Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Highs and Lows from a Rainy Monday

(Disclaimer: I am aware that the weather may not have been rainy where you were yesterday. I hear my LA friends were a teeny bit warm, and my Charleston peeps were about to drown at the intersection of Calhoun and Rutledge. The "rainy Monday" in the title of this blog only refers to the weather in New York City, and more specifically, the Upper West Side. No disrespect to those of you who did not have a steady, calming rain yesterday.)

The daily schedule of an actor widely varies from day to day. Last week, for example, I had several days chock-full of auditions, callbacks, rehearsals, and actor-themed errands. Days that began with the following conversation:

Me: (sternly) I absolutely cannot do any extra errands today.
Dean: (drinking coffee) OK.
Me: (defensively) I mean it. I don't have the time.
Dean: (not looking up from the paper) OK.
Me: (on the brink of a freak out) So, don't even ask.
Dean: (yawning) Were you saying something?

Yesterday, I had an audition later in the day, so I got to spend the day doing other stuff. First, I made another trip to Kinko's to copy scripts for Dean. (Shout out to Dean Poynor- he's had lots of really good theatres request scripts lately.) Finally, the people at Kinko's understand that we are married, and that while the scripts are copyrighted, it is OKAY for me to copy them. I had to forward them an email from Dean that began, "Hey Baby...could you please copy the attached script for me," to prove I was legit. Of course, now Renaldo seems super attentive when I go in, but I'm afraid clearing things up would affect the level of service I now enjoy.

Dean is the cook in our house, but he's been working late recently, so I made dinner last night. I did. I found a crock pot recipe, made a list, and went to the Trader Joe's for supplies. (While I love Trader Joe's, it's just not the same without Two Buck Chuck- grocery stores here can't sell wine, and it makes me wonder why I went an extra block out of my way to shop there. Maybe for the frozen rice.) So, I made this healthy, chicken stew-y thing, and it was very...healthy. So healthy, in fact, it prompted Dean to say, "With all these good ingredients, I wonder why it's not tastier." This was not a slam, but a shared confusion. Why wasn't it tastier? I followed the directions. OK, I added some extra veggies, but I mostly followed the directions. I take it as a sign that I should practice drinking wine and looking cute while Dean cooks for us. We already know I'm good at that.

On the way home from the store, a guy was walking ahead of me with a bouquet of roses. He was carrying them pointing down, so as he walked, rose petals would occasionally fall onto the sidewalk for me to walk on as I followed behind him. It was pretty sweet for him to do that for a total stranger. It made the walk home from the store much more regal.

Today, I'm going to take some time to get to know the new program I bought to organize my mailing lists. It's called Bento, like the lunch box from Japanese restaurants. Then, it's off to an audition I've been called in for, so I'll get those sides prepared, too. I'm working from home today!

It's almost lunch time, and last night's leftovers are calling me. But I might ignore them, because Japanese food is calling just a tiny bit louder.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Stuff I've Seen This Week

You all know New York is diverse, right? And it's full of weirdos, too. Those words may mean the same thing, actually. Like "diverse" is a polite way of saying, "chock full o' weirdos." In any event, New York is really...diverse.

We live on the Upper West Side, which some people think sounds fancy. Which is another nice way of saying, "not too diverse." Which really just means "full of yuppies and not too many weirdos."

I beg to differ.

Yesterday, I walked past two middle aged men, one wearing khakis and a polo shirt, and the other wearing sweat pants, a dashiki, and a hat made of what looked like banana leaves. They were having a perfectly normal conversation- at least the polo shirt guy was; the other guy was listening to the wind, I think. Either way...Hat Made of Leaves.

Walking back from the grocery store, I passed a man who I believe was the basis for the movie, Candy Man. He had real freaky eyes, and stared right at me, mumbling what I assume to be a voodoo hex. So far the worst thing that's happened has been we've run out of creamer, so maybe Candy Man needs to step up his hex game a little.

I see lots of women rolling their dogs around in pet strollers, which is really sweet and kinda sad. Sad because maybe the dogs can't walk on their own. Sad because maybe the ladies wish the dogs were really babies. Sad because I see them and wonder if Hank would like his own stroller, too...

On a less weird note, Dean and I were at lunch yesterday, and saw an old-school checker yellow cab- the real chubby ones from the movies! I would hail that thing even if I didn't have anywhere to go. Oh, and we saw a pack of really young nuns, too. They weren't getting out of the cab, but that would have been cool. Especially if the cab was one of those clown cars.

In rereading this post, I see that it's taken a turn down a winding path to nowhere. The theme has fizzled out, it has forgotten its purpose. So I'll tell you what I'm gonna do...

I'm gonna go outside and look for some good-sized leaves, and I'm gonna make myself a hat.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Let's get this ball rollin'

This week, I learned something.

OK, I've learned a lot of things, but some of them are, "Don't take the 1 train" or "That pedi-cab with the fringe is unlicensed." But this week, I learned some encouraging things about being an actor in New York.

