What does one do when one awakens to a beautiful, sunny New York day in a King Kong-sized rage? If one finds oneself walking on the way home from getting coffee (which one does not need while in a King Kong rage), one may imagine picking up a digging bulldozer and throwing it at another digging bulldozer. And when a friendly Workman waves and offers, "How do you like this lovely summer weather we're having?" One replies, "It will be gone tomorrow." At the disappointment of this cruel fact, along with the persistant King Kong rage, one may be driven to a manic "seems like Spring" apartment clean. Perhaps one is tempted to buy a new-and-improved cleaning product to feed the beast, yet one has a full bottle of Pine-Sol already. Yet the King Kong rage drives one to consume still--to buy groceries--to make pate!
O great Lords Of The Abyss! Readers! I did not post an entry on Saturday as I was too busy drinking Co Co Reef and rapping Ludacris' "Number One Spot" at the local Karaoke hole. Have mercy on this Wench! I have wronged you. But I did not buy a new-and-improved cleaning product today.
Today I did a phone interview for the upcoming DVD release of a film I did called Love, Ludlow. I was so boring. I took the call at the Beauty Parlour while getting my roots done. And I felt as if the satellite rays to my cellphone were ricochetting off the foil on my head, bringing electro-magnetic havoc to myself and the hip staff and patrons of the Beauty Parlour. I also felt like a robot communicating with aliens on a UFO. I also felt like an asshole. So do us all a favor: If you believe in social justice, buy the Love, Ludlow DVD. And save us all from the true horror of my science-fiction-preoccupied boring interviews.
Yesterday I went to the 1-800-Flowers.com factory, where I usually work the two to three weeks before Valentine's Day, making rose bouquets, to fill out some paper work. It turns out that I would have to piss in a cup this year to pass a drug and alcohol test. I told my boss I would never pass that test. I would sooner pass the NY bar exam. My boss said, "I won't tell your co-workers why you're not working here." I said, "I'll tell them myself." So after giving one of my co-workers the 411, he suggested I smuggle somebody else's urine for the test. And that idea completely grossed me out. Walking to the subway back to Brooklyn, something extraordinary happened. I can't tell you exactly what as it involves personal information about a certain individual, but it was one of those extraordinary moments of personal consciousness that leaves one faint. Then I saw Anderson Cooper on the street. He was bundled up in a blue coat and hat. I used to have a crush on Anderson Cooper, before Michael Musto outed him (From my Vassar days, I realize having a crush on a gay man proves fruitless in that way). I didn't recognize him at first as he was not in The Thinking Man position in the presence of hungry, though happy, African children. Still, I waved to him. And he kind of snarled/ smiled back. Perhaps he was thinking: "There's that girl who, on Larry King, said she was offended that Roseanne kissed Muriel Hemmingway." Or maybe he thought, "There's just another gal who recognized me."
Note: The following was written on the worst day of the year.
I like that commercial where the Burger King King 1 is playing football. And he puts his hand against the guy in the scrum's balls to get the football. And he's running with the football and that James Bond music is playing in the background. And they show a chicken take-home container that looks like a football and a hand picks it up. If only I wasn't a vegetarian. On ladies night, I'd pick up one of those football-chicken- containers. It would be so much easier than consulting Vegetarian Times or The Moosewood Cookbook.
1 You know, the one with the Burger King King mask on.
Hey all you pessimists and depressives out there. It's time to celebrate. According to the UK's Dr. Cliff Arnell it's "the most depressing day of the year." So far today, I've been celebrating by doing some quiet meditation on our corrupt government starring George W. Bush, the war in Iraq, the bird flu epidemic, terrorist threats, global warming, celebrity, the media, guns, nuclear weapons, AIDS, poverty, trash, religion, racism, sexism, abuse, pedophilia, ignorance and, of course, those first three traumatic years. For later, I have a warm bottle of Jameson waiting, some Girls Gone Wild! DVDs, three bottles of Tylenol, Fox news, and an exacto knife and a lighter for some good old fashioned self-mutilation. Then, when I'm good and stumbling drunk, over-medicated, bloody, burnt and geared-up from all those hot topless teens, I'll retreat to the local bar where I'll throw myself on all the old men, get in a screaming fist-fight, walk out the door and fall on my face. If you happen to see me there on the pavement, no need to stop. I can assure you that I'm having the time of my life.
