Monday, January 31, 2005
I'm sensing a changing of the guard here on the Soapbox blogs. Some people have dropped off altogether. What ever happened to the voiceover guy from L.A. -- the one I always confuse with Shaun Eli? And what about the punk-looking chick with the short blond hair who worked as a waittress? I consider these people close personal friends, (although I can't remember their names) and I miss them terribly.
Meanwhile, there are new people popping up, pod-like, every day! No introduction, no backstory, just poof! Here we are! Blah blah blah, etc! This blog used to be the best kept secret on the 'net. Now it's like a heavily trafficked highway rest stop, minus the bathroom sex.
I'm also sensing that my readers have completely lost interest. I solicited responses in my last blog and got buttkiss, save for one lonely comment from my childhood friend, Rebecca. Even my parents have stopped checking in, though that's no big surprise.
And yet, still I blog, undeterred. It's either that or watch "The Amazing Race," which, I confess, has lost its charm for me. (I was into it until the loathsome John and his codependent wife Victoria were eliminated two episodes ago. Now it's just dull.)
I do continue to enjoy "American Idol" auditions, though. Tonight's celebrity judge was L.L. Cool J, who, careful readers will recall, is a favorite of mine. Now I'm an even bigger fan: Not only is L.L. the most beautiful man in pop music, but tonight he proved himself to be sweet, compassionate and an all-around good guy. Unlike that vile piece of dried up toast, Kenny Loggins, L.L. took it upon himself to get up and hug all the overweight, tone-deaf girls who auditioned (and there were a lot). And his yes-to-no ratio was like 5:1. Don't call it a comeback; he's been here for years.
On the other hand, I fear Paula Abdul may be losing her mind. She's been increasingly erratic all season. Tonight she threw a tantrum when Simon and Randy wanted to vote down a bad Michael Jackson impersonator. And I read a blind item somewhere that she's had so much botox of late that she can't keep from drooling regularly all over the judge's table.
And it occurred to me tonight, isn't it weird that Paula Abdul had this huge (albeit short-lived) singing career in the 80s, and she's a judge on a singing contest, and yet in four seasons of the show... SHE'S NEVER SUNG A NOTE? What's the deal? Did her voice just disappear? And how is it that in all of the hundreds of performances we've seen on the show, nobody's EVER sung a Paula Abdul song? Not even for an audition? What's going on here? I think it's like when people try to deny the Holocaust. You can't just pretend "Cold Hearted Snake" never happened!! IT HAPPENED, PEOPLE!!
That's about as fascinating an observation as I'm going to be able to come up with tonight. God, I need material.♥
Saturday, January 29, 2005
An action-packed weekend, 'twas for me. My childhood friend Amy flew into town Friday for an all-weekend company getaway. Her husband ended up not accompanying her to NYC, so she asked me to take his ticket to see "Mama Mia" with her and another couple. (That's the ABBA musical, for straight guys who may be reading this.)
I had caught the show when it first opened, but was happy to see it with a new cast. It's still just as silly -- maybe the campiest show currently on Broadway, and I'm including "La Cage aux Folles" -- but lots of fun. After curtain calls, audience members rise to their feet and sing and dance along with the encore. It's very gay.
Afterwards the four of us went to Thalia on 8th Avenue-- one of my favorite restaurants. Sumptuous prix fixe meal that included braised beef cheeks -- (oh my!) and a really fine Chardonnay. Best part was, it was all paid for by the drug company for which they work. Yes, folks, our health care dollars being put to good use.
Much wine was consumed, and before long the conversation turned to past teenaged indiscretions, episiotomy scars and the wisdom of using breast milk in your coffee. Yum.
Met up with Seth and Jeff afterwards at Therapy, which was beginning to empty out at that hour (1:30 a.m.ish). Moved to Barrage for one last night cap and then off to bed.
Saturday afternoon I went with my other childhood friend Amy to see the new Robert DeNiro scary movie, "Hide and Seek."Believe the reviews: it's awful. Silly, predictable, and that little Dakota Fanning freaks me out.
Performed a very average set at Poole Party Saturday night, with 25 representatives from the aforementioned drug company in attendance. The crowd was lovely, but I was off my game. Tried some new material about my hometown movie theater, which got pity laughs at best. Ended with my Chinese roommates bit, which went off like a fart. Got great feedback from everyone, but Ron Poole was more honest in his assessment: "It was fine."
