My Review of the Golden Globes

Y’all, I did not watch the Golden Globes tonight. I want so much to give a quarter of a fuck about them, especially because of the insane love I feel for Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, and for the insane love I feel for shading celebrity dress choices (but not bodies), but I just do not. For one thing, these Law and Order: SVU episodes aren’t going to re-watch themselves. Plus, I’ve seen like, two of the nominated movies and probably .015% of the nominated television shows so I can’t enjoy the sole joy of watching an awards show, which is to nod smugly as various movies and television programs I know are announced as if I somehow made them myself. Also, since anything besides Frozen  was nominated for any awards this whole production is a bull(?)shit sham and I won’t be a party to it.

I also did not watch the Golden Globes tonight because I was busy experiencing a major life milestone. In the interest of a little backstory, picture it: New York City, 2008, the Upper West Side….

A broke actor/server server/actor, I relied on my roommate Gigi to cut my hair for me; her qualifications being skill and patience. However, Gigi was working a similar gig with different hours, so I decided to take matters into my own hands, despite the fact that I possess neither skill nor patience. I cut my bangs so short and jagged that I couldn’t even pin them back. In a headband, I looked like a troll doll going through something. A drunk five-year old with one side of a pair of safety scissors could have done a better job. Since then, I have not been allowed to use simple tools to remove any of my hair.

Brenda Walsh and me: living parallel lives

Brenda Walsh and me: living parallel lives

But tonight, a mere six years later, I successful cut my own bangs. I sent a selfie to Gigi to make sure I had permission. Hey! 24 year old me, it really does get better.

Like a fine wine

Like a fine wine

Also, Sunday night treat. Lascivious Lemur, you will love it.

Also, fair disclaimer, I am not Shannen Doherty, only a respectful and not at all dangerous fan.

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The Fly in the Ointment

Happy Sunday Internet! I have to say, this was one of my favorite weekends ever. A Friday night spent doing too many bits with my improv group to productively agree on dinner. A Saturday spent frustratingly waiting for someone to pick up my couch from Craigslist and then getting my own furniture delivered and being reminded why I’m glad to no longer be 22 (primarily because I wouldn’t keep someone waiting for four hours while I pretended to get a Uhaul to pick up a free couch) and catching up with Gigi, the Awesome Opossum, and the Marvelous Meerkat. A Saturday night doing my first show with our full improv team and then drinking with awesome friends. A Sunday beginning with old friends and ending with new ones. This was a great, great weekend.

Blog posts and Facebook status updates giving a laundry list of good (or bad) events over the past increment of time of someone’s life are so annoying. “I had the best sandwich I’ve ever had and then I did laundry and then I bought new shoes and then I watched Enchanted!” Who on Earth cares? But, maybe I shouldn’t be such a naysayer about the joy of others*. Life is hard. There is no perfection. There are no promises. No matter how many things are going right, there is always something that’s frustrating or sad or infuriating. There’s always someone wanting to keep you down or shut you up. It’s easy to get caught on that one frenemy or forehead zit. I’ve spent the better part of my life stuck on the chip in the glass, blinded to the perfectly chilled top shelf tequila inside of it. I’m consciously working to change that. I’m focussing on the good (of which there is so much) rather than lying awake at night obsessing about the thing that’s currently hard.

Much of that conscious change has to do with improv. I’ve learned a lot of life lessons in my time at UCB (tomorrow is my anniversary-wootwoot!). The biggest one is to unclench. I can’t plan. I can’t map out everything that’s going to happen today or tomorrow. There’s a difference between having dreams and goals and hopes, and pinning all my happiness on one specific outcome. Additionally, finding something to love and people to love it with is a huge gift.

By nature I’m a bratty pouter. I’ve thrown temper tantrums and been passive aggressive in ways that most mature adults can’t imagine. I’m trying to break those patterns. Counting blessings over curses is a step in the right direction. I’ll be referring back to this post a lot in the weeks and months to come.

*j/k, I’ll always be a snarky b-word** at heart.

**I’m scaling back on swearing for Lent. It’s not going great. I had to rewrite that footnote like seven times to not just say “bitch”. Oh…fuck! Sorry!…d-, f-, mothe—….crap!

