Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Racist Jokes are important, and Privacy is even more so: The Sony Hacks

Why is it that when people work in film and television, people via social media, magazines, and gossip, are treated like they aren't human and don't have feelings and are open to being trashed, and their privacy has no value?  You guys LIKE movies and tv shows DON'T YOU?  


I think the SONY hack is a tremendous violation of privacy, and I'm certain that the victims of the hack are suffering from immeasurable anxiety and stress.  These people have families and lives and souls and it's the holidays for them too.  Where is your sympathy?  Is it hiding behind all of your judgement?!


Let's make a rule for all of the privacy hacks from this day on: WE DON'T JUDGE THE VICTIMS!  ONLY THE HACKERS.



Also - I don't believe those racist emails indicate that the people who sent them actually make decisions based on race when it actually counts.  Yes, they were racist JOKES.  They were NOT racist ACTIONS.  


I admire and respect Shonda Rhimes and her thoughts regarding the Sony Execs racist email leaks.  Shonda is right, these jokes are racist - but I also think that anybody who isn't a complete uptight waste of space makes racist jokes.


EVERYBODY of EVERY RACE does this.  And they usually do it privately, because they know it would be inappropriate.  Often times big famous popular comedians have race jokes in their act.  Because yes there IS a time and a place for them.


Here is an EXAMPLE of 2 Sarah Silverman jokes where the JOKE ITSELF is how inappropriate it is to say these things, and how obvious it is that the joke teller doesn't actually mean them:

There's mean spirited racist jokes - which any decent person doesn't like and has a right to complain about, and then there's a huge category of racist jokes that get a laugh BECAUSE they are so unacceptable and inappropriate - and everyone of every race makes these jokes.  It's IMPORTANT to make these jokes because that means we are AT LEAST CAPABLE OF TALKING ABOUT RACE!!!!


One of the biggest problems stunting the advancement of civil rights in the modern day world is a confusion, and often lack of ability to intelligently discus race.  If we can't joke about it - that won't help either.  Racist jokes are important and have a time and place in our society because jokes are important.

How dare people be so stupid that they take what was a private conversation - a forum where a racist joke is entirely acceptable, and judge it as though it was a public statement.  NO, if a Hollywood exec makes a private racist joke to another Hollywood exec, it DOES NOT MEAN that they are racist.


Suggesting that you ask Obama if "12 Years a Slave" or "Django" are his favorite movie is funny because it's wildly inappropriate and these Sony execs know they wouldn't ever do that in real life.


It doesn't show whatsoever that they are racist against Obama.  He's famously our first black President.  His blackness is important, relevant, and on people's minds.  To me, it seems racist when people are OVERLY sensitive, tiptoeing around black people - using terms like "African American" and being overtly, insincerely nice to black people instead of just regular and courteous as you would be to anybody.


You can't be so afraid of offending that you don't say anything.


As I go through life on my ever flaming feminist crusade - I am certainly sensitive to sexist remarks and comments BUT FUCK YES I need to have a sense of humor about it too.  There's a difference between the mean spirited jokes and the healthy ones.  There's a difference between public remarks and private ones.

It's healthy for our society to make jokes!  And not be beheaded for them!  And you are all guilty of making inappropriate PRIVATE remarks!!!


The more comfortable black and white people are with joking about and discussing race, the farther will we advance.  Sensitivity is important.  Over sensitivity is crippling.


------------------
SIDENOTE
COSBY:
How could Bill Cosby do what he has done?  He has both raped women and abused his power and the public's love of him, and broken a deeply moving and important movement.  Bill Cosby's contribution to entertainment and modern society was enormously influential.


Know this
--- he has already done his good work, and talented people have already built upon it.  Nobody can take that away.


Bill Cosby is a rapist, but black stories and entertainers belong on television, and there they will stay.

--------
And now, I'll pass this off to Richard Pryor for the final words in this post.  Enjoy:



Sunday, November 30, 2014

White lady writes about black people feelings: f*ck the haters

I'm not black.  But I'm a woman, and so I know something about being part of a group of people that the world often doesn't care about and treats like shit.

But the thing is that people don't ALWAYS treat people like shit.  And I can't go about my life focusing on the haters.

There will always be rapists and racists and bigots and assholes.
We should act with outrage when they try to get away with evil.

