Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Changing Tides

How the days go by! This past week(end) seems like such a blur (and only partially alcohol induced at that!). More and more of my time is being spent at the Locale Cafe & Bar - I scary notion. This weekend was awash in troubled waters for the employees of Locale. Friday went mostly off without a hitch, but Saturday found me sick as a dog and struggling through my double. Stefano did allow me to go home for a bit in between shifts, which really helped, but it certainly was a test, and I was not my usual, vigorous self. I spent the first half of Sunday in bed, then headed to the restaurant again for an evening shift (a new change in my schedule). From the onset, I knew a storm was brewing as Stefano entered in a huff, verbalizing his disgust for brunch and beginning the knitpicking. My nausea suddenly returned. After we shooed away a late brunch crowd, we prepped for dinner and our demise. We really weren't that busy, but had strange customers, all coming in spurts. Stefano hassled me no more than normal, and knew I was still a little sick (on account of my glassy eyes). We had people outside, we had strange requests, and we had one group arrive with a baby (who at the end of their meal, knocked over all the water glasses and coffee cups in sight). I hate children. I have never had more respect for "adult time," than working in a restaurant that clearly is not meant for the little pests. We have no kids menu, we have no kiddie cups, we have no cheesy animal characters. And of course, as their waiter my main responsibility is to coo and giggle and make friends with the child. Following our disaster in the lounge, things began to heat up as Stefano started drinking, and began to berate my coworker Sam. Having worked there since the restaurant's inception, Sam had no patience for Stefano's foolishness, and they quickly began to rumble. As things escalated through the night, Stefano drank more and more (free of charge) and when it was time for Sam to leave they tangled again, resulting in Sam's dismissal from Locale. Thank God he likes me. Kat (the bartender) and I endured the rest of the evening and luckily made it out of their with our wits in tact. Arriving the next day, we found a much changed Stefano, both elated by Sam's exile and also reprimanded for his boozing and bad behavior. Business was actually fairly nice on Monday; we sold a lot of food, desserts, bottles of wine, and cocktails. I received one of the greatest tips of my waiting from a young gay couple out dining, $60 on a $152 bill. I couldn't believe. That, combined with some positive feedback from both first timers and regulars, helped to secure my job for now, even impressing the aloof owner Johnny. After a day off yesterday, that mostly consisted of lying in bed reading Memoirs of a Geisha, which mostly gave me cravings for sushi and my Japanee days, I return to work tonight for who knows what lies in store. It is Stefano's day off, so hopefully it will be smooth sailing instead of this weekend's rough waters.
In other news, because my life really does not revolve around Locale (right?), I have been cast in that crazy show in the East Village entitled "If This Ain't." Apparently, he has written a number for me, and I will be playing a naughty child, complete with propellor cap. Our first rehearsal is set for Friday, November 13th and the show goes up shortly after the first of the year. Who knows what this new addition will bring to the pot and what exactly I am getting myself into. I am sure it will make for good blog fodder and hopefully will be a rewarding theatrical experience. I will be interested to check out the cast members; it would be great to have some new friends in the city. And being in the East Village on a semi-regular basis is not a bad thing at all. Hopefully, it will see me attending yoga class more often, though I am sure my stops at the nearby Trader Joe's wine shop will become a regular "errand." Nearing my two month mark, I think I am doing quite well in this city life. I am getting used to the hustle and bustle, the ubiquitous Dunkin' Donuts, and loving the all that the city offers (including the beautiful deep green kale I picked up at the Farmer's Market last week). I have not been to an audition in a few days, but am also ok with that. Now seems the time to rest, to regroup and restrategize, save up some money and enjoy those around me. Hopefully, this late fall will see me getting new headshots and ready to make a lot noise come spring audition season (i.e. Summerstock). On a recent trip to McDonald's, my monopoly pieces revealed one Indiana Avenue and one New York Avenue, a good indicator of where my life is right now. I was at first alarmed as avenues do not cross, but rather run alongside each other. Do I have to choose which street to travel? Or rather are these avenues, these two energies, simultaneously flowing from east to west, a perfect pair, leading me to the same place?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Grinding Away, Grinding in Gray

