Monday, December 23, 2019

The Surreal Adventures of The Angry Redheaded Lawyer: “A Cocktail Party Social Experiment” by Wil Petre at Chelsea Music Hall

The concept of “A Cocktail Party Social Experiment” is to forge real time connection with your fellow party goers. Smartphones were strictly prohibited at this event (no silent mode or airplane mode!!). However, if you are a non-drinker like me you did have the option of something non-alcoholic. In my case, I chose seltzer with lime. The seltzer was definitely fizzy, probably more fizzy than I typically get it. That put a smile on my face.

For those unfamiliar with Chelsea Music Hall, it's a venue tucked in plain sight right near the Chelsea Market and other more familiar haunts in the Meatpacking District. I was directed to the basement (which, even if you wanted to have an Internet connection to use your smartphone you likely wouldn't be getting). Being an introvert, it's probably interesting + ironic that I chose this event to review (though I'd have to correct you & explain than I'm an ambivert, which means if you talk to me I'll have a conversation with you and not be an ass unless you behave like one towards me). My ambivert self was definitely wondering at first whether this would be my scene since I came alone with no crowd & even smiling at random people tends to lead them to conclusions I'd rather they not assume (I'm out of THAT phase of my divorce & even when I was in it, I had standards). Call it a combo of the New Yorker in me and the massive crowd. I liked the jazz feel of the venue as well as the rows of lights on the ceiling and the pushed out look of that ceiling. There were also some repeat attendees at this event, which at first I found odd until we went through it.

Before the show, you have the option of putting your name in a bucket (perhaps the one I saw labeled “test subjects”?) to be drawn at random. If your name comes up, you are invited to the cocktail party. This party takes place on the stage where our host and creator of the event, Wil Petre guides the action along with various organizers in lab coats. There was also a random question asked in paper form to audience members: What is the thing you dread or are most excited about concerning the holidays? (I'm paraphrasing this). I saw people write their responses then stick them in a bucket labeled “samples” so I followed suit.

Wil & His Lovely Assistant - Photo by Karen May

So once our guests were established, (though one was a late comer; there's always one in every group) the game began. For you old school folk, they had an overhead projector to display where we were in this event and what cards were selected. The way this works is there's a host who picks someone to draw cards. Our “guest of honor” draws a large card and a small card.

Cards - Photo by Karen May

The images on the cards chosen are displayed on this overhead projector (seeing it made me think of this elementary school classmate who lived in my neighborhood & was known as the local ruffian but never bothered me; he said every time our teacher used the overhead, he'd get sleepy).

Wil & the Overhead Projector - Photo by Karen May

The host has a book that decodes what these cards mean. Based on what the cards mean, the host asks our guest of honor a question. Here are the questions that came up at this event:

1. What is your body capable of?

2. If you had to do it again, what would you do differently?

3. In what way could a stranger think you're mysterious?

4. Who is gone but not forgotten?

5. Do your relationships define who you are? Why or why not?

6. From what have you been tempted to throw up your hands & walk away?

7. For what in your life do you feel the most grateful?

8. Of what could you say you're a master of?

Deep stuff, right? The first question got a laugh and if you don't know why, you definitely don't belong at this event because you're either too young or too dim (I wouldn't bring my young kids though if the venue didn't serve alcohol, older teens might be okay). The guest of honor is also given the beverage of their heart's desire before being called to answer.

So after the guest of honor answers the question, that individual picks another “guest of honor” who goes through the same process. The person who invited me to this event actually was one of the guests of honor and I learned something about her that it turns out might become relevant to my professional endeavors. The story she told was definitely one that connected with the audience.

However, the answers to these questions went in all kinds of directions. From humor to sadness to social justice matters and insight you might not necessarily pick up just walking along in your day to day life. One guy who was picked said that he was an introvert and shy about such matters but had put his name into the bucket thinking he'd not get picked and due to peer pressure from friends.

This game actually reminded me of Cards Against Humanity (which I didn't get in the divorce & I debated on picking up a year ago when I saw a starter pack on sale at Target). If you've not played that, you should if you're old enough; it's not a game for the easily offended or the younger set.

Knowing the history of how Cards Against Humanity came to be (my ex actually got some of the online exclusive packs), I wondered if this has been mass marketed. The host told us that they're working on this. I could definitely see this being a game lawyers could enjoy, the intellectuals that we are.

However, since you can't play at home yet you do get the option to see this show in person and gain insight on your fellow audience members along with their life experiences. It would be interesting to see how this might play out in areas outside of Chelsea, Manhattan. What about the Midwest or the South or some area where there is less variation on national origin, life experience and the like? I still think even in those atmospheres you'd gain some insight and perspective that you didn't previously have. These are the kinds of events and games where you get to know someone and certainly in a more meaningful way than you do on the Internet or through Facebook/Instagram/other social media networks people are using. I also like that this isn't a game where you have to be an expert in something to have any fun or gain any value from it. When people were more short with their answers or had less to say, fellow guests would probe further and follow up on what they said so if you were more quiet you'd definitely not get lost in the blur of extroverts and loudness that typically happen.

If you're tired of the lack of human connection, you really need to check out this show. Perhaps you can help make this game happen so the masses can be amused and informed, another Cards Against Humanity if you will.

The Cocktail Party Experiment in Progress - Photo by Karen May

Saturday, October 12, 2019

The Surreal Adventures of The Angry Redheaded Lawyer: "Singin' in the ER!" by Ruby Lynn Reyner at Theater for the New City

First off, please don't bring your young kids to this. Seriously, DO NOT BRING YOUR KIDS!!!!! Unless maybe you're comfortable discussing sexually charged topics or you'd like to explain to your young one just how Herve got up there, don't bring minor children. This show is not for small kids or your puritanical family members (like my mother, though she surprises me sometimes). It IS, however, for those with a punk sensibility and a wicked sense of humor as this show is chocked full of that along with cleverness. I came with a friend of mine who's also a blogger & likes theater. Make sure you go check out her blog.