But the ultimate thing really, as a member of an oppressed group, is to be the very fucking best.
Be the best.  
Defy the stereotypes and the odds.
Be a role model to young people who are like you.

As for Ferguson - I don't know what it's like to be black and so it's legitimately important for me to listen and realize the extent to which black people live with the justified feeling that the police and government don't care about them.  It's important for me to listen and understand what that means and not take it for granted.

It matters that people are standing up against racial injustice.

BUT HERE'S WHAT I ALSO*  THINK IS NOT RIGHT:  (*racism and killing innocent black people is not right)
1 - obviously  - violence, looting, etc.  it's terrible.  it doesn't help the cause AT ALL. if a black person is seen looting and rioting violently - it's the ultimate unloving thing to do to other black people  --- for women it's like a woman who lies about rape.  it hurts all of us, makes us look bad.  it hurts the victims and the perpetrators.   

So no - I don't think blocking highways and ruining things for other people is the answer.  I think it damages the cause.  It's not going to fix anything.  It's not going to make things better.  Which is the point of civil disobedience, which can be incredibly important in facilitating change. 

DON'T FIGHT ASSHOLES BY BEING AN ASSHOLE.

You also don't want to cross a line with your beliefs and causes that it diminishes the quality of your life (this applies to all groups, all causes, all passions).  For all of the people who missed their thanksgivings this year with their families to protest, I would say they crossed a line, and are missing the point of everything that they are fighting for.  You are fighting, ultimately, for a better life, and for others to have better lives.  Live!  There is always Monday.  Protest on Monday.

2- Black people feeling unloved by the world, hated, and that they don't matter.

the truth is yes there is injustice and YES there are racists - and yes we should point out when people are being racist
because doing that can make the world a better place

BUT DONT EVER LET IT HOLD YOU BACK
become as great as you can in spite of haters, in spite of people not thinking you can do it, in spite of stereotypes

Assholes don't matter enough that they should stop you.
Focusing on the hate and only the hate WILL hold you back.

Not all white people hate black people
And not all men hurt women

For every feminist that sits around focusing only on what's wrong (I've been there)
And every black kid who thinks all white people hate them

That will get in your way
and blind you

And you have to blaze past it all like fire.  You have to take notice of the fact that you are ALSO loved.
You have to go be Obama and Denzel and Oprah and Powell and Condoleezza and Cory Booker and Beyonce and ... add your name to that list.

And I have to go be Hillary and Amy Poehler.

Get it?

So.  Yes, speak and unite against injustice.
But don't throw away your whole life on what's wrong with the world (this includes you, fox news obsessed conspiracy mongers)
Open your heart to everything that's right and push forward, you will find love in this world, and you will be loved back.

=================

I know I'm not the first person to say "don't let the bastards bring you down" but it hurts to live in a world where every person with brown skin might be hurting and feel unloved and persecuted by so many others.  I just want y'all to be your best and make the best of your lives.


And on that note I'm totally pumped for upcoming talents - director Ava DuVernay and actor John Boyega.  KILL IT OUT THERE!


Monday, November 03, 2014

So we're judging 7 year olds now.

I read the Lena Dunham stuff.

Her sister stuffing pebbles in her lady parts certainly made me think, ouch, what?  Because at that age I certainly never poked around there and the middle hole was absolutely not open for business.  In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the thing was sealed shut.  Inserting a tampon was dang near impossible at 13 (which I've heard is common) so I have no idea how anyone would shove pebbles in there as a little girl.  However, I'm not going to judge her for doing so.  And I'm not going to judge Lena for any of her weird curiosity and interest in her sister's sexuality either.

Why?

Because children are weird little perverts by design.  We don't really know anything about sex.  And we are curious about it.  

We may be taught not be mean, not to be violent, but messages about sex are confusing.

When I was little, there was a neighbor boy who stole porno mags from the dumpster behind the convenience store.  We might have been about 8 years old, I have no idea.  He used to show the magazines to me and other kids, and on 2 occasions we went outside and he asked me to pose like the girls in the magazines, which I did in my underwear, and on another occasion we decided to "have sex."

So me and the boy went in my closet, got naked, and stood next to each other in silence.  That was all we could figure out.

