Thursday, March 24, 2011

Fred Phelps, free clothes and hand modeling

On Tuesday, I went to a counter-demonstration against Fred Phelps and members of the Westboro Baptist "Church." They threatened to protest outside a Howell High School production of the Laramie Project, a play about the lynching of gay college student, Matthew Shepherd, in 1998 in Laramie, Wyoming.

Of course, Phelps and his crazy family members didn't show up. They're fairly notorious for sending out press releases announcing their intentions to protest, and then never actually doing so.

Instead, the counter-protest turned into a demonstration against hate and a rally of support for the students' production. It was definitely the most festive rally I've been to in a long time. Plus, I forgot how much energy high school students have! I was really impressed by their ability to "woo" and scream loudly every time a car passed by and offered a supportive honk or wave.

For more information about Fred Phelps (and a hilarious look at his life and opinions), check out Brent Sullivan performing his one-person show, Fag Life: A Conversation with Fred Phelps.

I retired to bed fairly early after the demonstration because I had an early morning call time for my commercial shoot for DTE Energy the next day. In the ad, I played a woman doing laundry who discovers that her washer is broken and has leaked suds all over the floor. It was fairly easy as all I had to do was act horrified upon discovering the leak, immediately drop my laundry basket and then try to slam the washer door shut.

I also got to do some hand modeling. In one of the scenes, there's a shot of my hands signing some paperwork to enroll in DTE coverage. I learned from one of the other actors on the set that in "the biz," hand modeling is referred to as a "hand job." He then proceeded to tell me some stories of discussing hand jobs with fellow hand models and the strange looks he used to get from passersby.

After the shoot, I mentioned to one of the women in the wardrobe department that I liked the outfit they put me in because it was so comfortable. She replied, "oh, we just got that at Value World, and we can't return it. So you can keep it if you'd like." She then said I could look through the other outfits they picked for me, and if I wanted to take them home, I could. So, by the end of the evening, I ended up with three new shirts!

All in all, it was a successful day. I got some free clothes...and I got paid for my first hand job.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Prom dresses, auditions and art gallery comedy shows

Today, I went to the mall with my friend, Molly, and we did what any self-respecting women in their twenties and thirties do: we spent two hours trying on prom dresses.

Perhaps this seemed appealing because I wore what might quite possibly be the most hideous prom dress in the history of all prom-wear, and I wanted to redeem myself. Or perhaps we had a case of stress and sleep-deprivation induced giggles, and covering ourselves with feet of satin seemed like the best thing to do at the time.

After trying on a few frocks (especially the one that made me look like a Disney villain princess), I was left with a desire to go to the prom again. Or to the Oscars. I think the Oscars would be the more appropriate choice as if I even attempted to attend the prom at this point in my life, I would be stepping into some serious Mary Kay Letourneau territory.

After reluctantly putting the prom dresses back on the racks and bidding them adieu, I went to an audition for a car commercial. I think it went decently. It definitely wasn't great, but I don't think it was terrible either. The audition went by so quickly; we went in groups of two, introduced ourselves and had to say what an exciting Friday night for us entails, and then we did a short improvisation where we played a couple driving to a Friday night date.

I kind of fibbed about what an exciting Friday night entails for me. I told the casting director that I do stand-up comedy, and that I enjoy either performing or seeing stand-up shows on Fridays. That part is true.

The part I omitted is that an exciting Friday night for me usually means me blasting New Kids on the Block or rap music (think Lil Wayne) and choreographing dance routines and then performing them for myself in the mirror. Now, in retrospect, since everyone else was saying their ideal Friday nights consisted of dinner and drinks, this definitely would have made me stand out. However, revealing this detail would have officially made me the lamest person at the audition.

After the audition, I headed down to Toledo to take part in the Truth Comedy Jam, which was a benefit show for the Independent Advocates (an organization that provides court advocacy to survivors of domestic violence). The show was a lot of fun, and I got to meet two very funny (and really nice) fellow female comics (Elissa Marcus and Lucé Tomlin-Brenner). It also marked my first time performing at an art gallery, which was great because I didn't have to worry about people heckling, passing out in their seats or rushing the stage. Yay to upscale one-nighters!

