September 24, 2009

"Another Harvest Moon" -- Hollywood Premiere

Finally! :)

The Hollywood Film Festival has not yet updated its site to reflect this information, but I can finally let the cat out of the bag (and truly, I felt like I was sitting on a bag of kittens) and announce that Another Harvest Moon will have its Hollywood premiere at 7pm on Friday, October 23rd, at the stunning Arclight Theater.

Please spread the word. Please join us on October 23rd as we celebrate years of writing, planning, list-making, and filmmaking come to life. Help us celebrate a TRUE independent film that is not only touchingly beautiful, but that carries with it an empowering message to us all: WE CAN SEE OUR DREAMS COME TRUE.

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Congratulations to Greg Swartz and every single member of the Another Harvest Moon team. I am so proud to share this good news. Thank you, everyone, for the support and love surrounding this $600,000 feature film. What a success story!

Posted by bonnie at 2:39 PM

May 14, 2009

Hey, thanks!

Thank you, readers of Back Stage West for including me among the list of "Favorite Casting Directors" (again!) and--this year--among "Favorite Industry Blogs" (behind the awesomeness that is Nikki Finke, of course) in the 2009 Readers' Choice Awards for Los Angeles.

MUCH appreciated!

Posted by bonnie at 2:51 PM | Comments (3)

January 30, 2009

Hey, look at that!

So.

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I'm gearing up for Monday's book signing and Q&A at Samuel French (Studio City) and I get a call from the awesome Leslie Gornstein (AKA "The Answer B!tch" for E! Online). And here I am again, in a bit about whether stars have to audition for roles like the rest of the actors out there. :)

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Fun!

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This one went out on Yahoo! News as well. :) Cool. Thanks to Marcellas Reynolds for the heads up. And of course to Colleen Wainwright for the hook-up in the first place. Very nice.

Two breakdowns went out Monday for Glass Houses and Arranging Mia. Also put out the breakdown for the Cricket Feet Showcase (and the call for writers went out last week, so if you have a comedic scene for us, please download the PDF release at the showcase website and get your goodies to us by 2/13). Actor submission deadline is 2/6 and we'll hold auditions on 2/16. Woo! This is the one and only showcase of 2009. Yeah!

Keith has been working his arse off on rehearsals for a play he's doing and spending the rest of his time fixing computers like crazy! My awesome intern comes today and we'll order in Chinese food and get a lot done. :) My goal is getting the ranked list of top name actors for key roles in the two films sent over to producers, so we know which first offers we want to make next week or so. Gotta track the bankability of the actors, which--hey, full circle--is what I talked about the first time I was quoted by E! Online. ;)

It's like, my job, and all that. Yippee!

PS--Thanks to everyone who helped me recraft my casting resumé and bio. (Those links are to PDFs. Don't be scared.) It was tough getting the resumé down to two pages (from five), but "killing off babies" is a big part of Resumé Feng Shui and now I really do know how all those actors feel, when I insist they CUT CREDITS to have a more purposeful resumé. Awesome!

Posted by bonnie at 11:10 AM | Comments (1)

January 11, 2009

Yowza!

Is it possible that it's January 11th and I'm posting my first blog entry of the year? Truly, Facebook and video blogging and Twitter have collectively taken over my blogging energy.

Ah, well, it's always good to check in with the fine folks who only visit SpyNotebook or my MySpace page. So, here's a check-in.

Today is my half-birthday. Anyone with a summer birthday knows what this is about, because the only way we got singing or cake or decorated lockers at school was to celebrate a half-birthday, which I did. My high school locker-mate Kori actually reminded me of this today with a Facebook wall post. Awesome. Even 25 years later, we celebrate each other's half-birthday. That's devotion! :)

So, I'm 38.5 and that means... um... well, I guess that's all it means. :) I'm happy. I'm healthier than ever. I'm fit. I'm supercute. I'm working my ass off. Life is good.

And the mantra for 2009 remains: "More funny; more money!" Because laughter and income = really cool stuff. Let's have more of both! :)

Quick hits of news: I'm under contract for seven feature films in the 2009-2010 slate. A film I cast in 2005 just got distribution. I've been hired for three speaking gigs so far this year. I'm producing or associate producing over half of the films I'm casting at this point. The biz-of-the-biz class I'm facilitating is awesome. I got a nice note from the head of Yale Drama thanking me for my amazing book. A major showrunner friend wrote a similar note. The radars on which my stuff lands these days are all pretty dang cool. I signed with an agent on New Year's Eve. Yes, casting directors have agents at some point. Keith and I are happy. I've lost over 50 pounds (and still going). I am so happy!

Eesh, I'd love to post photos and links and all that detail-oriented stuff, but I'm on the run to get my hair did and then watch the Golden Globes (damn Pacific tape delay). Yes, I'll be a brunette by the time you've finished reading this. Hee! Just a mood I've been in. Couldn't shake it. Indulged it. There ya go! Happy my half-birthday! :)

Tomorrow is 12 of 12! Get your cameras ready! :) I'll be home most of the day, so it'll be a "here's my desk, here's a cat, here's a list, here are some headshots" kind of day, but sometimes that's how my days look. :) Hope you'll enjoy just the same.

Much love!!

Posted by bonnie at 7:48 PM | Comments (1)

December 2, 2008

Bon on The Answer B!tch at E! Online

Hee hee. I particularly love the Ishtar of it all.

Click for link to the real thing.

Thanks again for the hook-up, CoCo. This was definitely more fun than my Star Magazine experience two years ago.

Still, it's all fun. :) I love my job(s). I really love my life.

Posted by bonnie at 2:59 PM | Comments (3)

June 19, 2008

Phew!

I am 100% healthy!

What a fucking month!

Note to all: When they tell you that you might have cancer and subject you to a litany of tests, just ask everyone you know to send good, healthy vibes your way. Do everything you can to stay positive even though you want to cry and cry and cry all the time. Heck, go ahead and cry and then choose a better emotion, even for a moment. That COUNTS. That HELPS.

And then show up with your bestest friend and trust that you're going to hear good news because it's the only thing your spirit will allow.

And then accept it and celebrate because, dammit, you're NOT goin' out like that!!!!

Hallelujah!

Thank you, everyone! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Posted by bonnie at 9:19 PM | Comments (14)

May 16, 2008

July 2008 Cricket Feet Showcase Cast Announced!

Congratulations to our July 2008 Cricket Feet Casting Actors Showcase CAST!

Let's meet 'em, shall we?

Aaron Pruner


Aliza Hedges


Alyson Weaver


Annie Weirich


Antonie Knoppers


Beau Wilson


Britni Karst


Camille Bennett


Daniela Melgoza


Eitan Loewenstein


Elena Zaretsky


Ellen Etten


Gray Stevenson


Jennie Roberson


Jeremiah Peisert


Joel Johnstone


Jordan St. Jean


Keith Johnson


Kevin G. Kelly


Kimberly Demarse


Kirstin Benson


Laura Buckles


Lauren Dobbins Webb


Lindsay MacFarland


Lonyé Perrine


Megan Greysmith


Michelle Ehrman


Michelle Flowers


Natalie Sutherland


Patrick Carlyle


Peter M. Karlin


Rachel Kanouse


Rick Segall


Rick Steadman


Shanna Micko


Tamika Simpkins


Tim Astor


Todd Johnson


Tracy Dillon


Vivian Gray


Xan Stevenson


Yoyao Hsueh

Links to actors' official actor profiles (with resumés, demo reels, and all that good stuff) will be coming soon at the Cricket Feet Showcase website. Congratulations, everyone! And THANK YOU to all of the amazing actors who auditioned for our July showcase. We hope to work with you in the future!

See y'all at The Colony Theatre!

LYMI,
-Bon.
(on behalf of Chil Kong, Eitan Loewenstein, Tamika Simpkins, and the whole showcase team)
MySpace.com/CricketFeetShowcase

Posted by bonnie at 8:10 PM | Comments (0)

February 29, 2008

Congratulations to our April 2008 Showcase WRITERS!

As you may recall, we put out the official call for comedic material for our April 2008 Showcase last month.

Yay! We love that these rockstar writers--seriously, check out the IMDB pages on some of these cats--want their material showcased, just as much as the actors want to be showcased doing great material!

(And, hey, if a talent agent in the showcase audience is inspired to go back to work the next day and tell the head of the literary department about this fantastic scene and amazing writer they should scoop up for their roster, that's not so bad, is it?)

So, THANK YOU to ALL who submitted material for the April 2008 Showcase. (Those scenes not selected will remain on our list for future showcase consideration.)

We're thrilled to announce the line-up of writers for this showcase (and THANK YOU for helping with the whole "meta-showcasing" experience)!

Anna Christopher || Annie Wood || Ato Essandoh || Brooke Stone || Cole Stratton || Eric Volkman || Etta Devine || Jack Kenny and Brian Hargrove || Kenneth Ong || Laurel Felt || Michael Proctor || Michele Karpel || Rainy Kerwin || Sean Spence

We hope you reap many benefits from the industry exposure you'll receive for having penned a great showcase scene (or three). Your amazing words are now in the hands of our kickass cast and superstar director, Chil Kong. Hope you'll come check out the finished results in April!

Congratulations and, again, THANK YOU!!

LYMI,
--Bonnie Gillespie, cruise director
Cricket Feet Showcase --> April 16th and 17th (RSVP now!)
Showcase on MySpace

Posted by bonnie at 4:05 PM | Comments (0)

January 25, 2008

The Italian Job

By now, you've probably seen the breakdown for The Quest, the highest-budget indie feature film one could possibly cast without being affiliated with a major studio (and certainly the highest-budget indie feature film this chica has ever had her hands on thus far).

Well, in case this is news to you, The Quest is an amazing historical adventure shooting this summer in Rome. It's a script by Max Bartoli, Jeffrey Stackhouse, Sam Ingraffia, and Doug Burch; directed by Max Bartoli; produced by Brendan Davis and Blue Nelson for Tangible Entertainment and Max Bartoli for MaXaM Productions in association with executive producer AVT Shankardass for Victory Productions UK.

Phew!

In addition to the nine roles on the public breakdown, we're going for major star names on another half-dozen roles and, I know regular BonBlogs readers anticipate--by this point in the casting process on most breakdowns I put out there--a slew of numbers to pour over (or obsess over, depending on your style). Hee! Well... here's why I've had no time to even calculate the numbers, let alone post about them.

Turns out--brace yourself--it seems that when you cast a project that is ten times the budget of the biggest project you have ever cast previously, you actually *do* get ten times the traffic in terms of phones, emails, faxes, drop-bys, etc.

< Craig mode > "I know!" < / Craig mode >

So...

Um, I'm busy. And I'm also really thrilled with this gig. Not only is it a mind-blowingly COOL concept, outstanding script, and magical story told in stunning locations, the production team is dynamic, talented, brilliant--dare I say--visionary. And I'm honored to be on the team.

(Oh, and, OF COURSE, I'm thrilled to have to add to my "To Do List" that I need to renew my passport. Hee! I mean, a casting director must travel to Rome during shooting in order to "gather casting paperwork" or something, right?!? Hee!)

Ah... in the words of "Hannibal" Smith, "I love it when a plan comes together." ;) Amazingly, a random visit to the Improv to scout comics with fellow Atlantan Jonathan Walker Spencer one year ago would allow me to meet fellow gadget-lover and Atlantan Brendan Davis who would not only come to every single edition of the Cricket Feet Showcase but end up hiring me to do the coolest casting gig of my career thus far. That's cool-ass Hollywood, y'all. (And as Brendan loves to say, "We roll deep." Atlanta Posse, baby. Don't ignore it. It's the new Gay Mafia in Hollywood, yo.)

Oh!!! And speaking of the showcase and The Quest!! Brendan and his team scouted an actor at the November showcase who they adored so much, they CAST HER IN A ROLE in The Quest just based on her showcase performance! That's right... Anoush NeVart is playing the role of PINA and it was really cool to "announce" that bit of casting information right there on the breakdown. Enjoy the buzz, Anoush. Hee!

And, while I'm talking "showcase," I should mention that the breakdown for the April 2008 showcase is going out later today (yes, a little early; yes, before we've even interviewed potential directors--heck, we weren't anticipating over 100 resumé submissions on our "call for directors" from earlier this month--we have a lot of people we want to chat with). Hope you'll join us on the ride! :)

Back to The Quest! One little sad "thing" is how many (about a half-dozen, probably) of my coverage reps at "the bigs" (who were all assistants or sub-agents for the most part) are GONE due to strike cutbacks at their agencies. It's so weird. And sad. And I hope they will all come back when things are back in full-Hollywood-swing (or that they've already landed on their feet elsewhere and are happy for the new opportunity). *sigh*

Next casting-related post (hopefully) will include FIVE casting attachments for Scratching the Surface, the sweet, super-cute rom-com I'm casting right now as well. :) *beams* I'm really excited for the deals we're working out, but won't post about 'em 'til we're all set. You know how that goes.

Hee!

Life is good, y'all! Moto bello! (I think that means something good. I like the sound of it, either way.)

Posted by bonnie at 2:30 PM | Comments (5)

January 16, 2008

That was fun!

After having interviewed over 200 casting directors in my "past life" (i.e.: before going into casting myself), I've now been interviewed by my showcase producing partner Eitan Loewenstein over at the Actors' Life website.

Hee! That was fun! Pretty cool to have this go live just one month before my fifth anniversary in casting. I guess I kind of can't call myself "new" to this anymore, huh?

Thanks, Eitan. :) Good photo, there too. Hee!

Posted by bonnie at 11:57 AM | Comments (2)

January 2, 2008

Cricket Feet Showcase CALL FOR DIRECTORS (feel free to pass it along)

1/2/08, For Immediate Release:

Cricket Feet Casting Actors Showcase seeks directors for its 2008 season.

Bonnie Gillespie of Cricket Feet Casting and showcase coordinator Eitan Loewenstein are reviewing directors' resumés, with a first submission deadline of February 1, 2008.

The Cricket Feet Casting Actors Showcase regularly features the performances of 30 to 35 actors in 15 to 17 original, comedic scenes presented for industry professionals in showcases mounted in April, July, and November. Information about the showcase and its history is available at Cricket Feet Showcase.com. The director's commitment is approximately 10 weeks. This is a paid position.

While directing so many actors in so many scenes in such a short period of time can be challenging, the experience thus far has also exhilarating and creatively rewarding for all parties involved. Showcases are a unique blend of audition, performance, and networking event. Directors are both coaching our actors on presenting their best, most marketable selves and maintaining the creative vision of the showcase producers, creating what is essentially a "live screen test" for the participants. Emmy Award-winning director Anna Christopher (July 2007 showcase) called the experience "directing boot camp." We work hard, but we have a lot of fun too.

After a successful 2007 season, we've moved our performances to the stunning Colony Theatre in downtown Burbank: Colony Theatre.org. This presents a new set of production challenges, as our previous venue seated 67 audience members per night... and now we'll welcome as many as 268 audience members per night! We have already hired our tech crew through the Colony Theatre, but we would love to meet with directors who understand the "film and TV presentation" we aim for, various types and styles of comedy, and the live staging requirements for such a large venue.

If you are interested in interviewing for the job of director for our April 2008 showcase, please submit your resumé and/or cover letter no later than February 1st to: showcase [at] cricketfeet [dot] com. We are also accepting submissions for directors of our July and November showcases (with later deadlines), so please indicate in your submission which particular showcase you are hoping to direct (and, if you are not selected for the April showcase gig, whether you'd like to have us keep your resumé on file for future showcases).

The call for original comedic material is ongoing (more information at Writer FAQ) and the breakdown for actor submissions will be released through Actors Access on January 28th. We would like to hire a director the following week at the latest, and have that person with us during the prescreening and auditioning process.

Thank you for your interest in the Cricket Feet Casting Actors Showcase. We look forward to hearing from you!

Contact: Bonnie Gillespie, 310.395.9540, Cricket Feet.com

###

Posted by bonnie at 1:17 PM | Comments (0)

October 20, 2007

Good News/Bad News

Good News:
Broken Windows is through post, which means we'll be having a screening here before too long. Look at that GORGEOUS cast (plus two producers and a director)! (*trying not to get a cramp while I pat myself on the back*) Click the photo to enlarge it. Wow! That's awesome.

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Bad News:
My bad back is now worse. And in a different place. So it's like the place that was all "out" a week and a half ago is fine but a new place is "out." And I am sooooooo over that crap! I can't finish the organizing without being able to sit in the floor and dig through this crap all at once. Ugh!

Good News:
Ten days after being told that there's a six-week waiting period before new writers get a shot, my writing has been selected for the Naked Angels' Tuesdays@9 reading series on Tuesday the 23rd. I am beside myself with joy and panic. Please come out and show your support (and maybe read) if you're up for it. I'm sooo excited!

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Bad News:
My great aunt has passed away. :( We were actually pretty close, as "great aunt/great niece" relationships go. I am very sad.

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Good News:
A lovely romantic getaway is on tap for next weekend. I have never needed two solid days of spa treatments so much. Blisssssssssssss.

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Bad News:
Fixing a Hole is now officially on hiatus. I just have no way of finishing the physical organizing now. And it's time to get back to work-work. I's got shit ta do!

Good News:
In the past 36 hours, I have slept 33 hours. (That's good news, right? It's certainly weird news.)

Yes, more good news than bad. That's how I roll.

Posted by bonnie at 7:42 PM | Comments (3)

September 24, 2007

Eric Gelman's Killer Sentenced

(Tried to post this from SAG at 8pm, but it seems I can only post a title and then comments from the handheld. Anyway, my point was, this is the piece that made me cry the most. As much as I have hated every bit of this story about Eric and his brutal murder, it's this--the piece including victim impact statements--that broke me all the way down. Kris, thank you for sending this along.)

From CBS.com.

Convicted Murderer Says He Didn't Kill Actor
(CBS) LOS ANGELES--A transient who insisted he was wrongly convicted was sentenced Friday to 20 years to life in prison for killing an aspiring actor who appeared twice on the TV show "Monk."

"I am truly sorry for your loss," Kim McMurray, 44, said after turning to face the family of Eric Gelman in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom. "I'm not the one who did it. I've never hurt nobody."

The 44-year-old defendant--who admitted four prior convictions in drug and grand theft cases between 1983 and 2003--was convicted Sept. 7 of second-degree murder and personal use of a knife for Gelman's April 17, 2005, slaying.

It was the third time McMurray was tried for the 32-year-old man's killing. Two other juries had deadlocked on the same charge.

"To let this verdict stand in our mind is a complete miscarriage of justice," McMurray's attorney, Katie Murff Trotter, told Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Johnson.

But the judge denied the defense's request for a new trial, saying he believed the evidence supported the jury's decision.

The victim's father, Richard, called his son "a good, kind, compassionate person" who would give the shirt off his back to someone who needed help.

He said he remembered crying four times as an adult before his son was killed--when each of his two children were born and when his parents died.

Since his son was slain, "I've cried every day," he said.

Lynn Gelman said her life has been "filled with immeasurable sadness and grief" and told the judge that the only thing she really wants is something no court can give: "to have my precious child back."

Gelman was attacked in an apparent robbery attempt shortly after getting off work at the Marmalade Café, where he worked as a waiter while pursuing his acting career, authorities said.

Gelman had come to Los Angeles to pursue his dream of being an actor and appeared twice on the show "Monk." One episode, "Mr. Monk Goes to Vegas," was dedicated in his memory, according to his parents.

"It's really so painful," his father said outside court. "He had turned the corner in his life."

Gelman's parents set up a scholarship fund in his honor at Goucher College in Baltimore, where their son graduated in 1995.

"When you lose someone, you want the world to know that he was here, that he was wonderful, and that he mattered. We give others a small helping hand so that they can fulfill their passion," his mother wrote in a statement about her son and the memorial fund.


As soon as I find more info about how to donate to that fund, I'll post a link/address. What a day!

Posted by bonnie at 7:55 PM | Comments (2)

September 15, 2007

It Is Done

Well, it isn't done. It is decided.

Remember the little tidbit about SMFA in my 12 of 12 the other day?

===========


3:01am: Ready for this? THIS is exactly all of the remaining stock of Self-Management for Actors (other than the few hundred at our distributor's warehouse, which should be depleted via retailers within a few months). So... big decision was made today. SMFA, 3rd ed. coming your way by pilot season. Yes, this means I have to say no to casting a film. Booooooo! But, hey... it means... new book! Ready, Proofer Patrol?

