Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Let Go, Honeys

Stop trying to control everything.

Do not not serve gay people because they are gay because of your religion.  This suggestion holds especially true for emergency room staff.

If a storm is coming to town, and it happens to be entering an area that receives vectors of weather from all directions, North, South, East and West, like New York City does, then it makes no sense to call the game before it even starts.

If you do not believe in government, you should leave the United States since this country actually has a government. If the government isn't submitting to your dogmatic views, especially those of the constitutional conservative kind, it is because there are other people who voted for other things and we sort of live in a democracy. There is nothing you can do about democracy but make your voice heard, and then stand back and be in a little pain because things are not always going to go your way.

Your dog is not human. Stop pretending and stop forcing the canine. Cross species love does not require submission from the less sovereign animal.

Stop trying to control everything.

Get Their Maws Off Your Wall

If you need to keep certain people from seeing your posts on Facebook, just put them on your restricted list.

Don't want Mom to see you partying?

Don't want people of the opposite political spectrum shitting all over your celebratory posts about your favorite politicians or legislative breakthroughs?

Sick of the alums from your high school who think everything is cute or a reason to praise the owl gods?

Just restrict them. They will not see your posts unless you tag them.

Happy Days are Here Again.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Snow Peace

All these weather reports, you would think we are all about to die.

Listen, back in the day, when I was a kid, they called this, "It's snowing out."

Is it accumulating? Certainly.

But what it is more than anything else is quiet, peaceful, white, like a dream.

Forget all this snowmageddon stuff they are talking about.

It is really quiet and easy.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Art Abuse: Whiplash

Just watched it, Whiplash.

You know, I did not want to see it because I heard that J.K. Simmons plays an abusive instructor and I did not want to revisit this sort of thing. I had one of those guys in my life for two years at The Neighborhood Playhouse in NYC and it was very demoralizing. And I was one of the liked and lucky students. It was very unmooring and simply painful and embarrassing. Let's call the teacher who behaved horrendously, Ed Windsor.

Ed attacked, withheld support, used students as negative examples, yelled, shamed and basically told us that we were all a bunch of spoiled pussies. His behavior was erratic. At times he was kind. But that was usually only after he made you cry. He was a classic bully and took great pleasure in his power.

Ed was an abuser. But he also loved acting and wanted those of us who could get there to get there.

Strangely, Whiplash seems to land on the side of the abuser's philosophy. It's all worth it in the end if you can weed out the losers so the truly committed will rise up.  A sort of Darwinian puzzle that has its final Galapagos moments in Carnegie Hall.

Blech, really. Too simple.

However, it is shot so well.  It is acted very well. The music is great. The relationships very clear. The screenplay very surprising. The theme of Whiplash/reversal is very present.

There is a lot of blood spilled on drum kits.

I don't know what is to be gained from any of this. The experience of watching the movie was very much like the experience of being attacked and ridiculed in conservatory in the name of art, in the name of idol worship and some arbitrary idea of perfection. So if you want to feel the terror of really wanting something while having the person who has that key to wanting be a mood-disordered, unexamined bully, have at it.  J.K. Simmons does an amazing job.

The old man who was still presiding at my school at the time, Sanford Meisner, the founder, the boss of Ed Windsor, was someone I also had the strange experience of studying under occasionally. He, clearly, was full of rage. There are so many stories of how great Sandy was. Maybe. In his youth. But as an old man, smoking cigarettes while speaking through the hole in his cancer-carved trachea, and shaming and ridiculing students for not living up to his expectations, he was anything but someone to look up to. We were all examples to be pinned to a board, to show everyone how not to do it.  He had an agenda and that agenda was to scare the hell out of us, to make sure we knew that we were miles away from any kind of greatness. He, like Ed, enjoyed ridiculing his students. It was simply a game. Perhaps something taught to him by his furrier father during the Great Depression.

There was this knocking exercise where you would knock and enter and your scene partner would say, "That was a _________ knock," and the improv would begin.  I decided to try a timid knock, figuring it was sort of an original idea. Like, "Who could this timid person be, knocking?"

The exercise did not last long. And Sanford Meisner turned to the class and said about me, "If you make love the way you knock on doors, all the girls in this room would become lesbians."

The class roiled with laughter. Especially the ones who were trying to get Sanford to approve of them. It was disgusting. I loathe public humiliation. I probably should have walked out that day. But of course, like in any abusive situation that dangles a carrot, you continue--hoping to win approval. I, like the other students, was under the spell, the promise of future greatness if I could endure the hazing. Like in any cult, there were specific terms defined and used by the cult. There was a charismatic leader. There were promises of this case, a career in acting. We were so young and cowed and wanting. I think of the students in my class and I shudder, remembering the ones who were terrified and the Vichy-types who collaborated.

Dylan McDermott was a year ahead of me. He stood up to the power, to this mad-man Ed. He was not afraid. His name was Mark then. He paved the way for a coup. He was a hero. He set the tone for someone quieter to really take care of this mess.

