Monday, November 28, 2005

A Note from Becca Kaufman

A Note from Becca Kaufman, originally uploaded by mylilpip.

Hello friends,I know there's not a lot of notice (that Tukey got in the way) but if you can make it, I guarantee a fun night of music with some of my favorite mama's! Becca

The Vocal Gymnasium presents:

MAMA JAM (Mamas finally get the night out!)

When: Wednesday, November 30th 2005

doors open at 7:45pm

Show time 8:00pm

Cost: $8.00 (and lots of applause)

Where: The Beat Kitchen 2100 W. Belmont Ave. Chicago

Phone: 773-281-4444

The Mama Jam will features Chicago's finest mom singers and songwriters (Multi-tasking as usual).

The featured Mama vocalists will be: Jeannie Bonisinga, Nancy Davis Shaffer, Anne DeLangis, Caroline Sheaffer and Becca Kaufman.

The house band: Dennis Johnson - Bass, Rick Vitek - Drums, Mike Hanko - Keys, and John Lewis - Guitar

There will be a special pre-show viewing of Mamaphobia with Peggy Ward currently at The Apollo Theater.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

What Is Wrong With US?

It seems that there is a petition drive for a same sex marriage ban in Illinois. I live in a blue state, why is this happening? And why is the only news I can get about the subject is from Missouri news sources? Is this some sort of cruel downstate joke?

Meanwhile, in MA, where gay marriage is currently legal, a fierce battle escalates.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Breaking News from California

World's Ugliest Dog Dies at 14. I wonder whom inherits the title.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Opens Saturday Night

snposterfinal, originally uploaded by mylilpip.

Time is ticking away and I can't wait for the Straight & Nappy show to open. I am very proud of this show. It was a pleasure to write and the characters are fun to play.

It looks like Rebecca and I will be appearing on NBC 5's morning news broadcast this Friday to promote the show. We need to be in the studio at 5 am. That should tell you something about my conviction to this project. For as my Schoolhouse Rock Live! character says, "I am not a morning person."

Monday, November 21, 2005

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Removal of Comments

I have been getting a lot of bullshit spam comments lately so I may temporarily remove comments from my blog. We'll see.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

No More Pie

Relationships are not easy. At some point in time, a person's individual spirit will rebel and there will be conflict. Conflict isn't always unhealthy. It can be a learner tool. You realize how much you are willing to give and take.

My relationship with Steve is pretty good. There are few people on the planet that could put up with me when I am writing or opening a new show, such as the new Straight & Nappy show, Love Indifferent (hey, if you don't like cheap plugs than you've come to the wrong blog). When I am creating a show, it is hard for me to imagine that anything else on the planet is as important as my world. And I get really uptight and stressed. I just recently quit smoking so that doesn't help either. Through all of that, Steve keeps coming back for more. We have our differences but it's all good. Now, just because you get along well with your mate does not guarantee that you will like their friends.

Steve has a friend, we'll call her Miss American Pie. Miss American Pie (MAP) is a single mother of a teen son and a college-aged daughter. She is a professional in the medical field and I have to say one terrific cook and baker. MAP and Steve have been friends since her children were in elementary school. Their friendship not only predates our courtship but it even predates my arrival to Chicago. They have been friends for a long time. (A beat) Which is why it is difficult for me to admit: I can't stand Miss American Pie.

It was spring the first time I met MAP. Steve had gone through his list of friends that I would meet at some point in time. MAP was on the list. At the time, I lived around the corner from Steve. That day in April, I was coming over for a visit and MAP was borrowing Steve's lawn mower. The meeting was fairly unspectacular. We exchanged niceties. And she checked me out. I could tell she was checking me out. She was his friend and friends do that.

A friend makes sure that other friends pick up quality goods. A friend knows that he/she is going to have to listen to all the bullshit problems of this relationship. You want to make sure they choose someone that you want to talk about when you would rather be watching America's Next Top Model. I can usually tell in the first 5 minutes how often I will have to listen to these problems. Fortunately for me, my friends are pretty good at picking quality goods so that spares me of the drama.

