Monday, March 30, 2009

Dance On

One of my friends B, is a modern dancer and joined a company last fall. Up until her show last weekend, she had specifically told me that I was not allowed to see any of her shows because she didn’t feel ready, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. OMG. This woman is a brilliant dancer. I’ve always loved dance, but I was more utterly moved than ever before while watching B make radiant lines and shapes to live music. Even the BF, who had never seen a modern dance performance, sat riveted on the edge of his seat.

Every time B came onstage, my eyes filled with tears. It was such an unexpected rush of emotion. In a city where everything is so rushed and hard in these tough economic times, it was refreshing to come back to raw artistic roots. Back to basic emotion. I want to be a dancer now. Is it too late to change professions? No, j/k, though I would love to take some dance classes.

The parents are coming into town for two nights so I should have some interesting stories to tell soon. Oh, and I owe the IRS $2,000 in taxes. I guess I really do have to start that detox now since I won’t be able to afford alcohol after all. Oh and also, and I have my second improv class tonight so I’ll be sure to make a fool out of myself at least twice so I have something juicy to report back to you. Until then my friends . . . dance on.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

We're all Crazy

I stand corrected. It appears that “Thank you” can mean a number of things. I received the nicest email from the director of the play I auditioned for last week when I was “thanked.” In the email she stated that I was “clearly an extremely talented actor” and though they went with someone else for the role, she wanted to keep my info on file for a future production. Receiving an email like that is extremely rare. The “no news is good news” phrase does not apply in showbiz. No news means you didn’t get the part- no one ever emails you to say you weren’t the one, so I was pretty happy to get this email.

Then, a few hours later, I received a call and an email from the casting director of a film I auditioned for a few weeks ago. I didn’t think they liked me at all since at the end of my audition I got the nod and infamous “thank you.” But, apparently they thought I was “wonderful” and can’t wait to see me read again at the callbacks. Yay! So, moral of the story is that auditioning isn’t a black and white business. “Thank you” in one case can mean “I hate you” and in another mean, “I love you.”

No wonder all of us actors are crazy.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


DP in town from London + staying out until 6:30am = very tired E who wishes she didn't have to work today. Oh the Shenanigans. We had loads of fun, met new friends, and had countless meaningless conversations that at the time seemed very important. I am seriously contemplating crawling under my desk at work and taking a nap.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Please Don't Thank Me!

I was just thank you’d. No, it’s not a good thing.

I had a great photoshoot. The photographer was professional, the shots were artistic, and the proceeds go to charity so I’m happy with it. After the shoot I ran through Times Square to an audition for a play that sounded really cool. As I prepared in the waiting area, every girl that came out was asked to stay and read the sides (pieces from the script). I was thinking that if they liked that many people then they would probably like me too. . .

I performed two contrasting monologues for my audition. The first was a dramatic piece and the second a comedy which got all the right laughs in the right places. I was really happy with my performance and about to give myself an imaginary pat on the back when it happened. The director looked through her notes and said “I think . . . that’s it for you.” And then it came. I flinched inwardly, knowing what was next and braced myself. She smiled and said, “Thank you.”

NO! “Thank you” is awful to an actor’s ear. “Thank you” after an audition means, “Thanks, but no.” No, you’re not good enough, no you didn’t make the cut, no we don’t like you. Rejection is a constant in an actor’s life. We’re used to it, but that doesn’t mean we like it. Because no matter how much we know that it’s not personal and that it could be any number of things, we are plagued with insecurities. We know that we could have the wrong eye color, body type, age, voice, or we’re not pretty enough, or too pretty, or we remind the director of their ex or someone they hated in their past. But no matter how many times we tell ourselves these things or how true they may be, we also know that it could be because we weren’t good enough. That maybe we’ve given up our lives and dedicated it to something that will never love us in return. That one day, we’ll wake up and realize we’re 80 years old and still going to the same auditions. Yes, actors are used to rejection, but that doesn’t make it suck any less. It does however make the victories taste that much sweeter.

Or maybe I was just so good that they knew immediately that they wanted me, right? RIGHT???

Oh Improv

Today is one of the few days that I am actually glad my part time job requires me to use very few brain cells. I am so tired that I keep staring at my computer screen completely zoned out. I blame my busy life and snoring bf for keeping me up. And all the people in my building that can’t seem to walk up/down the stairs without stomping the sh*t out of them.

