Sunday, August 28, 2011

Obligatory Irene blog post.

Things New Yorkers do to prepare for a storm:
1. Stock up on alcohol
2. Make extra coffee in case power goes out (or invest in french press)
3. Tweet complaints about how bored they are
4. Troll okcupid and send messages to strangers because bars are closed
5. Turn Times Square into a slip 'n slide
6. Host hurricane parties

Things New Yorkers do after a storm (in pictures):
1. Obey "park closure" signs:

2. Take their kids and dogs out to play:

3. Hang out along the east river, ignore the cops:

4.  Go to Gristedes... and the liquor store (not pictured):

5. Keep it classy:

6. Gawk:

7. Return home and continue to tweet about how bored they are.
8. Plan the hurricane after-party.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

These things happen.

So, has anyone every rejected someone's request for their phone number with the line "thanks for the offer but..." ?  Because, apparently, I just did that.  Really?  I mean, really?  I apologize random stranger, you deserved a smoother move than that.  At least a false "I'm here with someone" (I mean you asked, you practically handed that one to me!) or the gentle and oft used lie, "I'm taken."  I suppose honesty is not always the best policy.  However, I do think your inquiry about my age within the first three minutes of our conversation, which you initiated, probably means you deserved my less than suave denial.  You also asked me to guess your age, another great play on your part, and when I offered a generous 26, you assured me I was way off base.  Well sorry for trying to be kind.  Yet still, you want my number?  Well, "thanks for the offer but..." now I will proceed to awkwardly turn my back to you as if the past four minutes did not occur and thank goodness my friends were ready to leave anyway (I was telling the truth) so uhh goodbye.  Although I suppose you did manage to make an impression if I am still thinking about this awkward moment upon my return home.  Perhaps you would appreciate that if you knew?  I give you kudos for your gumption. A for effort.  It takes balls to approach a stranger in a bar.  But now, moving on.

And then I arrive home, where I am informed via email of a new okcupid message (yes, I concede, I am a member of said site, it was bound to come up sooner or later) from an 18 year old straight girl with a myspace style boob-shot as her profile picture.  She, apparently, has a level of eloquence comparable to my own: "Hey :-* how are you?"

Apparently, these things happen.  Good night.

Note: I will let the record show that I did write this last night, at the end of my evening, and despite my almost sober state, I do not condone tipsy blogging, nor want to project that image of myself (clearly I am doing a very good job here...) and so waited for an AM proof-read before posting.  All clear.

Monday, August 15, 2011

It's a small city after all

Every time I go to an audition, I am reminded of how small this city, and especially the theater world, really is.

Anyone up for a game of 6 degrees of separation?

Today, I went to an EPA (Equity Principal Audition) at AEA (the Actors Equity Audition center) and ran into my friend Lys (who has her own blog about her adventures in NYC) who I studied abroad in London at BADA with.  I had also run into her at an EPA earlier this summer just after she moved here.  She was talking with a guy (Preston) who I recognized from running into an old elementary school friend (Julia) at another call earlier this summer -- I ran into her and he ran into her while we were talking, so we met briefly.  Preston, Julia, and Lys all know each other from Springboard NYC where Lys figured out that she and Julia had actually studied abroad at the same program (BADA) at different times (Julia went in the fall of 2009, Lys and I both went in the Spring of 2010).

The audition went fairly quickly -- as an EMC (Equity Membership Candidate) you are only seen if there aren't Equity members waiting to be seen at that time so sometimes it's hard to say if and when you'll make it in the room -- and Lys was going to another audition downtown at Chelsea studios, which she informed me was pretty empty so I decided to hit that one up as well.  Lys was gone by the time I arrived, but when I got there I ran into Ugo, who is a member of The Bats at The Flea Theater with my good friend (from high school and college) Amanda.  I also ran into Jacqui, a girl I went to summer camp with as a kid, who also happens to be the former roommate of my friend Jodi who I met at a party last summer.  Another friend of mine, Helen, actually met Jodi at Northwestern, before I met her, and thought we would already know each other because we also went to the same summer camp and did circus together.  We did not, but figured all this out when we did meet (she vaguely recognized me and asked me if I had gone to French Woods - I did) and figured out our other mutual friend connections, like Jacqui, with the help of facebook.  Small world.

Confusing much?  And all before noon.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The problem with mid-August: a fashion post

The problem with mid-August, I find, is a little something called "back to school."  Throughout my childhood, I had varying thoughts on the subject, ranging from "I don't want to go back" temper tantrums to sleepless nights of eager excitement and anticipation.  However, mid-August and I have now reached an impasse, because while this is the first mid-August where I will not be going back to school, many of this country's youth still are.  What?  You mean the world does not revolve around me?  Nonsense I say!

