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  1. Laughter Is Rebellion

    Friday, December 14, 2018

    A couple of months ago, one of my favorite people (who was the director at my job for four hopeful years) told me she was offered a comp ticket for the Ms. Foundation fundraiser: Laughter Is Rebellion at Caroline’s on Broadway.  She wanted to give it to me.  I felt it was offered to her, and she should go.  She insisted I’d enjoy it more. 

    I checked it out on line, and the tickets ranged from $250 to $10,000! 
    don’t know people who can afford that.  I assumed the comp ticket was a $250 one.

    I’d never been to such a pricey event before.  I didn’t have anything right 
    to wear that still fit my expanding body.  I would be going alone.  I knew the other attendees and I had one thing in common – we wanted a level playing field.  Maybe we all also enjoyed comedy.  That’s two things in common.  As much as some may have money, I didn’t think anyone would have voted for the Orange one.  That would be three things.  I guess I needed to think of what connected us even though finances separated us.

    I was greeted like people with money are greeted.  My name was on the 
    list.  I was told what table I’d be at.  I assumed I arrived in time for cocktail hour, and I did, but it was really an hour or more.  I usually have been at places where doors open 15 to 30 minutes before the event.

    There were servers walking around with trays of food.  Though others may have considered it hors d’oeuvres, I saw it as free dinner.  The drinks at the bar were also free.  I at first acted like they weren’t free and ordered a wine.  Then I saw how many people ordered drinks of all kinds and walked off with the drinks.  It clicked.  What am I doing?  It’s free.  I decided to order my favorite drink – a Long Island Ice Tea. 

    The place was noisy, so when I asked the bartender, “Do you do Long 
    Island Ice Teas?” he misunderstood and thought I asked for two Long Island Ice Teas.  So I got two free ones, and they were large and very well made.  👌

    There were baskets of buttons on tables and counters.  Some were 
    promoting the Ms. Foundation, some expressed support for the gay community, and some were anti-Trump.  I took one and pinned it on my coat.  Then I saw these rich people taking many of the buttons, like five or six of different kinds.  The contrasts between us were so blatant to me.  So though I felt shy to do this, I then took six so I can give some to the beautiful woman who gave me her ticket.

    I sat at the table I was assigned.  It was a table for two.  Though it wasn’t up front, it wasn’t in the back either.  I started to think it may have been a $500 or $1000 ticket. 

    I was enjoying my first Long Island.  Being alone in a crowd is not foreign 
    to me.  It would have been nicer to be with a friend, but who could afford this?  My friends are not brain surgeons.  Suddenly a woman who had a seat up front came over to me and asked if I would trade with her because she wanted to sit with her friend.  She needed a table for two.  Yes!

    My new seat was probably a $5,000 or $10,000 seat.  I couldn’t believe 
    how this was going.  I was sitting with a woman who couldn’t stay for the whole event because she had to be at another event.  It’s a very different lifestyle than I am accustomed to.  Finances aside, I don’t like to be double booked because then I can’t truly be somewhere and enjoy it.  

    Then I saw Gloria Steinem.  I wanted to tell her how significant she was in my early life.  I wanted to run over and hug her and tell her many things.  I controlled myself.  However, somewhere after the first Long Island, I wrote her a note.

    The comics on the line-up were Lea DeLaria, Judy Gold, Michelle Wolf, 
    Sasheer Zamata, and Maysoon Zayid.  Fantastic!


    I had a very good time and was sorry when it was over.  I was very pleased with my drinks.  They did their job.  I barely remember my train ride home.  The next morning, I found my note to Gloria Steinem because, of course, I got too drunk to remember to give it to her.  L


  2. Still Hopeful in Spite of So Much

    Friday, October 26, 2018

    Just when I was feeling like nothing was happening for me, things began to change. 

    I was asked to audition for a role in what promises to be a meaningful and artful film.  As far as money goes, there will be some.  Just don’t know how much or little. 

    Then I received an email to please hold a certain day free to possibly be in another film.  It’s a one-day commitment and pays enough to help me get through this month.  It’s just not confirmed yet.

