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

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Election

I have tried to stay away from this election, since I know where my vote is going, and I have no patience for most of the incessant ballyhoo and chatter.  However, as we get to the end of the whole thing, there is one thing that has started to bother me.

I certainly understand the fixation on the budget and on military spending.  The first frightens me, and I'm completely against the second, of course...once anti-war, always anti-war, as far as I'm concerned.  And the emphasis on jobs...well, of course.  There don't seem to be any.  (Of course, if we stopped outsourcing things, it might help.)

But I CANNOT understand this sudden seeming war on women.  We have children and the elderly starving to death and homeless in American cities.  We have crumbling buildings and indeed, whole neighborhoods.  We have ever-increasing crime.  Can someone please explain to me why none of these interesting little details seem to be being expressed by anyone?  All I seem to hear about is women.

If, as the Romney camp seems to feel, every single woman who becomes pregnant by any method whatsoever, including rape and incest, is forced to have that child, where are you going to put them?  And if you cut aid, how are these women going to raise these children?  How are they to be fed, or housed, or clothed, or educated?  What are these people thinking?  That the Lord will provide?  Somehow I don't think that calmly expecting manna from heaven to fall on the faces of the deserving is going to work.  And neither will the loaves and fishes...particularly not the fishes part, due to the ongoing pollution of our waters.  And will there be kind, caring, orphanges established, for when some of these increasingly desperate women simply give up?  Somehow I think not. 

I thought we had finished with this fight.  I thought cooler heads had prevailed.  I now think I must have been nuts to think it was so easy. 

What on EARTH have we poor women done to all these men that we are supposed to go back to being barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen again?

Love, Wendy

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Back From Chicago!

Well, that was a cold damn week.  I knew I was home, because when the weather actually got out of the low 50s I walked around like any other Chicagoan saying how lovely and warm it was.

We got there on Friday the 5th, with both of us dropping off because we hadn't had any sleep.  I meant to get a nap before we left, but I was trying to pack and clean up up bit for my pals Jiggers and Kathy to feed the beasts, so I never got around to it...we had a 6 A.M. flight, which meant a car at 3:30 A.M.  And Sarah had to work karaoke until 2:30 A.M.  I caught a short nap when we got to the hotel, but poor old Sarah just stayed up.  My pal Tommy took us out on Friday to a truly terrific show called A Class Act, which is about Ed Kleban, the lyricist for Chorus Line, and it was wonderful.  The show is excellently written, using exclusively his own songs, and the actors were great.

Then on Saturday, of course, was the big family party, which featured food ( family doesn't go in for crackers and cheese...when they serve food, they serve FOOD).  I must say, that bridesmaid dress waasn't at all as bad in person (I mean in a photograph, obviously) as it was in memory.  I actually looked pretty good. Then Sarah and I went off to the Old Town Ale House where we ran into my old drinking buddy Bruce Elliott, who owns the place now, and we had a nice long natter about who's where and what are they up to.  This didn't take as long as one would think, for the eminently logical reason that these are people I've known for about 50 years, and therefore there's a fairly large attrition rate.  But a few are still with us.

Sunday Sarah took off on her own, having gone out with her cousins the night before and made all sorts of friends, and I went over to Cass and Charlie's for the afterparty from the anniversary party (of COURSE there was an afterparty...there were leftovers, weren't there?).  We had a great time laughing and scratching as usual.  The thing I like about my family and friends is that we tend to just pick up where we left off last time, which makes for much livelier conversation than everybody stating what they've been doing for the last six years or so.

Then Monday night was the memorial gathering for my friend Dolores, who died last year just before Christmas.  As promised, it was the most casual of gatherings, with more old friends and lots of conversation.  Poor old Sarah felt like she was in the world's liveliest nursing home, I'm afraid...since I started at Encore Theatre when I was 15, I tend to be the youngest person in the room.  This also holds true of the Ale House, since I was drinking there at 15 too.  This is not altogether a bad thing.  This was very much the usual Encore crew, with people singing snatches of song and occasionally tap dancing a little...Sarah kept wincing when peoples' knees went off like rifle fire.  Honestly, the young just don't understand.

Tuesday, God help us, we had lunch with Bill the trustee, who for reasons best known to himself, insisted on driving us all over hell and gone near Chinatown to show us all the new development over there.  I'm certaily glad there's new development (it was kind of blighted, after all), but I couldn't care less.  I never spent any time in Chinatown anyway (good Chinese lunch, however).   Tommy did much better by us on the way to the theatre on Friday, driving us through Near North and all those glorious houses.  Then I asked Bill to go by Buckingham Fountain so Sarah could see that great view of the city rising behind it, and he promptly took us BEHIND the fountain.  So what we saw was the fountain and the lake, which wasn't what I was after.  Sheesh.

That night our cousin Nick took us out for pizza (REAL pizza...take that, New York), and on Wednesday we finally got a small glimpse of what I had intended to see anyway...The Art Institute and the Museum of Science and Industry.

Wednesday night we went out to dinner at a lovely little French place on Wells Street, and Thursday my pal Carolyn took us to lunch (and God bless her, got us on the train to the plane) on our way to the airport.  (Thank you, darling!)

So I never got to do much of anything I had intended to do, but we had a great time anyway.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I have a question.  WHY will people use unnecessary words?  There was an article in the food section in today's NYTimes about snails, which a nice lady seems to be raising.  However, in the course of this article, it refers to "cooking with snails."

I'm sorry, you don't cook WITH snails.  You just cook snails.  I can't see why I would want them in the kitchen in the sense of cooking WITH somebody.  They aren't good conversationalists (or talkers at all), and they are absolutely no help can't ask them to get you something out of the icebox or mince an onion, which is what I think of in terms of cooking with someone.  If there are snails in my kitchen, I'm cooking them...not cooking WITH them, damn it.

Love, Wendy   

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Would you believe that I have just bought a guidebook to Chicago?  Yeah.  A GUIDEBOOK to CHICAGO.  Yes, that would be the place where I was born, and the place where I went from kindergarten through high school and some college, the place where I got married and divorced and had LOTS of way less formal relationships.  That Chicago.  And I bought a guidebook.

There are sensible reasons for this, actually, chief among them being that I haven't spent any more than about 20 minutes in Chicago since Sarah was about three years old...and since Sarah is now 28, you see the problem.  Oh, I've been in and out, but for stated reasons...a reunion, my aunt and uncle's 50th anniversary (and now I'm going to their daughter's 50th, how time flies when you're getting old).  Really, though, I haven't spent any extended time there in years.  The other reason is that the whole transportation system has changed (I can no longer grab the Illinois Central at Randolph Street and get off at 55th, on account of it's now something called Metra, whatever that may be, and I don't know whether it even still GOES to 55th Street).  And naturally, few of the restaurants I frequented are still around, and on top of all THAT, we're staying downtown on Monroe Street, and I'm a Near North and Hyde Park kid.

All of this makes me feel deeply disoriented, obviously.  I want to take Sarah to a lot of places in my history, and I'm not even sure I can find them...or that they still exist.  It's a distinctly weird feeling.

However, our Chicago social life is coming together nicely.  We arrive Friday morning (this coming Friday morning) and my pal Tommy (I wouldn't like to say he's an old friend, but he took me to my senior prom) is taking us to dinner and the theatre.  Then Cass and Charley's anniversary is Saturday.  Monday we're going to Indiana...yes, I know that sounds strange, but it's a bit of Indiana that's only half an hour away from the Loop (that's downtown Chicago).  An old Encore Theatre pal died just before Christmas last year, and this is the memorial.  Luckily, Encore people don't deal in solemn anything (as I told Sarah when she tried to balk at this occasion), and it's a great way to let her meet a lot of the people who shaped my life a million or so years ago.  Tuesday or Wednesday we're having lunch with Bill the trustee, God help us, and Thursday is an early lunch with my best pal Carolyn (hi, there!) before the plane home. 

In between all that, there's the Art Institute and the Museum of Science and Industry and going out to Hyde Park and finding interesting restaurants (another reason for that guidebook) and just general wandering around.  It should be a great trip.

But it still feels decidedly peculiar to buy a guidebook to Chicago.

Love, Wendy

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What Have They Done To My Blog, Ma?

Well, THIS is deeply confusing.  I have absolutely no idea how to run this new setup, so I think I'll just happily burble away as usual and hope to God that it appears.

So after my great coup of getting upgraded and kissed by Leo DiCaprio, I've been barely able to get arrested...naturally.  That's the way it is in this silly business.  I did do a shoot last Sunday, but it was on spec.  You can do that with some sort of special contract with SAG/AFTRA (I mean the producers have one), and since it's a web series and they will probably want to continue using me, I thought what the hell.  I don't have anything web-based on my resume, and it seems to be the coming thing. 

It's a show called Subway Stories, and it's filmed guerilla style in the actual subway.  It was actually quite amusing, because we were filming at the 57th street stop of the Q line.  This was because it's the end of the line for the Q train, which means that the train sits there for about ten minutes before starting on its return trip.  This in turn meant that when we heard the little bell ring, signalling that the doors were about to close, we all had to run like hell out of the train if we didn't happen to want to go to the next station and ride back.  It's a small cast, so at least I should get a fair amount of camera face time, and it was a nice short shoot, from about 10 am to 3 pm.  For obvious reasons, I love a long shoot if I'm getting paid, but if I'm not, shorter is WAY better.  Who wants to spend an entire Sunday in a hot subway station?  Paraticularly if they're not getting paid.

