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Archive for the ‘fun with Jack’ Category

 

 

It’s been a little while since an update so here goes (and where to start??).  I believe in my last post I had mentioned how I would be soon starting to work for a new dog walking company.  Due to my work related injury (all the way back last December!), this plan got scratched.  In the end, it is so obviously for the best it would have been a committed Mon.-Fri. day job, which would make it difficult to do films, have day rehearsals, and go on many auditions, and many other necessities towards my acting career.  What I WILL be doing instead is freelance babysitting, cat sitting, background work, and doing freelance errands.  I have taken actions towards all of these and have plans and appointments laid out for the weeks ahead, and am excited about doing work I enjoy that also gives me the complete flexibility needed to continue building my acting career.  I won’t be going back to waiting tables as I am physically unable, but even if that were a current possibility, I wouldn’t as I don’t want to ever risk this type of injury through that work again. It has been a LONG 5 months of recovery;  I’ve been going to PT consistently since February, and my physical therapist is GREAT (wonderful positive energy), but quite frankly I’m over it!  I have an appointment with my orthopedic surgeon on the 14th, so I’ll give a further update after that.  I am certainly not bed ridden (by any stretch of the imagination); it’s that certain actions (lifting, carrying, specific range of motion) will still bring pain after a short period of use (or sometimes immediately).  So I keep doing my PT sessions, at home stretches, etc, but I have long mentally and physically moved on to “OK, what can I do with where I am at now.”

 

 

Speaking of, my classes have or are coming to an end (one more Alexander Technique class left for the quarter).  My monologue audition class was fantastic in so many ways, not just with the technique but even more importantly in the details that most don’t think about.  How you walk in the room, when do you say hello, how do you close the door, how you smile, don’t step back at the end when saying “thank you,” etc.  My classmates were/are AWESOME, and with some I have joined a weekly rehearsal group to meet with so that we can get feedback on what we are currently working on, which is SO HELPFUL–and  I especially love supporting these truly wonderful new friends of mine in the same way.  While the class was still in session, it required a fairly large time commitment and so I was selective about what I was submitting for (castings wise).  Now, however, I’m submitting for any and all that I could possibly fit for and interests me, as is Jack.  Last Sunday was particularly great because Jack and I both had 3 auditions each (all of mine were theatre based and his were all film based).  It looks likely that Jack will be doing one of the films, in which case he will be shooting on location in New Jersey for 4 days in June.  One of my auditions  granted me membership into their theatre company, which  does consistent work year round (full plays and one acts, etc); looking forward to working with them and learning a lot!  Jack has also been going on EPAs, which haven’t given him a chance to audition yet, but he is persistent.

 

 

My plan is to join Jack in going to EPAs as soon as I update my headshots;  I asked the advice of an off-Broadway casting director that I know, and they are truly in DIRE need of updating since they just don’t look like I do now.  I want my first impression at the EPAs to be that of a professional who takes my work seriously, thus the waiting until I have the new headshots.  My “official” goal is to have them by September 15th, although I’ve already gotten the ball rolling so it is likely I will have them much sooner.  As they are pretty costly, I am gathering a list of those that are recommended and whose work I like, then setting up appointments for consultations/interviews before making my decision.

 

 

Let’s see, what else??…the steriods I was on for my herniated disc added a nice (not-so-nice) sack of potatoes weight to my body, so I am working out on a regular basis now.  Regular means at least 5 times a week at the gym, and on non-gym days, at least a 30 minute walk. At the gym I am only doing the elliptical as it provides a good cardio workout but is also low-impact on my body and so doesn’t effect herniated disc.  The Alexander Technique work I’ve been doing has helped a LOT in this regard, too, because I am constantly checking in with my body:  where am I touching the earth, am I holding my breath, is there any tension in my body, where is the back of my head (critical for me as it helps me to allow it to go back rather than forward, which puts strain on my neck and shoulders); release, soften, head up an out, etc.  The exercise has been GREAT for my spirit and daily perspective.  Jack and I are both focusing on eating *mostly* vegetarian (he has actually swayed this way by no prompting by me), although there have been a few rare exceptions but only with “organic, humanely raised (MOST important!), properly fed, hormone and antibiotic free” eggs and beef.  Mainly dark green leafy vegetables and multi-colored produce remains the goal.

