Saturday, August 29, 2009

Remembering Ted Part Deux

Because I grew up in Massachusetts and this man was my Senator and the Kennedy's essentially feel like part of the family in this state....oh and Ted actually did stuff for the state, I was glued to the memorial last night...

and to the church service this morning...

and were I in MA today, I would be standing with my mother and my sister at Hanscom Air Force Base in the rain awaiting a moment to salute the casket that will go by, be loaded onto a military plane and flown to the Capitol where he will be buried alongside his brothers.

It is grey, stormy day...much like the day Ted first brought out is friend John Culver out on the water for the first time. I am quite sure, Ted is getting out the boat, dragging his brothers along and hitting the water.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Remembering Ted...

I had come to home to Boston Tuesday night. It was late, I was exhausted, my sister, in her own fog of a long day, had taken a wrong turn and we got trapped amidst the summer construction on the way back to my mother's house. I remember finally getting to bed and was not eager to have to wake up early the next morning - workmen were coming to work on the kitchen the next morning. There was just an odd pall of crankiness and something just not being quite right over that day.

The next morning, I come down for breakfast. The TV is on and my mother says "Did you hear about Ted Kennedy?" It was 8am and the tributes had already begun.

It didn't seem possible.

Really? Ted Kennedy? Dead? Gone? Silenced?

Most people figured that when he didn;t make Eunice's funeral, that that was a bad sign. I remember thinking, after hearing that he was asking the governor of Massachusetts to change the law about being able to appoint a temporary replacement before a special election should anything happen, that that was the bad sign. Still, I think a good many of us figured that he still had at least a few good months if not years in him before he left the Senate floor.

There are those who can't get beyond Chappaquiddick or the case of his nephew William Smith...but like with many a flawed public persona, we have to remember that there were many good deeds done as well:

*the ability to vote at 18
*a continual fight for civil rights
*despite being a staunch Catholic, he fought for a woman's right to choose
*while against both Iraq wars, he fought for proper body armor for soldiers and as well as post-war care.
*he started fighting for health care as early as 1964...
*he helped immigrant families

Channel 5 in Boston showed a scrolling list of his legislation and even as they had to finish a particular broadcast, the list would keep rolling as there was not enough time to show all of the work he had done.

To whom much is given, much is required is the family motto, and he lived that motto whole-heartedly.

It is a sad loss to not only the Kennedy family, but to the commonwealth of Massacuhsetts and this country that this voice has been silenced. We can only hope that someone, whether a member of the family or not, takes up the torch and continues the dream.

Peace --Alex

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cuz it's just that good...

My friend Johanna is a talented singer and actress. Her fiancee Andrea works for a non-for profit and writes a tremendous blog. In this blog, she had written a letter to the president, which I truly hope he reads...and I hope you do, too. Rock on, Andrea.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Sox...Yankees...wild card?

The Sox got swept by the Yanks the last time they played against each other. Previous to that nightmarish spate of games, the Yanks had lost 8 straight home games to the felt like when Darth Vader gave into the hate and attacked Luke Skywalker (before Luke reminded him that he still had good in him...) The Sox have - like pre-2003 history - have fallen apart post-All Star Game and are far too many games behind the Yanks...but as they prepare for this next series that starts tonight, they can at least go in having swept Toronto including beating Roy Halladay. They will have momentum...and the need for's hoping they get it.

The day has been slooooooooow at the office, which is good in the sense that I haven't had to function too much on four and a half hours sleep (if that), but bad in the sense that I could easily have fallen asleep at my desk (or under it...taking the phone and door clicker with me...)
This is the one problem with having a early morning day job AND co-producing a cabaret evening.

Last night was the Finals of 1930's Idol. We had ten excellent contestants, brought down to five, and then it was 3 - audience favorite, runner-up and the winner. To see the different song stylings and costumes, I am sure it was difficult choice for our three judges, but Merrill Grant got audience favorite, Ritt Henn got runner-up and Sigali Hamburger - last year's runner up - was the winner :) If you hear of any of them performing anywhere, PLEASE go see them.