The cover story of yesterday's New York Times Magazine ("The Animal Self" by Charles Siebert) was about how science is suddenly abuzz again about animal behavior or, more specifically, animal "personality." Siebert writes:
"All sorts of research has been done in recent years revealing various aspects of animal complexity: African gray parrots that can not only count but can also grasp the concept of zero; self-recognition, empathy and the cultural transference of tool use in both chimps and dolphins; individual face-recognition among sheep; courtship songs in mice; laughter in rats."
I always assumed that rats could laugh (Wouldn't you laugh if you could survive a nuclear explosion?), but never knew for sure until now. So I've come up with a few rat jokes to use on the next rat or rats I meet (tomorrow). I actually encountered a large fellow last night while walking past a row of garbage cans, but had no material. Next time I'll be prepared.
Why did the rat cross the subway track?
To avoid the approaching train.
What do rats eat for breakfast?
The bagel with cream cheese I dropped this morning.
What is triangular, has eight legs and two tails?
Two rats fighting over a slice of pizza.
Why did the rats follow a homeless man who was playing a flute on the subway platform?
He had a bacon cheeseburger in his pocket.
Why did the female rat give the lawyer a box of chocolates?
So he wouldn't sewer.
Why do rats love Frank Sanatra and Sammy Davis Jr.?
Life isn't fair. So what's wrong with a fatalistic approach to life? I suppose religious texts exist, in part, to ground us in a "moral universe." But historically, these texts have only gone so far in serving this purpose. In short, we have choices. And thus, there's a fine line between neurosis, cultural-influences, etc. and acting like a jerk. It's one thing to be driven to crimes against the state or the individual by a particularly damaged childhood, psychosis or cultural influences. But to become victim-idenitified or complacent in one's injustice dismisses one's accountability, and therefore prevents psychic development. Did Eve eat the apple because of an articulate snake or because she was hungry for a delicious apple? Or was she passively taking her anger out on God for making her out of a rib? In any case, the moral of the story is that, although she blamed the devil for it, her mistake gave her (and all of us, apparently) mortal-consciousness. Thanks a lot, Eve. One can presumably conclude that after the Lord's wrath comes down on one for eating an apple, one quickly assumes a no-fruit diet. Perhaps ours is, indeed, a just universe. But it doesn't always seem that way. I'm sure that's why Jesus-Thumpers believe in the rapture. So that all of us satanic, non-Jesus-Thumpers will be left here to roast, and potentially be forced to watch bad reality tv in eternal damnation. As not to become victim-identified in relation to such Jesus-Thumpers for my opposing, non-thumping stance, I am consulting The Great Lords Of The Abyss in the design of my own rapture. I guess I believe that, as Freud would phrase it, sometimes a jerk is just a jerk. Which is why, when my rapture comes, the jerks will all disappear and I will happily be left here to burn in hell with the rest. That is, if I'm not a jerk.
I bought some bad milk at the deli the other day. Apologetic, the deli guy gave me a "one free Starbucks" coupon and said, "Have a caramel macchiato on me." So yesterday I went to the Starbucks by my therapist's office and ordered a caramel macchiato, a venti--getting my coupon's worth. The barista who works there has taken to calling me "Hova" because of the huge sunglasses I often wear. Apparently they remind him of the shades some ho wears in a Jay-Z video. Since he started calling me "Hova," a year or so ago, I've felt pressured to drop some Jay-Z rhymes every time I order a latte.
"The takeover/ the break's over, nigga/ God MC/ me, J. Hova..."
"When I come back like Jordan/ wearing the 4-5/ it ain't to play games with you/ it's to aim at you/ probably maim you..."
"I'll sell ice in the winter/ I'll sell fire in hell/ I am a hustler, baby/ I'll sell water to a well..."
"Sensitive thugs, ya all need hugs..."