Then my mom found us and we were in trouble and it was incredibly embarrassing.

In 4th grade I found some VHS nudie movies and watched them and shared them with my friends.  And then I started drawing explicit images of people having sex  - imitating a lot of the hyper sexualized images that exist everywhere.  I actually remember emulating a ridiculously sexual looking woman in a comic book, as they are drawn that way.  My teacher found them and had a "talk with my parents" about it.  Thanks teach.

And when I was younger, no idea what age, I remember making Barbie and Ken engage in some hot and heavy activity and my sister calling me out on it.

You remember those moments vividly because embarrassment lasts.  It's tied in with confusion and fear, but also learning, and discovery.

Yep, Lena Dunham's story with her sister sounds pretty weird, but sex is weird, and so is being a kid.

Shut your crazy little mouth if you want to judge the sexual weirdness of a 7 year old.

I actually don't think you should judge children at all.

Discipline them, teach them sure - but judge?
Get your noses out of the celeb gossip and start remembering that being a human is complicated.
You friggin trolls, the whole lot of you!



UPDATE:

I've been rethinking my feelings about this, since it was ADULT Lena that chose to write about her sister's sexuality in this way, and unless the sister consented to that, something does feel wrong about it.  I would hope that she did and that she hasn't scarred her.  Uffff.  

Why Lena why would you share that?  What do you like about these memories?

The Unexpected Fitness Enthusiast Tells You How to Fitness

I was last picked in gym class and when I joined New York Sports Club in 2004, I quit 1 month later telling the sales guy "Sorry, it's boring and I just don't hate my body that much."

I didn't get it.  And I didn't enjoy exercise either.

Now at 33 I F'ING LOVE WORKING OUT SO MUCH.  It started at 31 when I tried Cardio Barre in LA for the first time, which is amazing - fun, total body workout, made my body feel feminine and move gracefully.  I searched for Cardio Barre or similar workouts in NYC and that's when I started trying new things I thought I'd never try.  

AND THEN CLASSPASS came into my life and changed everything!  Classpass is an affordable monthly membership where I try all kinds of fancy workout classes, so I mix up my workout and have tried just about every exercise class in NYC.  It's not often that one company's service changes my life like this one has.  This isn't a paid advertisement.  It's a raving review.




Here are my favorite classes:

BARRE

Barre uses Ballet movements plus pilates and general strength training/aerobics.  Some classes focus more on strengthening movements with less ballet, some have more ballet and more cardio (that's my preference).

1. Xtend Barre - Brooklyn Heights.  I LOVE XTEND BARRE.  It's the closest thing to Cardio Barre I've found.  A beautiful studio with friendly staff, plus they provide towels.  There's cardio plus a lot of wonderful ballet movements.

2. Ballet Bungee - Chaise Fitness (Flatiron and UES) - negatives are that it's always booked and it's 45 mins vs an hour.  But I love the ballet movements and cardio in the workout, plus instead of a barre they use bungee hoops which incorporates balance in the workout.  They have a water fountain and towels.  No showers.

3. These are all tied for 3rd place: Fly Barre, Core Fusion Barre at Exhale, Barre at Chelsea Mind Body Studio, Local Barre - Hoboken; all 4 are great places but I wish they had more classical ballet movements and more cardio

Fly Barre - Flatiron and Lincoln Center: free water, towels, and showers, Fun music, great classes, great all over workout, high quality class and studio, some cardio in there; negative is assigned mats, they have a great dancy cardio w weights section with simple, easy to learn moves, I like that you can go barefoot and dont need the grippy socks

Core Fusion Barre - Exhale (many locations): some locations of Exhale have fancy facilities with a spa, some locations have more space than others too.  High quality classes and instruction, I love Core Fusion Sweat Barre which has more cardio

Barre at Chelsea Mind Body Studio - nice space, water, towels provided, no shower, large space, Total Barre and Sweat Barre are both great choices, solid teachers, always a good class, variety in instruction based on the teacher

Local Barre - Hoboken - beautiful space, love their ball shaped hand weights, overall great classes, whenever I'm in NJ I try to take a class here, they have towels and water, no shower

4. Pure Barre, Physique 57, Zalla Pilates - These are all perfectly good workouts, just based on my personal preferences they aren't ranked higher.  These classes focus more on strengthening movements and have less cardio and classical ballet.  Each class is different.  I really wish Pure Barre had a water fountain and provided towels.  Physique 57 has a fancy space and uppity vibe.  Zalla Pilates is small and personal with a great Greenpoint location, but I visit them less since they aren't part of Classpass.