And speaking of seeing people, our guest performers were also pretty darn amazing. Daryl Sherman - a jazz and cabaret icon graced our stage last night in her own inimitable fashion; there's a reason she was the 2009 MAC Award winner for best jazz sinter/instrumentalist. And then we had the just astonishing Gelber and Manning. You have to go see these people if you care at all about jazz age music or just want to see two really excellent performers :)

Dorothy Parker would have been proud I think, to have seen such a wonderful celebration of her spirit...yet would not have shown up for it.

After the night was over, we headed over to one of her old haunts, Flute bar midtown for some champagne and a chance to sit back. I did have to leave after only one Kier Royal as the man and the MIL had headed over to the Carnegie Deli as a final farewell over their famous cheesecake. Elsie - my MIL - is presently on her way back to Italy. That woman saw more museums and other events here in the city in two weeks that most might see in a year. More power to you, Elsie and safe travels.

Peace to all y'all and remember KEEP PAYING ATTENTION!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Workin' readin', the hustle continues...

And it's not just me and a good part of the general populace...the president and the Democrats are hustling now for health care reform. They have hit a brick wall with the Republicans, they feel and are now working to just get their own Congressional posse to agree on proper reform, and the public option at long damn last.

Obama may seem overwhelmed and a bit lost and disappointing, but that is just because HE IS! I don't think Jimmy Carter came into this much hoo ha after taking over for Ford - mainly Nixon. Economic crisis, health care issues, two wars, climate change, the fight for gay marriage and already %400 more death threats than the 3,000 death threats George W. recieved while in office (and George actually EARNED some of that hate). I applaud the man for not having a mental breakdown during a press conference screaming "It's too much! It's too much! I was wrong! Let Hillary take over, I don't care!" (knock on wood)

It is just an outrageous time...and for the Republicans to remain so petty about Obama and the Democrats winning that they have to poison the airwaves and the internet with misinformation, fear and hate is just that - petty and dangerous to democracy. Good God, people, work it out! I mean, do you want to be this lady getting an earful from Barney Frank? (can I just say, it makes me love him all the more?)

Okay, I will give props to one Republican right now...because despite the fact that he essentially gave George his job and his war and fought affirmative action, the man also wants to make sure that gay people can get married...

In the meantime, I saw this headline on the New York Times website - it is a preview to an article that will be in the magazine this weekend - to me, it was a "Duh!" headline and story. Yet it is shocking how many honor killings, baby drownings, rapes, etc continue in this day and age. It is well beyond times for this kind of treatment to change.


The job today is slow...super slow...and it may stay that way. The woman I am back up for is out sick and things are STILL slow enough for me to gather my thoughts and type all...this. It is not a summer Friday...I am one of four people on this floor right now as the rest are working from home or not in. I figure all hell will break loose with phone calls and food deliveries as soon as Labor Day rears its "Summer's over, suckers!" tongue-waggling head, but for now...I will enjoy the confirmation of the fact that Alex cannot work from home. Alex needs an actual office and apparently the thrill of doing my work while on The Man's dime. Thus I am actually getting some stuff I would not get done at home - particularly now that our second "let's see how well we do without cable?" experiment is over and I can watch as many Law & Order: Criminal Intent's and Daily Show reruns as I want.

Tonight, the hustle continues with seeing some of a poetry reading with the MIL and the man (not The Man, my man, though while he does look more like the oppressor now, he looks darn good), and then hitting my former co-worker Brian Hampton's show In the Jungle Fun Room which is based on his actual experience working at a zoo. There are so many Fringe shows I actually WANT to see and like with social events in general in New York, you can't see them all, but I will at least get to see this one :) And hopefully the Robby Sandler produced Sex In the Holy Land...and...and...and

Before I sign off as I actually do have some paperwork that is not ME related sitting here like the Geico money staring at me and waiting for me to actually get to it, may I ask HAVE YOU CALLED/EMAILED YOUR CONGRESSFOLK?


Peace --Alex

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Economic Indicators, Health Care and the Hustle

As I have mentioned in a previous post, the Brian Lehrer show on WNYC does a segment on "Uncommon Economic Indicators"...well, here's one for you: I'm actually working.

