Tragic Hamster: mini edition

One small step for man, one giant leap for man-on-man. 

The progress of civil rights for ALL moves forward regardless of those who move against it.

halphillips:

Which means this was NOT a big, calculated announcement that was a long time coming. This was something he did urgently.

Which means this probably had a LOT to do with public pressure. This did not happen because Obama shrewdly decided this would be the best time; it happened because we made it happen.

I like that a lot.

President Obama did the right thing and he did it because we insisted as loudly and as often as we could that he had to. #yeswecan

Welcome to North Carolina.

Where you can marry your 1st cousin unless that cousin is gay.  Amendment One has finally passed and gay marriage is now totally illegal in North Carolina although Inbred Marriage remains intact and now we can all sigh in relief; the institution of marriage has been saved against unhealthy insanity.

Is this really what you’ve become, North Carolina? A sad, angry, bigoted shell of a state where the Civil War is still referred to as “the War of Northern Aggression” and folks hanker for them days where youngins didn’t know no words like gay or queer and Pa rides his horse alone to church cause Ma’s on her Devil’s time?

Look. I’m just gonna lay it out there: I have a hard time believing 60% of North Carolinians (Carolinans? Caroliners? Dickhats?)  are against gay people getting married.  Sure we all talk a lot of shit about the south (or else I talk a lot of shit about the south) but the truth is, ignorant assholes live everywhere. But so do apathetic voters.  North Carolina’s passage of Amendment One is a monumental statewide fail not just because of a conservative fear that the Gay agenda - Liza and skinny jeans - is somehow going to be the death of us all, but because of these two categories of people:

1: “Gay people can’t get married? Shit, when did that happen? I didn’t hear about that. That’s a bunch of shit.  Hey, America’s Deadliest Animal Attacks!”

2: “What the fuck do I care what anyone does? My roommate’s gay.  Let him get married.  I don’t give a shit. You gonna eat that bacon?”

Ladies and gentlemen, I can say with certainty that  at least 60% of North Cockinassians who didn’t vote just helped take away the rights of gays in North Carolina; the people who didn’t bother to vote because they never have and never do -  because apparently Keeping Up With the Kardashians is awesome and voting is not.  Or maybe they were all seeing The Hunger Games for the 5th time. I don’t know. But these are the very same people who, in six months, will shit on their right to vote again. 

So I say this as both a Northerner and a Southerner and a human being:

Vote.

Educate yourselves, educate your friends, and for crying out loud, VOTE.  Get out there and vote. DVR The Bachelor and get off your ass and VOTE.  You apathetic lazy asshole(s).  VOTE.

Why did Amendment One pass? Because every time you keep your mouth shut you legitimize Crazy. 

Look at it this way: If you went to a party and someone stood on a table and said, “Hey, let’s all take a dump on the people in red sweatshirts,” you’d probably say, “No, let’s not take dumps on other people, Crazy Person.”  Or how about if you were the only person in the room wearing a red sweatshirt? And nobody said anything while a group of dudes took a dump on you?

So, if it helps, pretend you’re at that party and vote against taking a dump on someone. Okay? Does that help at all? Because guaranteed, if you don’t speak up, someone who smells like piss and Ebola vomit will eventually take a dump on you.  And is that really what you want?

Fight for what’s right.

Go and fucking VOTE.

But here’s the thing about rights. They’re not actually supposed to be voted on. That’s why they’re called rights. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.

Also, THIS.

Rachel Maddow (via copperoranges)

It’s really annoying how a lot of Americans like to forget about this because something makes them feel icky.

(via khealywu)

Awesome dipped in awesome sprinkled with awesome topped with awesome.

