I’m sitting at my somewhat-less-cluttered computer table, and
on top of one heap is a chip I won at a comedy open mic that allows me in free
next time.It is more expensive than
some other mic’s, and my glass of wine is definitely more expensive at the particular
bar where this mic is located.If I have
the money, it is worth it to me.I enjoy
the whole experience and leave feeling uplifted.
On the particular night I won the chip, I was second in the
line-up of many.Names are pulled from a
bucket.I felt lucky.It’s not that I needed an early spot because
I had to leave or anything.For me, it
is nice to go up early so I can relax and enjoy the rest of the show.I was practicing a clean set.I don’t have a lot of clean material.My set went well though short, so I spent a
little time talking about doing a
clean set and then the rest of the time being the more complete me.I had fun.
Then at the end of the night,
when the host was going into that bucket to pull winners of a chip, I thought ‘I
think he’s going to pull my name,’ and he did.
Sometimes I feel aligned with things most of us don’t yet
Later, I hung out with some of the folks.What a joy to not have to worry about getting
up early for work the next day.I do
love three-day weekends.
A former co-worker contacted me with a possibility which may
result in a show, and I am probably going to have news soon.I find the web of life so fascinating.
This Thursday morning, I am scheduled to speak and to perform
at a film screening of “Women in Comedy.”Remember, if you are available and inclined, it is free but an RSVP is
11:00am at Poe Park Visitors’ Center.
Three poems of mine, "Women Do Tell," "El Esposo," and "Private Encounter at an Open Mic," were included in The Riverside Poetry Anthology, Volume 14, flabbergasted press, NY, NY. Many other poets I enjoy are in there too. The editors for this edition are Fred Simpson, Barbara Newsome, and Anthony Moscini. This anthology is available on Amazon.
On Saturday, October 4, 2014, I participated in the anthology poetry reading at the library on 65th Street and Amsterdam Avenue. That's when it became so evident to me that two of my three poems were sexual, and we were in a well lit library. I felt a little embarrassed but nothing that couldn't be overcome. It turned out that after the reading, I received so many comments of appreciation. One woman appreciated that I allow myself to be vulnerable up there behind the mic. A man thanked me for being charming. One of the editors told me I have a unique voice, and he thanked me for contributing to the anthology.
I appreciate being appreciated. I also think that everyone has a unique voice if no one is trying to sound like anyone else. I am typically feeling vulnerable, and I am glad some find it all charming.
Two readers, Fred Simpson and Patrick Hammer, besides reading their own work, also read a poem by Margery Hauser, a wonderful poet who couldn't be there. Margery's work is also in the anthology.
Then we went to the publishing party. Lots of food, drink, and mingling.
In many ways, I am from such a different world than most of those folks that I feel like a tourist when on their land. Yet, I'm also glad that our lands touch sometimes for good purposes and not just for an earthquake.
Another exciting event coming up that I was invited to be a part of and welcome you to attend:
NYC Parks Present a Free Preview Screening of
Women in ComedyWomen in Comedy tracks the rise of women in the world of comedy, from the “dangerous” comedy of 70s sitcoms like Maude to the groundbreaking women of the 1980s American comedy club boom and building to today’s multifaceted landscape. Contemporary comics talk about where women started in this competitive, male-dominated profession and where they are determined to go.
October 16, 2014 at 11:00am-12:30pm
Poe Park Visitor Center
2640 Grand Concourse
New York, NY 10458
Film Screening Followed by a stand-up comedy routine by Mindy Matijasevic, a Bronx native, mom, Adult-Ed teacher, ex!-wife, poet, actress, and comic. Mindy will talk about her early experience of stepping into the stand-up comedy waters, and what she believes are still barriers to it being woman-friendly.
I followed Wanda Sykes. I performed a ten-minute set after this was shown to the audience.
The audience was about 95% female and 100% feminist. They were there for a film festival. That night's films focused on the history of the women's movement (pre-Gloria Steinem). I learned much. The video of Wanda Sykes and my live performance were for comic relief. It was also an acknowledgement and honoring of the permission we all received (consciously and unconsciously) from the women's movement to speak in our own authentic voice and from our own point of view (which, in comedy, allows for originality and hilarity).
As a comic, it was a real learning experience on selecting material. Often, I got the opposite reaction to bits that I get at comedy shows. They laughed hard at things that get mild laughter at clubs, and less at bits that get a rowdier reaction typically. Overall, they were very appreciative, and several people made a point of speaking to me later. I feel so honored that Fran thought of me. I think I'm still high from that.
After sharing in my blog last Tuesday about being asked to speak and perform at a screening of a film in October, I was then asked by Fran Luck, producer and host of WBAI's feminist radio show "Joy of Resistance," to perform in a feminist film festival that takes place on five Friday nights, and the Friday I was requested for was 9/26/14. She had actually contacted me weeks earlier, but it was to an old email address and I hadn't seen the email. Her boyfriend, who is a writer and poetry friend of mine, reconnected us. I am grateful.
I find it interesting that in both cases where I was invited as a comic to be a part of these cultural events, it was by someone not in the comedy field. One knows me through acting and writing; the other through the NYC poetry circle.
Something that made me feel happy was there seemed to be much less of a divide between gay and straight women than there was in the 1970s. The togetherness felt so good to me. I don't like the pick-a-team mentality. I need the togetherness in order for me to have a place to feel at home.
"Feeling at Home" by Nzante Spee
In this place that felt like a home of sorts, I was appreciated for what I feel, think, and say rather than tolerated. It's a good feeling.