===========

Yeah. Okay. So, on the 12th, we decided to go forward with a 3rd edition. And we decided to make it available for Pilot Season 2008. Yes, that means that somewhere between the casting I'm already doing, the showcase I'm already producing, and the weekly column I'm already writing, I'm to get a NEW edition of my baby to the printer (a NEW printer, BTW) by Thanksgiving.

Oh, and what did we do today, while entering the sales data (at the absolute last possible moment for our distributor's catalogue deadline)?

We decided to add a whole new section to the book.

Not a paragraph.
Not a chapter.
A whole new section.

Welcome, Part Seven: Advanced SMFA.

Oh dear GAWD do I ever need a drink about now.

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PS--Other updates from the 12 of 12 whatnots:

Love y'all!

Posted by bonnie at 7:44 PM | Comments (3)

September 13, 2007

Virtual Channel Network

Just got this email from MCJ (My Cousin Joni):

Am home sick and caught your premiere episode. Great job--and you get more and more like your mother each day. Maybe it was the big black leather chair you were seated in, but it felt like watching your Mom doing a reading. You were really engaging and personable, and I could tell that you love helping others learn how to do what they love to do better. Again, just like Charlsie.

Love you,

J

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...and that reminded me that I meant to blog a little more about this email I got yesterday from the folks at the Virtual Channel Network:

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Congratulations! Your show Reel Deal has been selected as one of the programs running for the official launch of the Virtual Channel Network. The VCN launch date is set for Thursday, September 13, 2007. The Virtual Channel Network is the network for the Entertainment Industry created by the Entertainment Industry. We have a lot of exciting programming that will be debuting over the coming months. Please now feel free to start promoting your show and your association with the VCN sponsored by Breakdown Services and The Hollywood Reporter. Be sure to direct your colleagues and industry contacts to check us out at VirtualChannelNetwork.com online beginning tomorrow. Once again, thank you for participating in the VCN project. We are very excited about the possibilities for all of those involved.
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So, this is the cool show I've been shooting with superstar agent Marc Bass this year. We shot like six episodes back in May. I had to cancel out on shooting my next round of six episodes in August due to the two pilots I ended up casting (quality problem), but I'll be back to shoot more content later this year.

Hope you enjoy it! :)

Posted by bonnie at 12:46 PM | Comments (1)

September 9, 2007

Oh, thank God!

Thank you, Kris, for delivering the news.

(CBS) LOS ANGELES A transient who fatally stabb[ed] an aspiring actor near The Grove shopping center was convicted Friday of second-degree murder.

Kim McMurray will be sentenced Sept. 21.

Two previous trials of McMurray ended in mistrials when the juries deadlocked.

But the third trial ended today, with jurors convicting McMurray of killing 32-year-old Eric Gelman of Florida about 10 pm April 17, 2005, shortly after Gelman got off work at the shopping center's Marmalade Cafe.

Just... thank God. Rest in peace, dear Eric.

Posted by bonnie at 12:42 PM | Comments (2)

August 31, 2007

The Waiting Game

Okay, you're all patiently waiting for some big announcement coming from me about the big meeting I had earlier this week.

(I do realize you might not ALL be waiting for this... and those of you waiting may not ALL be patient... but bear with me, will you?)

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So, I have no big announcement. I mean, I guess I have a pretty good announcement but I'm not going to make it yet because there may be more to it and the story is a whole lot better if this all comes together... ah, I'm such a sucker for a great punchline.

Anyway.

Without giving too much away, I'll just say for now that the meeting was amazing. It was like a Top Five Best Meetings Ever-level meeting. And, because it's super cool to have an agent to negotiate all of my casting deals; package my casting services with his agency's directors, writers, and stars when pitching deals to studios; and take care of the details like getting me paid on time; I am happy. But because it might be beyond cool to have an agent representing me in an area I've only recently charged into (and about which I'm less confident, which is why the cloak-and-dagger routine, here), I'm holding off to say more 'til the ink is dry, y'know?

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Anyway, there's a part of me that's bummed because I called this morning--as instructed--to learn whether the so-and-so department also wants to rep me and got the ol', "Can he call you back?" thing followed by hours (now) of radio silence.

*sigh*

And even though I know better (meaning, I know I have an amazing new relationship here with an agent I only ever knew from the dealmaking-for-his-clients-in-projects-I-cast side of things, I almost certainly have "people" now for the first time since giving up acting years ago, and it's the start of a holiday weekend so his lack of communication might mean nothing more than that -- for cryin' out loud, it *is* his job to finalize deals for current clients first, right?), there's a part of me that feels that sad, lonely sadness that only comes with having taken a really, really, really big shot at something huge and important and then wondering if you were too confident, too brave, and too far out of your league.

(The logical part of my brain wants to slap the shit out of that sissy, let me tell ya. But it's nice to be reminded how "putting yourself out there" can feel in this business. Even if it smarts.)

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So, now I get to wait 'til Tuesday to know anything for sure.

And maybe I won't know anything then.

And maybe when I do know something, I won't love the news.

And so what? If "worst case scenario" is how this Top Five Best Meetings Ever-level meeting turns out in the end (which would be seriously weird, but you have to sometimes entertain the part of your brain that wants to "what if" in the negative direction), I'll hit my next favorite Mr. Superagent with my pitch, get invited into another swanky conference room overlooking a gorgeous view of Hollywood, charm the hell out of another wonderful person with whom I'll still deal in the "other direction" of my job, and continue to repeat that process 'til the right relationship comes together.

And, assuming what Mr. Superagent told me when I left him Tuesday is true, well... I'll be saying, "Have your people call my people," about one part of my career (and perhaps another) very soon.

Until I know for sure, I will wait.

And rearrange furniture. Because somehow that makes me feel better. (It's not like I'm looking for stuff to do... but a new vibe in the living room is kind of fun today. It's not pretty but it has me in direct line of fire of the A/C. And boy, do I like that!)

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So, there's your update. I'm waiting.

Posted by bonnie at 5:43 PM | Comments (3)

August 9, 2007

Oooh, that was fun. Earthquake!

I know, I know... I'm so silly with my "earthquakes are recreational" thing, but this one was FUN! And the biggest we've had since moving to Santa Monica three years ago.

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Clickee for biggee.
Click HERE for quake details.

(Believe me, I was never this amused by earthquakes when the sample size was ONE and that ONE was the Northridge Quake and I was living alone for the first time in my life, living seven miles from the epicenter. Yeah. Not fun.)

But this 4.5 (estimated) shaker at 12:58am in The Valley was a nice, rolling shaker. And our pictures are all askew. Cats are FRAZZLED. We're giggling with glee that we were not in the car when it happened (because that's so boring. You feel exactly nothing).

Keith is also amused that--just 13 hours ago--he said (when I commented that the cats were acting weird... more weird than usual), "We're due for an earthquake." Ah... that smart, sensitive cookie!

Okay, back to work!

Posted by bonnie at 1:16 AM | Comments (4)

July 31, 2007

Hi. Howd'yado?

So... we've been orbiting around the right and perfect Cricket Feet, Inc., logo for, er, the better part of the whole five years we've been a corporation.

But it wasn't 'til our stars alligned with the most wonderfulestness of Colleen (CoCo) Wainwright, AKA the Communicatrix that we were introduced to this:

And, I'm sorry, but if there's a logo by which you should be inspired, it is THIS ONE. Holy crap. It *is* US. Wow!

So, we've been sitting on this for a few months while we neared our five-year anniversary as a corporation (now: July 2007), and well, it's time. Here she is: our "howd'yado" reboot of the Cricket Feet experience.

Whaddaya think?

PS--Probably one of my favorite days ever. Cast THREE MORE famous effin' people in this film and hired our seriously rockstar director for the November showcase. Ahh... lovin' it. LOVE-IN-IT!

Posted by bonnie at 11:09 PM | Comments (3)

July 30, 2007

Well, I needed that! (Uma update... with video)

WOW!

Usually I post the Uma Updates without commentary, but this one really, really got me. Somewhere around videos three and four I just lost it. I am soooooo proud of Uma and the progress she has made. She is doing SO WELL!!! And she sounds fantastic too. Oh, our sweet, darkerUma is just AMAZING. She's a miracle!

So, I wanted to post both to share the below update and links *and* to again say thank you to everyone of my friends and family who reached out--without even knowing Uma, or John, or Erik--and made donations to The Uma Fund earlier this year. You all helped something really phenomenal happen. And it continues to happen every day.

Bless you ALL.
-Bon.

===========
Dear friends,

My apologies if you've sent an email recently and I haven't replied to it. I'm way behind on my email replies!

Below, you'll find a detailed Uma update from John. But I'm going to start with a quick Cliff's Notes version because I want to ask you all to do some more visualizing, and the sooner the visualizing the better. Uma's getting an angiogram tomorrow morning (Monday, July 30), which is basically a scan of her brain to check out a portion of her aneurysm which appears to be bulging out of the coils that were originally inserted to contain her aneurysm. Please visualize this angiogram going well, and any procedures that might follow the angiogram going well too. Uma's kinda nervous about this trip to the hospital because it's the first big hospital visit she's had since she's been completely conscious of all of the things she's going through.

So send some good thoughts her way, if you will. Thank you…

Now here's John's latest update, with more detailed info about what this angiogram means:

===========
Hello everyone,

Uma and I are sitting in a doctors office wating for
her pre-op tests. It's friday.

She was approved for medi-cal earlier this month and I
remembered that, at one point, in NY, we had contacted
Dr. Wouter Shevienk, the director of the Maxine Dunitz
Neurosurgical Institute and he agreed to accept her as
a patient provided she was a qualified medi-cal
person. So....on Wednesday I called and asked if she
could see him. They set up an appointment for
yesterday, Thursday, and decided, after reviewing
films and charts from NY, that she needs another
angiogram to verify the efficacy of the coils clotting
her aneurysm.

Today we are having tests done to make sure she's ok
physically to have the angiogram and, possibly, more
coiling on Monday. On Monday, there are three
possibilities - 1) that she would not have any
problems and go home 2) that she would have a problem
that can be fixed by coiling and they would do that
then 3) that she would have problem that cannot
permanently be resolved through coiling and would
require "clipping", which would be done at a later
date.

Coiling is the placement of microscopic platinum coils
in the "dome" of the aneurysm to assist the body in,
usually, a permanent clot. This is done through a
femoral artery catheter and is not considered a
surgical or invasive procedure. This is what they did
for her in NY. The risks of this procedure are that
coils can loosen up, allowing blood to flow again into
the dome of the aneurysm or that the cois can actually
slip out of the dome and into the blood vessel which
can cause an inappropriate clot or stroke. These
things are unlikely but they do happen. Coils are not
always a permanent solution to an aneurysm and require
that she get checked regularly thoughout the year.

Clipping is an invasive surgery. They cut into her
cranium, locate the aneurysm and clip the "neck" of it
with a tiny titanium clip. This is considered a
permanent fix to the aneurysm if done without
complications in the surgery. The risks involved in
clipping are the same with any cranial surgery as well
as problems with the invasive quality of the
procedure. Any time you stick things in the brain you
can have swelling, vasospasm, stroke, memory loss,
speech problems, blurred vision, headaches, infection,
paralysis, etc. These complications are lessened by
the fact that she is not in the middle of her
aneurysm breaking. It's not an emergency.

She just went in for the chest x-ray. Earlier this
morning she had the other normal tests and she's ok to
go.

I was up last night, unable to sleep, thinking about
the options here. The idea that we could have a
permanent fix is very attractive. The idea that she
could possibly be set back in her speech or physical
therapy due to complications of clipping is
heartbreaking. She has come so far and I don't want to
see any of that amazing work compromised.

It's now sunday morning. I think I was avoiding
finishing this email because there is a part of me
that, honestly, doesn't want to face more
hospitalization for her. I thought it enough that she
would be in intensive rehab for more than a year. This
latest has brought back a lot of resentment on the
part of the doctors in NY. Why they never bothered to
tell us about this I don't know. Maybe tomorrow, after
her angiogram, we'll find out why they never told us
about it. Though it doesn't always help to look back
on things, I wonder where we would be in our lives now
if hadn't been looking through her chart and found
this report about the remnant of aneurysm. But as long
as we have to face this, then we might as well face
the whole picture which includes how we'll view, in
ten years, whatever hardship she's about to endure. If
surgery, exluding complications, then we have reason
to breathe a bit easier in terms of recurrance. Also,
and I hope I haven't said this about other situations,
I believe we are in really good hands. Cedars Sinai
and these physicians have an excellent reputation.
That and my informed questions and proper responses to
the answers are what we can do, physically, to help
her.

And now I want to ask all of you to pray for and think
of her tomorrow, Monday morning. We check in at 7:30am
and, at some point later, they take her back. People
are always reminding me to take care of myself. I've
found that this is often a spiritual thing, even if
I'm just going for a run to keep my first heart attack
at arms length. I'm thinking that one great prayer is
the one where you take extra good care of yourself (on
Monday morning) in honor of Uma and, of course,
yourself. Do something beautiful for yourself or
because of yourself and send that love past Uma on the
way to its final destination. For what it's worth, I
truly believe all the people who helped in this way
saved her life. I believe in it and I believe in you.
Thank you.

Recently Erik sent an email with video links to people
who donated to Uma. I don't think he'll mind if I send
the link to everyone. So here they are....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNPsSaG7nMw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbINlKh8fbU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UY1wYo5Ti38
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_ejiZyF--g
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHsrhSQo_XA

Also, I've set up a myspace page for Uma that is
including photos and video of her progress so far. As
often as I can, I will update this.

http://www.myspace.com/umaspace

Thank you for Monday.

Love,

John

===========
Okay, this is Erik again. I really like the paragraph in John's email where he talks about how doing something for yourself is a way that you can take care of Uma. I like it because it's a "task" and it's been awhile since we've sent out an Uma task. And we've seen that these tasks result in good things. Change, progress, health. So it's time for another task, dammit. Like John said, please take a moment (or several moments!) to do something for yourself today.

And while you're filling yourself with happiness, please send some of that energy Uma's way.

Thank you.

with love,
Erik

Posted by bonnie at 12:39 AM | Comments (0)

June 4, 2007

Uma Update!

This is a GREAT Uma Update from John. (Thanks, Erik, for sending it along!!)

Hl everyone,

Just on the off chance that anyone out there was
wondering whether Uma had lost any of her personality
or her passion for life and for the objective truth of
life, or her love for me or her friends and family, or
her desire to act and express her love and art, or her
respect for others and the world and all its
blessings....don't wonder....I don't.

She continues to work and improve on everything and
continues to be more frustrated at times because her
improvement illuminates more of the path ahead for her
and she can see more clearly everyday where she's been
and where she wants to go. To risk the broken record
instance, it's going to be a long road. But she is
less bling to it as each day passes. This reveals to
her the tragedy she escaped and the love she's been
given and produces. Yesterday on our walk she said -
and this is a direct quote, "I just want to do what I
need to do today, tomorrow, and the next." And we
were talking in the context of her recovery.

I'm at a starbucks in orange county about to go play a
job and Erik and Lauren Campadelli are with her by
turns today. When Erik came over this morning he
remarked that she is more verbal than she was even
since last Monday. And today in physical therapy at
home she was working on her right arm extensively. I
have a video now of her extending her right arm away
from her belly (while lying down thereby making it
easier to isolate the shoulder muscles from helping.)
I think it was called 'external rotation'. This is
good. As soon as our home PT saw that Uma could move
her arm at all she just 'floored it'. Uma has
actually done nothing but get better since January
31st, despite everything including hydrocephalus.

There have been two times now that I've left her at
home alone for a couple of hours. She's getting better
at calling me on the cell phone. One time she actaully
dialed my number rather than just utilizing the
'return' feature after I had called her. I really
wrestled with this - when do I let her stay at home
alone? One of the answeres to that question revealed
itself when I realized that there have been many times
where I've been working in the studio for a couple of
hours without checking on her. She could have had a
problem during that time and I might not necessarily
have known about it. The difference being that when
I'm not actually at home I would need to have someone
close by to check on her if needed and I believe I
have that option among about a dozen friends all of
whose numbers are in my cell phone and written in my
phone book. Uma was so excitied the first time I left
her at home alone. Her autonomy is thrilling to her.
In this she hasn't changed at all.

Last weekiend we had a nice visit with her aunt, uncle
and cousins in Malibu. Her aunt cooked spicy sri
lankan style food and it was actually a bit much for
Uma. This was the first really hot food since 1/31.
She made it though.

She now sees one of two physical therapists six times
a week and a speech therapist three times a week. We
can carry on this way for many months and we will do
that.

I can't wait 'till she and I can carry on a nice, long
conversation. That's something we used to do almost
daily and sometimes, when I have time to think about
it, I really miss it. I think it will probabaly happen
this year.

Thanks again for all the help, prayers, visits and
love.

Bye for now,
John

Posted by bonnie at 9:29 AM | Comments (0)

May 8, 2007

Uma Update

This just in from Erik:

Dear friends and family…

It's been a really long time since I've sent out an Uma update—about two weeks, actually—and I've started to get worried emails from people—asking me if everything has been okay—so I realized that I need to get back on the ball with the updates. John wrote an update last night and his update describes Uma's daily routine pretty wonderfully, so I won't go into a lot of detail, but suffice it to say: every day she gets a little bit better, every day her walking gets a tiny bit more assured, every day she gets out a new word. So I'd say she's doing pretty amazingly.

A quick anecdote: I spent a few hours with her today while John was working in the studio with Ken, and we decided to go for a walk. Uma and John usually go on a walk in the morning—down the street to get coffee—and Uma sometimes goes on walks in the afternoon, so this wasn't anything new for her, but this was the first time I'd gone on a walk with her, so I was excited for us to venture out into the world together. I knew that the longest walk she'd been on so far was to Franklin and back—which is 6 blocks each way, so: twelve blocks. Okay. So that's what I figured we'd do.

Uma and I started out on our walk and Uma was very confident. She didn't even need to use her cane. (In fact, when I asked her if she needed it, she gave me SO MUCH ATTITUDE, as if to say: "haven't you been paying attention? I don't need to use that damned thing anymore.") As we walked down the street, I flashed back on her days at the rehab facility when she was taking her first difficult steps…that was just over a month ago—and then I flashed back on two months ago when she couldn't even move her right leg AT ALL—and here she was walking through her neighborhood—without a cane, without anyone's help—walking so well. I don't want to overuse the adjective "amazing," but I can't think of another word right now.

When we got to Franklin, I told Uma it was time to turn around, and she said "no," and then pointed ahead. She wanted to walk further. "Okay, let's go," I told her. So we walked another block. And then when we got to the end of that block, I told her it was time to turn around and head back. "No," she told me, and pointed ahead. I told her we should really probably turn around, but she was adamant. So I gave in: "alright, let's go another block." So then we walked another block, and when we got to that next block, Uma was excited and enjoying herself and totally into the walk…so we went another block. By now we'd walked a total of nine blocks and Uma finally decided she was ready to turn around. So then we started heading back and by the time we got back to Franklin we'd walked twelve blocks, which was the longest walk Uma had been on so far, and by the time we hit block twelve…

…Uma was tired and so completely ready for the walk to be over. But she had insisted on walking further, so now we still had six more blocks to walk. Uma asked me, "when?" I finished the sentence for her: "When are we going to get home?" "Yes," she said. "We have six more blocks to go." Then Uma asked: "Why…" And I finished: "…why did I let you bully me into walking those extra blocks?" Uma laughed: "Yes."

Those last six blocks were tough. Uma was exhausted, so we'd walk about ten feet, then we'd take a break.

Have a sip of water.

Stand in the shade for a beat…

...and then we'd move forward another ten feet.

Then, again: pause, water, shade, then walk. And again: pause, water, shade, then walk.

Literally taking the rest of the way home in these little ten feet intervals.

As we walked those last few blocks, Uma started getting frustrated, tired, cranky, but we were almost home. We just had to get over the bend. (I know this sounds like some parable, but I swear to you there's a little hill right before you get to their house, so we LITERALLY had to get over one final bed.) We took one final break in the shade, one final sip of water. And then we continued on. Until finally—finally—we got back home and took our shoes off. Then Uma got into bed, ready to rest.