He says it's the shades. But I know he calls me "Hova" because I'm from Evanston, Ill., the hotbed of hip-hop and represent Brooklyn, the home of the black and the beautiful. Despite the pressure to drop phat rhymes every time I hit the 'Bucks, I enjoy the discomfort in the faces of all the white, middle-age customers when I'm throwing down. Besides, seeing "Hova" written in black marker on the side of my venti caramel macchiato yesterday was enough to put a little extra G in my lean as I strutted out the door and onto the street.
The Self-Loather and The Revolutionary are in the ring. They charge toward eachother. The Revolutionary gives a quick, swift right-jab. The Self-Loather takes it in the left cheek bone and responds with a left hook to the side of The Revolutionary's head. The Revolutionary comes back and they lock gloves. The Revolutionary frees himself and jabs The Self-Loather's abdomen. The Self-Loather takes a step back then charges The Revolutionary, plummeting his head. The Revolutionary tries to block his face but becomes overpowered. And with a crushing blow, The Self-Loather hits the Revolutionary in the right eye, knocking him to the floor. 1...2...3... The Revolutionary gets up, shaken but not stirred. They lock eyes. The Self-Loather starts in. The Revolutionary throws a left hook. The Self-Loather blocks it and swings with his right--and hits. The Revolutionary comes back. They're in a lock. The Revolutionary jabs The Self-Loather in the gut. The Self-Loather hobbles backwards. The Revolutionary approaches and punches The Self-Loather straight in the face. The Self-Loather falls back, struggling. His head hits the ground. 1...2...3...
Last night I went over to Hecate's apartment. She told me Bathory was having a crisis at work and was running late. I sat down by the TV and a Playtex commercial was playing: "Now when you're on your period, you can say, it's not a problem," the voiceover cooly exclaimed as an image of a model in hot pants, welding, flashed upon the screen. "It's not a problem? It's not a problem?" I asked Hecate, vexed and perplexed. "Why do all the tampon boxes come in light pink and blue?" Hecate philosophized. "When you're on the rag you're obviously not thinking about babies." Soon we found ourselves being driven by Hecate's wizard husband, Merlin, to the pizza joint. Hecate and I were waiting at the bar for Bathory. But we must have forgotten to remove our invisible cloaks as we couldn't seem to get served by the bartender. Finally we got his attention. And after asking him for a red wine recommendation, we found ourselves drinking--surprize!--the most expensive red on the menu. After downing a glass or two and comparing pentagram charms, Bathory emerged from the fog outside and the three witches sat down to eat. At the table behind us, three girly-girls were shrieking, apparently possessed by some Sex and the City demon. I pulled out my trusty witch handbook and looked under "girly-girl spells." "Let's see...three toad nails, a teaspoon of snake blood, three horse hairs, a rat's tail and a shot of Jager..." We dug into our leather sachels, came up with the ingredients and placed them in our empty bottle of sparkling water. We held hands and started speaking in tongues as our waitress refilled our wine glasses. Suddenly, the shrieking at the next table stopped. We turned to find the girly-girls frozen in their expressions, cheese and crust still visible in their open mouths. "Don't thaw them out till the new moon," we advised the hostess, excusing ourselves. Walking out into the dark night, we were escorted home by a pack of starving, yellow-eyed wolves.
Shelley Winters is one of the greatest, if not the greatest actress of her time. She passed away last Saturday morning at the age of 83. Earlier in my life, I was lucky enough to work with Shelley when she played my great-grandmother on Roseanne. I vividly remember one particular moment when, while rehearsing on our kitchen set, she picked up a prop tomato, took a big bite out of it, and put it back in its bowl, seemingly unconscious. There was something so spontaneous and savage about that bite. Since, Shelley has been a major influence in my work and life as an actress. And it is the great fortune of future actresses that her film performances remain. In college, my best friend and roommate KT, the biggest Shelley-head I've ever met, and I would daydream about eras in Shelley's life. "To be a fly on the wall when Shelley roomed with Marlyn Monroe!" we squealed, and wondered if they too had a piece of toast up in their living room. While watching the Golden Globes last night and shaking my fist in distain, I had the realization that somewhere, Shelley was also shaking her fist in distain, and that perhaps, there were more of us out there... Still, life will never be the same.
