Sunday, September 28, 2008

On the Road: Saturday in Missouri!

Second day of the Road Trip! Yesterday, we spent 13 1/2 hours driving, which wouldn’t be so bad if we were driving through fun America, but we weren’t, we were driving thorugh boring, flat, fielded, America. Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri. Today will be just as bad. No hilariiouis signs, like there were in South Dakota, lots of trucks. I’ve seen no Obama bumper stickers, and only two McCain. That doesn't mean anything. Josh said driving through the midwest makes him understand better why Obama won't win. I could see that too.

We just passed a billboard of a small girl playing, with the italicized command: “Pornography Destroys.” Maybe we’re transitioning into fun sign land. Oh there’s another one, it says simply, “JESUS.” Well, when you say it like that...

This trip is, clearly, special to me, because, duh, I’m moving across the country for the first time. Beyond that, we are driving across America in the final month of a cutthroat presidential election during an economic crisis.

(New sign: “Jesse James Wax Museum: LIVE video of Jesse James!” Now we’re getting somewhere!)

We listened to the presidential debate last night on the radio as we sped through black fields in the last two hours of our first day of traveling. Ignorant of what most people saw last night, we could only hear their tones, their frustrated sighs, how they carefully worded their comebacks and defenses. Here are two intelligent men, wildly ambitious and hopeful, and they resort to exploiting dead soldiers’ bracelets. It reminds me of that acting exercise where each actor has to enter the picture and physically change the stage picture in order to upstage the other person. Look at me! Look at ME! LOOK AT ME!

(“Missouri Hick B-B-Q Next Exit.”)

I think that might be half of a generalized American personality: immediate attention satisfaction. We are stereotypically loud, demanding, selfish, and persistent. The other half, which is in essence the soul of our government in 2008, is about money. This election is about money. The failure of our government is about money. Their arguments are about money. The legacy of the Bush government, if not pathetic before, will be about a loss of money, a destruction of our financial supplies. Our government, whatever size, boils down to a collection of accountants, stewards of our cash. The final and only way to grab the attention of the non-voting, uninterested American population is to collapse their economy and shut down their savings.

(“JESUS.” Is this like a Mad Libs thing? “JESUS poops!” “JESUS in bed!” “JESUS in bed with your mom!”)

This is a trip about me, but this is also a trip about America. I’ve never felt so involved with my own citizenship as I do now. We have driven across five states in one day, safely, and efficiently, and we are listening to a radio station that is playing a song called “Blood of My Freedom” whose lyrics go, “Thank God for the Red, White & Blue/Someone Died that we might be Free.” We value our independence, our freedom to buy, sell, and live how we want, but to do that we find it necessary to damn everyone else. At times, our only similarity between states is roughly the same language and the constant presence of McDonalds.

This is a trip about me, and this is a trip about America. There are local politicians’ signs hammered into the heathery fields next to I-44 W, reminding me it’s almost time to vote.

Ooooh! “Pleasure Zone.” This is getting good…

Thursday, September 25, 2008

In case I'm too sleepy at 7 am tomorrow...


To be frank, the roadtrip has, in fact, not begun. To be frankly frank, Josh is actually still in an airplane. Over Illinois. Three hours late. Poor boy.

On the bright side: Phases One and Two are complete in Operation Move to LA! My car is stocked, I have Pirate's Booty and Dried Fruit overflowing their bags, sunscreen, camera, maps up the butt...I AM READY. Minus one sweet law student with a big mustache and an ipod stuffed with new music. No matter! The roadtrip is infinitely changeable! Like Poseidon on a good day!

But to the airport! So Josh can turn right around...and hit the road!!!

See you on the west side, lovers!

PS McCain is RIDICULOUS. Sarah Palin is RIDICULOUS. I was watching the Simpsons episode where Lisa has a substitute teacher and it's Dustin Hoffman, and Bart runs for class president, and it looked just like my life. Why does our country remind me of an animated 4th grader's campaign? "More asbestos! More asbestos!"

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

One Small Step. One Big-Ass Roadtrip!


I'm dedicating this post to the small, but loyal and loving band of buddies who have been so supportive of this blog. It has been a true joy writing here, and I've discovered (and re-discovered) some wonderful things about myself. For instance, how much I really enjoy writing.

And now I'm absolutely thrilled to say I get to do more of it! On a bigger scale than my humble little tdawg4eva page! Tonight, I published my first post on's blogger section, Unscripted. It took me (no lie) like 3 hours to write 5 paragraphs, but it's a start.