Our story follows the goings on at St. Vickies, the hospital where maybe you'll be in tiptop shape again in no time. But do you REALLY want to be? After all, Dr. Shlong (Levi Wise) is the man with the healing hands and the bedroom eyes. Amanda Reckonwith (Ruby Lynn Reyner, who's also the director and writer of this tale) would certainly agree as a former Broadway star who's had her fair share of men and good times. She comes to St. Vickies with a few aliments, including a serious pain in her lady areas. With some dedicated medical attention, Dr. Shlong finds none other than Herve Villechaize of “Fantasy Island” fame. Even Amanda doesn't know how he got there but he's conflicted between his freedom and the comfort of Amanda's warm nether regions.

L-R: Mila Levine, Robin Brenner,Xan Aspero, Levi Wise. Behind: musician Mary E. Rodriguez

Ruby Lynn Reyner as Amanda Reckonwith

Amanda Reckonwith gives birth. L-R: Levi Wise, Ruby Lynn Reyner, Xan Aspero

Nurse Dynel (Robin Brenner) was absolutely awesome as she says the things you figure most nurses want to say in real life but know they can't. She is not a woman who is kind to the patients, especially Scabby (Richard Craven) the junkie who seems to have taken up de facto residence at the hospital and Amanda who she claims is only there to see Dr. Shlong for her own extracurricular purposes. Like in real life, it's Nurse Dynel who's really running the show as she informs Dr. Shlong that she'll have to inform his wife about his dalliances if he doesn't play ball.

Robin Brenner, Richard Craven

Levi Wise, Robin Brenner

There's also Jennifer Berkowitz (Joyce Miller), the dedicated social worker who decides to turn over a new leaf after meeting with Scabby (or “Skuh-bee” as she calls him) and Dr. Doomskya (Laura Pruden) who had the coolest costuming with IV tubes in her hair as pins. Don't dare call Dr. Doomskya “Mrs. Kevorkian” even if that's literally her function at the hospital. Nurse Dynel will also let you know that “die” and “crazy” are also forbidden terms at St. Vickies. There's also some additional craziness but let's leave a few surprises, shall we?

Richard Craven, Joyce Miller

Laura Pruden

The d├ęcor for this show was awesome. I loved the blood splattered on the wall & the IV in Dr. Doomskya's hair. The nurse narrator (Sara Cook) was great with exposition and seemed a great contrast to the commanding presence of Nurse Dynel. She seemed like the nurse you'd hope to get if you were at St. Vickies. You also must hear the songs in person, especially “Biggest Balls” and the title song “Singin' in the ER.”

Sara Cook. Behind: musician Mary E. Rodriguez

I went into this as someone who's spent some time in hospitals, more recently when my father was unconscious then unplugged from life support and to visit a friend undergoing treatment for gastrointestinal matters. They aren't the most fun places and I've heard great tales of the gallows humor permeating in the medical profession. Since humor is the best way to cope with tragedy in my book, this show was certainly intriguing to me. It actually went to an entirely new level of humor I didn't quite expect. My friend, who I'd learned that evening had worked in a hospital before, also got a kick out of this show. It definitely fits into that old school NYC sensibility so if you've been missing that, go see this one ASAP.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Jury Duty: Why People Hate Doing It & How We Can Fix It

Recently, I was called to jury duty. I ended up getting it postponed since I had things to do in the next 3 days. For those of you outside the US, the US has mandatory jury service for citizens and you generally get called for it at random. You only have to do it something like every 6 years but if you're called, you must go & nobody is exempt from it.

It seems a very desirable county in my city has a dark side: if you're called to jury duty you're told to allot at least 3 days of your life to do it at the whopping rate of $40 a day for a full 8 hour day. This is lower than both the state and federal minimum wage. There also seems to be no concern for economic hardship if you are self-employed & missing higher paying assignments means you could be in danger of not being able to pay your rent, utility bills, car payments, other necessary bills that not paying will cause your life to suffer in a very negative way (like being homeless, not having electricity or Internet access, not having a car in a locale where there's no viable public transit which means you'll eventually lose your job because you can't get there or do it, especially with no Internet, no telephone to call anyone or be reached at, no food, etc.).

When I did jury duty in a different county, I only had to be there for one day. It was a lot of waiting around, they called me for a case, excused me then I got to go home. No, in this "desirable" county there's a ballot system where if you are rejected for one case, you have to give your ballot back and they may draw your number AGAIN with seemingly no end in sight. I opted for an adjournment since I had planned assignments and didn't care to lose $500+ in not doing those assignments. I figure with prior planning, I can just clear my schedule and let people know I'm free the day before if things don't take as long as the clerks involved with jury duty tell you they will. The clerk where I was said "If you can't commit the whole day to the next 3 days, you should leave right now and get a postponement." I opted for a time where I might get fewer assignments & hopefully will face less stress.

One big thing about jury duty is you'd better bring something to do. Ideally you'll want something not involving electricity or technology like books or writing material. I'd thought of doing writing while I was in jury duty as well as doing legal CLEs; hey, if you have time to kill you may as well do legal CLEs (which I have never found exciting or interesting; maybe it's because most of the programs I've done had nothing to do with entertainment law & few speakers have an engaging, passionate style that makes you stand up and take notice). From my own conversations with lawyers, many aren't enthused with the whole CLE thing and view it more as taking medicine than learning useful things about their particular practice area. Saving the outlines and materials is always a good thing so you have those resources for later if the subject matter comes up but most lawyers are so freaking busy they don't have time to watch and pay full attention to this stuff. The CLE provider probably also factors in here since some offer more interesting courses than others. One lawyer I've heard about bills himself as a "comedian of law" & that just builds up expectations of fun in my mind. I want to see if this guy lives up to the hype sometime. Another thing about CLE courses is that many are pricey. But it's a requirement and if you HAVE to be someplace anyway, that's making productive use of your time. I've also watched some courses while taking Amtrak to see my family (a train ride lasting at least 10 hours, usually longer when there are delays). This aspect you can plan for.

I guess if you're also inclined, you could use jury duty as a pickup scene & get to know hot prospective jurors who also want to leave & can think of better things they could be doing. Why not, right? That's better than harassing women on Facebook or LinkedIn under the guise of business networking. There were some hotties when I went; maybe there will be more next time & some will have the balls to approach me. I always like to see about prospective networking as well so if that can happen, what the hey? Another productive use of time.

