ceebeegee: (Default)
Since this is the first day off that I've had at least a couple of months, I was hoping I could go to the beach, but in fact today it is cloudy and rainy so no go :( I had actually had tentative plans with my neighbor Maria to go to Brighton Beach–– she is Russian and I thought I could've practiced my Russian down there. (I love that about BB, that I can actually read the signs по русски and practice.) Maria is pretty cool--I met her and her mother when we all moved into the building 3 years ago, and there was a big meet-and-greet on the terrace in August. We hung out for drinks with her brother (who also lives in the building) two weeks ago--she asked me to meet her up at her apartment which she said was 1004. I go up there and knock, several times, and there's no answer. I text her "где ты? я здесь в 1004." {Where are you? I am here at 1004.) She gave me the wrong number--she lives the floor above. But look me at, texting full sentences and question in Cyrillic!!!!!

The heat came on this past week bigtime, which means another summer like that year. When you work outside, global warming becomes very personal--last summer was really, really hard on me. From July through to the end of August--every day I worked outside, drinking as much water as I could, and trudging home to try to cool down before trudging off again to my evenning job. I couldn't WAIT for September, and December's very warm spell was terrifying to me. I really, really hope the conservative shitheads in Congress who are reflexively blocking any kind of measure on climate change just to say fuck you to Obama live by the water, so their houses will be the first to wash into the ocean when the waters rise. I am honestly terrified at the change.

And speaking of politics, some of these Bernie fans need to step away from the Kool-Aid. Look, I have no problem with Bernie Sanders (although he isn't my choice) and if he got the nomination, of course I would vote for him. What the fuck is wrong with so many of his supporters (NOT ALL, many of perfectly reasonable, please do not NOT ALL MEN my post) that they would rather burn the whole building down than vote for a viable candidate who is LEAPS AND BOUNDS better than the Republican clown? I look at them and they all seem to be white, straight, cisgenerdered men--who really have little to fear from a Trump administration. They can afford to be pie-in-the-sky about politics. Rachel posted somehting a few days ago that brought out the Bernie nuts, and one of them actually said ""If we can't win, at least we can make the re-election an impassible road for whomever wins!" Like, WHAT THE FUCK. What a completely stupid, stupid, self-absorbed, dumbass thing to say. It's as though this is some sort of freshman year class in political theory. Four years of living under Trump policy and rhetoric would actually affect some people's lives, you fucking toddler.

In better news, my Sunday classes are growing by leaps and bounds. They added me to these classes 6 weeks ago--3 in a row in Hell's Kitchen. At first each class had literally one kid each and then they started growing. I thought little of it until one of the mothers buttonholed me after a lesson, saying "your company is new to this neighborhood, right?" I said I didn't know but these were my first classes here in Hell's Kitchen. She said you don't advertise here--I never see fliers or anything like that but all your business is growing by word-of-mouth. All of us parents go home and tell the parents of our children's friends that they should sign up. (Which obviously means they like my classes!*) She said you should advertise more--you only have one competitor (she named the company, I didn't recognize it but I could tell by the name they didn't specialize in soccer) and this neighborhood is filling up with families.

Now, I used to live in Hell's Kitchen and know and love the area quite well. I said I would pass this on to the head of marketing who was THRILLED to read all this.

And then yesterday one of the kids gave me the cutest offering. I called him a little rosencavalier (but seriously, what kind of flower is that? It's not a rose). Isn't that adorbs?

*Also on this day, one of my kids' grandparents were there to drop off/pick up the kid, and they stayed and watched. Afterward they were just aglow--the grandmother was marveling at how good I was with the kids and I said well, it's a good job for me because I like kids, I like soccer and I like to perform. And the grandfather shook his head and said "they're lucky to have you." What a nice compliment! That was a good day :)
ceebeegee: (Digitized Pumpkin)
It's been awhile since I've written, mainly because I've been absolutely absorbed in my classes and in a couple of projects coming up. Classes were a little tough at first--I've had very little training for how to structure a class and they evaluated me almost immediately (on my third class--guys, can you let me get used to things first?) and that was a little frustrating. But now I think the classes I teach are going very well. I'm still nervous about them--I structure the HELL out of my classes--but I am seeing genuine improvement and actually enjoying myself as well. Yesterday I structured a lesson wherein I taught the first (5-7 yo) and second (7-9 yo) classes the dragback (a defensive maneuver in soccer). I really put a lot of thought into how to reinforce teaching them and even made up my own drill. (They gave us a manual but it's less helpful than I thought it would be. For one thing a lot of the drills are hard to understand on the page, and also I think some of them are a little too advanced for my first class.) Also there is a kid in that first class who was a bit of a pain--kind of a showoff and also a complainer. I finally figured out how to "tame" him--I'd use him as my demonstrator, which appeals to his pride in his abilities, and I also "discussed" with him whether he thought the "give and go" (basic passing play) was too advanced for the rest of the class. Now he loves class, because he's like my little assistant.) Then when we had The Big Game I encouraged the kids to use the skills they just learned by valuating them--I said anyone who successfully executed a dragback or a give and go in the game would earn an extra point. Only a few kids did the give and go but even that was more than I expected--getting the kids to play smart, to strategize and not just run after the ball, is a huge accomplishment. (For comparison *I* have a hard time playing smart!) And lots of them did the dragback in the game! It's really very exciting to see kids learning and to know that you made that happen.