Invitations to free campus concerts, events and friends' shows aside, mid-August begins the inundation of back to school shopping.  Ads hit your e-mail inbox and your TV set, and fall clothes hit the stores, sometimes accompanied by cheeky signs that remind you far too prematurely that "summer is over" (it is not I say.  It is NOT!)

Not that one doesn't sometimes need new clothes for work or whatnot when fall rolls around, but there are some purchases (at the moment, read: all) that simply cannot be justified when you are not only not going back to school, but are not working (and therefore, do not have an income) either.  You are also entirely out of excuses for your parents/grandparents to buy you that new backpackskirtshoesjeansdresssweater.  "But I need it" (aka "but I want it") just doesn't hold the same clout as "but I need it for school."

Exhibit A: Backpacks
When you were in high school, you always wanted to be that cool girl who carried a shoulder bag and therefore probably inflicted lifelong damage on her back... so why do backpacks now seem so darn cute? I know a person could theoretically still use a backpack... I still need to carry a lot of stuff around for auditions, but every time I see someone walk into an audition with a backpack I tend to think "ew, un-classy."  My awkward combination of a large purse and a tote bag?  Clearly so much classier.  Does anyone else think this?  Probably not.  Am I a judgmental freak?  Probably yes.  More practically speaking a full backpack is a pain on the subway (and you know, the large purse that I tend to bang into every second person isn't).




Exhibit B: SHOES.  Everyone loves shoes.  And I mean, these would all be totally appropriate for dashing to and from class in (especially across the snowy Ithacan hillsides) amirite?  (Can I even walk in half these shoes? Probs not.  But given the opportunity, I will try.)


 {Marais / Madwell}


Exhibit 3: Sweaters.  Because if it's not summer, that means it's fall, right?  So it's cold?  So we need sweaters? 



{j.crew... really, just all the horribly overpriced j.crew sweaters plz.... especially cashmere. k thnx.}


K I could go on but I'm done.  Really.  Maybe I'll do another fashion post at some point.  But seriously that was way too much work, and after reading it through was a lot shorter than I expected it to be after all that effort.  At least there are a lot of pictures?

Oh clothes.  Le sigh.  I guess I need to get a job...

Monday, August 8, 2011

Top 10 reasons I should still be a college student

(and by top 10 I mean the first 10 I thought of)
  1. I still consider a microwave burrito (Amy's of course) mutilated and consumed with improper utensils (a knife and spoon and bowl?  Sure, why not?) a balanced meal.
  2. No matter how hard I try, bedtime is still around 1:30/2am and wake-up time 10/10:30am unless I am forced to wake up earlier for something "important." (see: "class?")
  3. I watch 95% of my TV on my computer, often with a second window open for multitasking.
  4. Drunk pizza.
  5. My proclivity for setting off fire alarms.
  6. I still look like my freshman year ID picture... I mean, last year I got carded buying a lighter.
  7. I am adept at living in considerable mess (see: suitcases, boxes, laundry bags, etc all over my room.. and rooms that are not supposed to be my rooms)
  8. I spend far too much time on facebook, and twitter, which I didn't start using regularly until I graduated.  (That's a bad word.)
  9. I somehow manage to procrastinate even when there is nothing to be procrastinated.
  10. I still have to go downstairs to do laundry.  And while I don't need quarters (we have a card, though sadly no laundryview) I never have enough quarters when I do need them (see: reasons why I probably got a toll violation this weekend...) 
There are probably better reasons than this.  And I'm sure there are more.  I really only started this list after scrutinizing myself eating lunch today (see #1) but decided it should probably be a list of 10.  10 felt like a good number.

The recent passive aggressive inner thoughts and semi-unreasonable pleas of an NYC commuter

  1. STAND on the left of the escalator, WALK on the right.  Please.
  2. If at first you don't succeed, swipe at a different speed.
  3. Dear subway conductor, I appreciate your trying to keep us informed of weekend train changes--so few conductors do--but must you really make the same two-minute long announcement at EVERY. SINGLE. STOP?  With the doors open?  Letting out the AC? And not getting me where I'm going?  For no apparent reason?  And then make it again in between stations?  We heard you.  I promise. Really, we did.  Even those people who just got on at the last stop... they've already heard you twice. 
  4. Tourists: I hate you I hate you I hate you I hate you I hate you I hate you we need you I hate you I hate you I hate you we need you.  If you really must stand and ogle at buildings, would you kindly step to one side of the sidewalk?  Same goes for large groups waiting for tour buses.  Pretty please?  Or, I mean, can THIS just be real?


