Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Inside the Box- Ep. 3- Katy Likovich

Episode 3 is here! Inside the Box welcomes new panelist, Meagan English with Special guest and actress, Katy Likovich. They discuss why Randi thinks New Year's Resolutions are a crock, Katy's future as a Disney star, how Katy saved Ollie the Cat, and why animals are so wonderful. We address wrestling and Heavy Metal as our first request for topics. And Andrea introduces a new weekly segment, "ITB woman of the week." Listen to find out who our first honoree is! You can also download us on Itunes here. Please enjoy our Instagram photo on the player. (Pictured: starting top left: Randi, Andrea, Meagan, and little, angsty Katy.) 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Inside the Box- Episode 2- Carissa Kosta

In this episode of Inside the Box, funny lady extraordinaire, Carissa Kosta joins host, Andrea Chesley and co-host, Randi Straight for a discussion on the business of being funny and a woman, Carissa's midwest roots, Randi's adventures in Hollywood, and that terrible new Kristen Bell Christmas song. Enjoy! (Thank you to Carissa because she didn't know her headshot would be the thumbnail for this episode.) You can also download us for free on Itunes here. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Inside the Box Ep. 1- Michaela Myers

The first episode of Inside the Box is here! Follow the "Inside the Box" link on this page for more information about the show and it's hosts!
This episode is hosted by Andrea Chesley, co-hosted by Randi Straight, and panelist Stephani Casey with special guest, actress and comedian, Michaela Myers. Tune in to hear us discuss life in Los Angeles, college majors, and the complexities of understanding Shia Labeouf.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Regrets, Second Chances, and 'Star Search'

Everybody knows you were the real star, Ed. There was no need to search.
My first big audition as a kid was for the popular talent show of the 80s and 90s, ‘Star Search.’ I don’t remember how old I was, but I do remember my hair was cut short (the beginning of the white-girl-fro that kept me a virgin until my 20s.) So, I was at least 8 or 9. I loved to sing and was not new to performing. You may know me from my stint as a front row performer in “The Talent Sprouts” from 1985-87 as ‘Skidamarink-a-dink-a-dink’ soloist. (A title I gave myself.)  By 8, I had taught myself to play the piano and was performing regularly around the house, so, to my parents, this seemed to be a way they could really support me. My dad heard on the radio that they were holding auditions at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix and asked me if I wanted to do it. This was a special thing because it is one of the times in my life that stands out to me where my dad was really excited for something I was going to do. He was going to drive me the 30 minutes to the Biltmore on his day off, he was going to wait with me, and he was either going to dry my tears or deal with an impossible diva for several years. Or both. (Hint: it was both.)

I was so excited! ‘Star Search’ was my favorite show.  I can still remember the adrenaline running through me as a I envisioned my 4 star rating, a pat on the back from Ed McMahon himself, and that side-eye smirk I’d give to the talentless twit I’d inevitably beat out. I could be on TV! When my dad said he’d take me, I had to tell somebody, so I ran through the house to tell my neighbor and ran full speed into the sliding glass door. It hurt pretty badly, but no matter. I had to shout it from the roof tops! “I WAS GOING TO BE ON STAR SEARCH!” Then I threw up. Maybe from the excitement, but probably from a concussion. This should have a been a sign to work on my nerves and excitability, but I had visions of stardom in my eyes. 

I still remember the drive to the Biltmore in our brown Subaru. It was a long drive into a part of Phoenix I had never been. I wore my coolest outfit sewn by my grandmother and definitely brushed my teeth. (Anything for Ed.) I chose to sing the title theme from Beauty and the Beast. The movie was all the rage at the time and Angela Lansbury sang it too, so it seemed the appropriate choice for 8 or 9 year old me. The Biltmore was an intimidating, much-too-fancy-for-me place. There were other kids there in outfits much superior to mine. (Their grandmothers must have been more talented.) They’d put on make-up and had long beautiful hair. I didn’t even own make-up or hair. I began to get nervous. Were there really other children who could sing like me in Arizona? Where did they all come from?!
#Doppleganger #Hotfor8 #Lansburyhair


With words of encouragement from my parents, I signed in and waited my turn. There were other kids around me doing, what I now know as “warm-ups” but then, I was like, “Why are they wasting their voice? I’m saving mine for Ed.” They all sounded pretty good and for a moment, I worried. Again, my parents encouraged me to ignore it and focus on my song. So I did. And when it was my turn, I walked into the conference room where my parents were not allowed and up on to the makeshift stage and to the microphone stand. My karaoke music began to play and I… began to shake uncontrollably. This was literally my first time singing into a microphone alone. The lights were so bright, I could barely make out what was in the room. I squinted and saw what looked like a panel of 3 judges. They were intimidating and for some reason wore sunglasses in a very dark room. I remember being absolutely convinced one of them was Murphy Brown. Not Candice Bergen, but Murphy Brown herself and I got even more nervous. It was time for me to sing. My throat was so tight that I was barely able to get out the first phrase. So, I sang louder but this made my lips quiver with nerves. Don’t stop! I thought. Think of Ed! I embarrassingly squeaked through the rest of the song. It was the most terrified I’ve been in my entire life and it may be the most pathetic rendition of “Beauty and the Beast” there ever was. I finished to a few sporadic claps and I ran out of the room with tears in my eyes. I met my parents in the hallway. “I did sooooo bad!” I said still shaking, still teary eyed. Of course, they consoled me, but I was devastated. I’d ruined my ONE chance to be on ‘Star Search.’

My dad had left, presumably to see what the judges had to say and when he came back, he said, “good news! They really want you to try it again and maybe hold the microphone this time!”

“No. No, thank you.” I said. At the time, I was thinking that I had done so terribly that they were going to let me try it again to see if I could sing and not be so unbelievably pathetic a 2nd time. So, of course I was not going to give them the satisfaction of making me look like a fool!

“Are you sure?” My dad asked. “We're here now, Andrea. And they want you to try it again. How often will you have this chance?”  

I started to cry again. “Please don’t make me do it,” I pleaded. I was just too scarred from the whole experience to try again. I obviously was a terrible singer. So, we left. And I was never on ‘Star Search’ and I have been left to fight my way to stardom the old fashioned way, as a waitress in a restaurant.

"Brittany AND Andrea got their starts on Star Search. Poor Brittany, though." - everyone.
This. THIS. This is my one regret in life. I don’t regret volunteering as my junior high mascot, I don’t regret cutting my hair short at 16 when I should have been dating, I don’t even regret wearing Birkenstocks during my formative years, but not taking that second chance in the Arizona Biltmore that Saturday afternoon in 1991 in front of Murphy Brown? I regret that day.  As I’ve grown older, there have been other auditions. Good ones and bad. And I’ve learned second chances don’t often happen in life, let alone in the audition room. At the time, I thought the second chance meant I’d done terrible the first time so I NEEDED to try again. Now I know, what that second chance really meant was that I’d done well enough, the judges saw possible potential in me, AND they didn’t think it would be a colossal waste of their time while having to see hundreds of kids that day, to have me sing for them, possibly the most boring song ever written, ONE MORE TIME. The Andrea of today knows that a second chance is the highest of honors in an audition room. I’ve never turned down a second chance since then. Second chances are the greatest of gifts from our creator. They allow us to grow and learn and, best of all, redeem. I wish I’d known this then. Who really knows what would’ve happened had I taken that opportunity that day? I’m not saying I’d be one of those rare child stars that had a successful movie career, remained well adjusted, and is now the loveable and hilarious young mom on a successful sitcom with 2 kids in real life and a husband whose career is really taking off named, Charlie Hunnam. (No offense to my actual husband-to-be, its just that most couples meet at work so I’m being realistic.) What I am saying, is I would KNOW that I did my best. I would KNOW I took every chance. I would have lived so far, with no regrets. I hope I can always remember to live this way, especially when I’m most terrified, because that means it will be worth it. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A monologue for the Everyday Ingenue

This is the full length version of the monologue originally delivered by actress, Meagan English as "Louise" in 2014's "Louise and Myra: Take an Acting Class." It was written by me with lots of love. 

You can watch the episode here. 

This monologue is inspired by the many monologues we, as actors are required to study. I wanted to pay homage to the playwrights who've allowed us to "show our range" throughout the years. Actors, feel free to use it as you wish. In fact, I dare you to. 

BECKY, early twenties, southern

I watched the birds that day. The sky was cloudy. There was a distinct chill in the air. I knew something was different. Mother was actin’ strangely when she came back from the grocery. Usually she was chattier than a Mo-hen. I suppose grief brings on reflectin’ for most people. She’d even forgotten the lemons for Grand-mammy’s marmalade. I was gonna make if for her… for her funeral. I suppose I thought that if I continued to make her marmalade that she’d somehow still be with us. How could I possibly have left for Charlotte then? When my family was grievin’ so. They needed me. Daddy needed me. Oh, Grand-mammy! (tears) She would always know what to do!

Harold had taken up with a band at a new club in Charlotte. They’d asked me to sing for ‘em. No one had asked me to sing for a livin’ before. I knew this was more than a simple proposition. Harold was lookin’ to marry me and I knew it. You can tell when a man’s got intentions. It’s a look in the eye. The way he looks at you. If you melt, then you’re hooked, line and sinker. And oh boy, did I melt with that boy. Charlotte was an opportunity that Palkeepawa Parish couldn’t offer me. If I had left, Lord knows I wasn’t comin’ back! Its like my Grand-mammy always used to say, “Becky! You were meant for more than this good for nothin’ town! You’re a star!” You couldn’t argue with Grand-mammy. Oh! How I loved that old Bitty! Why’d you have to go on and leave us, Grand-mammy!”

The birds were quiet. They weren’t singin’ the same songs. Hell, they weren’t singin’ at all. They sat gathered on the fences connectin’ the crops like they did each afternoon. They were just silent. I reckoned they missed Grand-mammy, too. I knew Daddy would be back with the preacher soon, so I began to tidy up. Lord knows I’m the only one who ever did it. (Laughs) Tidyin’ up always reminded me of singin’ old spirituals with Grand-mammy. (Sings) Swing low, Sweet Chariot, comin forth to carry me home… (After a moment) She’d always said that the good lord planted Grand-dad’s vocal chords right into mine. I loved it when she told me that. I didn’t know him, but I have to suppose he sang like an angel.

