Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Unemployment: Day 236 in Business Days; Day 317 in Human Days

It's been 7 hours and 317 days...since they took my job away.

People of the intarwebs! I need your help! Yet again!

The two cats in my deluxe apartment in the sky are driving me insane. This morning at 5am I abruptly and terrifyingly woke up to one of the little feline demons perched right next to my head on the bed. I swear to Bono (and rarely do I ever take Bono's name in vain), but I swear to Bono, I feel like I'm living in that awful Stephen King movie, "Sleepwalkers." Remember that movie?! For those of you that don't, here's an abbreviated synopsis that I condensed from various, dependable sources. (Okay, fine. This is merely a mash-up of a few different summaries written by trusted film critis.) (Okay, fine, again. They're only film critics in the sense that they watch movies and then pompously write synopsises on IMBD -- an obvious and pathetic attempt on their parts to sound and feel important.) People who write things online for no real reason other than to have random people online read them are so full of themselves. Sheesh, stop being so self-important and get a life. And a job. And then give me a job.

So, according to IMBD and me, here is what "Sleepwalkers" was all about. I've taken the liberty of bolding pertinent words and phrases...

Charles Brady and his mother Mary move to a small town. They are Sleepwalkers - "Nomadic shape shifting creatures with human and feline origins. The Sleepwalker feeds upon the life-force of virginal human females. Probable source of vampire legend" - according to the Chillicoathe Encyclopedia of Arcane Knowledge, 1st edition, 1884. They can change their appearance and often appear as cats. This is the modern-day tale of vampires cats who prey on virtuous young women. Tanya is a sexually curious virgin who falls for the new boy in school - Charles - only to learn too late that he's a life-sucking Sleepwalker. Mutating at will from golden boy to savage feline monster, he stalks Tanya to feed his seductive, cat monster mother.

See? My situation is exactly like Sleepwalkers! Here are the obvious connections that you might have missed:
  • "virginal young woman" = Me (obvi)

  • "seductive cat monster mother" = my 62 year old fairy godmother/hostess

  • Tux and Harmony, the kitties = SLEEPWALKERS, doing the bidding of my fairy godmother (obvi)

So here's where you, the people of the interwebs, come in. I need your help in suggesting what I can do to make these cats stay the frak away from me. And don't just tell me to get a door. Obviously a door would be ideal, but we need to work within a world that has no door...no barriers. The focus of your suggestions should be things that will keep the cats away without harming me, the cats, or the castle. Also, the cat curbing must be discreet. I can't make my Fairy Godmother aware of the fact that I know that she's a cat monster.

So please, suggest away. I'm tired. And scared. And virginal. And as the "Sleepwalkers" movie poster so accurately predicts, the Sleepwalkers are feasting on my fear. And it's dinner time.

Help! Don't let this guy eat my face!

Monday, November 16, 2009

My CinderHELLa. Plus, Skunk Funk: Debunked!

Unemployment: Day 235 in Business Days; Day 316 in Human Days

It's been 7 hours and 316 days...since they took my job away.

Over the Throg's Neck and through the hood, FROM grandmother's house I go! Or shall I say...flee!!! It's been one week since I was kicked out of my grandmother's house by my wickedly insensitive and self-centered uncles. This latest family drama feels like something out of a Brothers Grimm fairy tale that has yet to be simplified into sweeter bites more digestible for little American children. I don't remember Little Red Riding Hood having to call the po-po's. Here's hoping that in the end of my tale I'll find a job and a prince and get to live in a castle in Brooklyn and eat brie every day without ever getting a muffin top. What? A girl can dream. No "content middles" allowed! Only the happiest of happy endings is acceptable for this modern principessa!

The saddest part about this whole mess is how my grandmother, an 84-year old woman experiencing the beginnings of Alzheimer's, is being manipulated by two big bad wolves and forced to act like the wicked witch of the east Bronx. I was in shock the day following the mayhem when my grandmother asked a family member where I was and wanted to know when I was going to come home. She simply did not remember anything of the day before. She did not remember that she was force-fed a poison apple which transformed her into a raving lunatic who throws family out onto the street. It was like an evil spell had been cast upon her. But I digress.

I've spent the past week recuperating, regrouping and remaining calm despite my most recent upheaval. Many concerned people have written to me and offered all sorts of housing options and support. Thank you to everyone. No castles or glass slippers as of yet, but the offers of drinks and manicures and couches to get some beauty sleep have been greatly appreciated. I would like to report that I am now well-rested, well-liquored, and sporting well-polished nails in the color "material girl." Cause we are living in a material world. And experience is making me rich, baby.

My life is imitating art, and in true fairy tale fashion, I have been blessed with my very own fairy godmother. My father and stepmother (not of the wicked varietal) have a dear friend who lives in their building in Battery Park City. She joined us for dinner the night of the mayhem. Upon hearing my tragic tale, she looked across the table at me, waved of her magic wand and insisted that I stay with her in her four-bedroom, four-bathroom, deluxe castle apartment in the sky. Where she lives...ALONE. Hot damn! - I've finally got a piece of the pie!

But every silver lining's got a touch of grey, as Jerry says, and this lining is no exception. My newly-acquired mansion of an abode comes equipped with two cats. My zip code may have changed, but my allergies and general disdain for animals have not. I'm just not the kind of princess that likes to hang with the furries. The furry touch of grey's names are Tucks and Harmony. Achoo! In addition to giving me the sniffles, these little critters also like to find their way into my room (which doesn't exactly have a door) all through the night and pounce on me while I (attempt to) sleep. I would ask my fairy godmother to wave her wand and make her precious kitties disappear, but I don't want to insult my hostess. I haven't even told her that I'm allergic to her beasts. A magical solution I've concocted consisting of a children's gate and a screen is in the works, but until it's in place, I won't be my regular sleeping beauty self.

