Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Bits and Pieces

I am currently in a holding pattern, because I have no idea what's going on with my house. I'm sort of assuming things are moving forward, because otherwise I would be getting requests from Richard the real estate guy to show the house some more. I just wish somebody would let me know. Hey, I just thought of something! I'll ASK! Wouldn't that be clever?

Meanwhile I get up in the morning and read the papers, as usual. A few days ago I found a ghastly little idea on the NY Post's Page Six gossip pages.

"Gossip Girl star Matthew Settle said he was "inspired" by Sandra Bullock and Scarlett Johansson's kiss at the MTV awards. He told fellow guests (at some party or other...I'm not going to type the whole thing) that the smooch represented "huge growth" for female empowerment: "It's important for woman to start making out in public." "

Oh, for GOD'S sake. Surely the LAST thing we need is MORE damn people making out in public. And as for a "huge growth in female empowerment"? Um, what? You mean the ability to look ill-mannered in public? Yeah, that's just as empowering as hell. Really.

On a much more charming note, I have been rather casually looking through apartment listings on the internet. I must say that I'm thrilled to know that there are actually apartments out there in my price range and my chosen neighborhood, but you do have to look carefully. There's one building that's advertised all over the place that sounds quite lovely, and it says it's in the East Village. And the ads announce that it's "just steps" to Union Square, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, etc. However, if you look carefully at the end, you discover that this joint is in Gramercy Park. I'm sorry...the East Village is between say, 4th Avenue and Avenue D (or the FDR Drive) and between 14th Street and Houston Street. Gramercy Park is in the East 20s. How is this in the East Village?

But what thrills me to the very core about the ads for this building is that they all (and there are a LOT of ads for this place) seem to provide you with roommates for no extra charge. And indeed, whether you want one or not. I base this idea on the fact that in each and every one of the ads there is a line that states quite plainly: "High ceilings and large widows in every room."

This seems quite excessive. By my count, given the usual run of New York apartments, that would give me five large widows to live with...well, "in every room," i.e., kitchen, two bedrooms, living room, bathroom. Certainly, I am the LAST person in the world to deny these poor ladies a place to live; after all, I'm a widow myself. But could we discuss exactly HOW large? Could I, for instance, share one of those galley kitchens with one, should our cooking hours coincide (always a consideration with roommates)? And what about bedroom space? I'm not at all sure I want to share my bedroom with a large widow, and that ad does say, "in every room." And closet space? I mean, I'm quite a small widow...about a size 6 or 8...and I somehow feel that sharing closets with a large widow of, oh, say, a size 24 or so might possibly squeeze my wardrobe space just a bit. And the bathroom is just impossible.

Although, since they do say "high ceilings" in connection with the large widows, perhaps they mean height. Now, at 5'3", I can see all sorts of advantages to this. There's putting away the huge pots I only use at Thanksgiving, for instance, and changing the bulbs in ceiling fixtures and this sort of thing, and I wouldn't need to haul out the ladder or call the super every time (after all these years of co-op living, you cannot possibly imagine what a frisson of total delight it gives me to say "call the super").

Still, aside from the impossibility of living in Gramercy Park, which is a quiet, old moneyish sort of place - exactly the kind of thing I dearly wish to avoid - I think I'll skip the large widows, lovely ladies though I'm sure they are.

Love, Wendy

Monday, June 14, 2010


The house is sold! Or at any rate, the two nice gay guys signed a contract on Wednesday morning! I think they still have to go through board approval and stuff, but it looks like I'm on my way to the East Village!

I can't wait. I went out on Friday night to see a friend of mine in another play from the same series mine was in (it was remarkably terrible, thank you), and we went to a tiny hole in the wall joint which had a window onto the street, 1st Avenue, in this case. And oh, boy, what a nice bunch of street life was going on...it was terrific. People all over the place...hanging out, taking the kids for a walk, walking dogs, lurching in a friendly manner in and out of bars. And then I came home, to the dark, dead streets of the West Village. What a difference.

I'll keep you informed!

Love, Wendy

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Oh, Good Lord!

