Tag Archives: new york

Hurricane Schmandy! Am I right! Ways to party down tonight!

When I was a little girl, Hurricane Gloria barreled down on Connecticut and even though I lived about an hour and a half inland, winds over 80 miles an hour downed trees and knocked out the power for days in my neighborhood.

Our house was one of the only ones on the block with a good sized basement and a generator, so the neighborhood gathered together there. We lost power but still had plenty of flashlights and D cell batteries to power the boom box. What did my parents do? They made a light show dance party to occupy the kids!

So here’s what you need to do survive this storm with the same kind of childlike glee I remember having as I stepped out to see the sun as the eye of the storm passed over us during Gloria.

1. Batteries! For your flashlights, boom boxes, and vibrators. We’re adults now and our idea of flashlight light show dance party is pretty different.

2. A big, long boring book to read, use as a weapon or as a sedative to make sure that you sleep. Might I suggest something Russian or by David Foster Wallace. If possible, the book should be hard cover. Those make such a satisfying noise connecting with a head.

3. 3 bags of kettle corn. One regular flavor and 2 bacon ranch. This should be self evident and is not optional if you expect to weather the hurricane with me.

4. Plenty of rubber duckies to set a float on the rising waters. It’s important to spread joy in the form of a goofy toy.

5. Plenty of actual rubbers for all that disaster sex you’re going to be having with, well,  no one, since you’re hunkered down all alone in your apartment with your cat. But better to be prepared and spread joy not in the form of storm VD.

reflections on a year in comedy

Beware, the following post contains a ratio of 3:1 earnest sentiment to snark. Please proceed with caution.

You do some things totally right and you do some things the most wrong you possibly can. You start some things later than you should have and you come into them in your own time. Some things come easy and something hand you your ass on a skateboard missing a wheel, that’s how hard they are on you. The last year has been full of those wobbly wheeled skateboard moments coming right off the ramp and straight at me at me. Sometimes with a bulldog on it, sometimes just my ass on it.

I’ve certainly done a few things right. Starting to perform stand up comedy was close to the best decision I’ve ever made, aside from kissing Neil Huntley in a planetarium parking lot in 1998. I had been in a band for years and never felt as at home on stage behind a keyboard than I did with nothing but a slim mic stand between me and the brutality and grace of an audience. I guess I feel more comfortable playing my wits than music, or more likely, I’m loner, Dotty.

I love the people I have met and the ones who have helped me grow in comedy. The ones who don’t let the bullshit slide. I’m talking about you who brought me to my first open mic. You who  encouraged me to take risks on stage and off. You who helped me build an amazing show in a great room. You all who come to my mic every week and drink tea and make it warm. You all who listen to the good jokes and meh through the bad. Polite laughter hurts the worst of all, you guys know that.

I’ve become a stronger writer and performer because of that. My set is now 80% less dick jokes! Now that’s what I call progress.

I’ve made some mistakes and had real rough patches this year. I made real change and confronted some pretty serious fears. I apologize to those that I have hurt or embarrassed going through all that. It was never in malice. When it is, you’ll know because there will be Super-Soakers involved.

Any way, it’s only been a year but it feels like I have always been doing this. I suppose that means that from now on out, I always will.


what playing by some rules could get you


I think that this whole city would run so much better if everyone, and I mean everyone, pedestrians, cyclists and motorists and the god damned city bus, would just obey traffic laws. Think about how traffic would run like a smooth BM if that truck didn’t block the box. Revel in how glorious your bike commute would be if you didn’t have to worry about pedestrians sprinting out into the bike lane or how much easier your walk from the train would be if you didn’t have to worry about a bus clipping you trying to make the light.

Now I know this sounds completely un-American. Rules! Bah! America was built on the backs of rule-breakers. The America that we know would never have happened with out all time round for round rule breakers like John Adams. “Some one open up a window!” (If you get that reference, then you have sat through the 2 hour and 46 minute epic 1972 “classic” 1776, the musical dramatization of our nations founding. And you are my kind of nerd.)

American entrepreneurship is all about telling the rules to take a big bath. I am all for that. But please, for the sake of our city, slow down for that yellow light and stay on the curb until the light changes. No, really, I saw a lady get clipped by a bus. It wasn’t pretty.

on missing the one thing to make it function

One Friday, I was riding the train. I was on my way to a sort of blind date. On the way, there was a man on the subway who caught my eye, not an uncommon occurrence in this city filled with with comely people. This time, though, it seems I caught his eye in turn. We spent the ride surreptitiously looking at one and other, and I even went so far as to smile. The train pulls into the Brooklyn station, we get off at the same stop, I am exiting one and he is exiting the other and we cross paths, meet eyes directly and both break into big smiles. I almost stopped. I don’t know why I didn’t, but I kept walking up the stairs. I stopped at the top of the exit to look down the street towards the other exit, and then walked on to what turned out to be a pretty boring evening.

