Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Happy Wednesday!!!
I know hump day isn’t usually happy (unless you’re humpin!), but this is my last day in the office for over a week, and I’m on cloud 9. Well, maybe cloud 7, seeing as I’m running on 5.5 hours of sleep.

Who has two thumbs and is dumb enough to schedule an MRI at 10:30pm? THIS BLACKTRESS!!!

By the time I got to the Radiology lab, I was ready to go to bed. Add to that the fact that I was wearing the equivalent of winter pajamas, and I thought I was in for an HMO-sponsored nap. I was given a brochure with a list of satellite-radio stations I could choose to listen to during the test. Because I love directing anxiety toward fake problems instead of dealing with the issue at hand, I deliberated for about 10 minutes. One of the comedy stations might be good, since I’m a bit tense, I thought. But if I have to stay still, maybe I shouldn’t listen to something that’ll make me laugh. Show tunes could be fun, but it all depends on the show, and then I’ll be stuck listening to the soundtrack to South Pacific.

Southern Gospel station might be the way to go—if there was ever a time I needed to get He Who Cannot Be Named on my side, it’s now. But if I really just want to be relaxed, maybe the vocal trills and belts of a woman who owes her life to the lord won’t be the way to go.
I continued to create a mountain out of a non-existent structure.
Canadian News & Information—that’ll be pretty boring. Keep that as your safety station.

I finally settled on 2000’s Pop Hits and felt a bit calmer having made a decision.

When I was called down to the MRI area (I’m not sure what to call it. After half an hour of sitting in an empty waiting room that reminded me of The Malkovich, I was directed to an elevator by a wild-haired woman. It only went one flight below street level.) The night-shift radiologist was anything but pleasant. He was small and bored and didn’t even engage when I tried to crack a little jokey joke.

I don’t get how people who have chosen to enter a field in which they interact with sick and suffering humans think that it’s okay to have no personal skills. You’re dealing with people you’ll likely never see again at a time when they’re at their most vulnerable. If that’s not a call for compassion and warmth, I don’t know what is.

Okay, rant about human indecency is over.

I got into the pod and was told to “be completely still for 20 minutes.” He put a pair of big headphones that pressed right up against the part of my head that was hurting. Before I could wince, he caged me in and fired up the ol’ MRI.
“If you need something, kick your legs,” he said as he walked away.

Don’t you want to know which radio station I’d like?????

Apparently, he’d already made the decision for me: house music remixed with sounds of a fire alarm and heat coming through rusty pipes.
It must have been some Euro-pop B-side. Wait, no—that was THE MACHINE.

I knew there’d be noises, but I had no idea they’d be so heinous. How can someone stay completely still when their ears are being bombarded with craziness? At worst, it sounded like the machine was breaking and about to cave in on me; at best, it sounded like I kept making the wrong choice on Family Feud or just stole something from a WalMart.

I probably won’t get the results until Monday. Til then, I’m going to go to a Midwestern wedding and try not to feel inferior to my fancy grown-up bride-to-be friend and the blondtourage I have somehow been invited to hang out with. I’ve gotten invited to drinks every night—and a couple of mornings—for the next 4 days. I really hope I don’t do a sober-girl cry in the bathroom—it’s just such bad form.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Hey gang,

Whew, it feels good to blog again! I know I just posted yesterday, but I’ve been in a 3-hour staff meeting that felt like an age. (But I didn’t want to gouge my eyes out—growth!) Not only were my boss and I not addressing each other the entire time, but I was also running on about 5 hours of sleep. I’ve got a lot of anxiety coming up—the usual blacktress drama, course—but I’m also dealing with some potential medical issues that have me a bit nervous.

As you know, I’ve been all over with the sinus troubles. Well, it seems that it's not normal for sinus pain to affect the neck and it's even less normal for a part of one's head that hasn't been hit or cut or otherwise traumatized to be painful to the touch.

I went to a doctor last night and it was a real hip, swanky place--all the receptionists looked like Urban Outfitter's models and the doctors were in cute Anthropologie outfits. I went in to see Dr. Ko, a cute Asian woman who was totes wearing invisalign. I explained my symptoms as she continued to look more and more puzzled. "Where's that Dr. House looking guy I saw in the waiting room? We need to get him in here." Luckily, she laughed and didn't think I was insulting her skills. "We call him that, too!" she said. "Yeah, he does specialize in complex cases." With no equipment in their hip office, she immediately referred me to a neurologist, not just giving me the info, but calling his office up and getting me in just 15 minutes later! The neurologist, a small Indian man with a touch of Asperger's and hair like Full House hottie Uncle Jesse, pressed his fingertips together a lot and pursed his lips.

"What do YOU think it is?" He asked.
"Is this some kind of trick question?"
"No. You'd know your body better than me."
I swear, what do these people get paid for?

He basically didn't know what was up, although he thinks I could have migraines. But the only way to rule everything out is to get an MRI. This is one mystery diagnosis.

How ironic. I’m becoming one of the very medical mysteries I love to watch on Discovery Fit & Health.

I'm now writing this in a flurry from my house, where I had to come back after work to change clothes before teh 10:30pm MRI. Apparently, even the underwire of my bra* will set off the machine, so I gotta rock a sports bra and ill-fitting sweatpants along with anything else metal-free that will keep me warm.