The other day, I watched an Oprah show about miracles. Topics ranged from a baby surviving a difficult surgery to a dog who dialed 911 when his owner collapsed, saving her life. But the most provocative story, I found, was about a teenager named Laura who mysteriously disappeared from her hometown. Distraught, Beth Ann, one of Laura's classmates, showed her mother, Sha, a picture of Laura. Sha had never seen Laura before seeing that picture. Then one night, Sha had a series of three dreams which depicted a specific location she recognized: a curve in a road on the edge of town, bordering a forest. Curious, Sha and Beth Ann decide to drive to this location, pull over and search for Laura. Enduring physical and emotional obstacles, they search and search. Until they see something in the valley: Laura's smashed car. Laura is inside, unconscious but still alive. This story suggests the power of trusting one's intuition, as well as trusting what is beyond or "greater than" one's self. In my own day-to-day, I find it so easy to forget this sense of trust, which often times becomes dwarfed by anxiety. While, over the years, I have learned well that I only have so much control over my life, I find myself resisting this knowledge much of the time, and thus giving into feelings of dissatisfaction, fear and despair. We humans often separate ourselves from other animals, attributing our "humanness" to our mortal consciousness. But, how often we ignore that this lauded ego-consciousness, while valuable, has its limitations, and in turn, discredit the great potential of our intuition.
So last night I was drinking with some buddies in the E.Vill/ Dumbo and I ran into this chick named Lecy. She said I would write about my night in my blog the next day (today), and that when I did, it would be f*@kin boring.
Boring?! That's bulls**t! I asked her if she read my sweet last entry, and she said, "Yeah, it was f*@kin boring."
So I tried to rise above her hag-like bitterness by handing her a postcard for one of my upcoming acting showcases, which will be held at Cy Hackman's rehearsal studio in midtown, but she didn't take it. Dis! Then she said I was like every other flaccid hipster guy in New York.
Me: How do you know, Lecy?
Lecy: Because I know all of you, and unfortunately, have dated too many of you.
Me: You don't even know me!
Lecy: O yes I do.
Then she told me that I should quit acting--my life's passion!
Me: How dare you say that I should quit acting--my life's passion! You're such a bitch. And a pessimist to boot!
Lecy: Because all this town needs is another narcissistic aspiring actor/ improver/ showcase-and-student-film performer, with a website, who graduated from NYU in '88, gets trendy haircuts and wears designer jeans and pumas, hates sports, plays mediocre guitar, has his ipod in his messenger bag, chases idiotic college girls to appease his respective inferiority and mother complexes, reads Time Out, drinks beer on the LES every night with the same three guys who also happen to be his roommates, and writes all about it in his f*@king boring blog. Yawn!
Me: I do not read Time Out! And I don't know where you were in high school, Lecy--probably working on that dumb TV show you were on. But evidently you missed your 4-H classes, where you were supposed to learn cooking and sewing, and moreover, how to sit in the back of the class and shut your yap like a nice feminine girl should. You know, your personality really gets in your way...
Lecy: Yeah, Joe. That's why you hit on me every time I see you.
Me: That's bulls**t! God, I'm just being friendly! Suck my d#@k!
Lecy: I wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole with a rubber glove on the end of it that's been covered in hand sanitizer.
Me: Yeah right! You wish you could f*@k me! I'm the m.f.in man.
Lecy: Funny. In all my years in New York, I've never heard a flaccid hipster say that. Can't wait to read more about how great you are tomorrow in your boring f*@king blog.
Oh yeah? Well, FYI, I'm going to be the richest, most famous actor in the world. Much richer and more famous than your "Roseanne" ass! And not only am I special, I'm the coolest and best looking guy in New York City! There's no one better than me. I'm the m.f.in man.