Anywoo, yesterday I had my first improv class in the city. Improv is something that I’ve always steered clear of in my acting life because . . . well I suck at it. The cat’s got my tongue and it’s not giving it back. Ok, maybe I don’t suck at it, but I’m not the best in the class and I hate not being the best. At the risk of sounding egotistical, I have been at the top of my class throughout my whole life in everything. Well, except spelling. And handwriting. And now improv. Oh and sports too. I’m no good at sports. I recently did a film where I had a jogging scene and when they replayed it back for me, it was atrocious. I looked like I was high-kicking the sky.

So last night I couldn’t sleep once again. The few dreams I had were plagued with the cop I yelled at yesterday (I got very New York on him and now feel a bit bad because he was actually a very nice cop) and fears of my final improv show in 4 weeks. I wish I could go back on ambien, but it gives me these wonderful hallucinations that apparently aren’t very good for you. Oh well. They can always photoshop the bags out from under my eyes at the photo shoot I have this afternoon. Ok my loves, I must get back to staring blankly at my computer. XX

Monday, March 23, 2009

Don't Steal My Wings

INT BAR. TWO SHOT: Two girls are eagerly awaiting their order of buffalo wings. They are not quite sure why they’ve ordered said buffalo wings as neither one likes them very much but it seems like a good idea at 2 am. They are giddy with anticipation. BARTENDER enters and sets steaming basket of saucy wings in between the two girls at the bar. Mouths drooling, E and K are about to go for it when RANDOM DRUNK GIRL pushes her way through the crowd.

RDG: Oooooh, chicken wings! (With lightening speed she dives in with both hands and sloshes the sauce all over everything.)

E and K stare at each other, too stunned to speak. RDG licks her fingers and begins to dive in again.

K: Umm, excuse me. Do we know you?!?!

RDG: (Pauses) No, I don’t think so. (Starts to dive in again)

K goes into animal instinct food protection mode, stands up and grabs the basket of wings close to her.

K: These are our wings! Go get your own!

RDG saunters off completely unfazed.

This weekend turned into one big drinking fest. Ever since moving to the East Village three weeks ago, I have reclaimed my title of Social Butterfly. It is just too easy to step outside my apartment and walk to whichever bar holds the promise of fun and friends. Anyway, I need to cool it for a couple days- I can’t afford to keep going out every night and I’m sure my liver would appreciate the break as well. During my recent shenanigans, I have witnessed a lot of animal instinctive behavior, not only in bars, but also in the streets, on the subway, and even at auditions.

I had an agent “meet and greet” this Saturday where I met 5 Legit agents and 5 Commercial agents. (For those of you unfamiliar with the showbiz terms- “Legit” means Film/TV/Theatre. It’s from the days when commercial acting wasn’t considered real acting so agents who didn’t do commercials were considered legit.) Anyway, these events are for actors to get “advice and feedback” from agents since technically paying for an audition is illegal, but we all know what it really is. We all go in hopes that the agents will love us and hope to sign us asap. This rarely happens, but it does happen enough to give the rest of us hope.

My auditions all went pretty well with the exception of one. I’m not going to go into too many details here because even though this blog is technically anonymous, I don’t want the wrong person to find out I’m writing about this. Let’s suffice it to say that some older female agents tend to not like me very much. I noticed this about a year ago and just tried to ignore it. But this weekend’s audition was a blatant hate fest for anything young, skinny, and blonde. I think that some people don’t even realize they are doing this. It’s another type of animal instinct. They feel that their domain is being threatened. They want you to bow to their power and nervously forget your lines, and when you don’t, they hate you for it.

I need to find a gay male agent. Someone who loves me for being a girl but won’t try to sleep with me. And who hopefully won’t steal my wings- literally or figuratively.

PS- Those were the best wings I've ever had. Devoured may be a more appropriate word- Brother Jimmy's on Lex and 31st.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Thank you Tom

Well I had an interesting audition today. After dashing through the rain and hailing a cab (a cab that totally screwed me over by going three blocks out of the way, btw) I walked into the theatre and put the charm on. But it was . . . hmmm. . . out of the ordinary. A play that is doubling as a haunted house. A psychological haunted house, mind you. I am really struggling for words right now because the scenes that they described to me were so disgusting, disturbing and soooo inappropriate that I can’t bring myself to type out the words. Let’s suffice it to say that one of the scenes involves blood . . . coming out of a woman’s ahem and a nurse then throwing up said blood. Think about it.

Is that enough to deter me? Ummm, no not really. It sounds cool to have a haunted house that actually might scare you, instead of those cheesy ones with zombies that we’ve all been to. The reason for my hesitation has mostly to do money. I really hate saying that because I don’t want to sound shallow but, they are only willing to pay $200 for an entire month of rehearsals and 17 four hour-long performances. That comes out to $2.90 per hour for the performances with no pay for rehearsals . . . am I off base for thinking that’s utterly lame? Don’t get me wrong- I have performed in countless plays for free. But . . . I was passionate about them. I guess that’s my answer then.

