Jim Henson’s Studio Visit

We had a lovely visit with Christian’s old high school pal who is working across the street from our apartment at Jim Henson’s Studios while her daughter is at a two-week intensive at the American Ballet. The studios aren’t open to the public so it was a nice little coincidence that she was working so close to our apartment making it easy for us to horn our way into a private tour. We weren’t allowed to take pictures of any of the creatures beyond the entryway (see my photos below) because they’re all disembodied and/or hanging on curtain rods as they’re built or repaired. Gotta keep up the illusion that they’re alive, ya know?

This I learned: Big Bird’s feathers are all individually hand-stitched along the stem (?) to reinforce them and help slow down the decay and prevent breakage. Each and every individual feather. THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS. He’s huge!

It’s not a big warehouse or studio and actually is a quiet little creative space tucked behind an unassuming door on a generic floor of the Standard Motors Building. Everyone is relaxed and happy because, DUH, they work making Sesame Street, Muppets and Fraggle Rock characters among other things, but also because there are no computers. They don’t need them. They’re making stuff with their hands. So nice.

My Husband is Awesome!

JOTW Time OutThis week has been a very good one for my awesome, funny, talented husband. His new comedy album THE FUN PART debuted on SiriusXM’s comedy channel and is available for streaming or purchase on Netflix, Amazon, and iTunes.

Then, last night he presented his new solo show THE GORGEOUS MOSAIC at the People’s Improv Theater about his 23 years of living in NYC. In this hour show, he talks about awful apartments to the bizarre urban dwellers and hopes to remind us why we came to the concrete jungle and, more importantly, why we stay. It’s really funny but I find it very inspiring and sweet, too.

The New York Times, Time Out New York and Village Voice all selected the solo show as something worth watching in NYC this weekend. Time Out also ran this great joke (pictured right) of Christian’s from his comedy special THE FUN PART.

Finally, check out this Q&A with Christian and The Comic’s Comic. And below are screen grabs from his special and Netflix. Good stuff all around and I’m immensely proud of how prolific he’s been!

FunPartBanner  Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 1.17.43 PM CF The Wilbur

The Fun Part!

Okay, kids, it’s legit! Today is the birthday of my fabulously smart, talented and funny husband’s third comedy special. THE FUN PART by Christian Finnegan was filmed at The Wilbur in his home town of Boston and is now available!

Netflix (video with subtitles):
http://www.netflix.com/WiMovie/Christian_Finnegan_The_Fun_Part/70298204?trkid=13462100

Amazon (audio only):
http://amzn.com/B00JGCBMXM

iTunes (audio only):
https://itun.es/i6658XC

Please retweet/share and give The Fun Part a five star rating on Netflix! And iTunes! And Amazon!

If you’re in the NYC area, come out to celebrate with us this Thursday, Friday and Saturday at The Peoples Improv Theater. He’s performing a mixture of standup and storytelling called THE GORGEOUS MOSAIC. It’s a one hour look back at his 23 years of living in New York City, from a rat-infested apartment to an overly-intimate Asian delivery guy. Half love letter, half cry for help.

THU, APR 17 – SAT, APR 19 @ 9:30PM
The People’s Improv Theater
123 E. 24th St.
New York, NY 10010
http://www.thepit-nyc.com | 212.563.7488

$12 online, $15 door. General admission. Full bar. No drink minimums. A limited number of tickets are available for only $10 w/the code PITFINNEGAN.

After the show, we’ll hang out and hug and laugh and stuff.

Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Segel Sing “Confrontation” from Les Miserables

I’m in a really bad mood, but my husband knows just how to pull me out of the spiral. He sent me a link to this! It’s a combination of my loves Neil Patrick Harris & Jason Segel singing “Confrontation” from Les Mis. The only thing that could make this better is if David Lee Roth flew across the stage wearing spandex pants carrying a boom box.*

Bad mood is now on the back burner set to simmer.

*ETA: The How I Met Your Mother series finale included Neil Patrick Harris dressed as David Lee Roth. Head exploded!

January 2014

The holidays tend to bum me out, and I felt like I hadn’t accomplished much in 2013 and don’t have much to look forward to in 2014. That’s just the silly holiday blues talking. So, to remind myself of the positive plans I have in a nutshell, I’m going to write an entry at the top of each month about the weeks ahead.

For January 2014, I am:

Going to Los Angeles and Cleveland,
Producing & performing my solo show at the The Peoples Improv Theater,
Promoting shows for NYC PodFest,
Seeing a half dozen comedy shows or more,
Performing on a few others,
Celebrating 11 years with Christian Finnegan,
Getting a haircut and going for my tri-annual teeth cleaning.

SAG Screeners

After I wrote this, we got the mail and received a bunch of screeners from the Screen Actor’s Guild of which Christian is now a member. We’ve never gotten anything like this before so we were very excited to see our mailbox spilling out with such great movies.

I’m sure veterans of the stage and screen don’t get all atwitter for these, but to us it felt like Christmas morning! They arrived just in time for a 10-inch snowfall and bitter cold in NYC and our trip to Los Angeles, so we’ll have plenty to keep us company.

So, yeah, there is a lot to look forward to. Now let’s get this party started!

“Prisoners” Screening & Talk Back

Christian and I attended a special screening of Prisoners tonight at the Museum of the Moving Image followed by a Q&A with actors Melissa Leo and Jake Gyllenhaal, director Denis Villeneuve, and screenwriter Aaron Guzikowski.

Christian loved the movie. I liked it too, mostly for the stellar performance by Hugh Jackman. I expect some nominations in his future. Jake was charming and Melissa was quirky. Both were funny and I loved their interactions with the director and screenwriter.

