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The Play Reading

Cranky just finished writing a play. I was invited to participate in a reading series and to have a new work read. Cranky didn’t have a new work, but said yes anyway and planned to just make one up.

A deadline is a great thing for a writer. Until, of course, the deadline comes. Cranky made up most of a play sitting on the couch in her living room. Went to places she had literally never gone before. Then it was four days until rehearsal and six days before the reading, and the ending just fell off a cliff. And let’s face it, you got no ending-you got no play. Or movie or TV show for that matter. I am still resentful that I lost so many hours of my life watching Lost. If it was all a dream go fuck yourself. So there I am. The ending hasn’t been cracked. I pace around, say a prayer and thank goodness get an idea. The next few hours I keep running to my computer to add things. I wake up the next morning and grab my computer and start typing before getting out of bed. The dog looks at me funny because Cranky has never done this before and dogs are all about routine.

The night before the rehearsal I send the completed script to the six actors. I am thrilled and love the play. The day of the rehearsal I wake up and I hate the play. I’m sure all the actors hate it too. Especially the one I am closest too, who asks me if I will have time to “talk about the play” after rehearsal. The phrase “talk about the play” will send any playwright into a paranoid tailspin. Especially Cranky. So I walk around all day in a panicked state. The thought crosses my mind that I hope there is an earthquake on Thursday so we won’t have to read the play. Or maybe I will have to perform an emergency C-Section on the play and completely rewrite it in one day. I’m sure that the fact that I wrote anything good in the past was a fluke. And that I will never write another play again. That I am not a writer at all. I’m like “Please, please where are the disasters when you need them? How about a little blackout on Thursday? That will do the trick.”

The actors arrive at rehearsal. They all look very happy to be there and enthusiastic. I am sure this is because they are good actors and they are just acting. Then we read through the play. It’s actually good. They are laughing. It’s the perfect combination of sad/funny funny/sad that I like. The rehearsal goes really really well. I’m still nervous about the “talk about the play” person. We go to a diner and she asks if she can change three words. Three words. And tells me it’s a great piece. The earthquake/blackout wish starts to fade.

But we’re talking about the wonderful world of theater were nothing is a sure thing. Ever. The night of the reading there is a full house in the event room of the restaurant hosting it. Before the performance I notice one of the actors downing glasses of Guinness. When he orders another I ask him if he can perform after drinking beer. “Oh sure,” he says.

Everybody is happy. The reading begins. The first scene comes off great. Then comes the second scene with Guinness guy. He is inaudible. I don’t mean a little bit. I mean you can’t hear him AT ALL. It looks like I stuck a mime in there with the speaking actors for experimental reasons. Cranky does not write experimental theater nor does she want to see it. I can’t explain the physical sensations of anxiety that are running through my body. I hired him because his girlfriend asked me if I had something for him. Cranky did it to be nice. And he was a child star on some television program and has been in a bunch of movies. All I can say is, “Dude, Hollywood is calling get the fuck off the stage.”

When it is over I apologize to everyone I know in the room. Some people liked it anyway. Most of them were sitting in the front row.

But alas, such is the way it goes sometimes in the world of a thespian. And when all is said and done, I have written a new play.

Shakespeare on the Screen

Cranky saw the National Theater’s production of Hamlet on Saturday. It was at the movies. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch.  It was amazing. I will say it is probably one of the best portrayals of Hamlet in recorded history. It is though the only one I’ve seen outside of acting class, but I love a sweeping statement and I think this performance deserves one.

But first I must talk about the audience. I sat behind a compulsive shusher. I got the feeling that seeing Hamlet was such an epic experience in this man’s life that from the second he sat down he made himself the self-appointed noise monitor for the theater. We’re talking Brooklyn Academy of Music. You couldn’t possibly get a more respectful audience for Shakespeare on the screen than this group. All those Park Slope granola, food coop, lefties. If the man had seen it in The Court Street Theater where everyone talks back to the screen, he might have had an Ophelia madness scene of his own.