Anyway, (and this is parable time, for real) as far as Uma's speech therapy goes, I kinda feel like Uma's at the beginning of walking those last six blocks home. They are LONG blocks she still has to walk down—who knows how long it will take for her to get all of her words back—it's probably going to take a really long time. But every day she moves a couple inches forward. The thing is, she seems to comprehend everything that's going INTO her brain, but her words need to find new pathways to GET OUT, so it's kind of like she's learning how to speak again one word at a time. Which is tough, and grueling, and frustrating. But eventually she IS going to have all of her words back. I know she is. She's just gotta keep moving forward in these little intervals, and eventually she'll be "home" again, in every sense of the word.

Thank you for all of your continued love and prayers and good thoughts for her.

Here's JOHN'S LATEST UPDATE...(5/6/07):

hello everyone,

it's been a long, long time since last i wrote. in an
explanation of why i haven't sent an update in so long
i can start by saying that i now have an entirely
differnt brand of respect for my mother and father.
as the person who gets the therapists, sets the
schedule, sets the alarm, makes the breakfast, helps
dress her, gets her to the therapists, makes lunch,
does the laundry, the dishes, makes dinner, helps in
the shower, makes music on the side to pay the bills,
and gets her medication ready, i now see a little bit
of what it must of been like for my mom and dad who
both had full time jobs and took care of us three
kids. this is love on a different level. it's love
in action and it has left little time for words (or
anything else) lately.

we've been out of rancho los amigos national
rehabilitation center in downey for about 2 and a half
weeks. of the many things she can do now that she
couldn't do then are - reach down and pick up things
from the floor, carry dishes back into the kitchen,
get things into and out of the frig, wash some of her
dishes, put toast in the toaster, answer her cell
phone and have limited conversations, change the
channel on the tv, walk up the stairs without dragging
her right foot on the lip of the stair.....etc.
there are almost too many things to tell about.
there seemed to have been a plateau upon getting home
but that turns out not to be true.

to have seen her go, literally, from not even seeing
me to walking out of rancho with a cane on her way to
her first in 'n out burger in months marked a
progression of amazing speed. but now the progress is
measured differently. whereas she has been able to
ambulate with both legs, now she is working on the
finer details of what walking means. she must
reconnect with the muscles that her brain has
forgotten about. this is a deeper level of brain
activity than the gross movements we saw at rancho.

just about everyday she says something, some word that
she didn't say before.

usually she can move her fingers on her right hand a
little each day.

i honestly don't remember how this differs from the
last email i wrote but the difference for me is that
she is more 'there', more aware and present each day.
we were walking back from dinner tonight (!) and i was
checking in with her about how best to spend the
fundraising money on her recovery. a few minutes later
a fellow musician friend of mine named ken lasaine
was walking towards us. we greeted each other,
exchanged some words and moved on. i told uma, again,
about the fund raiser and emails and life-changing
activity people have undergone learning about
her....and i mentioned that he, ken, had donated to
her fund. well, THIS time it finally hit home with
her just how much has taken place in this regard. she
just kept on saying, 'wow!' almost until we got home.
she was truly amazed and overwhelmed by this. the
thing is, i have told her about this on numerous
occasions but never has she reacted this way to the
news. she is amazed. she is overwhelmed. she
understand what you all have done for her.

we have hired two out of probably only 7 physical
therapists in southern california who not only have
doctorate degrees in the field but who are also
neurologically certified. since the gap in time
between rancho's in- and out-patient programs was so
wide, we have so far, decided to pay for pt and st at
glendale adventist hospital. the speech and physical
therapist there are really good matches for uma - they
are really good (if i'm any kind of reluctant expert
now) and really nice and really tough and true in
their vision of her path to recovery. we see the
speech and physical therapist there 3 times a week
each. we also have hired an associate professor of
physical therapy from usc to come to our house twice a
week. both pt's are co-ordinating with each other to
maximize her work. so....by saturday, uma is pretty
worn out....but today, at her suggestion, we ate
breakfast (eggs scrambled with asparagus, tomatoes,
onions and garlic with toast) on the front porch
(first time ever) and then we went to the beach. she
is really waking up.

we've been back to rancho for a physical therapy
out-patient evaluation but the program for her
wouldn't start for another 6 weeks. her speech
evaluation was performed by someone who, honestly,
didn't do a good job. having been through so much in
terms of different therapists and in interviewing and
being evaluated by a number of therapists i've learned
a little bit about what the job(s) mean. of the three
speech therapists we've seen since she left rancho,
two of them were truly prepared, worked in really
efficient and penetrating ways with uma and got really
amazing results from her. the third was from rancho.
long story short, we've decided to use the fundraising
money by hiring the therapists we have now. they are,
in my opinion, the best for her and her recovery. we
have enough to last us about 8 months of 8 therapy
seesions (5 physical, 3 speech) per week. this is a
LOT of rehab but she is determined to recover all the
way. i just wanted everyone to know how this is
going and, in a way, how your donations are being
used.

uma loves being at home. our routines are nicer now
than a few weeks ago and they change everyday because
she can do more everyday.

i've never been through anything more life-changing or
exhausting or that has elevated my gratitude. but i
feel like i want to begin writing about her again -
or, at least, i feel like i have the energy. i don't
think i can do it every night like i did before but
i'm going to do it at least once a week. i think erik
is going to begin writing again too.

so many thanks to all of you.

all my love

john

Posted by bonnie at 1:56 AM | Comments (0)

April 21, 2007

Uma Update

What follows is a report from Erik about Uma's status (she's HOME), as well as a wonderful article from Erik's step-dad about Uma's journey. For those of you in Los Angeles, we will be dancing for Uma in our Cricket Feet Showcase curtain call on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Even if you're not with us in the audience, please hop up and dance for Uma each night!

Now... here's Erik's latest.

===========

Dear friends,

So, as you know, Uma is finally HOME! Which is so awesome and exciting. And she's starting to get back into normal, everyday, non-hospital things. Like, for instance, last night John charged up her cell phone and told Uma that she's going to be able to start using it soon (because she IS going to be able to start using it soon!) and then Uma noticed that she had a text message, so she eagerly checked it (it was a message from Aimie, sent on the day that Uma had her aneurysm), and then Uma saw that she had voicemail, so she checked those messages too--obviously, people haven't been calling her because she's been in the hospital, so most of the messages were along the lines of "this is your cell phone company and you need to pay your cell phone bill" but it was still pretty cool for her to check messages. She's not quite able to have phone conversations yet, but she's definitely close--I did a "practice" call with her, and she was able to respond to several of my "phone questions." It was exciting.

Anyway, I'm sending out this quick email because:

1. I know that Uma has not checked her email since she had her brain aneurysm.

2. John was talking to Uma about how they should check her email soon, because it seems like an activity she's ready to do.

3. I heard that hotmail deletes accounts if you don't log-on at least once a month, so I've been logging onto Uma's email account about once a week and deleting messages that are obviously spam (she's been getting lots of those "URGENT REQUEST" spam emails, from "bankers" in London who want you to help them cash a check from Africa, or whatever), and so I'm aware of what's waiting for her in her email box when she checks it, and there are about 200 emails in there. I would say that about 20 of them are personal emails from friends, while the vast majority of them are from mailing lists she's on.

4. I was thinking it would be nice for her to have some more REAL emails when she and John finally check her email account...soooo, if you're a friend of Uma and you want to send her a quick "welcome home" email, that would be awesome.

5. Her email address is nithipal AT hotmail.

Thank you!

*

And in case you don't read my blog, here's a recent update that my mom posted:

I JUST GOT THIS UPDATE FROM MY MOM:

How wonderful it is to be able to visit Uma at home instead of in the hospital. I had my first opportunity to hang out with her at home yesterday, and it was very special. Colleen was there when I arrived, and John was in his home music studio working. Colleen left and Uma and I got cozy in the bed to watch a DVD that I had brought--"Ever After." I was in the mood for a fairy tale, and Uma seemed to like the idea, too. So we watched the movie while John worked in the next room, and we took turns dozing since the plot was too familiar to keep us awake when we were both a little sleepy. As we watched, Uma had her right arm in the removable cast that she wears as much as possible as part of her therapy. It can get very uncomfortable for her, so it was great that she was able to keep it on for several hours.

After the movie, we talked--mostly about movies and TV shows, but also about other things. At one point, we talked about "Grey's Anatomy," and I asked her if she was going to watch the new episode that was on last night. She started to explain and couldn't get the words out and appeared very frustrated. John came in and started asking her questions. He has a way of helping her express herself that no one else can match. We figured out that she really wanted to watch Grey's, but also really didn't because she had missed several episodes and didn't want to watch them out of order. At one point in our conversation, she said, "I want to watch..." She often gets stuck after "I want" so it was good to see her forming a sentence.

Another time when I was trying to get her to repeat a sentence, John came in and counted with her to three and then she said it perfectly. The counting gives her time to prepare, and then she does much better. She is best able to form words and sentences when she watches the lips of the person she is talking to. At one point, she said the word "scenario." I wasn't sure what she was trying to say, but it's clear that she's working hard at it and the words are coming to her. They might not be the right words for what she is trying to say, but it is a start.

In response a look of frustration from Uma, John explained to her that he and everyone else can see that she is an intelligent woman and the same person she's always been--that she just needs to work at being able to once again express herself through words. The way he explains this is so loving, so patient, yet also gently demanding. He stops her when she is frustrated and looks into her eyes and offers reassurance that he understands her plight and will be there to help her through--but also reminds her that she has to work at it no matter how frustrated she gets.

Toward the end of my visit, Uma's friend, Lauren, arrived with a tray of cupcakes. I said goodbye to Uma and left feeling rested and grateful for the time I had spent with her. Uma will resume serious therapy next week, and she is getting some much-needed down time during her first week at home. John says they are sleeping well without all the interruptions and noises that invaded their privacy in the hospital. John is trying to get back to work while tending to all of Uma's needs and making arrangements for her therapy. I worry about him because the role of primary caregiver is so exhausting, even when you get back as much love as Uma gives. There is also the tremendous sense of responsibility for so many things, from making sure she eats well and gets the quality of care she needs to making sure the bills get paid. We need to help John keep his strength up so he can help Uma keep her strength up, because no one does that better than John. I think he will ask for help, but probably not as much as he should. He needs quiet time alone with Uma, and he needs time to be away from her to do his work and time to be away and restore himself by doing whatever helps him to re-energize. I say this to direct your prayers and positive thoughts toward the support that John and Uma need to get through this healing process so that she can be fully recuperated in every way. We have already seen what can be accomplished when so many people pull together in love and hope--Uma has come so far with that power behind her, and I know she will keep making progress every day because she is surrounded by so much love and support and is very determined to reclaim her independence.

*

And here's a column my step-dad wrote for The Daily Pilot:

THE BELL CURVE:
Courage and hope despite odds

By JOSEPH N. BELL

My dear friend Uma Nithipalan went home last Tuesday, 77 days after she got on a plane in Los Angeles to fly to New York and join her husband-to-be who was awaiting her there for a brief visit. Twice in those 77 days, the people who love her were told that Uma had only a 20% chance of ever making that trip home alive.

But medical opinion turned out to be no match for the wave of prayer and love that washed over her.

The love came from hundreds, maybe thousands, of friends of Uma who met her and followed her story in the blog of my stepson, Erik Patterson.

This cornucopia of hope and, finally, conviction grew daily, first among Uma's dear friends. But very quickly, they told their friends who told their friends who told other friends, all of whom seemed to find in the courage and determination of these three young people a reason to look--even if only for a few moments--beyond the horrors taking place in our world today to a crusade anchored in the certainty that a reservoir of goodness remains, with the power to bring about results that could be seen as miraculous.

Uma is a native Sri Lankan and a citizen of the world who graduated, with Erik, from Occidental College in Los Angeles eight years ago. Uma was Erik's closest friend then, and she has remained his closest friend ever since. And when Uma fell in love with John Ballinger last year, John became Erik's second-closest friend.

That's the way it was when Uma got on the plane to New York last Jan. 30 to celebrate the engagement ring John had given her at Christmas. John, who is a fine and versatile musician, was playing a gig in Manhattan with the troupe that took "Dancing with the Stars" on the road. It was a job he wanted badly and was enjoying immensely. And it paid him well enough to bring Uma to New York to share it at least briefly.

John was working when Uma arrived at his hotel, but she was waiting in his room when he finished and hurried to her side. And a few hours after that joyous meeting, before the morning light, this wonderfully healthy 27-year-old woman was in convulsions, writhing in pain, gasping for breath.

An ambulance rushed her to the nearest hospital where five precious hours went by before she was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm and transferred to another hospital equipped and staffed to treat her.

Thus started the journey of these three remarkable people.

A few hours after John called him, Erik was on his way to New York. He had joined John at St. Vincent's Hospital when the first desolate news was delivered by the doctor heading the team that treated Uma. She was in an induced coma, he said, critically ill, with, at best, a 20% chance of surviving.

That's when the two men in her life, staggered at first by the news, decided that they simply would not allow it to happen. And from that moment until she went home last Tuesday, one or both of them were constantly at her side. And so were the prayers they pleaded for in the long, poignant emails and blogs they sent daily to the folks back home. Always factually straight. And always upbeat. "Here are the facts," they seemed to say, "but the reality is Uma's full recovery."

That's the way it was through the first three weeks.

One minor setback after another, somehow dealt with.

But always there was the fear of stroke attacking her nearly defenseless body. If only she could get past that, they could all relax a little. And they almost had it made when stroke abused her body once again--and once again the doctors delivered the 20% lifeline of hope. And so the volume was turned up on the call for help, and the response was quick and sure. Uma fought off the grim predictions, resumed her recovery, and a little over a month ago was on her way back to rehab in Los Angeles.

That required a new miracle. Only an air ambulance could deliver her, and that cost more than $20,000. So Erik fired up his blog and told Uma's army the problem--and within four days more than enough money poured in to pay for the air ambulance. So now, after four weeks in a rehab facility, Uma is walking with a cane, communicating with beautiful smiles and nods and grimaces as she relearns speech a word at a time, expressing a range of emotions from frustration to joy, and flashing wonderful glimpses of the old Uma.

It's impossible to convey the almost lyrical flavor of the hope and love and determination in the reports that came from John and Erik every day since Uma was stricken. They could and should be edited into a fine and inspirational book. Here's just a taste from John, written when he went home for the first time in several months, after he and Uma returned to Los Angeles:

"I look around our house and see all the physical things that make up our life together--the little things like a receipt for a dinner we had, the new spice rack she bought while I was on tour, notes on the refrigerator, photographs that she put up on the wall, the Christmas tree she hadn't taken down and where she left her nightgown before flying off to New York.

"Her essence and personality seem very much to be there and intact. Her sense memory of me and trust in me seem to be just as present. But exactly where are her memories? Will she remember any lines from the play that won her an award from LA Weekly? Or how long it took her to breathe again after I asked her to marry me? And does it really matter? Maybe the essence of things is what I will lean on for a while.

"Her rehabilitation will take place for many years in some ways, but the bulk and the foundation of it will be done over the next four months to a year. So I'm asking again for your spiritual help for Uma. I really believe she has come this far due to the prayers and love sent her way by all of you. And she needs this again, just as much as before."

I was privileged to be among the people who love Uma and received the daily reports from her bedside.

A few days before she returned home, I visited her at the rehab center and reminded her of an inside joke we shared. And her eyes lighted up and met mine, and her smile was broad and understanding, and I thought of the final sentence in one of John's latest reports: "Tomorrow," he wrote, "is Easter, and Uma will rise up and walk."

*

much love,
Erik

Posted by bonnie at 5:02 PM | Comments (1)

April 5, 2007

Uma Update

I just have to say that I am SO GLAD to have these updates. This has been such an amazing journey and I am so constantly inspired by Uma's progress and the extreme levels of love in her life. Awesome stuff. Truly awe-inspiring.

-Bon.
===========

Hello everyone...here are the latest Uma updates...from my mom and from John...much love to all of you...xo, erik

UPDATE FROM MY MOM:

I spent a few very special hours with Uma today, and it was wonderful to walk in and see such an enormous difference in her since my last visit a week ago. I know she is very frustrated with what must seem like incredibly slow progress to her, but the fact is, she is making dramatic steps forward. When I arrived, she was heartily eating a very boring meal of pureed food. Even though the food wasn't exciting, it must be thrilling to be getting back the capability of eating rather than having liquids poured into you through a stomach tube. And she will probably begin eating solid foods this week, so please visualize her swallowing with no problem and convincing the doctor that the stomach tube can be removed.

I shared a guilty pleasure with Uma today--watching soaps. I got a big smile when I teased her about getting me hooked on soaps. It is so easy to get caught up in the problems of those beautiful people on the screen. They are so beautiful that you can't help but enjoy their suffering. For Uma right now, just watching is part of getting back a sense of normalcy in her life, because she has long been a soap fan. We enjoyed a relaxing hour of TV before the occupational therapist arrived. One of the big focuses today was trying to help Uma strengthen her right arm. She got very frustrated when she was unable to move it, but then the therapist explained that just leaning on her right hand would help strengthen her muscles--that this is a beginning, and many patients in her condition have recovered the use of their arm. Uma seemed to be reassured by that. Her therapy also included a bit of cleaning in the kitchen, and she did a great job scrubbing the countertop. The occupational therapist works on helping Uma function in many practical everyday ways that will help her to be independent when she leaves the hospital. Uma seems to be responding to this therapy very well--a sign of how eager she must be to get home.

Next she spent an hour with the speech therapist, who had her counting and working on pronouncing words. The therapist explained that Uma is probably not able to understand complex sentences right now, but does grasp key words. So we can learn to emphasize the main idea of a sentence and keep it short when we speak to her. She does seem to understand a great deal of what is being said to her. She is also gradually finding more words to express herself, but the inability to put her thoughts into words is probably her biggest frustration right now.

John is keeping a detailed diary of her day-to-day activities and visitors are adding their messages to this journal. It's becoming a beautiful record of her recovery, and it's very helpful when the nurses come in and ask questions about Uma's activities. One nurse today said she's never seen a patient with so many visitors. And all the therapists comment on how incredible John is. He certainly has their attention--they know he's closely monitoring everything that happens, or doesn't happen, and I'm sure that's making a difference in her care.

In the midst of all of the hard work Uma is going through, and all the frustration, there is that beautiful smile. Her sense of humor is very much intact, and what a joy it is to see her face light up when something amuses her. That, more than anything, tells me she is farther along than we can even see. Each day is filled with small steps forward that will all add up to big steps down the line. It is a privilege to be a part of Uma's journey. I so admire her courage.

*

[a note from Erik: When Uma's finally able to use the internet again and she starts reading these updates, she is going to be so pissed that my mom outed her as a soap lover. But then again, I don't think she was ever very good at keeping that info in the closet. So maybe she won't be pissed. Either way, it'll be exciting that she's on the internet away, snooping and such, so I'm cool with her being pissed about the whole "out as a soap lover" thing.] [Also, while we're on the subject of loving soaps, I'll come out of the closet too and admit that Uma got me hooked on One Life to Live. Ohhhh the travails of Todd, Blaire, and Star will never be boring, no matter how many times Todd betrays Blaire and Blaire takes him back again.] [If you're also a closet soap lover--god, that phrase makes it sound like you like soaps that clean closets, not secret lovers of soap operas--anyway--if you're also a secret lover of soap operas, then take comfort in the fact that you're in good company, and next time you watch your soaps, visualize Uma curled up on her couch at home, fully recovered, enjoying those ABC soaps completely openly.]

