Monday, August 31, 2009

Day 23 - Dude Looks Like a Lady

August 31, 2009

I have an affinity for the men of good ‘ol manual labor. I’d buy the calendar. Years of being the recipient of some harmless whistles and shout outs” all reality, is a nice ego stroker. Once I got a “You look like you like to party.” And you know what? This one reflected for a minute..and realized that yes indeed, I did like to party. So perhaps Mr. Training to be a Welder knew me better than I knew myself. You can’t overlook these magical epiphanies. And just like the upcoming LOST series finale, all good things come to an end and I’m not deluded enough to assume such praise will go on forever. But for now, sure, bring it on.

But of course I have to dig deeper. What is the essence..the core of these heavy lifters? There is something to be said about putting myself in their shoes(or work boots contingent on the particular project.)

I can see the the appeal of venturing into the world of outdoor labor. Along with a paycheck, I’m guaranteed a built in strength enhancing workout and a rockin’ tan.

The possibility of working in this field is no dumber than my very first job in high school at “I Can’t Believe It’s Yogurt.” Quick side note: I did question if this severely processed high sodium dairy concoction really was yogurt. I was 15 and too young to have the sought after high powered job as “server.” So I was stuck in the back making waffle cones and cutting up Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

I hope for the following scenario to occur at some point in my lifetime:

You: Jacqueline, What do you do?

Jacqueline: Well (You), I work down at the docks.

I crave for the opportunity to verbally express that my income is based on my ability to operate a machine that lifts and moves cargo on and off ships. Bonus if I eat lunch out of a lunch box, (if I’m lucky) learn how to gut a fish and shoot the shit with a guy named Smitty

This certainly beats working indoor “cubicle labor” and reporting to some self righteous Ivy Leaguer who only hangs out in circles that consist of other rich white people. Although, I might have the unfortunate task of adding a reading room onto his 2nd home in Connecticut. I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. Today’s blog is about the appeal of income generating physical work. We’ll gloss over a few things. Stay with me

I’ll speak frankly. It would without a doubt behoove me to be more proficient in having some ability to fix things. Jews are not known for two things:

1)Being particularly skilled in the art of all things handy
2)Offering to help a friend move

So I salute me for thinking outside the box about a career that involves moving boxes.

I dream that at some point in my life that I will have chills run up my spine when I hear you say:

“You know Jax, I doubted you at first, but I have to admit that the glow in the dark vest, hard hat and yelling obscenities at male passerbyers …well, it just really suits you.”

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Day 22 - Nonchalant Observer -Installment # 1 Brooklyn Stoop

August 30th, 2009

I’m pretty certain that the charm and edge that once defined Greenwich Village has made a pilgrimage out to Brooklyn. I most definitely see it where I live in Cobble Hill. Located only a couple of subway stops from Manhattan, the hill that is cobble is filled with one-way streets, blue stone sidewalks and turn-of-the-century buildings. Many of the cafes and specialty stores seem to have a mom-and-pop feel that is so refreshing after witnessing the strip mall effect ripple through the city. Needless to say, I'm living in the right neighborhood for me.

This morning I woke up, took my coffee and notebook outside, sat on my stoop and nonchalantly observed all that crossed my path. I made detailed notes from 10:00am-11:00am on this Sunday August 30th, 2009. Prior to the play by play, I am going to go ahead bulk together what appeared in abundance:

• Jogger count - 12
• Biker count - 7
• Canine count - 6
• Walking while texting count - 4

The following is presented in “real” time:

10:01 – I see a young buff couple wearing matching jerseys. I fear that their entire relationship could be based on sports.

10:05 – Lincoln Town Car is struggling to parallel park and ultimately left in an awkward 45 degree angle. I’m about to judge and then I see an adorable elderly couple exit the vehicle. I let it go.

10:13 – Here is an African American man carrying a Met Grocery Store bag. He has a ponytail and wearing what appears to be 75 pounds of bling. I see that it consists of keys and hubcaps. I give him credit for combining decorative accessories with something practical .

10:17 – Young hippie couple saunters in my direction. The guy is wearing a shirt that says “LOVE.” Yet it appears as if they hate each other.

10:20 – A Subaru nearly hits Grandma and Grandpas’ poorly parked car. No contact. I’m relieved.

10:24 - A mommy is holding a little girl around 3ish. The toddler is holding a doll with a mangled arm and missing eye. It scares me. My mind wanders to one of the Twilight Zone's creepiest episodes, “Living Doll." “My name is Talky Tina, and I'm going to kill you."

10:26 – An Asian mother and two young children pass by holding books. I assume that they got them from a stoop sale down the block. I think of a literacy Public Service Announcement with a shooting star and/or rainbow that might go something like, “Because Reading is Believing.”

10:30 – I admire a cool bad ass mom with light pink blond hair with her two pretty preteen daughters. I imagine Amy Poehler in Mean Girls: "I'm not like a regular mom, I'm a cool mom.”

10:35 – My older Greek neighbor steps outside and just surveys the area with his arms crossed. I feel like I have bodyguard..and, I have to admit.. I like that. I feel safe.

10:40 – I see my neighborhood crush way in the distance walking his Wheaten Terrier. He intrigues me and we seem to cross paths more and more. I assume he’s a few years older than I am. Tall , tan, a touch of free spirit and a dog. Yummy. He waves. I blush.

10:43 – I sneeze and a teenager holding a pamphlet says “Bless You.” I wonder if she just came from Planned Parenthood.

10:46 – A mother is following a very fast walking 1 year old who appears to have just learned this skill 5 minutes ago. I’m thinking it takes a very special mom to encourage her newly walking baby to play in traffic. Good plan.

10:51 – A 30’s something woman with wet hair appears to be in a hurry and to have forgotten to put on a bra.

10:57 – Biracial gay couple is walking by with award winning posture and with a sense of urgency. I assume I’ll be friends with them soon.

11:00 - Observant tall blond with empty coffee cup and spiral notebook looks like she really has to pee. Mission accomplished.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Day 21 - Hi, I’m Jax and I’ll be Your Cruise Director

August 29th, 2009

Today seems to be turning out to be very HOST-CENTRIC themed. Tonight, I’m MC’ing at Gotham Comedy Club and it looks like a bi-weekly show that I’ve been wanting to produce and host (consisting of comedic and musical talent) has finally found a home at Meades Bar at the South Street Seaport. I truly enjoy (and if dare say, have a l’il natural ability for) hosting, Mc’ing and warming up audiences. Looking back, I think this is a skill that has been ingrained in me for quite some time.

Growing up in the south, children inevitably learn the ins and outs of the fine art of southern hospitality. Warmly welcoming visitors into our homes was an essential fabric to our upbringing. Plus OUR house had a swimming pool(although kind of not in tip top condition) and a giant basement(equipped with foosball table dartboard and bar.) What went "down" in the downstairs included the following; turning the space into a comedy club for my dad’s 40th birthday(a little foreshadowing perhaps?), having innocent pre-teen “rites of passage” moments and on the day of Super Bowl Sunday 1986 (while watching Space Camp on Beta Max) witnessing my older brother tackle Danny Silvers (resulting in a few stitches in Danny’s head. ) So yes, come to the Kabat’s basement. If you’re lucky, “There Will be Blood.”

My love for hosting continued into high school and to this day friends from my teenage years still shower me with accolades. “I don’t know what it was..but your parties were just the best.” One of my gathering’s success can be credited to throwing the party right after our school’s annual blood drive. Get it? Blood alcohol level works in the favor of getting wasted. Just wanted to be sure. I'm a giver. Memories include people hiking to my house during the snowstorm of 1993 to get to the good times, the stoners introducing marijuana to our yellow lab Honey and some drunk poor soul nibbling on cat food(Tender Fiddles.) The only negative recollection was when someone maliciously got hold of my mom’s CD’s and the horrific sound of Michael Bolton belting “Time, Love and Tenderness” made the party come to an awkward stand still. I think I had one of those slow motion cinema moments where I ran through the house(gracefully leaping over coffee tables and people hooking up) to turn off the music all while screaming that slow mo low muffled “Nooooooo.”