 

 

We are currently in our last three months in this apartment!  Seems strange although I am READY for us to finally have our OWN place, where we will not move again for quite a while.  I’m ready to paint and decorate and build our own home.  We will stay in Astoria although we are flexible as to what exact street/area.  I would kind of prefer Ditmars as it seems a bit quieter, plus the trains are always running there (whereas there has been a lot of construction and rerouting at our current stop).   I’ve been periodically keeping a lookout, although we won’t start seriously looking until probably the middle of June.  We would LIKE to avoid using a broker, but are not limiting ourselves to owner-rented only, as we have pretty specific desires for what we want and thus want to have access to all of the options possible.

 

 

Alright, that’s the update!  Kind of an informal post (I’m not going to go back to reread and edit), but it’s been a while so I wanted to just get it out.   Maybe for June I will do another 30 day challenge where I post at least once a day…the last time I did that in January, it really inspired me and evoked a lot of big changes and positive action that were REALLY good for me and my life.:)

 

 

OK I will send you off with a couple of pictures from Jack’s 46th birthday dinner in April!  We ate at this beautiful little place called Locale in Astoria.  Amazingly delicious food and surprisingly inexpensive (another good reason to live in Astoria!).

 

 

PS–I lied, I had to edit (or actually add to) this post!  I completely forgot to share about the theatre AWESOMENESS that I have been so blessed to see lately!  First, we saw War Horse the day after Jack’s birthday (it was a gift that I had bought tickets for back in December).  The crazy thing about that show was that I bought first row mezzanine…like that is what I specifically selected and paid for.  I don’t know what the heck happened, but we ended up in our own personal row, FIRST row (as in FIRST first) center!!!! We literally had THE best seats in the entire theatre (even one of the ushers commented on it).   I cannot do this show justice by even attempting to give it a review, so I will just say that it was worth EVERY single penny.  I also get offers for free shows when I am registered at ESPA, and so I got to see Primary Stages, “Morini Strad,” “Jesus Christ Superstar” at the Neil Simon Theatre, and Second Stage’s, “Lonely I’m Not” thanks to ESPA.  My absolute favorite out of all of those (that I just saw last night in fact) was “Lonely I’m Not.”  I’m so impressed and inspired with everything that I’ve seen Second Stage put up.  In addition to being a member of TDF (through which I can get discount tickets), a lot of my acting friends have been sharing other resources, one of which gets me tickets almost for free.  Thanks to this particularly awesome resource, I got to see Tennessee Williams, “In Masks Outrageous and Austere” at the Culture Project in the Village.  Only in NYC can I see 3 shows in one week for almost nothing, one of them being a Tennessee Williams world premiere!  How incredible is my life!  Not only that, but my seats for both “In Masks” and “Lonely I’m Not” were BOTH 2nd row!!!  Hot damn, knock on wood, I’ve got some serious theater seat karma lately…maybe I should play the lottery!

Happy Birthday, Jackie!

My incredible pasta dinner–that’s a beet sauce!

Dylan says, “Chow!”

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Below is only some of the most incredible authentic homemade Italian ravioli EVER.  We *finally* recently discovered a family ran Italian deli in our neighborhood (Sorriso’s Pork Store).  Drool away boys and girls.  Drool away.

 

INTENSE dense sauces to go with mind-blowing raviolis above.

 

 

Yep, it was as good as it looks.

 

Speaking of supper, “The Last Supper” booth at San Loco Mexican restaurant in Brookyn

 

Spring arrived early in NYC this year.

 

Cheers!

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Yesterday Jack and I played “tourists in our own town.”  I love The Sopranos and Jack is a serious Sopranos FREAK.  He’s been wanting to go on this tour since before we even considered moving to New York.  He finally had a Saturday off, and since I’m currently unable to work due to my injury, we took the opportunity to be tourists for a day.  It was a great day weather wise (mild and clear), plus it’s “off season” so we were able to get a little bit of a discount and enjoy the tour on a not too crowded bus.  The tour itself overall was FANTASTIC, really thanks to our tour guide, Marc Baron.  He had been on the show a few times in bit parts and as a day player, and so had inside tips and information that made it all that more interesting and fun.  He was also incredibly knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the show and very engaging during the entire 4 hour tour.  He alone made it worth every penny.  I’d never been on a tourist bus excursion like this before (and generally have no interest), but would recommend this one to anybody whether you are an avid fan or even only occasionally watched the show.