Deeply Furious (AKA: Shoes)

When the Reebok Easy Tone shoes came out, the Awesome Opossum and I were all over them. We wanted to tone our glutes and hammies by just walking around. We would call each other and talk about how well they worked and how awesome they were. We could feel the changes. It was embarrassing when Reebok lost that law suit and we looked like the villagers in The Emperor’s New Clothes. What has been more embarrassing, at least for me, is that not only do these shoes not tone your business, they can’t even perform their basic function as shoes. I’ve had them less than a year. The inside on the heel is worn to the plastic, but much worse is that the air filled pockets on the bottoms of the shoes have worn away due to my foot-pounding of this concrete jungle. So now, when I walk in my once fitness-savvy, now foolish, shoes, a puff of deflated air announces my every step. I once wore these shoes proudly, now I try to sneak around while wearing them, which is impossible due to the incessant dying air mattress noise coming from my feet.

In an incident only related through footwear, I also lost a pair of expensive black flats on the subway about four months ago. I wish I could say alcohol was involved, but really I was just having a temper tantrum and lost my shoes mid-pout. Losing those shoes was the last piece of evidence that I can’t have nice things. The last few months have been a sartorial exercise in creativity as I tried to come up with outfits in my mostly black closet that don’t require black shoes. Getting new flats right away would only encourage me to be a little bitch whenever I don’t get enough sleep or have to take twenty extra minutes at allergy shots.

Last night, I released myself from my punishments. I bought new shoes. The sneakers are purple. The Wily Roadrunner, who does actually run in addition to being quite wily, approved of the make and model. The black flats are black; that just seemed like the right way to go. It’s impossible to know if I would enjoy these new shoes as much if I hadn’t spent the last few months squeaking around like a crazy person and putting half of my closet on a time out. Perhaps this enjoyment would be better timed if I weren’t in the middle of a stressful and expensive move, but sometimes shopping is like yoga for the soul. Gigi and I are heading to Ikea in a couple of hours. Namaste.

And It Made Me Feel Excited….Well, Excited and Scared

Money is a huge driving force in my life. I wouldn’t call it financial responsibility or greed so much as fiscal hysteria. Every time I have to reach into savings or I use my credit card, I can feel a tiny panic fairy dancing in my heart.

Currently, that fairy has let the rhythm take control. He is letting it move him. After nearly six years, nineteen roommates, three evictions (by me, not to me), and four particularly charismatic mice, I am leaving the Upper West Side. There is a studio in Brooklyn neighborhood Fort Greene that is literally going to have my name on it in a month. The Cheeky Chipmunk, aka Roommate #17, lives in the building and gave me a head’s up when a place too good to miss became available. I’m excited to make a change; six years of anything is a long time. I have all sorts of decorating ideas and dreams, though the expense of paying a big deposit, more rent per month, and furnishing a little place on my own is daunting.

Everyone I’ve told has been helpful and awesome. The Siberian Fox (#14) has been extra awesome and supportive, which is much appreciated, since the burden of apartment responsibility now falls on her. Gigi (#6) volunteered her car. When I told my mom (not a roommate in my current apartment, but #1 in overall roommate chronology) how nice the neighborhood is, she reacted with a kind, but skeptical, “Oh, really? In Brooklyn?”

In the world of New York realty, I am a unicorn. I had a sublet waiting for me when I moved to the city and then fell into my current apartment by word of mouth and stayed from 2006-2012. I’m like Cher from Clueless, except that I can, in fact, drive. I’ve never met up with a stranger from Craig’s List to look at her apartment. I shrink in terror at the thought of paying a broker find a place for me. The last time I moved, I paid a guy with a pick-up truck $80 to haul my mattress and seven boxes uptown, knowing but not fully understanding that I had approximately a fifty percent chance of his chopping me up into little pieces. I ended up only enduring early hipster apathy. This time I will be hiring movers, missing out on the adrenaline rush that accompanies hurtling up the FDR with a stranger and all my worldly possessions. Though those are the exact expenses that cause the panic fairy to shake his little bon-bon, it will be money well spent.