Blogging, and the release it gives me, reminds me that no matter what I do, however down or dejected this business may make me feel, I am an artist and I need the release to give me balance in my life. Furthermore, in the giant shift that's about to occur on Friday, writing gives me hope for myself. If I can keep writing, if I can turn this experience into a story, into an adventure, I don't have to be scared.

So check out Unscripted under "Moving to Los Angeles." I'll be posting three times a week for the next two months, and this scrappy little bug of a blog won't be dying either. Now I can just talk more about my other passion: Loathing Sarah Palin.

Which reminds me! I submitted my short play "Paulette Rudd: Anyone Can Be Me!" to "23 Degrees of Sarah Palin" play festival in Los Angeles. Let's hope all my negative energy gets me some more work!

Aaand on Move News: I have started to tape boxes up, and finished my very last day of work. Josh is thinking about packing something into a bag and has started putting large quantities of music onto his ipod, which is equal to packing. I've started crying at random parts of the day, and doing too many loads of laundry. Randy has offered to teach me to juggle and to tap, and we have tentative plans to go surfing. Beth has agreed to be the recipient of my absentee ballot in CA. I've started having nightmares about driving, none of which involve Sarah Palin.

I love you,

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


1. How to fold a fitted sheet.
2. How to curl my hair.
3. How to apply stage makeup.
4. How to dive. And not the lame "Ducky Fall into the Water" Dive.
5. How to make a clover with my tongue.
6. How to whistle with my fingers.
7. How to snap.
8. How to surf.
9. How to ski.
10. How to grill. Anything.
11. How to play the piano.
12. How to not feel shame.
13. How to play the violin.
14. How to pray.
15. How to apply eye makeup.
16. How to fish.
17. How to jump double-dutch.
18. How to tap.
19. How to do a keg-stand.
20. How to juggle.

1. How to fall asleep.
2. How to cook pancakes.
3. How to measure balance using a hose.
4. How to wash the car.
5. How to mow a lawn.
6. How to do algebra.
7. How to help.
8. How to be polite.
9. How to swim.
10. How to parallel park.
11. How to take care of an apple tree thats fallen over.
12. How to make oatmeal.
13. How to put things together.
14. How to measure oil.
15. How to do my taxes.
16. How to ride a bike.
17. How to wash a dog.
18. How to get rid of a tick.
19. How to keep a fire going.
20. How to jump a car battery.

#20 was today. Everything else I've learned for myself.

Monday, September 22, 2008

How to Fit Your Life Into a Box:

Beats me.

I did just spend an hour with my dad, investigating my car, prodding the tires and fiddling with oil and gauges. Did I tell you I named her Tawanda Jane? Tawanda for the mischievous alter-ego in "Fried Green Tomatoes" and Jane for my great-aunt, whose car it is I've snatched as my own. I love her.

As I lovingly scrubbed the dirt off her sweet alabaster paint, the awareness sunk in that Tawanda Jane will be my real and true companion for this leg of my life. When Josh leaves to go back to Berkeley, whether I've found an apartment or not, it will be me and my car. I gently wiped the pine sap off her wheel well, and thought, "It's you and me, baby. You better not break down in New Mexico!" Ay carumba.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Countdown: 6 Days!!!

Yes, friends, we are now down to less than a week til Pennsylvania is given the big heave-ho in favor of palm trees and movie stars. And, happily, great things are happening in preparation!

1. Got my AAA card. Hot dog, now I can get towed across Texas for up to 200 miles!

2. Just as days are getting colder, boxes are filling up. My biggest problem is paring down the books. ("But I must have three copies of 'Letters to a Young Poet." I MUST!")

3. The big news, indeed! Starting this week, I'll be blogging for on their Unscripted page! You can check out my first columns under the category "From New York to LA." I'm so so excited about writing for them, and happy to be part of a whole host of talented artists on both coasts.

4. Many things are happening in this world. My favorite Pennsylvania regional theater, Theatre Horizon, had a wildly successful fundraiser gala last night, Wall Street has turned to a big pile of steaming poo, and I found a dollar in my pocket. Wa-HOO. I would love to talk more about it all, and maybe through a little jibe in there about the Lady of the Night, the big SP, but I won't, because I'm tired.

I bid you adieu, blogger, and will update soon...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I'm so confused

Last January, I paid $35 to meet with a cool hip young agent at One on One in New York. One on One is this actor business where you pay agents and casting directors to slightly pay attention to you for 7 minutes. Sometimes, someone will like you. Most times, you're out 40 bucks.

