Sunday, December 14, 2008


This, of course, should be interesting...

Come see this weird thing I do.


The Police-Teen Theater Project's Fall 2008 Performance

Young people from Brooklyn combine forces with officers from the NYPD
to create a night of hilarious, moving, and totally unpredictable theater.

Thursday, December 18 at 7:00 pm
Friday, December 19 at 7:00 pm

Dance Theatre Etcetera Studio
480 Van Brunt Street, 2nd Floor
(in the Fairway building, just past the entrance to the parking lot)
Red Hook, Brooklyn

Admission is free!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Someone Says You're in the Wrong Place My Friend, You Better Leave

Someone Says You're in the Wrong Place My Friend, You Better Leave
Conceived and Developed by Hwy Rachel
Inspired by Things We'd Rather Not Say Aloud for Legal Purposes

Wednesday, December 10th

Presented as part of the MISC Film and Performance Festival
(Performances run from 7-10pm throughout the gallery space)

New York Studio Gallery
154 Stanton St. (at the corner of Suffolk)
Lower East Side

F and V and JMZ friendly!

A blurb about the show:

Someone Says You're in the Wrong Place My Friend, You Better Leave was developed for the NYSG as a roving performance piece that loops three times through the gallery. It follows the stories of five characters we would be unlikely to meet in the same place at the same time (except perhaps in a Dylan song): a biblical Cain-turned-clown, a rainbow-obsessed Ophelia, Einstein in Robin Hood tights and in the throws of discovery, a doe-eyed Cinderella, and a Fortuneteller with a penchant for spitting and never quite closing up shop. As the characters' stories move them from place to place, the audience is free to follow (or not) in whichever order they choose, creating a self-directed piece of interactive theater.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes We Did - This is what Democracy can look like.

"I finally feel like an American," Leela said at the party at my house last night.

Yes, this is what America can look like. Yes it can.

"I have not yet given up on my fellow Americans," said a man with a pick up truck and a McCain sign in the parking lot of Lions Hall in Hudson, New Hampshire yesterday afternoon. The Melissa that no longer picks political fights with strangers (bartending has taught me a lot) felt no need to say anything clever or snide, even though he was clearly making the announcement for my benefit, me a hippy-looking woman with Obama Pins, leaflets, and ratty clothes. There was no way I was campaigning for McCain. My appearance, even at a distance cries out "I support pseudo-terrorists that want to change the world." I know it does.

I wanted to tell him I hadn't given up on this country either, or on him, but I just thought it to myself and went about my business knocking on doors and telling people they were important.

Last night, however, I got to scream about change and start rounds of raucous applause for each state that came in, and for everything everyone said about hope and this crazy place I love called the United States of America.

It was an emotional evening all around. McCain's speech made people in my house cry. There was something in his loss. Something in the sincerity that came from his heart. His apology, his words that declared to put him behind Obama as a leader, and something, it seemed, he suddenly saw.

Even if it is all a farce and a big political ruse, my heart had been breaking for that old man the last few weeks. Last night shoved the stake straight in the rest of the way. If he could have only been on the side of good with all that energy and experience. Mea Culpa as he said.

My heart was also broken for the loss of Obama's grandmother. The idea that she missed seeing him elected President of the United States by one day felt like the heartbreak of all heartbreaks. But, as my friend Tim said, she probably didn't need to be alive to know that he was going to be president. I think she is sitting in the same front row my Grandmother is, looking down on all of us. The Hawaii of the sky.

And then there was Barack Obama himself whose victory speech brought us to deafening silence, detailing the changes seen in the life of an 106 -year- old American, the promise of puppies, and a promise for a better tomorrow.

I will say the greatest moment of last night came when we knew it was real. That is was really real.

We had flipped for a few minutes to the Daily Show and laughed over some things Jon Stewart and Colbert were saying when all of a sudden Jon Stewart paused and said, "It's 11 O'clock, and Barack Obama is the next president of the United States."

The house went dead and then exploded because we knew that it had just been called. Jon Stewart, in front of God and everyone, had just called the race.

And he was right.

It was one of those moments in history people will remember over and over again I am sure.

How did you find out? Where were you? But not in a September Eleventh way, because baby what we got up in here is the future.

Thank you to everyone for a beautiful and hope-filled night.

Ashleigh, thank you for holding on to me.

Tom, thanks for telling me my shirt smelled.

And Leela, I feel like an American, too.

And Man with the McCain sign, there is no reason to give up hope on anyone. We are all gonna pull through this better than we can imagine. I see aisles being crossed and a place for everyone.

