Sunday Night Reminders

Yesterday I was a yoga expert. Today I’m mistaken for a dental hygienist at the Beauty Show, catching people’s slobber and attending to them after an intensive, 100-dollar whitening. I’ve yet to subject my gums to such. My feet are killing me and a random suggestion for YouTube viewings kindly reminded me why I’m on this journey.

If only I had a horns section and midnight in Memphis.

But even as I was walking throughout the West Village for four hours yesterday, I came across another self-proclaimed omen- mini dachshunds. Grammy Awards and mass adoration are welcome someday, but what I really want when I finally have made it is a miniature dachshund. When I was 14, I had black one named Barbra Joan (after Streisand, they share a nose). She died prematurely, before I got to move her out with me in LA.  I love these dogs.

Irreverence Takes Hold

Never mind the flask that’s taken permanent residence in my Espirit handbag, both of which were offered to me as free promotional items on unusual jobs. Ignore the constant eye rolls and indifferent humming that accompany me to my nonsensical jobs from day to day. The irony of all ironies came today with my recent position of helping tourists feel welcome in the city of New York for a city-wide campaign. Hypocrisy took hold as after an hour of being coaxed with propaganda about welcoming our tourists and extending the courtesies of showing them our fine city I could be seen plowing down Eighth Avenue, weaving in and out of the crowds muttering obscenities under my breath. All I have to offer to tourists as my welcoming advice is as follows: This is not The Mall of America. If you visitors are in a foursome or twenty-foursome and find it appropriate to march down one of the busiest avenues in Times Square during rush hour with your arms interlocked as you take up the entire sidewalk then be warned-  The locals will kill you. Even if you are responsible for being the third most important source of revenue for this divine city.

But my anger is not with the tourists or from the million-dollar sycophantic campaigns designed to make them feel like they’re in a mega-watt version of Kansas. My problem is with the alarming amount of bullshit in American life. The main scope of this campaign is to improve the view of Americans and
particularly New York to appeal to the foreigners by boosting our image
of being friendly and cordial. Maybe if we stopped invading other
countries they would like us better. “New Yorkers love foreigners” feels like a little band-aid at
the slightest. I pledged to make this year be a tribute to 1976, but as far as oil prices, economic strains, and a country beginning to wake up… we’re mirroring the negatives of 1976 quite well. I recently saw “Network” for the first time and it’s just as if  Sidney Lumet was capturing 2008. Are we just going to take it anymore?

Following my training on being a better New Yorker, I attended a casting that was to train me to be a better object. I sat for twenty minutes as the masterminds of Vidal Sassoon and other great “hair stylists-artists-whatever the fuck they’re calling themselves these days” went around the room and felt up our hair. I went because I was told by my agency that long hair was needed for up-do’s, yet after being asked to chop up my hair in uneven chunks to just below my ears I realized I had been pitched something entirely different.

“But you’re here for change! This is for you to be the new you. Why else would you come to the casting?” Right, why would I go to the casting? In the past, I would’ve sat through the next three teams of stylists evaluating and prodding my head but I just couldn’t tolerate the wasting minutes that I’d rather spend doing anything. Like drinking from my flask, or pounding on my keyboard (piano or laptop), or even masturbating. And somehow, for wanting to keep my hair long (particularly because I’m waiting to donate to wig makers for cancer patients) I was condemned for being so closed-minded. God forgive me. I just feel bad for the girl with a head of thick, dark curly hair who gave permission to cut her hair at the worst case scenario just below her chin. I hope she owns a few hats.

But these unwritten rules for conduct in the scenarios of today are what has homogenized behaviour of men and women in this country, wanting to conform and follow “The Rules.” It’s why dating and relationships have become mind fields of hidden explosives, as passive aggression and game playing are fostered by bullshit. By trying to do what one thinks will make them win, instead of just being straightforward and blunt, we find these circuitous patterns of men asking “Why are women (or men for those gays out there) so hard to understand?” and vice versa. I’m sure this lovely game would work wonders in my world except for the moment an ounce of deception or secrets are kept, I find myself tortured with prophetic dreams. I’d rather the blunt hurt of honesty, than going in circles and going crazy by premonitions that my logic shuts down. And to make matters more clear, it’s far easier to self-assess why I would personally put up with that kind of behaviour than try and figure out why the other person is acting like a contradictory nut-job. Such topics were analyzed between my producer and me while enjoying a margarita between bullshit meetings and castings today.

