Well, I've been in NYC on my own for 2 weeks now and my whole life is different. So much has changed in just 14 days! It would be scary and exciting, if I had any time to think about it.
Here are the basics:
I live on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
[...above a restaurant called Schiller's (in which I will never be able to afford to eat). The neighborhood is "emerging," which means it's cheap! Instead of doormen in top hats, a Starbucks at every corner and little pomeranians on designer leashes, I get galleries that double as underground Speakeasys, some kind of creative dive bar at every corner and bulldogs led on (possibly designer) jump ropes. It's wonderful.
Judith Malina, who founded the Living Theatre, (my neighbors) said in this East Village Blog, “It inspires me every minute when I walk out on the street. It’s so rich in the history of art, of experimentation, of social progress, of anarchism. This is really so much the hub of what has happened and what I think will happen next. I struggled to get here! I had to live on the Upper West Side for fifty years wishing I could get down here!” She sounds quite possibly insane. I love it.]
I'm close to a lot of different neighborhoods.
[Wedged between the East Village and Chinatown! So, depending on whether I feel like doing some yoga with vegans or eating some dried flying lizard (they tell curious shoppers it lowers blood pressure) I have plenty of options. Little Italy is a ten minute walk away and that one glorious day, when a casting director tells me they'd like me to gain some weight, I will do it at Cha Cha's, eating chocolate-covered chocolate canolis until I can canoli no more.]
I live in a 6th Floor Walk-Up.
[Let me reiterate. To get to my room, you first must climb to the 6th floor. That's 12 flights of steep cracked marble steps. I tell myself, aloud, "Great legs. Great legs. Great legs" every time. If I get to the bottom of the stairs and realize I left my phone in my room... it's gonna be a long day.]
My roommates are Bohemians.
[Lakis is a Greek Synth-rock DJ, musician and bartender. I keep describing him as 28 but I actually have no idea how old he is. Old enough to pull off the whole taciturn-because-my-past-is-too-harrowing-to-talk-about mystique. He smokes in the living room and refers to an afternoon without a drink as "on the wagon."
Inanna is an art gallery intern. Her California-people parents named her after a Sumerian Sex Goddess. Her wardrobe is upsettingly beautiful and she probably weighs about the same as the dress she's wearing right now.. wherever she is. She spends a lot of time at massive clubs and roof-top parties- all of which involve free booze. I feel like whether or not I succumb to the urge to go out with her every night will determine my survival here.]
So I've got the internship, serving job and even some nights out. No more sleep ever.
My first week here was a frenzied attempt to build a life before the dream dissolved. In about 4 days total, I found a Professional Marketing Internship with a Broadway theatre company, was hired as a server at the Times Square tourist restaurant Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, and tried to fight a man that attempted to steal my coat and winter boots at Club Lavo. Come to think of it, my intense fear of failure is a force to be reckoned with.
Internship: They produce a full Broadway and Off-Broadway season. I confirm ABCs that we place in the New York Times, make edits on Playbills and I'm- I hope- earning a reputation for hard work and sincerity (and finding and consuming free food without abandon). The more departments I can get to know, the better! I want to meet people, listen and learn.
Bubba Gump: Overpriced and perpetually busy. Please God let this equal big tips. Please. I have to wear a trucker hat and a shirt that says "Stupid Is as Stupid Does" so making rent is key here.
Club Lavo: The man tried to steal my coat! I had stuffed my thigh high leather Steve Madden boots into the pockets of said coat. After I got the coat back, Inanna had to hold me back until security came over and escorted him out.
WHAT ABOUT ACTING?!
Well, this was a hard decision, but I hope that what I'm doing is ultimately going to benefit my acting career.
Broadway theatre company
Learning the industry
Attend special events and see free theatre
Learn the business side of it all: We have seminars each week with casting directors, general managers, designers and marketing directors. If I must have a "real life" job- and I probably will, I'd take working backstage or offstage over owning a whole chain of restaurants. The clearest path from where I am to always being able to find work in theatre is this internship.
THE KICKER: Working from 10-6, Monday-Friday. Making $50 a week. Not ideal. Hence Bubba Gump.
After I get used to this schedule, I'm going to fit in dance classes, weekly vocal coaching and working with an acting teacher, so that this Spring can be spent training! And adding those into my life won't put me over the edge. It'll keep my body energized and my soul nourished. Acting, singing, dancing- they're my passion and my therapy.
Once the internship ends, the pounding-the-pavement begins. Auditions. More class.
Until then, this is what's new here. I'm leaving some things (like the woman in the East Village Enchantments store who begged me to buy love potion today, the bartender at Welcome to the Johnsons that I may be in love with and the Red Carpet Opening Night Party where I got to touch Kim Cattrall) for another day.
It's late and I've got a lot of Forrest Gump trivia to memorize.