Then on Monday I went to an open call at a casting place called Amerifilm, which has just landed a contract to cast a feature film, and I'm hoping something comes of that, since it's a real job with, they say, a LOT of work.  I'm crossing my fingers for this one.

Other than that, my apartment is a disaster area of truly epic proportions.  It finally occurred to me that I am good peasant woman, strong like bull, and that I was getting pretty damn tired of waiting for somebody to come over and help me move the damn bookshelves, so I'm in the process of doing it myself.  And what do you know?  Turns out the bookshelves weren't a quarter as heavy as I thought they were.  So I've got one of the bedroom shelves in its proper configuration, and the two I'm moving in there are completely cleaned out and ready to go. 

Unfortunately, the result is that my bed is completely covered in books in the bedroom, and the living room is one big explosion in a bookstore.  I did have the sense to keep the bed/couch in the living room free, so I've got somewhere to sleep at least.  And the good part about it is that I truly am not going to be able to stand THIS big a mess for very many more minutes, so I actually have the impetus to get it all together.  Tomorrow.  Oh, come on...naturally I found quite a lot to read while taking the books out of the shelves.  And I did a good day's work today, so I'm entitled. 

I will keep everyone updated on my progress.  Tell me you're all completely thrilled with this.

Love, Wendy

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

It Just Gets Better


So I caught my 5:12 am bus yesterday morning out to Closter, New Jersey like a good girl, and got my hair teased and sprayed and my eyebrows made deeply surprised, and went off to breakfast and the set.  And we filmed.  (Well, you's what we were there for.)

What a day.  First of all, I got into a scene (a tiny, baby, itsy bitsy scene consisting of about six words) with Leonardo DiCaprio.  Now while actors do speak on camera, very often the actual lines are dubbed in later, when nobody's worrying about staying within their key light and stuff like that, so that while people do say the lines, there's room for improv, as long as the time is correct...and in case you care, DiCaprio is a real potty mouth.  So he does what he's supposed to do, which ends him up coming over to my desk on the set, and at one point, to express his jubilation (he has just made a large stock sale), out of nowhere, he gave me a big kiss on the cheek.  Imagine my surprise...I think my jaw must have been down to the ground. 

After they picked me up off the floor, it was decided that he should introduce himself to me, which he did (nice firm handshake that boy has)...which exchange ended me up having two lines, to wit:  I'm Wendy (what can I tell you...they're not good at names around there), and, You got it!

This, my children, is what is known in the business as a "five and under," meaning a scripted exchange that is five words or less.  BUT, according to the rules of my glorious union, it takes you out of the background designation and into the contracted principal desgnation.  Which takes you into...big drum roll here, please...the designation of people who make $842 dollars a day.  Yeah.  $842.00.  A friggin' day.

So, let's add up the numbers:  $300 for Friday's shoot, $145.00 for the Monday holiday, and because the upgrade wasn't given until the afternoon, another $145.00 for Tuesday morning, and $842.00 for the rest of the day.  This makes it roughly $1400 for two days work (turned out they didn't need me for today).

Now, this is only an upgrade for one shoot, so let's not get carried away here.  Next time I shoot something I'm sure I'll go right back to plain old background status...and indeed, I'll be occupying my usual desk at the law firm tomorrow.  And the kiss was an unscripted improv which won't end up on camera.

But sheesh...I had Martin Scorsese grinning at me and giving me a thumbs up, and I was goofing around with Spike Jonez (we kept yawning and accusing each other of causing know how contagious yawns are)...oh, and did I mention that LEONARDO DICAPRIO KISSED ME?

Love, Wendy (you know, the one who got kissed by Leonardo DiCaprio)

Monday, September 3, 2012

Women Who Run With The Wolf of Wall Street

Damn, that was fun!  Admittedly, if I have to take a 5:42 am van, I'd prefer it to be somewhere more reasonable than 96th and Broadway, but really, that's my only quibble with Friday's shoot.

Wait until you see this movie, guys.  I am highly featured, and I'm wearing the hair that ate Chicago.  You think I'm kidding?  I swear it tried to take a bite out of Leonardo DiCaprio.  I'm playing a secretary in a penny stock investment firm located in a dying strip mall in 1987.  The set is in...are you ready?...a dying strip mall in Closter, New Jersey, and weirdly, it's a place I've actually been before many years back...Closter, not the strip mall.  We had a friend who had a house out there and went to a party when Sarah was a baby. 

Back to the hair.  Remember that for purposes of Boardwalk, my hair is currently down to the middle of my Joe the hairdresser scooped one side of it up, stuck in a comb to keep it there, and then used a curling iron on the rest and teased the bejesus out of it.  The result has to be seen to be believed.  I'm also wearing very surprised eyebrows and a LOT of eyeshadow.  And bright red lipstick.  A definite picture...oy. 

A good shoot, though.  I consider any shoot a good shoot wherein: I am wearing reasonably appropriate clothing for the season we're actually in; I can sit down; it's indoors; and there is air conditioning.  And this shoot had an extra added attraction, which was being able to smoke real cigarettes on set.  I've smoked on Boardwalk, but they give us these truly ghastly herbal things which are unfiltered and tend to disintegrate.  Friday I was smoking lovely Marlboro Lights...heaven.

And today I actually completely cleaned the bathroom!  I mean I blitzed that sucker.  Tub, sink, toilet, floors.  The only problem is that now I'm afraid to use because I might get it dirty again.

And tomorrow I get to do more of it.  This is turning out to be a nice little money maker.  We put in 13 hours on Friday, because this is a Martin Scorsese film, and Mr Scorsese, as all Boardwalk people know, is actually the Energizer Bunny in disguise.  He never stops.  This is tiring, but lucrative.  The BEST thing, I found out on Friday when JeJe from the union came by (our union sends people to all the working sets just to make sure there are no problems...isn't that great?) is that because we shot Friday and we're shooting tomorrow, WE GET PAID FOR TODAY!  All bow before my wonderful union.  In case you're counting, that means: Friday we got our straight 8 hours, then two hours of time and a half, then 3 hours of overtime.  Then we get paid a straight 8 hours today, and I'll bet that the next two days will be long ones, first of all because of Mr. Scorsese's shooting habits and secondly because we're supposed to have thunderstorms, which slow things down for outdoor shots.  It doesn't affect me...I'm going to be sitting at my desk, indoors, smoking a cigarette and trying to keep my hair from attacking people.

Love, Wendy

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

And We're Back!

And it's been a long, dull couple of weeks around these here parts, which is why I haven't been posting...if my life is boring ME, for God's sake, I can only imagine what it must do to my readers.

However, things are looking up.  Tomorrow I'm back at the law firm (which admittedly doesn't do a whole lot for the boredom factor), and Friday, Tuesday and Wednesday I get to do a featured role in The Wolf of Wall Street, the new Leonardo DiCaprio movie. 

And I even got a few things done around the house!  Not nearly enough, but a step in the right direction.  I bought new garbage bins...I can hear you all just panting with excitement here, but really, I'm quite pleased.  My old ones were white, you see, and old, and life is too damn short to spend half my time scrubbing down grubby white plastic garbage bins.  So now I have nice new shiny black ones, and if they don't get wiped down for a few days (or, you know, a few months...we all know about my hideous housekeeping habits), nobody will notice.  I also bought a nice set of little divider bins for the kitchen drawers so I don't spend half my time hunting utensils, twist ties, paper clips...all that stuff that ends up in the kitchen drawers and is so often never seen again.  Of course, I haven't unwrapped them yet...

What I've really been doing is hanging out on the computer becoming more and more horrified at what's coming out of the mouths of Republicans.  I do realize that there are perfectly nice Republicans with brains out there.  It's just that they're not the ones who are being quoted.

Ban ALL abortion, including in cases of rape and incest?  The Holocaust never happened?  A woman's body has a method of cutting off its own reproductive system if she gets raped?  And my favorite, in Arizona, where they have just decided that pregnancy begins two weeks before conception.

This is beginning to be frightening.  Paul Ryan...that adorable young man...referred recently to rape as a method of conception.  Well, yes, that is strictly

We all know about Todd Akin, who was responsible for the fascinating notion that a woman somehow secretes birth control when she gets raped, so she won't get pregnant.  Why are the Republicans so fixated on rape, for heaven's sake?  I would truly hate to think it has to do with their deep unspoken desires.

And then there's Art Jones, who is running for a congressional seat in Illinois, who said, "As far as I'm concerned, the Holocaust is nothing more than an international extortion racket by the Jews."  This gentleman (for want of a better term) is an avowed racist who runs, among other unsavory activities, "family-friendly neo-Nazi gatherings."  What on EARTH can a family-friendly neo-Nazi gathering be like?  Adorable little Aryan babies in tiny onesies printed with itsy-bitsy swastikas?  Young John 's very first Ku Klux Klan outfit, and doesn't he look cute?  Get a picture for the album, Martha...and let's blow it up so we can hang it on the wall next to our prized shot of Darlene lighting the first cross last year!  Yay!