    Isn't all this financial uncertainty so much fun?!

    Now I have an opportunity to do a 2-minute clean set for industry.  I hope 
    I can pull out 2 clean minutes from my material.  I hope I deliver well and do my best.  That’s what I want from myself – my current best.  Then if I don’t get whatever I’m going for, I am not upset with myself. 

    A writer friend and I are going to attend a workshop on applying for a 
    certain grant.  This is a grant I won in 1999 for nonfiction literature and in 2001 for poetry.  In recent years, everything became computerized.  Submissions have to be on line along with a bunch of other specifications.  I know it is supposed to make things easier, but for me it was a barrier.  I haven’t applied in several years.  So I’m hoping very much that this workshop removes barriers for me.

    I will update you on these happenings.  I very much appreciate your 

    I’ll not get into all the things I am panicked about at the moment and, instead, leave this on a note of hope. 

  3. Where Acting and Real Life Meet

    Monday, October 22, 2018

    Remember several blogs back when I shared 
    about an acting gig where I felt therapy came to me?  Well we worked again.  It was a scene with my actor ‘son’ and the man who was intervening and me.  My ‘son’ and I talked and cried during a scene.  I had real anxiety to do this scene.  The actor is actually 32, older than my real life son.  The actor is also a parent and can see the challenges on both ends.  He cried.  I cried.  He recognized that even if I ‘the Mom’ didn’t always know what to do, I did love him.  In the scene, it suggested we would repair our relationship.  We were going to have dinners together and each go to counseling.  In the scene, the actor ‘son’ and I were able to get further than my real life son and I have been able to get so far. 

    There is so much heartbreak.  Life is hard, but I hope I live a long time 
    and that my real life son and I see the sunrise again. 

    When we were done with the scene, I told the actor that his pain feels so 
    real to me and makes it easy to react to.  He assured me his pain is real.  We shared personal stuff.  Acting is so much more real than many realize.  This actor is so good because he can access his pain, his love, and other feelings.

    Emotionally, it is exhausting and exhilarating.  I actually had a couple of 
    positive dreams since then.  Life is full of surprises in terms of what will help healing happen and where it will come from.

    The comedy show I did in Brooklyn – the audience, which was small in size, 
    made up for it in spirit.  I had fun.  A former co-worker, Meghan, attended with her partner, Dave.  I like both of them.  We hung out afterwards and talked about many things.  It is comforting to be with people who feel to me like they are on the same planet as I am.  It helped me to talk about the job where I was kicked to the curb.  It always helps to talk to people who can see.  Talking to the willfully blind is just frustrating and angering.

    I’ve been hearing from former students via email, texts, and phonecalls. 
    sent some a comedy clip.  One wrote me back that she didn’t know I had it in me.  LOLOL  Another wrote me back that he was sad.  Some students just don’t get why some of the best teachers and the counselor were let go.  That’s because it doesn’t make actual sense. 

    Even if I weren’t let go, I know I wouldn’t be able to tolerate the new 
    sheriff in town and her deputy.  I am welcoming whatever my next chapter holds for me.

  4. Comedy, Poetry, 110 Vaginas

    Monday, October 15, 2018

    Those of you who find it easier to get to a comedy show in Brooklyn than 
    most other boroughs, I will be doing a guest spot in the Laugh-tober Comedy Show at the Eastville Comedy Club this Friday evening, 7pm.

    If poetry is more your thing, I am one of the readers in the 4 Horse 
    Poetry Reading curated by Bob Quatrone on Saturday, November 17th at 6pm at the Cornelia Street Café on Cornelia Street in the Village.  Only ten bucks which includes a drink.  The line-up is typically one of which I am proud to be a part.

    If vagina is more your thing, either as an owner or an admirer, mine is one 
    of the 110 vagina portraits in this exhibition on Saturday, December 8th from 4 to 8pm at 40 Ludlow Street.  Photos by Alexandra Jacoby.  And it is free!

    The normal is diverse exhibition takes place on Saturday, 08-Dec-2018 from 4-8pm at Ludlow Studios, 40 Ludlow Street, NYC 10002.