So a few days ago Ryan asked me if I wanted a comp to the opening of a musical he's in--Liberty, down at Theater 80 in the East Village. Liberty is actually a heavily reworked version of a musical called Lady of Copper I did back in '01-'02. When Ryan texted me I thought long and hard about it, because my experience with this show was not one of unmitigated joy. I auditioned in fall of '01 and I could tell at the auditions they were singing me for Emma Lazarus, the ingénue. They even joked about how unsuited I was for Moskovitz (the character role, a comic shtetl-type) so when they offered me Moskovitz I was surprised but took it. We did a couple of performances up in Washington Heights that were filmed, and apparently this producer dude, whose parents were VERY well-connected (they founded one of the very well-known actors studios in the city) saw it and wanted to take over and take this thing to Broad-way! So they allowed it and this guy just ran roughshod over the show and me in particular. They immediately switched me to playing Emma, which was fine by me, and then booked us at the Cherry Lane. (Again, fine by me.) But this guy was a TERRIBLE director--I mean, truly a joke. Absolutely terrible direction, and he insulted us, and really seemed to have a problem with the questions I would ask him to try to understand what he wanted me to do. (At one point I remember asking him how do I justify that Emma walks up to a complete stranger and initiates a conversation when it's been established how shy she is? And he got upset and was like well YOU wouldn't do that, but SHE would. Like he didn't understand at ALL what I was saying.) Everyone detested him. It got so bad the rest of the cast started sticking up for me, both privately and to his face. It was fun working at the Cherry Lane though.

Then they had me doing a bunch of the school tours which were ROUGH. The audiences were fine but I had to get up BEFORE the crack of dawn to get into Brooklyn by 6 am, load in, and then drive to wherever we were performing. I bonded quite a bit with my Lady Liberty who was awesome and funny--she was a former Miss Kentucky and Miss America contestant so she had the dish. We had similar senses of humor :) At one point the people who'd written and composed the show sat us down and told us they were hoping to take the show to Broad-way but they couldn't promise us anything casting-wise but we would get our Equity cards out of it. Needless to say none of this happened. But imagine my frustration years later when I discovered they'd ended up doing EQUITY TYA TOURS UP AND DOWN THE EAST FUCKING COAST. Where was *I* when you were doing this? Why didn't you call me so I could at least get a goddamn Equity card to make up for the shit I suffered under Avram and the incredibly hard work I did in the local school tours?? I was, and remain, genuinely pissed off about that.

So I wasn't sure if I wanted to go but in the end I said yes. And I'm really glad I did. The brother and sister writer-lyricist-composer team, Dana and Jon, saw me and actively sought me out and were extremely gracious toward me. Dana was reminiscing about my audition and just raving about my voice. "That gorgeous soprano voice! I knew right away she was our Emma." (It got a little awkward when I reminded her they'd originally cast me as Moskovitz :) She did not remember!) And Jon was VERY nice to me (I always thought he had a tiny crush on me, not enough to act on but he always seemed to respond to what I was saying or doing. Just a hunch :)

They've retooled the show into something entirely different and...I'm not sure it works, exactly. It's definitely less of a children's show but it's not quite a nuanced enough show to engage adults. I think it wears its heart on its sleeve--nothing wrong with that but it still has a junior-ish feel to it. And I think recasting Liberty as a young girl, instead of a woman, emasculates the give and take even more. Now the villain, Commissioner Walker, literally towers over this girl and looks like even more of a bully--there's no subtlety to his portrayal. It's an interesting idea but I don't think it quite works.
ceebeegee: (Default)
So Saturday was a full day. I had two classes in the morning in Morningside Park and then wandered through a nearby farmer's market. The first class was chock full of cuteness--5 girls and 1 boy, and the girls got very territorial about who was going to sit in Coach Clara's lap and who was going to sit next to her. They started side-eyeing each other like I KNOW you don't think you're going to sit there when I JUST left her lap. SO CUTE.

In the afternoon I crossed the bridge to Randall's Island and FINALLY got a chance to ride again! The lesson, which was in the ring, went FANTASTICALLY. They gave me a quirky little mare named Rosie who was docile enough on walk and trot but took some convincing to bump up to canter. The instructor, a Barnard student named Christina, was terrific, giving me a lot of specific instruction on how to get her to canter and finally we did it 4-5 times, yes I canteredcanteredcantered. SO AWESOME. Christina told me the first time she'd ridden Rosie she had not been able to get her to canter so that made me feel even better.

