Monday, February 18, 2019

The Surreal Adventures of The Angry Redheaded Lawyer: “Betty and the Belrays” by William Electric Black and Performed at Theater for the New City

* After an absence due to getting professional creative representation, yours truly is back on the review circuit. The details are a story for another day but let's just say after winning a prize, you can easily discover that the reality of having it is not the same as your expectations or your fantasy of having it.

Nonetheless, The Angry Redheaded Lawyer is back and decided this show was a must see along with a great foray back into the world of critical review. It turns out I was exactly right.

“Betty and the Belrays” is a story of early 1960's Detroit with a young, determined, idealistic woman whose dreams are bigger than her social station and her “place” as a recent high school graduate with pale skin and blond hair. Betty (Paulina Breeze) is precious, down to her stuffed bunny and her love of the local black radio station. She wins a call in contest to see her favorite girl group, The LoveJones and is not the least bit dissuaded from going to claim her tickets at the station (located in “the black part of town”).

Yellow dresses The Lovejoys (L-R) Kennedy Jazz, Alexis Myles, Christen Dekie. Photo by Jonathan Slaff

However, Betty's parents (John Michael Hersey & Gretchen Poole) tell her that since she's graduated high school and college is not an option due to her modest means, she needs to “Get a Job.” This song sounds blissful and happy like the other offerings in the show but the lyrics are very, very sad. Think “Roses” by Outkast or “Till Death Do Us Part” by Madonna for examples of songs that sound pretty but convey far more underneath the surface. Can you say “dream killing”?

Reluctantly, our heroine heads down to the telephone company to see if she can get a job as a telephone operator to make her parents happy. On her way there, she runs into Joy Jones (Alexis Myles), the lead singer of The LoveJones. Betty is confused as to why Joy, her musical idol, is seeking a job at the phone company when she should be on television and living the celebrity life. Joy tells her that because of her race, she's not even going to be considered as a telephone operator while Betty does have that option.

While waiting to be interviewed at the phone company, Betty meets Connie Anderson (Kalia Lay), a lovelorn woman suffering from a broken heart & Zipgun (Alexandra Welch), a tough girl with some rough edges and an unintentional sense of humor who's fed up with Connie's bawling. Instead of working as telephone operators, these women go along with Betty's plan to become a girl group despite not fitting the profile of the typical girl group. While going to get her concert tickets, Betty learns from Sam the Beat (Levern Williams) that the woman to see for making her girl group ambitions a reality is Loretta Jones (Aigner Mizzelle) a former Raylette who happens to be the mother of Joy Jones.

L-R Alex Welch, Kalia Lay, Paulina Breeze. Photo by Jonathan Slaff

Ironing boards in tow, Betty and her group head to the home of Loretta Jones. Loretta is not having it, initially skeptical of these 3 white women then putting them to work ironing. Consider her the Mr. Myagi of this story: Betty, Connie and Zipgun are told they must go to church, do ironing every day for 2 weeks and can't smoke, swear, have weapons or drink alcohol if they're going to get an audition with her. Zipgun in particular is not happy about going to church or being banned from her cigarettes or her switchblade though she already adopts the name Zippy, which Betty introduces her as to the parents (Zipgun likes the sound of it, claiming “it sounds French”).

Miss Loretta Jones meets Betty & The Belrays, who have come for guidance. L-R Kalia Lay, Paulina Breeze, Aigner Mizzelle, Alex Welch. Photo by Jonathan Slaff

When the time comes, the ladies audition and both the members of The LoveJones and Loretta Jones see their talent. Knowing their families won't approve, however, the ladies keep their work as a girl group secret but do have the ironing jobs to keep accusations of idleness at bay. When they win a spot on television, they try to take The LoveJones along but Joy is not happy with this since her group was around first and Betty's group would be the headliner while they would be playing second fiddle. She says they should be invited to be on the show themselves, not tag along with Betty's group. Joy is quite aware of the problems her group faces because of their ethnicity that Betty and her group are not having to deal with. She calls Betty out on the Belrays song “My Boyfriend is a Negro”, saying Betty is merely profiting off social protest and doesn't actually have any skin in the game if her boyfriend is not actually a black man.

Betty & The Belrays on national TV. L-R Alex Welch, Kalia Lay, John Hersey, Paulina Breeze. Photo by Jonathan Slaff

Clearly, Betty takes this sentiment to heart and feels it's time to try and fix things after her childhood neighborhood becomes unsafe and her parents are targeted because of her group's material once she has become famous, even turning down a record deal where she'd have to stop singing about social issues.

Betty returns home from tour and sees herself on cover of Life Magazine. Paulina Breeze and John Hersey. Photo by Jonathan Slaff

She and the other Belrays decide to join The LoveJones in a trip to the South to fight for civil rights for black people. This trip does not end happily for Betty though the end is not nearly as much a downer as you would expect.

Aigner Michelle, Levern Williams. Photo by Jonathan Slaff

The set dress, costuming, songs and actors were awesome. Zipgun was hilarious. This was also one of those shows where performers came into the audience so you felt like you were part of the action; the house was packed beforehand. I actually expected the story to be a bit different, that Betty and the Belrays had to get black women to pretend to be them since a white singing group wouldn't be accepted in Detroit or within the girl group community. Everyone around Betty tells her “how can you be in a girl group when you're white?”

However, you do see the love and mutual respect the group and Loretta Jones have for one another. Even Betty's mother comes around to helping her and the Belrays make their girl group aspirations come true by teaching them dance moves. Betty's perseverance and idealism overcome the doubters, even Joy Jones. The show itself balances the social commentary with great musical numbers and Zipgun/Zippy (who maintains her personality throughout).

L-R Alex Welch, Kalia Lay, Aigner Mizzelle, Paulina Breeze. Photo by Jonathan Slaff

Betty (Paulina Breeze) leads a civil rights demonstration. Photo by Jonathan Slaff

Saturday, September 22, 2018

If Everyone is a "Victim," Then is ANYONE a "Victim"???

This is what society ought to be asking itself in the wake of Kanavaugh's accuser and her story. I'm delighted that Aziz Ansari hasn't totally been ruined by the words of "Grace" and her being propped up as a "victim" but giving that any credence was bad enough.

Let's explain a few things about law that these left wing loons seem clueless about:

1. To prove a criminal act, the accuser has to prove their case. Being uncooperative doesn't get your case handled. Not answering questions or acting like you are automatically truthful and saintly doesn't lead to a criminal conviction. Put simply, women DO lie. There are countless stories of false rape accusations that led to men being incarcerated, losing careers, losing college scholarships and even one guy losing his athletic career due to a lying female. You can't erase the impact of false accusations & the women who do it should be punished just as harshly as the person they accused + forced to pay restitution to their victim.

2. We also have a concept in the law called "mens rea." You have to prove a criminal intention & mentality. A drunk guy getting fresh isn't enough. He has to have TOLD you "I'm going to rape you," ignored you when you told him to stop, threatened you with a weapon, deliberately injured you or engage in a modus operandi that he used to rape other women (the exact same scenario happening to you that didn't result in rape where it did result in that with 20 other women is more indicative of a pattern). Something to indicate he wasn't just being another drunk person doing something impolite in the moment.

3. Cops don't lock people up for things they MIGHT do. People MIGHT do just about anything: blow up the local 7-Eleven, snort cocaine, call up the space aliens to murder everyone, pass out drunk, eat a bagel, whatever. We don't have the thought police.

4. Getting fresh while drunk isn't polite but it's not tantamount to rape or sexual assault. The law isn't based on politeness, it's based on actual harm being done to people. If that were something you could get jailed for, we'd have to lock up most of the adults in this country (including women because guess what? Women also grope while drunk).

5. The law isn't written for the eggshell skull types but under the reasonable person standard. A reasonable person isn't a whiny little victim who refuses to take any personal responsibility or engage in any measure of common sense. A law enforcement officer would want to know if you were drugged, if you had physical injuries, how old everyone was, where it happened, when it happened, if you made any effort to tell the guy "no" or push him away and so forth.

