25 December, 2009

California Christmas


I think the best way to start off when meeting new family members is to chase two of the teenage cousins over the fence because you have mistaken them for "hooligans."


That sounds like a really quite fantastic way to start...

24 December, 2009

That's what Christmas is all about...

This is the first Christmas I will ever have shared with my mother's family (of my recollection-- that means-- as an adult).

When I arrived on Tuesday evening the reunion was commonplace and touching.

"Hi Uncle Bill..."

I said it in a way that somehow communicated the following:

Hi there. I haven't seen you since Hawaii-- which translates to-- I haven't seen you since we were all there in Kauaʻi, which was three weeks before your father died, which was, incidentally, about 6 months after my father died. That was a very odd Yin and Yang experience in paradise that involved not only an extremely high stake family reunion, but also an incident of sun poisoning, a peacock imprisoning me in my hotel room, and, most touchingly really, a voyage "out" where you and I got away to get ice cream and you extolled the virtues of butter pecan. That was the last time I saw you. That was over 8 years ago. Hi. Hi there. Thank you for letting me crash in your house for the holidays while I feel a wee bit existentially lost.

Then a sweet and sort of awkward hug (I find all non actors give what I consider to be "sortofawkwardhugs" but perhaps that is another essay...)
Followed by:

"Merry Christmas. Thank you for letting me stay."

He looked at me a moment through his large, thick glasses;
"Are you my niece?" He stared at me hard.
"Um, yes," I replied.
"Then this is your house too."

And suddenly I felt very, very much at home.

* * *

Tonight, while Victoria is already celebrating Christmas morning on the beach, and all of London is fast asleep, while New York is just tucking themselves in; Mom and I will be with her family in Southern California-- baking, eating, laughing, getting to know one another. It will be different, yes. But often, different can be illuminating!

And so, while I marvel at a supermarket called El Super, while I gawp at palm trees and piñatas and corn husks and fireworks(?!!) and chili mango and jalapeños; while mom and I are busily preparing a variety of foods both familiar and un; while I enjoy the odd sortof-to-reallyawkwardhug with various "brand-new" people, while I re-pack my warm weather clothes; it is clear that this year, the most important Christmas gift of all will be the gift of what feels like a new family. (Now that is what I call Christmas magic...)

And now, to conclude, the clip that never gets old.

Linus explains what it is all about.

Happy Christmas All. x

17 December, 2009

The Little Match Girl

Sometimes the very best Holiday gifts, are the ones handmade, and from the heart.

Let me know what you think, and stay warm!!

The Little Match Girl 

The Little Match Girl

14 December, 2009


When I think back on this time, I think I will recall that for so very much of it
     ... I was asleep.
Perhaps that is how it is with pain: hibernation.
A chrysalis of sorts forms around us while we heal.
Or change.
Or both.
That is not shameful. It is not weak. It is necessary.

But I'm preparing to tear away the barriers of that sleep now.
I want to wake.
I've passed through a door.
I've marked a single, charcoal line upon the ground and contemplated crossing it.
I ready to burst through.
Yes. I'm ready.


Now, reader here is a preface: I don't often share on this blog in this candid a manner, but I feel the need.I know that many of you visit and know me not at all. You have shared the work, you have associated with "Act 3 Al." I have never attempted to use this blog in any manner of emotional ventilation, I have put forth every effort to protect and respect those with whom I share my life, many of whom already have very public lives as it is. This is not a tabloid. And venting is what a journal is for. The details are unimportant, the revelations are.

That is what this is: a revelation. I would be denying the journey if I did not mark it. This is too magnificent to keep to myself. And I am done hiding my light under a bushel.

There are several things I can say out loud.
So much I can face I didn't know or couldn't see before.
I looked in the mirror and I saw the Self of a young woman terribly disrespected and my insides churned.

Things like:
- I didn't have any respect for my Self.
     I never really did. (Self respect is like a muscle, if you do not exercise it, it atrophies).
- And that led to a monsoon of other unhealthy behaviors. That's over now.
     Standing up for yourself is allowed. It is, in fact, tremendous.
     No more dressing to hide,
     No more allowing away.
     No more.
     No more capitulation.
     No more valuing everyone else above myself until that Self is a shell.
     No more apologizing for being.
     No more.
     No one will walk on me. Intimidate. Bully. Strip away. Burgle.
     No one will rob me of my trust.
     Or of hope.
     The professional arm was strong while the personal arm withered.
     No more.

