Follow “The Pack”

The Pack

Posted by TERESA

You might have heard about The Pack in passing through various mentions on this blog or on my Twitter or Facebook, but consider this the official introduction…  🙂  The Pack is a web series I’m writing, playing a supporting role in, and producing along with Commune Cohorts MAYO and ALEX, who have recently formed Pareidolia Films.

Anne (Marsha Martinez) is a 30-year-old New Yorker who has finally found her Mr. Right (Christopher Yustin). Everything seems perfect…

…until Mr. Right accidentally bites her during sex and turns her into a werewolf.

The Pack is set in a world where humans and Unhumans (werewolves, vampires, zombies and more) have always lived side by side. That doesn’t mean they don’t cause trouble for humans…or each other.

As Anne navigates her complicated love life, she will also need to make a choice. Will she be ashamed of what she has become? Or will she find werewolf pride and join The Pack?

Also starring: Kelly Mayo, Patrick Shearer, and ME.

Teresa and clapboard

Me holding the clapboard on the first day of shooting for The Pack

We filmed three episodes of it over the summer, but have since decided that it could be much better with a few improvements.  Namely, I’ll be writing the entire season of about 10-12 episodes all in one shot before shooting, and Pareidolia Films will be buying a new camera that will allow Alex to make the series look exactly how he wants it to look (ie: way better).  I’m going to be spending the next month scribbling away, and we’re going to spend the winter fundraising for a camera and the production, figuring out a production schedule, and getting everything together for what will hopefully be a spring shoot.  I’m very excited!

Alex and camera

Alex sets up a shot on the set of The Pack

I’m hoping to get you excited, too!  Because we’re going to need your help in order to make this happen.  Yes, we’ll probably be asking you for money eventually.  But we’ll also be asking you to keep up with what we’re doing and helping us spread the word.  A web series is only as successful as how many people click on the website and watch the episodes.  I’m hoping that that number will be…um…a LOT.  We’ve got what I think is an interesting story, a wonderful cast, and an amazing, knowledgeable, and hardworking crew (led by DP, Matthew Golub).  Everyone’s already done amazing work on the episodes we’ve already shot.  Once we have the equipment we want, and have the funds we need, we’ll be able to do even better work, and deliver a show that’s a hell of a lot of fun!

Liz and yogurt

Producer, Liz Mayo, remaining chipper during an early morning Pack shoot

Wanna get in on the ground floor? You can definitely stay tuned to this blog for news.  You can also check out our opening credits on our IMDB page.

And of course, there’s our websitewww.thepackseries.com – which currently contains not only a synopsis of the show, but a “Donate” button where you can donate toward our production.  Every little bit helps.  This will also be where you will eventually be able to watch the completed episodes of The Pack, so bookmark it!

Lastly, you can Follow The Pack on Twitter: @ThePackSeries.  In fact, as an added incentive…IF YOU FOLLOW THE PACK ON TWITTER BETWEEN NOW AND DECEMBER 15TH, YOU WILL BE ENTERED IN A RANDOM DRAWING TO BE SENT MY LAST REMAINING GOOGLE WAVE INVITATION. If you’ve geeky enough to be hankering after a Google Wave invitation, you’re probably geeky enough to love our show!  🙂  Follow The Pack @ThePackSeries, for your chance to ride the Google Wave!

And now, some photos from the first shooting days for The Pack:

Chris and Marsha

Christopher Yustin as Dave and Marsha Martinez as Anne on the set of The Pack

chess scene

AD, Sam Teichman, sets the scene as Chris and Marsha look on

Liz supervises the production, Sam sets a light, and Alex ponders his next shot

Matt and Alex

DP, Matthew Golub, discusses his thoughts on a shot with Alex

The ladies of The Pack

The Ladies of The Pack: Kelly Mayo as Laurie, Me as Maureen, and Marsha as Anne

This is just the beginning people!  We’re aiming for 2010 to be The Year of The Pack! With your help and support, it will be!  Stay tuned!

werewolf bite

The bite that starts it all! Make-up effects by Amanda Oliveras

Published in: on November 28, 2009 at 4:47 AM  Comments (4)  
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What do we want? EQUALITY! When do we want it? NOW!

Me and my new friend from the Westboro Baptist Crazyhouse.  I liked her signs SO MUCH that I decided to take a picture with her!

Me and my new friend from the Westboro Baptist Crazyhouse. I liked her signs SO MUCH that I decided to take a picture with her!

Posted by TERESA

I have returned from Washington DC after having spent the night and participated in the National Equality March!  I stayed with ELLYS in her new apartment (with her fabulous roomie, Jackie) that I now covet SO HARD.  Seriously, if there were a way for me to magically transport her place to Astoria (and pay the same rent), I totally would.  Alas, I don’t want to move to DC, so awesome and less expensive places like that remain out of reach…  Anyway, it was so great to hang out with Ellys.  It was the first time we’d really hung out just the two of us – she’s good people, that one.

I’m so glad I decided to participate in this march.  It’s the kind of thing that I always want to do, but always find an excuse not to.  This time, even though I was exhausted from a really difficult week, I decided to go.  And because I went, four other people (namely, Ellys, Jackie, and their friends, Christine and Michael) decided to march, too!  That’s all it takes, sometimes.  No one ever wants to be the first person to do anything, but very often, if you’re willing to take that first step, people will be willing to follow.