It was a really crappy New York night, pouring snow-rain and frigid. To quote my journal after the meeting, "I just sent a dud missile at him." Yeesh. It was terrible. I did, quite literally, everything wrong I ever possibly could have. He called me in the next day. I think the only reason is because, while wetly launching my spud of a acting career at him, I got really flustered and I just wouldn't shut up. Like, I could not shut my trap if you tied a weight to my upper lip. I just was babbling. He thought it was funny.

Regardless, he called me in. The commercial department said they wanted to freelance with me. They sent me an email to sent up my casting networks page. I never heard from them again. In a big sense, it's my failure completely. I sent them postcards, but never got up the guts to call them. I asked if I could ask him to submit for me, and he said no. I didn't know how to use them as my tool. And they, apparently, just forgot. Who knows? I take this as a lesson, and a warning.

And so, here I am, agentless again, but now...with this casting networks page! Actually, the NY Casting networks page just expired (that was a sad, sad reminder two months ago when I checked it to realize: yes, yes indeed they have forgotten about me. Aw.) but I weirdly have another free page on Now Casting. Where did that come from?! Did they sign me up for two pages? If I spend four hours setting it up, will it disappear next week when they realize I've been orphaned by my agent? Will my non-agent call me up when they realize I'm stealing, curse the day I was born into this world, and vow I'll never work again? Am I too dramatic?

Many questions, have I. Answers only to the last one: YES.

In other news, my nightmares about Sarah Palin have all come true! On that is! Check out page two, for yours truly's overactive political imagination.

Monday, September 15, 2008

11 Days and Countiiiiing...

I just typed a whole post about lists. It was a list of lists. THE List of Lists. And I erased it all. I think I have a list addiction. It's starting to hurt my relationships with others. (Picture Elizabeth Berkeley on uppers in the early nineties. "I'm so excited!!!! I'm so excited!!!! I'm so...scared." Where's Zack Morris when you need him?!)

Today is beautiful. Not too warm, like yesterday, just sunshiney and autumny and gorgeous. It's utterly incredible how my mood changes in good weather. I'm a beast in the rain. I think it makes me self-pitying. I need to get off this computer and get outside.

I'm planning my Christmas vacation. My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving, and I won't be coming home for it. When I was in college, I always was sick and exhausted by Thanksgiving, and I would undoubtedly be unable to come back till the night before. There were always scenes to do, and all the California kids had ditched New York days before. I would come home, and the grass would be frosty and the air would be sharp, and my home would be at the pinnacle of comfy. (My home is best at the holidays. Deep green holly decorations everywhere and oranges from Florida and chocolate overflowing bowls my mother has put on the Thanksgiving table for 35 years.) And for the first time in weeks, I would sleep deeply, in a squeaky old bed with my grandmother's quilts piled high, and I would know I had nothing to do for days except watch parades and eat. This year, it'll be warm outside. I'm not sure where I'll be breaking bread, or sleeping, or anything for that matter. But Christmas, I've decided I will be home for that. I'm afraid I'll be desperate for cold weather by late December.

I don't know why I've been in a overly serious mood lately. I would go five months without seeing my family when I lived in New York, so it's not like I've never done that before. I guess I'm just worried about the turkey.

11 days. I have to remember: I'm not dying. I don't have to do everything in the next week and a half. I should enjoy this afternoon. I wish the leaves had turned more colors by now, but wishes are like fishes. They don't make good pets.

Regardless of my doubts in my own strength, I am excited for this move. Today was the first time I've sat in my car, and sped up my street, and been really, truly excited for the morning I do so with my life packed in the back, and my boyfriend next to me, holding maps of California in his lap.

11 days, friends, and counting.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

On Layering

The past few days I have been in a fuuuuuuunky mood. Like, the funkiest of funks. Just crabby, and irrationally unwilling to cooperate, and stubborn, and wanting to be alone and needy and just all over funky. I didn't even want to be around me. And fine, Big Roadtrip bla bla bla Big Life Change bla bla moving away from everything I've ever known bla bleh. Fine! I get it!

So summed up my overexcited, overextended thoughts just abooooooout 2.5 seconds before I burst hysterically into tears. You would have thought a Capulet had just died, I was crying that hard. Flung out all over my bed, my nose spewing snotty liquids on my pillows, surrounded by the messy unorganized shitpile that make up my belongings. I tried to get a hold of myself, I did. I tried to breathe. I thought about God. Then I thought about what a brat I am. Then I quite literally thought, "I have nothing. NOOOOOTHING!!!!" Then I did a rundown on my life, in defense of my brattiness: no apartment, no roommate, no job, no life plans, no friends nearby, boyfriend far away, a little nest of money that will quickly be dispersed on gas, insurance, acting classes, and, please please, a deposit on an apartment. I HAVE NOTHING!!!!

