Monday, October 31, 2005


in case you are wondering what we look like.

here is a picture of us at the doughty concert at webster hall, via the blog of the man himself.

Sunday, October 30, 2005


discomfiting; petty observations.

i probably should have realized this would happen, but tonight what appears to be the nicole dufresne episode of Law & Order, the criminal intent flavor, aired. i know they do this, but it feels not good. especially since they made the heart-turning detail of the engaged couple who don't get to see their wedding into a piece of fraud central to the comic-book plot.

and, oddly, i know four people in this episode, mostly from reading in that casting director's office, including the woman playing the young beautiful gunned down actress and including the young woman who was my very favorite part in this play. seems like there are about seven actors in new york. you'd think we'd be getting more work.

Friday, October 28, 2005


and how they will celebrate.

so, i can't remember if i mentioned it, but the monkey got cast as b.cratchet in a production of christmas carol, which requires him to spend christmas within, i'd say, about a two hour drive of manhattan. he has shows the afternoon of christmas eve, and they start back the evening of the 26th.

some of you know that my mother and i are unnaturally close. i fully admit this. there is something wrong with us; two adults should not be so co-dependent. my mother has, in the past, sent me hallmark cards with messages of love so strong that they are clearly meant for romantic partners. after i left home she began a collection of dolls that look like me, the most recent of which is a grown up doll who wears lingerie and has the haircut i have always wanted and the doll has no clothes. she sits around in her hose, high heels, camisole and tap pants on my mom's sewing table, and last year at christmas my mom brought her down to show her off and the monkey almost threw up in his mouth.

while i honestly both love and enjoy my mother, there is clearly a lot of guilt going down. it took all the cojones i could muster to move to new york, knowing that she'd be (she is) very sad without me. my mom is not an entirely well person, and when i'm gone, a good part of what goes right with the world seems removed. i know this is not my fault, but that doesn't make it not true. she is a sad aging nice lady, if a little manipulative, and i like for her not to have to be more sad than she has to be.

so, this was a pickle. i decided that i would tell my parents that coming home would mean leaving the monkey to have a lonely apartment christmas by himself, and i couldn't do that, but that they were welcome to come here. and i thought about that, and it sounded like the perfect solution. we could go somewhere slightly upstate, get out of the urban; it would be cozy and the monkey could get away somewhere nice during his 48 hour show break. and we would all be together and no one would miss anyone. a vacation and christmas! chocolate and peanut butter!

except that my parents will not come here for christmas. i don't completely understand why; i know my dad hates cities, but that was what my upstate suggestion was about. he says it is too expensive. odd to me, given that right after they refused the invitation they made plans for a week's vacation in arizona in mid-november. he also says it is too cold. he suggested the spring instead, which is great except that there is no christmas in the spring. (and also, my dad has never come here to see me. i seriously doubt this spring will be different).

also weird is that apparently this is my dad's decision, and my mother, even though i happen to know that she will most likely cry through christmas if i am not there, cannot or doesn't care to sway him.

also infuriating is the fact that they have never had to share me with anyone at christmas, not a boyfriend, not a "the monkey," not the monkey's family, no one. he has come home with me every christmas since the first one, without a peep. apparently, though i am expected to come to the mountain every year, the mountain is not willing to come to louella even once.

so, okay. i balled up, and we're staying here. i would be the worst common-law wife ever if i left him at christmas, so it's going to be me and the monkey in our tiny new apartment with a tiny tree and a tiny roast turkey. i am slightly afraid that the idea of my mom in tears will haunt christmas, but i must be getting older because a good deal of my gut is saying, whatever. i feel for you, but . . . jeebus. a girl can only do so much. have fun being warm and saving money. i guess i'll see you in the spring.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


secret doughnut.

so, this place where i work gets occasional grocery deliveries. but not of groceries; of snack foods.

