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  1. Some years ago, when I was in a show at the Limerick House, lots of women attended who had been in a play with me.  Also a woman who was having a crush on me came to the show and sat beside me.  Some young guy was on stage doing his set.  I was sitting in the unlit section of the room, and I assumed the privacy that came with that.  I had no idea that the guy on stage could see my face.  I wasn’t making faces or anything, but I probably looked like someone looks when their entire gender gets spoken of as if stupid and put here for men’s use.  I felt badly that my guests who came to support me were getting this crap that isn’t funny if you don’t share the values and just plain bad for female morale.  I felt self-conscious that the gay woman was seeing the misogynistic milieu called comedy.  So my face must have showed that without me realizing or thinking it mattered.

    “Could you stop looking at me all judgmental like my mother?!” he said pointing to me.  I was so off guard.  I went hysterical laughing.  That may have been the funniest moment of his set.  I was absolutely hysterical.  I had to give him credit.  He was in the moment, he reacted to what he saw, and it made us laugh.

    Last Friday night, I was supposed to be judgmental.  I was judging a comedy competition.  I’d never done that before (except privately in my head, at least I thought it was private).  I didn’t know if I was going to be the only judge.  That thought made me nervous.  I didn’t want everyone’s fate in my hands.  Once there, I was told to sit at the table where the judges sit.  Plural.  Whew.  Then I wondered if I’d be the only female judge.  I imagined each comic who wouldn’t win blaming it on “the cunt.”  To my surprise, there were five judges, and we all were female. 


    The judges:  the woman in the purple top, me (in the black and looking judgmental), the woman with the white blouse, the one in the red pants, and the one in the gold top.  Without any conferring, we each were to hold up a card from a stack that was numbered one through ten.  The highest and lowest were dropped.  The three middle scores were added.  There were many contestants; each had three minutes.


    The place was Le Poisson Rouge on Bleeker Street in the Village.  In the photo above, you can see the large drawings on the walls.  Those are from Leah Yerpe’s show.  If you remember my blog of 2/19/2013 called “Body Art,” it talked about my experience posing for her.

    However, I posed after she put her pieces together for this show.  I liked that I knew the artist whose work hung in the space.  It helped me feel at home in a way.  When she creates her work of me from the photo session, I will share.

    They put a comic on first who was not competing.  It was for us to set the bar in terms of scoring.  I found that as I drank, the jokes were not necessarily funnier.  I also discovered that I was one of the tougher scorers.  The judges all seemed to take their role seriously and responsibly.  They were artists of different sorts – poets, singers, actresses, etc.  Before the show, some comics looked at us nervously.  I had hoped it wasn’t because their set was based on us being bitches, sluts, and cunts.  That would be something to go up there with and face a panel of five women judges.  I am pleased to say that I don’t remember feeling repulsed at any time during the show.  I understand being at different levels of development as a comic, but I can’t stand listening to one’s hatred and prejudice portrayed as a given, as a premise with which we all begin our day.  I was glad this show offered true attempts at comedy, some more successful than others, of course.  I enjoy watching people develop their art.  There was a man who did his stand-up upside down.  He stood on his hands and delivered his set.  Most contestants made us laugh.
    The host, Advocate of Wordz (that’s his name), was a funny man from the Bronx.  I liked his style.  I guess we both speak Bronx in a way.  When we met at the bar before the show, I told him I was so excited to finally be asked to be judgmental.  He laughed and used it on stage. 

    The winner of the night’s competition was… Sarah Hartshorne.

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    You can find Sarah on Facebook.

    I definitely would do it again.  I had fun.  And a bonus – one of the other judges, K Fhox, gave me her CD, Light Shines Through Me.  You can find her on Facebook and at youtube.com/kfhox.
    When I got home and was hanging out with myself, answering email, and thinking about being a contestant in the next competition, it hit me how late it was getting and that I had agreed to attend an all-day teacher conference starting at 8:30 Saturday morning.  It all sounded good when I registered.  The job was picking up the fee.  There were many choices of interesting sounding workshops to take.  I enjoy learning and expanding my teacher repertoire.  But late on Friday night, I looked at the time and said, “Why did I think this was a good idea?”

     
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  2. Sh*t Old Folks Say

    Monday, April 29, 2013

    by Samantha DeRose








    Well, well, well.  If it isn't Monday already.  And what a start.