*

UPDATE FROM JOHN:

hello everyone,

i honestly can't remember the last time i wrote or the
last time i was home. i've been staying at the
hospital over night and, since uma is now becoming
what they call a "fall risk", I've been finding it
difficult to go home.

the work she is doing is really good. she is improving
everyday in every area. today i watched her walk on a
treadmill with help from the therapists - but not very
much help at all. and then she walked back from the
physical therapy gym to her room - about 50 yards -
with her cane and a small brace on her right leg.

she has been eating orally since friday and had had
her tracheostomy "blocked" since monday evening. it
looks good for her to have the feeding tube taken off
late this week and possibly even the trach.

one of the problems with having been around there so
much is that i have, in effect, 'trained' the nurses
to rely on me to do all the transfers to the bathroom,
much of the maintenance of her airway, feeding, and
monitoring her. the other problem is that i'm now
needing to get away to work occasionally and also just
to get away. erik has been great, as usual, in helping
to get me some help during the weekdays and weekends
so that i can leave. but i have a specific request -
monday, april 9th i need to do a job that will take me
away from the hospital from about 3:30pm to 7:30 pm.
is there anyone who can come by then to make sure she
doesn't try to walk away (don't laugh - that's what is
meant by 'fall risk'.....she sometimes just tries to
get up from bed or her wheelchair and walk!)

also- along the lines of specific request - we're
looking now for world class speech and physical
therapists to augment the out-patient program she'll
be on. these specialists can be in the form of
private, in -home workers, or in the form of another
facility here in southern california. what we need
are recommendations from people who've had some direct
or even indirect connection to neurological or
post-stroke rehabilitation. the reason we're looking
for this is that the county system will only give us
so much per day and per patient on these crucial
issues and uma can accelerate much faster in these
areas even now. the work she is doing now is truly
great but we want to let her rebuild herself with no
limits if at all possible. please let me know and i
thank you in advance.

she is very clearly "in" her body - that is ....uma
exists much as she was before. the problem is that her
words don't work. she has aphasia. they are very, very
slowly coming back but the problem is that she still
has an expectation of using language....her
intelligence remains but her words are, for the most
part, gone. each day she seems to be able to follow
more of a conversation and more commands from staff
but she, as yet, can't SAY what she wants at all.
(except for 'i want pizza' which i taught her to say
when my sister sent one to the room. she tasted a bit
of it. funny how that phrase stuck with her so easily)

she can become really frustrated by this...to the
point of tears and real agitation. she can read quite
a bit and organize sentences via reading comprehension
but this has not yet translated into the spoken word
for her.

other parts of her mind seems to work very well.
sometimes something happens with us that is truly
funny - not like a joke or funny sound or accent or
sight gag but just an everyday occurrence .....putting
your arm through the wrong sleeve of a shirt etc. and
she laughs....no cues, no words. two days ago we
played the card game 'war' with the recreational
therapist. basically each player draws a card and who
ever has the highest face value takes the hand. uma
presented as someone with no problems at all. the only
sticking point was when there was a six and a nine
drawn in the same hand......she took a bit to
distinguish the two.

she had a cast on her right arm to reduce spasticity
and this now off. that thing weighed almost as much as
she did! and they've begun again with electrical
stimulation for that arm.

i just keep on it and keep pushing with all the
respect i can. we all get along very well with all the
staff and nurses. pretty soon there isn't going to be
anything for the nurses to do for her anymore. but the
discharge date is somewhat flexible - if she is doing
very well, they might keep her an extra week.

i saw the results of the follow-up ct scan yesterday.
her ventricles are smaller and look more like
ventricle are supposed to now.....sort of butterfly
shaped. they will most likely improve still. she looks
to have had a lessening of swelling and infarction but
these things did take place. techinically, after the
aneurysm, she suffered a stroke.

her character and stamina are amazing given what she
has been through. she really is the strongest person i
know. the challenges ahead for her are monumental. to
hear that she can now walk a bit, or eat some, or talk
some is very encouraging. to see it first hand each
day tells a story of many, many months and even years
before she is done working on this injury. every day
is huge - there's just no way around it. each day is
so large in every possible way for both of us. this is
the highest level of living i've ever experienced and
it can be grueling. it requires a level of stamina i
didn't think existed in me but, somehow, it's there.

i'm just thinking now of how many prayers there have
been from all those different people, many we don't
even know......it helps me to view this, as my father
said to try and do, as a gift. it's hard, believe me,
but i think this is the right path to take. how we
respond to these situations is the key to it all i
think.

i thank you all, in advance, for praying for her mind,
her spirit and her body to heal (a moment of bravery
coming....) COMPLETELY!. keep hoping and loving.

love,

john

ALSO FROM JOHN:

hello again,

forgot to mention the following links again. the first
is erik's blog spot - very nice. lots of pictures and
good perspective on all of this. the second is a place
where you can actually buy a t-shirt or other item
that has different versions of 'team uma' or 'i love
uma' etc. on it. that sight was set up by our friend
michal braun - very nice indeed. (profits go to the
fund for her now and future rehab!)

thank again.

bye

http://myyearofnewthings.blogspot.com/

http://www.spreadshirt.com/shop.php?sid=97704

ALSO:

There's a photo album of all of Uma's hospital photos at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/theumafund/

And if you want to buy crafts made with love for Uma (all proceeds go to fund Uma's rehab):
http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5098556

and http://www.teamuma.blogspot.com

Posted by bonnie at 4:40 AM | Comments (0)

March 31, 2007

uma update (via blackberry)

FROM ERIK: I'm forwarding John's latest Uma update...I hope this email finds all of you
happy and healthy and well...Also, below John's update, I'm posting some
updated info about visiting Uma, so please scroll down and read if you're
planning on coming to the hospital for a visit. Thanks and much love to all
of you,
Erik

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: john ballinger
Date: Mar 31, 2007 12:40 PM
Subject: uma 3.31

hi everyone,

i've been at the hospital a lot so have not written.
i'm at home now trying to take a break and recharge. i
can't tell you how great it is to spend the nights
with uma. she slept well last night with few coughing
episodes and i really hope this helps her.

yesterday she had a real-time x-ray swallowing test
which then caused the doctor to change her 'diet' to
eating 3 meals a day or pureed food. she does eat some
of it but it tastes pretty bad for the most part.
whatever percentage she does not eat the nurses
compensate for with the g-tube feeding. the swallow
test revealed that she has some hesitation in
swallowing during which time the food or liquid rest
on the valve leading to her windpipe. the hesitation
is about 3 seconds but she quickly swallows it all
down. seeing this made me realize why they wait to
pull the tracheaostomy. if she were to choke it would
be really bad, bad news. but so far she's had 3 meals
and will have 3 each day from now on, with increasing
textures and solidity.

my perspective on her progress is skewed due to being
there all the time. people who come to see her every
now and then comment very strongly on how well she's
doing and how much she has improved. this is good for
me to hear, because there is really nothing like
seeing the person you love most in the world in this
kind of long-term trouble. i've performed music in
front of thousands of people and under extremely
high-pressure situations on serveral continents on
this planet and there is no comparison to the kind of
pressure i feel with uma's health. i seriously
wouldn't wish this kind of feeling on anyone's worst
enemy - it's a lot to deal with.

to tell you that she gets up from the chair or the bed
or the shower or toilet, that she walks with help from
someone, a cane, and a brace, that she is now eating
and elliminating for the most part on her own, and
that she is beginning to use language again is an
amazing thing to relate but it really doesn't tell the
whole story. in terms of her speech and use of and
memory of language, she is in real trouble right now.
her improvement depends on how well and how much and
how soon she gets great speech therapy. because we
only have four weeks of acute in-patient
rehabilitation and then move to out-patient, we are
all looking into augmenting all of this with private
or 'other facility' help in speech and also physical
rehab. if there is anyone out there who has had any
experience with stroke or aneurysm and private
therapy, please contact me as soon as possible and
tell me what you know. we're going to need a lot of
help here both practically and spiritually. as hard as
any of you have prayed for her to live or come home,
please pray and love her that much again for her
ability to regain that which makes her who she is -
her mind, her memories, her experiences, her ability
to express herself and experience other people's
expressions. those of you who know her know her
sensitivity and intelligence, the depth of her soul
and her 'take-no-prisoners' attitude toward most
things. she fell in love with me hard and completely -
just as i fell in love with her. sometimes it feels
like my entire soul is one expanding and constant
prayer for her. people who visit see her spirit and
personality there, but uma is a person who never was
afraid of the depth of life and meaning. language is
the universal carrier of meaning and, while there are
many ways to communicate, for her, speaking was a true
gift. anyone who has seen her act on stage or listened
to her laugh LOUD about something knows what speaking
means to her. seeing her struggle to find words and
really, truly working hard to reach out to people is
wonderful and heartbreaking. i believe she will regain
much but i know how much help she has gotten from all
of us so far and she will need that again and then
some.

there was a conference yesterday with all of the
doctors and therapists working with uma and myself.
some of the things said there were.....that she will
most likely walk out upon discharge with a brace and
cane....that she will almost definitely have no trach
or g-tube...that she will improve her speech
function.....that she will definitely be recommended
for out-patient rehab there....and that she may stay
longer than four weeks as allotted by the county. to
say that my behavior - the direct questions, the
continous presence - has made an impression on the
whole team is an understatment. the head of
occupational therapy has taken a personal interest in
uma's case and the head neurologist there knows my
music work thru mutual friends who are actors.

everything that can be done for her is, i beleive,
being done at the moment. some days it's just not
enough for me. having every life intention i've ever
had be suddenly taken from me (and her), however
temporary it may be, is an experience that can't
always be helped by the progression of her recovery. i
just have to deal with it and keep trying.

sometimes i feel so bad that i can't think of more
stimulatin things for her to do besides just napping
with her or massaging her or watching her favorite
shows on dvd. this morning, before her first therapy,
i asked her if she wanted to take a 'walk' outside.
she nodded. we got her dressed and into the
wheelchair. i rolled her to the elevator. she has
learned to press the buttons. we went up to the 3rd
floor where there is a large open patio. it was empty
except for us and the cool morning air. as soon as the
automatic doors opened she grabbed the blanket on her
lap and drew it closer to her chest. i picked a spot
and braked the wheelchair. i said, 'we're going to
stand her for awhile, ok?' nod. she stood up with
very, very little help from me and we 'walked' 3 paces
forward, closer to the balcony wall. she put her left
hand on a pillar and stood alone while I reached back
to the wheelchair and got the blanket. i wrapped it
around her shoulders and stood behind her. she studied
the outside with me, both of us standing up. after
awhile i whispered to her that last week she couldn't
stand at all. she nodded. i told her i love her with
my whole soul and hoped she understood at least the
intention of it, and we went back inside.

i hope eveyone is doing well. talk soon.

john

*

Hey everyone...AN UPDATE RE: VISITS TO SEE UMA:

Uma has been getting lots of visitors, which is wonderful, but it's also
kind of exhausting for her. She tries to be "on" for her visitors--to
listen, to interact--and after a long day of therapy, she can get pretty
wiped out after just a couple visits with friends. We're also finding that
since she's started to speak, she's getting increasingly frustrated at her
own inability to make sense of words, and that can make her uncomfortable.

So we've been doing some brainstorming and we think it would be best to put
together some sort of calendar/sign-up list for visitors, so that Uma
doesn't feel so overwhelmed, and to help ensure that you have a quality time
with Uma when you come. So if you'd like to visit, please come! Just email
me first and let me know when you'd like to see her--if it looks like that
day already has several visitors, we'll find another time that works for you
and for Uma.

A couple of other things to remember:

--The best time to visit is between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
--Short visits are best--20 minutes or so--because Uma gets tired very
quickly.
--Silence is okay, you don't have to feel the need to fill every moment with
talk. Uma is happy to see friendly faces and sometimes it's nice to just sit
together and "hang."

Thanks for understanding all of these "rules." We're figuring out what's
best for Uma on a day-by-day basis, taking cues from her. We just want her
to be as comfortable as possible, and to help her get what she wants and
needs. Thank you for your love and support!

Please email me at dimsumday@gmail.com to sign up for a visiting time. If
you could put the word "visit" in the subject line, that would help me keep
the emails straight. I'm slightly overwhelmed with emails, so I apologize if
you've emailed me and I haven't replied yet--but if you put "visit" in your
subject line, that will help me keep these emails separate and I will reply
asap! Thank you...

much love,
erik

Posted by bonnie at 5:52 PM | Comments (0)

uma update (via blackberry)

FROM ERIK: I'm forwarding John's latest Uma update...I hope this email finds all of you
happy and healthy and well...Also, below John's update, I'm posting some
updated info about visiting Uma, so please scroll down and read if you're
planning on coming to the hospital for a visit. Thanks and much love to all
of you,
Erik

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: john ballinger
Date: Mar 31, 2007 12:40 PM
Subject: uma 3.31

hi everyone,

i've been at the hospital a lot so have not written.
i'm at home now trying to take a break and recharge. i
can't tell you how great it is to spend the nights
with uma. she slept well last night with few coughing
episodes and i really hope this helps her.

yesterday she had a real-time x-ray swallowing test
which then caused the doctor to change her 'diet' to
eating 3 meals a day or pureed food. she does eat some
of it but it tastes pretty bad for the most part.
whatever percentage she does not eat the nurses
compensate for with the g-tube feeding. the swallow
test revealed that she has some hesitation in
swallowing during which time the food or liquid rest
on the valve leading to her windpipe. the hesitation
is about 3 seconds but she quickly swallows it all
down. seeing this made me realize why they wait to
pull the tracheaostomy. if she were to choke it would
be really bad, bad news. but so far she's had 3 meals
and will have 3 each day from now on, with increasing
textures and solidity.

my perspective on her progress is skewed due to being
there all the time. people who come to see her every
now and then comment very strongly on how well she's
doing and how much she has improved. this is good for
me to hear, because there is really nothing like
seeing the person you love most in the world in this
kind of long-term trouble. i've performed music in
front of thousands of people and under extremely
high-pressure situations on serveral continents on
this planet and there is no comparison to the kind of
pressure i feel with uma's health. i seriously
wouldn't wish this kind of feeling on anyone's worst
enemy - it's a lot to deal with.

to tell you that she gets up from the chair or the bed
or the shower or toilet, that she walks with help from
someone, a cane, and a brace, that she is now eating
and elliminating for the most part on her own, and
that she is beginning to use language again is an
amazing thing to relate but it really doesn't tell the
whole story. in terms of her speech and use of and
memory of language, she is in real trouble right now.
her improvement depends on how well and how much and
how soon she gets great speech therapy. because we
only have four weeks of acute in-patient
rehabilitation and then move to out-patient, we are
all looking into augmenting all of this with private
or 'other facility' help in speech and also physical
rehab. if there is anyone out there who has had any
experience with stroke or aneurysm and private
therapy, please contact me as soon as possible and
tell me what you know. we're going to need a lot of
help here both practically and spiritually. as hard as
any of you have prayed for her to live or come home,
please pray and love her that much again for her
ability to regain that which makes her who she is -
her mind, her memories, her experiences, her ability
to express herself and experience other people's
expressions. those of you who know her know her
sensitivity and intelligence, the depth of her soul
and her 'take-no-prisoners' attitude toward most
things. she fell in love with me hard and completely -
just as i fell in love with her. sometimes it feels
like my entire soul is one expanding and constant
prayer for her. people who visit see her spirit and
personality there, but uma is a person who never was
afraid of the depth of life and meaning. language is
the universal carrier of meaning and, while there are
many ways to communicate, for her, speaking was a true
gift. anyone who has seen her act on stage or listened
to her laugh LOUD about something knows what speaking
means to her. seeing her struggle to find words and
really, truly working hard to reach out to people is
wonderful and heartbreaking. i believe she will regain
much but i know how much help she has gotten from all
of us so far and she will need that again and then
some.

there was a conference yesterday with all of the
doctors and therapists working with uma and myself.
some of the things said there were.....that she will
most likely walk out upon discharge with a brace and
cane....that she will almost definitely have no trach
or g-tube...that she will improve her speech
function.....that she will definitely be recommended
for out-patient rehab there....and that she may stay
longer than four weeks as allotted by the county. to
say that my behavior - the direct questions, the
continous presence - has made an impression on the
whole team is an understatment. the head of
occupational therapy has taken a personal interest in
uma's case and the head neurologist there knows my
music work thru mutual friends who are actors.

everything that can be done for her is, i beleive,
being done at the moment. some days it's just not
enough for me. having every life intention i've ever
had be suddenly taken from me (and her), however
temporary it may be, is an experience that can't
always be helped by the progression of her recovery. i
just have to deal with it and keep trying.

sometimes i feel so bad that i can't think of more
stimulatin things for her to do besides just napping
with her or massaging her or watching her favorite
shows on dvd. this morning, before her first therapy,
i asked her if she wanted to take a 'walk' outside.
she nodded. we got her dressed and into the
wheelchair. i rolled her to the elevator. she has
learned to press the buttons. we went up to the 3rd
floor where there is a large open patio. it was empty
except for us and the cool morning air. as soon as the
automatic doors opened she grabbed the blanket on her
lap and drew it closer to her chest. i picked a spot
and braked the wheelchair. i said, 'we're going to
stand her for awhile, ok?' nod. she stood up with
very, very little help from me and we 'walked' 3 paces
forward, closer to the balcony wall. she put her left
hand on a pillar and stood alone while I reached back
to the wheelchair and got the blanket. i wrapped it
around her shoulders and stood behind her. she studied
the outside with me, both of us standing up. after
awhile i whispered to her that last week she couldn't
stand at all. she nodded. i told her i love her with
my whole soul and hoped she understood at least the
intention of it, and we went back inside.

i hope eveyone is doing well. talk soon.

john

*

Hey everyone...AN UPDATE RE: VISITS TO SEE UMA:

Uma has been getting lots of visitors, which is wonderful, but it's also
kind of exhausting for her. She tries to be "on" for her visitors--to
listen, to interact--and after a long day of therapy, she can get pretty
wiped out after just a couple visits with friends. We're also finding that
since she's started to speak, she's getting increasingly frustrated at her
own inability to make sense of words, and that can make her uncomfortable.

So we've been doing some brainstorming and we think it would be best to put
together some sort of calendar/sign-up list for visitors, so that Uma
doesn't feel so overwhelmed, and to help ensure that you have a quality time
with Uma when you come. So if you'd like to visit, please come! Just email
me first and let me know when you'd like to see her--if it looks like that
day already has several visitors, we'll find another time that works for you
and for Uma.

A couple of other things to remember:

--The best time to visit is between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
--Short visits are best--20 minutes or so--because Uma gets tired very
quickly.
--Silence is okay, you don't have to feel the need to fill every moment with
talk. Uma is happy to see friendly faces and sometimes it's nice to just sit
together and "hang."

Thanks for understanding all of these "rules." We're figuring out what's
best for Uma on a day-by-day basis, taking cues from her. We just want her
to be as comfortable as possible, and to help her get what she wants and
needs. Thank you for your love and support!

Please email me at dimsumday@gmail.com to sign up for a visiting time. If
you could put the word "visit" in the subject line, that would help me keep
the emails straight. I'm slightly overwhelmed with emails, so I apologize if
you've emailed me and I haven't replied yet--but if you put "visit" in your
subject line, that will help me keep these emails separate and I will reply
asap! Thank you...

much love,
erik

Posted by bonnie at 5:52 PM | Comments (0)

March 26, 2007

Long, Exciting Uma Update

From EriK.

I have a feeling this email is going to be long. (Okay, I just finished writing the update and it IS long.) And it's okay if you feel like skimming it because I have a feeling that when Uma eventually reads it, she's gonna be like, "oh my god, erik, stop rambling" and she'll end up skimming it too. (Or, just read it when you have a lot of time.) (Like, print it out and read it the next time you have to go poop.) It's just that I haven't sent out an update in a couple of days, which means I have a few days worth of anecdotes to share (Thursday through Sunday), and I'm assuming that'll add up to a long email. (Spoiler: it does.)

First of all, Uma's doing very good. She has a long road ahead of her and she seems to be aware of the long road ahead of her, so that's both tough and good. A few nights ago, before I left the hospital, I leaned in really close to her and I told her: "You know you're not going to go through this alone, right? There are so many people who are praying for you, so many people who are here for you, so many people who are going to help you get through this." She smiled and nodded. She knows.

Uma continues to show so many wonderful signs of Uma-ness and I believe that she is going to come out of this whole thing with her personality and essential character intact. (We must remain HOPEFUL of that throughout all of this.) That's the scariest thing about a brain trauma—not the fear that your loved one won't remember who YOU are, but the fear that your loved one won't remember who THEY are. I don't think that's something we need to be afraid of anymore. All of the other things that Uma may have lost…like reading, writing, walking, etc.—those are all things that she can get back, all of those thing can be relearned. And we're gonna help her relearn 'em. But her essential Uma-ness…and you know what I'm talking about when I say "Uma-ness"…that irreverent, snarky, loving Uma-ness…it's there.

