My voice decided to take a vacation today, but I pushed through it. Normally I don’t sound like a Jewish frog. This would be funnier if I had the transcript from the online chat session that went on at the same time. 🙂
You always hope the day that you run into your ex isn’t one of your “less than fortunate” days. You know… the ones where you run into the grocery store to grab a pack of Midol and chocolate, while wearing your oversized yoga pants and university sweatshirt. Darting into the store quickly thinking that no one will recognize you for the hot mess you are, then *BAM* there is you Ex. Oh… not a pretty moment. You know he’s seen you worse, but you don’t want him to see you worse later on… you want him to see you better. A woman can be quite moved on in her life, and lightyears away from the past and you still don’t wanna have “that” moment.
Or in my case….
Facebook is a wonderful thing. It keeps us connected to people who we want to be connected with, it helps to keep events organized, it is great for networking, and for weeding out the stalkers from the fans. I recieved a friends request from the “woman-who-would-have-been-my-sister-in-law” the other day and my brain shook a bit. Timing was just interesting and “to everything there is a season…” In the past I enjoyed my time with “the woman who would have been my sister in law” we talked so much there was actually more than once the Ex would sleeply comment “She’s marrying me not you, now it’s time to go to bed”. You would have thought that we hadn’t talked in a few months, not in almost eight years. I had thought of her and her family recently due to a geographic location and like I said previviously… timing.
I had to ask what made her look me up on facebook… then the story spills out. There was a small group of her family gathered together at the computer and disucssing ex’s. So I get “googled/facebooked” and upon seeing my picture come up on the screen, “the woman who would have been my mother in law” makes the comment: “I think her boobs were bigger”. So instead of the horror moment of running into that Ex in public while looking like death warmed over, my biker shoot images (that are being published – more on that later!) were the “greeter image”. Yeay me. Untill I kept hearing in my head “I think her boobs were bigger”.
Amongst my many faults and shortcomings, I’m remembered for my big boobs, and pointed out that they may not be as big as they once were. Great. For the rest of the day I kept taking off my top and checking them out in the mirror. It was a rather perky day till that thought comsummed my evening. Shallow? Perhaps. But hey… part of my trademark is the busty redhead.
The internet has allowed us to avoid some very social awakard moments. It’s also allowed us to put some distance where it needs to be put at the right times (if used properly). It also allowed me to have one of the few girlie moments that few will ever admit to wanting but it’s out there… The wanting to be very presentable the next time an Ex sees you as opposed to looking like roadkill on an off day.
“I think her boobs were bigger….”
Come to think of it they probably were… that was two kids ago. Any local plastic surgeons want to have a local promotional model promote your boob jobs? I would seriously consider it, today.
Regardless of what happens, regardless of how you are feeling, the show must still go on. I feel performers at every level don’t keep this in mind often enough nowadays. Patrons paid to see you, to be entertained. It is your duty to do your job, perform. They don’t care if you feel like death warmed over, they don’t care if you are sick. It’s not that they are of an uncaring sort, that’s just not part of what they paid for. They paid to be entertained, your duty is to entertain.
Never apologize to an audience. You gain little by apologizing for whatever it may be, you also risk damaging what credibility you do have. Never call attention to the negatives, that only makes for a worse distraction.
Plan, plot and plan some more. But also be ready to fly by the seat of your pants.
Also make sure to have good friends on hand to hold you upright when you need it, once again keeping in mind; the show must go on.
**thanks to Tony Wear for the image
It was a hot, steamy Tennessee afternoon at the end of the school year. The biting smell of overheated metal and hot tire swings deadened the air. the concrete was hot enough to burn through the bottom of your shoes. Clouds of dust rose up whenever a group of kids would rush by panting in the heat and running. It was an amphitheatre of sound of kids screaming and mocking each other, occasionally you’d hear the teachers whistle but there were too tired to care if we all disaggregated into heaps of corpses, of which we were halfway there.
I had recently received a book of jokes from my Grandmother which I promptly memorized, convinced that if I could tell a good joke I could make the other kids laugh, and perhaps have a chance at more friends. Instead all I got was eye rolls, laughed at and dirt kicked in my general direction. I longed to be funny, I already had the funny looking part down so how hard could the other half be?