The first shush came while during the Coming Attractions when my friend and I were whispering back and forth. Freak. It is totally acceptable to talk during Coming Attractions. “I want to see that. Think I’ll skip that one. Love that actor.” Are things I feel compelled to say to whomever I’m with. His shush was the first warning shot that under no circumstances would any sound be tolerated. The shushing continued later when my friend went into her bag for a mint. When someone else whispered. When I got my scarf out of my bag. The denouement occurred after the intermission when Cranky came to her seat with a Kit Kat. I knew the Kit Kat was going to be a problem. But I needed the Kit Kat. The running time was three hours and since it was Saturday, Cranky hadn’t had a proper lunch because Saturday is Pilates day. So I’m in my seat. I need to eat the Kit Kat. I decide to just open the whole thing in one big tear instead of making a lot of little noises as I go. The second I open it, I get not only a SHUSH but a turn around. The Shusher is more annoying than the noises he is shushing. Why why why doesn’t he realize that? Cranky is tempted to lean forward and start coughing near him. But I didn’t do it. After sitting frozen in my seat for the next hour, I have to blow my nose. I really do. I gingerly pick my purse up off the floor and open it to get a tissue. I get a huge SHUSH!!! Cranky has now had it. “Pardon me I need to blow my nose!!?  WTF?” I said. Crazy Shusher was then quiet for the rest of the show and we could concentrate on Elsinore. Where Mr. Cumberbatch was being an athletic/active Hamlet. No ponderous pondering . Though the issues of life and death are weighed throughout the play, it was done by attack not defense. The play was practically an athletic event. In a good way. Not one boring moment, nor a moment where the text isn’t clearly understood. Quite a feat. One of those great matches of role and actor.  And the filming was a perfect balance of movie and play. Mr. Cumberbatch will be back on the National Theater screen in October in Frankenstein and that totally cute guy from The Night Manager –  Tom Hiddleston, is in Corialanus running now. Check out the calendar: http://ntlive.nationaltheatre.org.uk/

Inbox Rules Inner Life

Cranky is going to be part of a playwright/director’s workshop at The Actor’s Studio. Cranky is afraid.

My former acting coach, Mr. Inscrutable, took me to watch some sessions there. It was all very serious. No, really VERY SERIOUS.  Think of saying it with an English accent: VEDDDY SERRRRRIOUS. I got the impression that the place is anti-entertainment. And if there is one thing that I have attempted to do in my writing, it is to entertain. Someone once described is as a gift to audience.

But I think maybe this group might be insulated from the truth or life or death that is the prevailing mentality there.

Cranky was brave and asked an actress she loves who is on a TV show at the moment if she would work on the lead. My words in her mouth are a dream come true. Her work is amazing. I felt it was a shot in the dark with no hope of ever happening. Emailed anyway because it was what I really really wanted. And there is no point in there being something you really really want and not at least asking for it. So sent the email and obsessively checked email every ten minutes for the following 48 hours. The good thing about an IPhone is that you can check emails wherever you are. The bad thing about an IPhone is that you can check emails wherever you are. I made up scenarios in my head. Actress reads email and thinks, “I’m not even answering, it’s such a ridiculous request.” Or, “I’m on TV, why would I do a workshop?” Or, “I can’t remember who this is.” Or, “Dream on, little writer.” Every time I check my email and there is no answer, I think up a new one. This goes on for two days. Then one day there it is. A REPLY. I’m afraid to open it. I open it. “Sure, I can do that.” The five simple words I thought I would never hear. Really? Really? Two days of anxiety and there it is, “Sure.”

Then Cranky needs a director, and gets a recommendation. Sorry to say that as a neurotic artist Cranky did not learn her lesson and went through the exact same torturous scenario waiting for the director to get back to her. This time it was “She hates the play.” Or “I’m a stranger why would she work with me?” “How long should I wait before I figure out a plan B?” “Did the email go through?” “Will I look like a freak if I call her and ask?” “How long should I wait before I email her again?” “I don’t want to look over anxious.”

Then I wonder, how come these people take two days to answer an email? Cranky answers all emails immediately. And then I realize it is because Cranky is now an office hack who gets thousands of emails every day and if she didn’t answer right away, she might never reply, as they will get lost in the miasma that is her inbox. Occasionally, Cranky will leave her phone at home and go somewhere, and she feels like Django Unchained. Alas, I grew up with dreams of bongos and berets and books and now have to dress like a normal person and be perpetually perky.

Girl Wants to Move to NYC to Study Acting

Heard from Gabriella who has read my blog and still wants to move to NYC to study acting. Must be brave. She is short on dough which shouldn’t stop anybody.

Had dinner with a plastic surgeon last night who said, “Money is so arbitrary. I might as well share my arbitrary money.” And then he paid for dinner for eight people. Most of whom were struggling artists who had just put up their final show in The Fringe Festival. He was a prince. We like him. So be like him and give this Gabby gal a few bucks maybe: http://www.gofundme.com/get-gabby-to-ny

Ida- The Hollywood Version

Last night Cranky watched the movie Ida. It is a black and white, atmospheric, very European film. Spartan in dialogue. Practically every shot could be printed as a still and put in a photography book that would look like it was shot by a master such as Henri Cartier-Bresson.  It is quiet and sad, and the whole time I was watching it I kept wondering what the Hollywood version would look like. Here is my answer:

The leads will be played by Marisa Tomei and Scarlet Johansson, or perhaps Fran Drescher as the aunt. The silent meals at the nunnery would have to go (BORING!), replaced by a scene of Ida dining with her best friend and fellow novitiate (EVERY FILM NEEDS A SECOND BANANA!) played by an actress who is less attractive/chubby/funny. The friend will make irreverent jokes about the meat they are served tasting like Russian army boots. During the scene when they are prostrate on the church floor, there will be close-ups of the friend making jokes to Ida. “Is this the nun version of yoga? Does it count as penance if I fall asleep?” And of course in this convent ALL the nuns wear mascara.

They hug and shed a tear when Ida leaves to meet her aunt. Her aunt takes one look at her and says, “Oy! You don’t know you’re a Jew? What a shanda!”  while puffing on her cigarette and showing a lot of cleavage. The only dialogue they will keep from the original movie is the aunt’s line, “We make a great pair, a slut and a nun.” And the mid part of the movie will be Ida witnessing her aunt’s outrageous slut behavior with madcap hilarity. She will most likely punch the officer who arrests her for drunk driving and Ida will admire her spunk (and so will we). The graveyard scene will be breezed over. Instead we see a guy vaguely pointing towards the woods which is really enough of that. The handsome hitchhiker will be played by Zac Efron, who can’t help it, but when he plays the saxophone it is with such passion that his shirt falls off. Ida has a hot flirtation with Zac, who only has eyes for her even though the club is filled with hot young women who are not wearing habits.

When Ida returns after her auntie’s demise, she decides to get a makeover (EVERYONE LOVES A MAKEOVER!). And there is a musical sequence when she is walking down a picaresque street and spots a sign that says Salon Kosmetyczny and sheepishly enters. The beautician is happy to remove Ida’s habit while the Katy Perry song Firework is blasting.

The sex scene with hitchhiker Zac stays in the movie. With lots of shots of Zac’s sweaty, glistening abs and Ida’s pouty newly glossed lips and killer hairdo.

Just like the original, Ida leaves and puts her habit back on and returns to the nunnery. With a haunting expression and smeared mascara under her eyes. But it does not end there. Zac follows her to the convent, sneaks in, and as luck would have it, the first person he encounters is Ida’s best friend, who hides him and goes to find Ida. When she finds Ida she convinces her not to turn her back on love. Ida is afraid saying, “It is much easier being spiritual than human.” The friend counters with, “Oh come on! You’re Jewish. Jews have chutzpah! You have a chance to out of her girlfriend!” Ida then leaves with Zac and the final shot is of them kissing while the habit falls off her head revealing her still perfectly coifed hair courtesy of Salon Kosmetyczny.

