Wednesday, January 23, 2013

new blog address

So I love Blogger. I cut my lil' blogging baby teeth on this site, so I feel a little sentimental about moving, but I think from now on, Life is a Wagon will be tugging along over on Wordpress. Please come and say hello!

Life is a Wagon

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

getting excited for LA: new beverly cinema

After months of deliberation, I have decided to quit my job, sublet my apartment, and head to Los Angeles for a while. I'm going to give acting a west coast try. I'm terrified and nervous and doubtful and scared, but I'm also kinda sorta thinking that it could be so much fun to try something and some place incredibly new. I went to LA once about 15 years ago and all I can really remember is driving down Sepulveda and eating In-n-Out burgers.

To gear up for my trip (and to assuage the waves of fear that wash over me when I try to picture myself in LA), I've started making a list of things I want to see and do once I'm there. First stop? New Beverly Cinema. It's an old revival theater that shows double features in 35mm.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

anna karenina

 I love it so much. I first tried to tackle it when I was 18. I got a few pages in and decided to stick to Stephen King. But after seeing Joe Wright's "Anna Karenina," I was inspired to try it again (it is with a sheepish hand that I type that bit of info. I don't love admitting that movie adaptations inspire me to read the books, but there you have it).
And I'm just loving it. The writing just sticks with me and some of his sentences are just so beautifully crafted, I go back and reread again and again. And thank god for those it's-slow-at-work-because-of-the-holidays shifts at the restaurant. I could read my book with my feet up and a Bailey's on the rocks.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

new new york #3: babycakes bakery

Photos found here and here

It's been over a month since I've had a bagel. I haven't tasted a brownie in three weeks. Excepting that one Patron Silver soggy night, no pasta has passed my lips in twenty days. I decided to give up gluten after realizing that it might be aggravating my skin and after noticing that my diet was entirely comprised of baked goods, bread covered in butter, and pasta. I was a vegetarian who ate maybe one vegetable a week and I had the acne of a teenager to prove it.
Giving up wheat hasn't been too difficult (I kind of feel like I did when I stopped eating meat-- a little sad, a little worried, but mostly resolved), but my heart does ache for sweets. I really love baked goods and I don't like to imagine my life without a cookie. So I made my way over to Babycake's-- a gluten-free, vegan bakery on the lower east side.
It's a winner. I got a slice of chocolate chip pumpkin bread and it wasn't cardboard-dry as I imagined most fake flour, fake eggs, fake milk pastries to be. I'm happy.

248 Broome Street

Friday, September 28, 2012

happy birthday to me!

My day was fun and relaxed and there was waffles and strawberries for breakfast at this little Belgian diner and then pizza and mimosas at Roberta's and chocolate cake shots at the Anchored Inn and I had rehearsal for "Coney" at night and Lisa sent me a beautiful bouquet from Saffron (one of my favorite stores) and people called and sang on my voicemail and I didn't even have a hangover the next day. Success? I say success.

Also, if I ever worry about getting and feeling old, when my mother sends me birthday cards covered in stickers and hearts, I feel six or ten or seventeen years old all over again. And it's a nice little feeling and one only a mother could encourage.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

i'm in a play!

Yip yip yippee! I'm in a play! It's with the Blue Coyote Group, it's called "Coney," and I play a shy sixteen year old on a first date. I'm very happy and now I need to find a time to get my butt out to Coney Island before it closes for the season. I've never been and I'm from New York. Madness. Had first rehearsal yesterday and I just love being in rehearsal. I love how these things start as words on a page and over the course of four weeks, there is this communal effort to create something else. I hope I get to eat real zeppoles in my scenes.

"Coney" at Blue Coyote Theater Group

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

currently reading

Reading Chekhov, by Janet Malcolm

She is one of my favorite writers. "The Journalist and the Murderer" is just the best. I love her writing-- it's dense and concise and funny and she creates some of the most well-tuned passages:

If privacy is life's most precious possession, it is fiction's least considered one. A fictional character is a being who has no privacy, who stands before the reader with his 'real, most interesting life' nakedly exposed. We never see people in life as clearly as we see the people in novels, stories, and plays; there is a veil between ourselves and even our closest intimates, blurring us to each other. By intimacy we mean something much more modest than the glaring exposure to which the souls of fictional characters are regularly held up.
-Reading Chekhov

This is definitely eat your spinach reading. Whereas The Journalist and the Murderer and Psychoanalysis: The Impossible Profession feel quick and sexy and full of "eureka!" moments, this one is much more deliberate and the pace is tempered, and it reads a lot more like, well, Chekhov. I had a cursory sense of his life details (I knew he was a doctor, knew he was into nature, knew he was Russian-- hey, that counts), but I wasn't aware of his health struggles, and I knew nothing of his short stories, nothing of his love life, nothing of his ambivalence towards solitude. And if these specifics are implicit in his writing, I was still a bit of a dummy and not picking up on them.

This book is giving me facts, yes, and it's also giving me an interesting framework through which to synthesize those facts (some Russian history, details about Chekhov's family), but it's also giving me permission to read Chekhov in a different way. To search through his plays and stories looking for those moments that reveal all I could want to know about the burden of living and the exquisite beauty of being alive. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

what should i do for my birthday?

Sometimes I can get a little weird on my birthday. I don't have too much angst about getting older (although as far as the acting world is concerned, I'm a grandma at 32), but the years just go by so much faster. Wasn't I just turning 31 six weeks ago? I can still remember that hangover from too many hurricanes and pina coladas at Bar 169 like it was frigging yesterday. Getting older makes me feel like my time isn't quite my own anymore. Years start to feel like months, months start to feel like weeks, weeks feel like one long blur of appointments and obligatory meetings and a holiday and someone's birthday dinner and one more wedding and me oh my, you see how I can start to get a little weird around birthday time.