the cupboards are often *filled* with potato chips and granola bars and oreos and roasted peanuts . . . and each time the haul is a little bit different. for example, last time there were those odd blonde oreos instead of regular. and whenever a new stash is in place, people snack more than usual--because you never know when the snack crick will run dry, and it always stays dry about a week before another load hits.

so yesterday i was pawing around in there (if you're curious, this is what it has come to: i cannot afford to buy lunch at the deli, and so i've been scavenging the corporate kitchen), and there are entenmann's donuts.

i love those doughnuts (the package says "donuts," but i'm an old-fashioned girl). the ones with the vinyl chocolate coating? i LOVE them. the time tina saw me at the grocery store with nothing in my cart but diet coke, pizza and doughnuts? they were chocolate entenmann's. best doughnuts you can find in a box in the grocery store.

so they're in there, and i'm thinking: i work here. i eat the snacks. but i am afraid of being caught with a doughnut. i am afraid that i will be shamed. i don't know over what; surely it's no more objectionable to begin lunch on a doughnut than it is on a two-inch stack of pringles. and yet: fear of shame. so i wait until no one is in the kitchen, which requires three trips, and sneakily open the box while it's still inside the cupboard and slip one out. then i have to eat it while i'm pretending to look out the kitchen window at the college students playing tennis. i try to make my body language look like i am thinking: oh, good backhand, guy in blue!

but really i am stuffing in that doughnut. i am STUFFING it IN THERE.

and of course, my boss comes by. "good tennis?" she says.

"mmm," i say. "mrrph."

my doughnut scarfed, i return to my desk and get halfway through the afternoon before i have to pee and go to the ladies' room to discover that in my haste to get that doughnut in my mouth, i have smeared chocolate entenmann's coating ALL OVER my upper lip.

eating a doughnut for lunch: maybe not so embarrassing as looking like someone gave you a dirty sanchez on your lunch hour.

Monday, October 24, 2005


when my white lexus came.

for once, we got right up front and shook it.

Friday, October 21, 2005


i feel sure the germans have a word for it.

i am about to post photos of the kitchen odyssey. i was going to do it as we went along, but it got too messy and too crowded for me to deal. i'm guessing none of you are that excited about this, except for possibly the best one and the one who is least afraid: the former had actually seen the previous tiny gross kitchen and can appreciate the miracle we worked, and the latter is a sucker for projects.

i went home last night to find the kitchen roughed in, the appliances placed. it was so good. i opened the dishwasher over and over again. i was moved. my dishwasher. not mine so much because i paid for it, but mine because i made it happen. the dishwasher is amazing.

and so are the cabinets and the new oven, but somehow the glory is really localized on the dishwasher. this morning i got a glass of water, drank it dry, turned to the monkey with the empty glass and said:

you know where this goes?

and we both laughed like idiots.

the point of this post is not neener i have dishwasher, and it's not congratulate me on the light at the end of the renovation hassle tunnel, it's about the inexplicably powerful feeling i had opening the dishwasher. i know you think i'm exaggerating for comic effect, but i'm pretty much not. i had a new feeling that i don't have a word for, and yes, the situtation i'm describing is a little banal, but: it's not as simple as appliance pride. maybe it's like the best one finally living on her own in new york after a lot of distractions, or like the one who's least afraid crossing off all her major to-dos while still in her twenties. i am making this home with someone, and it is ours right down to we own it. and the part we own most is the kitchen that we drew on scrap paper together last spring. and the part that caused the most upheaval and surprise contractor fees are required the most sticking was this freaking ridiculous abnormally-sized, monopoly-priced under-the-sink dishwasher, but it is here, and for once i didn't just move in to the status quo and deal with the scrubby linoleum and ugly off-white paint because it was easier and it didn't matter. it does matter, and i changed it.

my college roommate often says that i never completely move in anywhere, that there's always one or two boxes and some pictures that don't get hung up. she's right; i have always been like that. but then i moved in with my favorite human being and bought a motherfucking dishwasher, and things are all. different. now.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


all things considered.