    Last week, my sister and I decided that it would be a great idea to get up early every morning and walk our dogs.  By early, I mean in the 5:00-6:00 a.m. range.  Now, I'm an early riser, but that does not mean, by any stretch of the imagination that I'm functional.  Neverthenonetheless, we walked all week long (and on Saturday).

    After Monday's walk, I noticed that my left wrist was killing me.  Of course, I WebMD's my symptoms and diagnosed myself with Lyme's disease, Osteoarthritis, and Fibromyalgia.  Despite my dire diagnosis, I forged ahead on Tuesday and realized that the source of my left wrist pain was, indeed, the fact that my dog is an asshole on a leash and was yanking my left hand nearly off of my arm.



    By the end of Tuesday, my knees, ankles, and calves felt as if Tony Soprano and his crew put them through the sausage grinder at Satriale's.


    When the hell did I get so old that WALKING makes me sore?  Probably around the time that I went from a 36C to a 36Long.  It's as if I woke up one morning and my upper arms were replaced with my upper thighs.  Sensodyne toothpaste and prunes are now on the top of my grocery list.   I'm a child in a middle aged person's body.  I used to ski.  I used to run.  I used to work out at the gym.  Those things make a person sore.  NOT WALKING!  What's next?  Uncontrollable flatulence?  Oh.  Wait.

    At least I'm not alone.  I'd be a liar if I said misery doesn't love company.  I read my best friend, Marygrace's facebook status where she was contemplating purchasing an outfit that looked like something Bea Arthur would wear (a.k.a. Maud / Dorothy) for her son's first communion.  While everyone else posted that she "resist" buying Maud-wear, I say, "Embrace it!"  

    I wore heels one day three weeks ago and my knees are still buckling. I give up. Bring on the orthopedic shoes!

    Yesterday, my sister and I decided that it would be an even better idea to get up even earlier so that we could get a longer walk in.  I rose today the unholy hour of  4 something a.m., went outside at 5 something a.m. and it was raining.  There's one rule to walk club.  Nobody walks when it's raining.  Thank GOD!  My bursitis was acting up.

    P.S.  To add insult to injury, I purchased a chain for my reading glasses at CVS today.  








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  3. My Funky Donkey

    Sunday, April 28, 2013




    Urban Dictionary definitions:

    Funky:
    Keeping it raw and real; not lying

    Donkey:
    A big ass



    Holy fresh Hell, my funky donkey is out of control.  Since Hurricane Sandy, I haven't bee able to get my ass back in shape...literally.  Oh, the wonders of getting older!  It used to be that I could do TaeBo for 5 days straight and my ass would shrink exponentially.  I've been doing Crossfit, running and yoga for 7 months and the only thing that has happened is more fat has shown up on my ass.  I am a 4'11 pasty honky, who is mostly ass and it's gross.

    I have gained about 25 lbs in a year.  I'm tired of hearing, "you don't look like you have gained weight".  Stop it!  Stop the lying!  I weighed 98 lbs this time last year.  Now, I weigh 123 lbs.  I'm no math genius, but, I believe that 123>98, right?  I mean, I am Southern and I learned math in a Southern classroom.  So, I might have learned a completely different math than everyone else.

    I don't know what else to do beside eat kale...for every meal.  Or, maybe I just run  in place for 24 hours, like they do in Scientology.

    I want to look close to death, instead, I have so much junk in my trunk that it weighs me down.  I feel like I am constantly dragging my ass around, as if I am doing the "boot scoot" like a dog.  So not awesome. 









    If you guys don't know about Big Sam's Funky Nation, you should.  They are playing a free concert in Brooklyn May 9, 2013. 

    http://bigsamsfunkynation.com/

















      







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  4. My Cat Makes Me Cry

    Saturday, April 27, 2013

    By Lisa Harmon

    Everyone knows I love animals, and I love my cats, but most people don't know that my older kitty-kat is senile, right? I mean, I didn't make that up, that's what the VET said! Apparently there's nothing wrong with her, except she's losing it. She hollers, all day, all night, and man, is it loud! It is so loud and piercing, it could wake the dead! This has been going on for over five years. I used to feel sorry for new mothers that don't get any sleep for a few months. Now, I think, that must be a cakewalk. Try five years. FIVE YEARS!