I go to Pure Barre a lot because they have a great schedule with many classes and a convenient location for me in Williamsburg (they are all over).  It is a solid workout and I like the teachers so I feel bad ranking it lower - but here's what they'd need to get more love: water fountain, towels, and more cardio and classic ballet movements.

-- KM Barre - Fit + Flow Yoga - Williamsburg - I like the teachers there but I don't love the method. It goes against what a lot of other classes teach as far as tucking and posture and movement, and I feel I spend so much time on form, and I spend a lot of time confused.  Maybe their movements are better than other methods but I just can't tell.  This workout might be the perfect fit for someone else's preferences.  It's a convenient Williamsburg location with nice lighting.

STRENGTH TRAINING




There are many classes with different names that are 1 hour long, where your instructor guides you through a sequence of moves that strengthen each area of your body with weights or using your own body or bands, plus some cardio and tabata style movies.  I've learned to LOVE these classes, they are real, serious, total body workouts.  The key is finding a cool instructor who's fun and plays good music.

1. Geneva Simms - Cardio Circuit at Sync Studio Williamsburg, or a variety of classes at The Living Room Brooklyn; Geneva was my favorite right away, she plays great music and her energy is awesome.  I trust her exercises and enjoy how she changes it up.  She challenges me and also is understanding and flexible if something doesn't feel right so you can feel comfortable even if you aren't good at something ... yet.  You'll get there and have fun doing it.

2. Ania W - Body Sculpt - Awakening NY in Greenpoint - Ania is such a badass.  Greenpoint is a traditionally Polish neighborhood and many of Awakening's instructors are Polish like Ania, which makes her seem tougher in a good way.  She's also the fittest looking instructor I've ever had and her class is one of the hardest classes I've taken.  She pushes you to try heavier weights and do intense moves like burpees, but she's understanding if you can't do certain things so don't be intimidated.  It's always rewarding when I know I can keep up with her class.  She likes rock n roll and you'll catch some Metallica or similar in her music mix.

3. Shayla McGrady - P90X - Breakin Boundaries Greenpoint (recently moved to a new location!  will update with more info)
Shayla reminds me of Michelle Obama and she's gotten the comparison many times.  It's not just her looks though, there's something very calm about her which I like when she instructs.  She carefully calculates each movement and the timing, and there's enough variety in both the exercises and music that keeps me coming back.  Great total body workout.

4. Erica Robertello - The Living Room Brooklyn - really smart and fun, all of her classes are highly recommended and I trust her knowledge and expertise
Mindy - Breakin Down - Breakin Boundaries Greenpoint - just recently discovered her, a lot of intense cardio, I really broke a sweat
PNT Fitness - Awesome Arms and Butts and Gutts (I wish these were 1 single class instead of 2 half hour classes, I would go more often if that was the case)


OTHER

Pilates - I love Flesh and Bone Studios in Williamsburg,  Monica's Pilates classes at Awakening NY are also hugely popular and very different I think.  Monica's classes have more strengthening involved.  Flesh and Bone leaves me stretched and rejuvenated and it's a special treat when you use their machines.  A friend recommended I do Pilates once a week because it's good for my body AND it helps lengthen you so you are actually taller - well, my height has gotten slightly taller, and it does feel like I'm reorganizing my body and setting everything right as it should be.

Dancy classes - there's a ton of really hard classes that infuse dance movements into the class.  I tried these for a while but don't take them anymore.  I'm not very coordinated or good at learning dance moves (don't get me wrong, I love to dance in my own way, but just can't learn a damn dance and feel stupid doing it)  If that's not a problem for you here's some amazing classes that infuse dance with aerobic strength training and sometimes barre:   AKT, Body by Simone, Hip Hop Aerobics (various locations - Davon Chance is a really awesome and fun instructor), Viva Bodyroll, Body Conceptions by Mahri (their dance moves aren't as hard for me as the others)
Many of these are "disciples" of Tracy Anderson - who charges $900 a month or some crazy ish like that.