Exactly what law did Kanavaugh break (specific citation and definition from a statute if you please)? He wasn't an adult at the time, they supposedly were both drinking, she can't recall the date (even the year), whose house she was at, how she got to the party or the bedroom, how she got home, who was with her, none of that. Her own alleged witnesses don't corroborate her story, she doesn't claim to have been drugged, doesn't say she was threatened with a weapon or that Kanavaugh said "I'm going to rape you" or ignored her when she said no or did anything else to deter his actions. What was a 15 year old doing in an environment with drinking and hanging out with drunk people? She also has a changing story & there is such a thing as false memory that has been discussed in the field of psychology.

The timing is also highly suspicious and we're going to high school?!?! Maybe some girl whose bra snap he snapped wants to try getting the FBI to investigate that as well. As an attorney myself, I can tell you that not just anybody can be admitted to the bar. The standards to become a judge are even higher and the ones to become a Supreme Court Justice are higher still. On the state bar applications I filled out, I was never asked about all the parties and venues I attended where alcohol was consumed or who I interacted with there. They ask you about a lot of things & do just about everything but take fingerprints and bodily fluids if you want to become a lawyer anywhere in the US.

I also know of what I speak since I had a similar situation happen to me before I came to law school & after graduating college. I was sober, could tell you the year and month (nailing it down to one of two dates & day of the week) and what happened from beginning to end. A number of actual rape and assault victims have stated similar details & I even read an account from an adult victim who was a child, had consumed drugs and alcohol and said those details were seared into her mind in spite of all that.

Mine happened the night I went to a Halloween party with a sorority sister, her fiance and her gay bestie. As my usual manner, I was sober and remember having a taste of straight up whisky at this party, finding the taste awful and not having any more alcohol that evening. I met new people and just hung out there while also explaining my costume. My sorority sister had invited me to sleep over that evening since the party was going on late and she lived a distance from my home (I drove there). Her fiance had a lot to drink at this party. Later, we all went to a diner to eat and he kept nodding off. I'd been to karaoke with them and other people before so I'd been around this guy when he was drinking in the past. At no time had he ever done anything inappropriate. He'd not so much as flirted with me or given me indication of any romantic interest in me, drunk or sober. He wasn't my physical type anyway and even if he had been, I have never been the type who'd have chased after anyone's taken man (especially a sorority sister).

I was lying down on the couch in my PJ's, getting ready to go to bed. By this point, my sorority sister has gone upstairs. Her fiance comes out, gets on top of me and kisses me on the mouth. I'm like "Get off me. Go find (sorority sister's name)." He persists.

A thought screaming in my head is "This is wrong. This is your sorority sister's fiance."

I also felt nothing in terms of arousal (remember, he wasn't my type so I had no interest). I'm also not turned on by taken men, especially when they're taken by a loved one.

In this stern, "don't fuck with me" tone, I say "If you don't get off me right now, I'm getting up and going home." I was livid, not thinking about "how are you going to get this guy off you" but just pissed at that moment. I was in a fighting mood & fire was flowing through me.

He gets off me and goes upstairs.

The next day, I tell the gay bestie in private since I feel it's not worth blowing up her relationship when this guy could have been blackout drunk and not even remember doing it. I still feel it was a drunken blunder vs. a deliberate and intentional action. I told her friend in case he wanted to tell her or if he saw some red flag and felt it necessary to speak up. I guess he didn't since I never heard from her later on or got confronted with it. I no longer speak to her for unrelated reasons but I never called myself a victim, didn't call the police (since there was nothing for them to do) and didn't hang out with them again since I was in the process of moving for law school at the time and my schedule got filled up anyway. Plus, I don't think my sorority sister invited me out anyway since she was busy with engagement stuff.

I never felt there was anything he needed to apologize for since he might have been blackout drunk. Blackout drunk means you don't remember anything you did at the time. My father experienced that a lot. I chalked that up to an unfortunate episode that I handled. I wasn't injured, didn't get raped, didn't get threatened or abused and I don't live with psychological trauma from it. My childhood with an alcoholic father and my divorce were traumatic. This was merely a guy being impolite and me standing up for myself; it didn't require the police or a jail cell or ruining my sorority sister's relationship. He wasn't some career rapist or a guy constantly harassing women or even a guy who'd ever harassed me. I've seen cretins & dealt with plenty of other drunk guys getting fresh. I know how to take care of myself & have told off as well as slapped guys for doing that.

From living with my father, I wouldn't have gone to a high school party with alcohol even if I were invited since drunk people do stupid shit and it was never my scene. My parents would have killed everyone involved if I had gone to such a party or were drinking in my teen years. My mother didn't tolerate that shit and people who are smokers, alcoholics, drug addicts and the like will be the first to come down on you if you start doing that stuff. My father would have been harder on us than anybody if we thought about engaging in underage drinking.

I know people who were molested by family members when they were kids (and knew about some of that before I went to college; one of the victims had been a close friend of mine). I know someone else who had to fight off an armed attacker. Those people qualify as victims. People molested by adults in power as children or told "sleep with me or lose your job" are victims. People who were drugged unknowingly and wake up not remembering what happened are victims. I am not a victim.

It's a disservice to victims to shove me or anyone who lived that into the same category & dilutes the entire concept. Who's really a victim if everyone is a victim? It also insults women since it declares all of us helpless fragile flowers who can't live in the adult world.

I think there should be mandatory assertiveness training for women starting in junior high school if not sooner. I can't stand the "I'm too weak to defend myself" garbage. If you're that helpless, why are you in a major city, hanging out in bars or venues with drunk people, living away from your parents, raising children or doing any type of adult task? Fix that shit!!! Take a self-defense class (many places offer free sessions for women). Get a licensed gun and learn how to use it properly. Get some pepper spray. Be aware of your surroundings. Don't hang around scumbags. Act like an adult, not a child. Parent your damn children & stop worrying about if they like you or not.

There's a reason bars and clubs have security guards. There's a reason you have to be 21 to drink legally. Women are told to travel with friends, not leave their drinks unattended and everyone is told not to get blackout drunk or trashed with people they don't know. Why is society coddling people who play stupid games and complain when they win stupid prizes? Where's the demand for personal accountability and responsibility for yourself?

Susan Smith's legal team tried to excuse her killing her kids by talking about her childhood. The jury didn't fall for it then but I'll bet if that case were tried today some idiots would excuse her behavior just like some are trying to excuse Asia Argento. I ask "If rape victims are so likely to molest others, then why aren't we sequestering all of these victims & treating them like any sex offender so they can't have any opportunity to rape someone else? Why aren't they registered on a list or banned from certain jobs & neighborhoods?"

This narrative of "helpless woman" also does the exact opposite of empowering them. It encourages a societal scheme that says "women can't drink or go to bars or clubs," "women can't be around men AT ALL without a male relative present," etc. What does that sound like? If you said "Sharia law" you'd be right. Third wave feminists appear to be too stupid to see it. No one has debated me to the contrary on this. Make women seem impossible to deal with and incapable of advocating for themselves or protecting themselves and we'll end up with laws like that "for our own good." I personally find that offensive & distasteful since I'm not some helpless fragile flower nor do I need such coddling. I like to hope most women feel the same way & despise the third wave feminist logic as well.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Greetings. Did You Give Me Up for Dead???

You shouldn't. I just continue being busy. Mostly with work stuff and my social life. You should always make effort to see your friends and forge relationships with people who lift you up, inspire you, motivate you to better yourself and the like. Psychologically, it's healthy to do this and social isolation will lead to major problems. This also helps from a networking standpoint since people who know and like you are more likely to refer you places and opportunity can arise that way. Perhaps I'm also cleaning up the emotional and physical wreckage from the past 4ish years. Things are definitely moving onto a better track.

I got to see Mr. Big Stuff a few weeks back when he came to town. He wasn't staying too far from me & he genuinely was happy to see me, I felt. Those time zone changes will kill you traveling from China to NYC but he told me about some changes going on in his life that might permit us to resume our prior boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. I felt like informing Captain Horndog with a sense of smugness about that, a whole "you wanted to write off this guy but he's accomplished more than you have." These days, though I felt like it wasn't really worth it. I'm not entirely convinced Captain Horndog is all that concerned about me and Mr. Big Stuff makes him look like chopped liver by comparison. I even saw pics he'd posted recently & thought "Mr. Big Stuff you aren't but you do okay for your age bracket." I'd probably still knock a bitch out for daring to insult or belittle MY friend, though. I'm that way with all my guy friends, particularly if I see someone reject them in a way I find rude or classless. You can reject guys in a kind & polite manner. If they persist after you do that, THEN you can be a jerk. You don't do it beforehand.

