Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Taxicab Confessions/ A (Street) Car Service Named Desire

Hey gang,

I’m sitting in on a 2-hour conference call, which is as good a time to blog as any. Apparently Monday's post was a bit morose, so I am here to make amends. Although nothing much has happened in the last 20 hours, I completely forgot to tell you about my most recent cab ride, which was wonderfully inappropriate:

It was Saturday night at about midnight. I was coming from Jewboo’s house in the depths of Greenpoint, and I was quite emotional. I was tired, pissed off, and even had a bit of a cry on the steps when I was waiting for the car to arrive. I just wanted to get home and sleep so that the annoying night would be over. Because I’m in broke-ass Greenpoint, I can’t just go out and hail a cab—I have to call a car service. It started off easily enough, as I hop in and tell him to take me to a train station in downtown Manhattan (economy is rough, y’all, gotta watch the wallet!). He asks me where I’m ultimately headed, and then offers to take me to to my home in Harlem for a rather low fee. My spirits perk up as I totally pull a Blanche Dubois.
As I’m texting a friend to pass the time, the cab driver starts chatting me up.

RandoCabDriver: How was your night?
Me: It was okay.
RCD: Did you have some drinks?
Me: No.
RCD [turning on the radio]: Do you watch cricket?
Me: No?
RCD: No, you don’t?! It’s the world championships.
Me: Who’s playing?
RCD: My country, Sri Lanka. We will win, I feel it.
Me: That’s good.
RCD: You going to your boyfriend’s house?
Me: No [note the use of one-word answers—which I hope will let him know I’m not trying to talk].
RCD: You don’t have boyfriend?
Me: I’m going home. [note my attempt at changing the subject]
RCD: You have some drinks tonight?
Me: No [Why does he keep asking me this? I start to wonder if he’s projecting just as he starts speeding down the highway.]
RCD: I like you. You are very innocent.
Me: I am? [clearly years of cab driving hasn’t taught him how to read people].
RCD: I can take you out?
Me: What? [when faced with a question that should never be asked, I’ve found it’s best to feign stupidity.]
RCD: I cook you dinner. I am a very good cook.
Me: Really? [I don’t know what else to say. Notice I did not reply to his invitation.]
RCD: yes, yes, I am very good. What kind of food you like to eat? You eat meat?
Me: Yes
RCD: You eat chicken? You eat lamb? You like lentils?
Me: I like chicken.
RCD: I make very good chicken. Last night I make a delicious rooster.
Me: Oh! [from watching Criminal Minds and "To Catch a Predator", I’ve learned that when faced with a potentially dangerous delusional person, it’s best to agree with them and return their interest—within reason—so as to ensure one’s safety. How did homey go from chicken to rooster?]
RCD: Yes, yes. I went to a farm, and I got it fresh. You like that, huh?
Me: Uh….
RCD: We have some rooster, we have some white wine.
[He’s really getting into this non-existent date. I keep looking up at the street signs to make sure we’re still headed in the direction of my home.]
Me: I don’t like white wine.
RCD [sighs]: Okay, okay. You can have red.
Me: Um…thanks
RCD: I like you. You are very sweet. I know you are very pure.
[Does he think I’m a virgin? I laugh lightly.]
RCD: You fight with your boyfriend?
Me: No.
[Why do I believe that lying will make this easier?]
RCD: I never fight.
Me: Except with roosters! [I laugh, hoping to lighten the mood]
RCD [suddenly sharp]: No! I don’t fight them. I cook them!
Me: Okay.
[We get within five blocks of my crib. I can now spend the rest of the ride giving him directions. I pay him the agreed upon fee and open the door.]
RCD [in a sing-song voice]: Good night Pure and Beautiful. You sure you don't want some rooster and white wine?
Me: No thanks!
RCD: You are so nice, thank you, good night!

He drives off. I’m left outside my door, wishing I could be as pure as he wanted.

Monday, March 28, 2011


It’s Monday.

Every night I tell myself to shake off the previous day, and resolve to go into work fresh, relaxed, and free. I promise to focus on my responsibilities, telling myself that the day will go faster if I just keep my head down and get it done. I vow to let go of the anger I feel toward my coworker who I’m convinced is planning total domination of this magazine (why else would he, at 26 years old, be so anal retentive and condescending? He’s clearly trying to show his dominance so that when he becomes the next EIC, no one’s the wiser.)