It was a beautiful day to be marching, and the vibe in the crowd was great.  And WHAT A CROWD!  It was enormous.  When we got to the already-crowded mall at the Capitol, the incoming crowd was still 7 blocks deep!  Anyway, here are some of my favorite shots from the day:

This picture was SUCH an accident, but I love it. Everyone is pointing up at something - and even the traffic lights are pointing up! What's everyone looking at???

This picture was SUCH an accident, but I love it. Everyone is pointing up at something - and even the traffic lights are pointing up! What's everyone looking at???

They're looking at this. :) An honest-to-goodness RAINBOW in the sky. It hadn't rained since the day before, so there was no real reason for a rainbow to be out at all. Oh, and there are also little birds flying overhead in the sun. Seriously, if ever there were a sign that I was doing the right thing by participating in this march, this is it. After all, rainbows usually mean God feels bad and is making a promise not to be angry with us or hurt us. At least, they did that ONE time.... :)

They're looking at this. 🙂 An honest-to-goodness RAINBOW in the sky. It hadn't rained since the day before, so there was no real reason for a rainbow to be out at all. Oh, and there are also little birds flying overhead in the sun. Seriously, if ever there were a sign that I was doing the right thing by participating in this march, this is it. After all, rainbows usually mean God feels bad and is making a promise not to be angry with us or hurt us. At least, they did that ONE time.... 🙂

Ellys and me at the march.  She couldn't BELIEVE she was in a pink article of clothing!  :)

Ellys and me at the march. She couldn't BELIEVE she was in a pink article of clothing! 🙂

Michael and Ellys

Michael and Ellys

Jackie, Ellys, and Christine

Jackie, Ellys, and Christine

Bringing the march to the White House

Bringing the march to the White House

Michael, Jackie, Ellys, and Christine bring the march to the Capitol

Michael, Jackie, Ellys, and Christine bring the march to the Capitol

The crowd at the Capitol

The crowd at the Capitol

This sign was so beautiful and simple.  I loved it.

This sign was so beautiful and simple. I loved it. "My wife is fighting for peace in the Middle East. I'm fighting for her."

Obama made a lot of big promises in his speech this weekend to the Human Rights Campaign.  He said he is going to be the one to end Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  He said he promised Matthew Shepard’s mother that he would pass hate crimes legislation.  He said he was an advocate for the LGBT community.  I believe he really means that.  I just hope he has the courage to follow through.  There are many, many people –  gay, straight, and bi; male, female, and trans; citizens – who will not let up until he does.

Special thanks to SWiSH for organizing a group to march.  If any of you are looking for a way to get involved in the fight for equality, this org. would be a great place to start.

Published in: on October 12, 2009 at 2:08 AM  Comments (4)  
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Hey Mama: Kanye West, Neil Gaiman, and Grief Made Manifest

What awards?  The MTV VMAs this year were all about Kanye West and Taylor Swift.

What awards? The MTV VMAs this year were all about Kanye West and Taylor Swift.

Posted by TERESA

Let’s get one thing straight.  I don’t watch MTV.  I haven’t watched MTV in years.  Sure, it might be because I’m too old to enjoy MTV.  OR, as I think is more accurate, the younger people who watch MTV don’t know any better – and certainly don’t know enough to know that the “M” in MTV stands for MUSIC.

But I digress…

I don’t watch MTV, and I’m not really keen on awards shows, either.  I usually only watch the Oscars every year, if that.  As for the rest, I’m perfectly content to look up the winners the next day and go “Oh, that’s nice.”  So, I wasn’t watching the VMAs this week – I was on my computer trying to write a little, and G-chatting with friends.  All of a sudden, Facebook and Twitter started blowing up about Kanye West, and not in a good way.  They were blowing up about this:

I was so angry after watching this.  To see someone whose music I enjoy and whose talent I respect so much stoop to something like this was appalling.  It would have been bad enough if he had interrupted the winner of an award for which he was nominated.  At least that would have made some sense.  But to interrupt someone on stage – a 19 year old winning her first VMA at that! – to “defend” someone who never asked to be defended in order to right some perceived award show wrong?  It was the fact that this act was so inexplicable that made people furious.  It made me upset, too.

It proceeded to be the watercooler topic of choice the next day as people debated what his act meant.  Whether it was premeditated, or merely the spontaneous, drunken act of a rude, irresponsible douche.  Whether it had to do with race.  Whether it was actually spontaneous, or whether it was staged to garner Kanye, or Taylor, or both publicity.  My stance?  One look at Taylor Swift’s face, and you could tell it wasn’t staged.  At least, not for her benefit.  No matter what’s going on with you, once you lash out at other people, you need to be severely reined in. I thought what he did was inexcusable.  I still do.

Yet, the more I talked about it, the more I realized that there had to be a reason.  People just don’t do things like that.  And then it hit me. Kanye West’s mother passed away a little less than two years ago.  Suddenly, it all made sense to me, because I’ve been thinking about grief a lot in recent years.  But first, watch this:

My own mother passed away 3 1/2 years ago, and it’s only within the past year that I realized exactly what that’s meant for me.

