Friday, October 30, 2009

Coffee Church

I have a recommendation for this great (and affordable) place to escape midtown for coffee that takes Starbucks and wipes the windows of a burned out car with it. I call it... Coffee Church. Its this unexpected space off the lobby of the Le Parker Meridien hotel (119 West 56th, NY NY 10019) that looks like a church. The ceilings must be 6 stories high, they have candles like the ones in the church my Grandma used to go to and the chandeliers are giant black metal gothic things.

Whats great about the space:
-its smack dab in the middle of wretched, busy, noisy midtown. So if you have to escape the noise, this is a nice place to scoot.
-The plush couches are grouped so that if you're alone, you can actually *be* alone. Or if you are with people, you can sit as a gaggle.
-CHEAP coffee ($1 more than Starbucks, and you get all this churchy ambience)
-The waitresses leave you alone. Both times I went, I stayed for about an hour. They seriously do not bother you. In fact both times I had to get up and ask for my check.
-The place is never packed. I went once around 3pm and another day around 7pm. Both times: not busy. Walk in, throw yourself on a couch, escape the noise and breathe.

This is how they serve coffee:

The coffee is only $1 more than Starbucks. A value!
More Mark: Press | Email | FaceBook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Youtube | Website | Flickr

Nasty look from father of child on subway platform

I've been reconsidering my assumptions and snap judgements the past few days, so it was pleasing, but not surprising, when the nasty look a father gave towards my shoes made me go from "How dare he judge my shoes I bought at Wal Mart one year ago that are white-turned-grey?" to "I don't know why he is scowling at me; maybe he saw a rat scurry behind me."

I didn't move from my place at the wall, while he stayed, cradling his baby right next to the subway tracks. I was pleased enough to have avoided a potentially negative few minutes caused by his nasty look. Just then someone walked by, looked towards my shoes and went "Ew." I turned to my left and on the drain grate right next to me were about 15 red roaches.
More Mark: Press | Email | FaceBook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Youtube | Website | Flickr

Thursday, October 29, 2009


These are two wigs a friend has. Both of them are men's wigs, but from the Amadeus time period, so they have ponytails and feathery bangs. My friend loves this time period, and even decorated his apartment in the style, as seen in the photo.
More Mark: Press | Email | FaceBook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Youtube | Website | Flickr

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I might like augmented reality

I think augmented reality might be wonderful. I'd like to try it.
More Mark: Press | Email | FaceBook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Youtube | Website | Flickr

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Bronx

I took a walk to the New York Botanical Gardens and this is what I saw along the way.






More Mark: Press | Email | FaceBook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Youtube | Website | Flickr

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Fall Foliage in Central Park

More Mark: Press | Email | FaceBook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Youtube | Website | Flickr

October Pumpkins

Union Square: Pumpkins and all sorts of squash are on sale in the rain at the Saturday Farmers market.

Central Park: The Pumpkin Festival happens int he center of the park around 72nd Street (I think) with live performances, trick or treating, games, and fall foliage that is spectacular.

Central Park: They hand out free pumpkins to anyone who wants them. Isn't that great?
More Mark: Press | Email | FaceBook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Youtube | Website | Flickr

UCB: This is not worth it

I *still* have not seen the *one* required improv show, written the term paper about the required improv show, or registered for Level 201. Now Level 201 is sold out and Level 101 is sold out until December.

On a positive note, I figured out how to see an improv show at UCB after two attempts and one 15 minute "WTF? session" spent on their website figuring it all out. To see the Tuesday night show, here is what you need to know:
1. Make a reservation online. Reservations open up on the Wednesday before the show, which is the following Tuesday. Then follow the directions on the email they send you.
2. Show up to the show 30-45 minutes ahead of the show, and wait in a line outside. Every single human being in the line is 19 years old... except you.
3. If you do not make a reservation, you wait in the stand-by line. Show up 30-45 minutes for that, too. And, even tough you wait that long, you may not even get into the show.
4. The show is cash-only.
I made a reservation for next week's Tuesday night "new harold" show. I have no idea if I write the paper that that will carry over to the December session (if I am even in NYC in December).

