Thursday, February 21, 2013

Oh, Rats...

Damn.  Boardwalk emailed me today saying they'd rescheduled the shoot.  And I was SO looking forward to getting back to my beloved show...

And yesterday, thank God, was (as far as I know) my last day on Black Nativity, and I can't think of a show I'm happier to say goodbye to.  Instead of being what they said it would be, which was a matching shot (i.e., back to the set you were on in the first my case, Times Square), it was a whole new scene.  In friggin' Harlem. 

Now, I certainly have no objection to Harlem.  Parts of it are you could die from it gorgeous...the parks, the glorious brownstones...but it's got these hills.  These steep, steep hills.  And the subway station for where I was going, which was on the same block where I went for my costume fitting, has four flights of stairs...four LONG flights of stairs...up to the street.  And then a long, high hill to walk up. Turns out, I learned yesterday, that there's an escalator at the subway.  Unfortunately, there's no signage for it.

However, with the help of the MTA Trip Planner, I discovered that I could take a bus to within two blocks...which I did.  Bliss.  Until I discovered that our action consisted of spending the day walking up and down a muddy hill.  And did I mention that it was 32 degrees out with an 18 mile an hour wind?  Up and down.  Up and down.  Every bone in my body aches.  I may never be able to feel my toes again, two pairs of socks notwithstanding.

Ah, well.  I have rested today.  Tomorrow is laundry, grocery shopping (my checks for the first two days of Black Nativity arrived) and a quick jaunt to the good old Bistro, where I had my phone on the back bar charging and managed to leave without it.  Dumb.  Oh, well...

And opening week of the play coming up!

Love, Wendy

Monday, February 18, 2013

Things Are Heating Up!

Oh, boy.  You know, I can sit here for weeks on end, having wonderful, misty dreams about getting my ass out of bed/off the chair and doing things around the house and whatnot, and then all of a sudden...WHAM.  All hell breaks loose.

I have this show I'm doing at Theater for the New City, which is one of my pal Philippe's efforts to bring French-Canadian drama to the United States.  He has these little moments every now and then, but we're all very kind to him and bathe his head in cool water and eventually it goes away...

No, this is really, as far as I can tell, a pretty good effort.  It's called Bite Your Tongue, and is being marketed as being the things people don't usually say out loud.  Well, in this day and age it seems a bit tame, but it's amusing and we've got some good actors.  I play a woman of 70 (yeah, not such a far leap, which scares me a little) who is on a tour of New York with a young courier.  He does a monologue around me, at the end of which he decides he wants to kiss me.  This monologue of his, naturally, is him describing his feelings to another guy...not to me.  At any rate, he eventually leans forward to kiss me, and I say No.  Twice.  This is the sum total of my contribution to the play.  Frankly, after playing Shakespearean leads, I find it extremely restful.  But it's quite a good workout, too...I'm doing it just about entirely in mime, of a sort...i.e., I'm sort of doing the things he's describing, more or less.  It's hard to explain, but it's fun.  And I actually get to wear nice clothes, which after the rags I'm wearing in Black Nativity and my usual faded old crud for Boardwalk Empire, is a nice change.

But my Lord, the hoopla that's going on with this thing!  Philippe is doing a huge publicity push for the whole project (which will include more plays).  So the night before opening, we're throwing a VIP red carpet dinner and after party at someplace called Speakeasy on Mulberry Street.  Luckily, it's cocktail dress, not gowns...I haven't the remotest notion where I'd get a gown.  Well, yes, of course I do, what what the hell would I do with it after I got it?  The younger girls seems to be wearing a lot of red for this, so I'm leaning toward my good black dress with pearls (well, what ELSE?), considering that I'm rather the eminence gris in this circus.  But what the hell, we get fed. 

So the schedule looks like this:

2/19 - The law firm.  Which is good, because I need cash.  I've been working on rolled up change for two days.  One of the nice things about living in my edgy neighborhood is that EVERYBODY does that while they're waiting for their Social Security and food stamps.  The delis don't turn a hair.

2/20 - My third (and last) day on Black Nativity.  Matching shot, which means I get to freeze to death in Times Square some more.  I'm so excited about this that I may vomit.  They DAMN well better have some coffee on that set this time.

2/21 - Rehearsal.  Just in case I forget how to say no.  Not, actually, that saying no has EVER figured heavily in my life...

