Meet Me at the Met

Last night I went to the opera.

Opera has at least as many clichés as New York City, namely this one:

Its not over til the fat lady sings.
“It’s not over ’til the fat lady sings.”

When you ask someone under 30, maybe even 40 what they think of opera the average response? A “yuck” face or “I’d rather listen to the screeching of subway breaks” or “haha yeah right I’m not breaking the bank to go see that”.

Well my night at the opera contained no “yuck” faces, no fat ladies, no viking horns, not even a maxed out credit card.

It was quite an affair. We’re talking the Metropolitan Opera. This “is the most widely heard and known opera company in the world” (source: http://metropolitanopera.com/). 4,000 seating capacity and it is packed on a Thursday. World class. La creme de la creme. This is it.

I walk up the steps of Lincoln Center at 7:40, perfectly early, and get swept up in the droves of people entering the sparkling building. While the average age is probably close to 50, there is representation across the board from children to college students, young couples, little old ladies, other couples who have probably had season tickets for all 50 years of their marriage, gossipy party girls in tight cocktail dresses, gay men in jeans, tourists touting fanny packs, four matching fur coats it alarming succession, overdressed ladies in princess-esque ballgowns. Needless to say I don’t feel out of place but I wonder how the hell am I going to find my date among the masses? Oh right, it is the 21st century, cell phones exist. Duh. Though it’s easy to forget that when you step through the glass doors of the Met. There is such a feeling of tradition and nostalgic romance. The structure feels as though it has changed very little over its 125 years with lavish red carpeting, sweeping staircases, towering ceilings, gold elevator doors, and polished wood bars where beverages are served in actual glass or ceramic.

I have no trouble finding my roommate, my opera-virgin Met partner in crime, and together we make our way to the entrance where ushers scan our tickets (ah another reminder that it’s 2008) and direct us “to the left, four floors up.” Four floors up. We tackle the stairs which is the only way to go when you’re on a teeny tiny budget that doesn’t include a gym membership. And yet this same budget allows for opera tickets? Come again? It happens to be one of the best deals in the city, on par with the other Met (the Metropolitan Opera and the Metropolitan Museum of Art share this shorthand, which can be confusing) with its “suggested donation” where one can view four floors of world class art for the cost of pocket change, a sneer from ticket sales, and a little guilt that you only paid 73 cents (yes, it’s been done) when $20 is suggested. Here at this Met one can view four floors of opera for 15 bucks. There are movie tickets that cost more.

Four floors up means height.

Our seats are in the section Parisians call “Paradise” due to its proximity to the heavens and Americans call “the Nose Bleed Section” due to their lack of poetry and love of violence and gore. We’re looking down at it all- no neck strain from craning to see the glittering crystal chandeliers or the dozens of boxes that line the sides.

Later I overhear a man pointing at our section say knowingly to his companion, “Those are the best seats in the house. The acoustics are fabulous.” He’s right. The sound bounces off the ceiling right down to us and the listening experience is unlike any other theater I’ve ever been in. I can hear the whispers between the people next to me as clearly as if I was meant to be part of the conversation, shuffling and murmurs four rows in front, and every single cough anyone in the audience makes during pianissimo moments. Which might be annoying but I find it really cool, incredible even. The house is gigantic yet nothing is mic’ed. Opera stars, for that you undeniably put Broadway to shame.

The lights go down, the orchestra tunes, and the personalized subtitle screen in front of each seat (another notable change from 1883) reads For English, press button, for German press again, for… Button pressed. La Traviata Act I. The gold curtain rises on a gorgeously detailed 19th century drawing room. Performers enter and I feel like I’m looking inside a doll house or a museum diorama.

This is the ballet from Act II. It made me think of The Phantom of the Opera which I, and maybe you were too, was obsessed with at the age of eleven.

