"The label you give yourself cannot impact external forces that are not motivated by your own psychology or influenced by a third party's pre-existing consciousness of you. We are all presented with reasons to struggle which come from completely external forces; to pretend that one is not struggling is either arrogance or an admission of defeat. To admit that one is struggling is a sign and a source of strength." - Evan A. Baker

Saturday, May 28, 2011


When I was but a wee wisp of a girl, and when my mother's depression was a constant, my little sister and I would occasionally hear strange sounds coming from the kitchen. We'd race down and there, at the table, was my mother, laughing on the phone. Laughing, giggling, making jokes! It always meant one thing:

Aunt Sira is on the phone!!!

"Can we talk to Aunt Sira?" we'd plead and whine, and our mother would say okay, and we'd pick up another phone and talk to our fancy Aunt who lived in Los Angeles, who only was able to visit occasionally, but she always came with a new hairstyle and bottled water. Yes, bottled water. She was fancy! She was cosmopolitan, wearing high heels, makeup, and always bringing presents for us every time she came. "Okay, say goodbye now," my mother would always say way too soon, and we'd have to replace the phone to its cradle. 
Just how cool is Aunt Sira? Born and raised in New York City, she went to Woodstock, moved to San Francisco, changed her name to fit her better, became a photographer, did stand up comedy, moved to Los Angeles, and offered to house me if I was interested in studying at UCLA. Rad, right? And that's just 2% of her story. 
And she's always been so incredibly supportive of my acting. She and my uncle would travel to come see me in my school plays, and for my 18th birthday, flew me out to LA to get my first headshots and even got me my first agent. 

She's also been an incredible help, filling in as my mother, for the Backyard Party the Love of My Life and I will have in October to get hitched. She toured venues with us,  helped pick out dresses, and has offered so much advice and suggestions. 

She doesn't always comment, but she reads every blog post. Celebrating my triumphs, understanding all too well the avail releases and other setbacks. She is, after all, married to an actor herself. She understands the years of needing to save, and the years of plenty and celebrating. 

If I had to choose someone in my family to come to Burning Man, I'd bring her, and know she would be able to have a good time, make friends, see the art, and participate. 

My cosmopolitan Aunt Sira who could guarantee giggling from my mother every time she called us.

She emailed me this story and I asked if I could share it with you.
When I was a little girl, my grandmother Becky (Claire's mother, your great-grandmother) used to tell me a story about a large trunk filled with money waiting to fall down into my lap.  
Apparently all you have to say is "Falaroop, falaroop," and the money will fall.  The only catch is you don't know when the money is going to fall.  So you chant "Falaroop, falaroop," -- if you're going to fall, fall now.  
Claire used to get angry with Becky for telling me such silly stories -  Claire said she was telling me bubamince  Yiddish loosely translated as grandmother fantasy stories; fairy tales
But I was always fascinated with my grandmother and believed in her stories.  Throughout my life, (particularly when I was close to being broke when I was in my 30's) I have chanted  "Falaroop, falaroop."  
For me the trunk full of money fell a few years ago.  For you,  I know the money will fall to you and Anthony, too. You don't have to chant, because others are chanting for you. 
Aunt Sira

Everyone should be lucky enough to have an Aunt Sira in their life. What a lovely story, and what a lovely thing to say.

Falaroop, falaroop! 

And happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Two Avails This Last Week

I was on Avail for that Hair show earlier last week and I was on Avail for that commercial last week as well.

Two Avails! Yay!

Two Releases From Avails! Booooooo!

Sad Trombone

Monday, May 23, 2011

The State of Anxiety

I was called on about noon last Thursday and told that I was on avail for a commercial, and although one should look at it as a lovely blessing, truly, it just makes me nervous and want to throw up. Am I going to book this thing or not?!

Still no call that I booked.

Now, I know they're shooting tomorrow, Wednesday, and Thursday, and I figure I should be notified today by three if I'm going to be shooting tomorrow. I also know I could be called tomorrow to be told I am shooting Wednesday. I could also even be called as late as Wednesday to be told I'm shooting the next day. That would mean I've waited an entire week to be notified if I'm working. It kinda throws a wrench into my whole schedule.