I liked how the "preparation list" featured--in 16-pt font, no less--the directive DO NOT WEAR MAKEUP IF SCANNING THE HEAD.

Oh yeah, cause I'm thinking about foundation and creating doe eyes at a time like this.

Wanted to just let you guys in on this cause you mean the world to me. Without you, I'm just a creepy, possibly racist narcissist with too much internet access.

*Victoria and I have a secret!!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Back From the Rapture

Hey Guys,

How was your rapture? Mine was so-so. That Thursday Stony Point 40-minute gig I was so excited about got canceled on Tuesday, sending me into a shame/FML spiral of unprecedented proportions. I feel like I am not only doomed to be writing about paintings of fruit in bowls for the rest of my life, but I’ve let you down, my gentle readers—especially Dave, who was kind enough to do a little Wiki-ing for me.

This weekend was an emotional rollercoaster, starting off with a fight with the massa at 3:30pm on Friday. It was definitely a Roots moment, with me refusing to go by the name Toby and him refusing to let it go—metaphorically speaking, of course. I should have known better than to give a former drag queen “the hand” (my attempt at getting a word in edgewise), but we all make our beds and have to lay in them. I found myself completely wrecked until 8pm the next day, when I headed off to do a set at a show in Queens.

I was actually quite nervous beforehand, for a couple of reasons. First of all, it was in someone’s apartment (which we all know can be a hot mess) and every single audience member could be seen plain as day. As any performer knows, the ability to see the audience rolling their eyes, checking their phones, or simply bored or confused can shake even the most professional blacktress or WHactress. Of course, once Sojo takes the stage, most audiences snap right to attention, but the crowd was also unknown, and I had no idea what they were into. I walked in to a sea of Caucasians, many of whom were heavily tattooed. Was I in Stony Point after all? I wondered. I’d been invited by one of the organizers, who’d seen me do a set at Broadway Comedy Club almost two months ago. It was a hellish bringer show, with about 14 comics doing 6-minute sets—speed-dating the audience, basically—and only 5 were actually good.

As I made my way through Queens trying to find his apartment, I started to feel a pinch of fear. Maybe it was the fact that I was standing under the train tracks and a highway unsure of which direction I was supposed to walk in. Or maybe I was just having flashbacks to the crazy Greek man with the small gyro who told me I was a “tiny baby child.” Or maybe it was that that I was going to the apartment of three rando White boys I didn’t know. Nah, that’s nothing new—it was that this guy was an established comedian and I felt like I had to prove that I was good or something. Add to that my hatred of my job and possibility of being fired, and I needed this set to be great.

I got there shortly after 9 and sat in the “green room”—AKA one of guy’s bedroom. The guys were actually really nice and gracious, even offering to get soda or non-alcoholic beverages if I wanted. I felt like I was backstage at Conan or something—if Conan, like, came on public access at 4am.

I saw the set list and learned that I was opening the show!
Gulp. Blergh. Gloop. Labia.

I was hoping I’d get nestled in the middle, giving me ample time to feel out the room and see what these rugged Queens-bound Caucasians were into. I was told that it was a compliment, as they thought I’d bring good energy to get the show rolling. I had hoped to try new jokes, but as I looked out into the Caucasian Sea of faces, I immediately went into my own tales from Caucasia. All in all, the set was a bit spotty, with the biggest laughs coming from my asides to two middle-aged dudes in the front row. (One of whom I warned that I’d “sit on your lap for the remainder of the show and make it ALL ABOUT YOU if you don’t stop talking”) All in all, though, I was glad to get back up and active—and momentarily forget that I’m a terrible employee. It was also great to meet male stand-ups who aren't assholes and don't think of me as a second-class comic.

I’m not sure why I had an Angela-Bassett-in-Waiting-to-Exhale moment on the plantation on Friday. I think I got carried away by the rapture. If the world was gonna end, maybe I felt the need to tell Massa about himself before I went. I think I’m going to use this experience to produce my own faux-reality show for MTV. I’ll just follow people around for a week leading up to “the end of the world” (faking that will really up my production budget) and see how cray they get.

The tagline:
What happens when people stop being polite and start getting raptured?????

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Psychology (of Racism) Today

Good morning, gentle readers. This morning’s post is inspired by a news story that was brought to my attention by not one, but two Caucasian friends. I blog to you know with a heavy and angry heart, but I must share this disgusting truth.

If you haven’t already heard, Psychology Today thinks Hitler had a point: non-whites are biologically inferior—at least, physically—which, as Derek Zoolander has shown us, is all that really matters. They recently posted—and then took down—an article that asked the hard-hitting question, “Why Are Black Women Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women?”

Inquiring racist minds need to know!!!!!!!!

Written by evolutionary psycholoracist Satoshi Kanazawa, the article provides “scientific” data that proves how hideous Black women are. His method is explained in the opening:

Add Health measures the physical attractiveness of its respondents both objectively and subjectively. At the end of each interview, the interviewer rates the physical attractiveness of the respondent objectively on the following five-point scale: 1 = very unattractive, 2 = unattractive, 3 = about average, 4 = attractive, 5 = very attractive. The physical attractiveness of each Add Health respondent is measured three times by three different interviewers over seven years.

From these three scores, I can compute the latent "physical attractiveness factor" by a statistical procedure called factor analysis. Factor analysis has the added advantage of eliminating all random measurement errors that are inherent in any scientific measurement. The latent physical attractiveness factor has a mean of 0 and a standard deviation of 1.