This being said, I know I cannot eradicate the country’s international or socio-economic and political problems. I cannot change the bizarre behaviour of the general public. I also cannot prevent big budget spending on weird campaigns that pay me to do even weirder jobs. All I can do is capitalize on it and abstain from absorbing the bullshit. Even more importantly, I must abstain from allowing these bullshit patterns and unhealthy trends from spilling over into my personal life. I just don’t have the time or interest.

“Bottle It Up”- Sara Bareilles

“Don’t ever read a review if you’re a musician,” Sara Bareilles remarked halfway through her set at Irving Plaza. I’ve learned lesson far too early on. Embarrassingly, last night was my first time at the legendary venue but I was happy to catch the sold-out show. There’s something so surreal to watch an artist hitting a level of success. Being obsessed with 70’s rockers, I’ve flown solo to their many reunion and farewell tours but their prime was years before my time to walk on this earth. There’s a different aura, a tangible gratitude and excitement that emanated from Sara and her band. Her hard work has paid off.

Although the more singer-songwriters I catch live, the more I realize how much male-bashing takes place and I’m quite guilty of it myself. But there’s also no better healing and vindication than can be received from turning one’s hurt and anger into a song that unifies a sold out room of a thousand people. And in spite of her successes in the past year, heartache has no bounds as she revealed a new song about her experience last August, walking into a room to witness her boyfriend in the act of cheating. It happens often enough, but being on tour she can get the clamoring drunken voices of strangers to curse the man out and spread some love and light in her direction.

Her humility and authenticity shine through. I recommend checking out her show if she comes to your town.

Mya Who?

Did I even spell her name right? This evening contained another five hours of my life that I won’t get back and my feet will scream about for the next twelve hours. A gansta-poker themed charity event meant to benefit Parkinson’s turned out to be one of the most disorganized galas of my life. And did I mention underpaid? There’s nothing more humbling than working an event where the “dress” is actually a shirt on the tall, buxom bodies they want wearing them and the client tries to forbid the usage of leggings. I did not need to be flashing my bare ass to Matthew Perry, thank you very much. To add even more salt to the wounds of my blistering feet, I was approached to grab a drink for a man who’s party I helped at last year. My going rate back then? Five times what I was contracted out for tonight.

Imagine the clucking of well-aged, bona fide Long Islanders who are underfed and intoxicated. “Miiiisss, where is thaaa fooood. I’m stahhhhving!

I was not in charge of food. I was simply a moving prop at the event who took the heat from all the plump, famished attendees in rhinestones and sequins. Unaware that the men in black were bodyguards for this Mya chick, I must’ve offered her free junk a few times until the guard buckled down and said she was fine.

Tonight I was armed with my flask, which went unused as the famed “mixologists” asked us to try each of the ten signature cocktails of the evening. The tasting was to facilitate our remembering, but proved to cause the opposite. I feel bad for the event planner, who had botched things with such finesse that her phone had over 52 missed calls in under an hour. One of six caterers showed up and the emcee was so angry about the chatting during his time to shine that he nearly went into cardiac arrest after screaming at and scolding the unhappy room of lingering patrons.
My lessons from this evening were quite clear: be at least half as intoxicated as the people you are serving, always remembering to bring a pair of leggings when wary of proposed costumes, and third… and most important: I cannot fucking WAIT to be famous.

My costume for the evening:

Life as A Character

Friday afternoon the sun was peaking and I was en route to Central Park on my quest to delve into John Irving’s “A Prayer for Owen Meany.” There’s something very cool about re-reading novels that were first consumed during  pre-sexual experimentation phases of my pre-adult-life, and remembering how different the literature was interpreted as a novice than the seasoned gal I am today (read: sarcasm). I packed my bag with gear for the gym and was running around my apartment chaotically. It was hours after I had hoped to be perched on a bench with blossoms blowing in the breeze when my phone began to ring insistently from an unknown number. I answered.