And there's the butterflies. Their beautiful wings green like paper money. Just out of my grasp.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Pilot Season 2011: The Aftermath

 Here is Premier Talent Group's CEO's report on the 2011 pilot season. He calculates how many roles per gender per age group were available, and how many of each were given to a Star or Known name. You must read this.

My favorite part of it is when agent James J Jones writes something along the lines of "Don't worry! Don't be discouraged! If you were lucky enough to audition for a pilot, they now know you exist!" Which I guess is supposed to be uplifting in a world where Struggling Actresses aren't even considered for pilots anymore. Imagine if Friends was being recast today. It'd star Michelle Trachtenberg as Phoebe, Kellan Lutz as Joey, Annalyne McCord as Rachel, Robert Pattinson as Ross, and Daniel Radcliffe as Chandler. Actors from film, and already majorly established television stars would be offered the roles.

And here is a list of allllll the pilots this year, with the ones that got produced and picked up highlighted in yellow. If you're a Struggling Actress like me, you weren't seriously considered for any of them!

Here's to the Summer - where hopefully we can go out for the smaller roles and actually book some work, yeah?


Monday, May 16, 2011

Model Open Call!

Clear Talent Group is a respected agency. Get on it!!

(Click on the picture so you can actually read it.)

Friday, May 13, 2011

How to Walk Like a Model

I'm a hair model. Did you know that? And when my sweet, Love of My Life gloated into the phone to his mother that he was dating a model, I had sternly corrected him. "HAIR model!"

Hair models can be under 5'8. We can be a size 6 (two sizes away from plus in the modeling world!). We can look like we went to college and got our Masters (ie OLD).

When I go to hair auditions, I am the "fat" Hobbit. I'm okay with this. It's fun to be in a room with other women who have the same size feet as I do and talk shoes. I strain my neck from talking to them, but still, shoes in a 9.5 are hard to find! I gets me some good insider information on where to buy heels.

Today's hair call was for blonds and redheads. They only needed one each. They picked their redhead and the rest of us were sent packing until another Master Colorist asked us all to stay so that she could go over our hair for another show she was doing on a different day. She needed longer hair and those willing to go brunette. Well, my hair is only to my shoulders so I get up to leave with a few of the other girls, and she says, "Wait! You!" I turn around to see who she would be calling, but she's looking right at me. "Please have a seat and stay." Okay! She talks to a few of the remaining girls and excuses them, one by one until it's just me and two other girls.

"Because it's a runway show, I need to see your walk."

Um... WHAT? I don't do runway! I'm not tall enough! Sure, I've done it, but I don't do it. She has the three of us walk for her.

We all fail. Quite miserably. But instead of saying, "Okay, thank you," she gives us a short tutorial.

You can try this at home:

Find a hallway. Now put your hands on your hips and walk down it like you normally do. Notice your hips don't swing like Jessica Rabbits. Remember not to do this on the runway.

Put on heels. Walk mainly on the balls of your feet. With your hands on your hips, walk while pretty much taking long strides while criss crossing your feet in front of each other. You'll feel a major difference in your hips.

Now put your arms down and do it again. Move your arms as LITTLE as possible. Feel ridiculous. Own it. Then do it in front of someone and hear them coo at how you could totally win America's Next Top Model.

You can also watch this video!

So it's basically down to me or the other girl. We're both under model height, but we might just be doing runway! How crazy. On our way out, the other girl, Katie, told me that she was so happy, that if I got it, she would still be happy because we, the Hobbits, would book a runway gig. I told her I would be especially happy if she got it; because then I wouldn't have to walk!

But, I must practice. And own my feeling silly and know I must look hot doing it. I mean, I wouldn't be on the short list if I looked the fool, right?

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Eff It, She Deserves It!

I'm not quite sure how "real" voting contests are. I believe that it's just a way for a company to get more people to know about whatever product they're selling than it is an actual contest that contestants can win. I saw a contest once to be a host for a new E! show where you had to upload your videos, etc and have all your friends vote for it, but, because I had an in, called to get the info on when the actual audition for the host was and went to that. Why would a production company hire someone who uploads a video? Why would they sit through thousands of videos? They're going to pick whoever they want, and that person is going to be professional.