Who wants to bet these interviewers were White and/or Asian? And they conducted these interviews over seven years? We all know black don’t crack, certainly compared to those lacking in melanin, so I know this is a piece of sky-blue bullshit. Check the stats:

Notice that Asian women do a bit better in this graph. Also note that our racist scientist is Japanese.

He then brings it home with a take on the stupidity of the black subjects, noting that:

[E]ven though black women are objectively less physically attractive than other women, black women (and men) subjectively consider themselves to be far more physically attractive than others. In Wave III, Add Health asks its respondents to rate their own physical attractiveness subjectively on the following four-point scale: 1 = not at all, 2 = slightly, 3 = moderately, 4 = very. As you can see in the following graphs, both black women and black men rate themselves to be far more physically attractive than individuals of other races.

The good doctor then goes on the explain why we’re so hideous.

There are many biological and genetic differences between the races. However, such race differences usually exist in equal measure for both men and women. For example, because they have existed much longer in human evolutionary history, Africans have more mutations in their genomes than other races. And the mutation loads significantly decrease physical attractiveness (because physical attractiveness is a measure of genetic and developmental health). But since both black women and black men have higher mutation loads, it cannot explain why only black women are less physically attractive, while black men are, if anything, more attractive.

The only thing I can think of that might potentially explain the lower average level of physical attractiveness among black women is testosterone. Africans on average have higher levels of testosterone than other races, and testosterone, being an androgen (male hormone), affects the physical attractiveness of men and women differently. Men with higher levels of testosterone have more masculine features and are therefore more physically attractive. In contrast, women with higher levels of testosterone also have more masculine features and are therefore less physically attractive. The race differences in the level of testosterone can therefore potentially explain why black women are less physically attractive than women of other races, while (net of intelligence) black men are more physically attractive than men of other races.

Wow. This is some intensely racist shit and the fact that they could even call it science just demonstrates the lengths people will go to in order to keep racism alive. I don’t even know if there’s a way to make this funny because it’s just disgusting. As with any blatant form of institutionalized racism, my anger level rises the more I think about the number of hoops a research scientist has to go through to get a piece published. I don’t know all the details, but here are some basic things that have to happen for this article to get out into the world:
"Dr." Satoshi Kanazawa
Look at this dude. Smug racist son of a.....can we talk about his attractiveness?

First, he has to get grant money to conduct said research—which requires he outline what he seeks to study. No one seemed to be put off. He then has to explain to his team of “interviewers” what he’s trying to do. I don’t care how bad your student loans are, there’s no amount of work-study money that should convince you to “interview” and judge the attractiveness of people across various races.

After he saw the research through to completion, he then had to write and present this paper to several journals in hopes of publication. Not only was he published once in The Scientific Fundamentalist, but Psychology Today read this piece and thought, “Wow, this is a real breakthrough. Let’s put this up on our site!”

I’d like to also call out this “mutation theory”. He makes Africa sound like the island of Dr. Moreau, full of Darwin’s cast-offs and ebony circus folks. The testosterone bit is really hilarious, because it makes no sense. I may have broad shoulders, but I don’t have high testosterone levels, and anyone who says otherwise can suck my dick.

Too crass?

Leave comments, people. We have to help each other get through this.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tales from the Crypt Vol 1

Hey friends!!

I must apologize for my lack of bloggery. I had little to no internet access during my work trip (those northern NY bitches are territorial when it comes to their WiFi) and had to settle for tweeting the madness from my phone. Now back from my upstate painting "expo," I don't even know where to begin. Do I start with the newly widowed diva who loved to use jazz hands or her sister, who's coming to NYC next week and wants to meet up with me? What about the asshole artist who disrespected me several times in public settings? Or what about the high school girl's lacrosse team who took up all the rooms on the floor of the hotel that I was on?

Maybe I'll just start with the easy stuff for this installment: the racism of AARP artists!

Quick quiz: Which of the following was said in total seriousness during this weekend's work event?
a) "These are the top dogs in watercolor."
b) "White is the most powerful thing we have--we never want to lose that power."
c) "It's a challenge to paint anything that's dark."
d) "With 1 being stark-white and 10 being black, we'd agree that we're a 3 or 4." [followed by resounding murmurs of agreement]
e) All of the above.

I'll give you 30 seconds..........

If you guessed E, give yourself a gold star!!!!!

This event was out of control. As expected, I was the youngest person by at least 25 years (there were two 40-somethings) and the only person of color. "You're the editor of [insert name of magazine that won't get me fired]?" attendees said no less than 40 times over the weekend.
"I KNOW!!" was my standard response.

Okay, I will say that the weekend wasn't as painful as I thought it would be--in some ways. The attendees/grandparents were very nice and had very positive things to say about the magazine and my work. The panel discussion I led at 8am on Sunday was well-received and the artists were great (except for the asshole). People liked my questions--which included such hard-hitters as "If you could paint only one subject for the rest of your career, what would it be?" and "What makes a painting done from a photograph a work of art?"--and one woman even said I had a future as a news anchor. Positives.

Negatives: I had zero control of when I came or went, being fetched as early as 7:45 am and getting back way past my work-event bedtime. Friday night I sat in a painting demonstration that lasted until 9:30pm and didn't get back to my room until 10:30--at which point I had no choice but to get over-priced food from the hotel restaurant because I hadn't eaten since the protein bar on the plane at 2pm and they weren't providing food.