After a few beautiful, summer-like days, New York's gray has returned. The time to bundle up has come, beaching and outdoor seating is over; soon, steam will be coursing through the city's intricate system of pipes and radiators (or so I hope!). Having enjoyed a string of days off, I return to Locale tonight for my weekend streak: this time it's Friday night, Saturday brunch, Saturday night, and Sunday brunch followed by a Monday night shift. In fact, my stretch technically began yesterday with another staff meeting. The Zagat reviews have come in and for the third year in a row (apparently), our service has been ranked a measly 19. This has our stony-eyed owner pissed, but not pissed enough to get to the meeting on time - he was an hour late. With no pay and no meal for being there, most of us were pissed too. Looks like it will be more one-on-one tutoring from Stefano from here out. I attended three auditions this week, but only actually auditioned for one: I cut my losses on Monday at the Drowsy Chaperone auditions and called it quits at the Equity audition for Earnest in Love, a musical adaptation of The Importance of Being Earnest. I did get seen today at the auditions for "Scrooge: In Concert" a musical/concert version of The Christmas Carol. Not exactly something that gets me excited, but another audition alas! Yesterday morning, audition brushed aside, I spent the morning in the sun's rays, reading some more E.B. White and another play (Cloud 9) in a surprisingly quiet Union Square. Courtesy a portion of Whole Foods' cheesy grits it was a good morning. I also surrendered to my first beef patty in NYC. Ubiquitous at every Halal food cart and pizza place in Manhattan, the savory pastries are a Caribbean version of a Hot Pocket: bright gold/yellow crust encasing a stewed beef mixture. It tasted alright, and for $1.99 (including soft drink) certainly filled my tummy, though may give me cancer and/or indigestion. Post-meeting I resisted urges to attend the nearest happy hour and instead, trucked myself over to the East Village for another round at Yoga to the People. Covered in sweat, I left happy, energized, and free in my body. Given the relaxed state and late hour I arrived home, I did not make it out to Uncle Charlie's to sing a few songs with my new found vocal coach. All this real life stuff is getting in my way of going out all the time! What happened to those college days? What happened to Fall Break? Thanksgiving Break?!? This weekend is another Locale-filled weekend; time to put nose to the grind and push through what surely will be another hectic (but hopefully booming) stretch. Is it strange that I now especially look forward to Tuesdays?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Finding My Voice

