Monday, May 27, 2024

The Surreal Adventures of The Angry Redheaded Lawyer: "Issue #9" by Briana Bartenieff at Theater for the New City

This show takes us smack into the 90s. Before the show even started, I heard Britney Spears’s “Oops, I Did it Again.” My sister would have loved this show’s soundtrack. In fact as I’m writing this review, the song “Supermodel” by Jill Sobule comes to mind (literally playing it as I type this). If you’re into 90s nostalgia and remembering your teen years, this show could well be your vehicle.

But...underneath the gloss and pop of the era is a very dark and dirty tale. I suppose these days that would sum up much of the 90s if various documentaries and behind the scenes tales are any indication. If you dealt with body shaming and weight issues as a teen in those days, you may find a kindred spirit in Lexi (Ada Victoria) a young girl who moves with her mother Natalie (Sandy Melissa Garcia) to a small NY town called Germantown. The year is 1995, THE era of the teen magazine.
Sandy Melissa Garcia and Ada Victoria. Photo by Jonathan Slaff

Lexi comes to town at 12 years old, presumably someone a little miserable having just lost her father and with money being tight at home. We learn that Natalie is working in her friend Sandy’s (Sarah Boess) gas station. Sandy’s younger sister Candy (Grace Bradley) is dealing with her own demons but more on that later.

Not long after getting to Germantown, Lexi meets Taylor (Amy Herzberg) and Ashley (Audrey Latt) who are obsessed with fashion, teen magazines and everything that flows from them. They are also obsessed with getting the perfect weight by starvation and embody the phrase “frenemies.” Lexi soon trades in her baggy Nirvana T-shirt for a yellow dress straight out of the fashion pages. Her birthday becomes an exercise in misery since she can’t even have a bite of her birthday cupcake though she really wants to. She doesn’t feel she can talk to her mother about her conflicts and Lexi later takes her own life, understandably devastating Natalie.
Audrey Latt, Ada Victoria and Amy Herzberg. Photo by Jonathan Slaff

Audrey Latt, Ada Victoria and Amy Herzberg. Photo by Jonathan Slaff

Sandy Melissa Garcia and Ada Victoria. Photo by Jonathan Slaff

We learn that Natalie went through her own body image struggles and downplays that in her daughter since she apparently got over that later on. Presumably she sees it as a teenage phase Lexi will eventually grow out of and overcome just fine.

After Lexi’s death, Natalie gets angry at the fashion mob and one frenemie’s attacks on suicide in the midst of Natalie’s grief definitely don’t help.
Sandy Melissa Garcia, Sarah Boess. Photo by Jonathan Slaff

You wonder exactly what revenge Natalie is going to enact. Is she going to confront the magazine publishers? Confront the fashion designers directly? Lash out at the media? No, not quite.
Sandy Melissa Garcia. Photo by Jonathan Slaff

Natalie takes more local action but it does lead to the death of that disrespectful frenemy. It also leads to the unintentional passing of Candy, a young woman facing a battle with drugs that turns very nasty as the years progress. The show ends with Natalie serving a jail sentence with Stage 4 brain cancer.
Grace Bradley. Photo by Jonathan Slaff

Sandy Melissa Garcia. Photo by Jonathan Slaff

The set design and costuming are great, the musical numbers and dancing are very much on point and I like that a larger lady was in this cast and killing it in the dance sequences. More people should see that sort of representation on the stage, especially in dance where weight pressures are a very real thing.
Ada Victoria, Audrey Latt. Photo by Jonathan Slaff

The presentation of death and how that was crafted in the story was respectfully done and not overly depressing though make no mistake, this show was quite dark.
Audrey Latt, Ada Victoria and Amy Herzberg. Photo by Jonathan Slaff

The show poses some interesting and provocative questions about the influence of teen magazines and their legacy (as presumably that era is dead or simply changed into quests for Instagram or TikTok fame). For one thing, which came first? Mass societal pressure to be thin or body image issues? Would people still have those issues if the media template changed? I suppose we’ll find the answer to that second question in a few years when today’s teenagers and those who lived in the era of Lizzo and body positivity are older.
Amy Herzberg and Audrey Latt. Photo by Jonathan Slaff

I actually recognized a few of those Kamikaze covers as issues I had since I was working in those days and had my own spending money. One thing I bought was magazine subscriptions to Seventeen and YM.

In 8th grade, the resident horndog in my class would offer me money to get a read of my magazines when I brought them to school to read during break times and lunch. He probably liked looking at the pretty girls. I was there for the fashion, the essays and the column on embarrassing stories.

No body shaming or weight issues with me; people thought I was TOO skinny and if I hadn’t been a quiet, smart, “nice girl” with bright red hair who came from zero and couldn’t tan to save her life, I probably would have been a popular girl. Or maybe the boys were just too intimated by me since I was laser focused on getting out of NC but I definitely got hate from a lot of girls and couldn’t get interest from the guys I crushed on. Think of me as someone with the body of Quinn Morgendorfer and the brain of Daria Morgendorfer if you recall that MTV show from the 90s “Daria”.

No eating disorders or unhealthy diets on my end; I’m just a naturally thin person lots of people hate and resent for it (probably even to this day). The difference between me and others is that I never went around body shaming people or calling them fat despite being asked directly if I was anorexic or constantly being told to eat the last of some food or to finish what someone else couldn’t since “you need it.” My tale would dive into the flip side of the coin.

Overall, despite this play dealing with very dark subjects and ending with a bleak outlook it was a good show and even had the infamous Hanson song in a scene change.

Monday, May 6, 2024

The Surreal Adventures of The Angry Redheaded Lawyer: "Aftershocks" at Theater for the New City

This show’s description caught my eye right away. When I walked in, the set design told you exactly where we were and what show to expect. It’s not something for the kiddies so this is definitely not kid friendly. In fact, I’d say leave your teens at home as well unless you are a very modern and progressive parent who’s totally cool discussing dark subjects in the sexual realm with your kids or you take your kids to strip clubs. From my estimation, that’s not many of you. You have officially been warned.
Photo by Matthew Schechtman

Now, that being said this show managed to integrate the pace and sentiment of “Friends” with some very dark subject matter that most of us would say “how can you possibly make THAT funny?” Somehow, Rori Nogee does it and doesn’t leave you feeling guilty for laughing while also giving you a powerful illustration of trauma from childhood sexual assault.

She also manages to make her protagonist, Kat/Angie (Rori Nogee) sympathetic despite Kat’s being an unrepentant stripper who confidently asserts that she’s not having a committed relationship with anyone. Just ask Ben (Andrew Ricci), the computer tech guy she’s stumbled into a FWB relationship with who’d really like to get more serious and make an honest woman out of her.

Credit should also go to the direction of Lissa Moira as the characters flow easily in this world and you can believe in the connection Kat finds with Elliott (Cameron Cave), a super nervous newcomer to the back room who’s only there on the guidance of his therapist. He’s content to just talking to Kat and gets her to violate the basic stripper rule against taking off the performer mask and mentioning her real name (which is Angie). A sweetness develops between these two and it feels like Angie loses her hardness and cynicism built up as the result of her own sexual trauma. It felt a bit reminiscent of “Leaving Las Vegas” and some of the darkness has parallels to it but this show actually goes further.

