Thursday, February 2, 2012

There's No Business Like Show Business... Unless You're Ugly

All of my life ("I have a lump...") I have been self-conscious of my looks. Whether it was a little extra padding around the mid-section (or the posterior), my receding hairline, stubby fingers, whatever- I've been conscious... of myself. It took me years of self-discovery, months of weight-watchers, and so many other hyphenated self-help (why are these all hyphenated?) techniques and practical applications to finally be comfortable in my own skin... even if it hung loosely over my newly skinny body.

So I graduated college, was lucky to land an agent, and have been struggling to achieve some kind of success as an actor. The stereotype became true, I got a miserable job at a restaurant, and I've been called back more times than Randy Quaid by the IRS, but hardly ever do I land the role. It's a downhill struggle trying to figure out why we don't get the roles we want, but I couldn't help but notice something my agent said to me one day.

I had a very successful audition one day, and had scheduled an appointment with my agent at 4:00pm uptown. Well, needless to say, the casting associates wanted to see me again at 5:00pm, and it was no short walk from Ripley Grier to my agent's office. I was still confident that I could make it, so I ran uptown to meet with her.

I love my agent- she is a very sweet woman who works very hard for her clients and cares very much about our success in the business and in our personal lives. Because she cares so much, especially for those of us who are new to the business, she is always offering advice- whatever she thinks might give us the leg-up on our next outing. This time, she mentioned something I wasn't expecting.

"I was looking at your photos," she said, "and I couldn't help but notice your hairline. It looks like you're balding."

"Well, I am." I said, suddenly feeling an omnipotent itch at the top of my forehead.

"Maybe you should look into that thing, the surgery."

And from there we went on to discuss how sensitive I am about my balding, how embarrassing it can be if there's a strong wind or if it's raining. We discussed hair restoration surgery, and how it had helped some of her other clients, and she thought it would be a good idea for me. I immediately agreed, and left the office trying to think of how I could make $5,000.00 to pay for hair restoration surgery.

I ran back down to my callback, which I was already late for, in the rain. Every drop was like another word, 

"You. Can't. Afford. Hair. Restoration. Surgery. You. Can't. Even. Pay. Rent."

By the time I got to the studio it was 4:50. I had ten minutes to freshen up and review the callback material before they called me in. They had given me "Mooning" from Grease to sing, and because of my meeting I had barely looked at it. I ran into the bathroom to fix my tie, and caught a glimpse in the mirror-

There, staring back at me, was my forehead. So long and shiny, it reflected the mirror like a funhouse, which the mirror in turn reflected, creating an endless chain of reflections of my bald head. My hair was in such disarray that I spent the next ten minutes fussing it back into submission, and finally walked out in frustration with the best possible arrangement, which was still not good enough for me. They called me in.

"I spend my da-eeeee-aaaaaays...(thinking about my bald head)... just mooooo-ooooo-ooooning so sad and blue-ooo (I am sad and blue =( ). I spend my na-ights... (wondering how I'm going to get work with a follicular wasteland where my hair should be)... just mooooo-oooooo-ooooning all over you (all over who? Oh, right, my hairline)."

It went on. The entire time, all I could think was that I was standing there- a hairless monkey, dancing and singing for their enjoyment only to hear those terrible words-

"Thank you!"

I walked out, dejected.

Ever since that day, I have never been able to walk down the street without noticing a full head of hair. With every guy I see on television, all I can think is, "Wow, I could do that job if I had hair like his." I even see shampoo commercials as things I can check off of my "I Will Never Do This" list. It has literally become an obsession that keeps me awake at night- "You will never work. They see through you... and your thin hair."

But let me ask you something- do you know how they "fix" your hairline? Let me tell you.


Look up the pictures, it's actually grisly. Not to mention, you have to take a drug called Propecia for the rest of your life to keep it from falling out again. What's that, you say? The side effects? Oh, right... possible loss of sex drive. In some cases, your sex drive doesn't even return if you stop taking the drug. Oh yeah, and it might be linked to prostate cancer. But whatever, now you've got hair again.

And did I mention that Propecia does not necessarily work for follicles in the temple-front region of the hairline? It is more effective on the crown of the scalp. So all that money you just paid for hair transplants, and you might keep the transplants while the rest of your hair falls out of your head. Sorry, Charlie, no acting job is worth looking like a deformed Chia Pet for the rest of my life with a six inch scar across the back of my head and a spattering of lonely hairs above my ears.

I appreciate that my agent wants the best for me, but now I have become a monster- constantly critiquing hairlines and type-ing myself out of auditions because I "can't play a leading man with a receding hairline". And can I be honest? My hair loss is not even to any great extent. All I have learned is that we as people judge far too quickly and far too harshly.