But my last few birthdays have been really lovely. These pictures were taken last year and they are some of my favorite photographs ever with some of my favorite people ever. Dumplings and frozen drinks in lower Manhattan.

 And then two years ago for my 30th birthday, I made everyone meet me at the Hideaway in Tribeca and everyone had to bring a gift that cost under $5 and we drank beer and ate fries tossed with Old Bay seasoning and there was cake. The bar windows were open and the breeze came in from the water and it was early evening and man, New York was fun that night. Lisa and I hauled my very large garbage bag of gifts to a beautiful dinner and then I fell asleep on her comfy couch and I'm pretty positive there was cake frosting in my hair and a french fry dangling from my mouth as I slept.

But what to do this year? I think probably something daytime again. Nothing too expensive, I don't want folks to have to spend a bunch of money. Pizza party lunch? Roller skating? I think I would definitely like my day to include a photo booth at some point. It's weird. Can I say it? I'm going to say it. Birthdays can be fun, but they can also feel a little weird and disorienting and sad. I think turning 32 and not having actual acting work and not having (gulp, I can't believe I'm writing this on the internet) a partner can make my days feel like a little like a "Sex and the City" episode. Or worse. A Cathy comic. Ack.

But my friends and my family are really super duper. And I don't say that like it's a consolation prize. They're really wonderful and make me feel loved and important and necessary and they laugh at my jokes, which is all you can ask for on your birthday.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

my friends are married

Picture from Huffington Post

Disclaimers first! I love my married friends, I love my friends who will soon be married, I love my friends who are in fulfilling, happy relationships, I love my friends who are expecting babies or busy taking care of the little ones they already have. Love them all.

But this is definitely my new favorite blog. You're going to laugh a lot, I promise. The tagline alone-- "My friends are getting married, and I'm just 25 and drunk"-- makes me giggle and shake my head.

My favorite posts are here and here and here.

My Friends Are Married

Saturday, September 8, 2012

so much to look forward to!

There are three books coming out that I cannot wait to read. I already have a huge stack of things I need to read, but I'll move these to the top of the pile. Doesn't it always work that way? When you have eight billion things to read, there's always one more to add to the heap. When you're at a loss for what to read next, when you're wandering around the bookstore for hours at a time, there are no good books to be found.

"May We Be Forgiven," A.M. Homes 

 I believe this began as a short story. I read it in an anthology a few years back, and I think I've reread it at least a dozen times since. The story is a painful, lovely, eerie tale of marriage and trust and family and holidays and infidelity. And it's violent and sexy and really perfect. I can't frigging wait to read the entire novel. My friend William finished it already and gave it a thumbs up.

"This is How You Lose Her," Junot Diaz
Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes. Please, yes. I've read two recent stories of his in the New Yorker (although I'm unsure if "Monstro"- my favorite: the apocalypse is nigh and the protagonist can't stop thinking about his sweetheart- is included in this collection), and I'm very stoked.

"NW," Zadie Smith
I waited on Zadie Smith once and she was so unbelievably pleasant and polite and I wasn't surprised at all. You can feel that warm, light touch in her writing. She has a generous eye and she's so smart and so talented and I love her. She and David Foster Wallace (and I think maybe Stephen King) are the writers I would like to invite over for dinner. With beer. And dessert. And whiskey. There would definitely be some "I-know-it's-late-but-one-more-bourbon" drinking as the night winds down and the used dinner plates remain on the table.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

yes, please

Just lovely. I would wear this every day. I mean it. Every day. I would work in it, sleep in in, go running in it. Wait a minute. I haven't been running in months. Great. So I don't have to worry about getting the pretty floral skirt all sweaty.

Monday, September 3, 2012

new new york #2: brooklyn bridge and grimaldi's

Pizza! Brooklyn Bridge! $5 beer! Full, stuffed, gorged, now I'm longer curious to know what it feels like to be nine months pregnant belly! Smiling at tourists! Cannolis! Peach blueberry sangria on the waterfront!

My cousin Georgie and I spent the day walking across the bridge (which I had done once before) and eating at Grimaldi's (never done before). It was really a fun day. We laughed, ate too much, walked through Brooklyn Heights pointing out our future residences, and laughed some more. My cheeks hurt by the time I got on the train to come home. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

i'm happy about-- you tube edition

This interview with Ray Bradbury. I haven't read any of his work, but I very randomly quoted him in something I'm writing. This segment made me really, really like him and really, really want to read his stuff. And the very last moment with his cat is precious.

This song by Taj Mahal. Miss Leah plays it on Sundays at work and I could listen to it forever and ever and ever and ever. I have to be careful-- I always play songs I love over and over again, and then I get kind of sick of them. But I never want to get sick of this song.
I first saw this months ago, but I find it chilling to watch each and every time. My favorite moment is their initial ascent.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

mush mush

Photo found here

I feel like a bowl of scrambled eggs this week. Just regular stress, the kind of stuff we all have to deal with. But sometimes things crunch together at the same time, and my days start feeling like a repugnant mix of unpaid bills and deadlines I won't meet and too many drinks and my acting teacher calling me sterile and casual and how is summer over already and dishes in the sink.

 But if you notice, that bowl of scrambled eggs has little sprigs of something lovely and green in it.   And I think there's some truffle salt in there. So maybe things might be a little mushy-minded right now, but there is some good stuff in there, too. It's a nice kind of mush. My acting class partners in crime and I have four books coming in the mail and I start a new writing class in a few weeks and my plants are still kicking and Habana Outpost's frozen mojitos are around until October.

 Okay. Maybe not so bad.