During my many waking hours, I've been thinking this past week of all the things, good and bad, that I've left behind in my CinderHELLa Bronx life. One of the first that pops to mind is the fear that at any turn, I will be attacked once again by a skunk. Those of you who have yet to hear this stinky hilarious tale can read it here. But Manhattaners beware!! According to a recent NY Times article sent to me by my friend Mo, the skunks of da Bronx (which are actually quite widespread - who knew?!) are migrating south into Manhattan via the railroad bridge that crosses from da Bronx to Manhattan at Spuyten Duyvil. Yes, that's right. Bronx skunks are invading Manhattan. Fingers crossed that my skunk punk from da Bronx didn't follow me over the Throg's Neck and through the hood of Harlem from grandmother's house, down the FDR, all the way into the pristine kingdom that is Battery Park City! Cats might abound here, but I've a sneaking suspicion that skunks would not be welcome in this animal kingdom. Oh my goodness -- I just had a horrible thought....What if my skunk snuck under my dad's car, held onto the tail pipe, and made its way into Manhattan directly underneath us...Cape Fear style!!! I can just hear that Deniro skunk now: "Barri, come out, come out, wherever you are!" Mental Note!: Call dad and have him check underneath the Prius!

On a sidenote, I find it utterly hilarious that in recent days, all of the google ads on this here blog are for skunk smell remedies. I suppose there are more embarrassing products than Magic-Zymes or Hunt's tomato paste that could appear on the ad bar of my blog. But why can't the ads be for ANYTHING else I've ever written about?! Like maybe, I dunno, U2 tickets on sale this week. Or fanny packs at American Apparel. But no. The logorithms of the google ad machine think that I am, along with my readers...smelly. Well fine. Advertise what you will. But don't count on getting an invitation to the ball!

Jobless City Challenge: Summon urban fairy godmother and find yet another free place to stay while I reinvent myself. Just like Madonna. And Cinderella.

Money Saved: Well, now that I don't have to ride that silly express bus pumpkin carriage from da Bronx (which conveniently stopped running every night at midnight), I estimate that I'm saving myself about $150 a month. Which I will promptly go blow on the latest in glass slipper fashions. Hey, a modern day princess can't wait around for no stinkin prince to bring her shoes.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Am I a ZERO?

Unemployment: Day 230 in Business Days; Day 309 in Human Days

It's been 7 hours and 309 days...since they took my job away.

People of the interwebs! I need your help in answering a pertinent question!

Am I a ZERO??? I'll explain...

I have not written here in many moons. My lapse is for many reasons. Mainly it's because I've started doing this really time-consuming and horribly boring thing. You may have heard of it. It's called "working." No no, don't
worry, I don't have to change the title of this blog. I'm still officially unemployed and fabulous. But this past month or two I've picked up some promo and temp work that's kept me pretty busy. Setting an alarm for 6am every morning has been a royal pain in the ass. I would say that it was well worth it for the money, but see, I haven't even gotten paid yet for any of these jobs. Which has made finances a little tight since I haven't been able to collect unemployment while "working." I haven't even been paid for a job I did back in the beginning of September. It was a promo job for PowerAde Zero, a new Powerade product that has zero calories. I actually had to wear a t-shirt that said ZERO on it for an entire week. It's lovely the way wearing a t-shirt that says ZERO in large letters actually makes you feel like a zero. (You see where this is going?)

I know what you're thinking. How could I so quickly feel like a ZERO after spending my summer being such a superstar Fringe hero. I should still be basking in the glow of that experience, the amazing reviews, and the massive accomplishment of producing my play on a NYC stage. But having no money and no job and four large block letters on your chest -- Z-E-R-O -- can send you descending down the HERO to ZERO well in zero seconds flat.

But I'm strong like bull. The past year has thickened my already tough skin. It takes more than unemployment, no money and wearing a silly little shirt to make me feel so less than. So just for kicks, I'll share with you the other factors that are making me feel like such a nonentity. What miserable fun!

No Money. I know, I already said I have no money. But not having enough money for a manicure is so sad that it must be mentioned again. And you know I love my manicures! = I'm a ZERO

Sorta still pining over ex-boyfriend, Do Wrong, who has clearly moved on = I'm a ZERO

Discovering that the Artist Formerly Known as My Husband left me for a short lesbian** = I'm a ZERO

And the coup de graces -- Being thrown out onto the street by my own grandmother. Seriously. This past weekend, my own grandmother kicked me out of her house. She was bullied into it by my two evil uncles, and it was for reasons that have nothing to do with me, but regardless, she kicked me out. Me. Her own granddaughter. In true ghetto Bronx style, the cops even had to be called. It was horrible. = I'm a ZERO

Luckily, I'm surrounded by amazing people who helped me flee da Bronx, people who opened their home to me and people who are just simply there for me. One of these people is a new friend who lives halfway across the world in South Korea. (Stay tuned for details of my upcoming South Korea adventure!) After hearing about my ghetto weekend from Bronx hell, he offered some wise words for me to think on:

"The sun literally never sets on the people who care about you and are pulling for ya."

So am I a ZERO? I think I've answered my own question. But feel free to leave comments about how awesome you think I am. My cake could still use the icing right now.

**I have nothing against short people or lesbians. One of my best friends is a short lesbian. I do have something against being left for a short lesbian. Just doesn't sit right with me. It's funny, cause I found out after my marriage ended that some people in my family always thought that The Artist Formerly Known as My Husband was gay. I don't think he's gay. But this whole situation has got me thinking...Which is worse? To be left because your significant other is gay, or to be left because your significant other would rather be with someone who's gay? Either way, I say oy vey.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Pup Crawl: Free & Furry!

Unemployment: Day 191 in Business Days; Day 262 in Human Days

It's been 7 hours and 262 days...since they took my job away.

To all you unemployeds and employeds out there: Here's a fantastic and free way to spend this Saturday evening. The First Annual Brooklyn Bridge Pup Crawl.

This Saturday, September 26th, the first annual pup crawl takes place along the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City. Take in the Manhattan Skyline (free) and the Statue of Liberty (also free) as you and your beloved pooch enjoy a moonlit stroll (free!). Prior to the walk, your pup will receive a stylish illuminated dog leash to keep visible and to light up the night, drawing attention to the cause. (free! woof!)

The evening will include refreshments for you and your pooch (free!), as well as a special doggie bag with treats (freaking free!) to say thanks for helping to feed other pets in need. If you're unemployed and broke like me, you can eat the dog food in the doggie bag. I'm gonna pour it in a bowl with some free tap water and pretend it's a bowl of frosted mini wheats...mmmm...mini wheats...what people with jobs eat...