THURSDAY:

On Thursday, when I arrived at the hospital, Colleen Wainwright was there with lunch for John (thank you so much, Colleen). Uma's speech therapist was there too—she fed Uma some apple sauce, which was the first time Uma had eaten anything since that one time they fed her apple sauce in New York. (She's going to get pretty damned sick of apple sauce pretty darned quickly, so hopefully they'll be able to move on to other foods soon.) The therapist dyed the apple sauce blue in case Uma has any trouble digesting it—if the apple sauce comes back up, they'll know it's the apple sauce because there ain't nothing in your body that's naturally blue. So that's what they're feeding Uma nowadays: blue applesauce. And ice chips too. Hey—it ain't chicken curry with lentils and spinach, but it's a start.

The speech therapist put a speaking valve over Uma's trach, giving her the opportunity to talk. The speaking valve is basically just a little cap that covers up the trach and blocks that air hole, so that the air comes up through her mouth. Uma usually coughs right after you put the speaking valve on, and it's an entirely different cough than the cough we've gotten used to hearing. Without the speaking valve, when she coughs, her cough sounds kind of hollow and rattly, like—you know those children's vacuum cleaner toys with the colorful balls in a plastic oval cup? And when you push the vacuum, all of the colorful balls rattle in the plastic cup??? Do you know that toy I'm talking about? Without the speaking valve, Uma's coughs sound kinda like that. But WITH the speaking valve, they sound like real, solid coughs, and you can totally hear Uma's voice underneath.

And that's hopeful, that's encouraging. It tells us that Uma's voice is there. But Uma still hasn't shown any signs of attempting to talk. The therapist will say things to her, like, (pointing at me) "Who is this? Is his name Steven?" Trying to get Uma to say, "no, it's Erik," or just "Erik," but if the therapist knew Uma she would know that this probably isn't the best tactic to take with her and instead of responding, Uma will look at the therapist, like, "do you think I'm an idiot?" I want her to use that frustration and just go ahead and call the therapist on it: "I'm not an idiot, I know his name and you do too, so let's stop playing this silly game." But Uma hasn't gone there yet.

The speech therapist also works with Uma on writing. On Thursday, she got out a dry-erase board and wrote "U-M-A" at the top of the board, then she put the pen in Uma's hand and guided Uma's hand through the motions of making the letters, and then she asked Uma to do it herself. Uma knows what she's being asked to do, but there seems to be some writing aphasia because she can't quite get the letters yet. "U" seems to be particularly difficult for her—she was getting the "M" really well and then she would continue to do the "M" and the therapist would tell her to start at the beginning again.

Then we moved on to numbers, and the therapist did the same exercise with "1-2-3-4-5," and there must be something about the M/3 shape because Uma got the "3" down and wanted to keep writing the "3," I think to show us that she could nail it, but the therapist told us not to let her skip ahead because she needs to get the entire series of numbers down, otherwise she could re-learn them out of order. So we would start back again at "1".

The thing we have to remember with these writing exercises is that Uma is using her left hand for them and she's freaking right handed. So not only does she have to re-learn how to write, but she has to do so with her non-dominant hand. And she's going to, because that's the kind of rockstar she is. But it's going to be doubly tough.

After the writing exercises, the therapist got out an Uno deck and laid out several cards. Then she would hand different numbered cards to Uma and she'd tell Uma to put the cards in the correct piles. And Uma did this correctly, without hesitation, every single time. So she definitely comprehends the images, and understands what she's being asked to do—it's replicating the images and writing them herself that's difficult.

So after the therapist left, we helped Uma practice writing her name some more, and she was having a really tough time of it, but after struggling for a while, she wrote her name almost perfectly twice. The "U" is still kind of difficult—her "U" has a tail on it right now, so it kind of looks more like a "y," but she's getting closer and closer. After we practiced writing her name for about twenty minutes, Uma got tired of writing and she held the marker up in the air and started taunting me with it. I swear to you, she had this devilish look in her eyes and she was looking at me like, "you are not going to get this pen from me," and then she moved the pen close to my face like she was going to write on my face and I said to her, "you wouldn't dare…" And then she defiantly wrote on my face and then laughed. And then I had a big red mark on my face for the rest of the day. It was a nice moment because Uma and I have a very playful relationship and she was settling right back into that playful groove with me.

After that, Uma was pretty tired and she took a nap. John went out to run a few errands and I stayed with Uma while she was sleeping. When she woke up, it was really quiet in the hospital and I decided to sing to her because I thought maybe that would be nice, except I forgot the part about how I'm a terrible singer, and I tried to sing a Regina Spektor song to her (that part of her song "Fidelity," where she sings "all my friends say / that of course it's / gonna get better / gonna get better / better, better / better, better / better, better, oooooo") and Regina Spektor songs are difficult to sing even if you're a great singer, so my terrible singing really wasn't as "nice and soothing" as I was hoping it might be, and then I stopped singing and apologized to Uma and told her, "I know you'd much rather it was John singing to you right now, wouldn't you?" And she smiled and gave me this look that was a complete, "yes." So I stopped singing.

So then I asked her if she wanted to make any phone calls, and I asked her if she wanted me to call my Aunt Jill, who she knows really well and loves, and Uma's face lit up and she nodded vigorously—so we called Jill, and I held the phone to Uma's ear while Jill and Jill's two kids, Steffani and Taylor, took turns talking to Uma. Steffani is 10 and Taylor is 7 and they both love Uma so much—they built an Uma shrine in their living room with photos and drawings, and every day they go light candles at the Uma shrine and talk to Uma and tell her things like: "you have to get better soon so we can have another meeting of the Boys Are Dumb club, or the Smart Girls Club." Anyway, these little girls have been so anxious to talk to Uma that when they finally had her on the phone, they kept pausing to let Uma respond to them, and Jill had to keep reminding them to keep talking because Uma can't talk back yet. I had a dream last night—a really vivid dream—where Uma started talking again. We were in the hospital, and she hadn't spoken yet, and we were all just sitting around, and then Uma just started speaking, as if she'd never not spoken. And I know that could happen—it's what happened with Bob Woodruff—and so I keep praying that Uma's speech will suddenly come back to her. Feel free to visualize and pray for that to happen.

FRIDAY:

Friday was another long day of therapy. Uma's therapy sessions are pretty intense—especially physical therapy because she's spent most of the last 50 days confined to a bed—and these sessions are exhausting too. But Uma makes great strides every day. John worked with Uma during her therapy sessions and I'm going to copy and paste his update from Friday for his perspective on how her therapy is going. I'll continue my update after JOHN'S EMAIL:

Hello,

Each day Uma has an hour with an Occupational
Therapist, a Physical Therapist, and a Speech
Therapist. It may not seem like a lot of time but it
is very tiring for her. In so many ways the things she
is being asked to do are new for her. Her bedridden
state for the last 50 days has produced some serious
hurdles to her recovery. But she is trying and doing
well.

Today Erik and I were brainstorming about post-rehab
facility rehab in the home and many other options so I
didn't see much of what Uma and the OT did. I did see
her practicing writing though, and I saw that the sink
in her room was wet with use. The OT is 'hopeful'
that Uma will meet some of the goals we discussed
before her discharge. I hope that turns into a more
confident opinion soon.

The ST seems a bit frustrated with Uma. The other day,
while Prakash and Nava were there she asked them to
speak to Uma in 'hindi' to help Uma begin to talk with
the 'speaking' valve on her tracheostomy. They
informed the ST that they don't speak hindi but speak
tamil and that Uma should work with English. Then the
ST asked if she should try Mandarin as Uma went to
high school in Taiwan and speaks that language. Today
the ST took Uma outside for a bit in, I guess, some
effort to get her to talk. Didn't work. So we went
back in and I watched, from a distance, (sometime I
can be a distraction) as the ST had Uma draw a line
between two out of three pictures on a page that were
the same. It's like Sesame St. I saw through the
office window the ST trying to help Uma with the pen
in her left hand and saw Uma yank her hand away from
the ST! She clearly wanted to do it on her own. I
can't think of anything that would indicate to me that
Uma is still in there! The ST expressed some more
frustration to me after the session and I told her
that Uma can be a VERY private person and that she is
the only person I know who can sit in a one on one
situation and not say a word to the other person. If
she doesn't like you or trust you, you are seriously
S.O.L. because if Uma doesn't want to do something,
you're not going to get her to do it. Let's hope this
stubborn-ness can turn around to help her.

With the PT it was a different story. We missed our
regular PT because Uma underwent a vascular test for
blood clots, which she passed. So we had a substitue
later in the day. Here is why you need to stay on top
of things: the sub started out by attempting to put a
brace on Uma's LEFT leg. I said, "Did you know that
the RIGHT side is the weak side?" So then she
switches. Ok, not the end of the world....good think I
was there. She has Uma practice getting out of the
wheelchair and into 'bed' again. We have to set the
brakes, get the foot-rests out of the way, get Uma to
slide forward in the wheelchair, LEAN forward and put
her left hand on the bed and half pull half push
herself up out of the wheelchair and onto the bed with
only a little help at the hips. Then she has to get on
her left side and, with her left leg, lift her right
leg up onto the bed, then roll over onto her back. She
did this with a little help and, upon returning to a
seated position on the bed, began to cry. She had the
speaking valve in her trach at the time so this was
the first I've heard of her voice since Jan. 31st in
the emergency room when she yelled, "I AM IN HELL!".
Her tears today and her cry back then were perfectly
clear utterances of her exact emotional and physical
experience. The look on her face today was so pure in
its frustration and sorrow and fear. This clarity of
expression made it so easy to comfort her. I hid her
face from the rest of the people in the PT gym, let
her cry on my shoulder, and told her, "....this is
just temporary Uma. We're just practicing right now,
this is going to change, you're going to walk again
but you were so hurt that we have to start here. It's
just the first day. I'm so proud of you. I want you to
be my wife and walk down the aisle for me so let's do
it again. Besides, once you walk out of this place you
never have to see these people again (smile from Uma)"

So the next time I helped her and it actually went
smoother. Her movements had more force to them, more
accuracy. Her sense of balance in heavily impaired but
not nearly as much as it was before the shunt
revision. We then moved out to the hallway and she
practiced standing up and holding onto the hand rail
along the wall. She was starting to get tired. You can
tell this because each time she would sit back down in
the wheelchair she would try to attach the seat belt!
We then practiced walking. She had a four-legged cane
in her left hand and a PT on her right side. She took
12 steps. The last few found her holding the back of
her neck in pain. So many muscles must be so tight for
her.

The last adventure was to go to the bath room/shower
and practice getting onto the bench to take a shower.
Probably next week we'll be able to give her her first
real shower since Jan. 30th. ....back to bed and a hot
pack for her neck, a massage from me and some
stretching exercises.

And I've decided, based on cues from the staff, to
keep moving her right side, keep stretching her
muscles, practicing writing, gently trying to get her
to talk, even after hours of therapy.

They have discontinued feeding her with liquid foods
from the IV. Now they are just directly injecting food
and water and medicine into the P.E.G. This means
she's not 'hooked up' to anything. And THIS means that
I can crawl right next to her in her bed and we can
fall asleep together. And tonight, in that bed, I
finally went home again.

Honestly, I feel so afraid for anyone in a hospital
situaton who doesn't have their own pit-bull advocate
looking out for them. She could easily be dead right
now if certain questions weren't asked and certain
points weren't made and acted on. Her road to any
kind of meaningful function is so incredibly long and
she just won't be alone on that road. When medi-cal or
this facility run their course we will continue with
other resources if necessary. I believe in her mind
and in her spirit and I believe there is merit to the
idea that the world is better with her in it. Pray for
her spirit, that she would have the will and humility
to submit to this process and dig into it with all the
stubborn-ness she can.

Thanks for reading and responding to these emails. I
need to write them and it's good to know they're being
read.

love

john

ME AGAIN: (and this really is an epic email, I apologize for sending out a little novella) After therapy on Friday, we tried to have some "fun." Which is slightly difficult in a hospital setting. We watched an episode of Sex and the City (the one where they judge a firemen stripping contest and Carrie meets the politician who will end up wanting to pee on her in the next episode) and that was nice and relaxing, and then we listened to the Buffy Musical soundtrack, which Uma definitely enjoyed. During Spike's song, Uma made what I interpreted to be a "rock on" face, and she was smiling during the Anya/Xander duet. If you aren't familiar with the Buffy musical, I'm sorry to go on and on about it (and you're really missing out), and one last thing: during "Walk Through the Fire," Uma and I were looking at each other for the whole song, she was very focused, listening, and I felt like she was lying there identifying with Buffy and it was pumping her up for the long road she has ahead of her. This is probably all hopeful interpretation on my part, but the song is basically an anthem about how Buffy needs to be heroic and do the hardest thing she's ever done in her life, and Uma's in the same place—except instead of fighting "dancing demons," she's fighting her own body. We just need to keep supporting her and loving her (as Tara sings in the song: "what can't we face if we're together?") and she will walk through the fire and win this fucking battle. Okay, sorry I just geeked out on Buffy the Vampire Slayer like that, but Uma's a Buffy geek and she'll appreciate it.

The speech therapist told us to try to keep the speaking valve on her trach as much as possible—we can't just leave it on 24/7 because it requires slightly more effort for her to breathe with the valve on, and she gets tired and starts to fall asleep when she's wearing it—but the longer she wears it, the better: when she's able to wear the valve all day and all night without having any trouble breathing, that will mean she's ready to have the trach removed.

On Friday, she wore the speaking valve for two pretty long intervals and we would tell her that it was okay for her to try to talk if she wanted to, but again she didn't make any attempts at talking. I think I've already said this in this very long email, but for all of you still visualizing things for Uma, still praying for Uma, this would be a really good thing to focus on. I have a theory, and this is totally just my interpretation and I might be totally wrong—but I feel like Uma might be afraid to try to talk. Afraid because: what if she tries and she's not able to do it? She's so powerless in so many ways right now and withholding speech is really the only "power" she has. So I feel like she might be waiting, holding that power back for now, until she feels completely ready. A little anecdote: my family gets together a lot, and Uma's been coming to family gatherings for years. Whenever we would go to these gatherings separately, if she got there first, she would wait outside in her car until I got there. Even though everyone in the family loves her and embraces her as one of their own, it took Uma several years to feel comfortable enough to go inside ALONE and claim herself as part of the family. But this past year, she finally felt safe enough to do that. Anyway, I've been sitting in the hospital with Uma praying for her to try to talk again, and a part of me feels like she's sitting in the car outside with her voice, waiting to feel comfortable with it, waiting to try. And I ask all of you to PRAY and VISUALIZE and HOPE for her to stop waiting and for her to PUSH THAT VOICE OUT OF HER THROAT. Her voice is there, we've heard bits and pieces of it underneath coughing fits. So pray for her to let her voice be heard.

On that note, I encourage you to go out into the world today and use your own voice, use it for Uma. Be bold: ask your boss for that raise; tell that person who you've been secretly crushing on for years that you've been secretly crushing on them for years; stop being so stubborn and apologize first. Whatever. You've got a voice, so use it—and use it big. And while you're out there in the world using it, take a few moments to imagine Uma doing the same thing. That would be awesome. Thank you.

Okay, now here's JOHN'S UPDATE from SATURDAY:

hello everyone,

uma did very well yesterday in many ways. she is
already beginning to get up from and back into her
bed and wheelchair with more ease and strength. on
friday she walked 12 steps. on saturday she walked
about 25 both using the railing on the wall and using
a really long pole in her left hand to both simulate a
cane and also to force her torso to work more.

In speech therapy she is doing well at some things.
when shown a piece of paper with three letters or
numbers on it where two are the same, she can circle
the two that are the same with increasing speed and
ease. really, yesterday was the first day she did this
and she made no mistakes and gained a dexterity with
the pen in her left hand by the end of the exercise
which included about 20 pages of images.

i've been told by the speech therapist that she will
have her tracheostomy in for at least two weeks. this
differs from what the doctor told me upon our first
meeting. the doctor is more aggressive than the ENT
apparently. this news is very disturbing to me but
their point is that she need to be able to go through
the weaning stages without difficulty breathing. they
have trained me to put the 'speaking valve' on and
off. this is nothing more than a one way valve which
allows air to pass into the trach. but not out of it,
forcing her to breathe out through her mouth or nose.
this type of breathing is more difficult physically
than simply breathing though the trach and so she
might tire more easily. and since she is not
electronically monitored for anything anymore, they
want to be very conservative with this.

my frustration with this is lessened somewhat by the
fact that she has not attempted to speak even WITH the
speaking valve on. we had an alternate speech
therapist yesterday (saturday) who was very good and
seemed to think that uma has apraxia - difficulty
planning the movements necessary for speech AND
aphasia which is a loss or impairment of the ability
to produce and/or comprehend language, due to brain
damage. while she is beginning to follow commands
much more readily in other aspects of her therapy, she
has yet to try to speak or vocalize in anyway.

i know i've said in other emails how great the rehab
place is, but there is so much to keep track of and to
push for. for instance - one therapist will mention
electrical stimulation for her right arm but not write
a request for it. how did i find out that you have to
write a request for it? because the alternate saturday
therapist told me....and SHE is going to do this for
us on monday. so, in my mind, i put two things
together - that we lost a few days without this
treatment of her right arm and that we will not be in
this facilities' in-patient program for more than 4 or
5 weeks. and this is just ONE item on a long, long
list of items that need to be addressed for her. i'll
say it again - i honestly don't know how anyone gets
better without some real help OUTSIDE of the medical
team that is working on them.

she and i are able to take naps together a few times a
day and we usually fall asleep together at night after
visiting hours while watching a dvd. these are the
moments that i live for. the non-verbal exchange
between us exists as it ever did, the level of
absolute comfort and ease between us remains intact.
she and i have a relationship that is very much
changed but that remains, at its core, the same - the
foundation of our relationship is intact but the
structure of it has changed. she receives comfort and
help from me and, i believe, will, in the future, be
able to reciprocate.

what i'm praying for now is (besides patience for me)
is for her mind and capacities to heal in such a way
that she feels as deep a sense of fulfillment in life
as she ever did - and that she'll be able to continue
to grow as an emotional, intellectual, and relational
woman.

here is a link to a site that some of you might find
interesting. it's some idea of what she has gone thru.

http://www.emedicine.com/EMERG/topic559.htm

we are not in the clear yet. i don't know how else to
say it. there are as many things to be grateful for as
there are things to pray for right now. i'm not going
to forget about either. please pray and think of her
if you can manage it.

also - re: visiting. we're keeping the time of each
visit to about a half an hour with breaks in between
people. she tires easily and withdraws the longer
people stay and talk to her. it's not necessary to
continue to speak to her simply because you're
visiting - she probably can't really understand
everything we say to her right now anyway. intention
counts as much as words right now i think. please feel
free to call me for any details.

love and thanks

ME AGAIN: Okay, this email has already been WAY too long, but I'll have to wind it up soon because I took much better notes on Thursday and Friday than I did over the weekend. So I'll round this up with a few weekend highlights:

--Uma had many, many awesome visitors over the weekend—I hope I'm not forgetting anyone: Sissy, Colleen, Aida, Dan, Joe, Patt, Maria, Marvin, Roman, Michal, Emily, Norma & Dan, Wayne, Joe C., and of course, Marie. Marie just had the busiest workweek of her year, and she's now she's back on the other side of that busiest workweek, and I know Uma was so happy to have Marie back at her bedside. There were a lot of great visits over the weekend, and all of the excitement kind of tired Uma out, so we're going to work on getting a schedule together so we can spread the visits out throughout each day and make sure that Uma gets lots of rest throughout the day too.

--John brought his guitar to the rehab facility and he's been playing for Uma and it's the most beautiful thing. He's been playing some of his own songs, some Beatles tunes, some James Taylor, lots of good stuff. Listening to John play the guitar and sing is one of the most soothing sounds in the world. I wasn't there for this, but John and Marie were telling me that at one point yesterday, John was just improvising some music and then one of the nurses—a Filipino man named Alfred—came in to check Uma's vital signs and he started singing a church song, and John listened to the melody and followed along, and then after the nurse finished checking Uma's vitals, he turned to John and said: "You must like that song, you know it too!" But John was just playing what he heard the man singing.

