Friday, September 27, 2013

Rick Owens Brings Step Dancing to Paris Fashion Week

Rick Owens' spring 2014 runway show at Paris Fashion Week yesterday
(recorded by Diane Pernet)

 I just like when fashion tries something different.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

My New Obsession: Doc Brown

The other night I was watching "Derek", Ricky Gervais' new show which is about caretakers working in an old folks' home. It's so good. I expected it to be snarky, but it's so sweet and, of course, hilarious.  Great characters. You gotta watch it.  Anywho, during the fifth episode, this guy was on and rapped at the end and that's when my obsession began...

First off, he's a damn good rapper! (I gave up on rap years ago, when I got tired of incessantly being called a the n-word and the b-word, plus it got to a point where I just tired of hearing the same stories about sex, money and violence told in the same macho, flashy-trashy way. Nowadays, if I'm listening to hip hop, it's to artists like Blitz the Ambassador or Invincible or any other international musician who's talking intelligently about something different and showing vulnerability not just braggadocio.)  Second of all, his rhyme is delivered just perfectly and nearly brought me to tears. Thirdly, he vaguely reminds me of an ex ... (shhhhh....)  And, lastly, it made me wonder: Why don't I know more British MCs?!  So, I looked him up to see what else he's done. Turns out he's a GREAT comic and actually was a rapper back in the day (was even in a group with Amy Winehouse).  He's married the two art forms now and does these brilliant comedy raps as part of his stand up.  I, normally, find singing comics too corny for my taste, but this guy's style is different and just won me over. There's something about using the edginess of hip hop softened by the hyper self-awareness of stand-up comedy.... So Doc Brown is now my obsession.

You know you know someone like this who explains every negative thing this way!  I was stuck on a film set with a Rastafarian like this a couple of weeks ago.  He even thought the walk-away lunch arrangements were racist since we were shooting up in Harlem....  There's always one of these guys! 

p.s. Turns out, his sister is Zadie Smith who wrote one of my favorite novels, White Teeth.  Um, that's a talented family.

I'd need a translation of British hip hop street slang, too 

And before you tell me that Donald Glover and Reggie Watts also do this hip hop - comedy thing, let me say that Reggie Watts scares the shit out of me and Donald Glover lost me the minute he said his White girlfriend called him the n-word during sex and it turned him on.  No thanks.  Doc Brown, more please!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Gig Alert: Orange Is The New Black (my day in tv prison)

me in prison costume and being handcuffed by a guard.  great day on the set of Orange Is The New Black!

It's been a busy couple of months!  Here's a quick rundown:
1. Besides the temp job (gotta get these bills squared away...), I'm training to get my TESOL certificate to teach English as a foreign language (Mom said, "enough with the secretarial stuff" for a day job and I finally listened!)
2. I booked a tiny part on Chris Rock's latest film project, tentatively titled "Hammy the Bear" (had a cute flirting scene with JB Smoove who is even funnier in person!), 
3. Spent my weekends on set shooting the independent short film called "The Bridge" (so nice to NOT play a stereotype Black female character - had a great time!)
4.  Getting this move together - again.  Ugh, moving is such a pain!
5.  Orange is the New Black.... and that's what I'm blogging about today.  :-)

This week, I got called in to do a nude shower scene on the Netflix series Orange is the New Black. They asked me if I'd be ok with nudity and I said yes.  Blame it on having been raised in Italy, Germany and France, but I have no problem being nude around people - not in a sexual way, just in a hey-man-it's-all-nature kinda way.  I'm THAT girl at the gym locker room who's looking at you like you're the freak when you get in the sauna wearing your workout clothes or a bathing suit...  So the requirements for the scene didn't scare me away.  I was just blissfully excited to be working on this awesome show!  The call came in Thursday, the scene was Friday.  I had less than 24 hours to get "shower ready".  If you're a woman, you know the first thing that popped into my mind: BIKINI WAX!  Because I was not about to get caught on camera with bush...this was an emergency, ladies, you know what I mean.  Coincidentally, I'd gone in for one 3 days earlier (at Eve Day Spa, the only place I've trusted with my bikini line since I moved to New York!), but, just my luck, all the waxers were out doing an all-day continuing education seminar (huh?!), so I postponed a week and spent the cash on a something else not thinking I'd need an emergency wax in just 3 days...  So now I had 24hrs to fix my "situation" and not enough cash.  Lesson: Actors, ALWAYS keep a $200 stash for random acting emergencies (transportation, headshot reprints, last minute beauty appointments...).  :-)    

So yesterday, at 7am I reported to Kaufman Astoria studios and .... I had the best day ever!  We started with the shower scene, I was, literally, in the middle of breakfast (that studio has the best crafts services!!!) and suddenly they were calling us up!  We then spent hours naked, being sudsed up with shaving foam and bubbles over and over for each take. Then we spent another few hours in prison uniforms for a scene near the prison commissary.  So that was my day.  Everyone's been asking how it was and what it was like, so here are my observations:

1. Orange is the New Black (OITNB) employs more women on their crew/production team than I've ever seen on any show or film I've worked on.  That is FANTASTIC!  Powerful women in film!!!  A beautiful thing to see.

2. Law and Order SVU used to be the only show shot in NYC that regularly looked for Black actresses and for all these years I've felt like I was the only Black actress they never called (loser!?).  Now, it's OITNB and I'm proud that this time I haven't been left out.  ;-)

3. It's an incredibly rare event to be doing a scene with a dozen other naked Black actresses.  We bonded.  How could we not?  It was like a sorority initiation experience.  I have a group of very cool new friends.

4. I will never be ashamed of my body.  Short, tall, thin, fat, butch, femme, old, young... the sheer force of so many brown skinned women naked in this small space was incredible.  It felt....mighty!  I expected to feel a bit vulnerable being filmed showering in prison would, but instead it was empowering to be around all these proud, cool women.

5. The set is like being on a cruise ship - buffets of all kinds of food everywhere!  I couldn't stop eating (what is it about free food that makes us lose our damn minds?!) Again, best crafty ever.

6. At one point, we were all lined up against the wall, topless with towels wrapped around our waists (waiting to be soaped up with foam and bubbles by the costume ladies) and I looked down the row of us and thought for a second that we looked like a National Geographic photo of some central African republic's tribal ceremony.

7. Prison uniforms are ugly as sin and hideously unflattering, but it's the boots that are truly awful.  Ours must've weighed a good 10lbs each.  It was like walking in cement blocks.  So if you see my episode and I'm walking like a gangster, it's probably just from the sheer weight and discomfort of those damn boots.  ;-)

8. I'm conflicted about sharing when the episode will air.  Yes, I'm proud of the work and super excited to get a foot in the door on this show!  I even shared the news on Facebook, which is something I don't usually do.  But, I'm also conscious of the fact that gawkers will be tuning in to see my lady lumps all nekkid.  And, as fantastic as my tits are (and, darling..., they truly are fantastic) that's not really the point, it is?  So I'm not sure I'll announce the episode date.  I'd rather people tune in for a scene where the focus is on my acting, not my hoo-hah. ;-)

Anyway, it's a hectic time for me, that's why the blogging is spotty, and probably it will be until the end of the year when this move is complete and I'm set up in the new place (not announcing that info 'til I'm there, though - I've learned my lesson!).  But I'm so proud and grateful for all this work.  Things are looking up.  :-)

Monday, September 2, 2013

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