The elderly are hilarious, however, and I did my best to stay entertained. The moment I arrived at the venue, I was accosted by Midge, a local artist who helped organize the event. She knew how to pronounce my last name all on her own, which immediately made me love her (for those who don't know, it's very ethnic and intimidating). After introducing herself, she went right into TMI territory, leaning in and taking a conspiratorial tone as she said, "My husband up and died on me last month, so I'm not myself."

I was told that Midge's husband "up and died on her last month" upwards of 9 times throughout the weekend by both Midge and her sister, Gail. Gail kind of took to me and stuck to me like glue all weekend. She kept saying--in her raspy smoker's voice that I loved-- "I don't want to participate, I like to watch. Really, I'm just here for Midge. She's just a saint. Husband up and died on her! Most women would be in the shadows, but she's out in the thick of it. Just a saint. Have you ever seen such a saint? I haven't, that's for sure."

Gail applied this type of repetition and hyperbole to everything.
Gail on the finger foods at Saturday night's event: "This is just the best little snack ever. Isn't it? Couldn't you just eat it all up all night? I could eat it up all night, that's for sure. Just the best in the whole world."

Gail on her granddaughter, who I have to meet when they're in town next week: "She's a real knockout. She's a blonde, smart as a whip. Just the prettiest, best knockout you've ever seen. She's a writer, Sojourner. She's one hell of a writer. Her short stories would knock your socks off, I mean it. Just the best in the whole world, that's for sure."

Gail on the meal she and her sis had before the event: We went to Wegman's and it wasn't even good, Sojourner. It was just me-di-o-cre. Just the most simple thing you've ever had in your life, I tell ya. Let's go get some more of those little snacks--aren't they the best ever? Come on, let's get some of those. I could eat those for dinner--that goat cheese in the dough is the best ever!" [At this point she would grab me by the arm and drag me to the food table with her.]

It wasn't until I met a dynamic lesbian who worked at the venue that the weekend started to look up. She and her partner Dana picked me up from the Saturday night event and I went with them and Leslie, the dyna-lez's daughter, to a vegetarian restaurant for dessert.

As always, gays save me from the darkness.

I gotta run now, but I'll be back with tomorrow installment of Tales from the Crypt!!!!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Read It and Weep

I lost my iPod some time on Tuesday. I hate my life.

I mean, I knew this had to happen eventually—that’s why I never purchased one to begin with. When I was in elementary school, I was always losing very basic and vital items, like my sweater, backpack, and glasses case. I remember my mother’s tight lip as she tried not to yell and began a search-and-rescue mission more focused than a Navy SEAL. Her biggest concern, being a single mom, was how we’d pay for a new version of whatever I’d lost, and I felt it, too (glasses ain’t cheap!). I think this had a profound impact on my adult life, as I always try to avoid having nice things for fear of losing them.* It wasn’t until I was going to Oz that I thought getting one of these newfangled Apple gizmos would be practical. And even then, I inherited one from an elite gay visionary who was upgrading.

The word “sassafrass” was etched on the back.

I miss it so much.

It’s amazing how something so minor can cause a shame spiral. I am gutted. I'm replaying every moment in the last 48 hours, wondering where it could have gone. I remember hearing the echo of an object hitting the subway platform on Tuesday night as I exited the subway—did it fall from my bag without me even knowing??????? I can't stop shaking.

As if my work trip wasn’t going to suck enough, I’m now without my music.

The best way to deal with self-loathing is to get out of self, and thank goodness for a friend who knows how I feel about the D. I received the following link this morning and it really helped me check myself before I wreck myself:

Half of Detroit Can’t Read. The gist:

Forty-seven percent of adults in Detroit are functionally illiterate. That means almost half of residents can't do basic things like read a newspaper, fill out a job application or other forms, or understand the instructions on a medicine bottle.

Guys, this is getting out of control. First T-Baby, then old ladies scamming folks, and now everyone’s illiterate?????? I used to joke about Detroit being the city that God forgot, but maybe I wasn’t that far off.

I guess I should just be glad I could read and write my way to making enough money to buy a gay visionary’s hand-me-down iPod in the first place.

*paging Dr. Freud—Jewboo, does this explain my fear of letting love in?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Things I Have Said Today That Weren't for Comedic Effect

1. To coworker, re: upcoming travel show: Do you think the crowd in Stony Point will appreciate jokes about gentrifying my vagina?

2. To the entire office: I'm sorry I said 'vagina' everyone.

3. To Jewboo, re: why I have an Ipad to play with: Well, love, I am a lady. And when I have my Iperiod, I need an Ipad.

4. Me [re: homeless man who is asking everyone in the lobby for change and bypasses our table]: That homeless man didn't even ask us for money.
Jewboo: He asked me when I was walking over here.
Me: What kind of institutionalized racism is that? Doesn't he see me with an IPad????

