Sunday, October 10, 2010


My sister is very weirded out by the fact that I wore a pair of pants underneath my skirt at her college graduation. I thought it was a completely normal thing to do. It was a sunny but very windy May morning in Boston, and after sitting on metal bleachers at the football stadium for three hours, I couldn’t stop shivering. During a break in the ceremony, I ran back to her dorm room and slipped stretchy black pants on underneath my skirt. I was quite pleased with myself for being a fashion forward problem solver. But upon my return to the ceremony, my family stared at me as if I had showed up in a burkha. Considering the fact that we were six hours from home and only met two of my sister’s friends, I’m not sure what all the embarrassed fuss was about. Yet, there was a lot of pushing and shoving to avoid being the unlucky person who had to sit next to me.

Now, I have worn much weirder outfits than that. Believe me. I sometimes have three or more auditions in a day, which are often in separate locations requiring completely different outfits. On any given day, I may need to cart around the following: audition dress, dance clothes, makeup and hairspray, hot rollers and/or flat iron, heels, dancing heels (which are different than regular heels), ballet shoes, tap shoes, jazz sneakers (which are different than regular sneakers), and a fat binder of Xeroxed sheet music encased in glare-free sheet protectors. Not to mention snacks and reading material. It's a lot. To avoid risking lopsidedness by carrying all of this an over-the-shoulder bag, I sometimes carry a backpack. I admit it. I am in my 30s and I am a backpack wearer. I am confident in saying this because I unwittingly followed a backpack-wearing Scott Speedman through Times Square once, so I am apparently in good company. In order to minimize the weight of my backpack, I often wear as much of my audition gear as I can. This sometimes means pairing a dress with a hoodie, tights, jeans, and a winter coat. I see this look so often on myself and other aspiring actresses that I never think twice about it. And I'm not even one of the weirdest looking people in New York City.

The following is a list of oddities I have seen in Manhattan:
--A woman who plays a musical saw.
--A man who walks the streets with a cat on his head.
--People on the subway dressed in all gold or all silver or all white who are apparently on the way to work, which consists of finding a public street corner and standing very, very still. 
--People dressed as very sad-looking and often physically dirty superheroes and cartoon characters who guilt parents into giving them a dollar if a child wants a picture with them.
--The Naked Cowgirl, who happens to be 50 years older than the Naked Cowboy. But just as naked.

The best part about all of these oddities is that they actually blend in. A true New Yorker is so used to this sort of thing that he wouldn't even bat an eye. When my totally rad 80s dance company films dance videos all over the city, we barely elicit a second glance from non-tourists. In fact, my favorite parts of any given video are when New Yorkers walk right between us and the camera, seemingly ignorant of our teased hair, neon outfits, blue eyeshadow, and manic Solid Gold dance moves.

But just when I started to think about how lovely and normal and un-odd upstate New York is, I suddenly remembered the pygmy goat farm I used to pass on the way home from college. And the restaurant that for some reason had two half-dead lions caged on the property for you to stare at as you ate. And the woman who takes her iguana/snake/lizard for a walk downtown in a pink stroller. 

Apparently, weirdness knows no area code. It’s all around us. Speaking of which, I just passed a Trekkie in full attire on the corner of 34th and 9th. On a Sunday night at 6pm. Pointy ears and all. It kind of puts my skirt/pants situation into perspective.


  1. Even the musical saw lady has a blog:

  2. Please tell me you had the sound on when you read it. If not, it's worth a second look.