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Thursday, October 22, 2009

London Symphony at Lincoln Center

Wednesday night (10-21-09) I saw the London Symphony at Lincoln Center. I've not been to a symphony before, which is why I bought the ticket. I was on the third level which is the highest (and cheapest) seating area, but I could see just fine. Being so high up freaked me out at first, but I got used to it. I was near the ceiling.

There were two parts, with one intermission. The first part was 30 minutes and boring. I debated whether to leave during intermission, but I stayed. The second "act" was Symphony #4 by Mahler. There seemed to be twice as many instruments as in the first "act." And YAY for the jingle bells in that first section of symphony #4. They and the rest of that first section held my attention. Its all crazy and unexpected. The musicians got very physical while playing it. It was fun to try and catch where each sound was coming from as it popped up out of nowhere. There was a harp, but I never caught the person playing it. And there was one person in the back corner playing... the triangle.

The rest of Symphony #4 was, unfortunately, hellishly boring. I sat there, cracked my neck and back a few times and remained quiet. And then I left.
More Mark: Press | Email | FaceBook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Youtube | Website | Flickr

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The third time I might actually see the show

I want to start classes at UCB again. I took level 1 last summer but did not fulfill the "see one show at UCB while enrolled in your class at UCB" requirement. So according to the person who runs the classes, before I can enroll in Level 2, I must (a) see an improv show at UCB and (b) write a paper about what I saw at the show. Fine. I like improv and writing a paper about an improv show sounds weird, but will probably be fun and educational for me.

The first time I attempted to fulfill this requirement was Friday night. Walked by the theatre, saw they had a show at 7pm with two groups performing, and thought "Great." I bought a ticket, sat down with ten other audience members, and proceeded to watch a sketch show. Not an improv show.

The second time I attempted to fulfill this requirement was last night. I had 3 hours to kill between an audition and the 8pm show, so I walked around the city for 2.5 hours. I showed up for the 8pm show at 7:30pm, this time knowing it is indeed an improv show, and there are two lines: one for people with reservations (reservations?) and a standby line. Its 7:30pm and already it appeared sold out. And, they only take cash, of which I have none.

So now I must make a third attempt to see a show to fulfill this requirement to take an improv class, this time (a) making sure it is indeed an improv show, (b) making a reservation, (c) showing up more than 30 minutes early, and (d) having cash.
More Mark: Press | Email | FaceBook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Youtube | Website | Flickr

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

All I Want For Christmas by and Ed and Mark

Recorded October 19, 2009 on the sidewalk in New York City in front of many a passersby after a gross drink (see below). And you know what? The passersby liked it. (For those of you who do not know my voice, in this recording, I am the one singing the lyrics.)


Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas as sung by Mark & Ed

Recorded October 19, 2009 in a diner at a counter eating cake.


Friday, October 16, 2009

Moon River lyrics don't make one damn bit of sense and Shirley Bassey sings the huckleberry out it

Good Christ listen to Shirley Bassey oversing this!

I've heard Moon River three times this week in three different situations. The tune is lovely. I love the tune, as does the entire world. Its a classic. But beyond the pretty la la notes, this song makes no sense. The lyrics make no sense. Below, I try to make sense of it and fail.

Moon River, wider than a mile,
I'm crossing you in style some day.

Ok, the singer sees a river he wants to cross "in style" in the future. Its a wide river. And he is so keen on crossing said river, he's predetermined the "style" he's going to cross it in. Perhaps a lovely riverboat with chandeliers and poker tables.

Oh, dream maker, you heart breaker,
wherever you're going I'm going your way.

Whoa. Where the hell did a "dream maker" come from? The singer was talking about crossing a river and now he brings up this thing called a "dream maker." Why? I want to hear more about this river. But now that you bring it up, what is a "dream maker"? Moving on, he gives us his second goal: to follow it. He doesn't care where. I think he does care and is lying. He wants to cross the mile-wide Moon River in a stylish riverboat. He said so earlier.