Citizens of this unbelievable place. One nation. Let's make it indivisible- for real this time.

Hopefully, except for Sarah Palin.

Ok, maybe for her too.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Wild and Crazy- Sunday Feelings

I am very happy and excited about Colin Powell, can't say that I am surprised or have a question in my mind about why he endorsed Barack Obama. I think this is probably the most apropos place that the word duh, could be used on this blog. Duh. Duh. Duh.

And after having watched the new SNL sketch with Sarah Palin I am feeling a slew of different things.

First, that I still dislike her so much, and for that I am glowingly glad. No soft spot in my heart for her at all. Not even like the kind you have for people dying of lethal injection. Not even the feeling of "God, I bet you really could have been a better person and I hate the fact that you are being put to death."

I feel desperately bad every time I think about their last meals, those people on Death Row, especially when they have something cute for them like Orange Juice or M and M's. There is just always this moment where I am struck by their humanity and want to save them and somehow feel a sorrow that has a tinge of, dare I say it in front of some of you hard asses, love.

Sarah Palin did not conjure this feeling in me at all. Did you hear that Governor? A person who may have killed another person can evoke more compassion from me, just by eating a Mars bar before dying than you, stumbling over the words Caribou Barbie, ever will.


I say rape, you say kit. (The Lower 48 are not having it, sugar. Go Home.)

Second, that I CAN'T believe I am following SNL (albeit after Saturday night, and on the internet) a show I have not watched with any true joy or regularity since the late night re-runs on Nick at Night when I was 9.

Third, that parody "Todd" looked frighteningly like my latest ex-boyfriend. Especially when he danced.

And Fourth, that I still do not know how I feel about the fact that she was on it at all. At times I think it is almost like if they had had Pinochet on in the Seventies.

"Live from New York I am a crazy fascist."

Who am I kidding? I would actually love to see a Nick at Night re-run with Eddie Murphy and Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet as a cone head? Pinochet and the Two Wild and Crazy Guys?

Maybe Obama and Biden can do that when they win. Give us a taste of what the next four years will be like with them. Hell, If those two other chumps can be Mavericks then the A-team get to be two wild and crazy guys. Done. Someone call Martin and Akroyd and pull out the plaid.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Oy Fey!

And one more thing.

When Obama wins this election, Tina Fey is going to be entitled to a Kilo of the credit.


Tina Fey and Hillary in 2016!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

What's Round on the Edges and High in the Middle?

I just got back from Ohio, folks (my friends), and let me tell you that it is really happening there.

After watching the debates the other night I am more fired up then ever.

"That One" is very, very popular in many of these fine Continental 48 and I think it is important and should not be hidden by the media, that there are democratic miracles happening in that Little Ol' (read: Extremely, Extremely Important) Swing State That Wants To.

First you need to know that I was down there last weekend, in the Columbus area to be more exact, for a very historic event. Last weekend anyone in Ohio could register to vote and vote ON THE SAME DAY.

That's right you heard me. Ohio is voting now. Right now, as we speak, well, not as we speak because the polls are closed, but from September 30th until November 4rd the beautiful, talented, hardworking, well-voting population of the the Buck -Eye State are allowed to vote.

Registering to vote: $0 dollars

Pulling the lever without being messed with for three hours in the rain: Priceless.

This was designed, as far as we could make out, as a Never Again precaution so that salt of the earth Ohioans would never be left out in the cold on Election Day again.

And I say God bless their Football Loving Hearts.

Last weekend was the end of the registration period and now the game is simply a foot. A big, awesome, early- voting-shorten -the- lines- at -the- poll -so- less- people (people of color) get- fucked- with foot. To be exact.

So, let me tell you what I saw 'cause it was beautiful.

I saw dogs wearing Obama bling. I saw 75% of the voters walking out of the early polling places with stickers saying I Just Voted early for Barack Obama. Check. And that was Easily 75% of the voters.

I saw FREE voting taxis with numbers on their signs asking people to call for a lift to the polls.

FOR FREE, people, please do not forget.

The folks in Ohio, well, they are working together for change. Yes they Can.

I saw bigger Vans, with Obama-Biden signs, doing the same. Pick up and delivery, carting people over in 6-8 person loads so that they could do their civic duty and follow their moral imperative.

Russell Simmons. You know what that Old So and So did? He had a performance at an Obama rally in Downtown Columbus, wrapped up the music, and WALKED everyone in the audience over to vote at the Veteran's Memorial. Warms the heart.

He didn't say who to vote for...but I think you get the idea.