The altitude means details are lost, faces are blurred, and I’m already planning to steal a pair of binoculars from my mother (who, as an avid birdwatcher and opera enthusiast, has multiple sets) when I’m home for Christmas. But in spite of this miniature quality I still greatly enjoy the show. It’s a classic opera, Boy loves Girl, Girl has terminal disease so she won’t allow herself to love, Boy wins Girl over, obstacle keeps Boy and Girl apart and in the end when all is resolved and they could live happily ever after she instead dies of TB in his arms (and unlike in Rent there is no ridiculous resurrection). The music is breathtaking, moving and brings me back to my high school days where I was a “chorus girl”, a singer much more than an actor, and the several music classes I took in college. I still may not listen to classical music in my free time but I most definitely appreciate it.

Two intermissions, numerous arias, and one tragic finale later the curtain closes. The audience irrupts into applause and bravas! as confetti (the 21st century’s pathetic substitute for roses) rains down on the singers taking bows. Wow, what a night and wow do I feel cultured.

We travel down the staircases, out into the chilly November air, and head for the subway. It’s been a long day and opera demands active listening, so we are both exhausted and greatly looking forward to sleep as we board the subway. 35 minutes later the end is insight, we’ve got one stop to go. My roommate’s preparing for the outside cold by putting on extra socks and the man sitting across from us is adjusting his pants. Maybe you know where this is going, but it takes me a lot longer: “Haha, subway riders are funny. We put on make up, we change socks, we shed layers. We tuck our shirts in. Which this guy across from us seems to be having trouble accomplishing..Wait..no…NO..NO HE CANNOT DOING THAT! FUCK! HIS PANTS ARE AT HIS ANKLES! FUCK! FUCK! COULD SUDDEN MOVES BE DANGEROUS? FUCK!” We dash to the next car EW EW EW hoping the train is about to stop and doors open quickly. Fortunately that series of events pans out and the other scenario- where the big scary man chases after us, his pants around his ankles, penis in hand- is left to haunt me only in nightmares. Well the night just went from awesome/beautiful to disgusting/can’t get any worse, and thank god it doesn’t. Our other roommate has just gotten off work and he picks us up with in moments. We recount our tale of woe and his reply is, “Well yeah, you live in New York City and take the subway. It was gonna happen sometime.” And through the disgust and violation I can’t yet wipe off my face (major “yuck” face) or shake from my body, I laugh. Could the night have been anymore contrasting and New York cliché?


The Lost (Last) Month

It’s the little, everyday things that make me love living in New York. The little freebies that don’t leave me cursing my working-artist-day-job paycheck. If time is money, I may spend more to smell the roses than I do on rent (unbelievable statement? Yet it’s true.) And the mundane in NYC is so much more exciting than anywhere else. How can I complain about my commute when I have the art deco splendor of Grand Central or the beauty of the Brooklyn Bridge framed by the East River to welcome me off the subway? Why does coffee taste so much better when you’re strolling up the lower east side, pre-9am, and drinking out an “iconic ‘We Are Happy To Serve You’ paper coffee cup” (to quote the MoMa Store!)? It actually makes it worth the dollar+ more we pay than any other coffee drinker in the world.

Click for product placement plus the MoMAs delightful little blurb
Iconic. (Click for product placement plus the MoMA’s delightful little blurb)

Even horrible errand like surrendering my baby -my laptop- to the geeks of The Geek Squad is fun in NYC because I feel like Carrie Bradshaw. This comparison only grew stronger when Ben (the Geek) let me know my baby does not in fact have a virus as I thought. In hindsight hoped. Nope, its’ motherboard is what’s fucked up. And here my Sex and the City comparison deviates. On the one hand unlike Carrie I back up my work- though these days “my work” mostly consists of the chapters of this blog and you all know how well I’ve been attending to that… On the other hand (that hand that sucks balls) unlike Carrie I do not have a boyfriend who will buy me a brand new macbook (and let me assure you, I wouldn’t complain if it looked like a purse, or a hamburger for that matter). So there I am standing in Best Buy with all these thoughts running through my head and I realize I have two major problems. The first one: I compare my life to Sex and the City way to much.