NPR: welcome to the studio, louella.

L: thanks, linda. it's a pleasure to be here.

NPR: let's jump right in. we hear you've stopped seeing your therapist.

L: that's right. therapy has been largely boring for the last six months. and i thnk this therapist is not helping.

NPR: but louella, given your propensity to go completely batshit, is this really fair to your family and friends?

L: i hear you, linda, i really do. but everything's been under control for a long time. i feel good about this, despite my former therapist's insinuation that i am walking away because we're on the verge of discovering something very important and majorly discomfiting. i'm just bored, and poor, and starting to want those saturday afternoons back for brunches and walks in the park. maybe a yoga class.

NPR: you've been taking a lot of classes.

L: yeah, i guess. the alexander technique class and the singing lessons and the career counselor lady. they're all new.

NPR: so is this a re-inventing of the self?

L: i think it's more like a bunch of classes.

NRP: i see. tell me about this meeting you have today.

L: i have a meeting with an agent.

NPR: that sounds exciting!

L: erp. yes. but i'm pretty scared. i already accidentally called this lady too many times and then insulted her assistant. she's still agreeing to see me, but i think i may have blown that first impression that you never get a second chance to make.

NRP: but you're so talented and charming. it is a mystery to me why you don't have representation coming out your ears.

L: you're too kind, linda.

NRP: i understand you brought us a clip. would you like to introduce it?

L: sure. since film work has been (cough) slim, this is a recording of a recent telephone conversation. to set it up, let me just tell you that it's roughly ten a.m., and i've already left two messages for this woman. roll tape.

>>{ring, ring, ring}

woman's voice, muffled: hello?

lou: hello, this is louella byrne calling for mary agent.

wv: . . . yes?

lou: . . . um, yes?

wv: . . . this is mary?

lou: oh! oh. i didn't expect you to answer your own phone. i thought it would be your friendly guard dog lady! ha ha!

m: my . . . what? wait, who am i talking to?

lou: this is . . . louella byrne?

m: and . . . i'm sorry, what did you just say?

lou: (slowing turning to stone) um, your very kind receptionist--she usually answers the phone, and . . .

m: something about . . . some kind of dog?

lou: um.

m: listen, i've gotten both your messages and you're on my call list. could we say that i'll follow up on this with no further contact from you? i'll get to you as soon as i can.

lou: that sounds great. more that great. i mean, thanks.

m: and her name is lucy, and she's my assistant, not a receptionist.

lou: right, i'm sor--

m: and don't call her a dog.

lou: right. of course.


NPR: wow.

louella: i know.

NPR: good luck today.

louella: yeah. thanks.

Sunday, October 16, 2005


number five hundred seventy four.

things i should do every day: carry a camera.

i did this for a while, after reading that lisa whiteman carries her small digital camera with her every day. i lasted about a week. but the first day i slipped it in my bag, i went to my subway hole per usual and there was a potato lying on one of the steps.

i really liked that potato.

Thursday, October 13, 2005


will i be pretty? will i be rich?

halloween is coming.

every year i am sad that i don't make a costume. because i could make a pretty good one if i put my mind and time behind it.

this year, what with grad school applications, kitchen renovation and an uptick in career efforts, there will not be a lot of time. but i finally live in a place where kids trick-or-treat, and i want to be festive. i'm also going to a costume party with the monkey where dressing up will be expected.

i have always wanted us to go to a costume party together as cowboys. the monkey just looks like he stepped out of a nice midwestern production _Of Mice and Men_. and i like hats.

but we don't have cowboy boots. so let's go about this macguyver style: what do i have on hand?

