about this website?

Lacy: 1. You should definitely do the 'get your treehouse pass' part.
2. The mastermind behind it all, Brad Oexeman, is a genius.

Blog Reader: You say that about a lot of your friends.

Lacy: He's not my friend. You can tell, because he spells my name with an i. As if I were a stripper, like Candi or Brandi or Misti. But, aside from that, he is a genius. Witness:



Blog Reader: By the way, I saw your play this weekend, it was fantastic.

Lacy: DAMMIT!!!!!!!!

3.09.2008

Opening weekend

So, your friends came to see your show. Did they like it? No, did they REALLY like it? How can you tell?

Well, the first thing to know is that everyone hated it and you were terrible. They will say nice things, but unless they are A) screaming, B) openly weeping, or C) bodily shaking you, they are unquestionably lying to indulge your fragile pathetic ego.

In case you don't believe me, I've written a handy guide to translating audience responses.

First of all: beware enthusiastic, unqualified praise. No one likes EVERYTHING. For instance:
"That was fantastic/great/awesome!"
This is a simple one: your friend does not have the heart to lie to you.

"You were great!"
No, you weren't.
Also, watch out for specific or itemized praise. This only means they've found a way to spare your feelings by mentioning the ONE thing about your show that was NOT an absolute abomination.
"Great job!"
This is a common one. Sometimes it means your friend actually liked YOUR work and hated the show itself.
But often it was the first vague, positive thing that came to mind that wasn't a direct lie.

"The show was great!"
Read: you, however, were terrible.

"Congratulations!"
This is the worst. This really just means 'I can't find anything to praise, but you seem to still be alive after participating in that debacle, so... good for you for THAT." Usually followed by an abrupt conversation change.

"I loved the (specific scene/design detail/moment of the play)!"
... which is a direct contrast to how fiercely I hated everything else.
You can also gauge audience responses from strangers. For example:

Stranger makes eye contact and smiles briefly.
Sympathy for how you have just embarrassed yourself.

Stranger avoids eye contact completely.
Empathy for how you have just embarrassed yourself (this is an important distinction. THIS person feels it so deeply, they have absorbed your embarrassment and can't even bring themselves to look you in the face. The other person was kinder, but slightly more patronizing).

Stranger smiles, says "good job."
The above apply, but Stranger feels need to say SOMETHING, and he/she doesn't know you so doesn't really mind lying to you just a little bit.

So, there you go. Enjoy the run of your show. Please feel free to add anything I've left out. I'm sure I'll continue to edit this post.

thanks for not updating!

A while ago, I wrote about meeting someone whose very young daughter had been diagnosed with cancer.

I haven't wanted to mention it on my blog out of respect for their privacy, but I've followed their story religiously on their blog ever since.

After a harrowing December - and, well, 2007 in general, their daughter was discharged in early January and she's been home recovering ever since.

They don't really update anymore, and I love it. It makes me so happy to go to their blog and see that there aren't any new posts... they've just been too busy enjoying their healthy little girl.

3.05.2008

Acting for a living

Yesterday. Gig as a SAG extra for a commercial shoot in Rosemont, Illinois. One of the first things you learn about being on a set is: BRING A BOOK.


Some actors refuse to be extras (even with SAG wages and conditions). They don't want to be perceived as anything BUT a principal, or a lead.

I don't get it.
The current Screen Actors Guild day rate as an extra is $309, which is way more than any day job could net me.

It's not the most exciting way to spend a day, but I can certainly think of worse. For lunch we chose from:
  • salmon cakes
  • prime rib
  • fettucine with a basil-alfredo sauce
  • a bunch of other stuff I tried to cram onto my plate without making it obvious that I WAS CREATING TWO DISTINCT STRATA of amazing gourmet food.
I mean, the biggest annoyance of being an extra -besides the boredom- is the stigma that you weren't good enough to be cast as the principal in the spot.

So I worked yesterday AND booked another extra job for Friday.
It's humble and unassuming work that some people turn down, but I made my living this week as an actor.

That feels like success to me.

3.03.2008

a year of definite perfectionism

Oregon, last summer.My boyfriend's dad, Ron, designs state parks - camping areas, hiking trails, and (he adds, sighing heavily) RV parking pads and ATV areas.

While driving around the coast, we stopped at a tiny island-turned-state park he had designed.

The state had just acquired the island, which had previously belonged to a single mother and her 5 children. Their poverty had kept the island remarkably pristine. Er, thanks! And ...sorry.

When it came time to name this new park, the only surviving child asked that it be named after her mother, who was apparently a truly remarkable woman. Ron did everything he could, but politics took over and the park was named for a retiring water commissioner who didn't even know the property existed. Ron felt terrible.
Ron: Well, I did manage to get the most remarkable feature of the property, the marshland, named for her. It's completely unique.
A dubiously successful job.

I'm realizing it's pretty self-absorbed to think of artistic enterprises as the only thing with subjective results. This blog should PROBABLY be about perfectionism (convincing myself of success) and trying to impress other people (convincing others of success).

By which I mean, this blog is actually about ... perfectionism and trying to impress other people.

Dammit! I knew it! Arrogance and ego created a blog!!!! Who would have thought such a thing!?


Here is the marshland. The woman, the single mother who raised all those kids in the middle of nowhere ... I can't remember her name. I really tried to learn it.