Wanted: Bug Killer Who Likes Fashion Police

Cranky is experiencing the advantages and disadvantages of living alone.

Advantages:

Falling asleep in front of the TV and nobody cares.

Saturday afternoon ritual of going to gym, then eating lunch and watching “Fashion Police.” What man is going to put up with that?

Having cheese and crackers for dinner. Having watermelon for dinner. Having soup for dinner. Every man I’ve ever known wants a 3-course meal night after night.

Less clutter.

Disadvantages:

Um, ah, I couldn’t think of any until last night. Last night at 11:30pm a giant waterbug appeared in the bathroom and this is when you need a man. When I switched on the light, it ran between the shower curtain and the liner to hide. They do that. They know that when a light goes on they must hide or they will die. I hate them, but it makes me sad that they know that. How do they know that? Do they have some kind of ancestral archetypal unconscious that links to the memory of generations that have gone before? Is it survival of the fittest? The ones that hide get to live and reproduce? Or do they have folklore passed down to the younger generations by songs they sing to their young in the middle of the night while they hide in the black pipes of buildings:

Hide hide hide when they turn on the light

The sight of us gives them a fright

We do not sting, we do not bite

It does not matter, they’ll squash us on sight

So my terror was tinged with poignancy as I looked at the bug hiding behind the white translucent curtain, thinking it was safe, but still in plain sight. My elder statesmen friend on the sixth floor once watched one of them crawl out of the dumbwaiter in his kitchen and said, “What a life,” feeling sorry for this creature of the darkness living behind the walls.

But terror is more powerful than poignancy, so I immediately texted three neighbors. No answer. Which meant I would not be able to use the bathroom. Ever. Which was going to present a problem. But wild horses could not drag me in there now. I was going to walk the dog, and my backup plan was to find someone on the street or one of the busboys I see nightly and drag them home. When I lived in the Village, I once asked a waiter from a restaurant across the street to walk me home because there was a bug on the stairs. He thought it was his lucky day until after he killed the bug and I said goodnight. (Sorry Marcos!)

But then the doorbell rang. My savior. Bob. “Where is it? Do you have any paper towels?” His demeanor looked a little too casual to me considering I was in trauma/phobic mode. “I’ll try to get it,” he said, “But sometimes they just run away back to where they came from and you never see them again.” I said, “WAIT! STOP! DON’T GO IN THERE UNTIL YOU ARE DETERMINED TO KILL IT. YOU HAVE TO BE DETERMINED TO KILL IT. JUST PUT IT IN YOUR MIND THAT YOU ARE GOING TO KILL IT!” I’m feeling very Pattonlike talking to the troops.

Because if he doesn’t kill it, it will hide until the worst, scariest, moment and then come out and TOUCH ME. I know this is a fact.

Bob is in there for much longer than I expected. The bug must be employing diversionary tactics passed down through generations, but Bob emerges victorious. He even takes the death shroud of paper towels with him which is the greatest thing ever because even if it is dead I would have fears that it would somehow crawl out of the garbage and get me.

So in conclusion this probably means that Cranky might have to go on dates to find a bug killer, better known as a man. Even though Cranky considers dating an invasion of privacy.

The Awkward Autofill

On Jul 14, 2014, at 2:18 PM, “Cranky” wrote:

http://www.ptero-play.com
You want to see this with me? I will buy us tickets – wanna go this Friday?

Cranky

From: Anastasia
Sent: Monday, July 14, 2014 2:31 PM
To: Cranky
Subject: Re: a play i want to see

A play?
Any idea what it’s about? I am going away Friday after work though for the weekend.. :/

On Jul 14, 2014, at 2:39 PM, “Cranky ” wrote:

Good playwright
If you click on link and go to About it has info: http://www.ptero-play.com/
We could go 7/25 or 7/26 or 7/27 if you wanna go.