I would love to think that these people are in the minority, and to be fair, I'm sure they are.  But the notion that even the vice presidential candidate is so completely clueless that he can refer to rape as a method of conception is enormously disturbing.  And the GOP platform completely bans abortion under any circumstances and, of course, gay marriage.  What they're going to do about all the gay people who are ALREADY married is somewhat beyond me...annul their marriages?

And here's the problem.  We forget, we liberal, well-educated urban people, that we are distinctly in the minority.  There is a whole lot of America out there, people, and there are a lot of God-fearing Americans who sincerely and deeply believe that homosexuality and abortion are against the laws of God and that rape happens because women ask for it (well, come on...if you're coming home at 10 o'clock at night and you're wearing a skirt, OBVIOUSLY you are).  I said almost exactly this in 2008, and we won that time.  Let's try to do it again, shall we?

So I am not sleeping terribly well these nights.  Get out and vote...early and often, as we used to say in Chicago.

Love, Wendy (who seems to be twitching a lot these days)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

I Hate Patricia Wells

For those of you who aren't as fascinated wth cooking and cookbooks as I am, Patricia Wells is a cooking teacher and coookbook author, and she drives me flying INSANE. 

I am in the process of trying to cull my books (yet again), and to that end, am re-reading things.  I have decided that Patricia Wells MUST GO.

Now, the recipes sound WONDERFUL.  I mean, mouthwateringly good.  BUT...there is no way you or I could ever cook them properly. 

Because, you see, Patricia Wells lives in Provence, France, in a million year old farmhouse with a garden and olive trees and a built-in bread oven and a built-in pizza oven and French markets to go to at least twice a week.  She insists on telling you where you can get the ingredients for all her dishes, which is very nice of her...but it's terribly difficult for those of us who don't happen to be a neighbor of hers.  One of her recipes starts out chattily, "Now this is something I make with the olives from our olive trees."  Well, that's very nice.  I live in one bedroom in the East Village, lady.  I don't happen to HAVE any handy olive trees.

Nor do I have any of the lovely olive oil she gets from a supplier in Provence...admittedly, she very helpfully gives the name, address and phone number of said supplier, but it doesn't do me a lot of good, now does it?  Even though I spend a fair amount of time in France, I don't spend it in Provence.

I know perfectly well that I could get a lot of these ingredients right here in Manhattan, but the running around it would entail is madly involved (let's see, I can get those olives on East 79th Street, and that olive oil over at the place on the Lower East Side, and I think Citarella in the West Village can order the langoustines...oy).  And I know I can order a lot of things online, but the cost is pretty astronomical...and since I live in a small rental apartment, it's unlikely in the extreme that I'm going to have that bread oven and pizza oven built.

So I bid farewell to Patricia Wells.  I wish her many more years of lovely eating in Provence, and feel that she can probably get along without me quite well.  And when I want large shrimp, I will happily go to Chinatown, a short bus ride away and an excellent price.  And you can't beat it for freshness...sometimes when I've been browsing fish markets in Chinatown, a live fish has thrown itself off the pile and landed at my feet.  You can't GET any fresher than that, can you?

Love, Wendy

Friday, August 10, 2012

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Never let it be said that I cannot use a cliche with the best of them, but really, this rain is annoying.  I yield to no one in my adoration of most rain...thunderstorms are one of my favorite things in the world, as we all know...but I happen to have about a million things to do today in various corners of the city, and for once, I could do without it. 

My list for the day incudes a stop at the pharmacy to pick up a prescription.  That's the 14D bus to the M8 bus all the way crosstown.  Then I need to get a birthday present for a 2 year old friend of mine, which is the M8 bus back across town to 2nd Avenue.  Then I really want to get over to the grocery store, which is a three block walk over to 4th Street because they have cantaloupe on sale at 2 for 3 bucks, and in this heat, I find myself madly craving fruit.  Also I need kitty litter, because every time I go to the john, the litter box sidles over to me and starts yanking on my pants leg, saying, "Clean me!  Please!"  Also at some point I've got to do something about the ironing because if I have to go somewhere where they expect me to look halfway like a normal adult human being, I got nothin'.  All my pants and skirts need ironing.  (Yes, I KNOW I'm probably the last person in the world who irons.  I don't care.  Bad enough to look like an old tired broad...I don't need to look ike a SLOPPY old tired broad.)  And I'd like to finish up the cleaning and reorganizing I've been doing in the kitchen, because it's almost there.  So, a big day.

Last Friday was just lovely on the Boardwalk.  It was another one of those weird shoots in terms of hours...van at 6:15 pm, then into costume and makeup and hair, then, for some strange reason, an extremely truncated meal, not like our usual bountiful spreads at ALL.  Just some chicken, some fish, and some rice and a vegetable.  Good food, you understand...just very little choice.  Luckily, I'll eat anything that won't eat me first, so no problem.  Odd, though.  I guess it's because this was really just a fill-in shot, since we're at the end of the shooting season now.  Meanwhile, of COURSE we were in winter clothes, and of COURSE we were dying of the heat.  Ugh.  We finished up around 2 am...I got home around 3 and dove immediately into an ice cold beer.

The reason I want/need to get a lot done today is that I'm off on a marathon tomorrow.  The parents of the aforementioned 2 year are throwing him a birthday party tomorrow, which also happens to be Sarah's birthday.  So it's going to be a LONG day...the baby party from 3 to 7, and then barhopping with Sarah...followed immediately by a car service home.  And I can foresee that this will wipe out Sunday altogether, as I try valiantly to recover.

Ah ha!  It looks like it might be clearing up a bit!  Wish me luck...

Love, Wendy

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Nothing in Particular

Well, I'm actually only blogging because otherwise I will have to continue cleaning...which, for a change, I'm actually doing.  Mainly because I haven't got any movie work, although I got a heads up from Boardwalk for an overnight on Friday which I hope happens, and the law firm is ignoring me altogether, so I've just been sitting around doing damn near nothing.

I've discovered the reason that I'm currently not sleeping well, by the way.  Evidently that damn Chelsea apartment is still following me around (mentally, I mean).  I seem to be desperately afraid that someone will come and inspect this apartment, because people did come in and out of the Chelsea place...caulking things for smoke, giving me smoke eradicator sprays, etc., etc., and I always felt they were spying on me.  Which they probably were.  This feeling is still in the back of my head, evidently...and it's taken me this long to track it down and isolate it so I can do something about it.  The something I'm doing, obviously is cleaning.  And no, I can't see any possibility that anybody around here is going to come and inspect my apartment or anything's just my weird brain.  And there's no reason I can't clean the damn bathroom, one bedroom, one kitchen, one living room.  So I'm doing it, in the hope I'll sleep better.  Brains are strange.

Meanwhile, I'm off to Chicago for a few days in October.  My cousin Cathy and her husband Charlie are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, for God's sake.  I was thinking about boycotting the whole thing because I'm STILL pissed at her about that hideous...truly, truly HIDEOUS...electric blue satin dress she made me wear, but I thought that would be mean spirited.  However, I can't answer for myself if she has actual pictures of me in that thing.  Anyway, I haven't been home in years, and I've got a lot of pals to see.  It should be fun, and Chicago's gorgeous in October.

I had more fun watching the opening of the Olympics.  The British really are flying insane.  That notion of my beloved Queen parachuting into the Olympic stadium was more than worth the price of admission...and with James Bond, yet.  I always knew she had a sense of humor.  And I loved the totally batty number with the sick kids in hospital beds, with dancing doctors and nurses, Voldemort, Dementors, Mary Poppins (lots of them) and that bizarre giant baby.  A tribute to the National Health Service.  Of COURSE.  Naturally.   And next fall, I'm going to London, my favorite place in the world, come hell or high water.  I wanted to go this year, but the combination of the Queen's Jubilee AND the Olympics defeated me.  Imagine trying to get a hotel room.  Or a flight.  Or any other damn thing. 

Meanwhile, my kitchen is almost done...I actually organized the cabinets into something more logical.  I'm quite proud of myself.  When I moved in, I naturally (it being close to Christmas) just threw things into cabinets, which ended me up with the food stuck right next to the stove, where it shouldn't be.  So I've fixed that, and put the things I rarely use on high shelves, and cleaned the stove (oh, all right, the top of the stove...let's not get carried away, shall we?), cleaned off the counters, and I'm quite proud of myself.  Now I'm going to mop the floor and call it a day.  I'll attack the bathroom tomorrow.

Love, Wendy

Thursday, July 19, 2012

You Can Always Move or, Who Died And Made You King?

I am getting increasingly annoyed at the newspaper stories about people complaining about the high noise level around their apartments.

Admittedly, I am a person who happens to love noise.  I am perfectly capable of tuning it out, and I can sleep through a nuclear war, so it's not on my list of things to complain about.  When I was apartment hunting, I kept having to explain this over and over to real estate people, who took one look at me and said, "You'll want a nice, quiet place."  No.  No, I won't.  A nice quiet place would make me absolutely crazy.  I live alone, and I spend a lot of time alone, basically out of choice...I'm quite fond of my own company.  But I like to know that life is going on around me.  Right now I have a yappy dog who lives on my floor (I just heard him in the hall making a few remarks), and a gent whom I think is next door to me who plays the drums at midnight.  This is just fine with me.  As are the large family parties that occasionally take place down the hall.  I think this is makes me feel at home.

