Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Music Video: He Ain't Frontin'

So a couple of weeks ago I made a little cameo appearance in this funny spoof music video called "He Ain't Frontin'".  It's on now.  Please click and comment!  :-)

Friday, October 25, 2013

Film: "Rheinland" Afro-Germans in the Nazi Era (+ the tale of the worst houseguest ever)

Last week, the above promotion for a film trailer popped into my twitter feed and I was immediately intrigued because, while there are countless films/books/art/etc on the horror Jews faced in the Third Reich, not much is out there about what Blacks and "Mischlings" (mixed race people) went through.  So I really want to support this project.  (And yeah, of course, the actor in me was also thinking, "Hmm, maybe I'll send my headshot and resume to the director...." Don't smirk! Acting is a constant hustle.)  While reading the short description, I saw the cast list and stopped right there.  One of the actors starring in this film is the very same person who stayed with me last summer and caused the worst houseguest experience I've ever had.  Just seeing his name took me back in time...

Here's what happened:  On his deathbed (f'ing cancer!), a former schoolmate of mine made a film with two of his friends (one being that actor).  That film, Geschwisterliebe (an emotional short about immigrant life in Berlin culminating with a brother mistakenly raping his sister - based on a true story) made it to the NY International Film Festival (and it WON!).   Another mutual friend asked if I'd connect with the two guys and take care of them while they were in NYC for the festival.  I said, "Of course, and they're welcome to stay with me as long as they want!"  Famous last words...  They stayed with me for 9 days and it was like bunking with teenage boys or living in a frat house.  I'm pretty relaxed about sharing my home, but this turned out to be a disaster:
-  They took over the apartment spreading their stuff out in every room (clothes strewn in the kitchen, dining room...After they left, I even found their boxers hanging off my fire escape.)  Ironically, I'd given them my bedroom so they'd have their own space and I was, myself, sleeping on the couch in the living room.
-  They broke things & ignored them (the light in the fridge - how do you break that?! - a cfl bulb in the bedroom - lesson learned: those things reek once they're broken!)
-  They smoked in my kitchen which left my small flat smelling like an ashtray.  For a non-smoker this is a big deal.
-  They turned tv & radio on/off at their own leisure whether I was watching/listening or not.
-  They kept leaving windows open while the AC was running.
-  They tracked beach sand all over the apartment.
-  Blah Blah get the picture.  They generally acted like it was their home and I was the guest.  Classic case of you give an inch, they take a foot.

It was just little things, but they added up. Three times, I mentioned stuff to them and they did try to change, but after a day, they'd revert. On the morning of their flight back to Berlin an argument started and this man exploded, shouting obscenities at me, calling me names, wildly packing up his stuff and then stormed out for good.  I've never been around that kind of volatile energy.  Never had anyone viciously screaming at me like that.  Confrontation terrifies me so this left me completely shaken up.

Seeing his name on the cast list for this new film, Rheinland, not only reminded me of that whole trauma, but it made me wonder something.  We're both actors.  I'm trying to get more work in Europe.  Rheinland is the kind of film I'd be auditioning for.  What would I do if we ever ended up cast together?  Could I work with someone I'd had such a negative personal experience with?  I'm super sensitive, so I'm not sure I could.  And if I did, I'd need extra therapy to get through the anxiety! Meantime, I'll send the few bucks I have to spare to help this film groundbreaking film get made.  It's an important piece of history.

p.s.  Recently, I heard a great "rule" about being a houseguest. "Treat it like camping in a rare & protected habitat:  Respect the environment, keep the smallest footprint possible and leave no trace behind."

Thursday, October 24, 2013

I Can Drive!!! Passed My Road Test!

Right after passing the road test, I ran into the bathroom because I needed a private place to freak out and do the happy dance.  
So this is me in the Lodi, NJ Motor Vehicles Commission restroom going nuts.

This is the face of a woman who's just passed her road test!  First time driver!  Yes, I'm one of those rare humans who never learned to drive as a kid.  Never really considered it because I always lived near great public transit and dated guys with cars (ha!).  A couple years ago, I started to think about maybe learning, but by then I'd convinced myself that I just wasn't the driving type and I was content with that.  Until Hurricane Sandy hit.

It's been nearly a year since that storm came and left me completely stranded and humiliatingly dependent.  Forty-seven days without power.  47!!!  Our street was under 8 feet of sea water.  Our home flooded badly (basement and first floor submerged).  I made it out lucky, comparatively, since my apartment was on the 2nd floor, but my neighbor on the 1st floor lost her home completely and had to move out.  A nightmare.  Literally, everything around us was shut down, no services whatsoever (transportation, plumbing, electricity, phones, .... nothing).  That neighbor lost everything, but she was at least able to drive away in her car, charge her phone in her car, get food in her car, haul things in her car... while I was having to wait for people to be able to reach me.  Having that car (which she had wisely parked in an above ground lot in advance of the storm so it wouldn't be damaged) was her lifeline.  That's when I finally saw driving as FREEDOM and INDEPENDENCE.