1 (one) black tulle tutu with satin waistband and big red flower; 1 (one) silver wand with star on end, glittery; everyday clothing, various.

five points to whoever can make a costume idea out of this using only average household materials in addition. some ideas that have been suggested so far:

can-can girl
pirate ballerina
ballerina OF DEATH
sicillian fairy
The Tooth Decay Fairy
magic spider princess

i think i'm leaning towards pirate ballerina. we can get an eyepatch at the drugstore, and maybe rig up a peg leg with a toe-shoe attached. arrrrr.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


keep dreaming, dreamface.

i woke up in the night thinking, what are you doing?

i'd spent the evening making plans to visit Br0wn to see their theatre/performance studies program, which has quickly claimed my heart and mind. the program sounds perfect. providence, RI, however, sounds like it is not new york, or even a minor regional theatre hub.

i can tell i have some pipe dream going on about the monkey coming with me if i get in. i don't think he's going to do this. i especially don't think he's going to do this if it's providence. chicago, seattle or the bay area might stand a chance, but . . . rhode island?

and as i was lying in bed with a warm form pressed into my hip, i thought: am i crazy? am i smoking something? as if i am going to be able to leave this.

if it's co-dependent to enjoy each other so much that you can't stand to be apart, then i guess we're guilty. i thought, in the night, about how it would be if i had gotten in and was making a plan to move away. i'm afraid i would be miserable. i'm not sure i could settle in to the tough work of grad school with that sort of sadness on board. the last two years haven't been the greatest. i'm ready not to be sad about something.

i am also ready to do something large for myself, to take a risk, and to avoid doing this graduate school thing half-assed. also, it is worth noting that the Br0wn program is very selective and my getting in is not anywhere near a sure thing.

but, man. it's five years of school. maybe slightly less of distance if one does the coursework in residence and then repairs to another city--which sounds sort of crappy, although i know people do it. still, though. years. which is not possible, except maybe it's necessary, which makes it a funny, terrifying beast.

so, i guess, let's not die over this before we have to. but, sigh. i'd have a hard--a virtually impossissary--time choosing to be gone from the wonderful thing that is most of what is best about this life.

Monday, October 10, 2005


the beam in my own eye.

when we were at disneykitchen last weekend, we had to wait in a long line in order to claim a credit we were due for some kitchen work we'd already paid for. when we reached the front of the line, the young african-american woman who helped us said we had to go pay for that day's purchases first, before she could issue us the credit. she must have seen our faces fall, because she quickly added that we didn't have to wait in the line again--we could just come back to her station directly.

so, we paid, which was its own twenty minute line. and then we went back to the returns/customer service area. but lo, she was not at her station. the monkey turned to me and said, do you remember her name? i think it started with L, i said. we waited. she didn't appear. then the monkey nudged me and said, there she is.

and he pointed discreetly at the other young african-american woman working the returns desk. um, i said. that's a different black lady. and the monkey looked at me like i had accused him of voting for strom thurmond.

"i'm just saying," i said. "that's not her." he harumphed and we kept waiting.

after another ten minutes, another young african-american woman came out to the returns area, and walked very close to where we were sitting. "that's her," the monkey said.

"actually, it's not," i said. the monkey was incredulous. "yes, it is! i remember her! and her name is lauren," he said. "begins with L!"

"but the woman who was helping us wore glasses, and had hair that was sort of two-toned, and . . . and also, she isn't her."

"are you sure?"


"i still think it's her."

the monkey went to go ask a wandering salesguy if we could get some help rather than wait in the line again. when he got someone's attention, he motioned me over. "we already waited in the line," i said. and then this nice lady told us, yadda yadda.

"what was her name?" the disneykitchen employee asked. the monkey looked at me. "i think it began with L," i said.

"did she have glasses?"

"i think so, yes."

"sure. lisa. she's on break in the back, but i'll get her." and sure enough, lisa wore glasses and was neither of the two african-american women who didn't look like her.

the monkey got very quiet.

