Thursday, January 7, 2010

embarrassment and stories...

Here is Chart to Rate embarrassment level: "That's Embarrassing"
  1. Not at all.
  2. Some blushing.
  3. Red Face for the whole day.
  4. Paper bag over your head.
  5. Crawl into a hole and die.
Our next story slam is on January 11th and the theme is embarrassment. So I have been ruminating on this topic.  Embarrassment is not the same as shame - right? I am ashamed of bad things I've done but merely embarrassed by the dumb and ridiculous things I've said and done. Usually, embarrassing things only hurt me. And telling and laughing about them is like laughing when one does something really klutzy and painful but, u...ltimately, survivable ( it is a word?) - know what I mean? The source of much of my humor/laughter is the surprise and delight that I am- after all my stupidity, still alive.

My sister said" Don't be ridiculous! People who are truly embarrassed would never tell a story about it." I have to wonder. Perhaps she is right? The embarrassment must be epic to even penetrate an extrovert's mind. And even then it is but a momentary pinch and then immediately transformed into material for a story. As someone who is "frequently wrong, but never in doubt," I suffer many such pinches as I stagger through this life. What do you think ? Must one have a "Jane Austen-esque" sense of propriety to be embarrassed? Or can the Joy Behar/Wanda Sykes types among us also feel embarrassed?

Here are some fun stories at a site called "That's Embarrassing" 

            We lived in a split-level home. My oldest brother came in and went downstairs to the den and sat down. I grabbed a book of matches, ran downstairs, did a baseball slide on the floor and started to roll backwards with my keester sticking straight up in the air. I struck a match, lit a fart, and then I sat up laughing just like the Beavis and Butthead type I truly was. However, instead of laughing, my brother looked like he could kill me.

"I want you to turn around and apologize to her right now!", he yelled. Uh oh! I turned and looked at the corner behind the stairs and there sat a girl he had brought home to meet the family. I've never seen such a confused, disgusted look on anyone's face before or since. Well, now she's my sister-in-law of over thirty years and we still laugh about it from time to time

         My bladder has a very regular schedule, i always have to go pee when i wake up. around 3, around 7 and before i go to bed. Some times more when i really have to go, but thats very rare. One day my alarm didn't go off and i was late for school. I hadn't had a chance to go before i got to school and i couldn't go during school because none of my teachers let me. And i couldn't go during a brake because the girls room was flooded with desperate girls with bursting bladders because it was school that you could only relieve your bladder during the 1 BREAK in the late afternoon!! And EVERY BODY had to go by then.

Besides even if i could get in there the girls bathrooms are so dirty with all kinds of used pads and stuff. So my bladder fills more and more through out the day, break comes and i stand in line, but don't get to go in time. I was amazed that i had held it for that long! i went to my next class and asked my teacher to go and told her it was an extreme emergency and that i was bursting. I even crossed my legs to add drama. She said it was just after break and she couldn't let me go. I sat down but i knew it wouldn't be long before i wet. My bladder wasn't used to waiting that long and me not peeing at the usual hours. by the time class was over i was dyeing and everyone knew it, as i was almost in tears. I stood up, barely holding on, and picked up my books. I was half way across the room when a massive wave of pressure hit me and my poor bladder burst! I dropped my books and held myself but i couldn't stop the flow! I was completely flooding the room there was so much pee! Eventually i was empty and the teacher said she was sorry and she didn't realize i had to go that badly. I just walked out This wasn't all that rare for my high school because we can only go once a day late, when you walk by the bathrooms sometimes you see a desperate girl with a bursting bladder wet her panties. I was laughed at for a long time though...

JAN 11  @ MON Kennedys in Boston Cohosts ToRena Webb + Andrea Lovett
"so embarrassing"
JAN 31  @ SUN Enormous Room  Cambridge -  cohosts Doria Hughes/Will Luera director of Improv Boston
"it's relative"
FEB 14  @ SUN Ryles in Cambridge  cohosts Laura Packer and Ian Thal
errors in eros"
FEB 22  @ MON Kennedys in Boston
MAR 15 @ MON Kennedys in Boston TBA
"blarney is irish for bs" outrageous stories - true or otherwise
MAR 21 @ SUN Ryles in Cambridge Kevin Brooks cohosts
APR 20 @ TUE Copley Library  Boston Slam of all Slams! and slam season ends

until next OCTOBER when it all starts again...