And yet here I am, 2.5 hours into the day, and I’m already asking for the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.

I’m still reeling from the tragedy that was Friday’s callback. I was awkward as all get-out, and just didn’t know how to loosen up. I’ve vowed to chalk it up to a learning experience, but I just don’t know—I mean, how many times can I suck/”learn and get used to the process” (as my optimistic friends say) before they just stop calling me in for auditions? This isn’t some community theater production of Our Town—this is television, people! TV, the medium-sized screen! The place with commercial breaks and the highest stakes! The place where the only people with my skin tone are in Tyler Perry productions! As I stood in the elevator crying, I thought about “A League of Their Own”—you know, when the coach says “THERE’S NO CRYING IN BASEBALL!!!!”
There is no crying in callbacks. If I keep this up, I’ll end up more dehydrated than an African orphan. I’ve gotta man up.

I felt slightly better after consoling myself with Pinkberry, but my return to the office was met with hours of work that apparently only I could do. This isn’t even possible. World-domination-coworker–Code name: Buzzkill—is really weird sometimes. Like, he’ll be quick to point out every mistake you make, but won’t really take initiative on something if it interferes with his lunch time. He regularly spends the hour at his desk watching Internet videos, and will shut out any and all responsibilities during that time. If that’s the case, go sit your ass in the Barnes & Noble up the street.

I began today with an awesome email from a reader regarding some typos in the latest issue of the magazine I’m in charge of. She writes:
I have only reached page 31 and am ready to toss this month’s issue through the window. Either you only use spellcheck or English is your second language. What am I going to find as I keep reading? Shame on you!

Awesome. Good morning.
Apparently my lack of investment is starting to show in the finished product. So, in summation: I’m shitty at my job and shitty at blackting.

To maintain the will to live, I keep reading the reply I got from the Gotham booker in response to my thank-you email. It keeps me going strong:

Very nice to meet you as well. Glad you found the notes helpful. I think you have tremendous potential. Keep writing and performing. You can make it in this business. Will keep you in mind for anything you'd be good for at the club.

This makes me feel a lot better about eating 4 pieces of cinnamon raisin toast for breakfast.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Everything's Coming Up Blacktress!

Happy Friday, Gentle Readers!!!

So much has happened over the last few days, and you’re the only people I want to share it with. Let's get to it.

Tuesday’s commercial audition was a lot of fun. It was for a rental car company, and called for “subtle comedy.” This was my second professional audition ever, and I felt nervous, like when you're about to go on a date with someone you've already slept with. It was at the same casting studio as my first audition, so I knew what to expect and wasn’t all sweaty and awkward. Although my call time was 2:15, I didn’t go in for about 30 minutes. That would have normally given me tons of time to freak out and judge everyone else, but I actually didn’t go there, instead choosing to text Jewboo, and chat up a friendly gay sitting next to me. Turns out he also does improv and was super sweet. We're totes fb friends now.

When my name was called, I went in and just had fun. I didn’t even notice that the “Employee” character for which I was auditioning had a line until about 5 minutes before I was called in (the photocopy was a hot mess--it looked like the remnants of a cave drawing). I even had to play a male character—complete with a Boston accent—so that the agent could see my scene partner say the “Employee” line. It was all of 3 minutes, but it was fun, and I made the agent laugh—which I took as a good sign seeing as he’d spent the last 5 hours hearing the same three-word line over and over. I walked out feeling happy that I got out of my own way, you know? Blackting is reacting, and I did what I could do.

My new way of looking at these things is this: an audition is a chance for me to leave this hellish plantation and do what I love to do, even if it’s just for 60 seconds. It doesn’t matter if I get it, because I’m having fun. I’m not letting the massa define me, or these crazy artists run my show!

With that fun feeling, I went into Wednesday night’s Gotham Comedy Club show with high spirits, but a bundle of nerves. It was my first time at the venue, and it turns out there was industry watching. I went up and the crowd loved it (Apparently, we can all relate to wintercourse)! I got accolades from total strangers (many of whom were middle-aged members of Caucasia), and even had a one-on-one notes session with the manager of the club.