Similar successful parties followed in college and when I moved to New York. Sometime it’s fun to answer the door smiling wearing an oven mitt even when there are no baked goods to offer. It’s just a nice visual. My New York parties(that I threw at my Upper West Side apartment in my early years and later at venues for my annual Halloween Gilda’s Club Halloween party fundraiser) just seem to work. I think it comes down to having a random mix of friends who are all decent individuals. Good people get along with other good people. I get off on seeing my corporate lawyer friend hitting it off with my heavy metal friend. If I can set the tone of making them feel comfortable.. the bonding and good times seem to take care of itself.

What’s interesting is “making people look and feel good” is the essential rule to comedy improvisation(and in my opinion, it is also crucial to stand up and Mc’ing.) When I perform, host and teach, it kind of feels like my party. But it really isn’t about me. It’s about my audience and my students and making them feel like they are as comfortable as a Yankee in Dixie. Perhaps I should start handing out Mint Juleps. So it seems helping people have some fun while also providing some degree of comfort is in my genes. Most recently, this knack took me to the Good Morning America Studios. Here is 2 ½ minute clip of when I MC'd for a marketing campaign for eBay. At the ABC studios, I warmed up 15 audiences for a live game show called "LET'S MAKE A DAILY DEAL" that was hosted by Mario Cantone and Monty Hall.

As much as I struggle to praise Miss Oprah Winfrey, she did(at some point pre-Tom Cruise destroying a perfectly good couch incident) say something rather astute.

“Find out who you are and do it on purpose”

Friday, August 28, 2009

Day 20 - It Hurts? That Means It's Working

August 28th, 2009

This is day 20 of my 365 day blog entry challenge. During my little free time, I wonder if I’ve gotten myself in over my head with this giant commitment. The thing is, I’m pretty anal about the quality of my writing and need to know that I have absolutely put forth my best effort before I click it away into cyberspace. I’m not self righteous enough to assume that all my work is beyond brilliant and publishers will be knocking on my door. I just adhere to high standards with all things creative so I’m taking this very seriously. And hopefully having some cathartic fun along the way. Rest assured that you won’t find a note on my blog or my forehead that reads, ”My brain has gone on sabbatical. Please check back in 3-5 business days . If it’s an emergency, you can find me painting pine cones in solitude in the wilderness.” Assuming that I have readers, it just seems more doable if I declare this assignment to them. To you. To me.

This is not the first physically or mentally effortful task that I have applied on myself. One includes doing Outward Bound when I was 18. Basically, I roughed it in the mountains of North Carolina for 3 weeks and ended up developing my sense of self, participating in challenging expeditions in the outdoors and learned that it is wise not to eat cheese out of a bag labeled “bulk.” Also, running the San Diego Marathon in 2005 was another partaking that I initially wondered if it really was within my reach. Signing up to participate 4 months in advance made the reality of a 26 mile run a necessity. I crossed the finish line, couldn’t feel my legs for a few days and now have a hard time even finding the strength to spell R-U-N. When my eye is on the prize, I seem to persevere. In my comedy work, my very first stand up show was booked several months before the actual event at Gotham Comedy Club. Knowing that there was something to work towards, I was forced to be constantly testing my material at open mics. I got through my 10 minute set and then Seinfeld made a surprise guest appearance and went on right after me. Perhaps the universe was rewarding me by not having him hit the stage prior to my debut.

So now its Project Writing. It helps me to get out of the apartment to get the words flowing. I generally set up my portable office at some coffee shop. The plus is feeding off the energy of other people. The downside is that many of us right brainers are susceptible to distraction. We tend to “absorb “ everything around us. I might have a little self diagnosed ADD..or as my more spiritual friend tells me..I’m just energy sensitive and it is a heightened form of intelligence. Someone who blows smoke up my ass= friend forever.

Here are some examples of what takes my fingers away from the keyboard:

1) A woman next to me was reading a People Magazine and I found myself earnestly thinking “I just want Jennifer Aniston to find love. She’s been through so much.” I’ve never met Ms. Aniston but I was empathizing as if she had really stepped up to the plate for me when I was going through some challenging times. And when Jen hurts...I hurt.

2)Behind me were two stereotypical suited up business men having what appeared to be a conversation that was clearly not meant to be overheard. They spoke in their “let’s keep this talk private and use our extreme indoor voices.” It was affective because I couldn’t hear a thing and yes, that did piss me off. As they headed out, man #1 gave man #2 a knowing “pat on the back” that seemed to indicate that they had arrived at some understanding. I was left to create my own script and it went like this, “Stevens, I’m glad that we agree that it’s best to keep the hookers and coke incident from Wilson’s bachelor party on the down low.”

3) Distraction #3. A car drove by blasting the Hall & Oates song "Private Eyes". Immediately, I started humming a medley of Hall & Oates songs. No reason in particular. It just started to happen. Then the fact that they were popular in the 80’s inspired a recent memory of seeing an old Huey Lewis doing karaoke to a Huey Lewis song. He was mediocre at best and wildly drunk. After that, the idea of inebriation took me back to being the designated drinker in High School . And then the writer in me came back to revisit my original Hall and Oates thought and imagined something along the lines of, “ I’d like to see Barry Gibb and Daryl Hall have a high falsetto voice off.”

So yes, such spirals do occur. Yet it is comforting to see that what initially drew me away from my writing eventually ends up in my writing. Happy Accidents.

This commitment has clearly been healthy for me and I don’t see any benefit of dismissing it now. I would feel it’s absence. I figure it would be like the time the letter “H” came off my keyboard. I didn’t realize it’s importance until it disappeared. In the past 3 weeks, I’ve created “space” and am very aware that positive circumstances are just knocking on my door. Very prolifically and very real.

I just have to trust that this 365 day project will take me to the next level…perhaps in ways that I can’t even anticipate. But I sense that I am guaranteed forward movement in some way(hopefully many ways.). At times like this, I really feel sorry for models who have to know that their career has nowhere to go but down.

For now, I’ll keep writing. Where do I get my ideas? From things that happen at places during times.

When I wake up on August 9th, 2010..the time will be here to commence my next seemingly outlandish adventure.

A few preliminary ideas:

• Climb Mount Kilimanjaro
• Conquer Niagara Falls in a barrel
• Win the July 4th Hot Dog Eating Contest..I can beat that smallish Asian man… I just know it!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Day 19 - Canine Conundrum?

August 27th, 2009

A few weeks ago I headed to my favorite local Brooklyn coffee shop to buy an overpriced caffeinated beverage(an indulgence that I make no apologies for.) Along my trek, I passed a family with a dog in a stroller and a kid on a leash. Has the life of a dog gotten so stressful that the “masters” of man’s best friend feel obliged to provided wheeled transportation, “matter of factly” pick up feces and offer the four legged diva an impressive cocktail of antidepressants?

One of the biggest debates in urban canine circles is the following: With limited space and open areas, is it ethical to have a dog in the city? Well humans have certainly put in their two cents regarding this ongoing heated back and forth. I feel that the doggies are the center of this argument and should also have a say in which lifestyle is preferable. I interviewed a handful of dogs and got their thoughts on this logical argument. Yes, I am able to communicate openly and freely with pooches because I speak fluent Barkonese. Story for another time. I think you’ll find my research surprisingly enlightening.

My first interview was with Liam, a Wheaten Terrier that I met for a late lunch at an upscale midtown Irish Pub. After a few Guinness, my new furry friend really opened up. “It basically comes down to this.. I can’t complain. I like my life here in the city. I’m hypoallergenic, cute ‘enough' and pretend to like kids. I never lived in the country so I have nothing to compare my present situation to. No memories of running through fields filled with gourmet dog treats.” He was giving me great stuff and I was psyched to learn about this angle. Then Liam took a big chug of stout, stared off into the distance and quietly uttered, “Besides I just discovered that my parents were from the same litter so I have bigger problems on my plate right now.”

