Friday, August 29, 2008

My first ride on the Fung Wah

Considering gas prices and tolls, $15 to get from New York to Boston is a real steal. Even Greyhound was quoting me $40 one-way this weekend. And since I'm not working much (or at least getting paid for my work) and I have three out-of-town weddings to attend this fall, I decided to take the plunge and ride the Fung Wah bus from Chinatown this morning. Like I said, it was damn cheap. But you get what you pay for.

I had an oversized lady as my seat-neighbor for the duration of our journey and she apparently felt that since I am small and do not physically occupy every square inch of my seat and since she is large and cannot squeeze into the square inches she purchased, that it would be perfectly acceptable for her to borrow some of my seat throughout our trip. There was also a family sitting in front of me who thought it was a great idea to entertain the youngest in their group (a five-year-old hyperactive boy) by trapping air into small pockets of a plastic bag and popping them one by one. On a bus. Brilliant.

Also, let me forewarn any of you braving a Chinatown bus to heed their warnings. When I purchased my ticket for an 11 AM bus, the Fung Wah website told me to show up half an hour before the bus is scheduled to depart. Okay, no problem. My bus pulled away from the curb at 10:33. Not full. They are not kidding around!

To be fair, besides the early departure and the bat-shit crazies I was riding with, the trip was as pleasant as a bus trip can be expected to be. I will take the Fung Wah again in the future, because goodness knows there are some nutcases on Greyhound, too.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Callbacks at an ex-Underground Railroad stop

Had a callback tonight for a play being presented at the 13th Street Rep Theatre, which is a cute little blackbox theatre that has been run for thirty-six years by a passionate and charming lady named Edith.

I'm thinking of trying to join the company even if I don't get cast in the play. The company was apparently voted "best off-off-broadway company to act with" in a 2006 publication (either Village Voice or Backstage, I can't remember). Edith was telling another girl there about how the theatre was built in the late 1700's (making it one of the oldest buildings in the Village) and at one point was used as a stop on the Underground Railroad, which I thought was so neat.

Just thought I'd give you all a little update on the acting part of my life, since this is, ostensibly, also a blog about being an actress in New York.

Monday, August 25, 2008

This is Old New York, alright

Dan and I decided to use his day off this week to take a trip we've been meaning to take pretty much since we started dating. Our visit to Coney Island was preceded by a detour to IKEA Brooklyn to return some stuff we didn't end up needing for the massive bookcase/storage unit we assembled. Refund: $200. Sweet. On a side note, taking the free ferry is by far an easier and more exciting way to get there. The shuttle bus sucks.

Onwards to Coney Island. We stopped by the original Nathan's and grabbed some hot dogs to enjoy on the beach. 

We walked by lots of chintzy shops and the famed "Beer Island," to which we saw a no less than seventy-year-old man kneel down and exclaim that he had found heaven early.

The boardwalk was fun and reminiscent of oldtimey New York. I was disturbed by seeing in person the "Shoot the Freak" game that I had read about in the Times.

The beach was pretty dirty, but it was so nice to be out in the breeze. The water was shockingly cold.

I posed for my glamour shot with the ferris wheel in the background. If I wasn't so pale, I wouldn't have blended in with the sand so well. But everyone loves an itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini!

All in all, it was a fun time. Although, it was a pretty long subway ride! We'd still go back.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Fringe Fest 2008

As an actress, it is with great shame that I admit to only having seen one Fringe Fest show this year. And further, I admit that it was only because my friend Tal was in it.

It was called WE ARE THE LAWMAKERS and it was a real trip. I definitely enjoyed watching it because the whole thing was so creative and unique. It was also fun to see Tal in her natural habitat, AKA onstage. The show reminded me of the Richard Foreman type stuff we were doing in Royston's class during our last few weeks as Hofstra students (think: oranges stuffed down my shirt actually being philopsophical). I was talking with Dan after the show about how much I enjoy doing that type of theatre. Even if it isn't my favorite thing to do (I mean, who doesn't love a good song and dance?!?), it was such a freeing experience as an actor to participate in that kind of work.

Congrats to Tal and a great cast and crew. Oh, and thanks for forcing me to see a Fringe Fest show. Hopefully, next year, I'll be in one!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Only in Duane Reade...

Today, while searching for an appropriate mousse for my newly-permed hair, I stumbled upon one of the funniest things I've seen in awhile: hair dye specifically designed to color your pubes. 

I mean, I could truly see this idea taking off; especially for those who are embarassed to answer "no" when asked, "hey baby, do the carpets match the drapes?" Maybe it's just me or maybe it's just the whole redhead thing, but I get asked that more often than you'd think. I guess some people are mortified by their answer.

My jaw physically dropped in the aisle when I saw this and, unfortunately for me, a manager was standing right there and started laughing at me.

I'm not sure what's more disturbing: the fact that their slogan is "color for the hair down there" or the interesting marketing choice they made in creating not only natural hair colors, but also manufacturing one that dyes your pubes hot pink.