I’m totally on board with Kat’s philosophy on sex when she notes it’s importance to life and living though my own statement on it is a bit different and I’m more private about such things. Despite the fact that Elliott is a guy who can not do such things due to childhood sexual trauma that he’s trying to work out, he and Kat/Angie develop a fondness that later turns into an exclusive relationship. He’s aware that she’s got her needs but she makes a grand effort to try and be respectful of his limits and boundaries though does push at times with mixed results. The relationship definitely goes through its ups and downs and when temptation enters in the form of Kyle (Jon McHatton), the very definition of a bad guy not suited for anyone who doesn’t want to be a side chick whom Angie previously had an involvement with, things do not turn out well for Angie.

The dynamic between Angie and Elliott actually reminded me a bit of this guy I shall call the Model Flake. He knows who he is. His problem, however, is social trauma and becoming more agoraphobic as well as reluctant to leave home (which isn’t that close to me) despite being a former model who had connections and backing I’ve never had in that space. He also has separate issues that are a massive paradox to my own world and my own boundaries yet for some reason I still care about the guy in spite of myself. Damn heart!!

My underlying thought is “if he got his mess together and found his passion in life, he’d be a really great guy.” This guy has been in and out of my life over the course of years.

I remember him saying he was intimidated by me, the girl who was called ugly throughout her childhood and couldn’t buy a date with guys she liked in her hometown. I still find that hysterical since if I saw him at random someplace and didn’t know him, I’d never approach him since I’d fear rejection. The conceited hot guy who cheats on women is a trope and while the Model Flake apparently views his not being that way as a defect, I find it refreshing and endearing.

Like Angie with Elliott, I’ve tried to have some patience and latitude with this guy but definitely have my limits as well.

Eventually, Elliott leaves the scene and in the meantime both he and Angie find love elsewhere with Angie getting engaged to Ben. However, when the two meet again for Angie’s birthday outing as he’s accompanied by his new girlfriend Bethany (Zoe Laiz) the train wreck you expected very much happens and then gets darker as you’re thinking a conflict is resolved and things are look bright for Elliott and Angie.

The final question in my mind as I saw the end of the show was “How do you kill the demon?” I haven’t lived childhood sexual trauma so I have no clue how one would do it but apparently a demon does exist when you lived it. The psych major in me and I’m sure countless others who’ve had that experience would probably like to know the answer to that question. Does anyone have an answer to that one?

The comedy in this show reminded me a lot of “Love Quirks” a show I reviewed in August 2022 thanks to a connection with the show’s composer. Unbeknownst to me, Ms. Nogee was apparently in that show (though not the performance I saw) as well as a show that may have been the last one I saw with my long since ex-husband called “Showgirls! The Musical” which was a hilarious parody of the movie “Showgirls”. If you didn’t see it, you missed out—my ex and I shared an interest in media that pushed back against US puritanical norms.
Photo by Matthew Schechtman

Despite the very dark ending and our main characters not doing right by Ben or Bethany, the show was actually very good since the characters had heart, honesty, sincerity, accessibility and depth and the story had the universal appeal that I look for that made me care. I’d definitely recommend it for the adults, even the ones who hate everything strippers and strip clubs stand for though my conservative mother would probably be a tough sell.

Sunday, January 7, 2024

The Surreal Adventures of The Angry Redheaded Lawyer: "Killin' Republicans", a Rock Opera at Theater for the New City

If you knew me, you might wonder “why would she go to a show called this?” Isn’t she from a conservative atmosphere and not a big fan of leftists? Hi, I’ve lived in NYC for over 15 years and never said I was a devotee to one team or the other. I’m the one who’s been saying BOTH of them are the problem and remain a registered Independent who thinks the only way to fix these issues is to get money out of politics. Also, I have a sense of humor and appreciate humor based in some honesty.

The setup of this show is very cool since you literally got checked in by the dedicated flight attendants, got a very cool ticket stub and the airplane set was great. Careful attention was paid to getting it right and it definitely took me to my experience riding first class recently with the comfy seating. For some reason, the subway was packed on my way to this show and more like what you’d expect during weekday rush hour vs. a Saturday evening. Fortunately, I hadn’t missed anything and we were treated to a live band playing as the show got started.
Abby Gumpper, Gabriel Wilkler, Ava Jones. Photo by Jonathan Slaff

Right before the show started (thankfully I had time to settle and find a good seat), we were told there’d been tech issues. Sadly, I wasn’t able to hear as much of the show because of difficulties hearing most of the actors as the music played but I did catch the gist of the show. However, the actress playing Goodness Gracious (Queen Koleurz) was not someone I had trouble hearing and her character was awesome. She's also got a fun and entertaining mate in BillyBob from Biloix (Edwin Vazquez).
Queen Kolurez and Edwin Vazquez. Photo by Jonathan Slaff

Our flight attendants/ticket takers (Ava Jones and Gabriel Winker) also deserve recognition as they definitely played those parts well and when I came in, I wasn’t aware they were going to be performing in the show complete with great dance moves. I’d simply thought someone had put in far more detail to the audience experience than I’ve seen in my years of acting in or attending theater shows; it’s a simple detail that probably should happen more often since it was memorable and definitely helped set the tone and feel of the show.
Ava Jones, Gabriel Winkler. Photo by Jonathan Slaff

The attention to detail continued in the prop design. One prop that I thought was cool was the Abe Lincoln hat that when it opened, had a brain pop out in bits. This particular piece was the work of Erin Mathewson.
Queen Koleurz Koluchi as Abe Lincoln. Photo by Jonathan Slaff

Now I’m curious if real life Jodie Foster has heard about this show or had any comment about John Hinkley Jr. If she did, I’m pretty sure the song she sings proclaiming “Why Me” wouldn’t be off base. This show’s Jodie Foster (Abby Grumpper) also knows how to rock and definitely had moves that belied her image. If real life Jodie Foster has the moves, I’m sure she’d be happy that someone has acknowledged them in this show.
Abby Gumpper as Jodie Foster. Behind: Ava Jones. Photo by Jonathan Slaff

If you read the title and think this show is only about bashing Republicans, you’d be off the mark. This show does offer historical accuracy though I wonder if the airplane and general flight experience is a commentary on today’s Republican party. After all, the announcements are how many would describe a lot of their experiences and perceptions of the far right element (such as the plane arriving nowhere near where anyone needs to go and the general passengers being lucky they even get oxygen to breathe while on the flight). Maybe it’s a case of “the more things change…” and how history repeats itself? Nonetheless, I think the last song “Don’t Kill Republicans” is the best support for showing anyone of any party could find enjoyment in this show.

