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  1. A Commentary on My Commentary

    Tuesday, July 19, 2016

    I was asked by the producer if I could attend a commentary on a film I was in since it is getting attention by a distribution company.  It was for a Friday night, and I actually was available.  I wrote back, “Yes, yes, yes,” and I asked for the details.  Nothing.  Then as the evening was approaching, I contacted him and said I never got the details – time, address, etc.  He said, “I thought you couldn’t come.”

    Now, I know when women say “NO” it is sometimes interpreted by men as “Yes.”  But here I said, “Yes, yes, yes,” and he thought I said no.  Go figure.  It made me wonder if maybe he didn’t want me there for the commentary.  He sent me the details though never answered one of my questions.  It was an important question.  I went anyway.

    I definitely didn’t allow myself enough time to get from the Bronx to Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.  So I was late.

    When I arrived, the producer said he couldn’t believe we were all there at the same time.  It wasn’t the whole cast, just a few of us.  He even asked me (and the others) what made me agree to come.  I said that since I was in the film, I felt a part of it and involved since then.  I came to the cast party too. 

    It is in the horror genre with a twist of comedy, and definitely some originality.  I don’t watch horror films.  I could appreciate this one because I was in it, the producer and director treated us well, and everything they said they’d do, they did.  I’m glad for them if they get some fame from this.  They are pretty focused and passionate about it.

    I arrived a bit stressed from the trip, being late, etc., but I was in a generally good mood though somewhat tired.

    The others were males, and, within minutes, I felt like I was on a very male planet like the one I’m actually on, and it felt awful.  I wasn’t expecting this since my experiences with them had been good, so I was off guard.  They were talking about some other film where someone put a charger or something in a woman’s vagina and charged their phone.  And I felt like I felt much of my early life, speechless and horrified at how we are hated.  The thought never occurred to me to do such a thing to anyone including a rapist.  I’d rather a rapist just be shot dead.  I’m not a fan of torture.

    Then later it seemed to get a little more comfortable.  The producer shared stories with us about different cast members.  He had frustrating experiences with some.  One woman apparently was supposed to get paid extra because she was supposed to have a make-out scene with one of the actors.  But the day of the filming of that scene, the actor had a cold sore.  She refused to do it which was understandable to all, but she insisted on the money for the make-out scene.  That was the point of contention.  I admire that she did insist on the money, but I know I wouldn’t have, unfortunately.  She was counting on the money, it wasn’t her who had the cold sore, so good for her.

    Now here is what took the whole thing back in a shitty direction.  Another actor said that she still could have kissed him, just not on the lips.  Then he went on to say that the producer should’ve made it so every actress has to make-out, and then just tell them it landed on the cutting room floor.

    Just love that dehumanization.  It’s so heartwarming when a human is spoken of as a thing.  At that point, I guess my spirit was sinking and I was starting to wish I had stayed the fuck home.  Almost a two-hour trip to feel invisible and speechless.  If we don’t keep consciously addressing it, this shit just takes over again.  Generation after generation is always in danger of having any progress reversed.  Geeeez!  (For those readers who are concerned about “upsetting the guys,” I’d say they come that way.  How else can they speak of us as containers for their garbage?)

    At that point, I wasn’t feeling very commentative.  I suddenly had so little to say.  As an actress, it had actually been a really fun experience to do the film.  And we were paid.  But when it came to the commentary, I felt smothered by misogyny.  It was a sense of the world being about them while everyone else is just kinda there to serve and adorn. 


  2. Integrated Minds

    Tuesday, July 12, 2016

    For a long time, I often wondered how gay people could be practicing Catholics or how women can be police officers or soldiers when their "own" are as dangerous to them as the perceived enemy.  I have wondered what black police officers feel about their peers and their jobs.  I'm not talking about black people who forgot where they came from or women who don't appreciate real women.  I'm talking about those whose many positions in life are connected, integrated, and not compartmentalized.

    I am a teacher.  I come from the poor working class until my Grandpa passed away.  Then we were on welfare.  At 17, I was thrown out of my grandmother's apartment because I was dating a black man, didn't lie about it, nor did I feel wrong.  Now I am the working struggling class.  I went to college living on a top floor walk-up, eating creamed cheese sandwiches for many meals.  I had hope.  Then Reagan became president, and rents quadrupled or more.

