Saturday, July 26, 2008

I'd rather be 9 people's favorite thing than a hundred people's 9th favorite thing.

So I'm in love.
It's true.

With this charming little thing. Four actors, four chairs, one keyboardist, every joke you could think to crack on Broadway shows past and present, a few mildly fancy tricks and a WHOLE lot of heart.

I've heard beaucoups about (title of show) </span> </a><a style="font-weight: bold;" href=""><span style="font-style: italic;"><title of="" show=""> since its run downtown at the Vineyard, but didn't ever take a moment to go see it. I wish I had. The show I saw on Thursday night was easily one of the best productions I have EVER experienced. To be able to know it from its roots must be the coolest thing ever. I can honestly tell you I was entertained every single second. And yes, most of it was silly, cheesy OMG I CANNOT BELIEVE THEY JUST WENT THERE/SAID THAT/THINK THAT TOO joke cracking and otherwise. It's a gratuitous piece of work, aimed mainly at "showmos" who will get every tiny theatrical reference. It's not right for mainstream, but that's fine, because mainstream doesn't deserve it.

I find it fitting that I just happened to see this show while in the middle of ongoing uncertainty about my place - in New York, in the theatre. I moved here all bright eyed and winsome, determined to prove that being an actor is about talent and not the ability to play the game. Friends, it ain't. It's about your training and who you know and how amazing your headshots are and if you can step up and bring it at every audition, every time. It's about being your #1 priority and is even more consuming than a full time job or, God forbid, a life. I humbly stand here to announce that, though it's lovely to believe otherwise, people who have a successful acting career have learned to play the game. Thankfully, some are even talented.

This cast? I wish there were words bigger than talented, impressive, or dazzling. I wish I could convey something more than "I loved loved loved loved loved it." It's an intense moment when you watch an actor, playing him or herself, unleash a thought that you thought you alone thunk. (Yes, I just said thunk. Deal with it.) And then, in the middle of it all, a quiet gasp followed by a round of applause. Your neighbor thought it too. So did the guy two rows ahead and to the right. And that guy, and that girl, and him and her, he, she and all of them, too. And you're suddenly reminded why you ever even bothered to try at all.

Because occasionally, something this perfectly wonderful slides next door to the controlled fluff that lines the rest of the block. It's all so very worth it. Even if it's not the perfect portrait of success that someone you never even commissioned once painted.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

But I'll be your midnight cowboy, too drunk to even stand.

I need your help.

I need to know if this is funny, if if I'm just severely brain-dead, hard up for a laugh, and absolutely ridiculous.

My friend Kim directed me to a blog that pokes fun at piss-poor cake designs.
Now, this premise is nothing new, and some of the designs in question have been the the source of e-mockery for years. I scrolled through, rolling my eyes at the insanity and sighing at the stupidity.

But then I came across a golden ticket for hysteria. "Naked Mohawk-Baby Carrot Jockeys."

This cake is so disturbing, I'm almost glad the picture doesn't include the whole thing. The plastic clone babies wearing naught but mohawks is bad enough, but then they're also riding carrots. What do you do with that? It looks like some kind of perverted vegetable rodeo, or maybe a bizarre clone military exercise, what with their little plastic fists raised high in identical salutes.

And what kind of ocassion calls for a "naked babies riding carrots" decor, anyway? No, wait, maybe I don't want to know...

Y'all. I lost it. I literally started laughing so hard that my eyes welled with tears and I had to excuse myself to the ladies' room, where I stood trembling and snorting. I returned to my computer, hellbent on reading the description featured below the picture, only to have to step away from the desk again. It took a good 4 tries before I could compose myself enough to get through it. Later that night, while trying to fall asleep, I murmured to myself "Naked Mohawk-Baby Carrot Jockeys!" and erupted into peels of laughter once more.

This might be the time to admit that for the second week in a row, I watched that stupid Wipe Out show (you know...with the big red balls?!) and literally cackled so hard it sent the cat scurrying to her under-my-bed safety spot.

Someone, assure me I'm not alone. Please?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

But time makes you bolder, children get older. I'm getting older, too.

It's Sunday. I had a reckless on Friday. I am STILL paying for it. Dearly. What's up, body? You used to be able to throw back whatever I tossed your way with little consequence.

The evening started nicely. Concierge event at Bryant Park Grill. I'm sorry, did someone say free booze, free food, and goodie bags? Yes, please. So after abusing the bar privileges there, we headed to Mean Fiddler. Which happens to be next to the Brooks Atkinson, home of Grease. Being the tool that I am, I "just happened" to be outside after curtain, so as to get a glimpse of Taylor Hicks. Hey, we Birminghamians must stick together. Don't judge me. Don't you dare judge me!

