Wednesday, January 26, 2011

You Bitch

Yesterday, I did audience work for a show called I KID. The set was on Universal Studios City Walk and was an early call.

In the second shot, I was positioned two girls away from Brad Garrett, the host. A little heavy boy of about 10 yrs of age to my right said, "Hey! Hey Brad, if you need a host for the show. I am available."

Brad said, "Really, you want the job? Its yours."

10 said, "Yes, I do."

Brad laughs and turns away.

10, "No, I am serious. If you need help with anything you can call me up."

An African-American girl, who I thought was originally around 17 (going on 30) chimed in, "That's the way you do it."

No, its not.

17 going on 30, "Tell them. I say I'll do whatever you want to me, too. Do you need a singer, I'm a singer. You need a dancer? I can dance. I can do everything. Just learn to say it to the right person. Like, Brad . . . he might have no control. Look for the Executive Producer credit."

Smart girl, but she hasn't been burned yet.

10 was silent, then said, "Brad, I know you thought I was joking before, but I am serious."

Brad turned to him, "You holding a weapon?"

17 on 30 said to 10, "You want to be an actor?"

10, "Yeah. I want to be Seinfeld. I want to be Steven Spielberg. I just want my name on the Walk of Fame."

17 on 30, "Did you call in sick for school?"

She went around to all the kids within 3 feet of us.

Teenage boy, "Home schooled."

Teenage girl, "Home schooled."

8 yr-old girl, "Yeah, my mom called and said I was sick."

17 on 30 looked down to a very little boy and said, "What's your name?"

He spelled it out in the air with his finger when she LOUDLY said, "Hold on! I can't read that fast. Start over."

He said, "Lucas."

She screeched in my ear, "LUCAS!! How old are you?"

He held up six fingers.

She screeched, "SIX!"

Ok, at this point I moved my delicate ear drums away from her fucking hole. Everyone was trying to out show everyone. These kids were twice as determined as the bitches I deal with on a daily basis, but much louder and more obnoxious. Gesus, this isn't an open call for GLEE. RELAX!

Brad said, "I need a tissue paper."

An audience member threw him a small bag of kleenex.

Brad, "You're hired."

The make-up woman hustled on set with a big bag thumping against her belly, tissue in hand.

Brad, "You're fired."

When Brad turned to the kids, he would be so over the top and loud. Half his jokes didn't make sense and the other half were only funny because he exaggerated his eyes and face so much, it would be awkward if we didn't laugh. He turned to us and says, "I'm crying because I don't know what happened to my career. WHAT HAPPENED? Everything was going so well."

Everyone laughed.

I didn't.

When the camera got in position, 17 on 30 moved her body so she was standing right in front of me. Her heels were on my big toe and I was breathing the hair off the back of her head.

Ok, this isn't the first time this happened to me. Bitches stand right in front of my face, block me from camera and think because they are taking my space, I will step backwards and let my already pea sized head disappear in the background. Please.

I shoved my elbow in her back. She turned and looked at me. I said, "Sorry" and smiled. She said, "That's ok."

I leaned back into my space. Watching me, she took a step back.

It happened again with some other bitch. Cunts. I jabbed my purse into her side. She didn't move. I stepped on the back of her heel. She didn't move. I leaned in and pressed my shoulder against hers. She didn't move.

So we stayed like that for 15 minutes. Standing on top of each other. If that's the way its gotta be . . . that's the way its gotta be.

At Rehearsal for Reservoir Bitches

Em was not at rehearsal because she took some time off to go back home in Minnesota. So, Mitchell was playing her part as the cop. I know Mitchell wants to be an actor, but he smiles through all of his lines.

Mitchell as COP:"Please, look, I got a little kid at home, please . . .

Blonde: "You all done? Fire scare you away?"

Mitchell COP: "Please don't, don't, don't, don't" . . . Mitchell says, "God, I sound so unrealistic."

I said, "Maybe it the smile on your face."

He stopped the scene and we moved on to the final scene, which we blocked out but still are fumbling through. As he handed out the guns, he made mention of how he is still perfecting the blocking since he only did the play once before.

Blonde said, "You only directed it once?"

Mitchell, "Yeah."

Me, "What happened to the other director? Did he move on to Broadway?"

Mitchell, "No, he quit."

Ms. White, "So did Ms. Brown."

Ms. Brown quit. Fucking great.

As side conversations filled the stage, Ms. White turned to me and said, "Thank you for the note on Alabama. I've been thinking about it. I think it will create a good moment when I change the conversation. If there is anything else, let me know? I love being directed."

She threw Mitchell a bitch look that could fry an egg.

I said, "I really like the bitchy thing you're doing with the character. The whole point is a female take on tough. Its a different flavor. I really like that."

She smiled. I wasn't lying.

Coming back to the conversations on stage, Evie was talking about her ex-boyfriend. Evie is an olive skinned brunette with big eyes. She purrs her lines, which I especially like since we share a few scenes together. It works well in contrast to my hard voiced character. Her feminine, pussy cat voice is occasionally interrupted by a large loogie migrating from her nostril cavity to the her throat.

Evie, "Sorry. I smoked a big blunt this morning and its still in my throat."

Sometimes, you have a moment with someone that sums up their personality. With Evie, it was last week, outside a bar after the performance of the previous cast. She was wearing a leopard print halter top with tits to her ears. She had her hair up, hoop earrings and kind of like Sharon Stone in CASINO. She was smoking a cigarette with Abe, and a little tipsy.

Evie: "Oh, what kind of dogs do you have?"

Me: "Pit bulls."

Evie, "I fucking LOVE pit bulls. My ex-boyfriend had a pit bull that loved me. I mean, she loved she so much she would lick my pussy . . . without peanut butter."

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Evie.

Back to rehearsal, she was telling a story, "My ex left me for this pregnant bitch. Their whole relationship is based on hate for me. Oh, I've hit him twice. Once was Hammertime. That was Jack Daniels. Second, he told me he cheated on me, so I punched him in the gut. When we first got together, it was like, 'Lets do it this together!' A couple years later its, 'Get a fucking job.' You know?"

We all were pushed back stage to go through the entire last third of the script. Mitchell played both Ms. Orange and the Cop since both actresses were missing from rehearsal . . . hahahaha. :-)

Ms. Pink rushed next to me back stage, "I don't know why Pink is talking about weed. Obviously, my character is into coke."

I said, "Why would you say that?"

Pink, "He talks so much, its like, insane. "

I said, "No, he's not. He is the only one with a clear head. He is the first to call the rat. The only one that grabbed a bag of stones and the only one focused enough to get outta there. He's smart, not high."

She snapped her head back to think about that for a while. Seriously, am I the only one who obsessed over this movie? Gesus Christ, Blonde, White and Orange had never seen the movie before accepting these parts. How? . . . Why? . . . Sigh.

With the exception of Em, Pink is the girl on the cast I gravitate the most towards, and I am not sure why. She is my age, that might be one reason. Maybe the freckles. Maybe because she is playing my favorite character. I don't know.

The moment that defined my understanding of Ms. Pink was also that same night in the bar after we watched the last performance of Reservoir Bitches.

In the bar, she said, "Where is your boyfriend?"

I said, "Outside smoking somewhere."

She said, "Its funny, I can hear how angry you are at him in your voice."

I said, "Oh, I am not angry at all. He likes to put on this lone wolf act and wander out alone but I keep my cool cause' I know that he is always staying close. I love him so much its like . . . " I made a heart with both my hands, shook it and the heart exploded in love.

She said, "You are so open. You are one of the most open people I know. (slurring) I wish I was like that. I never feel like myself. Everywhere I go, everyone I meet, I am not me. I am acting. Its so exhausting."

I said, "Even with your boyfriend?"

She slurred, "Hell no, he gets the real me. But you get to be the real you all the time. I never do."

What bothers me the most about this, beyond the fact that this beautiful, interesting girl wasn't comfortable being beautiful or interesting, is I never picked up on a vibe that she was "acting" through social conversation. I never would have pinned her for someone who wasn't being herself. She fooled even me.

Back to Rehearsal

As we were hanging back in a narrow, black room behind the stage, waiting for our cues, we shot the shit.

Evie was on Ms. Brown, "I knew that bitch was going to quit. I would've of told her but she would've just said (eyes wide, affected voice) 'Fuck you!!!'"

Ms. Blonde said, "If you want to do it, you look for a way. What's the phrase?"

Me, "Find a way?"

Blonde, "Yeah, duh!"

Me, "She was good."

Evie, "I could just tell. Bitches don't like looking in the mirror. She probably thought she was better than this."

Ms. White, "Well, we all kind of are."

Evie caught herself leaning up against the wall, stood upright and brushed her pants of. White is right, we all are.

We heard Mitchell on stage.

Mitchell as cop, "Please don't . . . arghhhhhh. Pow pow pow. (groan)."

Mitchell as Ms. Orange, "Hey, what's your name?"

Mitchell as cop, "Ah shit, Marva." Grooooaaan!

Behind Stage:

We all broke out laughing. He was going to do both parts alone in a scene with himself.

Evie, "I just peed myself. Just a little."

On Stage:

Mitchell as Cop, "This fuckin' bitch slashes my face and cuts my fuckin' ear off. Im fuckin deformed!"

Mitchell as Orange, "Fuck you! Fuck you! I am fuckin' dying over here."

Behind the stage:

Ms. Pink, "He is going to do a one man version of all the parts."

Evie, "Can't you just see him, painting each side of his face a different character. (she turned her head to the left) 'You bitch!' (to the right) 'YOU bitch!' (back to the left) 'You bitch!' (hand over face) And mask!"

White, Pink, Blonde and Evie all entered stage.

On Stage:

Evie, "What the fuck happened?" She is giggling hysterically.

Mitchell as Orange, "Blonde went crazy. Se slashed the cop's face, cut his ear off and was gonna burn her alive."

White, laughing hysterically, "This sick piece of shit was a stone cold psycho."

Everyone was giggling through the scene. All the way up to my entrance.

On Stage, I enter.

Me, "This woman set us up." I pointed to Mitchell curled up on the ground. And then I started laughing.

Evie, "Ma, I'm sorry, (chuckling) but I don't know what the hell is going on."

Me, "That's all right, Evie, I do. Ha hahahahaha!"

We laughed all the way up to me pointing my gun at Mitchell, White pointing her gun at me and Evie pointing her gun at her.

Now, I know why we were laughing. But why the fuck was Mitchell laughing? He kept giggling too.

