||Punk rock Penelope is an 8 month pregnant insomniac. One night, presented with rumor she found on Facebook that the man who abused her as a child has died, she takes a road trip to find out the truth. In the process she meets an autistic boy obsessed with phone sex, and an agoraphobic woman who teaches communications, both whom were part of his life, and have a different idea of who he was. The three of them form a strange friendship as they journey and discover something they did not expect along the way; none of them knew this man, or themselves.|
This is a post I wrote a while ago but never published. I wanted to wait until there was an outcome. As of this week there is one, and I don’t mind saying, it was not what I expected. It was good.
I’ll be the first person to admit it’s something I should have know. As a responsible adult I should have done more research. It was an assumption. Something I had no reason to question. Before Obamacare, pregnancy, was a preexisting condition. It boggles the mind how an insurance company could label something like pregnancy preexisting, but yes, it is. Maybe it’s the word that bothers me, preexisting, that sounds wrong. I mean, yes, if you get pregnant, after conception, something has come into existence. It was not there before and not long after that, at some point, it becomes a baby, but it’s not like a history of back problems or asthma. You don’t get a re occurrence of pregnancy unless you are seriously catholic or want a reality show. The whole notion is slightly absurd. That being said, I should have known, but I didn’t, and because of that we got seriously conned.
My son was born January 14th 2012. It will always one of the happiest days of my life. A day that nothing can tarnish, not even the fact that insurance, so far, hasn’t covered one cent.*
In the Spring of 2011 I was in my last year of graduate school and my wife Nicole was teaching theater at Hunter College High School. It was a great job that provided her with a nice salary and reasonably good benefits (I was covered through grad school). We knew the job was not permanent, as she was working for someone who was, ironically, on maternity leave, but the contract was good and it could lead to more work in the future. For an actor this kind of work can be great. It’s usually sporadic so there is no serious commitment, but it pays well, and if it comes up often you can make enough money to survive. Nicole is a natural teacher. Students love her, she understands the nature of learning, and she is a born nurturer. So it was all perfect. The plan at the time was she would finish out her contract, which I think was 9 months(more irony), and go back to auditioning.
It was while she was working there that she got pregnant. I would say we got pregnant, but I take issue with that expression. I always have. At no time in this process was I ever with child. I did none of the work to fight off nausea, sleep with an extra 6 inches strapped to my stomach, or have someone banging around in my tummy trying to get out. Most of all, I did not push a car battery out of my vagina. I understand the desire to make it a “we” situation, for some people that’s a means of sharing the experience. Of course, I helped as much as I could, was as supportive husband as I could be, but I did not have a baby. My wife did. She did all the work, and because she breast fed, for much of the first year of his life, things continued that trend. I will not saw we breast fed for the aforementioned reasons.
We decided (We did do that together) that she would not go back to work full time, that I would be the one to provide for us for a while and that we would not rely on daycare but raise our child in our home until such time we felt it was time, and honestly, we could afford it. Both of us agreed that there was just something about being the main part of a child’s young life that was appealing to us as parents, and that even if we could afford daycare, we wouldn’t do it.
In addition to working at the high school school Nicole was teaching dance to kids at a studio close to our house in Jersey City. It was amazing how she would come home from teaching all day just to go back out and teach some more someplace else. She has always been someone who thrives on being busy and constructive, taking on tasks, and loving them. She says yes a lot. This time it was too much. She was exhausted. Any one who tells you teaching is easy has never done it, it’s hard, right up there with being a mother(Forced irony). As the schedule caught up with her she began to realize she had bitten off more than she could chew, she was tired all the time, coming home and collapsing. One of the jobs needed to go. At first we thought it would be the studio, it made sense, it didn’t pay quite as well, and there was no chance it would lead to anything career wise.
Then, one night, Nicol took a pregnancy test. Plus sign. Smiley face. Circle. Go time.
We were very happy, but, in a tight spot. I was just finishing grad school and she was just finishing her contract at Hunter, which meant we were both going to be loosing our insurance. What does one do in this situation? What makes sense? One looks into private insurance to cover the family. We have been lucky enough in our time to have a little savings, it;s not a ton, we’re not millionaires, not even close, but it’s enough that if we don’t touch it much, it might help us out later. Or now as it seems.
