The Tipping Point of Bad Behavior

When do we reach the tipping point on bad behavior? Aren’t we saturated yet? God knows, I never need to see another “real” housewife from anywhere or keep up with a single Kardashian. But, for me, the tipping point came when I heard about Self magazine making fun of a woman running the Los Angeles marathon in a tutu. Now, I personally think that ANYONE who has got the guts and tenacity to run over 26 miles in one day should not only be celebrated but probably be elected to Congress because they have got more character than I (or most Congressmen) will ever muster.

But, evidently, the sultans of style at Self think anyone running in a tutu is lame (I shudder to think how they’d judge me). So they ask this runner for permission to use her photo in their magazine and she says yes and is excited to be in the magazine and then sees this under “BS Meter — what’s lame this month”:

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And here’s the kicker (wait for it…): the tutu-wearing runner is running her first race… After. Surviving. Cancer.

Now the lame editor of this lame magazine has apologized — perfunctorily — and gotten a whole bunch of press (although I think Sheryl Sandburg needs to buy up this rag and fire the whole lot of them). But my point is not merely that ridiculing a sick person is evil, it’s that this constant state of one-upmanship that has been trending — and gathering steam — in social media is evil.

There is a tsunami of bad behavior that has invaded our television channels and our magazines and, well, us. I can’t watch it anymore. I can’t read it. Look, I’m no Pollyanna by any stretch and, yes, I love sarcasm and banter that is witty and intelligent and helpful to individual and cultural growth. But this epidemic of bad behavior fueled by the 24/7 infiltration of media is, I’m convinced, going to lead to society’s downfall — a bunch of self-absorbed, snarky, entitled cliques interested only in their own shallow needs who thrive on degrading those of us simply trying to get by. Did our ancestors fight and win World War II so their heirs could watch trash TV and take non-stop selfies and surf the internet all day? Really?

We’re better than this, America. And the only way to prove it is to stop watching, stop reading, and stop buying this crap. The one thing of which I’m certain is this: If we don’t buy it, watch it, wear it, or tweet it, the media will stop producing it. Show that we are more discriminating in what we consume and we will rise above this degradation being shoveled at us.

I vow to turn it off and tune it out. Anybody with me?

 

Are We Looking at Ourselves Too Much?

SelfieIt dawned on me the other day that I never look in the mirror anymore. In fact, I don’t think I’ve looked in the mirror since 1988.

I look inwardly a lot, constantly self-evaluating and analyzing. But, since I never look outwardly virtually at all, I still think I look like I did in 1988.

So my mind’s eye sees myself as a svelte 26-year-old while my real self is a 51-year-old who’s rapidly losing the war to muffin top. No wonder I haven’t really looked in the mirror in three decades.

article-2272983-17544E69000005DC-62_634x405Now this wouldn’t be a problem — and I’d certainly be happy to continue living in my river of denial — if I weren’t an actress who auditions in front of other people for jobs that require me to be in front of the camera. This is the revelation I had the other day upon leaving a meeting with an agent and noticing that 1) I had failed to notice my blouse had come unbuttoned and was exposing my bra and that 2) a watering eye had caused my mascara to smear the side of my face. I looked like Ray Lewis in drag. Well, at least I’m not a vain actress…muffintop-large

Still, is it better to not look at yourself at all or, as is the trend lately, to look at yourself all the time? I say this is a recent trend because a study just came out stating that elective plastic surgeries are on the rise because of selfies (photos taken of yourself via a smartphone). So young women — beautiful young women — are getting unnecessary Botox, facial peels, and nose jobs because they look at themselves too much. Come on, ladies, you are more than your imperfect nose, your thin lips, your porous skin. At least, this muffin-topped, slightly rumpled Hollywood actress thinks so.

 

Get Mad, Not Sad

20120909-210601Last night I went to bed mad. Not Hulk-throwing-furniture-out-the-window-mad, but disgusted mad. Last week was an unusually frustrating and misogynistic week in Hollywood for me and it all boiled up as I tried to squash my emotions and just sleep.

And I thought to my self, “Self, you can sit on this anger or you can use it.”

I’m aiming to turn my anger into a positive. Here’s how:

1. Recognize that life is not fair. Not for me. Not for anyone.

2. Number 1 sucks, yes, but move on. Action is key.

3. Use anger to motivate, ridicule, self-analyze. But, for God’s sake, use it. Remember number 2: Action.

I write these rules for myself as much as for anyone else. An old therapist once told me that anger is simply depression begging for action. If I don’t use my anger as motivation, I will fall into the inactivity of depression. And if that happens, who wins? Certainly, not me.