Then I caught my breath, and sat down to the write this post. Then I started sobbing again. Oooooh the misery! Ooooh the suffering of the overwhelmed girl in a almost-quarter life crisis.

Then I walked into the kitchen, burbled something unintelligable to my mother, and burst into tears on my parents' shoulders, like the small child I am, and they proceeded to calm me down and reassure me I didn't have to move. Which was not what I wanted to hear. I don't not want to move. I do. I'm just not ready. Which is to say, I will never be ready. I'm driving myself off the fucking shoddy wall trying to prepare myself for every possible thing that could ever happen to me in LA. (Last night, I caught myself daydreaming about making a playlist on my ipod for every situation I might find myself: lonely, peppy, angry, feeling poor, feeling fat, feeling self-destructive, and then I imagined going up to the Apple genius bar saying, "Um, I think my low self esteem broke my ipod. It's still smoking, a little." At which point Bill Gates puts me in technology jail.) Do you ever just wish you could go to sleep for four months, and then wake up, and most of your problems are, if not totally solved, at least mildly unimportant? I just want to get through these next weeks and months, through the move, and the probably heinous apartment search, and the decorating, and the first shitty auditions, through my first Thanksgiving not at home, through Christmas which might ultimately suck, and then right through to 2009, when things, please please, will all be better. A (anxiety-ridden) girl can hope...

I apologize if this blog has become whiner central. I apologize to everyone if I've become lame. (Especially Josh.) I can't help it. I want to go, I can't stay here, that's for sure, but I can't go back, and I have no idea how to go forward. What's worse is that I feel like everyone I talk to, I put up this faux confidence and am all like, "Oh yeah, so I have no plans,'s all an adventure! If it works, great, if not, oh well! Ah ha! Ha ha ha cha cha!" Ugh.

I apologize. Again. This post needs to end.

In one of my favorite books of the Chroni(what)cles of Narnia, "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader," there is a scene where snotty cousin Eustace selfishly takes a golden bracelet from a dead dragon, transforming him into (what else)a dragon. His scaly arm swells, so he can't take off the bracelet, and he can't talk, and no one knows that he isn't a little British boy anymore. No one really cares anyway, he's so snotty. And then Aslan comes to him, and leads him to a beautiful garden (an Eden, you might say) where there is a beautiful pool. He dips himself in this steaming water, and his dragon skin starts to peel off. Layer after layer, he keeps ripping off these old shells of his old self, the dead scales and the meanness and self-absorption and the fears. But there's so much to it, he can't get it all. So Aslan jumps him, and digs his claws into his back, and just slashes the rest off. And then he's a boy again.

I guess I just want that. I want this move to be the slash.

Or maybe, it's just a move. And dragons and talking lions aren't involved at all.


Friday, September 12, 2008

Change: The Blog

This blog is about to Change.

As the wise and introspective Garth Algar said memorably in the 1992 film, Wayne's World, "We fear change."

I certainly resist it. My parents were always renovating something in the house I grew up in, and I would constantly be adding on to this list I had made of all the things that had been changed in the house since we moved in. The carpets, the back door, the new addition to the kitchen, the trees cut down. It might not have been better, but the past was always safer. I knew where I had been.

Not to say I don't yearn for it as much as anyone. (This is the only time I'll plug Obama in this post, I promise. OBAMA! Aaaand, if you find yourself captivated by Sarah Palin's speaking voice to the extent you aren't actually listening to her words, go here, my friends, whether you're a woman or not.) That's why I'm moving to LA: I want to change my career, my life. I want to change how I do business with myself, I want to work and be challenged, and I have lost that here in the Northeast. I'm moving because movement fosters change, big change, that's for freaking sure! I realized this morning that nothing in my life is going to be staying the same. Terrifying! Exciting.

Last night was the closing performance of my Fringe Play. Not our best performance, but to give an offering to the people of 9/11 on the anniversary was truly stunning for me. Regardless. What's notable here is that when I came out to greet my parents, they were talking to a woman who is the mother of one of my earliest childhood friends. (We'll call her Mrs. Lee.) She just happened to be there at the performance, and recognized me midway through the show. Huh. I immediately shut off. I could feel myself revolting against this situation. I haven't seen this woman in a decade. I haven't seen her daughter in just as long. They were never unkind to me (except that one time when I was 11 when they left me in a rainstorm alone after a softball game when she was supposed to drive me home. whatever. Tdawg don't carry grudges. Usually.) but the Lees represent this horrible feeling of judgement that comes from the awkwardness of growing up with ambitious and fiercely defensive people.

