Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Gig Alert: "Engineering" (f.k.a. "Birthways")


I'll be performing in a Mother's Day themed play festival April 24th through May 4th.  The one-act play that I'm in is called "Engineering" (formerly titled "Birthways") and it's a commentary on western medicine's approach to child birth vs "the natural way" - doctors vs midwives.  I play a pregnant woman who starts a revolt at the doctor's office.  :-)  Yeah, it's kinda hilarious.  Come see!
For ticket reservations call 646-824-7958.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Inspiration


Danielle Brooks, actress on Orange is the New Black, posted this on Instagram the other day and it reminded me of the power of preparedness.  Stay tenacious, stay working.  Success will come.

"when i got these headshots taken 2 years ago, 
i never imagined i'd be mailing them to fans now..."

What did you do today that you'll look back on in two years as a step toward your dream future?  (Thinking of my day plan that way changes things...)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

I Won't Say A Word


One of my daily newspaper reads is the Sueddeutsche Zeitung and its magazine has a regular photo series called "Sagen Sie jetzt nichts" ("say nothing now" or "don't say a word") in which celebrities are profiled and photographed answering 10 questions wordlessly.  I dig this idea and I'd like to try it here - and I'd like YOU to be involved.  The questions will come from YOU, my dear readers. :-) Ask me anything and I will answer it in a photograph then post all ten photo answers along with the questions anonymously.  ...And for my lurkers who don't like to reply on the blog, feel free to email me your questions at tzenanicole@gmail.com  :-)

Seriously, you can ask me ANYTHING you want and I'll answer it in a photo (and, no, this is not an April Fool's prank).  For some ideas, above are a few examples:



Sunday, March 30, 2014

Actresses I'm Watching: Florence Kasumba


You know that I want to work in German films, so when, while watching Tatort today, I saw this actress, I immediately felt joy - and no, not one bit of jealousy.  Stop it.  Her name is Florence Kasumba.  She was born in Uganda, but raised in Germany and is based in my hometown, Berlin.  But most importantly, she seems to have a lock-down on all the African Female roles on Tatort (she's been on it three times)!  I need to break that streak.  ;-)  I'm coming for you, Florence.

Seriously, though, she's an impressive and talented woman with a strong television repertoire, who got her start in musical theatre and I hope we see her soon cross over to film in and outside of the European market.  I'm always excited to see people who look like me working!  :-)

                      
in Aida das Musical 
in Mamma Mia   
Florence Kasumba in SOKO Wien  

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Buhle Mkhize and Mad About Fashion

 

A few weeks ago, I was walking in Greenwich Village reeling from one of the most uncomfortable meet-ups ever (but that’s another story…) when I saw a woman dressed to the nines and, as the queens would say, “hair did and face beat to da gods, hunty!” She was radiant. It brought a much needed smile to my face, so as I walked by I told her she looked beautiful. She beamed back at me and said, “Thank you so much!  Actually, can I ask a favor? I’m a fashion blogger and I’m waiting for a friend to photograph me, but she’s late. Would you mind taking a few pictures of me with my phone cam?”  I laughed inside because I know a little something about the awkwardness of getting someone to photograph you for your blog… Plus it was freezing out and her jumpsuit was sleeveless so it made sense that she just wanted to hurry up and get back inside. So I took her pics, we chatted a bit and realized we had lots in common so we exchanged numbers and promised to keep in touch.  

Last Sunday, we met up for brunch and spent hours laughing, feasting, exchanging life stories, talking about our passions…  She’s cool people.  And it turns out she’s famous in South Africa!  So there.  From just offering a compliment to a stranger on the street, I not only made a new friend, but met a celebrity.  :-) Her name is Buhle.  Her fashion blog is called Mad AboutFashion.  She’s smart, funny, sweet, open-hearted, generous and she's living her dream.  Love being around people like that! (This whole encounter reminded me of the fast friendship that grew between a group of us who worked on Orange Is The New Black last summer. One of them created a great hashtag for it: #NoNewFriendsIsForWackAssIntroverts :-)  Indeed. New friendships are blessings and I'm grateful!)


p.s. Buhle and I decided to do the 30 Day Bikram Yoga Challenge together.  We started this week. So please send us both encouraging vibes for the next few weeks as we SWEAT-IT-OUT!  mille mercis  ;-)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

"First Kiss"

This morning, a dear friend sent me the sweetest video as a little birthday greeting and it melted my heart. Think about the last first kiss you had.  Was it awkward and nerve-wracking?  Was it with a (near) stranger? What did you say/feel the moment before and after?  How long did it last?  Was it sweet, scary, passionate, or just a peck...?  Here's the video.  I promise you you'll smile and start to think about your own wonderful & strange first kisses...

)

p.s. Once, I asked a friend for advice about a new guy I was dating about whom I was having doubts.  My friend immediately asked, "How're the kisses?".  I said, "Fine. Why?".  His answer was, "That's a bad sign. You gotta love the kisses or it'll never work."  Turned out he was right.  And his rule has applied 100% since then.  I've gotta love the kisses.  And the first one tells me everything.

UPDATE! Oy. Have you read my About Me section about trust?... Ugh, nothing is what it seems. This video wasn't a piece of experimental art. It was an advertisement! Blech. Not quite as cute and touching now. 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

'Schland! 15 Things I Miss About Germany


...just some things that come to mind when i'm missing the place where i grew up...

(note: play the slide show on full screen in order to see the pics and captions clearly)

The musical accompaniment is "Mehr Mehr" by OK Kid 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Actresses I'm Watching: Lupita Nyong'o


Do I even need to say why???
I'll just add that she has inspired me to go back to wearing color.  
No more of this all-black-winter-NYC-uniform nonsense.  