5. Out loud in office, to no one in particular: Well, I like genetic anomalies and "To Catch a Predator".

I'm in a weird mood today, guys.
I just found out some details on the out-of-town set I'm doing next week, and I'm getting nnnnnnneeeerrrrvvous!
The booker's email was ridiculously cryptic and vague, saying only:

Thu May 19th
8:30 show - arrive at least 30 minutes prior

80 people, Content R

MC: 20 min
Middle: 30 min

Guys, I'm trying to stay cool, but the other two guys are seasoned pros! The "Middle" man has been on Conan several times! His name is [something that's not his real name], he looks like an approachable Rob Reiner, and he's been on 30 Rock! How on earth did I get the headline spot? Am I being punked and hazed, or is the audience comprised of young, gifted, and black women? All these unknown variables are frightening me. I'll have to start working on a set list that'll kill--kill time, that is.

I may have to request a projector so that I can show YouTubes.

The show is at some Steakhouse or pub or something. My coworker is from the same county as Stony Point and said, "it's kind of hick-ish." Um.....can these hicks get down with stories about being "inside Caucasia" and my penchant for miscegenation? The booker wrote "content R", but does that stand for Racial, Racy, or Retro? I've been told that my comedy is "smart," and I've got to "slow it down for the rest of the crowd." Maybe I can kill time by spelling everything out?

I'm starting to get terrified. So I come to you now, gentle readers--the people who know my truths better than anyone else. Also, most of you are Caucasian and/or grew up in the suburbs, so you might be better equipped to handle this type of audience. What should I do?????

I need you now more than ever.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Tuesday Snoozeday

Hey gang!

First of all, I'd like to apologize for my lack of bloggery yesterday. I was all set to wish everyone a Happy I'm Not a Mother's Day* but I was all kinds of busy.

The time is now 11:15 am.
I just had a camera in my nose.
What have you done today?

Dudes, I can't catch a sinus break! For the last couple months (well, since January, to be exact) I've had pain and pressure that extends from my brow bone to the back of my neck. Of course, my first thought was brain tumor, but a visit to a GP showed it was just a mild infection. I went back to this same doctor's office--but not the same doctor--about 2 months later because my nose was bleeding (gggguuuuuuuROSS!). As someone who's never had a nosebleed and loves to watch "Mystery Diagnosis" I was certain this was a tumor. The pain, the pressure, the erratic moods and uncharacteristic behavior (like gaining 14 pounds)--if that's not the work of an overgrowth of cells in my hippocampus, I don't know what is!^

This second doc, however--who didn't look a day over 28--said it was just irritation, and told me to get some saline solution.

Over the last two weeks, I've had pain, pressure, dizziness, and post-nasal drip. It was time to get to a specialist.

This morning at 10am I went to an appointment with Dr. Cory, a really pretty put together lady who looked like she was straight out of "Sex in the City" (but not Samantha). She came in and explained that she had a cold, which is why "I sound like a smoker." I asked her why she wasn't at home--should she really be near other people's mucous membranes at a time like this?
"My world can't stop for sickness," she says. "Too many things to do."
I hear that! She was clearly a strong black woman in a white candy coating.

I explained my symptoms and without missing a beat, she said, "Okay, we're going to put a camera in there and take a look-see." Before I could ask to see the birth certificate (my new way of questioning someone's credibility), she covered her mouth and nose with a surgical mask and sprayed my nostrils with a numbing spray.

Then, she reached for the camera.
A looooooooooonnnnnnnnngggggg thin chord with a tiny light on the end made it's way toward me like one of those evil creatures in Tremors. I was hoping the image would be projected onto a screen so I could see it, but the telescopic end was just for the doc to look through. Although the numbing agent made it okay for about an inch, as she reached up and back, I was convinced she was going to take a chunk of my brain. "Don't take the part that loves Jews!" I screamed as she wiggled the camera around.

She didn't.

So, turns out I have both a sinus infection AND allergies--in two different parts of my nose. How does that even happen? My nose is still numb and I can't smell anything.

As if this upstate work thing wasn't going to be rough enough, I'll be surrounded by nature and the elderly--two things sure to aggravate my nasal cavities--and I'll have a handler the entire time.

This means that I won't be able to hide in my hotel room if I get overwhelmed or bored, and I won't be able to send humorous blog posts. I'm going to be "live blogging/tweeting" it for work, but if you check out you'll find out the Sojourner Truth under the hashtag HowDidIGetHere

Okay, best get back to worky worky! I can't wait to get my prescriptions!

Oh, and in other news: The D has gotten so cold that even the elderly are gangsta.

For those who don't feel like clicking through, here's the gist:
Cops are hunting a pack of hat-wearing, gray-haired bandits who have made off with nearly $500,000 in a series of scams in suburban Detroit. Dubbed the "Mad Hatters" for their eccentric haberdashery, the gang of grannies is wanted for stealing credit cards and cash from unwitting shoppers across Michigan.

Maybe T-Baby's refrain wasn't so simple-minded after all. How the F&^% are they 'posed to keep peace when even the old broads are scamming folks?

*a new holiday I just made up. You can celebrate, too, by being remarkably self-centered, staying out past 10pm, and nurturing your dreams.

^I don't actually know what a hippocampus is.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Good Morning, Starshine!

Happy Friday, y'all!

The time is 11:44am.

I have been awake since 5:15.

Since then, I have ---

****Wait, this just in. I must share a phone conversation I just had with the organizer of the watermedia thing I'm going to next weekend.