The Pup Crawl is donation-based and proceeds provide food to animal shelters across the country. So if you're still gainfully employed, it's a great cause for some of your hard earned.

Don't forget to register! See you at the crawl!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Unemployed & Fabulous: The Movie!...(sorta)

Unemployment: Day 176 in Business Days; Day 243 in Human Days

It's been 7 hours and 243 days...since they took my job away.

On August 22, I performed a matinee of "I Will Follow" and then ran up to Gotham City Improv to perform in their storytelling series called "Mindfields" that evening. Doing two shows in one day felt amazing. It made me feel like a bona fide actress, creator-y person. It was glorious.

Lucky for you, there's video of me reading my story in "Mindfields." If you've been reading this here blog since the beginning, you may recognize it. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Skunk Update

Unemployment: Day 163 in Business Days: Day 224 in Human Days

It's been 7 hours and 224 days...since they took my job away.

Since last night's skunk incident, I have received many personal messages with various home remedies, the most common one being a bath of tomato sauce. Thank you to all who wrote in to help fix my funk.

I would love nothing more than to take a bath of tomato sauce in 95 degree weather. Seriously. I can think of nothing better right now than simmering like a spicy Italian sausage in a vat of tomato juices until I'm good enough to eat. Or at least deodorized enough to sit on the BXM9 without making every passenger vomit like a scene out of "Monty Python's The Meaning of Life" or "Stand By Me."

But here's one of the great downfalls of grandma's house: There is no bathtub. It was removed a few years back so that the old folks here could get in and out of the shower more easily. So I have no way to take a bath, in tomato sauce or otherwise. But from the smell a me, I clearly had to do something. And the overwhelming responses all seemed to call for tomato sauce. And so...earlier this afternoon...with G-ma in the next room watching TCM...I opened 10 cans of tomato sauce...carefully carried them two by two to the bathroom...peeled off my stinky tank top and shorts...stepped into the shower...said ah what the hell...and proceeded to baste myself like a pork chop. I layered tomato sauce on my shoulders and my arms. I dripped it down my back. I rubbed it into my belly and thighs and watched it stream down my calves. I slapped a handful onto my ass, laughing, wondering if a scene like this exists in some porno out there. It must. "EveryWAY Italian" with Giada de Whore-entis.

I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and worked that tomato sauce into my hair. Somewhere in Soho, my hair stylist, Rick, was just overcome by an unexplained feeling of dread. Sorry, Rick. I worked it into my scalp good as the acidic liquids leaked into my ears. I gently massaged it onto my face and neck. Even with my lips tightly pursed, I could taste the tomatoes sneaking in through the cracks. I imagined my pores opening wider and wider, allowing the raw sauce to seep into my skin, into my insides, into the depths of my very soul.

I was entirely immersed. 30 seconds passed. A minute. Three minutes. How long am I supposed to stay like this?

I realized that nowhere, in any of the many recommendations, did anyone mention how long it takes for tomato sauce to work its magic on stinky skin. In the heat of the tiny bathroom, the sauce slowly hardened to a paste. I could feel myself sweating underneath it, becoming faint. How long had it been now? Only minutes?? Or hours??? What if when I try to move my body, I can't? What if I become encased in tomato sauce, destined to be stuck under its red shell for the rest of my life? Like a Greek myth, what if I've been banished by this Medusa Skunk to an eternity of standing in my grandma's shower in da Bronx, a marinara stone where once my body stood?! My soul still alive inside?!! In a hundred years they'll sprinkle parmesan on me and not even remember why!!! I can't let this happen! I must reclaim my own fate! I found my tongue in my mouth and licked my tomato-y lips. My right hand received the message from my brain and broke free, sending crusty pieces of tomato to the shower floor in its wake. I summoned the powers of Hera, Athena, Artemis, Starbuck and Giada, and pushed that hand toward the faucet. I turned on the water and used its rushing stream to release the broth drying on me. To release my soul.

And hopefully...to release the skunk.

Since my marinara encasing, I seem to be smelling sweeter. So stick a fork in me -- I think I'm done. But does anyone have any recommendations on how to get skunk smell off of an Italian leather bag?


Unemployment: Day 163 in Business Days: Day 224 in Human Days

It's been 7 hours and 224 days...since they took my job away.

There are fucking skunks in da Bronx! You wanna know how I know? You wanna fucking know how I know?! Tonight, during my usual, shitty-ass, three-quarter-mile walk from the bus stop to my grandma's house in Throg's Neck, something very unusual happened. I turned the corner by a tiny wooded area, I heard a rustling in the bushes, and I was barely able to register the two glowing eyes fixed on me before I heard a mother skunking hissing noise and felt a spray down the right side of my body. HAIR AND FACE INCLUDED! The urban girl in me instinctively first thought I was the lucky recipient of some air conditioner "rain" from a window above. But quickly I remembered my present surroundings and realized there was no way it was air conditioner rain. I was nowhere near an air conditioner. Or a building. And that's when I smelled it.


The remaining half-mile walk was excruciating. The reek of my own skin made me gag every few steps. Oh the retching! The wretched retching!

I've been in the shower for the past hour and I still smell like Pepe Le Pew. I'm typing this wearing rubber gloves so that I don't stink up my precious mac. I don't know how I'm going to sleep like this. And there's nothing in G-ma's house to take the edge off. I'll have to settle for a xanax chased with a shot of Ouzo. If my life weren't so freaking awesome these days (see iwillfollowtheplay.com), then it would really suck right about now. Instead it just stinks.

And I was wearing one of my favorite blue dresses. Will I have to throw my dress away? Will I have to throw MYSELF away?

Help me. I beg of you, please help me. Stop laughing at me for a brief moment and please tell me how to make this fucking funk get off me.

And then buy tickets to my play, "I WILL FOLLOW" so that I can make some money and move out of this stinking borough. Here! By them HERE! And stop laughing at me!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

My Show is Cast!

Unemployment: Day 139 in Business Days: Day 191 in Human Days

It's been 7 hours and 191 days...since they took my job away.