The rest of the lineup was excellent, especially the lesbianic Erin Foley and a guy I'd never met before named Andres DuBouchet. Andres came onstage with cat ears attached to his head, and did his entire set in character, as a cat who had just been neutered. Very high concept. Very difficult to pull off. I was impressed.
Hopped a train down to Rose's Turn. Crowd was all over the place -- impossible to connect with. I did a bad Carson impression, sang my song, and got the hell out of Dodge. Fell asleep as Shepard Smith declared the Iraqi elections an unqualified success on the fair and balanced Fox News Channel. Slept like a pre-neutered cat (which is to say, well) and woke up to find a voicemail from former fellow soapboxer, Jason Borbet. In a drunken, rambling voice, it said:
"Hey, Adam Sank! It's Jason Borbet! How's it goin', buddy? Listen, I wanted to thank you for doing all those Dillons shows I put together. You were always great! And by great, I mean OK. I mean, really, you bombed every time. And thanks for hooking Rory [Scholl] and I up with Poole Party after we hooked you up all those times! You fucked with our shit, man. DON'T FUCK WITH OUR SHIT! (click.)"
Truly bizarre. I adore Jason, and have done nothing but champion his talents ever since we met at New York Comedy Club last summer. I did a total of two of his Pop Pops shows; I actually did bomb at the first one, and had a really strong set in the other. I repeatedly offered to introduce him via email to Ron Poole. Then he dropped off Soapbox, disassembled his own website, and sent me an email telling me he was no longer doing comedy. That was months ago. And now this.
So I shot him a quick email:
"Subject: Nice Voicemail.
What the fuck, dude?"
And then I quickly got this reply:
"Subject: Re: Nice Voicemail
Rory got real drunk and put me up to it. I was totally playing. Hope it
didn't spoil your night. I have been painting my new apartment for the
last two weeks and I am submerged in horrible fumes. Last we talked you
were kind of out of the scene, but I hear you have been hitting up some
good comedy action. How is it going? I have not performed in ages
myself. It is ridiculous with this new job. I remember hearing about
things like a real job from you, and hearing it was hard to perform and
work at the same time, but I had to find out myself. And here I am, one
full month plus removed from my last performance. Let me ask you, if
you don't mind answering, what made you find the desire to perform
Hmm... I'm tempted to simply blow if off and resume normal relations with him. But I have to marvel at the unbridled hostility of such an act, "playing" or not. So I decided to post the whole thing here and let the public decide, Roman Gladiator-style. How should I reply?
That's all for now, folks! It's Sunday at noon -- time for me to will myself into getting dressed and going to the gym. A fond fare well to my parents, who are headed to India for a month, and a shout out to my sister Anna, who was so proud of the fact that she cooked "Pasta Bake" for her family. You go, white trash mama!♥
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
Like my new font? It's called "Comic Sans." Ironic, no?
Just thought I'd squeak out a few lines of blog. It's strange, but I really miss posting on a daily basis. I feel isolated and uncommunicative. Sadly, my new job precludes my having any free time during the day, and at night I am just too friggin' exhausted to do anything but stare, comatose, into the cathode ray, watching American Idol hopefuls sing their hearts out. (More on that later.) Even sadder, nobody seems to care or have noticed that I've dropped completely off this page.
I feel totally out of it, in terms of the Soapbox community. Michael Lemming's changed his headshot three more times; The Cancer Kid is apparently going for more surgery; and there's some drama brewing between Chris McDevitt and Robin Fox that I can't quite piece together.
Speaking of Robin Fox, I finally caught her set last Saturday night. She was great, but I must say I was somewhat misled by her Soapbox image, which seems so sweet and motherly. Then she gets onstage and drops the C-word! (And I don't mean "cancer.") I'm reasonably sure my mother's never called anyone that, although come to think of it, I once called HER that when I was 14.
But I digress.
Speaking of Cs, the American Idol judges seem to be more vicious than ever this season. Granted, most of the kids auditioning are tone-deaf mutants, but all that need be said is, "We're sorry, no." Instead, Simon, Randy and the so-dumb-she-can't-wipe-herself Paula Abdul seem to revel in destroying whatever's left of the contestants' dignity on national TV.