It is sunny again (or at least it was)! After a lot of cold, rainy days, the sun and its warmth have returned to New York for a few special days. I was glad to get out of the house for a bit today to soak up the sun. Off from work following another Locale weekend, I was glad to sleep in today, free from any work or audition obligations, not getting out of bed until the sun hit my eyes and forced me from my slumber. I spent most of the morning cleaning my room, which has a particular way of getting dirty very frequently and washing dirty dishes, which never go away. Alas, for the days of a dishwasher (or my master bedroom in Bloomington!). This afternoon, I met with a vocal coach for the first time since arriving in New York. Having met at a bar a couple weeks ago (he was playing piano there), I got his business card and finally set up a meeting for today. After my trek from Queens (fairly daunting considering he lives on the way Upper West Side/Harlem), we talked about my voice, my acting, my career, and sang through my book of repertoire, then talked about what I have and what I don't. It was so good to sing, to hear my voice loud and clear, sans pressure from the audition room, and not limited to 16 bar cuts. So many of the songs in my book are selections I have sang for many years and bring back memories of Bloomington and my vocal journey up until now. Our meeting went very well, and I am looking forward to continue working with him and hope it can help to bring me big returns in the audition room. There is something very special about singing with a piano and the interplay between voice and accompaniment, the subtleties, the call and response, the ornamentation and subtext. How nice it would indeed be to perform the songs I love, instead of waiting tables for a living! One thing I find so fascinating, but also daunting about this business is the need to really, truly know yourself: the weaknesses, the strengths, who you are and how you are perceived. As actors, the bulk of our work is in one minute or less to convince a group of people that we can not only sing, but be believable and entertaining onstage, as well as coming off professional, polite, and competent (in other words, letting them know you are not a bitch to work with). While here in the East, I have not only been working on my musical voice, but also writing a good bit (almost 30 total blog entries) through this blog and private poems and journal entries. Who knows, maybe one of those will see the light of blogdom one day . . . I have been working to sharpen my writing skills and allowing myself to let what is inside me flow out onto pen and paper or word documents. Not only is this beneficial for my mental health, but presents a possible other avenue for me some day. Maybe even a future play or one-man show. . . Regardless, this writing helps get me through the (Locale) day and keeps me honest, daring to tap into the deep, honest parts of myself that contain the most potent thoughts and passions, those things truly worth seeing onstage or putting into print. As I learn to trust this voice, I find myself bathed in confidence and self-assurance during the day, not walled off from outside forces, but rather fueled from within. For this I am very thankful.
I am also very thankful for the tasty fried chicken joint next to the subway stop near his apartment/studio, though my stomach is questioning my choice to get this savory snackbox. It definitely beats the Central Park hotdog, but seems to result in the same need for Tums come sundown. The spicy chicken and greasy (but delicious) fries remind me of going to Captain D's on Sundays after church or bringing a bucket of chicken over to Granny's for an afternoon of Uno and stories. Though I have found excellent Latin, Asian, deli, and European offerings, I am still in search of good homestyle/soul food offerings. In apartment news, we are all doing alright, working a bit here and there, trying to save our money, and feeling more at home in a little piece of the peninsula (Is Queens on an island or peninsula?). We even have an official lease (still in need of signatures) and should soon see some needed repairs to the apartment. Per last week's cold weather, the girls set about removing the A/C units from the windows. One survived, one did not. It currently lies at the bottom of the walled-in area in between buildings that we have not access to. Woops! Let's hope our move-out inspection is as lax as the previous tenants . . . for now, we will enjoy our semi-warm apartment. Looks like Erin will make a great Ginger for this year's Halloween. Tomorrow, looks like another day off (can it be?) that will hopefully find me again soaking up the sun, exploring the city, and growing more and more into this New York life.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Brunching in the Big City

(Why has this post taken three days to write?) Today, I enjoyed a delightful brunch at home with my two beautiful roommates Erin and Megan and their WKU friend Sean. Thanks to a coworker of mine needing extra shifts at work, I was able to enjoy my Saturday morning for the first time since the beginning of September. I made an egg scramble with spinach and roasted red bell peppers, homemade oats with apples and cinnamon, and sausage links. Erin played bartender and kept our blue Solo cups full of classy mimosas. Work went just fine tonight, fairly slow by Locale standards. I sold NY strip steak, I sold swordfish, I bragged about our polenta, offered up dessert, and even sold the last monkfish. Things went off for the most part without a hitch. It is now very cold in New York, and I have given to wearing my winter coat and gloves ( I wonder what I will be wearing in the winter!). The outdoor tables have been removed from Locale, and red wine season is upon us; the cold has settled in. I find I don't mind the sheer, striking cold when it is in its purest, but rather it is the transition between seasons or days of heavy rain that really get me down. And nothing wakes you up in the morning like a quick slap in the face from an unexpectedly cold morning. I attended auditions for background casting for the film Wall Street 2, but no dice there. They were looking for formal wear for a charity scene in the, apparently I should have brought the tux with me to NYC. Oh well, at least I went! It has been entertaining to compare crowds at the musical theatre, singer, and cruise/entertainment staff callouts. There were many older actors and actresses dolled up for the movie audition (in a church basement). Halloween update: I believe we will appearing as Gilligan's Island (though if Erin was a blonde, it would probably be Three's Company). I've added a couple more good eats places: John's Pizza in Midtown, famous for well, pizza; and Macondo on the Lower East Side, offering up Brazilian, Latin, and Spanish cuisine and cocktails. Today, Monday, holds an audition for The Drowsy Chaperone and dinner shift at Locale. Here we go!