I do, however, know that there are a lot of people who just hate this sort of thing, and that's their prerogative.  Who said we should all be alike?  The only thing I ask them to do is THINK ABOUT IT BEFORE YOU MOVE, for God's sake.

There was a story in the paper today or yesterday about a building where the residents are up in arms about a rooftop party that goes on next door to them.  These people moved into an apartment on Eighth Street in Greenwich Village, which is a large street that runs straight across town and contains a whole lot of restaurants and bars and shops and things.  And on Saturday night traffic tends to jam up on it and horns honk.  Did it not occur to these people that if they're living on a street like this they are not living in a gated suburban community?  Same with people who move in above a bar.  Did it somehow escape their attention that there was a bar right next door to the door they were walking into to see that apartment?  Did they think somehow that the bar would obligingly lower its noise level because they were now in residence?

Look, if you want to live right in the middle of things, you're going to have noise.  If you don't like noise, find another street to live on.  There are lots of nice quiet streets in New York, honest.

Now, if you've been living in a nice quiet apartment for a while and they decide to open a bar right under you, that's a different problem.  Now you do have a basis for complaint.  But NOT if they were there first.  Sheesh.

Love, Wendy (who has her radio going and is happily listening to that nice dog, too)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Reprising My Famous Role as The Wicked Witch of the West by Melting

By which you may gather that, yes, I did play the Wicked Witch many years back, and yes, the temperature being 95 or so, I was back on the Boardwalk for a winter shoot on Friday.

And boy, was I ready for the Boardwalk.  I spent damn near the whole week with the lawyer, and I can't even begin to tell you how much that man is getting on my nerves.  I mean, a day or two, or even three, every now and then is fine, but he seems to be consuming WAY too much of my time at the moment.  However, I must remind myself that it's A. only six hours a day (actually seven hours, but there's lunch) and B. I do get paid, although not nearly enough.  Money is a GOOD THING.  Just ask Martha Stewart.

But then on Friday I got to go to the Boardwalk for an odd little call.  We weren't called for the van until 12:15 pm, so I figured we'd go into the night.  This was slightly annoying because my favorite band was playing at the Bistro, and I was beginning to get anxious text messages from the bar personnel as to whether I'd make it, which I thought was cute.  Everybody knows how much I love my band.  I even got one from Trish the bartender announcing that my seat at the bar was reserved, and sure enough, when I got there, there was a seat for me...with a Reserved card on the bar.  I loved it.

However, I had resigned myself to missing the band for once because I knew we were doing two scenes, and by dinner time (around 7 pm) we were just breaking to change into spring instead of winter clothes (i.e., take off the heavy coat, put on the sweater, change to a straw hat from a felt hat) and eat...when all of a sudden me and Joe (a cohort of mine) were told that we were wrapped. The reason was that both Joe and I are heavily featured in this's the one where I'm toothless...and the next shot would have brought us way too close to the action of the scene where we would have been recognizable.  Which would have been okay, except that we were were supposed to be in Atlantic City, and we'd both just been featured in the same time frame.  This was fine, except that we would have had to sit around in holding until everybody else was wrapped at 10:30 in order to get back to the city (the set is in a transportation desert in terms of subways and buses).  However, turns out that Joe had driven to the set that day and even though he lives in New Jersey, he was driving into the city for some reason.  This was fine with me.  It's not that I wouldn't have welcomed the extra money, but sitting around in holding reading a book for three hours or so isn't my idea of fun, and it wouldn't have resulted in much more than another say, 45 bucks on the paycheck...I can do without 45 bucks.  So I got to the bar in time to claim my Reserved seat and see my band, and everything in the garden was lovely...although I really, REALLY hope we've stopped shooting winter.  Two days of rivers of sweat is MORE than enough.

I have done almost nothing all day except read the papers, but I did actually manage to get some WD-40 on my sticky windows.  It seems to be working, but of course in the process of getting them open so I could use the stuff, I managed to pull something in my back.  Let's just hope that it really does work, because while I love my air conditioning, I don't want it on all the time...every now and then I like a little fresh New York City air.  (You have to realize what a total city kid I am...I go out to the country and the air makes me cough all the time.  I think it's the lack of exhaust fumes.)

Now I am sitting here cursing New York City's capricious weather.  Damn it, they PROMISED me thunderstorms.  They are STILL promising me thunderstorms,  Absolutely nothing is happening and there's not a cloud in the sky.  It's just NOT FAIR.  Growl.

Love, Wendy

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Wedding!

No, no, NOT mine.  I assure you, twice was more than enough.  No, these were the nuptials of one of the gals who works at the Bistro, and she had the reception at the Bistro and was kind enough to invite all the regulars.  Of course, this was sort of making a virtue out of necessity, since the owner of the Bistro is deeply opposed to closing the bar for private parties...if you want to have a gathering there, you just have various people wandering in for a drink.  However, they're kept away from the hors d'oeuvres and whatever free drink may be around, so it works out.

The bride threw together the wedding (they ran down to City Hall, I'm pretty sure) in about two weeks (no, I don't know why) and I must say, she did a hell of a job in so little time.  Decorated tables, wedding favors, adorable little bridesmaids, and her sister, whom I think must have been the maid of honor, in an astonishing outfit involving a silver sequined bra top and silver brocade skin tight more or less skirt...mostly less.  The bride herself wore something I wouldn't go near if you paid me, involving rhinestone beading, a large pouffy skirt with more rhinestones all over it, and a laced back...but in fact, it suited her and she looked lovely.  And the groom is a handsome guy who was wearing a white linen suit.

Anyway, a good time was had by all, including, one presumes, the old guy with the cane who sat out front at one of the tables all night eating, drinking, and clutching his cane (NOT a member of the wedding group), until he started to pass out and some kind Samaritan enlivened the wedding no end by calling for an ambulance.  So we have the wedding going on inside and the fire engine and the ambulance outside...welcome to a Greenwich Village wedding!  I hasten to add that the old gent was moving more or less on his own when they strapped him in a wheelchair for the ride to the hospital, so presumably he was fine when he sobered up a bit.

Meanwhile I'm still stuck with the damn law firm...I was there yesterday and I'll be there tomorrow and Friday, unless I get lucky and someone wants me for some REAL work. 

I was going to clean house today, which worked out as well as most of my plans to clean house do...i.e., I took a nap until the feeling passed.  However, the kids (Sarah and boyfriend Adrian) have promised me that they're coming over to move furniture next week, so maybe I can at least get that done.  Of course, I had to promise to come and actually sing at Sarah's Sunday night karaoke know she needs help getting an audience if she's actually ASKING me to sing.  I had high hopes of fucking up her brain entirely by singing the worst rap song I could dig up on the internet, but they're all so uniformly hideous that I figured I couldn't possibly.  It's really hard to sing when you're gagging.  And I know this because I was once doing musical summer stock when the entire cast came down with stomach flu...actually dancing was a real trip, too.  So maybe I'll just do Janis Joplin.

I have finally unpacked my brand new sewing machine.  It is GORGEOUS, but I'm slightly afraid of it.  I learned to sew on the one we had at home, which was of roughly 1920s vintage, so tomorrow I'm going to get some cheap fabric and after the law firm, I'll sit down with the manual and figure this new baby out.  Then I shall make myself something...probably a skirt, just to get my hand back in.  I used to be absolutely know, lined jackets, pleats, Shakespearean costumes, but it's been a while.  Best to start small.  Also, I haven't used a pattern in a sewing has been confined to cushion covers, Roman togas (production of Antigone), and capes (Halloween costume for Sarah), which anybody who can draw a circle can do.  Oh, cool!  In order to have room to lay out a pattern and actually sew things, I'm going to HAVE to clean house!  Yay!

Love, Wendy

Sunday, July 1, 2012


I have decided that there is far too much legal work in this world...or at least, that I'M doing far too much of it.

I have just spent four straight days at that damn legal office, because no film or TV show had the good taste to cast me.  It damn near killed me.

There is a perfectly good reason why I no longer work 9 to 5, which is; I HATE IT.  I hate the sameness of it, I hate the office politics of it (although given the size of this particular law office, we don't actually have any), and I absolutely hate going to bed every night knowing that I have to go to the same damn place tomorrow.  Now kindly remember that these are not the ravings of a Gen-Xer with a whole different agenda for life.  These are the ravings of someone who out of necessity lived the corporate life for WAY too long.

I love acting, even if it is background work, which, if you are realistic about it, is basically, as I've said before, being human furniture.  Thing is, though, if you're an actor, you can act it.  Even if your day is spent, as so many of mine are, walking back and forth, you can imagine WHY you might be walking back and forth.  You can make a nice little acting exercise out of it to keep your skills working.  For instance, when we're working out on the actual Boardwalk set, remember that I'm cast as lower class.  So put yourself there.  Your life, in the 1920s, is drudgery.  You probably have three or four children, a husband who makes very little money, a house in which you can't afford even the rudimentary labor-saving devices that were available then.   You probably huddle over a coal stove on winter nights, and that's probably what you cook on, too.  When your children get sick, you certainly can't afford a doctor, so you try to cure them with the family remedies handed down from your grandmother...castor oil, mustard plasters, hot and cold compresses.  You don't have pretty clothes.  Maybe you have one dress kept for "best"...and it has to last a LONG time.  You usually only wear it to church on Sunday.  Food is a constant struggle...both being able to afford it and then cooking it on that coal stove.