2/22 - BOARDWALK!  YAHOO!  Yup, had my costume fitting last week for this season's assemblage from the bottom of the costume barrel.  Ratty denim skirt, ratty brown checked blouse, ratty blazer...the usual.  Who cares?  And it's a night shoot on Staten Island...which means more money because of night differential.  I can't wait!  We all know how much I love my Boardwalk.

2/23 - Rehearsal.  So I can remember how to say no some more.

2/24 - Sunday off, thank God, for reading the papers and sleeping.

2/25 - Rehearsal.

2/26 - Rehearsal.

2/27 - Long, LONG day.  Rehearsal 12 - 5, and then the VIP party and after party.  This is tech and dress...I can't imagine how I'm going to stay awake, but TNC has its lovely basement with couches all over the place, and anyone who wants me can come and wake me up.  And let's remember that there's a good (I hope) meal at the end of it that I don't have to pay for.

2/28 - Opening night.

2/29 - Complete collapse of elderly actress.  Well, at least until call time at the theatre.

So anyone who wants the benefit of my wit and wisdom will simply have to wait until after opening night, which will be described in rich and charming detail.  Promise you'll miss me!

Love, Wendy

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Once More, With Feeling

Yes, well, I just wrote a wonderful informative blog letting everyone know what I've been up to...except that my computer elected to freeze and destroy the whole thing.  So we're going to try again.  While I save hysterically every seven seconds.

I worked all last week!  I do realize that this sounds like the world's most ho-hum remark, but you have to remember that I'm semi-retired, and very rarely work more than 3 days a week.  So a 5 day week is fairly unusual for me.

Monday, 2/4 - Frantic call from Andrew at the law office.  Nancy's got flu!  So off I went, to be annoyed all day.  Really, the boy is impossible. 

Tuesday and Wednesday, 2/5-6 - Freezing my ass off in Times Square for a movie called Black Nativity.  I have a horrible feeling they're going to make a mess of this.  I know the's a sort of tone poem by Langston Hughes which is the retelling of the Nativity story using gospel music.  I saw it in Chicago way back in the early 60s, and it was wonderful...I don't think expanding it is going to help it at all.  However, we all know my mantra...who cares?  I'm getting paid.

It was a ghastly couple of days.  First of all, the thing seems to be VERY low budget...damned little food, and NO COFFEE that anyone could find.  And the second day we had to forage for our own lunches, which is invariably irritating.  Admittedly we were in Times Square, so finding food was hardly a problem, but still...

And we were in Times Square.  We were in Times Square OUTDOORS.  In early friggin' February.  Should someone ask you about this, just tell them you don't want to.  Aside from the fact that we were freezing to death, the damn tourists and passersby will drive you completely insane.  They seem to feel that there's nothing wrong with cutting right across the filming and waving to their mothers or whatever the hell they think they're doing, so you have to keep stopping to shoo them away.  Tuesday was bad enough, but Wednesday was horrendous.  Tuesday we were shooting modern day, so there wasn't much to see, but Wednesday we were shooting Bethlehem (no, no, I have no idea how Times Square got to be seems unlikely in the extreme).  Wednesday we had two camels wearing all kinds of camel robes with cloth of gold and embroidery, two horses pulling a chariot thing, and three sheep, who were friendly types who seemed to love all the attention.  For all I know, the camels did too, but camels spit and kick and you don't want to go play with them.  Sheep seem to like being scratched and cuddled (which came in handy if you wanted to warm your hands...nothing like a nice woolly sheep).  As you can imagine, the onlookers were fascinated.  Oy.

Meanwhile, remembering what I said about low budget, the background wrangler (that's the guys who gathers up the background people and gets them to set and announces lunch and signs off on vouchers at the end of the day) was evidently either on his first job or congenitally stupid.  He called us out to go to the prop truck on Wednesday and when we got outside, I realized I didn't have my ID, so I said, "Where's the prop truck?  I'll grab my ID and follow you."  So he gestures east on 46th Street.  Four minutes later, I emerge with my ID and start off east on 46th.  Well, after a block or so I saw nothing that remotely resembled a prop truck, so I went back toward holding and ran into the makeup gal and my pal the hair guy (from Boardwalk) and they walked over to the set with me.  Turns out that A. the prop truck was on 48th Street, and B. just after I went inside, the background guy was informed that we didn't need props and should go straight to set.  Considering the amount of time I was gone, and considering that the set was immediately visible half a block west, don't you think someone could have waited those four goddamn minutes for me?  No, numbnuts realized I was gone and called my agency to tell them I was missing.  I wasn't in the least missing...I was doing exactly what I told him I was doing.  Idiot.

By the way, it was friggin' FREEZING out there.

Then it was two days at the law office again, Nancy still being felled with flu, and Andrew the lawyer being know, if I'm finished with something, it is on the pile where the finished stuff is.  It is NOT next to my computer where I keep the not quite finished stuff.  So when you prowl all over the desk, confusing my papers and then telling me I don't follow through, I tend to get homicidal.  I KNEW those two items weren't finished.  THAT IS WHY THEY WERE WHERE THEY WERE, YOU DINGBAT.  And to add insult to injury, he didn't even close the office early on Friday, with a blizzard looming.  Although, as a born Chicagoan, I must say that New York City itself didn't get much snow at all...7-8 inches hardly qualifies as a blizzard.  Yes, I know the outlying areas got slammed...but I was in the city, which didn't, particularly.

However, as of today, all these petty annoyances have faded in a rosy glow...because TOMORROW I HAVE A COSTUME FITTING FOR BOARDWALK!  YAHOO!  Fourth season, here I come.  God only knows what ghastly bits of aging garb they'll throw at me this beloved Lisa, the costume head, takes a positively perverted delight in making me look just awful.  Really.  She giggles.  It's been a running gag for ages now.  And we're being fitted for...wait for it...winter again.  If we have another summer like last year, I will die.  I don't care.  I'm back on the Boardwalk!  Yay!

Love, Wendy

Friday, January 25, 2013

A Cautionary Tale

I have never complained about the United States Post Office.  I mean, of course the lines are long around Christmas, and I think my paychecks from movies and TV should arrive faster, but other than that, I conduct business (you know, paying bills and whatnot) just about completely electronically.

I am now complaining.  I have never seen such a bunch of blithering idiots in my LIFE.  You're going to just LOVE this saga.

On December 19, I got a package from one set of my in-laws.  Also in my mailbox that day was one of those little pink slips that tells you there's a package.  However, it was entirely blank.  So I assumed that the mail person had made a mistake...I already had a package, right?

Well, on Tuesday...yes, that would be Tuesday, the 22nd of January...I got another little pink slip.  This one WAS filled out.  Complete with date of first attempt at delivery...DECEMBER 19th.  Yup.  they brought it back ONE MONTH LATER.  Now, there was NO reason not to leave it with Jimmy the super, since it didn't say "needs signature" or anything like that.  But who knows.

So I called the 800 number for the USPS, and read them the tracking number for the package, which turned out to be wrong.  We tracked the thing down, and I got a promise that it would be redelivered the next day. 

It wasn't.  I called back.  It wasn't delivered yesterday fact, it didn't even get on the truck where it was supposed to be.  Wasn't delivered today, either...and I know damn well the truck was there because someone else got a pink slip for a package.  And I had left a note on the mailbox saying PLEASE RING BELL AT APT. 5E FOR DELIVERY.  The note was missing.  There was no pink slip.

I have called my local post office, which doesn't answer the phone.  I have spoken to the 800 USPS number every single day.  Today, just for the sake of variety, I spoke to the NYC Consumer Affairs Department, which helpfully informed me that my post office is the worst in the city.  This doesn't make things better.

So I think the package is being returned to sender today, which isn't a disaster, since it must be a Christmas gift from another set of in-laws and probably contained chocolates and mixed nuts, which I would very much like to have, but which are certainly not desperately important to my life and continued well-being.  However, the whole thing is just INFURIATING.

Therefore, I exhort you all:  Use FedEx.  Use UPS.  Use DHL.  Use a goddamn mule train.  BUT DON'T GO NEAR THE POST OFFICE!

Love, Wendy

Sunday, January 20, 2013


I'm amazed I have any followers left.  I have just been awful about keeping up here.  Well, new year, new resolve.  I hope.

Now, let's see where we left off in the dim mists of antiquity.

We had Thanksgiving, of course, and I finally got the number of green beans right...that was exciting.  Unfortunately, I forgot to make a note of how many green beans I actually bought, so I'm going to have to go through the whole damn thing again next year.  Ah, well...I'm sure the number of eaters will change anyway, so it doesn't make a whole lot of difference.

Then (logically enough), we had Christmas, which wended its usual path through lobsters on Christmas Eve and roast beef for Christmas Day.  Nothing new there, either.  Sarah, God bless her, bought me a new ironing board...I had asked her to please take down my board and put it away, and she discovered that it no longer she told me it had to go and removed it and bought me a new one.  Yay!  You understand I haven't done any of the huge piles of ironing I've got yet...mainly because I haven't gone anywhere that required actual ironed grownup clothing.  Actually, I haven't gone anywhere.

I did, however, achieve an actual manager for my career!  This is also not going anywhere at the moment...she wants me to take an improv class, which I'm perfectly willing and ready to soon as I get the necessary $350 together to pay for the damn thing.  What I need to do is call the class, for God's sake, and find out about payment plans.

However, I was hit with the flu from hell right after New Year's Eve and am just coming back to God, I've never had anything last so damn long.  I was only really SICK for a couple of days, but I just couldn't get out of bed.  Yuck.  Now I just cough incessantly.

I haven't done a movie, I haven't done a TV show, and even my ambulance chasing lawyer is ignoring me...another reason why that damn $350 is looming rather large.

And you are now all as up to date as I am...bored and coughing, although I hope nobody's coughing.

Now I'm going to watch Danny Kaye in Hans Christian Andersen, which is one of my favorite movies ever.  It's almost never on TV, so tonight I'm even skipping Downton Abbey (which I can get online anyhow).  Yay, Danny Kaye!

Love, Wendy

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


There were three of us once.  Peter was the eldest, then me, six months later, then Stevie, six months after me.  We  were the middle.  Carol and Cathy were older, and Mary and John younger, and then of coourse there were the New York cousins, who were around, but not really part of us.

Cathy, Stevie, Mary, John...the only brothers and sisters I, as an only child,  ever had.  Thanksgiving, Christmas, backyards, swings, everything to me.  I had an odd childhood...this was my only taste of reality, and what it might be like to grow up naturally and normally.

Stevie (forever Stevie to me) was my own personal still small center.  He was his father, all over again.  Calm and strong, and good and loving.  The army didn't change him...nothing changed him.  Whaat he may have felt about Viet Nam remained forever within him.  What he gave back to the rest of us was love, in huge measure.

I will, because I must must, adjust to a world without him, but I hate that I have to do so.  I still need Stevie at my back.  And I am not resigned.

Love, Wendy

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Back From The Abyss

Well, here I am again.  Isn't that amazing?  I have survived Sandy, and the following nor'easter, and two days in my law office job.

Let's get all caught up.

Before the weather happened, I did this bizarre little deferred pay short film shoot, wherein I portrayed a crazy lady at a flea market.  This was a week or two before the Halloween that wasn't.  The outfit was own clothing, with the exception of an amazing hat, which I'll get to.  Now, you have to understand that NONE of these clothes have ever been worn together in the history of man...I had a purple mid-calf length street fair cotton skirt, black tights with white socks over them and my ratty old sneakers, a wildly striped sweater with a beige cardigan over it, a huge tie-dye silk scarf around my neck, and a shocking pink furry newsboy cap.  And then they made me up as one of those people who puts it on with a trowel in the dark...big pink circles of rouge and eyebrows drawn with a Magic Marker sort of thing.  And my hair was teased where it stuck out of the cap.  Oh, I was elegant as shit. 

These kids evidently succumbed to wanderlust when choosing locations.  We shot on a Sunday and Monday.  Sunday the shoot was in Red Hook, Brooklyn, which is impossible to get to.  You take a subway to some damn where in Brooklyn and then a LONG bus ride.  More or less parenthetically, I have never been able to understand Brooklyn bus routes.  A bus in Manhattan is named, say, the M14.  It travels on 14th Street.  See?  M14?  The 6th Avenue bus travels on Sixth Avenue.  Buses in Brooklyn, however, have routes that they evidently patterned after your basic corkscrew...they twist and turn and wander around.  Strange. 

Anyway, so we shot the flea market scene in a playground in Red Hook.

The next day we were called out in the extreme opposite direction.  A subway to Forest Hills, Queens, a place I've NEVER gotten the hang of.  Addresses in Queens are like this: 35-04 45th Avenue, on the corner of 74th Street.  Really.  I find the entire borough impossible.  But we were picked up in a van this time, and driven out to Long Beach, Long Island to shoot the dream sequence on the beach.  Yes, yes, children, there was a dream sequence on the beach.  These kids are aiming for the artsy market, obviously.  There was honestly a double bed, complete with quilts and pillows and all, and even a bedside table with a lamp.

Anyway, that was all quite fun, and I must say that when I went to the wrap party on Tuesday night, I was quite impressed with the clips of raw footage they showed.  Hey, you never know...they're talking about submitting the thing at Cannes.  Why not?

And then came Sandy.  It just occurred to me that Sandy slammed us on October 29...wasn't that the same date as the stock market crash?  Interesting.

Manhattanites are deeply complacent.  For reasons I've never been able to figure out, weather almost always goes AROUND Manhattan Island, instead of landing ON it.  This may perhaps be the concerted thoughts of Upper East Side women, all beaming "Don't you DARE rain on my Jimmy Choos!" at it, or perhaps the casual remarks of the downtowners, saying, "No, man, not tonight.  I got a good gig over on Ludlow Street."  But the fact remains, that while the rest of New York City gets trees uprooted, roof tiles blown all over the place, and all the other bits of disaster, Manhattan just doesn't.  Well, OK, there WAS the snow in 2010, but that's really, really rare.

So we here in the city kept saying, remember Hurricane Irene last year (wherein nothing at all happened in Manhattan, after days of weather person hysteria) and sort of ignoring things.  Oh, we stocked up on food, figuring it would probably rain (makes it a nuisance to get to the deli, you know), and some people got a couple of candles and maybe a new flashlight.

Boy, did we ever look stupid.

I was feeling pretty pleased with myself on Monday night, what with my elderly flashlight and my little box of small candles (yahrzeit candles, actually, for Jewish memorial flames and some menorahs).  I had a freezer full of food and plenty of cigarettes until it quit raining.  So I'm sitting there, when...flicker, flicker.  Hmmmm.  Well, Con Ed did mention brownouts.  Flicker, flicker.  Where did I put the candles?  Flicker, flicker.  Ominous music began to sound.  Flicker, flicker...phlumpf.  Darkness fell.

And darkness stayed, until the following Saturday.  By Wednesday, there was no edible food in the freezer and I was down to crackers and cheese and lukewarm water from the tap.  The cigarettes were gone and the only thing keeping me even reasonably sane was the fact that I have an electronic cigarette thing and it was still usable.  And of course no heat.  The flashlight was dying and I had two small candle stumps left.  My cell was dead...everybody's cell was dead.  Thank God the phone came back to life on Wednesday just long enough for me to get a message from Sarah that she had commandeered a knight in shining armor and a white horse and was riding to my rescue!

So off I went to Brooklyn.  (I'm so glad my kid understands me.  When she came to the door I hugged her and said, Oh, thank God. Gimme a cigarette.  NOW.)  The cure was almost worse than the disease, I must admit, since Sarah lives in a converted loft building with damn near no heat.  This I can live with, but the fact that all her friends were falling all over themselves to take care of me nearly killed me...their method of taking care of Mom was to keep buying her drinks.  And then more drinks.  And get the picture.

On Friday night late the lights finally came on at home, and Saturday afternoon I got home to two cats who were very pleased to see me...and a freezer which had refrozen.  This waiting until Saturday was intentional because that's what I wanted the freezer to do.  There is an enormous difference between throwing out soft, rotted, smelly food and nice neat solid packages of frozen rotted food.  The second way is MUCH better.

And in the middle of the storm week, Andrew the lawyer kept texting and calling me to see if I could come into the office.  I thought this was rather charmingly optimistic of him, since there was A. no transportation from Brooklyn, and B. his office is in the middle of what was the dark zone.  I wouldn't have been able to do anything if I HAD been able/wanted to go to work anyway. 

So I finally did go in Tuesday and yesterday.  Yesterday was just ghastly.  By the time I left the office, it was snowing horizontally and there was a 35 mile an hour wind.  I walked two blocks to my bus stop and damn near died, but the fates were finally smiling on me and I got a taxi. 

I keep you think that God has decided that we should have all of winter in one two week period?  Wouldn't that be a lovely idea?  If not, I don't even want to think about what comes next  On the other hand, OBAMA WON!  I swear, all this stuff with hurricanes and nor-easters paled in comparison with my absolute terror about this election...

So now I am going to do laundry, because there is not a clean piece of underwear any place here, and then I am going to restock my icebox, and then I am going to clean the damn house. 

I'm so glad to be home!

Love, Wendy