My baby, "I WILL FOLLOW," is finally cast!  We had some incredibly difficult choices to make.  Over 500 actors and actresses answered our listing in Backstage.  We saw 55 of them, a few of whom were close friends to either me, the Director or our Producer.  In the end you choose the people best for the part.  You have to.  But that's not always an easy thing to do and inevitably, feelings got hurt.  This first foray into my own professional production has already taught me important lessons about staying professional at all times and keeping friendships away from my business.  Lesson learned.  But enough about me.  Meet the incredible cast of "I WILL FOLLOW!"

JOHN KEABLER - An amazing actor who nailed an Irish accent with his repertoire of limericks during auditions. John is ready to take on the role of 'Bono-God' along with the barrage of other male roles in the play.  And he's easy on the eyes, ladies.

MELISSA CENTER - A hilarious lady who has worked in many previous productions directed by our very own Steve
Wargo. She impressed us with her improv skills and chameleon-like ability to become all the different ladies in the play.  And she's easy on the eyes.

TSAVARIS - A sun beam of hilarity who is perfect to take on the role of 'Barri.'  Her understanding of the character is uncanny.  I mean, it's almost like it was written just for her. And easy on the eyes is the grossest of understatements when it comes to this living rainbow.

Full bios can be read at www.iwillfollowtheplay.com.  Donations can be made there too, hint hint.  Even five bucks will help.

In the past two weeks we've also managed to hire a Scenic Designer, a Sound Designer, a Costume Designer, a Stage Manager, a Publicity Photographer, a delightful Production Assistant, and a Promotions Designer over in Mississippi who is going to fly in for the show and may actually be crazier for U2 than me.  Hot damn!  And of course there's my amazing Producer, Director, PR Rep and Web Designer who have been with me since early June.  I am honored to be working alongside so many talented people; humbled that they are all donating their precious time to me and a play that they too now believe in; thrilled to be steering this ship -- this is what I'm meant to be doing; and excited for the work ahead of us these next 6 weeks.

Speaking of work, that's exactly what this feels like.  A job.  I spend most of my waking hours on this show.  I work at it.  Hard.  And it is not always fun and easy.  It is not a hobby, like some people in my personal world might think.  This is my work.  My job.  And hopefully, sometime in the very near future, all of this work will catapult me from my status of "Unemployed and Fabulous" to "Self-Employed and Still Freaking Fabulous."  

Alright, time for me to get back to work.  This ship ain't gonna steer itself.    

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

An Open Letter to the Weather

Unemployment: Day in 124 Business Days;  Day 170 in Human Days

It's been 7 hours and 170 days...since they took my job away.

Dear Weather,

Please stop being such a douche bag.  It is entirely unbecoming of you.  Your mixed messages have lost their thrilling appeal.  All you do is take take take, with your self-absorbed, endless precipitation.  We are sick and tired of you making us all wet, and not even in the sexy way.


The Citizens of NYC  

Monday, June 22, 2009

Please Stop Loving Me

Unemployment: Day 122 in Business Days; Day 168 in Human Days

It's been 7 hours and 168 days...since they took my job away.

Hallo Intarwebs!  I miss ya!

Most of my time these days is spent getting ready for my play's run in FringeNYC, which is only two months away.  Crazy!  In the past two weeks we held our first reading, hired the amazing Steve Wargo to direct, drafted our web site (which will be launched any moment now!), and got our venue assignment - The Actors' Playhouse - just to name a few happenings!

Yet somehow, amidst all the fringe insanity, I'm still managing to date.  Oy vey.

I went on a date tonight with a very nice fella.  We got a drink and immediately I was my charming self, as always.  But after one beer and barely an hour, he said he was tired and cut the date short.  Wait...what?

I'm not used to this sort of rejection.  You see, most men fall madly in love with me and can't get enough of what I like to call the Barri-nator (she said nonchalantly with a flip of her curls).  

What was it that turned this guy off?  Was it when I told him that I live at my grandma's house?  In da Bronx?  Was it the whole not-working-living-off-Uncle-Sam thing?  Was it my engaging, albeit slightly winded, tales of U2 concerts past and the times I met the band?  Was it when I admitted that I might still be with my ex-boyfriend if he hadn't left the state?  (Dating Demerit to my date for even asking about my exes on a first date.)  I mean, I'm just such a gosh darn f-ing catch.  What the frak was it?!  I probably just wasn't Jewish enough.  Yes, I'm fairly positive that was the issue.  No other deal breakers to see here folks, keep on walking.  Bono jobless ex-schmex.

Yeah, so um, rejection?  Not my thang.  Well, not that it's anybody's thing.  It's not like you'd meet someone at a party and ask what they're into and they'd be like, "I'm totally into being rejected."  Obviously I know that it's not anyone's cup a chai.  Luckily I've chosen a career as a writer and performer, so I'll probably never have to deal with more rejection.  (Blah blah blah flip of the curls.)

My magnetism this evening makes me think of a song by The Cure..."Please stop loving me. Please stop loving me. I am none of these things."  Or better yet, my personal song-mantra bestowed upon me back in my formative days by the ever-charming Morrissey: "I've made up your mind...the more you ignore me, the closer I get."   Yes, you.  You over there.  You can't run from me.  Ever.  What? I'm just kidding.  Sort of.

In other news, Grandma has fallen asleep while watching TCM.  I wonder if she'd wake up if I put on the Colbert Report...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Don't F*ck, Get a Buck!

Unemployment: Day 114 in Business Days; Day 156 in Human Days

It's been 7 hours and 156 days...since they took my job away.

If you're a teenage mother in Greensboro, N.C., the city will give you a buck each day you don't f*ck.  Actually, they give you a dollar for every day you are not pregnant.  So as long as you bang safely, you'll still get a dollar a day.  I read this today on NPR's web site.

I think that this program should be extended to any woman who is currently unemployed, teenager or not, mother or not.  I mean, if my jobless self had a kid right now, I would have to take advantage of all sorts of government programs in addition to unemployment, i.e. welfare, food stamps, etc.  Isn't it cheaper to give all us unemployed ladies a dollar a day to prevent us from becoming a larger a leech on society?

I suppose then, in all fairness, that Barack would have to give a buck to all the men choosing not to have children that they can't support.  And how would we monitor that?  Alright, this whole idea is getting way too expensive.  How about someone out there just gives me a dollar a day not to get preggers?  And also maybe offer me health insurance not to get knocked up.  Like a job.  A real job!  Where my job description simply reads: The purpose of the Not Pregnant Executive is to remain unpregnant on a daily basis.  And yes, I can make myself an Executive - this is my job fantasy.  

