Friday, October 27, 2006

More hot costumes filled with...the hotness.

In response to my...we'll call it a rant, Live Wire's essayist extraordinaire Stacy Bolt sent me a link to this lovely piece 'o' bidness. It is very very funny to me.

Warning: not work friendly due to extensive use of El "F" word. (Which also makes it not computer-in-the-nursery friendly, Catholic seminary friendly or checking-out-the-internets-with-your-gammy friendly.)

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Trick or treat, indeed.

Okay, so I have a question. WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO HALLOWEEN? When, exactly, did costume shops start stocking women's outfits straight off the set of Ron Jeremy's "Night of 1,000 Skank Hos"? Not that I have anything against sexy women. Sexy women rule. Sexy women are fun. Sexy women can get almost anything they want from men. Well, straight men. Gay men just tend to want to borrow their shoes.

The thing is, I want Halloween to go back to the way it was. Back to women in hobo costumes with their teeth blacked out. Women dressed as pumpkins. Or witches. I mean, REAL witches, with long black robes and green faces and bigass, ugly warts. Not THIS kind of witch:

This kind of witch can't cast a spell on anyone. She's too busy checking the seam on her fishnets and re-applying her strawberry-scented lip gloss. And this witch won't scare me, except if she uses my toilet. In that case, I'm disinfecting. You just never know.

But it doesn't stop at witches. It seems all women's costumes have been infected with the Sex Kitten Virus. (Think bird flu, but with less coughing and more cleavage.) Walking around a Halloween party circa 2006, you'll be surrounded by women whose clothing has rendered them all but completely ineffectual in their chosen profession.

"Nurse, can you hand me the...holy shmolies!!!!"

Imagine. She's standing on a beam on the 32nd floor, drilling in rivets. But the team on the 31st floor? Completely worthless, due to two things: one, they're all totally entranced by the full-on, all-day crotch shot. (Who wouldn't be?) And two, they're all slightly disturbed by the sexual ambiguity of being attracted to a woman with a drill.

"Slide! Slide! Sl...oh crap. That's gonna leave a mark."

First real fire? Third degree burns. Pretty much everywhere.

This one's my favorite. It's a cheerleader for death! Especially popular in cancer wards.

Listen, I understand that there are few opportunities for most women to dress like strippers (unless they are strippers - then they're endless!), but can we leave Halloween alone? Do we, as woman, want to start dreading Halloween like we do swimsuit season - dieting and exercising like crazy so our "Supreme Court Justice With a Whip" costume (Now, with mini-robe and thigh-highs!), will knock 'em dead at the church Halloween Bazaar?

No. We don't. So please. Let's have one freakin' day where the pressure to be pretty is lifted. Halloween should be scary and fun and free of low-self-esteem attacks caused by size 0 women in plasticene nurses costumes that are definitely NOT sanitized for your protection.

C'mon, people! Say it with me now: Keep Halloween Ugly!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Hide Your Stash

In an effort to find my perfect look, I've been experimenting, from month to month, with different facial hairstyles. I tried going clean-shaven, I tried clean-shaven with sideburns, I tried a full beard, a chin beard, the horseshoe, burnies, burnies with a doorknob, and most recently, a pencil or maybe it’s a pussy tickler, I’m not sure which.

Thankfully, I can always rely upon the honest opinions of my good friends and co-workers about which look is best for me. While attending the last Live Wire rehearsal, sporting my latest facial hair, a look I thought to be charming, amusing and sophisticated, I was greeted with these helpful comments:

"Did you lose a bet?"

"Are you trying to look like a child molester?"

And my personal favorite,

"Did you really think your face was the one to bring back the glory of the moustache for the rest of the male population?"

That afternoon I found myself in a bar nursing a beer and wondering, was there no one ready to embrace the splendor of my moustache?

Just then a woman came over and sat on the barstool next to me. "I love your cookie duster," she said.

My despair evaporated! I raised my head, smiling and turned to the angel who spoke those words! She was haggard, with bright red lipstick poorly applied and covering most of her chin. Powder blue eye shadow was smeared across her forehead and when she smiled I could see dark yellow stains covering her few remaining teeth.

"Yep," she said. "Nothing I like better than the feel of a cookie duster on my keister. If you know what I mean."

"I'm afraid I do," I replied in horror. "Thank you for the compliment madam, but I don't want to be anywhere near your cookie if it's been sitting around long enough to gather dust." Then I ran from the bar screaming.