While cleanin’ I heard a car pullin’ up. I figured it was Daddy but as I looked out the window, I saw that it was Harold! ‘What on earth was he doing here,’ I thought! I rushed to get freshened up. I was in no condition to see my beloved. What a surprise it was! I ran down the stairs and out onto the front porch to meet him. He seemed distressed and his countenance was a bit dark. He didn’t reach for me like he always did. “What’s the matter, my darlin’?” I asked. He just shook his head as he reached into his pocket and handed me a letter. We stood there in silence as I opened it. It was his handwritin’. I’d recognize that chicken scratch anywhere. I’d smile at the thought if his demeanor wasn’t so damn troublin’. The first words were, “My Sweet Peach, Rebecca. I’m sorry…” I couldn’t read on. I just couldn’t. As I looked up, he’d began to walk back toward his truck and I yelled after him, “Dammit, Harold! What on earth did you do?!” He kept walkin’. Why today of all days? My world was cavin’ and there was no savin’ me if Harold left me. I ran after him before he drove away, cryin’ and screamin’, “Harold! Don’t you go! Harold! I love you, Dammit!” I reached the truck door and he looked at me with pain in his eyes. We locked our gaze for only a fleeting second, both knowin’ this would be the last time. And then, I took Harold’s hand, and he said, “I love you, too.” And then he left me there.

And the birds were never quite the same. Nothin’ was ever quite the same. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

"There's no room for Sarcasm in Heaven." -an idiot

I think sometimes I hesitate to write about the subjects I’m about to tackle in this story because it will be painfully obvious to most the reasons I have “issues.” Perhaps those who choose to write understand this fear. Most writers are introspective and understand that writing can be therapeutic. Oftentimes, after writing about feelings or happenings, I feel they’re not even worth sharing because I’ve learned the lesson I should have and am embarrassed I didn’t learn it sooner and that anyone reading this might be embarrassed for me.  This teenage happening turned adult realization however, though seemingly small, was just down-right pivotal in my road to recovery. I’m going to address being raised Mormon, I’m going to address being a feminist, and I’m going to address being (a) really funny (girl.) It is my belief that these are not mutually exclusive, but some would have you believe they are.

"If you're a really good girl, you could be one of many!"
I was raised Mormon. This meant a whole lot of church, a generally happy childhood, and A LOT to live up to. This was also a church whose leaders believed that “feminism was one of their greatest enemies.” Perhaps. Girls are pretty scary, especially when we’re shooting other humans out our vaginas. *Shutter.* It is more likely that the church fell victim to the scare tactics anti-feminists were using like, “they want the downfall of men” and “they’re all lesbians” and not just, “Can we vote, please? Also, can we make the same amount of money as you for the same jobs, guys?” (Sorry, Mormon readers who are about to defend the church and feminism. I’ve got one word: Polygamy. I’ve read and pondered all I can on the matter and it still doesn’t sit right with me. Until God comes down and is like, “Polygamy is totes cool, and here’s why…” I can’t and I won’t. But this is not what I’m here to discuss.)

His name was Gary. (Ha! No, it wasn’t. What a dumb fake name I’ve chosen to protect the innocent (guilty.) Frankly, if I told this story with its details, some readers might know who he is, so I’ll be nice. Gaaaarrryyy.) He was the son of a, we’ll say, higher up in the Phoenix area of the Mormon Church. He was like LDS royalty. My teens as a Mormon were going well. I was 16, getting (a little) cuter and my personality was ROCKIN’. Others laughed at my jokes and everything I did. I was also discovering my talents in high school; dance, drama, and really coming in to my own. Comedy wasn’t just a means to cope anymore (See the “Mascot” post,) it was fun! I’d discovered I’d inherited my grandfather’s very dry sense of humor. I felt a sense of pride every time I used sarcasm or a non-sequitur. (Thanks, Grandpa.) I was cute AND had a personality. I was turning into quite the Mormon prize. But when I thought Gary was interested… Gary, a goofily handsome, son of a higher-up, smart, funny, and Mormon royal??  I was like, “Andrea, you’re a friggin’ Mormon princess!” Life was good.

The strangest part about dating the ultra-religious is that you often don’t even know you’re dating at all. It seems to some that talking after bible class or being with other dates on an approved group date means you’ve courted and are subject to potential marriage scrutiny. Gary had spoken directly to me a couple of times, some seemed an attempt to flirt. One time, he and I happened to be on the same “triple date” (with other people,) and I remember being quite the life of the party. (We played pool and I can be charmingly competitive.) But we’d never spoken on the phone, never had an extended conversation, nor had he ever asked me out on an actual date. So, when he broke up with me, I was pretty surprised.