--Okay, I'm going to wrap this email up (finally) with JOHN'S UPDATE from yesterday (which he sent out this morning) because his update has the most exciting highlight of the weekend (I'll give you a preview: Uma said her first word!)…LOVE to all of you.

JOHN'S UPDATE:

hi everyone,

we had a day off yesterday from all the therapy and
had many visitors. at one point there were 6 of her
friends in the room and she really enjoyed that. she
was laughing and smiling a lot, focusing on whoever
was loudest at the time! we keep those visits fairly
short because, while the joy is a great thing, the
activity is tiring for her and she still does not
speak and withdraws visually after a time. it's a
balance.

the first thing we did yesterday with a nurse named
margaret was to give uma a seated shower - her first
real bathing since jan. 30th. she really liked that
and did much of the work herself. we helped her dress
in her favorite edmonton oilers jersey and put her
back in bed - again, with her doing much of the work.
if one can read a sense of contentment on someone
else's face, i think i did that as soon as she got
settled in bed. she seemed very relieved. many of the
comments margaret made were about how much uma has
changed since the first time we were there, before the
shunt revision, or about how much of the work uma is
doing on her own.

there were some other milestones yesterday, too. in
addition to a shower in the bathroom, there is also a
sink and a toilet. yesterday we made use of the
shower, obviously, AND we made timely use of the
toilet which was precipitated by a facial and hand
gesture cue from uma. those of you who know her and
her pride know that i've already overstepped by bounds
in telling you this but this is a very big deal.
think of all the things you do several times a day
that you just don't really think about.....you just
sense a need or desire and you go. what we're slowly
getting past, i think, is her inability to do these
basic things.

we are also alternating having the speaking valve in
her tracheostomy and not - depending on how tired she
is. after most of the people left yesterday and just
marie and wayne were there, and after we had taken her
out on the 3rd floor balcony to look outside (she
liked that a lot, too), she was looking a bit
uncomfortable so i whispered in her ear, "do you need
to go to the bathroom?" and she said (get that? she
SAID), "no". first word......."no". it was with
great effort that i did not make a big deal out of
this. no cheers, no tears, no hand clapping - my
thinking is that we are trying to establish normalcy.
she would normally talk - lets experience her talking
as the most normal thing in the world. it's weighty
enough already without a dance of congratulations. (i
did tell her how great it was that she did that - she
rolled her eyes)

the activity today is, to me, reassuring that many
things in her recovery will be just a matter of time
and hard work. no one who knows her could ever accuse
her of being lazy but this is different. prior to jan.
31st i'm sure she felt like her body was her own to do
with as she felt - whatever, whenever she wanted for
the most part. the relationship she had with her
body, her musculature, her nerves, her ability to
receive and give all kinds of intellectual and
emotional expression, her desire to act and her gift
to us of her theatrical work, her experiences and
plans for her work-life, her plans for her wedding,
and on and on - these things are all changed for her
now. in just four days of rehab she has spoken,
indicated, consistently moved the functioning parts of
her body with more control, and tolerated all pokings,
proddings, changings, etc. with great patience. i've
already seen it wearing on her and it will wear on her
more as time goes by. this will probably be offset, at
times, by the gains she'll make = good days and bad
days - good moments and bad ones. that's why,
yesterday, i asked for your thoughts for her spirit.
for those of us still on this road of prayer and
visualization and hikes and lunches, her spirit could
use help every day.

for me, if this level of activity and interaction is
all we ever gain back from the insult to her brain,
that would be ok. uma and i are already relating as
well non-verbally as we ever did. maybe i'm able to
claim that because i just don't believe that this is
the end of her recovery at all.

each day there are moments for me that are so
surprising in their clarity and meaning. last nigh i
was laying down next to her and she had fallen deeply
asleep. her right arm was completely relaxed and she
was breathing very steadily. i just looked at her face
- tracheostomy, shaved head, scars and all and
thought, 'i'm glad you're in my life. i'm so glad you
didn't die' and then i planned a little bit of what
i'm going to say at our wedding.

thank you all so much for all the prayers and thoughts
and actions.

love

john

Posted by bonnie at 4:20 PM | Comments (1)

March 21, 2007

Uma Update

Latest update from EriK:

I have some rockstar news: Uma is back at the rehab facility. Which means her therapists can get all of her therapy back on track. Which is huge, awesome news. Because for the last few days she was just sitting there in the ICU, bored as all get out, waiting. And now that she's got a perfect, functioning shunt that's going to facilitate a whole lot of progress in her brain, we don't want her to have to wait anymore--we want to take advantage of her new shunt and start getting her better! So now that she's back at the rehab facility, that's the plan.

Here's John's update from last night, and I'll post my update below John's.

JOHN:

Hi there everyone,

About an hour ago Uma was taken back to the wonderful
rehab facility. I was told early in the day that the
transfer would be today, but after waiting for about 9
hours and being told several different things, I
finally put both nursing stations at both facilities
together on the phone so they could finally figure out
who is suppposed to call the amulance.

I saw the ct scan today - i had to actually run and
chase down the doctor to get his attention but he
showed it to me - he actually voluteered to show it to
me. I saw a rounded black object in the middle/right
of Uma's head - her right ventricle - and right in the
middle of it was a short bright white strip - the
shunt. So then, I was looking at a shunt in a
ventricle which, I am agonizingly sorry to say, I have
not seen before. When looking back on this some might
say, "Well, in the grand scheme of things, you only
lost a couple of weeks due to the mal-placed original
shunt..." but it's different when you're there each
day all day and all night knowing that something isn't
right and knowing that there is so very little you can
do about it and knowing that this isn't her elbow -
she didn't sprain her ankel here, this is her
brain.....there's really no feeling quite like it and
I wouldn't recommend feeling it if you can possibly
avoid it.

On the other hand......her face is different now. I'm
almost afraind to say how much more clearly she looks
at you or at her environment. She cried twice today.
Because she can't talk yet, I don't know why she
cried. But she was looking at one of the wires
attached to her in the ICU, the pulse/ox that attaches
to her finger. She was studying it for a long time and
then she looked at me and just started crying. The
tears and her face told me she was afraid and sad. I,
of course, comforted her - telling her that everything
she was and wants to be will come to pass, that she
will use her right arm and leg again, that she would
come home again, that we would get married, that she
would go to work again, that she would act again, even
that she would take care of herself again, and that
today we would be going to a better place.

I can't imagine what it must be like for her but i
have a feeling we will know soon enough.

I was too tired to tell you last night what happened
yesterday. She kissed me.....no, I'm mean SHE kissed
ME....I didn't reach down and kiss HER. She lifted up
her head to me, held the back of my head with her left
hand and kissed me like a woman kisses a man. A very
intense and wordless (!) moment followed.....just eyes
and cheeks and hands and breath. Funny how you can't
hear a single ICU alarm going off in a moment like
that. My entire universe was her face, her eyes and
the tiny-ship-in-the-middle-of-the-sea feeling you get
when your emotional exchange reduces every distraction
to it's proper size. ....you float, safe because you
are together.

And.....today, while listenig to music, she began to
move her head and purse her lips in that "Uma -
getting-ready-to-dance" way. Any of you who've seen
this know what I'm talking about. It wasn't jus
tapping her foot in time to the tune. Nice.

So - I feel that I can't ask for much more than a
properly placed shunt and the behavior she's beeen
displaying and being out of a hospital. I feel that if
she remains medically safe, she will be
rehabilitationally sound.

And, tonight, I will sleep.

Love

john

*

And now I want to share some moments I had with Uma yesterday:

When I first arrived at the hospital in the afternoon, John had been alone with Uma all day, so he left the room to take a nap, and I sat with her alone for about an hour. When I sat on the edge of the bed, I felt my glasses move ever-so-slightly down my nose and they were kind of uncomfortable and without indicating anything--without pointing at my glasses, without wrinkling my nose to shake my glasses--I asked Uma, "can you push my glasses up?" And without missing a beat, she immediately reached over and pushed them up the ridge of my nose. Total comprehension, without a doubt. (I think this comprehension sometimes comes and goes though--later in the afternoon, when John had returned from his nap, I asked Uma to push my glasses up again, and she wouldn't do it. I don't know what to make of that. Either she didn't understand what I was asking, or she realized that I was trying to show John that she understood what I was asking and she didn't want to "perform" for me. Both seem equally possible. If her comprehension does, indeed, waver like that, that's just something we're going to have to work on with her during her rehab.)

Uma and I hung out for a while and at one point I asked her if she wanted to take some photos with my phone. Her face brightened when I asked her that, so I put my phone into "camera" mode and I handed it to Uma. Now, when you're taking photos with my phone, it has a pretty big screen that shows you what you're about to take a photo of, and Uma held the phone up and started surveying her surroundings through the phone. She definitely seemed to understand what she was doing, like she was looking for a good photo. I told her that she had to "push that circle button in the middle" when she wanted to take a photo. She didn't show any signs that she knew what I meant, though, and then she just kept surveying her surroundings through the screen. So I told her again, "you need to push that circle button in the middle if you want to take a photo." I wasn't sure if she was understanding, so I told her several times, and pointed out the correct button. Finally, she "got it," pushed the button, and took a picture of me. Then I told her, "you have to push the button again if you want to save the photo," and she immediately pushed the button again. Then I asked her, "do you want to take another photo?" And she did--she took two more photos of me. Then I asked her, "do you want to take a photo of the ICU, so you can show people what you've had to stare at all weekend?" And she understood what I was saying, she stopped pointing the camera at me and directed it at the room. She held it up for a while and I thought maybe she'd forgotten about the whole "circle button in the middle" thing, so I reminded her--a few times--and then, finally, she took a photo of the nurses station across from her bed. I'm going to post these photos on my blog so you can see for yourself, but I thought it was pretty danged cool.

While I was sitting with her, watching her take photos, I had such a strong sense that: yes, this is going to be a long road of recovery; yes, there are going to be many frustrating moments for Uma; and YES, she's going to get through this. And that last "yes" is the most important one. I mean, obviously. But still: we have to remember that they told us she was probably going to die. And they didn't just tell us that once. They told us TWICE. And those aren't words that you freaking EVER want to hear. But still, the doctors said those stupid words on the first day, and then they said them again on Day Fourteen (after she had her stroke). And look at what she's doing now! Every single day is a blessing and a miracle. Every single day is a day to say "fie on you" to those stupid doctors who dared underestimate Uma. Every single day there is something to celebrate.

Okay, so after our photo session, I found the latest copy of Premiere Magazine in my backpack and I started showing photos to Uma. As most of you probably know, Uma's a total subscriber to US Magazine, and she loves the whole celeb thing, so I figured she'd enjoy checking out the photos, and she definitely seemed interested. There was this one page that had four photos on it, featuring four celebrities: Sienna Miller, Justin Theroux, John Cusack, and Mandy Moore. I pointed each of the actors out and then I asked Uma, "who's your favorite?" And she immediately pointed to Sienna Miller.

Okay, two thoughts popped into my head the instant she pointed at Sienna Miller:

(1) She understood that I wanted her to point at one of the photos on the page! I didn't indicate by pointing at the page myself, I just asked her to show me which actor was her favorite and she immediately responded! Comprehension! Awesome!

And:

(2) There is NO WAY that Sienna freaking Miller is Uma's favorite actor in that group.

So then I thought, maybe she doesn't necessarily remember who all of these actors are and she's just responding to the individual photos and the photo of Sienna Miller is her favorite photo? Of course, since she can't talk yet, this is all just conjecture, but that seems to be the most likely thing to me. Because honestly, Uma: Sienna Miller?

I decided to ask her a different question: "Can you point out one of the two men?" She furrowed her brow and didn't seem to understand what I was asking. So I changed the question again: "Can you point out John Cusack? He's the one who's holding his collar. Who has their hands up? Who's holding their collar?" Uma looked at the photos, but then she furrowed her brow again and didn't seem to understand what I was asking. She seemed frustrated and tired, so I told her not to worry and put Premiere Magazine away. Maybe we will have to re-educate Uma in the brilliance that is John Cusack--and if that's the case, I'm happy to take on the task.

By then it was 6:30 p.m. and the ICU doesn't allow visitors from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., so John and I went out to the hallway to hang out and wait for Uma to be transported back to the rehab facility. John's brother Wayne came by shortly thereafter to wait with us. (I am still so in love with the back of Wayne's head--remember, Wayne shaved Uma's name into his hair? It's so cool.)

For a while we got kind of nervous that Uma wasn't going to be transported last night--which was a frustrating thought because the sooner she gets back to rehab, the sooner she can get back into her therapy regimen--but we didn't have anything to fear: Uma was finally picked up by the transport people at 9:30 p.m. and she was in her bed at the rehab facility thirty minutes later.

Visiting hours at the rehab facility usually end at 8 p.m., but since Uma was just getting checked back in, they let us come in and say goodnight to her. After John and Wayne said goodnight, I decided to hang out a little bit longer because I knew I wouldn't be able to visit the hospital today (Wednesday), so I sat by Uma's bed and talked to her for a bit, and then the most amazing thing happened. At least it felt like the most amazing thing to me. I was talking to Uma and I wasn't looking for a response from her--I was just talking--and I said to her, "you know how much I love you, don't you?" And then she nodded. I swear, I screamed at the nurse: "DID YOU JUST SEE THAT!?? SHE NODDED!!!" Because Uma hasn't been nodding or responding to yes or no questions AT ALL up until now. Nodding a "yes" is huge. So then I asked her, "and you know how much John loves you, right?" And she nodded again! And then I told her she was doing really well and she had to nod for the doctors the next day when the doctors asked her yes or no questions, and then I was kinda giddy and I just wanted to KEEP asking her yes or no questions because this was all too exciting.

So then I asked her if she wanted me to call anyone on my cell phone and have another friend talk to her. She smiled, and then I asked her: "How about Erica? Do you want me to call Erica?" And she nodded, so then I called Erica and put Uma on the phone with Erica, and that made her happy. So then after we finished that call, I asked her if she wanted to talk to anyone else, and I scrolled through my phone and said, "what about Bo?" And she nodded again, so I called Bo--but unfortunately we got his voicemail and I left a message telling Bo that Uma was "REALLY ANNOYED" with him for not answering the phone, and Uma was smiling the whole time I left the message. Then I asked her if she wanted me to call anyone else, and I think she was kind of over the whole "calling people" game after having gotten Bo's voicemail, and she shook her head "no." This was a definite "no" shake. It wasn't quite as clear as the nods she had been doing, but it was still a "no" shake.

By then, Uma seemed kind of tired, so I asked her if she was comfortable (and again, she nodded!), and then I said my goodnights, and left.

I just wanted to share all of those stories from the day because I think they're so encouraging and hopeful. Thank you for all of your prayers and good thoughts. Keep them coming. You are all beautiful people!

Oh, one last thing: Michal designed several awesome Uma t-shirts that you MUST check out! Here's the website:

TeamUma.spreadshirt.com (proceeds go to The Uma Fund)

Much love,
erik

Posted by bonnie at 2:29 PM | Comments (2)

March 19, 2007

Uma Update

This is the latest update from EriK:

Hello everyone... sorry it's been a few days since I sent out an Uma update... a couple of people have called me this morning to ask how her shunt revision went and I totally thought I'd sent out an email after the procedure! Sorry to leave you all hanging. The procedure went well!

Uma had her shunt revision on Saturday morning at 4am. The doctors are confident that it was a success (and they confirmed that the previous shunt was not working AT ALL), and Uma has been very alert since the procedure and seems to be doing very well. She had lots of visitors this weekend, too, and that was awesome. At one point yesterday afternoon, I think there were eight of us there, and since she was in the ICU (not because she needs to be in an ICU, more because it's the only place where they had an available bed for her) we couldn't all be in with her at the same time (the ICU only allows two visitors at a time) so we cycled in and out of the room in five to ten minute shifts, and I think it was nice for Uma to see so many different, familiar faces.

Now we're waiting on a CAT Scan, which should happen sometime today. They wanted to wait a couple of days so they could give the new shunt a couple of days to work and get an accurate look at what's going on in her head. As long as the CAT Scan looks good, they will transfer her back to the rehab facility either tonight or tomorrow. (Call me or email me if you're planning on visiting her tomorrow--Tuesday--and I will let you know which facility she's at.)

I posted a few updates from this weekend, as well as LOTS of photos, on my blog, so you should check that out at: MyYearOfNewThings.blogspot.com.

I haven't given you all an Uma "task" to do in a while, so now I've got one for you to (literally) chew on. It's similar to the "think about Uma while you're swallowing" task I sent out a few weeks ago, but slightly more elaborate.

When Uma gets back to the rehab facility, we are eager for them to take out the trach in her throat so she can start talking to us again, but before they take out the trach tube, they want to take out the feeding tube. And before they can take out the feeding tube (which is actually a PEG tube in her stomach), they need to get her eating again. They will start with soft foods, naturally. Like apple sauce (which they actually fed her in New York, once). And then progress to "realer" foods.

So... this week... I was thinking it would be cool if we could all eat some of Uma's favorite foods and visualize Uma getting back on the whole Eating Train... because Uma freaking loves a good meal (she lists "eating good food" as her #1 "general interest" on MySpace)... and hopefully she'll be back in the whole eating-with-her-mouth-instead-of-a-tube thing PRONTO so that they can get that trach out and then we can help her back onto the Talking Train. Are you with me? Awesome.

Some of Uma's favorite foods include:

--Avocado. This one's a biggie. Eat it alone, or put it on a sandwich, or in a salad, or in whatever. Uma loves avocados everywhere. So put 'em everywhere. And then eat 'em.

--Curries. With chicken or whatever. Spicy, juicy, tasty curries. (When Uma left for New York, she was only planning on being there for 3 days, natch, and she left some dishes in the sink, which then stayed in the sink for awhile because Uma's New York trip ended up being, oh, 37 days longer than planned. Anyway, I mention this because, based on the contents of Uma's dirty dishes, the last meal that she cooked for herself at home before leaving for New York was curry. So curry on, my wayward sons.)

--Speaking of spices, Uma loves the spicy. Ethiopian, Sri Lankan, India, Thai--the spicier the better. She's got an extremely high tolerance for the spicy stuff. I had Sri Lankan leftovers with her once (that she had brought home from her Aunt and Uncle's) and I was sweating like a pig, and she kept telling me I was crazy ("it's not THAT hot"), so if it makes you sweat, that's good.

--Chicken. More specifically, chicken bone marrow. I know this is super strange, and I doubt anyone on this list is actually going to go out and crack open a chicken bone and suck out the marrow, but I'm listing it because it's seriously one of Uma's favorite things to eat and maybe someone WILL go out and crack open a chicken bone and suck out the marrow, and that would be such an incredibly Uma thing of you to do that I'm sure the good healthy vibes you'd be sending Uma's way would be, like, even more intense than your usual good healthy vibes.

--Marmite. This is another weird food suggestion, but what can I tell you: Uma's a strange duck. I've never eaten Marmite and I'm not even exactly sure what it is, but I think they sell it at Trader Joe's and other specialty grocery stores, so if you happen to see it while you're shopping, throw it in your cart and give it a try. I think it's something that one would usually spread on bread, but Uma likes it so much she eats it straight from the jar. Not that she eats it very often. It's something she used to eat a lot in Taiwan. But last December, when I asked her what she wanted for Christmas, one of the things she asked for was Marmite. So she's definitely been hankering for it lately--and who knows, maybe you'll discover a new paste delicacy and you'll start craving Marmite too? Weirder things have happened.

And some drink suggestions:

--Red Wine. Uma enjoys a nice glass of red wine, but she ain't picky. The cheap stuff works just fine.

--Red Bull. I know, gross, but Uma is totally addicted to the stuff. There are usually at least six or seven empty cans rolling around the passenger foot area of her car.

All right, there you go: eat and drink up. Thank you for your continued prayers!

much love,
erik

ALSO, here's John's latest update, from last night:

hello everyone,

since the shunt revision early on saturday morning uma
has had a presence in her countenance that i haven't
seen so far. she is calm, sad sometimes, but clearer.
her facial responses to people are faster. she's not
fidgeting or jerking her left leg around anymore. her
right arm and hand are not locked up in spasm anymore.
this has lasted for two days now. twice the doctor
told us that she seems more 'awake' and that he thinks
the shunt is working.

they decided to do the ct scan tomorrow, monday. i
think this is medically prudent because it allows them
more time to see what effect the shunt has had, not
just on her outward behavior, but on what's taking
place inside her cranium. i've been taught tonight by
dharshi to ask the doctor these things tomorrow - Is
her 'mid-line' still shifted or pushed? Is there any
new bleeding? Is the shunt place properly? Is there
any calcification taking place? Has a radiologist seen
the ct?

