Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Getting My Affairs in Order

Ahhh. The carpet is swept, the Febreeze has been sprayed, rent check written, and bank deposit made. What a busy day for this Broad Meadow New Yorker. Now of course it helped that today didn't start with a bourbon on the rocks or a hungover recollection of what I may have done last night (just kidding mother . . .). You may think going to the gym, tanning, and getting your back shaved are shallow pursuits, but they are very important to a young actor living in New York. Clearly you don't live in an area where people have ready access to the beach all the summer (not that I've been, but that's a different story). I won't say that I have become shallower since moving to the city, but I will say that I certainly have had to up my game. A typical lack of fast food drive-ups and giant Gulp size sodas seems to make for a fitter, more attractive population. That and a greater abundance of wealth and Botox. Running through my errands, carefully marked down in a neat list on a stolen Locale waiter pad, some tasks took only a few minutes ("charge phone," "look up the Arthur remake"), while others required considerably more time and energy ("gym," "blog"). After hitting the gym, I did usual circuit of tanning/library/bank/grocery, looping from my place to Steinway, to Broadway, and back again. While the tanning and the iced green tea from Starbucks that accompanied it were fairly easy, both the bank and the library attempted to throw me a curb ball. Checking out my usual load of books and movies (it's research, I swear), the automated self-checkout informed me i owed $21 in fines. Having just paid a large set of fines the day before, I informed the attendant that this simply was not true. While she tried to make sense of the squibbles on the screen, my persistent righteousness and piercing glance told her she better get her braids in a ball and call the supervisor. Enter a very white male librarian. After he too was confused by what he saw on the screen, yet tried to tell me I had no idea what I was talking about, I pressed harder for freedom, eventually getting him to wave the fees. Sucker. Now, such a sanction would never have been granted, if I was the Latina lady standing next to me with her litter of children. Sorry bout it. Crossing the street to the bank, I got in the long line to deposit to tiny checks. Enter my next customer service wonder, a plump business woman in shiny spike heels and business coat named "Ntina." Like a siren, she lured me to her desk to complete my deposit, me thinking I was some sort of Chase VIP. After filling out my deposit ticket, she confirmed my name, address, telephone number, employer, shoe size, Zodiac sign, and eye color. Then she offered to open another credit card for me, a savings account, a rewards program, and a new feature called "Person2Person Pay" that allows you to email people money. After fervently saying "No," to each of her questions, I finally had my transaction completed. On leaving the bank, I duly noted there was no line. For some reason, the Chase associates make me feel more naked than a 7th grade physical.
Returning home from my Astoria circuit, I took a shower and gatehred steam for my last to-do. In my quest for completeness, I ventured to industrial Woodside, walking next to a major highway, in search of my case of Zagat-recommended wines. Noticing a great deal in the mail, I could not pass it up, exchanging my credit card # for 12 bottles of wine plus this special offer of 4 tasting glasses and tasting notes for each wine (!!!!). After a few failed deliveries, and one troubled conversation with 1.800.Fedex.Go, I realized that I would have to put in some real work to get my discounted wine. Having lost one online purchase to the Post Office, I was determined to Get That Wine. Noting the chain metal fences and broken down cars, I was glad I was performing this chore in daylight. How quickly cheery little Astoria melted into deserted streets, warehouses, and highway. After trekking on foot to the Fedex Home Delivery Office (not as flashy as your regular Fedex/Kinko's), the associate helped me locate my package, kindly letting my Indiana ID slide for proof of age and residency. If my cardinal-embossed license should attempt to interfere with my next wine pursuit, I may just have to make a visit to the local BMV (the NYC/Queens BMV? Now that is a blog waiting to happen). After noting its exorbitant weight ("Shit, that's heavy. Oh, excuse me"), she retrieved my package from the back, scanning it into the system as "picked up" and looking at me like I was crazy for walking to the Delivery Center. "Don't worry," I said, "I am going to call a car." Pushing SEND on my contact "Taxi Cab," I hustled my box to the corner and waited for a creeping black car. After an initial worry the car couldn't find me, I waved my hand, large box in tote, attracting the attention of another yellow cab and strange looks from the local residents. Waving the cab along, I stepped into the car sent especially for me. Wine in the trunk, I did my best Anna Wintour, sitting cross-legged with sunglasses mounted on my face in the back seat, silently taking in the car ride. I recalled that moment at the end of The Devil Wears Prada when Meryl Streep turns to Anne Hathaway and says, "This is what everyone wants to be." Looking over my crazed afternoon, I thought, "Yes indeed."

Thursday, August 19, 2010

And How Do You Like Your Eggs, Honey?

I have a special phone voice. Well, not so much a special phone voice as that my voice is special, and that quality particularly translates well via the telephone. Now, I know there are many things that make my unique voice wonderful (thank you, Patsy Rodenburg), like the fact that in my opinion, I enunciate my words clearly and speak a somewhat educated version of English (unless, of course, I am calling you 2+ martinis in the bucket). But perhaps its most special quality is the fact most people think I am a woman on the phone. Yes indeed, a woman. Not even a girl, not a young, pretty thing, but a full fledged woman. As my voice teacher Will put it, I have a "grande dame" quality about me (this came in quite handy for my audition on Tuesday that consisted of a monologue from Love! Valour! Compassion and my Judy-inspired version of "Smile").