Wow. Liam had really been forthcoming. I was thrilled that I was able to get such an honest response. I left the bar pretty tipsy, hopped in a cab and headed to an off-track betting in the outskirts of Queens to meet Rusty the Chihuahua. He spoke so fast that I had to struggle to keep up with my notes. Manically he said, “I’m a little shit with bug eyes. I’m very much aware that I didn’t win the genetic lottery. My mom told me that I was just ‘special’ and then she was hit by a UPS truck.” Rusty just seemed so self-aware and really wore his heart on his paw. “ Truth is, I know that I wouldn’t be accepted anywhere else. With all its downfalls, New York does embrace those of us that are..unique. I just know that my method of ass sniffing would be frowned upon in other areas.”

I got what I needed from Rusty. In all honesty, he did creep me out a little because if eyes are the window to the soul, I was scared to dig any deeper. I headed back to Manhattan where I was going to meet Maximus, a beret wearing French Bulldog who finally stopped battling with his sexuality. He spends his days and nights at his master’s Chelsea art gallery that focuses on post modern abstract expressionism. He handed me a glass of a delightful Cabernet Sauvignon. We perused though the gallery and connected right away. Truth be told, we didn’t talk much about my research topic because we just became instant best friends. What can I say. Gay dogs love me. The only quote I can share with about me. “You’re fabulous! Promise me that I can go shoe shopping with you and you’ll join me and some of my clubbing dog friends in Fire Island.” I think it’s safe to assess that Maximus won’t be leaving the city anytime soon.

Next I headed to a late night Kegger at NYU to meet a Shih Tzu named Oscar. He didn’t have a lot of time for me because he was the hot commodity at this party. His owner was a daddy’s girl who grew up amongst the Upper East Side elite. Oscar was with her at all times. Every drunk sorority girl couldn’t get enough of this little guy. The party was getting loud and crowded and Oscar only gave me 30 seconds of his time because bouncing from one female admirer to the next was way more intriguing than talking about the ethics of dog habitation. He told me, “I put up with the lame dog carrying bag, clothes and frilly bows because I’m surrounded by beautiful vulnerable women who let me lick them. I know I’m a Napoleon and New York is the only place where I can, quite frankly, get girls that are out of my league. I don’t want to give this up to live in the Midwest, eat processed Puppy Chow and piss on garden gnomes.” After this admission, he ran away and jumped on the lap of a girl who just finished a keg stand.

My last meeting was at midnight at a diner with Mollie, a sensitive and humble middle aged golden retriever. I’d guess around 7. She had just finished up with her late night shift volunteering affection in a nursing home. There was something very comforting about her. Wise beyond her dog years. She was quite candid. “There is a lot that makes the city appealing to us. I love sitting on the stoop with other dogs from my building and the smells are simply divine. So much ethnic restaurant garbage to sniff through. Although I do stay away from Chinese because..well you know.”

Sipping her chamomile tea, she was the first of my interviewees to express concern for her owner. “Although city living makes sense for me, I worry about him. Living in a small studio apartment and not being able to run freely…just doesn’t seem fair.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Day 18 - I'm awesome.

August 24th, 2009

I received an email from a friend this morning and the subject title was “Ahem.” He had attached a link to a CNN Article: “The 12 most annoying types of Facebookers.” I knew the one he intended me to resonate with was the “The Self-Promoter.” I thought it was hilarious, laughed at myself and absolutely didn’t deny it. Those of us in the arts often have to take PR matters into our own hands. I’m not the first to do it. And certainly won’t be the last. I thanked him for passing the article along and for providing inspiration for Day 18’s blog entry topic: Self Promotion.

Now. We have self promotion and the dreaded SHAMELESS self promotion. I see myself falling into the former but I can admit that there have been times when I've gotten my toes wet in the later. But for the most part I do agree with the annoyance and disgrace of overdoing it with getting too much out there about ourselves and endeavors. But today is about the less vile: Self Promotion. After extensive and lengthy research(the past few hours in my head), I dare to throw out the idea that various degrees of self PR is a vital part of our human experience.

Our parents started to aggressively market us as soon as we were born.” You have to come see the babyyyyy.” “Isn’t she beautiful?” “Look at his eyes. He must have a high IQ. Off the charts!” Our little baby DNA must have picked up on some of that “I must be pretty kick ass” energy. As young children, we fill our room with little league trophies and swim team ribbons just to let friends at our sleepovers know that we’re most definitely worthy of praise. Along the same line, once we hit adulthood, our office walls are graced with fancy framed post collegiate degrees and perhaps a picture of us shaking hands with a President.

It seems a certain amount of self promotion is expected and revered in today’s world. But how much is too much? Perhaps a guide book would be helpful. Let’s title it “Self Promotion No No’s.” I like the title because it sounds whimsical and cutthroat at the same time.

A sample of what we’ll find inside:

1) It is absolutely OK to send 5 mass emails out about an upcoming show. But once you reach 6 you should begin some serious self reflection.

2) At a dinner party, it is fine to talk about your new business venture for 10 minutes. After that, you should be aware that your friends just hate you.

3) At the local pub, you can brag about how hot your new girlfriend is for 12 minutes. 15 if she’s really smokin’. Once that grace period is over, you will be punished by watching her have “intimate relations” with your best friend.

Unfortunately we have no rule book so we’re left to decipher the “How much is too much” line on our own. There are so many levels of getting the word out about…well , ourselves. I sense that we might even have a primal craving for it. On both ends of the spectrum: Promoting ourselves and getting the goods on people we know. When taken in stride, it certainly can make life a little more interesting.

I credit today’s promotional topic with why I can (kind of) speak French fluently. My très petit chain smoking high school French teacher was named Ms. White..or as we called her, Madame Blanche. She often thought I was stoned when that wasn’t the case. In fact, I found these lighthearted accusations ironic because I was pretty straight laced in high school. She would frequently ask “Jacqueline, est-ce tu as fume une cigarette speciale?” Oops. I got off track. My apologies. To express is to heal. Meanwhile, the first half of class was dedicated to gossiping (definitely under the self promotion umbrella) about our lives. Our family’s lives. Our friends’ lives. One guideline: It had to be in French. If people were willing to publicly relate how drunk they got the previous weekend and who hooked up with who, I absolutely wanted in on this information. You would too. Admit it. Needless to say, I was relatively fluent in this romance language in a matter of weeks.

Sometimes circumstances can arise that promotes something about us that isn’t necessarily desired and out of our control. One night in college I was sitting in my living room with a guy I had been out with a few times and my roommates. I had a very minor case of eczema on my arm and my family was VERY concerned. With a full audience within earshot, I played the answering machine and my Rash Publicity was in full swing:

“Hi Jax, it’s your bro. Nice talking to you earlier. Sorry about the rash. We could call mom but she’s abroad and we probably shouldn’t worry her.”

“Jacqueline it’s Uncle Ronnie. Heard about the rash. Your brother filled me in. Give me a call. Immediately.”

Hey darlin’, it’s Grandma, Ronnie told me about the rash. We’ll get through this. As a family.”

The current Facebook addiction has taken self promotion to new gigantean heights. Just the nature of an online community is a self marketing machine that allows us to share just the best part of ourselves…we might even start to believe it. Everyone is happy, beautiful and successful in Facebook Land. Why would we share our demons with a virtual community when we can be the architect of our own image that offers us the canvas to make our families perfect and creative types more interesting than they actually are.

Is simply the act of being a functioning human being an element of promoting ourselves? If we’re not open to share and express what makes us “us”..does that mean we are lost and lack self esteem? The self help gurus preach that a lack of self confidence can be reversed by giving ourselves a little personal self promotion. “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough….” You know the rest.

I can’t break this down anymore because my brain hurts.

I’ll leave you with this. Perhaps you’re just not the type of person with the temperament, interest or resources to publicize your goods. Totally valid. Just remember that you can outsource. Doting parents, high powered agents and wingmen are experts at getting the job done.