In all seriousness, this whole idea of paying our country's young women to do the right thing is a bit disturbing to me.  There's got to be a better way to encourage girls to make the best decisions for themselves, rather than simply paying them to do so.  Yes, it does seem to be reducing the rate of teenage pregnancies in Greenboro, which is a good thing.  But what's next?  If we teach girls that money is the reason to do the right thing, will these girls grow into women who only make good choices if there's a dollar sign attached to them?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Help Send I WILL FOLLOW to FringeNYC!

Unemployment: Day 111 in Business Days; Day 153 in Human Days

It's been 7 hours and 153 days...since they took my job away.

I attended the FringeNYC Town Hall meeting yesterday and am 110% inspired and energized for this festival.  It was an incredible experience to sit in a theater amongst the 200 other playwrights and producers selected for FringeNYC 2009 and listen to Elena Holly, FringeNYC's Producing Artistic Director, explain what's in store for us over the next 3 months. 

Part of what's in store for me is paying for this baby.  As an unemployed gal, it's gonna be a challenge, but as a fabulous gal, I know I can make it happen.  The budget for our production of I WILL FOLLOW is $6,500, only a small fraction of which will be covered by ticket sales.  I am reaching out to you, people of the intarwebs, to donate anything you can.  I know it's tough times for everyone out there right now.  I'm probably a total asshole to ask you for money that you could use to buy ramen or bruised fruit at a discount.  But for me, the success of this show means the difference between taking my creative career to the next level and actually making a living doing what I love, or remaining jobless at my grandma's, or worse - returning to a survival job that will surely suck the life out of me.  I need your help to get this show on stage...and to get my life on track.

Any amount you can contribute toward production costs is deeply appreciated and will be acknowledged in the program and on our production website (which will be launched later this week).   Here are a few examples of ways your donation can help:
  • $50 rents studio space for one rehearsal
  • $100 costumes one character in the play
  • $300 prints 1,000 postcards publicizing the show
  • $500 outfits the play’s set or buys postage for our mailings
The easiest way to make a donation is to click on this paypal link and use your credit card to make a secure payment.  

You can also send a check to:

Barri Tsavaris
Pennyfield Productions
149 E 23 St, Suite 1806
New York, NY 10159
Please spread the word to your friends and family so they too can support a young artist on the verge. If I can get 260 people to donate $25 each, then I will reach my budget.

10% of all ticket proceeds from I WILL FOLLOW will be donated to The One Campaign, a non-profit organization cofounded by U2 front man, Bono, and dedicated to the fight against extreme poverty and preventable diseases, particularly in Africa.

"One love, one blood, one life...we get to carry each other, carry each other."

Friday, June 5, 2009

Dating the Unemployed

Unemployment: Day in 111 Business Days; Day 151 in Human Days

It's been 7 hours and 151 days...since they took my job away.

Today The New York Times tried to put a hopeful spin on the nation's loss of 345,000 more jobs during the month of May.  I guess in the grand scheme of things, the fact that layoffs are slowing a bit is a good thing.  But it doesn't mean anything right now to the millions of us who need a job today.

While layoffs are slowing down, my dating life careens haphazardly ahead at full speed.  It continues to amaze me that men will date a woman who's jobless and essentially homeless.  And despite this recession, there's still a decent supply of men in NYC who want to buy me dinner and take me for midnight rides across the Brooklyn Bridge in their beemers.  But there's a growing population of another type of man in NYC these days: The Unemployed Man.  

I've recently been out on dates with a couple of different unemployed men.  We got coffee or we went for a walk in the park or we drank PBR's in a dive bar.  I'm fine with doing those sorts of things.  Really.  But even though I had a nice time on all of those dates, I found myself thinking, well this is fine and nice right now, but how many dates like this will there be before he gets a job and plans something...else.  

I know, that's horrible.  I'm jobless and it's not like I'm rolling in it these days.  The unemployed should stick to their own kind anyway.  Right?  So why the double standard?  The Huffington Post featured an article yesterday about how the recession has been much tougher on men in the dating scene than women.  While I feel for those guys, there's no easy solution.  Most women I know are even more reluctant than I am about dating a man who's out of work.

It's important for me to point out that there haven't been fireworks with any of the unemployed men I've dated.  I like to think that if I did have chemistry with someone who's out of work, that I'd give it a shot.  And I'm happy to report that I don't continue to date someone just because he's gainfully employed and takes me to fancy places.  But if I've learned anything from my past relationships, it's that money (or lack thereof) truly complicates things.  And isn't my life already complicated enough?

Time to get back to work on my company's business plan so that one day I can take myself to fancy places.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Fanny Packs? Really, American Apparel?

Unemployment: Day 110 in Business Days; Day 150 in Human Days

It's been 7 hours and 150 days...since they took my job away.

So in between I WILL FOLLOW meetings today I wandered into American Apparel to check out the latest in florescent spandex, and was shocked by what I found right at the front of the store: Fanny Packs. 

Really?  Come on, American Apparel.  Not even you can make the fanny pack cool.  Ever.

It's funny, my friend Liz was telling me just the other day about how she actually wore a fanny pack for a month when she was backpacking through Europe some years ago.  I mocked her mercilessly.  Now I wonder if she was ahead of her time.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A Bronx Gem, a Bronx Gym, a Thunderstorm, oh my!

Unemployment: Day 108 in Business Days; Day 148 in Human Days

It's been 7 hours and 148 days...since they took my job away.

Today was yet another busy, crazy, emotional day, so momma is sitting down for a well-deserved beverage and some blog therapy.  

One of my favorite parts about living at Grandma's is that the couch is so over-stuffed that it also serves as a table (see left).  Perfect for when you've got your laptop on your lap and don't want to reach for the coffee table for every sip.  Not so perfect by 11pm when your ass feels like you've been camping.   