All the details are at including -
how to get a spot in the line up:
where the events are, times and admission and all that good stuff:
the grand prize explained:
more pictures, general news and verbiage at

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

resolved to dance

I resolved to take a dance class this year. I had been saying I needed to do some dance before I shuffle off this mortal coil for years now. This class would be my first dance class, ever in my many decades as an adult learner. I went to the Dance Complex in Cambridge, where for years I had wistfully ignored the call of the djembe from the upper floor windows. What with this and that, I arrived late for the class and the drummers were already in full swing. I decided to sit and watch at first. I am very dyslexic and instructions about feet and right and left and copying movement in reverse is very,very hard.... No. It is impossible. BUT I love to dance so I sat out tapped my feet and watched. The instructor was genuinely welcoming as she pulled my chair up and put an arm around me as she guided me to sit.

I sat through the warm up. It was 45- 50 minutes of stretches and constant movement to amazing drumming. Clearly "before I die" could easily change to "when" and that might well occur during the "warm up". But , it looked like so much fun and the drums were so compelling I will be back in two weeks and doing what I can.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year and some resolutions...

It is a delicious irony that I am blogging my resolution to read a poem, every morning from a book of Rumi poetry my daughter gave me for Xmas. I want to do this every day and write in my journal BEFORE opening email. I like irony - it suits me. I am no stranger to hypocrisy and since I believe with all my heart that consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds etc etc, I have so many ironies I could set up an online boutique. But, irony aside, I also have resolved to play music more often and to take a dance class.

Enough of that.

On a different subject below is a short video on what I did today ooopsy - we are 14 minutes into tomorrow. So, here is what I did on New Years. Am I crazy or what? Perhaps, both. Thanks to Gina Cobin who came out to film me and Vernon and Bonnie who came down to listen. This si what I was doing... A Brother Blues "Christmas" THE NEED: The passing of Brother Blue leaves a hole in our lives. That hole, though painful, also creates a space to be filled with good work.
OUR IDEA: In the spirit of Brother Blue, storytellers will take to the "streets." From Chanukah through Christmas Eve, New Years Eve and beyond, until the last day of Kwanza or Dia de Los Tres Reyes and tell stories where people need it the most. Through this work we will form a living tribute to Brother Blue, who, for much of his life told stories on the streets, in prisons, and shelters for years.

More about Brother Blue at and A Living Tribute to Brother Blue on Facebook

Playing in the subway was a fall back plan for my contribution to A Living Tribute to Brother Blue after all my other plans fell through. I did tell a short story at my brother's "house" where he lives with 7 other severely mentally ill folk. But that was so short. Getting this MBTA thing together wasn't easy and I would have liked to have others join me but the rules of the MBTA are strict - one person per permit. And I had my ID checked quite a few times while I was out there from 1:30 to 5:30PM.

I had to apply for a license to play, as a musician, in the subway and then wait for a CORI check to go through. There was so much red tape I decided not to broach the subject of "spoken word artist" or "storyteller" as a category. The realty department of the MBTA is called TRA and that is where one gets this all done: making an appointment, bringing a money order, ( no checks or credit cards) signing forms, producing two forms of ID and getting a picture taken too. The TRA has a new office at a new address. And their new address was printed on the first page of their 12 pages of application, contract, rules and instructions and the 12th page of this document had directions from nearly every quarter of the compass rose, except all these directions were to the old address. I think the young woman took pity on me because I wandered in the rain for about 30 minutes calling her by cell phone trying to find her office. She processed my permit in one day!

This was not an easy gig but it was exhilarating to do it and when it was over I was psyched to try again.

Write me to tell me what you are doing as a Tribute to Brother Blue? Or post it here
please e-mail your text and pictures to:

Oh, and I collected $16.52 in my violin case, for NABS with my first efforts.