Mitchell as Orange, "I don't have the slightest fucking idea of what you're talking about."

We all shot each other and fell on the floor laughing.

Mitchell, "Alright ladies, that's it for today. Thank you." He helped me up and I suddenly felt guilty for laughing at him.

I said, "Thank you, Mitchell." He offered a boyish smile. Aw, kid . . . why are you directing this play?

Driving home, I waited to turn left in an intersection as someone ahead of me rushed to get through the yellow light. The car behind me beeped.

In Jolie's voice, I said, "Hey, what the hell do you want me to do? The guy's comin' at me 30 miles an hour. I ain't gonna pull in front of him." Gawd, I love having a character with balls. It is so good for my self esteem.

Now if only there were girl characters like this . . .

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Signs and Songs, Angels and Bitches

Lend me your ears and I'll sing you a song,
And I'll try not to sing out of key . . .

Sometimes, on your chosen path, you look for signs to acknowledge you made the right decisions. Something to say, you are going the right way.

Yesterday, I had my first model casting call. I was broke. Like BROKE. On Saturday, I used all the change I could find in my car and combined it with the $1.98 made from recycling my sister's wine bottles and was able to put $5.89 in my gas tank. That was enough to get to and from work that weekend.

I had one check from working CSI that I could cash in first thing Monday morning. It would be close, but if I cashed it right when the bank opened, that would leave me just enough time to get to the casting call in Toluca Lake at 9:45am.

First, I drove to the nearest bank, a Chase. They only cash Chase checks.

Then, I rolled my car on gasoline fumes down the hill to the closest B of A.

When making it to the head of the line, I handed her my paycheck and asked for a stapler so I could staple my business card to my 2009 zed cards (The Modeling World's version of a headshot). There were no staples in the stapler. I asked for staples just as she informed me my driver's license expired during my birthday. I begged them to consider my Bank of America credit card and my medicinal marijuana card as valid ID. She checked with her manager and refused.

I told them I only had enough gas to make it to the closest gas station. My bank was a few towns over.

The manager refused to look up as the clerk apologized. In front of everyone, I looked the manager square in the eye and said, "Would it hurt to be human?" She looked up. Silence. Exit.

End scene.

You know what really burns me? I never got those fucking staples.

I sputtered my car into the nearest gas station and cried. My first thought in my patheticness was, this is a sign that I shouldn't be modeling/acting. I should just give up and go home. I pressed my head against the steering wheel . . . my gut was in protest. I won't let bad mojo hold me back. This was my first modeling call and after 8 years of America's Next Top Model anxiety dreams, I was going to make it to this fucking thing!

I kept saying, "Its going to be ok, think!" Abe was going through whatever he is/was going through. I didn't want to lay anymore of my problems on him.

What do I do when my love is away.
(Does it worry you to be alone)

None of my friends were nearby. I called up my credit card company and asked if there was any room. No, she said and did I know I was past due.

"Yes . . . (sobbing) look I was laid off over a year ago. I am just trying to make my rent here. I have a job interview right now and no gas to get there. Please help me. (more sobbing) Please? Just $5 or $10 to get me to my bank."

She put me on hold for a long time and then said she couldn't extend my credit without a payment. So I gave her a check number knowing I didn't have the funds. She then extended my credit line $10 more dollars. I hung up, sniveling and exhaled. Holy Fuck, did I just find another way?

I would love to add here that this is an example of what a great actress I am, crying to gain a credit card company's sympathy. But I was really crying.

While pumping, I saw the gas tank spin past $10 and let it creep up to $15. I got in my car, looked in the mirror and saw that I cried off all my make-up. My lips and eyes were swollen, my skin was clear and I thought for the first time in a long while, I looked pretty.

Then I took off with 5 minutes til my casting call.

I drove like the wind to Toluca Lake, found the address only 15 minutes later. It was a PO Box. I read the email wrong, this was the booking agency's address, not the casting call. The casting was all the way out in Woodland Hills.

So in a mini skirt, black tube top and heels, I stumbled back into my car and texted Em. She wrote back, "Just breathe and go. It will be alright darling. They might not even know."

Do you need anybody?
I need somebody to love.

The thing about Em is if I am feeling emotional, she just tells me what to do and it always ends up being the most practical, positive thing to do. I trust her.

So I went. Now I was half an hour late.

I clack-clacked my heels through the lobby and saw a heavy set African-American woman there. After asking about the model call, she shrugged her shoulders and said she didn't know where or what that was. I saw the sign in sheet and put my name down.

I also saw the stapler on her desk and asked her if I could use it. She said, "They have one in the show room." I am not going to walk in to casting late and ask for a stapler.

I said, "Please, can I just use that one right there?"

She said, "I would head down there as soon as possible if I were you."

I reached for the stapler, "I have had a hell of a morning, you know?" She nodded.

She is not an ally.

She said, "Look for Robert, and he will tell you where to go."

As I walked down the hallway, I saw a tall, African-American gay man walking towards me.


Robert led me into a showroom and I sat down next to several other girls.

The Casting Agent was in the middle of a speech, "I need a red head to complete the show. Would any of you be willing to dye your hair red? This is the color." She opened up a book to show us, and a girl quickly volunteered. I asked the girl next to me, "What did I miss?" In a thick Russian accent, she responded, "Not much."

The Casting Agent said, "Ok, that is all the people I need for the runway show. That is all booked up, but we still need people for the workshop. I am going to go around and feel your hair. If it doesn't fall below your shoulder line, thank you for coming out but we can't use you for this particular show."

She came around and tossed our hair around like salad. I just sat there. She came back and asked to feel my hair again. She said, "Ok, I am going to book you, but you desperately need a trim. Your ends are Thr-hahaha-shed."

She said, "Your ends are thrashed." But the state of my hair, and the sad fact that I can't even afford a $12 trim at Super Cuts, was so amusing to this woman, that she couldn't finish her sentence without laughing. Thra-hahahah-shed. Ha. Ha. Thrashed.

After we filled out the paperwork, we got in line, got our picture taken and left. I booked that job for $100.

I went to Em's afterward to grab some coffee and maybe go through lines before our Reservoir Bitches rehearsal. She fed me pie, I smoked a couple cigarettes, she read my face and said, "Everything is going to be ok." I nodded my head, "Everything will be ok."

She dyed my hair, got dressed and finished the blocking summary and contact sheet for the play since no one else was going to do it.

I hung out by her pool while nursing my coffee repeating, "Everything will be ok. Relax." The last few mornings, I have woken up with a sore jaw. I think I am grinding my teeth in my sleep. I kept thinking, how fucking lucky am I? I got the money, got the gas and booked the job.

How do I feel by the end of the day
(Are you sad because you're on your own)

It always feels with the best and worst luck, that my Guardian Angels are wrestling over my fate with demons. I survived a drunk driver whose car split in half over mine. I survived my car igniting in flames in under 45 seconds. I have . . . made it this far with no money . . . it has to mean something.

What do you see when you turn out the light?
I can't tell you, but I know it's mine.

At rehearsal, we were blocking out the "heist" scene. Em, Evie and I will be doubling as police officers in this one scene. We shoot out with Brown, Blue, Blonde and White.

Mitchell was on the rag, "Alright, QUIET! NO ONE SHOULD TALK when I am talking. I need your full attention. Focus!" He always has this annoying way to make you feel like a child. I hated being a kid when I was a kid for the exact same fucking reasons.

In one rehearsal I didn't attend, he came in and said, "Wow, its quiet in here. Usually when I walk in on rehearsal for this show, girls are like (using both hands as mouth puppets) Cluck-cluck-cluck . . . cluck-cluck-cluck and then I am like, 'QUIET' and they start crying and ask me why I am so mean to them. (snort)"

Yeah, thats us . . . a bunch of clucking hens. Thanks, asshole.

We listened. We did the scene. When I was shot at, I performed three different deaths in sequence.

First, the blast through my chest, dying almost instantly

Second, a moment to acknowledge I was shot and then trailed off in sweet thought of my family before passing on.

And finally, being shot at so many times, my body flails against the wall like a fish dragged out of water.

That last bit got Evie laughing from her gut.

Mitchell, "STOP IT! I want to see how you really are going to do it. No goofing around."

Em said, "She is just having fun with it now."

When we did the scene for him (to prove my worth in dying on stage) I dropped like a sack of potatoes to the floor. He said, "Very nice."

We were all so fucking grouchy with him. We couldn't master the final scene because there was no direction.

Blonde asked where she should stand. No answer.

Evie decided to sit, he said, "You just lost your best friend, you don't want to sit down."

Then Pink burst out with, "Where do you want us? I mean specifically. WHERE?"

He instructed us and then followed up rehearsal with a speech, "I am not telling you where to move to see if you can move on the stage intelligently. Now, I am not knockin' anyone's intelligence here, so take it easy."

I turned to Em, "What's the name of this playhouse?"

She just shook her head in surrender.

Evie, "I was going to memorize my lines, but I had to work like 20 hours this weekend and then I was going to get off book last night but Sex in the City came on."

After rehearsal, we burst through the glass door outside, where all the smokers eagerly finger through their pockets. Evie said, "I am going to ask my Sugar Daddy to buy a bunch of tickets to give away so people will just go."

I said, "Your Sugar Daddy? Do you have to sleep with him?"

She gave me an outraged look and said, "Hell no. I haven't had sex since April."

I had to meet a friend quickly for a hand off in Hollywood. He ended up filling up my car with gas and giving me a Trader Joe's gift card and an out of print, collector's edition copy of Reservoir Dogs.

Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends . . .

Then, I hopped a few blocks over to an audio meeting on my pilot, where Lana gave me a purse full of tampons. I don't have a dollar to my name for a box at the 99 Cent store.

Mmm I get high with a little help from my friends . . .

When I was at TJs picking up some groceries, I was glowing. My mother and friend's TJ gift card would keep me fed for another month. Stopping by the coffee grinder, alittle girl, about 6, popped her head around and said, "You're beautiful."

I said, "So are you!" We both smiled. Something was so wonderful about that moment.

The morning sucked, ok. I felt fucking pathetic. But, I just smacked down my odds, bitches. Luck was going to flip me over and fuck me but I won.

And, my friends. Jesus, have I ever had friends like this before? That day, they fed me, gave me gas and gave me tampons. Sometimes I wonder how I make it month to month, by the skin of my teeth, somehow happier than I was before. Its because my friends believe in me, and I believe in them. They are my guardian angels.

Oh, I'm gonna try with a little help from my friends . . .