If you like this Blog, please email it to everyone you know. Shameless.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Day 17 - Less Laptops More Drunks

August 24th, 2009

A few weeks ago an unfortunate incident occurred that resulted in me having a great fear that New York’s reputation as the leading open minded location that encourages performers to test boundaries and celebrate their uniqueness could very much be in jeopardy. Stand up comedians know that having as much stage time as possible is truly the only way to tighten and improve our craft. As a result, many of us decide “to do the funny” in local restaurant basements, bars and coffee shops to practice… basically, venues that aren’t as glamorous as the big clubs. Dress rehearsal. Sometimes you’re just working things out in front of other comedians and sometimes you have a little audience. I am not an advocate of profanity and sex jokes in the spirit of shock value. However, if the context is intelligent and a point is being made..I say go for it. Richard Pryor and George Carlin didn’t lose their credibility for choosing that direction. I was at a coffee shop in Park Slope in Brooklyn for an Open Mic and one comedian used a word that very much offended a father who was there with his teenage daughter. The word that enraged him: Blow Job. And yes it was used in a smart context of great length and wide girth. Too easy. My apologies. I am not here to dissect the First Amendment. But I do feel when choosing to see a live comedy performance in New York City, there is always a bit of the “Enter at your own risk" factor. If you fear edge,take your (I’m gonna go with sexually active) teenage daughter to a comedy show at an Olive Garden at a suburban strip mall.

Admitted, comics should “know” their audience. Perhaps it was poor judgment on the part of the comedian or an early show at this particular venue was not the right choice. Either way, it happened and it didn’t sit well with me because it tapped into a much broader concern that has been festering in me for some time: New York gentrification overpowering true artistry. Socio-economic and demographic shifts are unavoidable. I get that. But being a stiff buttoned up douche bag can be prevented.

I took an informal survey:

If one feels that they’re too edgy for New York, where would they go?”

David Koff – “Camden. Bring a gun”

Dan Verkman - “Fox News”

Michael Carlucci - “Marriage”

Right as it was seeming that NYC was “so over” its blissful romance with free creative expression...I was approached by Sue Maskaleris. There might be hope.

Sue is an award-winning composer, lyricist, arranger, producer, singer and pianist that I met while teaching a comedy improv workshop at Gilda’s Club in the summer of 2007. This nationwide community meeting center provides free support for people with cancer - along with their families and friends. We recently reconnected and have mutual admiration for each other’s talent.

She invited me to be in her "Babes in the Hood" cabaret show last night. The production was downstairs at a west village restaurant. The 50 seat hideaway oozed sex appeal and class. I guess its the Madonna Whore of performance space. The real deal: Full PA system, stocked bar, candles and red and black murals of performers past.

I love that I was invited to participate in this and not just because Sue felt that I fit “babe” status. I opened with a comedy set and was followed by three formally dressed young women who decked out songs with sophistication, passion and heart . Their performances took me back to seeing shows in New York as a kid and just being blown away by the sheer luminescent magnetism of this form of showbiz. And I was part of it. One difference. They were all in beautiful dresses and I was a bit more casual. Comedy and ball gowns generally don’t go hand in hand.

I loved the glam. The rawness. Most of all, I LOVED THE AUDIENCE. No tight assed investment banker daddy here. I’m sure our onlookers came from all walks of life but we FELT them. And they felt us. And not in a lawsuit kinda way. I imagined them as writers, critics and actors meeting there for a martini in the 1920’s and engaging in wisecracks, wordplay and witticisms. Bonus that there was a show. Of “babes” nonetheless.

Thank you Sue for reminding me that support for truthful expression is still available in my city. My home.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Day 16 - Bacon Fetish

August 24th, 2009

Growing up Jewish, I never heard mom, say, “Kids, breakfast is on. Because one of you made straight A’s(hint, not me) you’re deserving of a bacon morning.” Eating cured meat from a pig just didn’t happen in the house that was Kabat. Jesus(Moses), having sweet cereal was even a rare occurrence. We were fiber friendly. No, I didn't grow up in a devoutly kosher home…ya know, “The Chosen People” who only eat meat that is slaughtered in accordance with Jewish law. This might be interpreted as going overboard but mind you we are the people that chit chat with burning bushes, self induce anorexia once a year with the hopes of atoning our sins and eat food that falls from the sky while mall speed walking through the desert for 40 yrs.

80% of the time, I eat relatively well. It’s how I grew up and quite simply, it just makes me feel better. I admit that I am a food racist who generally avoids white food which includes dairy, sugar and processed gems. I come from the school of “The whiter the bread the quicker you’re dead.” But complete and total deprivation is sinful. My remaining 20% is totally committed to wreaking havoc on mind, body and spirit.

Future blogs might very well delve into not living as God intended. But today I want to earnestly praise (the not saluted nearly enough)creators of BACON.

They need to know that I have uttered the phrase, “Come-hither, you provocatively arousing meat. I make no apologies for turning a blind eye to the pragmatic truth that your sweet flavor and tender crispness is seductively enhanced by villainous F-A-T.”

My dilemma. I want to hand write a thank you note (that I will scan and email) to the geniuses who conceptualized this otherworldly pleasure. I am perplexed as to who should receive my gratitude. Cavemen? Canadians? But I just don’t feel comfortable reaching out to prehistoric characters and our neighbors to the north because I feel they might both be popular stock characters based upon stereotyped concepts.

So I am left to send my letter to Johnson and Phillips, reoccurring fictionalized (but real in my heart) modern day ahead of their time marketing execs.

The birth of the bacon brainchild went down in a boardroom in midtown Manhattan like so:

JOHNSON: Let’s tie a pig's legs to prevent kicking and pull back its head to expose the throat. Then we’ll brutally stab the pig deeply in the throat. We should probably repeat this step several times because it’s a trip. Next we’ll cover the carcass with hay and set it on fire, this will burn away bristles and hair. Stay with me Phillips. Yes, I did fuck your wife. Then we’ll remove the head and legs from the carcass with a hatchet and set them aside for later use. Of course this step is optional. Finally we’ll send the pork to a meat processing plant. And the result..baconmania!

PHILLIPS: Johnson..that's CRAZY..because.. I was thinking the same thing! Let’s make out.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Day 15 - Jax's Cult

August 23rd, 2009
Culty people LOVE me. On numerous occasions, I have been randomly approached by people who are members of these cohesive social groups of lost souls. It’s as if I’m wearing a “I Heart Cults” t-shirt. I would imagine that this shirt would breathe well. Good for a day on the beach..or a night on the town.

We’re only on day 15 of my 365 day blog entry challenge. Even in this project’s infancy stage, I’m sure it comes to no surprise that there might be an interconnectedness between my posts that could suggest that I’m a bit of a seeker. Fair enough. I probably always have been but this quest heightened in my mid to late twenties. In high school, I certainly was not voted “Most Likely to Dabble in Pagan Ritual.”

I explored Kabbalah before Madonna, took meditation classes, and went through a yogi stage. I’m not struggling with an addiction, but I thought it would be interesting to sit in on some 12-step meetings(pre-Fight Club) because I liked their mission. Plus, there is a consistent perceptible safe energy around just being in space with other people who are hoping to feel peace. I’m very good with the” take what you want and leave the rest” philosophy so I never got obsessively consumed with any of these endeavors. In fact I ended up discovering a common thread among these practices and the rules of comedy improvisation which I have directly applied to my syllabus for my Humor for Health workshops. Solid.

But my intention is not to give you an online comedy improv class.

My conundrum(s) lay with cults. Not really into them. First, they seem to be“clicky”… like Middle School “clicky”..and who wants to go through that again? Also, they appear to prey on the insecure, the type of person who would read a book entitled “I’m Just Not That Into Me.” Unlike the efforts that I tested above, there seems to be an intimidating creepy lifetime commitment to these groups bound together by veneration of the same thing, person or ideal. Do you sign your life over once you decide to join?. From mild observation, it seems that if one decides to exit these sects, seldom does it end pretty. I certainly am no expert in cults but it appears the dropouts end up becoming pariahs, living in fear or dead. Certainly ironic for an organizations that generally preach against aggression, violence and hostility. It’s like terrorizing the scientist who tests mascara on the bunny.

Also, one really shouldn’t dismiss the possibility that culties could spend their entire life “searching for themselves”..only to discover that they’re not that great to begin with. Ask Tom Cruise about that.

Then it occurred to me. Maybe I’m just overly critical and introspective because I’m not interested in being a member of a cult. BUT leading one has a smidge of appeal to me. As a teenager, I was the President(N'sia )of my Jewish Youth group so I clearly have the leadership skills, drive and a strong command for parliamentary procedure.

Done. Pre-production of my cult starts now. I tend to easily convince myself. Of course, I also thought it would be wise to take a spoonful of horseradish at the Passover Seder when I was 7. It was just such a stunning shade of “electric” pink.

OK. Back to work!

I’ll Incorporate tomorrow and form “Jax’s Cult”, the hippest and most exclusive cult of all time. You’re all welcome to join. The only parameter is that my members must be super cool. At our first meeting, I see addressing my followers with the following: “Great to have you all in my super cool exclusive cult. Just to be clear, you must have super cool/exclusive tendencies and have an affinity for Kool–Aid, Nikes, comets, incense and geometric symbols.” In Jax’s Cult, we don’t really have offerings, sacrificing and mass suicides(most of the time)…. we’re more into smoking pot, watching LOST, eating Chunky Monkey out of the carton…napping.”

I even have a coffee mug that says: World’s Greatest Cult Leader. I bought it for myself.

If you’re interested in joining, please contact my assistant Voldar at Voldar@Jax’

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Day 14 - Max, Matt and Magic

August 22, 2009

My first job when I moved to Manhattan in 1997 was at The Roundabout Theater Company. It was there that I met my first New York boyfriend, Max. He had an old soul, unbelievable blue eyes, quick wit and a lot of angst immediately I was drawn to him. We actually had a pretty tight bond and worked hard and partied even harder. Over the Christmas holidays, we needed to “get away from it all” and decided to take a long weekend in Old Lyme, CT, a quaint artsy town marked by old-fashioned storefronts and a long-standing commitment to antiquing.
Looking back, it seemed like a rather mature trip for two lost souls in their early 20’s.

In the spirit of celebrating our rather dysfunctional exhilarating love, we decided to stay at a charming bed and breakfast with colonial flair. We arrived to our room and Max immediately began to stare out the window, chain smoke and philosophize existence as we know it. I wasn’t in the mood to dissect truth, reality and wisdom so I took refuge in the guest sign in book that sat on the nightstand. Next to the Bible.

What filled EVERY entry were the deepest heartfelt glowing reviews of a man named Matt.

“Our stay at your inn will always be memorable because of Matt.”

“Matt. Wow. You can guarantee that we’ll be back next year.”

“Matt truly is a gift.”

“I guess I just love how Matt made me feel about me.”

Page after page, Matt this. Matt that. Matt=something that transcends time and space.

Immediately I became intrigued. Who was this guy? What was his affiliation at the bed and breakfast? What was he doing that deeply affected every person that crossed his path? Max even stopped brooding and shared my curiosity.

A few hours later, we go downstairs to the Inn’s 5-star restaurant. Clearly a poor choice for 2 people receiving measly paychecks from an Off Broadway theater. But that wasn’t our concern because our intention was on Matt. I assumed he would approach us with his body surrounded by a golden lit hue accompanied by the sounds of Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus. Perhaps wistfully throwing flowers. I see peonies.

Our waiter approaches. He was an awkward acne faced teen whose parents probably coerced him to get a part time job because it builds character. We immediately ask, “Who is this Matt?” Clearly our inquiry made this kid painfully uncomfortable and not because he was going through the nightmare that is puberty. He took a deep breath, pursed his lips and his eyes got glossy. Then there was a pause. “Um..yeah..Matt’s dead. Car accident. 7 months ago.”

I felt sucker punched. It didn’t even matter to ask what his job was. All that mattered was that Matt was gone. Forever.

This is where I am NOT going to make sense of it all by sugarcoating my grief by putting a pretty red bow around this horrific reality. There was no “Isn’t there a little bit of Matt in all of us?” NO. “And sometimes when I see a sunset or a butterfly..I feel that Matt is with me.” NO. None of that. I was pissed. I should have met this man because I am certain that his energy would have exalted some form of influence on me. My strong reaction to his passing verified that it was an absolute shame that we never even had the opportunity to spend just five minutes together. It sucked. It hurt. And it wasn’t fair.

12 years later, I have stumbled through the 5 stages of grief and grasped acceptance. Yay. Yet I am still inspired and touched by a man that never inspired and touched me in “real life.” Why? Because he reached people. Random people. So I’m giving Matt the highest honor in the Jax Awards Ceremony(just like the Oscars but totally different.) I am adding him to the short list of people that I have not met but have added some pivotal significance to my life in a profound way: George Carlin, Moses , whoever invented napping. Matt

“And maybe..just maybe Matt is looking down on me and…” Oy.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Day 13 - Alchemy

August 21st, 2009

Sometimes we don’t know why we do what we do yet we trust that it might just be safe to let instinct be our guide. Why did I get up at 3:45 am and eat three quarters of a grapefruit? I’m not sure. But I’m not apologizing for it. It needed to be done.

Why do artists choose to be artists? We don’t really. It chooses us like a terminal gift. It tells us that if we even hint at abandoning this marriage..that we will wither up and die. Kinda sounds like a cryptic heartbreakingly beautiful addiction. But it’s truth. And art, good art that is, is truth.

I wrote an article for Time Out New York in 2006 about the Healing Power of Creativity. I’ve always held on to a quote from interviewing the Dean of Music Therapy at NYU. “Creativity is health.” And if health is equivalent to life then..CREATIVITY=LIFE. If one of these begins to dwindle, it is a guarantee that the other one is going down too.

I love teaching comedy improv because we’re all artists and some people just need to be reminded that they are. Having the opportunity to reconnect grown adults with their sense of play is beyond rewarding and palpable. Creating involves the process of deliberately arranging elements in a way that appeals to our senses and emotions. Such an endeavor results in inevitable growth. It is a fundamental truth.

But some of us need it in our lives more often than others. I’m sure a lot of it comes down to basic genetic wiring. The new age energy people claim that the old souls who are members of the reincarnation mile high club possess the most primal desire to create. Either way, The reality is that some people make the shifts they need by having art in their life once a day, once a month or once a year. God Bless them. Others of us need it flowing through our veins in some way shape or form at every waking moment. Some people get their fix while doing ten minutes on the stair master while others need hours. I find it interesting that this is the analogy that I go with because a revolving stair machine is about as interesting to me as watching a MTV Behind the Music Special about the life and times of Michael Bolton. If there is no bus crash in Sweden..not interested.

All artists are teachers and healers IF AND ONLY IF they are creating from a place that is authentically who they are at that particular moment. I am challenging myself to step out of my comfort zone and tap into those arenas that universally cause anger and where we can collectively see irony. Maybe I’ll fail. Maybe I’ll offend. But I have to try. I see all my creative heroes as alchemists with the profound ability to turn lead into gold. I am sourcing from a place in myself that is frighteningly raw and present with the hopes that such an honesty might help others(and myself) experience the lead of the trials and tribulations of everyday day life transform into the gold of the spirit.

Come with me or don't. But like my midnight craving for a grapefruit, I simply don't have a choice.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Day 12 - Wax-achment

August 20th, 2009

Yesterday I was getting a manicure at the same place that I had a bikini wax a few days earlier. To the surprise of my fragile heart, my waxer totally ignored me. It was shocking after the intimacy we shared.

And it stung. Badly.

I am not a needy person, but a little common courtesy would be nice after combining forces and sharing something so affectionately confidential. Yet, I’m writing about it. Irony works in mysterious ways. Ms. Waxer and I shared an experience very similar to another activity that involves partaking in an act so intimate and involves endurance,strength, shared sensory experiences and interdependence. No, not doubles figure skating. I speak of THE SEX.

The similarity between like features of THE WAX and THE DOING IT, on which a comparison may be based is oh so evident to me now. Let’s take a look. If what I have written so far is “too edgy” for you I suggest that you stop reading. Now.

• Like choosing a love making partner, we have a type. Plain and simple.I personally prefer the waxing stylings of the Russians to that of the Asians. One of them has hair and the other doesn’t. Know your customer. It’s why I go to a woman gynecologist.

• Sex and waxing both can get messy, hurt more the first time, vary in speed and inspire a variety of positions.

• We have choices. With Waxing: regular, sensitive and the so called "pain free". With Sex: The insanely numerous variety of condoms has become a marketing machine.