Even the usually-mellow Kenny Loggins took a turn toward the nasty last night, when he sat in as "celebrity" judge. At one point, a poor hideously obese 22-year-old woman (dressed in purple velvet, no less) waddled into the room for her audition. Simon pointed out that on her application she claimed to be psychic. "Yes, I am psychic," she confirmed. "And I know I'm going to wind up in the top 10."
She then proceeded to murder her audition piece. Didn't hit a single note. The four judges sported evil grins as they allowed the cacophonous mess to drag on. Then immediately they all begin savaging her. "That was awful! Are you kidding us?" etc.
Then Loggins chuckles and says, "So you're a psychic, and you predicted you'd be in the top 10? Well that's the first time I've ever seen somebody lose two jobs at the same time!"
Excuse me? Has Kenny Loggins sunk so low that he can only get off by humiliating a woman who's probably going to be working at McDonalds for the rest of her life? Not very "House at Pooh Corner," if you ask me, Kenny!
That disaster was followed by another big girl, but this one had an incredible voice. She sang an Alicia Keyes song and sounded exactly like her. (Sidebar: I like R & B just fine, but when did it become THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE AMERICAN POP MUSIC FORM?! . I'd like just once for a white person to go on American Idol and try to sound like a white person.) Anyway, she blew away the judges -- Simon, Paula, Randy -- they all thought she rocked. Then Kenny "My Last Hit Involved a Crack Pipe" Loggins looks at her and says, "Well, obviously there's an image issue here."
Like his image is so stellar these days? He looks like a dried up old tree branch! Fortunately, Big Girl made it through to the next round anyway.
Come see me at Don't Tell Mama this Saturday night at 8:30! Details on my website.
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
But if my online comedy is suffering of late, at least I'm doing pretty well on stage. I had a really strong set at the gay Carolines show last night. Lots of rolls and applause breaks. Crawled out of my fear hole and did not one but two new bits, and they went over just dandy.
I was actually sort of swarmed afterwards by "fans," (as ridiculous as that sounds), and one of them turned out to be a Carolines guy who's interested in booking me for corporate events and private parties. Yip yip.
On the flip side, my mother was predictably less than pleased by my nude spread in "HX." Upon looking at the cover she asked, "What does 'HX' stand for?"
"Uh, I think it stands for 'Homo X-tra,'" I replied.
"Well, isn't that charming."
Then she saw the photo. And said nothing.
"Well," I finally asked, "what do you think?"
She sighed. "What can I tell you? It's every mother's dream."
Oh, well. At least the story made for a great opener to my set.
Special thanks to everyone who came out on such a frigid night. Afterwards I went to Grand Sizchuan, the best Chinese restaurant in Hell's Kitchen, with Amy, Rick and Stacey. We all went to school together in 8th and 9th grade, so it was a nice little reunion. Except for the fact that Rick and Stacey insisted on ordering the spiciest dishes on the menu, which meant that I capped off my evening with a lengthy visit to the toilet.
As Mom says, "Isn't that charming?"
Coming soon: My Golden Globes wrap-up. (Unless I decide it's too much trouble.)
P.S. Come see me at Don't Tell Mama Jan. 29!♥
Thursday, January 13, 2005
UPDATE: Due to some bizarre computer glitch, one is unable to access this full blog entry by clicking on the "more" link. I have a suspicion (based on my vast knowledge of computer science) that it may be because the "more" link is getting mixed up somehow with the "HX" link, since they appear in the same location on the page.
Anyway, I added these grafs to see if doing so fixes the problem... read on:
Prepare to cringe. (And you may not want to click on this link at work. My family members may not want to click on it ANYWHERE, EVER.)
My HX Article
I look like a strung-out hustler.♥
Wednesday, January 12, 2005
It started with a highly successful set at Don't Tell Mama last Friday night. Then I got the following email from a guy who books talent for Atlantis Cruises:
Thanks so much for sending me your tape. I'm sorry that it's taken me this long to get back to you regarding your tape, but...
I liked it.
Does that help ease the delay in my response?
Anyway, I'd love to speak with you regarding your stand up..."
The truly amazing thing is that I sent this guy my tape... MORE THAN A YEAR AGO, and this is the first I've heard from him. Just goes to show: you never know.
The same day, I got another email:
I don't know if you remember me, but I met you briefly on the sidewalk
this past Friday evening after you performed in the gay/lesbian comedy
line-up at Don't Tell Mama.
...[O]f everyone who performed Friday evening, my friends and I
agreed that you were definitely a shining stand-out. I was wondering
if I may contact you within the next month or two about being a part
of another benefit performance event..."
The next day, Ron Poole emailed me the following:
"I thought you did great last friday, fyi.
the best ive seen you
keep up the hard work
wanna do a gay show fri 1/28 or a poole party on 1/29?"
Then, a little later that day, this:
Even though your particular comic stylings do not appeal to my sense of humor, I must tell you how much I enjoyed your set at Don't Tell Mama last Friday.
I wonder if you would consider performing at The Vatican in the near future? (The sooner the better, as I would really like to be there to see it.)
Pope John Paul II.
P.S. It sounds like your mother should meet mine. Talk about a Madonna complex..."
OK, I made the last one up. But really, what the hell is with all the sudden accolades? Of course, now I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop. Specifically, the "HX" article about me comes out tomorrow, and I'm worried I may have been a bit too candid during my interview, or that my parents will freak when they see the nearly-nude, beefcake photos of me. We shall see.
I'm also performing in the much-hyped "Gay on Broadway" show at Carolines this Tuesday. With this kind of build-up, I'm sure to bomb. ♥
Saturday, January 8, 2005
(That would be "Fame," the 1980 film, not that insipid TV series than ran from 1982 to '87. How old was Leroy by the last season, like 40?)
Such was my good fortune Friday night at the Gay & Lesbo Comedy Fest at Don't Tell Mama. The crowd was mixed -- straight and gay, male and female, Manhattanite and tourist -- but they all came to laugh. I went up fifth -- the perfect spot if you're not the headliner -- and it felt like I was figure-skating from beginning to end. (That might have been because I was wearing a sequined spandex onesie, but I digress.) I did some brand new stuff and put some new twists on old stuff. It all worked.
The rest of the lineup was also strong, particularly M.C. Dave Brill and Courtney Knowles, whose bit about Christmas shopping at H & M became an instant classic for me. (It involves Barbra Streisand's manic version of Jingle Bells piped in over the speakers and customers doing lines of coke off the cash registers. Very brilliant, visual bit.)
Afterwards, some dude from the audience approached me about performing in some kind of benefit in the spring. (Haven't heard from him since, but it's only Sunday.) Special thanks to Jeff, Seth and Bob for coming to yet another of my shows, and to Amy and Stacey for attempting to do so.
Had drinks at Barrage afterwards and then ended up en masse back at my place, listening to college a capella music 'til the wee hours. (Hey -- don't knock it 'til you try it.) Seth had had a few too many and kept saying, "Oh good, another monologue," everytime I opened my mouth to speak. She's dead to me now.
BREAKING NEWS: As I type this, Rita Cosby is reporting on Fox News that a powerful earthquake just hit Band Aceh -- the same region reeling from the tsunami. No reports on injuries yet. Jesus, those poor people can't get a break.
Friday night I went with Fred, George and Michael to Duplex for the birthday party of my boss's boyfriend. A strikingly beautiful woman standing by the pool table struck up a conversation in broken English with me. Her name was Lia, and she looked like a cross between Mischa Barton from "The OC" and Charlotte from "Sex in the City." It turns out she's just here from Brazil studying English for a month. I asked her whom she knew at the birthday party, and she said, "No one. I just come to this bar because I like the gays."
She instantly became our mascot after that remark, and came with us to Marie's Crisis, a showtune bar two doors from Rose's Turn. You have to see Marie's to believe it: A piano player behind a giant bar, banging out Broadway classics while queens of every age and stripe stand on the other side and sing at the top of their lungs, often in five-part harmony. I couldn't help thinking of my brothers-in-law, Bill and Guy; this place would truly be like Dante's seventh circle for them.