    My students are adults who also had challenging lives and didn't get to finish high school.  We connect rather easily.  We generally do well together.  Other teachers have puzzled over what I "do in my room" that I generally have good attendance, students making academic progress, laughter in the classroom.  I don't know how to get across to those teachers that it isn't what I do as much as how I am and what I don't do.  Many teachers have much more interesting well planned lessons than I do, but what I do tends to go in because of the relationship.  I don't work in the Bronx to convince myself I'm a progressive person while snickering at those who live here.  I live here and work in my borough.  A student once told me, "Mindy, you don't change because you are real."  Moments like that take a permanent place in my heart.

    As a teacher in the Bronx, I often have felt our students would be better off if the bigoted do-gooders stayed in their own communities because as skillful as they may be in their craft, they bring their bigotry with them while believing they don't.  It does its damage.  I have often felt my insides screaming, "Why are you in this field? Go sell real estate!"

    This is someone I feel in sync with.  Her worlds are integrated.

    One black female police officer's response to what's going on ...

    Tears rolled down my face as I watched.  Yet it felt comforting that other sincere people exist, mean what they say, and live an authentic life.  

    On a positive note, I was uplifted by seeing what some younger women are doing with their intelligence, talent, and concern about others.  Enjoy!


  3. Comics Watching Comics

    Tuesday, June 28, 2016

    Sunday, June 26th had lots going on.  In my Bronx, the Bronx Museum of the Arts hosted “Boogie on the Boulevard” which takes place on the last Sunday of each summer month on the Grand Concourse.  There’s music and games, dancing and art-making, and all sorts of things.  I want to get to one, but I couldn’t get to it this time.

    Sunday, June 26th was also the Gay Pride March in Manhattan.  Years ago, I went regularly to support my gay friends and the gay community and humanity in general.  But this year wasn’t going to be one when I could go.


    Sunday, June 26, 2016 was the day I was going to be at the New York Comedy Club most of the day for a taping of 50 comics for upcoming episodes 3 and 4 of Comics Watching Comics.  For those of you unfamiliar with the show, here are former episodes that I enjoyed watching before deciding to do it.

    Before I reached the train to head downtown, a man who lives in my neighborhood saw me and told me, “Ever since your dog passed away, you’ve put on weight.  You look good.”  He affectionately touched my shoulder.  I believed him that he thought I looked good.  No black man ever told me I was too fat.  One once told me to put some weight on. 

    I sat through 50 comics.  I am super grateful that I was #9 on the list.  I actually went up 8th because the person before me hadn’t arrived yet.

    The show is one where the panelists are going to talk about the set of each comic.  A year ago, I might not have taken the chance.  I am also aware that my work quality and my confidence do not match.  That’s true for many people.  Many seem to have more confidence than their work merits (NOT talking exclusively about comics regarding this phenomenon – I’ve seen it across the board, teachers, writers, poets, etc.)  Then there are those who don’t feel as confident as they should.  My confidence fluctuates and sometimes may have little to do with the actual quality of my work.  

    As it got closer to the day of the taping, I questioned again if this was a good thing for me to be doing.  I’d be performing to a roomful of comics.  Those of you readers not in comedy, I will tell you that performing to comics is not typically the most responsive audience/ rewarding experience.

    Fast-forward.  The roomful of comics turned out to be a wonderful audience!  My set went quite well.  I was able then to relax and enjoy the others.  Between my set and sitting down, I was greeted by Rhonda Hansome, our Thursday “She,” who was also going to be taped performing a set.  It felt so good to see a familiar face and supportive person.  I gave her a big hug.  She hugged back.  That was a nice plus.  And even better yet, I don’t think she and I are competing with each other.  I believe I am in the episode 3 batch, and she is in the episode 4 batch. 

    I left feeling good that I did this.  I can only do my current best.  I am braced for whatever the panelists might say.  I am okay with it being aired.  I’m proud that I feel that okay with it all.  I just hope the cameras (that supposedly add pounds to the look of a person) help people see me through the lens of that man in my neighborhood.  J


  4. Comedy Stuff

    Tuesday, June 21, 2016

    I heard a young male comic recently say, from the stage, that he did anal, yep he did that.  That was it.  Maybe, amongst his dudes, that alone is something to laugh at.  I was waiting for a punchline, but he just said it as an accomplishment, a credit of sorts.  I didn’t get how he should get credit, unless it was his ass. 

    I had a good time being part of the Real Bitches of Comedy show last Saturday.  The trains were trying, but the woman running the show was totally in the know about what was happening with the trains, so she was so cool about it.  Two of my students went and got there before me.  They bravely sat up front.  Another person with whom I have a mutual friend showed up.  It was the first time I met him in person.  He was the audience star of the show – Rudy.  He seemed totally comfortable being part of the show.  Nice.