'Homemade Oatmeal' w/ Apples and Cinnamon
One medium-large apple, cut into tidbits
2 TB butter
2 cups Old Fashioned Oats
4 cups milk (or water)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon (to taste)
2 TB brown sugar (more to taste)
Squirt of honey

In a medium sized pot, melt butter over medium-high heat until melted. Add apples and brown for a few minutes. Add milk/water, salt, and cinnamon and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add oats and return to a boiling, stirring frequently. Once boiling, reduce to medium and heat over medium at least 5 minutes or until oats are tender. While oats simmer, add brown sugar and honey. Taste for desired sweetness. For an interesting add-in, try a large spoonful of orange marmalade or strawberry preserves to give an alternately citrus or berry flavor to the oats. Once done, remove from hear and let stand 1 minute before serving. If desired, garnish with crushed walnuts or pecans, additional cinnamon, dark chocolate chips, or toasted flax seed (the healthiest choice.

Serves 4ish

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Rain, Rain Go Away!

It is very rainy and cold today in New York. Gray and chilly, it's the sort when you definitely don't want to go traipsing around Manhattan with your yoga matt and suitcase full of audition materials, maps, etc. Yet, somehow that's what I did today. I forced myself to actually get up early today (well, early for me) and embark on my audition schedule du jour. I left the house planning to audition for Carnival Cruise Lines and the national tour of Shrek. Upon signing up, I settled into my chair to read my free copy of AmNewYork and James Baldwin's Go Tell It On the Mountain (I tell ya, this auditioning circuit is going to leave me very well read if nothing else). Once the audition was primed to begin promptly at 10 am, the monitor and producer came out to speak with us for a few moments about what they wanted, which ended up being solo singers for their 23 ships (think American Idol contestant-types). Seeing as I had no music prepared for this genre (I doubt he wanted to hear "The Ladies Who Lunch" or that Cole Porter classic "Friendship."), and am not really the type they were looking for, more of a Nathan Lane than an Adam Lambert, I decided to mozy over to the Shrek room to try my luck there. The contrast between the two rooms was quite telling: Shrek, being an Equity audition for only a few principal roles, was fairly sparsely populated with lots of seats availability, everyone looking calm and collected, real pros all around. At the table, there were nice, neat sign-up lists and casting info, even some donut holes. Across the hall at carnival, it was quite a different story. With scant chair available, the room was crowded with anyone and everyone who might want to attend the "singer's call:" lots of bleachy blonde, soul sistas, people warming up in the hallways and subsequently being reprimanded, and of the audition regulars, whose faces I have grown to know and love. Of particular note, there was a tiny Filipino man near the doorway, maybe all of 3 1/2 feet tall who looked as if he could have been the next Youtube sensation, a large Black woman with a silver sequin laden top, and my favorite, a "middle-aged"African-American woman with a red-orange perm, very low cut (at least a D cup - at least), tight pants, glittering silver jacket, and Duane Reed headshot. She looked as if she probably knew James Brown at some point and did a really flawless Tina Turner. Thinking back to the Miracle on 34th Street audition, I decided cruise ship was not for me, and after singing for Shrek, perhaps an equally pointless go-around, I cut my losses and journeyed farther down the island to catch the noon Yoga to the People class. This was my third day there in a row, and I was hurting. I am really enjoying yoga, visiting the East Village, and exploring my "practice," as they say. Yoga to the People is a donation based yoga studio, with drop-in classes throughout the day, open to any and everyone. It makes my body feel good, it centers my mind, and reminds me a lot of prayer+sweat. And looking around the room, maybe I too will be a really hot yoga one day, maybe by the next time I return to the Hoosier state. Yesterday, I went to an evening class and beforehand stopped in at a little café for some reading and writing. I am quite enjoying this artist's life and assuming I can pay my bills and don't develop an opium addiction or the like, could see myself make a life of this here in New York - even if I'm not booking it every time I am in the audition room. In fact, the more I audition, the more I feel I should be creating my own work and opportunities, as well as needing to improve my material so that it is really right for me, even really skimming the audition notices for what I am right for. Oh, the joys of being a "non-traditional" performer. Sometimes, I entertain the thought, what if I had been born a 6' 2" tan Abercrombie type with a good pop belt and double pirouette. Some days it seems things would be much easier. I suppose if I wanted easy, I should have wanted to be born with a yearning to work with computers, in medicine, or be a CPA like the rest of my mother's side of the family. But then, where's the fun in that?
Yesterday, besides yoga and reading, I visited with a friend in the city to watch the original film of Clare Luce Boothe's The Women with Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, and Rosalind Russell. From the costumes to the acting, it certainly was epic and puts the recent remake with Meg Ryan and Annette Bening to shame. We ate at a very New York diner after and enjoyed the kind of weekdays nurses and waiters enjoy as recompense for their lack of a weekend. Following yoga, I met up with my good old pal Quinto for drinks in midtown. We began our night at the 9th Ave Saloon for $3 ciders and the company of older men (unplanned). It was definitely, well a daddy/bear bar, with bartender clad in leather pants, wife beater, cop-esque hat and chain accessories. Unfortunately, we left before karaoke had started. We then went down the block to The Ritz for $4 Sex on the Beaches (made much stronger by the Asian bartender) and retro music videos (Pat Benatar, Rick James, Madonna, Donna Summer, etc). After spending our cash, we tottered off of our bar stools and went our separate ways home. Needless to say, I needed a nap after returning from the city this afternoon. The rest of the evening contains more reading and writing, cleaning my messy messy room, and possibly karaoke night here in Astoria with my roommates (we have been planning a brunch and our Halloween costumes). I am doing well, enjoying my NYC life, but missing a few things from the Midwest, like cheaper drinks, drive-throughs, the Piccadilly (ok that is in Louisiana, but I want fried chicken and stewed cabbage!), college parties, and carpeted floors. Oh, and here is the black bean soup recipe I promised days ago . . . I quite enjoyed some leftovers with a cup of hot tea upon escaping the rain. Cheers!