Dad, Me, Mom

Dad, Me, Mom

It’s funny, I started seriously thinking about it after going to my first Neil Gaiman signing here in NYC, when he was signing copies of Blueberry Girl at Books of Wonder.  He was late to the signing, and I discovered later that night that the reason he’d been late was that he got a phone call that his father had passed away in England.  I was both amazed and touched that he’d decided to go on with the signing anyway; to pay us the respect of rewarding us for our time standing in line, and also to allow us to help him feel a little better, which he said on his blog we did.  I was so touched that I wanted to do something, write him something as someone who’d also lost a parent…but I didn’t know what to say.  This set the thoughts in motion, though.  I realized that if I were going to tell him anything (I never did, by the way, and I still have half a letter somewhere that was never sent), the main things I would tell him would be:

Little Neil Gaiman with his grandfather and his father

Little Neil Gaiman with his grandfather and his father

1) Don’t feel guilty about forgetting.  You will.  There will be days when you don’t even think about the person you lost at all.  You eventually won’t be able to remember their face, and will need photos to remind you.  That’s OK.  It’s your mind’s way of saying Hold on to yourself.  Live your life.  Move on.

and

2) Your grief will manifest in ways you never expected.  It won’t always be clawing-your-eyes-out, sobbing grief.  It won’t always be stoic, honorable grief either.  Sometimes, it will be you yelling at the person behind the counter at Dunkin Donuts, because they accidentally didn’t give you the right change.  Other times, it will be you ignoring your friends, or snapping at them just for being near you whilst having fun and joking around.  You might do something incredibly risky just to see if you can, just to see if you’ll come out of it alive.  This won’t all happen neatly immediately after the death, either.  It will sneak up on you a year later after you’ve quit seeing a therapist because you thought you were all better and really why shell out the money for something you don’t need anymore.

This, too, is OK.  Expect it, so it doesn’t blindside you, but know that you won’t be able to control it no matter what you do.  Your mind, and your body, and your heart are going to demand that you grieve, whether you let it or not.  And if you’re someone like me, who doesn’t like to cry in front of people, who doesn’t like being a burden on those she loves, and who tends to go about things with a stiff upper lip and a “suck it up and deal” attitude, the demands of your grieving will force you to grieve whether you want to or not.  And sometimes, you’ll do very stupid things indeed.

Kanye West and his mother

Kanye West and his mother

It became crystal clear to me what was happening when Jay Leno brought up his mother, and Kanye said “Obviously, I deal with hurt….and so many celebrities they never take the time off…I’ve never taken the time off to really…you know, music after music, and tour after tour…it’s just a shame that my hurt caused someone else’s hurt, my dream of what award shows were supposed to be caused…and I don’t try to justify it, because I was just in the wrong, that’s period.  But I need to, after this, take some time off and just analyze how I’m gonna make it through the rest of this life, how I’m gonna improve.  Because I am a celebrity and that’s something I have to deal with.”

He was going through exactly what I was going through – not making time for grief, perhaps getting more drunk than usual more often, lashing out at people who not only didn’t deserve it, but had nothing to do with anything – except he had the added bonus of having a camera turned on him when he did it.

I’ll say it again.  Kanye West’s mother passed away a little less than two years ago.

Two years went by before I went to that Blueberry Girl event and only started to be able to articulate exactly what I’d been doing and what had been happening to me since my mother’s passing.  It seems as though Kanye’s just received his wake-up moment, too, and hopefully he will take that much needed time off and take the time to grieve.

We all wish and hope to go the Neil Gaiman route: be gracious and together in public, grieve in private, and keep our personal grief separate from the way we treat people.  Perhaps it’s something that comes with age?  Gaiman is in his late 40s, and while that’s still young to be losing a parent, one might be more emotionally equipped to deal with it when it happens at that age.  Kanye and I are both in our early 30s and at a time in our lives when we are just starting to do the things that we hope will make our parents proud of us.  To not have them around to see it can truly be devastating.

So while the act itself remains inexcusable, its motivation is understandable.  At least to me.  And I hope the internet will die down a little bit, and not continue to be hard on Kanye.  Because just as it’s inexcusable to lash out at the expense of a 19 year old girl’s feelings, it’s equally inexcusable to get your internet jollies by electronically stoning a man in pain.

Published in: on September 16, 2009 at 12:09 AM  Leave a Comment  
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On Turning 30, Part 1: Hellzapoppin’!

Young At Heart

Young At Heart

Posted by TERESA

So…on 8:26AM on Saturday, July 11th, I officially turned 30.  I celebrated a bit at Albatross the night before, where ADAM bought me drinks, I got a free one from Jocelyn, and I sang I’m the Only One to LIZ over the phone since she couldn’t come out to sing it herself.

The real celebration happened on Saturday night at Waltz-Astoria, where I had a 30’s themed birthday party complete with live jazz band karaoke!  And boy did I need a party that night….we got the bad news about Liz’s sister-in-law that morning, which of course made working on a party seem pretty meaningless.  On top of that, I had a couple of friends either call out of the party sick, or say they couldn’t make the food they said they’d make originally, or I didn’t hear if people were bringing something or not….by the time the party rolled around, I was pretty down, and worried that no one was going to show up, we’d have no food for those that would, and that the whole thing would be a huge failure.