    I don’t tend to make anyone feel sorry for sitting up front, but I couldn’t guarantee no one else would.  They were game.  My guests all sat up front and had a good time.

    Heather Apostolidis was great to work with.  She’s funny and kind and human.  I hope to work with her again.  Her almost-husband and his family were such good-vibes people.  I enjoyed them as an appreciative audience. 

    People came over to me later to compliment my set.  That felt great.  I felt uplifted and encouraged to continue on with my funny stuff. 

    Bonus: my students drove me home.  That was a totally unexpected cherry on the cake.  


  5. I recognize that Trump’s personality disorder is one that involves loving the fight more than the prize.  It’s not so different from parents who take pleasure in robbing the child of the other parent, fight for custody just to win, wins, and then has little skill or desire to build a happy person.  The fun is over, the fun of hurting everybody.  Now it’s just a path of destruction left behind.

    Well when Trump was called the presumptive nominee, he looked pale and frightened to me.  The part he liked was over – knocking out others in a junior high bully style.  Now he’d have to deliver something of substance.  But he only has the fight, not substance.

    So he creates conflict and manipulates others to act on his feelings.  In a family, children believe lies and become alienated from and hostile toward the actual loving parent.  In a country such as ours, race riots could become commonplace as he makes America something again.  We'd be in wars all over the globe.  All of it deflects the attention from the orchestrator.

    When Trump decided to complain about his unfair life and named the judge presiding over the Trump U case and the judge’s ethnic heritage, my first thought was he doesn’t want to be president.  It may not be conscious on his part, but this is how he will sabotage himself.  He doesn’t want the prize, only the winning. 

    I wonder how long his third marriage will last.  He can chase them and get them, but then he’s got nothing of substance to offer.
    He’s consistently narcissistic.  I’ll give him that. 

    On a hopeful note, on Sunday after the heavy rain became a light drizzle, I looked up and saw this which looked magnificent and colorful unlike the photo.  I know it is a great big sky, but seeing the rainbow above the buildings right across the street felt wonderfully personal.


  6. Brief Update

    Tuesday, May 31, 2016

    Slowly rising from Mother’s Day depression. 

    Will be auditioning at a comedy club in a few weeks.

    And since there’s a suspicion that part of my income might end in a month or two, getting passed at a comedy club for paid work would be good timing.

    For those of you who have been wanting to come out for some laughs and a generally good time, I'm pleased to announce that I’ll be at Silvana’s (116th Street and 8th Avenue, NYC) on June 18th at 7pm.  I’ll be performing on the Real Bitches of Comedy show.  


  7. Full of Rocks and Being Funny

    Tuesday, April 26, 2016

    Last week, my internet, cable tv, and phone services were temporarily suspended. I had written the start of a blog, but after the NY primaries, it was dated. I had moments on a computer at my day job, but to write anything, I like to be home.

    Being without the tv and internet wasn’t easy. I sleep with the tv on. I awoke when it went off. I’ve not lost perspective. I had a place to go home to, food, running water, hot water, electricity, good-enough health, freedom, and my jobs. Most importantly, my beloved son, my best friend, and I are alive and well, and for my son’s sake and my step-son’s sake, I’m also grateful their dad is alive and well enough.

    Being without those services felt a bit like fasting. I knew it would be temporary. It felt uncomfortable and even irritating. Like any other change, it opened up other things. I discovered videos that were in my Dropbox. I watched myself do a stand-up set in 2008. The audience was with me that night. I couldn’t even believe it. And I was braver than usual. I also made myself look at the videos of my canine child on his last day. It was okay. I had been afraid to look at pictures and videos of that day. Intellectually, I know it is better to not run from pain but to look at it. However, I haven’t been doing so courageously in recent months, so this was an opportunity to disrupt some of my habits. There’s definitely value in “fasting” and I can understand why most religions include a time for it in their practice.

    In case my ex doesn’t think I suffered enough over our son, the weight of grief is upon me every day. Every fuckin’ day.

    In spite of it all, I do stand-up. I know this site is called She So Funny, and I ain’t been funny in my blogs for a while. I will share this. In mid-June, late on a Wednesday night, I have an audition at Broadway Comedy Club.  If I “pass,” I become one of their paid comics they book.  So I better get fuckin’ funny. 

    Though I am grateful to be able to survive, I’d really love to not need 2 survival jobs, so I can get out there and do my thing!