I tapped our savings to pay for the insurance and in the meantime graduated from school. Nicole finished her stint of at Hunter, but not before we had started seeing a doctor on her insurance. The idea was that we would stay covered with this insurance until I found work, then I would take whatever plan they offered and keep a continuing stream of coverage. That however did not happen. You might have heard the job market has not been so good and in the Spring of 2011 when I graduated it was dismal.
I graduated on May 18th of 2011 and in November of that year I found work, in between, after Nicole’s contract was up, in June I believe, we signed up for and were approved to use Horizon Blue Cross of New Jersey. There was a lengthy application process and a number of phone calls that went into deciding on this particular plan. Budget and (We are not rich/were unemployed) the plan must cover pregnancy, first and foremost we wanted to keep Nicole and the preexisting condition (Didn’t know that) in her womb healthy and safe. We started by going though an organization called ehealthinsurance. Basically what they do is help you narrow down your search in finding a good policy, it’s much the same idea that Obama is working toward with his system for Obamacare, but this all private, all business. Once you narrow it down, you apply and a representative calls you to take you through the process and explain things to you. I wish I had a script of that conversation. It was a very long time ago and I remember parts of it, but not the whole thing. One thing I am sure of is that we talked about my wife being pregnant and that we would be switching insurance because her job was ending. After that conversation our application is sent over to Horizon and a similar conversation takes place. I’m condensing this a bit so I get to the point in a reasonable amount of time, which right now looks like it’s not happening.
The point was now we were covered. Now we could go about our pregnancy and breath a sigh of relief. So we went about our life. The pregnancy proceeded as they should. It was a pretty wonderful time. On January 14th 2012 Max Atticus Beerman was born. What a day. Everything was beautiful.
We came home from the hospital and three days later received a bill for over 20,000 dollars. All of the color disappeared from our faces at that moment. One of the things I remember most is the strange irrationality of that period. For instance Nicole was convinced that if this bill could not be paid, which it couldn’t, that someone would come and take our son. That this was about paying for a thing, and now that we had that thing, we had to give it back if it could not be paid for. Part of me wants to laugh at ideas like that, but I have to say, I felt some of it too. It’s a strange thing, but helping to bring someone into the world that all of the sudden is the most important thing you’ve ever seen, changes your reactions. Even though I knew this irrationality to be crazy, it was still having a profound effect on both of us because the fact is, they were taking him from us. We were not with him w were living in a place of fear that was about loosing control of our lives. We did everything you are supposed to do in such situations. Called the insurance, didn’t pay the bill, waiting for the next billing cycle worked within the system to find a solution, but nothing changed. I’m not sure how long it took or how many hoops we had to jump though before someone finally revealed to us that we were not going to be covered. That the birth of my son was not covered by insurance because he was a preexisting condition.
One of the many letters we received with explanations sent me back to the book that came with are policy. It is the size of a small phone book and full of the information you need to make use of such a policy. If you’ve had insurance you know what I’m talking about. The letter had a code, that pointed me to a a page, of a subsection of a chapter, or some such thing, and on that page it noted that pregnancy was considered a preexisting condition and would not be covered.
We contacted the hospital and explained our situation and because the end result would be paying out of pocket they reduced our bill to 5000.00. The rational being that they charge the insurance company extraordinary amounts of money, much higher than the actual cost. This drives the cost of insurance up and means the hospital must negotiate with the insurance company for the actual cost. Normally if you have insurance you pay your deductible, which for us was supposed to be 500.00 and the insurance company would pay the hospital about 10% of that charge or something close to that.
*So here I am now. After Nicole Beerman wrote a letter. She wrote an amazing letter. The kind the other letters in the mail box look at and back away from, because they know, that letter, that one is badass. This letter documented in great detail what I just described, and the results, including Nicole’s battle with postpartum depression. She cc’d our congressmen, senators, local representatives of all kinds, and The President. The week we got a letter from Horizon saying that, 17 months later, the birth of our son was being covered. The hospital will be providing us with a refund.