Dorothy, Emily, Liz (behind Emily), Sebastien, Lori, and Adam

Dorothy, Emily, Liz (behind Emily), Sebastien, Lori, and Adam

That couldn’t be more different than what actually happened!  Many of my friends DID come, including several that I wasn’t expecting to see!  Liz, her sister, DOROTHY, and EMILY came despite the earlier news, because they both wanted to take their minds off it for a while, and also because they wanted to celebrate my birthday, which I thought was so sweet!  Also, my “longest-serving friend”, Vanessa, came with her boyfriend, which was a complete surprise and fabulous!  And I met someone new and really cool in KATIEBOONE’S friend Peter, who is a jazz musician himself and brought his saxophone to jam out with the band!  I had WONDERFUL food provided by ROBIN and JOANNA as well as an AMAZING Bill Compton birthday cake made by LINDSAY (who should probably go work for the Ace of Cakes people at some point!).  Just about everyone sang at least ONE song, if not several, and the staff at Waltz as well as the band commented that I had really talented friends.  They were expecting at least SOMEONE to be awful, and no one was!  What can I say?  I only HAVE talented friends!  And I realized that I am so lucky to have such amazing ones.  People who, even if they don’t know each other, are so warm and friendly that they make instant friends with everyone they meet.

Peter and the band!

Peter and the band!

Highlights:

**Robin and JEAN sang me “Happy Birthday” a la Marilyn Monroe.  It was the strangest experience ever.  But hilarious!

** ALEX, after much unnecessary protesting, sang an AMAZING rendition of “Summertime!”  He was so insecure in his singing ability that he had to be DRAGGED up there by Jean and prodded by AARON…but once he started singing, Jean couldn’t snag the microphone from his hands!  He started doing some hilarious improv, and Jean eventually left him up there to finish the song alone!  Yeah, he “hates” singing karaoke.  Uh-huh.  Best birthday present ever.  If you’re my friend on Facebook, you can probably find the video.  If not….sorry.  🙂

Bill Compton cake, Lindsay, Lori, and Me

Bill Compton cake, Lindsay, Lori, and Me

** Lindsay’s cake!  Not only was it a Bill Compton cake, but when you bit into the neck, there was cherry “blood!”  I’m so grateful that Lindsay went to so much trouble!  It was amazing.

** DANCING!  Adam deserves the credit for getting this started.  He started the ball rolling by dancing with LORI as I sang “In the Mood.”  Then he fox-trotted and swing danced with me for two numbers.  Then Emily and Lori danced.  Then Emily and I danced.  It was a great time made even greater by awesome and game people!

Let's Call the Whole Thing Off

Let's Call the Whole Thing Off

** Adam and I singing Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off.  While it wasn’t the best rendition ever, I love singing this song with him as it kind of captures our friendship perfectly.  🙂  One day, we’ll sing this song right!

** Catching up with Vanessa, and having her, EILEEN (all the way from Florida!), Joanna, and Robin all in one room!  I’ve known Vanessa since I was about 3.  I’ve known Eileen and Joanna since I was 5 going on 6.  And I’ve known Robin since I was 10.  The fact that I’m STILL friends with all of them blows my mind, and I look forward to being friends with them for even longer!

It was a wonderful way to spend my 30th Birthday.  I really am a lucky duck for knowing such great people.

And now, some photo highlights:

Alex, Katie, Jean, Matt, and Aaron

Alex, Katie, Jean, Matt, and Aaron

Emily, Liz (so badass she dragged herself to my party with a broken leg), Diana, and Sebastien

Emily, Liz (so badass she dragged herself to my party with a broken leg), Diana, and Sebastien

Robin overcame her stage fright for my birthday and sang You Can't Take That Away From Me!  It wasn't ENTIRELY miserable!

Robin overcame her stage fright for my birthday and sang You Can't Take That Away From Me! It wasn't ENTIRELY miserable!

Liz, Robin, Kelly, and Enrique

Liz, Robin, Kelly, and Enrique

Eileen, Joanna, Me, and Vanessa - my oldest friends in the world!

Eileen, Joanna, Me, and Vanessa - my oldest friends in the world!

Robin, Me, Eileen, and Joanna - Best. Entourage. Ever.

Robin, Me, Eileen, and Joanna - Best. Entourage. Ever.

The way I figured it, if my dress coudn't be strictly 1930s in style, at least my hair and my underwear could be!

The way I figured it, if my dress coudn't be strictly 1930s in style, at least my hair and my underwear could be!

My 30s are SO going to rule.  🙂

Published in: on July 28, 2009 at 9:38 PM  Comments (3)  
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Pink Raygun Post: Interview with MOLLY CRABAPPLE

Me, as drawn by Molly Crabapple at MoCCA Fest 2009

Me, as drawn by Molly Crabapple at MoCCA Fest 2009

Posted by TERESA

Last week, I attended the launch party for Molly Crabapple’s first graphic novel, Scarlett Takes Manhattan.  It was a great way to launch a book (and the cupcakes were scrumptious!), and I had the opportunity to interview her for Pink Raygun.

Excerpt:

I came across Molly Crabapple’s work the way I come across so many things these days – on Twitter.  Someone posted a link to Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School, an affordable life-drawing class with a Gilded Age feel for which one pays about ten dollars to sketch burlesque performers in scintillating poses, and I was immediately intrigued!  As I explored the website for this class, which is now being franchised in cities all over the world, I became more and more interested in the creative mind behind it.  Visits to her website lead to searching for her work everywhere and becoming an instant fan.  She’s illustrated for clients like Marvel Comics, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Playgirl as well as eight books, including her own.

molly-crabappleI had the opportunity to interview Molly at the release party for her first graphic novel, Scarlett Takes Manhattan, which she created with long-time collaborator, John Leavitt.  The party, like the book itself, came complete with burlesque performances, fire-eaters, and a Two Man Gentleman Band (who wrote a theme song for the book called, appropriately enough, “When Scarlett Takes Manhattan”).   Here’s what Molly had to say about pursuing success, loving performing artists, and drawing boobs…

Get thee to PINK RAYGUN to read the interview!