I love this museum so, so much and am grateful to have such a unique resource within such a short walk from home. I always wonder what the A-list actors, directors, writers, producers, etc. think when they hear the pitch for a museum Q&A gig in Long Island City. Happily, they say “yes” time and again and I think they leave pleasantly surprised at what a lovely space it is and how generous the audiences are. And I’m certain they enjoy the stellar view of Manhattan on their way back home.

To me, a membership is a no brainer, but I’d highly recommend it for anyone in NYC. If anything, it’s worth a visit and super cheap and yummy happy hour at 5 Napkin Burger or a brewski at Sunswick. But if you do that, you gotta drop me a line so I can join you. :o)

Prisoners AMMI

I Need Botox, Y’all! And Other Lifetime Movie Network Observations

Thank you to everyone who tuned in to see “Family Secrets” last night on Lifetime Movie Network*! If you missed it, it re-airs on Friday, November 8th at 8AM EST.
I need Botox, y'all!

Part way in, my cable box froze & rebooted. Murphy’s Law! From what I saw my dentist will be very angry that I have rebuffed his repeated requests to fix my bottom teeth, I need Botox, my family was upgraded to the suburbs and no one really knows or speaks sign language in the reenactments.

But my cable box came back to life quickly and the rest I saw was really well done. Even if it had been awful, I am grateful for any opportunity to share my story.

Seeing how they edited my interview was very interesting. They condensed it into an average domestic violence case (What? No shed? No trailer? No Deaf Culture commentary? Just a dude who beats and tries to kill women?) and yet still made it compelling.

Of course, personally, my  CODA / Deaf experience and my dad’s childhood and our collective isolation and poverty is what fueled my story for my book, so that’s important for me to still tell and get across should I get another chance. And I learned a lesson to make sure to understand the angle the producers are going for, so I can speak to that and they won’t have to edit so much!

Paquita on LMN

My sweet Paquita made a brief posthumous cameo. She is looking longingly at Christian who is lavishing love and kisses on Griswold. Awww.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed it and thank you again for all the kind words and support!

xokambri

*The collective outrage of the women posting on Lifetime Movie Network’s Facebook page about the movie network not showing movies is worthy of being a Lifetime movie.  If I -and all of you lovely people- didn’t have a life with better things to do, I’d suggest we flood the LMN Facebook page with overflowing praise. Hopefully we’ll still get a movie made and we can tell the whole white trashtastic tale and satisfy all those disgruntled LMN subscribers. So much time on their hands these women! Sad.

I’m on Your Tee Vee this Sunday!

LMN Family SecretsMany months ago, I was cast in a docu-drama pilot called “Family Secrets” for the Bio Channel. It never aired & I thought it was dead in the water.

But…lo! It is scheduled to air this Sunday, Oct 27 on Lifetime Movie Network (LMN) at 10PM EST and again at 2AM Monday, Oct 28. Since it’s a pilot, it doesn’t even have a logo or show page on Lifetime’s website, but the description and name matches what we filmed.

I’m honestly terrified to watch it because they have re-enactments by non-Deaf people and, well, re-enactments are usually kind of cheesy to begin with. I’m mostly worried about having my story in someone else’s creative, editorial hands. Who knows how they’ll piece together my words and spin it? We shall see this Sunday! And if it’s truly god awful, well, it will make for a fun story to tell on stage.

Classic NYC Week

Highlights from my classic New York week in a nutshell:

— Worked on “The Following” where I cheek-kissed Connie Nielsen about 20 times & ogled Kevin Bacon for 12 hours.

— Ran 7 blocks through crowded streets in Queens & raced up 3 flights of stairs at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts to vote in the mayoral primary with only 30 seconds to spare before polls closed. It was as intense & stressful as any chase scene in a movie. I should’ve had German techno music playing in the background.

— Finished my Playwriting I class with a 1st draft of my solo show script.

— Invited to perform on the first ever Solo Comedy Festival #SoloCom at The Peoples Improv Theater with the script from ^.

— Got into a screaming match with a cab driver.

This week I’ll work on “The Good Wife”, hang with my protégé after school & accompany Christian Finnegan to his headlining gig in Virginia Beach. No screaming matches allowed.

“Here’s the Thing” with Alec Baldwin

I’ve tuned in to two episodes of “Here’s the Thing” hosted by Alec Baldwin on NPR and find it immensely listenable. I actually ran a 10K (6.2 miles) yesterday listening to the interview with Lena Dunam. Listening to two people chat thoughtfully might not seem like a good running companion, but I was completely engaged and not aware of the intentional beating I was giving my body.

I was excited to share this new discovery of mine (It’s been around for awhile. I don’t know where I’ve been.), but he’d gotten himself into a little media brouhaha (again). So I held off.

It frustrates me. Alec’s really smart, funny and gives good radio. This constant battle with tabloids reminds me of Sean Penn during the married-to-Madonna-days. The press and papparrazzi have his number and love to push it.

Once, when I was an extra on 30 Rock* there was a little dust up with an assistant. I could share the tidbit here and that’s all it would take for a tabloid to mess with him. Whether he was right or wrong wouldn’t matter. I totally understand (too much!) his righteous anger. I, too, hate seeing bad behavior go unpunished and so I will, often to my own detriment, see it through to the end. I will “win”. There’s more to it than that, of course, which will have to wait for another time.

I hope he’ll work and work and work in spite of it all. I like him. I like what he does.

Meanwhile, here’s the thing: http://www.wnyc.org/shows/heresthething

*Oh, you didn’t see my Emmy-worthy appearance as a champagne swilling campaign donor? Well, let me remind you:

30 Rock