Friday, January 21, 2011

Reservoir Bitches

I was hanging out with Em and drove her to an audition in Hollywood for a role in a theater production of "Reservoir Bitches", an all female version of Reservoir Dogs.

On the back of her headshot, it says, "Love to get bloody, dirty and/or play dead!" She only really wanted the role of the cop who gets his ear cut off. Kind of a waste, she is such a great actress. Once, she described a trial she sat on jury for and played all the characters with accents. It was better than television.

We entered this dumpy little playhouse on La Brea and Sunset, right next to my ganja doctor, actually, but snug in a smaller strip mall over a laundromat and a liquor store.

The entrance is a short, narrow hallway lined with old movie seats and burgundy wallpaper. It definately has this Southern brothel feel. In the corner, there is a door that opens into a small black room you might call a stage. There are only two rows of seats for an audience of about 20 shaped like an L around the stage.

We sat down and Em grabbed the one monologue all actresses were to perform for their audition.

Mr. Pink, "Hey, I'm very sorry the government taxes their tips. That's fucked up. But that ain't my fault. It would appear that waitresses are just one of the many groups that government fucks in the ass on a regular basis. I mean, you show me a paper that says the government shouldn't do that, I'll sign it. Put it to a vote, I'll vote for it. But what I won't do is play ball. And this non-college bullshit you're giving me. I got two words for that: 'Learn to fucking type.' Cause if you're expecting me to help out with the rent, you're in for a big fucking surprise."

Em did it first as Mr. Pink/Steve Buscemi. Then she did it as a Minnesota housewife. Then she did it as a stubborn Russian. I am telling you, the girl is a fucking great actress. I was laughing my ass off in there, everyone turned to look at us. I don't know what to say, those girls didn't have a chance.

I left because I had a shift at the Doggie Daycare. She called me later and said she did the whole monologue as a cop being held hostage and tortured. Fucking brilliant, girl! She got the part.

The monologue kind of stuck with me and I thought, I really should do a theater production just for some Hollywood street cred. So I asked her to tell the director if anyone dropped out, could I audition. Mr. Orange was open for a brief window, but I had shit shifts at the Doggie Daycare so I missed it.

Then I was invited to come in and read for Jolie, the crime boss. This is better; less lines and a little less responsibility.

The director, lets call him Mitchell, is a tall, stupid boy in his early twenties who wears the same blue, camoflauge pants everyday. He's African-American and could be cute if he closed his mouth and got some light behind his eyes. He doesn't enunciate his already low voice, so you find yourself straining your neck to understand him.

Mitchell came in and mistook a few actresses by name and role. I noticed practically everyone in the room that first day of auditions had a part.

Mitchell, "Sorry if I am mixing everyone up. Maybe its the hair color . . . and height. How was everyone's weekend?"


Mitchell, "Sorry if I sound boring. I haven't slept or eaten. (sticks his tongue out to reveal a wad of gum). This is my only meal today. Cast party last night frickin' sucked . . . cause after 30 minutes, everyone started leaving."


Mitchell, "So, yeah. Many of you may notice the floors are dirty and the bathroom stinks. Cause there was a girl that wasn't . . . conditioned to drinking, lets just say."

Girl playing Evie (Female version of Nice Guy Eddie), "Its bad. Its smells like vomit in there. I could barely open the door. And there's no toilet paper, either."

Mitchell, "I had three rolls but someone stole them."

Silence. We all checked our purses for kleenex and napkins.

Mitchell, "Ok, sorry if anyone tried to call me today. Nobody is picking up the theater phone. The battery is dead and I forgot to charge it."

My expectations were never high for this place, but the smell of expelled stomach acid was burning the lower rim of my nostrils. This theater was fucking rank.

We did the opening diner scene. Taratino's famous monologue about Madonna's song "Like a Virgin."

Playing Tarantino is like waking up to find you have super powers. You feel smarter, you feel tougher and you feel as funny as Rodney Dangerfield.

Me, "(to Ms. Brown) He don't tip ... (to Ms. Pink) what do you mean you don't tip?"

Ms. Brown, "He don't believe in it."

Me, "(to Ms. Brown) SHUT UP! (to Ms. Pink) What'd'ya mean you don't believe in it?"

I felt like James Gandolfini up there and it was awesome.

Ms. Pink, "She don't make enough money, she can quit."

Evie, "I don't even know a fuckin' Jew who'd have the balls to say that."

Ms. Brown (out of character), "Um . . . are we saying Jew?" All the "niggers" and "coons" were replaced.

I raise my hand, "I have a Jewish boyfriend and he would be ok with it." I chuckle.

Mitchell, "Oh . . . (to me) Yes?"

Me, "Oh . . . nothing. I am just smiling."

Mitchell, "No one has ever said that to me before."

After the scene, I saw possibility for a different feminist spin on the story. Waitresses, dicks, friendship, revenge, trust. Who wouldn't be eager to hear what the director had to say?

Mitchell, "Ok, I am only gonna say this once. See the movie. See . . . the movie. See . . . the . . . movie. It will answer 80% of your questions. Now, moving on."

Wait, that was it? See the movie? That's his direction? He is really just doing a straight, unimaginative, nothing different but guy to girl, adaptation. I mean . . . um.

He barely said a word throughout rehearsal, but did try to tell us how the blocking worked since he directed the play twice before.

Mitchell always snorts a low laugh before mumbling a joke.

In the middle of blocking a wrestling scene with Ms. Blonde and Evie, he says (snort) "Calm down, Mitchell! Don't get too excited!"

I looked up and met Em's eyes immediately. Oh yeah, we are going to enjoy ripping this guy apart.

After rehearsal, he welcomed me and the new Ms. Orange to the cast.

Then, Mitchell said, "As far as costume goes, we don't want to see any of this. (he panned his hand across his crotch) Ok? (low snort) At least not initially. Make sure everything up here (panned his hand across his chest) doesn't fall out."


Mitchell, "Also, no G-strings. Let me say that again, no . . . g-strings."

Ms. Brown, "Huh? But why? We are wearing pants the whole time."

Mitchell, immediately and with authority, "Not worth the risk. Unless you want to show your vertical smichq that's up to you."

Me, "Excuse me, my vertical what? Smirk?"

Mitchell, slowly and clearly, "SMILE. Yes, your vertical smile."

Me, "Oh. Vagina."

Mitchell, "You want the audience remembering the important things. I talk to them afterwards when something like this happens. Like, 'Hey Man, what did you think of the fight scene? The acting?' and they just say, 'Naw, just saw tits.' I want people to focus on your acting. Be professional, ladies."

Was he really dictating what type of underwear we wear and then asking us to be professional?

Mitchell, "Some women like to wear fish nets. Those ... are ok."

Ms. White, "You can't see fishnets with pants on!"

Mitchell, "Well, some women like to wear fishnets with short shorts. What ever you ladies do with your costume, is yours to play with . . . just keep in mind, it has to be a version of black suite, white shirt, black tie."

How original.

Evie's hand raised, "Can we keep alcohol backstage?"

Mitchell, "No, I don't want anyone drunk for the performance."

Evie, "What if its just a little something to get us going."

Welcome to Hollywood Theater.

The next few rehearsals, we got a little less polite with him. Some of the grievances are as follows:

- We have to buy our own costume. Ms. Blonde (who has a blood filled condom explode in her bra during the last act will have to buy 4 versions of her costume)

- We have to buy our own props (police badges, holsters, anything) He has nothing but the guns because "the girls walk off with it."

-We are solely responsible for all promotion of the play including print and distribution of fliers

- In case it wasn't obvious, we are not paid and expected to go to 3 out 5 rehearsals a week. This is reasonable if we went over the scenes involving the cast members able to attend that day. Instead, we always start from the beginning of the script while Mitchell reads for the missing characters. (he really wants to be an actor)

-The cost of admission is $20. If they mention our name at the door, its $15. I don't care how much someone loves me, I would not expect anyone I know to find street parking off of Sunset Blvd and fork over $15 in a recession to see our play.

Spirits were low until we all went out for a couple drinks before seeing the previous cast's last performance of Reservoir Bitches. It was a vent session in a dark bar. I was quiet, high as a kite and couldn't muster a real criticism for Mitchell because I didn't trust anyone but Em quite yet.

We entered the playhouse at 8pm on the dot; Ms. Pink, Ms. White, Ms. Brown, Evie, Em and me. As each of us walked in, we got a nose full rancid asshole. I mean, it was foul. Walking in, I masked my mouth and nose, spotting Mitchell off the side washing his hands. What does he store in his asshole? I think it might still be alive ... and suffering.

Evie: "Ew"

Em: "Oh My God!"

Me: "Disgusting."

Abe: "Hey dude, do you want me to get some incense from out of my car?"

Abe disappeared for 10 minutes while we waited for the play to start. The smell of Mitchell's ass was creeping in to the stage area from the lobby.

Evie, "Fuck this! I am bringing little candles while I perform here. I just can't handle this."

A little piece of burning incense appeared from the lighting booth (stationed between the lobby and the stage) and I thought, "The play was held up because Abe ran back to get some incense."

Abe entered the stage area and sat next to me, "Any other problems I can fix?"

Lights went down and the play started. Jolie was an older woman, playing the role like a mother of teenage girls. Pink was an Asian girl shaking her leg and biting her nails. You know . . . not really gimmicky, stereoptyical hot girls and nothing narratively unique, but decent actresses. Ms. Blonde was played by a gorgeously androgenous, tall, thin Russian whose perfectly gelled, super short, bleach blonde hair made the character.

I couldn't take my eyes off her. I thought, she has that thing, that magic . . . you want to watch her. The other girls were good with their characters, even skilled in parts, but it was never Tim Roth practicing the Commode story or Steve Buscemi digging in Harvey Keital. Sometimes you've got the magic, and sometimes you don't. Its not yours to hold on to, but when you tap into it- it is the dream.

After the show, the two sets of Reservoir Bitches mingled.

Their Ms. Blue, "Mitchell isn't going to direct you, so you are going to have to push him. Keep him involved. When we tried directing ourselves, things got real catty."

Our Ms. White, "Oh, well, we aren't the catty type."

Evie, "Give it a chance, honey."

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Storm Drain

I have been on a weird vibe lately. Today was a good day for me to get on track. I had three appointments:

1) With an agent
2) Rehearsal/Audition for Reservoir Bitches
3) Audition for a Paid Role

I drove on up to The Agent's office in North Hollywood. I mean, WAY North Hollywood. Finding an outfit that is appealing at all three appointments was fairly easy. Tight jeans (so tight my socks don't fit underneath), a black off-the-shoulder top and black boots with pink heart-shaped sunglasses.