Published in: on July 20, 2009 at 1:28 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Liz Update #2 – Surprise!

Emily, Liz, Diana, and Sebastien at Teresa's 30th Birthday Party

Emily, Liz, Diana, and Sebastien at Teresa's 30th Birthday Party

TERESA, LINDSAY, ADAM, EMILY, AND LORI finally told LIZ about THE REVOLVING DOOR COMMUNE “FALLEN COMRADE” FUND last week, and she was so touched that she cried, saying it was the nicest thing anyone had ever done for her.  We gave her the list of names of everyone who had donated and she was shocked to see both strangers on the list as well as people she hadn’t spoken to in a while.  She was also shocked by the amount of money we raised in four days!  We were at $1,139 on July 9th.

That money has already been put to good use, as it’s paid for cab fare for Liz and an escort to get to her doctor appointments, as well as for the visits themselves.

Saturday was both bad and a good for Liz.  Unfortunately, she found out that her sister-in-law, Missy, passed away after still unclear complications with her breathing.  Our hearts go out to her and to her brother and Missy’s husband, Jake, and their new little daughter Mia, as well as the rest of the family.  However, the day was partially good for two reasons.  First, her sister (and Commune Cohort), DOROTHY was visiting, so they could help each other cope with the news.  Secondly, they along with Emily went to Teresa’s 30th birthday party that night to take their minds off of the sad events, and ended up singing live jazz karaoke and having a great time!

The latest news, after a second appointment with a doctor today, is that Liz will not require surgery!  She’s apparently healing so well, that surgery is unnecessary.  However, her recovery time without surgery will be much longer, so she’ll be out of commission for FOUR MONTHS.  Still, this is great news!  She’s been fitted with a smaller cast (smaller than the one in the pic above) up to her knee that will allow her to begin putting pressure on the leg (and will allow her not to have to sit with her leg outstretched all the time!).

However, 4 months is a long time to be mostly immobile, and means that she won’t be able to really look for a job in that time.  Also, there are still plenty of doctor visits to come and more pain medication to purchase.

So we ask you to continue to be generous.  If you haven’t donated yet, please donate to The Fallen Comrade Fund!  The Fund has already been used to help her out immensely, and she’ll continue to need it throughout the next four months.  Also, join our Facebook group, where you can keep up wtih some upcoming fundraising events we’ve got planned for the coming weeks.

And to those of you who have donated – THANK YOU!  You’ve helped her so much by giving her both a financial and an emotional pick-me-up.

More news to come!

– Head Commune-ist

Published in: on July 14, 2009 at 5:33 PM  Comments (1)  
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Liz Update #1 – Evil Practical Jokes and Matching Funds

ADAM, LINDSAY, and TERESA went to visit LIZ at EMILY’S on Monday for the first time since her mishap.  She was in good spirits, and seemed more concerned about her girlfriend going to too much trouble over her than she was about her leg.  She was still in a lot of pain, though, and was quite relieved when it was time to take more oxycontin.  We hung out, had pizza and cupcakes, watched Twilight Zone episodes Emily had DVR-ed, and when the oxycontin kicked in Liz played the most evil practical joke on us!  We were all laughing raucously about something, when suddenly Liz reprimanded us by sternly saying, “Ow!  You guys!  Stop with the shrieking!  You’re hurting my head!”  We all got really quiet, sorry that we’d given her more pain than she was already going through.  After a few well-timed moments of silence, she chortled in a drug-induced haze and said “Ha!  I totally got you guys!  You totally thought I was mad!  Oh no!  Poor Liz!  We all better shut up now! hahahahahahahaaha….” 
Emily and Liz.  Someone recently asked why we hadn't yet posted a pic of Liz in her cast.  1) She doesn't know about this effort yet, and we're not going to post pics of laid up Liz w/out her permission. 2) When you look at car ads, they show you pics of the NEW car, not the piece of shit car you currently drive that you're trying to get rid of.  Just sayin'.  Salesmanship.  :) We prefer to show you what your donations will bring about, not what they'll get rid of.  So there.

Emily and Liz. Someone recently asked why we hadn't yet posted a pic of Liz in her cast. 1) She doesn't know about this effort yet, and we're not going to post pics of laid up Liz w/out her permission. 2) When you look at car ads, they show you pics of the NEW car, not the piece of shit car you currently drive that you're trying to get rid of. Just sayin'. Salesmanship. 🙂 We prefer to show you what your donations will bring about, not what they'll get rid of. So there.

Aaaaaaand, that’s our Liz.  Drugs, or no drugs.  🙂

Since then, she and her girlfriend have been freaking out about X-rays and getting referrals, and nausea (the pain medication still makes Liz nauseous, though she’s been eating more today, which is great!).  All the while, Liz knows nothing about what we’re doing. (we haven’t even let her read this blog!)  However, WE WANT TO TELL HER TODAY!  Thing is, we were hoping to go to her with a nice, chunky number.  Saaaaay $1,000.  At the beginning of this week, that seemed damn near impossible…

Well folks, we’re up to $750 and change! IN THREE DAYS!  Suddenly, $1,000 doesn’t seem like an unreasonable first goal.  As if that show of generosity weren’t enough, there are two people who have offered to match donations so that we can get to our $1,000 by the end of the day today!  Want to help us reach that goal?