I didn't see MAP again until our garden walk party in July. It was an unbearably warm day that Sunday. I had to work on the StoryBus that morning. I worked up until the time that the party was supposed to begin. I rushed home and changed clothes before any guest could possibly have missed me (although most of them were being introduced to me for the first time). Well, MAP was already there and she had baked a beautiful cherry creation. I couldn't believe that someone had made this beautiful flaky pastry at home...From scratch. Something went down between she and Steve regarding the beautiful cherry pastry. I really don't remember what but MAP was a Grade-A bitch from that moment on. She was snippy and short with me every time I saw her. I don't know where it came from but it was unsettling.

MAP didn't visit for a while after that but she did invite us over for dinner a couple of months later. She made a great meal and was very cordial but we could never find a solid ground. She told a lot of stories of her and Steve's shared past or talked about some shit I just didn't interest me much. The things I talked about had the same effect on her.

There were other encounters with MAP, including a reciprocal dinner. The last encounter was on my birthday and that was the day that I knew MAP was not for me.

Steve was preparing a delicious birthday meal just for me. He originally said were going out. I didn't care that we stayed in. It was nice to be at home. I didn't have much to eat that day because I had such a tight schedule. And despite the many acts of kindness shown towards me that day, I was tired from doing the work that needed to be done, birthday or none.

I was finishing up some work on the computer while Steve was in the kitchen. I was probably 20-30 minutes away from being able to join in him in the kitchen when he told me that MAP was coming over because she was having a computer virus issue. She needed to use our computer to book some tickets. Steve put the dinner prep on hold until after she left. She arrived just as I was finishing up my work. I knew that she and Steve would take a minute to set everything up so she could make her on-line purchase so I surfed the web for a bit.

Miss American Pie got her tickets and I thought would be on her way but when I entered the kitchen, She and Steve were having beers. I was asked if I wanted one (how nice). I declined on grounds that I might make me too sleepy. MAP and Steve talked about her parents, her kids, her jobs, and a bunch of other things that had nothing to do with Steve, myself, or the birthday celebration which was now on hold. I put on some dance music. I figured that would be a nice hint that for my birthday, I would not like to sit around and talk about her world. I wanted to have some fun with my boyfriend. Alas, Madonna did not persuade her to go.

"I'm sorry," said MAP, " you were celebrating your birthday." Maybe my plan had worked and she got it. "Well," I say modestly, "this just happens to be the day it falls on." I don't know what that meant but my subtext was "it's okay that you came over but you need to leave now." She didn't leave. MAP chimed in again, "well, I did interrupt your dinner. You must be hungry?" I told that I actually was hungry. It had been a long day, etc. I told her how I was looking forward to my birthday meal.

Now, I am no etiquette expert but I think that her next step should have been to excuse herself and get the hell out. And don't return unless you are bearing gifts, food, or booze.

MAP's response to my hunger plea was, "oh." And then she stayed for another 40 minutes. She had a beer and regaled us with more stories about her life as a single mother. Don't get me wrong. My mother was single and I get the plight. My mother also knows how to take an effin clue.

When she finally left, I was not in a party mood at all. I felt disappointed and drained. I was fairly quiet for the rest of the evening. Steve did make a great dinner and presented me with a lovely dessert. We watched the final episode of Transgeneration. And then we went to bed.

I tossed and turned a lot that night. I had a few bad dreams too. I awoke with a start around 5 am. Steve woke up too. I turned to him and I said, "Just so you know, I hate Miss American Pie."

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Moving On

My 37th birthday was last week. I know I've mentioned this before but I got so much mileage out of it this year, it was worth saying once more. I usually don't celebrate the big day. I often choose to wallow in self-pity but this year I had a lot of fun. I celebrated the damn day for over a week. Birthday activities started with an e-card from Soybomb (who celebrated her birthday on Sunday). This was followed by an actual card from LL Cool P.

The actual birthday was phone calls, emails, and cards from around the world (literally). The morning of the big day, I awoke to a cut out red heart and an iPod from Steve. Later that night, he made me dinner which was interrupted by one of his friends that I now officially dislike (I'll write that story later). Just because November 8th ended didn't mean that the celebrating was over. The cast of Schoolhouse Rock Live and I went to Mi Tierra for margaritas on Friday. We later joined by some of my sketch comedy buddies. Saturday afternoon was a trip to Chinatown with college friends, Steph (the singer) and Leigh (the sensitive lesbian), along with Leigh's partner (the ultra-sensitive lesbian). Chinatown was a day of good food, more drinks, and a trip to tackyville where I bought Soybomb's b-day gift.

