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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:

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.


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.


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:
You want to see this with me? I will buy us tickets – wanna go this Friday?


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:
We could go 7/25 or 7/26 or 7/27 if you wanna go.


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.


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 []
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?


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.

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.

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 – 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.

Beware of the Divas

One thing you may encounter if you are in the theatrical world is THE DIVA.

Cranky was once befriended by a musical theater Diva –the worst kind. Believe it or not, Cranky’s natural inclination is to be generous, so it took many many Diva acts to reach the friendship waterloo. Basically, the annoying behavior is to insure that everywhere they go, whatever they are doing, they are the center of attention.

Hence every visit to every restaurant began with multiple changings of tables due to mysterious drafts that no one else could feel besides her. “Oh no. I can’t sit here. The draft. There’s a draft. It will ruin my voice. Cough. Cough. Do you feel it? Can we sit somewhere else? Are you sure there is not a draft over there too?” If you have ever worked in a restaurant, you know how just much maître ds love this. Cringe worthy. And when it came time to order, she would over discuss the foods she can’t eat with the waiter in a whiny voice.

So Cranky decided restaurants were not a viable place to see the Diva. So Cranky would make dinner at home and invite her and her henpecked live-in boyfriend. What could go wrong there? What? Well, Divas find a way. She once asked if she could bring along a fan visiting from London to dinner. Of course. The more the merrier. NOT. The fan was a guy named Barnaby or something who had seen her musical in London like 100 times and given her a rose at the stage door every night. OY.

So here comes Barnaby into my home. He doesn’t say hello, thanks for inviting me OR ANYTHING. He plops down next to the Diva and they sit nose to nose all evening while he praises her and she drinks it in and no attempt is made to engage in conversation with the rest of the table, which consists of henpecked, me, some guy I was once married to, and a horrified friend. I felt less like a hostess and more like an enabler. Her only foray into group conversation is when the friend compliments me on my eyes and the Diva suddenly springs into action and runs over to him to show him the amazing spots in her irises.

Then there is the party at the Diva’s house. Cranky is always willing to help a friend before a party. As a major domo, Cranky can crank out crudité, and is never without doilies and toothpicks at home. So I go to the Diva’s house to help. There is a massive amount of vegetables to cut, cheese to arrange and things to pop in the oven. The Diva shows Cranky everything that needs to be done, chops one piece of celery, and then disappears. Cranky keeps working. And working. It’s summer, and my hair starts to droop and the makeup is melting off my face. Where is Diva? Where? Well, when preparation is done, and the doorbell rings announcing the first guest, Diva appears freshly made up and ready for the party, and Cranky/friend/maid was ready to lie down. Diva had taken a shower, put on make-up and changed outfits.

One day I ran into her and a friend of hers when I was on the way somewhere. I had just put on a tiny bit of some lemony scented something. Diva went nuts. “ARE YOU WEARING PERFUME? OH NO! DON’T COME NEAR ME. STAY BACK! I’M ALLERGIC AND IT WILL AFFECT MY VOICE! STAY BACK!” Cranky kept walking.

Funnily, Cranky didn’t really know who Diva was in the theater world, as an avid unfollower of musical theater. Maybe if I had been a sycophant, her behavior might not have been so irksome. But, I knew she could really sing. Hell, she could sing. She used to occasionally sing for me. Mini concerts in her living room. That was nice. Diva had some voice. I used to tell her, “Girlfriend, you have the best voice I have ever heard! Get out!” I once attended a concert she gave, and she was so good Cranky cried.

But, to me, she was a fellow dog owner in the hood. She had three huge dogs who used to steal food from the homeless people sleeping on the benches. Divas raise delinquents. One day, returning from the dog park, Diva asked Cranky to hold her pack of dogs while she went into the market for “just a minute.” A half hour later, after Cranky had had enough time to reevaluate this relationship, Diva returned.

Our last morning meeting in the dog park we chatted while the dogs romped. Diva drank Cranky’s coffee. I was wearing mirrored aviator sunglasses. Diva interrupted her to say, “I’m sorry. I can see myself in your glasses and I look terrible. Would you take them off?”

Cranky out.



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