I had no idea our “relationship” had warranted such a dramatic ending.  Surely he understood that we would inevitably end up in the same room at church, and by his definition, we would date again, right? Never-the-less, he asked me if he could drive me home from church one day. I was like, ‘oh, this is it! We’re finally gonna get to know each other. Maybe he’ll even ask me out on a date because that would be fun!’ He, however, had something different in mind. As he drove the .4 miles to my home he spoke of our “relationship.” I was like, ‘Whaaaa?’ and he was like, “yes, you’re wonderful but I can’t keep dating you any longer.” I was really taken aback here. ‘We dated? Was it fun?’ “You’ve really got to work on your sarcasm,” he said as I gaped at him in disbelief. ‘What is sarcasm, again? It must be that super cute, dry bit I do and it’s a sin, apparently. Damn, there are more sins?!?’ As he walked me to my door (this break-up lasted about 4 ½ minutes, 3 minutes longer than our relationship) he said, “There’s no room for sarcasm in Heaven. I hope you remember that.” I was at a loss for words. It was odd enough he was breaking off our imaginary relationship and if it were just that, I would’ve laughed at him with hearty, “Whatever, dude!” But, “There’s no room for Sarcasm in Heaven?” He tapped into something very deep and emotional. I fought back tears as I ran into my house and back to my room. I replayed our every interaction over and over in my mind. ‘What had I done that was so sinful? Why was I going to hell THIS time?’

I spent a long time trying to figure that out. Too long. I was quiet in church for a long time for fear I may say something sarcastic. I finally asked my mother for her expertise on the subject and she said, “He’s an idiot.” That helped a little, but I was still scared to date other Mormon boys because I may offend them if I slipped in a little sarcasm. So, when I fell in love with a non-Mormon boy from school, who deeply appreciated my humor and out-spoken-ness and was quite the ass himself, how could I be blamed? I began to really think I just didn’t fit in at church anymore. Gary breaking up with me for having a boisterous personality could not have come at a worse time in my Mormon career. At 16 we were already being taught how to be “good and worthy” wives, that submissiveness was a valued virtue (a virtue that I did NOT possess,) and that feminism would be the downfall of society. I just wanted to go camping like the boy scouts did, ok?!  The combination of all of these events lead me to think an out-spoken, feminist, and ambitious female like myself might never be appreciated by my perceived definition of a Mormon boy, nor by the church. Sitting around, hoping that some virgin hero might return from his mission and want to sweep me up and impregnate me before my ovaries shriveled up sounded like a dream come true terrible. This is my simplest explanation for my “inactiveness” (non-Mormon-ness) now. Looking back on my limited Mormon options, it is entirely possible that most of them were just “idiots” like my mom said. (She’s so wise.)  How could wildly witty and yes, sometimes, sarcastic banter between two humans be a sin? I found it to be fun and thought it was wildly attractive in a mate. Sarcasm is an acquired taste, some may argue that its the lazy kind of funny, but it is most certainly not a one-way ticket to hell.

What Gary probably experienced before he accused me of committing a sin, was that I was a bit of a threat to him. It was really he, and not I, who had the problem. It took me a long time to learn this and that I was still dealing with subconscious feelings that being sarcastically funny was a sin. We should never suppress a girl’s (anyone’s) personality based on social or religious norms. I’ve felt an intense guilt my entire life for my humor or even laughing too loudly or too much because of this incident and many others. I’m just grateful for my inclination to always follow my instincts because it’s lead me to have exceptionally fulfilling relationships. Sometimes I’m like, “I just have too many funny and talented friends.” (Sarcasm)

Funny, witty, and sarcastic usually means supremely intelligent. So it’s not surprising the “idiots,” are threatened. The feminist in me would like to offer some advice and change the lyrics of the song “If YouWanna Be Happy” by the (hopefully sarcastic, but most likely misogynistic) Jimmy Soul, from:

“If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life, never make a pretty woman your wife. From my personal point of view, get an ugly girl to marry you.”


“If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life, never make a vapid woman your wife. From my personal point of view, get a funny girl to marry you.”

Lesson taught; delightfully offensive song made more delightful. Two birds. Say whatever the fuck you want to say, ladies and laugh as much as you want at whatever you want. You will never regret it.

Hell is a magical place where all the cats look like this. 
"If there is no room for sarcasm in Heaven, then I’d like a seat at the big kids' table in Hell, please. " Andrea Chesley

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Nerves: Day Ruiners.

I’m sitting here, trying to yoga breathe through a series of mild to
The Jamaican Fruit Bat. Looks like an asshole. 
Claire Danes level panic attacks as I embark on one of the wildest, riskiest journeys of my life. I’ve pooped more times today than is considered healthy according to WebMD. I can only assume the butterflies have turned into Jamaican Fruit Bats and are likely at the height of mating season in my large intestine. Tonight, I’ve had to come to terms with how I deal with this kind of stress.  I’ve put to use every method I’ve used since my Star Search audition when I was 10. This is the first time I can remember being nervous. When I found out I got the audition, I got so excited to go tell my neighbor that I ran, full speed into our sliding glass door. After I had a good laugh about that and got the door open, I started to run across our cul-de-sac to my
Remember when this guy was cool? I coulda been Joey. 
friend’s house and decided to take a pit stop to throw up. (Only I thought I could stop it, so I put my hand over my mouth and it did one of those projectile, squirty things through my fingers. See future blog: The greatest Throw-up of All Time. See future blog: That time I Super-Bombed my Star Search Audition.) It’s safe to say I’m a little excitable.