But let's see: Why would you want me to be on your jury when my presence is NOT being compensated by my employer (as I'm self-employed) & I'm worrying about the loss of income from being there? What type of objectivity or any sense of fairness are you going to get from a juror who resents the state stealing their income by forcing them to work for below city, state and federal minimum wage? Attorneys used to be exempt from jury duty by virtue of being attorneys. This apparently is no longer the case yet attorneys make significantly more money, know how trials work and could easily sway non-attorneys on that jury to agree with them if they have some bias against the accused or the prosecution. I was hoping maybe me knowing a lot of attorneys in my city could get me kicked out since you can't be on the jury of a lawyer you know personally (the other side would assume you're going to side with your friend's client or if it's an enemy, your enemy will presume you're going to nail their client). Solo practitioners are being taken away from clients & not getting compensated by anybody else so why shouldn't they be exempt? Same for appearance attorneys like yours truly. Entire practices could crumble from such requirements. Isn't that screwing over other people who might have cases going to jury trials?

Honestly, though I think you'd get fewer people objecting if they were paid at least minimum wage for the city, state or country. If someone isn't being compensated by an employer, they would not have to worry they'd lose their home or ability to work due to jury service. Minimum wage at least would make people feel less resentful about serving & you wouldn't have people doing what Pauly Shore's character did in "Jury Duty" (see that movie if you haven't; I was so happy one of my Facebook friends actually knew that movie when I mentioned it since it's somewhat obscure and many people don't get my obscure references). Money for lunch would also be nice. Weirdly, I'm not even sure what's in the area of the courthouse where I have to serve. I know it for the county I served in before.

I've heard some great lines to use to get out of jury duty as well that I could consider but for now, these are my ideas for why people don't like doing it and how we could fix that.

Monday, September 2, 2019

A Basic Lesson in Entertainment Networking with a "Gorgeous" Entertainment Attorney (Or Really, Any Professional)

If you haven't faced this problem as a woman, consider yourself damn lucky or extremely ugly.

What problem am I speaking of? Business networking or attempting to meet people in your industry. This little problem is worse if you're A) society's definition of "smoking hot" and/or B) work in an industry known for its casual, laid back atmosphere such as entertainment.

The entertainment field is one of those places where you either fit in like a glove or you're a square peg in a round hole. One hazard of entertainment, as many of us are certainly aware, is being hit on. Typically this is men hitting on women, particularly attractive women. It's very common for actresses and models but it can also happen if you work in other jobs like as a producer, an assistant and even if you're an entertainment attorney. Women probably do it as well but that's a topic for the straight men and the lesbians to weigh in on; the straight rolls off me like a stench so women don't hit on me.

Now when you're an entertainment attorney & experience this, it's just completely fucked up. I mean, the word "lawyer" inspires shock and terror and respect among many an entertainment professional. They figure the lawyer is going to mess them up in some fashion or destroy their enemies in some epic manner to where they'll think they've been castrated, suffered a massive blow to the head, had an orgasm that blew their brain right out of their head, SOMETHING scary, epic, intense, life changing and usually terrible. Smart people don't fuck around with lawyers or people who have them. Many still tell me that lawyers are a figure that inspire respect, awe and the like among creatives though many distrust and dislike them by the nature of that job. I think many also feel lawyers are cold, don't understand the art/craft part of the industry and will walk right past some shivering, starving family on the street without a wit of concern for their welfare.

When you're an actress/model or work in some other job where being pretty is required, this is simply an occupational hazard. Most people who do those jobs encounter plenty of this in their real lives as well no matter what they wear, how neatly their hair is brushed, even if they've gotten enough sleep the night before. I've gone out in my worst and STILL gotten hit on by guys. I remember this even happening when I was a teenager though my mother was super strict and glared at guys who checked me out, I couldn't buy a date in high school (I've since learned my male peers were likely too intimated by my looks and my brain, a hazard I still live to this day) & it's almost never the guys I WANT approaching me.

But while you expect this generally if you're an actress or model, you don't expect this to come up in places like the classroom or on job searching sites like LinkedIn. You don't expect it in the context of business networking events or when you're responding to friend requests from people who work in the same industry as you or when you're at work in your career.

Ever hear of the saying "Don't shit where you eat?" This means, don't have beyond platonic relationships with people who work in your industry. Do you want to be known as the actress who only got a role in a film because you were fucking the director? Do you want to be the model who's only walking in the show because you slept with the photographer or producer? How about the attorney who only got the client because you were dating him?

The mere appearance of having gotten something because of a personal relationship is bad enough. The inevitable gossip and breakup aftermath are even worse.

So, for the men here's why you DON'T hit on women in a business context or if you work in the same industry as her:

1. Nobody of worth wants to be known as a casting couch ho. People don't think kindly of casting couch hoes. They are a scourge on the industry, diminish those with actual talent & prevent anyone from honestly getting ahead since everyone receives the message "you won't get anywhere here no matter how good you are at your job if you don't fuck me." I & others of like mind see this and think "what's the fucking point of dealing with you since you're an obstruction to my progress?"

2. Have you been asleep for the Harvey Weinstein scandal? Or other sexual harassment scandals? If some woman isn't interested or loses interest, she can easily accuse you of trying to use your industry power to fuck with her career or imply that you said a breakup or rejection would result in her not getting roles or even getting blacklisted.

3. Do you like having your sex life and proclivities being public knowledge & a topic of gossip? I don't. Most women tend to get bashed in those sessions and viewed as whores. It doesn't lead to women being respected or valued for their brain cells or their abilities outside of a sexual context.

4. Do you stay friends with all your exes? Or are all of your exes dead to you, like mine are? I don't want to see, hear about or know my exes. I prefer to think they're dead or in some other universe far away from me. Dating in your industry means if you break up, you'll probably have to see that person again or deal with them in a business context.

Can you be professional in that instance? Most people can't. I would rather not put myself in that situation in the first place. I don't care to get fucked over by an angry ex or see someone who refuses to leave me alone to live my life without them.

5. In the case of an attorney, you're implying that woman has to sleep with clients to get their business since she's otherwise too inept to get or keep clients with her personality or her brain or her legal skills. In other words, you're calling her stupid & incompetent. Attorneys REALLY don't like being called stupid or treated as though they are stupid.