He was all business, in a fierce suit and spectacles that said “I got my eyes on the prize.” I’d seen him taking notes throughout the entire show, so I knew he was serious. When I went in to meet him, I was slightly nervous but I could tell he liked me—probably because he offered me a bottle of Perrier (poppin’ bottles, y’alls!). He proceeded to break down my set, and really, his only direct suggestions were “Slow down, take your time. You’ve got a lot of funny stuff there” and “I want to hear more about the magazine, more about Jewboo, more about Caucasia.” I was like, honey, if I had more than 7 minutes, you’d get the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth!

He was shocked that I had only been doing comedy off and on for a few years, and told me to just keep writing and keep getting up there. It was so gratifying, and I went home—well, after a stop at the Donut Plant and Lucky’s Burgers—on cloud nine.

On my way out of the house yesterday morning I saw that payment for some freelance work I'd done had finally arrived--nothing says “it’s gonna be a good day” quite like unexpected money, y'all. I knew the commercial was shooting on 3/31, and figured they wanted to lock it down ASAP, so when I didn’t get a call on Wednesday, I thought that was that. Although I walked out feeling good, it's all a crapshoot, you know?

Then, at 5:00pm yesterday the unthinkable happened: I saw I had a missed call from the agent who sent me out. I knew she wasn’t just checking in. I listened to her message:
“Hey Blacktress, it’s [Mariel], you got called back! Call me back and let me know you’re available!”
Yes, y’all!!! Blacktress goes in today, at 12pm EST to bring the funny!!!

I’m blogging now so that you can say a little prayer for me. Imagine: you’ll turn on your television screens and see the BLACKTRESS on the regular!!! I’m trying not to be nervous and just go in and do me, but this entire morning is a wash. I can’t be thinking about fruit in bowls and landscapes when I need to get ready for my close-up.


Monday, March 21, 2011

I Am Not Limitless

Happy Monday, guys!

I’m really trying to blog more regularly, but sometimes I just don’t know where to begin. At the risk of ranting, I must share my latest un-handle-able truth:
We should have been the ones hit by a tsunami. Let me explain.

Reason 1:
On Friday afternoon I got an e-mail from, alerting me to the availability of tickets to Charlie Sheen’s “My Violent Torpedo of Truth” tour. Apparently, for just $575 I can get a seat in the first 10 rows, an autographed photo of the CauCRAYsian, and shake his chapped, cracked, Gollum-like hand (I’m just assuming).
Why on earth would I want to do this? What skill does Sheen have that would warrant a live tour? Is he just going to get on stage and yell at people? Will he be offering to leave angry messages in the voice mailbox of audience members’ exes? Apparently this tour is already sold out.

Punto Numero Dos:
Half an hour later, I was sent a “music” video of “Friday Night,” by tween sensation Rebecca Black (I’d hyperlink you to it, but I don’t want to give her the press). With such lyrics as “Yesterday was Thursday, Thursday / Today i-is Friday, Friday … / Tomorrow is Saturday / And Sunday comes after ... wards,” I feel as though society is getting dumber, and can no longer tell the difference between talent and delusions of grandeur. Sadly, today’s tweens have very few options, as the covers of “Celebrity” magazines often feature teen moms from the MTV series. We all know I love the 16 and preggos, but since when has being a teenager mother warranted several magazine spreads? Do note that these headline-grabbing moms are CauCRAYsian. When one can be equally famous for having rich parents, winning an Oscar, or getting knocked up by a 16-year-old who works at StopNShop, I think it’s time to reassess our priorities as a nation.

Point the 3rd:
I left work on Friday to meet up with my girl Scribe to see Brad Cooper's latest flick Limitless. I hadn’t been to a movie in ages and was ready to be entertained--even though I do find Cooper to be a bit slimy (doesn't he seem like, before he was famous, he was the guy who'd corner you in a bar, going on and on about his "eye-opening experience" helping Hurricane Katrina victims, and then after bedding you that night, tells you "I've gotta get up really early tomorrow for a life-drawing class, so you might want to get a cab home now"?).

Alas, I found myself uncomfortable and confused much of the time. (SPOILER ALERT!)