That's me, Elissa, Lucé, Rachel and Rebecca (the two founders of Independent Advocates).

The only thing that would have made the show cooler was if I got to perform in my prom dress.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Protesting and puking

So…I think I’m going to try something new. Usually, I only update my blog when I’ve had some interesting (well, if you count performing for drunks at one-nighters in bowling alleys as interesting) gigs and far-away road trips. But, I think I want to start writing here more, like, about day-to-day sorts of things. I know, I know, that might be really boring to you, but I’m pretty sure only about 7 people read this thing anyway, so I guess you might just have to grin and bear it.

I suppose I’ll start by talking about what I’ve been up to for the past week or two. I’ve attended more demonstrations and rallies this month than I have in a long time. You see, Kate Brindle HATES the cold the way the Duggars hate birth control. So unless I’m in a southern state, California or Hawaii, my protesting tends to dwindle a bit in January and February. I’m not opposed to going out in a blizzard for a cause I believe in, but I much prefer wearing flip-flops while holding a sign and passing out leaflets.

Once March hit, the weather started to warm up a bit (well, I’m not sure if 30 degrees counts as “warming up,” but it’s a heck of a lot hotter than 6), so I broke out my long underwear, hat and gloves, and hit the public sidewalks. Here are some shots from a protest against a donkey basketball game at Redford Union High School (we also held a protest against a game that happened in Whitmore Lake, Michigan). For more information about these cruel games (and how you can stop them), please visit:

I also went to a rally at the state capitol building to protest against Governor Snyder’s proposed budget (in which he taxes senior citizens’ pensions to pay for a $1.5 billion tax cut for business, and also makes drastic cuts to education). Some pictures from the event:

Love protesting with my mom!

And rather than drinking green beer, I spent my St. Patrick’s Day protesting against the University of Michigan Survival Flight course’s use of live cats and pigs in cruel and deadly medical-training exercises (even though U of M already uses state-of-the-art human-patient simulators to teach the same skills in other courses for nurses and physicians). One of my former co-workers from PETA, Lauren, was in town from Virginia, and she led the demo.

After the demo, Drew and I showed her around Ann Arbor and joined her for lunch at Jazzy Veggie. She got quite the eye full as we drove through campus and showed her all of the frat and sorority houses. Being that it was St. Patrick’s Day, there were people outside the houses drinking, dancing, grinding on each other, playing sand volleyball and making out (not all at the same time). We even saw one girl almost puke on the street. And this was all before 2 in the afternoon.

I barely drank on St. Patrick’s Day, although I did have a Bud Light and a red-headed slut (the drink, not the person) at the Aut Bar before attending the Palestine Film Festival and then returning home by 10 pm. How old/lame am I?

Although, I don’t feel too bad because I’m sure all of the sand volleyball players/maker-outers were passed out by 7 pm, so I guess I beat them by 3 hours.

I had good reason to go to bed early though because I had an early call time for a commercial shoot the following day. Earlier in the week, I auditioned for and was cast in a commercial for Beaumont Hospital. The shoot was tons of fun! Everyone was super nice, craft services rocked, and the director had a great sense of humor (in fact, in between takes, we exchanged old bar jokes). And the little girl who played my daughter in the last commercial I did played my daughter in this one, too. Plus, the hair stylists made my hair look like Shelby’s from Steel Magnolias. I felt like I was going to the prom. And that was pretty awesome. I didn’t take any pictures from the set, so I suppose I’ll include a photo of Julia Roberts with said hairstyle.

I’m not sure when the commercial is set to air, but if anyone lives in Southeastern Michigan and sees it, let me know as I rarely watch tv and I’d probably have a better chance of seeing Martha Stewart in Meijer.

After my commercial shoot (and on Saturday night, too) I performed with Tim Rowlands and Dwayne Gill at Monte’s in Mt. Clemens, Michigan. It was a blast to see both of them, and the crowds were a lot of fun. On one of the nights, fellow comic and friend, Jason Benci, came to visit, and we ended up going to another bar to feather bowl.

I know what you’re probably thinking, “feather bowling? Ah, what?”