Hurricane Sandy taught me that I never want to be that helpless again in my life.  That goal - and my amazing, encouraging therapist - got me through the written test (passed first time!) and finally the dreaded road test which I passed yesterday (also first time 'round)!!!  There were set backs along the way - I couldn't afford classes for a while, had an abusive teacher who literally slapped me every time I made a mistake (lawsuit???), lost my confidence (remember my meltdown?), changed schools... but sticking to it paid off.  I did it!  I can drive!!!  Maybe it's a silly thing to be proud of because it's so basic, but this is big deal for me.  I'll never be stranded like that again.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Pocket Dial

Today, I got pocket-dialed by a guy I used to date - a guy I'm not on speaking terms with. Awkward.  Anyway, it reminded me of a truly awful pocket dial (or “butt dial” if you like that term better) experience I had with my first boyfriend in New York.  His name was John.  (Real name. There are no innocents here to protect.)  He was a crab fisherman in Alaska (yes, just like the Deadliest Catch guys).  He was strong, gorgeous, bold, passionate, just rough enough (ladies, you know what I mean), he could fix things and he drove a cherry red 1957 Chevy that he'd lovingly restored himself.  He was like no other guy I’d ever dated.  He was amazing.  He also cheated on me for 2 years with his baby’s mama. 

How’d I find out?  A pocket dial.  He didn't invite me to his family's Easter dinner (I know, I know, should've been my first clue), which he knew had hurt my feelings so he called me after the dinner to make nice.  He said he was on his way to Brooklyn to drop his daughter back off with her mom.  We talked, made plans to meet the next day, he promised to make it up to me, etc.  Then he told me he loved me and hung up.  Except that his phone didn't actually hang up.  Immediately after that, I heard a woman’s voice – the baby mama (!) - giggling. She said, “You’re so bad” and he said, “I know. Come here”.  I called out his name into the phone, but he couldn't hear me, so I stopped and listened and then I heard the sounds of kissing and making out.  My blood froze.  I called his name again – no answer.  Then she started talking to him about the food at dinner (so there was why I hadn't been invited), the traffic (so she was in his car, not his kid), he told her how hot she looked “in that dress”,  more kissing sounds and then they started talking about what they were going to do to each other once they got back to her place and how glad they were that his mom was keeping the baby overnight...   Yeah.  That’s when I hung up.  Apparently, my guardian angels and his cheap, broken flip phone conspired to rescued me that day by exposing my "loving boyfriend" for who he really was.

So that’s my pocket-dial horror story.  What’s yours?  
Ever catch anyone up to no good thanks to a pocket/butt-dial
Or have you personally been caught red-handed that way?  
Have you had an awkward pocket dial to/from an ex?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

To Teepee or Not To Teepee? That is the question.

What would you do?
I have two best girl travel buddies.  (You can’t road trip with everybody, even some of your best mates are a nightmare to travel with so having these two in my life is lucky.)  We met traveling together in Ecuador 4 years ago and now, once a year we do some kind of road trip with a twist. This year, we’ve decided on a weekend in the country in December.  Our only requirements are that it be cheap (under $300 for the  weekend per person) and that we have a fireplace.  We found this place upstate that has a teepee with a firepit in the center.  It’s owned by some eco hippies who’ve got a swath of land near Woodstock and rent out the teepee and a few cabins.  It fits our budget and looks like it could be a fun weekend adventure.  But an issue has come up and I’d love to know your thoughts:

Is it culturally insensitive to vacation in a teepee?  
Is it offensively trying to recreate a phony “Indian/Native American” experience a la Disneyland?  Would you do it?  Why or why not?  

Monday, October 7, 2013

Gig Alert: "He Ain't Frontin'" Music Video

photo c/o Bill Schaumburg, director of "He Ain't Frontin'" video

Here're a few production stills from the spoof music video I was in a few weeks ago. The full video is called "He Ain't Frontin'" and will be released on It's HILARIOUS. It's about a guy who is trying to seduce women, but has never actually been with a women and doesn't really know about sex. I play one of the girls this fool (along with his friend - played by the actor's brother) is hollerin' at.  The style is.....think "Dick In A Box" from Saturday Night Live...
This one was a lot of fun. A quick shoot in Brooklyn with a very talented cast and crew (and everybody was gorgeous! damn! I seriously felt like a fat old bump on a log that day).  I'll post the video once it hits
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