The day began with a trip to Jenny's Lucky Nails on East Tremont for a fresh mani.  Momma's got another busy day of meetings tomorrow and needs to look her best.  Momma doesn't know why she keeps calling herself "momma" but for whatever reason it's what she does when she's really crazed.  Momma's totally crazed right now!  Anywho, no happy ending or content middle to report, sigh.  But I did witness the most HI-larious Bronx scene at the nail salon.  As Jenny or one of her sisters applied Essie's "Secret Stash" (which btw, is totally hot pink gorgeous) to my nails, a very typical Bronx broad in her 40's sat at the station next to me.  Let's call her Bronxy Balzy.  So Bronxy Balzy, clad in in her brown, polyester, too-tight-round-the-Bronx booty, OMG-could-you-at-least-where-a-thong pants and matching too-tight-round-the-bronx-boobies, white and brown striped button down immediately eyes the Asian man in his 50's who sits down to sculpt her tips.   "He's gonna do me?!" she booms.  Followed by "Well, if you're gonna do me, we're at least gonna have a conversation.  You speak English?" and  "Come on, speak some English!  Before I'm dry I'll get you speaking English!" and my absolute favorite "How about you take me on a date?  You know what a date is?  You can take me out for Chinese!"  At which point she turns to me: "He doesn't even know what I'm saying, I could be saying anything!"  The best part was that every time she shouted at the poor man, she put on a faint Asian accent.  Like that would make him understand her better.  It's the true gems like this that make the playwright in me appreciate the time that I'm spending up here in Throg's Neck.  Cause who wants to go see a play about Brooklyn hipsters?  Snooze.  But a play about Bronxy Balzy?  Show time!

Next stop was Fusion Fitness a bit further up the avenue.  Or is it Fitness Fusion?  Like it matters.  In less then 3 months, I'm going to be starring in my play on stage in front of hundreds of people.  The time has come to tone up.  I don't have that much work to do.  Luckily I'm blessed with a pretty nice canvas even with the macaroon-macaroni build-up of unemployment.  Clive Owen and Jake Gyllenhaal and Gerard Butler can each attest to that.  (What?  A girl can dream.)  But I've decided that momma's body is gonna be banging for opening night.  My current regiment, which consists only of jogging with the sailors, ain't gonna cut it.  So I've broken down and joined a gym.  A Bronx gym.  Much cheaper than a Manhattan gym and much closer too.  I'm on a month-to-month plan cause I refuse to even think about living in the Bronx for more than one month at a time.  The class schedule is...fascinating.  My choices appear to be "Zumba," "Curvy Divas," and "Brazilian Self-Defense."  I assume "Brazilian Self-Defense" will equip me with skills you need when being attacked by a petite Indian woman wielding a wooden stick of hot wax right in the direction of your hoo ha.  

An Excerpt from This Class: 
Jedi Master: Barri, young padawan, use the force to battle the dark side of the full Brazilian."     

Barri: But master, my boyfriend, like, totally wants me to embrace the full Brazilian.

Jedi Master: Of course that's what Palpatine wants!  Bare hoo has everywhere for his Empire.  You must learn to defend your lady parts.  Which is why I offer this Brazilian defense course on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Fusion Fitness.  

Fascinating.  But I think I'll start with "FRESHitUP with FRANK" on Sunday at 11am.  

On the 2 mile walk back to Grandma's, the Heavens opened up and onto me.  Genius over here was caught minus an umbrella (ella ella) and finished up the last mile in torrential rain.  At first it sucked, but once I started slipping in and out of my flip flops and laughing out loud, it wasn't so bad.  All I kept thinking was, oh man, grandma's gonna kill me if I track a mess through the whole house, grandma's gonna be so mad when she sees me.  I envisioned her making me take my sopping wet clothes off on the porch as she threw a path of towels to the bathroom, all the while shouting at me in Italian.  Which made me laugh even harder.  Here I am, a 30-year old woman, thinking a thought I'm positive went through my head at 10 years old.  We change in so many ways throughout our lives.  Sometimes it's nice to discover something that hasn't changed.  

It makes me think of a song sung so sweetly by, who else? Bono -- "I lost myself in the summer rain, I lost myself....Just as you find me...always I will be...a little bit too free with myself."

Jobless City Challenge: Cheap Bronx gym, cheap Bronx mani, Priceless Bronx Gem

Money Saved: $40 (difference between joining NY Sports Club in Manhattan and Fitness Fusion/Fusion Fitness in da Bronx)  FRESHitUP here I come!

Monday, June 1, 2009

I WILL FOLLOW accepted into New York International Fringe Festival!

Unemployment: Day 107 in Business Days; Day 147 in Human Days

It's been 7 hours and 147 days...since they took my job away.

I have not written in many moons.  But worry not.  Unlike my silent period back in March, this lapse in bloggin is not due to macaroons and SVU, but rather to a happy, busy, wondrous, exciting, fantabulous, creatively amazing reason.  My first full-length play, I WILL FOLLOW, has been accepted into The New York International Fringe Festival.  Holy hot damn Bono, this is for realz.  

The timing couldn't have been more opportune.  It was three weeks ago.  I was on the verge of receiving a job offer that would have sent me to San Francisco, the very same city where I left my heart back in February.  Now, I'm an East coast gal through and through, but I decided that New York City had chewed me up and spit me out.  My marriage failed, my boyfriend dumped me, my job dumped me, and I lost my apartment.  All of the signs were telling me to make my grand exit from the big apple... to start fresh on the opposite coast.  Maybe switch up my sexual orientation for a bit.  I even began browsing apartment listings in San Fran.  And then, literally the very next day after my heart and mind decided to leave, I found out I got into the fringe.  

Since then, my life has been a fantastically frenzied flurry of meetings and readings and plottings and plannings.  I'm suddenly busier than I've been since I had a shitty job.  But this brand of busy is far from shitty.  But enough about me - let me tell you about the masterpiece!

I WILL FOLLOW chronicles the true tale of one fan's 20-year search for U2, magic, men and religion.  Yes, I wrote a play about how much I love U2 and how they've guided me through my life.

As amazing as all of this is, I'm still a bit stressed out.  Even the smallest play is expensive to produce, and funding this baby with no job is going to be a challenge.  But if I had to juggle a demanding day job on top of this show, I probably wouldn't be able to give this play all the time, energy and love that it needs to be the best it can be.  And so I've decided that being unemployed and not landing a job yet is actually a blessing.  I don't need to eat between now and August, right?