After suffering through the entire soundtrack to "My Fair Lady" (my least favorite musical), George and Lia bid farewell and I moved on down to Rose's Turn, which was also packed. By the time Michael Isaacs called me up to do "Life in a Northern Town," I had had too much to drink. Not that I was drunk -- I was just past the point where I could be truly witty. (There's a formula for me: Two Tanqueray & tonics = moderately charming. Four Tanqueray & tonics = terribly tiresome.) My one saving joke: When a bleach-blonde, long-maned woman sat down with her husband, I called out, "Victoria Gotti, ladies and gentleman!" Crowd liked that. Must keep developing my ad-lib muscles.
Fred and his friend Brent showed up just as I was finishing the song, and we stayed to hear the hugely talented Terry White, before finally heading back up to Hell's Kitchen.
Fred is now on his way over to my place to try my first attempt at lasagne. I have to say, it doesn't look good. (I'm baffled by the whole giant layered noodle thing. How do you keep them from curling up in the oven?)
Tomorrow marks my first day of fulltime employment at The New York Times. I must say, I'm really psyched. I've been freelancing there for about 18 months now, and it's a really impressive operation, particularly coming from the world of TV news, which is marked by endless chaos and mediocrity.
My job is mostly administrative; I'll be dealing with payroll and scheduling for my deparment. But I also get to compile the arts listings for the Westchester and New Jersey sections, which is cool. The best part? My schedule is Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; weekends and holidays off.
Thay may sound normal to most of you, but I've never in my adult life had such a schedule -- not in retail, not in film publicity, and certainly not in 24-hour news.
It sort of feels like I've won the lottery.♥
Thursday, January 6, 2005
John Travolta was Oprah's special guest on yesterday's (rerun) show. I don't normally watch when she's got celebrities on, because there's always that one segment in which we poor schlubs are forced to learn how insanely lavish the celebrity's lifestyle is: "John Travolta has five airplanes! He owns twelve homes! He uses gold-plated toilet paper!" It's like, um, that's nice Oprah, but isn't most of the world STARVING TO DEATH?
But Joaquin Phoenix was also on the show, and I kind of like him, so I didn't change the channel right away. Of course, the two actors were there to promote their firefighter movie,"Ladder 49," which was ultimately a bomb.
So then Oprah segues from her interview with them to the story of two real-life firefighters from Maryland who saved the life of one of their comrades after they pulled him from a burning building. (This segment is pre-taped.) And of course, John Travolta surprises the firefighters by showing up at their firehouse to inform them that they're going to be on "The Oprah Winfrey Show." The firefighters look a bit stunned; this may be the gayest thing that's ever happened to them.
Before they can protest, Travolta has whisked them onto his private plane and is flying them to Chicago to appear on Oprah. I mean he is actually FLYING them; he's the pilot. And this is no small craft — it's a Boeing 707. I think I might be like, "Hey, John? I loved you in "Look Who's Talking, Too," but I think Ill fly Continental this time."
So they all arrive on Oprah's show (after a lengthy segment in which we're treated to a tour of the plane, which looks like it was decorated by Liberace) and the two firefighters are reunited with the comrade they saved. There is much hugging and crying, particularly by John Travolta, who's beside himself with grief.
OK, so far so good. Cheesy and manipulative, yes, but the movie's about heroic firefighters, and these are real-life heroic firefighters, so thematically, it sort of works.
Then Oprah does the unthinkable: With Travolta, Phoenix and the firefighters still onstage, she segues into a segment on the death of Mattie Stepanek.
Regular Oprah viewers know that Mattie was the poet/peacemaker/Christ child with a rare form of muscular dystrophy who frequently appeared on the show. He brought messages of peace and love to the world. Because of his breathing tube and various ailments, he had a hard time speaking. "You have to follow your... (deep breath)... heart, Oprah." He died this past June from the disease that had already killed his three siblings. Utter heartbreak.
So Oprah does her tribute to Mattie, with clips from old shows and footage from Mattie's funeral, which President Carter attended along with hundreds of others. Now everyone's crying, including me. But Oprah's not finished. Now she brings Mattie's mother to the stage. Mattie's mother is in a wheelchair; apparently she has muscular dystrophy, too. "Tell us," says Oprah, "about Mattie's final two weeks on earth."