Monday, February 24, 2014

Let me tell you a story...

falling into bed giddy after my travelogue monologue tonight! (wearing the DAT t-shirt that i got for performing.

Something amazing happened to me tonight.

All my life, I've considered myself a wretched storyteller: too longwinded, linger on unimportant details, forget important things, jump around, make unintelligible references, then always mess up the endings.  I'm confusing and irritating - and worst of all: not funny.  That's what I told myself my whole life!  But this year, I dared myself to, rather than just go to The Moth every few months, actually put my name in the hat and, hopefully, get to go up on stage and tell a story.

So when, a few weeks ago, DAT asked if I'd like to tell a story at their Travelogue event, I said hell yeah.  It seemed like perfect preparation for The Moth.  Too great of a coincidence for me to turn down.

So tonight, I did it.  AND. I. ROCKED.  I'm still grinning from ear to ear.  I told the story of the time I accidentally stayed overnight in brothel in Mombasa (Kenya).  I wasn't sure if it'd come across as funny, scary, and wild as it had really felt.  I feared I'd get nervous and freeze or lose the crowd.  But the opposite happened and that's what was amazing.  I was funny!  I was entertaining!  The crowd (about 50 people) was with me throughout - uproarious applause and many compliments after I finished.  (And I didn't invite any friends to this event - just in case I turned out to be awful - no need for witnesses to that shame... So these were all strangers who didn't have to be nice to me!) A writer who was in the audience even asked me about using my story!  I was floored.  All that negative nonsense I'd told myself all my life about not being good at this... And here I had done it - well!  What else have I brainwashed myself into thinking I can't do?...

I hope somebody video'd it.....

Monday, January 27, 2014

Shaken or Stirred?


Last week I took a bartending course.  Because...why not?  All my survival jobs have been working in offices where I sit on my ass all day and get fat - plus, most importantly, it's hard to break away to get to  auditions during the workday.  So I'm learning skills for jobs that have more flexible schedules.  That's why I took this weeklong course at NY Bartending School, 9am to 5pm every day last week.  Fun but grueling:  dozens of cocktail recipes to memorize, information on beer and wine to learn, written tests to pass and .... the dreaded "Speed Test" (correctly making 16 cocktails in 6 minutes).  You only got 2 shots at that speed test or you failed that class.  Having spent $600 and a week of stress on this thing, I refused to fail, but it happened - the first time around.  On my second try, I passed it, but it was ugly...not gonna lie...tears were shed...   So besides a bit about the art of mixology, here's what else you learn in a weeklong crash course:

1.  Pay no attention to the fact that every single other person in the course barely looks old enough to drink yet seems to know more about alcohol than you. These kids grew up on shots.

2.  There's no crying in bartending!  But your sensitive soul will be so crushed at being the only one to fail the first speed test round that you will convince yourself you're a loser and want to die of humiliation while you sob the ugly cry in a corner vainly hoping no one can see you.

3.  A bar environment truly is about teamwork.  Those same shots-loving kids you feel so intimidated by and inferior to will rally around you during your second speed test, cheer you on and give you a standing ovation when you pass.  This will make you cry again (soft and pretty this time).

4. This is not the time to sport those cute new press-on nails you got.  If you do wear them, be prepared for the mortifying moment when said press-on nails fall off in, say, the ice well and get discovered with absolute disgust by your classmate who then parades it around in horror to everyone else, exclaiming "What the hell?? That is so nasty!" to the revulsion of the whole class while you ball your fists in hope that no one notices that that plastic press-on nail matches your new "manicure".   Funny.  You'll nearly vomit as you think of what would happen in a real bar if that press-on had ended up in a customer's drink.  Not funny.

5.  Pay no attention to the fact that all your classmates are lithe and cute and dressed like they're in a Beyonce video.  They're going to work in hot bars and clubs.  You're looking to work in a civilized, old school hotel bar.  ...I hear the Hyatt is hiring...

6.  You'll realize that you're more conservative than you thought, when you decide that cleavage combined with cocktail shaking is a bit much for your taste - and you'll button your shirt up a bit more.

7.  You've never had a properly made Long Island Iced Tea - ever.

8.  Making drinks is a hell of a lot of fun.


....ok, now I'm in the mood for a Negroni....

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

What's the very first thing you said today when you woke up?

What's the first thing you said today?  Can you remember?

I was wondering about this last summer when I was analyzing how I talk and what I say....
Living alone, sometimes I go hours without speaking (and then sometimes I talk to myself for hours, but that's another story...).  That got me thinking about how what we say to ourselves in private different from what we say to other people?

I'd like to record friends, but I thought I should start with me.  So from July 28th to August 3rd, I did a little study.  I left a voice recorder (on my iphone!) on when I went to sleep so that it would capture my first words once I woke up.  (My very professional technique for placing the recorder close yet unobtrusive was to tuck the phone into my bra.  High tech!)  The purpose of setting the recorder the night before was to forget it and be able express myself un-self-consciously the next morning.  It worked.  Each morning, I just started babbling as normal without even thinking about the recorder.

Some days, my first words were uttered while I was just waking up, some days I had been up for a while before speaking.  Some days I was talking to myself, some days I was talking to back to the radio, some days I was talking to another person.  Here's the result. (I haven't had the nerve to listen to it more than once, because it's a little eerie, but now I'll definitely try this with others!)

Now, what's the first thing YOU said when you woke up this morning?

 

p.s. July 31st's recording was destroyed when my computer crashed.  :-(
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