 

 

Jack T. Dog’s 2nd Annual Oscar Review

"Can I have a slice, Ellen? I'm a good, good boy." -- Jack T. Dog

“Can I have a slice, Ellen? I’m a good, good boy.”
– Jack T. Dog

Last year, my dog, Jack, wrote arguably the most insightful review of the Academy Awards telecast in the history of reviews. This year, he’s doing it again:

“‘What are you wearing?’ Grrrr… ‘What are you eating?’ That’s worth paying attention to…”

“‘Happy’ makes my mommies want to dance and makes me want to chase them with a toy…”

"I'd run this guy out of my yard." -- Jack T. Dog

“I’d run this guy out of my yard.”
– Jack T. Dog

“Oh, Ellen’s passing out pizza… Rufff… Now that’s a good host…”

“Who is that plastic monkey introducing Idina Menzel… even I know who she is. ‘Let it Go’, girl…”

Crime Reenactor

Starting tonight, I officially journey into a new phase of my acting career: crime reenactor. (Cue music: Da Da Da Dum…)

First up is an episode of Unusual Suspects titled “Death of Innocence” in which I play a neighbor who witnesses a crime. It airs Sunday, February 23rd at 9pm on the Investigation Discovery network. If you should miss tonight’s premiere, no worries, it will also be repeated frequently.

Mixing the recipe for murder...Wahahaha

Mixing the recipe for murder…Wahahaha

But Thursday things really heat up when I portray the killer in Deadly Wives’ “Acid Lady.” I am the bat shit crazy real-life woman who kills her perfectly lovely husband by boiling him alive in a vat of acid. While this is a tragically horrible true crime, I never had so much fun as an actress. Catch this show on the LMN network on Thursday, February 27th at 10pm eastern time. Again, this episode will air into infinity, so if you miss Thursday’s premiere, you can catch it in subsequent airings on LMN. In fact, watch it once by yourself, then a second time with your husband. That should fix any marital disagreements forever…

 

 

Price of Fame

I’ve wondered lately given America’s — heck, the world’s — obsession with fame just what the cost of that fame really is.

The death of Philip Seymour Hoffman comes to mind. The genius with which he mined his characters for every ounce of humanity — pathetic and poignant both — takes a toll on an actor. On a person. How can it not?

As an actress myself, I understand the catharsis of touching on certain emotions and the wrenching agony of accessing others. I am not, nor will ever be, in the realm of Mr. Hoffman’s prowess. And because I don’t want to dredge up and dwell in those minefields of anguish, I never will be.

imagesBut another consequence of fame is being bluntly tossed aside when the business — and the public — is, for whatever reasons, done with you. Some celebrities adapt, even plan for, this phase in their careers. Many, many more do not.

In fact, I’ve encountered several of them not only in my acting life, but also in my “money” job as an English tutor. An idol from an 80s sitcom, a crush from a 70s cop show — I’ve met both in their homes. One is a divorced, but well-adjusted dad; the other is a hoarding recluse.

I guess what I’m trying to say is this: Life is hard. From our vantage point down on the ground celebrities may look like they have it better as they orbit the galaxy, but sometimes the spotlight is simply too bright. Remember, all stars — eventually — burn out.

 

 

Calendar Girls…and Boys

Creative calendar photographs may not be entirely new (remember the movie Calendar Girls?), but when executed as cleverly as this one from a German retirement home they are still really fun. Here are the recreations of twelve classic movie poses. The models range in age from 75 to 98, and the movies they pay tribute to include Titanic, Easy Rider, The Seven Year Itch, and Dirty Dancing.

Buiting. William Buiting. A svelte 89 years old.

Buiting, William Buiting, a svelte 89 years old

Dirty Dancing: Thanks to computer graphics, 92-year-old Johann Liedtke didn't really have to lift Marianne Pape, 79, also known as Johnny Castle and Frances "Baby" Houseman.

Dirty Dancing: Thanks to computer graphics, 92-year-old Johann Liedtke didn’t really have to lift Marianne Pape, 79

Easy Rider's Walter Loeser (left), 98, and Kurt Neuhaus, 90

Easy Rider’s Walter Loeser (left), 98, and Kurt Neuhaus, 90

Irmgard Alt, 79, and Siegfried Gallasch, 87, have got the fever: Saturday Night Fever

Irmgard Alt, 79, and Siegfried Gallasch, 87, have got the fever: Saturday Night Fever

Joanna Trachenberg, 81, and Horst Krischat, 78, as Giant's Liz Taylor and James Dean

Joanna Trachenberg, 81, and Horst Krischat, 78, as Giant’s Liz Taylor and James Dean

Martha Bajohr, 77, as Cabaret's Liza Minnelli

Martha Bajohr, 77, as Cabaret’s Liza Minnelli

Blues Brothers Margarete Schmidt (right), 77, and Lothar Vishnevsky, 76, are on a "mission from god."