It's not full time, but after months of not hearing much from the temp agencies, I suddenly have a two day a week gig, got to work an extra day Monday (and that may turn into something more regular in a couple of weeks) and the lady I alternate with at the two-day-a-week job is on vacation so I got an extra day here. (Could have been three but I was supposed to hit Boston Monday and we've got 1930's Idol finals Thursday...I'll get to all that...) I am still a little shocked that I am sitting in an office again and getting a paycheck from someone other than unemployment (still getting the unemployment but at least I am hopefully weaning myself off of it)

But before I get into all that, I have to talk about the Health Care Reform bill and the fearmongerers that are trying to stop it or mangle it.

why, Why WHY are people buying into the fear and misinformation again as they did with Iraq and back when Clinton was trying to institute health care reform and why Why WHY can't the Democrats stand up to the fearmongering bullies and speak properly to the American people about this?

For all those freaking out about the "public option", last check, the public option is AN OPTION for those without insurance and who cannot get it through work. If you have insurance through work and you like it, you get to STICK WITH IT.

For all those freaking about the government "taking over my medicare!" um...Medicare and Medicaid are government run...and last check, they don't plan on messing with it.

For all those freaking out over the co-op option...I don't know enough about that one yet, but it sounds like they don't far, it sounds like some compromise to make the GOPers happy so they don't have to vote for that scary public option.

I really think it is time to CALL, WRITE, FAX, EMAIL your Congressfolk about making sure that the public option is in there and that proper reform HAPPENS. We can't risk it NOT happening.

Now, back to uncommon economic indicators...

*My husband, who has had long hair since well before I met him, got it cut off yesterday.

Why would this be an indicator of the economy?

My husband has worked for an investment firm for about 8 years, grew out his hair while there, and still has his job. He has essentially made himself indispensible (knock on wood) and no one has complained as he maintains a professional demeanor and does his work well.

He has been looking for a second job, had two interviews and he has felt that while his resume and interview skills are stellar, the hair may have actually been an issue. (yes, someone may have actually looked at him and thought, "you dirty longhair!")

Four ponytails later, he is clean cut and ready for interviews. Now, he had other reasons for cutting the hair - just a change, for one - but the job issues were indeed a large part of the decision. We shall miss is long locks, but a) this could lead to a second job, b) he still does look mighty good and b) Locks of Love will LOVE him.

As for me, the jobs, and life in general aka the hustle is slowing down a little bit an admittedly I am okay with it. Allow me to give you an idea of my last couple of weeks:

July 30th
*work at new financial job: skip out on other plans that evening as I have had no time to clean and the sister is coming into town for the weekend. I clean, meet the man downtown at our friend Sam's place for drinks, go meet sister at Bolt Bus stop on 34th.

August 1st
*12-2 Work for Dianne (personal assistant position)
*2:30ish - 8:30ish meet sister and man at The Natural History Museum and then hit Central Park. There is much walking, people watching - where else can you see acrobatic b-boys, Thoth, a drum circle, beach volleyball, disco dancing roller skaters and end with some tango before hitting Topaz for thai?

August 2nd
*Sing at MABC - the wiccan sister comes, does not burst into flames and likes the minister. I think we have a meal at the diner in my neighborhood at some point...late brunch. Sister is too tired to hit MoMA so we chill before...
*meeting mom for birthday dinner which is followed by a walk through Times Square. Sister, for some reason unbeknownst to me, actually wants to go into the madness of the M&M store. She ends up overstimulated from the whole weekend.

August 3rd
*train at new job
*run up to Whole Foods for picnic food and gear
*run down Brooklyn for picnic for friends for husband's b-day...for which he is sadly late due to MTA craziness. We drink enough prosecco to cover for him.
*Watch fab variety show at Galapagos and eat rest of picnic (they allow food!)
*drink rest of prosecco by water

August 4th
*first official day at new job
*do errand for Dianne
*run home for disco nap (which barely happens)
*do some emailing and such for BNO
*go to poi class
*see midnight Roots jam - leave at 2ish - am up for 21 hours.

August 5th
*sleep as much of the day as I can, but am dealing with last minute details and promotion of Big Night Out Ladies Night
*run to bank (I think)
*run home and make dinner

August 6th
*work for Shawn
*run over to Etcetera, Etc for quick dinner before Ladies Night. We are thrilled to find out that Daniele - owner of Etcetera, Etc - has not only purchased a baby grand piano for the room, but has had the sucker set up at least a few weeks ahead of schedule. We love Daniele.
*The open mic happens, we move into Ladies Night, go over time, and it is a fab fab evening. Thank Bo Mi Lee, Crystal Skillman, Amy Shapiro and Carla Lynn Hall.
*It is late night at the shuttle bus is running from 168th to 207.