Black Bean Soup
This is how I made it on Friday, though it changes every time.

1 onion (or whatever you have)
3 cloves garlic
1 jalapeño
1 green bell pepper
Olive Oil
Cajun Seasoning
Hot Sauce
Three Cans Black Beans
One cup Brown Rice
One can Corn
One can chicken, beef, or veggie broth
1/2 can of red wine (Rioja, Shiraz, Cabernet, Malbec)
One small can tomato sauce
3/4 cup salsa (eyeball it)
One healthy squirt of honey
One package Lean smoked sausage
Chili Powder
Ground Cloves

In a large pot, saute onions, peppers, and garlic until vegetables begin to soften and onions become translucent. Add smoked sausage and continue to saute. Season with S&P and cajun seasoning. Once ingredients are incorporated and fragrant, add beans (lightly drained), corn, wine, broth, hot sauce (spicy as you like it), and salsa. Bring to a boil. Add more S&P as well as one tablespoon chili powder (to taste), 1/2 tsp cloves, and 2 tsp cumin. Once boiling, add rice and reduce to medium. Stirring occasionally, simmer until red is tender and liquid reduces. If needed, add more liquid (broth, wine, water) as rice expands. Once reduced, add cinnamon and adjust seasonings if necessary. Makes great leftovers and is easy on the pocketbook - though maybe not on the bowels. Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Days On and Days Off and Off Days

