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

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?!