And I saw Cornel West speak, forgoing Bruce Springsteen who begged for his America back while on stage at Ohio State University down the road a stretch. Dr. West was electrifying in the University Baptist Church on St. Clair St on Sunday afternoon.

You know what he reminded us? He wanted to draw our attention to the importance of looking at how a country's "least" are doing. Those with the least. How are they getting on? What do our "have nots" have?

They have not.

I also want to say that Dr. West wanted everyone to leave the church and vote with their conscience, but to remember that Obama was not Jesus Christ. That he was not going to be our salvation. That we needed to be doing that.

Us, and that Other Guy out there.

No, not John McCain.

Cornel West said that people in the countries he had been to recently weren't asking how Brother McCain was doing in the polls.

Nope Dr. West, they weren't asking me how The Senator from Arizona was doing either.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

And, We're Back

Hi. I am back in America. 

Couple things...

Just in case there was any confusion:

Being able to SEE Russia does not constitute "foreign travel" nor does Putin flying over your Home state mean that you have experience with diplomatic relations. 


Please vote for Obama. 

Please go register to vote. Like, right now if it is before 5pm where you are. 

Please do not buy a pair of eye glasses that look like Sarah Palin's because she wears them.

Please do not be enticed by the fact that she is a "MILF."

Please be afraid that she could be the President. 

Please do not confuse her for a feminist.

Please go to places like Pennsylvania and Ohio and knock on doors and tell them. 


The whole world is watching. No, seriously, it is, and shooting Moose while various animal species are dying off warms my fucking cockles. I don't know about your cockles. 

(Yes, I understand that she has probably been to Canada.)


Friday, September 19, 2008

Bevar Christiania

So, I am out of Scandinavia and have woken up this morning in Former East Berlin.

I love the smell of a fallen regime in the morning. Especially over Kaffe and a keyboard.

I was evacuated from a train in Sweden yesterday. (Yes, I know. "What?" Exactly.) This very strange turn of events found me leaping from Nordic transport and onto Swedish train tracks that had to be turned off so as not to electrocute the people, now fleeing from their seats, merely attempting safe passage to Denmark. This adventure made me three hours late and so I took an afternoon train to Berlin, arriving under the cover of darkness to Prenzlauer Berg, a Village-esque part of town from as far as I can tell so far.

Please look at this link about Christiania.

This is where I was mostly staying in Denmark.

Freetown Chrisiania is an attempt at a free society in the City of Copenhagen and it was quite an experience, let me tell you. I drank with a huge population of people from Greenland, watched people sell hash and weed in stalls on "Pusher Street," and talked to an old-timer named Tim
who is pretty sure there is going to be a huge UFO over Alabama on October 14th of this year.
And that it is all gonna be great.

I just hope if it is true it helps Obama. I mean wouldn´t it be awesome if the Aliens had Vote for Obama T-shirts on? They could stay with me at my place if that were the case.

Chrisitiania is very controversial and many of its inhabitants, as well as tourists, wear shirts and buttons that say "Bevar Christiania." Like Defend Brooklyn. Preserve Christiania.

There is a very conservative governement in Denmark now and they don´t like the Hippies so much and are trying to put an end to all the love and fun.

Well, that is all for now. Berlin awaits. I have a thriving art city to discover.

As always.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Wonderful Copenhagen

Wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen

Friendly old girl of a town
'Neath her tavern light
On this merry night
Let us clink and drink one down
To wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen
Salty old queen of the sea
Once I sailed away
But I'm home today
Singing Copenhagen, wonderful, wonderful
Copenhagen for me

I spent the night in Sweden the other night. It was by far the funniest thing I have done since being in Europe. Waking up in Sweden. I am staring at a Denmark sunset, as we speak, here in lovely Copenhagen. In Copenhagen good-bye is "Hej Hej" and there is an awesome part of town called Christiania where I am staying that was taken over by the hippies in the 70´s. Vegan food and hash sellers in little stalls ahoy.

I have not yet seen the Little Mermaid.

Copenhagen is a bikers city and I can't read much of anything.

Wish you were here.

Don't vote for Sarah Palin.

Hej Hej.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Don't Palin For It

Hey all you "white women!"

For the love of G-d, we don't need a woman who kills moose in the White House. Nor do we need a woman who just got her passport at 44. It is isn't worth it.

I'm in the UK sweating Alaskan bullets on this one. Quick, someone start knocking on doors...i'll meet you in Ohio!

I leave for one month....

Meanwhile at 8am today the world may have begun to change for good. Big Bang in a very big Swiss box.