After seeing Mr. Big Stuff, I realized I'm over what Comic Book Boy did and actually have more feeling towards Mr. Big Stuff. The question is do I like Mr. Big Stuff based on his own merits or because he was there for me in major ways post-separation/post-divorce & if it weren't him, it'd be someone else. Honestly, despite Mr. Big Stuff having flaws like anyone else, I feel like it's more that I like him on his own merits vs. his being convenient or a mere handsome face. We had our falling out and reconciliation so to me, if someone makes the effort to reconnect with me that means I had an impact & matter to them. He told me I was the only person he'd actually seen during his visit. When asked if I was his girlfriend, he said "something like that." It both scares and pains me to admit it but I think I might even be able to love again though I will never, ever tell a guy "I love you" first. I might not even be able to admit to myself that I love a guy even if I actually do. The pain and fear of rejection are too great for me. I would need an emotional insurance policy or a backup to lessen any pain if I didn't get the same level of love or concern towards me. One thing that gives me hope, though, is that this particular guy told me that he doesn't view me as some passing fancy he's killing time with until somebody better shows up.

Before he said that, I wasn't so sure he viewed me as somebody he might see a future with (which is how I interpret "I don't consider you some girl I'm killing time with until someone else shows up & then I'll drop you like a bad habit" since there's really no other meaning from that). The birthing babies issue also comes into play on this one since I figured he was just waiting around to find some girl willing & able to birth his babies vs. the childfree woman who's had a tubal.

I tell people about some of his actions and a lot of people are Team Mr. Big Stuff and very against Comic Book Boy. Many aren't enamored with Captain Horndog either; I've distanced myself from him emotionally though I feel like he hasn't got a lot of real friends he can speak honestly with so my presence is an act of Christian kindness & human decency.

There's no question about Mr. Big Stuff passing the swoon test or being on my intellectual level. I actually thought to myself recently "What would I say about this guy if he rejected me? I can't declare he's some loser or not good enough for me like my ex-husband." It made me feel empathetic to my ex-husband and how he might have felt about me rejecting him. He couldn't exactly declare me inferior or not a catch. It occurred to me that maybe I could forgive him so long as I never forgot what he did & didn't condone his behavior. It feels like holding on that now would be absurd, especially if I end up in a serious relationship with Mr. Big Stuff. He did act jealous when I mentioned having been with this one guy friend months before though there was no future there & we don't have an exclusivity agreement due to distance. I just haven't felt like dating or being with some other guy at this point since it feels like "there's Mr. Big Stuff & then there's everyone else". You don't meet guys who are really special all the time, certainly not in the wilds of NYC. He's also interesting and complex like I am, another thing that's hard to find.

But I definitely have some things to rant about: for example, seems the "Me Too" movement loses legitimacy when Asia Argento sexually assaulted a 17 year old when she was 37. I find that creepy considering I've had young guys hit on me but I never bother if they're not at least the legal drinking age of 21. That way, it's more likely they are legal.

Not to mention this guy was a child actor in one of her films & she's some rich bitch who's part of film making royalty so imagine the power imbalance there. I didn't feel sympathy for her as a victim in light of her not being some poor woman with no connections or ability to retaliate & who also DATED her supposed rapist for many years (was that in spite of his being married?). Sorry, staying silent without bothering to warn anybody (even privately and individually) means you're allowing MORE people to get hurt & serving as an accomplice to such things.

I never bought into the whole "Me Too" movement since we can safely say about 98% of women (if not 100%) have been sexually harassed or abused or had to deal with some kind of BS at the hands of a guy. Things like rape and sexual assault should call for people to seek out counseling and therapy as well as going to the authorities instead of waiting decades, dating the abuser, seeing the abuser more than once, and all kinds of craziness the Hollywood types did. Absent being a Scientologist or a literal prisoner, I think the people who say women in entertainment who are big names and came out with these stories basically prostituted themselves to get ahead have a very valid point. I also have it on some good authority that you can actually get someplace without resorting to the casting couch. But no, you don't get to publicly complain about a serial rapist while molesting people yourself.

I'd rather see mandatory assertiveness training, self-defense training and full access to weapons for women to use in self-defense vs. women telling other women and the world to be helpless victims in fear of everything & everyone who must wait on an authority figure to solve their problems instead of creating their own solutions. Some of the stories propped up for this movement diminish actual victims & harm their credibility. Not to mention dismissing men who've experienced such things. That's a whole other topic & I knew we'd find female abusers sooner or later.

I also read a story this week about someone I dubbed "Cunty McCuntface" who set up a mass Tinder date in Union Square and made all these guys compete for a date with her in person. She lies about the nature of this project, decides to publicly humiliate them and thinks she's some sort of prize worth all this BS. I think she's inviting karma to bite her in the ass & deserves to have been publicly humiliated by the "winner" or lose a job or suffer some kind of retribution. If she were a guy doing that, he'd be run out of town if not figuratively stoned for his behavior. Why should it be acceptable for a woman to do it?

A real hottie wouldn't waste her time setting up elaborate games, nor would she have to. Guys would do that on their own volition. A smart woman sure wouldn't do that since they know it's a good way to get a guy to harm you physically so you can't use sex appeal anymore or walk the streets or exist on the planet. Why not just stick your head in a lion's mouth? It also seems out of character for a Southern belle since they might use guys for things but they're way more polite and charming about it. They wouldn't disgrace themselves in public by looking like uncaring, unfeeling bitches to the world at large. Not to mention they do actually feel men have a purpose & tend to be more respectful of them than third wave feminist types who want to destroy them. I betted this waste of life was an ultra liberal or third wave feminist based on this happening in NYC & NYC being a haven for those types (many guys have told me as much & said finding a woman of my mindset is unusual). If this dumbass responds, I would love to read it.

I also keep hearing from people in my past, which has been a mix of reactions. Some I'm happy to have heard from and some just don't fit in this new landscape. One was a pre-divorce friend I'd wondered about from time to time. It seems I got divorced and became a high school popular girl. I have to say that can be fun but also incredibly draining and somewhat annoying at times.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Catching Up, Reflection and Sorting Out Paradigms

It's been oh so busy. Mostly with life reorganization, taking care of unfinished business and figuring out what pieces of my old self are appropriate to keep and what pieces I should be trashing in light of the newness of everything.

4 years after the end of my marriage & with my things now securely in a place where I'm not under pressure to remove it promptly, I've finally had true opportunity to reflect and start to really process everything. I realized earlier this year prior to getting representation that I'm happier than I was when I was married to Comic Book Boy in Queens. I finally had the opportunity to get the things I wanted and had been deprived of for so long: my entire DVD collection, my stuffed Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, clothing I'd wondered where it had gone to, making recipes for myself I'd not made since before I got divorced. Now I've been trying to figure out how to adapt things for my new existence, a more realized me if you will. Making recipes perhaps is one metaphor for such things. I actually was able to obtain my Ex-Boyfriend scrapbook and nearly finish it. I got to write my closure section about my ex-husband and even included this letter my mother sent to him shortly after he threw me out into the street with nothing. It was extremely touching and made me feel so loved when I read it.

Recently, a photographer friend created a photo collage of me from modeling pics. Seeing that also made me feel really loved.

But I realized in looking at my ex-boyfriend scrapbook that perhaps it wasn't as pessimistic an exercise as you might think but more of a way to make the best out of rotten situations: to use things your exes left behind or that got left with you never to be returned to that jerk & make art from it. I definitely view this book as a work of art. It also serves as a reminder to me of why those relationships ended & why it would be a bad idea to go backwards.

It's weird that I get dudes from my past coming back from the ether to talk to me. Or I should say dudes from my post-divorce past like to come back from the ether; they always tell me they never viewed me as a slut or a loose woman despite meeting me in a time of serious emotional strife and pain. Some of those guys didn't even have sex with me so it's not all about seeking to get laid. I definitely would not want to talk to my ex-husband if he tried that; I'd ask Captain Horndog to handle that for me & say anything he'd like to make Comic Book Boy suffer + get him out of my hair. Getting my things out of my friend's house recently prompted a wave of nostalgia to hit me, certainly as much if not more so than when I first went through the regression of my divorce.

