Friday, March 30, 2012

Ed Asner is My New Boyfriend

A five, six, seven, eight:
“now what you hear is not a test--i'm rappin to the beat
and me, the groove, and my friends are gonna try to move your feet
see i am wonder mike and i like to say hello
to the black, to the white, the red, and the brown, the purple and yellow”

That’s right, The Girlfriend Mom got her rap on with THE Wonder Mike and Master Gee, from the original Sugarhill Gang Saturday night. I was the Production Coordinator for The Garden State Film Festival and da boys were the subject of a documentary that we screened, called, I Want My Name Back. Due to some unsavory characters and unethical practices, the band lost the right to use their own names, as well as the name of the band, The Sugarhill Gang, back in the 70’s. A real tragic story.

When the documentary ended, the band, which now includes Hendogg, DJ T Dynasty and Da Noize, performed. About 50 or so white women, in their 30's and 40's, much like myself, went ape shit when they started singing their smash hit, "Rapper's Delight".

“ya go hotel motel whatcha gonna do today (say what)
ya say im gonna get a fly girl gonna get some spankin
drive off in a def oj
everybody go, hotel motel holiday inn
say if your girl starts actin up, then you take her friend”

I should have asked them what an oj was. No mind. A good time was had by all.

The concert was off the hook, but the real fun was having Mr. Lou Grant himself, Mr. Ed Asner, introduce the documentary. Mr. Asner was at the festival to receive a Lifetime Achievement award. I don’t know who came up with the idea, but Mr. Asner agreed to say a few words before the screening.

I acted as stage manager for the night and got to wear a headset. I’m pretty sure I became an Equity stage manager (one of my many illustrious careers), for the headset. The same could be said for working on movie sets. “Copy that. Coffee is flying in.” That device reeks of importance.

Mr. Asner and his lovely daughter, Liza (with a Z), arrived backstage, and there was the crotchety and loveable newspaper man in the flesh. He is truly adorable. While I waited for my cue to call Mr. Asner out on stage, I took the opportunity to meet the man, the myth, the voice of the old guy from the movie, “Up”.

The following is a verbatim account of my conversation. I don’t know if it was the peanut butter M&M’s that I inhaled an hour earlier, or the excitement of wearing a headset, but I was hopped up and suffered from diarrhea of the mouth. On the upside, at 83 years old, Mr. Asner is funny, gruff, humble and approachable. Just like me.

ME: Hi, Mr. Asner, I’m Dani. I’m coordinating the festival.
He grabs my hand.
ED: Hello there.
ME: It’s such a pleasure to have you here.
Still holding my hand.
ED: It’s a pleasure to be had.
ME: I think it’s great and funny that you’re introducing the Sugarhill Gang’s movie.
ED: Funny? How so?
ME: Well, it’s bringing two different worlds and cultures together and...
He lets go of my hand, smiles and furrows his brow.
ME: It’s a great juxtaposition. You know what I mean.
ED: What’s your last name?
ME: Alpert
ED: Are you Yiddishkeit?
I hoped he was asking because of the sassy, and funny way that I was talking to him, and not my frizzy hair.
ME: Yes I am. And thanks for asking. (No idea what I meant by that)
ED: Ah.
ME: Why?You’re not Jewish. Are you?
ED: What do you think? Argh, come on.
This is when I regretted not doing a full background check. Not only is he Jewish, but he was raised Orthodox. I forgot to be embarrassment because I was on such a sugar and Sugarhill Gang high.
ME: I don’t remember you being in Adam Sandler’s song.
ED: Yeah, I lost money on that.
ME: Are you excited about doing "Home Alone 5"?
He was flying to Canada after the festival to film.
ED: Eh, it's only one day of shooting.
ME: Do you think you'll do any more animation?
ED: If they want me.
ME: I loved "Up"...
And here's where the sugar really kicks in.
ED: Yeah, it was a sweet movie.
ME: No, I mean, it was so touching. And you were so funny. 
Ed's just nodding at this point.
ME: It really tugged at the heart strings.
I place my hands gently over my heart.
ME: It really made me cry. (awkward pause) Okay, well, you get it.
We both took a breath.
ME: Well, I’ll leave you to ‘An Actor Prepares”.
Theater reference to a famous acting book by Stanislavski.
ED: What do I need to prepare?
ME: So true. Just go out there and be yourself.
ED: You mean be humble.
ME: You’re Ed Asner. Just be Ed Asner, that’s enough.
ED: Okay, now get away from me.

And with that, me, my headset and my mouth, walked away.