The second year, after Dylan graduated and went to Broadway and the rest of us remained to finish out our second years, a talented actress, who eventually became a Unitarian minister, took it into her hands to get Ed Windsor removed from the staff. No small feat. He was a fixture and the most senior teacher. But clearly, it was time. Sanford Meisner approved of this removal. One of the things Mr. Meisner said was, "Some teachers, they think they are imitating me, but they get it all wrong."

Somehow, Sanford Meisner was insulted by Ed Windsor's poor imitation.  I am certain there were other things going on. But the rumors we heard were not substantiated so I will not put them into words.

After I graduated from the school, my boyfriend and I, who also went there, lived in our walkup, with the bath tub in the kitchen, and we sort of figured out how to live, though stunned and weakened by it all. We got acting jobs. We continued. I don't know that we were any better or any worse than other actors who went to less charismatic-cult-like schools. I do think Sanford Meisner's technique is very useful and it does pretty much insist that you be honest. Which is great. But perhaps not worth the price of admission. Our most famous graduate from our class was Illeana Douglas. She was very good at dodging the nastiness. But she knew how to act before she even got there.

I stayed in touch, strangely enough, with Ed Windsor. I ultimately felt terrible that we got him fired. Stockholm syndrome? The future minister who helmed his being fired got most of the students at the school to sign a petition for his expulsion. It truly worked. She was righteous, smart, a Vassar girl, and she put her talents to good use. I haven't seen her in years. I was blown away by her strength, something quiet and knowing. She was one of my best friends back then. I hope she is ministering well. But the whole showdown was traumatic for everyone. I really wished and wanted Ed to simply "recover" or something...

Ed, maybe, I thought, like one does of all abusers, "Well, if we could have just talked to him. If we just could have all had a sit-down..."   This, of course, was not much different from my reaction to George W. Bush during all his wars. I had a dream that I was the only liberal let into his circle and I was actually able to tame the bully.

Ed Windsor was very talented when he was young but not Hollywood pretty, so his career did not take off like his best buddy's did--John Voigt. Ed was an also-ran. This caused interminable pain to his ego. He was also, it seems, someone who must have endured much abuse from his own father. Ed did soften after his termination. And I did stay in touch with him. I wanted him to know that I succeeded. I wanted him to know that he did help me. I wanted him to know, though, that his behavior was not cool.  Ed actually did teach me many things.  He did toughen me up. He did force me to please him, to learn how to do this thing, this parlor trick, called "living truthfully under imaginary circumstances." And that is what is so odd about artist abuse. You can be destroyed and lifted up all at the same time.

However, I do not recommend it. At all.

Watch the movie, if you want to.  But you can miss it, too.

Deanna and Me, Together Forever?

I have a secondary email account I use mostly for these three things:

This blog.

Uploading YouTubers.

Sending drafts of plays-books, etc. as a third level safety backup spot.

Somehow, someone by the name of Deanna Cummings, set up an appleID using that email address. She probably punched it in by mistake, realized it, and then moved on to another Apple ID that is useful to her.

However...once you create an AppleID, it is almost impossible to get rid of it.

So now, this Deanna and I, are connected and I keep getting messages that she has attempted to enter my Apple ID, etc.  But it isn't even my Apple ID.


So, I did a search for someone named Deanna Cummings on Facebook, sent her a message to please delete her AppleID...however, she isn't even going to be able to do that, poor thing, because Apple doesn't delete AppleID's.

So now--I am connected to her forever?

Annoyance number 247 of the modern era.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Nyro Concert in Brooklyn. Is Sold Out.

Calling it a concert is a bit of an overstatement.

The recital?

The shindig?

The something or other...

MidWinter fun.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


If you go full Buddhist, where do you end up in the caring department?

Seems like the Western rules are what they are and they are set up to make you really care. Whether the rules are about greed or vanity or better things--like honor and achievement. Or other things, like pie or dogs.

Funny that pie, in the general, is a singular noun.

Frankly, and I am trying to be more like Frank every day, I wonder why people search like they do.

I have not had a run-in with any problematic Buddhists or anything. I simply think that when you slowly chop away at all the religious dogma, when you get to the Buddhists, there is a gentle desire to put down the ax.

I think, though, they may as well feel the sharp blow, too.


I Want to Help So Much

I love my ladies.
I love my lady actors.
I love my lady movies.

I love the salaries my ladies get.

All of it.

So it always surprises me when I hear Tina Fey, the most successful woman in television history, get so unhappy in her ugly outfits.

But hell---that's just me.

I was not raised in a state of mind where I thought because of the vagina between my legs, I would be at a huge disadvantage.

I have always looked at the actor business as one that is kind to women. Not so much because there are that many available gigs...because there are not...but because acting always just seems to appear more interesting when it is working through a woman.

Culturally, women have a huge advantage over men. They are allowed to notice, react, be emotional, have large personalities tempered by innate intelligence. And more. Often, these traits are written into the characters that women get to play. I always wanted to play those sort of roles back in the day. Not that I wanted to play female roles, necessarily, but rather, to play intelligent, feeling characters that behaved in the world, pretty much, more how I behaved in the world. They seemed to have more complex things to do on stage, in film. And were allowed greater sensitivity, which I liked.