    I have become a slave to the feline nation. I get no peace in the daytime, and no sleep at night. I feed my cat eight times a day and wash her dishes all day long. I have litter boxes to scoop and matted fur to untangle. Don't forget nail clipping, ear de-gunking, never-ending floor-sweeping, and of course the other cat, who, believe it or not, sometimes needs attention. Like Monday when she got a nice antibiotic shot for $105.00.

    This morning I spent an hour reading and rereading an email that made no sense. Trying to figure out other people's gibberish while a cat screams at you from across the apartment takes a level of patience and persistence I have yet to (and will never) acquire.

    After I stopped crying, I closed the email and started writing this blog. So, sorry if its a little soggy.

    When you start crying and wondering where it all went wrong, its time to take a vacation. So next month, I'll be out of here, away from my loud cat, and relaxing somewhere where she can't get at me. I can't wait!

    Cayuga through the years.  She's nineteen years old! 


     
     
     


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  5. You Looking At Me? By Rhonda Hansome

    Thursday, April 25, 2013


    I had a creepy feeling years ago while shopping in a grocery store.  I was hungry in an, I don’t know what I want to eat kind of mood.  I decided to take my time perusing the shelves to see what would satisfy my appetite.  The eerie sensation began shortly after I stepped into the aisle.  I noticed a store worker following me.   I couldn’t help but notice because at just a foot behind me, I literally felt his breath on my back.  

    I’d heard of people being followed in a tiny grocery store.  I’d seen TV reports and read newspaper accounts of numerous districts in turmoil.  Locals living with a relentless daily sense of interlopers profiteering among them, the disenfranchised.  That and culture shock on both sides created a decade long perfect storm of dispute, ill will and even boycotts.  The hallmark of this tension was people, in their own community, being followed in every corner grocery store.  I’d had a righteous but abstract indignation about the whole controversy until it happened to me.

    I turned and the face that stared back at me made no move to hide that he was just doing his job, following me. That’s when it felt, just down right creepy.  So instead of looking for something to eat, I decided to just keep walking around until my shadow got tired.  After three tandem laps around the two aisles store, I realized he saw me as his ticket to

     So I left without a purchase as I navigated competing feelings of increasing hunger and creeped-out-ness.

    That was then.  In store creepiness has reached a new level.  This is now:  ‘Mannequins Spy On Shoppers” 


    The $5,130 Eye See Mannequin has cameras for eyes and software for brains - the better to record shoppers.  I’m talking sophisticated data collection here.  How many people look at displays and for how long, including race, age and gender.  Now of course my comedy mind races to find a tattletale, “I’m not your grandma’s dummy", dummy and spend the entire day donning various guises, changing ethnic and sexual orientation cues.   Ladies and gentlemen I’m a college graduate and that is my idea of a fun day, trying to get a rise out of an inanimate object.  At this point you may insert YOUR OWN sex in marriage joke!


    Almax Research & Development will soon (if not already) employ technology enabling spy mannequins to RECORD YOUR CONVERSATIONS about the objects on display!!!  To assurances that all data collected is not maintained or used for other than marketing/advertising purposes; I say “Yeah, 
    (sarcastic tone) right!”   This millionth example of everyday surveillance now ruins window shopping /store browsing with a friend my penultimate pastime, second only to an hour deep tissue massage with mani/pedi.  

    Never again will I share intimacies or even recipes on a shopping trip.



    Because a nearby mannequin will record my reaction to a ridiculous trendy out fit and the next thing I know I’m confronted with high tech digital recordings of my off hand remarks about the bull shit sequester, killer drone attacks, insidious racial profiling, economy debilitating multiple non-budgeted wars… Wait a minute.  All that can be found weekly right here on this site! 

    (In my Emily Litella voice)

    NEVER MIND!!
      


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  6. I Always Feel Like I’m Starting Over…

    Wednesday, April 24, 2013


    By Helene “Little Tramp” Gresser


     

    I am burnt out.