Don’t Be Tardy For The Party

Saturday night, I was destined for a party at the Boat Basin Café. Gigi was coming all the way from Queens to the Upper West for a little white wine and light hors d’oeuvres and then we were to head over.

Several glasses and cookies later, we were totally immersed in E!’s Saturday night showing of Blue Crush. Reeling from the climactic and totally plausible ending, we realized we were terribly late to our party. We hopped in a cab and got there just as the host and hostess were departing (shame spiral) and realized that the two of us were alone with the one remaining attendant, Vlad.

Vlad stood at exact eye-level with Gigi (a cool 5’, 0”). He is a doctor. He is from Russia. (Whenever I meet someone from Russia, I always mention that my roommate is also from Russia. I don’t know if this is xenophobic or racist, but it unfailingly elicits zero interest from the other party.) I would not call Vlad a master of conversation or a man who frequently keeps company with the ladies.

When I’ve had a little nectar of the grape and find myself in an uncomfortable situation, I turn into a loquacious combination of Ricky Gervais and the Micromachine guy. Neither Vlad or Gigi seemed to notice, as the former’s attention was mostly directed to my bosoms and the latter was clearly hatching an escape plan.

Consequently, Gigi made a case for heading out to the veranda to get an eyeful of the Hudson and New Jersey, which I gleefully agreed to, only to have her turn around and invite Vlad. When we discussed it later at a nearby diner, she claims to have no memory of this.

Location change did nothing for the group dynamic. I got even more talkative, to the point where Vlad asked me if I was on crack. I received this comment with élan, assuring myself I was rubber and he glue. Within seconds of Gigi heading inside to use the ladies’ room, Vlad blurted out that he was married. He had allowed his wife to go to California to study anthropology, which he knew nothing about and wasn’t interested in. This wasn’t a confession, just Vlad’s idea of polite conversation. When Gigi finally returned from the loo, Vlad boldly suggested we go back inside, which I used to segue into Gigi and I being too exhausted to stay out any longer. We threw Vlad into the first cab we could find and hotfooted it to the nearest diner to discuss the events of the evening.

The awkward evening and missing of E!’s showing of Blue Crush 2 did have one positive outcome. This was a harsh enough punishment to break my lifelong habit of tardiness. If showing up egregiously late for things is going to keep ending this way, I vow to be more on time.

Summer Sun, Something’s Begun

“God gave us memory that we might have roses in December.”

J.M. Barrie

Summer in New York is unparalleled. The streets empty of the very rich as they flee to the Hamptons, and the fairly rich as they flee to lesser shores. Times Square is a monstrous hell, teeming with gape-mouthed tourists buying the same crap at Toys ‘R’ Us in New York that they can buy at the Toys ‘R’ Us in Blaine, Missouri, but the rest of the city is a flower in full bloom. Ladies step out in cotton sundresses and brightly colored patent leather bags. Every straight guy in the city puts on his khaki cargo shorts. And if you head to the World Wide Plaza and sit down at Blockheads to enjoy a $3 $4 margarita, you will be surrounded by the plunging neon (pastels are so 2010) v-neck tees of the most ripped gays Midtown has to offer.

Every restaurant has outdoor seating; even the ones that have no business with tables on the curbs of busy avenues have lines of anxious people, stuck inside for three seasons and impatient to feel the lightly polluted air of New York City on their faces as they dine. On Friday evening Gigi, Mr. Gigi, the Cheeky Chipmunk, and I headed down to the Financial District to get a little of that air for ourselves. Nothing like a little Mexican food and margaritas (alas, not $4) to start off our weekend right.

It was a magical evening, and especially magical for me. As I was stuck in line waiting for the ladies room, socializing with other hip New Yorkers, the sky opened up on my friends sitting outside. They were all unscathed and relieved that I was nowhere near the moisture, as one raindrop on my head causes me to turn into the Wicked Witch of the West. “I’m frizzing, I’m frizzing…..” Their being spared a night of hearing me whine “What a world, what a world” was a true gift.

