Monday, January 30, 2012

Give Me a CRAY to Build a Dream On…

...And my imagination will drive upon that cray!

NB: {RF} denotes a Red Flag.

Happy Monday, gang—Sojourner here, writing to you live from my veal pen. I apologize for the delayed post. There was much going on but I wasn’t sure if it was share-worthy until now. I’ll start with the most CRAY:

Last Sunday (1/22) I did a set at a gay bar in Hell’s Kitchen that I thought changed my life. I mean, I wasn’t so amazing, but I did well and discovered I have a growing fan base among the 20-something unemployed-gay-male set. After the show, a woman approached me, congratulating me on my set and asking if I “had done any television.” She was very small and dressed like a tourist, with an oversized hunter-green fleece and a fanny pack. {RF} She asked for my card and introduced herself as a writer for SNL and script supervisor on 30 Rock. "I work closely with Marci Klein and have script supervised for Tina Fey," she said. "And I always like to keep an eye out for new faces for casting. Can I have your card?"

OH EM GEE!!! Dreams DO come true! Perhaps I can still be noticed doing my stand-up thang even though I’m not in the cult of UCB. Perhaps I am above average. Perhaps—

Now, y’all know mama didn’t raise no fool. Before the show ended I approached the host and asked if this woman was legit. “No, she is,” he assured me. “She’ll email you tomorrow, pass your info on, it’s all good.” Because I want this man to be my best friend, and because he's a working actor and comic who's been in the business many years, I trust his judgment.

That night, giddy with excitement but not one to count my chickens, I search for the woman online. After all, a writer for two of the most famous and popular shows on television must have an IMDB or a Wiki, right?

Well, not a damn thing came up. {RF} Um, this is 2012--if you are not on the internet, you do not exist. Even as a freelancer--especially as a freelancer--one should have a website so that people can know you're legit.

The next day, she did email, asking for a high-res picture she could send to NBC casting--perhaps I was just being negative. As I scrambled to find a good shot on my work comp, I noticed that the email came from a--let’s say {RF} The woman I met introduced herself as let’s say Schmobbie Jones. Ok, maybe it’s an assistant, I thought to myself. So I decided to google the name in the email address, adding “NBC” “SNL,” “writer staff”—no dice. {RF}

As I'm pretending to be Garcia from "Criminal Minds," Schmobbie was sending emails like this:
Subject: 3 scripts printed I can mail
or do you want to meet briefly - it's rainy & i am writing /sent pitch to NBC west they like
your casting & brad gave you a rave as actress/ comedian - I am into the series it's
really got a got shot it's in the semi finals on west coast development/ anyway totally!
[insert rando alias] nbc 30 r

{RF} WHAT THE FUCK? The "semi finals"? Of what--America's Next Top CauCRAYsian?

At this point, I was glad I hadn't told anyone besides Jewboo and my mom.

I like to think of myself as Nancy Drew Must Not Know Bout Me, which means I'm never done sleuthing (imagine if this was an internet date!). I decided to contact a friend—ok, let’s be real, a Facebook friend—who writes for SNL and tell her about this person. She’s never heard of the woman! I email the comedian through whom I met this woman to let him know the status:

Hey B - Have you actually been called in for anything through [insert rando alias]? I can't find hide nor hair of her on the interwebs, and she said she wrote at SNL and my friend who's a writer there has never heard of her. Also got an email from her under the address [another random alias] (sent to my youtube account) and schmachel.schmuben@aol.....Is she going to have us all gathered together for a sex party?

He replies with:
Lol. No, she's legit. She writes freelance for snl.. So not a staff writer. And is one of the script supervisor's for 30Rock. She ain't Tina Fey or Lorne Michaels... But she's also not Kathy Bates in Misery...

Mmmmkay…..But I can't ignore the feeling in my gut. Much like young Christina Aguilera when she was a genie in a bottle, my body was sayin' let’s go (ahead and think you may be getting a great opportunity) but my heart was saying NO (this bitch is cray)!