There were many moments today between Uma and I that
were priceless to me. Just seeing her look at me with
such clarity is something i'll never forget. Lately it
feels like the passage of time has been altered for
me. I value those moments with her as if they might
never come again. This is NOT a pessimistic viewpoint
for me. This is living right now, IN this moment, and
valuing it as if it were unique and passing....as if
the memory of it will be of staggering importance to
me. And so the memory of those moments passes through
and adheres to every fold in my brain - at least
that's the way it feels.

So - a good friend of mine in New Jersey emailed me
and told me how amazing it is that so much love has
come down from this challenge. It IS amazing. I'm
changed for the better and I've heard that from many
other people. And the truth is, I don't know how I
would have come this far without every word and action
of love that we've received. I/we need ALL of it and
accept it gratefully. There are so many things that
can hide or crush love in this world. But Erik said
that he thinks Uma will come home to a world that is a
little bit better because of what has happened and how
we've all responded to it. I think he's right.

Lastly, it's just really not too late to pray for her
in this shunt business. I've been praying all day
about this and it has helped me to do it. Help
yourself :). She needs to move out of the hospital
setting and needs to do this with utmost confidence.
We know that the shunt will be something we'll be
tending to for the rest of her life but, for right
now, we want to have it work....let's say, for 6
months without another hospital stay. We need to know
that we can jump on this rehab with a real sense of a
reduced need to worry about whether or not she's
qualified medically to participate in rehab. That's
something to pray for....it's on-going, it goes on.
Pray a boundary of safety for her, for her head, her
brain, her spirit.

The plan for tomorrow, at least from another amazing
nurse, this one named Randy, is to get the scan done
in the morning and, if all goes well, move her back to
rehab the same day. I will accept whatever the scan
says and will always push (with respect and tact) for
the very best care for her. Pray for me, too if you
can spare one.

In hope and in love,
john

Posted by bonnie at 3:43 PM | Comments (1)

March 16, 2007

Confused/Angry: Mistrial

From CBS 2:

Jury Deadlocks In Transient Kills Waiter Trial

(CBS) LOS ANGELES A mistrial was declared Thursday in the case of a transient accused of fatally stabbing an aspiring actor near The Grove shopping center.

The jury said it was deadlocked 11-1 in favor of convicting Kim McMurray, 44, who is charged with murder for the April 17, 2005, slaying of Eric Gelman.

He is accused of using a knife to stab Gelman in the 7900 block of West First Street, shortly after Gelman finished his shift at Marmalade Cafe in The Grove, where he waited tables.

Gelman, originally from Florida, had come to Los Angeles to become an actor, officials said.

He had recently landed a role on the TV show "Monk," according to a manager at the cafe where Gelman had worked for two years. After his death, another episode, "Mr. Monk Goes to Vegas," was dedicated to his memory, according to his mother, Lynn.

Gelman's family established a scholarship fund in his honor at Goucher College in Baltimore, where he graduated in 1995.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Johnson ordered both sides to return to court April 12.


Previous entries on Eric Gelman are here, here, and here.

Get back to court and get this RIGHT, jurors.

Posted by bonnie at 6:51 PM | Comments (0)

March 13, 2007

Uma Update

Uma Update, 3/13/07 (from KiKi):

hello all...i'm just forwarding john's update...lots of information below.

Okay, wait, I realize that I literally just said that I'm "just" forwarding his update, which would imply that I wasn't going to leave an update of my own, but who really thought that was going to happen? Just a couple quick thoughts:

I saw Uma for about an hour this morning. The new facility really is wonderful. One of the physical therapists was in there with Uma when I arrived and this woman was so good. I'm annoyed with myself because I can't remember her name because she was so good and I want to praise her. Anyway, she helped Uma get into a wheelchair and then she had to take Uma's blood pressure to make sure that the levels hadn't risen or fallen abnormally (either of which would indicate that she maybe she was dizzy or not in the condition to be sitting up at the moment--after spending so much of the last 40 days, okay MOST of the last 40 days, lying down, her body needs to take some of these things slowly) and the first time she took Uma's blood pressure it was pretty high, but she'd taken it on Uma's right arm which is involuntarily tenses up a lot, so it's not the best indication of her actual blood pressure. Anyway, I think a lot of people might have taken that one reading and then been like, "oh well, you're not ready for this, back into bed," but this therapist then tried to take Uma's blood pressure on her other arm, and then when Uma struggled with that (because she really dislikes the blood pressure machine, the tightness makes her uncomfortable and fidgety) the therapist decided to stop using the machine and to manually check her blood pressure with one of those handheld pump things (sorry, I don't know the technical term, but "handheld pump thing" should suffice), and finally, after several attempts, she got a good blood pressure read and then she let Uma stay in the chair for an hour. It was just so nice that this therapist went to all of the effort to make sure that Uma was safe.

There was a moment this morning when I saw a look of embarrassment on Uma's face--the physical therapist was helping her into the chair and Uma drooled a little bit on the woman's shoulder and then Uma saw it and quickly wiped the drool away with her hand before the therapist even saw the drool, and then Uma quickly looked at me, like, "did you just see that?" and then she looked at the therapist, like, "did SHE just see that?" and this quick flash of embarrassment flashed across her face. I just mention that because I feel like it's another strong sign of Uma being "there." Because if she wasn't "there," she wouldn't care whether she drooled on some therapist's shoulder, or whether
anyone saw. But she DID care.

Uma definitely has a long road ahead of her. It's going to be tough and she is going to need to stay strong. That's what I've been praying for and visualizing today. For her to fucking stay strong and to keep that strength. For her to focus all of her anger and frustration (and boredom, even, because it's gotta be boring to be in that hospital room day in and day out and not be able to talk), just to focus all of those feelings on the right side of her body, to focus all of that excess energy on getting all of her muscles strong again. Thank you for your continued prayers! Please keep them up! Honestly, I know they have helped--even the doctors say that patients who have people praying for them do better than patients who don't, they've seen it time and time again. Whatever you believe, however you want to phrase it--I believe that putting good energy out into the universe, good focused energy...it works, it helps. And Uma could definitely use a boost right now. So keep her in your thoughts...THANK YOU, and love to all of you. HUGE love to all of you.

Okay, here's John's much more detailed update:

hello again to everyone,

i am so grateful to all of you for everything you've
done for us, for uma. in the face of all of these
insults to life, we've passed through that phase of
her recovery. one of my least favorite things to do
is use a worn out phrase to express myself...but it's
not MY fault that it's worn out and it happens to be
the absolute truth - we could not have done this
without you. i don't believe she would be where she
is, given the circumstances, without everyone's love
and contributions.

so much has happened these last few days. it's hard to
keep things in order.....

we left st. v's with a lot of activity - the air
crew showed up with a stretcher and all the ward was
moving. so many nurses came out from their patients to
say good luck and goodbye. mary, the case worker,
cried TWICE saying goodbye and gina, the pastoral
counselor, gave both of us a heart-shaped stone. i
think she was the hardest of all to wave goodbye to.
we left before visiting hours began and i'm glad of
that in a way. sitting in the waiting room of an icu,
you really get to know the people who are worried,
scared, angry about what has happened to their loved
one. they all knew that we were getting ready to go
and i had said goodbye to most of them the night
before. just knowing that, for some of them, their
loved may never make it out of st. vincent's was too
heavy for me to face, to see in their faces one more
time.

a lear jet goes about 650 knots at 41,000 feet. we
landed in columbus, ohio and in colorado springs for
fuel. when i found out we were landing in colorado i
called my sister sharon and she met us at that little
airport for a little bit of time. she came out with
her youngest son, jacob and they got to sit in the
plane with uma for a little while. good. everything
about the flight and the transfer went extremely well.
the pilots radioed ahead to colorado and ordered three
pizzas. i said, "wow! each of these pizzas cost
$7,000.00. but you get a free coupon for a lear jet
and stretcher!"

let me back up a bit - 2 weeks ago monday, if you
recall, we were cleared to leave ny. at the last
minute dr. h changed his mind saying, "the dilation of
her ventricles cannot be explained because of possible
shrinking of the brain due to atrophy/stroke. she's
just not draining well and we need a shunt." this
after waiting a week to see if we needed a shunt.

yesterday morning (monday again) he said to me, "the
ct scan from sunday reveals that her ventricles are
the same size as they were BEFORE the shunt surgery.
if she were staying here we would revise the shunt -
do it again. it's also possible that they are enlarged
due to shrinkage from atrophy/stroke.......the
important thing is to get her back to california...."
he also said that he is not particularly happy with
where the shunt ended up in her brain. it is only one
to two centimeters into her LEFT ventricle - but the
shunt STARTS on the right side of her skull. the way
i read this is that they overshot the mark and ended
up not where they wanted to be. to reverse the joke, "
but this IS brain surgery" aren't you supposed to be
able to aim something that you're feeding thru
someone's skull? and, if not, SHOULD you be putting
something thru someone's skull?

to know that 3 weeks were almost completely wasted
there and that they have insalled a questionable shunt
is of enormous pain to me - not to mention what uma
might be suffereing as her "level of csf pressure is
twice what it should be".

so ----- there is a new ct scan being taken tomorrow
morning at the new hospital. in addition to this, they
have all the pertinant ct scans on cd rom from st.
vincent's. my gut and my newfound experience informs
me with an horrific weight that she will feel better
and improve better once the inside of her cranium is
the way it should be. in so many ways the helplessness
seems to continue. i hope and pray the new view of her
condition by the current doctors will add up to better
care for her. i never in my imagination thought that i
would hear completely divergent views about uma's
health from the SAME doctor just one week apart.

that being said - the new facility is, so far, really
kind of amazing. today we had a speech therapist, a
physical therapist, a neurological rehabilitation
doctor and his physicians assistant, a respiratory
therapist, a vascular doctor, TWO social workers, and
a case worker tend to either uma or me or both of us.
these people ALL seemed to know what the other team
members (that's what they call themselves) were doing
and when they would be doing it. EVERYONE seemed
concerned and motivated to get her up and running. i
already mentioned the ct scan tomorrow but there is
also a 'new patient' team meeting wherein all the
above mentioned people plus a psychologist will meet
and discuss uma's case. i had a 45 minute interview
with a social worker today who asked me what her life
is/was like, who she is, what she likes to do, how she
behaves - she wanted to put a human to the facts and
figures. i kind of feel like, if uma doesn't get
better here.......well, you finish the sentence.

despite my my thanks and all the
progress she has made, i feel i owe it to you to tell
you what is going on with her right now. first of all,
the road ahead is going to be very, very hard.
sometimes i get confused watching her or interacting
with her - today when the doctor asked her to stick
out her tongue and did it himself to show her how, she
smiled a fake smile at him. this happened twice. when
he asked her to hold up one finger, she used a finger
on her left hand to press a button on the bed railing.
yet, in new york, when the speech and swallow
therapist put apple sauce on each of the four corners
of her mouth she grabbed each dollop with her tongue
as the therapist mimed it for her. and, today, twice,
as she was seated in her wheelchair, she was drooling
from the right corner of her mouth and i said, "hey,
uma, you wanna wipe your chin" WITHOUT miming it or
indicating it in any way - she immediately wipes her
chin. i don't know what to make of this except to use
the broken radio analogy again - when the wires have
been damamged they may work sometimes and not at
others - until you repair it.

and, later, watching her in such an obviously agitated
state - bouncing or jerking her left leg contiuosly or
itching all over her face for 20 minutes in a row- or
watching her struggle in coughing fits for minutes at
a time, apoplectic with struggle and lack of air and
watching the nurses suction her - it's just too much
sometimes. all i do is hold her hand and/or her
stomach, gently rub her head and tell her, "i know
this is hard but you're doing well......it's almost
over, breathe slow" etc. i hope that DOES help her in
some way but, sometime, i'm just not sure.

right now her right arm is spasmodic all the time and
curls up involuntarily and with great tension, fingers
askew and taut. she constantly leans her head to the
right and just appears to be so weak. and i don't know
if this is because she's been in bed for 6 weeks or
becuase she's suffering from hydorcephalus or both.

i was told today that most acute in-patient rehab
lasts 2 to 4 weeks. but i need them to understand
that, just becuase she is THERE at a rehab facility
does not mean that she is READY for rehab. i must get
them to seriously and immediately address this
ventricle problem. i'd hate to have them spend four
weeks on her and see some improvement and then kick to
out-patient if she's suffereing from a condition that
could be seriously improved with the correct medical
procedure. i reaally hope that after tomorrow's ct
scan they tell me something useful. i grow less fond
each day of vague, 'wait and see' phrases.

so - that's where i am tonight. mixed. i have great
gratitude for being here and great concern for her
future. i feel confident that they will do a good job
with her rehab here and i want to have that confidence
in the neurological diagnosis as well.

if you can, pleae continue to pray for her. i know it
works.

all my love and thanks,

john

Posted by bonnie at 11:31 PM | Comments (3)

March 7, 2007

Uma Update

From EriK:

hello friends...there was lots of good activity and progress for Uma today, so much so that john actually sent out three updates, one in the morning, one in the afternoon, and one in the evening. i'm not going to say much here because there's plenty below for you to read from john, but i will say that tomorrow, Thursday the 8th, is John's birthday! So wish him a happy one if you get the chance. ( john.ballinger@sbcglobal.net )

Also, a quick update on the fundraising front...I finally did the math this afternoon, after having not done it for several days, and we've managed to raise almost $37,000 in the last eight days!!! HOW CRAZY AND AMAZING IS THAT? There have been donations made by over 450 people, many of whom don't even know Uma. All of the love is inspiring. It really reaffirms for me that we can do anything we put our minds to. It's true. We can. And nothing should stop us from dreaming big and pursuing those big dreams because life is fucking fragile. If we recognize how fragile it is, we can either live in fear and or we can become stronger in the face of that fragility. I choose "stronger." Like, the other day, the part of me that's a hypochondriac started worrying that a canker sore I had might actually gum cancer, and I worried about it for a few minutes and then I stopped myself and I was like, "DUDE, seriously, no time for that--get the fuck over it." And then the other night, at the theater fundraiser for Uma, right before I went out onstage to thank the audience for coming, I had a moment of I-hate-talking-to-crowds nervousness, but then I told myself, "um, just go out there and talk to them, how hard is that?" And then I was fine. Both of those examples are little things. I guess what I'm trying to say is that Uma is going to need a lot of strength to get through this next chapter of her life--the rehab chapter--and she needs strength from her friends and family too, and I know we're all going to be ready to give that to her, and thank you for that.

Okay, that's all from me tonight. Love you all, and now here are the updates from John!

UPDATE #1:

hi everyone,

uma had a shunt put in yesterday and, after a few
hours in the recovery room came back to the icu and
seemd tired but alert and fine. the dr. said it was a
'fairly uneventful surgery.....that her ventricular
pressure was twice was it should be (21cm vs. about 9
or 10cm) and that this confirms that she needed this
intervention.....that you should be able to travel by
the weekend.'

i checked with the chief resident and he confirmed
that the shunt was placed where he wanted it.

i was able to go with her down to the operating room.
it was nice to be there right up until the moment they
took her back. the whole OR team was very good with
her. somehow, when you get behind those restriced
areas, all the personel of suddenly extremely
professional and compassionate. i have faith that she
was very well cared for.

right now i'm sitting at the starbuck's across the
street from st. vincent's. there is no internet where
i'm staying in brooklyn so this is the next best
thing.

i'm getting tired. marie has organized a schedule of
visitors that began yesterday and this is a really big
help. i find that my level of exhaustion is so high
that i can literally sleep sitting up in the waiting
room or find a short couch somewhere. i got a nap
yesterday for the first time in about a week and it
was great. i felt much more able to be there for uma
and deal with all the legal and medical things as
well.

i hope uma isn't in too much pain and that she feels
better. i spoke again with dharshi last night and she
informed me that it takes aboue a week or so to get
the ventricular pressure down to normal levels so not
to expect that she will suddenly be complete.

please, if you can, if you still have the energy, pray
for her - that this shunt will be a forgotten thing
soon, that it will function without infection, that
she will feel better, that she can go home soon.

i'm going up there now to see her.

all my love

john


UPDATE #2:

hi,

uma was taken out of the intensive care unit today and
put in a regular hospital bed and room. she is now off
of all monitors and only has her abdominal feeding
tube, catheter, and tracheostomy.....no more wires
attached. she still gets moisture from a tube in her
trach. to help break up the residual pneumonia, but,
other than that, she's a regular hospital patient now.
i have come back to starbucks because both the
occupational therapist and the physical therapist are
working with her.

i know it may seem like, to some of you, that there
are still alot of things attached to her....but there
are no machines, no monitors, no incessant beeping of
alarms from other patients monitors, no constant
movement around her bed as the nurses attend to the
other icu people. its very quiet in her new room.
there is one other person in there and she is leaving
today. and....i don't know if ever told you all
this..in the intensive care unit, they don't allow any
chairs. they need for people to be able to exit the
bedside very quickly in there so chairs are banned.
but in the regular room, i get a chair. after about 15
minutes of being in there with her and in that chair,
we were holding hands and both fell asleep. i don't
know if i can express the relief, the feeling of some
normalcy, some distance from the danger, the mark of
progress. exquisite.

so that's the update. i'm going to try hard to get in
touch with dr. h and see when we can go back home.
whatever he says, we'll do but i need to know to make
all the arrangements.....AGAIN.

more soon.


UPDATE #3:

hello all,

i'm so tired - i hope i spell ok.

today we moved her out of the icu and into a regular
room. in physical therapy she sat on the edge of her
bed by herself, extended her right leg (that's right,
her RIGHT leg) 5 times on command while seated. she
then sat in the recliner for about 3 hours before
tiring.

the doctors said they could feel better about the
placement of the shunt in her brain. it is 'past
midline, just into the left ventricle' or whatever
that means. i think it can be moves fairly easily
later (if any surgery is easy) but it is draining and
functioning.

i need to bring to everyone's attention a bit of a
problematic situation. i need to ask everyone,
especially those closest to uma, not to, under any
circumstance whatsoever, tell anyone where she is
going in los angeles. this is a favor to me and to uma
from a legal standpoint. i know it's odd to say in
this forum but, believe me, it very much needs to be
said and, please, complied with.

that being, regrettably said, we move on! and she
moves on! even her RIGHT SIDE! keep your prayers and
thoughts with her please. this is a great transition
we are in right now....kind of like the transition you
might make after having rowed a canoe across the
indian ocean and are now heading for the himilayas to
climb mt. everest. she's a long way from home and a
long, long way from the uma we are used to seeing and
relating to. oh, she's THERE, don't get me wrong, but
she will travel far before there is good function in
key areas.

more tomorrow, which is my birthday. i can't think of
a better present than knowing that uma is progressing.
but, tonight, i feel every hour of my, now, 44 years.

much love and thanks

john

Posted by bonnie at 11:19 PM | Comments (2)

March 4, 2007

Uma Benefit Update: PAY WHAT YOU CAN!

Another update!

Because we still have a few seats available for tonight's mind-expanding comedy, My Brain Tumor by David Nathan Schwartz, we're now opening those seats up at a "pay what you can" level.

So, if you want to be there tonight (7pm, Elephant Lab Theatre), but were worried about the price, now you can just shoot an email to Erik and he'll take care of the rest.

WE WANT THE HOUSE FILLED WITH GOOD VIBES AND ENERGY FOR UMA!

So, please join us, even if all you can afford is a glass of wine at the reception after the show!

:)

All of the details are here.

Love love LOVE to you all! For UMA!!!

Posted by bonnie at 2:43 PM | Comments (0)

March 2, 2007

Uma Update

Hello amazing people:

I haven't sent out an Uma update in a couple of days because I've been so busy with the fundraising (there has been so much activity!) and I wish I had time right now to send out individual thank yous to each and every one of you because the response has been so overwhelming and generous and amazing. Thank you so much for your donations and for spreading the word. There is a list of all of the donors at theumafund.blogspot.com, please let me know if your name is missing from the list or if you want your spouse/partner listed with you, and I will make the corrections. We will definitely be able to pay for Uma's air ambulance to bring her home, and hopefully donations will keep coming in! There is so much good in this world and we've seen a lot of proof of that this week, so: thank you, thank you, thank you!