Now imagine that you get a day when you can go to THE BOARDWALK!  Without the kids!  Look at those lights!  Oh, look at all those rich women in their beautiful clothes, and the men in their elegant suits!  And the shops!  You can't possibly ever think you could buy anything in those windows, but you can look and dream, and it's free!  And maybe...if you've been VERY careful with the housekeeping can buy a piece of saltwater taffy.  Bliss...utter and complete bliss.

And this is what you do with a long, long day tromping up and down with your feet hurting in those goddamn vintage shoes.  And this is how you act.

Love, Wendy

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Boardwalk - With Oceans of Sweat

Well, let's see.  The week after my last post, I didn't post for the eminently sensible reason that I did nothing that would interest anybody except to get hoist with my own petard.

As loyal readers may know...and one sincerely hopes that you are all deeply, truly are, AREN'T you?...I have a baby trust fund that can only be accessed by going through my trustee, and then only if I describe in detail exactly what it is I want and exactly what it costs and exactly why I need it.  This is precisely as friggin' annoying as you think it is.

So, during that blank and dull week in there, I decided that I needed a thousand bucks.  I actually did need stuff, in fact, but it was stuff that I'd already lied about needing and spent the money on something else, so I had to invent something new to need money for, and I hit upon the idea of needing new glasses (since I wear specially made trifocals which cost $500 a pair, this is reasonable), and to pay off the last of a HUGE Con Ed bill (also was originally $3000 and change, and I've paid it off up to the last $500, but it's still a drain to pay an extra $165 a month).

Anyway, I got the money, and bought myself a lovely new sewing machine and various bits and pieces for it, and then I did this, that and the other thing, and I was down to about 350 which point, karma turned around and bit me in the ass.  I woke up one morning and picked up my glasses and they promptly fell apart.

Well, since I can't see shit without them, this was a bit of a problem.  (See above, $300 in the bank and $500 for new glasses.)  So off I went and had to get TWO new pairs of which I'm wearing now, for distance only (because otherwise I have no idea where I am because I can't read street signs without glasses) and an actual pair of trifocals, which I am paying off and which won't be ready for another week.  I am here to tell you, that karma is a real bitch.

After that, it became Sunday somehow (last Sunday), and I bounced off to see Sarah doing her new karaoke hostess gig, which is walking distance from me.

I am truly amazed at what comes over people when karaoke is on the menu.  I had never been to it, so I was completely unprepared for the fact that so many people are under the impression that they can sing.  And, for that matter, read.  Good LORD.  And yes, I'm absolutely going to try it.  I had a song in mind, but I looked it up on line, and ther's no way I can do I'm going to go with the easiest song in the world...Janis Joplin's Mercedes Benz.  I do a VERY good Janis Joplin.  But frankly, I assure you I couldn't be worse then what's out there...including a group of six who not only couldn't stay on key, but couldn't follow the onscreen words and dissolved into giggles...except, unfortunately, for one gent in the group who could...and he was the one who couldn't sing to save his ass.  But he did it very loudly in the key of what I think was Q.

And then the sun came out, and birds sang, and I got a text from Grant Wilfley asking me to do Boardwalk yesterday!  Oh, glory!  Oh, beloved Boardwalk! GOD.

In case you are living in, say, Juneau or perhaps Nome, you will be aware that we're having' a heat wave, a tropical heat wave (sorry...old musical comedy gals tend to burst into song).  So, naturally, we were shooting winter.  Of COURSE.

Picture us, dear reader, in what was for me a gloriously convenient location...ten minutes by bus from my house and a beautifully late call time...8 am.  Now picture us outdoors in that nice location for eight hours, wearing four layers of winter clothing in an actual temperature of 98 and a heat index of 110 degrees.  Now picture us melting.

It was BRUTAL.  God bless HBO, they got us into air conditioning for ten minutes every hour, but it really didn't help a whole lot.  And there was tons of ice water and ice cold Gatorade.  But, oh, my Lord. 

The best part of it was the onlookers.  Every time we'd go by them, someone was sure to say, "Gee, aren't you hot?"  No, no, don't be silly.  I ALWAYS  wear a heavy coat and a large felt hat in 98 degree weather.  Aren't you chilly in that tiny little sundress THAT I AM GOING TO SNATCH OFF YOUR BODY AND PUT ON BECAUSE I'M FUCKING DYING HERE?

Oy.  However, HBO and the union will make sure we get a weather bump (i.e., more money for adverse conditions), and we all survived and no one passed out...and I discovered on my way home that there's a deli around the corner on Avenue D that sells 22 ounce Budweisers for $2 each...clearly this is a valuable thing to know.

And today at the law firm, Andrew was out the better part of the day and I actually got things DONE.  Clearly, my star is ascending.  And I've finally stopped sweating.  When I got home yesterday, my damn UNDERWEAR was soaking wet.

Love, Wendy

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Boardwalk...with Camel

However, before we get to the camel, I must backtrack slightly.

If you recall, in my last post, I talked about the old Gourmet cookbook instructing one to stuff an olive.  Well, after I finished blogging, I continued reading the cookbook (the alternative was cleaning house, and we all know how much that idea attracts me).  In the dessert chapter, they suggest stuffing...are you ready?...A RAISIN.  I am going to stop reading old Gourmet cookbooks, that's all there is to that.

So after my little break there, things revved up again.  Memorial Day I did nothing, nor did anything fascinating happen the rest of that week, but this past week I did Monday,Tuesday and Friday at the law firm, with Andrew the lawyer driving me completely crazy...he wants me to do an involved job involving opening files, some 40 of them, all of which need letters and various things, but he won't quit making me stop doing it by giving me other stuff to do.  This is extremely irritating.

However, when I was out to lunch on Tuesday, I checked my phone on the way back and found a text message asking me if I was free for Boardwalk on Wednesday!  Well, of course.  I'm ALWAYS free for Boardwalk, my favorite thing in the world to do. 

So location bus at 6 am Wednesday, and out to the actual Boardwalk set for the first time this season, to discover that the set has grown.  It gave birth to a whole Midway behind old fashioned (well, um, what else, given the time frame of the show) rowdy Midway with a freak show, and hit the milk bottle with the ball and win a prize and a shooting booth and popcorn and all day suckers and all that.  We were a little light on the freaks...all we had was a fat lady (nice gal, clad in miles of shocking pink satin) and a very tall man (6'8" or so), but they were quite energetic in beckoning all of us to the show.  We had a flea circus, too...and the aforementioned camel.  Yup, an actual camel.  I heard that I missed the elephant the previous week on set, but you can't have everything. 

A nice long day in terms of earning money, but exhausting...the set is behind and below the boardwalk set, which is raised, so you don't get a breeze back there, and we're in those layers of costume, and it was about 80 degrees.  And as you can't train a camel to use deodorant, it got pretty whiffy too...unless that was us in all that wool.  Could be.

So a rest on Thursday and then back to the law office to be annoyed all day Friday, followed by a night at the Bistro for my band.  I am now so exhausted I can't see straight because I am an idiot...I kept forgetting to buy ice cream (which is my unfailing soporific) all week and being too damn lazy to go to the deli (not to mention the fact that by the time I figured out I wasn't getting to sleep, it kept getting to be 1:30 or 2 in the morning and I would have had to get sort of dressed again).  The result was that I've been running on four hours of sleep a night all week.  Last night when I got home I was sitting here reading before I went to bed and started to literally fall off my chair...I got to bed around 1:30 or 2 and woke up again at 6, which was annoying.  Luckily I was smart enough to eat something and go back to bed, where I slept until 2:30 in the afternoon.  It is now 8:30 and I'm going to eat something else and go to bed...and I even have ice cream for any umexpected insomniac disasters.  Yay, me!

Love, Wendy

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Things Are Slowing Down

Well, that was interesting.  About ten minutes after that last post, the phone rang, and it was John and Jeanne asking me out for a I hopped in the fastest shower ever and grabbed a cab and met them at the Bistro.  Unfortunately, I hung out after they left, which was a mistake...ah, well.

So I skipped Jiggers' set on Thursday night, but went to the other band's set on Friday.

And then it was Saturday and Fair Day!  As always, piles of old friends to say hello to...fellow PS41 parents, old drinking buddies, and the roving band at our table.  Then for reasons that are entirely unclear to me (probably having to do with going to the Bistro after the Fair, not to mention all that beer AT the Fair), it seemed like a wonderful notion to join Sarah and friends to go up to 118th Street to see our friends for their last porch party before they move out to Brooklyn.  It was fun...and I almost managed to stay awake in the car service coming home.  Frankly, it'll be easier to get to them, or at least easier to get home from them, when they move to Brooklyn.  Given that I live on the Lower East Side, the Williamsburg Bridge is MUCH faster than the FDR. 

And since then?  Nothing, nada, nil.  This is probably a good idea, actually...I've been having nice long naps which I probably need after all this bouncing around.