I don't know why I have had trouble writing of late. I suppose I am getting used to this New York existence and am settling into some sort of schedule. Instead of everything being new and unfamiliar and dangerous, the familiar has begun to creep its way back into my life. I have gotten off the W train 28th St. stop enough times to know I should turn right at the junk shop with the pink purses and the Dunkin' Donuts means I am going the wrong way when I head home. It's funny, I grew up in a small, secluded place where Dunkin' Donuts seemed such a special and metropolitan place; now, it has become the usual, the pedestrian. This weekend was filled with work, and trying to not kill Stefano, and after-work drinks congratulating myself that Stefano had survived another day. I hate to say it, but he really is a miserable human being. Perhaps that is a little harsh. Let's just we clash . . . and then some. When you are a superior, friendly, likeable being like me, it is very difficult to stand subordinate to, well, underlings. But time is a long, long thing, and we all get our just desserts. Once again, I am reminded I have a strong Appalachian streak in me, courtesy of my Boiles blood (I'm convinced it is also where I get my hairy chest, bushy eyebrows, and ability to make a perfect meringue). Anywho, my work is on recess, for now. In all actuality, I think Stefano likes me and thinks I am a good server; he keeps up-ing my schedule, and at least two customers have spoken to him about my excellent service. He keeps scheduling me on the days he works (joy). I'd say, if he weren't so nit-picky or neurotic or addicted to cocaine (I swear) or Catholic (actually true), we might actually become quick friends. Today, I ventured to another audition, this time for Prather Entertainment Group. My dear friend Aly, pioneer woman herself, braved the Manhattan waking hours to not only sign us up, but create the unofficial sign-in list for the Non-Equity auditions today at around 5 a.m. We luckily were seen a little before 10 o'clock. Again, I was not called back, but, alas, at least I went. When I was in college, auditions were something special, something I worked on and expected and planned for for months on end. How am I supposed to make everyday special? I thought I sounded ok, but didn't have enough to secure a callback. Oh well, I suppose I just was not the type they were looking for. Or something. The audition/restaurant schedule is wearing me down a bit, at least when it's one after the other. Those minimum 30 minute subways trips don't help. I get the feeling I am going to need to find my own path here, my own way of doing things and create my own opportunities. Tonight, I am attempting another yoga class, this time with my trooper friend Aly at Yoga to the People in the East Village. I am looking forward to these coming days off rest, as I recharge my batteries, renew my passions, and restrategize for any upcoming auditions. As the winds begin to blow, and the cold begins to settle in, I see how important it will be to find my center, my truth, and what makes me tick, the reasons why I actually came to New York (beyond the numerous pizza-by-the-slice shoppes and open-on-sunday liquor stores). So, while today is in truth a day off, it is also an off day that leaves me tired and grumpy all day. Without fail, I will be in high spirits upon waking tomorrow. However, for tonight it is braving the outside world again, seeking to be bent and broken and stretched in order to learn and prosper.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

All Night Party

I survived another double at Locale last night. There were only a few moments I thought I might actually kill Stefano or throw a plate or cocktail glass across the room - a marked improvement over my first times working with him. It looks like this Herculean feat will be my weekly routine, double on Saturday, brunch on Sunday, dinner on Monday. This leaves the strange gap of Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday to do really whatever I want. Hopefully, that continues to include going to auditions. Now, perhaps yesterday's shift would not have been so difficult if I had made it home from the After Party before 4 am on Friday. But, I would not have missed it for the world! Ray and Brandon celebrated their birthdays during Friday's show. There were a ton of special guests, lots of drinking and jokes about age and death, and a very packed house. New Castle's Carey Anderson was even in attendance as a special guest. One of my favorite parts of the night was an After Party cast member's specially pinned song "Brandon and Ray" to the tune of "Send in the Clowns." Another continuing theme of the evening, were several Sandi Patty influenced numbers. Being Brandon's favorite singer, I saw drag queens and singers alike doing their best Sandi Patty imitations, key changes and hand clapping included. It was a very fun evening, and, hidden deep within the basement of the West Bank Cafe, seemed quite the exclusive insider's party (OK Idina wasn't there, but Jeffery Self and Cole Casserole were as was Kevin Chamberlin - the original Horton in Seussical and Uncle Fester in the upcoming Addams Family musical.). Though by the time I did my number there were few people left, and even fewer people sober, it was great fun and I did it for me; it felt so good to be onstage under the lights again. So, clinging to the joy that is my friends and being onstage, I brave Locale one more time! My friend and coworker Katrina, who also works every weekend, has dubbed us the "Brunch Bitches" - and I couldn't agree more. Hope to write more often this week, XOXO - BW.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

An Air Mattress No Longer!