    I am sitting on a bed in my friend’s place, using his laptop, and all I want to do is eat strawberry ice cream with caramel sauce and watch a movie on his ole-timey VCR I bought him at the Goodwill for Christmas. It cost about fi dollas. Yes, I said “fi dollas,” which is how my friend (from Queens, New Yawk) says it. Neither of us subscribes to cable, and so we watch movies, which is a great relief from the endless inundation of horrible news and insipid reality teevee shows. We are about to watch Jackie Brown starring Pam Grier, and I just now realized Quentin Tarantino directed it. I spent most of the day giving myself the most thorough mani-pedi in the world, sorting through my massive piles of clothing I compulsively bought last year on ShopGoodwill.com, and was thrilled to discover I can now fit into the jeans and dresses that were waaaay too tight when I bought them (thank you, stress, Adderall, and limerence. Yes, limerence. Look it up here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limerence. It is the best appetite suppressant in the fucking world. Word.) I needed to have a day of mindless puttering. As I said, I am burnt out.
    I have not written my blentries for the last couple of weeks. Maybe three, I don’t remember. I keep misplacing things like my keys, my wallet, my bajillion lighters, and my cell phone. This last object I left charging at an outlet under a payphone at the Phoenix airport last week. Luckily, I was due for an upgrade and got a fancy new Droid that I have yet to figure out beyond answering calls and checking personal email and texts. I have not been able to get my work email to open on this new phone, and part of me fucking loves being unable to incessantly check the damn device to see if I am urgently needed for a real estate-related matter. I feel like I’ve been on call 24/7 for three years and want to run away to a remote island and sip tropical drinks on a hammock and stare at the ocean. I dream of this daily.
     
    I am thinking of taking a break from writing and comedy and just trying to figure out what the hell I am doing with my life here in NYC.  I suppose I should make some sort of concerted effort to be a better real estate agent. I suppose I should go to “round-table” discussions, and REBNY classes, and schmooze at “power broker” events, and try to make some goddamn money so I can have that coconut beverage and salt air vacation and my own apartment and a good credit score. Fuck my life. I feel like Henry Chinaski in Bukowski’s Post Office – “With everything on the line and no way out, you don’t even think about it” –
     
     
    I need to make money to change my life to something better, or so I thought. Maybe I am going about it all wrong. I am going about it all wrong. I have been for twenty years or more.
     
     
     
    This October I will have been living in New York City for twenty years. Fresh out of grad school, after working a summer camp job as the theater program director and then travelling for several weeks throughout the country camping and fighting with my boyfriend, I landed here with three hundred and fifty bucks and a an offer to crash on my friends’ couch in Jersey City until I found a room to rent.
    Twenty years and twenty jobs later, I am renting a room in Bushwick and as scared walking home late at night as I was walking to my friends’ place in Jersey City in 1993. 
     
    The happiest time I had in these past two decades was when I was touring with Charlotte’s Web in a ten-cylinder van and sleeping in Econolodges and Knights Inns in places like Fort Smith, Arkansas and Zanesville, Ohio. I was a working actress. I was making three-fifty a week (that magic number again) and thirty bucks a day for food and lodging, and I got to see the country and had a boyfriend on tour who whispered “I love you” for the first time while we danced to Unchained Melody at a gay/lesbian bar in Indianapolis. I was twenty-nine and sure that I was on my way to a career in theater and  a love that would finally stick.
    I am not defeated. I am not pessimistic. I am cursed with hope, with dreams, with the never-ending determination that I will prevail and succeed as an artist, if not at love. I am afflicted with the lifelong condition of needing to communicate, to share, to touch and be touched by the process of making theater and connecting with people; whether it's through acting, stand-up, storytelling or whatever.

    I often recite this dressing room backstage exchange between Thereza (Claire Bloom) and Calvero (Charlie Chaplin) from Chaplin’s Limelight to those who question the wisdom of my choice to continue this creative life pursuit:
     
    Terry: Well, whatever happens, there's always that little home in the country.
    Calvero: This is my home. Here.
     
    Terry: I thought you hated the theater.
    Calvero: [soft laugh] I do. I also hate the sight of blood, but it's in my veins.
     
     


    It’s in my veins.

    God help me.