The movie starts off with Bradley Cooper (or, as I like to call him, Coop) playing a struggling writer—not struggling because he can’t catch a break or because his work was plagiarized on Wikipedia, but because he just can’t seem to get anything written!!! AAAHHHH, SO HARD BEING A CAUCASIAN MALE!!! What to do with my book advance? Writer’s block is sooooooooooo hard to overcome! Maybe I’ll use it to buy pizza and grow my hair out really gross and scraggly.

He then gets dumped by his boo, which we don’t even care about because we never see them together. This makes him good and vulnerable when he’s offered a clear little pill that makes everything…. LIMITLESS. Suddenly the slacker can remember everything he’s ever heard, learn languages in a day, and learns the stock market (Move over Shia Leboeuf! I bet the ink's still wet on the script for Wall Street 3: Coop Never Sleeps!)

I won’t go into more detail, but basically he goes from zero to hero in three days, becomes a billionaire, and then starts to feel the side effects of this non-FDA-approved black-market drug. Without it in his system, he doesn’t remember a damn thing, and he’s basically an addict in need of 12 steps within the first 30 minutes of the film. At one point, he’s in such a bind that the only way he can save himself is to drink the blood of a Russian mobster that pools outward from his dead body.


How does this relate to my rant? Well, quite frankly, Coop’s insistence that he have skills he was too lazy to cultiviate is an example of CauCRAYsian hubris! He’s no better than Charlie “I am the warlock of your destruction” Sheen. Who said you get to be limitless, Bradley? So what if you’ve got baby blues that I could drown in and a devilish smile that’s probably concealing herpes simplex I? If he was down and out at the start of the film and needed the money for, let's say, a liver transplant, or to get his mom in rehab, I might have rooted for him. As it was, when he laid there lapping up the dude’s blood I wondered why it was okay for Bradley Cooper to drink AIDS.

As Scribe and I walked to a post-movie dinner, we were so busy chatting we momentarily forgot about traffic laws. We almost stepped out in front of on-coming traffic, but I looked up and put my arm out. “We are not limitless,” I said. “But we do have options.”
And that, folks, is where I’m at today. I am not limitless like Sheen and Rebecca Black and Cooper’s latest character, but I do have options. The world is not owed to me (and oftentimes behaves as though I took out a loan and am in forbearance) but I know on which side my bread’s buttered—the worlds of blackting and blogging.

Was this a rant? I don’t know. My brain feels a bit fuzzy because I just spent 15 minutes on the phone with an elderly reader who mailed in a printed page of her Google search for a book from our online store—she made sure to underline “YOUR SEARCH DID NOT MATCH ANY DOCUMENTS” before writing, “I followed the instructions in the issue with NO SUCCESS. PLEASE HELP!”
It took me 12 minutes to explain to her—and then her husband, who she put on the phone—that she can’t type the URL into a search engine, but must instead type it into the nav bar. The call ended rather oddly:
Husband: What's your name?
Me: Sojourner
[I have to say it three times before he gets it, spells it back to me, and tells me to go on. I have nothing left to add.]
Husband: And this is about the flowers?
Me: I believe so, that's what your wife said.
Husband: And today's date is?
Me [silent. I'm not sure if he's testing me or what]
Husband: Hello? Today's date is?????
Me: March 21.
Husband: And the time is now????
Me: 3pm.
Husband: Okay, thank you, bye-bye!

Do you think he'd been sitting in the dark with his wife for days, wondering what season it was?

******TIME LAPSE******
AAAHHH, sorry to be so all over the place, but I just got a call from the agent, sending me in for an audition tomorrow!!! EEEPPPSSS.
I better go get my hair did. Blacktress out!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Happy Women's History Month!

Study Undercuts View of College as a Place of Same-Sex Experimentation.

The National Survey on Family Growth found that women with bachelor’s degrees were actually less likely to have had a same-sex experience than those who did not finish high school.
“It’s definitely a ‘huh’ situation, because it goes counter to popular perceptions,” said Kaaren Williamsen, director of Carleton College’s gender and sexuality center.