FringeNYC runs in downtown Manhattan from August 14-30, 2009.  Of course, I'll write here when I know my venue and performance times, and you can bet I'll regale you with rehearsal stories and tales of how much I heart a band.  And my life.  But you can also read more about the festival at www.fringenyc.org.

As Bono often says when he visits me in my dreams..."She's gonna dream up the world she wants to live in.  She's gonna dream out loud."  

Jobless City Challenge: Produce a Play on a Shoestring Budget.  Who's writing me a check?!

Monday, May 11, 2009

May is National Masturbation Month!

Unemployment: Day 92 in Business Days; Day 126 in Human Days

It's been 7 hours and 126 days...since they took my job away.

According to a recent article in The New York Times, the nation's unemployment rate has risen to 8.9 %.  Also according to The New York Times, being jobless is bad for your health.  Awesome.  Just when you no longer have health insurance, you develop all sorts of new ailments.  

But fear not!  May is National Masturbation Month!  For all you unemployed people out there who have a little extra time on your hands, I say put those hands to good use.   The Better Health Channel and Fox News are in agreement that masturbation can improve your health in a variety of ways.  And if you're looking for a cheap thrill, there ain't nothing cheaper than tuning the antenna or dialing the rotary phone.  I didn't make those up.

If you've got some of your severance package or tax refund left, I highly recommend an awesome cheap find from Jimmy Jane: the "Indulgences Pocket Pleasure Set".  It costs only $22 and is worth every penny, even the ones spent on shipping.  If you happen to be in L.A., you can pick up one of these little numbers at Fred Segal.  

Happy May!  Happy de-stressing!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Shoes or food?

Unemployment: Day in 88 Business Days; Day in 120 Human Days

It's been 7 hours and 120 days...since they took my job away.

Shoes or food?  This is one of the tough choices every unemployed woman must make with every unemployment check deposited.  

This week I chose shoes.  Eek!  

But aren't they just the most precious, totes gorge lil' numbers you've ever seen?!  And I got them on Bluefly, so theoretically, I saved money even though I spent money.  Just humor me.

Wanna see more shoes that other women put before food?  Check 'em here!  And here!

In order to justify their cost, I want to start getting use out of them immediately.  Since I have no job or social life, this means that I've taken to wearing them around grandma's house in my pajamas.
Additionally, in order to make up for their cost, this is what I will be eating this week.  My dad brought over the monthly supply of Activia from Costco!  Thank Bono, cause I don't know how else I'll digest all them carbs.
And yes, that is baby's breath you see looming above the doughnuts.  I live at my grandma's house.  Baby's breath is a breathin' most of the air around here.

Perri, my Personal Action Coach, says I need to explore whether I simply think these shoes are pretty or whether they serve some sort of emotional need.  I think it's a little bit of both.  

Jobless City Challenge:  Find a way to afford my latest shoe must-have by applying culinary creativity.

Money Saved: -$120  - Yes, that's negative money, but when you consider that the original cost was $475, I actually saved $355.  Humor me!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Be the Butterfly: Personal Action Coach, Perri Gorman, to the Rescue!

Unemployment: Day 87 in Business Days; Day 119 in Human Days

It's been 7 hours and 119 days...since they took my job away.

This just in: I have a Life Coach.  Actually, she's a Personal Action Coach.  That term is so hot, it ain't even on wikipedia yet.  My coach is Perri Gorman and she is the founder of BE THE BUTTERFLY.  

I know what you're thinking...Personal Action Coach?  For realz?  What could a complete stranger possibly tell you about your own life and actions that you don't already know?  Besides, I already get that here.  So I was incredibly skeptical before my first meeting with Perri last week.  I was expecting the obvious: stop sleeping until noon, stop watching Law and Order all day, stop using the adult section on craigslist as your primary job search source, stop shooting whipped cream into your mouth at 2am while standing in front of the fridge, yes those calories do count, etc.  But I kept an open mind because her background includes over 10 years as an executive recruiter, coursework at The International School of Coaching and study of feng shui.  And because curiosity killed this cat.  I hadn't seen her since high school.  Yes, Perri and I knew one another in the days of uni-brows and foot-high hair.  Mine, not hers.  Perri was cool in high school; I was not.  

And so, all these years later, Perri stumbled upon this here blog and offered to help me morph from my current caterpillar state into the butterfly I deserve to be.  

During our first session, Perri asked me many questions about what I want to do and what steps I could take to get from point A to point B.  In my case, that's from unemployed couch potato to employed story teller.  Don't know what point B is?  No problem!  She helps you figure that out, too.  Have more than one point B?  Also no problem.  She helps you prioritize goals.  For example, I also want to get involved in more charity work, start my own production company and go back to school for my Masters.  But we decided it's most important right now for me to focus on turning my writing in work.  Cause a girl's gotta eat.  And buy shoes.  All of the questioning was more like a conversation than an interrogation, and I came to many conclusions on my own.  By the end of the session, I couldn't believe that 3 hours had passed.

I walked away with a clear vision of point B and a homework assignment: email Perri with the first steps I intend to take on my path to becoming a butterfly.  One of the first to-dos on the list is to declutter.  Perri recommends that you declutter in three different ways:
  1. Physical Decluttering- This is the obvious one.  Get rid of anything and everything you don't need.  But not so easy for me (see photos below).  
  2. Energetic Decluttering - We often put our day-to-day actions on autopilot, causing energetic clutter.  This is about creating different actions that will breathe new energy into your life.  In other words, try watching The Price is Right instead of Law and Order and switch up your bon bon flavor.  I jest, of course.
  3. People Decluttering - This is the toughest one, I think.  This requires you to stop associating with people who stand in the way of point B.  Luckily, I don't keep much people clutter.  I'm wicked good at un-friending people on Facebook.  Rip that bandaid off!  I'm also not friends with any of my exes (including The Artist Formerly Known As My Husband).  I don't have superfluous friendships and I keep those tough but necessary relationships with crazy family members at arms length.  However, I think the people decluttering goes deeper than this.  If I were truly free of people clutter, I would not obsess on a daily basis over my ex boyfriend, Do Wrong.  I may not be in contact with him, but he continues to clutter my mind.  I admit that this one will take some time.  
In the meantime, I'll start with the physical decluttering.  By the looks of things, I should probably get cracking.  On the upside, I take pride in knowing that I have a superhero power: the ability to make any space look as though a bomb hit it using only my bare hands and the contents of two suitcases.  Should this skill be on my resume?  I'll have to ask Perri at our next session.   Before and after photos are being posted for your enjoyment.