Today, as I’ve come closer to the edge of the proverbial cliff, I began my dealing by rigorously searching my refrigerator and pantry for what can only be considered “3rd lunch.” After some pickles and tortilla chips, realized that I definitely should nap. I was exhausted from all the things I was thinking about doing.  So, I turned on the 5th season of Frasier and hid under my boyfriend’s comic book blanket on the couch. But I did not sleep, nor did I watch the brilliant Kelsey Grammer. I just thought about all the things that could go wrong in life, all the things that could go right, and how I definitely didn’t have any time at all for this “nap,” and how terrible I am at life. I finally convinced myself to wake up to take some Tums (because I was so tired of pooping,) and those tasted pretty good and reminded me that I had Pixie Stix hidden in the back of my pantry. I ate 6. Oh, that’s not that bad, Andrea, you might be thinking. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Well it IS that bad. They weren’t the tiny, reasonable Pixie Stix, they were those giant ones that have no business being THAT giant. Then I was excited to notice that it was 8 o’ clock and I could definitely have dinner. I
3 feet long and they're already half digested for you. Perfect.  
was pretty full from the 8 pounds of sugar I just ate, but I thought, who am I to spit in the face of the social norm of sitting down to dinner at a decent hour? After my hefty helping of leftover mashed potatoes, (because I simply did not have time to prepare anything,) I thought, maybe I should have a drink? And then I thought, well, wait a minute, Andrea. Are you having a drink because you’re nervous? Because you really don’t need or want one. This is how alcoholics are born, Andrea. So, I decided not to. Then I noticed there were just enough ice cubes left in the freezer for one, good martini and I thought, Who I am I to deny these little ice cubes the truly magical experience of a martini shaker? Now, I’m pretty sure I’m an alcoholic and can add that to the list of things to be worried about. I didn’t even enjoy the martini and worst of all, it did NOT help the Fruit Bats. I still sit here, nervous, heart fluttering, just hoping this most severe case of nerves I’ve ever experienced means that this new venture must be 100%, without-a doubt the absolute right thing to do.

As a performer, I’ve dealt with nerves before, but never like this. Not since moving to Los Angeles have I invested so much in myself. I’m banking on a belief in myself I didn’t know existed. It was instinctual, the best kind of belief, I think. I have to suppose the bigger the nerves means the greatest risk. And I’ve heard that saying, “the greater the risk, the greater the reward.” (Although, to ease my mind, I’m going to need to internet fact check that.) If your
adventures only get greater as you get older, that must be a great thing, but how come I can’t convince my body or brain of this? The unfortunate (but fortunate) thing about all of this is, I really don’t have time to think too much about it. I need to pack. I’m contracted and committed with zero chance of turning back. This kind of risk is the best kind of high. I encourage everyone to seek adventure, no matter how small or great.

Here’s to uprooting. Here’s to challenging yourself. Here’s becoming an even better version of yourself. Here’s to the chance to embarrass yourself. Here’s to the chance of REALLY getting to know yourself. Here’s to adventure. Here’s to life.

See ya on the flip-side.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

15 Things I haven't written about in the past 3 months

I hate to disappoint you, but with the exception of my (still most popular page hit, woof) Top 10 list of the most Badass Christmas songs, I will never write a list blog. And is it just me, or are the ever popular lists for the short-attention-span-majority getting insanely long? “77facts about…” “84 things you didn’t know about…” I think we can all just go ahead and read an article in paragraph form now. Buzzfeed is obviously getting way too big for its britches.  Well, this will be sort of a list, but I WILL NOT NUMBER IT. It also may not be 15 of anything. Writer’s block can be a real bitch and I’ve encountered it before but this time it was not due to lack of ideas, but to the horrible feeling that no subject or story was deep enough, epic enough, or antidotal enough. I swore to myself, “Tonight, on Friday, March 28th, exactly 79 days after your last blog post, Andrea, you will update your blog.” I should mention that I have broken this promise to myself repeatedly on different dates, but today’s the day.

HAHAHAHA! Totally! Am I right?!?
Mexican Food. There’s no food that makes me happier in the world. If my bartender has been working at the restaurant longer than I’ve been alive, I know my Mexican food is going to be good. They don’t even have to get your order right (they usually don’t.) It’s beans, tortillas, and salsa in some form or another. And since the move to LA and the rise in popularity of Taco trucks, my Mexican food addiction is fully enabled.

Vegas reading material. 
Vegas. With the exception of the approximate 45 minutes that you’ve got where you’ve had enough to drink to be fully buzzed (“Let’s go to fuckin’ Chip N’ Dales and put it all on Black!”) but not throw-uppy (in the bathroom at Ellis Island right after you tried to fight a prostitute,) Vegas is the SADDEST PLACE ON EARTH. Can’t wait to go back though. Can’t wait.