  5. I know we're getting spoiled by these new fangled digitized signs that tell us when our train will arrive... but when we've come to expect them at certain stations, "current train arrival information is not available" (or whatnot) it is really quite unacceptable.  On that note, why isn't bus time a thing yet?  Everywhere please?  And more weekend evening trains... have you noticed there really aren't less of us?

And one from the not so New York City commuter:
  • You, yes you, with your blue headlights and fancy rimmed wheels.  You traffic weaver you.  What do you think you accomplished by passing me from the right and then squeezing into the two car length space in front of me, only to then be trapped by the car in front of you and the car to your right? Did you gain a whole 3.5 seconds there?  Maybe you did.

Was all that mean?  Maybe it was.  Maybe it was.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

My hungover audition

For some reason this post title reminds me a little bit of my drunk kitchen.  It sort of rhymes. You should probably check that out.  Also, she has a video called Frederick.  That's pretty neat.  Even if she may or may not ask "Frederick" to take her in the butt...

Anyway. For the past two weekends I have been partaking in an incredibly responsible and professional behavior (sarcasm)... attending weekend morning auditions after an evening of drinking and revelry with my friends.  I may tell myself I will not drink much, that I will go home early, but I quickly begin to care exponentially more about the present moment than about the next morning and inevitably do not listen to my better, soberer self.  I stay out far too late and ingest far too many alcoholic beverages for my new status as a post-grad lightweight.  However, no matter how irresponsibly I may behave, I eventually get me to my bed, consume large quantities of water, and go to sleep for far fewer hours than I would like.  When my phone obnoxiously blares Tilly and the Wall's "Rainbows in the Dark" at me, I groan, but get up, get dressed, force myself to consume more water, coffee, and something resembling food, make myself look somehow presentable despite the dark circles under my eyes, and I go.  Honestly, my hangover isn't really that bad, I'm just exhausted.

I walk to the train.  My hungover audition sees your walk of shame and is judging you, however hypocritical this judgment may be.  My hangover audition also sees Minnie Mouse and someone dressed in full bridal-wear singing R&B in Times Square and doesn't know how to deal with this.  My hungover audition wonders why people hold auditions on weekend mornings anyway.  Don't people know that actors like to drink?  Is studio space just cheaper on weekend mornings?  (Probably).  Is whatever my hungover audition is for a worthwhile project anyway?  (Probably not.)

I arrive at my hungover audition, just barely on time, freshen up, and go into the room.  I have to confess, I feel like I nail my hungover audition.  Perhaps my current state of exhaustion means I didn't over-think my performance and I really hit the mark?  Or perhaps my hungover audition and I are so tired and hungover that we are deluded into thinking it went well, when in fact, it did not.

My hungover audition is over, and for the most-part, so is my hangover, but we're going to run with this concept for the rest of the post anyway.  Why?  Because I like it.  It's time to go and my hungover audition really, really does not want to deal with your subway drumming, your weekend train delays and cancellations and the number of slow moving tourists in Times Square.  All my hungover audition cares about now is what terrible, probably fried, nourishment it is going to find for lunch.  It debates for a while over french fries, chicken tenders and pizza, but eventually my hungover audition and my unlimited metrocard decide that it is a good idea to stop in the Grand Central dining concourse for samosas.  My hungover audition thinks it gets two samosas with it's order, and when it gets three, decides it will be virtuous and find a homeless person to receive the spare.  However, after a moment of contemplation, my hungover audition eats the third samosa.  My hungover audition is fed and satisfied and decides that now we can go home.  Though first my hungover audition will walk me around for a while to contemplate finding further, unnecessary sustenance and may or may not buy some fro-yo on special at c-town.

Then, finally, my hungover audition decides it's time to take a nap.

Something wakes me up.  Oh, what's that?  I just got a callback from my hungover audition?  Well there you go.


The tone of this post also somewhat inspired by: "my period takes me shopping."

Friday, August 5, 2011

Observations on a frat-bar

So the other night my friend Tim decided to celebrate his birthday at a bar in  Midtown East.  A recent thought catalog article (I've really been liking thought catalog lately.  I suppose I have a lot of thoughts.) entitled "Manhattan Neighborhoods in Six Words or Less" described Midtown East with the words "drink here until you're 21."  That does a pretty good job of it.  My neighborhood, conversely, is described as "old people love it" which I think also sums things up relatively well.