Yoga, kickboxing, and Cycle classes - I'm just not into it, so I haven't tried many. Lots of folks swear by these things.

-- At McCarren Park there's some great boot camp classes like Traditional Tribal Fitness.  That's the only class I take that seems to have more men in it.  It's nice to work out outside and Kiki is truly awesome.  I just don't take it as often because I find the movements are not as targeted to the female body as some other classes I like.

-- Brooklyn Bodyburn is the only class I truly hate.  It seems unsafe, I feel no happiness or pleasure during the workout, and I feel like I'm going to hurt myself.  Plus there's no stretching!


=====

2 more tips:  Stretching matters, so it and enjoy it instead of rushing away.  Eating: eat something about an hour to half hour before working out, and have protein at least 20 minutes after a workout.  I like yogurt and I read labels to get a higher protein to sugar ratio.

=====

Long story short I LOVE WORKING OUT.  I've found a place for it in my life and you'll most often find me walking the streets in my workout clothes and sneaks these days.  

It's great for my health and I know that.  I love the way my body can move now and how strong I am.  It's brought a great deal of happiness to my life.  I'm deeply grateful that classpass exists as well as all of my wonderful instructors.



Monday, October 13, 2014

I don't think you're a bad person for looking at the naked pictures of Jennifer Lawrence.

I see a link that says see Jennifer Lawrence's hacked leaked photos and I look for many reasons:  is this real? I am curious.  what's this like? what's this about?  this is weird.  did this really happen?  It's something that never happened before.

You look at naked J Lawr, and you looked at footage of the twin towers burning on 9-11 too.
You didn't hack those photos, and you didn't fly a plane into that tower either.
Of course it's not the same, but what is the same is the experience of viewing versus doing.

Technology impacts life faster than our ability to develop a firm moral compass around it.

Celeb photos being stolen from a cloud is weird for all of us.
It's weird that there's a cloud.

What would make you a disgusting person is if you JUDGED the photos.  Because judging does imply ownership or entitlement.  If you judged her body, if you judged her for taking the photos, I'd say you need to check yourself, fool.

Life hurls us through time and sometimes life is simple and boring and orderly, but more often is chaotic and strange and unpredictable.  We act and react.  Someone gives us technology so we can take pictures, and then we discover we can take pictures of butts and vaginas and boobs.  And then we do that.  WE'RE ALL NEW AT FIGURING OUT THE CONSEQUENCES OF TECHNOLOGY.  Don't hate, haters. 

We touch stoves, we try things.  Have some empathy for cryin out loud!

I think it's ok to look.  
But to be a dick about it is another story.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Inside You Update - Something Happened Yesterday.

Yesterday, I lost my shoot!  We turned the truck around on it's way to check out the equipment because (long story short) we lost a lead cast member due to an emergency, without enough time to re-cast, and pushing the shoot even 1 day, we'd start losing locations, crew, cast and schedule.

Yes, I did cry and feel horrible weird stress throughout my body and spine.  But I got to the other side of it.  Because hell, what can you do?  I have felt like a failure before but I don't now.

We have done SO MUCH WORK to get this far, and strangely enough my first and foremost feeling this morning is gratitude and love.

Weird, right?

I never expected this - but the reason is - getting THIS FAR with the movie - I needed the support of SO many people, and my family along the way.  People have come out for the film in HUGE ways, and it makes me feel great.  This experience has shown me that people do believe in me and this movie, and I never knew it quite like this before!  Self doubt can be crippling as an artist, and people don't often have the reason to show their support - but this movie gave people that opportunity (and I'll still very much need it moving forward!).

I feel deeply motivated, strengthened and inspired to put even more heart and elbow grease into this movie.

We pushed the shoot to March 2015.  Do I like being in this position?  Not at first, but here I am - I better get used to it.  
This is not the worst.  I'm making a movie and that is COOL, dudes!


A vision of the future:


My mom and dad bought me this fancy chair!  Nola Slates made me this BEAUTIFUL (and reasonably priced) Custom Slate!  THAT CHAIR WILL BE SAT IN and THAT SLATE WILL BE CLAPPED!!!  MARCH 2015 FTW

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Suicide: the big WHY

Robin Williams' death is affecting me more than I ever expected, and now I want to try and examine WHY for the sake of understanding. I believe that the reason a person wants to die is that living feels meaningless, and they are unable to connect to meaning.