Which leads me to Sarah Lasko. I just received a lovely email from her:

Hi Lira!
I've been following your blog for about a year now and I love it! I've loved watching you making big changes in your life and finding success. :)
I've just been gifted an amazing opportunity by Broadwayspace.com. I'm a finalist in their 2011 Broadway's Next Big Star Contest! I only have til May 15 to get as many votes as I can, and if I win, not only do I win an all expenses paid trip to NYC complete with free accommodations, dinner, and Broadway show, but also an audition with a Broadway casting director from Telsey & Company!!
I linked you the video on youtube a while ago (me singing "Green Finch and Linnet Bird" from Sweeney Todd) and you commented that you liked it,

[edit - I didn't like it, I frikkin LOVED IT! I have never heard such a voice that was not already on Broadway. If I get to heaven, I want angels to sing like her.] which gave me the idea to ask for your help. :)
I would be so so appreciative if you could vote and pass this on to your readers to vote too. Voting is SUPER easy. There's no registration or email required, just a few clicks and you're done.  
Thank you so SO much for your support! You inspire me on my own journey as a performer!
Best wishes!
Sarah Lasko
Sarah Lasko and I had a small email exchange about a year ago so she's serious when she says she's been following for just as long. And I voted yesterday - it is ridiculously easy. Like she said, no sign up, nothing. Takes all of three seconds to click on her and push 'vote.'
I will probably never do this again, and even if this contest is fake and voting doesn't matter, would you mind taking 3 seconds to click on the above link to vote for Sarah Lasko? This girl is going places, and fast, trust me, so when we all get to go backstage to ask her to sign our Playbill, we can say, "Sarah Lasko! Your performance made me so proud! You see, I voted for you for the Broadway's Next Big Star Contest, and I feel like I helped you get here!" And she'll smile, sign 'with love, Sarah Lasko' on our program and say, "You did help me! Thank you! You helped me be the happiest I have ever been in my life. And I hope my performance made you feel love and remind you that you are loved." And we can say, "It did, Sarah! It did! Brava!"

Brava, Sarah. Brava.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tactics and Levels and Beats

Oh my!

I auditioned for a play! For a play!!

For a new work, and oh man, what an experience. I feel like there's more dissection required for plays. Especially for works that haven't premiered yet, as the playwright might not yet be done tweaking for the last time.

I mean, I haven't auditioned for a play in, gosh, 6 years! I was having a blah time back then, unhappy with how my agent wasn't getting me out so I said, eff it. I haven't auditioned in months, I'm going to find Backstage and audition for ALL the open calls! I had seven of them meticulously copied into my planner, the dates, time, addresses, what type of monologue I'd need, but it was all for naught; I was offered a lead role in the first play I auditioned for. And it was a Great experience! With complicated quick changes and, in the second act, me prancing around in lingerie and fishnets!

And where tv is so concise, plays can meander a little. It's fun to sit on my bed with my pencil, my sides, my buttercream candle filling the room with the scent of cupcakes,  (one must have rituals, you know) and find where my character is joking, find where she's sarcastic, find where she's serious, find where she's angry, find, find, find. Sleuth, sleuth, sleuth. Analyze, analyze, analyze.

And the audition went well. I'm happy.

I should audition for more of these.


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day, Mom

I used to not celebrate Mother's Day.

I felt so angry, cheated.

It took me a long time to understand that it wasn't her fault. And then, after months of therapy, that it wasn't mine.

We moved my mother down to Los Angeles to be close to her sister and me. My father's conservatorship over her transferred to my aunt after the divorce, and I am being groomed to take it over when my aunt retires. Once I can get bonded. Once I have a more steady source of income. Once I understand how the court systems work with her estate, the laws regarding her person.

My mother hears voices. Somewhere within the chemistry of the 14 pills she swallows everyday, is Stargates into her brain. She is more lucid, more conversational than she's been in years. When I hug her, she hugs back. She says, "Thank you for visiting." These are new as of 2010. She had not volunteered a hug for me in 20 years and I had to learn how to hug my mother all over again. Something every other daughter knows how to do, and with no effort, I had to learn. What is too tight? What is not tight enough? I am getting better.

For three years it was difficult to visit her because she believed that women were no longer allowed in restaurants. The first time my future husband met her, my father drove us to pick her up at her care facility, and my dad walked with Anthony to the Starbucks and bought coffees for everyone while we, the women, stayed in the car.