Every dollar you donate by the end of the business day today (and that’s the business day wherever you are in the world – and yes, we can accept PayPal donations from abroad!) WILL BE DOUBLED so that we can reach our $1,000 goal! 

We’ll be telling Liz all about this tonight.  Anything we give her will be wonderful and unexpected and make her feel really good, but it would be so great if we could give her a figure that was four numerals long!  🙂 

If you were thinking about donating at all, today would be a really great day to do it.  If you were planning on giving, but can’t make the actual transaction today, send an email to revolvingdoorcommune@gmail.com, and let us know how much you’d like to pledge and when we might expect it.  That will count toward the matching today, too, as well as be included in the figure we’ll give to Liz when we surprise her!

And to those of you who’ve already donated, THANK YOU!  We’ve been amazed by the level of genrosity demonstrated, sometimes by complete strangers!  Thank you, thank you, thank you. 

Head Commune-ist

Published in: on July 9, 2009 at 1:57 AM  Leave a Comment  
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EMERGENCY: The RDC Fallen Comrade Fund

LIZ: Someone THIS fiesty should NOT be off those glorious gams for long!

LIZ: Someone THIS fiesty should NOT be off those glorious gams for long!

And by Fallen Comrade, we mean that one of our Itinerant Artists literally fell down.  Yesterday, LIZ fell down some stairs at a party, resulting in her breaking her leg in three places (once in her tibia, and twice in her fibula for you science nerds out there).  She’s going to need surgery, though we’re not sure when that’s going to happen, and as she has no health insurance, her costs are going to be ENORMOUS.  She’s currently recuperating at EMILY’S place, as Emily has an elevator, and The Commune has many, many stairs.

This, coupled with her having a difficult time finding a job, trying to apply to schools, and the recent health scares in her family have all taken their toll on our poor Liz as she’s officially had one of the worst couple of weeks EVER.

But The Commune ain’t a commune for nothing, and we aren’t taking this lying down!  INTRODUCING THE REVOLVING DOOR COMMUNE FALLEN COMRADE FUND!  As Liz has no insurance, we’re trying to help raise funds to defray the coming costs as much as possible.  EVERY LITTLE BIT HELPS.

If you enjoy this blog, if you feel invested in the Itinerant Artists, or even if you’re just really nice and want to lend a helping hand to a young woman in need, there are three things you can do:

1) DONATE to The RDC Fallen Comrade Fund!  We’ve set up a PayPal account to make it really easy to do.  There’s no amount too small – and of course, no amount too large.  All proceeds will go directly toward paying Liz’s medical costs as well as costs around the house (like rent, utilities, etc) that have just been made even MORE difficult to pay.

2) JOIN The RDC Fallen Comrade Fund Facebook Cause!  We’ve started a Cause on Facebook that will both accept donations as well as post information about planned fundraisers!  So far, there’s an Evening at The Albatross (Liz’s favorite bar in Astoria) and a Book Sale planned, and there will be more! So join the group and keep up with many opportunities to lend a helping hand or a helping dollar!

3) SPREAD THE WORD!  If you know of anyone who would be willing to help, feel free to spread the link to the Fund or the link to this blog entry around.  We at The Commune always been pleasantly surprised to see how willing strangers are to help someone in need whom they’ve never met.  Spread the links around, and we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised, too!  🙂

Times are hard for everyone these days, but dealing with huge medical costs ON TOP OF other financial concerns is even less fun.  Hopefully, between the Itinerant Artists, the Commune Cohorts, and people like you, Liz will make it through OK and come out on the other side not nearly as financially butt-raped as she would’ve been without the help!

We’ll be keeping you posted here at The Blog!  Thank you so much for whatever you can do!  And please keep Liz in your thoughts and prayers for an uberspeedy recovery…

– Head Commune-ist

Published in: on July 5, 2009 at 4:43 PM  Leave a Comment  
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GIRLYMAN! (Or, How Liz Got Her Boobs Signed By a Whole Band)

Me, Liz, and Adam @ the Highline Ballroom.  How HOT are we?!

Me, Liz, and Adam @ the Highline Ballroom. How HOT are we?!

Posted by TERESA

Sorry I am SO far behind on this.  Livin’ ain’t easy – especially when you’re trying to live as much as I am! – and it’s hard to find the time to blog sometimes.  Anyway, Teresa the Celebutante Week continued on June 4th with TWO celebrity events in one evening.

No, there were no drag queens at her birthday party.

No, there were no drag queens at her birthday party.