Everything I Know I Should Have Learned From Pretty Woman.
Vivien: Did you sleep?
Edward: Uh, yes, a little, on the couch. I was, uh, working last night.
Vivien: You don't sleep, you don't do drugs, you don't drink, you hardly eat.
What do you do, Edward? 'Cause I know you're not a lawyer.
Edward: That's right.
Vivien: So what do you do?
Edward: I buy companies. Vivien: What kind of companies? Edward: Uh, I buy companies that are in financial difficulty. Vivien: If they have problems, you must get 'em for a bargain, huh? Edward: Well, the company I'm buying this week, I'm getting for
the bargain price of about one billion. Vivien: [incredulous] A billion dollars?
Edward: Yes. Vivien: Wow. You must be really smart, huh? [chuckle] I only got through
the eleventh grade. How far did you go in school? Edward: I went all the way.
Vivien: Your folks must be really proud, huh? [sigh] So you don't
actually have a billion dollars, huh? Edward: No, I get some of it from banks, investors. It's not an easy thing
to do. Vivien: And you don't make anything and you don't build anything.
Edward: No. Vivien: So what do you do with the companies once you buy them?
Edward: I sell them.
Vivien: [reaches for tie] Here, let me do that. You sell them. Edward: Well, l... don't sell the whole company; I break it up into
pieces... and then I sell that off; it's worth more than the whole. Vivien: So it's sort of like, um, stealing cars and selling 'em for the parts,
right? Edward: Yeah, sort of. But legal.

(This tumblr post is endorsed by JLMPac 2012)
Something Serious I Am Going To Say.

This is my unedited rant for today.  Read at your own risk.

So by now, if you’re an improviser in NY and have been on facebook today, you know two basic things:

1. We are all going to die in a Hurricane.

2. Some dude at the DCM Assscat performance told a pretty terrible monologe about date raping a drunk girl in her hotel room.

Let me start by being totally upfront and public about something: I am a woman, an improviser, and a victim of rape.  So I know first-hand what it’s like to be on the receiving end of unwanted male bullshit (and not just as a rape victim, but as, you know, a woman who generally walks around in male-dominated places and carries her breasts with her on her chest.) So perhaps the worst part of watching that monologue, for me, was that not only did this dude think “hey, this is funny and this is okay!” without any awareness that it was NOT funny and NOT okay, but he thought it was funny and okay because the stage was filled with a bunch of other dudes, and he thought he was impressing them.

So. Having said that, here is what I have to say about this whole situation:

1. You can’t just lynch a person for telling an ill-conceived story.  (Yes, that is actually what I think. I also think he was either embellishing and/or outright lying, and should not be invited back to DCM under any circumstances, but that’s neither here nor there.)

2. A woman should have been on that stage.  No, let me repeat that so you can burn it onto your eyebrains: A woman.  Should. Have.  Been. Represented.  On. That. Stage.  Had there been a woman onstage I wonder how much of that made-up bullshit (and again I think likely most of the story was made up) would have made it into the monologue - OR how much of the monologue would have continued without ONE of the comedians pointing out, bluntly, what this person has just implied. Plenty of HUGELY talented women who perform Assscat regularly, and in Tourco productions all across the US, were either in the audience for this show or available to perform in it, and yet not a single woman was on the stage. Why, in the three DCM events I’ve attended over the course of 3 years, has this always been the case? An entire portion of the comedy community - a portion that is intrinsic to the progression of comedy as an artform - was not represented at all.  That is WRONG.  Which brings me to:

3. Some dude getting up and telling a fucked up story about mistreating a woman is not news.  It’s really not.  Men carelessly manhandle and mistreat women all the time and the worst part is it’s never really called out - so then they then get up and tell fucked up monologues about it because…. that’s cool? And funny?  To other dudes? Really, dudes?  “Haha she wanted it so bad” “haha this chick was so drunk” “haha this chick had a set of tits on her” “haha I stuck my whole fist up in that smelly twat and it was STANK” Really, dudes?  REALLY? This is thinking at the top of your intelligence? Which leads me to:

4. Mistreating a woman, and/or violating a woman does NOT only mean rape or physical action. Obvious ways women are mistreated: Grinding up against us when we dance, putting your hands on us when we don’t want it or have told you no, trying to kiss us when you haven’t been given permission, pretending to be our friends until you can fuck what you want out of us and then brag about it later, this is all unnacceptable.   Hopefully we all know this.  But so is excluding us from things we’ve fought for and earned, which is a place onstage to call out and make fun of assholes who say shit we know is wrong.

For those of you who haven’t seen it, here’s the story (a great article by Halle Kiefer to boot) about the monologue in question:

http://splitsider.com/2011/08/one-night-at-asssscat-or-what-to-do-with-a-date-rape-monologue

END RANT.