My bed is made. A beautiful, full size bed with real sheets and special hide-away drawers underneath. I have a bed, and it is made. Tonight, I may even get to sleep on it. The air mattress is deflated and stuck between our hand-me-down green couch and the wall. I feel amazing. Yesterday and today have been days of rest, relaxation, and regrouping. My overdue laundry is done, my bed is made, I've been to the bank, and we have successfully pulled the beige couch out of the kitchen and into the living room. We have a kitchen table, I have a bed, this is now a home, of sorts - it's a good day. Yesterday, I rose early and hit the gym (for only a second time - need to work on that) and had breakfast of a banana and cereal. The afternoon found me arriving in the city and venturing into Central Park. After hoofing around the park for a while, I found a nice set of benches on the park's western border and "parked" with my book to soak up the generous sunlight. As I sat there, warm and happy, I constantly found myself distracted from my book (though I really am enjoying it) in order to gaze at the continuous stream of runners, bicycles, strollers, and bell ringing, bike-drawn carriages. The smell of hot dogs and halal perfumed the air (after two hours siege, I gave in and ate a NYC hot dog in the park - the dog was great, the bun was garbage). A homeless came up to the cyclist sitting next to me to admire his bike, and a girl came up to me asking if I wanted to a buy a joke for a dollar (I said, "No."). The park is such an oasis in the middle of the city, green and expansive, with lots of public restrooms, a haven for the hooty-tooty and the homeless. On a nice day, you can find New Yorkers flocking to the park, actually smiling, slowing down a little, lounging on the many rocks, benches, and the giant open lawn. I am so thankful I didn't have to go another fucking audition that day (pardon my "french"). For a city made of metal and grime and noise, it is streaming with an amount of immense life. Afterwards, I met my friend Quinto for happy hour at a sushi bar and lounge, and I had a yummy Basil-Pear martini. It was a nice (and thankfully cheap) little pick-me-up, and the restaurant's vibe strummed my heartstrings for Japanee days of old. For dinner, I returned to Astoria to meet up with my new roommate and Locale coworker Katrina. We supped at a little trattoria a few blocks down from my house called Vesta, gnoshing on potato and pancetta pizza, white wine, and garlicky Brussels sprouts. Thanks to Katrina's good rapport with owner/bartender (she's a regular), we were treated to an additional glass of wine and two desserts (a warm chocolate cookie with espresso ice cream and something they call their "Baby Jesus cake."). I was very full and very happy and slightly buzzed, and on returning to home, drifted into a very pleasant sleep on my last night on the air mattress (still of wild dreams). Today has been devoted mostly to cleaning the apartment and setting up my new cell phone - which has a keypad! Apparently after 2+ years of man-living, an apartment can collect a lot of dust. Though the base boards and such are very much to be desired, I feel very good about the apartment. I can even walk around barefoot. The rest of the evening looks to be devoted to making black bean soup (recipe in tomorrow's feature), checking out one of the free yoga classes at the gym, and enjoying more wine and The Time Traveler's Wife. Days like these it is worth living in the city, and assuming I can pay my bills each month, I think I could get used to this. To quote my pal Cole Porter, "I Happen to like New York."

