Get connected! Get happy! Get going!

Tomorrow is the first board meeting for the Out Twin Cities Film Festival, I am looking forward to the new and exciting things we are going to do this year.  June marked out fourth annual film festival and it was an amazing event.  We were able to bring in some amazing talent, had interesting Q&A's and most importantly helped to strengthen and unite our community. I had the honor of being the volunteer coordinator and had the opportunity to meet some amazing individuals.

Giving back to the community we live in is one of the most rewarding experiences we as humans can have, at least in my opinion.  One of my favorite quotes is: A rising tide, lifts all ships.  When we are helping our fellow man, we embrace humanity.  I think the world seems happy when we unite and work toward a common goal. 

I learned what community really means when I moved from Minneapolis, MN to a small town in Wisconsin called, Clayton.  Good old Clayton, Wisconsin.  A town so small, you really will miss it if you blink.  A town made up mostly of farmers, teachers, factory workers and such.  A town without glitz, more churches than bars and a feed mill that was still the epicenter of town.

I wasn't too jazzed about this transition.  On the first day, I came home from the school to announce to my mom that there were no black people.  None.  No where.  Nada.  No one of any color for that fact, just cream filled faces every where you turned.  This seemed strange, alien like, a place where everyone is the same.  Weird.  At this time, I should inform you that up to this point, I was raised by two very well intentioned hippies (my parents) who were constantly surrounding themselves and there for myself, with colorful, artsy, free love and anti establishment friends.  This place seemed like a trap,  I wasn't going to drink their kool aid.

Yeah right.  Fast forward to graduation, I was crying with the rest of them.  School was everything to that town.  People that didn't even have children in school anymore, still came and followed all the sports games.  The twenty three other young, hyper colored cloaked, young graduating Claytonites, all seemed like brothers and sisters to me.  The community, the ever watchful eye of your elders, like a great old auntie, constantly keeping her eye on you.  Many times in my life, I said no, to shenanigans, that could possibly give me a bad name in town.

Clayton was also where I had the opportunity to meet one of the most influential women of my childhood.  That woman was Elaine Norberg, the school secretary, the scariest woman I ever met.  Elaine was a no nonsense kind of lady.  Her hair always worn in the same styled bun/up do, that seemed magically held together by a large clip/barrette.  I would always stare at it's construction when she wasn't looking, it looked so stately, so beautiful, so put together.  Mrs. Norberg did it all.  She was the secretary, the "swish fluoride" treater, the lunch ticket teller, the ticket taker at the sporting events and the only one, in the whole school, that could get a child to shut up and pay attention, with just a look.

She had a look that you just didn't mess with.  You would have to be foolish to think you could get anything past her.  Few tried, no one succeeded.  Now, she wasn't mean, she was just stern.  Which meant when you got a smile form her it was like hitting the lottery.  The woman also had the patience of a saint. 

In our elementary school, we had this closet that all the colored paper was kept, neatly stacked and organized on tidy shelves.  We could go into the office, wait our turn and buy paper, if we should so choose.  I loved this ritual, she would take you to the closet, which was like a big pantry and walk in front of you and ask you what you wanted.  The paper was 5 cents a piece.  I would go in with my change and make very difficult choices.  Should I get three red pieces, two pink and one black or maybe two pink, one yellow, and three blues?  I would stand in there debating, sometimes asking her to put back a few and change them out for others.  Never once did she rush me.  Never once did she sigh or acted bothered.  She patiently waited and before she left to go back to the office, she always gave you a little smile, then,back to task.  Always working, always organizing, always order.  I knew that the principal may act like he was in charge, but everyone knew was really the gate keeper.

So thankful for the community I live in.  Minneapolis is a great big, little town. Thankful for the communities I've been a apart of.  They have all taught me that the world is a small place, so make sure your remembered well.  And don't run in the hall way, ever, don't even think about it, Elaine is watching, she will always be watching.

 4th Grade-- Mrs. Meyer.  I'm on the left.
 
 Again, there's me on the left as a cheerleader?

 
 

 

 Finally I'm on the middle.  Out Twin Cites Film Festival.
 

Polite Conversation: It's not your mother's time waster

Appropriate.  There are a lot of feelings about this little, big word.  Appropriate means a few different things.  According to a Google Search, this is one definition: 
Adjective
Suitable or proper in the circumstances.
Verb
Take (something) for one's own use, typically without the owner's permission.

It's a juxtaposition that within one word there are almost two opposing view points.  One means a behavior that is so right for the situation at hand, that it makes others feel comfortable.  On the other hand, it means to take something away from someone with out their knowledge or agreement.  One sense of the word cares so much about others and the others sense of the word is so aggressively selfish.  At least in my mind.  Bending to societies needs in one corner and taking with out asking in the other. 