I walked in confident; my friend referred me and he already watched links to my work on-line. It was a small office, about the size of my bedroom. It was just him, me, a laptop and a microwave.

He didn't like my headshot that I just spent 40 minutes waiting for at Kinko's so one of two employees could take a break.

He mentioned my formmatting was wrong. Yeah, I know.

Before pulling papers out from a folder, very slowly, he asked if I had questions.

I said, "You came from management?"

He spoke with a heavy Japanese accent, "Yes, I used to manage, for a long time. Then I start agency. I quit for a while, this agency, over here-" He motioned to the wall directly behind him. "I own. Then I have to stop because of my blood pressure. My health was bad."

I said, "Oh yeah, the stress was bad, huh?"

He said, "The doctor said I would end up in coffin."

Then he said, "I am all better now. I own this agency, that agency and a production company." He motioned to the east end of the building.

He pulled out sides and asked how much I have acted. I said, "I have done over 20 projects, so. . . a decent amount."

He said, "Ok, because you say you do over 20, I will give you the hardest one."

It was a monolgue of a girl in a mental hospital whose abusive boyfriend died before she could kill him. Delicious.

He told me at each point where there was a "(transition)" to do something new. I did. You see, when I start reading a character, she comes in like storm clouds, crawling over my head until she covers me entirely.

When the read is over, the storm is still in my eyes. I usually take a minute or so for the character to fade. He watched me with that curiosity people have after your read, weighing in how good you are, if you're crazy. They watch the water rise then withdraw from your eyes like a storm drain.

While nodding his head, "You cry on cue?"

I nodded, biting my lip. She was still in me. Shake it off!

He mentioned that my headshot needed to be changed. I logged on to Facebook and showed him my pictures.

He said, "Here- you look sexy but useless."

I said, "Useless?"

He nodded and said, "I can't use."

There is a picture of a guy's face buried in my butt. Maybe the shot is ridiculous, but I like my expression and hair. It looks like a perfume ad. He laughed and said, "You . . . very open."

I said, "Yeah, I am." After that, he laughed at everything I said, pretty much.

He said none of these photos showed my personality but one Sarah took of me late 2009 would work the best. He said, "Then you can save up and my guy will do pictures for $125. Two looks."

Thats a good price.

We reviewed the contract. Its a 2 year contract with the ability for me to drop them/him if there is a 4-month period of no work.

I said, "Can I use your template for my headshots?"

He said, "Well, you have to sign with me."

I said, "Oh. . . well . . . thats rude of me. Do you want me?" Then I saw a stray hair on his desk and picked it up. "Is that mine? Yup thats mine." I dropped it on the floor.

He laughed and pulled out the contract. "Yes. Review and schedule a time to come back. Your hair red? Brown? Red?"

I said, "Auburn? But I want to get the red out of my hair, it just won't go away since I dyed it for a film last year."

He said, "No, you keep. Keep. I don't have enough red hair."

Then he wrote on my headshot, "You . . . 5'9?"

I said, "And a half."

The thing with agents is you never know what you are going to get. This is what I knew about him:

-He wasn't sleazy

-He didn't hit on me

-He mentioned he books people for all sorts of things, including catalogue modeling and once got someone on as co-star on Lost

-He will use my photos and quoted me very low prices on his photographer, which was optional

We scheduled the signing for my birthday, which I thought was appropriate. I showed up with Abe, who introduced himself and slipped out for a cigarette.

The Agent motioned to the only headshot pinned to the wall behind him, a beautiful brunette and said, "This was your competition. She very experienced. (he took her headshot down so I could have a closer look. I didn't need one) I tell her honest, go to Abrams. And I take you."

I studied her face, she looked like a pro.

He pinned the headshot back over his desk. I said, "You are going to put it back up there?"

He laughed, "Yes, as a reminder."

We got out all the paperwork and signed.

I said, "You know, today is my birthday." I felt like an asshole almost immediately. Why would someone say that unless they were cornering a person for good wishes?

He said, "Next year I wish you a good birthday. But I can't this year. My oldest son died September 11th. My religion says no celebration for one year. So no Christmas, no New Year, no birthdays. One year."

I am once, twice the asshole.

"I am so sorry for your loss."

Once again, I heard the lecture that he needed high resolution commercial photos of me (aka one of me smiling without the lower third of my face diminishing).

I motioned to that bitch's headshot pinned to the back wall, "Like that one?"

He said, "Should I take down?"

I laughed, "No . . . keep it up."

Walking out of his office, I didn't feel celebratory. My birthday was depressing this year and I didn't know why. I was hoping the signing would perk me up.

When I called my mother to tell her I was signing with someone, she said, "Well . . . whatever." She doesn't intend to be cold. She truly believes that discouraging me will save me from disappointment and financial ruin. But, I don't need protection from my dreams.

Abe did my laundry below the theater house during my rehearsal. Mitchell was directing another production's rehearsal at the same time as Reservoir Bitches, so me and Ms. White broke off to work on lines in the lobby while I heard Em scream through the theater door. Her ear was getting cut off. I always hated that scene.

Ms. White is a 22 year old, white, brown-haired, slightly meaty, girl-next-door-type. I wouldn't be surprised if she still hasn't had her first orgasm.

Me: "By the way, how's Alabama?"

Ms. White:" Alabama? I haven't seen 'Bama in over a year and a half."

After a few read throughs she says, "I don't know nobody who can move ice. (slower) I don't know nobody that can move ice. This script is so hard to read."

I said, "I know, its not traditional format."

Ms. White said, "I just think he typed it while watching the movie."

I laughed hard, "Thats why some of the lines are wrong."

She lowered her voice, "The way he is directing this is like so the opposite of what I learn in acting class."

I said, "I know." And shrugged my shoulders.

She said, "I mean, he hasn't even carried us through blocking at all. Guh, he just annoys me."

I said, "I know, and what is with him telling me not to take my small purse with me in the scene? How am I supposed to pay for breakfast if I don't have a purse?"

I have a J Lo Original purse Abe got for me at Out of the Closet. Its small, pink & black plaid and my only purse.

Ms. White said, "I think its just too petite for a crime boss. If you want a big purse like mine, to sling over your shoulder, I can get you one. I have one in canvas."

I leaned back and said, "I don't need no big purse. I am a crime boss. I don't carry shit. I got people to carry shit for me."

She flickered a smile like she didn't quite get it. Then she said, "I think you should read this scene slower. Cause your like explaining it to me and we're old friends."

Oh, we are directing each other, are we?

I said, "Hm. Ok. (beat) You should decide how you feel about Alabama. Do you feel affection or are you upset?"

She said, "Oh, I decided I am just over it. I broke up with him and am totally over it, just don't care."

Em's husband said, "Yeah, that will read great on stage."

No kidding.

I said, "Well you character is sentimental. I mean, you bonded with Orange so fast, disclosing personal details, protecting him. And that was just one day. Think about a few years with the same partner."

She said, "Thats a good point. I don't know. I just don't think White cares one way or the other."

You can lead a horse to water . . .

I said, "Have you seen the movie?"

She said, "I did . . . for the first time last night. Honestly, I didn't really like it."

I covered my face with my hand. Behave.

Into my hand, I muttered, "Its actually an amazing film."

She said, "What?"

I removed my hand and said, "Its a classic film. Perfect, actually."

She said, "No the acting was good. I don't know. I just didn't see the big deal."

After rehearsal, Em, Abe and I went to my favorite restaurant, Real Food Daily.

My 2011/Age 33 depression was weighing heavy on my vegan nachos and burger. I just couldn't shake it.

We went to Em's for some patio chat and acted out stories from our day. It was delightful, but it wasn't a landmark birthday. It was like any other day. Does it need to be special just because its my birthday?

And, Gesus, it wasn't the worst birthday. When I turned 31, I got drunk, fought with Not-for-Profit and ran off with some hipsters I met at a bar to Silver Lake where I listened to them have sex, puked in someone's garden and lost my mother's phone. Did I mentioned I cried? . . . yeah.

Driving home at 33, I saw the full moon and wondered why it couldn't be special? I am 33 on 2011. Its a full moon, I am in love with someone who loves me back and is sane. I just signed a talent contract.

Maybe its the New Year.

At the Doggie Daycare, when I am sitting along in the break room, every once in a while people talk to me about their lives. They will just pop in and the right question turns the dishwashing station into a confessional.

A receptionist told me about how she ended a four year relationship that went nowhere. It was long distance, and she shelved her acting career, gained a few pounds and then didn't notice years of her life went by. She is just starting over now, trying to find herself. She only got misty once while talking about "him". She was mourning a death, letting go and rethinking her entire life.

Another Kennel Attendant told me the night club he manages at Universal City Walk is closing down. He is in the midst of a quarter-of-a-life breakdown. He went home to the Midwest and realized he spent 60 hours a week working and he still has no real career or girlfriend. He asked, "Whats the point of living in California if I am not going to really do anything?"

In the movies, you move to California and drive your convertable up on the beach and somehow, everything falls in place.

In real life, you don't understand how anyone gets by with the inflated food and gas prices, not to mention the rent and having to buy your own refrigerator where ever you move. Cost of living is so outrageous that you must justify being here with some ambition. If you aren't rich and aren't going to get rich, its not worth it.

There is a woman who lives at the Daycare, lets call her Meredith. She sleeps in one of the bedrooms and is paid extra to sleep with specific dogs. She showers there, eats there, sleeps there and spends most of her off time smoking just outside.

Recently, we were alerted that someone caused a scene in the lobby and were encouraged to call the police if we saw him again. He was a Hispanic male who was close with Meredith. A couple days ago, I saw her falling asleep in front of the computer between the doggie playgrounds and the breakroom. It was several hours into my shift, when I put my hand on her back and asked her if she wanted to go to the bedroom to sleep. She lifted her head and mascara was smeared down her face. Like a child she said, "Uh huh."

I said, "Ok, up we go." She didn't get up. She waved me off, muttered a few words then logged into Facebook. That has break-up written all over it. I've been there before. I just didn't have to sleep in a hallway at work when I did.

Abe is even going through something. He texted me that he needs time to center himself. "Without driving away all the time. I need a job and a life." I wrote him back "Of course" . . . "Anything I can do" . . . "I will always be there." I wouldn't respect him if he didn't fight for a life of his own.