As I said before, divorce is a regression since you're moving from living with a spouse to being single again; lots of people move back in with their parents or go back to their childhood towns. It's more a question of how far back you regress. Now it feels like I've regressed to law school.

Finishing that scrapbook makes me feel better, like I'm getting some closure I never got from my jerky ex.

I also went on a dating sabbatical because I was sick of that bullshit & the lying of men. I feel like I live in a world surrounded by idiots who don't appreciate my value. In NYC, it seems that any guy fitting my physical type & isn't working in my industry is too busy trying to sleep with commoners, has major mental issues (immaturity, insecurity, actual diagnosed medical conditions, whatever) & seems to have mistaken me for a commoner he can treat like shit. This doesn't fly with The Angry Redheaded Lawyer. It shouldn't fly for any woman. I'm definitely not the only woman around here who's said "Fuck you for not appreciating my value."

When you're attractive, it's worse since then you have guys thinking you're supposed to fawn all over then despite them doing nothing for you sexually, not being your type for whatever reason, being in too close of proximity to you because of industry or having mutual friends or making my ex look like Brad Pitt by comparison. Having standards is not a crime, nor should it be. I like to think I learn from my mistakes. At least one thing I have learned is that not every guy rejecting me is because of me. Some of them were just too fucked up for me. Some just simply had no appreciation for my depth or intelligence or skills that your average woman doesn't have (hi, natural redhead, native Southerner so actually know how to cook & have a sense of manners, lawyer AND creative talent so kicking butt in left and right brain stuff). I've realized I don't want to deal with some guy who is intimidated by me or asks me to dull my light for him. Nobody needs to be doing that for anybody else. You need to find people who lift you up & accept you for you, not people who drag you down or discourage you. Find your tribe, if you will.

I feel like I'm making progress on my tribe. Had a realization yesterday when going out with a guy I'd had this bad date with last year and swore I wasn't dealing with again. I saw him somewhat recently at this party I went to after not going to any in a while (as I'm not sure how people will react to me since I now have representation & I don't want to get pressured to set up meetings or get people's ire over it since God forbid I get something I've worked for). He apologized for the bad date and we started over. I went out with him again yesterday and realized he might be good for me since I discovered I'm not nearly as shitty in some sports type stuff as I thought I was. That's a cool thing right there.

I remembered what I was doing last year and got sad about that guy turning out to be a jerk but he did give me my first hickey since Comic Book Boy so I felt like that was a victory. I've actually moved more towards not wanting meaningless sex since emotionally, I've not been fantasizing about my ex-husband or being intimate with him nor had an urge to do so. Mr. Big Stuff has taken over there.

He also said something to me that is making me wonder if he views me as more than some passing fancy he's killing time with. That's an in person conversation, though & he's no where near where I'm living.

I also finally found a way to start doing yoga after years of wanting to do it but not doing it. My manager even advised me to start doing it. I'm far from an expert or super flexible or great with balance but I find myself freaking out less often since having started it. I do like that it's not supposed to be a competitive thing but about YOUR time. This is something I try to remember and focus on when doing it. I also love that nobody bothers me there or tries to pick me up; I don't see anyone I know there so I can be left the hell alone, just like I want and prefer. When we get out of this heat wave, I'll be going again this week.

I even have things starting to flower in my day hustle; we can't really call it a "day job" since I'm not a waitress or bartender but am using my law license in opportunities I never got when I was married to Comic Book Boy. I recently got an opportunity to learn a new area of law that might seem contrary to my stance against illegal immigration but isn't because I'm all for people trying to make things right and use the court system to become legal if they're here illegally. I'm more than happy to help someone make good if they messed up or are in dire situations like the people I'm representing have been.

As I predicted, the good stuff is starting to cancel out the bad shit I've had to deal with. You don't forget the bad shit happened but I know I can use this in my creative pursuits, be it writing, acting, or some other direction I take it in. It seems I'm also good at giving advice on marriage since I lived it & saw what it's like when it's bad.

My unofficial gay bestie said something interesting: he says you have to be an optimist if you want to live in NYC. In fact, he claims you can't live here if you aren't an optimist because the city wears you down and if you're pessimistic, you'll never make it since you'll get too weighed down in the crappiness of the MTA, the bugs, the mess and all the other crazy things that are NYC. He actually told me recently that something I'm pessimistic about seemed contrary to my "being an optimist." That made me wonder "AM I an optimist?" I mean, I'm not Rose Nylund or this one girl I went to college with who was Little Miss Sunshine to the point that she seemed insincere when she expressed an emotion other than cheerful or happy.

We often associate optimism with naiveté and stupidity, things I don't feel I have in a lot of areas of life. Can you be an intelligent & realistic optimist? I like to think maybe you can be & you can still be a fighter. In my case, I'd say if you manage to get through what I have you have no choice but to be optimistic in some fashion since that's what will keep you alive. It's like "I got through all this defying a ton of odds so how could I be a true pessimist?" I always said I was a pessimist on people matters but never on career or getting to live where I wanted to; I always believed in being able to do that stuff but not that I'd find true friendship, certainly not love.

The jury is still out on love for me but I do find Mr. Big Stuff's query to me on the subject interesting & confusing. I'm the woman who thinks you're lying if you say "I love you" and it's in a dating/romantic context (or you're trying to manipulate me in some fashion by using it as a "get out of jail free" card to treat me like shit). I tend to think guys saying that are only in lust with me, don't know me well enough to make such a statement & think I'm completely stupid so insulting my intelligence (which is a huge pet peeve of mine). I have a whole nuanced view on the subject; I can say it and accept it from friends & family members who aren't completely dysfunctional. Is it screwed up or just a byproduct of my upbringing, growing up in the Southeastern US and the divorce I had? I go with byproduct of my circumstances.

These are the thoughts rolling in my head, the observations I've made. I've sorely needed to write here as my therapy and catharsis from things. Not to mention ensuring readers know I've not dropped off the face of the earth or ceded my identity. It's hard when you get representation since you also have to sort out how that fits in with maintaining your core identity.

Yeah, these life changes have been better for me & I feel like once all this clearing is done I will definitely be kicking butt on the creative side of things. I might even make it to that billboard Comic Book Boy has to pass by everyday. That would be poetic justice in more ways than one.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

That Phoenix is Starting to Soar

My mother wrote a letter to Comic Book Boy after he threw me out into the street with nothing. God only knows if he ever read it but she said of me "(My real name) is a phoenix – she will rise from the ashes of this situation because I know she has the strength and fortitude to go forward regardless of any situation she has to face." That letter still brings me to tears when I read it, both at how much my mother loves me & at the emotional scope of what he did.

But, after some great career leaps post-marriage and feeling discouraged after the whole Harvey Weinstein situation came out (my former film company actually was supposed to have a meeting with the Weinstein brothers where chances are, I'd end up having to interact with them as the company's Production Executive/In-House Counsel and generally the person who made potential investors feel more comfortable with her presence since fly by night companies don't typically have an attorney in the partnership ranks) I got some very unexpected news that actors kill for. I got an offer of representation from a manager. Not just any manager but a manager with a track record & more industry experience than me. Someone who accepts me for being me & isn't trying to tell me to go dye my hair or no longer be a natural redhead with a natural redhead's temperament or give up my law licenses. My social media will give you exact names & all but CBU Management, Inc. deserves a shout-out here since I officially signed with them this past week.

For those not in the entertainment industry, having a manager makes a difference in doing this professionally & making a living at it vs. doing this as a hobby in your leisure time. Lots of people come to NYC and struggle for years to never have a manager at all. A manager with experience can determine the types of auditions you get to read for.

I've been here over a decade but for 7 of those years, I was chained to a marriage. There's no way in hell I'd have been able to take this representation if I were still in that marriage or if I were working in the nonexistent full time legal job that people have tried pushing me to do for years. I don't feel like I'd be able to do it if I were in a serious relationship either since then you have more complications to deal with in that realm. A few people I've met have representation but I don't think a single creative I know who's also an attorney has a manager & I'm not sure any have agencies even on a non-exclusive basis.