It’s exhausting living in a world where the bureaucracy makes you feel helpless, like you have no choices, and nothing you do matters. That your fate is sealed. If you feel that way, take my word for it, fight. Fight for what you know to be true and right. Don’t give up. Now that this is done we just have to get through this traffic ticket. The one where neither me or Nicole was driving the car. I’m not sure which will be more difficult, insurance or the court system.
I have good memories of James Gandolfini. Besides the fact that I loved him as an actor, he made an impression on me. Though I never met the man, I worked with people who did. There was a period when I worked with John Turturro and Elaine Stritch on a production of Endgame by Samuel Beckett. Most of my job was making sure Elaine was where she needed to be when she needed to be there. I have dozens of stories about that, but they are for another time. John made a wonderful movie called Romance and Cigarettes where James Gandolfini and Elaine played son and mother respectively. I remember loving the musical numbers in the movie because all the songs were played by the original artists, like Sinatra, while the actors sang over them. Gandolfini’s voice was rough, real, and represented something that kept him as an everyday blue collar guy, despite the fact that he was crooning.
On opening day of Endgame I got a call saying that James Gandolfini was having gifts delivered to Elaine and John and that I needed to get over to the theater to meet the driver. Once I figured out when they were getting there I hustled over to make sure the gifts made it into their dressing rooms. When they arrived I was both amused and perplexed. They were not flowers, candy, or some keep sake for opening night. They were two 5 foot long, 6 inch wide sausages from an Italian meat market in Brooklyn. I left them in the dressing rooms and went to finish work until I had to be back to meet Elaine.
That night I went over to make sure she showed up for her call and had forgotten about the sausage. I was often up in her dressing room more than John’s because her’s was upstairs near the stage and his was downstairs. She also had the door removed from her’s, again, another story, so I was always walking by, and she could stop me to ask questions or make requests.
I heard as I walked by. I stepped insider her dressing room.
“Yes Elaine.” I said, waiting to see what kind of request she had. These usually ranged from talking about her car at the end of the night, to making sure her public or friends could see her after the show, to a crazy complaint that I could do nothing about.
“What the hell is this?”
She drawled, pointing at the sausage.
“Oh, I forgot, James Gandolfini sent it over.”
She waved her hand at the stick of meat.
“What the hell is he…was there a card?”
“Yeah” I said, “Next to your Insulin, I think it’s a large dried sausage.”
She picked up the card and opened it. She silently read it and then a slow silent cackle emerged from her. She laughed so hard she had to sit. Waving her hand at the gift she handed me the card.
“Read it.” She said.
I looked down at the scrawl on the card, it’s read:
“Dear Mom, Don’t fuck up. Love, Jim”
Take it downstairs and let the crew have it”. she said. “I can’t eat that stuff.”
“Sure thing.” I said as I took it away.
As I walked from her dressing room I heard her say, “What a guy” and laugh.
Yeah, what a guy. What an actor. What a loss.
My wife is doing some Choreography for Clubbed Thumb right now. They’re a great Off Broadway company known for producing interesting and creative work. The schedule is quick and dirty, as she will go in for a rehearsal tonight then a couple this weekend, and maybe one next week. I can’t remember exactly. I’ve always thought that choreography was amazing, and Nicole, is very good at it. I’m not sure if she even knows just how good she is. That kind of work requires a dialogue between bodies, and a person who understands their own body, to be successful.