Friday, June 23, 2023

The Surreal Adventures of The Angry Redheaded Lawyer: “Misconceptions” at 122CC Theater by Blessed Unrest

My interest in seeing this show came about for a few reasons. There’s the obvious, my being a childfree person and having recently seen a documentary called “My So-Called Selfish Life” for the second time. As some may or may not know, I got a tubal ligation at 26 years old after a major battle with trying to find someone willing to do it. I made that choice since I’ve always been career oriented and working in 2 fields that aren’t known for being child friendly; I’m not even sure law or entertainment have become more child friendly since that time but my story didn’t even happen in the 20th century or further back in time. I’d hoped a woman in 2023 trying to get voluntary sterilization would have an easier time of it now but apparently, that’s not happening.
Photo by Maria Baranova

So this brings us to “Misconceptions,” the story of a young artist named Harriet (Hilary Dennis) who finds herself pregnant and having to decide what she’s going to do. She has a daughter named Alicia already and the father of this pregnancy, Jorge (Sean Mana) is a guy who seems to mean well but his track record hasn’t been ideal. Harriet also has reservations about forsaking her artistic career as she is gaining more public prominence while Jorge decides he wants to step up and be a full time father, ready to embrace the suburban narrative of the white picket fence, 2.3 kids and so forth.

Darcelle (Celli Pitt), Harriet’s agent and close friend has to school Harriet on a few facts related to abortion and the historical experiences of women of color as Harriet decides to explore this topic in an effort to decide what she’s going to do about her own pregnancy. If you’ve read Toni Morrison’s book “Beloved” (like I did in undergrad and college), you may be surprised to know that there was a real life Sethe though that story didn’t go into details as to what that woman’s motivation was; she was simply arrested & confessed. I will not disclose the details of Sethe’s story since you can read “Beloved” for yourself but it presents a very pertinent idea and notion that’s very true for the time of slavery. Harriet presumes Darcelle being a lesbian will never encounter unwanted pregnancy and hasn’t thus far. However, the truth is far harsher than Harriet even knows.
Photo by Maria Baranova

The staging for this show was very cool since it was a 360 view. The director, Jessica Burr, introduced the show and did the most humorous money ask I’ve ever seen. Writer Steve Wangh also puts some elements of humor into the show aside from the seriousness of the topic and I feel like he covered the perspectives of both sides quite well with a conversational style though both this and “My So-Called Selfish Life” don’t examine my specific take on this subject or how I argue it with people. There were even a couple meta moments like Harriet exploring writing a stage play based on her project with abortion as she’s talking to people on all sides of the spectrum.

This also marks the first time I ever saw an actor (Perri Yaniv) come out from underneath the audience seating to get onstage. He does this to play the fetus. In one segment, a pro-life attorney (Rich Brown) tries to get the fetus’s take on whether it would like to be born or not. The pro-life attorney goes into the arguments you typically hear from the pro-life crowd and asks about existence, a concept far over the head of this fetus who’s simply hanging out. This imagining also marks a first and is probably accurate to what would happen in real life since how would a fetus be able to contemplate living independently and outside a womb?
Rich Brown (Pro-Life Attorney), Hilary Denis (Harriet) and Peri Yaniv (Fetus). Photo by Maria Baranova

Overall, I feel like this show covered the spectrum of views on the subject and wouldn’t totally alienate conservative types. After all, Harriet’s own mother (Ethelyn Friend) even showed empathy for her even though she was said to be a conservative pro-life type. However, it would not be the show to take young children and would be more appropriate for adults or older teenagers you’ve had the abortion conversation with.

Saturday, June 3, 2023

The Surreal Adventures of The Angry Redheaded Lawyer: "Bliss Street" at Theater for the New City in association with Sound Dog Properties

* As an FYI, apparently Blogger has gone woke and is engaging in censorship. Eventually, I may move to another platform that's not endorsing corporate censorship and has no concept of humor or artistic context to make a point. Not to mention there's no protected category for stupidity not related to a clinical diagnosis of mental illness or hypocrisy (which has no mental illness diagnosis to mitigate it unless we're talking about being brainwashed & that's not really a mental illness per se). Oh, and it's not a LAWYER'S job to co-opt woke narratives or march in lockstep with the PC police; we're the people who care about the laws as written and applied to all, not specific groups leftists have decided to give passes to (which simply furthers discrimination and problems those groups experience). That being said, let's begin the review:

This show caught my attention based on its setting. The location has a personal significance to me but you only get to know what it is if you actually know me in real life. I will say it represents a clean slate and a new beginning away from some bad stuff. Which I suppose is where we can begin this review.

The Sub patriarch, Paul (Jeff Canter), is a man just trying to catch a break in the world of entrepreneurship while taking care of his devoted family in the Upper East Side. He goes through a couple failed businesses before we get to Coventry, the club where many of the greats got their start. If you’re familiar with the history, I’m not going to give you that here. That particular task is for our guide through it all Ethyl who enlightens us at her own spot (Ethyl’s) where the show is rocking and the story is brought to life.
Photo by Jonathan Slaff

A special shout out to Sarah MacDonnell who sets the scene and presents this tale with wit, humor and accessibility to the TikTok and social media set who often can’t be drawn away from that world so easily. This particular performance had a wait list and that may have been specifically to see Sarah if the conversations I heard were an indication of her appeal to the audience. Seating was quite a challenge, an event I haven’t seen so much in my reviewing tenure. I’m also not sure if Theater for the New City no longer reserves seats for press though I prefer to slip in unnoticed on general principle.

Abra Bigham’s script is informative while also humorous. I definitely saw places where I laughed such as the reference to Paul as the “big boss man” (which made me think of the movie “Office Space” which some may know is one of my favorite movies of all time as well as influential on how I structured my career). The costuming was awesome as well as the scenery and usage of the projector screen set up where you didn’t feel like things were cut off or confusing.
Various cast members. Photo by Jonathan Slaff
Posters for The Coventry. Photo by Jonathan Slaff

Louie (Milo Longenecker), the guy who came with the Coventry’s previous previous incarnation and never spoke but definitely needed his time off was great. He didn’t have to speak but simply provided comic relief with his mere movements and presence in the scenes. This was even more presence at Charlie’s (Blaize Alder-Ivanbroo) birthday party where I kept wondering if he was going to hit the birthday cake or lose his balance. Physical comedy is an underappreciated skill that really deserves more credit. On his birthday (his 25th), Charlie’s family gifts him with a burial plot. Talk about a mix of practicality and maybe a morbid sense of humor.
L-R: Alyson Reim, Blaize Adler-Ivanbrook, Milo Longenecker, Jef Canter. Photo by Jonathan Slaff
Charlie (Blaize Adler-Ivanbrook) is presented a deed to his burial plot. Photo by Jonathan Slaff

It reminded me of when my sister’s first husband died and we were going to his funeral. My mom joked that when my father died, she’d have to make sure the casket didn’t come out until about 15 minutes after the funeral started and he’d have to have his pants unzipped while holding a Burger King bag. She didn’t actually do this when my father passed about 10 years later but we got a good laugh out of that imagery.

The characters in this show were quite interesting: there’s Charlie of course the son trying so hard to make his band “Cliff and the Pits” happen but life just was not helping him as his front man Cliff (Thomas Deen Baker) had a nervous breakdown, his father was not about to give them stage time and in the wake of the nervous breakdown the other band members felt it was time to move on, his mother Mina (Alyson Reim) who kept everything together and Mandy (Alisa Ermolaev), the California girlfriend with more sunlight aversion than even yours truly (and you know most natural redheads go from pale to lobster in 20 minutes or less without sunblock).
Thomas Dean Baker. Photo by Jonathan Slaff
Blaize Adler-Ivanbrook, Alyson Reim. Photo by Jonathan Slaff
Blaize Adler-Ivanbrook, Alisa Ermolaev. Photo by Jonathan Slaff

After the show, I was happy to meet the real life Charlie Sub who was in attendance and whose life was being portrayed onstage. He struck me as a relatable, good guy whose family raised him well and would appreciate how they were portrayed in this show.
Jeff Canter, Alyson Reim. Photo by Jonathan Slaff

Overall, this was an entertaining, engaging and educational show that I enjoyed seeing especially with the +1 I selected who it turned out had more connection and interest with this show than I knew about when I initially invited him. He’s also a bit of a Lower East Side celebrity in his own right so that experience made the night even better for me. I wouldn’t bring little kids but I think teens on up and especially people who know this era would get a kick out of it.