As my friend LL said to me over a beer the other night, “I feel like I’m in the wrong body, at the wrong time, with the wrong dream.” When I sighed in agreement she pressed on, “Seriously. When I moved to New York, Broadway went dark.” That’s a pretty powerful statement. People have said that you have to be insane to be an actor. That is true now more than ever. With the downfall of the economy, came less and less work in film, TV, and theatre jobs. And yet there are some of us who keep pressing on. People for whom acting is such an ingrained part of us that we have no choice but to keep trying.

I don’t know. Maybe I should do the haunted house. After all, Broadway is practically dark.

Addendum: I was just talking to the BF about the haunted house situation and he brought up an interesting interview with Tom Cruise. I googled said interview, and my good friend Tom made an interesting point, “If this is the only chance I ever get at this, I want to make sure I enjoy every second of it.” Why thank you Tom. If I’m already thinking about something with a tinge of dread then I probably shouldn’t do it. Instead, I should focus my energy on productions that I’m actually excited about. I haven’t read or watched The Secret yet but I think this is what Oprah was getting at when she told me to focus on what I want and to put that energy out there. Thank you Oprah and Tom. It’s been enlightening.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Artists: People of the Underground

Ouch. Ouch ouch ouch. Dinner turned out amazingly but only after I burnt two of my fingers trying to take a lid out of what I thought was storage. It turns out that in gas ovens, the bottom section where most people keep all their pot lids is actually a broiler!!! Why did no one tell me this? Am I supposed to just magically know how to be an adult once I reach a certain age? I need a manual.

The BF and I were eating this wonderful roast with mashed potatoes and corn when I looked at him and said, “wow, I can’t believe I made a roast. I feel like a real adult.” He looked at me quizzically and said, “E, you’ve been a real adult since you were 18.” In which we quickly started quarrelling (yes, I used a thesaurus for that word) about when you officially become a real adult. I argued that it couldn’t possibly be until you were at least 25 since that’s when you can officially rent a car without paying all those extra fees. He maintained that 18, the year you can vote was when you enter adulthood.

The truth is, I still don’t feel like an adult. And I’m not going to lie- the roast was already pre-marinated. All I did was stick it in the oven and I still managed to almost kill myself. Many of my friends from childhood are now all grown up, married with children and real jobs, and I feel like I live in a different world. A world full of confused, struggling artists who refuse to conform.

This is where I have to give a shout out to my good friend, NG. NG is a writer in Baltimore who decided to quit her corporate job a year ago to pursue her dream of writing. Her whole life quickly became an ocean of lava that was hard to navigate. But did she scald herself on this lava? No, of course not. NG navigated herself through the choppy waters and is now the happiest and most successful I’ve ever seen her. She is my artistic partner. A kindred soul who refuses to be stifled. I heart her. Check out her blog:

NG reminds me that it’s ok to be who I am. In fact it’s actually a good thing. It’s ok to be an emotional, artistic, confused 20 something who has no idea where tomorrow will lead her, let alone a year from now. Or 5 years from now. It’s comforting to know that NG is making it happen no matter how many other ships are sinking in the lava around her.

I may be able to cook a roast, rent a car, and drink my friends under the table, but I’m still a kid at heart. I’m not ready for the house, the yard filled with little curly blonde children, and the carpooling. Maybe one day I will be, but for now my child is my art. And you never abandon your child.

Now I need to go put some more aloe on my finger.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Love/Hate Relationship with the City

I tried to go out last night. I really did. Two of my friends, M and LL came over for a couple of drinks and then we wandered the streets like lost little Irish girls trying to find the party. The problem is that there was just too much. Too many college students pushing around and sloshing beer on each other, too many drunk guys asking for high fives, and just too many girls wearing little green skirts. We couldn’t do it. Today, I am not one of the many participating in National Hang Over Day and I feel like I’ve let my people down.

Five years ago, I spent St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin and it’s spoiled me for life. It was pretty magical, though I did end up wandering the streets like a lost Irish girl that night too. A night that ended with my friend Nicola and I in prison . . . because we got lost and couldn’t find the rest of our friends or the hotel room. I think we were the only people who chose to go to jail that night. But that story is for another time.