Cranky

From: Anastasia
Sent: Monday, July 14, 2014 2:43 PM
To: Cranky
Subject: Re: a play i want to see

Can we do Thursday the 24th? Yeah I like theatre!

Sent from my iPhone

On Jul 14, 2014, at 2:44 PM, “Cranky” wrote:

Yes – I’ll get tix.

Cranky

On Jul 23, 2014, at 9:46 AM, Anastasia wrote:

Are we still on for tomorrow?

Sent from my iPhone

On Jul 23, 2014, at 10:12 AM, “Cranky” wrote:

Yes. Left u a vm about it!

Sent from my iPhone

From: Anastasia [mailto:argouliaeva@yahoo.com]
Sent: Wednesday, July 23, 2014 10:15 AM
To: Cranky
Subject: Re: a play i want to see

Never got it. Do you have the right #? XXX-XXX-XXXX?

Sent from my iPhone

On Jul 23, 2014, at 10:21 AM, “Cranky ” wrote:
I left it on: xxx-xxx-xxxx –home

Is that not right? How can that be?
Want to see if we can find cheap place for a bite before show?

Gerry

Subject: Re: a play i want to see
From: Anastasia
Date: Wed, July 23, 2014 10:25 am
To: Cranky

That number is not mine or ever was mine…are you sure you have the right person? Haha
I actually have plans for early dinner though with a friend that we been trying to meet up with for months.

Sent from my iPhone

On Jul 23, 2014, at 8:15 PM, “Cranky” wrote:

You are not going to believe this – I thought I was inviting my neighbor Anastasia – hence the wrong phone numbers!

I’m an idiot.

You are so gracious to accept and I hope you will come to the show with me even though it probably seemed peculiar to you that I emailed. If you prefer to remain at dinner with your friend I totally understand!

Forgive me.
Cranky

Subject: Re: a play i want to see
From: Anastasia
Date: Wed, July 23, 2014 10:25 am
To: Cranky
I did think it was a little odd, but figure you never know. 🙂

I would still like to join you for the play, but if you rather take your friend I would not get offended in the least bit! Let me know.

No need for apologies.
Anastasia

So this is how Cranky went to the theater last night with a complete stranger. Autofill. Someone who had received a business email from me years ago, who I have never seen, met or talked to. I began typing my close friend’s name in an email, and autofill finished the address with a complete stranger. If it was a French film, she would have turned out to be the illegitimate daughter of my father or something like that. Or the correspondence would have covered metaphysical topics like the meaning of life before we realized we were strangers, instead of dinner no dinner. But it was just Cranky’s hapless error, so I saw a show with a stranger. Had to look on LinkedIn to find a picture so I could find her in theater lobby. We actually had a great time and thank the lord she is a theater lover and we laughed at the laughing parts and cried at the crying parts.

The show was Pterodactyls by Nicky Silver at Teatro Circulo, 64 East 4th Street, NYC. If you are in NYC, go see it – http://www.ptero-play.com/ Tickets are $18 bucks – a major deal.

I was blown away by how great it was. The play draws an ingenious analogy between the extinction of the dinosaur and the earth’s landscape strewn with human carcasses due to the extinction of the human race due to the dysfunction of the family.

The director, STEPHEN KALISKI must be some kind of genius boy or something. Years ago I saw a play, Tigers Be Still, starring Natasha Lyonne, that was directed by the now famous director, Sam Gold. This director has the same kind of talent. When everyone in the cast is doing star-quality work, you can thank the director. Isn’t great theater uplifting and transporting? Go be uplifted and transported. Go see actress Maggie Low in a role she was obviously born to play.

Never Flirt With Cranky at an Audition

Cranky had a print audition today. They are the only ones she can afford to go to at the moment. Ten minutes of standing on an X and smiling like an idiot. Upscale casual. Cranky is expert at upscale, looks rich even though broke. A friend once described face as “to the manor born.”