• Both involve an enormous amount of trust. Once we experience their style, perhaps we could be willing to explore more heightened and exploratory waxing and sexing options.

• It is to our benefit to have honest conversations before both of these games begin. What do we like and dislike? If we are prone to ingrown hairs..share that piece of information as they are the equivalent to chlamydia.

• At first, seeing your bed mate and the hair removal specialist every 4-6 weeks can create a mystique.

• The hard truth: Some people just perform better and have mad skillz with the 2 tasks that we discuss.

• Perhaps your consummation is under the umbrella of prostitution. Well, my Russian has a “pimp” that I schedule with. I pay at the end. Enough said.

• Although I am not seeing other waxers, I am certain that she is seeing other people. I tuck that away ..I don’t want or need to hear the details of such escapades. My waxer has a gift that should be shared. Or something like that. Ugh.

• At the end of both of these "sessions"... our skin has a glow.

• If the waxee or lover wants to prove their commitment, they bring the family on board . In the case of a potential romantic relationship, perhaps a nonthreatening dinner. On our other topic, just believe that a family that waxes together..stays together.

So yesterday when I was blown off by Ms. Formerly Known as Soviet Union, it hit a nerve. But today, my self esteem is back in check. Whatevs. Other waxers want me.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Day 11 - Ass Peach, You Have Melted my Heart.

August 19th, 2009

Growing up in Greensboro, North Carolina my family took frequent road trips to visit friends and family in Charleston, South Carolina and Atlanta, Georgia. These nonstaycations generally involved 4-5 hour car trips down I- 85, undoubtedly the trendiest of the southeastern highways. Dad would be driving, mom would be reading, my brother would be listening to New Order with giant headphones and I was just observing all of them for possible material for 25 years later. But there was always a point when we would all unify in the group mind of the “family unit.” It would happen when we would be driving through Gaffney, a small town in the north-western part of South Carolina. There stands one of the most remarkable man-made creations of classical antiquity, the Gaffney Peach.

This wonder claims to be a water tower that serves both artistic and practical functions. Although shaped like a fruit, anyone who has an ass or has ever seen an ass simply can’t deny that this structure is a ginormous expression of the buttocks, the hindquarters, the posterior, (or as they say in Indonesia and the ghetto) the badonkadonk.

My mom would stare at it wonderment, my brother would react with the typical boyish "huh huh huh,”my dad would smirk and laugh with a hint of mischief and I would scream “Oh my God!”(or “What the fuck" in my teenage years.) This juicy extraordinary eyesore represented one of those rare moments when the wavelengths of four people were operating at the exact same frequency. A beautiful thing.

The years have passed, my parents have divorced and this once collective family unit is now spread out all over the country. Yet the peach still stands tall and I want to revisit it in some way, shape or form.

Living in the northeast, the practicality of me voyaging to the pornographic tower will not happen anytime soon.

This is where you come in. I am reaching out my hand to you with a cry for help. Clearly this peach serves as a pivotal memory in my conscious and subconscious. Obviously part of it goes back to some pain and abandonment issues around my parents marital demise. Duh. Psychology 101. Something in the depths of my soul senses that said peach represents more. When auditioning potential friends and future boyfriends, they must comprehend(empathize) what the peach means to me. Prove it. Bring it to me. Please, I ask gently(beg of you) bring it to me.

And this is how.

Look for a sign that reads, “To View Peach, Exit 92.” Please send the following to my PO Box:

1) I want a picture of you in front of it. Bonus points if you create the illusion that you’re leaning on it like the obligatory annoying photo that all people take when visiting the Leaning Tower of Pisa:
2) If there is a gift shop, I’d like a postcard that’s in all black that says “The Gaffney Peach at Night.”
3) Please journal your experience of this scenario: In front of the other tourists, please have a moment with your arms crossed..your chin tucked down..and you get a little weepy because you’re blown away by the magnificence of the peach. Might I suggest channeling people seeing the Pieta for the first time or Clark Griswold getting choked up when the family finally gets to Wally World. Extra credit if you ask the nearest good-ol-boy redneck if you two can just “hug it out.”

Please, take me home.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Day 10 Oh, This Party is For You. Festive Sausage Ball?

August 18th, 2009

In Seinfeld ‘s third season, we learned that an encounter with a pez dispenser could be overwhelmingly traumatic. AND when there is emotional or psychological injury in TV land.. there are interventions.

These orchestrated attempts by friends and family to get someone to seek professional help because of a crisis seem to be played out in sitcoms , dramas and from what I understand, a reality show called “Intervention.” I can’t even go there now. Pause. OK. I can certainly see the wisdom in this type of group confrontation on television. We choose this form of escapism because we are guaranteed 2 things: Conflict AND Resolution. An example of when television didn’t quench our need for a quick fix : Slow speed OJ chase. Borrrrriiiinnnggg.

The strange thing is that I’ve never been to an intervention or known anyone who has partaken in the “let me help you recover soiree.” Although there are times that I have been tempted to throw one for myself because I’m a big fan of cru de te, boxes of wine and denial.

I just have a hard time seeing this equation: Unsuspecting addict + swarms of “well intended loved ones” = EFFECTIVE & AWESOME. First, just the logistics of gathering everyone together seems like a lot of work. Unless maybe we combine events. “It’s grandma’s 90th birthday and the perfect time to confront Uncle Jimmie about his porn addiction.”

It seems improbable that we’ll hear the person who has reached the depths of despair claim that an intervention was his or her first step to recovery. “I saw my 4th grade Hebrew teacher in my living room and I knew my freebasing days were over. Thanks Rabbi Shlomi.”

I fear that these gatherings(surprise parties) would ultimately escalate the problem at hand. If I were the unsuspecting guest, I am certain that I would feel painfully vulnerable, powerless and exposed.

And that’s why I drink to begin with.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Day - 9 - Doprah Winfrey

August 17th, 2009

I’d like to see more women giving chest bumps. Jesus Harold Christ. Guys get to do it. It’s such a term of endearment and I think potential female friends could truly benefit from this gesture that implies the sentiment, “Hey you’re OK, let’s have a slumber party and talk about boys." For the pervs perusing this entry, I’ll even throw in a pillow fight for fantasy purposes. You’re welcome. It has occurred to me that the only..THE ONLY way the estrogen fueled chest bumping trend can sweep the nation is if Oprah and Gail do it. Hey, they’re bumping in other ways. No I didn’t. Oh yes. Yes, I did.

I am not a “Fan of Oprah.” Yet I am a proud member of the Facebook group, “Fan of Not Being on Fire.” I am prepared for the backlash from Midwestern middle age women who are seduced by the media personality, Academy Award nominated actress, producer, literary critic and magazine publisher. But what is missing from her resume is STAR FUCKER.

She drools over and gazes at fellow celebrities the way I fawned over my brother’s friends in high school when I was a freshman and he was a senior. Opes, you don’t need to be blowing smoke up the asses of the John Travoltas, Jennifer Anistons and Tom Cruises because you’re already at the top of your game. I mean if you had a baby with Obama it would be Black Jesus. Or Bono.

You know who does need to be a star fucker? Me. This one right here. Why? Because I'd open to doing an unpaid set at an old age home at 2PM on a Sunday..

Well, maybe not Sunday because that’s the day we celebrate, praise and chant the fundamental principles and beliefs of The Oprah.

Poor St. Francis of Stedman


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Day 8 - Douche Bag VS Jesus

August 16th, 2009

The details of my last long term relationship (and the demise of it) provoked a lot more self reflection than usual. Yikes. Alas, in the last few months I have been open to (I hate this phrase) “getting myself back out there." Some of my friends have set me up. They suck at it. One of my girls wanted me to meet a guy in a band. That’s pretty hot. A mariachi band. OK. There really are only are a few careers in the arts that aren’t sexy and that’s pretty much at the top of the list..closely followed by ventriloquist and Revolutionary War reenactment actor. Second set up. The guy shows up in a black turtleneck and black pants. Guys. The only time you can get away with this look is if you’re a stagehand, mime or Phil Collins about to be photographed for “The No Jacket Required Album Cover.”