Tonight I actually cooked myself a decent meal (as opposed to just sort of grabbing something)...I got some asparagus, and a little steak, and I cooked a potato, and it was lovely, thank you.  As usual, I read a cookbook while eating, and I ran across something that I don't think I ever noticed before in my old 60s Gourmet cookbook...which, as we all know, is a positive motherlode of things nobody in their right mind would ever do, such as stuffing black olives with a pastry tube. 

This one is a take on deviled eggs.  You stuff pitted black olives with creamed blue cheese.  Put one olive in each egg white and fill the egg white with finely chopped pimento.  Cover the rim of the egg with butter mixed with chopped parsley and dust with paprika.  Stud generously with toasted slivered almonds.  ARE THESE PEOPLE INSANE?

First of all, what do you do with the egg yolks?  This being Gourmet, I'm gonna presume that you mix them with truffles or some damn thing and stuff them into something else.  But never mind the egg yolks.  Who in their right mind stuffs an olive with anything, except those nice manufacturers who have nice big factories to do it?  (I'm partial to anchovy stuffed olives myself.)  The pimento sounds okay, I guess, but covering the rim of the egg with butter?  How would you do this?  I imagine you use another pastry tube...I mean, you wouldn't want to break your insane momentum by having to wash the one you used to stuff those olives, right?  But HOW?  The rim of a hard boiled egg white is pretty thin, or at least it is when I hard boil eggs for deviling.  And unless you're serving these on a bed of ice, wouldn't the butter start to get awfully soft?  This sounds messy to eat, but perhaps they mean it to be a plated first course at the table.  I guess the ladies of the era were just grateful that Gourmet didn't suggest doing this recipe using three dozen of those tiny quail eggs.  But honestly...

Ah, well, this is not now nor will it EVER be my problem.  If I hard boil eggs, I use mustard, mayo, salt and pepper, pickle relish, and maybe a pinch or so of curry powder, mash it all together with a fork and throw it in the egg whites with a teaspoon.  There.  Done.

And Carolyn, Adrian is Sarah's most recent boyfriend, who is a very nice guy...nice and mellow, which is a good contrast for my kid, who tends toward Speedy Gonzalez.  He even seems to enjoy our cross-talk comedian conversations, unlike Seth, a previous boyfriend, who would always sit around totally bemildred, having NO idea what we were talking about.

And to the rest of my readers..."bemildred" is not a typo, it's a childhood joke.  So there.

With any luck, I'll have something more interesting to say the next time I post...and if all else fails, there's always the vanity press page in the Book Review on Sunday, or another old cookbook to mine.

Love, Wendy

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

All Kinds of A Social Life

Well, talk about your social whirl!  My social whirl, actually.  Or it looks pretty whirly to me, since my usual activities in that direction consist of going to Sarah's Brooklyneer job (a different bar...she's not at the Bistro any more) once a week.  The Brooklyneer, by the way, is in Manhattan...don't ask.

So the day after my Boardwalk stint, I went off to a bar in Soho called Boom, which is a place I happen to basically dislike.  The reason is that I only ever go there when my pal Tracey is in town, and since she now lives near Rome, I only get to see her about once a year.  Therefore, I would like to be able to sit and catch up with her know, have a conversation.  However, Tracey's taste in bars is loud, crowded and expensive, which makes this difficult.  But since this is her favorite place in NY, I just bite the bullet.  Luckily, this time around we at least (me and Philippe and a friend of his and acquaintance of mine named Angel, and a couple of friends of Angel's, one of whom was a former Miss Atlanta and a darling gal) got a table fairly far away from the live band, so at least I didn't have to scream (much) to be heard.  At any rate, a good (if expensive...who charges 8 bucks for a lousy bottle of Budweiser?) time was had by all.

Then on Friday, my pal Jiggers was playing at the Bistrto, so I went to hear him.  He had brought his drummer with him, Jon, but unfortunately Jon had been on a tear for a few days and played the first couple of numbers with Jiggers, but then proceeded to fall off his drum set, which enlivened the performance no end.  Jiggers convinced him that going home (or at least somewhere else) was probably a good idea.

Quiet weekend, then a stint with the lawyer on Monday which couldn't have been worse timing.  I had been mentioning to Sarah that I had a yen for ham...good, home baked ham.  I hate that thin sliced flabby deli stuff, and somehow I never seem to get over to the Polish butcher on 2nd Avenue who has the good ham.  So Sarah replied by asking 10 people to dinner for Monday.

Yes, Sunday was occupied by grocery shopping followed by making what in our house is called P.S. 41 salad, because it's the macaroni salad recipe I always made every year for Sarah's grammar school potluck, and baking two large chunks of ham.  This was because I know from experience that ham goes VERY fast in my since I couldn't get a 16 pound half ham, which is what I was looking for, I got two shank halves just under 10 pounds each.  If this sounds like overkill, you have to understand that we have one friend at least (who unfortunately wasn't at dinner) who can go through a 10 pound ham singlehandedly. 

So Sarah and Adrian came over Monday while I was at work and put together green salad and deviled eggs and got cheese and various breads and crackers...and I came home for the festivities.

Dear Sarah.  She someone managed to collect a group of her absolutely best...vegan and vegetarian friends.  This was certainly not's just the attrition that occurs whenever you invite a largeish group over for what is essentially a sort of casual potluck type meal in Manhattan.  Now if anyone can tell me what the hell to do with the remaining, UNTOUCHED almost ten pound ham...actually, I know what I'm going to do with it, which is slice it up and freeze it in meal size portions.  Luckily, as stated above, I LOVE ham.  Anyway, we had a lovely time.

Then I did nothing whatsoever for the rest of the week until Friday, when my friends John and Jeanne arrived in town and I met up with them at an art show in a bar in my neighborhood...Jeanne's son is an artist.  We had a great time; John's an old acting pal and I love Jeanne dearly, but they live in LA now, so obviously casual nights out together are a little difficult.  Actually, I see more of Jeanne than I do of John these days, since her son has been in art school here and she's in a lot more frequently than John is.  And Larry joined us...another part of the acting crew that includes me and John.  We all met doing a perfectly awful production of Richard III, and like soldiers who fought a war together, we remained friends.  I was so glad to see Larry.  For madly complicated reasons (short version...we dated for a while and he thought that I wanted a firm commitment, which I didn't, and now he refuses to be friends in the sense that he never calls, or answers emails, or anything because he thinks...God knows what he thinks). I never get to see him unless someone else arranges it (i.e., a Richard reunion or John being in town), and I love him dearly.

And finally, Mother's Day turned up.  Sarah and Adrian took me to brunch in Brooklyn, followed by a stop at their home bar there, followed by a stop at another bar, so I got to see all kinds of our friends and had a lovely day (I got a little blurry around the third bar)...but unfortunately, I had to go work for the lawyer the next day, without which I could have done.  I felt VILE.  Whatever happened to those days when I could drink tequila (not that I was drinking tequila...I'm a little odd, but not flying INSANE) and get to a job at 9 the next morning and feel fine?  This aging thing is just no fair.

Tomorrow I should go and see Jiggers at the Bistro again, but maybe not.  I've got to be there on Friday anyway for my favorite band, and then Saturday is the best street fair in the Village, whch NOBODY misses.

I tell you (pace Satchel Paige), the social ramble ain't restful.

Love, Wendy

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Being Bizarre on the Boardwalk

What a weird damn day.

You have to understand that everybody who works on Boardwalk Empire loves it to pieces.  It is the best set in the world to work on...runs like clockwork, you're treated like a human being, wonderful food, great people.  Well, today the whole thing fell an extent, anyway.

We were shooting in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, a self report location (you don't get a courtesy van/bus from Manhattan).  Well, that was fine, because the shoot was directly under the subway stop (the trains are elevated out there) and holding was a short three blocks away.  I was due at 5:30 pm (yeah, 5:30 in the evening), but I got there very early because I don't know the area very 4:15 or so.  So once they saw there were a few people there, they started rushing us into costume, hair and makeup because evidently the director wanted to rush the first scene through.  This was fine, but for some reason it ended me up getting my hair done 3 times.  First they wanted me immediately, and decided I was going to wear my original shawl over my head, so they just pulled my hair into a bun.  Then they decided they had more time and started with the hot rollers.  Then they found out that Lisa wanted me to wear the hat instead of the shawl, so now we had to go with the full dress hair, with all the hot rollers.  Before that, my Asian girlfriend whose name I never remember did a lightning fast makeup job on me.

Now they decide we're going to set, so since I was only wearing a heavy sweater, I grabbed my coat.  And my purse, since nobody had brought the prop purses yet.  Then we went over to set, and I was put in a scene and taken right back out of it and told to go back to holding.  This, I think, was when the last hair stuff came up.  Then they issued me a coat, which was much appreciated because it was damn chilly outdoors today.

Anyway, me and a few other people hung out in holding and then suddenly they called lunch, and vanned us over to lunch...which was held in the same place where I was in holding last week for that ghastly Iceman shoot.  Luckily, this time it was warm and we had gorgeous fried shrimp and roast beef and tiny pastries and things (the food was not in the least affected by the general weirdness of the day, thank God).