Nothing like a print audition in summer sweat weather. You have a shiny face you look like hell. The most pristine makeup job is no match for the 100 degree New York City subway platform. So took a taxi, which is a gamble. Need the taxi money, but need the four grand I will get if I get it. All morning was going, “taxi, no taxi, taxi, no taxi, taxi, no taxi…” in my head. When real feel temp reached 80 at 10 am, went with taxi. Will eat Trader Joe’s salads for the next week to make up for it. Have to say, sitting in a quiet, cool car does make one composed upon arrival at a casting studio. As they say “Nothing succeeds like success.” Successful people probably take a lot of taxis or something.

Because it pays big bucks, the casting studio was nice and all. Cool, good music, and an assistant who types your info into a computer instead of filling out the sheet with shoe size, etc.

I sit down to wait and a handsome actor sits next to me and starts talking. BEFORE AN AUDITION. I can be civil, but I like to stay in my own head before an audition. I have to loosen jaw and do other spastic things before going in. Don’t ask me why. So even though I am trying to listen, my body language is saying, “Get the fuck away from me.” I don’t hear much except that he mentions HE BOUGHT A PLACE years ago. They drop financials into the conversation early to spark interest. It’s hopeless. I have no response to questions. He was wearing a nice blue shirt. He was very upscale casual. Like me. He goes in before me and I am very interested when he tells me what they asked him to do in the audition room. “They want a funny face at the end.” So I immediately start going through my repertoire of funny faces in my head while he continues to talk and I stare at him with a blank face. “Ah, well, maybe I’ll see you around sometime,” he says. I nod my head thinking, “That will happen if we both get cast.”

The audition went well. They wanted me to talk about best concerts I have seen, and I recounted the transporting experience of seeing Thelonious Monk as a teenager.

When I am leaving, I realize that being at an audition had turned me into a self-centered, anti-social freak. But if that’s what it takes to get that four grand, I can live with it.

Bartleby the Intern

Cranky is working in an office. HELP! Unfortunately, it turns out that Cranky is efficient at this sort of thing, so Cranky’s desk is a mountain of folders and papers and everyone else’s is empty. (Can I go home now?) Of course, as fate would have it, it is a quirky office. So Cranky is compiling stories that will be fodder for future plays for like fifteen or twenty years. Seriously. Who knew the office world had more crazies than the theatrical world?

We recently hired an intern to do our Social Media. Which is annoying in itself. Because to be a business now you HAVE to have a Social Media “presence,” so you are forced to pay someone to post inane crap on Facebook and Twitter to make the Google search engine happy. Every recent grad should thank Google that there is a job for them now when they get out of school reposting Buzz feed posts.

So we hired someone with a Masters from Columbia. It’s in Poetry, so there were probably two other people in her program. She had an exaggerated valley girl accent, and talked really loud which made Cranky want to get rid of her immediately. But it didn’t take very long, really. She was so superficial, the title of her autobiography should be: IT’S ALL ABOUT GUCCI. “OMG! I found a Marc Jacobs jacket! Don’t you love this Louis Vuitton bag?”

Within three weeks, she convinced the owner that she needed to be paid for forty hours in order to do her job. Facebook and Twitter. She was constantly printing out the graphs from the sites and exclaiming, “WE HAVE 7 BIZILLION TWITTER FOLLOWERS! WE GOT 8 THOUSAND LIKES ON FACEBOOK!” Nice. But did this translate into one new client? No. But not understanding Social Media, the boss was impressed and paid her for forty hours. Most of which she spent shopping and (in and out of the office). She called it an “integrated lifestyle,” which is code for I CAN WORK WHENEVER THE FUCK I WANT.