That night, Soybomb and I continued our tradition of the joint birthday celebration by having dinner with friends at a Lincoln Square Italian joint. It was there that I presented her with a giant ceramic piggy bank. It was hideous and lovely at the same time. She loved it. The dinner was attended by some of the usual suspects, our Ya-Yas (Sarah and Angie), kick-ass flan maker Luis, Steve, as well as new friends like Keith (really not a new friend anymore but still seems like one, I don't know), Jessica, AJ, and Jay. My friend Tim also dropped by.

The celebration continued with more drinks and more belated well wishes up until yesterday. I think that eight days (eight is my lucky number) was long enough to celebrate 37. It is only fitting that the city of Chicago proclaimed the closing day of my birthday 'Julie Andrews Day' in Chicago.

I can't wait until I turn 40.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

One More Thing for Johnny Gill to Consider

Is Homosexuality right for you?

You Think You're Crazy?

Around the corner from my house is a Dept of Streets and Sanitation building. I drive past it everyday. It never occurred to me to drive a car into the city building and set it on fire.

Methinks the Lady Doth Protest Too Much

rod 2.0:beta addresses the rumors of a love thang with Johnny Gill and Eddie Murphy. In a recent interview Gill tried to explain that he is "100% All Man". And I suppose those of us that have the guts to come out of the closet and face the scorn of the stupid are...what? Trust, Brother Gill, it takes more than a man to stand up to homophobes and the ignorant. Don't put us down in protection of your stupid little secret. I too am 100% all man.

Friday, November 11, 2005

First Peek

snposterfinal, originally uploaded by mylilpip.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Happy Birthday to...

Clean in LA, originally uploaded by mylilpip.

Today is my 37th birthday. I'm glad to be here...On the planet, still alive. Birthdays are a strange thing because the truth is that you only have one birthday which is the day you were born. But we don't count that one. We start at the 1 year anniversary of that day. And what did you do to be celebrated? The same thing everyone did, you were born. Why don't we give gifts to the parents instead of the person? It's like here you go Mr or Mrs Parent, I sure do appreciate you making a cute boyfriend for me so here is an iPod. Or I sure do appreciate you carrying my drinking buddy in your belly for 9 months Mrs. Mom, so I sent you an e-card.

What am I saying?!? I love birthdays. Wait, I love MY birthday because I am egotistical and self-centered. And today is all about me. Since this is not a traditional benchmark birthday like 30, 35, 40, etc., I thought I would just let this date slide but my friends will not have it that way. Thanks friends.

Soybomb was the first to send me an electronic greeting, about a week ago. LL Cool P and her cutie husband sent me an actual card (I never get those anymore except from my sister). Mom dished out some gifts on Saturday when she came up to see Schoolhouse Rock Live! And the last 24 hours has been nothing but e-cards and gifts.

Trust, I am not complaining. It is 8:00 a.m. while I type this. I am naked except for my comfy robe and I have received a phone call (only Kava would dare call me at 7 am), an iPod (Steve, of course), and 5 e-cards (thanks to Ty, Ed and Carroll, Patchy (he sent two cards), and Jeremy. I'm sure that there will be other B-day surprises as the day rolls on but since I was up I wanted to get a headstart on my thank-yous. And I want to share one of my e-cards with you, this one.

And a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my twin, Sarah Chittaro.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Straight to the Heart

Ladies of the Canyon Present
An Evening of HEART

Tuesday, November 15, 2005
9:30 pm at Martyr's
3855 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago
$10.00 cover charge

Led by sisters Anne and Nancy Wilson, HEART first rose to fame in the mid-70's with songs like "Magic Man" and "Crazy On You." Anne's powerful, crystal-clear voice, Nancy's electrifying guitar work, and their beautifully-written songs combine to make Heart an enduring and influential force in rock music with a career spanning four decades.

Featured Performers:
Kim Frost, Ingrid Graudins, Michelle Hallman, Becca Kaufman, Kate Milan, Wendy Morgan, Cathy Richardson, Nancy Davis Shaffer & Shana Spiegel

The Band:
Drums - Rich Stitzel
Bass - Chris Clemente
Guitar - Tom McCarthy
Guitar- Cathy Richardson
Piano - Paul Mutzabaugh
Strings & Mandolin - Anne Harris, Alison Chesley
Horns - Mike Chicowicz and the Paleolithic Horns
Background Vocals - Angie Wendt

Ladies of the canyon

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Scary Weekend, part deux

I humbly apologize for dragging this story out but I have been so busy writing and preparing for the new Straight & Nappy show that opens November 26 (more details later). I have to get back to last weekend.