Everything I’ve Learned I Learned From The X-Files

Thanks to the joys of newfangled netflix video-streaming and oldfangled single-girl downtime, I’ve found myself returning to old 90s TV as a sort of comfort food.  The Mac & Cheese of at-home entertainment.  I have not yet seen True Grit or Tree of Life or Game of Thrones, or even the Battlestar Gallactica DVDs my friend Corey so kindly lent me (sorry, Corey!), but I have made time for The X Files on BBC. (And yes, this is my best excuse for not having seen Game of Thrones.  As in, “Say Jaime, haveyou seen Game of Thrones?”  Me: “Have you seen that episode of The X-Files where the dude who lives in Iodine has to eat cancer to live? I think I’ve made my point.”)

This is my life, guys.

So anyway, here’s what I’ve noticed in my adulthood return to the 90s.

1.  Scully and I? SOOO alike we could be BFF.  Evidence, exhibit A: we both own the exact same living room wall unit.  (Look. After you’ve re-watched the same thing over and over on various Friday nights over the course of fifteenish years, you earn the right to grasp at literally anything.)

Scully's wall unit

Jaime's wall unit

2. Evidence, exhibit B: Scully and I have the exact same taste in men.

Fact: if I could hop into a time machine, I would go back in time and fuck David Duchovny.  Not that Californication David Duchovny isn’t sexy (please see below for photographic evidence of Jaime’s Wet Dream Come True), but I recognize he’s slowly devolving into that skeevy old dude who hoots and hollers at teenage girls, meanwhile young David Duchovny as the outcast FBI Agent who shakes his fists at aliens will. always. be. hot.  Amiright? Just agree with me.  With that in mind, I also admit that if I had a time machine, I would do nothing but travel back 15 years to fuck David Duchovny.  Does that make me a hero? Maybe. Also, since 1994 Mulder and I are now technically about the same age, it’s not like it would be weird.) 

The truth is down there...

Moving on.

My point from exhibits A and B is this: Scully and I would be BFF were she not fictional - which means I have officially achieved a level of coolness (COOLNESS, I TELL YOU!) that seventeen year old me could never have fathomed in 1997.  Has your head exploded yet? Because I’m about to lay some more coolness on you - starting with the word “Furthermore”.  Furthermore: Scully and I are both smart and driven.  We’re both successful without having sacrificed our sense of humor.  We both know how to rock a blazer. We both routinely sacrifice our sexuality “for the work” (shut up world, it could be true, you don’t know my life. ) Basically, we share everything but the FBI and my never having been pregnant for 14 months with an alien supersoldier hybrid baby - but you know what? I’m still young and this is The Summer of Jaime.

3. Because I will always, ALWAYS be attracted to guys like Mulder - tall, brooding, possibly insane men with great arms who say witty shit, I’ve mainly dated a hot mess of Dbags, liars and/or actors who moonlight as Dbags and liars.  Case in point: the last dude I dated, who had great arms and was very witty, decided to tell me he’d started dating another girl… while I was in the hospital with Meningitis.  The dude before that? Endless witty conversation - also routinely took my wallet out of my bag to pay for dinner… without telling me, while I was in the bathroom.  Then there’s the dude who lied about working as a nurse at the Sloane Kettering children’s cancer unit so he could get into my blazer, and the dude who tried winning me over by writing me a love letter while strung out on Ambien.  AMBIEN. 

Mulder and Scully love each other!

Which brings me to:

4. Mulder and Scully, my two sci-fi BFFs, are likely the source of my * (-)80% success rate with men.  (Also responsible: my parents, Florida, the atmosphere, not having processed 9/11, and my 3rd grade teacher forcing me to do a costumed presentation called: “Why I Want to Be Dorothy Hammill: Ice Skating is Rad!”)  And yet, no matter how weird I am, or how weird I know all of that is, I think I’m still pretty damn cool. (I.E: all you haterz can suck my dick!) Even if I’ve never gotten the chance to repeat a day endlessly until it’s corrected, handcuff a liver-eating mutant to a bathtub, fight off a zombie, see an alien, slide off a spaceship, switch brains with an Area 51 conspirator, or shoot at a garbage monster.  Even still.  I can sit on my hard-earned couch in my hard earned apartment with my hard earned wall unit (I swear, it’s just like Scully’s!) and watch TV like the lazy mofo I proudly am. Which means I’ve officially evolved as a human being (even though I’ve clearly not mastered the art of seduction.  Please see above.) Which actually makes me more normal than I thought.

(And if it not, I’ll thank you all to keep your traps shut.)

MORE LATER

*Approximate.  Actual percentage may be closer to (-)90%

Things that entertain me, generally.

"Who the hell is Kim Kardashian?  Who are these people and why are they famous and why are they advertising things and being asked their opinions about things? I just don’t understand what these people did to be in a position of having everyone ask their opinions about stuff."

- Edie Falco, in New York Magazine’s Vulture blog interview about Edie Falco’s opinions of Kim Kardashian.

YOUR MOVE, KIM KARDASHIAN.

Improv 101, Birthdays, and Beginnings

"Around here, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious…..And curiosity keeps leading us down new paths." - Walt Disney

Two years ago today, I signed up for my first improv class.  It was my 29th birthday and I was unemployed, having been laid off in October immediately after the Lehman Brothers crash, when City Opera laid off one-fourth of the staff.  I had suspended my COBRA health insurance to try and make rent, had exhausted all my credit cards trying to pay bills, and sobbed to my parents that I might have to move back in with them, into my old bedroom in South Florida, where I’d also have to beg my old boss for my job back -as That Whatserface Sad-Looking Girl Who Keeps Track of the Keys at the Ford Dealership.  It was truly my nightmare scenario.

That year, because I couldn’t afford to go out for my birthday, I hung out at home (for what I’m pretty sure was the fiftieth consecutive day in a row) and watched reruns of The Office with my (at the time) roommate, who graciously indulged me when I finally burst into tears like an angry six year old, and was all, “I can’t do this anymore! My life is over!  My life is over and I’m not even 30!” and then followed this up with a serious of snot-filled “whyyyy? WHYYYYYs???” like Nancy Kerrigan after being clubbed in the knee.  And my roommate, who, bless her, had NO idea what to do with such a blubbery, melodramatic train wreck, sang me happy birthday and suggested I take my mind off the job thing by doing something I’d always wanted to do that maybe I finally had some time to try now. 

"Isn’t there anything?" she asked.  "There has to be something you like.  What have you got to lose at this point?"

And through snot and phlegm and retarded, whiny hiccoughs, I said, “Well, I’ve always wanted to take a class at Upright Citizens Brigade.”

So I did.  I used some of my last few hundred dollars and signed up for a Wednesday 101 with Betsy Stover - right smack in the middle of the day so I’d be forced to get out of the apartment and be part of the human race again. And dudes,  let me tell you, I was TERRIFIED for that class.  Like brain-smushing, heart-stopping terrified.  Like every single week I went to it, but I had such horrible stage fright I could barely remember my name.  I was so terrified in fact that the first time I ever did a two person scene (with a girl named Cathy - Chatty Cathy according to our first improv warmup) my arm went completely numb.  We did this scene about a daughter and mother who rode the bus together and I literally can’t remember anything about it because I lost all feeling in my right arm and thought I was having a heart attack and going to die.  Thank god for Betsy, who is an amazing teacher, and after I told her how terrified I was, said, “Lots of us have been there, and you’re doing great.  You know more than you think you do.” 

And while I thought Betsy was perhaps an insane person to suggest I knew anything about anything, and despite relief that class was over, that it was over and now I would not die of a heart attack, I decided to move on to 201 anyway - despite my terror of the stage that bordered on phobia.  There, still having no idea what the hell I was doing and pretty sure I might never figure it out, I was lucky enough to have yet another great teacher, Ari Voukidis, who told me that if things weren’t awesome right away, that was okay.  “I remember when I first took classes and studied with Besser, and I could never make him laugh,” he said.  “And I used to think to myself, maybe I’m not that good.  And I don’t know how much natural talent I bring to this, but at least I work my ass off, and I love it.  I really love what I’m doing.  And I think that’s all it is.  If you want it, and you love it, you’ll work hard and get it. Just don’t give up.” 

It’s still the greatest advice ever, in my mind.  The answer to everything; all I can bring to anything in life is my ability and willingness to try hard and work hard - and my optimistic hope that, in the end, my hard work will pay off or make a difference somehow. 