After I dismounted Anna told me that DB had said if I wanted, I could ride another horse (Magic, I've ridden him before) out of the ring, in the small patch of grass and trees near the gate. Naturally I said yes! So Magic and I had a nice little 20 minutes or so which was a lovely end to the afternoon. Afterward DB and I talked--he said if I liked I could take Magic out into the big pasture next time and work him there (much more room). And said that any time I liked I could come over and work the horses for free. FOR FREE AAAAAAUAGH Riding is so expensive, the phrase "for free" is never heard. And the honor of being asked to work the horses! It really is an honor and I am so excited.

Me on Magic

ceebeegee: (Bitch Please)
I have to say, as soon as I heard this family gave three interviews right! that! day! I called, shenanigans. Frankly what immediately popped into my head was "Heather, how many networks did you run to?!" But I'm at the gym, I'm watching when the father is holding his kid and seemingly crying, saying thank God he's back, and I thought, okay maybe I'm wrong. I admit, the tears moved me.

Then it's all over the place that the poor kid is getting sick on TV, and apparently spills the beans. And then this whole weird elaborate "I have an announcement" and "I'm going to put out a box for your questions" and the whole thing just seems very--off, like he's trying desperately to stir up even more drama. Then you hear they were on a couple of reality shows already, then you hear they were "shopping a story idea" around, trying to get their own show and it becomes clear, this is almost certainly a hoax. This just screams LOOK AT ME. Then when you watch the video of when the balloon was launched, you see the guy, as soon as he "realizes" the balloon is untethered, immediately flip out--I mean, zero to 60 in a second, screaming at his wife and kids, kicking things. No, sorry, people don't react that quickly to shit--they don't get angry *that* quickly, it takes a moment or two to sink in. Apparently this couple took acting lessons--let's just say, they didn't get their money's worth, because he's not very believable.

Then you see that he has a bunch of bizarre YouTube videos, centering around the theme of women who wear too much makeup and how unattractive that is, women who get breast implants and how unattractive that is, women who become Secretary of State and how unattractive THAT is (one of his videos is about how Hillary Clinton is a "reptilian"), women who--you get the picture. The guy has hopped on the "Misogyny is the new irony!" train--if you bash women, you get attention *and* street cred for not being too PC or p*ssywh*pped. You can PROVE you're a man without actually having to, you know, take care of your responsibilities, get a job, read the Torah, the usual.

All of this would be no more than cringe-inducing except for two things: those children, who have been taught by their parents to lie, and 2) the enormous amount of money and resources sucked up by this nonsense. Those helicopters could've been helping someone who really needed it. And they're not cheap. All the northbound flights out of Denver Airport that were diverted--that's ridiculously expensive. There could've been an actual emergency happening, that didn't get the attention it should've because of this clown.

And the kids--I feel really bad for them. That little 6 year old is adorable. And he and his siblings are being coached to lie to people and use them? They're seeing their dad dance around in feigned rage, screaming at them--but it's all "for the show" so do they know to take it seriously or not? I really despise these parents--mainly the dad, since he seems to be more than willing to force his way in front of the camera. Their youngest one is being forced to do something he knows is wrong--it's so stressful, he's literally getting sick. Bless his heart.

The whole thing is disgusting. I hope they dig up every charge they can for this couple, including restitution, and look into that home situation. Then I just want this loser with his fake tears and his fake rage to get a haircut and GO AWAY. Nobody wants to watch your shows, or your lame videos, or hear about your "science." Nobody cares. One thing I despise is when people exploit sincere empathy of human kindness for their own kicks or to feed their need for publicity. (Like that pathetic hoax after 9/11, with that picture of the guy who was supposedly on the North Tower--you know, the one with no observation deck--right before the first plane hit, and you can see the plane approaching in the background. Man, there were already enough horrible stories that really DID happen. Why make fun of people's reactions? Why try to stir up more?) It just makes a mockery of people's decency.
ceebeegee: (Default)
Thinking about Tony Randall's death. Okay, I loved the guy. I thought he was hilarious as Felix, and I loved how he had the cojones openly to say "Hell, yeah, Sidney's gay" when the network wouldn't. (I remembered both the original TV movie, and the subsequent series, Love, Sidney. Swoosie Kurtz played the mother in one, and Lorna Patterson in the other.) I've always respected his devotion to theater. But who has kids at 77? These kids are babies, 7 and 5, and their father is dead, a death which was entirely predictable. I hate to sound insensitive, but that's misguided. It's easy to say at least they knew him for that little amount of time," the whole "better to have loved and lost..." but losing a parent is devastating to a child. Although why does Nature allow situations like this? Why can a man sire children into old age, when women can't bear them past menopause?


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February 2017



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