There’s also pain and sadness involved. But I think the feeling of despair caused by meaninglessness is the primary thing going through a suicidal person’s head.


How can Robin Williams feel meaninglessness?  His career and work meant a lot to people, he was loved, he had children and loved ones.  He was both creatively successful, and successful in traditional measurements, and had people in his life that mattered to him and that he mattered to.


Usually despair comes from a lack of these things. (At least for me.)


Perhaps his existence as incredibly famous, especially as a funny person who makes people feel amazing - was also incredibly alienating and lonely.  He couldn’t relate to most people or identify with them.  He had an expectation of who he was supposed to be and how he was supposed to act.  He was not SUPPOSED to be depressed.


Perhaps he was driven mad by the fact that he couldn’t make himself feel the way he made others feel. Maybe it was the suffering in the middle east.  Maybe it was tension at home, or an inability to love or be loved as he desired.  A disconnect.  Maybe he felt powerless and unable to change or feel.  If he was able to make people laugh so easily - why didn’t it work for him, when he was alone?  I can only imagine this was maddening.  And so his great power, his gift, the world’s wonderful gift of laughter - felt empty, shallow, pointless.


His happiness was fleeting.  It left him.  He wanted to escape.


He escaped all his life.
In his performance, and in a bottle.

It was ultimately just too much.


Can you imagine what it feels like to have everything at your fingertips that SHOULD make you happy - but it’s not working?  What if you had money, freedom, loved ones, influence, fame, and appreciation AND STILL you couldn’t FEEL right?!  Can you imagine that?  I am certain that it’s not the case of him not appreciating it.  I am certain that he felt even guilty, like absolute shit, for not being able to feel good, perhaps not being able to truly feel anything at all, in spite of all of his fortune.  That’s the disease of depression.


---


Killing yourself is sad, but I don’t think it’s evil.  It’s something else.


The truth is, it’s a choice, as it’s a choice to stay alive, which some philosophers refer to as “the existential absurdity.”


I wonder about the sex slave’s will to live.  
I wonder about the severely impoverished and diseased people’s will to live.


Why would they stay alive?  Their life is misery and torture.


Maybe it’s not.  Maybe it’s why the caged bird sings.  


---
we only know darkness because we know light
we also know that we all wanted Robin to live


I think we all identify with Robin now more than ever


--


One of the most remarkable songs about survival in the face of trauma is Tori Amos’ “Me And A Gun” which recounts her thoughts during and after surviving rape.


The refrain is “but I haven’t seen Barbados, so I must get out of this.”
And that’s the tiny voice that Robin Williams couldn’t hear inside his own mind, the cry of survival.  The will to live.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

I was a class clown.

This meant mischief, pranks, and being a big mouth. But it was always for the sake of fun. I wasn't a mean clown.

I will NEVER forget one day in a high school class when a kid named Ben, a nice but opinionated boy who played soccer, who I also never had conflict with nor too much interaction with other than casual friendliness - RAILED against me in the middle of the class. The teacher wasn't in the same part of the room when this happened so he didn't hear it.

I don't remember the specifics of what was said - but I remember that I could not figure out WHY he was saying it.
I know this:
I made a joke.
Ben tore me down in front of the room, going off on me for being a clown, yelling at me as though it was impossible to hurt my feelings - as though I didn't have any,
I remember the shock and surprise that anyone could possibly think that
I remember yelling back "how can you say that! how can you think I can't be insulted! how can you think I don't have feelings?! Stop!"

And I remember him being smug and suggesting that I don't have feelings - because I'm such a loudmouth, because I'm always making jokes.

I can't remember the words.
But I'll never forget learning that.

He thought I deserved to be taken down.

In my life, at times, I've encountered difficult people who have the perception that I can take everything that's thrown at me. I can't.

Putting yourself out there can be an invitation for others to hurt you - but it shouldn't be. We shouldn't rape people for wearing sexy clothes. We shouldn't yell at people for speaking their mind (let's exclude hate speech). We shouldn't suffocate celebrities with unrelenting paparazzi and gossip reporting.

