Monthly Archives: February 2012

The Annual Oscar Ritual

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Watching the Oscars through the eyes of a failed actress is a slightly different ritual than it is for the average Oscar viewer. It is at once a sadistic and masochistic experience, enjoying the fashion mistakes, awkward speeches, and technical difficulties, but it also  breaks your heart a little when some average performer gets to strut off the stage holding the golden man that symbolizes true talent. Every year, though, despite my attempts to avoid it, I cannot resist the temptation to be a Hollywood voyeur for those grueling four hours.

A failed actress watches the Oscars with the hope of experiencing a sense  of schadenfreude (delight in the misery of others). Some actors turn up in hideous gowns. We chuckle and think we would know better. We  enjoy watching cocky performers who expect to win get beaten. We like it when the cameras go close-in and linger on the faces of the nominees as they wait to hear who the winner is, and quickly re-adjust their expressions when it is someone else.  Even the winners will sometimes trip and fall on their way to the stage. It’s brilliant.

One of the best parts of the evening is watching the chosen host in action. Sure, everybody loves Billy Crystal, but I think Chris Rock was the best. I like it when the actors get roasted by relentless comedians. They, more than anyone, deserve to be humbled. It’s a small price to pay for being paid outlandish sums to act in movies that go straight to DVD. And despite the scandal at the Golden Globes, I think Ricky Gervais would be great hosting the Oscars and should be given the opportunity to do so. But of all the hosts, good and bad, nothing was more painful than last year’s Anne Hathaway/James Franco duo. Despite their good looks, they were supremely boring and unfunny with no comedic chemistry between them.

I admit, and you can probably sense, that there is a bit of sadness, envy, and resentment I feel when watching the Oscars as a self-proclaimed “failed actress.” I remember the years of performing on the stage, the long hours shooting films and commercials, the chemistry and bond among cast members. I miss all of that. All actors dream of  that day when they might be the one whose name is announced at the end of  “and the winner is…”  Accepting that it is unlikely to happen is not easy.  Nevertheless, I can’t resist finding out whose name will be announced.

The Oscars are a good opportunity for failed actors to get together  with friends, lovers, and/or family members, make a nice dinner, and give Hollywood the middle finger. My favorite part of the Oscars are the constant, cynical texts my sister and I exchange the minute the red carpet becomes cluttered with celebs. It’s part of the annual ritual of loving and hating Hollywood.

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Farewell Southpaw, It’s The End Of An Era

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Southpaw, one of the original and best live music venues in Brooklyn, is closing. The news hit me particularly hard. Why? It was my home away from home for the first three years I lived in New York City. They kindly employed a young, wide-eyed, soon-to-be-failed actress, and welcomed her into their family, creating some wonderful friendships that I hope will last a lifetime.

As most aspiring actors know, in order to pursue an acting career it is essential to find a flexible job that allows you to go to auditions, shoots, and meetings during the day. That’s why the city is full of actors who are also bartenders, waiters, and temps. I was one of them.

I thought if I had to waitress or bartend, I also wanted to be exposed to live music, one of my greatest passions. Based on its history in music, I thought I might find such a place on Bleecker Street in the Village. I did find a place, but it was an awful hole-in-the-wall venue where tourists came to watch cheesy AC/DC cover bands. Thankfully, a college friend strolled in one night and asked me what the hell I was doing there. He wrote down an address in Park Slope, Brooklyn and told me to go there immediately.

The next day I made my way to the address. The sign outside was really subtle and the front entrance looked like a closed up metal garage. I thought he had given me the wrong street number but I tried the door anyway.  It slowly opened to a curtain of red velvet, behind which was a huge space dripping with color and creative energy. The walls were lined with old vinyl album covers and the eclectic bar was covered artistically in photos, scraps of metal, flowers, you name it. When I saw the stage, I knew immediately that I wanted to work there.

A handsome, bearded man with a hipster cap sauntered over and asked me what I wanted. I told him I wanted a job. He asked a few questions, gave me a wink and a smile, and said “You’re hired.” I ended up staying for three years, making friends, and watching some of the best musical performances around.

Southpaw’s red velvet curtains opened and launched a number of outstanding performers. Those who booked the bands are still my go-to music gurus. They know more about the scene than anyone else.

But times change. A turbulent economy, rent increases, and bands that became too expensive took their toll on Brooklyn’s gem, so sadly they are closing. This will be their last week in business. It’s officially the end of an era.

Just wanted to say thanks for the good times.