Language is a confusing thing.  So is human behavior, sex and Hi-Lo Omaha poker.  Three things you never quite know what your doing until it's all over.   I think about being appropriate a lot.  I try to ride that fine line of going over the edge, but in an appropriate manner.  I think this is why I often feel like a crazy person.  Because either way I go, someone will have a comment, a sneer, a chide.  I know being a comic that might seem strange to some, since many of my observations exploit appropriateness or the lack there of.  Comics exploit people's comfort levels, its what we do.  It's good to feel uncomfortable, it promotes change. At least that's what I think.  Just think if we stopped thinking about sunless tanning lotion, it would give a whole different meaning to Orange County.

I care what people think of me just as much as I don't care at all.  It's strange.  A challenge to me, to be sure.  Because I don't feel like I can just not give a fuck and say exactly what's on my mind, I don't think it would help me achieve anything.  I think having parameters is as much ladder in as much as it is a fence.  Fencing makes good framework and a good frame makes all the difference.  It says, look here, pay attention here.  X marks the spot.

The fact that I'm even writing about this, shows how twisted up inside I am over being appropriate.  I don't think someone from New York would be writing the same.  Fuck em if they can't take a joke, that's what they'd say right?  Like Sarah Silverman, who isn't from New York, but seems like it.   I love her, I think she's brilliant.  But sometimes, I'm so in awe of her level of inappropriateness, I have to wonder about her motivation.  I have to think that it stems from someplace so twisted in her that it's the only medium meant to carry her message.  For that I both applaud her and judge her all at the same time.  Like stretch denim it is both a blessing and a curse.

A standing horse wins no race.  That's was a pretty good ending, huh?  Did it make you feel like I wrapped things up.  Tied it with a bow.  Nice resolution, right?  I hope so, I don't want you leaving with out understanding me. I think. 

    


This will be the only time you will see me on top of Sarah Silverman she looks much faster than me.  Also we are not friends (yet) and she did not give me these photos from her private collection.  I obtained them off of the Google.

Independance Day

Independence day is a great day of celebration for many American's. It means different things for many people, for me it means a three hour drive up to the cabin, a family reunion and delicious family recipes that are only made when we are "Up North."

Up North, is a term used in Minnesota to describe the place where your summer cabin is.  It's like when rich people on either coast, speak of "summering" someplace.  Except we don't summer, we go up north.  We use the term in place of the name of the town our cabin is located.  For instance, if you were from Wisconsin, one might say, "I'm going to Park Rapids this weekend."  In Minnesotan, we  say, "I'm going up north this weekend."  Up North is all that's really necessary.  There is no need to share any more than that.

Going "Up North" is a rite of passage all families have to go through in order to call themselves a true Minnesotan family.  Every cabiner, remembers the long car rides, the endless fighting with siblings; sitting far too close in an un air conditioned station wagon and stressed out parents, causes such havoc to the family unit that I think when you finally pull up to cabin and the lake looms in front of you, you  are so grateful to be out of the car, that you think you have entered a promise land.  Suddenly no cable, mosquitoes that look like birds and questionable septic tanks seem like paradise.

My girlfriend is not native to Minnesota.  She wasn't very impressed by the thought of going to the cabin.  "What exactly do you do there, anyway?", she said one day unenergetically as I was trying to sway her to spend our vacation time there.  At first I was incredulous.  Who doesn't know what you do at the cabin.  I explained that you read, craft, fish, go on walks and the best is when you get to "go to town."  Once a day or maybe every other day, someone goes into town.  Town, is the main street of the closest small town, where you shop, stroll the boulevard or maybe catch a movie.  You get ensconced in the local community and just remember to slow down a bit.  It's like being shot with a tranquilizer gun, but in a fun way.

In my family, every fourth of July we have a family reunion.  Every other year it alternates between my Grandfather's side and my Grandmother's side.  It's great, each side is amazing.  Each side arrives  bearing salads, casseroles and dessert bars.  Suddenly you're bosom buddies with family you probably wouldn't recognize if you passed each other on the street. You are free.  The only rules are: you can't track in sand and you have to shut the screen door gently.  Not too shabby.

This year I couldn't make it up to the reunion.  I sent my daughter to represent.  She called home to report that she had 113 mosquito bites and was going to town to see a movie with Grandma and Grandpa and was hoping to get a cone on the way home.  Some things should never change.  Ever.

My daughter and each of my cousin's children fishing at "The Cabin."

Hey Girl. Hey.

Recently a very smart and talented friend of mine, posted on Facebook that the television show, "Girls" was basically an over privileged, shallow, shitty show.  For as much as I enjoyed the show, I could see his point.  But, I also believe that it is a fairly honest representation of many.  I don't know why, but suddenly, I wanted to defend the characters, its not their fault they have a sheltered, privileged, white life.  It doesn't mean they shouldn't share their story.  Every story is important, right? Art is so very subjective.  It's like finding the right pillow, too soft, too hard, too something and just right, is different for everyone.