Photographic evidence of my ridiculousness...

Then it was back into the bar for countless more rounds. Which turned into dancing on the bar. (Seriously, who AM I?) Which turned into several rounds of free shots, because that's apparently what bartenders do for the girls who dance on their bars.

In skirts.
(Thankfully mine was a big, poofy one. Lots of coverage. Little leg. Hot.)

Somewhere before dawn, I made the drunken stumble to the subway. (Without my goodie bag from Bryant Park Grill! Blast! I was looking forward to my champagne, chocolate, and gift certificate!) A group of girls attacked me for directions to Union Square. Do I just have "I help idiot tourists for a living. Please. Ask me something." branded on my forehead? I made it safely to Brooklyn before deciding a nice 30 minute walk was in order, so I hopped off 3 stops early. I vaguely remember stopping for some Gatorade and being VERY aware that it was red and I was wearing white and should therefore be quite careful. And that's pretty much it. Until the next morning when I rolled over at 8:15, feeling like death warmed over and then placed back in the fridge to mold and rot for a few months.

I'll spare you the details, but suffice it to say I dragged my pathetic self into work 2 hours late. Of course, along the way I stopped at the deli 'round the corner from my apt for some coffee. Where I ran into Harold Dieterle (of Bravo's Top Chef), chatting up the deli owner's son.

Hello, Pretty.

Of course, I've known for awhile that Harold lives in my 'hood. I've been anxiously awaiting the day I can tell him his panna cotta is perfection and ask how he manages to live in a neighborhood with no decent grocery stores. But no. I have to run into him while existing as my least fabulous self. Le sigh.

I spent the majority of yesterday with a scowl on my face and a personal death-wish in my heart. And although I got a good 10 hours of sleep last night, my head is still swimming today. Dude, I'm old. It's official.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

It's enough to drive you crazy if you let it.

I have discovered the secret to healthy grocery shopping: make sure there is a hot doctor floating around the store at the same time as you. (Or,at least a remarkably attractive man, sporting scrubs.)

My heart said Ben 'n Jerry's and pizza rolls. But my basket said spinach and peaches and fat free cheese.

In other news: 9 to 5: The Musical has made its casting announcement (Stephanie J. Block, Megan Hilty, and ALLISON JANNEY!!!!!!) and set its dates. Needless to say, before I even move out of New York, I'm already planning my first visit back.

Monday, July 14, 2008

It was the waking of wild winds, blew down the doors to let me in.

There are roughly three New Yorks. There is, first, the New York of the man or woman who was born here, who takes the city for granted and accepts its size and its turbulence as natural and inevitable. Second, there is the New York of the commuter — the city that is devoured by locusts each day and spat out each night. Third, there is the New York of the person who was born somewhere else and came to New York in quest of something...commuters give the city its tidal restlessness; natives give it solidity and continuity; but the settlers give it passion.
(E.B. White)

This morning, I decided that I simply could not get on board my subway without a large cup of my favorite coffee in hand. So, I made the detour. Upon entering my station, I heard the familiar roar of a Manhattan-bound train, so I sprinted through the turnstile, down the stairs, and into the last doors of the final car as the "BING-BONG!" sounded. There, I proceeded to fall directly into the lap of a fellow commuter. Happy Monday, sir! As a reward for you making your way out of bed and into the wild concrete jungle, you were given the chance to grope me! All before 9 AM!

Embarrassed that I must have appeared a novice on the subway, I took my seat, sipped my coffee, and looked up to see White's words, posted above. I couldn't help but immediately start to giggle. We settlers do bring passion, and very little shame to boot.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

If I don't listen to the talk of the town, then maybe I can fool myself

Dear Europeans,

There is a balance. I promise. It seems you either exist in a cloud of BO, or absolutely drenched in a thick musky smelly perfumed stench. It's unpleasant, to put it nicely. Actually, it makes me want to throw things at you and yell. You hurt my head.

SECRET-ly BAN-ed DEGREE-ly SURE-ly yours,
Your favorite concierge

Dear Other Europeans,

You refer to us as Ugly Americans when we don't learn your language, honor your customs, or adhere to your often bizarre logic. (And I agree, for the most part - I think it's tacky to show up in a foreign land and gawk at the differences.) However. In America, we tip those in the service industry. I'm not bending over backwards for you just because I'm nice. You seem to memorize the rest of your guidebooks - why does appreciation etiquette still manage to escape you?

Flatass broke-ly yours,
One apparently unattractive American

And since life should not always be about rants...

Dear Summer,

Thank you for existing so that I may have obnoxiously good fruit. Also, thank you for not being too ridiculously hot.


Dear Foot,

You're getting a tattoo!!! Ready?! I hear it's going to hurt.