It sounds like some sort of dish birds eat out of, no? But, it’s actually a game. Think bocce ball meets curling. I have no idea what the rules are beyond that. All I know is that we were pretty terrible. But, it was nice to catch up and to meet fellow drunk people who were also attempting to play.

So that’s what I’ve been up to. I’d like to close by leaving you with a video that features my main squeeze doing a mic takeover to expose the cruelty that goes on in the University of Michigan’s animal labs. Click here to watch him in action.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Casinos and prison love

I had a lovely weekend in northern Michigan (well, minus the whole snow and ice part). I performed at the Press Box in Mancelona, Michigan on Friday night. Until a few months ago, I had never heard of Mancelona (and up until the night of the show, I mistakenly kept referring to it as "Macedonia"). But, Rob, one of the owners of the Press Box, saw me do a show at Joey's Comedy Club in Livonia, Michigan, and asked me if I would come up to his small town and perform. I jumped at the chance.

Rob and his family were so hospitable! And the crowd was on fire! I had such a blast at the show. And I even got to see my name on this:

Pretty spiffy, eh?

There were several local comics who came by to do some time, and I was really impressed by them. I also got to catch up with the parents of a good friend of mine from middle and high school who came out to the show to see me. And, believe it or not, they weren't the only Dexter folks in the crowd. There was a 1972 graduate of Dexter High School in the front row. I suppose you never know when you're going to find a Dreadnaught.

Post-show, Rob and I even got to talk Noam Chomsky and conspiracy theories. I don't know that I've ever discussed these issues when so much alcohol was involved, but it was a nice conversation nonetheless.

Here's my hotel room from Mancelona. It was so rustic and cute!

And the best part? MSNBC had a late-night marathon of Lock Up. Have I mentioned what a sucker I am for a good prison love story? And let me tell you, Lock Up has prison love stories aplenty!

On Saturday night, I performed with headliner, Frank Roche, at the Odawa Casino in Petoskey. This was my second time playing there, and I had a great time! There were a couple of audience members (who we nicknamed Stripes and Flattop) who provided much ammunition and many laughs.

After the show, I was supposed to see some friends of mine (who I met in grad school). They were having a ski weekend in Gaylord, and I was going to join them as I don't get to see them much, but because the roads were so bad, I wasn't able to meet up with them. I did, however, stick around at the casino and chat about healing and meditation for a while. It felt slightly odd to discuss such issues at a smoke-filled bar, but it was also quite calming. Well, at least I think it was the discussion that was calming. It could very well have been the Bud Light.

My drive home on Sunday night was rather uneventful. The roads were pretty clear by then, which was most excellent as that allowed me to focus way more energy on belting out Enrique Iglesias (Have you heard "Tonight, I'm Lovin' You?" Holy crap, does it ever get in your head! Oh, and PS, while I was looking up lyrics for that song, I found out the true name of it. Apparently, I've been listening to the radio-edited version. Naughty, naughty!).

That's all for now. Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Performing in Florida for the first time

At the end of February, I performed in Florida for the first time. My good friend, Keith Lenart, and I piled into his van and made the long 20 hour trek from Ann Arbor down to Orlando. The drive was pretty treacherous, but oh so worth it. When we finally arrived and I stepped out of the van, I found myself in the most pleasant heat.

When we checked into the hotel, this was staring at me.

Ah, what vacation would be complete without origami towels?

Our hotel was very beach/water-themed. Even the pillows were beach balls.

This is where we stayed:

And a view of the pool. Not too shabby, eh?

The 24 hour dentist that was across the street from our hotel. Good for when you get drunk and crack your teeth at 3 am.

This ride (which I was much too chicken to go on) was also across from our hotel. Perhaps next time I'll ride it...or when I have a whole slew of Xanax.

At our first show, we worked at the Orlando Jai-Alai club (pronounced like high lie). Well, allow me to clarify. We performed comedy, but it happened to be at a place that also hosted Ja-Alai games. Nobody handed us jerseys and helmets and demanded that we get out on the court.

I had never seen Jai-Alai, and when we watched it, I was a bit confused. I watched it for about a half hour, and I'm not that much more clear on the rules now, but I'm pretty sure they have something to do with whipping the ball back and forth as hard as you can. Oh yeah, and there's some sort of betting that goes on. And swearing. There was a lot of that, too.