If my laptop was a ’01 mac, this parallel would be complete.

It’s ridiculous. Then I start to wonder if this is a problem for other people. I bet it is. Maybe it will get serious enough and a clinical study on the Sex and the City obsessed will become necessary and than I can get PAID for my problem! Yes, that was my train of thought. This is when you realize you have no money- when you start to fantasize about having diseases which would allow you to be part of paid clinical trials/studies. I find myself browsing craigslist and wishing I had ADHD, depression, sleeping disorders, premature ejaculation, SOMETHING, ANYTHING that someone will pay me money to study. Which leads to problem number two (though after my clinical trial fantasy confession do you actually believe I only have two problems?), which is kinda a two-parter: I HAVE NO MONEY AND NO COMPUTER.

So here I am stuck without a computer. I am more or less Amish. Now do you understand my lack of updates? There are only so many times (right now for instance) that I can steal my roommate’s without feeling like a leech.

Now not surprisingly, a lot has happened in this computer-less, blog-update-less month. And not just little things, big ones too. Both summer jobs ended. No more fans on the streets, no more ushering and celeb sightings. I had two fun weeks of unemployment where I explored the city, visited relatives, traveled to the Alma Mater. That was weird, let me tell you, going back to college when you really don’t belong there anymore. Don’t want to belong there anymore, which was nice to have confirmed. Sure, I do miss my friends but college seems a world away, a world I look back at fondly but absolutely do not miss. Especially after another big thing of the past month- I had a successful audition! I’m part of a theater company now! Which is a different outcome from your average audition where you get offered a specific part, so I’m not clear on details yet (hopefully they’ll revealed at the orientation this week) but it is awesome to be part of the NY theater scene in an acting capacity! Yay!

You’ll never guess my new job is. It’s weirder than the streets. I’m working guest services at a science museum that’s devoted to the human body. The real human body- everything in the exhibit comes from an actual corpse. Or is an actual corpse. Yep, I go to work and am surrounded by dead bodies. Which isn’t as creepy as you might think, and I’m fine with it for now, but I don’t plan on staying for too long (I’m looking at craigslist for more reasons than possible clinical studies).

And the last bit of big news- I started seeing Central Park Guy again (again? yes, there was a period when I wasn’t) and in the past month we’ve become exclusive. Isn’t that funny, that something’s become of this guy I met my first day in New York? Who’da thunk.

That’s the summary of the big things. Specific stories to come (I never want to neglect my sweet little blog again).

My Same Old, Same Old (never finished)

We had a familiar face in the audience tonight. Back after seeing our Shakespearian tragedy less than two months ago, it appears James Franco is a loyal patron of the theatre. We had an almost identical conversation to our last (oh my that was fun to say. Let’s be honest- we’re totally bffs now), he was seated in my section. Again. I cursed myself for not having seen Pineapple Express last weekend and vow to see it asap- date or no date, in sickness or in health. Though had I seen it, I doubt I would have talked to him about it, however much I’d want to. He did his very best to keep a low profile and totally succeeded- I saw no one go up to him- I would have hated to ruin that. He seems like such a nice guy.

It’s already been 5 weeks of this show and still two to go and yet some how I still enjoy watching it. I’ve come to realize ushers may be the only people who truly get to appreciate all aspects of a show. We get to see all the tiny details that you just start to see after your tenth viewing. I doubt anyone appreciates the amazing work of the ensemble- I’ve begun to watch them more than the leads. I get to see all the individual stories and relationships that they’ve created which become even more interesting than the main action. It’s so fun to look everywhere but the place your eye is initially drawn. I just don’t know how I’m going to deal after this job ends when I can barely afford to see shows once. I’m spoiled. Sigh. My life is so hard.