* * *

and i'm glad i came out looking okay in that story, because i went to a party at m0rgan freem@n's apartment on saturday (he was not there, but his obies were), and started talking about how much i liked him in _the royal tenenbaums_. luckily i was speaking only to the best one, who first thought i was making a joke, and then quietly pointed out that danny glover and MF are not actually the same black actor.

which means that the square of toilet paper i swiped from the bathroom and wrote "larry fishburne's TP!" on is probably worthless.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


brenda starr, girl reporter.

something you don't necessarily know about me: i am a muckraker.

back in february of 1998, i was relatively freshly out of college, living in san francisco and working on the third play i'd ever been in as a member of The Real World With No Meal Plan. it was the first of these to expose some unattractive truths about laboring in the fringe theatre world. the play was bad. the director was bad. the cast was actually pretty okay, but the theatre was a church basement. some of you who live in SFO prolly know the one i'm talking about. big red door.

anyway, the bad directing of this piece was probably the worst part of it. this guy would run a scene, and then hold, and come over and talk to each actor in turn, privately, for about five minutes. it was a seven-member cast, so by the time he got to you, there was every possibility you had already been cleaning your fingernails and playing hangman with your neighbor for most of half an hour.

plus, all he ever said was: "yeah! right! totally! except it's kinda . . . you know, more like . . . i think you're really, like, mad at him." or something similar. he was terribly fakey, in this bad ingratiating way. i think he kind of tried to date me, which was not so wrong, but i was desperately trying to sleep with this seventeen year old boy in the cast and had no time for it. and in retrospect it seemed a little oogy (the director crush, not the potential for consensual sex with a teen. the kid was hot. and now has a film career).

i think he sensed that the cast was sort of alienated from him because of his constant sucking as a director, and it bugged him. the lines of the play were hard to learn--it was very naturalistic dialogue, the kind of stuff that just dares you to paraphrase and improvise, and the writing was bad enough to make memorization a chore. late in the rehearsal period, this director instituted a series of fines for actors who missed or made up lines: when you fucked up, you had to put a quarter in a bucket.

this was sort of the last straw for me. not only were we not getting paid much--it was a $150 stipend--but i'd never heard of someone aspiring to be a professional director resorting to such daycare-level tactics. i told the guy i thought he was being really unprofessional, and he totally blew me off.

the show wasn't quite a disaster, but it wasn't any fun. very few people came. we got a bad review in SF weekly (the reviewer had the decency not to name any of us, and pinned most of the blame on the weak script) and houses were very slim. in fact, at one performance in the first week (after an exhausting series of tech rehearsals), no one showed up. ass-face director made us do the show anyway, saying that we could use the rehearsal when really what we needed more than anything was a rest and a night off.

when the show closed, ass-face had to go straight to the airport to go back where he came from. we closed everything up, and then on his way out he gave each of us $75 in cash, saying he'd "send a check" for the rest. he went back to his city without leaving a forwarding address, and of course i never heard from him again. i've been googling him once every six months or so ever since, wondering if he ended up anywhere high-profile enough that i could embarrass him by showing up and asking for my seventy-five bucks, with interest.

so recently i thought about auditioning for a small theatre just out side the metro area, one that was considering some special appearance contracts and was doing a play i really love. and the theatre had a press release up on its website saying that ass-face director, who had apparently been their artistic director for a year, had left mid-season to take another job. a job as an artistic director in the city i lived in before this one.

intrigued, i did my semi-annual google. and damned if he isn't the new head of a beloved seattle institution.

this institution--which i belove as much as anyone in seattle; it was one of the very first places i worked in that city--has had some troubled times recently, specifically regarding the former artistic director, who was a strong figure in the arts scene and respected and admired by many, if not always a faultless administrator. this former AD was the founder and driving force behind the place, and was ousted by its board for reasons which were, so far as i know, never fully explained.

and now they have the ass-face.

i talked to a reporter at the local alternative weekly. he made a lot of calls and i did some emailing and we found out that lots of people can't stand this guy. i heard similar stories about his being a pretensious ass, but it sounds like it went further. one person who worked with him at that small theatre i mentioned said she wouldn't go on record about his poor performance because she thought ass-face was a sociopath, and she didn't want to become a target. another said something to the effect of, "i just finished living that nightmare; why would i want to talk about it?"