It was a quick lesson to learn that amongst my peer group I wasn’t funny. On occasion I’d crack a joke quietly to a small group of friends and they would laugh. It was a few year later I was informed of my unintentional knack for being sarcastic. My friends didn’t quite grasp it, but my parents laughed (after I cleaned my room of course), my family laughed, and I was even able to coax a laugh out of a teacher sometimes. With the deep down desire to be popular and get along with my school mates I tried to hide the fact that adults thought I was funny from them. It only made being “odd” even more difficult.
Many years later at the age of 12 I was giving a homily at a church where my traveling choir was singing. I took every chance there was to speak in public and throughly enjoyed it. Somewhere in the middle of that mini-sermon I cracked a joke completely unplanned, and was greatly rewarded with laughs. It was the start down the meandering road of defining my brand of “funny“.
For the next few years I spoke in public at every chance I got, I honed my skills of being in front of crowds, memorizing lines, improv, acting on stage, and getting over any kind of stage fright. I sang, I played instruments, I talked, I joked, I championed anything that needed a public voice. My peers still didn’t get me but adults thought I was funny, I asked many of my elders who opinion I respected and they said I had a gift. Talk about an odd gifting.
I had many opportunities over time to work in broadcast radio and television where being semi funny and being able to improv was a cherished skill. Also the fact that an audience any size didn’t intimidate me I was good in front of that mic talking about whatever the issue at hand was. Politics was brought up to me, but quite frankly I knew it wasn’t what I wanted, and where I was headed. I spent some time in the magic arena, learned a lot and nope…. I won’t tell you where the rabbit really is. My favorite was the comedy, there is just something about that feeling you get deep inside when you make people laugh and smile.
During all of these years I honed my writing skills (as I”m sure you can tell by my typos… it’s 5am bite me) and took every journalism class I could and wrote constantly. I wanted to become published, not just a self published number, but actually be picked up by a big name publisher. After a few attempts and drama associated therewith I became very discouraged and finally got on the blogging movement. I have now been blogging since late 2004, and it’s been quite the journey.
For many months I’ve had an a generous offer made to me to “come out of comedy retirement” so to speak. I had already made the transition years previously to go back into professional modeling from “retirement” and have enjoyed success there. So after thinking it over, talking about it with my husband, and praying about it, we decided to go for it. It was actually my modeling that opened a door for me that I hadn’t thought of opening for a while yet. When the time is right the time is right.
I still can’t tell a joke to save my life, I start cracking up in the middle of it and it goes down hill from there. I’m more of a situational, improv, tell it like it is, comic. I’m sarcastic and am not afraid to show it. Set me up for a joke and before we get to it I can almost guarantee my ADD has kicked in and “Ooooo Shiney!” and I’m off talking about Al Bundy when I’ve missed the set up completely. When you come to see me on stage you get me. Sometimes with a baby on my hip, a left over cheerio from earlier in the day lodged in my hair, and a ruckus laugh. You don’t get a fake person, you get the real me. There’s no telling what I’ll discuss, there’s no telling what exactly I do, all I can do is hope you laugh and enjoy it as much as I enjoy entertaining.
I received an email from an old friend from school the other day with “What happened to you?” basically wanting to know what happened to the geek who was mocked, laughed at, and was quite unfashionable. Now I was popular, but popular only in the way that everyone knew who I was, not because I was being invited out to the parties. It made me feel good in the sense that we all have the opportunity in life to shed our old skin and become who we want to be.
Do it honestly, with truth, and with honor. Don’t rush “God’s time” he knows what we need and when we need it, and just when we are grown up enough to handle it.
**photo by Luc Welch
I was honored to be asked up on stage at the Comedy Catch / Giggles Grill to sing a bit with the band this weekend. Angel, the female head singer of the band Danger Kitty was sweet to share the mic with me. I had a blast. It also awoken something in me I’ve tried to keep quiet.