Perhaps you're also insulting actresses and models here by implying that they're not good enough on their own merits to get ahead and have to fuck you to get work. Some may do it but I think anyone of worth or talent would refuse to play that game.

Here's another free piece of advice: stop bitching at women who call you out when you've sent a flirtatious message just like every other cretin who's not approached them in a professional manner.

I've had a few guys get pissy at me when I told them straight up that if they have a romantic intention towards me, I'm not interested or that they can go to my Facebook fan page if they want to just see the pretty pictures. Just this evening, I had one send me a friend request who I'd wondered if he also worked in the industry being Facebook friends with numerous friends I know who work in the business.

His first message to me is telling me how he thinks my pics are "cute, sassy & yes sexy!" then inviting me to check out his profile, saying we might have things in common & inviting me to "chat sometime."

Seeing as this is someone I see no information on and know nothing about, I state that if he's only sent me this friend request to proposition me romantically that doesn't work for me and I'd wanted to know if he worked in my industry as I see all our mutual contacts are from that field. I also mention that I've got a fan page specifically for people just seeking pretty pics instead of reading my views on various issues (I don't fit inside a neat little box and lots of people get pissy at things I have to say on topics they may not agree with me on).

I figure I'll get a normal, sane response giving me answers and determining if this is some leftist lunatic who's going to try censoring me on my own page (since I believe in taking preemptive measures to avoid hassles whenever you can). Instead I get a snarky response like I'm supposed to know who he is (I don't & still don't; this is not some guy with a household name and even if he were, that wouldn't impress me since I'm not some ho who drops her drawers without talking to a guy and seeing if I at least like his personality).

I respond stating the role of an entertainment attorney isn't to kiss your ass, suck your dick or stroke your ego & the lunacy of expecting not only an entertainment attorney but a natural redhead to do that. I concluded with "How about NOT insulting my intelligence? Thanks."

When a guy gets defensive and snarky in response to a message like the one I wrote, I conclude he's nothing but a cretin with no pure intention in speaking to me. I don't think "Oh, I'm such an awful person" since I'm polite & professional while saying IF your intention is romantic, I'm not interested. Plenty of people who did have romantic intentions didn't act like toddlers when I wrote such a message and replied in a respectful manner. Plenty of guys respect my right to have preferences that don't include them as well as my right not to want to be seen as some casting couch ho.

Guys, if you think some woman is attractive don't make that your lead in conversation. Attractive women in particular will be on guard for that and they'll think you're just another cretin wasting their time. We have online dating apps and Instagram for romantic overtures so go there if you want to do that. Just remember that if you work in the same field and could be in a supervisory or decision making role over someone or could be their client, you're probably not getting considered & will offend the person in question.

You can ask NICELY, PROFESSIONALLY and POLITELY in the context of Instagram or an online dating app since people expect that to be your purpose on those sites & generally don't do business networking there but you need to actually talk to that woman as a human being with functioning brain cells and see if you like her conversation before you spring that on her. A lawyer asking me out on one of those sites is different from one asking me out during a work assignment or on LinkedIn. One lawyer simply handed me his business card with his number written down on it, which I thought was a classy & acceptable way of making that intent known without putting me on the spot at work (he also wasn't my adversary on a case).

I never experienced this shit in my academic career as a student in college or law school & I probably would have felt even less flattered in those situations. Clearly some guys who work in entertainment will never make competent law professors. My father would have killed some professors who tried that, I'm quite certain.

I feel like we should not have to have to vocalize this lesson. Why isn't the #metoo movement addressing it but instead demonizing ALL men & making them not want to mentor or hire women? I don't think all men are evil and I'm no delicate flower but some seem not to think about the perspective of the woman reading this stuff or what her perception of the author is. Are they fucking stupid? Over sexed? Suffering from delusions of hotness? What's the deal?

And for fucks sake, if you're going to approach a woman at least live in the same fucking STATE!!! If you don't live in the same geographic area as me or regularly come to my region (at least weekly), then you are wasting my time. I already have a long distance sort of boyfriend & he's probably much better looking than you are, not to mention he was there in the hard times so I know he can be trusted while I don't know shit about you.

I also don't waste my time on men who make my ex-husband look like Brad Pitt in terms of looks or money so know your audience before you send such messages!! Models are not going out with dudes who don't even rank on the average scale in looks unless they've got tons of money they'll be spending on them. If you hate that reality, I suggest you go fix yourself in looks or in job prospects or attitude. Don't come bitching to me or anyone outside of a qualified therapist about your unrealistic expectations. You're not entitled to anyone, period. Women have free will & the right to make their own decisions on such matters; if you have a problem with that, move to a foreign country where women are second class citizens and go date women who live there. Women in the US aren't putting up with that shit.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Hello, Time Wasting Prick

I think this is how I'm going to start messages guys send me on any kind of platform or how I greet guys who've made it clear they've got interest in me since it seems to be such a fragile thing. Double for guys who I wouldn't normally consider who've made that effort to approach me. There's a reason for this:

Last week, I get a message from a guy on Instagram. I don't do dating apps these days and don't really spend time trying to do the guy pursuit since I'm out of that phase, would rather focus on my career stuff and really need to be getting back to writing about my experiences and using those to create art. Also, like many people, I find dating way too stressful with too much time wasting and game playing. I've been through a divorce, lost a parent and lived as a transient. You don't treat someone who's lived that stuff like they're some naive idiot who's lived nothing.

I thought maybe this was some guy I had a date with eons back who faded away and then showed up again. That happens to me a lot, from guys I met in Phase 1 to guys I met later on when I still bothered with dating apps. Some have managed to linger around an obscene amount of time. They're not actual exes since we never really dated.

I only have one guy I truly chose exclusivity with since my ex-husband (Mr. Big Stuff) and he's not in NYC at the moment; if he did something awful, he'd actually become an ex since that connection is far more meaningful to me & if he lived here again, I'd be fine with resuming our old relationship. It's unfinished business.

This guy, however, was someone I met in a work context. He lauds how smart I am and how he likes my writing style. Okay...

So he asks me about getting coffee and talking. I'm like "okay, but I insist on exchanging cell numbers since I've had dates fall apart because I couldn't get to the messaging platform from lack of Internet connection." We do this, he asks me complex questions that I answer with proper clarity & length. He makes a whole big thing about wanting to hang out with me & so forth. We make plans for Monday.