The emails keep coming all week, with requests to meet for a read-through, phone calls telling me where the scripts have been dropped off for me to pick up, and emails cc’d to me and NBC exec producer Marci Klein, Bob Greenwalt, and others. If she was a fraud, wouldn't any of the NBC people on the emails--or one of their assistants or an intern--send a standard reply to those included on the chain so that they can head this off at the pass? And this "Schmobbie" woman hasn’t tried to extort money from me or put me in an ice bath so she can jack a kidney, so what exactly is her end-game?

Last night—exactly seven days after our initial meeting—my theories were confirmed. I went to the same bar from last week to pick up the scripts that this woman left for me, and the comic pulls me into the coat-check room as soon as he sees me. He's sighing and clutching his temples, and won't say anything until he's closed the barricade and tightly sequestered us in the corner of the dimly lit coatroom. (love my dramatic gays) “Did you get my email?” he asks tensely. Alas, no. I was out all day, and had just come from doing a shitty set at a comedy show in Harlem. He fills me in on his email, which was:

[One of the other comics embroiled in this mess] just texted me to say she was contacted by NBC legal regarding [this sketchy woman] and supposedly she is NOT affiliated with NBC and they're basically reaching out to people to make sure we steer clear of her. I'm waiting for [comic] to call me and give me more details and I'll let you know all I know... So stay tuned
Ps. I hate this business...

Y’all, I just don’t know what to say. I’m annoyed, depressed, and frustrated. People always tell me I’m being pessimistic, but then shit like this goes down, and I’m like, “I TOLD YOU IT WASN’T HAPPENIN’ FOR ME!” These out-of-control incidences are the kinds of unforgettable things that influence your outlook! Although I saw it comin’ a mile away, and I know the woman is sick and suffering, I can’t help but feel the following:
  • If NBC knows about this woman, why couldn’t I have gotten a form-email saying that she wasn’t who she claimed to be? (she’d cc’d real NBC executives on our emails) I'm not saying I Marci Klein should have scooped me up in her arms, rocked me gently, and told me I was talented, but I mean, it's fuckin' NBC—I know they got auto-reply and an IT staff that’s probably got 19 PhDs among them. This lady wears a laminated NBC badge—really, they aren’t gonna take any recourse or help others avoid falling prey to her fuckery?
  • How can this delusional woman involve so many young, hopeful actors into her elaborate lies?? She’s heartbreakin’ and impersonatin’!
  • I’m trying to “suit up and show up,” as they say—do what I can, be open and honest, and try not to let the successes of people 10 years young and 20 pounds thinner make me feel bad. And yet, when I put myself out there in spite of my negativity, I’m met with mentally unstable hobbit-like creatures who are still emailing me about a green-lit pilot in which I'd play a 40-something-year-old former model. Yes, y’all—allegedly, there’s a read-through tonight at 10pm.

On an Up-Note:

It seems that Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock might go on tour together.
Reason to live? – Present!
Of course, Dave’s the wild card in this scenario, but if anyone could persuade him, it’s Chris “Solid As A” Rock. Fingers crossed! I'd love to be their roadie.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Even I didn't see this coming!

God, I can't believe it's been 12 days since my last post. Apologies, friends!

I meant to put this post up yesterday and got all kinds of sidetracked. Apparently, when you purchase a “Mattress in a Box” from, the condition of the box cannot be trusted. It’s tough to roll something when the wheels are broken off. It's even tougher to carry it when it's nearly 80 pounds. Luckily, there were a few good men willing to play their gender and my back is already out, so it didn't hurt much. I digress...

Guys, I’m really excited about Melissa McCarthy being nominated for an Oscar. I didn’t think Bridesmaids was as great as everyone said, but she was certainly the best part of that film. Every word out of her mouth was gold and she embodied the values of a SBW (Strong Black Woman). She reminds me why doing comedy is important--and shows that true talent can't be denied. Comedies are rarely acknowledged by the Academy, let alone comedic actresses. This is fucking HUGE!

Plus, she’s bff with Octavia Spencer, which makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

And also makes me want to become Octavia Spencer...