Anyway, apparently this bar, "Irish Exit," is offering Tim some sort of birthday special, with free drinks for him and half-off drinks for his friends who must request a wrist-band at the door.  At 11, he also gets a $50 bar tab for said friends to use.  Thursday, which it happens to be, is also $1 "mug" night... a mug being an approximately 8 ounce plastic cup of Miller Lite.  So there's that.  Somehow, he won this whole situation, but doesn't think he's ever been to Irish Exit, so he doesn't know how he entered for it.  He says he must have been blackout.  So there's that too.  Upon further observation of the bar I would say that one would have to be blackout to want to go here.

I walk into Irish Exit and immediately want to turn around and run.  This place is a frat.  There is a reason I stopped going to frat parties after my freshman year of college.  However, I'm doing this for Tim, I tell myself.  And many of my other friends are here too.  I manage to battle my way to the back while only getting a little beer spilled on me.  I am stopped by someone who attempts to pimp his friend, "the Asian model" to me, and I bluntly duck underneath their arms muttering a brief "I have to meet some people."  Sometimes it's good to be short.  I find my friends, then go to the bar (luckily there is a secondary bar in the back) for a $1 "mug" but hear an announcement from the front room:

"If I can get a 56 person conga line, everyone in this bar gets a free shot!"

The conga line begins.  We are trapped.  I finally push through, and almost immediately after my arduous efforts, the conga line dissipates.  I do not know if anyone got their free shot.  For the rest of the evening, we manage to stay mostly removed from the frat goings on up front, and I am happy with how easy it will be for me to get home (five stops on the 6) and that one "vodka soda with a splash of cran," my latest, girly signature drink, blatenly stolen from a friend, and probably appropriate for a frat-bar, and another, better beer, set me back only about $8.  Such prices are pretty much unheard of in New York City and my status as a recent,, unemployed post-grad is quite pleased.  But is this set-up worth it?  Maybe not.

We do continue to hear announcements from the front room over the course of the night:
"I need 10 ladies up on my bar, right now!"  "You will all get free drinks!"
"If you are on my bar, and you are not getting naked, or making out, get off my bar right now!"
"If you are texting on my bar, we will throw you out!"

At the end of the night, rather than wait on the frat-bar bathroom line, I walk the ten blocks to where my friend is staying with her aunt and uncle, a beautiful, gigantic apartment with an enormous terrace on 58th past 1st.  I then make my way back to the train, cursing the fact that I had deemed it necessary to wear heels to this frat bar.

Well, that was... fun.  I think, let's not do it again.

Writing to no one: a post-grad story

So, recently, some of my undergrad friends decided to start a little newsletter to "publish" and leave lying about our theater building's greenroom.  Said newsletter would serve a useful function: ie: to announce shows and to help people find collaborators in and out of the department, but would also serve as a place for us to, as one friend put it, "collaborate to put out something fun, pithy, only mildly mean, and generally hysterical."   I was one of two recent alumni included in various facebook messages and groups regarding this publication, and my status as a grad was making me a little sad, in terms of this publication, and you know, in terms of the unknown status of the rest of my life.  They suggested I write an article about my first summer post-Schwartz (our department building is called the Schwarz Center) and I gladly obliged.  And then I realized something.  That was kind of fun.  I like to write.  Maybe I should start a blog.

I have had blogs before.  A craft blog, and a fashion blog, which I actually kept up with for quite a while, but in a way, I feel like those blogs were never really for me.  I was trying to show off to an audience that, for the most part, didn't exist, and after a while keeping up with blogging started to feel like a chore.  That is why I want this blog to be different.  I want a place where I can, write to no one, as it were; a place for me to be creative, and get my thoughts and feelings down, if I want to; where I can try to be funny and pithy and what not (though generally I find I tend to ramble and be quite the opposite of pithy) but where it doesn't matter if I fail.  I want a place which is all about the words.  Or maybe pictures if I get inspired.  But for now, just words.  So many people stress how important it is to stay creative at this point in my life and I have all these friends who do that by writing plays or music, or utilizing some other creative outlet that requires skills that I don't have.  However, this, this I think I can do.  

But, in case anyone out there does decide to read this, I suppose I shall say a little something about who I am.  After all, I am putting this on the web and not in a notebook by my bedside (I wrote website there at first...), because I think the public nature of a blog will help encourage me to create content.  And hey, maybe one or five of my friends will decide they want to read what I have to write.  Who knows?