Then she breaks up with her boyfriend and sleeps on friend’s couches and starts surreptitiously sleeping at the office. I go in early one day and she is there. Which was odd. When questioned, she says, “I came in early because the office was like such a mess I didn’t even want you to see it.’ This from someone who does nothing in the office. Her clothes start collecting around the floor of her desk. One morning the boss comes in early and finds her in bed in the back office with a random guy. The boss left and I had to listen to her cry all day about how she had screwed up (good double entendre, you think?). I am actually trying to work, and I have to look at her with mascara running down her face telling me how much she loathes herself. She uses the word loathes instead of hates because she is a poet.

A few days later, she spends an entire day talking about how she is getting STD tested and she is stressed about it. What if she has this? What if she has that? What if she shut up for ten minutes? I finally say I’ve had enough about the STDs.

Two days later, her integrated lifestyle plan kicks into high-gear when she tells us she has to leave at 1:30 because she got herself cast in a porn film. Ah, what? Yeah. She’s excited. This is why she got the STD test, because they demand documentation of no STD’s before you can work with them. Hers is clear, and she keeps saying, “I can’t believe I am so pure.” She spends the morning changing outfits and twisting her hair and showing me the great self-tanning product she is wearing. Then she goes out for a minute and the boss tells me she is going to buy an enema because she has been hired to do anal on the film. Why do I have to know this? Do you ever wonder why people tell you things? So she comes back with a CVS bag and goes into the Ladies room that we share with the other offices on the floor. Then Cranky has to pee like a racehorse. But wild horses could not drag Cranky into that Ladies room because I know what’s going on in there and I DON’T WANT TO KNOW. I am suffering. She is taking forever. After she finally returns, I go in there and there is water all over the floor. I realize I am the only one who knows this is ass water. Shoot me now.

Cranky is afraid she is going to have some kind of breakdown on the set, but when she comes in the next morning the first thing she says is, “I had the best night’s sleep.” Go figure.

Her expulsion finally occurs when she sets her sights on the boss’s boyfriend. Bu-bye intern.

The Magazine Photo Shoot

Cranky recently did a photo shoot for a major magazine. Playing a mom of an errant teenager. Funny, the same magazine wrote a cover article about errant teenagers when Cranky was one and Cranky’s suburban town along with Cranky’s crazy friends were in that article. But I suppose one could write about errant teenagers every few years.

Anyway, the casting director said the stylist would be in touch about wardrobe. No word from the stylist for days. Then the stylist emails me the morning of the shoot and said to call her when I got up. When I call her, she tells me they were shopping until 11pm sorry she didn’t call, she is on the way to the shoot, she got some choices, could I bring some clothes, do I have khaki pants, they are thinking blue for me, yes going to put me in blue, do you have a blue dress, and , and how about nice jeans do I have a pair of those, and bring a bunch of accessories… At some point I just hold the phone away from my ear and let her go on.

Cranky has been through this before and has no intention of bringing the laundry list of clothes. Because I know. I know what will happen. Which does. When I get there, she hands me a blue dress with a price tag on it and says, “Go put this on.” And there is a mountain of accessories. There always is. No need to bring your best pearl earrings only to have them lost on chaotic set. No no.

In the photographer’s studio are three moms, three dads and three teenagers with their stage moms. One of them an uber stage mom who never stops talking about all the things her kid has done. She says she has a suitcase of pictures that she brings with her to show casting directors all the projects he’s been on. “That suitcase is heavy! There are so many pictures!” “How about just a resume? I suggest. She is living through the poor sucker. He looks resigned to it. On top of that, he is home schooled. No break from the constant fawning. I feel like telling him if he ever wants to feel like a normal teenager he can come and stay at my house and I will ignore him 22 hours a day.

There is talk on the set that this might be a cover story. So the “family” that the editors pick will be on the cover. Great I think. That will be fun. I am going to make sure my family rocks the shoot. Then I go into makeup. The makeup artist makes me look like Mommy Dearest. Frightening Cookie Monster eyebrows with a pale face. No mascara, eyeliner or lipstick. I frighten myself when I look in the mirror. When she is done I pray. Dear God please don’t let this be in the cover. Please don’t let this be on the cover. PLEASE NOT THE COVER!


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