“Hey Michelle, this is “Blah Blah” and I really need a favour. One of the girls booked for Comic Con didn’t show. Could you get to the Javits Center by 3?” Since “Blah-Blah” did a favour and paid me ahead of other people on accounting’s priority list (i.e. I was paid four months after booking a gig, instead of five), I felt the need to oblige. Actually, I also have once again been under my needed monthly income and had no choice to accept as I hustle before April’s end.

“Just bring a pair of black knee high boots and the client will give you a costume,” she hurriedly explained, before I could have a chance to back out. So, I dressed in a summery dress to enjoy the blip of sunshine I could absorb before hitting the subway and marching to the dank, vermin-infested, fluorescent-lit pit known as the Javits.

The client was divine and friendly and quickly chatted about the product and role of humanitarian character I was supposed to portray with five other girls already fitted in costumes. She took me to the restroom and pulled out shiny black spandex leggings, knee pads, a bandeau that covered fifty percent of each breast and exposed my entire stomach, a bulky belt, an army vest with more pockets than I could count, and long, black plastic gloves with the fingers cut off. It took me five minutes to figure the right way to wear the vest, which had twice as many buckles as a bicycle helmet. A mixture of sexy and bizarre, the vest instantly cut into my neck and shoulder blades and the only solution was to tuck my hair as a buffer between raw skin and scratchy vest.

For five hours with the other girls in the same costume we posed with Star Troopers and Princess Leia, posed for photos with socially inept and often mute teenagers and middle-aged men, and were groped by the sweaty palms of nervous Star Wars fans and other comic fans carrying enough comic loot to open their own stores. At times the flashes from cameras had the fervor of the paparazzi in Tinseltown. I was the lucky one, only partaking for five hours instead of the twelve hours the other girls endured. The most uncomfortable moments came when random camera crews would stick a microphone in my face, ask about my “character” and initiate a painfully long “interview” that encouraged me to caustically undermine the dorky hosts in a verbal spar: their lame questions versus my eye rolls and dry sarcasm. Otherwise the day was fun, spontaneous, and made me smile when I thought of how unexpected my days can become and take shape.

I’ve been in an uphill battle lately, wanting the answers to everything, wanting to kill the mystery and just see the greatness of my future. I’m anxious and ready to pounce on the next big opportunity, as much as I understand it’s about the journey. Not the destination. Blah blah blah. Here’s a comic-version of me that nearly symbolizes my attire on an otherwise lazy Friday afternoon. I’ll post the real photos when I get them. Or maybe not… the thought of the dudes whacking off to the photos of me and the gals already is quite disturbing.

What I’d look like as an animated little-head without a neck.

Electronic Synchronicity

Why is it that electronics often simultaneously have a meltdown?

My laptop, keys literally flying off the keyboard as I type this. The “s” button doubles, the “d” button is at a forty-five degree angle. Like an ancient car overheating on the freeway, it decides to soar into a fever and shutdown on a whim. I don’t think pouring water on it will solve the issues.

My beloved Zen tried to go into cardiac arrest, flashing a blank screen. It still played music, although it was oddly stuck on repeating my own demos. After troubleshooting for twenty minutes, I decided to chuck it across the floor. In some cases, physical abuse is the answer. My zen was resuscitated.

So either I’m going to chuck my Dell, investigate purchasing a new pink one, or getting a new keyboard. Most tempted I am is to throw it.

Five Minutes With A Plastic Surgeon

Last night I walked the red carpet into the Hammerstein Ballroom for a charity boxing event, with lines of hired women in stilettos and mini-dresses greeting me at the door. Upon entry I sought out the closest bar, peering over the shoulders of Wall St. men in their suits when a hand reached out to me.

“Are you lost? You look lost,” inquired a sixty-something man with the cheekbones of Charro and plump lips of Angelina Jolie. I told him I was en route to the bar and he asked to escort me. I really didn’t need an escort and it was a free open bar, but I let him lead the way.

At the bar, I asked for the specialty drink of sparkling wine and Fragoli liqueur… the Fragoli Passion. My plastic-faced escort noted the drink looked good and then turned to me, offering his business card. I read the keywords, “Plastic Surgeon” and it all made sense.

“I can get you a special mask that will do wonders for your face,” he generously offered. Intentions may have been good, but the possibility of emulating his work was not appealing.

I thanked him as he tapped my shoulder. “Southhampton. Wine tasting. Next month and I want you to be there.”

