Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I Have No Problem With People Named Billy Joe Or Tater Tots

So, I recently cut off about thirteen inches of my hair.

But I am not here to talk about that - about what incredibly bravery it took to take that step, about the mental anguish I went through afterwards, about the resources needed to completely revamp my acting life - no, I am not going to talk about any of that.

What I would like to discuss is something much more insidious than any ghost story.  More unnerving than both of Bush's presidencies.  More troubling than Ethan Hawke's acting career.

I am speaking, of course, of Locks of Love.

Ok, maybe its not that bad.

Locks of Love is a really lovely organization that collects hair of a certain length from people willing to donate in order to make wigs for kids under 21 who have lost their hair due to medical problems or medications. 

Seems kind enough, right?

Well, I was all set to become one of these righteous, selfless people who donates their hair to those in need.  I get my hair cut by the wonderful Stephen Keough - do yourself a favor and get your hair cut by him if you live in the New York City area - and I came home with my bag full of hair, all ready to look up where I could take it and drop it off.

You can imagine my surprise when I got to the website.

All hair donations must be mailed to Locks of Love at:

234 Southern Blvd.
West Palm Beach, FL 33405-2701

I was completely floored.

For some reason, this completely weird-ed me out.  I have to send my hair through the mail?  Does that seem discomforting to anyone else?

My hair was apart of me, it was a big part of what defined me since I was 12 years old.  And you just want me to throw that in an envelope and send it to Florida? 

The more and more I think about this, the more and more I feel really uncomfortable.  

You mean I don't get to see who actually receives my hair?  What if some weirdo just set up this website and has this hair sent to his house.  Just some creepy guy with piles of hair everywhere. 

What if the person who opens the package doesn't do so with enough reverence?  There should be candles lit (kept far enough away from the hair of course), other-worldly music must be playing, it should be laid on a pillow on a silver platter and gently carried to where it will be most daintily constructed into the most beautiful wig for the next spiritual leader of the new millennium.

I know what you're thinking, and yes, I know I'm not asking for much and these requests aren't out of line at all.

Its good to know you're on my side.

But instead it might be some guy named Billy Joe who just went to the bathroom (and didn't wash his  hands, by the way), and is eating tater tots with the one hand, while he rips the packaging open and just tosses my beautiful golden-brown hair into a trash bag of other hair waiting to be carted off.

Of course I am going to send my hair in.  Locks of Love is a wonderful organization that helps really deserving kids out there, and I am really honored that I get to be apart of helping someone feel better. 

But still, kinda ranks up there with, like, sending a tooth through the mail.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Emoting Ahead. Be Warned.

Ok, Internet, its time to get personal.

This coming Monday, October 3, the life of a man very close to me will change forever.  My roommate, best friend and adopted brother, Bryan Fenkart will begin the first step of a journey that will out him even further on his path.  This isn't a figurative journey, but an actual one.

For the past two years, Bryan has been understudying the lead role of Huey in the Broadway production of Memphis.  He was the first choice of everyone and anyone who matters to star in Memphis' touring company.  This Monday he will get on a plane, and head off into the wild, blue yonder.

I met Bryan about eight years ago.  It was my very first year in New York, and I got cast in a Nosedive production called Mayonnaise Sandwiches.  It was a tiny, no-money production in a the basement "theater" of an old church.  As my first show in NYC, I loved every second of it.  It honestly changed my life forever, mostly because of the lanky young actor who was playing opposite me.

He was a man of extreme talent and potential.  He played guitar and piano, he was smart, funny and handsome, he was confident and definitely the most interesting person I had ever met.

Obviously, the first thing I did was fall head over heels in love with him.  I was a starry-eyed young Virginian transplant to New York City and was in no means immune to his charms.

I thank my lucky stars that there was never any relationship between us.

Instead, over the next years a very strong, steady, rewarding friendship grew between us.  We became roommates almost 4 years ago, and since then he has been a constant source of encouragement and solace in my life.  He was with me when my grandfather died and my first serious, grow-up boyfriend left me.  He was with me when I got cast in Law and Order and when I met the man I'm going to marry.  Bryan has been with me at my very best and my very worst.

Throughout the years, I have watched Bryan's career.  He has gone from teeny-tiny productions to Broadway, from playing Jersey coffee houses to playing with Richie Cannata to sold out houses.  Through the years he has proved again and again his talent is immense and fair reaching.

Throughout his ride with Memphis thus far, I have really seen him step up his game.  He has worked harder and more than ever.  I have never been as proud of him as I am now.  I am so lucky to count him as part of my family.  He is a continual source of inspiration.

I'm not completely sure why I am writing this.  I know when he leaves both James and I are going to miss him terribly.  Life will definitely be a little more subdued.  I know I'll be sad once in a while, but I am so excited for all he's got ahead of him.  I guess I'm saying that I hope everyone has a friend like I have.  He's held me when I've cried and bolstered my courage when it's waned.  He's laughed with me in the most ridiculous situations and trusted me with his own hurts.  I really couldn't have been luckier when it comes to my New York family.

The tour dates are as follows:

October 14 at the Orpheum Theatre in Memphis, where it will play through October 23.

Other venues include Houston, TX (October 25-30)
Tulsa, OK (November 1-6)
Oklahoma City, OK (November 8-13)
Nashville, TN (November 15-20)
Chicago, IL (November 22 - December 4)
Toronto, ON (December 6-25)
Pittsburgh, PA (December 27-January 1, 2012)
Charlotte, NC (January 3-8)
Hartford, CT (January 10-15)
Philadelphia, PA (January 17-22)
Durham, NC (January 24-29)
Atlanta, GA (January 31-February 5)
Clearwater, FL (February 7-12)
Naples, FL (February 14-19)
Greenville, SC (February 21-26)
Cleveland, OH (February 28-March 11)
St. Paul, MN (March 13-25)
East Lansing, MI (March 27-April 1)
Baltimore, MD (April 3-8)
Hershey, PA (April 10-15)
Schenectady, NY (April 17-22)
Des Moines, IA (April 24-29)
St. Louis, MO (May 1-13)
Dallas, TX (May 15-27)
Columbus, OH (May 29-June 3)
Buffalo, NY (June 5-10)
Washington, DC (June 12-July 1)
Kansas City, MO (July 10-15)
Las Vegas, NV (July 17-22)
San Diego, CA (July 24-29)
Los Angeles, CA (July 31-August 12)

If he is coming to a city near you, do yourself a favor and see the show.  He's gonna be a huge star one day, and you'll want to say "you saw him when".

I love you very much, Bryan.  Go be awesome, you son of a bitch.