Let’s me tell you about our daily schedule. everyday we get up more or less when Max tells us to. He’s not demanding about it, but in his own laid back (not laid back) way he tells us he’s awake and he would like something from us, be it food, new underpants, or what have you. Usually this happens between 6 and 630 in the morning, but that varies, depending on if he has new teeth coming in, or several other variables, but these days, mostly it’s about teeth. So I get up and hop in the shower while Nicole breast feeds, something I would love to help with, but as Max now knows, due to an awkward and possibly life scaring moment, I can’t do that. We are lucky to be in a place where he is only breast feeding once a day now, and in the next week or so, he should be done completely. After he is finished with step one, then it’s play time!! Max runs about the house for 15 or twenty minutes climbing, chasing, messing, moving, sitting, walking, if it has an ing attached to it he does it. Then suddenly he gets very grumpy. That’s when we know it is breakfast time. At this point I am usually out of the shower and sipping a cup of tea while Nicole is trying to drink a cup of coffee. Max is a bit of a Mama’s boy so it’s a little harder for Nicole than it is for me. I help as much as I can but if the boy wants his Mama, he wants his Mama. I help prepare breakfast as much as I can, usually that means sitting with him as he eats, or putting a waffle in the toaster for him (he loves multigrain waffles with butter) and cutting it up for him. The entire time I’m doing this Nicole is preparing for the next thing. That could mean she is getting dressed, making food for lunch, or breathing into a paper bag for fear that today will be one of those days, luckily we don’t have those days very much. At 730 I leave. We blow kisses, sometimes walk to the corner together, do hugs. In other words, bye bye Daddy.
Nicole then finishes breakfast with the boy and takes him for an early romp in the park. What’s she’s discovered is that in order to get in that nap he takes at about 10am, a lot of activity helps make the transition easier. You have to keep in mind that he only learned to sleep in the last 6 months, so he has no idea what it means when he gets tired. It’s amazing that people are not just born with a sleep schedule, but they aren’t. We all learn that, and as we get older, that changes not matter if you are a baby or a 40 year old. So at 10am, hopefully, he takes a nap. If he does, Nicole is able to get things done. She cleans the house, returns emails, works on our insurance issues, choreographs, and prepares for the next thing with Max, which in this case is lunch. Baking sweet potatoes, getting beans ready, or pureeing banana with avocado. The goal here is to be as ready as possible. That being said, there is always the possibility that he does not nap. These are not good days. This means that little gets done. That Nicole has to work extra hard to get things set up for her job and for our child. It’s exhausting for everyone.
After the nap he is usually a little groggy. I’ve observed that this requires a delicate touch. You don’t want to present to much energy because he’s not ready for the excitement, but too little means he will be grumpy and hard to put down. If you can put him down, and he plays alone, then you can get lunch ready and avoid a meltdown. Meals with Max are interesting. He’s a smart kid and he’s started feeding himself. It’s messy, but there’s progress every time he does it. You sit next to him and let him shovel he food in, while at the same time you offer a helping hand with your own spoon, otherwise it could take a while. The thing is, Max like to control the spoon. He’s into that. So there is a good chance that he will start complaining and pointing at you at one point. Then he reaches out, takes your spoon, and gives you his. After this there is a good chance that he will start pointing at something on the counter. You must figure out what this thing is. It could be anything from a banana to a soup ladle. Until you find that thing and let him hold it lunch is at a standstill (This can go for dinner too, doesn’t seem to happen at breakfast) Repeat all this twice and lunch is over.
After lunch Nicole has to start thinking about dinner, but before she can do anything, she must look at the schedule. If she is teaching or rehearsing it means that Max will be getting dropped off at a friends and I will pick him up after work. This way he doesn’t have to go to the studio with her and she can actually teach. Before he started walking is was fine for him to come with her. She would teach dance with him strapped to her and since a lot of what she did was watching her students, it worked out well. When he started walking everything changed. We realized he had to find an alternative. At first we had a babysitter that came over on those days when she would have to leave early for the studio. Then I would come home and take over. We lost her when she realized she needed a job that she could live on. A fair choice. Thankfully Nicole is in this wonderfully supportive Mom group and two of her friends have been gracious enough to look after Max before I can get over to pick him up.
Sorry, I’m wandering a little. The point is, now, she has to look to dinner. What will he have? Did he have it yesterday. Is it cotton candy? She’s great Mom, and when it comes to food, she is always thinking. I will call her periodically throughout the day just to check up on things. I find that often she is looking at recipes for him, always trying to find food he might like, and above all that it is healthy. We’re not over protective about what he eats, we let him have the occasional cookie or tiny cupcake, but we both like to make sure what he eats is good for him. So even when we buy prepackaged food Nicole makes sure it has the fewest ingredients possible. Or when she is cooking for him she makes things like a toddler version of broccoli casserole, which he hated and I ate, but still, it’s the thought, and it’s always like that.
When dinner is planned it’s time to do one of two things, go to the park or to a meet up to see Max’s friends. He plays for an hour or so, and then, if she’s working, drops him with one of the aforementioned Moms who watches him until I get there at 530 or 6.
The thing is, all that stuff above. that’s really just a few things. I’m only scratching the surface of how much she does. There are thousands of things in between those things, and she has to make sure all of those things work together with the other things. That there is communication. Nicole choreographs dances all day long. She figures out ways to make it work and look good. In between meals there is crying(Max and Nicole), chasing, holding, running, loving, sleeping, tantrums, cuddles, smiles, spilling, cleaning, drinking (Milk/Water), laundry, picking up, putting down, dishes and a million more. She makes it all work. She makes the days dance, and everybody knows that dancing is hard, but it takes a good dancer and choreographer to make it look easy.
As new parents we have precious little time to do some of the things we used to do. Between work and writing and trying to make writing my work we don’t get out much. So on Sunday when our friend Leah volunteered to watch Max we jumped at the chance. My god yes. Let’s go to the movies! I was so excited. The last movie we saw in the theater was in November, and from a guy who used to take in 2 movies at a time sometimes twice a week, that’s a very long time. We looked over our pickings and knew we would of course go see a big Summer movie. It’s Summer movie season, we could have gone further and seen something smaller, an intimate film, but fuck that, we wanted big. We wanted to see something where things exploded, we laughed, and walked out of the theater transported. So we chose Ironman 3.
One of my favorite things about going to a movie is the ritual. It’s like the moment before any big event you look forward to, but for me, movies have always been extra special. I love everything from the moment I decide to go, to making sure I get there for all the previews, no matter what they are. Walking into a theater the first thing I do is sniff the air. I love the way it smells. Then I find seats 8 aisles from the front, depending on the theater this could be closer or further, then I sit and wait, and unlike some, I enjoy the wait. These days you can’t just sit in the dim light waiting for that magical flicker on the wall, no, you must sit through commercials for television shows and making of features for date movies. Your mind is no longer allowed to wander, to dream about the dreams you will see before you in a few minutes. It’s even harder to have that pre-movie talk if you’re with another person. That talk is now dictated by what is on the screen. Your conversation turns in topic because of someone’s sales numbers.
All this goes all the way back to my very first movie theater experience. I remember being a kid of 5 or 6, growing up in the south. We had this theater that was the old fashioned two story kind, with the balcony, fancy architecture, and perpetually falling apart, that was eventually renovated to become a performing arts space. Of course in the South that balcony used to be reserved for African Americans, and though in the 70′s, when I was taken there, segregation was legally long over, if you’ve ever lived in the south, you know it takes a long time to forget anything. I’m just trying to paint a picture with this. Me, a little redheaded boy who is 5 or 6 with twenty or thirty other 5 or 6 year olds, at 11am in the morning in an old broken down movie theater where there are still people of color sitting in the balcony, and we are all here, sitting in the dark, for one reason. Godzilla.
My preschool had this ritual of taking it’s classes to the movies every week to see Godzilla movies. I’m sure there were other kinds of movies but I don’t remember those, I only remember the King of Monsters towering over Tokyo, trampling everything in his path. There are questions I have about if taking a group of preschoolers to see a movie about a monster that destroys a city was a good idea, but I mostly try to push those away, because no matter if it was good or bad for a group of impressionable children, I loved those movies. My favorites were the ones when Godzilla became a protector of the people. When he would be called to help rather than wreak destruction indiscriminately. I preferred not to think of him as a metaphor for the results the atom bombs left in Japan at the end or WWII, but to think of him as a friendly creature. That if he did step on you, would feel terrible about it, and probably need to sit down, like a sad old man in his broken city, and think about what he had done. I mean after all, he is huge. I’m sure he must have stepped on people by accident from time to time. As a kid I liked to think that made him sad, that Godzilla was a contemplative monster, who was lonely because he was after all, very alone. There was only one Godzilla, and though in later movies there were other monsters, rarely did Godzilla make friends, at that point he defended humanity. (There were exceptions of course: See Monster Island) At the time my young mind liked to think of nature as an organized system that allowed for good and bad to be separate, and under no circumstances would something happen for no reason. Everything had it’s place and order was the name of the game. If you have seen the first Godzilla, though there are reasons for his appearance, the movie is very scary, because like many bad things, it just seems to happen out of no where. He comes out of the ocean and lays waste to humanity.