Through a work connection, I was invited to Dr. Ruth Westheimer’s 81st birthday party!  Yes.  THAT Dr. Ruth.  🙂  It was not only a birthday party, but a book party and a screening of a new documentary she helped produce called Shifting Sands: Bedouin Women at the Crossroads.  Ruth is so full of energy and constantly buzzing around, so I could barely get “Happy Birthday!” out of my mouth before she’d moved on to the next group of minglers.  She’s kind of perfected the art of being a social butterfly!  The party itself was interesting.  It was held at the National Arts Club in NYC, a very old, very posh club on Gramercy Park South.  As I am not very old, OR very posh, it was strange to be mingling there.  There were few people anywhere near my age, and everyone – young and old alike – seemed to have much more money than me.  I spent much of the party standing in corners and drinking wine.  Eventually, I met up with a woman named Imbal that I’d met before who is friends with Ruth, close to my age, and a cellist.  We sort of latched onto each other for dear life once I reintroduced myself and navigated the party together a bit before the scheduled screening of the Shifting Sands documentary, which was pretty great.  Check it out on PBS.  (plug!)

Dr. Ruth’s party, while very nice, was really only a way to kill time until the real event of the evening – GIRLYMAN AT THE HIGHLINE BALLROOM!  Sadly, I missed the opening act, but I met Liz and Adam there just in time for the main event.

Now here is where I’ll tell you that Girlyman officially falls into The Commune Recommends territory in that 3 out of the 5 members of the house are huge fans.  Liz, Adam and I have seen them just about every time they’ve been in New York in the past two and a half years.  They are amazing musicians and vocalists, and their songs are beautiful and expressive.  Also they have some of the most fun on-stage banter ever.  Personally, my favorite album of theirs is Joyful Sign, although all of their stuff is great – and they have a NEW ALBUM COMING OUT!  Get thee to www.girlyman.com for more info! (another plug!)

Me and Doris Muramatsu of Girlyman.  She's the "Cute One!"

Me and Doris Muramatsu of Girlyman. She's the "Cute One!"

Me and Ty Greenstein of Girlyman.  She's the "Serious One!"

Me and Ty Greenstein of Girlyman. She's the "Serious One!"

But this evening wasn’t just about listening to the purdy music.  We met the band for the first time!  We felt kind of bad about doing it, because we weren’t buying anything to have signed.  However, we each already HAVE everything they had available for signing, so we didn’t feel that bad.  I’d brought my sketchbook again, and I asked each of the band members to sign a Girlyman page.  Doris was an absolute sweetheart, and very funny.  Ty was also really nice, though she seemed a bit tired.  Nate was awesome, and we actually had a nice conversation about, among other things, Amanda Palmer, as I told him I was going to see her there the very next night.  He’d heard of her and The Dresden Dolls, but hadn’t listened to much of her stuff, so I recommended it.   

Me and Nate Borofsky of Girlyman.  He's "The One With a Penis!"

Me and Nate Borofsky of Girlyman. He's "The One With a Penis!"

Adam just shook everyone’s hand and expressed his admiration in his typically understated, Midwestern way.  The funniest HAD to be Liz. She, almost jokingly, asked Doris to sign her boobs.  Doris, the straight one, got REALLY excited about it, funnily enough, and shouted to her bandmates, “Hey guys!  We’ve got a boob signing over here!”  Check out the excitement on her face:

I don't know who's happier about this - Doris, or Liz!

I don't know who's happier about this - Doris, or Liz!

And then there was the moment When Liz Met Ty.  Let me explain something to you.  Liz likes Ty.  A LOT.  Liz likes Ty in her secret, naughty places.  Liz was severely restraining herself so as not to JUMP Ty, and as Ty signed her chest, their exchange went something like this:

Ty: Hey, nice to meet you!

Liz: NNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGEEEEHHHHHHHHH….

Ty: Signing breasts, are we?  What’s your name?

Liz: LLLLDDNNNDNNNNNEDEEEDGGGGHHHH….

Ty: There you go!

Liz: *bouncy* *bouncy* *bouncy*

And that was that.  We’d met one of our favorite bands and rode that high all the way home.  Actually, Liz bounced home on big, horny cloud.

The Finished Product

The Finished Product

I might as well have set up a cot at the Highline Ballroom after that, because I’d be going there again the following night to see Amanda Palmer.  Details to come…

Published in: on July 1, 2009 at 10:19 PM  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , ,

Housing Works (as does Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer!)

Photo by Kathryn Yu

Photo by Kathryn Yu

Posted by TERESA

Teresa the Celebutante Week continued on Wednesday, June 3rd at SPIN magazine’s benefit for Housing Works Bookstore in SoHo NYC, featuring Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer.

One of the things I love most about events involving my favorite artists is the standing in line.  I know, that’s supposed to be my least favorite part.  But I love striking up conversations with strangers, because I know that there are at least some things we have in common (we like the same author/musician/actor/artist after all), and chances are good that there’ll be a lot more.  Before the crowd was allowed to enter the bookstore, I got to talking with one of the writers I follow on Twitter, Chelsea Summers, and a lovely friend of hers, two young female friends who’d come all the way from Denver and Pittsburgh because they are huge AFP fans (one of them had won 2 VIP tickets in a Housing Works online auction), and one adorable scientist dude who is a huge Neil Gaiman fan.  (too bad he was married.  I would’ve totes flirted more had he not been)  The conversation was a lot of fun, and included comparisons of microscopes, best routes to Michigan, and AFP sex gossip! (I won’t say who had that info)

However, there are two kinds of people you can meet at events like these.  Cool people who are interesting to talk to, like the folks above….and people who are so wrapped up in what THEY like that they have no time or patience for anyone who won’t allow them go on ad nauseum about it.  Case in point: red-head standing next to me once I got into the store and had found a place in the crowd in which to stand.  I thought she seemed nice at first, which is why I struck up conversation in the first place, but she became obnoxious really quickly.  We got to the point in our chat where we discussed whether we were NG fans, AFP fans, or both.  She went on and on about how she was an AFP fan and proceeded to list the entirety of concerts and events she’d attended and what happened at each.  Then, when I started to talk about how I was a Neil Gaiman fan first and came to AFP’s music through him, telling her about Sandman/American Gods/etc, she cut me off by saying “Yeah, I really really don’t care about him.”  Um, thanks.  Apparently, you don’t care about listening to me either.