Our times.

Friday, August 29, 2008

My heart is in the Highlands

My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here,
My heart's in the Highlands a-chasing the deer-
Chasing the wild deer, and following the roe;
My heart's in the Highlands, whereever I go.

-R. Burns

Inverness, Scotland, in the height of the Highlands, is a party town. You didn't know it and neither did I. This is also where Loch Ness and its monster are. I did just have to explain that "Friends" was not a documentary about Jennifer Aniston to a few gents, but other than that everyone here is amazing.

I want to apologize for not having written sooner. Travelling has been exhausting and when I can I would like to get some pictures of Italy up online. Let's just say, after Florence, I am not going to need to hit a "fine arts" museum for a while.

I paddled a Gondola and found the only Orthodox Jews in Venice. I went to the beach with them. Me and two Rabbis names Schmuley and Yossi on the Lido. Let's see Fellini top that.

I am in the lobby of my first real "hostel." A hippi is playing the didjeridu, I just came back from the craziest bars, and had some of the best Indian food I have had in ages.

So far. I think I don't need to leave Scotland.

My heart's in the Highlands at the break of dawn
By the beautiful lake of the Black Swan
Big white clouds, like chariots that swing down low
Well my heart's in the Highlands
Only place left to go.

- Mr. Bobby D.

Friday, June 20, 2008


 my god. 

Skidmore was crazy.

And I'm back.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Louie, Louie

I am with a bunch of old ladies at a writer's conference in Saratoga Springs (me and my bright ideas) and all I can think about is Louie. I met Louie just before I pulled out of New York City on Sunday.

Louie, who leaned over to me at the Hess station on Metro and Bushwick, grabbed my hands, called me Mammi, and told me he was voting for McCain.

I was putting 10w-40 and gas in the car.

I said, "Oh, Louie, no!" Glancing at his New York plates, relaxing into the fact that it actually doesn't matter who Louie votes for, but none the less. Here was my nightmare AND mind you, the thing I said couldn't possibly happen- I refused to believe would happen. Who was going to swing from Hillary to McCain? Who would be so extreme? Obama to McCain I always understood, there was an appeal Obama was making to *those* guys; I got those people; I think I dated one once.

Why would we do this to ourselves? We are so close. Eyes on the god- damned road people!

But Louie held fast to my oil slicked hands and said "Mami, I don't like Muslims."

Had I not had to get on the road as soon as I closed my hood I probably would have passed out, right then and there.

I actually met and was holding hands with a man who believed the crazy republican propaganda in WILLIAMSBURG BROOKLYN. (watch out Melissa your naivete is showing.) My 'hood. 25 feet from my house.

"Louie, babe, it's propaganda," I tried "It's not true. What's with the church?"

Louie then let me know that he watched Obama sworn in NOT on a Bible. To Louie's credit he did not say a Koran.

But he believed that Hilary would have "kept us safe" but that Obama is what? Gonna get us?

The whole thing was as disturbing as the almost- $5- a- gallon sticker price for the gas I was buying.

40 dollars later, I drove away.

It was the best that I could do.

I had recently learned the three "L's"to employ whenever you are talking to any extremist or to anyone whose mind you cannot change.

First You Listen
then You Love
and then You Leave.


Thursday, June 5, 2008

Obama is Black. Not That There's Anything Wrong With That

Looks like I owe Blayne Scofield $50 dollars. Unless, of course, Obama decides this whole thing was silly in the first place and changes his mind. Let's wait to see if he changes his mind....

Actually, to be honest, I am very excited and looking forward to this race. I think the man is going to make an excellent candidate and if John McCain is still alive in November- we're gonna take him down.

I have one last thing to get off my chest about the race, race, and gender before I join the screaming fans.

I would like to describe a T- Shirt I saw on a girl the other day. The tag:

Once you vote black you never go back.

Guys, this whole thing has been as much about race and gender as ANYTHING else and I think it is in our strength for us to admit that instead of denying it.

I caught some real flack from different people ( friends, lovers, liars) over the course of this whole thing- me all the while saying that One of the Reasons I was voting for Hillary was because a female running for president is a political act. I still think it is. So is the fact that our good man Obama is black. In this country both of these things were a big deal. Pure and simple. Just ask that Preacher. Just ask the people telling Hillary to do the ironing. Just ask the populations in the south that came out to vote that never had before.

We want to own the good part of having a black candidate (it's progressive, we are making headway, see race doesn't matter) and stuff in the closet or WORSE make invisible all the parts of it that make us (especially white intellectuals/artists/tax evaders) uncomfortable.