Sunday, August 14, 2022

The Surreal Adventures of The Angry Redheaded Lawyer: “Love Quirks” by Love Quirks LLC

If you want to get insight on the NYC cynic, go see this show ASAP. Get the soundtrack and definitely listen to the songs. After all, our heroes reside in NYC.

This is a show about quite literally the “quirks” of love: the good, the bad and the ugly. Chris (Matthew Schatz) has been recently cheated on by his fiancĂ©e so their engagement is off. Ryan (Erin Lamar) is his gay pal who harbors a maybe not so secret crush that everyone except Chris has picked up on while suffering his own relationship troubles. Lili (Maggie McDowell) is the militant anti-man feminist who had her heart shattered by Ryan’s homosexuality and Stephanie (Lauren Testerman) is a woman going through a divorce and consulting with a therapist while having to deal with the unwelcome arrival of Chris. This group, who has a history but we only hear bits and pieces about it, is trying to sort out their lives in the wake of breakups and heartache against the backdrop of NYC, where the romance atheists and agnostics far outweigh the romance faithful.
Lauren Testerman, Erin Lamar, Matthew Schatz and Maggie McDowell. Photo by Mark Childers

When you step into the AMT Theater, it’s a mix of the modern and the underground. You get the air conditioning and wonderful seating as the modern while the side walls indicate the underground. The blend works very well here and I encourage those of you putting on shows to consider this venue since your audience hates sweltering in the summer (certainly if they’re Southern natives like yours truly).

The opening song alone is worth the price of admission and the music gets even better from there. A special shoutout has to go to Seth Bisen-Hersh for that. If he doesn’t have some stories relating to this show, I’d be shocked since some of these lyrics feel like things you have to have lived in order to come up with them.

Credit also must go to writer Mark Childers and director Brian Childers since this show reminded me of both “Friends” and “Reality Bites” but unlike those projects, this one had diversity in Ryan (a black gay man). In fact, Ryan kind of reminded me of one of my roommates who’s very similar but to my knowledge didn’t date any women who’d had marriage designs on him before he came out or live as roommates with them in the years following that declaration.

I also loved hearing someone else use the term “cater waiter” since the only person I’ve heard use it was the Model Flake, who told me he was tired of being a “cater waiter.” Chris reminded me of a more functional version of the Model Flake though Chris was apparently a college jock, not a male model. One scene in particular definitely reminded me of what Vickie in “Reality Bites” says to the leads who are flirting with “will they, won’t they” and bugging everyone around them with it.

I also wonder if the writers read a particular Cosmopolitan magazine article I heard about many years back concerning a particular sex position my sorority sisters spent a lot of time debating on whether it was actually possible to execute. Is “pinwheel” code for “passion propeller”??? I actually discussed this tale with the gentleman I brought with me to the show since that scene brought back the memory (my verdict was it’s not possible and if it were, the guy would be injured in a very uncomfortable way).
Lauren Testerman and Matthew Schatz. Photo by Mark Childers.

However, this show had a slide show presentation that probably should have been planned a little better with the screen set up. It was a little distracting to have a large black line in the center as this was showing background in telling the story. I also hope our actors weren’t consuming actual alcohol during this show; I’m still not certain since there was a scene where one character is opening a bottle and it looks like she’s opening a fresh bottle. I’d have hated to be them doing so many shows and rehearsals where drinking is called for since eventually someone would have gotten sick or maybe developed alcohol poisoning. I didn’t see anyone have ill effects but a true professional never lets the audience see them sweat or will seamlessly integrate whatever mishap occurs into the action so the audience is none the wiser. The use of the balcony in this show was also new and I think added to the story, perhaps even making the action a bit more inclusive for those who didn’t have front row seating. Supposedly this theater has second floor seating but I wasn’t sitting there. If anyone was, it’s nice that the staging took that into account.

This show is tailormade for any of us who didn’t meet our soulmate in childhood and are still with them to this day (by the way, we all hate you) so that covers a huge group: divorced people, cynical NYC dwellers, the “nice guy” who never gets out of the friendzone, the woman who can’t find a non-sleazy attractive guy to save her life or is dismissed for being too fat, a less popular ethnic minority, too old, too pretty, too interesting, too smart, whatever. Those of you who’ve been through a horrific breakup, especially if was recent, will really love this show and definitely want the soundtrack since the songs are fabulous. They have the cheeky irreverence of “Avenue Q,” a show that I hope hasn’t been ruined by the woke mob.
Lauren Testerman, Maggie McDowell, Matthew Schatz and Erin Lamar. Photo by Mark Childers

I came here with a guy that I’m still not quite sure is really interested in being exclusive with me or seeing me again after a subsequent travel excursion. I guess I’ll know in about a week when I lay down the law but for a moment there, I thought maybe there was hope after the devastation wrought on my heart by the Energizer Bunny. Maybe there still is since he said he did like the show and hasn’t seemed to attack me for being a cynical, jaded New Yorker since he grew up here himself….

In short, you could let your cynical teens see this one but don’t bring your babies and toddlers. Otherwise, if you’ve ever been dumped, felt rejected by someone you adored or you’re suffering from a broken heart you should see this show at once since you’ll instantly feel better afterwards.

Monday, July 18, 2022

The Surreal Adventures of The Angry Redheaded Lawyer: "The Winter's Tale" -- Shakespeare in the Parking Lot Presented by The Drilling Company and The Clemente

You might have thought the Surreal Adventures series was dead or even going to performances would be dead after the crazy 2+ years we’ve had.

Well, life can surprise you sometimes. The pandemic, being out of NYC for most of 2020, an intense relationship with a guy who brought back feelings I thought died with my divorce and who continues to confuse me months after discarding me, learning that I indeed am not suited to work in the average law firm, finding my dream job and trying to get my own apartment once and for all….those are their own surreal adventures.

I’d heard about shows starting again and knew I should get back out there but I suppose inertia, apartment hunting, emotional pain and general feelings of frustration and disconnection had been holding me back until I personally got an invite to see this one. This isn’t a show I had read or was familiar with despite being a Drama kid in high school and having an acting background so I had to read up on it to see if I might be able to review it properly. I could so off I went and here we are.

First off, great move on the organizers to do this at 7 pm vs. prime time sunburn hours. This super pale natural redhead who burns in 2 seconds thanks you kindly. The parking lot at The Clemente also happened to have a shady area where seating was set up and where I sat so no worries I’d burn. This one is also an actual parking lot; I would never notice it was there if I hadn’t had the street address to look for. The entrance was quite subtle but the venue itself definitely had that Lower East Side city feel if you’re looking for that.