But none is more “not my type” than the douche bag.

Urban Dictionary has 201 definitions for douche bag. One of them is “Someone who has surpassed the levels of jerk and asshole, however not yet reached fucker or motherfucker.”

How about we use the word in a very short scene for further clarification?

Me: So yeah, this unjustifiably pompous gold necklace wearing Guido wouldn’t stop hitting on me.
You: God, what a douche bag.

So it seems that I have crossed paths with a lot of McDouches in the last few months. Let me preface this with the reality that I am not a man hating lady of the 2000’s. I LOVE you men. A lot. These douche bags are a very particular breed of men with over-inflated sense of self worth, compounded by a low level of intelligence. They’re running rampant in our bars, restaurants and my personal space. Definition # 16 poetically explains that they’re “basically bastards who flaunt their apparent status, when the status is an example of total bullshit.” Those of you that "get me" know that I quickly assess my potential suitor’s humility and sense of self. I’ve reached my limit. The next time I have a douche encounter I’m just going to tell him flat out that he’s not my type. Why? Because my type is Jesus.

I'll simply explain that J of Naz has an amazing amount of sex appeal. I dig the hair, the scruff, the sandals… he throws dinner parties.I fantasize about meeting him. I picture him working at a health food store in Seattle. I’d ask him where the Echinacea is. He’d glide me over to the aisle. We immediately feel an energy between us so we go out for a green tea and a gluten free muffin. He really opens up to me. He tells me that being able to walk on water prevented him from fulfilling his true dream of becoming a professional scuba diver. He finally reveals to me who his father is... but he wants to make it on his own. I'm in love.

We get married and we’re as happy as that overzealous idiot that was able to finagle a one night stand with a drunk sorority girl. What a douche.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


August 15th, 2009

A little Trivia: What do Taco Bell, elementary schools, prisons, the military and backpackers have in common? Wait for it…wait for it….Our Answer: SPORKS, the love child of the best characteristics of the spoon and the fork. Yes, also referred to as “foon”. But please, that sounds remarkably lame and lacks the linguistic sex appeal of s-p-o-r-k. So, I’m stickin’ with it. No apologies. If you’re a “foonie”, peruse the bloggers who attempt to pen pithy witticisms about their favorite meal, linner.

This one was introduced to the spork in the late 70’s/early 80’s when mom would cut a grapefruit in half and hand my brother and me the hollow middle/sharp edged utensil whose intent was to separate the flesh of this citrus fruit from its rind. Short Digression. After rereading this last sentence, the image of a book called “A Child’s Introduction to Cannibalism” just floated through my mind. This is when I need to give myself a timeout to reflect on my behavior. I’ll be right back.

Let’s return to our topic at hand. Sporks are the ultimate non-gender specific symbol that coalesces the collective consciousness of mind, body, spirit… chimichangas. They took a chance. Would the world be ready for something so uniquely its own? Oh yes. Oh yes, we were. The best qualities of 2 different forces came together and got to the core of all that crossed its path. Including oranges. For the last few years, I have become keenly aware that something universal is shifting and inspiring the most skeptic of people to become seekers. I want to throw this heightened utensil into the paella of tools for soul growth. Gandhi, Buddha, Jesus..Spork.

Like many of us, sporks are just misunderstood. Those are the people(or cutlery) who have the most potent potential to be a bridge to people in pain and inspire the shifts this world is craving. We must combine forces and energy and do it together. Allow people to help you carry the burden. Let’s become the light. Together.

Trust the process and pick up a copy of my favorite (fictional...for now)magazine,
"Spork Aficionado."

As Martin Luther the King said, “Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

Friday, August 14, 2009

Day 6 - The Serotonin Who Lost his Way

August 14th, 2009

Below is a sketch that I wrote a few years ago called “The Serotonin Who Lost his Way.” It's a darkish fairytale that was performed live. I'm a little disturbed and fascinated that last night's cocktails inspired me to write this Facebook status update: “I am so awesome when I drink. I am so blown away by my awesomeness.”

The Serotonin Who Lost his Way

(Read like a children’s fairy tale)
Once upon a time there lived a lovable happy chemical named Serotonin, the most delightful mood enhancer that ever was. One day his mother, having made some freshly baked endogenous signaling molecules, said to him,

Go now Serotonin, and deliver this basket of neurotransmitters to Grandma Brain…I can feel that they are needed somehow…


Serotonin set out immediately through the Nervous
System Forest. Upon his journey he came to a magical river of Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Where are you going young tike?

Oh naive Serotonin. He did not know that it was dangerous to talk to
a river of cheap beer said,

I am going to see my grandmother….she’s the best!
And I have to give her this basket of neurotransmitters

Well surely you must be hot and tired and have time to take a swim…?

Said the River of PBR with remarkable coherence.

I will make you feel popular, confident and really horny.

Cool! I love horns! Nothing is more fun than playing
with my Trombone!

Serotonin enthusiastically dove into the river and was having the time of his life.
He felt so very happy and free. Then suddenly, things became very fuzzy, he
blacked out and the next thing he remembered was waking up several hours later in a pool of his own vomit that reeked of neurotransmitters.

The river certainly doesn’t feel so pretty and magical now.

As he lay hung-over along the bank, he realized than in order
to get the Neurotransmitters to Grandma Brain…he would need the strength to
climb Victim Complex Mountain…and he was tired. Then, out of nowhere, it started snowing. Now this wasn't normal snow. This was fine white powdery snow that Serotonin breathed in and began absorbing through his nasal membranes. Within 10-15 seconds Serotonin felt very stimulated with a sudden burst of euphoria. He was buzzing with anticipation of climbing Victim Complex Mountain.

I'm buzzing with anticipation of climbing Victim Complex Mountain!!(Powerful part of Hazy Shade of Winter Plays)

Serotonin felt like the fastest Cheetah in the land as he speedily ran up Victim Complex Mountain. Then, when he got to the top, the amazing snow had stopped coming down and he felt very very sad and just wanted more snow so
very badly. He said,

Gosh I ‘m just so irritable, paranoid and really out if it. I feel like a Zombie.

…and Zombie's are scary….

I have no idea how I can muster up the
energy to deliver what’s left of mom’s scrumptious neurotransmitters to Grandma Brain.

On top of Victim Complex Mountain, Serotonin sat alone crying
and hopeless as he leaned against Blame it on Your Parents Rock. Suddenly, he was approached by a slimy looking man in an Armani suit

You seemed to have lost your way young Serotonin. My name is Evil Pharmaceutical Industry Man and my Prozac pellets will ensure that you and your Neurotransmitters get to your Grandma Brain.


Exclaimed a cautious Serotonin

My mommy warned me about you Evil Pharmaceutical Industry Man! You're really just a case of aggressive marketing gone bad, with a mixture of corrupt physicians, underhanded payola and total disregard for patient health.

Oh young Serotonin, no use in protesting…because there is no way you can resist my pellets of Purple Horseshoe Prozac, Yellow Moon Zoloft, Blue Diamond Lithium, and Green Clover Placebo pills.They’re magically delicious. Ha..ha, ha.ha(extended evil laugh)

Right as Serotonin was falling under Evil Pharmaceutical Industry Man’s horrible spell ..The Fairy Good Buddha From the Far East flew in on her Flying Yoga Mat.

That’s what you think Evil Pharmaceutical Industry Man!

Ahhh…we meet again Fairy Good Buddha from the Far East

We both know that Serotonin can get to his Grandma brain with alternative approaches like meditation, hypnosis, reiki, herbal remedies and acupuncture.

Prepare to die Fairy Good Buddha from the Far East

Oh…I will only reincarnate you scamp!

Evil Pharmaceutical Industry Man began angrily throwing his pellets at Fairy Good Buddha from The Far East…but then she used her most powerful weapon… meditation. This made Evil Pharmaceutical Industry Man powerless and he began to melt.

Ahhhhhhhhhhh!!! Look what you've done! I'm melting, melting. ...

Oh thank you for saving me Fairy Good Buddha from The Far East!

Now hop on my magic flying yoga mat precious Serotonin because I’m going to take you to your Grandma Brain!