Of course, you probably want me to say a little something about Viola, Octavia, and The Help buzz. To those inquiring minds, all I have is this: I have no love for a film that centers on a kindly Caucasian recognizing racism and inequality. Emma Stone, I don’t need your Help!

Viola Davis is the new Angela Bassett of my heart, only even more versatile.* I want to be her when I grow up. I love what she has to say in interviews and she’s definitely a blacktress paving the way. But Viola should have won the Oscar for Doubt and that’s all I have to say.

So anyway, back to MMc--Which one of Megan’s hilarious moments do you think AMPAS will use for the nominee clip? I hope it’s the airplane scene with the air marshal.

*I’ll forgive her one Tyler Perry Production indiscretion, as I assume it involved some bad management and/or outstanding grad-school debt.

Friday, January 13, 2012

I think we could all learn a little something from this girl.

She is a young, white, Southern version of me.

The video really started to resonate with me when she started smushing her belly. I enjoy doing that, especially when I'm trying to prove why I'll never be a star of stage or screen.

I mean, if I had a nickel for every time I called someone "honey boo-boo child," I'd be a trillionaire. Nay--a chamillionaire!

Sidebar: I know kids are energetic, but does it kinda seem like Alana might be on meth or some other sort of stimulant?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Guys, I have to tell you about this rando show I did last night.*

*[Balls--I wrote this yesterday (Thurs) and thought I'd hit send.]

I did a set at a cabaret-type club as part of an inaugural “musical comedy variety show.”

Friends, let me let you in on a little “industry secret”: Comedy and music don’t mix very well, and stand-ups hate doing ‘variety’ shows. No one who is interested in either—or both—wants to view them at the same time. They require two different modes of engaging, one of which is passive and the other is much more of a dialogue. Basically, my point is, I was ready for it to be very awkward and uncomfortable. Add to that my lack of sleep and the small crowd, and it was really anybody’s game.

[Sidebar: Ugh, my coworker is trying to get us to pitch in to buy wedding gifts for two of our coworkers who are getting married (not to each other). I’m still pissed off about the waste of money that was The Yankee Swap. These people don’t pay me enough to waste my money. Besides, you’re about to marry the person you love more than anything and take three weeks off of work—as far as I’m concerned, you need to be getting me a consolation prize!]

Anyway, back to the show:
The order was: music – stand-up (a young Caucasian) – music – special musical guest – music – Sojourner – music.

The music was amazing. Although the mastermind behind it all was a delicate Canadian, white as the freshly driven show, she had some serious soul. It was like she got a shaman to steal the voices of Sarah Vaughn and Etta James. I went up to her and her bass player afterward and asked them what was in the water in British Columbia that made the youth so soulful. (Bass player posited it was animal urine. Oh, Canucks!)

It was a great show, but by the time I got on stage—following a jazz rendition of The Cardigans hit “Lovefool” (which was AMAZING)—I was damn-near asleep and thought I’d be a hot mess. The band was onstage during the set, so I had to make inappropriate comments to them, of course. I also dropped a lot of TRUTH BOMBS that they’re weren’t ready for, like the popularity of the Swedish dessert niggerbollen. After about three minutes, I just looked at the audience and said, “THIS IS HOW I DO, Y’ALL. GET IN IT TO WIN IT OR CHOOSE TO LOSE.”

It actually wasn’t that bad of a set, considering the small, jazz-loving crowd. I was accosted by two audience members post-show, which is always a sign of success. One of them was a cute fashionista (seriously; she worked in fashion) and the other was an honest-to-goodness CauCRAYsian.

Guys, I don’t know how to describe him. He just sort of happened to me. He came to the show late—about a minute into my set—and even if it had been crowded, he would have been impossible to miss. With long, thin brown hair (parted down the middle), large Hollywood-royalty sunglasses (yes, he wore them indoors), a floor-length Neo-like coat, and an ascot, he was like Ozzie Osbourne’s whimsical younger brother. He cracked up during my set, and as I was making my way to the door, he stopped me in my tracks.