The next morning, I could not get this man out of my head. So, I thought to do something that I have never done or even considered doing, I decided I was going to post a missed connection. As I am cruising the listings to see what other people write and I see that this man posted one looking for me! My stomach drops in that pleasant way. I draft a quick message and send it off.

He writes back lamenting that he didn’t talk to me that evening and a little about himself and that I looked familiar to him. I write back and as I am drafting my reply, he probably furiously Googled my name, and there is another message in my inbox that he put it together. He saw me perform and talked to me after a show. Which elated me, no one has seen my band really. I shot back that it was in fact me. And that was it.

End of story. Best experience of 2009, though.

on violation or how manhattan fucked me twice in a month


On violation

When you live in a city like New York, you certainly don’t expect that much in the way of real privacy. You expect city privacy. When you are upset on the subway, most people will leave you be. When you are changing in your window, people will look but never call out to you. In general, people leave you alone. They watch you from the periphery of your life with the respect to leave you alone in your little part of New York. But sometimes, they let it out and they get their crazy all over you in a big sloppy mess.

Finally moving out of my Chinatown apartment, after years of struggle with the heat, the hot water, the noise, the smells, the spitting, the elbows, the alienation, I could go on, I finally had enough. I had my fill of never leaving the city. Of stepping out the door directly into the noise and filth and constant stream of people, a tide that never ebbs inthis city.

Moving out of my place, though a small space, was no small feat. I have accumulated 4 and half years worth of books, furniture, comics and clothes that all needed to be moved. I put a bunch of old things on Craig’s List to get rid of them. Lucky for me, I ran into my upstairs neighbor Jim. Jim is the apartment managers younger brother who lives upstairs with his parents, a not uncommon situation in Chinatown. He has helped me in the past bring up groceries or other large parcels to my my 4th floor walk up. It’s always a help.

He offers to help me with the shelves and the mattress. I am so grateful for his help as it’s a hot day and I am just one.

As we are waiting for the first set of people to come for the shelves, Jim and I get to talking. He starts out by telling me that we should pinky swear because he has something to tell me about a visitor. Ok…

The conversation quickly devolves into details that are more personal than I want to know. Jim feels like he can say what ever to me now that I am leaving. He proceeds to tell me that he is a virgin. He wants to learn from me. I start getting a little uncomfortable and I let him know that I really don’t have anything to contribute. He says, “I know that you do.”

“What do you mean by that?”

Jim, “You know, I can hear everything upstairs. Everything.”


“In late 2008 and early this year, you were crying a lot. I wanted to come down and hug you or talk to you, but I didn’t think that you would answer the door. Why were you crying?”

“I was crying?”

“Yes, loudly.”

“I was breaking up with my boyfriend.”

“Oh. The one you had for a long time?”

“Yes, that one.”

“He was good though right?”


“Yeah. Good. I can hear it all.”

“So, no boyfriend now? What are those guys then? Just one night stands?”

He goes on to tell me that he knew when I was masturbating or if I was watching porn. When I had men over, when I was upset. Could he see me too?

Not only is he listening, turns out he is keeping tabs on me as I come and go. At this point my internal monologue turns into, “OMG! FREAK FREAK FREAK.” It quickly turns to, how can he hear everything. The cielings in this place are over 13 feet high. The floors are solid. I sleep on the floor and I can barely hear my neighbors when I know that they are blasting the TV. Then I remember the heating pole. How the plaster around it fell down and I had them replace only to have it fall down again a week later. I just thought that it was the old building settling or the heat from the pipe expanding. Now, I think, he pushed it down. I am also thinking, Shit. Shit. Shit. I haven’t got my deposit back! I can’t tell him what for because his sister has control of my money. I feel trapped. How am I going to get out of this.

The first Craig’s lister comes. We move the stuff out.

“When you first moved in, I thought that you were a model or something like that. What size is your waiste?” he asks me on the stairs.

“I have no idea, Jim.”

We get back inside. He sits on the couch. I pretend to check my voice mail. Pretend to have a lunch date. I need him to get gone. He tells me that he is really turned on right now and aren’t I?

“Not at all.”
“By turned on, I just meant the heat.”
“Well, I am not going to see you again, am I? Maybe could you kiss me?”
“No, just no.”
“What about a hug? I just want some one to hold me. Some physical connection.”
“Jim, no. That is really creepy. You have to leave right now. I am going to lunch.”

Here, I hope to never see him again. But the next day, I have to go back to meet the movers. As I am getting into the cab to go to my new place in Brooklyn, he runs up to me and grabs my arm, “Here is your paper. Will you be my friend on Facebook?”

“Sure. Just send me a request.” Hits the mental block button.

You think that I should have just let this go, but this is the worst violation of my privacy, personal space and mind, even worse than the mugging that took place in that very same building. I have had a hard time with it. I am just starting to feel back to normal in intimate terms. Even in the new space. It was easier not to know, not to have his crazy dumped all over me like filthy sticky honey. If he had just kept his knowledge of me, his obsession to himself. But that’s not their nature. But now, I am away. He has no way to find me. The check has been cashed. I can safely call him the fuck up that he is and move on.