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Now 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…).


I’ve 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.


February 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!


In 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!


At 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.


In 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.


In 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.


In 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!


And 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,