At the awards dinner the following night, I brought my boyfriend over to Mr. Ed Asner’s table, so he could meet him. I leaned over his shoulder, watching him sign autographs.
ME: Excuse me, Mr. Asner, remember me, from last night, backstage.
He looked up and again furrowed his brow.
ED: You had your hair up last night. It looks much better down. Don’t ever put it up again.
He shook my boyfriend’s hand.
ED: Nice catch but keep her hair down. Now get away from me.

And with that, me, my boyfriend and my long and luxurious hair walked away.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Go ahead, amuse me

I'm All Fooked Up!
I am thrilled and delighted to be a featured guest on All Fooked Up. Lynn has impeccable taste. Go on and check it out. Some of you might've missed this post, and that's just too much to bear. Enjoy and thank you Lynn.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Suitable for Giving: A Collection of Wit with a side of Wry

Suitable For Giving: A Collection of Wit with a side of Wry

Another suggestion for purchasing. Man this is really so much easier than writing my own shit.

A description of the book below that I lifted from

Whether she’s talking about loss of privacy in the Internet age, “Gone are the days when people only knew things about me that I wanted them to know. Now I can be Googled – and without benefit of lubrication,” or growing up Catholic, “Sticking a symbol of a brutally murdered dead guy over the bed of an impressionable young child and telling her ‘He died for your sins’ kind of messes with a kid for life,” Jayne Martin’s debut book of humor essays will have you laughing out loud from page one. A sharp observer of a world changing faster than new versions of the iPhone, Martin has gleaned this collection from over two years of posts on her popular blog aptly titled “injaynesworld… where nothing is sacred,” where she takes on everything from private parts to politics. With a voice that is both unique and accessible, Martin has crafted a body of work that will appeal to readers of all ages. A funny, fresh, often outrageous compilation, this book is most definitely “Suitable For Giving.”

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Cowboy Singer

The Cowboy Singer

This is a book that my friend and fellow writer, Paula Tiberius wrote and that everyone should purchase from Amazon.

April Connors figured her love life was on hold indefinitely now that she was about to have a baby while temporarily staying at her grandmother’s house (what a turn-on!). Meeting infamous country singer Jimmy Wick may have made her giant belly flip, but she was filing him under a big “as if.” No man in his right mind would fall for a gal this pregnant, and besides, she needed to focus on herself and the baby. James Warwick (a.k.a. Jimmy Wick) was not in his right mind. His ex-wife was petitioning for full custody of the only thing that made him happy besides playing music, his four-year-old princess, Summer, and the thought of losing her had him crazier than an outhouse rat. His saving grace was his new ‘friend’ April who he was falling head over heels for. The only problem was, April had just been knocked up, dumped and stranded by the last guy she was with and was in no mood to go down that road again. She was hellbent on getting her life back on track just as James was watching his fall apart, leaving them both caught off guard by the unstoppable romance that would sweep them off their feet.

Friday, March 16, 2012

How Much Of Your Personal Life Do You Make Public?

My neighbor, Mustang Sally, came over with her daughter last night to deliver my Girl Scout cookies. Perhaps you remember Mustang Sally’s daughter, per my post about the rude Girl Scout. I was a little suspect. Why was Mustang Sally accompanying her daughter for the drop off and was nowhere in site when the initial sale was being made.

No matter. It was a wee awkward because I was in the middle of putting groceries away, and my boyfriend was about to eat lunch, so instead of inviting them in, like we probably should have, we kept them at bay in the entryway.

We got down to business, paid her for the cookies and then my boyfriend engaged the little girl scout in conversation. She was very articulate and all I kept thinking was, “Shouldn’t we invite them in and let them sit down?” But we didn’t. I kept glaring over at the perishables on the kitchen counter, that desperately needed to be refrigerated.

While my boyfriend continued conversing, I extricated myself and moved into the kitchen. I should explain that we have an open floor plan, so even though I moved rooms, I was still visible and audible. At some point, the conversation turned to one of her seven children. She said that her thirteen year old suffers from acute anxiety, and panic attacks.

My boyfriend and I listened, while I put away our canned goods and organic beets. And then Mustang asked, “I don’t know what a panic attack is like. I’ve never had one. Have you?” My Man was silent, and I had a choice to make. Do I divulge personal information to my neighbor, who I really don’t know, or do I continue to put away my Quinoa and let my boyfriend handle it.

I felt a sudden pang of empathy towards Mustang and her son. I’ve had my share of attacks in the not so distant past, and they are not fun for anyone. I decided to risk it and I spoke up. I think even my boyfriend was surprised. I’m not sure that he knew about my attacks. I don’t know if I helped her but I think she felt a little less alone.