So, I didn't know if we were fighting or if I was even defending the show, but I knew we had opposite opinions.  At first I was startled, I felt a physical response in my body, I didn't want to disagree.  I stopped myself from debating this show, because I didn't really care about the show, I just wanted him to understand my opinion.  A few hours later, I realized that it was okay that we disagreed.  Placing different values on things is normal.  Just watch an episode of "American Pickers" if you need more of a visual.  I mean these guys, will stumble into a rat infested trailer, on the back forty of some good old boys property and act like they've hit the lottery and when they find an old sign advertising car oil. 
 
But one scene in Girls, stuck with me.  There is a scene where the main character has to go back home and she got a glimpse of what her life would be like if she wasn’t in New York City, struggling to “be” a writer.  On top of that struggle, constantly questioning herself, if she had the talent to become "someone" or if she’s just chasing the luxury, ego driven life of the young, white and overly privileged. She wonders about the reasons that motivate people to be slaves to New York City. NYC and its competition, overpriced apartments and grandiosity. 

 “Why don’t they move out to Michigan and start the revolution?,” I think she says.  Which made me think that there are so many things in this world that don't have "value" until many people discover the same value. It's kind of like, becoming famous. Just look at some of the famous comedians out there today.  Whenever you read their biographies, they all speak of the struggle.  Working jobs they hated to could get five minutes on stage. Practically begging to work for free, begging friends to come to a show, sleeping on couches.  Living the dream, man. Then one day, they are charging $75.00 bucks a seat and selling out whole theaters.  Bam. 
The process of becoming famous is very strange, it seems. Because you have to believe in yourself so much its scary.  At least it is for me.  It's terrifying at first to stand up in a room and say, “Watch me, I’m entertaining.”  Sometimes, I hear a voice that says,  “Why do you think you’re so special?” "What if you’re really not talented and you just think that you are and you’re making a fool of yourself and no one is telling you?" " What if this will be like everything else in your life and when you get near the finish line, you’ll just stop and say, that’s close enough?"  Or something to that extent.   Maybe the voices inside your head are nicer and more encouraging, maybe they sing you lullabies and reaffirm your talents before you slumber every night.  One can only hope.  Mine are pretty much just assholes.

Fame isn't really the goal, you just want to get a paycheck.  In order to get a paycheck you have to be marketable, people have to like you, you have to get out there.  It's imperative that people know about you, at least a little bit.  And so you have to sell yourself sometimes before you have anything tangible to sell.  You know, something super easy.  Smooth criminals, each and every one of us. 

Yesterday I broke down crying in the kitchen, putting away groceries.  I couldn’t help it, I was like a tragic figure in a Lifetime movie. In between the pizzas and the frozen hamburger, I lost it.  Suddenly, trying to accomplish this dream seemed foolish.  Shouldn’t I run back to college, finish a degree and get a nice job teaching English someplace?  But now at 37, even that seems so far away.  Fuck. I guess, I've got to keep on moving.

I look back at this blog post and think, man, it's kind of all over the place.  I don't think it ended up being what I thought it would be, when I started writing.  I think it's okay, you can't knock it out of the park every day.   It's the fourth of July and my lady is determined to rearrange the bedroom before we can head to the lake.  This may not be my dream for the day, but it is hers.  I have just been summoned.  I may not know a lot, but I know this; when momma's ain't happy, ain't no one happy.  



 

 

Here Kitty Kity

Did you know that "crafting with cat hair" is a thing?  Seriously.  I watched a cable program where  middle aged, white woman gather at a different house every week, bring their collection of harvested cat hair and sit in a circle and craft. No lie.  So for real, it's almost Soul-4-Real, remember that group.  Ooh.  Candy Rain, that was my jam.  Truth.  That was also the summer I watched Poetic Justice at least a thousand times and thought I understood what it meant to be black. However, as bad as that was, it can't be nearly as "affected" as saving hair from a living creature and crafting with it!  It made me think of serial killers and law and order episodes.  I understood why my girlfriend reacted the way she did when she emptied my children's baby teeth into her hand, attempting to procure some Tylenol.  What?  A lot of people save teeth, its perfectly normal, they might come in handy one day.

I don't mean to judge, but I will, because that what us humans do. We judge, we weigh and balance behaviors and societal norms and make decisions on how to behave. This episode of the Crafty Kitty Club, made me realize, that this is a perfect, meow, meow, example, meow, meow, of why you should always be yourself.  Don't waste time on trying to be the version someone else envisions for you.  I mean just think about it.  If one crazy cat lady hadn't shared her dirty little secret with her crazy cat lady friend, they wouldn't have found each other.  I mean really found each other.  The world would be void of miniature fur cat magnets and collecting cat hair would just be weird. But together? Together, it's a cable masterpiece.

Which is why I don't mind if people say "female" comic or "lesbian" comic.  I understand why some cringe at the modifier.  I totally get it, but hey, in my mind it's nothing more than a filter on a search engine.  It is also the truth, I am a woman and I am a lesbian.  As long as you don't call me over drawn, I'm okay.  I mean all I really want is a platform and I'll take one wherever I can. I'm also a re-gifter, you make the connection.  Cheap asshole or motivated fiscally challenged friend?  Guess it depends on the gift.

 
Drop the whisker and no one gets hurt.