We all make promises to ourselves with the New Year, whether we admit them out loud or not. Whether we leave behind old lovers, old habits, old lives- its a change. Change is kind of sad.

I miss school.

I miss laying flat on the bough of sailboats in the morning, while my (ex) husband moved them from marina to marina.

I miss that old dumpy apartment I lived in for 3 years in Mar Vista . . . just because. Frances (my cat) was alive with me then. I got my Master's Degree and divorce papers there. Life felt simpler even those couple of years ago.

I miss Not-for-Profit, waiting for me on my living room floor even though he drove me crazy with moody unpredictability.

I don't want to go backwards, but I miss them. What do you do with all these little memories, clamoring in your pocket when ever you walk forward?

Signing that contract means I am going forward with this crazy life. Instead of going to a temp agency, which my mother has been nagging me about for over a month, I went to a talent agency.

Oh 2011, you bring good, you bring bad . . . but bring it on!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Knocked Up by the Ghost of Christmas Present

Now I am able to write.


Abe says, "Everything always happens twice." More or less, it did.

The first days of 2011 are a whirlwind of self examination and, frankly, it sucks.

A couple days after Christmas, I was working at the Doggie Daycare and felt very nauseous. I could feel bile crawling up my throat. Moments later, I could smell everything. The feces outside, the dog food being poured in bowls for dinner feedings. I could smell steak in one of the dog's bowls, and it smelled goooooood.

The knot in my stomach got heavier. The thought occurred to me, has 9 months of unprotected sex come back to bite me in the ass? Could I be pregnant? Gesus, we all go through this a few times a year. You wonder, dream and freak out all at once.

I had one pregnancy test at home waiting for me, but it was old. In fact, it expired in 2009, that's how old it is! It was just the pee stick with no box or instructions. I thought I could remember how it works, there is just a window for pregnant and for not pregnant- right?

I peed on the stick. There were two windows on the stick, neither labeled. Both windows had a horizontal line appear almost immediately. My heart stopped. That can't be good.

I went on-line to look up what it meant. There was nothing in google images so I was jumping on chat threads trying to figure it out. One person said, "If there are two lines, you are definitely pregnant."

Pot was a no-go at this point, so I grabbed one last cigarette. Just one to help me deal with what this all meant.

When I smoke, I sit in my car and play music. Keeps my apartment from smelling like a dirty bar. I would prefer it just smell like a kennel, and not like a dirty bar next to a kennel.

Everything flashed through my head, my relationship with Abe would be under tremendous strain. We would move in, but probably in San Clemente close to his parents (who would be helping us). They would pressure me to give up my dogs and my acting career.

At Christmas Eve/Shabbot dinner, his Grandmother said, "Maybe its time to do something different than the acting thing." Later I told Em, and she said, "But you have only been trying it for a year. Its one thing to give it up after 12 years of nothing, but you are just starting out."

If I had to defend my creative career in the first year of dating, what would happen if I was knocked up and living with their son.

Then I thought about my parents, who looked ecstatic in my imagination. Everyone was happy. I would be happy for the first couple years, then before you know it I would be 40, in the PTA and wondering what my life would be like if I had a couple more years to try and make it work as an actress/writer.

I called Em and told her that the test said I was pregnant. (You know you have a good friend when they pick up the phone after 11pm on a week night, and their husband is already in bed)

Her voice was soft, "Well, its tough because this is what you wanted." I said, " . . . yeah." Well, its more complicated than that. I do want a baby with Abe- but I want a career as badly. With girls it really is one or the other. The gender revolution has only created one major difference in the 21st Century, one or the other doesn't take over the rest of your life, you now can manage to alternate between the two.

Em said it would work out, but I really needed to pee on a pregnancy test that wasn't expired. I agreed. She said she would wait up for me.

I drove over to the only thing open after 11pm in Pasadena, a Ralph's. I walked in smelling like American Spirits with frizzy hair and shell-shock pale. I grabbed a test, those things are so fucking expensive.

I got to the counter, where the check-out clerk was a Middle Aged Black Man with just a touch of grey in his hair. He rung me up and said, "What are you looking for?"

At first, I thought he meant food . . . we are at a grocery store. Then I realized he meant the test.

I said, "I don't know. Its complicated. I don't want to talk about it." I was trying to be friendly, but I really didn't want to talk about it with him right now. I was still processing.

He said, "I am a minister." Of course he is. This recession has a real sense of humor. "And I always tell people you get what you get. You didn't go in with your eyes closed. When you play with God's plan, it ends up coming back at you."

All of these half-baked, poorly refurbished bumper sticker slogans were not helping.

I said, "Oh yeah. Well, I always say it is what it is." I grabbed my bag and waved goodbye.

He said, "Good luck. Hope it all works out for you."

I ripped open the box, peed on the stick and looked at the instructions. The two lines were not indicative of pregnancy. One window was simply a test window. The one horizontal line = not pregnant. If a cross appears that means your pregnant.

I wasn't pregnant. My heart sank again. Its so hard being a girl. I was torn. I do this to myself from time to time, put myself through a hypothetical pregnancy crisis and it usually comes with its highs and lows. This time, I felt really upset about the negative result. Could I ever get pregnant again? Why wasn't I pregnant?

I called Em and explained that it was a false alarm. I kept it brief because I knew everyone in her home was asleep and she was waiting up to hear from me.

After I hung up, I smoked a lot of pot.

The next day, I had to make copies of my key for the dogwalkers since I was going out of town for a few days. I stopped in a hardware shop. Two men were behind the counter. One was over the age of 60 and looked very much like a caricature of a Norman Rockwell picture. The other was an overweight, younger Hispanic dude. They pretty much sum up Pasadena.

They asked me how many copies and I stuttered, I said, "I'm sorry I didn't get a lot of sleep last night and I am only halfway through my latte this morning. Of course, I left it in my car for reasons unknown."

Hispanic Dude, "Were you partying last night?"

Norman Rockwell, "Don't ask our customers that?"

They both stared at me for a moment.

Me, "Actually I misread a pregnancy test last night."

Hispanic Dude excused himself, while Norman Rockwell decided to light a pipe and put me on his knee.

Norman, "Is it what you wanted?"

I said, "Yes, negative. I am not in a good place to have a child right now. I am in a very new, promising relationship and I don't want to put any strain on it."

Norman said, "Yes, thats good. You are young right, 23?"

I nodded. Why not?

Norman, "You need to wait and get to know each other."

I added, "And have things like a savings account."

Norman said, "Yeah, exactly. Unfortunately, I have been married four times and have had a lot of girlfriends. And you know what I learned about relationships that could solve a lot of problems?"

I listened intently.

Norman, "Temperature. My wife is always cold and I am always hot. No matter where we are, in the car or in the house, she is always blasting the heat. I can't take it. So I think people should find someone within their own temperature level of comfort."

I said, "Well, I think most women get cold before men, so that might be tricky. You know, I wear a lot of long socks to keep me warm."

He said, "Oh yeah? (pause) Knee highs or thigh highs?"

Hey dude, I am only 23.

I said, "Well, thigh highs. It helps."

He said, "My wife wears these cute little knee highs all the time. They look nice."

Keys done!! I said, "Well, thank you!"

Norman, "Thank YOU! Come back in and see us again soon."

The next morning, Abe and I were driving up to Lake Isabella to visit his family and I told him about the botched test.

He said, "Why didn't you call me?"

I said, "After the last pregnancy, I promised myself I wouldn't tell any prospective fathers until I was in a safe place with the pregnancy. Last time, I was yelled at a lot and I asked the OBGYN if the stress contributed to my miscarriage, she said it could have. So I am not putting myself in that position again."

He said, "Why would I yell at you?"

I said, "Because . . . you would be mad . . . at me?"

He said, "How could I be mad at you?"

I said, "I don't know, cause you feel pushed into a corner. You know I would never get an abortion."

He touched my knee, "I know."

He was taking this so well. His voice was soft.

I said, "And you would have to get a job."

He smiled and looked away, "I know, baby."

It was weird. Emotional support. So foreign. So new. So much easier.

He said, "You still seem depressed."

I said, "I know. I started my period."

He said, "Oh."

I said, "What if I can't have babies anymore? I am going on 33. Oprah says after the age of 35, your eggs become 10 times less likely to be fertilized."

He said, "Come on, you are fertile, baby. Women have babies over 35 all the time."

I said, "Without hormone injections?"

Him, "Yes."

I said, "What if I was pregnant and this period is like . . . one of those really early miscarriages. Its heavier than usual this month."

He said, "Awwww." He touched my knee again, this time he left his hand there. Warmth. I have never been with someone who felt like he was sitting on my heart with me. I could tell him everything and he was going to love me and be there with me. The heaviness in my heart picked up a little bit.

When we made it to the house in Lake Isabella, it was nice, but it felt very much like I was living someone else's life. I watched my drinking, watched my conversation . . . I can be a little weird funny and I am not sure his family is ready to deal with who I really am. Much less the full account detailed in this blog.

Ringing in my head was, "I don't deserve this." I am in a relationship that belongs to a younger woman who is in school, studying something like psychology or education. A girl who has enough money to avoid a constant state of crisis, with parents who would pay for a big wedding. She would be calm, have a clean apartment with lots of IKEA furniture and have a whole, normal life ahead of her. That was never me.

Driving back, I thought about what life would be like if I just had a series of miscarriages and no baby.

Abe, "Are you thinking about miscarriage?"

I said, "Yeah. I love how you can read my mind."

He said, "Huh? About what? Oh shit, am I driving on the right side of the street? (pause) Yeah. Whew." I love him.

My 33rd birthday is coming up and with the New Year, there is lots of commotion in my head. I am in love with a younger man who doesn't have a lot of experience with women (and may want some). I am starting a new career with no money. A career where looks matter a great deal, and I am noticing lines around my mouth I never saw before. In fact, I am obsessing over them.

Whenever I look at any other woman, I study their wrinkles. I still feel like I have the worst wrinkles of anyone I know. So I have been watching a lot of Nancy Meyers movies lately, because Diane Keaton and Meryl Streep have the same wrinkles and are happy in-love. Keeping the dream alive that I won't have to self terminate around menopause.

The few days up at the house in Isabella were good. Though, Abe was ranting a lot about his roommates who failed to pay any of their utilities or cable for the last year, and one just asked him to co-sign on one of his three girlfriends' new apartment. The family started pushing him to move out and get a job. They laid it on thick, but he needed it. Abe will rant for a long time and still not really do anything over the predicament. He lacks drive and execution.