On Sunday, per usual, we took silly pictures (no trip is complete without them).

We also had a bit more pool time.

Then we headed to Daytona Beach to stay with Keith's friend, Jo (she has a beautiful three bedroom condo right on the beach there). We happened to be in town when the Daytona 500 was also happening.

Randomly, we decided to get tickets. We figured there was no way we would have any luck as the Daytona 500 is the biggest event in all of NASCAR (it's pretty much like the fossil fuel-burning Olympics). So we drove up and down International Speedway Drive and, on a whim, approached one of the scalpers selling tickets. Keith talked him way down in price, and we eventually got tickets for $55.00 each.

Despite knowing nothing about NASCAR, I was excited to see the spectacle that is this race (I also figured it would be filled with comedy gold). We then attempted to find parking. All of the strip malls and fast food joints along International Speedway Drive were charging between $35 and $50 for a spot. So Keith decided to venture into the actual speedway.

We were stopped by a man that fit nearly every stereotype of NASCAR-lovers (thick accent, jagged teeth and a beer logo t-shirt). He informed us that all of the spots were reserved for people with disabilities, but then followed up by saying, "but, if y'all can find a spot, you're welcome to it."

So we hunted for a bit, and hot damn if we didn't actually find one!

We headed into the race, and walked around for a bit before attempting to locate our seats. We even got as close to the track as they let you, and I was nearly blown away by the noise and speed of the cars. Holy crap do they ever go fast!

I then asked a security guard where our "turn two terrace" seats were located. "They're right over on turn two" was his reply.

I pondered for a moment and then said, "Um, and that would be where now?"

He looked at me like I had just stabbed a baby. How could I possibly not know where turn two is located? I'm sure he thought I was a huge disgrace to America.

We eventually found our seats, and I was shocked by how many people cheer for the cars (it's not like the drivers can hear them over all of that engine noise). We also got to witness Dale Jr. take the lead. You would have thought it was the second coming of Christ by all of the noise that took place.

I doubt I'll ever watch it again as I don't really believe in wasting that many natural resources just for entertainment, and also because I found it kind of boring. But, it was an experience, and I did get quite a few chuckles from watching all of the drunks attempt to successfully climb stairs without falling down.

Here are some of the pictures:

We spent the rest of our days in Daytona being completely lazy. We lounged on the beach, read, went to the movies (we went to the cutest little indie theatre called Cinematique), chatted and played bored games (I would like to take this time to officially gloat over my 6-1 record at dominoes against Keith).

I also spent some time catching up with friends and family members from Michigan. Apparently, they were getting record snowfall while Keith and I were lounging in 85 degree heat. Rough life, eh?

This is the view I woke up to every morning:

And some shots from the beach:

On two of the days, Jo took us over to her friend's condo in New Smyrna Beach. It featured gorgeous views, too! But, the best part of the trips over there was drinking box wine and exchanging dirty jokes with women who could have been my grandmother. I definitely got some keepers. Plus, I laughed ridiculously hard!

Keith and me in New Smyrna:

On one of the days, we got to watch the shuttle Discovery take off for her last mission. It was pretty amazing to see! The most interesting part is that you see the rocket launch, and then, about three minutes later, you hear it launch. Sometimes I'm still blown away by some of the technology humans have. This was definitely one of those times.

After staying nearly a week with Jo (that's her with Keith), we headed back to Orlando to work at another club.

This time, we worked at an entertainment complex that was home to a bowling alley and arcade. Not only were the crowds fantastic, but we also got to play arcade games for free. Score!

That's Keith winning big (and avenging our failed audition for the actual show) on Deal or No Deal.

And then the punching bag happened. One question, Internet: who's not afraid of this?

This was after I trashed-talked to some 14-year-olds, challenged them to a punch off, and then lost. In the sarcastic words of Charlie Sheen, winning!

Keith's turn.

After our last Saturday show in Orlando, we decided to get back in the van and drive all night to Michigan. The drive wasn't nearly as painful as I thought it would be, and we passed our time listening to lefty podcasts, belting out Cheap Trick songs and rapping along to Jay-Z.

Now I can cross another state off the list. Here's to performing in all 50!