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  1. Welcome 2014

    Tuesday, December 31, 2013

    I am pleased with my New Year's Day plans.  One is a free group workout in the early evening -- a very hopeful way to start 2014.  I really really do want to be a more healthy person and have a strong and toned body.  I am hoping I take the necessary steps.  So when I saw the opportunity, I said yes.  I want to look at my body and feel as proud as she must though I don't need that amount of thigh.  I love the strong mid-section and the arms.

    Then after that I will continue further downtown to the Nuyorican Poets CafĂ© where I am scheduled to contribute my 3 minutes of poetry somewhere between 8 and 10pm at an all-day extravaganza of over 170 contributors. 

    Day one of the new year will have no early morning commitments, will involve organized exercise, and will include sharing poetry and listening to the poetry of others.  I want to stay productive.  A friend told me to own the year.
    I was going to list some hopes I have for the new year, but I feel hesitant to make that public.  Not sure why.  So I'll just say I have things to pay more attention to.  Lots of things.
    Readers, friends, sporadic visitors, have a safe New Year's.  May life keep getting better as we keep getting smarter.  

  2. Duh! By Rhonda Hansome

    Thursday, December 26, 2013

    A while back I threatened to jump ship from She So Funny. 

    I felt frustrated my urging SSF have a group photo, a group stand-up show, a group coffee date, skype, or conference call; never came to fruition.
    I was exasperated we had no funny/sexy, viral meme type SSF merchandise like coffee mugs, sun visors or tampon cases.

    What best-selling digital publication is #1 on the “must have” list of every comedy aficionado?  “SSF Best Post Of [insert year here]" the slam dunk, annual internet comedy sensation, NOT!

    When the fabulous Samantha DeRose asked me to contribute to SSF I was giddy with the rabid zeal of a new social media acolyte.

    In my head twerked visions of a lucrative income stream (split 7 ways) driven by tons of Politically Correct ads and SSF “swag” conveniently available right here at its own "Buy Now" link.

    My mind was overflowing with reveries, of professional fame and internet fortune  

    all fueled by the (expensive) 6 week course indoctrinating me into...
    the 8th ring of Dante’s Inferno, Social Media

    Where is this all going?

    My biggest disillusionment was that my writing and / or my newly acquired social media training left me with a paltry average of 3 comments per post; half of which were written by sister SSF contributors.

    Thank you 

    It only irked me more, that after reading, folks emailed or phoned they love my posts but, for mysterious technical reasons, can't register their comments on this site.  

    Be Advised: 
    In the globally competitive world of blogger recognition 3 or fewer reactions per post does nothing for my Klout score.

    I want to say after my half–baked threat to leave, I’m a pussy,
    because I’m still posting here, a bit erratically of late, however here none the less;   but I bristled at seeing pussy maligned for the sake of a vivid turn of phrase.  

    I’ll just say I’m an empty dangling wrinkled ball sac, harboring grand illusions of my potential because, surprised as anyone, I’m still here.

    Yes, all 3 of you Dear Readers who occasionally write comments may have noticed many other SSF contributors have left with little or no fanfare and I’m still here.

    And thankfully so are you.

    I wish you creativity, contentment and laughter in 2014

    Rhonda Hansome acts (mostly in her mirror), directs talented actors in live presentations and writes (mostly on this site); see her comedy here. 

  3. So Many Holidays -- Enough, I Say, Enough!

    Tuesday, December 24, 2013

    Thanksgiving Hanukkah My Birthday My Son's Birthday Christmas New Years sprinkled with birthdays of loved ones who have passed and anniversaries of the passing of loved ones --- enough!  Enough I say.  I wrote to reconnect with an aunt who then called me, and her tone of voice reminded me of why there had to be distance to begin with.  Ugh.
    One of the nice parts of my birthday was the break from winter weather.  That felt like a gift.  The best part of my birthday was my best friend.  I am very grateful.  We both chuckled at this.

