What a year it's been — perhaps the most tumultuous of my entire life.
Mom died in early October, Titus died in August while I was on vacation in Idaho, I just started a new job at Morgan Stanley, I'm still struggling with the pace of life in New York, and to my absolute chagrin, it's almost winter again. It doesn't get any more intense than that.
Mom's death wasn't entirely unexpected, as she was in the advanced stages of Parkinson's disease. Because of her depleted state, it was only a matter of time before some opportunistic condition rose up to claim her. In her case, it was pneumonia. She died peacefully in her sleep.
It's comforting to think of her being with Dad again.
Titus' passing was a bit more sudden. He developed a severely distended gall bladder, and while he was on the operating table, his poor heart gave out. He's in heaven now (where all dogs go), keeping an eye on Mom and Dad.
The job at Morgan Stanley is definitely helping to keep me sane. It's got a great location — right across the street from TKTS in Duffy Square. You can't miss it. I can now truly say (with tongue planted firmly in cheek) that I've worked on Broadway. The money's great — not as much as I was making doing the same basic job in California, but that's what an employer's job market will do to ya. It's great to finally feel challenged at work.
The job couldn't have come at a better time. I can finally afford some new clothes (I raided H&M on 5th Avenue just the other day), and luckily I now qualify for decently-priced medical coverage through the Freelancer's Union (a collective of skilled computer/financial consultants based in New York — www.freelancersunion.org). Such a relief, given that my paid coverage through Actor's Equity expired in April.
As far as theater goes — well, I'm definitely spending more time in the audience than onstage these days. I saw "Long Day's Journey Into Night" with Brian Dennehy and Vanessa Redgrave (breathtaking — the fastest four hours I've ever spent), Sam Mendes' production of "Cabaret" at Studio 54 (a place I could only dream of getting into back in the 70's), "Big River" as presented by DeafWest Theater (a simply beautiful production), "A Year with Frog and Toad" (delightful), Twyla Tharp's dynamic "Movin' Out", "The Look of Love" (a truly uninspired revue of Burt Bacharach's music), "Urinetown" (hysterical), and "Life X 3" (a disappointment). I'm looking forward to seeing "Avenue Q" in a few months with Anita and Jim and a few of their friends.
Sad to say, I haven't attended any auditions since March. My immediate priorities lie elsewhere — building up my social life tops that list. You'd be surprised how difficult it really is to meet people in this city of over 8 million. Fortunately, I've found a gay social club called Urban Outings (www.urbanoutings.com) that I'll be joining next month (need to wait for one more credit card cycle to pass!). They have quite a calendar — something going on practically every night.
Appearances to the contrary, I haven't given up on performing just yet. I have concluded, however, that I probably WON'T get my first gig in New York by auditioning for it. New Yorkers love entrepreneurs, so it looks like I'll be self-producing my New York premiere. I'll probably start by putting together a one-man show, possibly at Don't Tell Mama (www.donttellmama.com), a popular cabaret/piano bar located in the theater district. I'll keep you posted on that. It'll probably happen some time next year.
I also have a bee in my bonnet to produce the New York debut of Morris Bobrow's "With Relish", a delightful little revue all about food. If you saw Morrie's wonderful "Party of One" during its decade-long run in San Francisco and elsewhere, you'll definitely appreciate "With Relish". Again, you're on my mailing list for this one.
I started back at the gym last month, and I'm seeing results already. It was getting pretty scary there for a while — I was unable to button or zip up most of my pants (okay, maybe that was a bit more information that you needed to hear).
All things considered, I think I'm holding up pretty good. I'm starting to really enjoy being a New Yorker.
Write to me and let me know what's going on with you. Better yet, come and visit me. You've got a place to stay if you're ever in New York.