The opening night party for this show was quite different from the last. I almost missed opening night as I had planned to take the weekend off and travel out of the city, out of the state, via plane. Instead I planned it out perfectly (so I thought). I booked a flight that left at 7am. Thus the plan: partying until the wee hours of the mourn, then taking the subway to JFK, then getting on the plane and sleeping the whole plane ride. A bit ambitious but totally doable and a time saver. The plan was made more doable by a much more low-key nature of this opening compared to the season opening gala. There was no pre-show dinner, no speeches from the mayor, no red carpet, no celebs. No cute caterers to flirt with. Which left me only with audience member prospects and I’m not comfortable flirting with audience members because it feels undeniably unprofessional. Unless they flirt with me first. Which actually worked out very well for me.

He was impossible not to notice. First because he was the guest of the man who created the show and second because he was freaking tall, at least 6’7″ if not more. And he was cute.

I on the other hand am very easy not to notice. There are 20 other people dressed identically to me in their khakis and blue STAFF issued shirt. STAFF is written in big letters across my chest and generally people behave like it is both my full name and full identity, so it’s always fun when someone takes a moment to realize my life dream is probably not ushering and that there is a lot going on under “Hi, may I help you find your seat?”

6’7 Guy immediately acknowledged this predicament upon entering the theater. He returned my “Hi” and complemented the flower in my hair (yes I’m a San Francisco flower child, I’ve embraced it) Nice flower, are those staff issued to? with a smile and a wink.

There is something about me that attracts winks. I get winked at 20 times a day. By men of all ages, shapes, colors and occasionally women. 6’7 Guy’s wink made sense to me. An “I’m kidding and possibly flirting with you”. The random winks by street passersby are much more confusing. What do they mean: You’re cute? I’d hit that? I have appreciation for your presence on this earth? There’s something in my eye? I knew you in a past life? I don’t know! Winks are more confusing than the illusive facebook poke.

to be continued..

(I haven’t posted in forever- you need new reads. I’ve been working on this post for awhile and hopefully posting it will inspire me to complete it. Your comments can effect the finished product!)

[edit April 25, 2013: This post was never finished. 6’7″ Guy became the only successful no-strings-attached affair I have ever had. We kept in touch for over a year, until I lost interest. He thought I was a wild child, I never learned his last name. It was a perfect affair, of Sex and the City proportions. I will always remember it fondly.]

Political Theater (sans Brecht)

Fall 2008. Election season. It’s all everyone and their blogroll is blogging about these days. Palin, McCain, Bidin, Obama, yada yada. I’ve clicked a couple job postings on craigslist with titles along the lines of “Bloggers wanted!”, thinking how incredible it would be if I could profit off writing I’d do anyway, but are they interested in theater and New York escapades? Nope. They all mention special interest in political posts. Well, that’s just not my scene. I’m not apathetic, I’m passionate about certain issues, I will most definitely vote in November, you can probably guess who I’ll vote for. But it’s not particularly interesting to me and I have absolutely no desire to delve into the mess of this campaign in my little corner of cyber space. Pass on politics.

Well, that was my original plan until last night when theater and politics collided in a particularly unforseen way.

We were warned at the start of our shift, long before the house opened. Greg, who shares charge of the same section as me, and I had a brief discussion and agreed they would be sitting in our section. Seriously (as previously discussed), anyone who’s anyone sits in our section. Sure enough, mere moments after this chat our supervisor approaches us, They’re sitting in your section. You don’t need to do anything really, the secret service are five billion times more scary/capable/better paid then you know what to expect. Can you handle it? I’ll move you if you think it’ll be to much. And miss out on being in the center of the action? Are you crazy? We will handle it!

Over the next half hour the theater fills up as usual. Lots of “up the stairs, 3rd row to your right” and “it ends around 10:40” nothing exciting. Then at about 7:55pm I see a procession arriving from the stage door entrance and before I even look over, the theater erupts into applause. Flanked by huge men in suits and intimidating earpieces Hillary, Bill, and Chelsea -the entire Clinton family minus Socks- enter the theater and head straight toward my section.