in order to save another theatre from being a victim of the ass-face, that's why. but no one would go on record, and the story died.

i've considered writing a letter to the editor about the $75 incident. after all, i'm peeved that all those folks are chicken to speak up about this guy's true colors. but i find that i, also, am scared. i would like to come back to seattle some day. what if this guy turns out to be important? what if he's actually a good director now?

why am i such a chicken bone?

what would jesus do?


it gets worse.

torture of iraqis was "stress relief" . . .

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


happy birthday, daddo.

my mom and dad are on orcas island right now. she's whisking him off for his sixtieth birthday. which is today.

you should know i love my dad more than almost anything i could name. maybe lots of people love their dads this way, but there is something serious going on with my dadlove. i think that happens sometimes when one of your parents is . . . i don't know, incapacitated in a way that causes you to be heavily burdened. the other parent, especially if he is incredibly smart and funny and confident, starts to be The One Who Doesn't Need Anything From You, who just loves having you around.

my dad was sort of cold sometimes, when i was growing up. i think maybe he was uncomfortable with adolescent femality. the years between twelve and seventeen were sort of, like, hey, what happened to my dad? and who is this silent disapproving guy?

but since then, and especially since i've been an adult, we have just enjoyed each other so much. and i think it is terribly lucky to enjoy your family. i don't like not getting to see my dad more (he hates cities and has never come to new york), but he also allows me to be wherever i am without any recrimination, unlike some other parents i have. and that's pretty gigantic. and, again, a relief.

my dad kissed me on the forehead about 40% more than usual the last time i was home. i wish there were more of him in the world.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


good yontif.

my friend jeremy, a professor of neuroscience at a liberal arts college, just forwarded me a short play about spending saturday with his grandparents on the weekend before rosh hashanah:

Jeremy: L'Shana Tova!

Grandma: [blank look]

Jeremy: I found a really great synagogue in Collegetown. I'm going to go to services this week.

Grandma: [blink. blink. blink.]

Jeremy: It's, um, very progressive. A lot of the faculty go. [pause] Are you going to go to high holy day services this year?

Grandma: [blank look of dispair and disgust]

Jeremy: [...?...]

Grandma: [spreads chicken livers on a slice of rye bread]

Jeremy: Are we even Jewish?

Gandma: [chews slowly] Look, kid: some people need religion. It makes them feel safe & comfortable. Me, I always thought it was just bullshit.

Monday, October 03, 2005


grief and the cure for it.

i didn't know when i posted earlier that august wilson had died. like sheila said, too soon. we aren't ready.

and it made me remember that i was going to urge all of you to go see spirit. it's possible that it won't move you the way it moved me, but even if that's true, the scene with the puppets with the bread-heads made me laugh so hard i kept being afraid i would start again at an inappropriate time in the show. there was so much joy, and there was so much very big sadness--and not so much of the sadness or joy was literal, but all of it wass accessible. and beautiful. just the right amount is told in words. we all say we like and admire ensemble work, but if we were really serious about it we would be creating a show like this. it only runs until the 9th. if this is your thing--connection, liveness, puppets, goofiness, tragedy, riding the wave--find a way.


how to survive.

via the monkey, how to survive a freestyle rap battle.

this wiki looks pretty comprehensive, and yet they had nothing under How To Get Out From Under Your Own Flug When Your Only Motivation Is To Go To Earn DayJobMoney So You Can Pay Your "Career Coach."

i spent sunday at disneykitchen. waiting in eight significant lines, bashed by shopping carts, after taking a crowded bus to new jersey doesn't sound like a honeymoon, but there was a LOT of kissing in the model rooms. nesting is powerful mojo. and our new kitchen begins in 2.5 weeks.

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