- Sometimes.. in fact... often, change is good. Change is great. I can embrace change. I can bear hug it and lick every last fleck of change sauce from the plate of life. (Mmmmm change tastes like parma rosa sauce).

- I am shocked by the force of a decade-and -a-half of built-up rage. Absolutely astonished. I must possess some sort of rage storage helix inside me...

- This is the end of the Dad cycle. (Well, what do you know?)

- I don't need a home, home is right here [touches her heart]

- That thing I hoped would end with high school... college... real life.. is never over. It is all the same. It never ends. Stop waiting. And this knowledge sets one free. Hooray. Adjust.

- and perhaps, most importantly of all...

... She broke my heart.
     She did.
     It cracked in half. 
     I loved her.
     I loved her more than anything.
     And that is what still smarts.
     And probably always will.

I am certain I can adjust to that too.

Take part in life Dear reader.  Do not shirk away from the world, take part in it. Do away with good enoughs and happy enoughs and fines. I am no longer ashamed to say I wish for more. No. I demand more. Of my Self. Of this finite, beautiful time. It is too brief and too special to be wasted on the parasitic, to be squandered on despair.

So here we go...
             ...the charcoal line...


              ... Good morning.

09 December, 2009

I've been:

singing for
Hal Prince
Sheldon Harnick
Terrence McNally
Stephen Wadsworth
Arthur Laurents
James Lapine
Rene Flemming (and her cape)

singing with
Lance Horne at Lincoln Centre
Kate Baldwin
Howard McGillin
Ana Gastyer
Sheldon Harnick
Cheyenne Jackson
Alan Cumming
Daphne Rubin-Vega
Michael Urie

Running Fiddler lines with a frantic Harvey Fierstein

Sounding the call (with my gorgeous friends Michael Arden and Toni Trucks)

Receiving colanders from Martha Stewart

Witnessing Jane Fonda licking her fingers and mimicking tears...

Rocking at Joe's Pub

Living in between...
uncertain about what the future holds and attempting to just ride with that uncertainty rather than try to control the uncontrollable



Traveling like a crazy person and genuinely confused about the city I am in ("Where am I what city what day is it what time why the what the why why zzzzzzz....")

Emoting, dancing and singing with and basking in the glory that is Adam Cooper

Giving Thanks

Proud of my friends
Santino (for bouncing back)
Tasha (for being brave)
Victoria (for going out to the other end of the world and getting what she deserves)
Alley (for bring so brave about the death of her amazing father)

Humbled after winning a lovely award

Wrestling with my swinging feelings about London:
            feeling this one moment: "having the most incredible time back in London. Although my visits were fleeting they was filled with familiar things, faces of true friends and of course a lovely award! (Thank you all for such a wonderful visit, and everyone's lovely and generous congratulatory words. A lot of people made what I did in Carousel possible..., and I am incredibly humbled and grateful. xxx)"
            and this the next: "Dear London, why do you hate me? Love Al"

auditioning for the same role as a girl so young SHE BROUGHT HER MOMMY... who fixed her hair... and feeling really REALLY old...

Seeing her lovely new friend Kate Baldwin in Finian's Rainbow

Meeting LAUREN GRAHAM (her hand was incredibly soft...)

trapped after locking myself in a closet at an audition-- story to follow...

filming an episode of the ultimate badcrimdrama-- LAW & ORDER! (airing 8 January on NBC)
     and loving and laughing my ass off with Anderson and Sisto. FUN-NY (seriously... I had no ass)...

Planning the future (Christmas with mom in LA followed by a Reprise of Julie Jordan than an operatic trip to The Kennedy Centre!)

realizing that every once in a while... every so often now, it still smarts...

sitting in my living room surrounded by 14 research books (each sprawled and lying face down), over 200 sticky notes, and the evil evil (appropriately black and Bulgakovian) cat, and a blaring collection of eclectic soundtracks and my trusty laptop awaiting the words... (AH! let the book come together...)

Enjoying a week writing 4 more chapters of my first book and filming 3 scenes in my first television...

... Good two months.... Great two months...

07 December, 2009


Related Posts with Thumbnails