this has been one interesting year
(aren’t they all?!…). I rang in the new
year with friends and relatives in New Jersey, and then drove to begin my life
in New York City on January 1st.
I’m eternally grateful to Ellie & Vic Wolhandler for providing me a
place to stay while I settled in to the city.
I jumped right in to acting classes and auditions, and within a few
weeks, had gotten a sizeable part in an independent film (partly because I had
a beard) (yet to be released), had registered and begun 5 weekly acting
classes, had booked a corporate training video for Sony Theaters (partly
because I shaved the beard), had been cast in an off-Broadway play, and had
made a voiceover demo tape. I still
managed to see over 100 movies (not quite as many as last year, but I only saw
3 during June, for reasons you’ll see in a second…).
gotten to a few museums (Natural History with my friend Angelica, the NYC Fire
Museum, the NYC Transit Museum, Tibet House) and comedy clubs (Comedy Cellar,
Carolines, Gotham Comedy Club, and the Comic Strip with Peter and the girls
from the acting workshop) and a Broadway show or two (Rent with my friend
Samantha, The Scarlet Pimpernel (or is that Scarlet Pumpernickel?)). I hate the self-centeredness of the people
in this city, but each time I step into Times Square, I still have trouble
believing it’s real.
through April, I taught half of a general chemistry class at Hunter College in
the city and did a little partying with my friend Chuck who lives across the
river in NJ (the wanker is moving back to OH now). Justin also came down from Boston for a visit in February after
which I took off for Indiana for a few days to do some consulting. In March, I visited my friend Milissa in
Binghamton, we had our only snow in NYC all year (only a dusting!…global
warming?…evil chemistry?!), I continued auditioning my butt off, I finally joined a gym, and Justin played
a gig I went to at CBGB (a club in NYC).
I also moved into a rather nice/large (for NYC!) basement apartment in
Queens, cutting my commute to Times Square down from over 90 minutes (10 miles)
to about 15 (less than 1 mile) on the subway.
Distance vs. travel time in NY
vs. IN is just a little bit different!
April, I visited Justin in Boston when Mom was there, and Milissa visited NYC and
we got to see the Conan O’Brien show (easy to get tickets, as opposed to
Letterman or O’Donnell). I was also an
extra in several films (including The Siege with Bruce Willis and Denzel
Washington), a harrowing experience I don’t recommend to anyone!
the beginning of May, I flew to IN for my friend Elizabeth’s wedding. When I got back, I got my first meeting with
a very big agent here in NY and LA. To
get the really big auditions, you have to have a big agent. I also took a cartoon voice workshop and was
told that I’m “one of the few people who has a chance in hell of making a
living in this business”. Supposedly,
voice work is even harder to break into than “regular” acting. I’ve had auditions for Citibank,
Bubblicious, Showtime and Publisher’s Clearinghouse, but no work yet. At the end of the month, I flew back to IN for my friend Renee’s
wedding, and thanks to the morons at Northwest, I nearly missed the wedding and
it took 19 hours for me to get back
from IN to NY.
June…..I joined the circus! Well, not
exactly. I was offered a job as “Granpa
Cratchet,” a large Muppet-like puppet who’s a 103 year-old country-boy from
Sharpsville, IN! For the next several
months, I drove 13,000 miles around the country doing 1-man shows at county
fairs and the like. The tour took me to
some beautiful areas of the country (in order, NYC, Pittsburgh area, Chicago,
Mississippi, Nebraska, Wisconsin, IN, VA near DC, NYC again, Pittsburgh area
again, OH, VT, IN, and NC). Some
thoughts from the tour- “carnies” are exactly like you’d think, and doing Karaoke
with lounge singers and ventriloquists is a humorous but humbling experience! A nice bonus was that I got to see some
friends along the way, like the guys at fire dept, Holly Andersen in Richmond (from
UVA), Keith McDonald now in northern IN (from the fire dept), Ron Evans now in
MD (ditto), Heather (Mauldin) Houck at the FAA (from UVA), the Dooleys and
Dicksons in MS (from middle school!) (thankfully, when my company truck broke
down, it was near their house!), Tracy Repep in Chicago (from IU), Bill Hilbers
in VA (from high school), and my old pal Jimmy! I also got to see some great concerts, like Joan Jett, Foreigner,
and 38 Special. Incredibly, I was able
to fit the acting workshop into the tour in both June and August, and once
again made some wonderful new friends and met some great kids.
October, when I finally got back to NY (agents were calling, so it
was bad to be gone, but good to be making money!) I made an offer on a co-op in
Queens with a great view of Manhattan
(cheaper to buy than to rent here) and got a job doing another one-man show (in
NY) and another teaching job for the spring at the Cooper Union (where both my
maternal great-grandfathers went, in Greenwich Village). I recorded a new cartoon voice tape (I’ll
have it uploaded to the world wide web soon), got my hair cut (first time I’ve
felt my neck since 1984!) and got new headshots taken.
November, I got the pictures retaken (the first ones were not good!…sorry, no
copies to send yet) and headed down to FL for Thanksgiving with Mom, Justin, Grandma,
Grandma B and Uncle Paul at Aunt Sherry/Uncle Tom’s awesome new house. Disney’s Animal Kingdom is not so good, but
the Orlando Science Center is great! Mom and I also went indoor skydiving, which is just about the coolest thing I’ve ever
done …you jump into this wind tunnel where the air is moving at 120 mph, and
you “fly”! (Sadly, Justin couldn’t go
since his leg is still messed up from when that drunk driver ran into him.) Peter and I also began our weekly
cigar-smoking excursions in the city….okay, cigar smoking is just way too fashionable for me to be doing, but I gotta keep my pal
company! I also got a job doing a pilot
for a new cable channel set to start up next March. In addition to being an on-camera person, I’ll be doing the
voices for their animated channel “hosts” if all goes according to plan. I’ll keep you informed!
that brings us to December. Hilary
visited from IN and we saw the new Daffy Duck/Marvin the Martian 3-D cartoon at
the 8-story Warner Brothers Studio
Store. Then I made a quick drive to IN
to take a class so I wouldn’t lose my EMT certification and to pick up some
stuff from the house for the co-op, into which I move in mid-January. All my updated contact information for 1999
is below. Talk with you soon. Peace and love this holiday season and
throughout the coming year,