    It's free, but space is limited. RSVP to reserve your space.

    There is more to share, but for now I’ll leave it on the note of 110 vaginas.

  5. Be assured I have hardship, strife, aggravation, money troubles, stress, and mother-fuckers in my life.  However, I’m going to share some good stuff.

    My Facebook friend Danielle Ryer works at a college radio station. 

    She tends to focus on mental health and wanted to include some of my comedy.  I’ve been a social worker, a teacher, a daughter, a granddaughter, a mom, a friend, and a person in pain, so mental health is definitely something I care deeply about.  When my comedy can help, I am thrilled.  Slightly over a minute here:

    I performed at Otto’s Shrunken Head and at MNN since my last blog 

    My Divorced Divas of Comedy show on 9/30 went well at Cornelia Street 
    Café.  Debbie Bazza, Rhonda Hansome, and Taffy Jaffe joined me in delivering a very fun show to a wonderful audience. 

    This Friday, 10/12, I am scheduled to be on Aaron Smith’s podcast, “Aaron Smith Can’t Lose” somewhere between 7pm and 9pm. 

    The following Friday, 10/19, I am on the line-up for a comedy show in 
    Brooklyn.  Come on over. 

    I did background work on the new show “Manifest.”  Seems like an 
    interesting show.  I watched the first episode. 

    I did a scene for an NYU student where I played a homeless woman (see 
    previous blog entry).  It wasn’t for money, but it is good to exercise my acting skills and to show range. 

    I did receive my first unemployment check.  It allowed me to eat and pay 
    one small bill. 

    Friends have taken me out to dinner a few times, some from the job where I was let go.  From what I’ve heard, the sleaze factor is very high there now.  I’d have never lasted.  I can’t spend my days being part of sleaze just to earn a barely adequate paycheck.  However, being unemployed at this point in my life is scary.

    On my way to Broadway Comedy Club on Friday night, a former student 
    entered the train.  We sat together and talked.  He may not realize this, but he made me feel good.  He said, “What? How could they get rid of perfection?”  He may not have academic excellence, but he has innate awareness.  A long time ago, he was my math student.  I eventually promoted him.  One day his teacher had to be out, and I took that class combined with my class.  Many in the other class were former students of mine.  It was like a reunion.  On the break, this guy and I smoked a cigarette together and talked.  He told me I should move up with them and continue to be their teacher.  I smiled.  I told him that when a new bunch of nervous people enters the program, I need to be there for them.  He thought for a while.  Then he said, “You should stay where you are.  ‘Cause if you were at the top, we’d never get there.”  And that is his intelligence.

    It’s too bad that those with all kinds of degrees don’t see what he can 
    see.  Working with the educated to help those in need of education has been a sad and eye-opening experience.  Those who are often in charge do not understand the people they are professing to help.  They let go of the people who do.

    Not sure I can find the funny, but I try.

  6. In Turmoil at the Moment

    Saturday, September 29, 2018

    If you read my last blog entry, you know I actually had concern about taking time off from the day job to have an acting job.  Well, after 18 years (first part time, then part time with some amount of benefits, and finally full time with benefits), I was kicked to the curb.  I am glad I chose to take the time for the acting gig.

    Since I am here as a performer (acting and comedy), I don’t want to reveal my age, but losing health benefits now is quite frightening.

    The circumstances of me getting let go is deep and inevitable once I had 
    my third director.  It is book length.  It may appear as a series of columns on my years in adult education. 

    So at the moment I am unemployed.  Haven’t yet received an 
    unemployment check. 

    Once they revealed themselves as a program that would get rid of our 
    counselor who helped so many people in such significant ways, I knew I was next.  I saw what was valued and what wasn’t.  Many laughed when I said I was next.  Many thought I was simply wrong and paranoid.  But what they don’t realize is I grew up under the threat of being put in the foster care system.  My gut knows when I’m going to be tossed. 

    When it happened, staff was shocked, jaws hanging, and some speechless.