I love singing. straight out. I LOVE it. I trained classically for many, many, many years and invested a lot into myself. I also know that there are many others out there (even on a local level) that are so much better than me and untill lately I’ve been comfortable with sitting back and letting someone else do the vocalizing.
A stage of any size has never intimidated me, an audience of any size has never fazed me. In my humble opinion, I think that your responsiblity as the artist/entertainment is to perform just as fantastic for the group of a half-dozen, as you would for a group of 20,000. I’ve been comfortable singing in groups of various sizes, to audience members of various sizes. I’ve been comfortable playing instruments in similar situations as previously stated. I’ve performed improv, acting, stand up, prop and large illusions. Live audiences are fun, you get that extra level of excitement that you don’t get from taped or broadcast performances. (even though I have my fair share in those departments too)
The only two things that intimidate me in the slightest are: my voice and the piano.
I know silly right? It’s taken years but after hearing in the back of my head the voices of kids in high school mocking any of my solo efforts, and my complete and total freeze up in front of a jury of music professors on an audition for piano and voice, I did my best to keep from remembering those bad experiences. The best way to ignore my nerves was just to avoid any situation similar at any cost. Even if a little bit inside me died every time someone would say “you have a great voice, why don’t you get up there and show them how it’s done?” as I was humble and differed.
It’s something I’ve never quite understood. I have never gotten nervous speaking in front of a crowd, walking a runway, prepared or off the cuff on stage, rehearsed or improv. I’ve never had any issue performing in a musical capacity in a group, but to actually “solo” it made me feel vulnerable. Sad that all these years later with the battles I’ve fought and won, that somewhere in my mind there is still the ridicule that I suffered as a teenager. See I didn’t sing the “cool” songs, I favored Bette Midler, Neil Diamond, Rita Coolidge, Barbra, Madonna, Diana Krall. So not cool as a teenager. Not to make matters any better I was Daria (if you don’t get it google it).
The piano was my blessing and my curse. It was my escape and I enjoyed it, alas I put up a fight whenever it was necessary to play in public. It was one of the few things I didn’t do for the public, in as much as I thought I might want to at the time, I did it for me. I was never “good”, never will be. It just makes me happy. I still won’t play in public, and even wait till my husband and children are out of the house (or napping) till I touch the keyboard.
I have played many other instruments over the years, but none of them were are dear to me as the voice inside me. How can I tell my children they are the only ones in control of their dreams, of how far they go. They are the pilots of their own destiny, when their mother has demo tapes that she was too chicken once cut to finish the submission cycle? When their mother has been to chicken over the years to just accept I’m never gonna be the best but I’m far from the worst, but at least I’m doing it. I can’t expect my children to push and work towards what they dream of if I’m not willing to do it for myself. How can I expect them to grow from being vulnerable if I’m not willing to do it myself? They see me as strong and fearless, willing to tackle any audience or broadcast, yet when they ask me about being nervous I can’t lie… I’m not. I just have avoided the situations that make me have a minor quake.
I’m not saying you are gonna find me putting together music act anytime in the future, nor am I gonna be crashing the karaoke bars (because quite frankly that’s not the same thing as actually having a real gig where you are responsible for the audience and there is no safety net. Just because you sing karaoke doesn’t make you a musician, entertainer, or a singer. When it does it will the day that drinking coffee makes me qualified to be the CEO of Starbucks). I will gladly start listening to the set list of some of my fave bands a bit more closely and be better prepared next time someone decides to pull the comic on stage.
Yep. The woman who has opening admitted of never getting stage fright or nervous, does. BUT very rarely, only in a select couple of situations. I will get over that this year. Everyone has weaknesses, we become stronger and take a step to bettering ourselves when we can admit to them. It’s a minor hiccup that I never thought I’d ever face again, after all, once you start having kids and focus on multiple career paths, it’s hard to make time to do something for you. My music has always been my soother, the “Mezzo – soprano beast” as was my nickname once upon a time is going to work on her leash.
*Thanks to Angel Michaels and the rest of the guys of Danger Kitty. You guys ROCK and I had a blast. I look forward to rocking with you guys again! Also thanks to 976 Photography for the image.