Archive for the 'nyc subway' Category

The Weekend Audition Has Got to Go!

Today was not the best day I’ve ever had. I had to go to an audition. On a Saturday. I resent the weekend audition. I do. I know I am supposed to be dedicated and willing to do anything for an acting job blah blah blah but the weekend audition still burns me up.

So, I had planned out my day the day before. I figured I had just enough time to take my weekly African Dance class with the live drummer– which is one of my favorite things in the world. I was raving about it to a musician friend of mine recently who responded with; “Oh really? What region of Africa?” To which I responded; “The Alvin Ailey region I think.”

But I digress. So I had it all planned out.

But, when I woke up this morning the alarm clock said 7:45 – plenty of time to walk the dog, have a cup of tea, some raisin toast and a sit down to polish up the monologue they sent me, and go to class and make the audition. However upon entering the kitchen I learned it was actually 10:00 am and the battery on my alarm clock had died. NOOOOOO.

So no time for anything. Must walk dog. Must feed dog. Trying to get ready with a dog clamped on to my left foot. No time to discipline dog. My husband says this is why he is Alpha dog and I am not. I try throwing a toy in between putting on eyeliner. I try to throw it far enough to finish one eye. She’s back. Throw it again. She’s back. Again, back, again, back, again, back. I am sure as shit this dog is a terrier. I never wanted a terrier. But I love her now so it is too late. I get up to go to the closet and she latches on to my foot again so I have to drag her into the living room to get the silver coasters off the cocktail table. The silver coasters are the only thing that will stop her when she is in clamping mode. I have to clang them together. Repeatedly. My husband thinks I am a moron because being Alpha dog he only has to look at her.

After coaster alert I forgot exactly where I was headed in the first place.

I finally get out the door and when I am two blocks away I realize I forgot to put the monologue I was going to brush up in my purse. Too late to go back. Run down the stairs to the A train. NO A OR C TRAINS RUNNING AT THIS STATION says the magic marker sign. Fucking weekends fucking track work. So I run to the 2,3 three blocks away. Asking myself seriously if this is worth it. When I get there there are 10 people staring at an elevator with open doors that isn’t moving. Finally the other elevator comes.

I get on the train and I swear I am seated across from an actress preparing a monologue. I’m not kidding. She knows hers by heart. She obviously doesn’t have a terrier puppy. It starts annoying me. I want to close my eyes and meditate for a minute but I can’t look away. She is mouthing the words complete with much eyebrow raising and crazy intense looks and jutting of the lower teeth out of her mouth. And darting looks back and forth. I swear. The head- back and forth and back and forth. And now a crazy look. And now a pumping of the eyebrows. I look at a folder she is carrying and read the word “Shakespeare” upside down. Ah hah! She is doing bombastic Shakespeare on the 2 train. It is so fucking annoying to me that I can’t stop looking. And why is no one else noticing I wonder? Until a Hispanic guy with headphones gets on the train and sits down next to her. He notices the bizarre behavior. So he looks her up and down very carefully to figure out if she is a crazy homeless. When he decides she isn’t he sits back and returns to Ipod world. Fine. Fine. Leave Cranky alone in her annoyance. It’s so great to be annoyed with some one else. It’s one of those days. Everything is annoying me. When a man hits me with his Toy Are Us bag and an entire third grade class on a field trip gets on the car, I am so sorry I didn’t stay home.

I make it to the audition with ten minutes to spare. When I go in I ask if they have a copy of the monologue and they say, “No but someone left one by accident on the chair.” I realize yes I should have stayed home. And after I do the monologue and they hand me sides and ask me to read a scene I’ve never seen before with no preparation I am mentally kicking myself for skipping brunch with my husband and friends. And to rub it in, they have an actress there who has a part in the film read with me and she sits in a chair on my upstage left side, so I have a choice of relating to her and having the back of my head to the camera or having my face to the camera and looking like I don’t know how to act. But does it really matter anymore?

When I go to take the same train back there are no trains running at that station so I have to walk eight blocks weaving my way through slow walking lumbering tourists who are walking four across on the sidewalk. Times Square on a Saturday – thanks again screwy filmmaker.  The city needs to implement my idea of tourist walking lanes on the sidewalk. When I finally get to the platform the doors of the car close in my face.

But I’m home now. I’m on the couch. The doggie is on the back of the couch looking out the window her arm resting in what I call “Statesman Pose”. All is quiet and contentment now.

She does seem like terrier but I’m also sure she has a lot of poodle. Every dog now is crossed with a poodle. There are Cockapoos, Jackadoodles, Dachapoos, Labradoodles. Someday the poodles will take over the world. People will start having their offspring crossed with them. “What are you having? A boy or a girl?” we will ask. Oh, I’m having a Boydoodle. They are completely hypoallergenic and smarter than the average boy.”