    Students are bewildered.  Some are truly heartbroken.  Several refuse to 
    return to that program.  The saddest part is some have given up on school altogether.  It must trigger their PTSD.  The people who made them feel good are gone; the ones they have a hard time with are upgraded.  So much of what goes on in the current government echoes in that program.  Deceit is a big one.  Several people told me to fight it.  I do not want to work with people who don’t want me.  The sad part is the students who, in my mind, I worked for, DO want me.  Some just don’t get it at all even after I tell them I was let go.  They respond with, “So are you coming back to teach?”  Those are the ones who needed a person like me as their teacher and a counselor like the one we had as a person to talk to.

    The Bronx community who benefited from our program lost a lot.

    I personally am in financial fear. 

    I recently played a homeless woman in a short film.  It is scarily 
    convincing.  The director was super thrilled.  I’m a bit creeped out.

    So if you were thinking about coming to Sunday’s Divorced Divas of 
    Comedy show, please do.  I need every dollar I could get.  Thank you.  

  7. A few months ago, a man reached me through an on-line casting website 
    where my subscription had expired months before.  His email began, 
    “Let’s discuss you doing the lead …”

    I was surprised his message got through to me.  Though I could see the 
    listings, I couldn’t apply to anything because I wasn’t paid up for the year.  I wanted to be connected again, but I couldn’t spare the money.  So I really didn’t think anyone could find me through that site anymore.  But he did.

    It was for a sizzle reel to be shown to show runners down the line.  There 
    was no mention of money up front.  I’d have to take off from my job.  It seemed like it would all happen in New Jersey.  I don’t drive.  I hit reply and began my email, “I really appreciate your interest, but I won’t be available for …”  I stopped and asked myself why I was saying no.  I had no other acting gig going on.  I was mainly working my day job and doing stand-up comedy.  I actually missed acting.  I also realized it is much easier to take time off from the job when we weren’t having classes.  I re-read it and realized there’d be a ride to the location from Manhattan.

    I deleted what I wrote and told him the best time to call me.

    Fast forward, I met the director and we went to the NJ location where 
    the producer worked.  We worked on parts and they saw I had what it would take to pull off the role.  They told me I was a blessing and treated me like royalty.  When they took me out to eat, they upped whatever I ordered.  If I said medium, they ordered large.  What was not offered in money was offered in good feelings.

    The following week, we were to work on the shoot with crew and other 
    actors.  I overslept, so they came to get me at my Bronx location.  No one wasted energy on being upset with me though I was kidded about being a diva who expected to get door to door service.  I’ve got a long way to go to be a diva, but I laughed and swore I just fucked up and was up too late the night before.

    The crew and other actors were very pleasant to work with.  It only takes 
    one bitch or bastard to ruin a day, but everyone was cool.  Not a kunt in the crowd.  Can’t say my other days at the day job felt like that.  So though I was working, I felt like I was on vacation.

    One of the scenes involved a young adult son and I having a confrontation.  I knew this was really going to be heartfelt because of the parallels with my real life son.  I had real anxiety.  The actor was amazingly convincing, and as soon as I heard the pain in his angry voice, my eyes filled with tears and poured out.  After his rant, he asked for a hug.  We hugged hard.  I wished it was my son who I was hugging.  My tears ran down my face.  The camera stayed on me up close and very personal. 

    After the director said, “Cut,” I, while crying and a bit of laughing, asked, 
    “Can we eat now?”  Everyone laughed.  I wiped my face, and we all ate pizza with a variety of toppings.

    The producer’s son and other family members gave me so many 
    compliments on my acting.  I awkwardly thanked them.  I didn’t feel it was my acting as much as my reacting to the amazing performance by the one playing my son.  When I told the director that, he said that was what good acting is – letting it all deep inside and truly reacting.  He said I was outstanding, surpassed his expectations, and that it was because I was in the moment.

    I felt there is a God/dess looking out.  I felt therapy was brought to me 
    since I can’t financially afford to go to it.  Additionally, I felt that this was put out into the universe, and I hoped so much my son could feel it -- my solid raw love for him.

    To be continued …