Now, as a young male-child growing up in rural Indiana, this specialness really bothered me. Countless times, tele-marketers, family, and some of my mother's more colorful friends would ring up our home on 400 South and immediately greet Susie and ask how she is and such. From some of these greetings, one would get the impression that my mother is a very fun gal. And while I thought such mistaken identities would end after puberty, I now know to answer any phone but my own with, "This is Bradley." After initial embarrassments, I have moved on, moved out, and moved East where I capitalize on my superpowers whenever possible. Many times at work, owner Johnny has called upstairs to "discover" the cute, female bartender has developed a cold. No she has not; the person on the other line is Bradley. Or yesterday, as I waited on hold, begging Chase to give me even more credit, I was referred to as "Ma'am" for the majority of the phone call, despite the fact that my name, address, spending habits, shoe size, and who knows what else lie in plain sight on their computer screen in Mumbai. Even this morning, I unknowingly played a trick on the man delivering my omelette (in fact, it's on its way now). He wanted to know what I would like, kept calling me honey, kindly asking me for my phone number, address, and how I liked my coffee. Considering he now knows this personal information about me, he may be somewhat disappointed to discover that his mid-morning coffee date was with a fairly hairy Midwestern boy by the name of Bradley. Alas, no worries. He never has to know. When singing, my friend Esther and I have generally agreed that most times I sound like a mix of Elaine Stritch and Stevie Nicks, with a few moments of show choir boy clarity. Of course, this is all fine and dandy, both these grande dames earning equally impressive accolades for their vocalizations. But when I try to tell a casting director I am a young Stevie Nicks, it for some reason just does not communicate all that I want it to. My fine-tuned whiskey voice of a 50 something woman works great when I give an inspiring performance of "Poor Unfortunate Souls" at Uncle Charlie's, but somehow falls short when attempting "If I Loved You" from Carousel. However, this is no means for alarm or caution, for my talents are many. It's often been confirmed that I have the best legs in Astoria, and there are few waiters who have given such rousing renditions of the daily specials as I do each night at Locale. Boy, oh boy, a man of many talents am I. Oh, I think my omelette has arrived! I hope he doesn't mind I didn't shave this morning.

If any of you out there should ever be taking my breakfast order:
1 Spinach Omelette
Made with Egg Whites
Fresh Fruit instead of Homefries
Wheat Toast
Coffee with Skim Milk and 1 Splenda on the side

or if I am really hungover and/or being a fucking fatass:
1 McDonald's Bacon, Egg, & Cheese Biscuit Combo
Very Large Diet Coke
(and if it's a really unhealthy day)
1 Breakfast Burrito with Hot Sauce

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Movies and Mayhem!

How busy this summer has been! After my stream of blogs and days off, my time has been taken up with lots of time at the restaurant, keeping in contact with my NYC friends, and even trying to get some sleep. On top of that, I have been doing some "extra" work for Central Casting. This past Thursday, I made my major motion picture debut on the film Friends with Benefits starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Cunis. From sundown to sunup, I portrayed a Times Square passerby (along with many others), who for reasons unbeknownst to us, break out into a choreographed routine surrounding the young starlets, abruptly stopping and reengaging in our NYC lives just in time for Mr. Timberlake to say, "Huh." Tomorrow (OK, this has also actually already happened), I am scheduled to work on Gossip Girl. After an unsuccessful formal wear attempt with Wall Street 2, this time I am armed with my tuxedo (which I haven't worn since high school) and ready for an artificially fabulous gala. Perhaps there will be champagne? Work has been just fine, just work and a lot of it, as my coworkers take turns taking vacation each week. In my reading quest, I just finished Chelsea Handler's third installment Chelsea Chelsea, Bang Bang to much pleasure and a few LOL on the train. Following her example, I too have been contemplating how I might better use such devices as lying and storytelling to enliven my workplace. Whoever said a little mischief is uncalled for? Any success in said exercises will appear in this blog forthcoming. On the audition front, there has not been a lot going on. I was planning to attend another round of auditions for Naked Boys Singing, but to my mother's joy I will be working on Gossip Girl instead (where I will likely not be naked or singing). This past Sunday, I brought my songbook to a new venue as my vocal coach Will had a gig at the Path Café in the West Village. Belting out my best Judy Garland, Willie Nelson, and Noël Coward numbers, I made friends with the owner-bartenders and sampled a majority of their wine list (big surprise!). No doubt, they will welcome me back with open arms this week (in fact, they did - and there was more wine and even some cheese tasting). Oh! And in Indiana news, my first friend in the whole world Ashley Rae has given birth to her first child, a girl, Laney Sue. Once the Post-partem disengages, Ashley will realize that I, in fact, named her child during a drunken night (ie me being the drunk) sitting around our kitchen table in Indiana. Hopefully, one day I will have some Ling-Ling or brown babies for Ashley to name for me. I am really looking forward to holding Ashley's new little munchkin. I wonder when I will be in IN next? (Can I just say that at this point, I have been trying to finish this blog for 9 days??? clearly my life has been reeling out of control. It's time to hit the brakes and get my life in order!). Tomorrow (yes, the real tomorrow), I am traveling to New Jersey to audition for a bunch of theaters at a big unified audition (my first one!). Let's hope I can shake off the restaurant rust and give them a sparkling performance. I am scheduled for tomorrow at 5:30. If you can, think Liza thoughts for me. That's all for now, I promise to write something really earth-shattering next time. For now, I am going to go tanning and get some f-ing Starbucks. It's hard out here for a pimp!