Getting a manager was one of those things I never expected to happen. If you follow my blog, you've read my reasons why. When you're outside the norm, it's a lot more difficult to get things the way you need them for your peace of mind, practical reality and so forth. I've spent an entire life being outside the norm by being a redhead, not being a stereotypical person of my socioeconomic class, not being a full on liberal or conservative, not being a pretty airhead or a smart ugly type (though I didn't own my looks until much later on & definitely didn't own them 100% until I started modeling when denying them at that point would have been absurd), not having a bunch of friends that looked like me, not being a stereotypical attorney, and so forth.

One goal I have made for myself is network elevation, which seems to be paying off in spades these days. I met an attorney who is doing the plan I'm trying to do (make a living at the law stuff while still getting to do the creative and production sides of things). He even lives near me & believes in me/roots for me (and is just one of many good connections I've made in the past few months). Now I get a lot of guys from the industry asking me out and wanting to consider the romantic stuff but I feel that in business, you shouldn't do that. It's too murky and awkward and I value professional connections who root for me in life who I can talk to about things while keeping sex out of the dynamic. It's a perception thing & I just don't view those connections in that way. You should keep those worlds separate to save yourself problems & hassle. Nobody can ever accuse you of molestation or sexual assault or rape if you never dipped your pen in the company ink.

I think I'm still in shock about this since it came out of left field. I went into a networking meeting with my now manager thinking we'd be discussing my legal background or maybe my producing background & the creative side would be an afterthought. Plus, I've had to do everything myself for years & not get much feedback on if I'm doing stuff right or not. People I've met in fashion actually said I was the most professional person they knew but that's not led to many real, paying modeling jobs; it's been all talk but no quantitative action as I'd get rejected or put in as a backup model.

I felt like getting to be a professional actress making a living at this was like me having a soulmate; that it was simply too out of reach to even consider for a second that it could happen to me as I wasn't going to give up my identity or my education for it & it felt like you had to be groomed as a child or in your 20s or you were out of luck as a woman. Oh, and forget about doing much if you're a natural redhead; you'll see fakes but few natural ones around & you get to hear about how ugly you are. After all, "redheaded stepchild" is hardly a term of endearment.

It's also "oh, shit I can't be as angry at my ex for what he did." The fucker actually did me a bigger favor since again, couldn't have a manager if I'd still been married. Especially at the end, he'd have fucked that up. I couldn't do it when I was a transient with no place to live & it might have been hard when I was dating Mr. Big Stuff (though I still talk to him & have fondness towards him; saying his name aloud or thinking about him makes me smile) or dealing with the nightmare housing situations. I might just end up on that billboard in Times Square or those ads plastered all over NYC yet. That whole "being famous" thing might end up happening whether I want it to or not but I don't have those kinds of ambitions since I'm not selling my soul or sleeping my way into things. If I haven't done that after a decade in NYC, why start now? I might have to actually forgive that jerk.

Getting a manager might seem like your work ends but it doesn't. Your work is only beginning since that's saying you are now a force to be reckoned with. If you get picked for the Olympic team or you make the pros in a sport, that's when you train even harder and have to be more disciplined. You don't just slack off & rest on your laurels until game day.

At least for me, this doesn't feel like I engaged in a pie eating contest where the prize is more pie. That analogy is typically used to describe making partner in a big law firm. So many lawyers in those firms HATE their jobs. I've heard lots of lawyers in court talk about how they hate their jobs. I've only been doing appearances since I don't want to be one of those lawyers who hates their job. Ever since I got that management offer, my heart & spirit have felt light. It's been this happy euphoria, this feeling that things are paying off and that things may actually go my way after all. My feeling is if I never have anything beyond a boyfriend or a FWB who sticks around, I will at least have a career where the hard work is actually worth it financially along with spiritually.

My unofficial gay bestie recently observed that you have to be an optimist if you're going to live in NYC since daily life here would wear you down completely if you were a pessimist. I thought about that & he's right. If you're going to work in entertainment, you definitely can't be pessimistic about it; if you're trying to get out of poverty, you can't be living in a poverty mentality & convinced you'll be stuck there forever or self-fulfilling prophecy will get you every time. Others have told me post-marriage I have a positive energy. I never thought of myself in that way since I was this cynic who had goth friends in high school + college and dated Vampire Boy, who had his own goth friends. My ex and I got along based on this layer of cynicism; he understood me. I was never this one girl I knew in college who seemed so happy, she was faking it & irritated me with this show I felt she put on vs. being genuinely happy. I'm still very cynical about people (especially guys) & can't see that changing in the near future.

However, I did accept the compliment especially when Coney Island Guy said I reminded him of Cindy Sanders in "Freaks & Geeks."

Perhaps I've become optimistic about life situations since when you have nothing left, you'd better have hope in the future & believe that where you are today isn't going to be where you are tomorrow since you'll never survive if you can't do that. If you went through what I did and you survived, then you kind of have to be optimistic since you know you're capable of making it & if you did it once or twice you can do it again. It might be hard & you might not be where you want right away (I'm definitely not where I want to be just yet) but if you know you overcame a crisis before, you'd be foolish to presume you couldn't do it again. I can't see things that way with my love life but I feel like nobody I'd consider romantically is on par with me mentally or emotionally; both of those things matter. Now I feel like I've got the task of career to handle right now & don't need the stress or aggravation of sex doll seekers and insecure little boys.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Look at Me, I'm Self-Employed

Yeah, this post title is deliberate as it's from a song called "Takin' Care of Business." I've been self-employed for quite sometime and I feel it's necessary to tell you the good, the bad and the ugly of it.

The upsides are you work for yourself. Nobody gets to tell you you can't do something you want to do or who to work with or not work with. No workplace gets to censor your creative voice or demand you to put up with incompetent behavior. You get to keep a bunch of money for taxes and pay Uncle Sam in the end instead of waiting around for a refund. In theory, your time is yours.

The downside is you typically have to build a business. That part is extremely difficult, especially if you're not an expert marketer, come from tons of money or some great school where you've got built in contacts (and even going to an Ivy League school doesn't make you an instant millionaire as a gentleman in my life would freely point out). You also have to find people who actually advocate for you & think of you for things instead of the other guy. Your taxes are also a tad more complicated & forget about getting those done for free unless you're dead broke. Not to mention you most likely don't have stable income & you aren't guaranteed a given rate or paycheck. There's a lot of uncertainty to it all.

As a person who refused to work as a waitress in college because she didn't want to work for tips and refused to do commission based jobs or miserable base pay + commission, self-employment and this business building stuff is especially scary. I still have to control panic and stress attacks when I don't get a paying assignment on a given day. Plenty of people say I stress out too much and definitely have far more faith in me than I have in myself some days. I've been called "a shark," "a survivor," and I'm convinced there are people who think I'm Superwoman while I'm frantically thinking and telling people "No, I'm not."

When people think you're Superwoman, they never believe you have weak moments or are in need of help from anyone. They think you can magically take care of yourself and make things happen. I guess if you knew my full story, you might draw such conclusions about me.

One thing you learn as an adult is that nobody really has it together. You think they do but in actuality, they are dealing with credit card payments, bad credit scores, taking help from relatives, enduring insane housing conditions, suffering from health issues, all kinds of stuff. It makes you miss the days when your parents were superheroes and took care of everything no matter how bleak things looked.

I've seen this happen in the business world as well. It seems the self-employment panic attack happens even if you are paying bills successfully and businesses can close and merge after many years in existence. My former therapist told me she experienced that for years when she started out and told me I just needed not to fixate on that or stress out if I didn't get an assignment on a given day. I try to use that time to do other business obligations & tasks I need to get done that I'd usually be too busy for like business networking, responding to e-mails, submitting for casting calls and even simple relaxation.

You learn that the house isn't build on the solid foundation you assume it is, whether that's a business or personal existence.

The best way I could describe being self-employed is living in a perpetual state of unease and worry about whether you're going to make your bills this month. The constant worry that if this goes sour, everything will come crashing down around you. You ask yourself "How are you going to deal with it?" Some choose self-employment and some are forced into it. I was definitely forced into it due to being so unique when it comes to my skill set & talents. From what I hear about people's jobs, though, I feel like it's a better route than a job I'd hate where I'd be forced to change my entire identity. I definitely know life is precious and time is fleeting so you may as well do what makes you happy vs. worrying obsessively about your credit score.