The bartender set my drink on the bar and he reached for it, brought it to his lips and took a sip and walked away. “See you next month,” he responded and disappeared into the crowd.

The black model-esque bartender could not contain herself.

“That drink was for you! What an asshole! That’s the rudest thing I’ve ever seen. I’ll make you another but that was so rude! I’m gonna yell at him!” she shouted in exasperation.

“No, no, it’s fine,” I explained. “Don’t you see, we got rid of him? I don’t care. I’d rather he take off with my drink than stay here and chat. He’s a plastic surgeon who was offering me tips on improving myself.”

“That makes total sense. What a plastic face. And rude! Rude!” she replied.

The karma was returned promptly, as the rest of the night I partnered with my female friends and tag-teamed men with VIP wrist brands to run through the buffet and load plates of entrees, pastas, and decadent desserts.

My Gripe (s) of the Day

1. People who make things far more complicated than they are, spending away their hours being overly dramatic and over-analyzing possibilities rather than just taking the opportunities to see what comes out of them.

2. When someone constantly condemns people for wronging them while they do the same unto others.

3. Those who turn “fun” events into a twelve-step process. That is not fun.

4. People who deny themselves the happiness they deserve out of self-loathing and insecurities and bring other  people down because of it.

5. Rich kids and their rich parents who attend events, throwing rings at a poor girl who just wants a flask and lounge chair, who demand prizes just be given to them for existing and asking. Okay, maybe that was my gripe for last night.

6. When people try to maniacally justify their wrong-doings. New advice- do less wrong and you won’t have to spend all that time manifesting excuses.

7. My tooth already cost me 1,000, and it’s going to cost another grand to finish and make the pain stop. I’d rather not have the tooth at all.

“Love Makes The World Go ‘Round…”

“It (love) can’t be taught, bargained or bought…” was my first vocalist solo in the fourth grade. Unfortunately, everyone had a solo in fourth grade and I had a skewed sense of entitlement to a far longer solo. I mean, even my tone-deaf boyfriend-for-a-week at the time had a solo with as many words. In retrospect, I’m sure he would’ve volunteered his line to me as well, but I wasn’t as cunning back then and simply scorned my music teacher for being so blind. I had begun my “you-will-regret-this-someday” attitude, enhanced by my adulation for Bette Midler, who had experienced the same level of dismissal when she was my age. Or at least my worn-out copy of Ladies Home Journal with Midler on the cover allowed me to believe.

Maybe these initial stirrings were where I allowed myself to create a wall around any aspirations towards love and relationships, embracing external goals to rule the world and show ’em all over romantic love and coupling. If you ask me straight out, I will protest any interest in settling down or ever getting married. Yet if you are around me long enough and watch the moon glisten in a dark sky, feel the wind shift, or the right song to come on my story will change. This weekend I headed upstate, investigating the everlasting relationships and marriages that were set as a model for me. My grandfather, blue-collar all the way, awaited me at the bus stop and I flashed back to my early memories of him when my grandmother was still alive. She’s been gone for 18 years now, buried somewhere in his past that brings flinches of pain when stories of her come up. Yet if you look closely, you can find traces of her remains everywhere… the specialty plates that read “Dot 36” (which I tried to decipher the chosen number “36” with him, finding the synchronicity that it is also my birthday) or the faded Pound Puppies (remember those novelties from the ’80’s) that still sit on the dashboard as travel companions.

This was the first time since I was child that I rode shotgun in my grandfather’s truck, instantly arising memories from the years spent jotting up and down the east coast on my grandmother’s lap. Tears stung my eyes, as I realized how much has changed since then as I placed my feet on the dash, which used to warrant my grandfather’s scolding of “Get your feet off the dash!!” Of course he didn’t mind much then, or even now as I left my dirty shoe prints along the console. I recently read an article that said any child who loses a parent or close loved one will spend the rest of their life wondering when each person they get close to will leave them as well.

Yet, while I was next to him I kept questioning what my grandparents could have possibly had in common. I remembered their passionate arguments and make-up moments that followed. I remembered the absolute adoration you could trace to my grandfather’s eyes when they went shopping and he followed her around carrying all our coats and gear, eager to purchase any item that would bring her contentment. Even though he was a hard-working, frugal man he would not hesitate to spend his last dime to make her happy. She was fastidious and neat, often dressed in perfectly pressed white slacks and pastel blouses, with a heavy perfume that would leave stay long after she had left. My grandfather was the opposite; his fingernails marked by black grime from hours toiling in the garage and his t-shirts and flannel shirts always smelling of hard work and gasoline. He lost most of his hearing at an early age, so it was hard to imagine communicating with him all those years without being frustrated (particularly with his finely attuned use of “selective hearing”). When I asked him about his early dating life, he alluded to frivolous courting that was in the name of fun but that my grandmother was it for him after the age of nineteen until years after she passed away. The only conclusion I came to is that he loved her with all his heart, they enjoyed traveling extensively with one another, and they always sought to help others in need.

My grandfather dropped me off with my parents so I could enjoy a sleepover with my favourite six-year-old, who was revved up and ready to go. His affection for me is often overwhelming. but our times together are so refreshing and real. I took him down to the Hudson River the next day, where he spent hours collecting bricks from the riverbed, in his desires to build me a house. I found that scolding or bossing him around is entirely ineffective at times, particularly when he thought it was wise to tread into the water on his quest. The river taught him better than I could that April is not the best time for wading.

Yet, I found myself relating to his determination to accomplish his mission on that day. I have foregone many physical comforts on this journey for the sake of reaching my ultimate goals. Before I dropped him back home, he looked at me and said, “Michelle you’re the only grown-up who ever plays with me all day!” When I asked him why he ran to me and hugged me fiercely. “Because, Michelle, I think you have a really big heart. You have the biggest heart in the world.” That’s precisely why I spend so much time with this kid… to remember my own heart.

I spent the rest of the day with my dad, forcing him out of the house to the bowling alley. I’m a lousy bowler but it makes for good bonding. I tend to hit the most pins when I think of my formers and career objectives. If I think anything about technique or form, I’ll be lucky to keep the ball in my lane.

I couldn’t have been happier than I was with my small purple bowling ball, chucking it down the lane and thinking about the life I’ve woven so far and what I want. As career-driven as I am, this huge part of me is comprised of utter bullshit that denies my desire for an incredible relationship with someone. It’s highly contradictory. A woman doesn’t spend time alone with her piano under candlelight, writing songs to call out to the formers and lovers she wishes to stay, unless it’s something she wants. At the bowling alley, my dad reminded me that I set the bar high. I experience the rejection and struggles every day professionally, constantly putting myself out there in a way that will guarantee failure to meet my own expectations. If I were to focus as much energy on finding the love of my life, given the setbacks I’ve experienced in that department as well… I think the pressure would be too much. But our conversation forced me to be real with myself. Relationships with friends and family are extremely important to me and in spite of my incredibly selfish ambitions and goals, I can be quite a nurturing person. It’s not an aspect of my personality I’ve embraced as much because I’ve needed to self-protect.

Yet at the end of the day, there’s little I wouldn’t give to have an incredible relationship with someone who was supporting me and my goals. For a change, to have someone not in love with this fantasy of me and too scared to commit or really be with me would be refreshing and welcome. To be with someone that is not competitive with my drive and aspirations because they long ago gave up on their own. Someone who enjoys the good and the bad in life, taking it as it comes and remembers to laugh in the richness of the experiences. This weekend was a reminder to not be so opposed to thoughts of love simply because the trail of formers have not been able to stick around or keep their promises. At the same time, I really must stop bullshitting myself about not wanting an incredible relationship. It is possible to have it all.        .

Breakfast Boycott

My routine morning breakfast consists of apple slices, crackers and cheese, and a lemonade spritzer with added Vitamin C crystals. I have no idea how this routine began, or what brought on my chosen breakfast items. I generally prefer snacking throughout the day and having one full meal thrown in for the hell of it.

Well, today, I reminisced on the days when Maranatha Honey Almond Butter complimented my green apple slices, the perfect blend of sweet and salty. I live in an incredible neighborhood that has over fifteen delis, whole foods shops, grocery stores, markets, and kosher shops within a ten block radius. I have visited them all and not ONE of these stores has my product in stock anymore. What the hell?

I’m spoiled, but apparently not so much, because ordering online is the only option. And going to twenty stores on an empty stomach for a bizarre craving is not something I’d advise.