Monthly Archives: May 2014

The Actor’s Studio

I’m a fan of the BRAVO channel; one of my favorite shows is Inside the Actor’s Studio with James Lipton. I think he is a gifted interviewer; it is clear he loves actors and the process and all that great stuff. It makes me happy. He asks good questions, and it is the perfect mix of interview, gush, and insight. I like to see who squirms and who basks in the glow of attention. There are some awesome interviews with amazing actors: Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino, Robert Deniro, Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, Kate Blanchet, and the list goes on and on. There have been some wonderfully talented people on that show, really incredibly talented actors. I would love to be an acting student in the room when one of the greats is being interviewed.

However, there are some interviews of some folks that I have a hard time taking seriously as “actors.” For example: Brooke Shields, Mickey Rourke, Sharon Stone, Jay Leno, the band Bon Jovi, Billy Joel, the cast of The Simpsons, and Kanye West. These people have actually, legitimately been on the show as guests. Sure, Mickey Rourke made that one good film, you know the one I mean, right? Yeah, I can’t remember the name either, but sure, he made one. Then he turned into a freaky looking dude and made fairly odd choices in his life, but who am I to judge? Kanye West? As an actor?

It also bugs me when Lipton asks these famous people, “If not acting, then what?” they wistfully look up and take a deep breath and nine times out of ten, they say, “I would have liked to have been a teacher….” Really? Put them in a classroom for a month, on a teacher’s salary and then see what they say. I can just imagine a downtrodden, tired, not-so-good-looking-without-that-facial-every-week Tom Cruise (pre-Hollywood smile) addressing his class. “Why aren’t you listening to me? Listen to me! And put that desk down…”

Sure, teaching seems noble, fun and perhaps even a bit fabulous to the casual observer, and sometimes it really is noble, fun and fabulous, but it’s also hard work, both intellectually and emotionally, and frankly, after eating school lunch for over 24 years, losing a BIG chunk of my salary due to Act 10, getting chastised by a few parents, as well as their children and watching my profession be brought to its knees due to standardized testing and budget cuts, well, that kind of nonsense can get under my skin. There are days (more than a few) where I would absolutely change places with Meryl Streep or Julie Roberts in a fraction of a heartbeat. I totally understand the likelihood of that ever happening is about as good as Kanye West winning an Oscar for his acting, but it is fun to daydream about.

Here’s a fun-fact. Lipton’s famous questions at the end of every interview were first made popular by Bernard Pivot on a show called Apostrophes. They are great questions.  If I ever make it on “The Actor’s Studio” these would be my super spontaneous, authentic answers.  (Feel free to answer them too in comments.)

1. What is your favorite word?

-F*ck. By a long shot.

2. What is your least favorite word?

-Moist.

3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

-Winning praise of people I admire and respect.

4. What turns you off?

-People who drop the ball. And slavery. And misogynists.

5. What is your favorite curse word?

-F*ck. By a long shot.

6. What sound or noise do you love?

-Little girls giggling, particularly my own.

7. What sound or noise do you hate?

-Instruments that are out of tune. And angry men shouting at children, women or animals.

8. If not acting, then what?

-(Wistfully looks up) Teaching…

9. What profession would you not like to do?

-Cleaning out porta-potties.

10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

-“Nice job kiddo; you did good. Now, get back in there.”

I’m now less than a decade away from retirement, and on occasion, my mind drifts toward daydreams of that time when I no longer teach. Will I stay busy? Will I miss it? Will my brain turn to mush? If not teaching, then what? Directing? Writing? Learning a new language? Distilling my own vodka? Regardless of how that plays out, I plan on making a really great retiree; I bet I still do all kinds of noble, fun and fabulous things.  However, I bet I still spend some time of the couch watching old reruns of “The Actor’s Studio.”

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Filed under Humor, Theater, Uncategorized

Liz’s Oprah’s Favorite Things List

Sadly, one of my bucket items will never be accomplished; I will never receive amazing, free stuff from Oprah’s “Favorite Things” show. I loved that show. It was so fun. It was an afternoon I always looked forward to as I would race home from school. It was joyful and awesome. I always imagined myself in the audience, freaking out and screaming when she announced that we would all go home with t-shirt sheets or a new line of facial cleanser, “You get cleanser, and you get cleanser, and you get cleanser!”   I loved the fact she gave away so much stuff. It got me thinking what stuff I would give away to an audience if I could. I started my own list of “Oprah’s Favorite Things” – items that I have used and loved for a long time. So here they are. Here is my own “Liz’s Oprah’s Favorite Things” list. They are all “Liz tested, Liz approved” and they are all under $50.00, most under $20.00. For what it’s worth, I really do love the following items.

-Talenti Pistachio Gelato. It is seriously amazing. I could easily put a pint away in one sitting, no problem. (Locals, you can get it at the Washburn IGA) blog 1

-Boru Vodka. A few years ago, the trio entered a “Best Bar Band” contest that Boru sponsored, and we ended up in the top ten. Because of this, we were sent some amazing swag including a case of Boru vodka. Yummy, yummy, yummy. Named after the first king of Ireland, it can be tricky to find. (Luckily for locals, you can order it at The Snug in Washburn.)

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-Blackwing 602 pencils. The best. Google it. They make me want to write things by hand.  The eraser comes out, so you can extend the life of your pencil, and the flat end keeps it from rolling.  Also, the graphite is amazing! Pencils.com June 2011

-Neutragena Healthy Skin Enhancer. Don’t let the name fool you – it’s totally make-up, but it also contains sun screen, moisturizer and retinol. I’ve used it for years, but after a few months, I noticed fewer lines on my face. It comes in a pump and lots of shades.

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-Clinique Kohl Shaper for Eyes. My favorite shade is black coffee. These are so cool, because the liner goes on like butter BUT the coolest thing is that there is a sharpener in the cap so you can always have a nice, focused tip. My friend Marcie turned me onto these a few years ago and I have never looked back. The best.

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– Any and all jewelry by Poca Adams. Poca is a silversmith in the Washburn/Bayfield area, and she uses basalt from Lake Superior in most of her designs. My favorite are my sweet pair of earrings, hand hammered hoops with basalt. She finds the stones herself on the beach. Added bonus? Her earrings are lighter than you would think. Check her out on facebook.

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-Sock It To Me socks. They are the best socks around (unless you are skiing, and then I would go with SmartWool) They are fun, funky, and fabulous. They have a great fit; they stay up under your knee without cutting off any circulation, and they breath while keeping your feet warm. They are a little costly (about 10 bucks a pair) but totally worth it. I like to keep them for days when I need a little boost of fun.

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-OPI nail polish, specifically, “I Am Not Really a Waitress” If you are a woman who has ever painted her nails, or gotten her hair done in a salon, you are most likely familiar with OPI. Super fun colors, and even better, super creative and quirky names for the colors. It doesn’t chip or crack and you can even get by without a top coat. I don’t wear nail polish that often, but when I do, it is always OPI.

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– Goslings Ginger Beer. This is amazing stuff. Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t alcoholic, but that’s not to say it doesn’t work really well with vodka. It isn’t too sweet, but the ginger isn’t too bitey either, which means a perfect Moscow Mule is on the way! (Goslings, vodka, fresh mint, and simple syrup if you like, but it doesn’t need it.) Serve it in a mug if you want to be traditional. Also, enjoy it alone out of the can, on a hot day or after a workout. It is delicious!

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Filed under Fabulous luxury, Humor, Oprah