Mrs. Lee: "'re REALLY moving to LA?" *Concerned face*
Me: "Yeeeeees."
Mrs. Lee: "Oh." PAUSE. "But what are you going to DO there?" *Overly concerned face*
Me: "The same thing I did in New York. Work." At this point the conversation ended for me.

This is why actors feel embarassed to tell people what they do. If you're lucky, you get the "God-I-hope-you-get-famous-so-you-can-help-me-meet-Oprah" response, but more than likely you'll get the "You know, a lot of people TRY to be famous" or even better, my personal favorite "You know, that's a really hard job, don't you? Not everybody is like Lindsay Lohan, Teresa." Like I just want someone to take pictures of me while I get drunk. (Um, hello, I have friends for that.) And PS, they only use your name when it's utilized in a condescending manner. It's like, you are so small, I'm going to say your name like you are a preschooler, or a little dog weeing on the sham.

Why do people do this? Because they don't want you to change. They want you to be a weeing dog, in a nice neat little category: Small, Strange, Struggling Artist. Let's add successful to that list, people, because I am changing to succeed in my life. I refuse to stay little, or stay home, or stay unhappy because I'm afraid. It's not worth it, because, in the end, what am I afraid of?

Poverty? Check that off, I've already done the poor thing.
Rejection? Done that too, bitches.
Loneliness? Who isn't lonely? I won't be codependent because I'm scared to be alone.
Scammed? Robbed? Swindled? Well, I've already done 1/3 of those things. And we'll refer back to the first thing, which was poverty, so do your best, suckers!
Failure? Yes, well...I guess that's up to me to define that. And I don't think I'll ever feel like I've truly got everything I want so...I guess you could say I've already done that too!

In the end, there's nothing to be afraid of. Look what happened to Garth. He changed, and things sucked for a while, but in the end, he got a foxy lady. And so did Wayne. Change is good.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I'm a Celebrity! On Public Access!

What are you doing at 5:57 PM on Thursday September 11, 2008? Paying respects to our country? Saluting heroes? Going to see my show "9/11: A Day in the Life of a People?" No! Watching me be interviewed on "Vikings Come Home" on the Viking Channel? Yes, you are!

So today was my interview about (haha. hahaaaaaa!) my career with my high school french teacher in our township television channel studio. It was incredible. I laughed, I advised, I sang. Yes, that's right. After grilling me about every show I ever did 5th-12th grade and the grading system of NYU (what? I don't know, I just took the easy classes and some stage combat, sheesh)she ended the 63 minute long interview by asking me what advice I had for young people. (Deeeerrrrr...if there's anything else you could possibly do besides acting do that? Follow your bliss? Leaves of three let them be, leaves of four eat some more? Beats me! The best advice I ever got was, "You might want to stop eating so many of those sugar-free gummi bears, it'll give you the runs.") THEN she topped it off by asking me to sing something from "The Sound of Music." The show I did 9 years ago. When I was fifteen. Dear lord.

Anyhoo, I decided that instead of looking at this experience as mindnumbingly unentertaining to watch (I apologize to the residents of Montgomery County for my rant about vocal folds) or extraordinarily embarassing ("So why did you quit doing musical theater? I always wanted to ask you that.") I should look at this in a positive light. After talking for 63 long minutes about my struggling little career, gasping for breath like a baby fish on a sunny dock, what are my goals/dreams/aspirations? What am I most proud of? What do I wish I was doing better/more of/less of? Why can you be unequivocally untalented and still be successful?

You'll have to watch the interview.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

This one's for You.


Blogging is a difficult task, and, ultimately, as satisfying as it is, it does not solve any problems. Sometimes it makes things clearer, or releases some pent-up emotions. But fix things it does not. Like a diary, it will never respond to me. Or love me. It just accepts my bad typing. And then: bloop. Posted.

I feel like EVE in "Wall-E," when she blows up those oil tankers out of frustration, and sadness. "Where are the f*&cking plants?!!" Little does she know...beep beep beep beep! Love is right behind that garbage heap!

So. I musn't just use my blog to blow things up. I must use it for good.