Blues Brothers Margarete Schmidt (right), 77, and Lothar Vishnevsky, 76, are on a “mission from god”

As Marilyn Monroe, Ingeborg Giolbass, 84, has got The Seven Year Itch with Erich Endlein, 88

As Marilyn Monroe, Ingeborg Giolbass, 84, has got The Seven Year Itch with Erich Endlein, 88

Just a spoonful of sugar and a flight over London for Mary Poppins' Erna Schenk, 78

Just a spoonful of sugar and a flight over London for Mary Poppins’ Erna Schenk, 78

Erwin J. von der Heiden, 80, also known as Rocky

Erwin J. von der Heiden, 80, also known as Rocky

Holly Golightly or Marianne Brunsbach, 86, is having Breakfast at Tiffany's

Holly Golightly or Marianne Brunsbach, 86, is having Breakfast at Tiffany’s

King (and Queen) of the world: Titanic's Erna Rutt, 86, and Alfred Kelbch, 81

King (and Queen) of the world: Titanic’s Erna Rutt, 86, and Alfred Kelbch, 81

Old Hollywood

Here’s to old Hollywood.hollywoodland

No, I’m not talking about the golden age of Hollywood (although I do love that period). I’m talking about the resurgence of old broads leading the charge — and awards — in today’s Tinseltown.

For the first time in years, I actually feel optimistic about this business I love (well, love/hate). Because this year’s awards season has pulled a reversal and nominated its oldest skewing spate of actresses in years. The average age of best actress nominees for the Academy Awards is 55; in fact, only one — Amy Adams — is under 40 and she’s 39. Of course, this list includes Meryl Streep, 64, and Judi Dench, 79, both acting goddesses whom have been acting in high-caliber fare forever.

Courtesy of Merie W. Wallace/Paramount Vantage / October 29, 2012

Courtesy of Merie W. Wallace/Paramount Vantage / October 29, 2012

But my favorite “overnight fame” story this year is that of 84-year-old June Squibb of Nebraska. An Oscar nominee for supporting actress, Ms. Squibb has been acting for pert near seven decades. Talk about tenacity.

Until her 60s, she took small parts on Broadway and in regional theaters. She didn’t even begin her film career until 1990.

This all makes me love Ms. Squibb, not only because I relished her nominated performance, but because it gives me hope that at any age dreams can still come true.

So here’s to you, Ms. Squibb. Whatever happens on Oscar night, you are an aging gal who inspires.

I Love It, I Love It Not

Words that could apply to many things in life — a romance, a job, a TV show. Okay, that last one may seem weird, but, as an actor, it is a frequent occurrence for me.

he-loves-me-he-loves-me-notSay, I love a show with a certain serial killing anti-hero that just ended its run, but for years I cannot get into the casting office no matter how many George Washingtons I throw their way. I start to hate the show. I stop watching it, can’t watch it because it pains me; literally, hurts me (Stella?!? Am I being melodramatic enough?). Then, suddenly, in season seven, yours truly finally bullies her way in… and books a job. Guess what is quickly my favorite television show again? Yep, Dexter.

Or there’s a comedy on the National Broadcasting Network with a fair-haired former Saturday Night Live funny lady, but I’m certain that I’ll never be called to casting, much less reach that heady zenith of booking a role. So I stop watching the show, grumbling that it’s the cool kid’s birthday party I’ll never be invited to. But a couple of months ago, I schlep down to Mid-Wilshire on a Friday morning and by the next Tuesday afternoon, I am shooting a scene with Amy Poehler in Parks and Recreation.

Sting+-+If+You+Love+Somebody+Set+Them+Free+-+The+Soulpower+Remixes+-+12-+RECORD-MAXI+SINGLE-33854My point? As Sting once sang, “If You Love Somebody Set Them Free.” Sting’s lyrics were inspired by Richard Bach’s “If you love something, set it free; if it comes backs it’s yours, if it doesn’t, it never was.”

In other words, let it go — whatever it is: job, first love, friendship. If it is meant to be, it will come back to you.

That is the magic of life (and, yes, Hollywood)…