“Godzilla is the son of the atomic bomb. He is a nightmare created out of the darkness of the human soul. He is the sacred beast of the apocalypse.”
So anyway…it’s not really a movie for kids, but, In my opinion it’s one of the great monster stories because of the way it took reality and anthropomorphized it. Since then it’s been done countless times, sometimes well, sometimes not.
While I was watching it, Ironman 3 was fun. I laughed in all the right places and was appropriately surprised when I needed to be. I had a good time, and like I said, was glad to be in the movies at all. Then afterwards I actually thought about it.
The plot breaks down like this. Tony Stark, Robert Downy jr, doing pretty much the same thing he’s done in the other two movies, is suffering from a bad case of PTSD because of what happened to him in The Avengers, which, to be honest, I don’t really remember. It had something to do with a wormhole, I know this because people kept talking about it, not because I actually know it. He’s not sleeping and forever tinkering with various incarnations of his suits. Pepper Potts, Gweneth Paltrow, (See description for RDJ) is getting tired of this seemingly endless behavior, and everything come to a head when one of his suits, which Stark can now control with a body mind connection of some sort, wakes up as Tony has a nightmare and tries to strangle Pepper as she tried to wake him up. Stark, also suffering from crippling panic attacks, is feeling helpless to keep his life in check, so of course the result is to keep the suit close and stay safe all the time. He’s got his own personal bomb shelter he can carry with him everywhere he goes. The country is being set upon by a terrorist called The Mandarin, Ben Kingsley, who easily steals the movie. After Stark’s pal, Happy, Jon Faverau, the director of the previous two movies, is badly hurt in one of The Mandarian’s attacks, Stark vows vengeance, giving out his home address, and threatening the terrorist on national TV. Stark is visited by an old flame, Maya Hansen, Rebecca Hall, who is worried that her boss, Aldrich Killian, Guy Pierce, is using technology for evil, just as The Mandarin sends rockets flying into Tony’s house, destroying it. I mean he did give his address. This sends him off alone, to play dead for a while as a means to protect Pepper. and as he unravels the mystery of who The Mandarin is.
For a lot of the movie Tony is without his suit, a good idea as far as story telling goes. It allows us to see the man, warts and all, just character, and look at what a mess he really is. Only problem with that is, in retrospect, I didn’t buy that he was that messed up. He meets a young man who takes him in, and helps him do some Scooby Doo like investigating, and their banter is funny. I liked they way they talked to each other, but that relationship made his panic attacks seem almost comedic and took away from his basic conflict. I was left with a hollow feeling. Like I was just watching fireworks, they’re pretty but then I didn’t really care about Tony anymore, and in the end was kind of annoyed by what, at least in the first movie, made him so enjoyable. More importantly, his fear. His fear is what we are suppose to follow, that’s what he must over come and how we relate to him. If his fear never seems real then why should I care. What I realized is I never bought the fear. I never saw that manifested in the suit. Though he goes through all the motions to show us, I never believed it. Though all the clever quips and attitude he lost the most important part of what I think makes a super hero, his humanity.
I get the metaphor, Iron Man. Here is a guy hiding behind his suit. Sure, I think that’s always been pretty much right there. If that’s the case I guess I’d rather see a monster smashing a city to bits, at least then you care about the people affected by the monster. I miss when I was that innocent about movies. When I didn’t think about it as much as I just knew it. I miss the dim light of a theater right before the move starts, nothing on the screen, and the low chattering of voices that makes it all feel so anticipatory. It should always feel that way, movies are a kind of magic and I would like to get back to a place like when I was as a kid watching Godzilla. Just waiting for the right movie to get me there. Did I mention I can’t wait to see Pacific Rim?