“YOU!” he said, grabbing my face. “Darling, Darling, Darling!!!” He really enjoying rolling his r’s. I laughed, but before I could say anything, he leans in with his pillowy lips to kiss me on the mouth.

I manage to turn my head (his grip was strong), saying, “Didn’t you pay attention to the words that were coming out of my mouth?! I have a Jewboo now and I’m a classy lady!”
He then plays it off in top form, saying, “Oh, yes, that is good. That was a test and you passed. We can now be friends.”
He then tells me that he loved “Caucasia” because he is Georgian—as in, from Georgia, aka the Caucasus region of Europe/Asia. Guys, he is FROM THE CAUCUS MOUNTAINS. HE IS AN ORIGINAL CAUCASIAN!

He then goes on to tell me that, if you were to talk to a Russian, they’d refer to him as “the name of those Swedish balls.” Apparently, the Georgians are looked down upon. Between his minority status and Caucasian roots, he decided we were best friends. He refused to let go of me and demanded I accompany him to Marie’s Crisis, a basement piano bar where everyone’s a diva. I explained that I had to go. of course, there was a time not so long ago, when I would have hung out with this random pillowy-lipped, likely herpetic Georgia until 4am, just for the 10 minutes of material later on.

But I’m a new woman, with chronic fatigue, a tender lover, and a penchant for baked goods. Oh, and I’m now a blogger for a movie website! Check it out.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

All the Randomness That's Fit to Print!

Can you believe it’s only Wednesday? I’ve been one day ahead all week and it’s just—to take a phrase from an 80s movie—bumming me out. I haven’t slept more than 4 hours a night in the last week, so I don’t really have a through-line. Here are some thangs I been thinkin’ ‘bout. Feel free to take what works and leave the rest:

  • “What? I don’t know. I don’t…care. I’m doing something else right now.” ~ Me, to my coworker.

This happened before 12pm today, guys. I’m so worn down that I can’t even fake it til I make it (off the plantation)! He was showing me some event invitation that’s not going to take place until February 6—why would I be thinkin’ about a work function on February 6 when I can’t even figure out how I’m gonna do my 8-minute set tonight? Bitch, please!

  • I read in a ¼-page “article” in US Weekly that Janet Hubert—aka Fresh Prince of Bel Air’s Aunt Viv verison 1.0—is angrier than Regina George when she found out those chocolate bars weren't for weight loss.

Janet recently told TMZ, “There will never be a reunion… as I will never do anything with an asshole like Will Smith. … He is still an egomaniac and has not grown up. This constant reunion thing with never ever happen in my lifetime unless there is an apology, which he doesn’t know the word.”

Y’all, I know where Aunt Viv is coming from. I mean, not personally—I’m sure Will Smith is a peach—but blacktress definitely knows how to hold on to some old ish. I mean, take for instance today’s random run-in at Cosi: I saw a high school classmate standing in line as I was paying. It was kinda cray because she was someone I haven't seen since 2001 and I had just been thinking about her two days ago. (You know, the whole “Why hasn’t Facebook suggested we be friends?” thing) I got excited and wanted to go say hello, but stopped myself. She looked exactly the same--except with diamond earrings, a long, grown-up-lady coat with a fur-lined collar, a pedicure and sensible slacks. I, on the other hand, had dried snot on my nose and had only stopped crying 10 minutes earlier. Although Lord knows it wouldn’t have been much of a difference from high school, I couldn't introduce myself like that. After all, I have to prove to these high school folks that I'm not a loser!

Like Janet Hubert, the resentment I feel from 15 years ago still influences me today. But unlike Janet Hubert, I will not spend my 40s and 50s living in anger. I mean, look what Janet could do when she put her mind to it:

Talk about young, gifted, and black!

  • In other news: Move over, Vajazzling—Vattooing is coming for ya!
Yes, this is a real thing.

As you all know, Vajazzling is one of Jennifer Love Hewitt’s favorite things. Apparently, women with low self-esteem and disposable income have taken it a step further. One hard-hitting online journalist went inside the world of vag tats and shared her findings, which I will now share with you.