So here's what I'm ending with tonight: 9/11 Play in State College went well overall. Today was the best performance yet, and I'm so glad to have gotten this opportunity. Besides the acting itself, I love my Super Director and my castmates, and, going further, I've realized some important things about myself. This is the most intense play I've ever done. Mostly because we as Americans have open wounds we carefully placed band-aids over, and I just realized mine are barely pusing over. I'm scared of dying. I'm terrified of my loved ones dying. I'm terrified of painful deaths, and of painful choices. This whole weekend I've felt nauseaus and ill during the shows. This is a true challenge, and for the first time, I feel real stage fright knowing I have to go onstage to die. One more on Thursday, on the day itself.


On the upside, I'm being interviewed Tuesday for my local cable access channel by my high school French teacher about my career. HAHAHAAAAAAAAA!!!! HAA!!!!


Oh God. Even the oil tankers are laughing.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Oh Poo, Tears Again.

I finally added that last post 7 hours after I wrote it (faulty coffee shop wi-fi, damn you!) and now I'm on to a new one before I conk out. Tdawg is ti-ti, ladies and gentlemen. (As in rhymes with "mai-tai", no dirty thoughts just because I'm in frat land.) Translation: I'M TIRED.

This freaking show gets me in a new way every time. Tonight I had a full on freak out after my last speech in the first act, right before I die. I went offstage, and my hands and legs were tingling, and then lost feeling, then I got dizzy so I got down on the floor in Child's Pose while tears just started streaming out. I don't know what specifically will set me off sometimes more than others in this show. Tonight I definitely lost some breath when the actor who plays the farmer (a dear, sweet man named Lloyd who was a Jesuit priest 1960-69, and then dropped out and had four kids, all of whom go to Penn State) talked about the plane that crashed into Pennsylvania, and how people were calling their loved ones to tell them what they were trying to do. How they were trying to save some people on the ground. More on that in a paragraph...

Usually, I always leak a tear or two when the waiter does his second speech about having to choose between the window or the fire in Tower One, and how when he got up that morning he never thought he'd be thinking of suicide. At that point, they flash this absolutely horrifying slide behind us of a man freefalling out of the Twin Towers. His arms and legs are splayed in the air as the pressure pins his body against gravity. But tonight, I just couldn't get my breath back. And then I have to get up and speak, alone, to this audience I can barely see past the blinding lights, and jump off a building myself as I tell them about mangled and charred body parts on Church Street, and then describe looking up at the sky while a skyscraper topples down. That's it. That's my death scene. I walk off, and everyone keeps talking, and I just lose it. I lose my shit, alone, backstage.

So. I do have some idea why the farmer got to me. Yesterday afternoon, right before I left Philly to come here, I had a discussion with my mother about the movie "United 93," and how she thought it was great, and how I had zero interest in seeing it. Truly, I have not had one desire to watch that movie. So then she says to me, "Oh, but there is this one part, where this young, 22 year old girl calls her mother and says she doesn't think she'll make it, and her mother just says, 'Just stay on the phone with me,' and she stays there, talking to her daughter, watching out the window at the children playing outside." And my mother and I just stared at each other for a second, and I think the meaning of that hit both of us. Ugh, I'm crying right now. In one sense, that's amazing, because she could be there for her daughter when she was facing her own death. But then I think, that woman had to listen, and then be there when the phone went dead, and then had to keep breathing and living after that. How do you go through something like that? How do you listen to your child die? I'm not sure who I'm weeping for, me or that girl. Or her mother.

What's interesting about this show is how it has rocked my world in such unexpected ways. I had no idea I had such a well of emotion thinking of death, mine, or my loved ones, or thinking about my country, about war and children and the future and the clear lineage of 9/11, about our connection as human beings. By far, what's been shocking to me is how difficult it is as a performer to keep doing your job when you are terrified on stage. These are issues I buried so deep inside me, I didn't know they existed. Once I get onstage and my buttnaked emotions flash themselves like sunfish with machetes for fins, I have these full-on flip-out sessions once I exit. Because when I'm onstage, I can barely hold it together. Fine, I know that my good old acting teachers would be like, "That's what's interesting, Teresa. Act THAT." Bullshit. I'm trying to act that, but there are sunfish everywhere! With MACHETE-FINS!!!I wonder how anyone could do a run like this long-term. I don't know if I could. I guess I'd have to get some therapy first.