Barack Obama is black. He is black and that is political. Part of the reason that this is happening - that this is historic- is because he is black and it scares me MORE that we aren't owning that.
We have to own that he is a black man and be honest that it is part of the reason we are nervous that he isn't going get the votes in those states from those voters.

I am still hung up about the fact the left has done itself more harm than good, choking up our ability to use language and acknowledge differences. If you don't talk about the elephant in your living room we will never figure out how to get it out of the house and its going to shit everywhere and eat your sofa. Then you will have lots of shit everywhere and no sofa.

Obama knows he is black. He gave that awesome, awesome speech.

Bring on that change everyone has been taking off their clothes for. I'm in bed with the black man. I hear once you go black... well, you've heard it before.

Pathetically still secretly hoping for a dream ticket,


Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Cops and Kids Tonight and Friday see below!!!

It is gonna be crazy!!!


riot act!

The Police-Teen Theater Project Spring 2008 Performance

Young people from Brooklyn combine forces with officers from three NYPD
precincts to create a night of hilarious, moving, and totally unpredictable theater.
Rehearsed scenes, monologues, and classic improv all come together in
RIOT ACT! – the first full-length performance of the Police-Teen Theater Project.

Wednesday, June 4 at 7:00 pm
PS/MS 27 – The Agnes Humphrey School for Leadership
27 Huntington Street (2 blocks west of Hamilton Ave)
Red Hook, Brooklyn

Friday, June 6 at 7:00 pm
BRIC Studio
647 Fulton Street (at Rockwell Place)
Downtown Brooklyn

Admission is free!

For reservations call 718-395-3218
or visit

The Police-Teen Theater Project, sponsored by Falconworks Artists Group and
the Red Hook Community Justice Center, is an innovative program where young
people from Brooklyn and police officers who serve their neighborhoods take classes
together in improvisational theater.

riot act! artwork by Linden Elstran

Major financial support for the Police-Teen Theater Project has been provided
the Independence Community Foundation.
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City
Department of Cultural Affairs.

Thank you for your interest in Falconworks Artists Group. If you no longer wish to receive emails from us, please reply to this email with "unsubscribe" in the subject line.

Falconworks Artists Group is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to empower communities and individuals through theater that addresses personal and local issues. Founded in 1997 and incorporated in 2004, Falconworks achieves its mission through workshops in playwriting and performance that offer individuals the skills and resources to tell their own stories; through partnerships with community-based organizations to develop theater that educates audiences and participants about pressing local issues; and through mentoring by theater professionals and collaborations in theater that help participants develop valuable life and work skills.

Falconworks Artists Group
PO Box 310283
Brooklyn, NY 11231

Saturday, May 24, 2008

but full of significance

Last night, I was at a full moon festival (one solid week late) and read aloud from Chapter 7 of the Wind in the Willows with a 9- year-old girl who was there with her mother. That was my favorite part of the evening. (Except for the women who came in dressed like drag queens at the end. Yes, they weren't drag queens. Yes, they were women... yes, they were something else altogether...)

Children with Witches. Witches with Trannies. And A wind came sweeping through the back yard of the magickal shop and everyone knew there were many visitors there that evening.

We did unspeakable things to carnations and apples. The little girl offered a Cherry to Diana and Pan and thanked the people who haven't come into her life yet. She was far, far shorter than I was.

In other news, earlier that day, in my quest for health and wisdom, my therapist instructed me to beat a chair with a pillow. We were working with anger. I had to keep my knees bent. Like in horse stance. Either right before that or right after that my therapist went into a Trance and then, either before or after that, I touched her Breasts.

After the Moonrite I snaked from the Village to Little Italy. I met St. Anthony there.

I asked him, "So, new? Play me a miracle." He asked me if I had bothered to look at the sky or feel my feet on the ground yet that evening.

And then as I was turning to go, as an after thought, he said, "Funny, you know Bob Dylan, asked me the same thing once."

Then again there was a wind.

I told him I'd see him again soon.

Reserved, shy, but full of significance, it hid whatever it might hold behind a veil, keeping it till the hour should come, and, with the hour, those who were called and chosen. - W. i. t. W.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Counting of the Omer

At a little after 10:15 Thursday Night I parked my car at a Fire Hydrant and ran.

In my long history of rash and automatic moves I have NEVER moved so fast. Whatever the hell it was that was happening, I sure as hell was not going to miss it, not in my neighborhood, not on my Earthen watch, and certainly not for the want of a legal parking space.