“After the entire mons pubis and labia have been stripped of any signs of womanhood, you can specify the design of your choice. Nicole, shown above, opted for a cutesy heart pattern. The technician carefully created a detailed pattern, and then instructed Nicole to pick the non-toxic colors of her choice. Her vatoo took about 10 minutes to apply with three colors: purple, coral, and teal. …

This isn’t some junky temporary tattoo that you can buy anywhere- it’s applied by hand, customizable, non-toxic, and doesn’t have any of that weird filmy stuff that you get from a cheap temporary tattoo. You won’t get that weird cracked look as time goes on, either. The paint will gradually fade away over the course of 7-10 days (even with showering), and if you decide you need it off sooner you can always swab the area with rubbing alcohol to remove it."

Thank god for rubbing alcohol. And real alcohol. Am I right, ladieeezzzzz?!!
(My only question: when can we start calling them twattoos?)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Mondays Aren't Fundays

”You look like you came in off the street in that big coat.” ~ my boss, to me.

I actually wasn’t offended. Of course, he has immunized me against inappropriate comments over the last 2 years (and started off the year with a strong dose of TMI when he discussed the sex party he and his pals “mistakenly” attended on New Year’s Eve). But it’s also because I’m definitely giving off a hobo vibe.

I’ve been wearing my coat all day, both because it’s freezing in the office and because I’d like to be able to make a quick getaway should the need arise.
Not that I’m on the lam or anything—I just like to be ready.

[Sidebar: I’ve been craving lasagna and didn’t want to wake up today. I feel like Garfield.]

So, a few changes in Blacktress World™: I’m becoming a landlady! In an effort to fund my dreams and avoid total bankruptcy, I’m getting a roommate for a few months. After very little effort, I found a German PhD student who seems perfect. She’s only here until the end of May, she’ll be spending most of her time writing her dissertation, and she gets my humor. (Sometimes I don’t go over so well with the ESL crowd)

Of course, I’m nervous about having to share space after months of solitude, but I’m also looking forward to it. Having a roommate means I won’t be able to spend hours crying in the bathroom and I’ll have to maintain a higher standard of kitchen cleanliness. Great way to start off 2012!*

I also learned that she’s writing her dissertation on African American Anticolonialism. Can you believe it? Sojourner renting her space with a German who’s down with the brown?! If Harriet “TUBZO” Tubman could see me now!

*As you can probably guess, my depression is rearing it's ugly head. So much so that my coworker invited me to come to a wedding-cake tasting after work today--and I seriously considered it. I then realized that pretending to be engaged to someone for free cake would only fuel my self-loathing.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Why Are People So Cray?

Granted, not my punny-est title, but it’s really all I’ve got to say.

I got to work and was greeted by Awkward Male Coworker, who has come back from holiday vacay with some new neuroses. He’s been eating Weight Watchers SmartOnes for lunch every day.

He is 31 years old. He is not obese. He is not overweight. He doesn’t even have a paunch.
I finally called him out yesterday in the office kitchen.

“What are you doing to yourself?! You need more than 250 calories for a meal!”
“I’m watching my weight,” he said in his trademark monotone. [His underbite leaves him little room for enunciating.]
“There’s nothing to watch!”
“I’ve gotta get back to 24-year-old Tom, heh.” [his laughter is so weird.]
“Um, wasn’t 24-year-old Tom getting a divorce?”
“But I looked good.”

I’m sorry to discriminate, but a man eating a SmartOnes as a meal disgusts me. I mean, when a woman eats it, I get sad, but a man….I don’t know, it just crosses the line.

He was heating up this--which, as you can imagine, looks 10x worse IRL.

When I got in, AMC was eating a breakfast salad—nothing particularly breakfast-y in it, but a salad at breakfast. Spinach, Tomatoes, Mushrooms, with no dressing.
I can’t even look at him.

I was particularly annoyed because, this morning I had the strangest encounter with a human before ever leaving my house—which is saying a lot, cause I live alone. I was eating my Banana Nut Crunch* when the buzzer rang. I answered and waited for the person to state his/her name and business through the intercom.