Unfortunately Fairy Good Buddha was flying her yoga mat under the influence of her powerfully potent herbal supplements. Serotonin never got his basket of Neurotransmitters to Grandma Brain because he and Fairy Good Buddha from the Far East had a bloody mid air collision with a Boeing 747 and their bodies were never recovered. And little ones…that is the story of The Serotonin Who Lost His Way…


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Day 5- Unintentional Cleavage

This was was my feeling the day before yesterday: I’ve never been one to dress purposely provokingly. In fact, I get peeved with my fellow ladies when they chose to blatantly AND insecurely put it out there. It’s demeaning, unnecessary and pretty much guarantees that you will not get the phone call the next day. I’m not suggesting that you nun it up and hit the streets in your most fashionable sweats and burkas. Let the sexuality ooze naturally. Be the goddess you are.

FUCK THAT. Yesterday I wore my standard summer garb: Tank Top, jeans and flip flops. This particular tank is low cut enough to show a hint of what most Kabat women are blessed with. We have never been mistaken for men. Please know that Kabat females also have curses that might be the focus of a blog down the line. Gotta throw in some humility. Most of us New Yorkers choose to zone out as we walk our streets with Ipods, texting and conversations..with our heads.. Just the way we roll. Yesterday, I was in that aware mood and just decided to be consciously awake as I went about my day. I realized that a little subtle cleave made my life start working for me rather than against me. I got a free coffee, a guy gave me his seat on the subway and my neighborhood scaffolding guy asked for my phone number because I looked “smart.” Even more women wanted to be my friend.

I’m always up for a little self esteem booster. And of course winter will come and I will have to pay for coffee again. But for now my "sexy enough" tanks stays on.. in the name of social experimentation.

Tits are powerful.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Day 4- Marigrace

August 12th, 2009

Last night was one of those nights where I was reminded that it all makes sense. All of it. I was in the presence of the divinely beautiful and otherworldly wise Marigrace. This might conjure up the image of this Jew stumbling into a Catholic church with rosary beads(or Mardi Gras beads) and sobbing at the altar like Nancy Kerrigan, “Why me? Why me?!” If I ever partake in an act of such lame overdramatic proportions..just shoot me. It would be for the best. Really.

I spent the evening with one of those people that is so beyond special and really validates that something much bigger is going on. I introduce to you: Marigrace Dineen. We lived in the same building on West 13th for eight years and met in our elevator as the towers were burning on September 11th. My inner photojournalist was heading out with the camera and she was going to get liquored up. God bless her.Mari "gets it." She’s a few years older than me, has kick ass untamed red hair and is a rocker in every sense of the word. She was part of the real East Village transformation in the 80’s when authentic “Rent” hard core artistry was in full swing. I hear stories about CBGB’s, loosing friends to AIDS, telling Bette Miller “At least I’m a real fuckin’ redhead” and her many many lovers.”. Disclaimer: there is nothing whorish about Ms.Dineen. Her life is devoted to experiencing the feast of the senses and transmuting it to this heartfelt brutally beautiful singing voice that puts Janis Joplin to shame.

In my 20’s, I’d show up at her door just hoping to feed off her energy. Her apartment is a safe haven with the fluffiest pillows, phenomenal feng shui and(I’m sure this won’t come as a surprise) award winning weed. It’s Fantasy Marigrace Camp. Sometimes I’d come to her in good spirits. Sometimes in tears. Either way, I’d I always leave a little more confident that I am on the right path. She’s committed to being my constant cheerleader and has always FELT success for me. Not in the blow smoke up my ass kind of way. I break it down to, “Well if Marigrace said must be true.”

Plus, she always calls me a “skinny bitch.” What’s not to love?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Day 3 - Key Party

August 11th, 2009

I’m sitting at Connecticut Muffin Coffee Shop with my friend Jill and the rest of the self employed or out of work Brooklynites. I ‘m thinking of telling the manager that the loud milk frothing machine is absolutely unacceptable in the work environment. I could go on about all the hipsters with Apple computers sitting in Starbucks across the nation but it’s been done. A lot of people sit in coffee shops. Working. Blah blah blah. We get it.

What has inspired me is my recent trip to the bathroom. And by recent I mean two minutes ago. I did wash my hands. No worries, I am above bathroom humor. Most of the time. Where am I going with this you might ask? What journey are we going to take together? In order to get to the WC, I had to ask the latte maker for the key that happened to be attached to a spoon as long as my arm. This was a shame because there is nothing I like to do more than steal bathroom keys. Well, in my alternative universe at least. In that world, I have accumulated the most impressive and magical bathroom key collection that ever was and will be. They are connected to silverware, plungers..homeless people. Screw The Louvre and Graceland. My bathroom key collection will be the hottest destination spot next to Neverland Ranch. It will inspire a magazine called “Bathroom Key Enthusiast.” I see it. I feel it. I will manifest this. Basically, I’ll “The Secret” the hell out of this.

Oh Glorious bathroom key. You will forever be attached to my heart.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Day 2 - The Mind of a Guy's Girl

August 10th, 2009

I am without a doubt a guy's girl. Maybe just because I spent so many of my childhood weekends with my dad and my brother..laughing. There were many weekends of taking random field trips and watching Animal House on the beta max in the basement. My dad might be the funniest person I know. He looks like a cross between Jay Leno and Steve Martin and has this dry acerbic wit that can often offend those of the less cerebral nature. My brother possesses more of that slap stick grandpa humor. It’s actually pretty adorable. He is also a big talker so if I wanted to be heard I had to be quick.

So yeah. I love hanging with you guys. I cringe at the thought of hanging with the giggly girls who drink appletinis , watch Grey’s Anatomy and sing along to “I will Survive”. With men, there is more opportunity to have a battle of the wits, not get into the heavy stuff and tell people I love them..but not really mean it. Strange thing is, I have tons of girl friends who feel the same way and ironically, we can hang like guys. I am blessed. Side note, just because a woman likes hanging with the guys..doesn’t make her a lesbian. I like men and I like men like men. Plus, I certainly am aware that I do not give off a lesbian vibe. However, knowing that there could always be a tampon around does glamorize being with a woman. Just a little.

In the meantime, I just want to salute you testosterone heavy friends of mine for accepting me into your circle. I can repay you by being a kick ass wing woman. Now let’s chest bump!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Day 1 -365 day blog entry challenge of cosmic angst through the eyes of comedic insight. The Flow.

Aug 9th, 2009

Not really sure what I'm doing here. I certainly am not grammatically gifted enough to impress you with consistently accurate punctuation. I mean..the semicolon? Who is the self righteous punctuation specialist who came up with that one? I am however, a BIG fan of the ...(dot dot dot) I feel a little blocked. I know that is such a cliché that "creative types" (me included) use to justify as to why we're not prolifically oozing creative gems out of our pores. But I feel it. Literally feel it. I think a little exercise would help but I'm the thinnest I've ever been without it. Granted, I eat pretty well but my mental and emotional well being could certainly benefit from some heartbeat escalation. 4 years ago I ran the San Diego Marathon and yesterday I watched 3 episodes of Law and Order. Actually, I didn't watch it..I just liked the sound of that contradiction. These are the times when I must make a real effort to stay "in the flow" of my life. When I become stagnant my spirit is in danger of plummeting.

My brother is always in motion. A doer if you will. And one hell of a nice guy with perfect hair. I often receive his phone calls from San Francisco while he is in motion: Driving through the tunnels(disconnection always follows), ordering Lattes, making babies. The third example is a lie. Or is it? His "flowiness" has even inspired his 3 year old daughter into doing some toddler Vinyasa Yoga(defined as flow yoga.) Of course she also asked if a picture of Jesus was Pharaoh.

Forward movement in my life has always been connected to authentic desire. I simply am not that good of an actress to fake my bliss. In fact, I become debilitated when i even attempt at living someone else's life. Even as a child, I have been surrounded by this thin veil. Anything and everything gets in. A blessing and a curse. It's an odd phenomenon to accept that whatever or whoever will cross my path will always effect me deeply. For better or for worse. But always for real.

Keeping myself flowing seems to be an effective survival mechanism for my sensitive soul. By the way, I am writing this as I skydive.