So I kept going - with improv, money shuffling, unemployment and the gazillion hideous job interviews I endured during the year I spent jobless, each night sobbing on my couch like Nancy Kerrigan.  ”Whhhhhhhhhhhyyyyy???” 

But now, two years later, so much has changed for me - both externally and internally.  My newfound confidence got me a job (one I actually like), which means I won’t have to worry about moving back into my old bedroom in South Florida.  I also managed, somehow, despite all the insanity that went on during the year that would follow, including an illness that I thought would ultimately kill me, to work my way through the UCB program and graduate to advanced study (another thing I thought might never happen.) I’ve also had some of the most amazing teachers on the planet (holler at Shannon O’Neill, who challenged me to be more confident, and Kevin Hines, who challenged me to take risks and bring more of myself to my scenes, and Rebecca Drysdale, who is maybe the first person to ever say to me, “you’re doing exactly what you should be doing, and there’s a reason you’ve been through all you’ve been through.”)   I also have a community of friends I never had before - people who make sure my birthday isn’t spent on the couch sobbing into my Office reruns - people who make me feel loved every day, all year round, and not just when it’s my birthday.

In the end I’m so grateful for everything - even that horrible evening two years ago when I hit rock bottom.  Mostly because I’m not afraid to take risks anymore, and I’m not afraid of living in the moment anymore, and while I’m still a little afraid of the stage, that little bit of fear doesn’t stop me anymore.  And I think that’s really cool.

So bring it on, 31. I’m ready. 

(Also for cake. Bring on the cake.)

What is on the eleventh floor?

Ever since August, when the empty eleventh floor of Worldwide Plaza was remodeled to look like Frank Cross’ futuristic asylum from Scrooged, ”What Is On The Eleventh Floor?” has been the greatest mystery of my life.  (Maybe disregard what that says about my life.) 

Here’s what happens: every morning I get on the elevator with about 30 other people, and every morning they all get off on eleven.  Nobody ever gets off on any other floor with the exception of me, and there are 29 other floors in this building. So really, it feels like an episode of the Twilight Zone but way more frustrating because as a kid I was a huge fan of that show and as an adult I can’t even manage to be in a remotely interesting, real-life non-episode of it. 

(Seriously? Twenty-nine other goddamn floors!)

Does nobody work on any other floor? Do offices even exist on the other floors? Has the Space/Time Continuum ceased entirely there? Is it like some M.C. Escher painting where every floor but mine and eleven are literally just staircases and doorways and paradoxes that lead ONLY to my floor and eleven?  Nobody on my floor seems to have any answers, which makes it like some weird dreamscape, like Inception, except far less compelling and mostly all over the place as a narrative and I’m pretty sure we’re all awake, which means it’s actually nothing like Inception andI just really like the idea of being in Inception. 

NEVERTHELESS.  

Oh, Eleventh Floor; what are you up to? Why are your walls and ceiling and floors industrial white and your inner office protected by enormous, locked glass doors, and all the floor-tiles aligned just six degrees off-center, just enough to make me feel like I’m looking at the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Hallway of Crazy?  

Is this Kanye’s music video headquarters? Is it a secret government installation? Is it just one giant room where they all take off their skins and reveal themselves to be aliens fighting alien-crime on Earth, and then Will Smith flashes trespassers with a mind-eraser pen so literally NOBODY else in the building can ever remember what the hell is on eleven?  Or are they just hiding Calvin from Scrooged because he’s become the next Michael Myers from Halloween, and they need a team of badly-dressed, middle-aged, never-turn-off-their-headphones-in-the-elevator-and-how-are-you-ALL-listening-to-Michael-Bolton-and-his-asthmatic-dying-cat-sounds-seriously-how-does-this-dude-still-make-music-I-thought-he-was-outlawed-in-the-mid-90s-along-with-the-dude-who-sings-the-Just-Wear-Sunscreen-Song - to keep the kid from Scrooged restrained? Will telling the rest of us at Worldwide Plaza unleash this serial killing beast? Is Lite 106.7 in on it? Were they the ones who painted everything white? Should I not care about this at all? OR AM I SO VIGILANT I WILL END UP THE ONLY SURVIVOR OF A CLOVERFIELD-LIKE EVENT PERPETUATED BY THE ELEVENTH FLOOR?

Ugh.  This is maddening.  I am maddened.

But I will figure it out.  Mark my words.