Dear Subway,

Thank you for continuing to provide endless hours of hilarity and people watching. Ok, so I haven't seen anymore heavenly booties recently, but rest assured my commutes continue to be most entertaining.

Mass transit is cool,
Alison. F Train. 6th Ave Local

Dear Seth Avett,

You continue to be my #1 Most Brilliant Man Alive. True story. How can one man possibly be so pretty AND talented?! Thank you and Scott and Bob for giving us New Yorkers a free show this week.

I heart bluegrass,

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Just because I'm losing doesn't mean I'm lost.

I know I post a lot of pictures of my food. But damn. My lunch was pretty. (Bonus points: it was also very tasty.)

Crackers, lemon-marinated goat cheese, low-fat chicken salad, dried wasabi peas, and fruit. Nomnomnomnomnom. Severely lacking in the green department, I know, but I'll fix that with a bowl of green beans for dinner.

Now. Why do I talk so much about food? The answer is twofold. See, I decided long ago that I am always going to be obsessed with it. I might as well allow myself to be exactly that, providing I now obsess with gorgeous, healthier options. And it's worked well. 80 pounds don't just disappear. It's sad, but I actually had to work harder for the most recent 20 than I did the initial 60. And I can already tell these next 10 are going to be a doozy. But they'll be gone by the end of the year. Watch.
(I know 10 pounds in 6 months sounds like nothing. But let's not forget I am just now coming off a 2.5 year plateau. If I lose 10 pounds a year for the next 5 years, I'll be 100% satisfied and completely not stressed.)

But in truth, the reason I'm so ready to talk about what's on my plate is because I'm not ready to talk about what's in my head. I can't seem to control everything that's happening in my little world. Body image seems to be one of the only constants for absolute control. I do well: I see results. I don't: I know what's up.

So once again, I leave you with my favorite words from The Avett Brothers. Seriously. It's as if they carved them right out of my own thoughts.

New York quit callin'
New York leave me be

I'm changing the plans that I’ve been setting on
I’m scared by the way that my life's getting gone
Carolina one day I’ll, someday I’ll come home

(Don't worry. My funny will come back. I'm just in a little funk right now. New York and I are in a bit of a scuffle.)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Like a heart needs a beat.

I'm used to oddball dreams. With a mind as restless and an imagination as overactive as mine, they occur often. I usually wake up, roll my eyes, WTF myself, and carry on with my day.

Last night I dreamed that I got a call on my cell phone from the director of Wicked. Elphaba was out and none of the standbys or understudies were prepared. Could I get to the theatre and go on? I stammered that I'd only seen the show twice. I know no numbers, no cues, no lines, no choreography, no nothing. Certainly an unprepared standby would be a better bet than me. He said get to the theatre. I arrive, assuming there would be people there to help me. I was pointed in the direction of a black dress and some green paint. I tried my best, but every time I would slap some on, it would melt right off. Finally I found a darker color and did a botch job, panicking more and more that I still had no direction on what I would actually be doing once I got that whole verdigris thing under control. Someone came and briefed me about the scene I would enter into - I was expected to wing it from there.

As I rounded the corner to the stage, a boat drove by and splashed water all over me. The makeup was gone and I was trembling with fear. Unprepared, and now not even green, how in the HELL did anyone expect me to perform? No one cared. I was thrust onto stage, fully aware that the audience would probably stage a mutiny when they realized they would be stuck with an untrained white girl for the duration of the performance.

Here's the part of the story where you expect me to report my initial shortcomings followed by a sudden explosion of talent and energy. It saddens me to report such combustion never occurred. I just sucked. Plain and simple. The whole performance, I got worse and worse. And while I have no intention of getting bent out of shape over a DREAM...I don't know. I've felt like a bit of a failure eversince.

I blame hormones and general discomfort.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

It's crazy what a little joy can do.

It’s the first morning of the first day of my life as a 26 year old. I fell asleep in a familiar bed and woke up to the voices and laughter of two of my favorite people. I ate Chick-Fil-A and drank Sweet Tea for breakfast and now I’m anxiously awaiting an afternoon by the pool followed by an evening of beer and giggling.

I know I’ve been mighty full of Life Is Good lately. I’m also full of questions and nerves and uncertainty but I guess it’s all a little easier to take when you’ve seen the big picture and carry around a lot of love.

So this year, instead of making wishes for me, I’m going to make birthday wishes for you. May my 26th year see many smiles light your face and share long nights deep in conversation. I hope you’re happy and successful in all that you do. I wish for your relationships to grow deeper, stronger, more true. I pray for love - more love than any of us ever thought possible and only as much as we need so that there is always plenty to share. And it’s completely selfish that I want all these things for you, my friends. Because I know that when you’re on top of the world, I’ll be there too.