One final thought. My senior year, I did a NYU School of Ed production of "I Never Saw Another Butterfly." It's based on the true story of one of the few survivors of a children's concentration camp outside of Prague. Similar writing style to 9/11 Fringe Play. I could not eke out a tear for the life of me in that show. I couldn't get involved. I did research. I assigned sad songs to scenes. I analyzed and over-analyzed. I did movement exercises. I painted watercolor word-associations. NOTHING. But for this...I couldn't stop the overflow of pain and fear if I wanted to. Maybe it's because "Butterfly" issues were never my fears, and jumping out of buildings and loving my mother so much I can't deal with it are. (PS I'm crying AGAIN.) I've never been persecuted. My childhood was happy, and safe. There is so much suffering in this world, but, as an actor, I don't know how to talk about them all yet.

From Beaver Ave, On Banning Books

Saturday brings me to the aptly (and/or ironically) named Happy Valley to perform the 9/11 Fringe Play for two nights in the heart of Penn State's campus. Unfortunately, it's also a game weekend here, so...attendance for our little show shall be low. Hrm. We actually drove in late last night, and at every stop sign our van was swarmed with scantily dressed undergrads prepping to get sloshed, make out, and watch some football. It's so interesting to me, since my college experience at NYU consisted of going to red wine parties in lofts and stalking Rufus Wainwright's East Village neighborhood. The only rushing I did was to see "Wicked" on a Tuesday night. (PS um, who knew frat houses are palaces?!)

The upside of this experience is that A) I've never been to Penn State before B) I've never been to a frat town on a game weekend B) we're performing in a pretty theater. It's newly renovated, with beautiful new dressing rooms, gorgeous seats, and a really sweet little stage. Plus, they put up signs everywhere for us: "Welcome 9/11 Play!" I'm not kidding. So sweet. It's been very fun so far.

So what if no one will be in the audience tonight? Just because this is a play about real people, does that mean a whole truckload of real people need to witness it? Or, in this particular case, as it is a quasi-workshop, is this particular performance just a step in the play's longer life, not necessitating a large reception? It brings me to my old wondering about whether great art is measured by its audience. Just because Sean Penn was seen on millions of giant movie screens flipping his shit in "Mystic River," does that make his performance any better than a 17 year old flipping his shit in his college acting class, seen by 10 other people? Some of the best acting I've ever done was in my bedroom, reciting Antigone soliliquoys to the darkness. ("O Thebes! My own flesh and blood—dear sister, dear Ismene!") Furthermore, my Super Director doesn't seem to be too worried about the turnout. I get this sense from him that whoever is meant to see it will be there. Which is beautiful. But, maybe not practical? I guess it comes down to whether you believe the art is about the audience or about the acting. Or the money.

Speaking of Super Director, he and his wonderful wife/co-producer cooked us this amazing feast for lunch, before they ran off to the game. (I find this hilarious. This town is craaaaazy! I'm slightly jealous. I wish sometimes I'd gone to a football school. Then I realized I just want to be in "The Prince & Me." Then I realized I just want to be Julia Stiles. Then I realized I just miss Heath Ledger.) And all over their walls were framed posters of all of the shows they've produced, directed, performed in. Next to those pictures were the pictures of their children, their friends, people important to their heritage, They are such loving, open, honest people. Maybe our show is about none of the things I thought it was about. Or all of them, actually. It's about the people who happen to be in the dark, and the people who happen to be in the light, and a common story we all share. We do, actually. We all end up thinking, "Where was I on September 11th? What am I scared of? Would I pick the fire or the window? Would I go in to save strangers or would I run run away?" It's definitely not about money. Heath would have liked it, I think.

A few more hours til call...I think I'll do some work on Roadtrip 2008. Plans are being planned, my friends! Twenty more days. I think I'll leave you with a link to Anne Kilkenny's words about her neighbor Sarah Palin. Just click on the quote below, spoken with dignity in grace by your favorite and mine, Sean Connery, as the wise and true Professor Henry Jones in "Indiana Jones: The Last Crusade."

Yours in Happy Valley,

Teresa Claire

Professor Henry Jones: It tells me, that goose-stepping morons like yourself should try *reading* books instead of *burning* them!

Friday, September 5, 2008

I Poke you with my Leadership Stick! (ow.)

I've been debating whether or not I should tone down my political rants on this blog, as it is primarily in existence to reflect Acting Career. (Said in snooty faux-Brit voice. Ah, yes. Ah-cting!)Because, what I really want to do right now is explode with frustration and disappointment over three days of watching Republicans talk me down, pick apart my needs and desires for my country, and insult my femininity by parading around a woman who has experience assembling molecules into babies and is familiar with the workings of Ebay and wishes good lives for embryos but not Islamists. Right, toning down the rants... Am I too angry? Am I not utlizing this space for my art?