I shaved as soon as I got home, but I kept the moustache, it's in a box at the back of my closet and someday when the world is ready, I will wear it proudly.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

James Westby Saved My Life

Ten years ago I was cast in my first film role. I showed up on the set not knowing what to expect. All I knew was I had two lines in two different shots and I was playing some kind of Satanist. It wasn't until I got to the set that I found out I had a death scene - a death scene where I would get to fire a gun and wear a squib (an exploding blood sack). Talk about a young actor's wet dream!

At that point I would have done anything they asked of me and I sort of did. I let them draw gigantic Satanist tattoos all over my body with a sharpie, I wore the wife beater t-shirt that was smeared with garbage and gutter slime because it looked too new, and I let them rub bananas in my hair to make it look greasy. (Apparently no one had any hair gel.)

The first scene I was in had me running into a bedroom and screaming, "Who the fuck is in my room?" Then a guy hiding behind the door hits me in the head with a gun and knocks me out. The guy behind the door is the main character in the film and was played by local actor Melik Malkasian. Melik is a great actor, super funny, really intense and crazier than a spring break frat boy on speed.

While setting up for the shot, Melik and I are talking about the scene and how we can make it look real. Melik convinces me that the only way to make the scene believable is if he really hits me in the head with the gun. He promises to pull his punch so it shouldn't hurt too much. I, being young, naive and at this point willing to do anything for the movie, of course agree. Melik thinks we better practice the hit a few times and starts to reel his arm back.

Just then, James Westby, the director, comes walking into the room and sees Melik about to hit me. "What are you doing?" He asks.

"We were going to practice me hitting him in the head with the gun," Melik answers.

"You're not actually going to hit him, you know."

"It won't look real unless I get to hit him."

"I don't mind if he hits me with the gun," I chime in.

"No, no, no. We'll use a camera angle that makes it look like you're getting hit," James says.

"Come on. I would really like to hit him. It'll look great," Melik pleads.

"I don't mind getting hit if it helps the film," I tell him.

"I will not let him hit you with the gun. He could kill you."

That was the end of the discussion. Looking back now I'm thankful James said no to Melik. He probably saved my life - or at the very least, he saved me from a severe case of brain damage.

James Westby is going to be on Live Wire this Thursday. I hope something horrible happens so I can finally pay him the life I owe him. Maybe I'll get to push him out of the path of a falling light or save him from a rabid fan with a machete. Freaky accidents happen all the time. Let's hope for the best.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Who's the baby?

It started in the kitchen, as so many things do. "WELL. Are YOU the mom?" My 4-year-old daughter's voice dripped with scorn as she addressed her 9-year-old brother.

(It is amazing how scathing a 4-year-old can sound. How does such a small human learn such complex, hurtful, and, well, useful tools in such a short time on Earth? Especially presuming that early childhood should be filled with positive, life-affirming, and mind-expanding input including, but not limited to "WHO's the baby??? YOU are!!!" and "This little piggy went to market," and "No, I don't hate the president, I just think he makes bad choices." Then again, said 4-year-old's mother is me, so she may have advanced more quickly into the real world, purely out of a need to survive.)

"No, but YOU'RE not the mom either, ARE YOU?!" my son quickly retorted. Child the younger had just taken a deep breath and uttered the inflammatory phrase, "NO, but..." when I'd had enough.

"At this point, I'd be happy to give the job to either one of you, because no one wants to be the mom when you two are bickering like this." (I'm pretty sure I actually said "bickering." Who says "bickering?" Me, that's who. And I'm the mom.)

This silenced them for a bit as they considered the implications. The original argument (whatever it was) was forgotten as my son made the wise choice to quit while he was ahead. With five years more experience, he's gotten pretty good at figuring out when's a good time to just sit quietly lest he get peppered by the shrapnel. Little sis was quiet too, but for a different reason. I think we'd begun clearing the table when she dropped the bomb.

"But if you're not the mom, you're DEAD."


"If you're not the mom," she clarified, "you're a skeleton! You're bones, in the GROUND!"

I took a moment to ponder this. I mean, I realize that a 4-year-old is developmentally programmed to figure out what everyone's purpose is in relation to HER: essentially, it's her universe and we're all just living in it. But when someone tells you that you are either a mom or bones in the ground, it can be pretty sobering.