Jack with “Vito Spatafore, Sr.,” played by  the actor Joseph  Gannascoli.   Okay, I have a lot to say about this picture.  This was the only weird and disappointing part of the entire tour.  I had read that on this tour you often get to meet Joseph Gannascoli but didn’t really read further into any of the details.   Basically what happens is when you check in, the tour guide (Marc) tells you that if you are interested you can meet one of the actors from the show “in a silver car, four cars down behind the bus.”  So we walk about 50 feet and see a few people in line ahead of us.  Basically Joseph Gannascoli is standing with the hatchback open, selling books, autographed pictures, and cigars out of the back of his car.  While waiting, I asked Jack if he wanted to buy anything and he said no, that he just wanted to meet him, tell him how much he admired his work, and to get a picture.  When it was our turn, Gannascoli was extremely unfriendly and wouldn’t make any eye contact.  When Jack told him how much he loved his work and asked could he get a picture, Gannascoli refers to the items for sale and says, “Something for the effort.”  Jack looks at me sort of confused and not knowing what to say and then says, “No thank you, is it okay if I just get a picture?”  Again Gannascoli says, “How about something for the effort, I drove 2 hours.” (Btw, he lives in Brooklyn.)  I can see Jack’s taken aback and doesn’t really know what to do or say (as am I, in shock that this guy is actually trying to hustle fans).  But I know what a HUGE fan Jack is of the show and how much he’s been looking forward to this tour forever and that he really wants a picture with the guy, so I encourage him to buy an autographed photo so I can get the picture above.  What I really wanted to tell Gannascoli  at that moment is to go eff himself, but for Jack’s sake and not wanting to ruin any part of this tour for him, I play along.  Of course immediately after we paid, as I took the picture, his total sour demeanor all of a sudden disappeared and this brilliant smile of his is displayed. I walked away feeling pissed off (at both Gannascoli and myself) that I had totally bought into being shaken’ down by this guy and at his taking advantage of true fans by putting them on the spot like that. It also felt just kind of sad and depressing that he feels he needs to hustle (true) fans of his work (that simply want to express admiration) for TWENTY DOLLARS.  What was also weird/funny was that after we were on the bus(waiting for a large group that arrived 1/2 hour late for check-in), our tour guide kept us engaged with trivia and video clips.  We were first shown an interview with Joseph Gannascoli talking about one of his favorite things about working on The Sopranos:  doing scenes at Badda Bing.  He described how he would tell the girls to “really go for it, the director is watching and if he’s impressed he’ll keep using you and you could really go far” and how his saying that got them to do just that, do all kinds of crazy things;  basically admitting that he abused his position to exploit these girls.  The interview clip was intended to be humorous, but immediately following our interaction with him, it was obvious that he wasn’t kidding, and it left me viewing him as a creepy gross fame whore  jerk.  Too bad because truly his work in The Sopranos was pretty brilliant.  Sometimes it’s better not to meet people whose work you admire, especially when they turn out to be a-holes and then your whole view of them and their work becomes skewed.  Boo.:/






So after the initial nonsense, the real fun began.  Here’s Jack like a little boy at Christmas as we wait for the tour to begin.





About to exit the Lincoln Tunnel, crossing over from New York to New Jersey.






View of Manhattan from the Jersey side (and my reflection in the bus window).






Diner where Christopher was shot (now painted a different color than it was during the taping of the show).






Jack on the steps that Christopher was coming down when he was shot.






Passing by La Pizza (still in operation).






Big Pussy’s auto shop






Another view of Big Pussy’s auto shop






Pizza Land (seen in The Sopranos intro and opening credits), also still in operation although now under different ownership. Apparently you can call and get one of their pizzas fed-exed to your home if you do not live within the immediate delivery area. Marc-the-tour-guide-Baron said that immediately proceeding the show’s finale, they had to shut down for a few days because they had hundreds (I think he said about 800?) of orders for their pizza to be fed-exed all over the country.