Monday, October 5, 2009

Survival Strategies

I dropped the wine. All over the subway platform. What used to be my wine supply for the next two weeks was now a puddle of White Rioja and Sauvignon Blanc mixed with shattered glass and soaked lables, encased in my Trader Joe's wine tote. This mess of mesh and fermented fruit juice sat there, staring at me, indifferent to how I might have felt about the situation. Scorned, I turned my back and moved farther down the train track, praying for a Queens-bound train. Needless to say, it has been a trying and tiring few days.
During my truancy from writing (my sincerest apologies), I have been working, auditioning, and welcoming a new roommate into the apartment. A month into my move, it seems I've established a bit of a routine: work on the weekends, audition during the weekdays, eggs in the morning, cocktails by night. I've gotten used to seeing the same set of people at auditions, know a few of their names even, and have gotten friendly with some coworkers. I've even seen a drag queen do the same number twice; indeed, I have been here a month. Work is going well, I didn't have any major spats with my favorite Italian, and am beginning to actually make instead of solely spend money. I am headed back there tonight; assuming it goes off without a hitch, I might just be able to survive this New York life.
We have welcomed a new roommate into our apartment and wished another well. Erin went to school with my other roommate Megan, and we are all becoming fast friends (well, I guess I am becoming their friend - lucky them). Erin is also in theatre, a stage manager in fact. Which means she is blessed with common sense, patience, hand/eye coordination, and fine motor skills: qualities Megan often lack. In her short time here, Erin has already fixed our loose deadbolt and tightened the towel rack in the bathroom, tasks Megan and I could never have accomplished and the previous tenants ignored for who knows how long. It wonderful to have things hang on the wall via a nail instead of packing tape. Who knows, this apartment might feel like home one day.
Today, I auditioned for the upcoming OFF-Broadway production of Dear Edwina. Although I was not called back, I did get "typed-in," so I was able to sing. I managed to make them laugh, but their cause for laughter remains vague, perhaps even troublesome. My audition for the principal of Cabaret went much the same way: my new friend Paula Sloan smiled and laughed at my song, but a callback she did not give me. At least she knows my name by now. The audition season looks to be closing, which, admittedly, is alright by me. I am looking forward to getting some more work (and money) rolling in, eventually getting new headshots, and beginning work with a new vocal coach (who I met at a piano bar). So, by spring I am looking to really be a contender. I may even move beyond my current 5-song-audition lineup. In other news, I have finished the Dorothy Parker biography, and have begun The Time Traveler's Wife per my friend Amy's referral. I thought I could benefit from something a little lighter than Dorothy Parker's troubled and seldom sober existence. Tomorrow is time for laundry, cleaning, and recharging my batteries for the rest of the week. I will attempt to bring my purchases from the wine store, but I can make no guarantees. It certainly is more fun to drink your hard-earned dollars than drop them on the floor and watch them shatter to pieces. I hope that's not an omen . . . for now, I continue to trudge on, learning, stumbling along the way, and attempting to survive - maybe even live. Wish Stefano and I luck tonight.

PS - Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou everyone who reads my little blog. It means the world to me.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Shifting Seasons

It is officially cold in New York. Or at least, it has become chilly, as it was today. Shorts season is officially over. Though our melancholy summer attempted to hold the Earth's sway for as long as possible, its time has passed and Fall/Winter approaches. I will trade in my mojito for a hot toddy, white wine for red, shorts for scarfs, flip-flops for boots, and vodka for bourbon. It surely will be a new adventure to see if I can survive my first subway- and foot-dependent winter in New York. I cannot afford taxicabs so I must! Today, I attended another audition, this time for the national Non-Equity tour of Cabaret. As a result of a little misreading, I showed up today for the chorus call, aka the Kitt Kat Girl and Boy call. I have never seen so many black leotards and fishnets. All the girls were completely done up and wearing very little, and it was mostly black. As it shifted into the afternoon's session, I again felt like the fat kid in gym class. Amid the haze of tiny waists, biceps, white, shiny smiles, and leotards, I sat in the corner of the room, reading my Dorothy Parker biography and wishing I had not eaten breakfast today (or really, ever). The dance call went alright, thank God it was not too, too technical, mostly about attitude and subtlety (i.e. Cabaret). The choreographer asked us to be "big cats," the musical theatre equivalent of Shere Khan, Bagheera, or Simba. The idea being that the male chorus dancers also double as the bouncers of the club - they're tough, macho, intimidating, sexy. Well . . . clearly I nailed it . . . or something. Somehow, I was not called back to sing. Funny, the choreographer was the same woman from the Miracle on 34th Street auditions, in which I was placed in the distinct "movers' call." We both sort of mouthed a surprised, "Hi," to each other when I showed up in the room. Surprise! Luckily, the principal auditions are being held today, and I am very excited. The Emcee is a dream role of mine, and I have worked on his material quite a bit in voice lessons, etc. So, high hopes today, a little moreso than for the sweet and wholesome It's a Wonderful Life or the call for Adonis chorus boys. Somehow, I think I would find it most satisfying to be their master of ceremonies. I wonder if he ever gets to carry a whip during the show?
As we look to October, our good old roommate Dave is headed out and a new roommate, Erin, is headed in. She will be here with us for the next six months; we are actually getting our legit lease today. I am looking forward to a little permanence and making this apartment a home, making it somehow seem worth the large sum of money I am paying to live here. The baseboards, toilet, and sinks are high on my priority list. It's time to make this former 'bro-pad' into well, Bradley's pad. I am working again this weekend, and things are looking on the up and up. Even if it is a little cold.