This is purely to vent a little. It’s been a rough 14 days or so. Max has been waking up 2 to 3 times a week at 3am. In order to slow him down on the breast feeding, I go in, so Nicole doesn’t have too, otherwise it’s just torture for the poor guy thinking he’s getting some boob. So I’ve been tired, and very emotional. Lately, I feel like life has been fucking me hard. It’s starting to hurt. Use some lube. I’m not normally one to complain but there are things happening that take the control away from a person. It’s boils down to 2 things. This is about my artistic life and my family life. I get mad when my artistic life is messed with but you really don’t want to mess with my family life, that’s a maniamal instinct. I’m a manimal. I have a post I’ve been working on for a while that details some of it but, due to various reasons, I don’t want to post it yet. I will soon. The other thing is that yesterday I went to traffic court for something I didn’t do, and when I say I didn’t do it, I don’t mean I was in the right and the cop was in the wrong. I wasn’t even driving my car. I was miles away. Our mechanic fixed our car and then took it around the block for a test drive. When he did he apparently made a wrong turn of some kind and a cop got our plates. Yesterday was our court date, and I’m not sure what I expected, but somehow I thought it would be settled right then and there. Not so. It must go to trail. I must go back in July, bringing our mechanic, that and the cop needs to be there. The amazing thing is that I have no control over any of this. None. I have to go through these things. Miss work. Drag our mechanic out of work. All of it and I was not even there. We can’t just have him pay it because it will totally mess up our insurance so we are fighting it until there is nothing to fight. I’m tired. Not just from the kid. I’m tired of fighting. Some days it feels like that’s all there is. Just fight.
I was Elaine’s assistant for a brief time. When I was at BAM she did End Game. It was an experience I will never forget, and quite honestly would probably never want to repeat. That being said I still have some fond memories of the old broad.
Originally posted on Variety:
“She’s still here … but not for much longer” is the subtext of “Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me,” a superior celebrity docu that finds the Broadway legend on the doorstep of her 87th birthday, contemplating retirement as well as her own mortality. Painting a surprisingly tender, insulin-injections-and-all portrait of a star known for her brassy demeanor and Teflon exterior, this feature directing debut for vet docu producer Chiemi Karasawa (“The Betrayal,” “Tell Them Anything You Want”) should earn wide fest and ancillary exposure, plus limited theatrical, where it will prove catnip to the cabaret crowd and those entranced by the artistry of great performers.
Karasawa starts with a montage of her subject brazenly negotiating street and sidewalk traffic on the Upper East Side, pausing to needle admirers with her Don Rickles-esque ripostes. Then on to the set of “30 Rock,” where she ably trades barbs with TV son Alec Baldwin (also one of the docu’s executive producers). From there, it’s back to the Carlyle Hotel, where Stritch lives and is rehearsing a new show —“Singin’ Sondheim … One Song at a Time” — with longtime musical director Rob Bowman. A great many films of this sort would have happily continued along in this breezy, not-very-deep vein. But “Shoot Me” suggests it has bolder ambitions when Stritch, mid-rehearsal, becomes weak and starts forgetting her lines. The lapse is blamed on low blood sugar, but as Karasawa goes on to reveal, Stritch’s memory has been failing her for a while, sometimes leaving her perched on the edge of panic before she has to take the stage.
This much won’t come as news to those who’ve seen Stritch perform in recent years, where, always the consummate show woman, she and Bowman have elegantly folded her gaffes into a production that has often seem propelled by sheer iron will. But as “Shoot Me” proceeds, Stritch allows herself to appear far more vulnerable and emotionally naked than she ever has in front of an audience. There are hospital stays (as her diabetes worsens), followed by more anxiety attacks, and one truly frightening episode — a medical emergency during a visit to the Hamptons — that plays like an outtake from “Amour.”