I call him the Ghost of Christmas Present, because he is always very forgetful in the moment and he lives in the moment, making him a creature of contentment. Kind of like my dogs.

When New Year's Eve came around, I got my pay check for all the holiday shifts I was working with holiday pay, and it was only half of my rent. My unemployment is suspended at the moment due to earnings discrepancies and I had no other income coming in. I cried on the car ride home from work and came into a dozen roses, two mimosas and a camera timed to take my picture on my entry.

I looked haggalicious. Abe came out and hugged me, did the math on my paycheck and found it accurate. He told me not to freak out. It was going to work out. I was determined to enjoy the last few hours of the year, so we went to an old martini bar in Pasadena and had blast.

With the vodka in my blood, I spoke freely about moving in together. It would solve both of our problems. I pay my bills and he would cut my overhead in half. He agreed with me, then we had hot sex, though I don't remember enough details to store in my mental archive. Seems like a waste if I can't masturbate to it later.

Well, the next few days, I brought up a little here or there how we could find a place in Alhambra so he would be close to the 710 freeway to Orange County. I wouldn't let him clean up so much, and then demonstrate what a clean, organized roommate I could be.

He said without looking at me, "I can't move in with my girlfriend, baby. I am not in that place in my mind. And I don't think I will be there in 3 months."

But in 3 months we will have been together for a year . . . and Gawd, I NEED this to save my family.

I can't sustain $1095 rent on a place for 5 animals for the rest of the year, much less NEXT MONTH! What was I going to do? My heart sank.

I couldn't push him on this. If he isn't ready, he isn't ready. And me forcing the issue would only make things worse. So my period/miscarriage-depression soon expanded to a financially destitute/I am $$ fucked anxiety-depression-distracted mood that I am still trying to shake.

The sex stopped. My laughter stopped. My heart stopped.

Abe tried to counsel me a little, but his advice was so poor. He has NEVER had to fend for himself.

He suggested I get a second and third job, ask the doggie daycare for an advance, ask a woman at work who has a reputation for making personal loans for the money (I don't know her, why would I ask her for money?) . . . oh! And my favorite:

Abe, "My grandfather used to always say look on the ground for money. When I was little he would throw coins on the ground in front of me so I would find them. Then one day, I threw a paper airplane and it landed right next to a $50 bill."

Dude, that was your Grandfather's $50. For fuck's sake?

My sister says, "Well, he's young." I said, "When I was 28, I was married, divorced and financially independent. He is not that young!"

I felt myself building a wall around us. Before he headed back to Costa Mesa, he took me to his grandfather's grave. His grandfather is always present with his family. They talk about him all the time and just before they embark on a story or detail, they all smile. I have never seen a family honor someone like that before, its a beautiful thing.

We went up to the grave which is near my credit union and I saw his gravestone there. I did't know what to do but hug Abe and kiss the back of his neck, thank him for showing me.

Abe rambled on about rocks he brought to the grave and a little lego his 3-yr-old cousin jammed next to the stone that was still there.

I saw a stretch of land between his Grandfather's grave and the cliff that plateaued several feet away. I thought about how his Grandmother would be buried there, then his parents and then maybe me. Its hard for me to picture. I always imagined I would be dumped in an unmarked, communal grave like Mozart.

He went back to Orange County and I thought about everything.

I thought about giving up acting and getting another office job to support my little family. On-line those jobs are around the same pay as Doggie Daycare. Fucking recession!

I looked up selling my eggs, but I am too old and I can't be a surrogate without one successful pregnancy.

I looked up selling a kidney. Its illegal.

My blood lacks iron so I can't sell that, though that wouldn't make up for the $700 bucks short on rent. I would probably only come out with two movie tickets. Still kinda worth it.

I thought about finding a roommate. On craigslist there was an ad for a girl to move in with a Filmmaker who would cover her rent. Pets ok.

I looked up jobs for bikini bar, sex phone operator . . . anything. I would be lying if I didn't think about a benefactor. An older gentleman looking for a young woman to help financially in exchange for . . .

Before you judge me, think to yourself, WHAT THE FUCK WOULD YOU DO?

Relocate the animals and move into a studio? That would be like ripping my heart out. Maggie, Esther, Belle and Murray are like my kids. Cupcake is like the foster kid that crashes the sitcom in the 8th season.

Move to Washington? To where? My family won't take me in.

What do you do when you are desperate? You think about everything. I would sell drugs if I knew how. I am so bad at math and I think you got to measure stuff.

The anxiety became worse a bit. I sent a few text messages:

"Ur going to lose me. If you don't save me. You'll lose me."

"You don't like my lifestyle. It just won't work out, ok? I love you but there is no future here for me. I have to think about myself and my animals."

He texted me back not to feel bad, that he would help me sell a few things on eBay.

I texted back, "Forget it."

I was sabotaging this.

I wrote again, "You will never want to live with dogs and I won't give them up. I need to move or make a lot of money and I don't know how to do that with a boyfriend. I know you have never been financially destitute so you don't understand. Maybe you will read about how I made it in 10 yrs or you will just forget about me."

He wrote, "Reverting mindset. But U don't need anyone to help U, do U? So why u toublin me? So find the next guy wholl save U from the next thing. Don't communicate with me like I dont care. What BS!"

I wrote, "Ur right. Its not your responsibility to save me. Looking back, I see I put a lot boyfriends in a bad position because of my finances. I am an asshole and will figure it out on my own."

He wrote, "Stop looking into the future and seeing all the negatives. Stop hanging on negative thoughts. Especially about me. Please baby. U haven't lost yr treasure yet, don't lose ur mind first. Ok? :-)"

I took some time. He is right, I can't lose my mind. But I see no way of making up half my rent for another year. I just don't see it.

I asked to not talk to him for a couple days so I could freak out alone. The idea was I could protect him from the black hole I call my life while I sorted out a solution or a plan.

Then . . . my computer crashed. I got the blue screen of death stating it was dumping all my physical memory.

Now, I hadn't really cried yet about how behind I was in rent and how fucked I was in 2011. Watching the last year of my life disappear in 10 seconds on my computer screen sucked the oxygen out of my head and my hands started shaking. No tears, but I was having some kind of Out of Body Nervous Breakdown.

I called Abe and left a voicemail, got choked up about the computer and asked for his help.

I had a few other things to take care of that day . . . audio issues with my pilot, my sister was in town, fucking everything else. Someone on Facebook offered to have his tech guy check out my computer and pay for any minor problems he could clear up. That was sweet- so I drove out and dropped off my laptop.

With all my bad luck, there is a lot of good luck.

No word from Abe for 10 FUCKING HOURS! TEN!

He finally texted me, "I was frustrated: the comp, calculating my roommates debt, not finding jobs, sending mail, buying oil, getting water, eating, making endless lists of shit to do."

I wrote, "Welcome to Adult Life."

I called him and just said, "What the fuck?"

He said, "Look, I have shit to do too."

There was some overlapping dialogue here before he said, "I am gone for ONE day and everything falls apart. What now? What do I have to fix now?"

I said, "Go FUCK yourself!" And hung up.

Then texted, "I always pick the wrong fucking guys."

At this point of my story, Abe goes MIA for three days. No returning of phone calls or texts or anything.

The old "Abe Disappearing Act" from last summer. We broke up over it, and now, here it was again. He is establishing a pattern that I will never be able to break, no matter the consequence since clearly, breaking up with him wasn't enough! My anxiety-F$ked-depression was now a I-am-alone-and-f$ked-for-the-rest-of-my-mid-life-crisis nose dive.

He texted me on Saturday night about how I am asking for negative attention, blah blah blah. I left it.

The light in my chest that carried me to the end of the year dimmed.

An older gentleman I know said, "Life is hard enough. If you can't get through the easy stuff in the beginning ... and I mean coast through it happily, there is no way you can get through the hard stuff later in life. Its like climbing a greased Christmas tree."

Why did it have to be a Christmas tree in this metaphor?

Today, I am at Em's and while she made me lunch, her husband shed some light on it all.

Em's Hubby, "Look, you throw the pregnancy thing at him, then the rent thing, and then computer? That's your fucking problem."

I said, "But he knows computers and he had a couple days from the other issues before I called."

Em's Hubby, "Look, deal with some of your own problems on your own. You can't share all of them with him and expect him not to get overwhelmed. Be considerate."

Me, "I thought I was."

Em's Hubby, "Considerate? The word considerate means consider his thoughts and feelings. He needs time to process."

Me, "I need a rock who can be there and pick up the phone no matter the crisis. He isn't just my lover but my best friend."

Em's Hubby, "We don't want to be your friend. We want to have sex with you. You ladies don't have sex with your friends. Maybe there is something there too."

Me, "Great. So I am not dating a friend."

Em's Hubby, "Do something for him. Don't make it all about your problems."

Me, "But he doesn't really have any problems, besides the job thing."

Em's Hubby, "Well . . . thats cause he isn't bringing them to you. There has to be more than great sex. I mean, you are a handful."

Me, "Well thats the trade off. Can you have great sex with someone who isn't a handful?"

He laughed.

Em's Hubby, "Just give him a break."

I did, I called. It was rough. I will spare you the negative details. In the end, he drove up to my place that night to put together a computer for me. He didn't realize my computer crashed. Ghost of Christmas Present.

I felt guarded from him and depressed, I didn't want to touch him or make love to him- but somehow in the morning all of that passed. We apologized. Made love. Ate food.

As Count Laszlo said in English Patient, "Every night I cut out my heart. But in the morning it was full again."

Whether I deserve him/this or not, the truth is without hope we are dead. I am not ready to die yet.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Is this what we are fighting for?

On Wednesday, I booked an audience job on a show called "Seriously Funny Kids." I hadn't heard of it.

Matt and his girlfriend were booked on it as well, so we all lined up outside Red Studios at 8am on a frickin' COLD Los Angeles morning.

I made it a point to smoke a lot of pot before getting out of my car. I arrived with a hard cover book in my hand.

The black actor from the Bank of America commercial (who felt that God wanted him to fuck blond white girls) ( was there.

He bent down to see the cover of my book and read slowly, "The Help . . . I'll give you some help."

I said, "I think your ancestors already did."

He said, "Damn, and I was the one trying to be funny."

I said, "Well, thanks for the Jazz music."

He said, "You're welcome. And the rock . . ."

I said, "Please, Elvis Presley is the King of Rock n' Roll. You can have Little Richard."