This super high profile political family having a night on the town, going to see a rock musical in Central Park. Wow, who would’ve thought? It was amazing to watch how their presence effected the entire show. The audience had a level of energy and excitement that you usually only see at sporting events, events where the outcome of the night is not predetermined. This energy and excitement was also noticeable in the cast. By their seventh week of the run where I had seen every show, I definitely noticed the novelty wearing off, the tediousness of performing the same thing every night setting in, moments of phoning it in- all extremely subtle and surely only something a fellow actor would notice. Well, with the Clintons in the house the cast performed better, fresher, with more energy then ever and it was truly awesome to watch. There is a moment in the show where one character goes into the audience to point out his mother, “Oh my God, my mom is here tonight! wave to the people, Mom. I love you.” Every night a different woman is chosen- sometimes she looks like she could be his mom, sometimes she’s a hot chick, sometimes she’s not even a woman. That night he got Hillary to stand up in the role of His Mom and it was hilarious.

My section at intermission was a mad scene. Everyone in the theater wanted to say Hi and shake the hands of the former president and senator. Greg and I went crazy and I thoroughly lost my voice yelling at people “Ladies and gentlemen this is a fire hazard! You need to clear a path! CHILL THE FUCK OUT!!” I certainly earned my minimum wage for that hour. I was expecting an even worse situation after the show, but the secret service suits blocked off the area right before curtain call so all I had to do was my usual “make sure no one takes pictures” duty. This puts me facing the audience as they watch the bows. Which had me 2 feet away from Hillary, Bill,and Chelsea. I did a pretty awful job looking for cameras that night, I hope people appreciate the illegal pictures they were able to snap because I couldn’t resist watching the Clintons as they applauded.

I watched in hopes of answering my burning question: how did they like the show? Their response was positive, they stood up with the rest of the crowd, clapping along, they didn’t leave at the earliest possible moment- but as I stood searching for an answer I was hit by I scary realization.

There was no way in hell I’d ever know.

That’s not the scary part, that is the duh part. The scary part to me was realizing that no matter what they actually thought of the show, the only way they could ever respond to the show was the “appropriate way”, the way they were “supposed to”, the way the public would want them to or think that they should. As I stood there sneaking looks, realizing this, I was overcome with sadness. The actors on stage were all done with their performances for the night, but here Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea were continuing theirs. Their act is one that carries through any public appearance of any kind. I imagined how awful it must be to not be able to be yourself for fear that people won’t like you and thus not vote for you. How awful to try to get everyone to like you. To kiss the babies, shake the hands, smile even if you feel like shit. I watched Hillary’s plastered on cheerful face as she applauded and realized how much politicians have in common with actors. We say the world is our stage, but that is bullshit when you think how literally true it is for politicians. Humbling.

As they left the theater I gave them a wave good-bye, they’ve done so many good things on a world scale and on top of that they support theater=major respect from yours truly, which they saw and then, with a look of sincere thanks in their eyes, both Bill and Hillary sought out my hand to shake as they departed. Wow. Quite a night.

I have a whole new understanding of politics from this and while in awe it also makes me strangely sad.

Jonathan Groff, My New Best Friend

The show I usher for was originally set to close mid-August but it has already been extended twice. Which works out well for me and the hazard of unemployment. It also means that the lead (now that I no longer work there I can tell you I’m talking about Jonathan Groff**) had to leave the show to go film an Ang Lee movie and his replacement isn’t quite as charming.

jongroffwoodstock
Went from a hippy musical to a hippy movie: Taking Woodstock

He had the day off from filming yesterday. How do I know this, you ask? Because he came to see the show and of course he sat in my section, because awesome/famous people always sit in my section (I really lucked out with that assignment at the beginning of the summer). I didn’t notice him until intermission when I saw him sitting all by himself and realized he had been the annoying guy sitting next to the show’s costume designer whispering and laughing uproariously at everything the whole first act. Wow, good thing I hadn’t shot him a nasty “shut up!” look!