[Two women sit on a couch after a delicious meal. Two half-empty bottles of wine (one for each othem, obvi) sit on the table in front of them. The lights are dimmed.]
Woman 1: Did you know that most women who graduated a four-year college probably haven’t ever had a homosexual encounter?
Woman 2: HUH?????
Woman 1: I said, if you didn’t graduate high school, you probably know how to go down on some downtown.
Woman 2: HUH????? What if you have an associate’s degree?
Woman 1: I don’t know. But I do have a certificate in special education.
[She leans in to her guest, lips parted. Woman 2 jumps back, flustered.]
Woman 2: I went to Dartmouth, I—
Woman 1: Don’t worry, I’ll teach you.

That, ladies and gentleman, is a classic “'huh' situation”.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

This Shit is BANANAS!


The time is now 4:19pm and, boy, am I beat! I’ve been working so non stop that I haven’t even had time to check the latest tweets or go to the bathroom, y'all.

The day started off STRONG AND WRONG, with an email from a higher-up that was full of attitude. He flagged the message as “HIGHEST PRIORITY!!!!” and the body text included such gems as “yes I DO need to see the proofs and I CANNOT WAIT” in capital letters and bold font, like I'm some baby monkey who should cower before him. When I forwarded the letter to the massa, just to keep him in the loop (you know I can hold my own, y’all) and included my thoughts on the condescension, boss man replied to my e-mail and cc'd the other dude, leaving my harsh words for him to see! Massa then gets mad at me when I call him out, saying, "You gotta delete trails, come on, what do you want from me?!"
Um, what I want is for you to think before you email. It's up to him as the sender to delete the trail, not me.
The condescending man allegedly said he would call me and apologize, but that was 6 hours ago, so I doubt it. I’ve been busting my butt trying to get this article done all day long, y'all-- all I’ve had is a banana and a protein bar since breakfast—which, if you know a blacktress’s appetite, is saying something.

Speaking of bananas and being treated like a monkey, I wanted to share the following article I received from The Lonesome Lumberjack:
Woman Goes To VA Court With Tiny Monkey in Bra. Talk about Victoria’s SECRET, y’all!!!

The woman tells the newspaper she bought the animal on an online auction site and had its clothes specially made in West Virginia.

Y’all, what is up with this monkey shit?! If you recall from Friday’s post, Virginia is the same place Justine flew to to purchase her MONKID on the hard-hitting expose “My Child Is A Monkey”. Is this state the head of an underground monkey-breeding ring? I’ve decided VA needs a new t-shirt:

Friday, March 11, 2011

I Feel Like Lady Gaga

Let me explain.

So, last year LG did a concert at Madison Square Garden, and one of her many magical grotesque diva moments involved her pretending she’s Tinkerbell—ugh, there’s no way I can describe a GAGA moment. Roll the tape (start at :30):

I never thought I’d say this, but I totally get where she’s coming from. I NEED THE BLOG!!!!! I WILL DIE WITHOUT THE FORUM FOR EXPRESSING MY INANITY!!!!

My dearest blog darlings, how I’ve missed you (or, I guess, missed myself writing to you?)!!! I’m blogging to you now with one hand after having minor surgery on my left wrist on Monday. It was local anesthesia, and I was out in 15 minutes, but having three needles poked into your hand as a burly, ethnically ambiguous doctor asks, “Are you gonna pass out?” isn’t exactly a party on fountain. I’m on the mend, but have been trying not to aggravate it, which means I’m hunting and pecking on the keyboard like the keyboardist in Flock of Seagulls. As if I wasn’t bored enough on the plantation, it’s taking me thrice* as long to do everything! It’s really put a cramp in my bloggery, and there’s really so much to share.

Let me begin with the information that I’ve been bursting to share since Tuesday.
Monday night, when I was hepped up on painkillers and realizing I’d poorly planned this surgery, I decided to console myself with a documentary on genetic anomalies, which you know that always brightens my spirits. I turned on the boob tube just in time to catch “My Child is a Monkey”—score! I tucked in, expecting to learn about a Mogley-esque child who learned the bare necessities in a third-world country (I swear, the anomalies are almost always in the third world) and drift of too sleep with the knowledge that things weren’t so bad in my one-handed world.