     
    -hmg

     
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  7. Saturday Night Live in Mindy’s World

    Tuesday, April 23, 2013


    Saturday Night Live in Mindy’s World

     

    Last Saturday night, I went to see Mindy Levokove’s musical play, “Obama: At the Table Second Term” at the WOW Café and Theatre.  I must’ve gone with little skin because the tears just poured.  It wasn’t crying with sobbing noise or even a runny nose, but tears kept popping out and running down my face.  I also laughed.  Mostly I was struck by people making things happen.  The theatre is the oldest woman and trans-gendered run theatre in the country.  The purpose was to allow women’s theatre that wouldn’t be welcomed in many other places.  A place where no one tells you what to do.  Imagine.
    Wow Cafe Theatre

    The cast was 12 women who sang the play.  They represented the people, the president, the daughters of the president, the 1%, those imprisoned for suspicion of terrorism, the Occupy Wall Street folks, Hurricane Sandy victims/survivors, etc., etc.  Mindy Levokove wrote all the songs and was praised by the cast for incorporating their ideas and feelings as well.  That is the Mindy Levokove I know.  We happen to both teach at the same place, and there, I am known as Mindy M. while she is known as Mindy L.  I find that funny because that never happened for me in grade school.  There was more than one Linda and Jeffrey and David, but not Mindy.
    The woman representing the theatre let us know how we can become involved if we wanted to.  It opened a door in my head.  I have to make things happen too.  That feeling may have contributed to my tears.  It’s possible. 

    Mindy Levokove did something I have often imagined doing if I ever were to cast a show involving dancers.  Her dancers did not cease to dance or exist after age 20-something or when not skinny.  We had the opportunity to enjoy the talents of women of all body types and ages.  I enjoyed it very much, basically for the same reason I like the Bronx.  It’s real.  We don’t exclude portions of the population to make it look a certain way.  It represents the real world.  The round, the angular, and all the ages and shades of brown we are.

    When I left, I didn’t feel like going straight home.  So I walked from East 4th Street to West 3rd Street and went to the Olive Tree Café.  The comics from the Comedy Cellar usually eat there and hang out.  I typically sit at a table but this time, I sat at the bar.  All the surfaces are blackboards, and they serve up cups of chalk.  I like to draw (especially since no smoking is allowed in anyplace).  They make a decent Long Island Ice Tea which I ordered and began drawing.  I happened to be near the table of comics.  They don’t know me.  I’m not at their level in the business.  Most were men and one woman.  She looked kind of manly too.  At some point, one of the men sat next to me at the bar and ate his food.  I think he said hello.  I returned the hello.  I continued to draw.  He didn’t offer to buy me a drink.  Then he said, “Where you be staying at?”  So “what’s your name” is not what one thinks of, just how far do I have to go to fuck you, basically.  Well sir, you may have to go as far as Venus.  I just sent my vagina there for safe keeping.  Yep, just before I got here and ordered a drink, I sent it off ‘cause I know how things can get when I’m drinking and in the company of such a charming man as yourself. 
    In actuality, I laughed at his question.  I told him a student once asked me that and I thought it sounded so temporary like I was on someone’s couch.  Then he said, “You teach?”  “Yes, I teach adults who didn’t finish high school.”  And that ended that stimulating conversation.

    I should write a song:

    It’s so freakin’ easy
    To be penis-freeeee!
    Even when I’m not tryin’
    There is just no denyin’
    Men are the biggest cock-blockers that beeeeeeeee!                                           

    It’s just too damn easy
    To be penis-freeeee!
    Some think it’s cool to live lies 
    And just worry about dick size 
    They block their own cocks with stupidityyyyyyyyyy!

    (or something like that.)

     

     

     

    April 2013
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  8. Spring Break(down)

    Monday, April 22, 2013

    By Samantha DeRose








    I always have high hopes of accomplishing so many important tasks over school breaks, but seldom do I have anything to show for it.  Here's a photo compilation of non-accomplishments that I managed to achieve during last week's break.


     
    1)  Tinkle for hair.  Never a good decision to cut one's own hair, but despite past failures and better judgment, I purchase the Tinkle Razor Comb ($2 from Amazon.com).  I have not attempted to use Tinkle on my hair yet, but when I reach that perfect moment of insanity and do, indeed, Tinkle, I will be sure to create a video for you to watch.  I think I purchased this item primarily to have this conversation:

    You:  You're hair looks great.  How do you get it to look so awesome?
    Me:  Oh, I use Tinkle in my hair.
    Dippity Doo not included.



    2)  And while we're on the subject of hair as Happy Meal prizes...  My sister's kids (who live next door to me...with my sister and brother-in-law) also had Spring Break this week.  My sister called me over to her house to show me the "prize" that my niece receive in her "girl" Happy Meal...

    I'll have the chicken nuggets with hair dipping sauce, please.