Well there he was, in all his adorable splendor, sitting alone as the costume designer had left to attend to things. Eee I want to go up there and tell him I think he’s awesome, but that’s not really appropriate. I’m supposed to stay here and man my spot. Damn. Ok, I will will him to leave the theater so he’ll pass by me and hopefully I’ll have the balls to say something. Willllllllllll.

It works. He gets up and I’m searching my brain for something I can say that isn’t obnoxious or groupie-esque.

But he’s not heading for the exit. No, no. Johnathan Groff is walking straight towards me.
jonathangrofffrozen
Oh you don’t know who Jonathan Groff is? He was the voice of this guy.
“Hi! How are you? It’s so good to see you,” he says and then gives me a hug. Like we bonded during the show. Like we’re old friends. Like he’s at least talked to me once before in our lives.

Planning my line? Fuck that! Not even my imagination considered this!

From where I stood there were two choices: play along or let the truth- that I’ve never talked to him before ever and think he’s very talented, not to mention the fact he’s already achieved most of my life goals- take over. No contest. For the entirety of intermission me and this Tony-nominated, the next hot thing, golden boy of Broadway are bffs. We talk about the show, how it’s been since he left, how filming’s been, laugh when some guy comes over to talk to him and ends his “I saw you in this show, you were so great” spiel with: “My friend sitting up over there. It’s her birthday. She wants your dong.” The guy quickly leaves and my new bff laughs and confides in me, “That’s one I’ve never heard before- ‘She wants your dong.’ And did you see how fast he went back to his seat? I bet that was a dare.” Oh commiseration, that makes me feel even more like we’re bffs.

Before I know it, intermission is over. The lights are dimming and so is our friendship.

“It was so great to see you! Good luck with the film! Enjoy the second act!”

“Thanks, you too. I’ll see you later.” He says and gives me another hug before returning to his seat.

I can’t stop smiling.

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[credit:playbill.com]
It’s a good thing I’m 97% sure he’s gay. (It’s a vibe, a chemistry maybe. Sometimes obviously gay leading men in classic musicals can limit the credibility of character portrayal. Like when I saw Wicked, Fiaro was so obviously gay it was distracting. But in this show it made his character much stronger. His connection to Will Swenson’s Berger is awesome. Which I didn’t appreciate fully until he left. Sigh. If he is not gay, he is a truly brilliant actor for creating that. His replacement doesn’t have the same vibe and it makes the whole show a little weaker, in my opinion.) [He actually came out a year after I wrote this.**] Otherwise I would be head over heals in love. Such a sweet, modest, respectful, awesome person. It’s moments like these when I feel like the minimum wage I get paid is totally enough. Who am I kidding, I would do it for free.

**edits from 2/13/2014

Frankenstein is My Friend

The truly technical term for my line of work is “street team member.” Any show with any kind of budget these days has one (including the guy who stands on the corner for “Private Eyes Gentleman’s Club”. Total creeper.) You see us loitering street corners dressed in the-show-that-owns-us paraphernalia handing out fliers or fans or yelling ear catching jingles. Fortunately working for “the man” sells itself- it’s possibly the most recognizable brand name in America- so I never have to yell anything or make any kind of pitch. I’m still out there acting my ass off however, as the model cute/friendly/helpful/happy-go-lucky street team member. It’s quite the role, not really my type per say but I rock it.

All the different street teams are pretty buddy-buddy out on the streets. There’s a shared “omg tourists suck and it’s hot as balls” that really brings people together. We watch each others backs against the weirdos and share stories about the ridiculous things people do. We’re all in the same boat (although I’ve learned “the man” pays $3 more per hour than the non-man…)

Then there’s the street team for Young Frankenstein (the musical). No cute-friendly-helpful bullshit roles for them. They’ve got a tiny team -only two guys- who are dressed up like Frankenstein (the monster) and Igor from the show. They get to run around Times Square as their monster characters scaring tourists, posing for pictures, teasing everyone, and hell having a jolly fun time.