And then I read (of course, my well of inspiration) Ming Ming on, and here's what the lady said:

" lucky we are to do what we do and live where we live. Of course everything's got pros and cons, and certainly our road is not the easiest one to travel. But anyone who's able to identify something that excites them and actually do it is a lucky bastard. The trick is staying excited and continuing to find opportunities to actually do it of course. In any case, regardless of what anyone does, if they are able to find joy in the present no matter what or where or with whom, they are pretty blessed...Having no idea how many people actually read this thing, or how many people can actually stand reading mine, if you're still there, Dear Reader, at the risk of sounding fruity or cheesy or gooey or sticky like coconut rice, know that you and only you determine your worth and your value. It's got nothing to do with getting an agent, scoring an audition, or booking a job. I believe that as soon as you figure out exactly why you are pursuing what you are pursuing and genuinely feel good about that, and you realize that everything about you as you are right now in this very moment is absolutely perfect and as it should be, it'll straighten out your confidence and that's the single most important thing to get you where you want to go...Now I could continue going off on random tangents. Or I could get back to working on my ridiculously long sides. Or I could take a photo of McCain and Palin and draw devil horns and goatees on their faces and pray to the Lord Almighty that the good people of our country are intelligent enough to see that they are useless, ignorant, lying hand puppets.

All good things I needed to read! Sure, I may not have a job right now. Sure, I may be terrified of my life in one month, but I'm also terrified of my country in two. What if we lose again? I believe in America because I believe that there must be a place where safety exists among chaos, where choices are fair and equal, where people actually have the freedom to protect themselves and their children, and where we all have the opportunity to work as hard as we choose. I don't think we can do that on our own, I think we need a government to help guide us, because large groups of people are stupid, scared, and mean. Just like small groups of people. Or just people. Which is why it is forever frustrating to meet people who do not VOTE. Every single thing the candidates talk about in their rounds of the USA are meaningful and relevant to me. And to you. Yes, you, silly!

Maybe why I'm fixating on government and politics here is because I tend to feel there is no rhyme or reason to the acting business. You can work and work and be talented up the butt, but if you're not at the right place at the right time, if you're not exactly in the right light with the right people and happen upon some magic showbiz fairy dust, you might get nowhere. There are no rules, there are no bylaws or protective codes. Sure, in the unions maybe, but you have to sell your soul just to have basic basic human rights as an actor! I have endlessly talented friends, but all of us get passed over at some time or another for some uglier, stupider person. Kind of like the past 2 national elections...And this time, goddamnit, I want my candidate to be cast! Because he's right for it, he's so good for this job, and we need him! (I hesitate to go further, because I don't want any more "he's a celebrity" fodder, and I'm sure every political news site will be looking at my blog for quotes.)

Regardless. I move to LA in 21 days. That's like saying, "There's a tax cutter on the loose! It's JOHN MCCAIN!!!!" IE I'm scared. (Because he's not really going to cut our taxes, people...Be forewarned!)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


To celebrate my first (and overdue) conference call with Josh to plan our Roadtrip to LA 2008, please enjoy some YouTube loving.


Monday, September 1, 2008


Okay. Try not to get too excited. But I just found Wil Wheaton's blog.

Wil Wheaton says, "Don't be a dick."

That's right, Trekkers and Geekies! WESLEY CRUSHER! Speaking of crushe(r)s, that little man-child had a maroon saddlepant license on my heart. For serious, what could be hotter than making out with a teenage genius in outer space?! NOTHING. Let's get trashed in Ten-Forward and warp drive to my intergalactic fantasy, Number One!

He even has a little FAQ's section for aspiring actors:

I want to be an actor. Do you have any advice?
My immediate advice is: study, study, study. Read the classic plays and see the great movies. And for the love of Bob, study! And read Backstage. Get yourself into some sort of acting program or workshop. Just avoid anything that tells you they'll give you a free book by L.Ron Hubbard. It's a scheme to recruit you into Scientology.

Done, Ensign Crusher. I was thinking about joining up, see if L. Ron could boost the old Tdawgydawg's star status, but you are the captain of my career, the Worf to my Tasha Yar.

Ah. In other news, I love Backstage bloggers. It's like they read my mind. Stacey Jackson is one of my favorites to read, and she's adorable to boot. I want to steal her wardrobe. Read all about the things she should have done when she moved to LA here: Things I Wish I'd Done.

Okay. I now have to go simmer down and watch the GOP convention and then get all riled up again. Oh man. Oh man oh man!