In the midst of a very busy existence, I am proud to say I was asked to perform some stand-up and speak on some of my experiences in the male-dominated stand-up comedy arena at a screening of a documentary on women in comedy. It will take place on October 16th.
About a decade ago, I was cast along with several other women to perform in a skit. We found the skit outdated and we rewrote it. The producers loved what we did. Unfortunately, the producers had a falling out with each other and the performance never happened. However, one of the other actresses, Lucy, and I stayed in touch and occasionally saw each other at Bronx events and on the local news channel. We are also Facebook connected. She's now working in a creative position for the Parks Department. Someone connected her with PBS where this is in the works.
I think what makes me feel so good about this is Lucy thought of me based on who I really am, not based on some insincere idea of "being nice" and not complaining about the disrespect, which is the kind of stuffing it generally expected of female people. When I first entered this world of stand-up, that was the message I received repeatedly. Don't upset the guys. It always reminded me of don't fight back and make the rapist angry. As Lisa Sliwa (of the Guardian Angels) once said, "They already are. Look at what they are doing."
In the same vein, people who use "bitch" as a synonym for "woman" are already upset. Some female comics (the ones who join the patriarchal mindset and call other women whores, etc.) are afraid of being associated with me for fear we'll scare away the morons with our intelligence. One woman's fear is another woman's paradise. More and more I conclude that those who keep their distance, should, so there will be room for those who really should come close to take my hand. We have the power to change the landscape if we dare acknowledge and embrace that power. The least I can do on this journey is leave some of my footprints.
If I'm just stepping in those size 11 men's footprints, no one will even know I was here.
It's ironic in a way because some of my biggest comedy fans are men. They admire my ovaries, but they call them "balls."
ATM receipts from 2009, typed comedy sets, a note from a woman who has since passed away asking me to read and write about her son's book in my blog (which I never completed but intend to), grant information from February, rent receipts from 2012, vote-for-me mail from candidates, a new birthday card I bought for my aunt Rosel's January birthday and never sent though I stamped the envelope, packets of salt, packets of pepper, two
dollars in bills, a couple of dollars in change, post office receipt from 2012, Walgreen's receipt for a lipstick, three large binder clips, a Sweet Million lottery ticket from September 10, 2012 (I looked up the results on line just in case, but I only had one of the numbers), 4 pairs of earrings and one lone earring, reminder notes to myself, invoices from the vet from all different times, a used ziplock bag, my cousin's wife's email address, a friend's social security number, a program from a play I was in 3 years ago, jotted down joke-notes, ...
while in my head I feel awful that my darling canine son probably doesn't have long for this world, and it is so hard to imagine life without my darling Luigi, I think about a recent conversation where I was told we unconsciously go for the romantic relationship with the one like our parent who we had the most problems with and with whom we have unfinished business, I feel I am probably better off not in a romantic relationship at all, I feel so hopeful that my grandparents and mother and others who have passed can hear me and know my thoughts and my heart which is quite heavy with things I don't go into here, I laugh at my comedy notes and even found a bit I forgot I wrote which is about getting flowers from a man (the kind of flower-giving that comes with expectations) and it's one of those that I said to my best bud in conversation which cracked us up and then I wrote it down which for me are the funniest, I think about all the people who I never got back to -- cousins, childhood friends, it all feels so hard inside sometimes as it all comes with other stuff that attached to it for me and I feel bad that they probably think I have no feelings when the exact opposite is true, ...
so I try to keep on decluttering, making a bit more room in the apartment and in me while the local news plays in the background. four people's faces slashed at 4am Sunday in the Bronx by a man still at large. it happened on North Street and Jerome Avenue and according to a resident of that area, crime has increased on North Street and they are not aware of any arrests being made so people feel very unsafe. affordable modern apartments are being constructed at the hub for working families living on 30 to 50 thousand a year. wonderful crafts fair over the weekend on City Island. would love to be able to shop at such events, but I'm not in such a bracket. Central American Independence Day Parade on Southern Boulevard. "Walk for Mother Earth" ends with a concert in Riverdale. Ellen Degeneres sent $50,000 and new instruments to P.S.48 in the Bronx that had been burglarized and had all their musical instruments stolen. Obama condemns barbaric murder. American people feel threat of terrorism increasing. In the 70s this week.
To be at a comedy open mic and not have my femininity and my spirit assaulted is such a breath of fresh air.
I was at an open mic and didn't
hear how ugly vaginas are or what a bitch we all are for not fucking some asshole or what sluts we are for fucking someone. I didn't hear about fat women, and I didn't hear fat women hating on thin women.
Not once were we referred to as garden tools.
I had a good time! Those participating didn't use the comedy mic as an excuse to spew hatred of more than half the world at us.
I didn't feel like I was in a men's locker room or that I infiltrated some woman-hating and homophobic club. I don't remember anyone finding humor in grinding the homeless further into the ground or anything else that turns my stomach. I didn't have to work at keeping my chin up. I think I found an open mic that works for me. I, so far, have only had very good experiences there in terms of how I felt, how I was treated, and how my set went. I do believe it is connected.
"How come I don't know you?" one woman asked me later.
"I love hearing intelligent women do comedy," a host said to me.
How can I not love such appreciation? Could it be that I actually found a comedy mic I enjoy attending and not just find more tolerable than many? I felt courted. It's been quite some time since I felt courted. It felt nice. Good-for-my-heart nice.
Unlike those who get theirs and leave, people tend to stay for the whole mic, so everyone has audience. Afterwards, we mingle. We actually talk to each other. It is what I consider being with other humans.