When it got dark outside, the lights came on very gradually and I didn’t even notice the change so someone paid very good attention to this.

Second, they had comfy chairs. This might have been because I was attending on a Thursday night but I had no issues with seating and kept some distance since I’d do that under normal circumstances.

I read of this going into the modern age and I saw that in wardrobe and some of the staging. For example, this show starts with 2 characters in an arm wrestling match.
Bradford Frost (Polixines) arm wrestles with Hamilton Clancy (Lenotes) . Behind: Jaan Rothschild, (Mammilius). Photo by Lee Wexler/Images for Innnovation

Tell me that doesn’t still happen in real life when you get guys involved in some kind of conflict. I suppose guys I dated never really did that but I know some might have straight up gone for throwing punches if they had to or told me they’d run away in the face of conflict. The doomed prince is also shown completely consumed on his smart phone while the interactions between his parents and his father’s suspicions of the pregnant Hermione’s fidelity grow as they interact with Polixines.
L-R; Jaan Rothschild, Hamilton Clancy, Jane Bradley. Photo by Lee Wexler/Images for Innovation

Hamilton Clancy, Bradford Frost, Jane Bradley. Photo by Lee Wexler/Images for Innovation

I’m also not sure if “my wife’s a hobby horse” is a line from the original Shakespeare but if it is, it only shows that Shakespeare’s work is just as relevant in the modern age as it was in the past. We certainly still have false accusations ruining people’s lives, people getting stuck in the middle of someone else's conflicts as Camillo was, people trying in vain to convince someone to see reason and have compassion for others, class conflicts in relationships, kids being blamed for things they had nothing to do with and people sticking to their stories even when contrary information no longer supporting them is presented in their faces.
Hamilton Clancy and Jane Bradley. Photo by Lee Wexler/Images for Innovation
Jack Sochet, Bradford Frost. Photo by Jonathan Slaff
L-R: Bob Arcaro, Lisbeth Allen, Hamilton Clancy, Una Clancy. Photo by Lee Wexler/Images for Innovation

Contrary to some who say this play is “problematic” for Shakespeare’s work, I feel that maybe Shakespeare came to some heavy realizations later on in life that informed his final works (as this one is part of). I, for example, thought I had more of a goth sensibility until both my father and my ex-husband’s sister died within 1.5 months of each other and I had to go to the funerals almost back to back. I’ve also come to bigger realizations in my own life such as having far more maturity and restraint that I did when I was younger, being far less tolerant of roommate situations these days than I was in years past, not putting up with treatment from guys I’d have been okay with in the past, that sort of thing.

Perhaps Shakespeare felt at the time he wrote this that life was a balance of tragedy and comedy and that both can exist in the universe of some play. Maybe he didn’t want to deal with all sadness all the time and wanted to give the audience some hope after you’ve had everything taken and you feel contrition for your bad behavior. Just my two cents.
Photo by Lee Wexler/Images for Innovation

The costuming was definitely on point. I love the “I (heart symbol) (sheep symbol)” shirt the shepherd’s son was wearing. He and his father got the laughs along with the salesman at the festival and the pickpocket who later becomes something of a “good guy” in this tale.
Matthew Krob. Photo by Jonathan Slaff
David Marantz, Matthew Krob. Photo by Lee Wexler/Images for Innovation

Overall, definitely worth seeing even if you’re not a Shakespeare scholar though you’re probably not going to sneak some of the dialogue or context past young kids. I instantly knew what the “hobby horse” line meant so I’m pretty sure most kids will as well or you’ll be the parent being asked about it. I’d say this show is fine for your teens and maybe your tween as long as you’re the sort of parent who’s okay with questions and explaining complicated adult stuff to your kids.

Sunday, June 19, 2022

NYC Apartment Hunting -- Pandemic, My Butt!!!

Even though crime is rising in NYC, that's apparently doing nothing for rental prices or getting into an apartment. Even trying to get a roommate is a bitch in this place. I'm beyond frustrated and definitely don't remember it being this f-ing difficult even at the peak of my hard scrabble post-divorce life when I'd just gotten out of the transient life. When I was looking in 2015, it was at another point where the rental market was said to be impossible and I was in an emergency situation where I had to get the F out ASAP since my roommate was literally trying to interfere in my relationship with my then boyfriend Mr. Orgy. At this point, it's time for an upgrade and I'm fed up with one of my landlady's sons who has no respect for personal property, personal space, neglected a cat who recently died as part of it, doesn't pay a dime in rent + has a girlfriend who's been in my face over things she's got no business bothering me about or trying to make rules on. Nobody would pay any form of rent to live in these conditions and I offered to pay more rent to get the second room and them leaving but my landlady would rather accommodate these leeches than a quiet, long time tenant who even paid her rent when she wasn't in the state for most of 2020. I don't have to enable these assholes and plan to pay only for utilities and a reduced rent reflecting the loss of my quiet enjoyment of my space.

By law, I have to get a 90 day notice before I can be evicted and I'm pretty sure a court would consider the fact that I have to lock my door when these leeches get into fights and the damage to property that would lead a rational person to fear for their personal safety among the various issues that are intolerable such as eating food I paid for (which made it necesary for me to get a lockbox for the fridge in the kitchen), crowding me out of spaces that were part of my lease when I moved in, etc. My landlady's other son told me he was also looking to move because of these leeches and every single person who's aware of this situation has said it's time to move, I don't need to be there, etc.

Now, you may be asking "But WHY is it so hard to find an apartment in NYC? Aren't you having massive crime waves and lots of lefist lunacy that's led hard working people with common sense to flee to FL? Didn't a lot of people find their distant digs much better than NYC and refuse to return? And what about how dangerous the subway is and how people are getting shoved onto tracks, murdered by homeless people who are mentally ill and criminals are literally running the streets? Shouldn't there be tons of vacanies and much cheaper rent?"

If reality existed here, I'd say you're absolutely right but here are the problems with finding apartments in NYC:

1) Finding a place legitimately being rented out by an owner is like finding a pearl in a bed of oysters. It seems like it was more common when I first moved here in 2007 but now you might as well try to fly from the top of one of NYC's infamous high buildings. You'd probably be more successful at taking flight by flapping your arms and not just plummeting to your death than you would be finding a legit listing where you deal directly with the owner of a place.

2) Everything is listed by brokers. Brokers by and large are all about the money and treat potential tenants as numbers. Some seem okay and some might be honest but most are all about the Benjamins vs. actually getting you a good fit into an apartment. I go to viewings and see places but if you want to apply, some won't tell you how many people are in front of you, will keep showing places even when there are multiple applicants in the pool or won't even bother to contact you and then you get notification that the place you asked about is already off the market.

Do you hear from the broker again on other listings they have??? Hell no! Some will tell you they'll contact you but in my experience, that's been a lie. If you don't have a close friend who does this or find a renter's broker (which may not even exist), you get zero respect or consideration even if you actually need out of a situation.

3. Application fees: almost every place has these. By law in NYC, you can't charge more than $20 for this (credit, criminal, background checks) and if you have a report from the last 30 days they can't charge you an application fee. I have such a report after getting rejected from a place (more on that later) but haven't had the opportunity to try this part out. I have, however encountered ads and brokers trying to charge well above this. Just this evening, I see an ad on SpareRoom for a ROOM charging a $40 application fee (supposedly "after the initial application" like somehow that's a legal loophole permitting it).