So I was watching the Tonys tonight. Of COURSE I was watching the Tonys tonight. I'm an actress, for God's sake. Anyway, somebody I know was up for an award and won same...so congrats, you old Garlic, you! And lovely to see Melanie...give her my love.

But oh, dear God. I loved the stuff from Fela, which I'm dying to see, because I love Afro-Beat type music and African dancing. As for the rest...when on earth did Broadway become the dumping ground for every old (and new) rock and roll song ever? I am certainly not going to say that the guy playing Jerry Lee Lewis in Million Dollar Quartet was bad, because he was friggin' brilliant and thoroughly deserved the Tony he got. I had just said to Vicky, who was watching it with me, "Yeah, but Jerry Lee Lewis used to lie down on top of the piano and play the piano backwards," when this gent did exactly that. I was delighted!

I couldn't understand a word anybody was singing in the bits from Memphis, and it looked like a somewhat rougher (earlier, I think, 50's rather than 60's) version of Hairspray anyway...and from the description of the show, was exactly that...let's integrate Memphis music was the theme, I believe.

The only things where I could bask happily were the numbers from the revival of La Cage Aux Folles, which is a show I love, and when Matthew Morrison and Lea Michelle (both with heavy Broadway chops) from Glee performed actual, real, musical comedy songs...Matthew did All I Need Is The Girl from Gypsy and Lea reprised her Don't Rain On My Parade from the series. That was WONDERFUL. You know, actual Broadway music. Oh, and I loved the bits from Twyla Tharp's Sinatra musical, Come Fly With Me...I'm a total sucker for brilliant ensemble dancing. Also Sinatra.

Now, please. I'm not saying that Broadway shouldn't accommodate itself to the new demographic of theatre-goers...I'm just saying that I don't think it's necessary to go QUITE this far. I mean, I do know there's a band called Green Day. But why on earth must their music have a Broadway show? Actually, I wasn't all that thrilled about Tommy, the Who's rock opera, going up on Broadway, even though I like a lot of the music from it. I mean, you've never seen anybody try to make a Broadway show out of the Beatles, have you? And they wrote better music than anybody (before you begin to shout at me in comments, it's my blog and I'm allowed to have an opinion...so there).

Maybe what's bothering me is that I have enormous difficulty understanding a word these people are saying. I am a trained singer, and a trained choir and chorus singer, and the way I was trained told me that the audience deserves to hear every single syllable in a song. And we didn't have mikes. And rock singers aren't trained for perfect diction. So between the mike distortion (I don't care how technologically good the mikes are, a miked voice is NOT the same as an unmiked one), and the fact that the diction is monumentally sloppy, you get auditory soup. When Sarah dragged me off to see Rent (which I loved...I'm not against modern music, for heaven's sake), I was appalled. I'd been listening to the album, and when I got to the theatre...auditory soup again. Mangled syllables. Mush mouth. And that really IS a sin with a show as beautifully written as Rent.

Anyway, I was disturbed that there was not a single new show nominated for a Tony that had anything that I would consider an actual Broadway score. I know, I know, I'm old fashioned and hopelessly behind the times, and if Broadway going to make any money it has to draw a younger audience...etc., etc., and so forth.

But couldn't just ONE of these shows have a song that I could A. understand the words to, and B. hum?

Love, W.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


The show is over! And it went pretty damn well, if I do so say myself. I lost lines left and right, but I was always able to keep on track (or, in one damn scary moment, get back on track).

And there were HUGE cheers for my curtain call. Well, all right, I knew everybody in the damn audience, but it's nice to hear anyway.

There was one deeply scary moment in the very beginning of the play. I'm supposed to take our my cigarettes and lighter, among other things, when I get onstage and sit down. So I sit down, start taking things out of my purse, and discover that there's no lighter. I about died, because of course I was using a show purse, not my regular one, meaning that there were no matches or anything but what I needed onstage in it. Luckily, Maggie, playing Ann, the waitress, came on, so I asked her for some matches - thereby throwing her slightly, since the line isn't in the script. But she had matches in her pocket from lighting the little table candles, so everything turned out fine.