Frankenstein, as he is a newly created monster of course, doesn’t really talk to people- he growls and grunts, bears his fangs and basically sends them to Igor if they have any questions. That’s the way to deal with silly tourists. Now imagine my surprise when one day he comes over to me, drops the character: “God, can you believe how fucking hot it is today? Woo!” He has a tenor voice with a decidedly gay inflection. Totally cute! OMG, You can talk! I blunder back- immediately realizing what an idiot I sound like.

From then on we’ve been friends. I’ve learned that he has a major cooling system inside his costume- completely with fans (the lucky bastard), that Igor wears glasses but he can’t wear them in character so he’s wandering around half blind, that Frankenstein also teaches dance. They’re two really nice guys. It never gets old watching them scare people, or teasing traffic guards, or dancing like no one’s watching (but everyone is) to Sexy Back outside Virgin Megastore. But my favorite moments are when they’re out of character and you see Frankenstein texting on his cell and Igor sucking down a Sunkist. Those are the moments I wish I had a huge state-of-the-art camera strapped around my neck with the telephoto lens in my fanny pack.

I’m still working the ushering gig at night. This means I’m working 49 hours a week. Which is draining as all hell. That and two+ hours of travel time a day…well now you understand the sporadic nature of my updates. The plus side is ushering just got a lot more fun. The Shakespearean tragedy has been replaced by an awesomely energetic rock musical. So the energy in the theater is completely different (it’s tangible, trust me), the audience is completely different, and the show is a whole hour shorter so sometimes I get some sleep.

People like this play, it’s gotten much better press, and has sort of become the must-see play of the summer. This leads to a much more star studded audience. One of the first nights it started raining during the second act. Rain means we ushers really have to work for our money. Rain means every audience member in possession of an umbrella wants to put it up to keep dry, makes sense right? The problem is people behind an umbrella can’t see the stage. Rain means a loosing battle asking patrons to please put the umbrellas down. Now imagine having this battle with Mary-Louise Parker. Yep. Light rain has begun to fall, an umbrella goes up and before I realize who’s under it I’m poking under it informing Ms. Parker that we have to ask her to put it down because it blocks the view of those in back of her. “Well what am I supposed to do?” she asks me. “Uh, get wet? I’m sorry!” I say before I run off to fight more umbrella battles. Awkward! Especially because I really admire her as an actress and love Angels in America and Weeds. Her date was her co-star from Weeds, Justin Kirk (Uncle Andy) so in spite of my the awkwardness, it was pretty cool.

In attendance we’ve had Joan Rivers (who tried to help me do my job. I’m trying to get a woman with crutches to her seat, which is proving slightly difficult, and Joan pipes up “Where are you trying to get her to?” Let me worry about that, thanks. Girl looks even worse than she does on tv), Sandra Oh, Jay- the first winner of Project Runway, and Kevin Kline. I listened to Zach Braff sing to his girlfriend (according to a little imdb search they weren’t officially together at the time of my sighting which I think is funny cause I could’ve called up trashy gossip magazines and caused an “are they back together??” story) as they exited the theater. After observing him throughout the show (he was right in front of me, I couldn’t help it) I gotta say the man doesn’t do much acting on Scrubs. He is JD, JD is him, one and the same.

Along with the celebrities I still keep running into people I know. From high school, college, you name it. Still it surprises me when I’m walking into the theater one night and hear a “Hi!” directed towards me. Especially when it’s coming from a (though seemingly harmless) man I’ve never seen in my life. The look plastered all over my face is ugh, why do random men always talk to me but I’m supposed to be in friendly-helpful staff mode so I reply, “Uh, hi.” He laughs, “Oh, you don’t recognize me!” He then bares his teeth and growls. It’s Frankenstein! Sans costume, off the clock! I get to see him for what he is: sweet, cute, charming, little gay man by night, scary green monster by day. Arguably my favorite star sighting yet.