The Oyster Bar at the Palace Station where I did Vodka shooters at 4am. I <3 Vegas. 

It's like I'm staring deep into my future. 
Old People. I can’t wait to be old. I just feel like my sense of humor will be appreciated so much more and people won’t question me when I say I’m going to take a nap. Also, choosing my clothing would be so much easier. It’s just a super soft polo in the color or print of your choice, a pleated polyester blend, loose fitting pant, and some orthopedic shoes, and you’ll be nailing anything from a brunch to a matinee followed by an early bird dinner without an outfit change.

Gym Jocks in Yoga Class. Today, the dude next to me really crushed Shavasana. I could tell because of the heavy mouth breathing.  The dude behind be sweat so much that it soaked the
You can breath as hard as you want, sir. 
bottom end of my yoga towel. The dude on the other side of me let out a huge, karate like, “Kiiiiiihhhhaaaaaaa” exhale every time he finally made it into a pose. Just so guys know, the louder you are in class is not directly related to how well you’re doing. But it is directly related to how soon I’ll karate chop your standing leg in the next balancing series.

Feminism. Ladies, ladies, ladies, we are still struggling. We still do not make as much as our male counterparts. We are still being accused of being emotional, irrational, and crazy. We have women who are supposed to be our leaders trying to ban the word, “Bossy” from the vocabulary instead of embracing it and saying, “So what if we’re bossy? Better listen up!” If you ask me, this “banning the word bossy” move was a huge step backward. It is irrational and if I may say so, a little bit crazy. I think if we all gave a few less fucks about what anyone else thought, we’d all be CEO’s. Which brings me to my next point….

Sensitivity. It is exhausting. It is exhausting to be sensitive and it is exhausting to deal with sensitive people. I hope no one comments on this blog. I will take offense and I will take it personally. For anyone reading this, it is not about you. Know what I’m saying? Everyone is dealing with their own shit. There is not one single person that has enough time to deal with your shit too.

Weddings. Don’t tell the wedding blog I write for, but planning a

Although this photo accurately illustrates my feelings, it is sad. 
wedding on a budget is a complete nightmare. It is unbelievably time consuming and it is seemingly a distraction from things in life that are of importance.  I can’t do a kickstarter, right? Because that would be pathetic and probably cut down on the amount of gifts I receive, right?

I always thought I was a Carrie, but I'm such a Samantha. 
Cougars. I’m not ashamed to say that the attraction I feel for younger men is getting stronger and deeper. It is likely unhealthy. It is a part of the aging process I feel like my mother should have told me about. Don’t worry about my fiancĂ© though, he is 6 months older but can’t grow a beard and that is holding me over for now.

Blogs that tell what not to do when going to a restaurant or a retail store so not to really piss off your waiter or retail specialist. “Don’t ask for extra ketchup.” “Don’t ask if there are more sizes in back.” “Don’t ask for off menu items.” “Don’t try on a lot of clothes.” Blah, blah, whine, whine. I’ve got a lot of customer service experience in the restaurant industry and quite frankly, whoever writes these articles are probably not getting the message across to those they’re writing to. Their readers are a bunch of Olive Garden and Forever 21 employees who are reading those articles going, “Hell yeah! People are so stupid! Pay me but don’t make me do anything that might require effort or remind me of how terrible my job is! Even though my job is to answer questions and fulfill requests!” These articles are alienating if not empowering to the few assholes who don’t know how to behave in these situations.

LA. Someday I hope to be wealthy enough to create a city that looks just like LA. It has all the amenities, the weather, the sites and beaches, but the only people allowed in it will be the people that work at the amenities I require. And perhaps by the time I am this wealthy, they’ll all be robots anyway. Tonight, on my walk to Whole Foods, a skateboarder ran over my foot (and it hurt so thanks a lot, TOMS,) I saw a dead body, a homeless woman screamed at me, and I had to weave my way through a line for the “Late night with Craig Fergeson Show.” The novelty has worn off. It has WORN OFF.

21 Year Olds. Due to the fact that I work for a crazy corporation that hires fresh college graduates to manage its restaurants, I’ve had to deal with not one, but TWO Ivy League 21-year-olds in the past few weeks. Never have I heard the word, “Like” used so many times. Not since high school have I had to explain why I’m “Like, so serious looking all the time.” I try to explain to them that I have “Bitchy resting face” but that video came out before they were born. Also, perhaps my serious face is the result of constantly trying not to slap their eyeballs back into their head every time they have a realization they’re sure no one else has had before. Ever.

These are ideas. And now that I read through them, they seem like ideas for Stand-up jokes. Maybe I should be doing more Stand-up? This is my problem, I am never enough for myself. At least tonight, I have updated my blog. And if you’d like to hear any more about any of these subjects, let me know. Also, Trader Joes still sucks.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Acting in LA: "Where is my standing ovation?"