    Honestly, I have so much digging out to do still -- in many ways -- and I don't really have any readiness for all this.  The only evidence of holiday in my apartment this year is a display of the cards I received and a couple of rolls of wrapping paper for my son's gifts.  I am glad I have been able to cover my bills without borrowing money so far.  My evening job stops for a few weeks, so while I welcome the time to do other things, I am on less income for the month.  I am glad my son is doing some purposeful things with himself.  My old and wonderful dog is hanging in there.  In the fall, I was upgraded on my day job.  Earlier in the year, another poet whose work I like a lot asked me to collaborate on a chapbook of poems set in the Bronx.  There are very good things happening that matter to me. But in many ways, I still feel like I am dragging bricks inside.  As a result, I'm not as far along in some areas as I expected to be (the apartment is a big example).  End of year time and birthdays and holidays just seem to highlight all of that because of the expectations that come with those special times.
    Along with all of it all, I truly enjoyed performing stand-up at the Grisly Pear on 12/19.  One of the show's producers is someone whose warmth has from time to time made me want to treat him as my pillow.  But he is not available for pillowing.  He is married, and by that I mean he is a husband.  By comparison, I realize I had been married to the anti-husband.  The show was on a Thursday and wasn't as well attended as I'd have liked.  A co-worker/friend came to the show.  The audience that was there was attentive.  The other comics were attentive as well.  In that sense, it was a supportive atmosphere.  Plus it was special because one of the original producers of the show, who left to live in California, was visiting and performing.  It had been a while since I was in a show doing stand-up.  It meant a lot to me to do well not only because my co-worker was there, but I wanted the man who booked me to not regret it.  He makes me feel accepted and appreciated.  That helps me relax in a way where I can make off the cuff comments from stage, and they work.  I feel proud that I finally have a bit about teaching.  And it went well. 
    I was the only female comic that evening.  It was a decent bunch of people, and at no point did I have to say "Eeeeuuwww."  I appreciated the gay comic, Nick Haby, who helped open things up by asking the audience who takes it up the ass.  I love the courage -- both to take it up the ass and to ask the audience who among them does. 
    The day before the show, I had to remind myself that no one is making me do this.  I do this because I want to.  The day after the show, I felt the experience was confidence building.  I knew I would continue with this.  I wish I had measured each life step that accurately.
    For my birthday, my best buddy offered to do whatever might make me feel good.  We worked on a part of my apartment mess, I donated two bags of clothes and shoes to a nearby shelter for women and children, and I finally opened a package containing a coat I had ordered for myself but never took out of the package.  I tried it on and was pleased.  Forty-five minutes after my birthday was technically over, I received a birthday text from someone I love dearly.  However, I didn't see it until the next day.  Still good.  It's quite complicated and involves my son, his dad, and a whole lotta stuff.  Not for blogging... at least not under my real name.
    The day after my birthday, I was part of Dance of the Word, an Evie Ivy production at the Cornelia Street Cafe. 

    Sunday,  Dec 22 - 6:00PM  DANCE OF THE WORD, HOLIDAY EVENT
    Alan Baxter, MC

    Evie Ivy Austin Alexis Gordon Gilbert Mindy Matijasevic Robert Gibbons Peggy Fitzgerald Fred Arcoleo Hau C Le
    Dance of the Word,  Holiday Event image
    Ringing in the HOLIDAY Fun! with special poetry, music, comedy, and dance Performances by: Evie Ivy, Austin Alexis Gordon Gilbert, Mindy Matijasevic Robert Gibbons, Peggy Fitzgerald Fred Arcoleo, with guitar and song & Hau C Le on classical guitar in a special dance number with Evie
     $15.00 includes a drink

    It was fun.  Fred Arcoleo involved the audience in music-making.  He gave out all kinds of percussion instruments and rocked it.  He teaches high school, so he is more than qualified to get some audience participation going.  Robert Gibbons delivered his poem part speak/part song.  I love when he does that. There were a number of performers, poets and otherwise.  I was scheduled to read poetry.  One that I shared is a sonnet I was once asked to write where each line was to be one syllable. 
    Women Do Tell



    (c) Mindy Matijasevic 1996,2013

    Though I made my selection that morning, I thought that since it was a holiday show, I should have something holiday related.  So not in the spirit this year, I had to start from there.  This is what I read.



    I will try to spin my sense of loss
    into garland
    roll my regrets into unique shapes
    sprinkle them with glitter
    hang them from the holes
    in my heart
    my aloneness spread out
    beneath the tree
    my life
    wrapped in loss
    anchored with mistakes
    decorated with memoir
    lit with hope
    the star pointing
    in all directions of possibility

    so...   Merry Freakin' Christmas
    and a Better New Year

    (c) Mindy Matijasevic 2013

  4. Happy Holidays! By Rhonda Hansome

    Thursday, December 19, 2013

    I wish you every good thing you wish yourself this 
    Holiday Season

    and a bunch of laughs 

    as the year ends.