Two years ago, I told my mother that President Obama changed the laws so that women were allowed back in sit down restaurants. That he was progressive, and that it would take effect in as soon as six months; that now, women were allowed in fast food places. That I could buy her a milkshake if she came into the Jack in the Box with me to celebrate the new laws. We sat inside and she ordered a smoothie. A huge victory.

She does not like crowds. I try to visit and take her out during the week so that the Starbucks nearby isn't filled with high schoolers, people just out of church. She likes the grande Cinnamon Dolce iced latte with whipped cream, and she asks me to ask for a spoon so she can eat the whipped cream first.

She does not like crowds. I take her to the tiny hidden neighborhood park and we sit and watch the few children on the swing set.

She does not like crowds. She has decided that coming to my wedding will be too much for her. I will make sure she has a very lovely album so I can show her and tell her all about it.

This is my mother. I took this picture of her yesterday, on my phone. You can't tell, but her hair is getting long now. I brushed her hair for her and put it in a ponytail. She cares about her appearance now. She likes to have her hair done when we go out. This very small thing for others, a huge victory for us. She is getting better. This is, and could very well be, the best she'll ever get. Until her body chemistry builds a tolerance to her medicine in as little as another year and she gets worse, bit by bit.

This is my mother. She looks beautiful, contemplative, wise. She looks like she could be reading a newspaper, or solving a crossword puzzle. Maybe writing her third novel. I caught her in the middle of something very important.

This is my mother. I am beginning to look more and more like her. You can't see it, but she has the greenest, most beautiful eyes.

This is my mother. Half of me.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

I Wish I Was as Brilliant

You. Must. Read. This.

Two Good Cries and a Laugh

First off, to all my fellow servers, Happy Please Don't Throw Up in Our Bathrooms Night! To my fellow readers, Happy Cinco De Mayo!

Words are powerful, eh? Even the way we build words is fascinating. I love etymology. Always have. How did we groom today's words from the mixed bastard German/English/French Clustereffed Red Headed Stepchild some of our ancestors spoke in days of yore? The way we say words are interesting. Say quick. Now say slow. Quick has more letters but is faster to pronounce - and slow feels so much like Onomatopoeia,  but it's not! It's from the Dutch!  

And words can take us from a calm and pleasant morning in our offices in California to New York City almost ten years ago. A woman hears her husband, a man she's known since they both only 16, tell her on the phone over and over again how much he loves her before the building he's in crumbles. Read and listen to the story of how two teenagers met at a school dance and were later reunited when she traveled to go visit him for his birthday. 

And read the last entry of a husband and father who was told he had terminal cancer. He asked that his last post be published after he died, which was two days ago. It's a very calm and peaceful post focusing on reflection and love and the future he'll never know.

And the two stories are so very powerful to me because they both share the one four letter word that changes everything for two people: Love. Such a tiny word that packs such a punch. Right angle, circle, 45 degree angle, straight line and three quarters of a circle. It's structured, then loose, then structured, and then, at the end, a combination. A giving and pulling of the letters to make an agreement, a promise, an emotion that is so hard to quell. An infinite amount of possibilities from just four letters, from one person to another. 

Two great stories. 

And now, for some levity, so that your coworkers might think your running mascara is from all the laughing you'll do:

Jersey Shore in the Style of Oscar Wilde. 

I love you, my readers. Have a Love filled day.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011


One of the things that's great about Los Angeles, is the constant reminders of how lucky I am to be auditioning. I like the relaxed pace of the valley, the families and schools and gourmet frozen yogurt that is Studio City, but when I'm driving and auditioning for commercials and films, I get to see things most people don't.


Like Downtown. I love Downtown. I love all Downtowns. The high rises, the valets, the old hotels; I love how Downtown has such rich history. To this day I marvel at how the sky is scraped by such height. How there's so many busy people, so many theaters, so many fancy dinners being had. Love it.


If I have an audition at Fifth Street Studios, I love taking the crosswalk and seeing the ocean. The ocean. It's right friggin there. And if I want to, I can go ahead and walk right to it and dip my feet in.

And, of course, if I'm driving home from Ivar, I always catch a glimpse of The Sign.

May you always feel inspired on your job interviews too.