Then back to set and down to the slog of filming until we were wrapped at 1:30 in the morning.  And vanned back to the city...and the nice bus driver even let a few of us off at Allen and Houston, which meant I was practically home.  Yay!

But in the middle of all this, two of the background guys had some sort of altercation, two neighborhood guys tried to bull their way through the set while we were filming and threatened the crew guy who told them they couldn't, and weirdest of all, a large group of the Hasids who live in that area decided to watch us.  That was entirely strange.  They stood there, probably 15 or 20 of them and the occasional wife, in their black and white clothing and those tall crowned hats and their side curls, and I couldn't figure out why.  Frankly, there are few things duller than watching a crowd scene being filmed.  Would you stand around for hours watching people walk back and forth?  What was worrying me about it is that the Williamsburg Hasids are known for not co-existing very well with the hipsters of the neighborhood, to the point of occasional violence, and I was frankly afraid that they would decide that the film was doing some sort of damage to their holy neighborhood and rush us...and it didn't help that they were on all sides of us.  It waas beginning to make me twitch, but that may have been a function of the fact that the third hair style didn't work very well with the damn hat, which kept sliding down to the bridge of my nose, thus rendering me even blinder than I normally am on set (no glasses).

However, the gods eventually smiled on us.  We wrapped, as I said, got on the bus for home, and just as we pulled away, it started to rain.  As we came off the Williamsburg Bridge into Manhattan, the rain turned into a full-fledged thunderstorm...BUT IT DIDN'T HAPPEN WHEN WE WERE FILMING!

Meanwhile, I occupied my time before going to Brooklyn by being a very good little girl.  I have now paid my rent, cable, telephone, electricity, Actors Equity dues and SAG/AFTRA dues.  Aren't I great?

Here's to a better shoot next time...

Love, Wendy

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Another Sunday With The Vanity Press Crowd

Oh, how I love my Sunday papers.  I cannot live without the Daily News funnies, the Post's lurid headlines, and of course, my  beloved NYTimes crossword puzzle.

And then there's the Book Review.  Today's vanity press ad has some nice things in it, such as Living the Life I Always Wanted, by a gentleman named John F. Willey, who wishes to tell us about being born in 1930, and how "Tough times awaited him and his family as the Great Depression got underway."  But, "Despite some bumps, John has lived an amazing life of adventure, loving relationships, and friends."

Oh, yawn.  I can just see a little tiny playlet at the Willey house on Thanksgiving:

Ed:  Mom, I'm sitting at the children's table this year.

Mom:  Ed, you're 43 years old.  Whyever would you do that?

Ed:  Because if I have to listen to Uncle John talking about his amazing life one more time, I'm going to vomit all over the turkey.

Then there's "Now I Can Call Myself A Biker," by David Royle.  "This is the story of David's exploits and adventures to gain experience he so desperately wanted.  It has shown that even at his age, in his mid-life crisis, it wasn't too late to learn how to ride a motorbike."  A MOTORBIKE?  Not even a Harley?  You might as well write a book about how at the age of 45, you finally learned to ride that tricycle.  I can just see him, that badass David, wearing his leathers...on his Vespa.

However, my favorite is this one.  ". . .talks about Sorala Nakib's adventures during her long flying career as a cabin crew (a cabin crew?  must have been a REALLY small plane if she was the entire cabin crew...) and her musings as a spiritual guru and peace seeker.  It's a biography that will blow your mind!"  How we got from being a cabin crew to a spiritual guru I'm not quite sure, although I must say that in these days of air rage, it probably came in handy.  However, what this gal really needed was an editor to come up with a better title...this little epic is called "Underneath A Flight Attendant."  Really.  Good GOD.

Other than that, I was all set to go and see friends for a Saturday night drink last night, but it didn't quite work out.  My friend Lee called last week to tell me to come over to our friend Jeremy's bar last night, so I called Caesar to get him to come along.  He poohed out on me at the last minute, so I went over to the bar (on the Lower East Side)...only to find no Lee and no Jeremy.  So I had a beer (feeling distinctly out of place among the 20-something hipsters) and came home.  Never trust half-drunk martial arts crazies.  Oh, well. 

On the far brighter side, Katie from Grant Wilfley called earlier this week to confirm me for another Boardwalk Empire shoot this coming Wednesday!  Yay!  I really need it to get the taste of that lousy Iceman shoot out of my mouth.  God only knows what they want me to do this time...after my toothless scene, I'm quite prepared for them to tell me I'm going to be an aging madam in the whorehouse set (yes, there is one) wearing period underwear.  Who knows?  But then, who cares?  Like everyone else who works on that show, I love it to pieces and don't much care what I do...

So tomorrow I will go and get my furry face waxed (too few people talk about the billygoat effects of menopause...damn nuisance), and I already took care of my hair, since I don't want them putting that awful dark spray on it again at Boardwalk...took me three applications of shampoo to get that junk out.  And I'll go to the library so I'll have something to read on set...and hope for a nice long shooting day.

Love, Wendy

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Iceman Freezeth

Well, that was a hideous day.  I got a call from Grant Wilfley Monday to go do something called The Iceman yesterday.  It's about a serial killer or something, with Michael Shannon, who played the insane FBI guy in a few words with him yesterday and he's a pleasant guy.

It was a pretty scary few hours before they told me what time to report, because they were going to be out in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and my entire funds consisted of $12.  The reason this was scary was because in order to get to the train out there, I had to go to the stop at Essex and Delancey.  Under most circumstances this is no problem at all, because the M9 bus stops around the corner from my house and drops me at the subway.  However, if it had been a 6 am call, I would have had to walk from my place to the subway...about ten darkness, which didn't appeal to me at ALL (the bus doesn't start running until 6 am).  However, all was well...the call was for 8:30, so no problem.

But sheesh.  I should have known it wasn't going to be one of the better days when I saw breakfast, which was just barely adequate.  A thing of scrambled eggs, some potatoes, and some bacon was it for hot food, and then energy bars and doughnuts and a little fruit for the rest.  I realize this sounds picky, but even Law & Order (which is notoriously cheap) does better than that.  Usually you get a manned omelet station, and quite often lots of bagels and smoked salmon, and a MUCH better selection of fruit and hot stuff.

We then got into 60s outfits and tromped over to the first set, which was right on the edge of the East River.  Did I mention that the temperature was in the 40s and there was a 22 mile an hour wind?  We were MISERABLE.  Luckily, I  met a nurse who was on set (because there was going to be a stunt at some point during the day and the union says you have to have medical personnel on hand for that sort of thing) who was somewhat disturbed by the fact that I was shivering uncontrollably, and she had her car right there...her lovely, HEATED car.  God bless Deborah.  Without her I would have been standing in that damn wind without a coat for two hours.

We then went back to holding, which was also unheated.  We sat around there for a couple of hours or so, and they announced lunch.  WALKAWAY LUNCH.  All background people hate, hate, hate this. (It means you leave the set and go find a deli or restaurant and pay for your own food.) It's particularly annoying when you're in period costume, because of ill-fitting shoes and things...aside from the fact that your feet hurt, you look peculiar as hell.  This was a real problem for me, because having bought my papers and a Diet Coke, I was now down to 7 dollars.  I found a deli with a 5 dollar ham and cheese and brought that back to holding (still icy cold).

On to the next set!  This was almost 8 friggin' blocks vans, no nothing.  And I was wearing 3 inch heels.  And of course, no warming truck or anything like that.  So we froze out there for another couple of hours.

They finally called Background to Holding, and at this point Letty (a nice gal about ten years my senior who was another background person)  and I stood up on our hind legs and announced that they were going to get us some transport back to holding, because we weren't walking it.  Eventually they did, but we had to wait another half hour in the cold for it.

Back to holding, they wrapped us, and then said goodnight.  No vans, no cars, no nothing.  By this time it was dark, and the subway was six blocks away.  Luckily me and Letty and another couple of gals found a nice background guy with a car and got him to drive us...but for God's sake.  If they call me back for this one, the answer is going to be a resounding NO.  I finally got home via subway and bus and got into bed with every single quilt and blanket in the house on top of me.  BRRRR.

Meanwhile, my check from The Bitter Pill was in the mailbox when I got home, and my social security was in the bank this morning, so I occupied a good chunk of the day buying three thousand tons of groceries and various other necessities of life.  What a relief after this last couple of weeks.  Naturally, I was so excited about going to the grocery store that I forgot my shopping list, but what the hell.  I can shop without one...after all, I know what I eat.  So now I've got chicken and pork chops and some sirloin steak and lettuce and baby carrots to snack on and the kind of cat food the cats prefer (so they'll quit gnawing on me) and toilet paper and hair dye (I really, REALLY need it) and deodorant and cigarettes without having to charge them at the deli (God bless my deli) and I am going to go to bed early.  Then I'll get up, read the papers, and do the damned laundry, since I also bought laundry soap.   The laundry hamper has taken on a life of its own, and I'm completely out of socks and bras and the only pair of underpants I have is a pair Sarah left here and they're one size too big for me (she's got a bottom, while I'm flat as a pancake).

Meanwhile I'm tired and still slightly chilled.  And of course, without my list, I forgot to buy Tylenol and now I have a headache.  I'm going to live with it because I just can't face going out again...I'm going to sleep anyhow.