Knowing the big truths makes it feel more encouraging, like I'm on this journey and I'm not going to be in the exact same place 5 years from now. More recently, I've been looking back on where I was 4 years ago. I actually saw a pic from a fashion show I did nearly 4 years ago since a friend shared it on her Facebook timeline. I had vivid memories of doing that show and how I was feeling at that time; modeling that night was a literal escape from the hell of my household with my ex-husband.

I have also thought about where I was when I started on my new legal work almost 3 years ago and what I've learned in that time along with the progress I've made in my creative career that I never got when I was married.

But knowing all these things, does anyone still get the fear that all their effort will be in vain? That the worst case scenario is going to happen and no matter how much you try to prepare for it, you know there's no way you could handle it long term? That it couldn't become your new normal & you'd want to die if it did?

My big fear is being forced to live in NC again; I'm a really crappy Southerner, you know. I don't like country music, I don't have a Southern accent, I spent a childhood overshadowed by my sister and it's just far too small for me. My eccentricity might be noticeable in NYC & I might be "weird" here but this is a city of weirdos so nobody hassles you for your own individual weirdness unless it's in the form of "she needs to be locked up" crazy. I stuck out like a sore thumb in NC and in my childhood though I've been gratified in recent times by people who knew me back then saying I was pretty, had worth and all that good stuff. It made me realize my lifelong problem wasn't the problem I thought it was & I know how to manage that one far better, in a more healthy and positive way. If I didn't know how to cook, didn't possess charm + manners & have more conservative leanings on some subjects (including a belief that God exists), I think they'd revoke my Southern card.

Being self-employed feels like being on a tightrope extended between 2 high rise buildings with at least 20 floors & knowing that there MIGHT be a net at the bottom if you fall but you don't know how sturdy the net is, if anyone's going to be holding that out for you, and you have no safety harness to rely on. But I consistently have to remind myself that much of my life has been like this. Getting thrown out by my lowlife ex and my transient life was definitely like this; yet so many people claim I'm a survivor and have "survived" this. I feel like I'm still recovering but there are things I'm not dealing with anymore that made me realize "hey, they're kind of right."

I've also questioned whether anyone really has an easier existence than me & I feel like the answer is "no, their existence is just difficult in other ways." The big questions come up a lot when you've lost a parent, gotten divorced, lived as a transient or talked to people who sound like they're doing a lot better than you (I've found out those people have envied me or thought I had it made in various ways).

I'll be the first person to tell you self-employment is not for everyone. You have to be extremely ambitious, determined, motivated and a freaking force of nature. You also have to do you best not to let the anxiety and instability eat away at your soul. It shouldn't be glamorized though it is how most businesses came to exist & there are all sorts of stories about famous owners and celebrities who had extremely difficult times to get where they are today. I like to think maybe my dark days are getting brighter and I'm either going to be confronted with full sunshine or I'm going to be dead and leave behind an indelible mark on the world. So many people never show you the reality & I feel it's only fair I oblige by sharing my truth with others. They also say writing reduces stress so if you feel it, you may want to try it sometime.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

The Genius of Jem

Here's some truth: I watched a lot of "Jem" as a kid. Yes, I was and in some ways still am a girly girl (after all, I am a model in NYC). For those of you unfamiliar with it, here's a link to help you. While many parts of "Jem" were very unrealistic, there is something to be said about some of the writing & why it would actually be a good program to let a little girl watch.

First off, Jerrica and her friends were your classic underdogs. Jerrica & Kimber's father has died, they're left with little money and they have the evil Eric Raymond (who's an attorney and music company executive; was this foreshadowing you may ask yourself) to contend with. They epitomize good and kindness in the world even though you have Aja and Shanna to balance out some of that since they were more critical and cynical in their outlook on life than our own Jerrica/Jem. Poor Jerrica and her friends and their Starlight girls go through all kinds of bad stuff at the hands of The Misfits (the "evil" rock group) & Eric Raymond or people they've hired to do their dirty work.

Second, the Starlight girls were older tween/teen girls who'd been orphaned. You didn't see the lead characters taking care of babies or trying to become mothers everywhere you turned. They were enjoying rock star life and caring for the Starlight girls, who weren't really helpless waifs. There was one episode in particular where Kimber was supposed to get married and her friends are telling her not to rush into that choice & really think about if she wanted to do it. They weren't saying "Oh, go off & have babies. That's what you're SUPPOSED to be doing!" Powerful message for a childfree person or a kid who wasn't for the marriage/babies club.

Third, Jerrica and her friends weren't helpless waifs. I feel like Jerrica/Jem managed the perfect balance of self-sufficiency and Southern belle tendencies (though I think they were supposed to be living in CA). Rio got to be her hero but he wasn't ALWAYS helping her out of every stupid little nonsense like you'd see in some damsels in distress. They were fixing cars and doing all kinds of "not ladylike" type things.

I really liked Aja (the Hologram with the blue hair) though I could pull off Kimber easiest (the Hologram with the red hair). Aja was far more cynical, didn't trust that easily and was kind of bad ass in her own way since she knew how to do mechanical tasks. Yes, I wanted blue hair as a kid since I wasn't really happy being a redhead who got bullied and tormented in childhood. I would have loved an Aja doll but never got one.

But I suppose watching it as an adult, the thing I really notice is The Stingers. I was watching the episode where they first show up a few days ago and heard "Take It or Leave It." I feel like that is MY anthem in dealing with all these dudes who apparently resent me for having a personality & independent thoughts that don't align lockstep with theirs. The Stingers are also interesting since you have Jem & the Holograms as the epitome of good & kindness and The Misfits as the epitome of evil & nastiness (though you see some character archs with individual members and even Pizazz later on when confronted with situations that could KILL their rivals or cause further harm to them). The Stingers are more nuanced, Riot in particular.

You find out that Riot had to deal with parental disapproval from his father and strife over his music career. Basically, he and his band had to fight to get where they ended up in the series. I like that this layer of nuance was thrown in & how many of us can relate to having friends and family members who don't understand or respect our passion for entertainment pursuits, be they acting, music, modeling, whatever?

I actually had this guy tell me he was no longer interested in meeting me after speaking with me on politics and felt like I ought to post a link to "Take It or Leave It" on my profile. Heck, I would save myself so much time if I just did stuff like that or announce "Hey, I'm not dealing with your BS considering all the stuff I've gone through to get where I am! You can go pound sand if you think I am."

Shouldn't you hang out with the people who find you awesome as is instead of trying to conform to jerks who don't actually like you for you? I think you should. Embrace the 80s cheese as you watch that clip.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Surreal Adventures of The Angry Redheaded Lawyer: "The Fight" by Jonathan Leaf at The Storm Theater Company

Jonathan Leaf's “The Fight” takes us on a journey with one Caitlin Schultz (Laura Bozzone) who is writing a doctoral thesis and a book on the feminist movement, particularly second wave feminism. She is seeking the answer to the question “What happened in Houston?” Doris Margolies (Judith Hawking) was all set to become the leader of the National Women's Political Caucus when suddenly, votes cast for her were simply not counted. Doris contends that Phyllis Feinberg (Fleur Alys Dobbins) along with a number of other women in the movement such as Bella Abzug were trying to kick her out of the feminist movement while Phyllis considers Doris a crazy, paranoid woman out of touch with the movement's brand of feminism. Per Caitlin, this is a story that hasn't been told and Caitlin is anxious to learn it. As we go on this journey alongside Caitlin with the narration of Doris and Phyllis, various parallels to the 2016 DNC primaries (the Sanders situation in particular) and the nuances of feminism (classic vs. third wave feminism) presented themselves.

Doris and Phyllis are formidable women in their own spheres, with Doris as our humorous straight shooter who lays it right out there contrasting with Phyllis's smooth, refined, cool subtlety. Doris considers Phyllis a hypocrite as well as a “phony” in her feminism since Phyllis had an abortion when she was young and solicited her millionaire boyfriend to save her women's magazine when it was in financial trouble. Phyllis is also the “fashionable” one and presumably better looking.