Monday afternoon comes & I get a text from him saying he's going to see about working things out with his ex, who's just contacted him. He tells me "I want to be friends" and "thanks for understanding" without a word from me. Oh, and ditches me on these plans after I've made arrangements to get my laundry picked up the next evening so I'd be free that night. I told him of this and said beforehand that if he bailed, I'd be irate (you would be too if you were running out of clean undies).

I promptly get my pickup changed for that evening, inform him of the fact that I'm from the "exes are dead to me" school, tell him precisely what my ex-husband did and why it's more likely I'd get a sex change than ever be friends with that jerk and that my friends take me out, don't ditch me, including one who has a jealous girlfriend & works in the same field we do and would never let their girlfriends dictate who they talk to or spend time with. I'm envisioning a conversation and see no reason this guy can't do that if he's indeed as interested as he claims to be. I also say "see why my sort of boyfriend (Mr. Big Stuff) is up here and everyone else is down there?" after telling him just why that guy became my first exclusive boyfriend by choice and how he made amends to me after doing me wrong, me calling him out, blocking him and saying "fuck you." Most men wouldn't bother talking to that woman again or apologizing to her (especially someone you know never apologizes for anything) so I felt like he must actually care about me if he went to all that trouble & didn't get scared after I told him off.

24 hours later as jerk from Instagram hasn't responded to my points, I leave a voicemail telling him to do me a favor and pretend he doesn't know me if he sees me in a work context then block him from all sources. I notice that he unfollowed me on Instagram before I made this call and figured I'd block him.

That friend with the jealous girlfriend told me he thinks this guy actually has a girlfriend and made shit up because he got caught or got remorse.

This comes after a guy I'd been talking to for ages flakes on me for a basic lunch plan while we're both in the same area. I blocked him from everything as well since this was strike two and though he may not have malice, he doesn't have my best interests at heart and I feel that's a boundary I need to set or he'll never learn. People learn how to treat you based on the boundaries you set. If you just complain and take no action, people learn that your words are meaningless.

Go nuclear or go home, right?

So I'm thinking to myself "How do I prevent this shit in the future, aside from telling guys I hate liars (as I did specifically tell this one)?" Telling any guy who might be remotely suitable that I'll assume he's a time wasting prick until he proves otherwise could be effective. The kind of guy I'd consider would find my greeting a challenge or hysterical. I don't like guys with no sense of humor and I hate guys who are bigger wimps than me. Beta males are so not my interest.

This guy also made the mistake of telling me how I felt and what he was in my life. Nope!!! You don't tell ME who you are to me or how I feel. Ever. I told him this as well and that only I get to decide if you're my friend and how I feel about something.

I was not understanding since A) I don't do being ditched, B) I don't do bullshit platitudes like "we'll be friends" with no opportunity to discuss it (contrary to any "friend" behavior) and C) I'm not some ordinary woman who's dumb as a post. You'll respect my intelligence and be straight with me. If you're just wasting my time, I'll have more respect for you if you just admit it.

If you're not interested, you're better off just telling me since I might still think you're a loser but I won't think you're also a disrespectful asshole (or "a rat" or "a super rat" if you wish to use Holy Golightly speak if you've seen "Breakfast at Tiffany's"; I just watched that movie again today). At one time, my life was a cross between "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and "Midnight Cowboy". If you're a straight guy, I can forgive you not seeing "Breakfast at Tiffany's" but you'd better be seeing "Midnight Cowboy" if you haven't already; it's a classic though it's extremely depressing.

Women who've been through the things I have deserve respect for our intelligence & not a furthering of our cynicism and trust issues. You want to bitch about why some woman doesn't instantly trust you or take your word on things? Maybe you should look at your own behavior and ask yourself how you'd like it if someone did that to YOU. What if I insulted your intelligence and lied to you about wanting to be your friend? I don't give out platitudes and make claims I have no intention of living up to. When you're all talk & no action, I can't trust you; if you prove that your talk actually means something, then I'll listen to you but when you haven't proven it?!?!? Please!!

I'm the woman who told particular dudes she was using them for sex during Phase 1 when she was indeed doing that. It didn't feel right to me to not say something about that. The odd thing was men would usually be okay with it, even saying "can we do it again?" It was weird since I'd be pissed at some guy doing that to me. My goals and focus are different these days. I never led anybody on and if someone didn't feel content just being my friend, I didn't give them false hope. This wasn't every guy since there are some I would have gone out with in my normal life.

Another major issue that comes up with respect to me (and those of you who aren't super attractive + super smart should take note): I "intimidate" guys because of being a model AND having 2 law licenses among the other things I've done or plan to do in life. You can get rejected for being "too good" since lots of guys are insecure. If you're doing something "great" or "interesting" in life, you very well can end up being alone since no guy has the balls to step to you or stick with you. Mr. Big Stuff might be the only guy I've dealt with who didn't try making me feel like shit for having things or resent me for it; he's got no reason to feel threatened by me or like he's some inferior around me.

Lots of guys who also shouldn't feel that way apparently haven't owned themselves; the guy I blocked who has issues is a former model & I mean did this for professional pay. He told me he was intimidated around me & I'm like "You're intimidated by little old me?! I was considered ugly in high school & couldn't buy a date; I was this quiet smart kid. A guy chose to leave me." Granted, my ex-husband was not a real prize in the end but that's neither here nor there. I couldn't believe it. He flakes on me for lunch claiming he's not up to "a date." Meanwhile, I'm viewing this as a casual outing with a friend. I don't wear lawyer clothes for dates.

This guy also hadn't proven himself worthwhile for my consideration in that regard based on his flakiness & not having his life shit together. I felt maybe he could be my friend and might eventually get that shit worked out so I could reconsider but ditching me is not what a friend does, especially on a hot day where I put paper towels in my clothes to do my court assignments and handle my tasks for the day.

You can also fall into a weird little space where you're considered great at all this stuff but you're not into guys who think they can buy you and treat you like a piece of property so you're on your own to make your way in life with nobody unless you settle & run into the same "you're intimidating" problem. I don't do open relationships and I actually rejected a guy who tried offering me that proposition. I wasn't flattered, I was insulted; I wondered if this guy had mistaken me for a prostitute. Go ahead and do you but don't expect me to be content with being inferior or sharing with other bitches (yeah, I'm quite straight in case you can't tell). Don't expect me to hang around for it either.