I'm gonna pick the hot pink.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Temple on wheels!

For many days, I have walked past this "temple on wheels" and thought about taking a picture of it and, for some reason or other, haven't gotten around to it until today.

It parks at the corner of Broadway and 37th, right outside a kosher deli and advertises that you can "do a mitzvah!" or buy shabbat candles.

I love the whole idea of this. The idea that you don't even have to go find a temple...there's one parked right outside your lunch haunt ready to fulfill your every religious urge!

I think every religion should do this, including the atheists. Can you imagine an atheist wagon? You'd never have to search for Ayn Rand again.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Misplaced Gratitude

Today, as I was walking down my street, a creepy Wormtail-esque man shouted, "You're really pretty, you know that?" I, of course, continued walking and tried my best to pretend he wasn't screaming at me. After a brief pause in which he must have determined that I would not be responding he yelled again, "YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO SAY THANK YOU!!"

This was the first street-yeller I've encountered who expected me to express my gratitude at being leered at.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


On a happier note, I met Jason Robert Brown at Broadway in Bryant Park today. Completely on accident.

He was just sitting next to me on the lawn and someone asked him for an autograph. I looked over and it said "Jason" and since the cast of 13 was performing at the time, I figured that was too much of a coincidence to be ignored. Sure enough, it was him. 

How cool!

I am the biggest weepy girly-girl

I cried today for a baby mouse, not more than an inch long, that was injured by my foster kittens and probably won't last the night.

I cried big, fat tears for a little baby that's probably terrified and searching desperately for his mommy.

I don't care if it's a mouse and there are 100 million of the little rodents running rampant through New York City, it was a tiny little baby and seeing it hurt broke my heart.

I did the best thing I could think of and put it back where I know the mice enter and exit the wall, hoping against hope that the baby mouse will be able to find its mommy.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Each day I love New Yorkers a little bit more

Today, while walking to an audition at Ripley-Grier, I ran into one of the ubiquitous (at least in my neighborhood) sample sale racks lined with heavily-discounted, beautiful clothing. I dutifully walked right on by, but this gorgeous cream lace off-the-shoulder dress caught my eye and I backtracked. There was a middle-aged woman standing there eyeing her own treasure and she noticed me scrutinizing this dress.

Alas, the rack was 1 for $20, which was cheap, but still more than I wanted to spend. The woman commented that it was a beautiful and as I started to walk away, she said something about how perfect it was for me and that I should get it. I replied that it wasn't really in my budget at this point and she simply said, "Well, let me get it for you. I've been dirt poor and I've been a millionaire, but at this point, $20 doesn't mean much to me and you should have this dress." I refused, of course, but I thought it was such a sweet gesture of kindness that really whacked me out of my power-walking mindset.

New Yorkers continue to surprise me.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Dominican Pride should not keep me from getting to my own home

Today, as you may or may not know, was the day of the Dominican Pride parade in Midtown. When I first learned of this event on Thursday as cops were posting "no parking" signs all over my block, I thought it sounded pretty neat. Living on a parade street should be exciting, no?

Well, silly me.

Our street was the staging area for the parade, which meant that starting at 8 AM there was music blasting. It also meant that once the parade was over, the street was quite literally covered in trash.

But the most egregious crime, in my opinion, was that I couldn't get to my apartment upon returning from my audition. I had to walk all around the block before I could find a policeman who would let me onto my own street. And worse yet, they wouldn't let Dan onto the street until the parade was over because his license doesn't have our address on it yet and so he couldn't prove he lived here.

This was irritating.

I mean, I think parades are great. Who doesn't love a good parade? I was only mildly miffed when I had to walk an extra ten blocks on the way home from the grocery store because of the Gay Pride parade. But this was ridiculous. Everyone and their brother who was involved with this parade was allowed onto my street, but Dan couldn't get home? 

I'm pretty sure that if anyone tried to organize a "Caucasion Pride" parade in the middle of Harlem and wouldn't let the residents of the streets get to their homes, someone would get shot. 

I'm all for parades in my neighborhood, but if I can't get to my own home because of one, that's just ridiculous.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The day a Midtown Girl learned to appreciate Washington Heights

I made the trek up to Washington Heights to visit my good friend, Whitney, today. I took the A all the way up to 190th street (anyone for a rousing rendition of "you must take the A train..."?).

When I exited the subway station I was immediately overwhelmed by how much greenery there was for it still being Manhattan. I mean, it was beautiful! And Whitney lives just a few blocks away from Fort Tryon Park, which is gorgeous and lush itself. And there were families everywhere and it felt really safe and I was just really impressed.

I checked out her cute little apartment and loved it, too. It had lots of charm and she has a nice little view of the street from her bedroom window and a lovely fire escape.

Then we decided to go out to brunch (along with her roomie) a few blocks further downtown to this cute little place on West 187th street called Bleu Evolution, which had an open-air patio in the back and yummy food. But the coolest part about the place was that they had grape vines growing all over the beams on the patio. There were big bunches of grapes hanging everywhere! It was so cool.