Some times a wrong turn is not just a wrong turn.

I had no idea what I was seeing. There was a parade-sized crowd of them standing in a circle- Black Hat to Black Hat to Black Hat- It seemed as if the entire population of Hasidism were there. From my vantage point, out of the window of my car, I couldn't make out what they were all looking at, there were Hundreds of them, with their black coats and broad shoulders and backs to me.

I had taken a wrong turn in South Williamsburg on my way to the BQE west and then next thing I knew I was running toward a crowd of Jews, toward a part of town I had never been to, and as I got closer and I could see more, toward a very large Fire.

What appeared to me to be A Bonfire.

My first thought was "it's a celebration." Then I saw the Fire Trucks and wondered if it was a holiday or, instead, a house fire and if I was simply- childishly- gawking at an Orthodox Misfortune.

Then the smartest part of me said that no apartment fire would put that many people on the street. She's my favorite part of me. I kept running toward the crowd.

I arrived to a revelry made up of men, women, children and firemen.
The Hasidic population of Williamsburg were throwing down and apparently, I had caught it all in the Nick of Time as the New York City Fire Department was hard at work with their Anti- Semitic Fire Hoses.

I slowed my jog and walked toward the crowd (no alarms and no surprises.) I got a little closer so as to see the source of the flames. In the pyre, wood pieces. Chunks and bits and morsels.

I was close to a gaggle of men Religiously Obligated not to touch me and I felt my body being very careful not to get too close. It was as if It wanted them to know It knew the rules.

My Body: Don't worry anybody. I got you. No handshaking. No footsies. Just don't ask me to leave.

I had pulled my hood up over my head somewhere between the Car and the Fire; I was peering out from under it. That was something, I heard myself saying as I laid it over my brow, now why did you do that?

To cover my hair? To blend? To be incognito? Respect? Spydom? I wasn't sure. I guess it was mainly because I didn't have a wig so I had to improvise.

I stood for a couple of seconds, smiling wanly at the men who turned around, who were surprised to see one of Me there; when suddenly, as if we both somehow had been pulled to the same spot, there was another Me there, a girl just walking home to the apartment she undoubtedly rents from one of the guys now standing in the Paganistic Circle at the corner of Flushing ave.

I joked to her, "This happen a lot 'round your parts?"

"I have no idea what's going on, I'm just walking home."

She turns to one of the men with the pe'ot, "What is this?"

And this guy, this Jew trying to enjoy his party, he hesitates and from out of nowhere I realized... I knew! I knew what was going on! Well, partly knew anyway. Enough for the next part to happen.

He mumbled and spelled the name of the Holiday, Lag B'Omer, and told her to Google it and then took a Noble Silence.

She pressed, "yeah, but-"

And then, as easily as not finding the BQE, I began to answer her question (to my surprise as much as to all of the Hasidic men around me.) I roughly described something about the end of Passover and the 49 days leading up to the next holiday, which I was sorry to admit I had forgotten the name of.

"Well there you go," broke in the Hasid, "she's answering it, better than I could." He looked at me a little inquisitively.

Smart ass that I am, I just shrugged my sweatshirted shoulders and said, "Member of the Tribe."

Somewhere in there,The girl, the other Me, the Me who did not cover her head- either disinterested or bemused by my cluttered and clangy explanation- walked away. As proud as I was that I knew SOMETHING, I still didn't know a thing about this fire.

"You should see it in Israel. It burns for days."

He was Israeli. I could tell.

"Did the Fire department know it was happening?"

"Of course," (They all say of course when something is Blatantly Obvious) "We do it every year!"

Of course.

I knew I had to go home and Google all this myself. I had the general, but none of the specifics.

The blare of a siren and an incoming Fire Engine cut into our conversation and my friendly South-sider was gone. As the crowd aggressively began to disperse, I was less careful with my body. I looked at the Children and the Mothers. I wanted to ask them questions, but could tell by the body language of the throng that they were moving inside, and in my experience the women keep a tight lip anyway or simply remind me that I am a descendant of Sarah's and to be a good Jew. Thanks, Ladies.

The Fire almost out, dull -glowing in the wind, was my cue and reminder that I had been granted ten minutes of luck. It was time for me to take what I saw and go back to my abandoned jalopy before the good municipal servants of the Outer Borough of Brooklyn , bored of the pyromanical tendencies of the Jews, towed my car.