Guy: So, either myself or one of our volunteers will pick you up from the airport. How will I know what you look like?
Me: I'm black--which should make me pretty easy to spot.
Me: I'm 27, which also stands out among the watermedia crowd--no AARP card for me! [he laughs] And I guess I'm tall--5'8"
[He repeats it as though he's writing it down.]
Guy: Ok, great. Unfortunately, there's no nearby hotel, so we'll be transporting you everywhere.
Me: Can you guys just get me one of those Jazzy Power Wheelchairs and I'll just zip myself around?
Guy: [laughs for two seconds, then] No.
Me: Okay, whatever's best for you guys.

Why does Caucasia get so freaked out when I tell them I'm black and ask for a motorized wheelchair? I swear, if we can't laugh about this whole thing, what do we have left? I really hope these folks can handle Sojourner's truths.

Okay, now where was I? Oh yeah, been up since 5:15am.
Since then I've worked at a benefit breakfast for a religious-leadership organization that honored women who'd worked to bring positive change to the world. I checked in guests, asked people for tax-deductible donations, and generally tried not to fall asleep. It's not that I wasn't heartwarmed, but y'all, the last time I saw 5:15am, I was walking from a dorm room holding up my broken bra strap! Times have changed. I needed to go to bed.
I also reconnected with an artist-friend of mine, was asked to audition for a comedy festival, purchased really cute sale items from Urban Outfitters, and had some delicious organic egg whites.

Is this what being a parent feels like? By the time 10:15am rolled around, I walked into the office smug as all get-out (even though I couldn't manage to avoid entering Urban Outfitters and making a purchase when I was already 30 minutes late). As far as I'm concerned, the day is done.

What are you guys up to this weekend?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Legal Troubles?!

So, last night I was alerted to the fact that I have a St. Croix contingent of readers (thanks for spreadin’ the good word, KWalsh!) and decided to check out my sitemeter stats. I’ve largely avoided doing so because I often find out upsetting things—e.g. readers who find my blog during a search for “milf, cougar, fun”, “I’m 15 and pregnant”, or “australian temp agencies” (woops!)

This visit was no exception. What I found on the list of “visits by location”, gentle readers, has made me a afraid to go on.

In the last 24 hours, I've had readers from a university where I’ve interviewed twice in the last month and a major global LAW FIRM--and someone over there got to reading for more than 20 minutes!! I immediately forgot my own advice—save the drama for Obama—and started freaking out.

Am I going to be subpoenaed? I wondered. What else should I take down to save myself? I checked my blacktress e-mail account and had no hate mail. Who could it be??????

I couldn’t cope with the uncertainty. I immediately went to the law firm’s website. They’re huge, with offices all over the country. I decided to start with their New York location, and looked up the employee directory (thanks, Internet!). There were about 200 names, and I scrolled furiously. Luckily, I only had to go as far as the Cs before I found the name of a former classmate of mine from college. We weren’t close, but we definitely knew each other and still have many of the same friends. I immediately IM’d a mutual pal and asked her if this prosecutor read my diary.
“Yeah, she does,” my gal pal said. “I think she uses it as a procrastination tool.”

I share the above incident to highlight several things:
  • I’m a pessimist
  • I’ve got more self-made drama than a contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race
  • My default emotions are sadness, anger, and fear
  • It is this level of obsessiveness that makes it imperative that I never date again, as it will only lead to a Crush (starring Alicia Silverstone and Cary Elwes) type of scenario.

Well, now that I know I’m not gonna get served (in the legal way, not the street-dancing way), I want to tell you about Friday’s doozy! I mean, it’s no apartment burlesque show filled with sex therapists, but it’s just one more facet of my life that begs the question, “HOW DID I GET HERE????”

Friday night was the awards ceremony for a major art group*. I went to this last year (you can see that play-by-play under the bit about the first black female rabbi), and this year was even better, although much shorter—largely because I fell asleep and didn’t show up until 20 minutes before the food was served.
How tacky am I? In my defense, I was really sick and hadn’t slept the night before, so what was supposed to be an hour-long nap turned into 2 hours of tossing and turning, and when it came time to put on an outfit, nothing looked right. I started flipping out like Mommy Dearest in a room full of wire hangers.

Just as I’m getting on the subway, I get a passive-aggressive phone call from Massa. “It’d be good if you could make an appearance,” he said as I fumbled through the turnstile trying not to lose my one bar of cell reception. Um, what? Do you mean, “GET YOUR ASS DOWN HERE!”? If so, the answer is, I’m coming.

I got there just as folks were filing into dinner, and the lovers Jim saw me right away. “I had a fashion emergency!” I said hurriedly. “Oh, I know how that goes,” non-artist Jim said. “We’re only in town for a weekend and I brought four shirts and three ties for tonight! I like to have options.” I knew the Jims would understand.

I was actually presenting an award that night, so I was once again seated at the cool-kids table with the organization’s head honchos, the grand-prize winner, and my boss. The winner was a cool, hip mom who brought her daughter as her plus-one! She was really nice, but (understandably) a bit awkward. I took my usual “let’s-pretend-like-we’ve-known-each-other-for-10-years” approach to the situation and we got along well. I had to keep running up and down from the dinner table chatting with artists and being introduced to up-and-comers who wanted to be featured in our magazine. Being that I am emotionally 87, I really have fun with the old birds. I went up to Cathy, a woman who is always fun and drunk whenever I see her, and told her we’d be re-printing one of her articles. She was wearing a really nice gold shawl, and I complimented her on it.
“Thank you, thank you!” Cathy said, slurring. “It’s so soft, isn’t it? Touch it. Touch it again. See?”
Yes, Cathy, I see….that you are intoxicated.
“You know where I got it?” She pauses for what feels like forever. “Chico’s. No—wait, Yes—Chico’s. Do you know that store? I’ll send you the information.”