Meanwhile, Phyllis sees Doris as a stodgy, loud and out of touch liability to the feminist movement due to Doris's hostility towards lesbians, refusal to talk about minorities or welfare, continuing in a physically abusive marriage and elevating motherhood while looking down on women like Phyllis for shunning motherhood/traditional marriage. Caitlin herself seems caught in the middle as she reveals that she herself had some same sex relationships to Doris.

Fleur Alys Dobbins, Laura Bozzone & Judith Hawking. Photo Credit: Michael Abrams

However, Doris doesn't belittle or insult Caitlin for this as she says she was never against lesbians or bisexuals but simply wanted the movement to be mainstream vs. a fringe movement nobody cared about due to societal attitudes in those days about gays and lesbians. She also reveals being uncomfortable around lesbians in that time, presumably because of being a traditionalist and not accustomed to that population.

Doris explains to Caitlin why Phyllis is the way she is and Phyllis eventually tells Caitlin just what happened in Houston.

Both Doris and Phyllis were very well developed, complex characters whom I could see a little of myself in: Doris for her admission of hitting her abusive husband back when he hit her and Phyllis for her fear of having a family due to the wreckage of her home life caused by her mother's mental condition. Their relationship felt like the typical clash of women where the traditional homemakers are battling against the career minded, the attractive are battling against the average or ugly, the mothers are battling against the childfree, etc. It was complicated and littered with shades of gray; they weren't friends or enemies or frenemies. Perhaps there is no one word description to describe the relationship between Doris and Phyllis.

Fleur Alys Dobbins & Judith Hawking. Photo Credit: Michael Abrams

I had an interesting time trying to locate Grand Hall; a kind Asian guy outside the church where the theater is located directed me on how to get in (which I likely wouldn't have figured out without help since there is some maneuvering to get there). Once I did & learned that I was indeed in the right place, I discovered a space that was wonderful. It reminded me of a field trip I took to the Stevens Center in middle school. It was a space that was devoid of pretension but still very professional. It felt like a historic venue with character and intimacy where the acoustics were great, a space tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the NYC streets. The intermission and pre-show soundtrack was very fitting and clever in it's presentation (a series of girl power and 60's girl group anthems).

The costuming was wonderful, especially when Doris and Phyllis led us on scenes taking place in the past. It was impressive how Ms. Dobbins in particular looked so young when she was speaking with Stanley (Matthew Provenza) about her pregnancy. She absolutely conveyed youthfulness in that scene.

Fleur Alys Dobbins & Matthew Provenza. Photo Credit: Michael Abrams

Our male characters (Mr. Provenza and Mark Quiles), consisting of various male figures in the lives of Doris and Phyllis were also good in their roles but the absolute standouts here were the ladies as this was their story.

You could also feel Caitlin's discomfort at times when she was interviewing Doris. It felt like Doris was poking into places Caitlin didn't exactly feel comfortable going to such as her revelation of prior lesbian relationships.

Of course, I can't convey enough praise for Ms. Hawking who played Doris. She definitely had an appeal and empathy from the audience with a lot of laughter after her lines.

This show, without question, is relevant to our times and perhaps even more relevant in light of the recent sex scandals concerning Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, et. al. I personally deal with plenty of those issues in my career and have had to block my fair share of cretins who seem to think this model is a bimbo who is clueless as to her legal rights or when someone is not interested in a business discussion. Jonathan Leaf conveys the nuances of female relationships and this experience of feminism in a truthful, engaging and enlightening way. I highly recommend this show and this venue.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

My Epic Costume & A Surreal Adventure All Rolled Into One: My Halloween Adventures & The 40th Annual Village Halloween Costume Ball at Theater for the New City

After not really having an opportunity to wear my revenge outfit on an actual date, I thought to myself "Why not try this as a Halloween costume?" Figuring I could avoid being hit on for a night & donning an outfit that would be weather appropriate and certainly Mother approved (I think my mother would love it if I dressed like a frump and never, ever slept with a man again), I searched for foam pink rollers, a truly ugly mumu fitting of Thelma Harper or Moms Mabley, the proper slippers and the proper attitude/swagger. This outfit took major effort to find; when you're a skinny woman, all the mumu's are nice & fitted gorgeous stuff that simply wasn't working for my plans. My mother actually put our hair in pink foam rollers as kids complete with Dippity Doo & had us sleep in that so we would have curly hair for church on Sunday as well as school picture day. So these were definitely throwbacks/tribute to my Southern upbringing.

To avoid more people bothering me in real life, I donned sunglasses for this so I could post a pic in my blog but if you're a follower of Andy Troy's parties, you'll certainly see pics of me in the full outfit:

I wore this outfit to Andy Troy's Halloween Party since I had to test it out among industry peers (and I've heard Andy is one of my fans so I felt I should support him in kind) along with a single's Halloween party the next night & on my surreal adventure reviewing the Village Halloween Costume Party. I also really wanted to wear this on Halloween proper and no way was I getting to wear this for a court appearance like I did with my goth bunny costume last year. I was going to also wear it to a Halloween party at a strip club I'd been invited to but torrential rain thwarted that plan since I wasn't about to go out in bad weather wearing this despite the shower cap.

The shower cap and robe came about for practical purposes: the shower cap to keep my hair from falling out of the rollers and the robe to avoid freezing too death while traveling outside. It turned out that mumu was quite warm & at both Halloween parties from Friday and Saturday, I came home to find my shower cap doused in sweat from being in freakishly hot conditions. I actually had the robe since I think it was a gift from my ex's relatives & I got a bunch of shower caps to keep my long hair from getting wet if I wanted to shower sometime without having to go through the long hassle of drying my hair.

Okay, so the purpose of this getup was so no guy would be interested in me. I figured dudes would see this & run for the hills or just find it hysterical then run for the hills. The concept in my own head made me chuckle & if you know me, you know I NEVER do what everybody else is doing on Halloween; I get to wear sexy stuff all the time with the entertainment and fashion events I go to & in fact, it's sort of expected that you're doing it so I like to do something I don't normally do on Halloween (that whole "wearing a costume" thing since the sexy stuff is more my real self). I deliberately wore this to the single's Halloween party as the ultimate "I don't give a fuck" statement; that was the same reason I was going to wear it to the strip club Halloween party. I suppose it's my spirit of fun to not give a damn & definitely see if I get the same results as somebody who's actually trying & putting in effort to get things.

Turns out this outfit was a hit in more ways than one. I had my suspicions of it when I did my first hair test, saw my hair in the rollers, put on my getup and saw that I didn't look nearly as hideous as I expected to. I said to myself "This is why you are divorced." Even my deliberate worst is still gorgeous to the world at large!

As proof of this, I had about 3 different guys try picking me up at Andy Troy's party. One even wanted to walk me home to my home proper but he was not my romantic interest, I felt he was too damn pushy & he worked in my industry. That's a no go for me. Plus, I'd wanted to see this other guy who is my flavor that I'd hoped would be around later (he wasn't but I saw him a few days later).

Saturday night, I wore this to a single's Halloween party I paid for a ticket to attend. Normally, I like to save my $20 for more important things (I meet guys all the time without trying or putting in great effort) but the opportunity to try out this social experiment proved too enticing to pass up. We were given cards we had to match up to win a prize and like others at this event, I decided to affix my card to my name tag to make things easier. I also did some Facebook Live videos while I was there since it was my first singles event ever. Normally, I'm not the type to go to such things; I usually walk into the room and get swarmed or approached within 30 minutes of showing up (not necessarily by anybody I'm impressed with or find hot but it does happen). Natural redhead, baby! You never have to engage in cheap theatrics or put in tons of effort to get guys if you're in my tribe; we'd find it demeaning to bother in the first place since nobody wants a guy who doesn't see their value right away.

The guy I matched up with happened to be my physical type & intelligent so we got to talking and managed to hit it off. We went out last night & he was even nice enough to be in my second Facebook Live video of the evening though I told my viewers not to get attached to him since guys I do anything intimate with tend to have almost no longevity in my life. I have my reasons, a big one being I don't tolerate bullshit. We ended up leaving and going to a diner then were making out in front of a subway station at 2 in the morning. He was dressed as a cop so people kept yelling "Officer" at him. I had people compliment my costume while I'd explain where the concept came from; that outfit communicates a lady's anger towards a man far more effectively than yelling at him, don't you think? People commented to this guy that he was not supposed to be doing that while on duty (making out with me); I thought of responding that I was performing a public service so people wouldn't get accosted and minorities wouldn't be harassed. The scene just made me chuckle loudly on my way home and before I left my cop.