Working the Streets

I got a day job.Here is my office:

Here are others who occupy the building:

The most famous. He's sold out though (not that I blame him)- he now has Viacom (literally) all over his ass.
The most famous. He’s sold out (not that I blame him) and now (literally) has Viacom all over his ass.
The [deflated/aged] Naked Cowgirl. Not only knocking off the Naked Cowboy but also knocking off a previous Naked Cowgirl. Girl should not be running around in skivies but hell, power to her.
The [deflated/aged] Naked Cowgirl. Not only knocking off the Naked Cowboy but also knocking off a previous Naked Cowgirl. Girl should not be running around in skivies but hell, power to her.
Lady Liberty. She (he? who knows?) is scary cause you can't see her (his? see my point?) face!
Lady Liberty. She (he? who knows?) is scary cause you can’t see her (his? see my point?) face!
Spiderman. Yep, he's dressed up like Spiderman and runs around posing for picture. Again, not a big fan cause you can't see his (but you can tell that) face.
Spiderman. Yep, he runs around posing for pictures. Again, scary cause you can’t see his (though you can tell that) face.

Yes ladies and gentlemen, I am working the streets. Oh God, we always joked the only thing a theatre BA would qualify you to do was suck cock and that “Become a whore.” was a fun answer to “So what are you going to do after graduation?” but we never actually thought you’d do it! What has the Big Apple done to you!?Unbunch your panties. I have not plummeted from the Prudy Judy side of the spectrum to the lowest ring of the Slutty Butty side (although events from the previous weekend make for speculation ummm… that’s another story!) No, I am not a nooner hooker. No, I am not running around dressed up as Giselle posing for pictures with tourists. Although that is not a bad idea….I’d be awesome at pretending to be a princess and totally fulfill childhood fantasies to boot.Can't you see me?

So what the hell am I doing? I am working for “the man” (and that’s the biggest hint I can give) of the theatre world. Doing publicity for Broadway shows. That’s what I tell people, especially if I’m trying to sound like I have a fancy grown up job. “Publicity for Broadway”- sounds like a career,  right? Ha. This “publicity” = me standing on a street corner, wearing a blue visor and t-shirt, looking like a camp counselor (Just an observation: fewer people wear visors than ponchos these days, they aren’t even favored by tourists) passing out fans. The fan is the brilliant summer alternative to the pamphlet. It’s a piece of paper attached to a popsicle stick- that makes it a fan and thus a souvenir. A free souvenir. That makes people want them. And they don’t just get shoved in a pocket like a pamphlet. People wave them around, literally all over town. I’ve seen them up in Central Park, in Chinatown, it’s crazy. Crazy, brilliant advertising. So I stand there, hand these out to people “Is it free? Really?? AWESOME!”, answer stupid tourist questions, smile a lot, people watch like it’s my job, and get paid $18/hr. Compared to what I’d be making as a prostitute, that’s nothing. But it’s pretty sweet for the amount (really lack there of) of effort I put out.

My actually like my coworkers. I was a little apprehensive at first because they are very musical theater- jazz hands, fan kicks, and all. It was a bit much for me on first reaction. But now it’s simmered down. We all share a tiny room stuffed with boxes of fans- close as hell quarters- and I don’t as of yet have urges to kill any of them. I don’t even flinch when they call me sweetie/baby/darling 20 times a day. I somehow find it endearing. Though I’m not spouting pet names out to all my casual acquaintances, I can see it happening in the future and I have to ask myself- is that risk worth the $18/hr? Only cause we’re in a recession.My coworkers know more about the theatre world than I do, which is a cool and rather unusual experience for me. For the most part they’re older than me, too. Which I greatly prefer. I don’t feel like I’m wasting my life yet, it’s just not prime. It’s also awesome because most of them are working actors. One just finished filming a network-ABC-tv show. One just quit to go on tour with Cats. Several have been in Off Broadway shows. My supervisor was up for the part of Simba in The Lion King until he befell an awful throat disease (he’s bitter and amusing). It’s great to be around working actors. And here we all are working for the theatre man in menial labor tasks. I’ve got a bright future: I always wanted to see the lights of Broadway. Now that’s my job. Perhaps this gig is the closest I’ll get. Time’ll tell.