Thursday, April 28, 2011

Movie Magic

"Love Me Tender" will play at The Knitting Factory this Sunday. It looks like a super cool event just based on the poster alone - full of nifty short films and swanky people, all getting together being awesome. You should go. I should go. We should go together.

That's not all. There's more movie magic happening in my life right now, not least of which is a new appreciation and renewed ardor for my true love. Film. God, I love it so stinking much. It makes no sense how much I love them. Films. Whenever I can, I'm watching them. With other people. Without other people. Doesn't matter. I've been known to cancel meeting up with people because I became too engrossed in a film to disentangle myself* (CLEARLY a character flaw, I know I have a problem). When I'm not watching films, I'm either thinking about films I've already seen, films I want to see, people who make or might make films that I can watch or be in, or films I'd like to make. It just never ends - the obsession, the love affair, the tragic addiction, the romance.

This is why I gave up movies for Lent. I had never, ever, observed Lent before and must say, choosing to start by giving up movies was possibly the hardest thing I could have picked. As soon as I shared it with my roommates they all said, "Oooh, yeah, that's a really good one for you." (Again, CLEARLY I have a problem). This decision was reached not without pain. After a long (and delicious) week of watching at least 14 hours of BBC miniseries on Netflix as well as the entire trilogy of "The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo" films, I was feeling pretty happy in my little movie bubble. Then out of nowhere, in the shower, almost like a disembodied voice, the thought came to me - Jeanne Joe should give up movies for Lent.

I didn't know if it was possible, I didn't even really know why - it just felt like the right thing to do. As soon as I thought of it, I was pissed off for thinking of it. NO WAY, I thought. Why would I give up movies? How could I give up movies? Crazy talk! But then, the glove had been tossed. I couldn't NOT do it, now that I had thought of doing it. It was a challenge from the universe. I had to do it.

And it was stinking hard. At first, I thought it might be a good way to force myself to be more outgoing in my free time, but actually, I found that once I took the option of movies off the table, I started using my time differently. I picked up some extra shifts, scheduled more auditions, read a book (!!!!!), visited my Dad in Texas, made some new friends, caught up with some old friends, saw a couple plays, and cleaned my room. Ok, I probably would have done that anyway.

I don't share any of this to brag - in fact I did have a lapse one day and my roommate caught me and slapped me on the wrist. I was literally pulling a peeping tom, spying on them as they watched "Inglourious Basterds" in another room. It was the scene of Melanie Laurent preparing herself to burn the theater down, to the anachronistic but essentially perfect David Bowie (Cat People). I mean, COME ON - I was practically drooling. How could I say no to that?!?! My spirit is willing but my flesh is definitely weak. My dear, poor, patient roommate reminded me to be disciplined. And I think I swore at her, oops.

Recovering addicts are rarely on their a-game with manners.

My point being, though, that by giving up something I loved for a little while, I had a chance to step back and use my time in new ways. I also gained a slightly different perspective on my obsession with movies, had some fresh insights to the way my own brain works and why, maybe, other people like movies too. And while I was jonesin' and illin' for movies to come back in my life, they did - but with totally cinematic, film-esque unpredictability. Meaning, I booked a film job! And a theater job. And a webisode job. Not that I'm saying giving up movies got me those jobs. I'm just saying, it contributed to a refocusing of energy and purpose that helped motivate me through some exciting, busy weeks.

Now I can watch movies again. The first thing I saw was "Your Highness," which was so blatantly terrible it almost made me want to continue avoiding movies for the rest of my life. But then we launched into pretty much all the "Dirty Harry" films, Gunga Din, and "4 For Texas." I was in Texas, it made sense at the time.

In summary, the thrill and the high of movie magic is even more intense than ever for me. Good thing too - "Toothbrush" is filming next week!! Looking forward to being on location, working with a truly hilarious and top-notch team. Every time I go over the script, it cracks me up. Can't wait!

Also, shout out to all of my ASDS peeps! Repertory Season is in full swing and everyone and anyone should take advantage and GO SEE these amazingly acted, superbly directed, beautifully written, and stunningly realized thesis shows that are all FREE. Here's an
article about them on

Saturday, April 16, 2011

"What's past is prologue; what to come, is yours and my discharge." - 12th Night

Friends, Romans, Countrymen....I am thrilled to share the news that I am cast in The Theater At Monmouth, The Shakespeare of Maine's 2011 Season!!! This means I get to pack my bags and bid farewell to the sweltering summer city in exchange for repertory madness, a serene lakeside, intense ensemble bonding, and LOBSTER!! (In my mind, the state of Maine = eating lobster everyday and hobnobbing with the characters from "Sarah Plain and Tall" and "Arcadia" at the supermarket.)

You guys, I am so excited. The first play I ever saw in my life was The Merchant of Venice at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon. At the time my family lived 2 hours from the festival and my mom and her longtime best friend decided to take the kids for a daytrip. I was 5, and while people tried to discourage my mom from taking such a tiny tot to the theater she decided to ignore them and treat us all to an incredible theater experience. And the crazy part is, I actually remember the scene where Antonio rips his jacket open for the "pound of flesh" scene. It was like a 1940s version and there were trench-coats and streetlamps and I was breathless, awake, and addicted. Ever since, I have wanted to act in Shakespeare. And my mom and I went back to visit the Oregon Shakespeare Festival every summer ever since. Even since moving to New York, we've managed to fit in a trip there once a year to see at least one excellent play. It's been probably the most consistent and long-term relationship I've ever had, haha.

And now I get to do it, not just watch! My track is Cordelia in King Lear, Margaret in Much Ado About Nothing (also a 1940s interpretation - crazy!), and Edith the maid in Blythe Spirit. That means I get to range from tragedy to comedy, Shakespeare to Coward, lead to supporting, comic relief to dramatic motivation. A true crash course in the classics! (Although I already have a great foundation thanks to the excellent teaching of Louis Colaianni, our Classics professor at The Actors Studio Drama School). It's artistic director David Greenham's final season with TAM, and I get the privilege of working with him as a director.

This is such a gift from God, let me tell you - a lifelong aspiration of mine to become a Shakespearean actor is beginning to unfold, and it is happening in one of the most beautiful, restful, gorgeous spots in the country imaginable. I CAN'T WAIT to dive in, rest, grow, work, play, brush up my Shakespeare, learn the workings of repertory, set up, tear down, and eat LOBSTER constantly. Basically I get to combine being a working actor with living at summer camp with some of the nicest seasoned professionals from around the country. I'll get to learn SO MUCH. How could this be any better?

A hope fulfilled is strength to the bones...or does that proverb go?

So if you're in Maine this summer, come see a show!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


It's been announced! Next film project for me will be "Toothbrush" - an existential, random adventure that follows Ernest in the hunt for his missing (you guessed it) toothbrush. I get to play Joan, the film's only female - described as a "foxy sociopath." CAN'T WAIT! And super excited to collaborate with GuyManly productions, get going on rehearsals and generally unleash my inner foxy sociopath. Shouldn't be too much of a

Meanwhile, NYC is springing up and showering down in the month of April. Yesterday was so gorgeous I started packing away my winter coats - so if there's another blizzard, you can totally blame me. What can I say. Right now I am one eager beaver with cabin fever. All I want is to wear shorts and ride a bicycle down the Hudson bikepath, not stopping until I reach the Mason Dixon Line.*

It's one of those manic months. Whenever the seasons change, my life seems to explode. I'm rehearsing for 2 (yes, TWO) performances at the Actors Studio next week. One will go up in front of Estelle Parsons and I'm a little terrified. On top of that, working on my audition for membership at same studio. Also, I've been taking a film class at One on One with Brooklyn-based director Matthew Bonifacio - who is really generous and really articulate and generally awesome to learn with. Highly recommend it. AND auditioning/working the dayjobs. Ahh! Gotta love spring though - it's the season of conception and mayhem and new life. Who knows what will be born out of it all...

*May not be geographically possible.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Wisconsin Film Festival Debut of "Love Me Tender" Tonight!

"Love Me Tender" plays tonight at the Wisconsin Film Festival in, yes, Wisconsin - this is officially my Wisconsin debut as an actress ;)

This brings the count up to 23 Official Film Festival Selections for LMT... look at the official Love Me Tender film's website: this poster with all the laurels is both opulent/magnificent and a bit amusing. (Note: yes, one of the film festivals REALLY IS called Sexy International Film Festival, possibly the best name of anything ever).

My cup runneth over. New York City, I love you - but I gotta admit, my heart is in Wisconsin tonight.