My dear readers, what I witnessed on my television screen was more terrifying than any episode of “born without a face” or “to catch a predator” and a hotter mess than all three seasons of Teen Mom. The documentary wasn’t about children raised by animals or children with some sort of animal feature—it was about White women who adopt monkeys and raise them as children!!!

No, these women aren’t Michael Jackson-level wealthy. These chimps do not walk the red carpet with Brooke Shields. These are regular-ass middle aged members of Caucasia (yes, I said it!) who spend thousands of dollars on an animal that should not be domesticated, plucking it from its mother just days after birth only to put it in a diaper and stick it in a cage for the rest of its life—which can be upwards of 40 years.

Why would people do this? Why is this an actual acceptable business? Do you think it’s because slavery’s now illegal and Caucasians love to cage something? (not you, my readers—but you know some of your people are a hot mess!) As a leathery-skinned middle-aged British woman rode to a Capuchin monkey breeder in Virginia, she talked about how nervous and excited she was, and I’ve never wanted to punch my television set more. As that cute little monkey clung to the stuffed animal they’d put him on (no doubt to make him appear more infant-like), I felt like a misspent youth in a movie theater watching a horror flick. “RUN, RUN, MONKEY!!! THAT WHITE LADY COMIN FO’ YO’ ASS!!!” I screamed. As she and the breeder laugh at the fact that the monkeys know their babies will be taken and the woman hands over $5,500 in cash (in this economy?!), I was about ready to cut a bitch.

Y’all, I can’t do it justice. Here’s a clip (the British woman starts at 8:50):

She named her monkey George. How tacky.
I feel like even the narrator is judging—can’t you hear it in her voice?

It was when we cut to “Monkey Whisperer” Lisa, who helps domesticate the monkeys (called ‘monKIDS’—yes, y’all!) that I almost had a stroke. As Lisa exited the airport with her monkey on her back, I wished it was metaphorical. Two passersby stopped to coo at the animal. “Is he your pet?” one of the girls asked. “No, he’s not my pet, he’s my partner for life,” said Lisa.

OH HELL TO THE NO! Partner for life?! What kind of partner requires you to wipe their ass for the next 40 years? If that’s love, I’d like to pass right now. And Lisa’s just rubbing the monkey’s butt, trying to make it callous so that he gets used to diapers, and has the nerve to say, “It’s not cruel what we’re doing. The mothers jump with them on their back from tree to tree.”
Um, you’re not a monkey mom, you’re a random lady with monster claws trying to harden up his butt.

Y’all, this is like Losing Isaiah x 100.

Okay, y’all, there’s even more to report, but it’s taken me over an hour to write this and I’m sure your eyes have glazed over (or you’re now watching every Lady Gaga YouTube clip you can find). I’ll fill you in on the latest mama drama and the one-year anniversary of Blacktress and Jewboo later!!!

Glad I'm not a Monkey Mom!

*can we make that word? Let’s get Merriam Webster on the horn.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I Want to Be a 5-Year-Old White Girl When I Grow Up

I know I'm a week behind, but I gotta share this YouTube:

This chick knows what's up! Did mom play Ani Difranco next to her belly when this precocious gem was in the womb?
I remember being this bold and brash. Did I ever tell you guys about the time I stabbed a boy with a spork in pre-K because he tried to kiss me?

Well, yeah. That's basically it.

And I was the one who got sent to time out! I still remember it like it was yesterday.

The year was 1988. We'd just woken up from nap time and were getting our snacks--a fruit cup, I believe (hence the spork). This boy--whose name I can't remember, but I think it was something lame--came and sat right next to me, and I immediately got annoyed. He then leaned in and tried to kiss me, and I used the only weapon at my disposal--the plastic genetically modified utensil hybrid found in cafeterias and KFCs everywhere (is it still given out at KFC? I stopped going there once I decided I didn't want to die young). I weakly stabbed at him through his shirt, and didn't even leave a mark, but he yelled for one of the nuns and told them what I did. I tried to explain that I was being assaulted, but at the age of 4, I didn't have such a vocabulary. My teacher instantly put me in the time-out corner. I was 4 years old, and I was trying to Take Back the Afternoon and I was denied!

So, basically, if I had this girl in my class back then, I might have had some support--you know, a Susan B. Anthony to my Sojourner.