If you start seeing places and want a chance in hell of being considered against throngs of others, you have to pay a fee for each one. Imagine how quickly this fee adds up. Did I mention that this fee isn't refundable if you get rejected? You still need money for deposits, broker fees and moving expenses since you most likely don't have a truck or a van and you aren't He-Man so you're going to need help moving your stuff. When you're over 35, your friends and parents (if you even have fit men with muscles or women with lifting power) aren't going to haul all your belongings from one place to the next, often involving walking up flights of stairs. Some places I've seen have 5th and 6th floor walkups with no elevator in the building. I'm in a 4th floor walkup and that's my absolute limit; before I moved here, I never lived above the third floor anywhere.

I've even seen roommate listings demanding application fees. FREAKING ROOMMATE situations. You know, where you're not getting your own space and have to share kitchens, bathrooms and occcasional living rooms and ask permission to do things you'd be able to do easily at your own house? I've encountered some of these where roommates had open "you can't have anyone over" rules and some don't allow pets (though that's a bit more understandable if your rent is much cheaper than it would be to rent your own apartment in the area). As I explained to people like that, I could live with my mother for free and deal with that. I could also live with some guy for free and deal with that condition (and did when I had to though I didn't make that rule); at least I'd also have regular sex in that situation so I wouldn't become a pain in the ass to everyone I encountered in society.

4. Scammers abound thinking you are supposed to hand over thousands of dollars before even seeing a place or worse, to apply for a place. Never, ever pay money without seeing a place first and don't give more than $20 to anyone to apply for a place. Also, demand a broker show you their license since they are required to carry this on them at ALL times (this was told to me by a long time broker and she did show me her information). Some scammers are even pretending they are brokers and brokers have even lied about being brokers to see a place (this happened to an owner whose place I checked out but got rejected for).

5. Delusional management companies: one apparently demanded applicants to pay a full months rent via certified check just to apply to a place according to a broker I met at one property during my lunch hour (and ended up late back to work because of this on a hot day so no looking at apartments during my lunch hour unless that place is walkable from my apartment). I adamantly refused and noted that I'm not stupid nor am I hearing the word "refundable" in this context.

I also got rejected from an apartment where rent was far below the metric for affordability in NYC (your yearly salary > 40x the rent) because I didn't have a guarantor (or as I call it, a rich daddy since this means someone who makes more money and has better credit than you).

Now keep in mind I have a very high credit score well over what it's recommended you have to get into a place and just got on full time in my current job where I'm being paid a lot more than I was in the past and finally in the atmosphere of what my skills are worth (which is also more than what a lot of people who aren't members of the 1%, STEM employees or work in finance are earning). I even got a peek at my own rental report and my score was over 800 out of 1,000 on my candidacy of rentability. Nobody should be asking me for a rich daddy to co-sign for me in this scenario, especially when I don't even have a father at this point. I definitely am pissed by this and still feel these are a bunch of idiot classist assholes.

If I had a rich daddy, why would I be trying to rent a place for $1,800 a month uptown when I could just buy a place directly or live with the rich daddy? Like were you born stupid or did you work at it your whole life (to borrow a line from a song I heard in the John Waters movie "A Dirty Shame" that apparently was called "The Asshole Song")??

6. The general attitude of management companies is akin to that of government employees: from what I've seen, you're not allowed to have objections to the price, apartment layout or any issues the company should account for. Nope, you should be thrilled to pay obscene rental prices to live across from the projects (or crime havens), have your closet for your clothes in the hallway, live in a 6th floor walkup with no elevator, have a micro kitchen, or deal with having no space whatsoever for your stuff. Having standards?!?!? How dare you!!!!!!! I've never seen anybody seem to take these realities into account when setting rent prices. Apparently landlords were desperate when NYC was burning and it was deserted but now?? They view it as business as usual and say "Fuck you for not settling. You'll take it and you'll happily accept my extortion." Well, not directly but they ought to; I'd probably have more respect for someone who openly said that vs. lying about it.

I guess I've gotten older and more jaded about the idea of living in Manhattan but I've seen this attitude permeate in neighborhoods nobody would call toney or upscale. I've not even wasted my time looking in some areas since I'm not interested in wasting my entire paycheck on rent. I'm deliberately looking at places below the 40x metric and trying to avoid situations where I'm going to be slammmed with crazy rent increases like so many were post-pandemic after getting some good deal in 2020 or early 2021. I'm also avoiding areas I know are unsafe since I also consider that a dealbreaker unlike some of these delusional housing pushers.

7. Moving companies are known for extortion and ripping people off in NYC. You have to really search to find a good one so that's a whole other ordeal. They always charge extra to move from or into walkups and I've definitely read some nigthmare stories. Oh, and they also charge extra if you're moving at the beginning of a month. I bet they also charge more for weekend moves yet some of us work and don't have PTO or want to take PTO for that. I don't even have as much but I know that's yet another expense I have to deal with.

8. Finally, delusional roommate situations. Do you really expect grown people to never see their significant others? Or worse, that you get to live with YOUR signficant other but expect someone else to pay rent to NEVER have overnight guests (I have seen this in ads)? That's inequality and absurd right there. I refer to it as sex policing and demanding me to live in a convent.

I think a "no guests longer than a week" policy solves the issue of unwanted live in SOs. Not dominating common spaces, not using other people's stuff or eating their food and not leaving your mess in places is fair but policing my body and what I do with it in my own space I pay rent for, demanding me to maintain Danny Tanner cleanliness standards and spend my weekends being Cinderella is not acceptable, especially at this stage of my life. To me, that's why I DON'T want to live with roommates. Somebody like that is too high maintenance and seems to be a wannabe church mom as well as no fun whatsoever.

There's a fine line between having orgies and having dates or your significant other come over where you are respectful of space + volume. Why do I have to ask permission to have guys over in a space I pay for? I didn't deal with this shit in college and I adamantly will not pay rent to be living with some Mom wannnabe. I also don't police anyone else's love life. They can screw anybody's brains out they want in their own room as long as I'm not having to see it or be kept awake with it. You also can't get the sex smell that easily in a room; it takes real effort for that. It seems like women in particular are harpy bitches about someone having sex. I'm definitely not one of those. I did speak to one man who had that condition and I gave him this response exactly but most men I've encountered don't make a thing of it, I guess because they wouldn't want to live under those conditions themselves.

Family and others have told me to focus on getting my own place vs. roommate situations. My sister even told me I didn't have a good track record with them and should be getting my own place. I feel like at this point, I should unless I found a really good situation with people who aren't fuckups or sex policers. It always seems like the normal people don't have space here. Who wants to bet the sex policers are also "woke" and claim to be tolerant? Yes, I think I've always been the type who wants to live alone and now I should actually do that since I am responsible, have a means to do that now and need minimal stress in my life.

What's shocking is I'd expect sex policiers to be closer to my mom's age or from conservative religions but many of them are in their 20s and don't declare some fundamentalist religious affiliation. It seems we have Puritans dominating the new generation and finding people who aren't this way is a battle.