As with most nights that are scheduled to end early, we ended up going out to a bar afterwards and hanging out well into the night. There were additions to our party and there were shots and the Mets had a no hitter, which I learned was called a “no-no”, the least cool-sounding sports achievement ever. The night set me up for the perfect hangover the next morning as I ran my errands: not so much that I felt bad, just enough that I felt justified getting two iced coffees over the course of the morning, a morning where the sun shone in a moisture-free sky, leaving my hair unmolested by frizz. These are the summer days that New Yorkers sprint outside for and talk about through the rest of the year, when sleet and snow turn our city grey and icy wind chaps our skin. Even a crazy lady at Starbucks telling me I wasn’t better than her just because I was Snow White and the Huntsman couldn’t dim my mood.

How, How Did This Come To Pass?

Not to alarm anyone, but I’m pretty sure the Zombie Apocalypse is upon us. I’m lucky Walking Dead has taught me so much, because my apartment is hosting its inception.

Last week, I got a text from the Russian Silver Fox telling me there was a horrible mouse noise coming from our apartment. She said it sounded like a mouse fight. Not good.Image

That night, I heard scratching in my hall closet. I especially resented the scratching, because I was trying to watch Drag Race, but it is impossible to disdain PhiPhi O’Hara with all of my energy while waiting to be attacked by a giant rodent. Gigi’s cat, who is staying with us, was equally mesmerized by the potential emergence of this creature.

My other roommate, the Wily Roadrunner, heard scratching from the exact same place the next day. And then we didn’t hear any more scratching.

On Friday, I went into the closet to fetch one of my inappropriate for New York’s very short spring coats and recoiled at the stench. The scratching stopped because whatever was in the closet or the wall (no one in Apt. 2W has the gravitas to check) had succumbed to the cool embrace of death.Image

That’s all the evidence so far that I have of Zombie Mousepocalypse, but I’ve seen Pet Cemetery, so I know that what goes in that closet doesn’t come back the same way. I feel certain that little bastard is just biding his time until he can bite and infect me.

Consequently, we are all too afraid to open up the closet door again, which is terrible, because it is rendering my fleetingly appropriate spring coats inaccessible. And, if I’m right, I guess it would also  threaten the extinction of humanity.

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The Panic Years

My apartment is filled with detritus from various roommates whose names and numbers I’ve lost over the years. Often, the things that are small enough to be left behind go unnoticed for many roommates, until it’s unclear who left them in the first place. The Panic Years is not one of them.

The vast majority of the 20 plus roommates I’ve coincided with the time that I lived with Gigi, so we have a lot of the same horror stories. One of our worst roommates was a sublet, Spoiled Barbie. She had the entitlement of a Kardashian, the boyfriend of my dreams, and the looks of Mattel’s most popular toy. At her interview, she seemed so nice, but that quickly disappeared.

After I came back from tour, we allowed her to live in our dining room for a month, which was stressful for all everyone, but especially our third roommate Guru, who loathed her. She stapled shower curtains into our walls without permission. I leave the staples to remind myself that letting anyone live in the common area is a terrible idea. Spoiled Barbie was always pouting, usually to or at her boyfriend, Drummer Ken. Her greatest contribution to my life was the $50 I made selling her futon when she left it in the living room.

The Panic Years is a self-help book for girls who are still single at the spinsterly age of twenty-six and have begun to melt down at the sight of their friends’ happy engagements, weddings, and pregnancies. The book does not aspre to help these girls overcome their jealousy and find the joy within; it is a how-to guide to exploit your friends’ connections to the fullest to find a husband as quickly as possible. It does not address the idea of turning thirty and still being single, at which point I assume you should either start adopting cats or, if allergic, just off yourself. It uses acronyms like PF for “Potential Fiance”, and advises that you can find one anywhere. The author, Doree Lewak, lists her sole interests as “relationships and dating” in Amazon’s biography section. This book is the most preposterous and anti-feminist book I have ever read the first four pages of before completely dissolving in laughter. Gigi and I used to read this book aloud to each other in Katherine Hepburn’s voice all the time.*

Even though we found The Panic Years nearly five roommates after Spoiled Barbie moved out, it was clear who it belonged to.

