Random Wednesday Ups and Downs

The newlyweds - Dan Truman and Ninon Rogers

The newlyweds - Dan Truman and Ninon Rogers

Last week had its share of serious ups and downs. First, the ups…

To start with the obvious: it was Thanksgiving, and that was awesome. Ate like kings and queens over here at HQ, thanks to the nytheatre mom. Had some good company thanks to The Companion, her buddy Kate, the nytheatre sis, and her pal Adrienne. It was a good time, as usual.

Next up were the weekend nuptials of my friends and fellow theater folk, Dan Truman and Ninon Rogers (pictured above). I loves me a good wedding as much as the next person, and theirs was one of the best I’ve been to in a while. It was a traditional Quaker ceremony held at the Quaker Meeting House in Flushing, Queens, and it was a little something different for most in attendance. You read about how it all works here, but part of the ceremony (at least as outlined in the wedding invite) involved the following:

“If moved to speak, a person will stand and do so as his or her words may enrich others’ understanding.”

It didn’t take long for those in attendance to loosen up and start talking. Lots of people spoke at the ceremony, and it was both moving and delightful. I, personally, was just mustering up the guts to do so when the ceremony ended. Drat! As Phil Collins would say, I missed again.

But I didn’t want to let Dan and Ninon’s wedding pass without throwing my two cents in. So, here’s what I would’ve said at the ceremony if I’d grown a pair in time…

“I’m a friend of both the bride and groom. Dan and I have done many many shows together. Ninon and I went to high school together. The thing I like about what’s happening here is that it’s a wonderful reminder of all the great surprises life throws at us. And the fact that these two people from different parts of my life have come together like this, independent from me, is one of the best I’ve seen in a while. I thank you both for giving us that, and for asking us all here today to help send you on your way.”

The Companion and I had a great time. Held hands in the pew. Danced the night away at the reception (which convened at the lovely Flushing Town Hall). She looked absolutely beautiful and fantastic. As one of the assembled said later in the evening, “I will never think of Northern Boulevard the same way again!”

Now, for the bad…

Like so many in our current economic situation, I lost my job last week. Which wouldn’t have been so bad if the timing hadn’t been so God awful: my boss cut me loose the day before Thanksgiving – without any notice. Thanks a lot.

Needless to say my now former boss is not one of my favorite people right now. I’m resisting the urge to say lots of nasty things about her in favor of embracing the good Quaker vibes still lingering from the weekend. Let me just say that she’s a shithead and leave it at that.

Of course, with no immediate source of income, this means Christmas is dicey at best. I apologize in advance to The Companion and my family for the anticipated paucity of gifts this year.

And all those shows I was planning on going to see this month? Yeah, most of those are probably not happening either.

Oh, and my rent and bills? Yeah, we’ll see what happens there. I might need to make a few pre-emptive phone calls.

In honor of getting canned, however, I give you a Random Wednesday Top 10 dedicated to some of the survival jobs I’ve had over the years. Some were good, some were bad, all of them fulfilled their purpose for however long I had them. Here are the highlights, in chronological order…

  • 1. Cook Campus Center Cafe – The work study job at the my first college, Rutgers University. I was assigned there to be a short order cook. When I told the work study administrator that I didn’t know how to cook she simply told me, “On-the-job training!” and sent me out her door.
  • 2. Jacob’s Run – A now defunct bar in downtown Wilmington, NC. I was offered a job there as a bouncer and a barback after becoming one of the hardcore regulars. “Mike, you’re here almost every day – you might as well get paid for it.” Indeed. Good friends, good times, lots of drama. Isn’t that what everyone’s early 20s are about?
  • 3. Applause Theatre & Cinema Books – I worked here back when it was both a bookstore and a book publisher. The hub was up on West 71st Street, a short walk from my apartment, and it turned out that two of my co-workers at the time were Ian W. Hill (in the back office with the publishers) and Christopher Carter Sanderson (out on the sales floor with me). Crazy.
  • 4. Spring Street Books – Another now defunct location. I wanted another bookstore job after working at Applause. They needed a bag check/security person. I got hired on the strength of my bar bouncer experience. I only stayed here an excrutiatingly boring three months before jetting.
  • 5. HMV Record Store – The longest tenure of any retail job I ever held: I worked for these guys, on-and-off, for about four years. I was stationed at the West 72nd Street store back when HMV was aiming to muscle in on Tower Records’ U.S. territories. This gig supported me through my years at NYU (College # 3). I worked just about every department in the store that wasn’t Rock, Classical, or Video: Soundtracks, Musicals, Country, World Music, Jazz, Vocalists, and Blues, etc.
  • 6. Alice Tully Hall Box Office – My official transition into office life and a post-NYU survival job that served me well. A little over two years there spent processing ticket orders for Jazz at Lincoln Center and the New York Film Festival. Incredibly flexible schedule that helped me launch my acting career here and allowed me to start my own (also now defunct) theater company for a time.
  • 7. The Atlantic Philanthropies – What started out as a 3-day temp job ended up going permanent for nearly four years. Learned a lot about big time corporate philanthropy at this one. Also got my good friend Don Jordan – who I ran my defunct theater company with – a job there. Miraculously, he is still with them.
  • 8. Experian CheetahMail – Working for corporate spammers might sound like a lousy job, but it was actually one of the best. Great people, laid back atmosphere, casual dress code – what else can you ask for? A much-needed survival job at a time when I was close to destitute, due largely to the machinations of my good friend Cathy McNelis (to whom I am still eternally grateful).
  • 9. Columbia Business School – A 3-month temp gig from earlier this year that lasted through approximately three shows: Merry Mount, 3800 Elizabeth, and Babylon Babylon. Again, located conveniently near my home. And the Time Warner Center turns out to be a great place to learn one’s lines during lunch.
  • 10. Simon & Schuster – The latest debacle. The less said, the better.

I hope you and all of yours had a wonderful, Happy Thanksgiving. And my congratulations, once again, to the newlyweds! Thanks for the invite, you two. Wouldn’t have missed it for the world.


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