I just want to find a place that meets my parameters (which are far from unreasonable even by NYC standards) and be left alone while I'm paying rent. I believe one pays rent to be left alone and you don't need to be up in a roommate's business when you don't know them. I've not been friends with roommates since I was in law school and never lived with a bestie.

Friends familiar with the absurdity of renting here have sympathized, made neighborhood suggestions and said I needed my own place. They've also confirmed this process being nonsense and one pointed out that apparently I'm doing this in a crowded market and a busy season. But when hasn't housing demand been high and crowded here? Am I supposed to just rot in this situation, enabling these leeches or settle for garbage? I feel like if you don't keep standards for yourself, you'll just make yourself miserable and unhappy.

I'd like to have some advocates who give a shit about ME and actually SHOW this vs. paying me lip service. I need a broker friend or someone who'll advocate for me with a decision maker on this front even though you'd think any sane buidling owner would want a tenant like me, particularly at this stage of my life. Why should I be forced to beg for an apartment when I have that score of over 800 out of 1,000? What gives here? I have long term tennancy situations where nobody would trash me as a renter. I've known landlords who had some nightmare stories about tenants and I have never done the things they told me about those tenants doing.

Is it just a society that punishes people for being responsible, law abiding and not beingn trust fund brats? At least I can't be evicted for a while and nobody's going to sex police me here (I'd refuse to pay a dime past utilites in that scenario) but this is mental sanity stuff right here. I don't think my mental sanity needs to be tested after all the shit I've had to deal with already. Why hasn't the balance moved to people like Hunter Biden or DeBlasio or other truly despicable types? Just saying. At least I'm more than happy and capable of knocking people down from their self-created pedestals and don't worship anyone.

For those in NYC, I leave you with this question: Do you think it's harder to get housing or get a man you have a future with in NYC? It feels like both are impossible at this point.

Friday, January 28, 2022

Some Leaders and Change Makers Aren't Chosen but Summoned

If you are a person governed by personal integrity and the type who feels you should BE the change instead of complaining about why things don't change, then you can definitely relate to this sentiment. As I'm going through my life I definitely have found that to be more and more true.

Sometimes, the choice to speak out or do something is not even really a choice. You're minding your own business, content to go about life and do you thing when all of a sudden there's bullshit confronting you. Maybe it's a rude salesperson. Maybe it's a boss being emotionally abusive. Maybe it's some rando who nearly killed you in traffic. Maybe you're getting slammed by bureaucracy because you don't come from money but people assume you do. Either way, you've been thrust into some time of intolerable conflict where your choices are "sit back and take it" or "give 'em hell." Not sure how common it is or how many people identify as this but I like to think that many people in America are of the "give 'em hell" mindset. We claim to revere and respect the "give 'em hell" types. In fact, I think it's an unofficial requirement that you be a "give 'em hell" type if you're going to be a lawyer.

But have you ever noticed that whistleblowers are never protected by society's decisionmakers or many of the "woke" activists? Where's the fund for them? Don't tell me "just create a GoFundMe or a GiveSendGo campaign." Not everybody's story goes viral or has that kind of support from the world at large. Where's any concern for one's survival in the meantime from any camp? Don't you get that lots of people get blacklisted by employers if they speak up against anyone, even the Harvey Weinstein figures? Where are the employers who fight this bullshit? Why don't any say "I'd be proud to hire that person since they have principles?" Do entire industries just cover for assholes, in contradiction of their supposed claims to value all people or care about the populace at large? I suppose stuff like this makes me look skeptically at the whiners who bitch at people for protecting their own self-interest. Will those woke scolds feed the children of the "good" cops who speak out against corruption? Will they be supporting the fired creatives who report some well known sexual predator? It doesn't look like they do.

In the legal world, lawyers are requried to report ethics violations and can't be blind soldiers just following orders at their jobs. There's a specific rule that says this. But what do legal employers do when someone makes a report against some other employer who's straight up got no business trying to solicit clients or supervising anyone? What if it's an employer who's a sexual predator or hits people in the workplace? I've been given the impression that legal employers have no respect for whistleblowing and outright discourage it by punishing the people who do it with blacklisting in spite of the reality that attorneys are commanded to report ethical violations in their profession. Who thinks the people who'd blacklist some whistleblower is guilty of things that they deserve exposure for or are feckless wimps who'd never report anything since it would be harmful to their personal comfort in some way?

If you're acting against your personal comfort, clearly you're governed by something else & have far more integrity than losers who will blacklist others for taking a stand. I feel like those people would just let some rapist continue harming people, a child molester continue harming kids, a wife beater keep beating his wife, thieves continue to steal, you get the idea. To me, staying silent when shit happens in front of your face is enabling that bad behavior and you might as well be participating in it yourself. Those who are "give 'em hell" types find this intolerable. Their feeling is "I have to do what's right" and it doesn't matter what personal comfort is lost or how much money you pay them to drop a claim or what threats you make to them. It's just "this is what I must do." It's a moral imperative, God's will, however you interpret it.

In my own speaking out and stepping up experiences, I was thrust into some intolerable situation that was unfair to me in some way. Whether it was threat to my academic record, being denied a job I was perfectly capable of doing, an abusive work environment, witnessing racism being practiced on my friends, or seeing loved ones being treated terribly in a job, I didn't choose to inject myself into situations. I was facing negative impact or the threat of negative impact and simply decided it was time to fight against it. In the case of friends being subjected to racism, that was something I was asked to watch then be involved in but I didn't like seeing my friends being treated badly as that affected my life (when you care about your friends, you don't want people abusing them and making them unhappy). This is something I did as early as middle school. It's funny that people actually had positive words for me after I took action even though I was far from Ms. Popular. I've also never regreted taking these actions and I guess this is how I became a lawyer though I'm not a litigator.

When you've been called to take action, you get it. I also keep seeing anti-mandate protesters taking action and I'm like "they're doing the Lord's work." So is the widow of that officer who just got killed. I love that she called out the feckless Bragg in her eulogy, this creampuff DA who thinks criminals should get to freely roam the streets and harm others. I bet he'd feel differently if HIS loved one or HE were a victim of some of his beloved criminals. Same goes for all the politicans who enable that shit. It's time the criminals actually targeted those people. That's what I'd do if I were a criminal.

I suppose, though, that's because I'm also rebellious and big on giving people some "fuck you" alongside something I'm doing. Why individual armed security people or staff members haven't poisoned these people or simply gotten out of the way when guns were aimed at these losers is a mystery to me. My personal integrity would command me to make these people suffer the consequenses of their stupidity. I can't be that rare a breed but perhaps I am. Someone who did that stuff would be a personal hero to me. I understand that officer's widow got a standing ovation when she called Bragg out and is sure to become a personal hero to many in NYC and beyond who are fed up with creampuff DAs and lying politicians.

One thing for sure is that I have tons of real life influence for my creative pursuits. Apparently, we're getting a blizzard so I'll get to sit pretty at home.

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Long Overdue Life Updates

A lot has happened since my last post.

I got to go on my first ever trip outside the United States. That was huge, lots of fun and something I definitely want to do again but want to be more proficient in the language first; I went to Paris so got my first passport stamp in my passport. I got that lifetime subscription to Babble so I could try learning some of the languages they have on there. Sadly, I haven't tried doing that yet but it's on my list of things to do. So is more travel and I do have friends who live in different places I could visit and some who've traveled around the world I can consult with on travel tips.