This brings us to The Village Halloween Costume Ball on Halloween night:

This was definitely the place to be if you wanted to see costumes that weren't “sexy” this or that which is NEVER sexy but simply created that way so women have an excuse to show off their assets for one night. It's one of those events that if you're going to attend, you should probably not have stuff to do the next morning. When I walked in at 7:40/7:45, I was treated to a drum performance. I also saw a number of creative professionals I know in the business, including one attorney I know whose show I stared in a while back (one performance actually was at Theater for the New City). I also saw someone who recognized me from Andy Troy's Halloween Party a few days back (since even among the creative costumes I saw at this event, nobody was going around in foam rollers and a mumu) & did some networking with new contacts while also getting raves on my costume. At one point I took this pic in my outfit for the readers and a professional photographer decided to take my pic, declaring me beautiful.

You had the option of hanging out in the lobby, the Cauldron where food and drinks were being served, the Ballroom later in the evening, taking a stroll through the Scary Room, going to The Womb Room or going to the Cabaret to see performers onstage. I saw John Grimaldi, a regular at Theater for the New City in the Cabaret and let's just say he is far more proficient in bubble creation than you mere mortals. He also did an act involving a real life fire baton (the first time I'd ever witnessed such a thing as I'd only heard about the famous fire batons Susanne Sugarbaker twirled in her pageant days) & managed to not harm himself or get distracted despite people walking in and out. It's not many performers handling such feats who could do that and maintain their focus.

I also saw a couple of performances in The Womb Room, where the show I'd been in had been shown. One play I saw was “Relationship Counseling” featuring a man who is dealing with a romantic relationship with a robot. The male actor was very good at falling from intoxication & making it realistic while the actress playing the robot was pitch perfect in her portrayal of the sensible, far more clever robot. The second performance I saw was by Lily Ali-Oshatz, a spoken word performer/singer who just brought us from a happy to a cryptic, disturbing place with her take on a young woman's experience with dating in the big city. I thought “Well, that took a dark turn fast.” If ever you wanted to get a grasp on the idea of date rape as experienced by a woman, you should have seen that performance since it took you there in an unabashed, direct way.

Perhaps it was fitting that the Scary Room was right near The Womb Room. I had to wait for a time before it was open but it was definitely more scary than any regular Halloween haunted house or even a religious “Hell House.” This room went into the damage resulting from global warming and climate change, leading to a post-apocalyptic nightmare world in the year 2037 where people have resorted to cannibalism, pollution and mutation are widespread and civilization as we know it has almost literally gone to Hell in a handbasket.

Had I been able to stay out longer, I would have hung out more in the Ballroom. The Ballroom was awesome and grand, I imagine like a dance way back when would have been like if a live orchestra was present. I did end up making a new potential business contact while I was in that room but no dancing for me and I had to get up early the next day for work + be mindful of subway schedules. Overall, I'd say it's definitely a Halloween event done right and if you went you'd definitely have a fun time since there's something for everyone there.

So, the results of this social experiment were "You can't make yourself look ugly; you're going to get hit on no matter what so embrace it, get the hell over it & stop letting assholes try to guilt you for admitting your beauty exists." It makes the idea of having attractive women cover up & be frumpy pathetic since you won't change beauty, you haters. I also have long since decided I would only wear makeup and dress up at my choice, not somebody else's. No guy has demanded things like that out of me & I never looked as bad as that costume even when I was a "housewife" as some people asked if I was supposed to be. I have more style than that, folks & fully intend to maintain it as I age. It's my contention at this point that me trying to deny having looks is like trying to deny the sky is blue or the grass is green. Others have to confront this in their own ways.

Friday, October 6, 2017

People Suck Everywhere: What's Your Price?

This particular story hits very close to home. In case you aren't familiar with it, he's one of these big shot Hollywood guys lots of indie people would give their eye teeth to meet. My own company apparently had talks with people who were trying to see about us getting meetings with them. I even met someone with a project who had a family member of his who'd offered to produce that project.

Now, stories about men harassing women in Hollywood are sadly old hat in my knowledge. I've heard about and known plenty to avoid, even within my own circle. I've even had guys ask me out who work in this industry in such capacities, to which I respond that they must have mistaken me for a star fucker or think I'm some skank who has to come across to get clients. I get very hostile and nasty about it to where I even added on a dating profile that you won't be dating me if you work in the same industry since I live by the saying "Don't shit where you eat."

As I've heard about more and more of this stuff and if you are hearing about this & thinking of working in this industry, you should ask yourself "At what price am I going to pay to get in this industry? Am I content with never moving into those upper echleons if I have morals and integrity for myself & refuse to play that shit? Can I be satisfied with where I am regardless?" In my case, after much thought my answer is "I'll make my way on my terms and in my way or I don't want it at all." I figure I'd probably end up biting that guy's dick off, hitting in some sensitive area (I've slapped a man for getting fresh before), ruining him big time. I'll bet some of these sleazebags would figure I'm way too mean and angry to let that shit stand or ever go away quietly. Also, as an attorney you have ethical duties not to cosign on societal BS or let other women get harmed; where I have opportunity to be the change and fuck over cretins, bet your butt I'll do it for someone who's got proof, credibility and so forth. You have to wield those swords carefully & know which one to pull out when and how far to swing them. Sometimes you just inform the people who are close or planning to work with that person; other times, you have to use public disclosure and the proper authorities.

This is a guy who was a "liberal hero" donating to queen Hillary and participating in that Women's March months back. So if you thought only conservatives and the ultra-right has cretins, you are dead wrong. I think it has to do with money and entitlement complexes as to why some guy does it. You can find plenty of beastly women as well such as queen Hillary and her anti-feminist, anti-women behavior towards her husband's victims as well as voters who didn't hand her the crown via their votes. It's like "Do I need more reasons to dislike rich people as a group? Must we further The Angry Redheaded Lawyer's classism concerns and assertions of moral superiority because she didn't have things handed to her in life & doesn't believe she can buy people?"

Hell, do I need more proof that rich guys are assholes I want zero to do with and if one ever did actually get love struck over me he'd have to fight against not just my own family's class prejudices but mine as well? I also feel the same way about MDs; they seem to think this lawyer is going to drop her drawers or respond to commands from them on dating sites. God help the MD or rich guy who isn't an asshole who tries getting my attention/interest. Most people's fairy tale mate would be discarded by me since I'd assume that person was arrogant or believed they could buy me.

Political labels mean shit since there are kind conservatives and asshole liberals. See above.

I think I have discovered the meaning of life despite not being screamingly old: it's happiness. You can't buy that, you can't teach yourself to do it or make yourself do it & it's something that if you haven't got, you'll be living in a prison regardless of what you do, what you have or where you come from. There are miserable rich people and happy poor people.

What I look at in these situations is the rule breakers and how they got places in spite of shit like this. I like to think not everyone who's rich or in Hollywood is a sexual predator or an entitled scumbag who thinks people can be bought & sold or moved around like pieces on a chess board. I think of people like Lucille Ball who had her own production company at a time when no woman was doing that & her husband was no white guy. She had to fight to get him on "I Love Lucy," in fact. Not a real redhead but that's the type of thing I look at in planning my life and career; since I know my path is different and the rules really don't apply to my reality, I simply plan my actions with that in mind. I read a post on LinkedIn about how these companies in Corporate America discriminate to this day against minority applicants based on looking at photographs & zip codes in the address on the resume. My brain went to "how do we fuck their system over & shame them?" Also, let's give them the finger then set up better businesses to compete and kill them by doing right what they royally screw up & fail at (and plenty of big companies fail at various things the right business owner could exploit).

My thought process is similar in doing my entertainment career. Give these pricks the finger, become known as a force who does it better & shames them horribly then make sure you don't do the same crap they do. Hold yourself to standards and give hand ups to the deserving and talented in the next generation. Teach others how to fight this shit & don't be a whining victim. I can rest easy with things I've done already and will keep doing though I feel I've not reached my apex yet. Never compromise your self-worth or your integrity or view yourself as "less than" because you didn't eat the old, moldy doughnut offered by these established companies.