Two drifters off to see the world.
There's such a lot of world to see.

Now the singer has coupled himself in his mind with this other character, the dream maker. I don't understand. And he states the obvious: the world is big. And still no mention of the river. What happened to the river?

We're after the same rainbow's end--
waiting 'round the bend,
my huckleberry friend,
Moon River and me.

What the hell?! How can the singer and the dream maker be after the same goal? He just revealed he is *following* the dream maker. Oh wait. He did make up this shit about him and the dream maker being the same being earlier. So now, since they are "one," they want the same thing. What is that thing? And what the DAMn hell is a huckleberry friend? I do not care for these lyrics.
More Mark: Press | Email | FaceBook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Youtube | Website | Flickr

Why not make $ from my skills?

I've got:
-20,000 photos on Flickr
-graphic design skillz
-a blog that was "voted best blog in Orlando, Florida."
There's gotta be a way to make $ from these hobbies.
More Mark: Press | Email | FaceBook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Youtube | Website | Flickr

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Noise Canceling Headphones

When I walk, I have got to have (a) podcasts, (b) headphones and an (c) ipod. Without this set up, walking is boring. Having podcasts clears out the noise of the city and replaces it with talk radio and news shows and keeps me up to date on the stuff I care about. But, here's the thing, when a train rumbles by, the podcast is drowned out. I have two options: deal with it, or pull the ipod out of my pocket and press pause. Same thing when riding the train and the noise gets too loud. I've suffered through this mess far too long since I moved here, so today I bought my first pair of noise-canceling headphones. I am eager to try them out. UPDATE 10-18-09: I did try them out and here's a video review I made.
More Mark: Press | Email | FaceBook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Youtube | Website | Flickr

Monday, October 12, 2009

A day of auditions

Prepping for a day of auditions is simple:
-shaved and dressed in you "audition outfit"
-music book in proper back back (I have two)
-audition song chosen before leaving the house
-resumes and (my version of) headshots
-train path (which trains to take) to audition
-vocal warm-up before leaving the house
Then I have to do the daily check:
-keys, cash, credit cards in left pants pocket
-ipod in right pants pocket
-phone, camera, reading material (for train ride) in backpack
Once at the audition, I sit down for hours and wait, which is what I did this morning. I arrived at 10am and was seen at 1pm for a company that owns three small dinner theatres. I sang my song once and they asked me where I saw myself in their season. Wow. I was not asked for a call-back.

At the next audition at a different studio 8 blocks away, they typed out by headshot. I don't have a headshot, so I gave them my resume. I was typed out.

Then I went to lunch by myself in the Ruby Tuesdays in Times Square. Their salad bar is a great place to gorge yourself on veggies. I rode the train to 50th, then walked to a bar called Blockheads that serves $3 mexican drinks where I met my roommate and one of his co-workers from Orlando who are both in town for two days working, for drinks. We had an intelligent conversation about the housing market, the Orlando Improv Festival and auditioning.

My third audition was in Brooklyn on the F train. I've never been on the F train. When I arrived, it was night time. The former church was empty except for 5 people in line waiting to audition. I waited in the kitchen for my name to be called. Then when I was waiting in line in the hallway, I made small talk with the person collecting headshots and names. Sometimes these people are part of the production team. This one was not.

At this third audition, I read a monologue I wrote. And when I say read, I mean, I held a notebook in front of my face and read the words off the page. I'd told the director I didn't have one via email, and he said to prepare anything. So, ashamed, I presented what I had. I wasn't sure if they found my display charming or unprofessional.

At the top of the page it said "monologue #2." I'd tried one other time to write a monologue. I read it the way I'd rehearsed: subtle and earnest, which I thought made it funny. Not a laugh from the table of three in the church. So I took their energy inside me and made the rest of the monologue serious and unfunny. They cut me off right before my last line. Not a single laugh.

The play I am auditioning for is a comedy.