I also just don't care if Emma Stone makes less than Michael Keaton. I mean, she gets to play great parts and she makes a ton of money.

Meryl Streep? Wouldn't lots of men want her salary and  her roles?

Yeah, I know, I'm missing the point. I hear you. But I am so in awe of these talented women, by what they do, by how wealthy they are, how funny, you name I do not feel like they need my help.

Women need to take over as much as they would like to or as much as they can. But Hollywood is a corporate town and everyone has to answer to shareholders.  And if movies with hot white guys heaving their naked chests while slinging guns in the spirit of destroying Islamic terrorists is what sells---then, that company town is going to sell those things.  I have no interest in rough, gunny, kill 'em all movies, but a lot of people do.

I know a guy who is of Asian genetics who is gay and furious because, basically, no one wants to have sex with him. I mean, he has a lot of sex, so I do not understand why he thinks he does not. But he is seriously unhappy about something and everything Asian. And this deficit is tied to his sense of appeal. I don't know what to say to a person like that. How much do you need, really?

It is a very interesting thing to me that people are so unglued by what they do not have. I feel like, in full middle age, that I have had so many disappointments and near misses and struggles as have many of my successful and also-ran friends. I just always figured, "Well, I guess this is a hard business. Reset."

I would love a mountain of money. Surely. As large as Jim Carrey's or Catherine Zeta Jones. I'm not quite as bi-polar as either one, but I'm working on it.

I don't know if we owe the world parity. I don't know exactly what we owe the disenfranchised wanters of the world, especially when it comes to Hollywood---which is, ultimately, a glamour industry peddling mystery and sex. I mean, and I mean this, I remember being in my twenties and I actually had thoughts like this, "I can't wait to be older so I am not just considered for what I look like and how much people want to get me in bed."     Well the day did come---and most physical consideration of any kind fell away.  And that was good. It freed me up. But, it's a sexy industry. So wish away your sexiness at your own peril.

I am obviously ambivalent around this subject. I absolutely would like everyone to feel that the world is fair and that our businesses, including our top glamour industry, reflected in real percentages our populace. But just because I think women are better at acting than men, does not help anything. Men, in their stronger physical push and bravado in the world that comes with testosterone and other advantages, are just more wanted at this point and sell more tickets. It's entirely unfair. I do not know how to fix it. I guess repeating it over and over again is important.  I hope Tina and all the talented XX wonders get as much as they want and need.

I wish this for the astronaut subculture and the CEO seats, too.

I wonder what else can be done? In addition to the yowling about it?

I am not looking to be shamed for writing this because "I just don't get it." I do. The math is wrong. It's not equal. I get it. Keep up the good outspoken energy, everyone. We all need to keep at it. But something has to tip so we get past this. What is it?

Gloria Steinem, please respond to this post?  You are always so smart.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

You Wonder

I love the material aspect of our Western world North American experience. But wonder.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Laura Nyro Tix. A few seats left. Last Chance for JANUARY 15 @ 8PM

New York
 Tendaberry: Songs of Laura Nyro

Thursday, January 15, 2015 at 8PM


Brooklyn Reading Works Presents: New York Tendaberry: Songs of Laura Nyro 
Produced by Louise Crawford with SINGERS Lauren Fox, Amy Burton, Grace Cosgrove, Erika Amato, Ina May Wool, Janie Barnett, Nancy Graham, Jennifer Lewis Bennett, Don Cummings, Louis Rosen and Debbie Deane

New York Tendaberry: The Iconic Songs and Life of Laura Nyro on January 15, 2015 at 8PM
Performance Date: January 15, 2015 at 8PM

Location: The Old Stone House in Park Slope (336 Third StreetBrooklynNY) or possibly The Bell House (149 Seventh StreetBrooklynNY) –if it just gets too big.

Audience Tickets: $25

This event will be sold out quickly. So please, if you want to come, jump on your ticket purchase today.

The show will include a very smart Nyro-Know-It-All who will give you some finer points of her life. But mostly, it’s the songs. The great songs.

This yearly event in Park Slope where tribute is paid to a great singer songwriter is always a large enjoyment.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Friendly New Year Reminder: Two Things

It is time to backup your computer.
And...figure out a plan to make sure it is always backed up.
Combo of External Hard Drive and a cloud backup will serve you well.
Just trying to help.


Bleach your sponges.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

It's All About Love...Babies

Why did I like The Imitation Game so much?

In addition to my complete satisfaction with the intelligent screenplay, the clear direction, the insistent ticking clock and Mr. Cumberbatch's fine, exciting acting, I was pulled upward into the bright sphere of understanding where the coldness of math and the warmth of human connection collide to form the future. This was super pleasant and gave my sloggy holiday mind a greater turn toward sharpness.

See this movie. It's pretty much about the invention of the computer. And it was done from an emotional need to connect.

So, it is not so surprising that social media ultimately won the day.

Join me in supporting and liking this film. You'll enjoy it. And furthermore...______________________ (fill in the blank).