Afterwards, we grabbed ice cream from an ice cream truck outside the park and sat down on benches to enjoy our cones. I got the vanilla dipped in chocolate and boy, was it tasty. The ice cream was so light and fluffy, it tasted more like a cross between ice cream and cool whip.

And so today's lesson was that I really like Washington Heights. It's not for me at this point in my life (hello, Midtown), but someday when I want to settle in and have some more space and a great community for families, perhaps Dan and I will take a look at Washington Heights.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Some dogs have all the fun...

Duncan and I had our first photoshoot in Times Square tonight because we wanted to send some pictures of how much fun we're having with him to his foster mommy in Pennsylvania.

I got to practice for my Vogue spread, too ;)

And "Frankenstein" had fun, too. This one was just too good to pass up:

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Those who can least afford it quite often end up doing the most good

So today, as I was walking home after pooping out towards the end of my run, I happened to pass by a homeless man sitting on the sidewalk with an empty cup in an extended hand. Nothing new in New York. Nothing particularly remarkable. For some reason or other, though, I decided to make my first contribution to what will likely be a homeless man's evening toddy, but what I hope will be this man's evening meal. 

Now, to be fair, I've donated spare change and dollars before to musicians in subway stations. They always remind me of my brother, which makes me more generous, and I respect that they're trying to use something they love doing any way they can to make a living. Plus, I only contribute to the ones that I find especially entertaining or talented. 

But anyways, I digress. I used to find the idea of giving the homeless my spare change unpalatable at best, mostly because I'm concerned that they'll make poor decisions with it. And they still may. But I've been thinking a lot lately about something my mom said a few weeks back. We were talking about how I've been volunteering my time and money to help stray kittens in the city, even though we're just barely getting by and I could be using the time to nanny more and the money to buy the beautiful clothes that I covet on my street. My mom said something really interesting when she said, "it's quite often those who can least afford it who end up doing the most good." That really got me thinking. True, there are those super-rich who donate a good deal of time and money to charitable ventures. I'm not saying they don't exist (and neither is my mom). But it is quite frequently those who are just barely scraping by who give so much of themselves to help the world around them.

I want to be one of those people. And maybe my spare change paid for booze, but maybe it didn't. Maybe it helped that man. I know it wasn't much, but it made my day.

So this one's for the kittens. And for the people who need our help, too.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

My first NYC hot dog

Though it may be shocking for some of you to learn, I had never had a New York City hot dog until this past weekend.

Dan's parents, appalled to discover this, quickly located the nearest sleazy-looking vendor cart and plopped down the requisite $2 to burst my over-processed, watery, New York City-style, totally cliche hot dog virginity.

It was everything I expected. Good.

And, of course, in true Rolph fashion, I made sure the moment was documented by the ultimate photojournalist: Dan's mom.

Oh, and if you zoom in enough, you can see the completely awesome oversized drama mask necklace that I bought at the 6th avenue street fair this weekend. I love it and will immediately commence wearing it to whatever auditions I can get away with wearing it to.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The shorts I never want to wear again

So, I thought I had this cute outfit on. I had my favorite blue polka dotted spaghetti strap shirt on and my cute little tan shorts with some white heels and white beads. Sounds kosher, right? Wrong.

In one singular afternoon of wearing this outfit, I tallied three reasons to never wear this outfit again. Or at least never wear this outfit again until I can afford a professional security team.

1. Before I even made it off my block, Creepy Parking Garage Man proposed to me. Let me tell you, I've now been proposed to twice and after the first proposal, this one was a real letdown.

2. Only a mere three blocks away, an older lady tapped me on the shoulder as I was crossing the street to inform me that yet another creepy man had taken an interest in me. Only this time, he was an old, would-be-homeless-looking-if-he-wasn't-carrying-an-expensive-handheld-camcorder-in-his-hands, dirty man who was apparently videotaping my ass. Thank you, lady, for informing me of this travesty. If anyone recognizes my ass walking across Broadway from somewhere on the internet, can they please inform me immediately? I want my residuals.

3. And finally, as I was standing outside of Tisch waiting for my new actress-friend Tal to go have coffee with me, I was offered the role of a lifetime: a lead in a high-quality (or so I've been lead to believe) porn. I've got to admit, this guy's opening line of, "baby, let me make you a star" was almost remotely tempting, but I haven't been a starving artist for quite long enough yet for the idea of being a star at the price of removing my clothing for anyone to see to be appealing.

And so, as many of you know, The Men of New York are often offensive, frightening, creepy and leering (or any combination of the above), but never have I been so disturbed or harassed on any one day. Therefore, I have no choice but to conclude that my outfit was to blame. And since I've never known any man to tell me that polka dots were particularly scandalous, I must conclude that my choice in shorts was to blame. The offending shorts have now been relegated to the bottom of my bottoms drawer. And let me tell you, I have enough clothes that the bottom of any of my drawers is like garment purgatory.

The Offenders: