Friday, October 29, 2010

"God And Other Artists Are Always A Little Obscure"

It’s a chilly Friday here in good ol’ Brooklyn, so I’ll keep it simple and pleasant today.

The Jaded NYer is a lover of the fine arts- you heard it here first. Now, I was only afforded the gift of the written word in that category, but I still love to surround myself with everything artistic that is at my disposal. Good music, great photography, beautiful paintings, thought-provoking cinema, and the fluidity of the ballet- you know I love it all. So today I want to draw your attention to two painters that I’ve met recently that have made me step back and just go, “WOW” that I think you all will love.

First up is Brian Kirhagis, an artist from Baltimore residing in Long Island whose work was so beautiful I wrote a feature article on him for XI Magazine (you can read it by clicking here). My favorite piece is Tied Up, and the story behind the painting is even better than the work itself!

The other artist, Emma Trincal, I only met yesterday on my way to K’s school for parent-teacher conferences. She’s showing some magnificent paintings at ShopTalk & Art Gallery (on Lafayette across from BAM) until November 4th and TRUST ME- you’re going to want to see her stuff. One oil painting in particular caught my eye, Night Visitor, so if anyone has a G to spare and wants to get it for me, I’ll be forever grateful.

With all of this beauty waiting for you in this wretched world, why don’t you all forgo all this paganistic Halloween crap this weekend and indulge in some fine art instead?

*smooches...wishing you a safe and art-filled weekend*
When you check out these artists, tell them Raquel sent you...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

And The Oscar Goes To…

I don’t know if I mentioned this before at other Jaded Empire meetings, but I plan to EGOT.

(And for you losers that aren’t hip to the genius of 30 Rock yet, to EGOT is to win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony.)

This could jeopardize my plan to remain behind the scenes and not deal with all the pitfalls of fame, but while watching Brothers & Sisters this week I was gifted a sweet, motivational nugget that helped push me in my endeavors:

“You must give up the life you planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you.”

Isn’t that just the most PERFECT advice ever? I’m such a planner. Like, seriously, my whole life consists of TO DO lists and day planners and frankly, tons of disappointment when things don’t go as well as they do on paper.

All that to say: I want to do great things in the entertainment industry. I want to write books that fly off the shelves; movies that sell out box office and make you think; songs that stand the test of time; TV shows that have killer Nielsen ratings; productions that rule Broadway for years ala Cats. I want all of that for the Jaded Empire, and this might mean that my plan to live a quiet little life as a writer on the top floor of a brownstone in Brooklyn hidden away from the world might not be feasible.

With this realization in mind, I’ve been practicing acceptance speeches- who do I thank? Should I be funny, crass, Jaded? What should I wear? I’ve also been practicing being interviewed by Barbara Walters, Ellen, Letterman and even my nemesis, Oprah. I practice being on Regis & Kelly, The Today Show and sure, if his show is still around, I’ll even sit and chat with that big-headed beaner, George Lopez.

I do this to make sure I won’t embarrass myself, my family and to prepare for the difficult questions about my father, the leaked naked photos and my past with drugs and alcohol. I’m getting ready for all of it.

I’m a planner, after all, and even though this was never a path in my original dream chart it’s a necessary evil for the life I know is waiting for me.

Now all I need is a stylist...

*smooches...kind of psyched to meet Ellen*
I’ve been following her career since she was the receptionist on the TV Show Open House.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Blood In, Blood Out

The older I get, the less inclined I am to make new friends. I have my little core group, my ride or die posse, my consiglieries. I have little interest in new people, unless they are so awesome, I'd be stupid not to befriend them.

Now I know that this blog is probably read by people I've never met and might not ever meet. That's cool. Hope you're all enjoying the insanity I place before you. But for the most part it's my inner circle of lovelies that interact with me online.

And I like it that way- small, intimate, comfy.

So for someone to just pop in outta the blue and have the audacity to request to be on MY blogroll, and offer to add me to THEIR blogroll because it will drive more traffic my way... well obviously this person has NO IDEA how this blogging game works, and they ESPECIALLY don't know how I run this.

With the exception of a few people with whom I only interact online, I KNOW everyone on my blog roll. They're there because I consider them a friend and I think what they write about complements what I write about and we're a little family. If this person, who asked to be added, had done their research (looked through my archives, clicked on the other blogs) they would have realized that The Jaded NYer is enveloped in velvet ropes and the gatekeepers are big, surly assholes who, even if you're ON the list, might not let you in.

Don't come in here all brand new and shit and try to be down. It just doesn't work like that! Am I being elitist and bitchy over something so trivial and stupid? YES. Do I give a fuck? NO. I don't like to be told how to run my own site. If this person had just left it alone after I said no, this would have been a different post, probably about my kids being grounded or something. But no, they had to try and get the last word in, as if more traffic to my blog impresses me. Fuck outta here with that noise! We're a tight group here; we don't take too kindly to strangers.

The worst part? THEIR site was so UNJaded-like. It was some web portal about romance and dating... HUH?

Yeah, this person was clearly barking up the wrongest tree in the wrongest forest of the wrongest village on the internet.

Someone please buy them a map...

*smooches...with a side of snark just because*
oooh, that felt good. I haven't ranted about something in a very long time. I'm BACK, baby!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Dancing Babies

I had the best time with the babies this weekend- all three of them. I went to scoop up Miss Olivia and the four of us hung out, made a pie and then went to visit my Penzo grandmother. She was such a well-behaved doll!

I mean, look at this video:

Like, why is she so cute? And why is K so damn tall? And most importantly, why was N in the background doing the MOST?! The fist pumping... pelvis thrusts... I CANNOT!

Listen, I'd barely slept the night before and all the suspended train service was getting on my damn nerves, but Sunday was still alright with me.

*smooches...reliving Sunday afternoon right this minute*
and can we please talk about WHY Miss Olivia knows the words to this song? It's all cute and games until she's rapping along to Wacka Flacka!

Monday, October 25, 2010

I'm Baaaaaaaack...

And what better way to come back than with some straight up ignant music:

and a brand new episode of Monday Musings: A Jaded Halloween!

Y'all will get to 'meet' my sister's boyfriend, Chris, and pick the brain of horror film director Tiffany Jackson, as we have a little fun with scary movies, books and all that jazz.

Look, I know I've been gone for a while, but if you don't tune in I won't be your friend anymore. HMPH.

*smooches...fresh from a two-week vacation*
I know you missed me. "You ain't got to LIE, Craig!"

Monday, October 11, 2010

Because Of Work, Work And More Work

*smooches...taking some time to get in sync w/myself*
apparently I've been out of work so long I've forgotten how exhausting that shit is- day in, day out, working on stuff from 9-5 without a nap. God, I need a nap just typing that sentence!

Friday, October 08, 2010

I Got Nothing.

Really, I'm too busy for this blog thing today, which is evident by the fact that I'm writing it 40 minutes after it was supposed to have been posted.

But it's a Friday and I'm not on a break and my OCD trumps any disinterest in blogging I may have. Therefore, in the interest of appeasing the loonies that live in my head and will not let me skip Friday's blog post, here's a little musical interlude to take with you into the long weekend.


*smooches...feeling a lil more Cali than BK today*
I sense a trip out west in 2011; it's been too damn long since I was in LA

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Today I Will (10/7/10)

(The history behind these activities can be found here, and if you click here you will see all the previous posts I wrote on them. Thank you to Irene for having the forethought to buy me this book for blog material.)

Activity #10: Today I will thank my parents for everything they have done for me.

"...despite the many challenges your parents probably faced, odds are, they did the best job they could raising you."

That may only be true for 99% of us, but then again, considering these 'modern' times, let's just say your parents are the grown-ups that raised you, taught you right from wrong, fed you, loved you and were there for you no matter what with just what you needed (whether what you needed was a swift kick in the ass or a tight hug). Let's say those are your parents. Call them. Write them a letter. Hell, if you want, send a Facebook message, and thank them for what they gave you that makes you you.

I realized this myself over the weekend as I stood in front of the mirror de-afroing. Had my mom not taught me how to do my own hair, I'd be a slave to the salon. And had she not taught me how to cook I'd probably order out every night. Had she not taught me how to present myself, keep a house, behave and respect my elders, then I'd have been a TRUE Penzo with my own deluxe suite at Bedford Hills.

For all these things and more-- caring for me after my babies were born; taking me in when I left Waco; gifting me the deposit for my apartment-- I'm ever so grateful. We're not International Coffee close, but she's tops. And I just sent her a letter in the mail saying so.

Now I just gotta send one to Papi, Titi Gloris, my cousin Rob, (Mari's dad) Rene and probably write a Letter I'll Never Send to Grandma and Nenena (my great-grandmother); these were all my parents, too. I'll never forget that. Ever.

*smooches...full of thanks for my beautiful family*
take a quick minute or two out of your day and let mom know you're thankful. I know for a fact she'll love it.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Genius Starts Like This-

I have a story I began writing my junior year in college, about a girl who loses her mother and then ends up murdering her father's new wife. This might have been around the time Law & Order started but I can't be sure. Either way, I started this story with the interrogation scene- the protagonist, in that room with the two-way mirror, answering questions calmly, maintaining her innocence even though we ALL KNEW her ass was guilty.

And she had this friend, a guy who was in love with her that she used as an alibi. Except the guilt was crumbling him, I think. I can't remember and I'm not about to fish out those pages from my files right this minute.

About a year (or five) after I wrote that and a few other scenes I tried starting from the beginning of the story, and it became less genre and more literary. I now had the protagonist deciding to leave home on her 18th birthday. Just clean out her bank account and move to South America with her mother's family. No murder or interrogation, just moving back 'home' and getting reacquainted with the mother she lost through the experience. And it was pretty good.

Then in 2005 it evolved again, and I had this something in me that insisted all my characters be Dominican. I can't explain it. So now I wasn't going to have her be from one of the 'Guays but from DR. And THEN at the last minute I might have made the mom Cuban and the dad Dominican. Lord help me, there have been so may revisions I can't recall, but they were Island folk for sure.

Fast forward to September (2010): I was breaking in a brand new notebook, writing my to do lists, jotting down books I wanted to get and food that needed to be bought and plans for the Jaded Empire when the first line of what I thought was a random story came to me:

This will not be the story of how I killed my stepmother in the basement of our brownstone.

It was a little crazy, and not really the type of story or voice I normally used but it kept coming nonetheless:

No, no one wants to know about that terrible ordeal. It was messy, loud and gruesome, and it’s enough for the memory to play itself out in my dreams every night.

And then the details started coming to me faster than I could write it down... there is a murder...she is narrating the whole thing ala "Dolores Claiborne" she in jail? Nut house? Not sure. But she's young... this story is young... it's not for grown ups:

No, this won’t be about that day in July when, as my dad’s new wife, Marcia, got the linen from the dryer I grabbed her from behind and stabbed her in the throat. Or about how the blood went everywhere—on her new front-loading, high-capacity washer, her fancy cotton sheets, her dainty Prada sandals. Or about how she struggled with me for her life; how she scratched at my face and arms, convulsing as her poor, adrenalized heart pumped more and more blood out of her wound.

I mean, it ain't for babies, either, but I do believe that out of the blue, while riding the F-train home, I made a commitment to myself to try my hand at a young adult novel:

And I really don’t want to talk about the look in her eyes as she realized and accepted the inevitable. She would not be saved in time to see another day, another minute even. I had won our little domestic war.

So this wouldn't be a Grisham mystery, or a Morrison tome or a typical Penzo tale.

This is, instead, the story of how Marcia ruined my life.

This one will sit on the shelf next to Lois Duncan or Christopher Pike or Judy Blume. And it will be called awesome.

*smooches...letting you peek into the creative process*
The Voices and I like to be generous from time to time...

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Lessons From Books Vol. 1

"There's no such thing as ready. There's only willing."

-Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist
by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

*smooches...wondering how willing I really am*
y'all gon' hafta excuse me... I've been reading non-stop since this summer. there are so many far away places and alternate realities in my head right now... the words are taking over...

Monday, October 04, 2010

You Can't Get THERE From HERE...

And by HERE I mean Self-Sabotage Island, which is where many of us- yeah, I'm included in that mix- seem to reside. Well if we're going to take this world by storm and leave our mark, we need to build a raft of coconuts w/the Professor and leave this blasted place.

"Oh were it that easy..."

I didn't say it would be easy, but luckily for you, tonight's episode of Monday Musings is all about ways to keep yourself from fucking up your life.

Listen, it's never too late to drink a case of get right, trust me. If Madonna can reinvent her marginally talented self three-trillion times then so can you. So tonight, The F$%k-It List and I will guide you through the best way to have a successful life, whatever that means to you, with as little self-imposed obstacles and stress as possible.

So tune in tonight as we dish out the tough love you all so desperately need. Don't make us come get you!

*smooches...building an army to take over the world*
are you in or are you pussy??

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Jaded Photographs 2010: October Edition

East Houston

Why would I ever leave this place?

*smooches...falling in love with NYC in the fall*
we go through our ups and downs, but we'll never break up.

oh, and PS- it's pronounced HOW-STUHN. Don't get clowned.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Jaded Empire Business Meeting Vol. 2

It's time to get serious, folks.

By 2015, The Jaded Empire Media Company will be in full swing- launched, putting out product, ready for action (and profits!). This is not that far off at all. It's right around the freakin corner, so we need to get off our collective asses and do some serious work.

Obviously, for now, I'll be doing the bulk of the work, along with my sassy southern 1st lieutenant, Smarty Jones. This, however does not mean the rest of you will be allowed to sit back and chill and then show up at our offices looking for a paycheck. NosireeBOB!

In our LAST MEETING I gave you all an update on what I was working on. I'm still working on all that, plus some other things. In fact, come November I will have AMAZING news for you all but I can't spill the beans just yet. Additionally, I've started looking for writing grants and fellowships that will allow me to make a lot of my Jaded Empire projects a reality. Here's where some of you can help:

1- If you're good at grant writing, CONTACT ME. I borrowed a book from the library but it's no comparison to actually working with someone who has successfully done it before.

2- If you know of a grant or fellowship that would be great for me SEND IT. I only have but so many hours to surf the net these days! You can all be my extra pairs of eyes and ears.

3- Become a part of the Jaded Empire Street Team. All you have to do is help me publicize events, projects, etc. It's as simple as forwarding an email, blog post or handing out a postcard.

4- Donate. *sigh* I hate to even ask, but if you got it like that, or knows someone who has it like that, we are not too proud to take your money (SEE PAYPAL INFO TO THE RIGHT).

5- SUPPORT! This is the most important one. If you're in the NYC tri-state area and can attend events, etc, you really should. If your friends see you there they'll get curious and come out, too. And then they'll tell a friend, and so on, and so on, and so on...

Let's get on this and make OUR empire the BESTEST empire anyone ever did see, deal?

Now before some of you come at me with the, "I already do all this for you," RELAX! We keep track of everyone who has helped us out in the past and wholly appreciate everything you do and have done for this all to come together. Big sloppy kisses and booty gropes to all of you!

Also, I want to thank you ALL for all of your encouragement, support, rallying and well, just being awesome folks all-around. A lowly blogger like me couldn't ask for better minions readers.

* ready to order my throne office supplies*
is it wrong to already be giddy?