Love yourselves, people. I do not condemn plastic surgery; a person's body is their own to do what they want with. However, pulling and tugging the wrinkles away, moving your hair (did I mention they can use body hair for restoration? So you might get pubes on your head), plumping things up and flattening things down is so horrific. We have used entertainment to rob ourselves of humanity! Art is supposed to comment on life, not the other way around.

I'm going to age gracefully. The day my hair starts looking too thin, I'm just going to shave it all off... and there's nothing you can do to stop me.

And I'll be DAMNED if I'm putting pubes on my head.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What Dreams May Come

Yeah, I haven't written here in like two months, so?

Ok, you're right, I'm really bad at this.

So here's the scoop- I'm trying to get back on the bandwagon of being a real human being with adult responsibilities and some kind of regular schedule. I have decided to start by posting here again every night, even if I don't really have anything to say... which should be really great for all of you reading.

The point is this: I have been really lucky. Especially in this business, it is easy to feel overlooked, untalented, and unimpressive, but I have been lucky enough to get to know someone who has made me realize that A) I was being kind of a whiny bitch, and rather than sitting on my ass eating oreos and watching reruns of Project Runway, I should be sitting on my ass eating oreos and looking up auditions with reruns of Project Runway in the background (Ok, we all know it should be Dear Genevieve, but whatever)... and B) I go on too many long tangents and forget what my bullet points are.

I know he has an aversion to being mentioned in blog posts, so I won't name any names, but this great guy has been so supportive and has had so much faith in me without any reservations, and I am so grateful for that right now. I only hope that I can somehow return the favor.

The truth is that I have been allowing my fear of failure to stop me from doing what makes me happy, and I've subscribed to the idea that I wasn't good enough before I could prove myself wrong (or right. Would I be right? I think I'm wrong...). After a kind of bad episode where I confessed to him that I was in a funk about myself as a performer, he knew exactly how to make me feel better about myself, and even inspired me to go out and do my best work- and believe it or not, today, the day after our talk, I went out and got two callbacks this week.

Don't lose faith in yourselves. Sometimes that's the only support you'll feel you have... and if you're lucky, you'll meet a guy like him.

Besides, if you can't love yourself, how in the HELL are you gonna love somebody else? Can I get an amen?!?! (Yes you can, Ru... Yes you can...)


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

For Mima

Just a short post-

2012 Has been crazy so far- lots of auditions coming up, which is great, because at the end of last year I was kind of falling off the horse with that one... and instead of getting back on, I was just kind of shrugging in the dirt, thinking, "Eh... I'll catch the next one that comes by."

The biggest change this year, though, is that on December 30th my grandmother passed away. She was one of the most loving, supportive, and funny people I have ever had the privilege of knowing, making this one of the most confusing and shocking moments in my life.

At every show, Mima was there. Whenever I sang, she was there. She loved when I recorded songs for her, she always wanted to talk about actors, movies, musicals, and (more than anything) show biz stories. She just had this enthusiasm for what I did that inspired me to love it even more, and I always loved that if something great happened she was so excited for me.

Lately I have been doubting myself. I have been doubting my abilities as a performer, I have been doubting my choices to pursue it, and I have been doubting whether or not it truly makes me happy anymore. But when I think of how she loved me and had such unwavering faith in me, it makes me want to prove myself. It makes me realize that she (as well as so many other people I love) had so little doubt that I had something special about me that she never once discouraged me from following my dream.

While I do get sad when I think of how much I miss her- even realizing that this is the first blog post that I'll have written that she didn't get to read- I also know that she is always here with me. Now when I walk into the audition room, I won't have to wait til Sunday dinner to tell her how it went, because she will be there with me. From now on, Mima is my guardian angel.

As I approach this crazy audition season and PRAY that someone will give me a job, perhaps my prayers are exactly what I need.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Actor Does What?

... Oh, right... he knits. So guess what I'm doing? I'm knitting!

Alright, folks, so here's the deal- For the last month and a half I've been a mess. I've been bitter about the stupid philosophy class, working two jobs (one that will definitely get its own post... I worked for Miranda Priestly), doubting my ability to break into this business we call 'Show', and just a plethora of other terrible things.

The point is that I'm making a concerted effort to put all of those terrible feelings behind me! It's time again, I think, to put that extra hitch in my giddy-up that I always seem to need. This time, I'm doing it by relaxing and having fun with the needles and some crochet-weight yarn. I'm working on some lace, which I haven't done in a while, and is challenging, but great.

I've been working on the Stor Rund Dug pattern doily from awesome pattern! I'll post pictures soon.