To add insult to injury, after all that running around on subways and buses yesterday, when I went out for groceries and the drugstore, Law & Order had set up shop and was filming a block and a half from my house.  Why the hell can't they ever call me for these shoots?  Oh, no, it's always Brighton Beach or Harlem.  Growl.

Love, Wendy

Friday, April 20, 2012

Long (and Lucrative) Day

Oh, boy, am I tired.

We had a mercifully late call out to Boardwalk Empire yesterday...mercifully, because they decided we should self-report; i.e., get there on our own instead of providing a van.  In my case, for an 8:45 am report time, this meant leaving the house at 6:30 and taking the M14  bus to 1st Avenue and 14th Street followed by the L train to Lorimer, followed by the G train to Green Point Avenue.  God bless them, they did provide a van at the subway stop, because we were in holding/wardrobe/makeup/hair at our basic set, the actual Boardwalk set, which isn't anywhere you can get to easily.  I was actually early at the subway station, even though I originally got on the wrong G train - going in the wrong direction - and had to backtrack a few stations.  Luckily I noticed this (always look up your subway stations) before it got too crazy.  This sort of thing (not to mention the occasional and often bizarre problems that occur on NYC public transportation - you know, body on the track, police activity, fleeing suspect, dog never know) is why I tend to leave early.

Anyway, into holding, wardrobe (my God, they really do hate me with that damned costume...I couldn't look worse...oh, wait, yes, I could - see below), hair, which they proceeded to destroy by deciding to spray my gray streaks (well, I've been so flying broke I couldn't afford to dye it before the shoot, and anyway I figured that if I was a toothless old broad in a dive bar, the gray streaks were appropriate) with some kind of color spray to hide them.  The resllt of this is that my hair was not only teased and hairsprayed, but covered in this gook that made the whole thing feel like cement.  And Lisa, the head of costumes, was annoyed because she agreed with me that the gray would have been totally appropriate.  So nice to be vindicated.

Then breakfast and a van to the set, which was a dive bar a few blocks away.  I don't think it was purpose-built for the show, because if they were going to do that, they simply would have built it at Steiner Studios, where most of the interiors are shot.  But it was appropriately disheveled and smoky(causing me a good bit of nostalgia for the old days when you didn't have to get up and go outside to have a damn cigarette in a bar).

They seated me right in front of the camera, out came the teeth, and there I will be, ladies and gentlemen, in Episode 4, laughing uproariously with my head thrown back, my mouth wide open...and no teeth.  I can't WAIT to see this one.

It was an odd day in one respect.  While I know a lot of the regular crew on the set (well, after three years I damn well should, and besides that, you meet them on other sets, too), and they always greet me when I turn up, yesterday I was flavor of the month.  Everybody knew my name, everybody was very busy trying to accommodate me in one way or was fascinating.  Of course, this was because you see, it turned out that I was the only person on the set minus teeth.  Therefore I was just as visible as hell (gumming my way through the day and doing that great big horselaugh) and I think that people were completely fascinated that I would do the thing at all.  And boy, were they determined that I'd be visible...Ingrid the makeup gal came by about every five minutes to smear more red lipstick on me to make SURE people could see my mouth.  Um...thanks, I think.  Of course, on any period set, you get used to people wandering around and suddenly darting at you with powder or lipstick or coming out of nowhere to readjust your hat or stick another bobby pin in your get so that you really barely notice the fact that people are picking at the hair on your neck or twitching at your hat or whatever.

And it went on and on and on.  Lately I've been doing quite short shoots on 6 hours or something...but this was an old-fashioned in it for the duration at 8:45 am on the clock, signed out at 11:30 pm.  Plus three meal penalties (we ate lunch at 5:30 pm), smoke pay, some night differential, for a glorious total of 13.8 hours.  This means that my paycheck will be a fairly hefty one...over 300 bucks.

And boy, can I use the money.  I am so broke.  The problem, of course, is that you have to wait for your checks from movie companies.  The prison shoot for Bitter Pill hasn't paid me yet, but that check should, please God, be arriving within the next couple of days.  I was hoping for it today, but no such luck.  Tomorrow, please God.  I've got just enough money (if I ration cigarettes) to get through tomorrow and get the Sunday papers (on Sunday...duh), but Monday will be interesting to say the least.  This sort of thing is terribly annoying because I've got all this money in the pipeline...the Bitter Pill check and my tax refunds (and Boardwalk, of course, but that'll be a week and a half).  Oh, well.  I always manage to survive.  If worst comes to worst, since I sensibly bought a new Metrocard yesterday, I'll go see Sarah on Sunday and beg a pack of cigarettes from her. 

It was a pleasure...if an exhausting be out on a good old fashioned long Boardwalk day.  It's by far my favorite show to work, and the usual players were there, so there was lots of good talk with us old hands showing off for the newbies and goofing around and the odd conversations you tend to have in holding.  There was one conversation about men's underwear, for some reason or other that I forget, for one yesterday.

And when I was changing to finally come home (yes, of course we had a van was after 9 pm, and them's the rules), one of the costume gals told me that she had just loved my laughing turn..."There was such pure joy on your face!"  I may marry that child.

Now I'm going to submit for a Law & Order that just turned up in my inbox and seems to be filming right here in the neighborhood.  Wish me luck!

Love, Wendy (otherwise known as Tessie the Toothless)

Friday, April 13, 2012

My Prison Stay

Well, actually, it turns out that for some of us, prison is quite restful.

Apart from getting to the van pickup point, that is.  The only problem with living over here on what is essentially the edge of civilization is that it's damned hard to get in and out without a taxi.  Or at least it is early in the morning or on weekends.  On Wednesday, I had to be at the northwest corner of 96th and Broadway at 5:42 am (oddly specific that, isn't it?).  Well, the logical way to get there is to grab the M21 bus over to Varick and hop the subway...reasonably quick, and quite efficient.  Unfortunately, the M21 bus doesn't start running until somewhere around 6 am...and I would have had to catch it at 4:30 am.  Scratch that.  OK, the next option is taking the M14D bus over to 14th, which would have ended me up at the subway just as easily.  Except that the M14D bus stop is directly in front of a large housing project.  Well, I yield to no one in my espousal of good liberal principles and the essential goodness of the common man...but I'm also equipped with a fair amount of street smarts, all of which sat up and yelled at the notion of a more than middle aged lady with a purse standing completely alone in front of a large housing project at 4:30 am.  That's not liberal...that's friggin' stupid.  And as it turned out, none of the above methods would have done me a goddamn bit of good anyway, since they were doing track work on the subways, and the train I needed wouldn't start running until 5.  You'll be glad to know that I spent $24 on a cab.

So we had a lovely drive out to Bedford Hills, NY...I do like to get out in the country on occasion, as long as I know I'm not going to be, you know, STUCK there.  We were decanted into a nice, sort of heated, dirt floored tent and fed.  My boots may never recover from that dirt (and mud, here and was spitting rain every now and then).  And there we sat.

We had breakfast.  Then we had lunch.  Then finally we were taken over to the actual prison and put through an airport type screening, complete with shoe removal, and given a hand stamp, and let into the visitor's room.  This was an open space, not one of those things you see in movies with the glass between the prisoners and visitors, because it's a minimum security prison.   And then we interacted with our fellow background actors playing prisoners (I was a visitor) for an hour or so and were done by 3:30.  I got about an hour and a half of overtime pay, but then again, it was still light when I got back in town.  At our table, it was me and another gal, and a guy of about my own age who seems to have led a very sheltered existence, by the way.  We were given a deck of cards and started playing a form of rummy, and I swear this guy had never seen a deck of cards in his life.  Then the crew came and took half the deck away because they evidently hadn't brought enough decks, which really screwed up the card game.  Ah, well.

Also, if this thrills anyone, I wass standing right next to Steven Soderbergh, whose movie this is, when I checked in at the prison.  And Rooney Mara is quite a pretty girl, shorn of all those piercings.  Channing Tatum looks like a small town garage mechanic...I don't see the allure AT ALL.

But this Tuesday!  YAY!  Back to my beloved Boardwalk!  And this is going to be a REAL first for me...I am actually going to appear on camera without my teeth.

Yes, I wear a full set of dentures, and have for many years.  I had perfectly lovely white teeth, but unfortunately they were of the same consistency as the chalk they resembled.  I went through years of caps, and root canals, and damned expensive dentistry, until I finally found a dentist who said "This is ridiculous."  So I had the whole mouth done, and it was the first time I'd been completely pain free in forever and a day.  I've never regretted it. 

So last week a call went out for Boardwalk for people with missing teeth.  I jumped on it, of course, and Melissa from Grant Wilfley Casting called yesterday, seemingly quite confused about why I would agree to do which my reaction was, "Um, I'm getting paid, right?  You want people with missing teeth, right?  Missing teeth I've got!"  She was still confused.  However, I'm going to be doing what sounds like a terrific scene...a VERY low class/dive bar in Chicago with a lot of toothless drunks hanging out in it.  I can't wait.  It sounds like so much fun.

I'm presuming we'll be out at Steiner Studios in Brooklyn, that being where most of the interior scenes are shot.  I really am excited about this one.  I can just see it...a whole career built on, "Get that great toothless broad!"

Love, Wendy