A few minutes after Mustang and her daughter left, I was certain that standing in my entryway made them tired, I regretted sharing myself. It’s ironic. I have no problem writing about all kinds of personal shit here and yet, sharing a piece of myself with my neighbor, was, well, too personal.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Writing on Ellen Was My Dream Job

I had a dream job many years ago. It was to write on Ellen. I believed that, what is enclosed down below, was a witty and creative way to get that job. I sent this letter to Ellen Degeneres, in 2003, during season one of her show. I decided on a 'six degrees of Ellen' theme, because she loves playing games. For the life of me, I can't imagine why I never received a call back.

p.s. I'll probably get busted for using some of these photos. Ho hum.

Objective: Bringing young Jewish female writers back to daytime.

December 15, 2003
Ms. Ellen Degeneres
c/o The Ellen Degeneres Show                                                                         

Dear Ellen,

I’ve never written a letter like this before, except the one I wrote to the Bay City Rollers asking them to jam at my Sweet 16 party. Other than that, this is my first. It’s been my life’s ambition to work on your show. Yeah, I know it’s only been on for four months, but what a dramatical sentence.

As a fellow writer and comedian, you know how important inspiration and motivation are to the creative process. If that’s absent, well, how many times can you re-organize your photo albums? Or Google everyone in your address book? So, when you find a person and a show that you connect with, that makes you want to work harder, that speaks your truth… sorry, too much therapy… you do whatever it takes to be in the company of such a person and show because you know that it can only make you stronger, faster, and smarter. 

It would be a real shanda if I didn’t make the effort. Not to test ones potential and living a life of ‘what ifs’’ is far worse than risking looking like an idiot. As my grandmother Ruth used to say, “Keep your feet firmly planted on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.” Oh, poo, that was Casey Kasam, wasn’t it? 

My talents and experiences have taken me from musical theater to film school, to stand up and writing features and everything in between. I’ve written and produced for The Animal Planet and I’ve unclogged a certain actress’s bathtub drain while working as a Production Assistant.

In addition to the aforementioned industry experiences, we have a lot in common. I hate to fly as well. Although traveling business does makes it bearable. If I’m going down, I’m going down watching a movie on my private screen, laying prostrate, drinking — which could make me choke but hell, I’m going to die anyway, so what’s the big whoop? I eat fast too. My father eats even faster. He has that stray dog mentality. Your dog is Lucy. Mine was Ricky. He died a few months ago. I miss him.   

I didn’t ask my agents for help because I’m tired of putting my career in someone else's hands, and they don’t care as much as I do. By meeting me, you’ll see how much of an asset I can be to you and your show. I’m a hardworking, funny, bright, spirited girl, who puts the ass in asset. 

Lest you think me right off the turnip truck, let’s play a game I like to call, ‘Six Degrees Of Ellen,” to put your mind at east. Come on, it’ll be fun.

David S. Rosenthal. (These Friends of Mine/Ellen) His father, Mort, married my ex-husband and I. Nice job, Mort. David wasn’t even at the wedding. Now that I think of it, he didn’t send a gift. Eh, my ex got him in the divorce anyway.
Mort the Rabbi (in the middle)

Karen Kilgariff, a writer on your show, used to write on Hype. My friend, Chris Williams, was on that show. We grew up together in Chappaqua, NY, home of sex scandals. His sister, Vanessa and those nudie pics, (what a summer that was) and now it’s home to Bill and Hillary. Nuff said.

Jack Plotnick. (Ellen) We’re in a show called, In Their Own Words- Readings from Celebrity Autobiographies. I read Joan Lunden’s autobiography, where she informs us how she stacks her clothes every night in the order that she puts them on each morning, “That is, panties on top, then bra.”
Jack Plotnick (right)

The Todd Sisters. (If These Walls Could Talk 2) They hosted a bachelorette party for my writing partner, Alexandra Wentworth, who you know. I was hired as her head writer on a pilot. But if you don’t like Ali, then neither do I.
Me and Ali  (photo credit- People Magazine)

Ric Swartzlander. (The Ellen Show) He used to be a writing client at a small literary agency, where I worked. I didn’t like my boss but I liked Ric, unless he was mean to you, in which case, he’s dumb.

Sally Kirkland. (Ed TV) In 1989, I was a PA on her film, High Stakes. Can’t say much about her. I was busy flirting with the Teamsters. They'd want me to work with you, and you know how persuasive they can be.
Sally Kirkland

Pete Yorn. You love them and my ex–husband’s band performed with Pete. When I come in, I’ll bring a CD.

A special thanks to whoever took the time to read this letter and then passed it on to you.