He said, "No thanks. Chuck Berry is actually the first king of rock n' roll."

I said, "Well . . . and Buddy Holly."

He said, "Hey, you and Matt are the only people I recognize here. This job is all new faces."

I said, "I know, its kind of sad isn't it? Like everyone else went on with their lives or something."

He said, "I know!"

I asked, "What's your name again?"

He said, "Poe Tee. (pause) Pete. (pause) Petey."

The show, I believe, will be a series of home video clips of kids being adorable. The bulk of what was shot in front of this 30 person audience was just Heidi Klum doing intros to the videos, and "throws" before a commercial break. This was the painful part, and thank God I was stoned for this, Heidi was not dictating her lines off the teleprompter correctly.

She had mentioned a few times that she hadn't eaten food in 10 days. Someone would bring her what she called her "sludge" on set to her. She was doing the master cleanse; basically a drink made of lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper (for protein). What a fucking joke. She was drinking it like that Nalgene bottle was her mother's tit.

She wasn't distractingly bad at first, but the director was being very hard on her. He would cut her off, correct her, and often say, "You are taking years off my life, Heidi. You are making me drool but taking years off my life." Is that a compliment?

Matt said, "He kind of reminds me of Alec Baldwin."

I said, "Yeah . . . an Armenian Alec Baldwin."

Matt said, "Someone needs to get Heidi some food. If you don't eat food, your vision and memory goes."

Matt's girlfriend mentioned she saw Heidi poking at her stomach between takes like she was reminding herself of some imaginary puff.

Let me say this, Heidi Klum is one of the most beautiful and skinny women I have ever seen in my entire life. AND kind.

I said, "There is no more weight for her to lose!"

Matt's girlfriend said, "When you are used to being really skinny, any weight gain feels a lot more noticeable than it is. She probably indulged herself on the holidays and is now trying to get back to the size from her hay day."'

The more the director cut into her, the more she started fucking up. At one point, I could see tears brimming in her eyes just before they stopped for a 5 minute crew break, which I suspect was more like a 15 minute "Pull it together, Heidi" break.

When we came back, a child came on to sing opera. It was kind of a miserable experience. She was off time, a little off pitch and the performance felt endless.

I said to Poe Tee, "I was promised seriously funny kids."

Poe Tee said, "She will be good . . . in 5 years."

I said, "I have seen better child opera singers."

We are a bunch of snobs, aren't we?

The AD said, "Ok, back to one."

The guy next to me said, "Oh geez . . . I thought this was going to be a pick-up. Now we have to suffer through the whole thing all over again?"

We got back to Heidi's intros and outros after that.

Heidi, "Send us your videos and we will share them for everyone to see."

Director, "Send us your videos and we will share it with everyone. Go!"

Heidi, "Send us your videos and we will share them for everyone to see."

Director, "We will share it with everyone. Go!"'

Heidi, "The teleprompter says for everyone to see.

Director, "We're changing it."

Heidi, "I am just saying what I am reading."

Director, "No. Go."

At one point, Heidi found three different inventive ways to flip off the director on camera.

Heidi, "What happens when our hidden camera catches this 7 yr-old chess monster."

Director, "Chess master!"

Heidi, "When we catch this chess monster."

Director, "NEXT!"

Instead of letting her get through the clips, eventually he would just shout "Next!" in the middle of her take. He was throwing them away. Heidi got more robotic. They were sabotaging this already very bad, Lifetime show.

At a certain point she motioned to the director and said, "Someone over there wants to have a conversation with me but I can't hear him. Someone wants to sit on this couch and do this show with me."

Poe Tee said, "Gesus, this is the most passive aggressive conversation I have ever heard."

Next set of intros:

Heidi, "What is the secret ingredient to magic cupcakes? Attitude."

Director, "Ingredient!"

Heidi, "Ingreediant?"

Director, "Ingredient!"

Heidi, "Ingrediant, ingrediant, ingrediant, ingrediant!"

Director, "NEXT!"

Heidi, "What makes dinosaurs interesting-"

Director, "They are not just interesting they are also extinct. Thats your line. Go!"

Heidi, "I can't see the prompter from all the way over there. I am also used to it being in front of the camera, not above it."

Director, "You're fine. Come one! We have 23 episodes we have to shoot in 3 days. Let's go! More cayenne pepper!"

Yeah, more cayenne pepper. Jesus Christ.

Heidi, "I can't see it!"

I looked to the man sitting next to me and said, "This is the type of show that will go on for years."

He laughed but the guy behind me said, "This isn't worth the $8 an hour."

I said, "You are sitting down and being entertained for cash. How is this not the easiest job in the world?"

He said, "I would rather be digging a ditch."

Heidi, "Now this joke comes from Lance in Orlahndo, Florida."

Director, "ORLANDO!"

Heidi, "I said Orlahndo."

Director, "It doesn't sound like Orlando. Listen to me- O R L A N D O!!"

Heidi, "Orlando. Orlando."

Director, "Ok, I forgot to tell you the kid moved to Jacksonville last week. Change it to Jacksonville. We forgot to change it on the prompter."

Heidi, "I don't believe you."

Director, "Kid lives in Jacksonville now, go!"

An older black man two people away said, "This is what you get. Now they know. Get an ugly host that can read."

Me, "Plenty of beautiful women read. Natalie Portman graduated from Harvard."

Old Black Man, "Aw, shit! I hate Harvard. I'm from Princeton. And look where it brought me ... (motions to the television studio) hell."

Heidi, "This joke comes from Sarah in Baltimore, Merryland."

Director, "Aw, Jesus! Washington, DC. GO!"

That went on for a long time. Often she would say, "But its not funny." And the director would say, "It is funny if you read it right."

Fact: Heidi Klum's first language is not English

Fact: Humor is often very culturally based

Fact: You need FOOD to FUNCTION

She was in the far corner, running the lines off the prompter to herself when an overweight crew dude with a curly Jew-fro and pasty , white skin said, "You look gorgeous, by the way."

Heidi was repeating her lines, trying to get them right.

Fat Guy, "YOU'RE WELCOME! Geez!!"

HEY, one loser fat guy nursing a Big Gulp behind camera offers a compliment to a supermodel and its supposed to be the shot heard around the world? Gesus man, she is trying to get her lines right! BACK OFF!"

Everyone was on her.

Towards the end, she was doing a little role play with the kids where she pretended to be a patient and the children were the therapist. Kind of a brilliant idea for getting cute "kidisms" with regards to adult problems. She complained of never having time to spend with her children, working all the time, how to keep her husband engaged, feeling unattractive . . . I do believe those were all very real things she was saying to these kids.

She started nodding off and pretending to fall asleep. I believe she really needed sleep.

How does this woman who has everything I want, a husband, four kids, a career, a flawless body and face . . . how does she not get the gold pot we are all fighting for? What are we here for; paying high rent, starving ourselves, obsessing over laugh lines and fertility, searching for a man we can love and develop and identity with, fighting to be searched on Google- what are we doing it all for? To have some overweight-director-nobody cut us down in front of 50 people?

Fuck. Is this what we are fighting for?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Banister!! Pt. 2 of My Character Annie

My computer crashed :-( So I feel paralyzed, and ran to a friends house to get at least one out of me.

Getting into Annie Pt. 2

We wrapped Friday night at 10pm. My call the next morning was 7am in Orange County. I was exhausted. I had been working the Doggie Daycare for eight days in a row or something ridiculous, and the two days I had off were spent acting in this production. I was dragging but happy and high on the compliment from the night before.

I had an emotional scene this morning, so I knew I would need at least one cigarette. Abe sent me off with two. Sadly, I didn't have a lighter on me. So I stopped at an AM/PM and asked how much their lighters were. She said $1.70. I only had $1.

I told her that was too much and sat in my car trying to figure out why the cigarette lighter in my car doesn't work in my 2007 Sonata when a dirty hippie walked by. A dirty hippie at 6:48am in the morning at an AM/PM in Santa Ana . . . why not?

I said, "Excuse me, do you have a light I can borrow?"

He said, "No, but I can get you one?"

I said, "They are charging too much inside."

He said, "Nahhh, I know them. I will get one for you."

He came back out holding the lighter. I thanked him.

He said, "Will you go out with me some time?"

I said, "Sorry I have a boyfriend."

He said, "Can I be your man-freak?"

I said, "No, but (holding up the lighter) thank you!"

Light. Suck. Blow. Harsh high. Off to set.

I arrived to an old house that was now converted to a museum. It is called the Kellogg House or the Heritage Museum. It was raining in the morning, so I was fucking cold. Not just cold, FUCKING COLD. There was no heat in the house and certainly no insulation. Brrrrr.

I walked in and everyone waved at me.

First words out of my mouth, "Do you have any Armenian coffee?"

AD, "No, just Orange County coffee."

Me, (disappointed) "Oh."

AD, "Ahhhh. We're spoiling you."

I made my way to the second floor of the house where make-up was setting up. Miss Tude was already there waiting. The house had a little, narrow school room of three or four desks built off the side of the dressing room.

The make-up girl smiled when she saw me and we explored the house together. Like I say, the make-up girl/guy always becomes my BFF. We climbed the stairs into the attic where there was a bald mannequin head and a wicker baby carriage. Not much else.

I said, "Great location."

The Make-Up girl climbed the stairs down and said, "I wonder if anyone has ever died here."

Suddenly, a nautical wheel fell off the wall and the door to the hallway opened. We both stopped and stared at each other.

She said, "Did that just open by itself?"

I nodded, "Wide open."

We sat down and the director came in to check in with us. We told him what happened.

He said, "I know a woman died in the dining room."

We both said, "WHAT!?"

He said, "Yeah, its part of the museum tour."

The make-up girl started talking to the dead woman.

Make-Up Girl, "Give us a sign if you died here in this house. We know someone died here, was it you?"

I said, "You aren't supposed to talk to them. It encourages them."

Make-Up Girl, "Don't I want to encourage them?"

Me (pause) "No. No you don't."

I told the story of ANAHEIM the movie, also shot in a haunted house in Orange County. The broken Grandfather clock came on once by itself in the middle of the night.

Miss Tude was cowering in a rocking chair in the far corner of the room wearing her black Victorian costume with hair tight in a bun. With a sharp nose and mole on her cheek, she smiled and said in a low voice, "They were just saying hello."


I looked at the large portrait of a woman in the dressing room, staring at me. I said, "Do you think that's her? The one who died here?"

The make-up girl said, "I don't fucking know, but I am freaking out."