Then they ask me to sing my prepared 16 bars of an Xmas song. I sing the "You know Dasher and Dancer..." part from the Rudolph song as "1950s crooner-ish" as I can. I thought that went well. They asked me if I could do accents and I said emphatically no. They asked if I would be willing to learn. I said yes, but with someone else helping me. One of them asked about the one date in November I was not available for. (She was reading my availability off a sheet I'd filled out before going in.) I told it was because I was seeing a show at Lincoln Center. She said she was always curious what shows people were seeing. I left.

I boarded the wrong train, then another wrong train and finally the right train but the wrong stop. I was now in Harlem. I walked all the way down one street in the wrong direction, then road a bus back in the opposite and correct direction and boarded the correct train. Everyone I stopped to ask for directions was polite and helpful thank Christ.
More Mark: Press | Email | FaceBook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Youtube | Website | Flickr

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Dawn Schreiner comic books

OMG Dawn Schreiner is doing a new project: making comic books featuring people in her Facebook group, and she chose ME as her first subject. Below is the front and back cover of the comic book.

She based the "me with moose antlers" drawing on this photo, taken in Alaska in January. NEVER go to Alaska in January. And of course, you all know Moomers.
More Mark: Press | Email | FaceBook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Youtube | Website | Flickr

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Blotchy the Skanky Turtle

Blotchy the Skanky Turtle sat immobile in her lavender bed pan, screaming "I'm a goddamn turtle in an aquarium in someone's living room! Oh my God! Kill me!"

Nobody moved. Sqwawky the porcupine, Sloo the miniature giraffe and Bubbles the talking tangerine all stared at her, not daring interrupt her inner terror.

"Don't you shits look at me like I'm crazy. I'm a goddmn turtle! We're all... insignificant and we're going to die this way! Lord God Christ kill me now!"

"Butternut squash, Sloo?" asked Sqwawky.

"Oh why yes, thank you, dear. I'm so hungry and I forgot to eat after I woke up from my nap that was... interrupted..." said Sloo. "I often wonder how much silence is killed by that turtle. Poor little sound particles of non-sound bee bee gunned into oblivion by that turtle. If only they knew how lovely life were. Ah, such is life." Sqwawky hands her the two pieces of butternut squash. "Thank you, dear."

Blotchy sat on her stomach and spoke. "Dear friends of the living room. I am sorry for my outburst. I had a dream and it bothered me. I saw myself being thrown across the living room at great speed, and hitting a box of Froot Loops and then landing in a pile of dust. When I came to, I was visited by three spirits. LIsa, Marie and Presley."

To be continued...

More Mark: Press | Email | FaceBook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Youtube | Website | Flickr


24 Hour Laundromat
(I know no one gives two shits about a laundry story, but I want to remember them story for myself. Before my sublet-ee left in early September, he showed me where the laundry room was and how to put money on your laundry card via this machine in the laundry room. I forgot it all by the time I had to do laundry in early October. Also, this photo above I took in Durham, North Carolina and is not the laundry business mentioned below.)

Last Friday I carry my oversized blue plastic IKEA bag filled with laundry to the laundry room and am surprised to find that you have to pay to use the machines. I'd forgotten. So I carried the bag back upstairs.

I wait three days while I looked for a place I felt comfortable walking in and asking for change from. I finally saw the laundry business next door to my apartment building and remembered they might have change. They had a change machine inside reading "for customers only." I got my change and prepped my answer had they asked where I was going with that change: "To get my laundry."

The next day (don't know why I waited another day) I carry the blue IKEA bag downstairs and am surprised to find the machines do not take quarters, but use a debit card system. I'd forgotten. Dammit. When I peaked in before, I assumed when I saw the glowing "$1.75" blinking on each washer, that it was a normal quarter-using laundry room. I carry the bag upstairs to my apartment, do not wait a day, get some dollars and walk back downstairs. The machine won't take my dollars. Any of them. Dammit. I carry the bag upstairs and then remember... there's a laundry business next door. I can use that/them/it. And I do.
More Mark: Press | Email | FaceBook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Youtube | Website | Flickr

Monday, October 5, 2009

I found online and then walked to a fed ex place so I could ship off a package for my sublet. It was about a twenty minute walk from my apartmet. I think the man overcharged me. I got back to the apartment with enough time to pack my bag and head out to the apple store to dump my laptop off for "5-7 days" for repair. The thing is a mess physically and I am grateful it's still under warranty and thus semi-free for the repair.