It reminded me of when I went to see Alanis Morrisette and Tori Amos in concert at Jones Beach years ago.  I was a fan of both, but I was more excited to see Morrisette because I was more familiar with her stuff.  The Tori fans eyed the Morrisette fans as if they were an abomination (you could pick them out in their military fatigues, dark spiky hair, tattoos, Goth skirts.  The Morrisette fans were mostly in Indian-inspired fashions, or broomstick skirts and had henna tattoos), and then after Tori performed left before Alanis started.  I never understood that mentality – loving your favorite artist at the expense of all others.  Everyone has favorites, but does that mean you never expose yourself to anyone else’s work ever again?  Crazy.  What I love about any art form is that if you follow it or the artist closely enough, it will lead you to other interesting things….but I digress.

Obnoxious redhead aside, the vibe in the room was great.  Moby was there so, you know, that was intersting.  And of course Kyle Cassidy, photographer extraordinaire who photographed much of the Who Killed Amanda Palmer book NG and AFP were there promoting, was there. Although, how HUGE a nerd am I that I got all giddy and excited when I saw that Merrilee Heifetz was there? 

Me: OMG, Merrilee Heifetz is here! 

Obnoxious Redhead: Who? 

Me: She’s like this huge literary agentohnevermind…

Photo by Kathryn Yu

Photo by Kathryn Yu

The event itself was amazing.  I’d never heard AFP perform before, and she totally won me over.  As I told her later, she plays with a passion that I love, as if she’s attacking the piano.  She is an artist that I definitely appreciate more live.  Her recordings are great, but they’re merely placeholders between live gigs as far as I’m concerned.  She played a Dresden Dolls songs that I fell in love with, called “Perfect Fit”, and a solo song called “Dear Old House That I Grew Up In” , both of which I related to in surprising ways and almost made me cry.  She ended with a cover of a Tegan and Sara song called “Dark Come Soon”, which was lovely and also made me want to investigate Tegan and Sara stuff more.

Photo by Kathryn Yu

Photo by Kathryn Yu

Alternating with her was Neil Gaiman, who read some great stories from the WKAP book.  I could listen to that man read the phone book.  The highlight, however, was when he graced us with an awesome story he’d never made public before, about a guy who’s making a living as a living statue, falls in love with a passerby, and stalks her, ending up very very still in her apartment.  It was SO CREEPY!  Loved it, and can’t wait for it to end up in a collection somewhere.

After the performances/readings, we were treated to a very enjoyable session of “Ask Amanda/Neil” in which Amanda and Neil asked each other questions submitted in advance by the audience.  It was during this Very Special Q&A that Neil announced that they are dating.  A fan asked “So Neil, when are you going to admit that you’re dating Amanda Palmer already?”  Amanda chose that because she wanted to “see what [he’d] say.”  He smiled sheepishly, looked to Amanda for approval, and when it was clear that she had no problem with making an announcement said “We’ve been dating for months, actually.”  The crowd cheered!  Mostly because it’s been so OBVIOUS to so many of us for so long that we were simply relieved that we could talk about it openly without seeming like we were just speculating or spreading rumors.

Because clearly, what was important about this revelation was giving the fans the ability to gossip freely and with clear consciences.  Heh.

There was also the auction of one of the only copies of WKAP available in this country (Neil’s reading copy with his notes in it, PLUS doodles in it by the creators, PLUS additional copies of naked AFP photos) that went to one very generous gentleman for $1300, which all went to Housing Works.  And then, of course, there was the long-ass line to get things signed.  It wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected, given the lines I’m used to standing in for Neil Gaiman.  I spoke with Kyle Cassidy and Beth Hommel (AFP’s assistant), both of whom shot photos for the WKAP book, before getting into line, and I asked them to sign a page in my sketchbook that I would then get signed by AFP and NG and put into my pre-purchased copy of the book when I get it next month.  They were both so sweet!  Really good people.

Got to Amanda Palmer and told her that I was a new fan, and she was very nice.  When she signed the page in my sketchbook, she scrawled her greeting and name AAAAAALL over the rest of the blank page, leaving no real room for everyone else…Got to Neil, and I told him that, while I’d met him several times before, I’d never gotten a picture with him, and I asked if he would mind taking one then.  He was extremely nice about doing it, despite my camera being stupid and not going off when it was supposed to.  This dude I’d made friends with in line behind me took it, and I finally have my photo (below).  Huzzah!  Then, instead of finding space on the page I’d told him I was putting into my copy of WKAP, he turned the page and drew me an enormous skull and crossbones made out to me and signed at the bottom.  (this is important for an upcoming entry)

Photo by Random Dresden Dolls Fan Dude Behind Me In Line

Photo by Random Dresden Dolls Fan Dude Behind Me In Line

It was a wonderful and fun evening, made more wonderful by the fact that I’d see both AFP and Neil Gaiman again later in the week!