Somebody like me would be some millionaire playboy's nightmare since I can't be bought and won't do disrespect. It feels like some days "God forbid you have self-respect or independent thoughts in your head. God forbid you don't ugly yourself up or dim your light for someone else. God forbid you know your value & own it." This is the message I get from modern dating & guys who don't show me otherwise.

I feel like we should cut out the pretenses and nonsense. Make things as simple as possible. I'm not going to beg you for your approval & I'm not approaching you in real life. If you're the one approaching me, I certainly shouldn't have to degrade myself or beg you for your approval. I just don't live or die based on such things. To my mind, if I survived life without the guy I loved for years I certainly won't be devastated by some Johnny Come Lately rejecting me for not being a doormat. Why do some of these guys think I will be? That's insulting my intelligence & my emotional strength. This is where my being divorced comes in. It should be code for "been there, done that, don't treat me like some clueless nymph since I'll see right through your bullshit."

Monday, July 22, 2019

The Surreal Adventures of The Angry Redheaded Lawyer: Consinee Group NY Gala & Fashion Show "Stitched in Time"

Through being on a random e-mail list I have no clue how I got onto (the China-US Women's Foundation; my only connection to China has been through Mr. Big Stuff, my sort of boyfriend who actually turned down an opportunity to become a male model, being there--he's mentioned in earlier posts in this blog) then sending an RSVP for an event that struck my interest, I ended up getting another opportunity to review a fashion show. I literally sent my RSVP for a Monday and this event was on a Wednesday. Shortly thereafter, I was given an opportunity to write this review.

So off I went to Cipriani at the Wall Street location.

For those of you who've never been to Cipirani, I have to insist you go to at least one event there if you want to call yourself upscale or cultured. From the outside, Cipriani Wall Street looks like a regular ordinary building on Wall Street. When you walk inside, it's a very different experience. I would describe going in as a magical experience. You are literally transformed into a space with high columns, architecture and far from the venues I've set foot in for previous fashion shows either as a guest or a model.

Having been to Cipriani for one other event in my life (as the guest of another attorney with political office and presidency in a local organization), I was prepared for the grandness of this space. Dress appropriately if you're going to be here; this isn't a jeans and sneakers style place.

As this was a fashion show/gala event, I saw people wearing all kinds of great fashionable outfits and made sure to live up to that myself while also staying comfortable for hot weather and the impending rain storm predicted for later in the evening. I wore a dress I've owned since the 90s that I recently got altered to fit me properly (I may be one of the only people who got older and is now thinner than she was in high school; my alternations projects involve getting clothes taken in so they fit me properly). It was also fingertip length and a bright, shiny red while I did my hair in a side ponytail to manage icky sweat effects from hair on my shoulders/back. Unlike many places in NYC, Cipriani has air conditioning. I actually got cold at times and needed to grab my coverup from my purse!! The cocktail period before the show had some good food, including the type of black caviar that I like as part of an appetizer.

Needless to say if you're going to do a fashion show & it's in your budget, book Cipriani. This is even more true if you want good food and for your guests to have a first class experience.

The stage setup for the show definitely built anticipation. It was a series of steps coming from nearly the top of the ceiling to the floor. I wondered if the models were going to be walking from the very top of this step creation and thought "that's daring."

When I saw the models walk out, I noticed they definitely looked like the runway types you typically see though I was pleased to see a woman who appears to be a real redhead among the ranks. If you've been to a lot of fashion shows, you know that real redheads on the runway are few and far between. I've usually been the only redhead in shows I did; you definitely stand out and it's not a look I think is appreciated or regarded all that much based on shows I've seen and castings I participated in. In fact, I find calls of "promoting diversity" hollow & contradictory when no one who looks like me is represented while everybody else IS represented (and they were though I had to go with the best pictures & didn't get the best shots of every single model I saw). Doesn't she look great?

Consinee Group is a company based in China. They specialize in cashmere creations and have a deep commitment to being green in their manufacturing process and in the creation of their material. They also have an international presence, engage in philanthropic efforts to help the herders who provide the animals who create the material to make the cashmere along with the children of those herders and are dedicated to environmental causes. In fact, they even have a corporate song!!

Designed by Steven Oo, these pics represent only some of the fashions featured in this show. The fashions covered a variety of colors, designs and looks. None of the models stopped to pose during the walk and I have no idea if they did photographs with the photographers before or after the show but I captured these while sitting in the press section. I hope they did get some good pictures, as models seek these out for their portfolios and I got nothing but a professional vibe when I saw this show. I only noticed one gap during the walk and wasn't sure if this was a pause for a second segment or if this was the end of the show; the models were very good about maintaining proper distance and not bunching up on each other. Despite having to traverse some stairs for this walk (none at the very tippy top of the stage but some that were more standard than you'd think of for an average stage), no one fell or looked like they were going to trip. Managing that, especially in heels, is much harder than it looks.

The show's theme was "Stitched in Time." If the theme is meant to indicate that the fashions shown are timeless, then the theme was extremely descriptive since I would consider that a true statement. I would further describe what I saw as unique twists on preppy and business attire (two areas you wouldn't typically think of as being known for having a stylish, modern aesthetic) and looks that were both sexy and tasteful.

As you'll see, there's a look here for everyone and this doesn't even cover the full spectrum of looks represented in this show. Much of the attire consisted of items you could absolutely wear on the street and look great in without looking completely out of place or having it be too impractical to wear in real life. Would you ever associate the white outfit above with the word "cashmere"? I also noticed some shoe changes during the show, which I imagine was not an easy feat to pull off but the models made it happen.

Now I'd probably never get away with wearing it to court but I'm very partial to the striped suit above & feel if I had a suit like that I would definitely look like a kick ass entertainment attorney. It reflects a sense of style (which you almost never see in business attire among female attorneys; there's a stereotype that we are "unstylish").

This dress was my absolute favorite garment of the show. I'm glad I got a good shot of it. Since we know redheads rock green and I rock forest green without a doubt, you can kind of see why I'd consider this outfit a top pick for myself. I actually went to the website to see if they sell the garments directly.