After that, I shopped for a cheap-ass outfit at h&m for this architect event Thursday night I am super exited about. I can't spend shit and I am now officially fat. I bought nothing. I'd rather suffer through wearing my skinny clothes that I am too big for now than (gasp) buy a bugger size. I tried on a medium t- shirt and good Christ my gut looks like a baby. I looked at myself in the mirror and almost cried. Bald AND fat AND old and broke and jobless.

After that tragedy I meandered down 5th avenue sad as shit, trying to remeber "it's better than Hanoi" unsuccessfully. I know I have much to be grateful for. I just wish I was a size 30 again. And grateful.

This cristmas my sublet will return to his apartment for a few weeks. And we'll be joined by an actor from jcs: Joe! The three of us were on jcs and Joe is the only one returning.He needs a place to crash dring rehearsals, so he'll be on charlie's couch for 2 weeks.

My second paid advertiser is official as of last week. I just have to get the paperwork all done up. This is vey exciting for me. Four more advertisers and I have my rent paid for a few months. His could really be a serious way to make extra money for me. Couldn't come at a better time. Now how do I report this to unemployment? It's not a weekly thing. I'll figure it out.

More Mark: Press | Email | FaceBook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Youtube | Website | Flickr

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Madame and Maude are gay

This clip is funny to me because its the 1960s or 70s and Bea Arthur has a guest on her show who is a puppet voice by a gay man. I mean, what must be going through her head? And of course Bea goes on to star in Golden Girls, a show gay men across the universe revere as the most hilarious show ever. And then the man the two "ladies" are lusting over in this clip turns out to be gay himself. Its a clip so gay it makes gay look gay.

More Mark: Press | Email | FaceBook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Youtube | Website | Flickr

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Perfect name for this dessert: Gloppy Square

Gloppy Square
More Mark: Press | Email | FaceBook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Youtube | Website | Flickr

You must explain your song and give a nod

P1300043Thursday I auditioned for another national tour. This one was for "Cabaret." I forget I have to give the pianist a nod before I sing. So this time I did the forgetting and just began singing. The pianist did not play anything. And the first note is (comically) long. I am standing in the middle of a room in front of strangers, singing a note with no music underneath it. Forever. And he never comes in. And its my fault. I am now thrown.

What do I do? Do I cut it short? Do I keep going? I'm running out of breath. Do I stop and go to the pianist and asked what i did wrong?

I keep going. I just said to myself, "This will be terrible, but you will not stop committing... to the terrible-osity." So I finished the first long note and went on and sang the first few lines. Here we go. The piano music comes in... and from where I was standing in the room, the accompaniment was jarringly quiet. I got thrown again.

So here I am, thrown twice, singing a comedic song... earnestly? What!? When did I rehearse this? I am singing a song in a way I have never sung it before. I am dying inside. But, I am like "I am going to not give up and I am going to finish this song."

The next night I get an email from a person from the casting director's office. He is directing a show in Brooklyn by Christopher Durang that is Equity and wants me to come in and read for it.
More Mark: Press | Email | FaceBook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Youtube | Website | Flickr

Friday, October 2, 2009

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Auditioned for a tour of "Cabaret," had quick lunch with two JCS people, saw the performance art piece called "Special" at the High line right below The Standard Hotel (sponsor of the NYC Art Book Fair which begins tomorrow), and saw a WRETCHED movie at the New York Film Festival: "Die Like a Man." And the director was in the audience. I did not stick around for the Q&A. My only question for him was "Do you think as slow as your movie moved? If so, you're retarded."
More Mark: Press | Email | FaceBook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Youtube | Website | Flickr