*Ed. Note: Katherine Hepburn has nothing to do with this book or panicking in general. Gigi and I both just happen to do really, really good impressions. My Hepburn rivals my Seinfeld.

I’m Just A Sweet Transvestite

I am afraid of only two things in this world: Birds and Drag Queens*. I have always been afraid of birds, for well documented reasons. My fear of Drag Queens is slightly more complicated.

In college, my school put on a production of Rocky Horror. I was not in it, being so desperately needed elsewhere to play a ship. The director, in an attempt to drum up local interest, scheduled the cast to open for a local drag show. In an effort to support our esteemed friends and classmates, Gigi and I headed out to the first club to enjoy a “Time Warp” preview.

The club was packed in anticipation of the main event, so we had to split up. At the end of the showcase, I tried to text Gigi so we could gracefully leave without disturbing everyone waiting for the fierceness to begin. Out of nowhere, a six foot plus glamazon appeared and grabbed my phone out of my hands, shoving it into her realistic-looking bosom and strutting back up to the stage. After an admittedly brilliantly lip-synched opening number, I finally convinced her to return my sweet Motorola Razr (pink, obviously). Livid at my insouciance, she yelled at me for wanting to leave and literally chased me out of the club.

This queen was more glamorous than I could ever hope to be. She was also actually a man and could have kicked my ass all the way to Sunday. Terrifying. While I still loved To Wong Fu, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar; Priscilla, Queen of the Desert; and always cry when Angel dies in Rent, my love was tempered by a lingering phobia. I had been shunned and shamed.

But recently, I looked inside of myself and decided to begin exposure therapy through my latest reality TV obsession, RuPaul’s Drag Race. It’s a show devoted to men who dress up as the women we all wish we could be. I love the silly challenges. I love the make-up and dresses. And I LOVE the aftershow, Untucked, where they all drink cocktails and wait to find out who will go home and fight. (The fights are amazing. Insults like “Go back to Party City where you belong!“, “This is called Drag Race, not Drag Walk.”, and “She was going for ‘Sex and the City’ and it was more like ‘sex in the alley.’ ” inspire me to be a better person.)

The therapy is working. Drag Race has helped demystify a terrifyingly glittery world. These men don’t necessarily fit in at every Starbucks in Ohio. They are people who appreciate fantasy and camp and big hair. They are a lot like me. They can just walk better in heels.

 

 

*Drag Queens are (mostly) gay men who dress up as women for entertainment. Transgender individuals feel that they were born as the wrong sex and take the necessary (often painful) steps to take on the identity they feel they are inside. I’m sure there is some overlap, but they are two distinct definitions.

A Little Fall of Rain Can Hardly Hurt Me Now

Three years ago, I was sitting at the bar of my old midtown restaurant eating family meal. For those unfamiliar, “family meal” is what the restaurant feeds the staff. It can range from delicious to foul. The midtown restaurant often serves what I’ve termed scary chicken. It’s all the parts of the bird that are only identifiable to med students. I once found a beak in mine.

I felt a little funny afterwards, but such is the way of scary chicken. I was cut early from my shift and trudged home to watch a little TV with Gigi and the Siberian Fox. As I lay on the couch, lamenting my poor tips and dearth of customers, I felt an internal shift. Stopping midsentence, I bolted to the bathroom, barely escaping my own personal sequel of The Exorcist.

The next seven hours were sheer torture. Naturally, I assumed that the scary chicken had had a hand in my demise. I was fairly certain I had the Bubonic Plague. I could hear my sweet chariot swinging low.

My roommates were so supportive. They bought me popsicles and clucked over me. Their compassion was to be their undoing.

Within a week Gigi, the Siberian Fox, and Mr. Gigi (her then boyfriend, now husband) were all struck down by the worst stomach bug any of us have ever encountered. By the following Sunday, we were draped all around the apartment, drained of the will to live.

Inexplicably, two weeks later, I got the bug again. This time, my roommates stayed away. Popsicles were still purchased, but they were laid on the ground and slid across the room.

It was a horrible and disgusting time. But I was really lucky. If you ignored the dark circles, popped blood vessels and total lack of personality and physical strength, I looked incredible.