Today, a woman in my group therapy told me that, while recently out in LA, she had a free gym pass. And that the latest craze for the workout ladies appeared to be: ass implants.1 Upon hearing her say "implants," I immediately assumed a feminist judo-stance, covering my eyes and ovaries. 2 When all of a sudden, I realized what an ingenious concept ass implants really was! In short, I'm now considering putting Temper Pedic mattress material in my ass and beneath the soles of my feet. I figure that as I am fifty-percent Swedish, the Temper Pedic material will naturally meld with my DNA, as well as on a cellular level. The implants will make my morning meditation sessions, followed by yoga, followed by a Zone-appropriated macrobiotic breakfast, and on into the day, making mega bucks, all the more Zen. So f@#k you, Gwyenth Paltrow! You may be rich, Steven Spielberg's goddaughter, married to the Coldplay guy and have to put big earphones on Apple at the shows, but I'm out-healthing you in '06! With ass implants!
1. It's true, I'm in group therapy. And it is against my group's rules to mention anything that occurs in our sessions, or to reveal anyone's identity. But, as this woman told me this anecdote in the waiting room, and I did not reveal her true superhero identity, I made the call that I could share it with you.
2. This stance is also known to occur when one is trying to have a drink at a bar, alone, and some drunk dude swaggers up and tries to hit on one.
In 1997, months before her death, Mother Teresa was so pissed-off that Nashville's Bongo Java was selling Nun Bun t-shirts, she wrote to them, asking them to stop selling merchandise with her image on a cinnamon bun. Perhaps the thief who stole the Nun Bun this past Christmas was a big Mother Teresa fan, and acted in a revolutionary manner to honor her humility. If that's the case, it is possible that the thief destroyed the bun immediately after stealing it, setting it aflame in some dark alleyway. I wonder what a shellaced cinnamon bun looks like, aflame. There's a fine line between false idols and American kitsch. But it's also a shame to shellac a good cinnamon bun if it's eventually going to be destroyed anyway.
Yesterday I did a reading of Lydia Stryk's American Tet at the New York Theater Workshop. It was the second reading I've done about the Iraqi war in a few months. The other, The Poor Itch by John Belluso, was read in November as part of the Public's New Works Now series. As the war in Iraq has been going on for some time now, I find it odd that there have been few if any plays produced in New York on the subject. My friend and colleague, Lisa Peterson, directed both readings. And after yesterday's performance, I asked her if she knew of any more plays out there, written or being written about the war. She mentioned that Mac Wellman had written a couple, and that she knew of a few others in the works. "Where are they?" I wondered. She shrugged. "They have to be produced by someone." Lisa likened those unproduced plays to airplanes circling the sky above a runway. We talked about the war and its similarities to Vietnam, its complexity and haphazardness. I thought of how disciplined the military must be, in order to survive the imminent chaos of modern warfare. Finally, we agreed on the importance of a play that represents, fairly, both a pro-war and anti-war stance. Just as drama itself indicates conflict or dramatic tension, an American play about the war cannot easily neglect the polarized American opinion. We spoke of how difficult it is for us humans to truly realize, understand and have compassion for an opposing stance on certain issues. Hopefully, in the near future, more playwrights will put themselves up to the difficult task of waging this war within themselves. And producers will finally open their doors to them.
Yesterday, I went to see the final performance of Edward Albee's Seascape, featuring stage goddess and dear friend Beth Marvel. I got my ticket at the will call window and joined the ticketholder's line. Outside, on the wall of the theater, large, jazzy photos of Chita Rivera were posted. And as the line inched closer to the theater's entrance, a video of Chita Rivera, dancing in various old Broadway numbers, played. I figured that since it was the final performance of Seascape, "they" had already converted the theater into "Chitaville." Too bad they couldn't keep the Seascape posters up through the last performance, I thought. Damned corporate hypocrisy. I got my ticket scanned and entered the theater. Inside, while passing the Chita Rivera souvenir booth, I heard a man ask for a large "Chita" t-shirt. To which the man behind the counter replied, "We're all sold out." Wow, I thought. The Chita Rivera show doesn't open for previews until Tuesday, and they're already out of large t-shirts! The Usher shows me to my seat and hands me a program. Chita Rivera is on the cover! So I ask the Usher, "Why is Chita Rivera on the cover of Seascape?" "This isn't Seascape, it's Chita Rivera," she replies. "Seascape is at the Booth, next door." I show the Usher my Seascape ticket and say, "Can you believe I got this far?" Swiftly I attempt to exit the theater, and after being steered away from a few emergency exit doors, I eventually exit legally and land in my seat next door, at the Booth. Beth, four months pregnant, played a lizard named Sarah. She was incredible.