Anyway, my name is Nathalie Frederick, and I graduated from Cornell in May 2011 with a degree in theatre arts, with all the fancy honors and distinctions that make you feel special for a day but two months later are generally useless... unless having your Phi Beta Kappa key serve as an impetus (here, my brain kept trying to get my to write "impotence"...) for an Eli's delivery boy to spark a conversation with you and attempt to pick you up on the subway is useful (sorry young man, you're barking up the wrong tree.)  I am now living in New York City, with my parents, in the neighborhood where I was born and in the apartment where I was raised, and I am trying to make it as an actress.  And this is my life story.  Or something to that effect.  For now, I plan to keep this blog fairly no frills, just about the words (which really means no one will read this... a blog with no layout and no pictures? pshaw) but who knows, maybe at some point I will feel like getting fancier.  We'll see where this takes me.  If you want pretty colors and pictures and things I suggest you check out my professional site:  I did think about integrating this blog with that site, but decided that that's professional and this is personal.  So here we are.

Anyway, to begin, as if I haven't already said enough, I wanted to post the article I wrote for the aforementioned publication:  The First Post-Grad Summer.


The First Post-Grad Summer

The first post-grad summer.  For me, it lies somewhere in a place between freedom and confinement, an inexorable land of limbo.  I mean, I haven’t really graduated until everyone else goes back to school, right?  Freed from the prospect of classes, papers, and assignments, instead, I am back at home with my parents, their eyes perpetually judging my state of unemployment, how late I come home at night, that I haven’t unpacked yet, and whether or not I’ve gone back to the freezer for a second helping of ice cream.  Granted, I am a member of the lucky few, living in Manhattan rent free because I was born and raised here.  But this return to a pre-college state makes me feel less like I have progressed onto adulthood, and I cling to childhood, a world of few responsibilities, by the whitening tips of my fingers.   As an actor, there are plenty of auditions to be had, but many are for things you might have turned your nose up at in college.  When you book that low budget (unpaid) independent film with a questionable script (college juggling club battles monsters from another world?) you waffle, but accept, because really, what else are you doing right now?  Auditions gradually begin to bring less suspense.  Instead of just one or two rounds a semester that you put all your faith in, they fall gradually into a steady stream--if you’re lucky--for you to attend, forget, and generally, never hear from again.  Looking for auditions and planning your schedule become a full time job, sometimes so full time you forgot you will also soon need a job which pays you.  You spend hours a day trolling the net, and any kind of planning, be it work or fun, becomes increasingly difficult when you never know what might come up last minute (hi, I received your headshot and resume, will you be in my student film short tomorrow?)  The uncertainty is refreshing, but stressful, and google calendar becomes your new right hand.

Not to say there’s no fun to be had here in post-grad land.  New York City is full of bars, people, and things to see and do, and there are plenty of other post-grads for you to hang out with.  Alex Viola (post-grad ‘10) just played Nina in The Seagull in Riverside Park and Amanda Idoko (also ‘10) has been performing in serialized sketch comedy at The Flea Theater, where you get a free beer with your $10 ticket, a clear win.  The free and discounted are highly sought after by our kind in this city.  There are also people to collaborate with here, but a lack of resources means your next reading is probably going to happen in Prospect Park, or in someone’s living room (Ryan Olivera ’08).  While the city is full of what to do, the hour and a half subway ride from a bar in Brooklyn in the middle of the night often makes an evening on your couch with hulu and your cat immoderately appealing, and the once grueling walk from collegetown to north seems like a brief stroll.  At least it won’t take long for you to become a lightweight, a blessing on your wallet when you do go out, at $6-$10 or more per drink.
I don’t mean to sound like I’m complaining about this land of ambiguity I now live in.  Every day feels a little like holding your breath, exhilarating but exhausting, whether it consists of four auditions back to back spread out all over Manhattan, or four episodes of The Voice back to back stretched out on your couch.  While it’s nice to languish in lazy days once in a while, I think one of the most important things to do in post-grad land is to stay busy and be proactive, lest you slowly start to lose your mind.  In the next month I earnestly plan to begin agency submissions, train for my prospective New York City tour guiding job and maybe, just maybe even unpack.  For now, however, I am doing my best to enjoy these last few days of summer, the days that lie between now and when you will sit in the greenroom reading this, and I will finally be forced to admit, that I am indeed a post-grad and there is no going back.  Right now, I think it’s best to take things one day at a time, so I’m going out for a run and then I need to action my scene for a Chekov acting workshop I’m taking… perhaps the post-grad life isn’t so different from college after all.


By the way I wrote that article two days ago.  I did go for a run, but I still haven't actually actioned my Chekov scene.  Whoops.  That is rather collegiate of me, isn't it?