Sorry this post lacked personality- give me time to heal, you'll get that sarcastic bitch back in no time.


Friday, June 17, 2011

A New Dawn... of the Dead

What happens when you take an actor + a blowout fight with his only source of income - a job + an unpaid gig?

The answer is a big problem. A problem not even Chinese third grade math whizzes can solve (and trust me, they're still trying).

Here's the situation- I failed a class in my last semester of college. To be fair, it was because of my atypically busy schedule and my own undertaking of too many obligations in one semester. However, I only failed philosophy by 5% of the grade, and when I offered to do extra credit, the teacher, a lovely, lovely man, insulted me and refused. Now I'm not saying he's a bad person, I'm only saying he's a misogynist half-wit who lacks compassion or human emotions. I'm not bitter.

So what to do about this little dilemma? Obviously, the answer is to commit myself to a show that doesn't pay and eats up time during the day that could be occupied by a job. Now, if I didn't have to pay $900 for a philosophy class, I wouldn't have to turn down projects that are directly related to my degree (not bitter). Especially not turning them down in order to study something that is trivial and unrelated to anything I will have any use for (does anyone else taste dark chocolate?). Unfortunately, I didn't have the forethought to realize that $900 does not, contrary to popular belief, simply materialize when needed, else wouldn't all of the NJ housewives be saved?

So I took the non-paying job, only to discover now that I have an excellent opportunity to make money. Yes, money- the green stuff that philosophy teachers don't make (seriously, dark chocolate? Coffee maybe?). I find myself in quite a pickle- and not the kind I'd normally enjoy (minds OUT of the gutter, thank you). I'm going to have to, now two rehearsals in, back out of a project... which only makes me look bad. All because a visiting professor who is a huge Kant couldn't let me make up 5% of my grade. Now I don't want to be offensive or libel and go tarnishing this man's name. I will only say he was a visiting professor at Montclair State University teaching an Introduction to Philosophy course in the Spring of 2011. He may also, at this time, have been the chairperson of the Philosophy Department at Nyack College in NY, and/or written a book entitled "Eyes That See, Ears That Hear". Just a few biographical facts.

So this modern philosopher (which I'm sure is the equivalent of a 17th Century rocket scientist) has now effectively come between me and my first passion- performing. I don't take this lightly. I don't take anything lightly, else I wouldn't constantly be on a diet.

So you can understand why these days posts are less frequent and more aggressive. Unfortunately, turds that choose to be self-important are not the same as professors. I think a professor would have chosen to have a positive impact on a student who is not even committed, by their degree, to the professor's class. I think they also would have been able to assess that a well written, insightful paper discussing the topics of the course and their practical application to the student's own views was enough to warrant a second chance at making good. To my dismay, these points are frequently overlooked by men with small penises... like philosophers.

Not bitter.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Across the Universe

It has been a ROUGH couple of weeks, everyone.

Let me tell you, graduating (or not...) is not an easy process to go through. Suddenly coming home for what seems like forever, being a little trapped, being fooled into thinking it's just summer vacation... it sucks.

I found a temporary job which, for the moment, looks like it's going to be a lot of fun. I'll be teaching theatre to kids at a camp in a neighboring town, ages 8-14 for about six weeks. I'm so excited to get to share what I've learned and loved about theatre with young people- let's hope they're as excited as I am.

Unfortunately, the battle of the dueling philosophies continues. Oh, have I not told you this story yet? Well, that's going to be a separate post. There is FAR too much information to squeeze into this one. But trust me, I have been jerked around one-too-many times by the good old crew over in the Philosophy department at MSU. Trust me, I will be pulling NO punches in my description of that fiasco, especially considering the fact that I have the entire thing well documented.

So for the time being, just know that I am slowly but surely solving the problem, trying to be the better man, but taking no prisoners. This one has been a particularly nasty fight, but I have faith that I'll be the one coming out on top in the end. No homo.

Ok, yes homo.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A New Day

So much is happening!

-I've recently signed with my first agent, Renee Glicker of About Artists Agency, or "Triple A", as I've been calling them, since hopefully they are going to give my career the much-needed roadside assistance it's been warranting.

-I am (hopefully) graduating from Montclair in May. I can't even discuss this right now. All I will say is that A) The worst thing to ever happen to me was getting a liberal arts education, and B) Montclair State University is a gallivanting, cursing, cut-throat bunch of highway robbers. But good Karma, I wish them well (-_-)

-I broke up with my boyfriend of about 7 months in April, and it's just been very difficult. Wishing him well, feeling guilty, and then lonely on top of it, so it's been a rough month.

Here's to hoping the coming days will bring resolution, good news, and more frequent blog posts =D