This year I'm going to become like Bill Gates--a corporate mogul (not Bono, not Melinda-- Bill). Earning money is just like getting healthy. Thanks to the droning advisory of experts and the cold, hard facts of modern science, we basically know what we need to do. In short, you gotta know when to hold em, fold em, walk on the treadmill and run mother f@*ker run! Currently, I am not at my optimal health, economically or physically. Therefore, seizing the New Year, I will start thinking like Bill Gates, alternate yoga with jogging and free-weights daily, eat only miracle foods and drink only tea and water and the occasional glass of organic merlot. I will create new marketing strategies that will target audiences of both high and low income stratas--and the middle strata, too, which often surprizes as an effective source of GCG (Gross Capital Gain). Do I have business experience? No, not really. Is GCG one of the latest hip buisness terms? Probably not. But in order to become like the lion, one must begin to think like the lion: Thus, I am saving the world and destroying it, simultaneously! Roar!
"Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery." J. Austen How come in Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet thinks Mr. Darcy did all these bad things, and it turns out she's wrong, he didn't do them. In my experience, the bad things often times turn out to be true, and in such cases, too true. Perhaps Elizabeth Bennet just got lucky with Darcy. Or perhaps she came from a more well-adjusted home environment than me, with all those sisters, which is why she didn't put out until she figured it out. Clearly, Jane Austen took certain liberties of optimism with her novel's conclusion she may not have had she been writing non-fiction. I guess that 's just the magic of fiction: the ability to manipulate fate and create a happy ending. It seems possible to create a "happy ending" in one's life, too, but not without experiencing bouts of blind projection, and later, consciousness. This may be the point of Pride and Prejudice. But it seems that for Elizabeth Bennet, the good news of Mr. Darcy's innocence outweighs her feeling like a complete asshole for being wrong. While Darcy helps to assuage her guilt by attributing her self-proclaimed "impertinence" to the "liveliness" of her "mind." Perhaps it is true that, in fiction and non-fiction alike, love conquers all. But as Pride and Prejudice is a novel, I can't help but wonder if Darcy is just Jane Austen in a hot guy suit.
In In Touch magazine, there is a segment I like called "is it true," which confirms and dispells celebrity rumors with a yes "check" or a no "x." I also like the body section, which references celebrity bodies (often female ones, like mine). Compared to In Touch, Us Weekly is like a George Eliot novel. It's a lot closer to People, bucks-wise, but with fewer human-interest stories. Us is particularly good about comparing and contrasting two people who wear the same dress, and coming up with the one who looked better in it or, as it is often the case, had better accessories. In Touch is cheaper, more exploitative and ironic, while Us takes itself more seriously and has more money. I know why people like me read these magazines: Because rotting one's brain involves a lot of work and a lot of varying outlets. Some people who do not read these magazines weekly, as I do, read them occasionally, like when they are getting their nails done. I realize that while one is getting one's nails done, one will do anything to escape the awkwardness of sitting across from some stranger who may or may not speak English, who is digging in and filing away at one's nails, breathing on one. Or the manicurist is wearing a mask to avoid the breathing situation, which makes it equally discomforting for one. This is why I read these magazines on the subway or at home, so I can appreciate them somewhat privately and actually hold them in my grubby hands. It also means I have to purchase them. O forgive me blank-faced lords of the Abyss!
So last night I was out drinking with some buddies on the LES/ Williamsburg, and I met this chick named Lecy. She said I would write about my night in my blog the next day (today), and when I did, it would be f*@kin boring. Anyway, we partied all night, into the wee hours--college-style, dude! Great music. Hot chicks. You should have been there, man. I'm the m.f.in man.