I’m an actor. So my life, like many other actors’ lives leading up to
Bitches has NOTHN' on me, dude! 
the move to Los Angeles went a little something like this: The young Actor is an adorable toddler growing up in Suburbantown, USA. Your parents video tape you constantly, catching classic moments like you singing The Donkey Song because it's just so sweet the way you really nail the voice of the donkey. Or they capture your best re-enactments of scenes from The Outsiders. At 5 years old, your impression of ‘Blanch’ from The Golden Girls and ‘Jessica Rabbit’ from Who Framed Roger Rabbit is the HIT of your family parties. Your parents’ friends say things like, “You’re kid is so cute! You should get them to Hollywood!” So, your parents put you in dance classes, piano lessons, voice lessons, clarinet lessons, karate class, etc. because you’re a kid and you can’t make up your mind. All you know is, doing all this stuff is fun and you’re pretty good at it!  Then you hit middle school and you’re doing school plays, you’re the class clown, you’re crying after a really intense debate in Social Studies even though you don’t really care if “Friday should be pizza day in the cafeteria,” you just know that was the role you were given and dammit, you’re passionate about it. This only intensifies when you get to high school. Musicals, dance concerts, choir concerts,… your talents are endless and your focus is stardom. You are the envy of your friends and the hit of every party. Next, you go to college, where, naturally there are more like you, but this only motivates you further and you manage to still come out among the top talents! You’re nominated for awards, you’re cast in local films,
There are no roles like this. Anymore. Ever. 
you’re all up in the community theater scene where standing ovations are regular thing and people are like, “Actor! What are you doing here!?! You should be in LA!” And you start to think…. Yeah, I love to perform and yeah, people seem to think I’m pretty good at it. Yeah, YEAH, YEAH!!! I’m moving to Los Angeles, CA to be a STAR!

Exactly how my exit from AZ went.....
So, with a family and a community of supporters, you pack up your life and head to Hollywood to be in the movies. You’re so excited. You sell your things. Surely you’ll be on a TV show within the year because you’re hilarious and talented and everyone says so. Well-wishers are telling you how “incredible it is that you’re following your dreams!” and “Good luck! I know you’ll make it!” So, with extraordinary motivation, you arrive in Los Angeles, where dreams come true!

Reality hits hard and fast in LA.

The only place you can afford on your $1000-a-month budget (That paid a mortgage on a 3 bedroom in Suburbantown) is a dilapidated “bachelor” in a super sketchy neighborhood in the not-so-glamorous part of East Hollywood. It has no parking, no laundry, no windows, and the toilet probably does a weird thing. It is a 400 sq. foot room with a mini fridge and hot plate. But, this is fine because it’s definitely only short term….. You spend your first days scouring the internet for auditions and open calls. And because you don’t know about Actors Access or LA Casting yet, you spend a lot of time trying to decipher which of the Craigslist auditions are legitimate. (The answer is "none.") You and your inbox are flooded with advertisements for workshops, classes, headshots, agent showcases, etc.  As you explore your neighborhood, you realize that everyone is in “the industry.”  EVERYONE. Even the homeless have probably had a guest star on Everybody Loves
"Who hasn't, homeless dude? Who doesn't need help?!" 
Raymond or a documentary made about them so, fuck ‘em. Most in “the industry” are so self-involved, they are unwilling to help you and if they do, everyone’s opinion about what to do to “make it” in “the industry” is so vastly different, how do you decide who to listen to? And there are literally, 10's of millions of people in LA trying to make it. Just like you. All of the sudden, the hometown superstar feels insignificant at best.

But you are resilient! Because you are SPECIAL!

1.       Mail your headshots to agents, check.
2.       Sign up for that really expensive acting class a few recommended, check.
3.       Sign up for Improv, check! (Good luck picking that class. Diehards. All of them.)

Now, 6 months have gone by. You still have no agent. You’ve been on a few auditions for UCLA or AFA student films but have not booked one. You were an extra once for a friend’s short film. Well, twice if you count your spot in the audience at Norm McDonald’s short lived comedy sports show on Comedy Central. But you only saved for 6 months of living because you were sure you’d be making $100,000 an episode by now.  So, you’re broke and you need a job. No problem! You think. Because you’ll just get a serving job. Well guess what the fuck every one of the other millions (literally) of struggling actors are doing for money in Los Angeles? You guessed it. They’re getting a measly, pathetic serving job. That’s fine, you think, because you were a server in college! I have experience, you think. This does not matter. You simply have to be lucky enough to find someone that is hiring and get through the “headshot” round of interviews for the little, B-rated, Korean BBQ restaurant in Hollywood (Yes, most Hollywood restaurants will ask for your headshot. And nooooo, this city isn’t superficial at aaaaallll) and hope they hire YOU out of the 100 applicants they received for the 1 open position.

But you find one! Because you are SPECIAL!

NOW you’re a server. You’re an intelligent, immensely and 
Could make millions from the people who claim the titles on this hat.
multi-talented SERVER. That’s OK! You think. Because it’s just your "day" job. And while this may be true, after a little while, you start to get really good at bringing people ketchup because you’re doing it A LOT. After all, you have to pay for the acting classes, the casting workshops, the 2nd and 3rd round of headshots people in “the industry” insisted you needed, and GROCERIES… and it’s bumming you out.