I Think I’m Feeling Very Chinatown

There’s been an Asian theme running through my week.
First, I thought I had found a great new way to get to rehearsal. I looked on a map and it looked like a subway that was unknown to me called Chrystie Street was closer.
So, next time I go to rehearsal I get off there. Now, Cranky cannot tell north or south for at least three minutes after getting off any subway. This train left me off at an intersection I had never seen in my life. I felt like the train had entered a vortex and gone through the center of the earth and come out in China. Like when I was a kid and I thought you could dig your way to China on the beach.
The sidewalks were packed with a lot of Chinese people in a hurry and one slow moving confused looking Caucasian. There were mounds of fish piled on wooden stands. Scary carcasses in the windows. And crowds and crowds of people. Not the tourist land Chinatown of knick-knacks and restaurants. Nope.
I wasn’t sure which way to walk. “All the buildings look alike.” I thought. So I picked a direction and started walking. When I had a feeling I was going in the wrong direction, I asked a man on the sidewalk, “Excuse me, which way is Little Italy?” And then I immediately felt horrible. Is if OK to ask a Chinese man in Chinatown the way to Little Italy? Are they in competition? Was he thinking, “What’s wrong? Chinese food not good enough for you?” Of course I thought of all this AFTER I had opened my mouth. So he pointed in the direction I was already going, thus adding five more blocks of going in the wrong direction until I finally wised up. Thanks Mr. Man On The Sidewalk. You got me back. So, I arrived at rehearsal huffing and puffing and fifteen minutes late.
Then, yesterday, I had tea with an actress friend and she told me that she’d been asked to do a reading of a screenplay and the director wants her to read the role of an Asian woman. Huh? She is as WASPY as they get. “Why?” I asked. “The director said he couldn’t find an Asian actress,” she said. “In all of New York City?” I asked. “Well, he’s won awards for his filmmaking.” She said he had won an award called THE GOLDEN BALLS or something in Cannes.

She was told that she would be reading for the wife role and when she got to the rehearsal he switched her to the Asian woman. “Do you think I can do it?” she asked. “Can you wear pointy sunglasses?” I answered. “The days of Mickey Rooney as Mr. Yunioshi are way over.”

“What are you gonna get out of this?” I said. “You know I’m glad I’m talking about this,” she said, “When I was there a couple of times I felt like I should have left. But I’ve been convincing myself that it was OK.”

This is what we do ALL the time. Your gut says NO. But your actor self hates to turn down any opportunity no matter how disturbing or annoying it its. This is why actors need other actor friends to talk then down from these situations. Because when you feel that way, no good is gonna come out it. She is not gonna get cast as the Asian woman when he makes the film.
Maybe someone should start a hotline for actors. Actor’s Anonymous. It could be staffed by other actors. I could just imagine it. “THEY WANT ME TO BRING TEN CHANGES OF CLOTHES AND I HAVE TO SLEEP IN THE PARK AND PAY MY OWN CARFARE.” “Just say no,” says the person on the helpline.

Cranky-Queen of the Subways

Going to auditions means I live on the subways. The good part is it’s fast. The bad part is what you have to endure while you are on them.
Last week, my worst fear, phobia, cringe-making, thing came true. A homeless man walked into the subway car. He was wearing a blanket that looked like it came off of a diseased Egyptian mummy. There was a hole in the middle where his head came through. It was caked with ancestral crud. He made one pass by me and I was OK. Then he started heading my way again and I saw it. He was gonna touch me. I actually swung my legs around and put them up on the seat to give him clearance. It didn’t matter. The scuzz blanket swept across my lap. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
The other passengers were laughing at my reaction. Fuck them. It wasn’tfunny! I knew unseen vermin were spreading across my legs. I was horrified. I ran home and took off my clothes in the foyer and tied them up in a plastic bag and jumped in the shower. If I knew what fumigation meant I would have done that too.
Yesterday, there was a guy screaming for money at the top of his lungs in the subway car. After he had passed me, I looked up at his back and he was wearing a Day-Glo orange jacket with the words PSYCH WARD and inmate number 126-53-42 printed on the back. Guess the Day-Glo orange didn’t keep him from escaping into the anonymity of the subways.

I love New York. Nobody bothers you if you are famous, and nobody bothers you if you are batshit crazy. You gotta be a little tough to take it all.

Especially after 9/11. When everyday felt like it might be my last day when I got on the subway. I was freaked out. I saw a billboard for The New York Times and I read “Expect The WORST”. “Wow, that’s harsh,” I thought. It said, “Expect the WORLD.” I was experiencing some sort of psychic overlay when I read signs. I saw another one that said, “It’s your city. Don’t let the TERRORISTS have all the fun.” And I was like, “What? That’s kind of weird, the TERRORISTS have all the fun?” And I looked back again and it was TOURISTS. Don’t let the TOURISTS have all the fun. I was so freaked out , I couldn’t even read anymore.
And still, even now, they keep saying, “If you see something, say something.” I still have no idea who the hell we’re supposed to tell on the subway. You ever see anyone? There’s like one driver on a train of fifteen cars. So, if you started walking in one direction to find someone when you saw something scary, if you didn’t die while walking between the cars, when you got to the end, chances are you went the wrong way, and then you’d have to turn around and walk all the way back, and by the time you’d finished, you’d end up in the Bronx at like Dyre Avenue or something, and even if it was a false alarm, you’d probably get killed because you ended up in a strange neighborhood.

One day, during the orange alert days, I was standing on the platform as the train pulled up. I had to choose which subway car to get into. I looked one way and there was a guy carrying two huge duffle bags. He looked like a terrorist for sure to me. The Bush administration had turned me into an instant profiler. He was Middle Eastern with a beard. I knew he had bombs in those duffle bags. Or some death chemical. I knew it. I looked the other way, and there was a really, really, really skanky, crusty homeless man. A man with body odor beyond human comprehension. And I was like “The terrorist or the homeless? The terrorist or the homeless? The terrorist or the homeless?” And you know what? I chose the terrorist. I chose the possibility of death over the certainty of olfactory repulsion. That’s how scared I am of vermin.

And everyone is cranky on the subway. No one is happy to be there. Except the Ipod people. The best is sitting next to someone who has heavy metal music coming out of their headset first thing in the morning. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!

I actually once witnessed a man chasing another man with a knife in the subway cars. Everyone stared at their feet, believe you me.
And on top of it all, the fluorescent lighting down there is totally unflattering. So I suggest you never do a makeup check when you are in the car. You will be frightened by what you see. Especially if you are on the way to an audition. Makes you want to turn around and go home. “They are gonna film THIS?” you ask yourself. It’s quite possible that installing beauty lighting in the subways might lead to a major reduction in crime.


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March 2023

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