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how i start. (also, the NYC webcast is tonight…watch it.)

Just ended the 5th week of the cabaret run.

I’ve hit a new level of tired and busy, but nothing seems like it’s going all that terribly.
The show is killing us, it’s killing the audience, it’s killing everything in it’s wake.

This is a good thing.
I wanted this for so long and I’m so glad I’m doing it even with all the killing killing killing.

The dressing room is in lovely shape….(clockwise from the blond: tam, annika, claire, aly, renee.)

I’m not an actor.
I don’t ever think about acting.
I don’t ever really wonder what struggles actors go through, trying to find what we might call Authenticity.
I mean, I think I’ve wondered the way the average layperson wonders, but I’ve been struck down with a whole new set of questions.

I’ve spent so much time thinking about this….and being asked by other people: how do you find it every night?
Actors can be good, bad, stellar; I can only assume they face the exact same challenges that musicians do regarding Phoning It In versus Being Present.

Some nights you’re tired.

I think what I’ve learned as a musician is all the same assorted patchwork of knowledge that you need as an actor: you do what you need to do to find it, and at a certain point you stop asking the wrong kinds of questions, because nothing is ever Authentic, nothing is ever Inauthentic – I think there’s your commitment to the moment and that’s all. If you’re committed to the moment, it’s authentic. It doesn’t matter how it’s reading to anyone else. Sometimes I think we’re all completely inauthentic – swimming in a sea of masked insecurity, hoping to be believed, even on our way to the corner store to buy a pack of cancer sticks.

When the show starts, after our vignettes and after the crowd is all seated, I disappear for a quick costume change behind the set.
My face is already made.

Steve, my dresser with the long eyelashes who is wonderful and calls me pumpkin sometimes, works quick; he hands me my packing cock, buttons my pants, wraps me into my binder, I buckle my boots. he hooks my suspenders on while Kat swabs the back of my neck and tapes on and adjusts my mic into position and then the singing outside in the club disintegrates into silence and the great rumble of piano music and low-end buzz comes over the PA.

There’s a metal cabinet backstage that’s full of props, right next to the backstage prop door that leads me onto to the stage.

It fiercely shakes and buzzes, resonating with the slow music coming from the house. It buzzes so loudly it covers the piano part completely. I stand in front of it, I press my head against it, I let it clear my head and the debris starts the fall. My whole brain buzzes inside my head and the metal shifts the sound into my blood and bones. It’s like a full-body sonicare toothbrush.

I take a deep breath and I walk to the black door which is up a set of three stairs. While I’m walking I think about Janos and his mother and father (I see the cracked picture in the sunlight of his apartment) and I hear his hungarian accent in my head. I think of the story of Neil’s great-aunt. I open the door.

My eyes hit the audience, most of whom are turned around to see the dancers struggling from the back of the house. I find somebody who doesn’t want to be there, who’s distracted, uncomfortable. I stare at them. They help me.

Then I find Jordy’s eyes, because she’s in the middle of the crowd, pushing her way through the chairs and people, her eyes are always wet, her gaze is fixed on the bright light.

I think: we’re all wind there eventually.

I look at all of them: Guy, Eric, Renee, Tam, Jordy, Lucille. Their faces full of death into life.

The light blinds everybody. I see their hands reach into the air, desperately grasping, and behind my open eyelids I picture a terrified body buried under a pile of coal in a basement in a bin: waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting for the night to come so she can run, run, run away from the men who are rounding up the jews.

I watch the whole ensemble bend their necks back to entrance door – where a huge sign hangs declaring “IN HERE EVERYTHING IS BEAUTIFUL” – my ears take in the drum roll, and I let my eyes glaze to the mirror behind the bar.

For one moment, there’s a silence, and then the spotlight hits me. I wait, for just a breath, and my fists tighten around the ash.

I think – maybe this time… and I roll my eyes to myself, from my feet all the way to the top of my head, and with one gesture, I kill it all:
the bodies, the coal, the showers, the piles, the dark blackened heart of what people are capable of, I wash it clean with a wave of my hand.

and then we begin.


in reality:

You can watch tonight’s webcast at starting at 9pm EST.
Zoe Boekbinder
Natti Vogel
Bitter Ruin
Meow Meow w/ Lance Horne
Amanda Fucking Palmer
Special guests are being added left and right, including sxip shirey and live interviewer Holly Cara Price from the Huffington Post. You have to come.

There are still a few tickets to actually ATTEND tonight’s loft party/webcast in Brooklyn. Get them here:

Want me to answer your question live on the webcast tonight? Email


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