Jack on the bus looking all maphia-like as we pass by Pizza Land






Pulling up to Holsten’s (where the final scene of The Sopranos was shot)






Outside of Holsten’s.  When we went in, they had a sample of onion rings waiting for each us (just like Tony ordered for the family to share in the final scene).  REALLY cute place (as you will see in the pictures below).  We were able to order food to-go here (we got a side of fries and (I forgo my vegan ways for a day) two chocolate egg cremes.  The kids (and I do mean kids) working here were super sweet, and the inside is MUCH smaller than it appears on the show.  It is a very popular local diner, and we talked with a really nice (local) mother and her kids who were dining there and so tickled that people actually took a bus to New Jersey just to come to this place (she said she had been taking her kids there since they were “wee-big.”).






The bathroom where the guy with the Members Only jacket enters after passing by Tony.  Notice that in “real life” it’s actually the women’s bathroom (but they used this one in the show for a better screen shot). There was a lot on this tour I actually didn’t take pictures of, and it was interesting to learn where “mistakes” were made in the show and/or how the director’s would use different tricks to “cheat” in order to make things work (like this).






Jack and I sitting in the Sopranos family booth at Holsten’s where Tony Soprano and family were sitting in the last scene of the series. They had to made this booth especially for James Gandolfini because at the time he could not fit into their normal sized booths.






The last stop and of course the “real” reason Jack wanted to go on the tour…Badda Bing (aka IRL Satin Dolls).  No cameras are allowed inside (for obvious reasons).  Fun fact, like Washington State, liquor and nudity cannot cohabit in a place of business, so unlike on the show where the girls were topless, here they can only skimp down to lingerie type attire.  Sorry Jack.  We spent about 25 minutes in here, each having a drink at the bar, watching girls do the impressive impossible on stripper poles (of course tipping the girls for their efforts), and with “Girls,  Girls, Girls” playing in the background (yes, that song, really).  Jack bought a couple of souvenirs (a t-shirt and a hat) and we chatted up with the super nice and laid back manager on duty for a bit.






Pictures I didn’t take were mostly of where we got off the bus and walked around in a small area of town where certain scenes were shot; places such as Satriale’ s Pork Store, which is sadly now an empty lot), AJ’s High School (which is actually a middle school), etc.  What I really loved were Marc Baron’s stories of James Gandolfini and Edie Falco, whom he described as incredibly generous of spirit people.  He said that during negotiations with HBO, Gandolfini insisted that the other actors on the show also get a raise, and that during the last season when only he got a raise, he invited each actor on different occasions into his trailer and handed them a large envelope of money.  Marc also described a day when he was working on the set as an actor, playing a waiter where he had to get trained to serve tea in a very specific way.  During the taping, the whole original plan got scrapped, thus making his hours of training for it obsolete.  When this happened, Edie Falco, who was also in the scene, suddenly started ad-libbing and engaging Marc so that he would have to answer her, thus giving him dialogue.  The director kept re-shooting the scene, telling her not to do that, but each time she would do this.  Finally they submitted and kept the exchange in, which forced the producers to make Marc a Day Player for this scene, thus paying him $800+ instead of the $130 he would have originally received.  Extremely classy and generous on Falco’s part to look out for her fellow actors (regardless of their stature and the size of their parts), and both of these stories made me love Gandolfini and Falco even more.  I also loved finding out how so many people who worked on this show came to it from previous work with David Chase, as well as learning a lot about Chase’s creative process.  Most of the details on the show were directly from his experiences and life, and it made me realize so much more that this is the best place to draw from creatively(rather than some far off, hard to reach place, or “trying” to make it up).  Example: the name “Meadow” (Tony Soprano’s daughter) came simply from the name tag of a waitress at a restaurant where Chase and his wife had eaten at in L.A. years earlier. It’s these little attention to details in one’s own real day-to-day experience that can spring to life the incredible attention to detail in that same person’s creative expression. I love it.




So to wrap up–FUN day.  If you love The Sopranos as much as we do, I cannot recommend this tour enough.  Incredible value (especially if you skip the $20 “photo-op” with Vito at the beginning–save that extra money, plus some, to go towards the well deserved gratuity for the awesome tour guide, Marc Baron, the great kids at Holsten’s, and the hard working girls at Satin Dolls).






(last scene…is there any fan out there there that really hasn’t seen this yet???…well, spoiler alert, just in case)

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