    What little girl DOESN'T want greasy, pink hair extensions?


    3)  The Brady Bunch.  I'm addicted to dictionary.com and thesaurus.com.  Occupational hazard.  On one particularly beautiful day, in a moment of extreme IADD (Internet Attention Deficit Disorder), I sat on my couch and began pondering about how different life would be if the creators of the Brady Bunch had used a thesaurus.

    The Brady Blob, The Brady Blob, That's the way we became the Brady Blob (with Ann B. Davis as Alice)


    4)  Shaming of the Pooch.  No explanation necessary.


    5)  Words with Friends.  This didn't happen on break.  This happened today, on my first day back to work, but for fans of WWF, you can appreciate the joy that was mine when I was able to lay down these tiles...


    Peace out, y'all.  I have to finish dinner, drive a kid to practice, and get ready for Lisa Harmon's virtual open mic.

    PS... Listening to Facebook Suggestions...

    Yeah, I'll have me some Greek Yogurt with a Whisky chaser.


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  9. The Week In Review (and into tomorrow)

    Saturday, April 20, 2013


    By Lisa Harmon

    Well faithful reader(s) what a week it has been! Again we had technical difficulties at Lisa's Clubhouse. (Lisa's Clubhouse is my weekly open mic - and if you're a comic you should come - especially if you're good with technology!)  This always makes me angry and then suicidal. Every time something goes wrong with that amp, I have to bring it home, on the subway. Do you get that I am a middle-aged woman, and lugging heavy stuff through the shit-infested New York City subway system is something I feel is more in line with say, a young man, perhaps with a sinus infection, and not an old woman?!?! I mean, I am so tired of carrying stuff, I take my car keys out of my backpack when I know I'm going to be using the subway. I'm so tired of carrying stuff, I bought a backpack instead of a purse so my sciatica would spread evenly down both sides of my back. I'm so tired of carrying stuff, I don't even take my backpack when I'm just running errands in the neighborhood. Does everyone get it? I'm old, and I don't want to carry stuff!

    Thursday night was the show in Bushwick. I've been going to this venue for years, and I've never been mugged!  I guess statistically something's got to give. But so far, so good. I've been pretty lucky living in New York my whole life. So I survived the show, and thankfully, they really like me over there. I play there once a month, and it is always a great crowd – mostly musicians, and they like to laugh. Sure they do, they're just as broke as we comics and laughter is free.

    Friday night I had a gig at a restaurant. The food was so good. We ate like hogs and some comics even got some stuff to take home. Me, I don't fool around.  I eat it while its hot!

    And happy 4/20 everybody – Pothead day! Today we celebrate by getting high, eating a bunch of potato chips and hostess cakes, and watching Cheech & Chong movies. Same as every day! Dave's not here man....

    And now...for some serious stuff...

    Tomorrow is April 21st and we will be commemorating the 98th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in Times Square. This genocide was perpetrated by the Turkish government during World War I. They have yet to acknowledge the killings (over one million Armenians were killed) or pay reparations. I have to go to this. This happened, and not to my ancient ancestors. This happened to my Grandfather, whom I sat across the dinner table from for half my life. I'll never give up – my Grandfather and his family didn't deserve that – no one deserved that, and we have to stand up every year to remind the world that this did, indeed happen. The rotten Turkish government won't acknowledge their crimes, and of course, they don't have to since they're all buddy-buddy with the United States.

    In fact, I heard that one of Obama's campaign promises from his first run was to put the Genocide resolution through Congress. Of course that didn't happen. You can't pick on a country you need to keep your military bases open for you!

    Well the heck with you Turkey and the U.S.A. - we know what happened, the world knows what happened, and tomorrow, in Times Square, you're going to find out that, despite being ignored for ninety-eight years, we haven't forgotten.

    If you'd like to join us we'll be at Times Square on Sunday from 2 to 4 P.M.