    Rhonda Hansome is an actress, writer, director. To make your reservation now for her stand-up Fri. Dec. 27th 9:30 PM at The Duplex click here.

  5. On a very cold evening, after work, I resisted temptation to go straight home.  A big part of me was saying oh, you can go to the open mic next week. 
    It's so cold and you are so tired.  You were falling asleep at work.  Practice in front of the mirror.   The other part was saying you know you need to practice your stand-up.  It's been too long, and you have a spot in a show on the 19th.  You can't get up there all rusty.  You gotta get your flow back.  Plus you have new shit to try out.  It all sounds good in your head, but it has to come out of your mouth.  Then the other part was saying you aren't even really prepared for the open mic.  Well, prepare on the train.  No, I'm too tired. 

    I managed to continue walking to the train.  It arrived quickly, I got a seat, and I went to sleep.  Then I had to take a bus.  No seat but a short ride.  Fuckin' freezing out there.  Got to the place, ordered a wine real quick, and got on the list.  Cozy space, good vibes, funny people working on their stuff, and I was content just being there.  Then I'm told I'm next.  So not prepared, I take my paper with me.  It's not an index card with key words but full size paper with everything typed out.  Ugh.  Tried a new bit and a half.  Got a big laugh at one part and silence at another part.  Both surprised me.  I totally forgot to try out the part that needs trying the most since it is a physicalization.  Felt flustered.  Did a not-new bit since most of the people there did not know me.  That part went well.  But I didn't feel comfortable enough with myself to use all my time.  So I'll be practicing more and more and getting out there properly prepared (by that I mean enough for me to feel comfortable).  Until then, here's a shot of me feeling all tentative.

    Photo by Lisa Harmon (the host who takes your picture!)

    I went to a birthday celebration Saturday night that took place in a few different places, one of which was a karaoke bar.  I've never done that and I do not sing well at all.  But I was assured that is what karaoke is for.  I had imagined myself feeling so foolish since I grew up in the era where bad singers belt it out or just lip sync in front of the mirror alone in their room with any object held as a mic.  Now it is a public activity.  But I wanted to be open to new challenges.  It helps with other parts of life.  I once took a belly dancing class which I stunk at, but it probably helped me get through some inhibitions.  As we in comedy know, being willing to risk feeling like an idiot is all part of it.

    As it turned out, the biggest challenge was getting there in the storm.  Luckily for me, my best friend joined me.  There was much more snow out there than I expected.  Just walking the 2 blocks from my apartment to the D train felt so laborious.  I need to not waste my breath on smoking.  It is seeming ridiculous to me at times.  Other times, I still want it badly.  Such an awful thing.  My buddy lives one train stop away, so we met at my station and rode downtown on a cold D train and then switched to the F train.  I felt miserable being cold for so long.  The F train was much more comfortable, but we only needed to be on it for 6 stops.  So just as I warmed up a bit, we were back out there where it had gotten worse.  Pellets of ice were hitting my forehead and aside from making it feel frozen, I was getting a headache.  If it had been like that when I left my house, I might not have gone.  It felt vicious to me.  I was so glad my buddy was with me.  He went to check the next cross street, so we'd know what direction to walk while I waited by a building trying to take cover from the wind.  Suddenly 2 drunk men appeared near me, and one told the other that he can pee there.  Uh, hello.  I walked away.  I was running low on fight.  I needed all I had to just get to the first bar.

    I was hungry and afraid to drink without food.  We were by a Domino's which I never go to but felt the need for something quick and cheap.  We went in, and I learned they don't sell by the slice.  So we had a few seconds of shelter and then went on to the bar.  I found out that they don't have food, so I had to leave to get something.  The hail was still going strong, but thankfully there was a deli right next to the bar.  The bouncer had told me it would be fine to bring food in.  When I returned, the bouncer was telling the bartender that the person had a bag but the vomit went right through the bag.  I thought he was just sharing a story, but indeed this happened when I was in the deli.  So the birthday woman told me not to walk over to the table yet as they were cleaning the floor.  There was stink.  It wasn't anyone from our group.  The birthday woman told me, "I tried to get a bar without the vomit," and we laughed. 