"Hi, I’m your neighbor at 309. I was walking my dog and I can’t find him and I wanted to see if he was in your backyard."

In the words of Marc Maron: WTF?!

Y’all, the levels of fuckery are almost as limitless as Bradley Cooper, but let me just share some of the first few:
My "neighbor at 309"? Um, I live at 56. What kind of geography are you using?! Plus, you didn’t even say what street you’re on. To be on 309 [Sojourner’s] Ave, you’d have to be about 17 blocks north. Not exactly my neighborhood.

You want to "see if your dog was in my backyard?" You mean he got through my 7-foot-tall reinforced fence and stood there quietly for the last 15 minutes? Bitch, please.

“I’ll go take a look,” I told him through the intercom. And I did—a real thorough one, too.
“Nope, he’s not here.”
“You looked?”
“Oh, ok.” He sounded dejected. “Um, could--”
“Sorry. Good luck!”

I don’t know what this CRAY-bor (you know, crazy neighbor) was thinking. This is not a Lifetime Movie, this is my life. Mama didn’t raise no fool! Maybe it’s all the Criminal Minds I watch, but I know a potentially rape-y situation when I see one. Like I’m just going to let him carry out a home invasion cause he’s “looking for a dog.” I am not a gentrifier; you can’t warm my heart by talking about an animal and think I’ll forget where I am.
In the words of short-lived R&B trio 3LW: PLAYA, PLEASE!

When I left the house—10 minutes after he rang—the dude was still out there!!! Just as I suspected, he looked like he had nowhere to be during business hours and hadn’t been to a dentist since before 9/11. He gave me the same line, which just didn’t make sense because we’d been through this.

“I know, I looked. I didn’t see anything,” I said.
“Could I just—”
Y’all, I was about to break out a rape whistle on my own stoop!

I got on the train, looking back to make sure Doggie Day Care was walking in the opposite direction.

I mean, of course I’m excited that I avoided the clutches of a criminally insane person, but I'm still shaken. I’ve been taking solace in Twitter all morning, and it’s actually working. Just writing this post is a step on the road to recovery.

What are you up to this weekend, guys?

*Hey yo, Post Cereals, can I get some free boxes for advertising?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2012: Ghost Protocol

We did it, guys. We made it through another holiday season. No more cocktails with whole cranberries in them under the guise of “festive.” No more fancy dress parties that require I freeze my butt off. Of course, it always ends with the mother of all over-hyped parties: New Year’s Eve. I’m not tryin’ to front like I haven’t gone out and made a hot mess of myself in years past (see my 2009 mishap in Sydneytown). But my god, I am beyond over it. If we’re going to place great meaning on the end of the year, as we do with an NYE “bash” (the only time in which that word is used to described a gather), then equal meaning must be given to the start of a new one. With that thinking, why would I want to start my next year on earth with a hangover and shame? Nothin’ like being well-rested and eating a good brekkie to say, “Hello world! Blacktress is here!”

Not that I did that, mind you. Yesterday was the first workday of 2012 and I got to the office at 10:37am. Work starts at 9. (#depression:1,success:0) So far, I’ve been preoccupied with the Weight Watchers point values of foods and trying to figure out what side hustles I can take on to make a little extra dough.

It seems I’m right where we left off, friends. Then, I get a posting on my fb wall of this video with the line: "This is great, but I wish it was Sojourner." Yet again, there's another blacktress out there who's actually out there making things happen.

Add to that the “new looks” of Gmail and Facebook—which make everything far more confusing and create the same visual effect as a pile of vomit on my computer screen, and I’m already weary. Seriously, though: I am scared of Facebook "Timeline." I have a visceral reaction when I see a Timeline profile and fear mine may be next. I’m not even trying, y’all. I’m initiating Ghost Protocol on 2012. Disavowing the whole year, the country, all of it.

How’s TWENTYTWELVE starting for you? This could be our last year on earth, so let’s party like it’s 1999—you know, that other time it was gonna be our last year on earth.