I am not trying to wear Cathy’s Chico’s shawl, y’all. She is seventy years old.

The old-man painters are super weird and random. They’re either 80-year-old Asians who are super cute or slightly pervy grandpas who wear loud clothing and large accessories. One guy was simply large—about 7 feet tall, he vigorously shook my hand, nearly crushing it with his paw.
As I’m flittering about among the AARP crowd, it dawns on me: I am the Paris Hilton of the watermedia world.

My moment in the spotlight came when I presented an award to artist Mario [insert something Italian-sounding here that’s not the guy’s actual name]. I hadn’t met him before, so I struggled to hide my surprise when a small rotund man with a Salvador Dali mustache came up to accept his award. He was right at boob height, so when we posed for the photo it was a bit awk.

Dali was such a nut, bless him. If you ever need a reason to smile, I suggest conducting a Google image search for 'Dali mustache'

The night ended with the organization’s treasurer—a 50-something South African woman who was shotgunning Amstel lights—giving me her phone number and telling me I should come hang out with her in Brooklyn.
I feel like I could get sucked into some underground watermedia sex ring.

Guys, this was just a prep run for next weekend’s event, a waterworks expo several hours north of the city. For THREE DAYS I will be in the center of geriatric, creative Caucasia as they paint with their favorite instructors. Although the idea of staying in a hotel is nice and all, I won’t get a moment’s peace, and will be working way longer hours than I would on the plantation. I’ll be giving opening remarks, holding “office hours” where artists can basically try to pitch their work to me, and will even be moderating a panel discussion which will be titled: “water: a medium that moves us.”
What does that even mean?

I’ll definitely have to take to the blog while I’m there. I can’t be alone in this.

*I gotta keep it vague just in case that lawyer-friend’s playin both sides!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Another Openin', Another Show

I haven’t been sleeping much lately, guys, so my brain-hole is a little slow today. Every time I try to sleep, my mind goes all a-flutter and I spend the night rolling over more than Rosa Parks in her grave every time a Tyler Perry film comes out.

To make up for my lag, here's a lengthy post. [Names have been changed to protect those with internet]

On 4/28 a friend of mine sent an e-mail asking if I’d be interested in hosting a burlesque show on 4/30. When it comes to my blackting career I never turn down a gig and told her to pass on my info. Thanks to the magic/horror of Facebook, within 15 minutes I was in touch with my friend’s friend, and Lydia, the show’s producer, who weren’t the same person. (red flag #1)

I send Lydia my YouTube link and within minutes I was booked. At the end of the email, she adds, “bring your favorite pair of high heels for the finale dance number!” (red flag #2)
I don’t do choreography, y’all. I hold the talking stick and makey the people laugh.

After staying in bed all day with sinus issues, I showed up at the “venue” about half an hour before the show started. By “venue,” I mean the girl’s apartment.

I walked in to a flurry of Caucasian skin, as ladies ran around in tiny outfits, applying mascara and practicing their moves. I just sat in an armchair and tried not to get in the way.
The only person who was equally useless was a 40-something guy named George, who had silver hair and black-rimmed glasses. He gave off a grown-up-hipster-on-a-gluten-free-diet vibe, so I made chit chat and discovered that he was Lydia's roommate.
“So what do you do?” I ask. Really, I was wondering why he’d stay in his apartment on a Saturday night when his roommate’s having a burlesque show.
George takes a beat. “For a living I work in IT.” (red flag #3)

Okay, I’ve watched enough TLC and A&E specials to know when someone’s hiding a freaky secret. I asked him what he did for fun, laughs, for kicks. George looks me square in the eye, adjusts his specs, and says, “I teach rope bondage to couples, showing them how to engage in rope play. And I also do it for fun. I tie up women, men—mostly women—and explore the pleasure and sexuality in that.”
[I’m not even flagging that shit, guys. It speaks for itself.]

Oh good lord.

Before I could respond to this over-share, a young lady with nice boobs interrupted me. “Are you Starshine?” she asked frantically.
I am not Starshine.

Apparently, Starshine was the emcee, and at 20 minutes to showtime, still hadn’t arrived. (red flag #4) Meanwhile, I’m trying to locate Lydia so that I can find out when I’m going on and how long my set should be. I catch her in mid-sprint and she says, “30, 45 minutes at most.”
Um, unless this is an HBO special, I don’t think that sounds right. “No, not the length of the show-show--how much time do I have?”
She looks helplessly.
“Let’s say 8-10?” I suggest. She nods and waves me away.

At 10 minutes to 9pm, people start trickling in and the show’s nowhere near starting. The apartment was New York City huge—a loft with abstract art on the walls, brand-spanking-new hardwood floors, and an Ikea sensibility. Fancy, and all, but it was someone’s home. Strangers were putting things in the closets. I felt like I was in a youth hostel. A white-haired elderly couple walks in and heads to the kitchen. I take George’s seat so that I’m not in the way of foot traffic. He comes behind me and starts rubbing my shoulders (which are always tied in a Gordian knot). “Are you a drug dealer?” he asks.
Great, now this guy wants to get some heroin and start an orgy.
“You’re just really really tense,” he says in response to my sideways glance.
The buzzer starts ringing incessantly and I become the doorman, letting people in and directing them to take off their shoes, until 9:30—thirty minutes behind schedule, which is when the show finally started.