But before I turned around to leave,
The Fire said,
Keep talking to that Rabbi, child.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


This past Sunday at the Good Old Burp Castle we had Opera Night. We played Turnadot by Puccini from beginning to end and with the deft skills of Tom the Hart (I have decided that would be his Mobster name) we were even able to follow along in a Libretto, no less.

Rigoletto by Verdi

We will laugh, we will cry, and we will drink Italian wine.

See you then at 7pm if I don't see you sooner!


Friday, May 16, 2008

the old switch-a-roo

Gay marriage in, Salmon fishing out.

California. Way to call 'em.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

On Reiki and the Rabbi's Pants

I am wearing the Rebbe's pants. They are blue. They are sweatpants. I am wearing Kabbalistic sweatpants.

No such thing you say?! Come closer child and tell that to my Dockers brand, elastic waisted treasures.

The Rabbi gave me his pants. It all happened very quickly.

I was sitting in the Den. I had arrived late (again) and the Rabbi had been waiting.

Note: I do not in anyway shape or form condone this behavior. In fact, I would say, in a perfect world, never keep a 96- year- old Rabbi waiting. I'm sure there could be a clever refute to my claim, but I will leave it be for now.

Es Geht.

I had arrived in a pair of jeans, per usual, except in my haste to get out the door, I grabbed a pair of ripped ones and being me, didn't think too much about it.

While we are on the topic, it is probably notable to bring up that I have a strange relationship with pants. I know a few people who have strong opinions on the state of affairs with my pants.


I know. I know.

And now the Rabbi has an opinion too. And one less pair of pants.

Like I said, we were in his den, talking about Wanting What you Want, an Old Tailor That Had Never Existed in Some Village that Had Never Existed, and Things in Life That Do and Do Not Fit You; when he suddenly got up, said stay right here, and hobbled out of the room.

When he returned he said, "speaking of things that fit, put these on, right now. "

I laughed.

He was serious.

"I don't know if you know this or not, but the ones you are wearing are ripped. "

I smiled and told him I knew.

He held the athletic wear out to me, "I'm not sure where these pants came from, something my ex-wife probably bought me, but see if they are your fit."

He tossed them at me and told me to go in the other room and put them on. See if they are a fit, he says, leaning on his cane.

I slipped into his kitchen, pulled down my drawers, and came to find that a few seconds later I was wearing a pair of ridiculous, penguin reminiscent sweat pants and that I had never felt so hip or happy.

He loved them.

I am going shopping today. If you see me this afternoon you will undoubtedly see new clothes or at least new pants that were not previously owned by a 96- year- old -man.

Can it be true that I hate shopping so much that it would take the chagrin of an old Tzadik to get me to H and M?

And in other unrelated- to- pants news, I am now a level one Reiki Practitioner. I am still not one hundred percent sure what that means for me, but it sounds powerful and significant doesn't it?

All kidding aside, it is a fascinating healing art and I have to practice, so if your chakras are anywhere near me in the near future hit me up for a tune up!

PS Do you have any idea how much I love having a cell phone entry that just says-"The Rabbi"?
Do you have any idea how much I love these pants?

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Ducking Under Bumble Bees

In the tradition of the Lone Gunmen from the X Files, those scientists that help Clarice Starling, and the Three Wise Men that appear under the stars with gifts for the Baby Jesus, come my own brilliant trio to help me understand strange moths and just who that Tennis player/mother was who came out of retirement.

Hint. It wasn't Joan of Arc. She was never anybody's mutter.

So, thank you guys for inspiring me back onto this old girl. This Old Girl called 'Shawdenfreude', which my pal, confidant, and medical experiment, Tom Hart told me seems outdated for who I am these days.

People have been crazy and times have been strange these days. Don't you know.

Like, I think it is worth mentioning, that in my free time I have been hanging out with a 96- year- old Kabbalistic Rabbi because, I am, apparently, searching for something that looks like a spiral and a big bright light. I opened for him last Sunday at a lecture. He told me I was a little Rabbi anyway, and that I would be just fine.

This Rabbi loves being alive. This Rabbi is going through a divorce. This Rabbi lost his first family in the Holocaust.

You know what this Rabbi does every morning?

He gets up and screams, "I -am -alive!"

Now, you skeptics, (me skeptics) might say sure, at 96, I'm sure that you're as relieved as hell that you are alive.

But this guy, this guy...well, he sees Bumble Bees, that I'm afraid of, ducking under on his back porch and tells me, chuckling, that see, even he wants to be an angel for me.

This guy, and others, is why New York is where they put me for now.

And also, if you never hang out at the bar where I work, I am sad to say you are sadly missing out.