I was never the girl who dreamed of growing up and having children. My babysitting experiences as a teenager confirmed this as I struggled through hour after monotonous hour of Candy Land, diaper changes, and preparing and cleaning up meals. I did not play on the swings and read the same picture book over and over again for my own enjoyment: I did it for the money. I did it for the things that money could get me. I used babysitting money to go on my class trip to Washington D.C.; for a week-long canoeing trip with the park service one summer; for a new bike. That paltry $1 an hour bought me my independence. (Being a mom is different than being a babysitter, of course. The rewards are far greater--but so are the challenges.)

You know what I found out? It's dang near impossible to feel independent when you're told that you're either a mom or you're dead.

I contemplated my reply. Should I tell her that, No, even if I had never had children I'd be a real alive person in the world, falling in and out of love, struggling to do work that I'm passionate about, singing songs of joy and devastation? Should I tell her that, while I realize that being a parent informs and deepens my experience when I read, write, hike in the woods, harmonize with someone, play frisbee, or work to find the whole truth of a scene I'm playing onstage, I rarely think about her while actually performing any of these acts? Should I mention how freeing it was to drink margaritas with the Pants Machine in their RV, be responsible for saving only myself when the fire broke out, and then not worry about how late I was staying up, because no one would be waking me up at some ungodly hour demanding breakfast?


"I'll always be your mom, honey," I sighed. "For ever and ever."

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Why I'm Better Off On Radio

Provocative statement? Perhaps. The truth is, the reason I’m better off on radio has a whole lot to do with, well, my face. Now don’t get me wrong. I like my face just fine. It’s a fine face, and does all the things that a good face needs to do. It serves as a gateway to food (perhaps its most important function). It delivers an array of expressions which allow me to function more or less normally in society. It serves as a kind of vehicle for my facial hair (also an important function). In fact, you’d never know there was something dramatically wrong with my face by just looking at it. The problems arise whenever someone tries to take a picture of my face.

I can’t explain it. But anytime someone tries to take a picture of my face, I completely lose control of it. It’s like a pack of tiny demons inhabit my facial muscles, compelling me to: blink, squint, grimace, snarl, drool, leer (well, that one could just be me...). At my first wedding, there were so many pictures of a half-lidded, sleepy-looking, doltish nincompoop standing next to my wife (me...get it?) that my then-bride selected a wedding group photo for mass reproduction that featured 20 out of 21 people with glorious smiles and big bright eyes. I, of course, looked like I had briefly fallen asleep right as the flash went off, but that didn’t deter my first wife. She said it was the best picture overall, with the most amount of alert-looking people. Never mind that I was the GROOM, for Christ’s sake...
But I digress....

Recently, I had to have a photo shoot for an album that I recorded with my friend Marvella. There were three of us: Marvella, Rouke, and myself, all standing outside on a bright summer day. Rouke and Marvella remembered sunglasses. I, of course, didn’t, and came armed with only my face. We took a number of photos, but all I really remember was trying to keep my eyes open while looking into the sun. (It’s possible that some of you may see where this is leading...) Marvella called me a week later and told me that the photos really turned out well...except for me. My eyes were completely shut in most of them. This didn’t surprise me. What surprised me was what she said next. She and the photographer tried to “fix” my eyes. And this is where it gets kinda weird. Their solution was to graft (via photoshop) Marvella’s eyes onto mine. Which is what they did. Which is a great idea, except it’s crazy and makes no sense at all. Marvella’s eyes look really great on her (that’s why they're called “Marvella’s Eyes”). They made me look like a zombie. Then they went and added “light glints” to make Marvella’s eyes look more natural on me. But that just made me look like a zombie with someone else’s eyes in proper lighting. So they settled on photoshopping Rouke’s ray-ban sunglasses on me. Not a bad solution, I guess, except that now Rouke and I look like the Bobbsey Twins. Plus, when Rouke found out that I was to wear his sunglasses in the photo, he complained that at least I could ask him before I borrowed his stuff.

The clincher to this whole fiasco came later. My current wife, around whom I really try to keep my eyes open, looked at the photo on the back of the C.D. (now in print...) and declared that not only did I have Rouke’s glasses, but that I had his nose as well. Apparently, that was the only way to cleanly photoshop his glasses on to me. All that trouble, to fix my damn face for the back of the album. I suggested to Marvella that it might have been easier to just graft George Clooney’s head on my shoulders. Might even sell more albums. But she just smiled, and told me to keep my frigging eyes open next time.

And that, fair readers, is my self-effacing story of myself, my face, and my self’s FACE on my last photoshoot. Let’s hope to god it is in fact my LAST photoshoot. And now, back to the radio....

Photo courtesy of Wire Moore.