    I enjoyed seeing the birthday woman in this light.  We don't know each other too much outside of our job, so it was great to see her with so much party spirit.  She had a good turnout which says a lot about her relationships because the weather really sucked (in case I didn't get that across).  The birthday cake was delicious, and I'm not typically a fan of birthday cake.  Next was getting to the karaoke bar where she said she got us a room.  My buddy and I laughed and said that we need a room, preferably a rubber one.  As we went out there, the wind was sending rain at our faces.  I was scared of falling.  My buddy let me hold onto him.  The ground was full of slush and deep puddles.  My feet were now wet and freezing.  We all got to the next place soaked on the front of our clothes.  We went down steps in the back and walked a long hallway where there were little rooms with big TV monitors and microphones and books of song titles, besides couches and a table.  After a while in there, I finally felt like I could remove a sweatshirt.  I was finally warm.  I was on my second Long Island Ice Tea and feeling good.  Birthday woman was up and singing and dancing and many of her guests were belting it out.  Nobody seemed to care about good or bad, just fun.  That made for a great atmosphere.  My buddy and I sat down like old tired people and sang from the sofa when our songs came on.  We sometimes didn't know the songs the others played, but they knew the ones we selected (Sly and the Family Stone, Beatles, etc.), so it was a roomful of people singing.  Nobody, from what I could tell, ended up looking or feeling foolish. 

    The final part was supposed to be waffles with ice cream at a diner, but I couldn't stay for that.  My day had started earlier than I had planned (my dog needed to go out early and he licked my hand until I got up which is rare, so I had to listen), and I was tired.  I think I was most tired from battling the weather.  Okay, a little bit from age too.  But I hung in there pretty well.  I got home at 4:10am.

  6. This week we mourn the passing of 
    Nelson Mandela

    A man who, by the smallest measure, was undeniably the personification of the word extraordinary.

    No small wonder past and present leaders of the world and
    representatives of state gathered to salute the life of this man.

    British Prime Minister David Cameron, Helle Thorning Schmidt Denmark's Prime Minister and U.S. President Barack Obama;
    all knew this was the place to be at a rare moment in time.

    I can't imagine the high level security measures taken to assure the safety of modern day potentates congregating in remembrance of a beloved man whose dignity and stature eclipsed them all, yet...

    An unknown* at this ceremony, stood next to the world's great and famous and stood out, his vetting and credentials be damned!

    The Worlds Most Infamous Sign Language Interpreter

    Hundreds took to social media denouncing this (unidentified??!!)* man as a fraud and fake from his first movements on stage. He was in fact an arm flapping mockery of sign language interpreting.

    Yes Dear Readers, all three of you read my mind. What we have here is a Saturday Night Live sketch of global proportions writing itself as the world watched and the deaf fumed in outraged.

    Whoever he is, he's a funny guy and WHEN he gets (Not If He Gets) his own reality show, I can only hope to play his manicurist.

    *Since this writing, Thamsanqa Jantjie has admitted he's been hospitalized in a mental facility and was suffering hallucinations during his stint as interpreter at the Mandela ceremony. As I was saying, "I can't imagine the high level security measures taken to assure the safety of modern day potentates congregating..."

    Rhonda Hansome is a writer, directer, actress and stand-up comic. Make reservations now to see her be funny live, Dec. 27th 9:30 PM at the Duplex, NYC. View her on the web in Black Actress as the Casting Director and as Mrs Johnson in Disciplinary Actions.

  7. Let's Have a Drink

    Tuesday, December 10, 2013

                     Hello everyone. 
    I'm performing at the Grisly Pear
    on MacDougal Street
    near Bleeker Street in the Village
    on Thursday, December 19th
    The show starts at 8:30
    I don't know who else is in it,
    so if you are so inclined to go on a no cover charge comedy adventure
    and have a drink,
    come have some laughs with me. 
    This is a very busy time at both of my jobs with deadlines and all sorts of festivities.  Then there's everything outside of the jobs.  I find this time of year so overwhelming.  So many demands on time and money.  Then it's so cold.  I find it difficult to endure winter weather. 
    I wish I weren't a cigarette smoker.  I do hope I quit. 
    I found it difficult to keep my mood good this past weekend, but thinking of comedy material helps.  I plan on getting to Lisa Harmon's open mic this Wednesday.  Whether I'm editing old material or coming up with something new, I find myself giggling.  It's good to focus on funny.
    I'm thankful for the gifted who can find the funny even when it isn't obvious to most at first.
    Though that clip cracks me up, I'll likely remember Mandela for his goodness, brilliance, amazing strength, deep conviction, and life's work.
    Photo: Mandela on the emancipation of women.