I also got a new job in an area of law that I learned you could do elsewhere so long as you have a state license SOMEWHERE. So if I ended up leaving NYC, it looks like I could work in a firm that does immigration law as long as I kept at least one of my law licenses. You have to remember that I don't support illegal immigration but if someone's already here and is trying to become legal, that's an impluse I think should be encouraged. If someone's trying to do right and asks for your help, I think you should try to help them in that goal so long as you're not breaking the law or legal ethics rules. However, that's a job I don't feel will last long term. Not because of the work itself, my immediate boss or the support staff (I have no technical colleagues since it's a very small office) but because of the owner. I don't play disrespect towards me, period. If I didn't tolerate something as a 15/16 year old working at JcPenney, I'm not about to stand for it with 2 law licenses and a JD behind me. That's a simple fact. The upside is learning a new area of law and that there is room for creativity and personality in a law firm litigation job. I didn't believe there was any. I still want to make a living in entertainment law or doing in-house work but since I'm learning the paperwork part of litigation, I could end up having more options than I did in the past.

Then, my boyfriend decided to break up with me but it's just like a Woody Allen movie at this point without any teenagers or near teenagers involved in romantic entanglements. I'd never take up with someone that young since I have a nephew who just turned 18. I've always had a minimum of "the legal drinking age" post-divorce (in the US, 21) but since my last birthday, I feel like it's pathetic to pursue 20 something guys. I also don't want to be some sugar mommy or feel like someone's mom. Probably too many generational differences. Plus the guy I was dating is much closer to my age and generation. That breakup has just been puzzling and confusing but I've been pondering things. I've had more time for "me" things (like finding a yoga studio much closer to my apartment than the one I used to go to that closed in the pandemic), though freakouts over the latest variant might fuck me up (my spheres tend to get way more paranoid and dramatic about it than his do). He's been at my apartment more since dumping me right before Thanksgiving than he'd been in 7 months of dating.

It's not been a normal breakup since in a normal breakup, I cut off the guy completely. He's literally X-ed out. An ex can't get into my life again without making effort past me blocking any point of communication he'd previously used. I don't pick up calls from unknown numbers, won't deal with anything with that guy's name, deal with any of his buddies, that sort of thing. I saw these hearts in a booth at Grand Central years back that I still wish I'd at least seen what they cost apiece since if you fashioned one with a layer of thick ice, concrete and barbed wire (not necessarily in that order) you'd have a visual of how guarded I keep my heart. If you'd dealt with lots of people letting you down over the course of decades and had the upbringing I had, you'd also be guarded.

This guy still wants to be in my life and talk to me. He claims that he didn't break up because he lost romantic interest or hated my cooking; part of me still wonders if I'm going to have to see him with some other girl all over him like we were in our dating life. That would be a definite "leave me alone & you might not ever be around me again" thing. I also never stay friends with exes or deal with them. I didn't do that with my ex-husband. 7 years later, I don't see myself ever doing that if I saw him. He did major shit to hurt me; I'm not sure if anyone else could inflict as much psychic damage as he did. I like to pretend exes don't exist. Sorry, I'm not that mature or evolved.

The main reason I've let this guy hang around is because it wasn't an angry breakup like every single other breakup I've ever had. He didn't lie to me about some fundamental aspect of the relationship, he didn't just wake up and tell me he was no longer interested and he was being nice. I've had to take care of myself in life, especially after I lost some contact and support in my life. It's like "fuck you, I'll still get shit done even though you just made things harder." He's also still talked to me on his own volition after the business of retriveving my stuff from his place was done. It's more akin to my marriage than all my other relationships were. I'd told him I won't bother with some guy who's thinking "I broke up with her right before Thanksgiving and she still wants to talk to me. Look how pathetic she is." There's also been a lot more closeness in many ways than he told me he had with other friends and he told me this isn't how his other breakups ended so I don't feel like "this is just some routine he gives to everyone." Apparently him giving me a key so early also wasn't something he did with all the girls so knowing that makes me feel like I matter, that I'm special to him. He mostly said he wants to stay around because he likes me as a person, feels I have potential but will never reach it if I'm not around generous people (of which he's one). Friends have said he's the only guy I've ever dated who wasn't a loser or an asshole. That feels like a very sad commentary on my life; what's even worse is this guy has treated me better in a lot of ways than my ex-husband, the man who married me and took vows with me, ever did.

But I guess you could look at that and say "yes, the breakup was sad but it means the commentary can change." He assures me there are other guys like him in the world with regard to personality. I'm definitely skeptical of such guys existing in NYC though you can find conservatives and guys who don't want to be players in their 50s and 60s+. My question is do any of them have a comparable education and life perspective to me or are they the type to say to me "you use big words" (I've literally had guys in NC say that to me).

In recent weeks I've definitely seen things I can point to and tell this guy "here's how you aren't perfect." He told me a rather illuminating story that made me even more empathetic to his ex than I already was (since I know what it's like to be ambushed and have the man you love leave you). I heard this, thought "I 100% get why she feels as she does" and told him if he'd done that to me I'd have said "I hope that chick has space because you're not staying in my home." I'd have been civil for kids but civility would have been all my ex would have gotten from me; I'd never take him back and sure wouldn't approach him even if I felt my absolute lowest or loneliest. I'd simply get a sex doll and make sure I had a cat for cuddling and affection needs; cats are good for that, at least ones I've been around. Most cats like me.

Cats are also easier since they are very transparent about where you stand with them. They don't pretend to like you and aren't nearly as needy as dogs apparently are. If a cat wants to sit in your lap or get head scratches and you're not the one who feeds him/her, that's genuine fondness. Plus they kill mice and bugs. I can't hate a species that does that and just looks darn cute. I actually missed the ones I had when I was married more than my ex-husband. My roommate's cat has also been very comforting but unfortunately, he's not mine and isn't well cared for by his humans. I've vowed to get a brush for his fur so at least his tail and back will be smooth and fluffy again. He's the Harry of this place (reference to my mom's cat Harry who's a massive love bug but isn't the cat who's so good with vermin killing); if I knew he'd be around New Year's Eve he could be my furry New Year's date but no guarantee there.

Not looking forward to New Year's. I can't stay in NC longer because of my job (though that means money) and I no longer have a boyfriend (the reason I wouldn't stay in NC longer pre-pandemic since court appearances almost never happened between Christmas and New Year's; at least the one year the guy I was seeing had moved away, I was moving into a new place and got to be in a fashion show on New Year's Eve). I don't even have a familiar I could hang out with though maybe I could hang out with a friend who says she'll be around. That's it's own drama, however. At least on Valentine's Day, I have a dedicated single person's ritual. Not a clue what I could do for New Year's that's not spending a crap ton of money on a party. I don't even have some new experience I could do like going to the Times Square ball drop.

One good thing I've noticed is that talking to that friend has given me perspective on my own life troubles. My stuff is much easier than hers. Perspective on your own troubles is impotant; knowing others have survived worse or are going through worse takes you out of feeling sorry for yourself, which is important if you want to cultivate better in your life. Plenty of sources will verify this including guides on manifestation and creating abundance.