So, here is to the Three Wise Men/Trivia Men/Lone Gunmen; Tom Hart, the genius cartoonist who came in yesterday wearing an electric doo rag because his doctors made him; and Dr. Joeseph Gelberman, My Rabbi, who is 96 years young and knows where to tell the sadness to stick it. Right in the Chokmah.

As for me...

You're right guys. I don't have to work that hard.

Thanks for finding my blog.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Gemini in Mars, Yesterday

Wanna know why I study astrology?

Because I watched three people fall down yesterday and I knew there had to be a reason. 
I was walking around New York City and people just kept falling.  Old Man in Union Square, Woman Stuck in "the Gap" on the Subway, Little Girl with Nanny on the Upper East Side. 

They all ate it. 

I walked into my astrology class and I said, "Why are people falling down?"

And my teacher said "Mars in Gemini, watch it with the knives today."

This, by the way, is going to be a rough week for us all emotionally. The energy is rocky. 
Hold on to the Dingy. Go to yoga, meditate, and listen to everyone before you react. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


How come there isn't a facebook group called "Obama is a smug bitch?"

Because this crazed, blind, creepy, Obamafied fervor makes it politically incorrect to say anything about him.

It is actually unenlightened to speak out about this man of change, who is using all the dirty tactics of any politician mind you, but completely and totally fine to bash Hillary Clinton all you want.

Do it up, yo, she's the fat kid in class and he's the quarter back.
Screw her for not knowing enough to not have a vagina. What a Cunt.

The media has made me go from mildly liking him to really hoping he loses.


Not uniting anyone here.

I would like to remind everyone that the 'Nysnc craze also didn't last that long or mean that much either.

I hope he gets his shit together for the sake of all the 19- year- olds who threw their panties in the voting booths.

Hope? Maybe. Class? Definitely not.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

how to become your New Therapist's New Favorite Client by Melissa Shaw

So, I have started therapy again.

"Why" you ask?


So, New Therapist and I are are in that beginning get- to- know- you phase of our relationship.

That place where I am quickly recapping all the "boring stuff" and she is telling me that "nothing can shock her."

Since having heard those words, I have seen her pick up her pen, cock her head to the side, and practically call her girlfriends three times.

I have had to ask her to Google 4 different things as a point of reference. (One of which I hope has no pictures.)

But, for the record, in order to make sure you are the client she goes home to tell her friends and family about bring up: your fascination with the occult, affairs with married men, being "kidnapped" by your mother, kinky sex, and your grandmother's nighttime screaming phone calls about death all in one sentence.

Do not flinch when she suggests you should be coming in more than once a week. That is merely her fear of having bit off more than she can chew.


And now she really wants to spend some time.

Saturday, February 9, 2008


You know why I voted for Hillary Rodham Clinton?

Because I have money on her.

I got $50 bucks out on the fact that HRC is going to be the next president of the United States.

This bet was made with a guy I don't talk to so much anymore.
I originally told him I would bet him $1,000. I am so sure: $1, 000!

"Melissa, you don't have $1,000 dollars."

"You're right. Thanks for dinner."

But, I was so sure, that I felt like "why do I need the money back it?" Aren't I clearly the presummed winner of said Martini induced bet?

I think if everyone did this it would make elections so much more interesting.

Like the Super Bowl.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Because you didn't ask...

A pretty obscure and self indulgent "Best of List" for 2007 that probably only I will understand and/or care about (and the few of you who are referenced) unless you think my life is really interesting.

Best Year to be Over Since 2005 : 2007. Yay! Bring on the year of the Rat.

Best Person to go to a Bob Dylan/Elvis Costello Concert with (Mainly Because of Their Impeccable Commentary and Impersonations) : Ryan Evans

Best New Thing I Learned About : The Turducken

Best Freelance Job : Police Teen Theater Project- Yes, I taught comedic improvisation to the NYPD.

Best Job I Lost : Gridskipper

Best Place I Went to in a Plane : Israel

Best Place to Survive a Dust Storm -Naked- While Drinking Jack Daniels : Burning Man

Best Quotes : "Melissa, stop acting like you are from Norway." - AB
"How do you survive?" - FS

Best Way to Make You Feel Like You are Doing Something Important Even When You are Not: Join an Interfaith Seminary

Best Fad That Makes Me Want to Throw a Brick Through a Window: The Dyed- To- Be- Pretty Urban Outfitters Fashion Keffiyeh

New Favorite American City: San Francisco (with Austin, TX as close second)

Best Thing to Happen to Me All Year: Max Kelly