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  10. Speaking Human

    Friday, April 19, 2013


    Speaking Human

     

    One of the things I appreciate about living in a regular neighborhood that doesn’t price people out is how real it is.  That’s not to say everything is tasteful, but it’s out there.  We know who walks around selling cheaper cigarettes, who deals, who goes to church, who turns tricks, who is good with animals, who is a great babysitter, who has AIDS, who is likely to go to jail, who is likely to go to college, etc. 
    It’s not always a polite neighborhood.  Almost everyone gets called a nigga.  My son was once referred to as “that white nigga who dresses gangsta,” and my dog was once spoken about with “this nigga is barking at me.”  Women do get muttered to as they walk by certain groups.  I do what I can when I can to leave my footprint.  I once spoke to a married man neighbor who typically commented in Spanish at women as they walked by, and from how he stared, I assumed it was about their asses.  He saw me see him once, and he defensively said, “I just said hello.”  He knows I don’t speak Spanish.  But I do speak human.  I told him, “Whatever you said made her feel uncomfortable.  She has a right to walk without being made uncomfortable.  She pays taxes.  It’s her world too.”  He truly found that so funny.  He thought the line about her paying taxes was hilarious.  My face remained serious.  He realized I meant it.  He isn’t unique, but someone has to put different thoughts out there.  These men don’t harass me.  They mostly knew me as a married woman which shielded me.  Now that I’m divorced, they still have their “respect” since I am a neighbor, and they see me as a person usually … as much as this particular pack can. 

    I still prefer seeing what I am dealing with rather than being in a quiet tree-lined neighborhood with no stores nearby, no witnesses, too creepy for me though it may look prettier in terms of cleanliness, lawns, and modern housing.  I also prefer to live amongst people who in general are not pretentious and judgmental over superficial things.  And I love my 24-hour bodegas (whether Hispanic or Arab owned, I still call them bodegas).  I like that when I need to go out in the middle of the night to the store that I’m not the only person out there.  That feels safer to me. 

    One day, I went out, and on the sidewalk, written in colored chalk, I read, “Please help. Trying to avoid eviction.  Please help.”  That same weekend, a man down the side street was demonstrating his wares while shouting, “You got troubles; I got bubbles.”  



    His spirit made me and many others smile past our troubles, at least for a moment.   Later, I saw a teenage girl buy a can of cat food and open it for a stray.  At that moment, I remember thinking, I don’t care what anyone says about the Bronx or where everyone originally came from, these are my people.  Whoever doesn’t get it, doesn’t get it.  Different life experience.  My grandfather could’ve easily been the man selling bubbles, determined to earn dinner for his family in some way that is neither illegal nor immoral.  The girl using her money to feed the stray cat has been me. 
    My grandmother would take leftover food to the alley for the cats.  It means a lot when the person doing the giving doesn’t have much him or herself.  Sharing what one has is typically how poor folks live.  Some say it is what keeps us poor.  I think it is what makes us rich.
                        




    A man a few blocks away hung an extension cord out his window so his downstairs neighbor could use some electricity to keep his refrigerator going and his food fresh when he couldn’t pay his electric bill.  These are not the Bronx stories you will read about in the newspaper, yet these are the daily realities.

    Sometimes, people’s resourcefulness and creativity in the face of need deeply impress me.  I saw this on craigslist, and, damn, could I relate!
    Posted: 2013-03-27, 11:40AM EDT

    looking for sculptor to make fake teeth (Bronx)

    Hi,

    This is highly embarrassing, but I have a few missing teeth and obviously I don't have the money for a dentist.
    I am more than willing to pay. I just need the replacement teeth for when I am working not to eat.


    Any ideas? I do not want a something that I have to wear over my whole set of existing teeth. I tried one of those from Amazon
    and it was awful :)

    • Location: Bronx
    • it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

    Posting ID: 3706814287

    Posted: 2013-03-27, 11:40AM EDT

    Well this past week had me without my internet, cable tv, and land line service.  I’d fallen behind and had to always give priority to rent.  One of my jobs doesn’t pay us for weeks off, so I go through dry periods.  Sometimes, I am more prepared than other times to avert crises.  This wasn’t one of those times.  By midweek, I was able to pay up.  I was so glad to have everything back, and then that very day, Con Ed shut me off, so I was back to nothing.  I had candles and a cell phone.  I charged my cell phone and used the computer at one of my jobs.  Daylight lasts longer now which helped also.  I would remind myself that I have running water, a working toilet, a place to call home with a door and locks.  I was managing and trying not to feel like a spoiled American.  I didn’t burst until after paying Con Ed and being told the power would be back on within 4 hours, and it wasn’t.  That was harder to tolerate.  I paid.  I was led to believe I’d have power that night.  I couldn’t stand the feeling of turning on the light switch and nothing happening.  I spent a night at a friend’s house just for light, tv, and wonderful company.
    In my life, I've had much more important things taken from me than conveniences, so as frustrating as this was, I'm not sure I call this an emergency.
    The people wanting to help me out the most can’t afford to.  Eventually, Con Ed told me my power was on and that my super had to turn on the circuit breaker.  Now I had to find him.  I found one of the men who assist him.  I was under the impression the assistant only spoke Spanish.  I was glad to be wrong.  We understood each other enough to get through this.  He gave me the super’s phone number, and he told me when the Con Ed guy had been there.  He made a point of telling me the guy came for another tenant also.  When I told him I had owed a lot of money, he said, “I know how it is.  No worry.  Is not only you.”  It didn’t matter to me that his verbs may or may not agree with his subjects or if his sentence has a subject.  We speak human.
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  11. Double Jeopardy By Rhonda Hansome