The final walk did not consist of the models clapping but this was the most professional and put together fashion show I've seen. If there was backstage craziness and last minute issues (which anyone in fashion knows are inevitable no matter what type of fashion show you're doing), no one brought it to the stage or made it the audience's problem.

After the show was a dinner that was quite filling and led to me possibly making a new friendship with a fellow blogger who's also reviewing this show for her blog, Tablespoons & Teaspoons (I tried to find a link but no such luck). I also met a young woman reviewing this show for Honeysuckle magazine. She told me that was going to be her first review and I tried to provide my own insight as someone who'd done reviews and modeling before.

The show director Christina Neault, executive producers Claire Lin & Yuhan Liu, project managers Channie Chang (also Consinee's Director of Sales & Marketing), Mary Xu, Sherry Xue and the Consinee Group Chairman + CEO Boris Xue (among the many individuals involved in this event) showcased a company representing the best of China & should be very proud of their work. Mr. Xue said this was the second show Consinee has done in NYC at Cipriani and a third show is already being planned for July 2020.

I also received a gift bag which included a seamless cashmere garment from Consinee. Mine was a mock turtleneck and trying it on, it might be the most comfortable and warm top I've ever worn that could also be worn if I want to look sexy without freezing too death. I can't wait to try it out when fall/winter hit.

Based on this actual experience with the brand, I would love to see if they have a store with garments or could make some of the looks I saw in the show (though budget and closet space might limit me somewhat, they may not be issues for some of you).

Here's to the next fashion show from Consinee in 2020.

Friday, April 19, 2019

5 Years Later: What Have We Learned?

Lately, I've been a somewhat reflective mood. March 1st was literally 5 years to the day when life as I knew it in NYC changed permanently. What shall we call it? The day my ex-husband decided 100% I had no human worth or the day I fled for my mental sanity? Well, whatever you call it a lot of things have changed & I keep marveling at how things have turned around.

For one thing, I've figured out exactly how to structure my entertainment career. I had exclusive representation then realized it wasn't for me. Maybe it was just the manager I had but I felt like there was too much controlling nonsense going on and I'm not the type who needs Superman to swoop in and save her. A manager contact I actually know said I likely don't need a manager, just a good agent. It felt like where every attorney clamors to get the big law firm job, you get the big law firm job then you do it & realize it's not what you had in mind. In my case, I felt like I was being repressed and having my sense of self-sufficiency taken away. I felt like I was being forced into a mold that didn't fit who I am & I don't want to do a career based around what I'm not. I want a representative who accepts and likes who I am. Somebody who's not going to tell me to hide my film company experience or my law licenses or my producing abilities or get attitude because I'm not some idiot. Someone who's not going to try horning in on things I did by myself or expecting me to placate the insecure assholes who want me to dim my light so they feel better about themselves. I realized I'd rather have my own film production company and create my own content but you need money to do that properly. You'll make far more money doing legal work than you will waiting tables. Recent conversations with sorority sisters who also work in decision making parts of larger companies in the business also made me feel better about this choice since they agreed that I shouldn't have to hide my legal background or my film company experience on my own website and personal social media pages. I'm even getting that creative spark back to start doing writing again & have ideas on what I see going on that nobody is addressing or speaking my voice on. A suggestion to do standup is also something I'm giving real thought to and wondering if I can get receipts if I'm charged for open mic so I can deduct those as business expenses.

I've also been able to afford things I wanted to get and been able to feel more whole again. Getting clothes that were too big for me altered (still working on that). Got renter's insurance, set up an IRA again, got savings accounts, did LASIK and my cosmetic dental work and even got DVDs I didn't get in the big DVD split. Life feels less like deprivation to me now. I even got a new official legal bag and a baseball style jacket and a short sleeved hoodie (things I'd wanted for years & couldn't find). Since my legal hustle has improved and I've made better entertainment contacts, things feel like they're looking up. I've been going to yoga when I can, have a kitty cat around who likes me (not quite like having my own but she is a lot like one of my old kitties in her own way; I'm probably too busy to keep one at this point anyway), have had friends and FWBs who take me out on occasion, fixed problems in my room and living situation I thought would never happen, etc. There's always going to be room for improvement but it feels like many of the problems I've had to deal with aren't impossible to overcome. I even have far better looking in terms of romantic prospects though I'm holding out for Mr. Big Stuff at this point since nobody's come close to surpassing him and I don't think he'd have bothered apologizing to me before if he didn't care at all. He seems a lot like Captain Horndog in the sense that no matter what I do or how hard I push him away, he's just not going to let me push him out of the ring that is my life. I don't feel like a lot of people have that kind of spirit and temerity to deal with the redhead even if she's told you to fuck off, leave her alone, that sort of thing. Part of me feels like maybe he won't ambush me with saying he's going to take up with some other bitch; I know I couldn't do the "let's be friends" thing since I'd really feel resentful of not being given a true shot and like I meant absolutely nothing,

I've been contrasting the new normal with how things were 5 years ago. I still remember it but it's very surreal to me now. I had no means to be independent, I was living in the Scarface mansion, this might have been when I met this really cute guy at an event and he was wowed by me being able to drive a pickup truck after I'd done that out of mere necessity (getting the cat who lived there his cat food since no one else was around to get it and there was no other vehicle I could use for that purpose), I was full on in Phase One of the divorce & had no idea if I was going to be around after October 13th of that year. Months were endless for me, I felt like a ghost and I was fighting to keep things that were just slipping away and vanishing. It also felt like I'd just woken up from a coma when I went to the Scarface mansion & everything had changed.

The perfect symbol of my life is the Cadbury Chocolate Creme Egg.

When my whole "Sex & the City" lifestyle first started, I was eating tons of those. I was staying in the East Village and saw them in the nearby CVS on sale. It was "Chocolate!!! Must get!" Those were something I was able to get and having them helped my emotional state a lot. It's literally super chocolate, a must for the chocolate fiend. Anytime I saw them on the cheap, I bought at least 3 of them. They also got me through 2015 when I was dealing with being on public assistance. I hadn't really had them so much before that whole situation happened.