In excruciating detail, Mrs. Stepanek proceeds to tell us about Mattie's last struggle — how he had to gasp for every breath; how he begged her to let him go; how she insisted he keep fighting, before finally giving him permission to "rest."
Oprah's makeup is running down her face. John Travolta has gone fetal. Only Joaquin Phoenix seems to realize how inappropriate it is for he and Travolta to be sitting onstage next to this poor woman as she pours out the most painful story ever told; he stares at the ground, perhaps silently vowing to change publicists.
The segment draws to a close. They're just about go to commercial. And Oprah looks at the camera and says, "Well I know one thing: Mattie would have loved this movie!! He would have loved 'Ladder 49!'"
My tears freeze on my face as I realize the awful truth: Oprah has just promoted John Travolta's new movie by giving it a thumbs up... FROM A DEAD CHILD!!!!
All I can think is, somewhere in Heaven, Mattie is looking down on this spectacle, saying, "God, Oprah: You're such a... (deep breath)... whore!" ♥
Tuesday, January 4, 2005
gayer than ever.
There's no point in even trying to apologize. Bottom line: I haven't blogged since 2004. In the words of Donna Rice, "I make no excuses; I just wear them." (Anyone remember THAT classic commercial?)
Here's what happened: Traveled to Ft. Lauderdale to spend the new year with my friend and former fraternity brother, Will. For once during a winter visit, the weather was GORGEOUS. Spent New Year's Day tanning myself on the South Beach sand, and even plunged into the deep blue sea (unlike my pussified fellow beach-goers, who whined about how cold the water was. In my day, we swam to school in water colder than that — both ways!).
Speaking of both ways, South Beach was
gayer than ever.
There's nothing like seeing thousands of guys who look like they just stepped out of Muscle & Fitness magazine to bolster one's self-esteem. In reaction, I ate like a pig the entire trip. (Will's mom had baked him a giant vat of chocolate chip cookies, which she left in the 'fridge. I ate an average of two cookies every hour.) JetBlue:
As for my activities, there weren't many, other than eating, tanning and sleeping. We did go to a couple of house parties New Year's Eve. At one of them I somehow wound up singing the Diana Ross/Lionel Ritchie duet "Endless Love" on a home karaoke machine with some chick named Penelope, who was either insane, on ecstasy, or both. Boy, did we suck.
A word about
They are THE BEST, hands down. Not only do they give you the faux leather seats and the individual DirectTV service, but their customer service is exquisite. On my return trip, I got to the airport only 1/2 hour before departure time. When I stuck my credit card into the little self-service machine, the following message came up on the screen: "Something is not right. Please consult an agent." (I thought at first the message was referring to my career. Ba-dum-bump-chi.) adamsank.com.
I consulted Tanika, a JetBlue agent, and she looked at my itinerary and frowned. "That flight is already finished boarding," she said. "But hold on. Ill call the gate." She did so, and then said, "Come on — Ill take you there." She then lept over the counter, whipped off her heels, took my hand, and literally ran me like a prize pony to the gate. The best part was going through security, where she flashed her badge and brought us to the front of the line. (Note to terrorists: If you want to receive only the most cursory security screening, fly JetBlue and arrive late.)
Needless to say, I got on the flight safe and sound, only to be seated behind the loudest, most obnoxious, caterwauling three-year-old on earth. He may have actually been autistic, for not once in a three-hour flight did he stop screaming, flailing his arms or kicking the seat in front of him. His mother, incidentally, never looked up from her magazine.
I didn't mind a bit; I had my headset on full-blast and watched "The Today Show," "Ellen" and "VH-1 Classics" back-to-back. Only occasionally was my line of sight distracted by the monstrous little creature in front of me.
Now to the really good news: HX Magazine will be running a feature about yours truly in their Jan. 14th issue. For those of you who are A) straight B) non-residents of New York or C) both, HX is a glossy gay weekly that's stacked all over Manhattan, particularly in gay bars, clubs, stores and restaurants. The feature will coincide with my appearance in "Gay on Broadway" a showcase at Carolines on Jan. 18. Details on
— PLEASE COME!!
I'll also be at Don't Tell Mama this Friday night. Hope to see you there.
Happy 2005. ♥.
P.S. Bummer about this whole tsunami thing, no?