Really, though, the whole thing felt like a dress rehearsal. We didn't finish the set or get all the lights focused until 7 pm, for an 8 pm curtain, which meant that the line run I was so desperately counting on didn't happen, which made me totally panicky. Luckily, I had prepared for this little problem...I had a little notebook/journal thing with me on stage as a prop, and before the show I went through the script writing down a cheat sheet for all the places I felt shaky about. As it turned out, I needed it! But, as I discovered later, I managed to keep that little fact a secret from the audience. The character keeps describing herself as a writer, so every time I was desperate for a line, I picked up the little book and scribbled something in it while grabbing a look at the cheat sheet on the opposite page. Worked fine, and nobody noticed. I'm so clever.

Now I really can't wait for us to get a full production of this. Doing it for one night just seems sort of unfinished, somehow...and I'd like to perform it with ALL the lines...wouldn't that be nice?

Now I'm really sort of at loose ends. Boardwalk Empire is on hiatus until January, I've got no rehearsals, so I'm sort of flapping around. With any luck, the house will sell soon - we seem to be tending that way - and then I can run around looking for a new apartment, furnishing it, decorating, etc. Not forgetting my bird cage, of course. I do have another transcription job tomorrow, but the tape is 8 minutes long, so it doesn't seem likely it'll occupy a whole lot of my day. This actually suits me very well, since I've got to go get my lovely senior citizen discount Metrocard, which is only a few blocks from the temp agency. Then I think I'll treat myself to a nice lunch, since the last Boardwalk check turned up on Monday.

I did that today. I got up, read the papers, gloried in the fact that for the first time in ages, I didn't have to get my head into that damn script, and decided to take a nap. However, since I couldn't sleep, I went out to lunch instead at one of my favorite places. It's called Markt, and has wonderful steak tartare, which I adore with a passion. I can't tell you what a thrill it was to realize that I didn't have to A. study lines, B. hike back and forth across the Boardwalk in those damn tight boots, or C. clean up cat shit for prospective buyers...it was WONDERFUL!

Ah, well. This is just the post-show letdown...and of course, when you're only doing one performance, it tends to seem like it never really happened at all. I must say, after a two or three year absence from the stage, it's lovely to know I can still get out there and act my little socks off!

Now I'm going to bed...well, why not?

Love, Wendy

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Oh, My Poor Native Tongue!

As usual on Sunday morning, I am reading the papers. And what to my wondering eyes doth appear but an excerpt from a book on the relationship of Liz Taylor and Richard Burton! Well, as a life long mad idolater of Burton, I had to cast an eye over this.

Dear God. Not in one, but in TWO places, the writer (whose name I didn't even bother to look at...I will, however, in order to be able to avoid ANYTHING else written by him or her) talked about Liz and Dick's "viscous" fights.

PEOPLE! Viscous means, oily, ropy, like mucus, or, for that matter, our current oil spill. Unless these two people are hacking up phlegm and aiming it at each other as they fight (now there's an unattractive image), that is not what you mean. You mean VICIOUS, damn it. Vicious, meaning awful, terrible, totally below the belt type fighting. With plenty of nasty name calling.

How much can it cost to hire a goddamn proof reader? Surely there must be SOMEONE left who can read and spell the English language...

Love, Wendy (who is now depressed)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Your Tax Dollars At Work

About three or four weeks ago, I got a notice from Unemployment saying that I had misrepresented myself as having been available for work when in fact I had the flu. They said that I therefore owed them $102.25 which had been mistakenly paid to me.

Well, I don't think one should ever get in wrong with unemployment, so I dutifully mailed them a check. Which, by the way, they cashed.

Today I got a letter from Unemployment. It says: "This letter is being sent to advise you that your Unemployment Insurance overpayment balance has been paid back over and above the amount that was due. As a result, you have a credit in the amount of $102.25 that is being returned to you."

Yup. You read that right. First they bill me for $102.25 - and cash the check. Then they tell me that the exact amount they asked me to send them was an overpayment and I can have it back now.

Anyone who can explain this to me is more than welcome to try.

Love, Wendy