Robin Williams' death is a reminder to all people that every living person should not ever be objectified. He's a human being beyond what you knew of him. We all just learned that our extroverted clown was sad, felt pain, and didn't want to live.

Every person you encounter has a private soul.

The comedian's desire to make people laugh is a compulsion.

When you know you can, you feed it, and it feeds you.
But it cannot be found when the comedian is alone.  

It thrives on you, on others being there.  Your presence gives permission for the comedian to escape into you.  Your presence is the ignition of the flame.  You can really feel it when the fire is out, and it takes a lot to feel good while extinguished.

And that's part of why it's hard to be alone as a comedian.
But it's so very possible.

If you can accept and embrace your life's circumstance.
Without having to lie to yourself about it.
While knowing you're trying your best because you are.
And that's certainly universally true.

People often say comedy and standup comedy is hard.
But when you are born with that compulsion, the difficulty of it feels irrelevant.  It doesn't feel entirely like a choice, it feels partly like an obligation.  Ambitions are often admired but one quality of ambition is that it's just there - you don't know how it got there.  You were born with it. You don't know why or how other people don't have it but you know it's ok that they don't because people are different and that's good.

There's a million manifestations of ambition and talent, and those born with those things know that they have this extra hunger.  This extra obligation to something they can't explain.

Why did Robin Williams need to make us laugh and act so silly while he was suffering inside?
Because he couldn't help it.  He was born with that hunger.  With his natural impulses.  

And when he was alone, he had to face his pain.  His best medicine could not be found.
He loved you as much as you loved him.  He didn't do this because he wanted to hurt you.  I don't know him, but I know this.

goodbye

Friday, July 11, 2014

Success! THANK YOU!

I'm so deeply excited to announce that the Kickstarter campaign for my upcoming feature film "Inside You" was a success!  I'm incredibly grateful to supporters and am so excited to shoot this film in September.

For those of you who missed the deadline to give via Kickstarter and still want to support the film, you may donate here:






Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Dear UCB and comedy community,

Do you remember the first time you saw a show at the UCB theatre?  Do you remember your first Del Close Marathon?

I remember the hot summer of 2001, waiting in line at the UCB theatre on 22nd street to watch some crazy wrestling improv show with Rob Huebel, Rob Riggle, Amy Poehler, Horatio Sanz and others.  At the time, Horatio was the only really famous one.  Afterwards the crowd went to a nearby bar called McManus, and the people I just idolized were hanging out and drinking beers together.  I was thrilled in 2002 when my college comedy group “Capitol goga” performed at the Del Close Improv Marathon.  We wore matching shirts.  Serious stuff. Since then I've taken every improv class at the theatre, auditioned for Harold teams just like many of you, and performed at many sketch and standup shows at the theatre.


On our way to perform at the 2002 DCM.
Over the years, we’ve witnessed the UCB transform into a phenomenon unlike anything else.  The UCB theatre moved from 22nd to 26th street, and then on to LA.  Now there’s even shiny elevators and a corporate building instead of running operations from that dingy 22nd street basement!  We lost great clubs like Rififi and Mo Pitkins, but we gained the UCB East and new improv theatres like The PIT and The Magnet.  


I did standup for years in NYC while spending all of my money from dayjobs on film equipment and UCB classes, performing and shooting comedy videos on my nights and weekends.  Eventually I began NYU’s Grad Film program, and I gave up every other comedy discipline to focus on film writing and directing.  It was heartbreaking to separate myself from that world and watch it grow and thrive without me, but I was determined that my new skills and expertise would pay off. I'm shooting my first feature film this September in NYC. It's a comedy called "Inside You" about a couple that switches bodies magically in the tone of modern comedies like Louis, Girls, and Apatow movies.

Now is a critical moment when I need your support.  Please consider backing this project on kickstarter and telling people about it.  Even $1 donations are meaningful.  They are a vote of confidence, and the amount of backers helps create visibility.


My hope is that you realize “she’s just like me!” and think, “if I’m in her shoes, I hope that the community supports me too.”  I’ll always tell writers and actors that the UCB theatre is the number one place to develop their craft.  And sometimes I’ll tell humans that improv classes are the number one place to develop their humanity.


You have been a part of my work from the beginning, and I hope to keep you with me every step of the way.

Thank you,

Heather Fink