A room with a view.

Shoe village!

Aerial shot of my bed.  Oy.

Check back for the after photos!!!  And if you'd like Perri to help morph you, visit her website or email her at theperri at gmail dot com.

Jobless City Challenge: Be open-minded to new tactics and possibilities.  

Money Earned: None yet, but I'm beginning to see my dollar potential.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Cheap Doings This Weekend in NYC

Unemployment: Day 84 in Business Days; Day 116 in Human Days

It's been 7 hours and 116 days...since they took my job away.

It's Friday and there's still a recession.  We're all looking for some inexpensive ways to pass a lovely NYC weekend.  Here are some cheap goings-on that I've found.

The Festival runs through Sunday, so you've still got time to check out a few flics.  You can purchase tix online, but if it's the day of the show, you'll have to just show up at the theater an hour beforehand and cross your fingers.  That's what I did last night for the 11pm show of Midgets vs. Mascots.  This shockumentary is not for the politically correct or faint of heart.  I'm fairly certain many midgets and mascots were harmed in the making of it.  But hot damn, did I laugh my ass off.  Who knew Gary Coleman had a third leg?!  Don't ask, just go see it.  There are two more shows - Saturday at 11:30pm and Sunday at 10:30pm, both at AMC Village VII.  See the trailer and purchase tickets here.

This fantabulous band is putting on a free show Friday night (tonight!) at 11pm at Spike Hill in Williamsburg.  If my last bus back to da Bronx weren't at midnight, I would so be there.  Go check out their "special brand of punk soul americana" for FREE!  They're worth a trip out to hipster-land, I promise.

On the first Saturday night of every month, this group hosts an evening of hilarious short films. They're back this Saturday night with 6 new movies and their very first short from Norway!  Join them for the screening at 8pm and after party at 92YTribeca.  Tickets are $10, which is still cheaper than going to see the latest shitty blockbuster for $12.50.  

BAMcafé Live is holding a free comedy night on Saturday, May 2 at 9:30pm as part of their 1- Year Anniversary celebration.  The lineup looks great (including Wyatt Cenac from The Daily Show), so I plan to schlep my ass from da Bronx to Brooklyn to check this out.  Did I mention that it's FREE???!!!

Being jobless and poor is no excuse to sit on your fat ramen butt and watch every incarnation of Law & Order all weekend.  Elliott and Olivia will still be there on Monday, I promise.  Get up, go out and save some moolah!

Interested in having me write about your cheap NYC doings here?  Email me!  It's easier than writing yet another cover letter and I'm way cuter than your recruiter.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Hi Ho Sailors!: A Bronx Tale in Photos

Unemployment: Day 81 in Business Days; Day 113 in Human Days

It's been 7 hours and 113 days...since they took my job away.

Since I'm not sporting a gym membership these days and I happen to have cute new little running shorts, I decided to try to find the Maritime College campus that was supposedly 10 minutes away from G-ma's house, according to Great Uncle Nick who lives downstairs.  If I've gotta live up in da Bronx and put much of my Manhattan social life on hold, why not cougar it up and try to find me a hot, young, local sailor?  However, according to a conversation with friends the other night, I'm actually not a Cougar, but rather a Puma, because I'm young-ish and don't have any money.   I can dig that.  And seriously, all the older men I date have the maturity of infants, so why not at least find one who still has all his hair and a six pack? 

There have got to be plenty of these young Navy fellas looking to earn an extra stripe.  Are stripes what sailors earn?  Do you dare me to find out?    
Why do people in da Bronx with minuscule backyards insist on having a gazebo?  You live in da Bronx.  Your gazebo won't give you a Westchester zip code.  Schmucks.

Welcome to the Maritime Academy!  Welcome, indeed.

Navy?  Yes, please!
Which way to the sailors?  Only one way!
There's my pretty track, right on the water.
Pretty, pretty water.  I'm just gonna lean over to get a better look at ya.  Oh, please, help me!  I've fallen over the thick metal barricade and over all of those rocks and into the water that's two feet deep!  Somebody in uniform please come to my rescue!  My shadow is ready for sailors, too.  
Da Throg's Neck bridge, yo.

Gosh, can you even believe I'm still in the Bronx?  I wish this blog had a scratch 'n sniff option, cause this is the smell of heaven.
This is where I should be hanging out.  If I'm going to Puma it up with someone 10 years my junior, he should at least be 1st Class. 
Hmmm.  A whale.  Is it mechanical?  I'll ride that mechanical whale.

The President's house.  I wonder if there's a First Lady...

Do you think if I pitched a tent in the fort they would charge me rent?

A ship!  I must be getting close!

I'm in the parking lot now.  Taking a picture of a cadet's car.  Living on the edge.  Cause dat's how we roll up in da Bronx.  East side, yo.  "For God, For Country, For Freedom"...For Me!
Look really closely.  No, not all of you at once!  Jeez!  Okay, one at a time.  See them?  See? Playing volleyball on a sand court way up in the distance?  We're getting close!
Ooh ooh!  There's one!  Running way up ahead of me.  Can you see him?  Way way ahead?  Shit, he's too fast.  I thought I was supposed to be a freaking Puma!  What the frak?!  I'm sure I look totally normal...trying to run fast enough to catch up to my prey while holding a camera in front of my face and adjusting the zoom lens.  A vision of hotness indeed.  Puma it up, girlfriend!  Live the dream!

The sun is going to set soon, so alas, it's over the Throg's Neck and through da hood to grandmother's house I go.  No sailor contact made today, but still a successful scouting mission.  I think I'll go running tomorrow!


Jobless City Challenge:  Get exercise with no gym membership.  Find young man who doesn't come from an interweb dating site.  Explore new territory.  Smell the ocean.

Dollars Saved:  $96 (the cost of one month's membership at New York Sports Club)