So, when we left off, Steve and I had ventured into a live poultry store in order and purchased a live rabbit. "I'll take the black one," I said very matter of fact to the skinny Latino with bad 20-something facial hair. The fine butchers killed and dressed right in front of me.

I remember thinking "if this doesn't make me a vegetarian than nothing will" and you know what? I still like meat. I'm just not sure I need to watch the slaughtering.

We took our fresh meat home after a stop at one of the many Middle-Eastern stores along the Devon Avenue corridor. While shopping, Steve and I discussed the difference between buying food that processed at a farm or plant vs. Our recent purchase of the Easter Bunny. Steve definitely felt that not seeing the process made the experience of eating livestock less painful. I agreed but felt that at least I knew the origins of my meat. I also felt that watching this animal die actually made me more respectful of the process. We live in such an easy world compared to many. We don't have to worry about hunting and gathering. We just make our way to the local market and pick what we want without a care as to where it came from or the animal that gave it's life for our meal.

We took Easter Bunny home and I began to clean and chop him up. We both labored on the preparation of our rabbit stew. The problem was that this rabbit was huge, about 8 pounds. It was too large and old for stewing. It really needed to braised. We didn't know so we continued on. Several hours later, our rabbit was not yet tender and we decided to call it a night.

The next morning, Steve put the stew back on to simmer for a couple of more hours while I slept in knowing that I would have to get up and sing "Conjunction Junction" down at Drury Lane. I awoke to the distinct smell of something burning. "I think the stew is burning," I yelled out. "No, I don't think it is," said Steve, "I've been stirring the pot every 15 minutes and I have the fire on low." Well, as you have already guessed, the Easter Bunny was burning. Steve tried to salvage it but once that burnt taste gets into a soup or stew, there is no getting rid of it.

I couldn't believe it. We had gone to all the trouble of picking a creature to die (for our pleasure), discussing the ethics of the situation, resolving to respect the sacrity of the animal's death. Yet we had allowed it to die in vain. It did not provide substance's or pleasure. It just burned. Our 8 lbs., $2 a pound Easter Bunny was inedible.

I asked Steve to dispose of the remains of the Easter Bunny stew. I couldn't take it. I felt bad that had gone through all of this. And I hated that I had wasted $16 on a rabbit that I would never eat. Do you know how long it takes me to earn $16?

The irony is that we went to see the Wallace & Gromit movie, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit", the following night. We laughed and enjoyed a very good movie. I would highly recommend it to anyone that enjoys laughter, claymation, or cheese.

Jesus Take My Lunch

American Idol winner Carrie Underwood has a new single entitled "Jesus, Take the Wheel" All I can say is that I never...ever...want to be behind her in traffic.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

BOB KULHAN – 2 SHOWS ONLY! – Tues, Nov. 8, 2005 & Tues, Nov. 15 @ UCB

A menacing emcee and his French Cabaret Pianist will be your guides as you ride through a carnival of the mind meeting vaudevillian comedians, theatrical illusionists, and distortions of reality.
( Think Tim Burton &/or "ShockHeaded Peter" meets Sketch Comedy.)

SHECKY KULHAN: Theater of the Mind
After a successful 5 month run at I.O. in Chicago, Shecky is coming to LA for 2 shows only!


WHEN: Tuesday, November 8 th & Tuesday, November 15th

TIME: All shows @ 7:00PM!

WHERE: UCB Theater, 5919 Franklin Ave. , Hollywood

TICKETS: $5 (Cash Only!)

FOR TICKETS : 323.908.8702

"Gleaming, diabolical gifts – DON'T MISS!"

– Christopher Piatt, TIMEOUT CHICAGO

"The piece, which already is attracting something of a cult following…a broad new talent and a name to watch." – Chris Jones, CHICAGO TRIBUNE

– Jack Helbig, THE READER

Please make reservations to attend Shecky on Tuesday, November 8th @ 7:00PM & Tuesday, November 15 @ 7:00PM at the UCB Theater, 5919 Franklin Ave. , 323.908.8702

or to book tix

or for more info...