Starshine appears from “backstage” (the girl’s bedroom) and starts with a sexy opener: “Welcome to Ladies Night,” she says sultrily, trying to get them into the burlesque mood. “First off, the bathrooms are over to your left, down the hall. Tonight we’re guided by the rule, If it’s yellow, let it mellow; If it’s brown, flush it down. We have some lovely ladies for you tonight….”
WHAT?! We're opening a variety show with the notice that urine should remain untouched for as long as possible? What about silencing cell phones, a reminder to enter a raffle, or saving applause until the end?
This is when I realized that I needed to remember every moment of this night for blogging purposes.

The set list was as follows:

1. Starshine opening
2. Tango 1 – Lydia and a dude.

(quick change)
3. Tango 2 – Lydia and a dude—in different outfits.
4. Girl with a guitar, singing a song.
(quick change)
5. Lydia AGAIN—in a different outfit—doing a solo piece. It is an interpretive dance to "Walkin' in Memphis" which she dedicates to “all the workers.”
[NB: There have been three costume changes and Starshine has changed outfits twice. I do not know which workers she's referring to.]
6. Girl with guitar comes back again and does an original song.
[She is the best part of the show, and her voice sounds like she swallowed Etta James. I want to be her bff.]
Raffle-prize drawing—people have entered to win a sex workshop or a massage.
7. I come on and do stand-up.
8. Burlesque number.

*Random dude in the audience comes over and starts chatting me up, telling me how funny I was and asking where I regularly perform. Although I appreciated the praise, we were IN AN APARTMENT and he was talking way too loudly.*
9. Another burlesque number
10. Lydia COMES OUT AGAIN in a new outfit and performs a burlesque number “Teeth” by Lady Gaga. She is wearing a negligee and high heels, and smiles to reveal vampire fangs.
11. All the ladies come out—IN NEW OUTFITS—and do a group number to “In These Shoes,” by Bette Midler.

Did I forget to mention that this show cost $12 in advance, or $15 at the door?
When I asked what this was raising money for (since she’d already told me it wasn’t a paid gig), George said, “It's just for Lydia.”
Oh, really? You’re charging folks to come to your house, take off their shoes, sit on your floor, leave their valuables unattended, and probably exchange bedbugs while you do modern dance to an early-90s power ballad? I need to find some moneyed, non-actor friends who'll go to any lengths to support my art.

As much as the show was like something you’d see in a freshman dorm at a liberal arts college,* the crowd loved the blacktress. I was really flustered and not used to being in someone’s living room with 40 pairs of eyes staring straight at me. I also wasn’t sure if they could handle my truths, but a throw-away line about gentrification went over really well, and I loosened up quickly. I haven’t performed in front of a “normal” audience (i.e. not actors, comedians, or improvisers) in a while, and it was good to remember that regular folks aren’t so hard to win over.

After the show, a red-haired woman came up to me and gave me some love. I noticed her in the crowd because she was one of the few people to laugh at my joke about sister wives. “We were cracking up because I’m on a date with this guy and his girlfriends [that's no typo, guys], and before we got here we were joking about being his harem!”
I then spent the next 10 minutes following her around the room screaming “WHERE ARE THE SISTER-WIVES???”

I found them. They were sweet yet homely. It was just like TV.

The man in this equation was an Oklahoma transplant covered in tats, had a bar through his nose, and looked very much like he could commit a hate-crime. He quickly shared the story of his first black girlfriend (natch) and told me about how he was made an “honorary African American” in third grade. I was torn away from my real-life episode of “True Life: I’m Polyamorous” by a guy named Fernando. I had gone on a rant about the stand-up comedian/former marine/dating coach during my set, which spoke to his heart.

“I know that guy you were talking about in your set,” Fernando said. "We used to work together doing coaching."
OH MY GOD. Of all the burlesque shows-in-an-apartment, in all the world, Fernando had come to the one where I was doing a set. We went into a discussion about what a “nice asshole” the dating coach was, and I suddenly felt my entire night—nee, my existence—was vindicated.

I gave out my new business cards like they were candy, and Sunday night it came back to bite me in the ass. I got an e-mail from the Random Dude titled “Drinks?”:
I think the title speaks for itself. I'm the bald man from the burlesque show if you haven't figured it out :)
I enjoyed chatting with you and would like to have a chance to do it again. Normally, I call to do these kinds of things, but I'm currently out of the country. I'll be back thursday.
Wanna meet up on Friday evening?

Ah, memories of my slutty days, where this drunken bald man’s oddly formal email, complete with the intimation that he’s worldly, would have given me something to swoon about for days—and blog about for weeks. Despite the 3 minutes of my set that I devoted to my Jewboo, I still had to explain to him that I was off the market. I guess it’s good to know that I’ve still got it after all these years! It’s even better to know that I am not tempted to stray from Jewboo out of fear, boredom, the desire for a tall man, or a need for attention. Growth!

*(You know, right in the middle of second semester, when everyone’s talking about gender as a performance, and your roommate’s now going by the name ‘Zev’ until he/she can decide how to self-identify.)