  8. General Shit I Go Through

    Tuesday, December 3, 2013

    General Shit I Go Through
                                                  by Mindy Matijasevic
    Did I tell you that a person who struggles with bipolar disorder and possibly a touch of other neurological challenges announced that I am extreme?  I can barely interpret what that means coming from someone who is bipolar which by its meaning is a person on the extremes.  I should mention that when I confronted a religious person we know on gay people's right to marry, the bipolar woman who is a lesbian and married to her partner, did not call me extreme. 
    In a society such as ours, any person who sincerely needs fairness and justice and walks the walk, could be seen as extreme simply for being real.  We are typically dealing with issues long before it is cool or the fad to do.  There's little support and the language usually hasn't even caught up yet.  For instance, when I had friends and dates of various ethnic backgrounds and races as a teenager, I was called a 'nigger-lover' and the haters were not called bigots, racists, or haters.  They were considered normal.  In a context of real people, I'm exactly where I should be except maybe still too rattled about what the negative people think. 
    My adult students recently made me feel good because, they said, I don't change and that they can count on me to always be Mindy.  They said I was real and they hoped I'd always be that way.  I assured them that at this point in my life, I'm way more comfortable being me than trying not to be.  Plus I'd already taken so much shit for being me.  We laughed.  Many do lack skills, but they don't lack intelligence (the kind that connects with your whole self, not a little library in one's head that one closes at will).

    Did I tell you that someone who is financially quite comfortable by his own description angrily announced to me that he is a communist revolutionary like I should have known that.  He said he thought it was obvious.  Again, context is important.  Maybe in his middle and upper middle class circles, being part of a food co-op makes him a communist revolutionary.  He is a conscious consumer and voter and has some real decent qualities, I'll give him that.  But he seems quite comfortable stereotyping people and has, on some topics, had the same closed-mindedness that those who are not communist revolutionaries can have.  To me, there is nothing revolutionary about laughing at the Bronx and having people in files in one's head.
    Then there is 'sensitive' used like it is a bad word.  I was recently told I was sensitive, for the I-don't-know-how-manyeth-time, as if it were a bad thing.  The person didn't connect that it is because I am sensitive that I am the other things he considers me (a very good actress, a funny comic, the kindest person he knows, and a great teacher -- yes, he has claimed all these things at different times).  I told him not to worry -- that sensitive people don't cause the problems.  We feel the problems caused by the insensitive.  In our society, insensitive is seen as normal and sensitive gets pointed out as the exception the way we tend to say a woman lawyer, a black doctor, a white rapper, a feminist comic, etc.  We point out what is considered the exception.  I'm okay with being a part of the 10% of the population considered highly sensitive.  I'm not okay with how it is perceived and reacted to.  Instead of being seen as gifted, it is often seen as an emotional handicap, and the sensitive often are treated like something is wrong with them instead of valued for their humanity.  Like much of America, up is down and in is out.  If you dare inject some clarity in there, you are seen as the extreme one.  In the meantime, us sensitive folks, who sense things before the majority, will continue to smell fire first and save your asses from a burning house. 
    Sadly, in an email exchange about a few of her learning challenged students, a woman I know and like very much mentioned I was so sensitive, and I took it as if she were saying it negatively.  From my response, she was sensitive enough to realize what happened and she clarified that she meant it more as so intelligent.  I was so glad to hear that and should really have known from knowing her that she meant it as a positive.  So often "you're so sensitive" is said as if it were the issue instead of the window through which we could be able to see the issues. 
    I was feeling much of the above and much more weighing on me.  And then I received this from a woman I met not too long ago: 
    What struck me most about you that night:  you are one of the most authentic women I have yet met.  You are funny, gracious, obviously kind.  I am so glad to have met you...and to know you.  I hope that I can see you again very soon. 
    And you are a wonderful poet.
    I needed that.  I truly did.