    Thursday, April 18, 2013


    When we left off last time:  Twinkie Byrd’s question put a halt to my stroll down memory lane.  She had spent the first four minutes of our five minute session making numerous notations on my newly revamped resume like a proctor grading an error ridden test paper.  Twinkie spoke and silenced the seven voices (I acknowledge) in my head.  Their yammering quieted quickly as they sensed my humiliation in the offing, much like sharks sense blood in the water. 



    The stealth of the casting director’s question was in its simplicity: “Where do you see yourself?”   I’m not quite sure if I spluttered, laughed or farted as I stalled for time with a goofy look on my face. 



    Did the multiplication table just challenge my math anxiety ass to a Calculus Olympiad?  Cheeze ‘n crackers!  Who knew there would be a quiz at this five minute interview?  “Where do I see myself?”  I should know the answer to this question!  Out of the blue in my mind and heretofore unknown, a shy acne scarred pre-teen bespectacled voice, from behind a volume of the collected works of Guy de Maupassant, whispered “Ask Twinkie what she means.”  I coaxed the goofy look off my face and feigned an air of normalcy

    “What do you mean where do I see myself?” 

    Twinkie regarded me with a glance reserved for those recognized with Asperger syndrome

    “In what television shows do you see yourself cast?”

    Okay, I got this now! 

    “I see myself as a comedy sketch player, a second banana to a comedy star…”

    She interrupted me

    “Like Vicki Laurence on the Carol Burnett Show?”        


    I sighed with relief. She got me! My head nodded as a smile approach my lips

    “Yes!”

    Twinkie hid exasperation well…

    “That show hasn’t been on the air in twenty years.” 

    My approaching smile slid downward as the truth of her statement sunk in.  She continued

    “What shows do you watch?”

    Totally misunderstanding the question I answered truthfully with an animated litany, literally 

    “Family Guy, Archer, American Dad, Bob’s Burgers … and the Daily Show.”

    “Do you have cable?”

    “Not any premium channels.”

    With a barely perceptible note of dismissal she said

    “Don’t worry about the cost, get those premium channels now and watch to see what roles you’d be cast in. Make these changes in your resume. And follow @CarleaseBurke on twitter.”

    Don’t worry about the cost?  I don’t even DVR because of the extra cost.  I have to buy premium cable channels to tell you what roles I should be cast in?

    Carlease Burke 




                                                                                            Carla Renata

         

                                                                 

    Yvette Nicole Brown


    and a bunch of other working black actresses, I don’t even know about because I can’t afford Starz, are doing the roles in which I’d be cast AND why the fuck should I follow Carlease??? – I silently fulminated.
      
    "Thank you."

    I said aloud as I clutched my freshly disfigured resume, choked back a tear, my ego and somehow found the door to exit the tiny studio where I thought my life might change.  

     Uber Casting Director 



    Twinkie Byrd 
    really did change my life because I now have to: 
    • Think about myself in this century because nobody cares or remembers that I killed on Arsenio Hall’s FIRST talk show and toured opening for divas Ross and Baker. 
    • I have to search beneath the surface of my stock answers twenty years old.  
    • I have to wake up from dreams of an uninterrupted flow of film and TV residual checks flooding my mailbox 
    • Look at my industry as the vastly changed landscape it is. 
    • I have to ring in on the Double Jeopardy answer revealed to me in the past five minutes.

     For $8.00 @ minute Alex, what is…

    Starting All Over Again From The Middle?






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