First of all, I finally got around to having my head shots reproduced, so I can avoid making a trip to Kinko's every time I need more pictures (yes, I know they are called "FedEx Office" now, but I'm set in my ways). I ordered 300 of them, not because I'm planning on going to that many auditions (though this week is turning out to be a busy one), but because I'm going to do the Mass Mailing To Agents and Casting Directors that actors do when they're new here.

I did have to go to Kinko's earlier this week to copy my resumé, and as I stood there trimming them all down to 8x10-size (so they'll fit on the back of the photo), I realized that I'm always turning my photo over when I'm in there, so no one will see that I'm an actor. Same thing with the resumé- I was cutting them all face down. Then, I saw a woman across from me who was wearing a dress identical to one I owned, one Dean bought for me in the Village soon after we moved. She was pretty, and also had a resumé in her hand as she stood at the copier, and I realized, it's okay to be an actor. The people at Kinko's must see tons of us every day. Everyone in NYC must personally know at least one of us. I need to stop shrugging it off, or apologizing for it. So I turned that resumé face up, and finished my task with my head held a little higher.

Today, I auditioned for a place that offers classes and sessions with casting directors and agents. It was strange, because I've gotten used to auditioning for someone and then immediately leaving the room- no one ever chats. But this guy gave me feedback. He invited me to sit down. We laughed and his suggestions were really good. And I realized that even though I've been acting for a long time, there's a fair amount I don't know, and a good bit I need to be reminded of. Granted, it is very convenient that this place offers classes, and I feel the need to take some classes...but it was a neat feeling to realize there is something I want to learn.

So this week, I feel on my way. I'm getting all the tools together I need to do this thing. Now I just need to figure out what my "type" is. I'm compelled to say "Liz Lemon meets Judge Judy," but that might not go over well. Your suggestions are welcome. (Seriously.)

And by the way, I got in. :)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Dear Celebrities: You are WELCOME.

Dear Celebrities,

First, allow me to welcome you to New York City (though many of you have been here longer than I have.) Your work here is important-whether you're shooting a film, boozing it up at 1OAK, or stealing a Broadway role from a lesser known actor.

As someone who has made personal connections with a number of celebrities, I understand how important it is for you to walk the line between "leave me alone" and "look at how fabulous I am." I get you- I know what you need. And I apologize on behalf of the unenlightened cretans who stop you on the street, and force you to pose with their 4 year olds (I'm talking to you, Christopher Meloni.)

I am making a promise to you, Celebrities. I vow to ignore you completely.

Liam Neeson, I vow to look away the next time you and your new blonde girlfriend walk past my table. I want to enjoy my sushi dinner as much as you do yours.

Ellen and Portia, I promise to "hold it," and not wait for the bathroom at Bar Centrale, as you are sitting in the adjacent booth.

Sean Hayes and Kate "Meredith from the Office" Flannery, I will resist the temptation to interrupt your dinner to remind you we've met before at Sam's house, and I won't ask you what you think of "Pretty- The Series." (www.prettytheseries.com)

Christiane Amanpour, I won't ask you why you downgraded from CNN to ABC, and I definitely won't comment on your mom jeans as you report from outside the Langham.

Frankly, Celebrities, you have interrupted my week. Your presence has distracted me from my own conversations. Your "Law and Order: SVU" has kept us from enjoying that little corner of Theodore Roosevelt Park we never, ever go to. And this morning, your trailers and catering wagons parked across the street from my front door are going to force me to walk all the way around them to get a good peek at Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Yes, Celebrities...you are welcome. I will be ignoring you from here on out.

But I can't say the same for Hank.


Here's a list of why yesterday was so good.

1. My mom was in town, and I got to spend a little time with her before she went home.

2. My mom went home. (just joking, Mom!)

3. I caught up on submissions and audition notices, after being out of the loop for three weeks.

4. I saw a matinee of Mrs. Warren's Profession with my friend Libby.

5. I have a friend!

6. Libby and I made fun of Mrs. Warren's Profession.

7. I went to the first read-through of my first NYC show, which is also the first thing I auditioned for when I got here.

8. I played a solid game of solitaire on the train home.

9. My husband made a great dinner of delicious leftovers. Sweet AND economical.

10. We went for a night time walk to a different area, WITHOUT the dog.

11. Dean told a panhandler to back off, and said, "Dude, we're having a moment here!"

11. We played Scrabble, and I made words with a Z, Y, and X. Boo-ya.

Somewhere in there, I had an argument with our ancient, misogynist Italian landlord. Our oven has never worked since we arrived, and Luigi insists I do not know how to use it. I invited him and his wife over to bake me some cookies to show me that it's fully functional, and that went over like...well, a woman standing up to Luigi.

I have so many things rattling around in my head- so many stories about Australia and getting back into the swing of things here, and being married and being an actor in NYC...

But those will have to wait until our oven is fixed. And until Libby and I figure out what the hell that scrim was supposed to mean in Mrs. Warren's Profession.

I'll keep you posted.