This year, I go to find those and can't find them to save my life. I look online and no such luck. I can't even figure out what happened. Did they get discontinued? Were they recalled? Why can't you find them? Anything else just pales by comparison. It's made me annoyed but it's also felt like the end of an era, the era of me feeling cheated and wronged from what happened to me. Sometime last year it just felt irrelevant but now since I've been able to do for myself more and get things I've needed for ages but hadn't been able to do in years past, it feels like the scales have balanced out and I don't have to feel cheated and deprived anymore. I also feel like I've survived the worst and anything else that comes my way is far easier to deal with. How can you possibly tell someone who's survived the things I have that she needs to be concerned about what the rest of the world thinks of her or that she's got to cater to someone else's self-esteem problems? On what universe would that ever make sense? I also keep hearing and reading about situations where people followed their hearts, charted their own paths and it led to success. I'm just wondering when the heck I'm getting MY due on such things. As I said, there's still room for improvement though things are far better than they were 5 years ago.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Charlotte York, Get the Heck Out of NYC....

Captain Obvious?? Maybe. But if you have ANY shred of Charlotte York in you, you have no business living in Manhattan or dating there if you want to find a Prince Charming sort of guy. Let's establish a few things first:

You may be asking "Who's Charlotte York?" For those of you not old enough to remember the show or who never saw it because you're a straight guy, Charlotte York is a character from the HBO show "Sex & the City" of the late 90s/early 00s. Charlotte was the "Sex & the City" posse member who was the least slutty. Actually, Charlotte wasn't really slutty at all. She was this idealist with high hopes of meeting the man of her dreams and getting married. Charlotte had some idealist notions and could easily have been a Southern belle if she'd grown up in the South + had even a Southern inflection. Of the 4 stars, Charlotte was the most traditional. Charlotte was the woman who found herself in situations the other characters were less phased by and really felt "ick" about them but managed not to be a 24/7 judgmental prick. I like to think she was the romantic one. Most women know a Charlotte York or have some Charlotte York in them; it's part of our culture and the "happily ever after" of fairy tale romance.

Now why do I say "don't bother dating in NYC if you've got any Charlotte York in you"? Here goes:

1. Most of us want to commit to a guy with ambition and a career path. Those guys are either busy toiling in offices, traveling all over the place or are complete douchebags who view women as nothing more than walking sex robots (see finance bros for one such archetype).

2. If those guys are in town & meeting our looks standards, they are usually married/in a relationship or so tired from working to afford housing/food/other stuff in NYC that costs far more than elsewhere that they aren't in the mood if they actually get any quality of life hours. One friend familiar with this had to explain "coke dick" to me, a drug some people take to stay awake for those long hours of work.

3. NYC is not a place for those who aren't ambitious. Problem is, if you're not a retired person or don't want to date guys old enough to be your father then you are either stuck with dudes who are never around or unemployed bums who are always around. Or you get the resentful guys who aren't doing as well as you on career & will eventually take it out on you if you get successful or have success in some fashion.

I'm here not even able to find a dedicated FWB meeting my standards of living nearby, actually being in town at least 8 months out of the year, having or finding the time to meet me at least once a week, being my equal on the looks & intelligence scales and treating me as a lady instead of some sex robot. Since the painfulness of my divorce, I've gone more to my old self.

My old self was not a prude but it wasn't completely devoid of standards either. It's interesting I met Mr. Big Stuff when I was in Phase 1 of the divorce; if he'd met me as my normal self, not only would I have thought he didn't legitimately like me if he'd approached me but I might have been too conservative for him. I'm not in the best mood with him right now since he asked me about doing something that while it was reasonable terms, was something this "nice girl" just can't get behind and it made her wonder how he's seeing her. I wouldn't care to have some guy view me as a prostitute he has his way with then throws away like garbage. Even a self-confessed wannabe Charlie Sheen like Captain Horndog (at least if Charlie Sheen was sober) didn't throw me away like garbage, maybe because I made him promise not to have anything of that nature happening affect our longtime friendship & he might actually be scared of me (he's told me he was before). The scariest was hearing guys I met in Phase 1 of my divorce tell me they never thought I was a slut or easy even though I was trying very hard to wash away the memory of my ex-husband.

As for my ex-husband, I didn't meet him while living in NYC. I met him when I was living in CT & he was living in Long Island. We married when I was living in CT and he moved into my apartment, where we lived together for a time then moved to NYC together (Queens, to be precise). He was not a fan of Manhattan & said he wanted to live in Queens where his "people" were. If he's dating to this day, I'm certain he's not dating some trust funder in Manhattan; I'd question that woman's sanity & standards.

The upside of dating post-divorce is that I have gotten to be involved with much hotter guys than I was the first time I was single. Lately when I went places and noticed some hot guy, that hot guy ended up talking to me. I met such a guy at this speed dating event on my birthday proper after I'd turned in my paper for matches (he'd not talked to me during the event) but he approached me after the event. Having the Bipolar Fraud from a couple years ago approach me was also a great ego boost; my psyche is being healed with guys I consider cute approaching me. It's brought them down to earth & given me more confidence to own my looks, which is a very good thing in my opinion since we should all own who we are vs. being shamed into dulling our light for others.

The problem is none of the hotties with good jobs seem to be available physically or emotionally in the long term. This would be unacceptable to the Charlotte Yorks of the world. I'm thinking it's more highlighted in a big city but it's like "You can't even get a dedicated FWB. What the HELL is this?!?!?" Maybe if somebody convinced me I wasn't just going to be dumped again or lied to once again, I could consider marriage after a lot of trust being established and built but I'm just not there with anybody at this point. I feel like that's never going to happen and I'm done with being with someone just because I'm flattered they paid attention to me or wanted ANY attention vs. the right kind of attention.

I'm not sure any sane, straight men fitting my level of looks or intelligence have any Charlotte York in them. I've seen they're not all wannabe Charlie Sheen but I can't deal with wimps either. The only guy I've met who might have that lives further into New Jersey and is super busy (but not too busy as he's one of my great fans & champions).

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 balances social commentary with great musical numbers and the humor of Zipgun/Zippy (who maintains her personality throughout).

Overall, a wonderful show and my +1 very much approved. He actually kept asking me when I was going to write this review & said "it was great."

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