It’s been a year since your move to Los Angeles and now you’ve got a commercial agent that you got through mailing your headshot and resume, but she keeps sending you out on bi-lingual, "ethnically ambiguous" auditions because she’s senile. You’re still in acting classes and in Improv
Estelle had nothin' on my first agent in LA. 
and now you’re doing a play! It’s in a theater smaller than your “bachelor” apartment, but you’re doing what you love! You continue to meet more and more exceptionally talented people. And while this can be so inspiring, it can also be discouraging. Everywhere you turn, someone is doing something way better than you. You even met someone whose impression of Drew Barrymore puts yours to shame…. and Shit! That was kinda your thing! You can’t figure out how people get real, theatrical agents (a theatrical agent is the kind of agent that represents actors for film and television) because most agents won’t even consider you as a client unless you’ve got “a few co-stars under your belt.” ('co-star' is LA lingo for 3-5 lines on a TV show.) BUT YOU CAN’T GET THOSE AUDITIONS UNLESS YOU HAVE A THEATRICAL AGENT!! Therein lies the problem.

But YOU are resilient! Because YOU are soooooo FUCKING SPECIAL!

It’s been two years since your move to Los Angeles. You’re feeling just OK at this point. You booked a small commercial for an app no one’s heard of. You’ve probably created your own webseries by now that your mom and her friends really love. You’re in an Improv group with a supremely clever pun as the title. (ie. Barren Mind, Cerebal Ballzy, etc.)  You’re really nailing this amazing scene in your acting class. Your acting teacher thinks you have something special. You subsequently bought 6 more months of classes. You
"I have a gun!" -The best entrance in to any improv scene. 
sign up for a theatrical agent showcase with incredible confidence. You will definitely get an agent this time. You’re performing a scene perfect for YOU. You arrive at the showcase, and you’re definitely the actor with the most “it factor” in the room (because of your new boots.) When you perform your scene, you really “get there” and you know the agents will see this. (Because big Hollywood agents are always intelligent, intuitive, compassionate human beings with an empathy for the plight of actors and an eye for talent. Insert sarcasm asterisk here.) In a room full of your peers, your scene is the performance of a lifetime. Better than anything you did in college or anything for which you won an award. Meryl Streep herself would need to avert her eyes from your radiance.…… As you finish though, there is a painful silence. Crickets. An actor asshole in the back row yawns while the others are looking at their own scenes or are on their phones. The agent isn’t even looking at you, he is scribbling something down on your feedback form you paid $150 for this showcase to get. You stand there awkwardly for a moment because this was somehow supposed to feel different, but you say a confident (still acting), “thank you” and sit down next to an asshole actor who, instead of saying a polite, “good job,” says, “Do you have a highlighter I can borrow?” (Actors like to color their scripts with highlighters, for that is only way they’ll know which line to speak.)  Your ONE hope is that, whatever that agent scribbled down on that form, that piece of paper, it will offer some response, some closure to your performance or maybe, just maybe, it will change your life by saying something like, “You’ve got the “IT” factor. Call me!” You patiently wait until the end of the workshop. You scramble to get in line to collect your form. You retrieve it and shove it in your notebook and briskly walk past your cackling fellow actors (who might as well have their noses directly inserted into eachothers’ anuses) to the parking garage where you can read your feedback in private. You finally arrive at your car, hop inside, and pull out the form……

 It reads only “nice” No capitol ‘N,’ no punctuation, just “nice”         .
This may or may not be an actual real photo from my actual real life. 

Deflated, you fight horrendous traffic back to your much too small and too expensive apartment. You remember you have to get groceries but you gave up that serving shift tonight to go the aforementioned workshop so you have no money and no choice but to heat up that Ramen from the back of your cupboard. On your couch with your noodles and tall glass of faucet water, you sit and question all of your life decisions that led to this exact moment in your life.

THIS. THIS is what it’s like to be an actor in Los Angeles. (For most.)

The glimmer of hope is this: It happens for some. The definition of “it” is different for everyone but whether “it” be fame, fortune, or just a humble, honest living as an actor in LA, “it” dangles in front of millions of aspiring, like a carrot in front of an ass.

My only advice, (if I’m qualified to offer any) is to follow these 3 rules:

Never has a gimmick gone so horribly wrong. 
1.       Do only what inspires you. – You might feel good getting a paycheck for “acting” but after a while, commercials holding a cell phone just so or insisting that a certain tampon was the best for your fictional ski weekend, will not be the fulfilling, meaningful career you hoped it would be. Gimmicks are a great way to “get in the door” but look what happened to Carrot Top.

2.       Create your own work. (Art) Only you know YOU. Create roles for yourself that showcase your abilities. If you are creating and creatively fulfilled, others will be attracted to that. And more work and opportunity will come.

3.       For the love of God, do NOT go on Facebook. Never was there ever a bigger well of depression than the site that makes EVERY one’s lives look way more fantastic than yours. Don’t do
This guy used Facebook to save his father's life... Nothing I do will be better. Ever. 
it. Don’t fall into that rabbit hole. Nuff said.