August 7th
*work at new job
*skip Raul Midon and Michele N'degeocello FREE at Lincoln Center so I can make apartment remotely livable for incoming Mother-in-Law. Body tired. Not as much work gets done as we would like.

August 8th
*11-1 work for Dianne
*2-6ish auditions and call back discussions for Estrogenius Week 3 plays (including the one I am directing: The Dueling Princess)
*grab something to eat
*7:30ish meet MIL and Jeff at Barefoot Boogie where I am DJing. I leave early with the MIL, leaving Jeff with a cd to complete the music for the night. After getting MIL settled in, it is midnight-ish as I get to bed.

August 9th
*Sing at MABC
*run over to Estrogenius callbacks for my play. My hour is 1-2, the last hour is 2-3, from 3ish to 4:30ish - if not later - we discuss our casting and that part of the day is done.
*run back to Dianne's to finish stuff I couldn't get to the day before
*meet Jeff and MIL for...something I cannot remember...
*we get home and I make dinner

August 10th
*work for lovely lady at Public Garden Design
*run down to Trader Joe's - at rush hour - to pick up items for Dianne as well as some groceries of my own.
*get cab to Dianne's with groceries
*take my groceries and head home on subway
*have night in with husband

August 11th
*work at new job
*run down to Don't Tell Mama to meet with Jenny and Sidney about 1930's Idol. Jenny ends up being late thanks to the A train being cranky and I have to leave before she gets there so I can get to fire class.
*eat and head to Brooklyn for fire class
*have beverage before heading back home

August 12th
*work for Shawn
*get dinner
*run to Don't Tell Mama for 1930's Idol.
*I am told to write some introductions for the judges...short and perhaps witty in the vein of Dorothy Parker. This turns out to be a bad idea on short notice and sleep deprivation. I get the judges' bios off one of the judge's iPhones, scribble down as much relevant info as I can...and end up insulting some of the top members of the cabaret community. (will be more prepared for Finals and no attempt at funny will be made)
*after expenses, we make $8.94

August 13th
*work for Dianne
*see vocal therapist - we are both amazed that I have not gone compeletely hoarse. Still, I should take it easy...ha ha ha!
*meet man and MIL for dinner and then see Julie and Julia - Meryl Streep at Julia is wonderful. The movie is rather adorable and does indeed make you crave butter.

August 14th
*work at new job
*tighten up SW?F material. Only get caught once by co-worker for trying to speak it out loud and time it.
*get something to eat
*rehearse Strawberry Letter 23 by the Brothers Johnson with Eric and the band at Otto's before No Name begins
*Go over material one last time and then I get to watch before and after I perform, Aladdin Ullah, Carl Kissin, Kambri Crewes and Tom Shillue test out their own new material and just kill. It is beautiful...somehow I got to be part of this line-up. Thank you Eric Vetter.

August 15th
*work for Dianne. It is my last Saturday - and last day overall - to work for her. The only thing I will not miss is the home health aide drama which went on for at least four of the five weeks. Otherwise, a nice gig. Thank you, Jaye!
*head .. home...I don't know quite to do with myself
*go over church music
*take care of Estrogenius emails
*take a nap (?!?)
*meet the man and MIL at La Estufa. I forget the coupon we have and have to run home and get it. Luckily home is not too far away and the service, while not slow, is laid back just enough to give me time.

This week will be all about trying to properly fit writing in my soon-to-be less hectic schedule, getting back to auditioning, actually doing my vocal exercises fully each morning and...just getting organized.

Oh and getting ready for NEXT week's storytelling event at the Tenement Museum where H.R. Britton hosts LES Stories. It is an excellent storytelling event and I will be there telling a story with the theme "melting pot". Think I can put something together about that?

And don't forget to come down to the finals of 1930's Idol THIS THURSDAY AUGUST 20th!!! We got ten excellent finalists and it is going to be an excellent show :)

Lastly, people, CALL YOUR CONGRESSFOLK about health care reform and KEEP PAYING ATTENTION!

Peace --Alex