Anyway, today started out well. I didn't have a hangover, it was warm and sunny (for NYC), my part time job didn't bother me too much, and I had a meeting with a creepy but very talented photographer. I was feeling great about life until I tried to get off the subway this afternoon and an older man body slammed me. In the boobs. And it hurt. I rolled my eyes and said, "Excuse me," and then he proceeded to yell at me! I wanted to scream, "do you not listen to the countless MTA announcements that say let the passengers off the train before you board?!?!?!" I wanted to but I didn't. Instead, I started thinking about how sick I am of inconsiderate people, men who get off on sexually harassing women on the street, and all the hate that I see everyday.

I don't know why I let this stuff bother me so much. Sometimes I am way too sensitive for this city. As I walked home, I started to tear up and hooked an impulsive right into Trader Joe's Wine Shop. The Shop of Cheap Wine That Actually Tastes Good and Makes Everything Better. The lady at the counter took one look at me and said, "long day hon?" I said yes and that I was just tired of mean people. Then she proceeded to say that what goes around comes around and that mean people will eventually get it back ten fold. And she told me to go home and pour myself a large glass of wine. She made me feel so much better. A friendly face in a crowded city. Sometimes all it takes is a stranger to bring us down, and another stranger to bring us back up.

That's why I love this city. It will constantly surprise you and you just never know where the day will take you. And don't worry loves, I will make up for my lack of an eventful St. Patty's day this weekend ;) Now I'm going to attempt to make a pot roast for the Boyfriend which is very uncharacteristic of me. I'll let you know if I burn the apartment down.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Brunch and Underwear

I’ve been feeling pretty good about life lately. I just moved into an apartment that I’m in love with in the East Village, I’m shooting a film that seems to be doing well where I actually really like my character, and warmer weather is on its way. My friend K and I recently started a new tradition of Sunday brunch and it is quickly becoming my favorite part of the weekend. Only on Sundays is it socially acceptable to drink before noon and pig out on a meal that ends up lasting three hours long.

Last Sunday I decided to wear a huge, long and puffy orange skirt that barely fit in the bathroom stall. I admired myself in the restroom and then confidently walked back to my table with a smile on my face when I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was the chic French hostess and she leaned in to whisper something in my ear. Immediately I thought that one of her co-workers wanted to know if I was single but what ensued was shocking:

FH: Umm Mizz, I ave to tell you. Yur skirt iz tucked into your underwear.
ME: What? (at this point it simply wasn’t registering.)
FH: I zaid, yur skirt iz tucked into your underwear!

Could this be possible? I mean, my skirt was huge and I didn’t feel any kind of draft. My first instinct was that she was lying, but what would be the point of that? Already feeling my cheeks flush, I reached behind me and . . . oh god. . . oh no . . . I look around me and strangers are staring at me and snickering . . . OH MY GOD. MY HUGE BRIGHT ORANGE SKIRT IS TUCKED INTO MY UNDERWEAR!!! Light blue underwear. Light blue sheer underwear. And I have a wedgie.

It takes a lot to mortify me. I mean, I honestly can’t remember the last time I was embarrassed. My lack of inhibitions is part of what makes me a good actress so though I often say/do the wrong thing, I rarely feel humiliated. But oh did I on Sunday. All I could do was laugh at myself so hard that I teared up and cradle my head in my hands. Thank goodness we had just paid our bill so I made a beeline out of there.

Maybe a little humiliation isn’t a bad thing. It reminds us all that we’re human and we make mistakes. God knows I’ve made plenty of them. I just hope that next time it doesn’t involve my underwear. . .

Monday, March 16, 2009

First Post

I have decided to start a blog. Now, I don't know if this actually means anything because I tend to start a lot of things and then forget about them. Like that time I decided to start selling vintage clothes and then kept them all for myself, or when I made a bunch of jewelry to sell but now it sits deep within my closet, or when I wanted to move to Africa and help starving children but balked at the prices of the plane ticket. Things that I am impassioned about for days and then just forget about.

That being said, I'm not as lazy as I just made myself sound. Acting is the one thing that I have and never will abandon. It is the thing that makes me wake up in the morning and smile (or cry) when I go to sleep. I am also extremely active in living my life. In the past five years I have moved from Baltimore to Northern Ireland where I taught children while studying theatre, studied abroad in France, traveled to countless countries, been a motivational speaker, moved to NYC, and been in over 10 plays and 25 independent films. Oh, and I've also had about 50 different "survival" jobs.

Throughout all of this, the weirdest and most insane things seem to happen to me. I constantly find myself in bizarre situations that when I take a step back, I laugh and ask "is this really my life?" Why yes, yes it is. Throughout all the laughter, tears, successes, failures, exuberance, and sadness I can say that this is my life. This is me pursuing my dreams and I will not give up.