The scene we were about to do was more Miss Tude's scene, who was playing my servant. I mean Annie's servant. Annie charges into the kitchen and starts pushing her for answers, when the maid crumbles and tells the story of how she learned all about Annie's mother-in-law, who she cares for, and her tortured past in the genocide (of course). She is carrying the guilt of her Turkish blood and unfurls it during this powerful monologue- then I go to her and comfort her.

I stood away from everyone in the corner while the equipment was prepped and started psyching myself up. I was thinking about how I betrayed my cats by bringing in pit bulls to my home. How my cat died in the car seat next to me and I carried her stiff corpse into the emergency hospital screaming for help.

Then, I thought about my last childhood dog. How he died in my father's arms when there was not a great deal of indication that he was sick. He was slow for just a few days, and all of a sudden he died. Then my father dug his grave somewhere in Arizona. No one in my family can speak about his death, he was . . . an amazing dog.

This somehow slithered around my chest and my face was burning. As I was prepping, the door next to me would open halfway by itself. I closed it. Worked myself up some more, and then the door opened again. The slate guy walked through when we were about to roll camera. I said, "This door keeps opening by itself, when the camera rolls can you make sure the spirits take a break."

He laughed and nodded. Then he tested the door. There was no draft. There was no loose hinge. It was opening by itself.

During the takes, the door kept shut.

We did all Miss Tude's angles first, and I worked up a storm in my head. Soon, it wasn't about what I was thinking, I was just feeling everything the character was feeling. It was bizarre. I was upset I pushed this woman into bad memories. I was upset the Turkish people did so many fucked up things, killing children . . . FUCK. I was losing my mind. My voice even changed.

While the camera set-up changed, I walked into the pantry and started saying things to myself that didn't make sense. Hot tears were pouring out of my eyes and I started whining, "Get it off me! Get it off." I have no fucking idea what I wanted off of me. A feeling? A heaviness? I left the pantry and I could see the crew watching me out of the sides of their eyes. They must think I am crazy.

The next shot was my close-up, and one of the best moments of my life:

There is this movie called Frida starring Salma Hayek- who was later nominated for an Oscar. I resented the nomination because the whole movie was cut around her emotion. She could only do one emotion per scene. There was no fluidity, no transformation in a scene. Angry, cut. Sad, cut. Sexy, cut. Eugh, so frustrating.

A good actress can move through emotions and expressions effortlessly. The best example is in the movie The Hours. All the actresses have so many wonderfully layered moments, watching that movie is like drowning in chocolate cake.

So here I was, doing one long close-up for the bulk of the scene, around Miss Tude's monologue (which honestly, was better in the rehearsal). So the emotions were angry, frustrated, patronizing, realization, sympathetic, disturbed, then emotional. One take and I hit every single one. I could see my face changing in the reflection of the camera lens. The tears came without any provocation on cue.

Director, "Cut."

Director of Photography moved his face out from behind the camera, looked at me and said, "Wow."

I walked up to the new Assistant Director, who I had never seen before, and hugged her. Then I said, "I'm sorry." What was I sorry for? I have no idea. I don't know what was coming out of my mouth. It wasn't me anymore.

The director told me what my next costume change was, and I asked for a personal moment where I smoked that last cigarette in my car. It was great.

I came back to make-up for a hairstyle change. The make-up girl asked, "How was that smoke?" She quit recently.

I said, "Amazing."

She peeled my wet, knee high socks up from her make-up station. She said, "I believe these are yours."

I laughed, "Why don't I just make myself at home!?"

I was being mildly glammed up for this next scene, so she asked me to open my mouth for lipstick.

She said, "No wider, like you are going to . . . "

I dropped my lower jaw to the floor and she laughed.

After she was done with my make-up, I stood up in my vintage , European dress.

Miss Tude said, "Wow . . . you are pretty. No wonder I don't like you."

The Make-Up girl mumbled, "Is she kidding?"

With my lips still tight from touch up, I said, "I don't think so."

She asked, "Is it because we laughed at her for using the set toilet?" We did.

I said, "No, it goes further back." To fucking Darwinism.

The Make-Up Girl said, "I love how you curse like a sailor."

I said, "Have I been cursing a lot? Shit. I was going to work on it around the kids."

She laughed and shook her head.

We did a couple shots of me climbing this spiral staircase. I think I have perfected the art of walking along a banister with great trepidation. I always think of the horror film festival I went to in Olympia, WA called All Freakin' Night; 12 hours of vintage horror movies, back to back. Absolutely delightful! Anytime a banister for a staircase was in the shot, we all shouted, "Banister!" It is the ultimate trademark for a true horror movie.

My stage husband was flirting with me, but I was so zoned out and high on whatever it was influencing my state of mind, I couldn't really register what he was saying until he would conclude with, "I tend to push things too far."

I said, "Usually I am the one pushing things too far." I had walls up in my mind and was being quite professional, which was so unlike me. I walked back into the house and heard the Make-Up girl command the crew, "Can we at least acknowledge that a woman DIED here?!"

The Director said, "Yes, we acknowledge it. Now, moving on . . ."

Whoever that woman was, I hope she wasn't sticking to my soul.

We broke for lunch.

My make-up girl left shortly thereafter. I said, "What am I going to do without my rock?"

She said, "You are doing just fine."

After she left, it got colder. I felt like my mind was drifting and getting darker at the same time.

There is usually a lull after food, but it was the last half of the last day of production- and the director was shooting our rehearsal (which I wasn't happy with) and we were doing 1 or 2 takes of each angle. I was feeling out of my groove and started getting neurotic. We were rushing.

Someone on the crew later said, everyone heard me saying 'fuck' repeatedly when one of the moms to the child actors said, "That's ok. We've talked about it and are used to adult language on set."

Just then, I fumbled a line and shouted, "FUCK!!!!!" from the floor beneath them. I punctuated that moment.

The remaining scenes required very little from me, so I zoned out for those shots where it was the back of my head or my shoulder. My contacts were drying up and I could feel a headache forming over the bump on the right side of my forehead.

Slight sidenote* The bump on the right side of my forehead came first from a car accident when a drunk driver killed himself against my car (while I was driving) when I was 17.

- When I was 22, I was assaulted on the beach by a stranger and hit/kicked in the head repeatedly.

-When I was 27, on New Years Eve, Not for Profit spun me around his living room in jubilation on his shoulders and smashed that exact spot of my forehead with the corner of his fireplace mantel by accident.

- When I was 31, he bit my forehead in that exact spot. Nice, I know. He broke skin with his teeth. Rum induced psychotic break.

So this specific spot on my head tends to be where the beginning and end of all my headaches manifest themselves. The eye of the storm.

I was feeling fairly miserable and out of it.

We were trying to position ourselves in the last shot, with my hand on one of my stage kids (about 6) and my stage husband with our other stage kid (about 8) in front of an old woman playing our Grammy-in-Law when the DP said, "Don't worry about the blocking. I will bend you to my will."

I said, "MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!" Everyone stopped and looked up. Wait, was that out loud? I am such an asshole.

We wrapped, and it was abrupt and anti-climatic. I gathered my things but felt weirdly empty.

When you are used to crewing on projects, you feel a chumminess. That warmth was not there for me. I did my usual thing, I went around and shook everyone's hands to thank them for the work and including me on the project, blah blah blah.

I went up to the director and said, "Are you happy with the dining room scene?" The last big scene with my stage hubby.

He put his hands around my waist. God, I felt skinny.

He said, "Yes, it was great. I really hope we can cast you as Annie in the feature version." I said, "Me too. This will be hard to let go."

What will be hard to let go? I don't know. I don't know what I was saying or what any of it meant.

It was rush hour, it was raining and I was close to Abe's apartment. So I decided to go over there and get my soul back.

As I collected my things, I tripped on this old rocking chair and tipped it over. We couldn't sit on any of the furniture because it was all part of the exhibit. So I chirped to the other actress, "Don't tell anyone. SHHHHH!" She laughed and said she wouldn't.

Then when I turned back to leave, the rocking chair got caught on my ankle and I was dragging it across the floor. I said, "Geez, this rocking chair really wants to be with me."

I fumbled out of the house and headed to Abe's. This day happened to be the day John Lennon died, and Jim Morrison was born. The radio was playing "Imagine" just after a few archive radio broadcasts announcing John Lennon's death. I started chain smoking with a new pack of cigarettes and crying.

I turned the station to some Christmas carols. I texted Em some weird things like, "I love you." Wow, I was in a funk.

Knock, knock on my car window. Abe was there in the rain.

He said, "Are you ok?"

I said, "Yeah, except someone thought it was a good idea to shoot John Lennon. WHY would anyone want to shoot John Lennon. It just doesn't make any sense." My voice cracked and a new tear started rolling down my cheek.

Abe asked me to come inside. I did.

He had grabbed warm clothes for me from my home that morning, knowing I would probably stop by in the evening. I stood in sweat pants, big fuzzy slippers, a wool hat my parents picked up for me in Germany covering my ears in front of the wall heater in his living room, holding a cup of tea.

I was in a weird daze.

He said, "Are you sure you are ok?"

I said, "I don't know whats wrong with me."

He sat me down and gave me a bong hit or two and said, "What is it? Are you sad just because they weren't chummy with you on set? They are being professional. Professionals aren't bothered on set."

I said, "I don't know if thats it. I just don't want to let go of it."

He said, "Let go of what?"

I said, "I don't know. I can't explain it. I don't know what it is. My head is full of all those awful things I kept recycling in my brain but something else too . . . "

My eyes started brimming tears.

He said in a low voice, "Baby . . ."

I asked him to massage me with his crystals again. He said he would. It helped center me. I don't know what it is about crystals but there is a warmth or an energy emitted from them I don't totally understand. More like . . . a charge of some kind.

Also, I had received a Facebook message from an acquaintance who works professionally in the industry.

My status update was "Coming down from a creative high."

He wrote me this message:

"My advise is to minimize contact and discussion as much as possible until you process ALL of the feelings. They get corrupted by the thoughts and input of others.

I have seen fights break out when people, some well intentioned invade that sacred space.

Enjoy it. It belongs to YOU and YOU alone. And no explanation you give can even scratch 1/100th of the experience of doing it."

Abe and I made love. I felt more like myself, but it took me several days to get my head back. I am not even sure if I am restored completely now, 2 weeks later. Restored is the wrong word. Now I am permanently changed, maybe evolved somehow.

It was magic. A door was opened for me that day, and now I can't close it.