John sent out some thank yous to his email list as well, and in case you're not on his list, I'm going to pass his message along here:

EVERYONE,

WITH MY WHOLE HEART AND MY WHOLE SOUL I THANK YOU FOR
YOUR LOVE TODAY AND EVERY DAY, AND I THANK YOU FOR
YOUR DONATIONS. IN EVERY WAY, YOU HAVE MADE IT A
POSSIBILITY THAT UMA CAN GO HOME AGAIN. I CAN'T REPAY
YOU WITH ANYTHING BUT MY THANKS AND LOVE AND SO I GIVE
THEM COMPLETELY.

love and thanks,
john

Uma's friends Erica and Anna are both at the hospital with John right now, which is great. As far as Uma's health update goes, I'm going to copy and paste both of the updates that John sent out yesterday (below), but I'll start with a quick update of my own, since I talked to John this morning.

Uma has not had the shunt procedure yet, and we're not sure whether or not she's going to have it. Basically, they were scheduled to put the shunt in, but then one of the doctors in Uma's team of doctors decided that he didn't think she needed the shunt, and there isn't really a reason to rush the procedure, so they've decided to hold off on the shunt and watch her intercranial pressure for a few days and if things look good and her ventricles decrease in size, then they won't do the shunt. But if her pressure rises and the ventricles stay the same size, that would indicate that she will need the shunt, and they would then most likely do the procedure on Monday or Tuesday. So right now we are waiting. All of this is explained in John's emails below, but the emails are from yesterday and I just wanted to let you know that we're basically still in the same place today: waiting to find out whether or not she needs the shunt.

Uma still can't speak because of the damned tracheostomy (okay, it's a good tracheostomy because it allowed her to have the ventilator and breathe and all, but still, we think she's ready to breathe on her own and talk to us!) and we are hoping that they finish weaning her off of the ventilator soon, and start speaking again. I know that this simple act of being able to communicate will mean so much to her and will help her spirits immensely. It must be so freaking frustrating to be lying in that bed and not be able to talk. Especially because hospital time works completely differently than real world time. Minutes sometimes feel like hours. When we get the trach out and she's able to talk, it'll be huge. Huge!

But in the meantime, we need to keep visualizing Uma's continued progress and send her some good vibes and good thoughts. It's hard to be in California, away from her hospital bed. I just want to give her a big smile and tell her that she's going to get through this. But I was thinking, all of the energy that we have collectively put into the universe for Uma--all of the prayers, all of the good thoughts, all of the visualizations--they have definitely helped, they have definitely manifested themselves in change. There's no other way to explain some of the medical changes that have happened. When Uma had her stroke on Day 14, the doctors said it was so bad that they gave her a 20% chance of surviving the stroke. Then, a few days later, her neurological signs were so good that they said that while she definitely had a stroke, it wasn't as bad as they thought it was... and now her improvements are so good and they don't see any damage in the area where the stroke occurred and they are saying that maybe she didn't have a stroke at all. However the doctors want to explain it, I don't see any other explanation other than THAT IS A MIRACLE. So let's keep up all of our visualizations and good thoughts and prayers. Because they work.

Also, so many strangers have emailed me after having read about Uma on my blog, and so many people have been moved by her story and all of the support, including an awesome man named David Nathan Schwartz, who is himself a survivor of brain trauma. He has a one-man show called My Brain Tumor: A Mind Expanding Comedy, that's running at the Elephant Lab Theatre in Hollywood and was supposed to close on Saturday, but he's graciously offered to extend the run to Sunday night and Sunday night's performance (at 7pm) will be a benefit for Uma, all proceeds going to help pay for her medical expenses. David doesn't know Uma, he doesn't know John, he doesn't know me--he just wants to help out. After the performance, there will be lots of wine so we can get all boozy and I'm probably going to make a little speech about Uma and talk about her progress, and if you're available on Sunday night and want to see an awesome play and be in a room full of people hoping and praying for Uma, come on out. Tickets are thirty bucks and can be purchased here:

Uma Fest!

Okay, much love to all of you, and here are John's updates from yesterday:

UPDATE #1, sent March 1, 2007, at 7am:
good morning everyone,

i was too exhausted to write anything last night.
apparently there are limits to how much anxiety,
wating, prayer, home-sickness, and helplessness a
person can tolerate in a month.

uma is ok. they did not perform the shunt procedure
yesterday. there was a discrepancy between the head
of neurosurgery and the cheif resident about the size
of uma's ventricles. so they waited and did another ct
scan yesterday afternoon. relative to the previous
morning's ct scan there was no change. what they were
hoping for was a reduction in the ventricle size which
would indicate that her brain is processing more of
the cervical spinal fluid. so.....we wait for them to
decide what they're going to do.

the list of frustrations grows longer - i spent the
better part of 4 hours on the cell phone yesterday
with vaious "agencies' re: her medi-cal. each person i
spoke with had an opinion which differed from the last
person i spoke with. i was also informed by the case
worker here in ny that, now that uma has been here for
30 days, she is considered a ny resident and therefor
the hospital will file a medicAID application for her
to make sure THEY get paid for their services and
that, maybe, she would just do her acute in-patient
rehab here at st. vincents. prior to this conversation
i was informed by cedars sinai that, though the head
of neurovascular surgery has agreed to take her,
unless medi-cal is approved (which can take up to 90
days), they won't receive her.

there is only one feeling worse than seeing uma
immobile in that bed for a month and that's the idea
that we would not be able to go home for a long, long
time. the despair i felt was different than the first
part of this month when she wasn't even conscious. she
is just lying there, hurting, actually hurting now
from a month of pneumonia, catherization,
constipation, immobility, and questionable cranial
health. i've reached a limit here and i would greatly
appreciate your thoughts and prayers for me as well.

uma's friend, anna, came yesterday and stays 'til
friday. erica arrives again today and stays 'til
saturday, i think. i have to be out of the borrowed
apartment by tomorrow night but i think i've found a
place to stay with uma's friend, adam.

as soon as i'm done with this email i'll call a man
that our friend dan knows about his private leer jet
which he rents to university of pittsburgh hospital as
a flying icu. he said he'd be able to work our "fuel
as cost" and maybe some other discounts for us. (if we
have to fly closer to sea leverl due to pressure on
her head, fuel-at-cost will be a substantial gift!)

i hesitate to say any news about uma regarding her
shunt because i just don't know what they'll do. there
has been conflicting information about that for the
last four days and i think we/i just need to be in a
season of prayer and waiting and, hopefully, peace
about it.

suffice to say that, at some point, hopefully soon,
they will either perform the shunt or declare her
shunt-free and then continue on with weaning her from
the ventilator (she continues to make progress there)
and the tracheostomy and get her out of icu and moving
a bit more. the more mobile she is (even a wheelchair
at time during the day) the better off everything will
be for her in terms of nutrition, elimination, and
infection.

yesterday i was telling her about the plane ride and
how it's going to cost about $20k or so....she started
to cry and i said, 'no, no it's ok....listen! erik set
up a fundraising site and in two days we've received
over $15k!.....from over 200 people, some of whom we
don't even know!....and lot's of people (i named some
of them) have gone on hikes around the l.a. mountains
and, when they got to the top, the yelled your name
and for you to get well and come home soon!" so then
she cried some more.....i cried too but, really, i
think she needed to cry. she seemed to be in a better
frame of mind after that - smiling a bit more and
laughing sometime with anna and me. it seemed like
her spirits rose a little yesterday which was nice.
she and i had what i believe were some really nice
moments together about 45 minutes before the close of
visiting hours. she fell asleep listening to brahms
and samuel barber and a quietly left the room.

that's a nice thing to pray for, i think.....for her
to quietly leave that room too. you all know most of
the particulars - her health issues, paperwork issues,
transportation and a new facillity in l.a. - so,
please, from my heart i'm asking you to pray, in you
own way, for her to quietly leave new york just as
soon as is humanly (or otherwise) possible.

and, for me, pray for patience.

love,
john

and here's UPDATE #2, sent March 1, 2007, at 1:18 pm:
hello,

i went in and told uma the news - that in five to
seven days we would probably be on a plane to l.a.
this seemed to brighten up her spirits.

her friend erica just arrived so now erica and anna
are here. i may take some time now that they can both
alternate visits (and alone time for uma, too) just to
take a nap or a walk.

the doctors have decided to wait, probably over the
weekend, to give her the best chance of not needing
the shunt. they will monitor her neurological signs,
looking especially for lethargy or reduced
movement/response, and, take another ct scan on sunday
nite/monday day,review that and make a decision. it
would be great if she didn't need it but it's not the
end of the world if she does. if she does need the
shunt, they can do that on monday or tuesday and,
barring any complications, she would be ready to go 2
to 3 days after surgery.

i feel good. i know the road is long but i can see the
road down there at the end of this tunnel now. god is
good. you all are good. uma is good and getting
better.

i won't stop writing to you or asking you for prayers.
.....for instance......still there is pnuemonia,
blood, weakness/paralysis on her right side,
possibility of stroke/shunt/rebleed, rehab,
depression, etc.

but, for now, i feel a huge sense of gratitude and
relief and i thank you and god and the doctors here
and uma for all the effort.

much love,
john

Posted by bonnie at 11:40 AM | Comments (1)

March 1, 2007

Uma Benefit Update: LOWER PRICE!!

Hi Guys,

This just in!

WE'RE LOWERING THE PRICE TO $30 PER TICKET!!!!

(With the outpouring of generosity we've seen at TheUMAFund.blogspot.com, we weren't sure what to expect with the ticket sales... but they're aren't going as fast as we thought they would... so we're dropping the price!)

Hope you'll join us Sunday night for an amazing, heartwarming medical-miracle of a show!

Love,
Bon, Erik, David... and the whole UMA TEAM!

PLEASE SEE THIS BLOG ENTRY FOR ALL OF THE DETAILS... AND LINKS TO BUY YOUR TICKETS!! Thank you!!

Posted by bonnie at 5:20 PM | Comments (0)

February 23, 2007

Uma Update

The latest from Erik.


Hello friends, family, rockstars:

It's six in the freaking morning and I'm wide awake because (1) I still can't get used to New York time and (2) I've been thinking about how much Uma has improved this last week and it's exciting. Her daily neurological improvements are like our new caffeine. (Except everyone in the waiting room is still getting plenty of actual caffeine thanks to Adam Day and his daily hot chocolate runs.) (Thank you, Adam.) (Seriously, I was kind of already a hot chocolate addict before Uma's damned brain aneurysm, but now it's, like, nuts.) (Like, five hot chocolates a day doesn't sound unreasonable at all.) (And Adam, I think you've even gotten Nithi hooked on the stuff too.)

Okay, three things: (I'm gonna start with a thank you, then give you an Uma health update, and then I have a fun thing for you to do for Ums.)

1. First off, thank you to everyone who sent us suggestions and offered help re: UCLA and other rehab facilities in Southern California. We're still talking to people and following up on leads and figuring out exactly where Uma's going to do her neuro rehab, but I think we've made some headway and hopefully we'll know where Uma's going to be soon. John's really in charge of making all of the phone calls--I'm just sorting info--so if anyone has any more leads, let me know and I'll pass it on to John. We still have a little bit of time to figure out where her neuro rehab is going to be--it looks like Uma will stay here at the ICU in New York for at least another week, possibly two more weeks--but we'd like to get this matter settled soon. (Not just to get the NYC hospital caseworker off of our backs, but also because it'll be nice to know that we've gotten Uma into a fantastic facility close to friends and family--that'll be a relief.) Again, thank you for all of the legwork many of you have done for us.

2. Uma can't talk to us yet, but she is completely off of all sedatives and she is very alert. We are pretty certain (we continue to HOPE) that she is aware of what's happened to her (i.e. that she had a damned brain aneurysm burst) and of the fact that she's in a hospital in New York City. And she seems to remember us; the way she looks at each of us--John, Nithi, Erica, Marie, Adam, me--definitely shows signs of recognition. She will squeeze our hands in response to things; like, for instance, when we asked her if she wanted us to make a deal with the nurses to get a television wheeled into the ICU on Sunday so she could watch the Academy Awards, Uma's eyes opened really wide and she squeezed my hand tight, which I took as a definite "hell, yeah"--we've spoken to one of the nurses, Fernando, and he said that he would make it happen, so as long as he pulls through with the television set, Uma will be watching the Oscars from her hospital bed this weekend. Which will be pretty rockstar.

Uma isn't responding to the doctor's morning neurological exam yet. But the operative word in that sentence is "yet." The exam basically consists of the doctor asking her to hold up a certain amount of fingers and Uma complying; the thing is, Uma has definitely held up different amounts of fingers for us throughout the day today (the way I just phrased that makes it sound like she's been holding up other people's fingers, but it's almost five in the morning so forgive any awkwardly worded sentences), she just hasn't done it for the doctors, and I have a feeling that maybe she's being stubborn and she doesn't want to "perform" for the annoying docs who keep poking and prodding her head--after all, this is the same woman who once tried to sneak into a movie at the AMC Burbank (I was with her, so I'm guilty too) and when we got caught she tried to get away with our crime by pretending not to speak English or comprehend English--so I could fathom her not showing the doctors how many fingers she can hold up merely because she thinks it's a ridiculous thing for them to ask of her. But passing these simple neurological exams is important--it's huge--so we've asked Uma to comply with the docs and hopefully she'll get those fingers going for them tomorrow.

Some other details about Uma's progress: she's been smiling a lot, which is awesome to see, and today it looked like her smile was getting a little bit bigger and fuller. (Hello, Angelina Jolie.) For the last few days, her smile has mostly been on the left side of her face, kinda crooked--but today we saw some of the right side of her mouth smiling with the left. She's also scratching her face and pushing her right leg off of the bed--both signs that she's feeling more sensation throughout her body. At one point today, we saw Uma lift her right hand with her left hand and look at her less-mobile right hand. She started poking and prodding at it with her left hand. As if she was really realizing that there was less sensation in that right hand and she wanted to poke it back to life. We told her not to worry, maybe she can't feel that hand right now, but the rehab doctors are going to help her with that. She seems to be more and more aware of what she's going through, and sometimes she looks sad. But those sad moments are tempered by the joyful moments she's been having with all of us. Those moments when she smiles, or even laughs at something one of us has said.

Uma has started her occupational therapy--which means that they are putting splints on her arms and legs to keep them strong (since they aren't getting so much movement these days) and a therapist came in today to help Uma perform some basic arm and leg exercises, to get the blood on the ride side of her body flowing a little bit better. It's good to see that they are starting her on rehab while she's in the ICU, hopefully she'll have a headstart when she gets into her real rehab facility.

The doctors are also working on weening her off of her ventilator, weening her off of her tracheostomy, weening her off ALL of the tubes she's on. The trickiest tube to ween her off of is the ventriculostomy (the draining tube in her brain); she definitely can't travel to a rehab facility until that tube is gone, daddy, gone. (Which makes sense because who really wants to travel with a tube sticking out of their head?) The doctors have said that Uma could potentially travel to her rehab facility while she's still on the ventilator and some of the other tubes (the key thing to get rid of is the ventriculostomy), but the safest way for her to travel would be independent of any freaking tubes, so that's what I'm visualizing right now: the doctors successfully weening Uma off of every last stupid tube that's sticking into her body.

Okay, that's today's update (or, yesterday's update, I suppose). It's amazing to see the changes and improvement Uma makes every day and I'm sure she's tired of all of us telling her how amazing she is, but whatcha gonna do?

3. A REQUEST (something fun):

It's been awhile since I've given all of you an Uma task to do, and I'm sorry for being a slacker. But I've got a task for you now, something to do this weekend.

I was thinking... now that Uma is so awake and so alert, it would be nice for her to really get a sense of how many people are out there rooting for her, praying for her, sending her good thoughts, visualizing her health. I know that there are literally thousands of people out there, all over the world, doing little Uma dances and hoping--HOPING--that she will get well soon. We've been showing photos to Ums in her hospital bed, but we only have a certain amount of photos here in New York to show her and I'm sure she's tired of looking at the same damned photos, so here's my very simple request:

I want you to make a Photo Card. In other words: take a photo of yourself that contains a message to Uma.

(a) In the photo, you should be holding a piece of paper. The piece of paper should have a short note to Uma written on it. This is where the "card" part of this weekend's activity comes into play. The key thing is that your message to Uma be short. A simple "Uma Get Well Soon!" will be much easier to read in the photograph than a long-winded love letter.

(b) Feel free to make your note pizazzy; i.e. feel free to color it, to illustrate it, to bejewel it. Whatever. (But if you're like me and you're really bad with coloring and illustrating and bejeweling--don't let that hold you back: you can also feel free to just stick with words.)

(c) Once you have this photo of yourself holding a short note to Uma... scan it, or upload it, or do whatever it is that you do to get it onto your computer, and then email the photo to me at dimsumday AT gmail DOT com. If you could get your photo to me sometime this weekend, that would be great--but there's no cut-off date. As I receive photos, I'll print them out and get them to Uma. It'll be nice for her to have a visual representation of all of the love that's out there, all of the love that has been flowing her way since we started on this journey a little over three weeks ago.

(Note: I was talking to my friend Thyra tonight--Thyra's never met Uma, but she's been following Uma's progress and thinking of Uma and hoping for Uma every day--and tonight Thyra said something along the lines of: "When Uma gets through this, she's going to be so weirded out by me because I'm abnormally excited to meet her." But I think that's cool--it's cool that so many people who don't even know Uma are thinking of her and sending her love, so please feel free to participate with your own Photo Card for Uma even if you've never met her. The more photos, the better.)

Feel free to pass this email on to anyone who might not be on my email list who's been thinking of Uma. Feel free to repost this email on your own blog or on MySpace. Let's spread the word, we're going to give Uma something to hold and to look at, we're going to collectively show her how much love is out there.

Thank you so much,
xoxo
Erik


I'm so excited to see your smile, Uma! We love you!!!!
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(Previous updates are here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.)

Posted by bonnie at 10:58 AM | Comments (0)

February 20, 2007

BBC Breakfast

Okay, so today I was interviewed for a show called BBC Breakfast. Their crew is in Hollywood for the week, covering the "countdown to the red carpet" and all that jazz.

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We talked about aging and actors and Hollywood and the IMDB's policy on posting ages and my next film, in which I'll need to cast a half-dozen octogenarians. It was an awesome interview, poolside at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.

So, if you are reading this in the UK, do me a favor and tune in, wouldja?

(There is a chance that the story would get shared with BBC World and that would lead to an airing--perhaps--on BBC-America, but I have been assured that it will definitely be on the BBC website at some point. Yippee!)

I'm global, baby! Woo!

A great day with the lovely Communicatrix and some very cool Brits. Had a blast. Can't wait to do it again.

Posted by bonnie at 4:24 PM | Comments (2)

February 16, 2007

Uma Update

The latest from Erik.


Thursday was a rockstar day. Uma is making progress. Lots of progress. She is not out of the woods yet--we still need to visualize the rest of the blood draining from her brain area, we still want the swelling in her brain to go down, we still want her to start talking, to smile, to laugh, to fully Wake Up!--but she is definitely moving in the right direction.

John and Nithi and I had been saying all day that we felt like Uma was being more responsive than usual--that she was moving more and that she was focusing her eyes more--and then when the doctor brought us out into the hall for the day's update, that's the very first thing he said to us: "she's more responsive today." It's always nice to hear the doctors affirm something you hope and believe (and know). The second thing the doctor said was that Uma isn't following his commands yet (emphasis on the word "yet"). I like to think that she's just being stubborn because she's not the type of woman to really follow any random dude's "commands." I'll have to remember to tell her that Dr. Herschfield is a pretty cool guy.

They haven't done another CAT Scan yet (the next CAT Scan is scheduled for sometime today), but they assume that the edema (I'm not sure if that's how you spell it or not) is the same as it was the previous day ("edema" is the swelling in her brain) (when the doctor first used the word "edema," we were all like, "um, huh?" but we didn't ask him what it meant until he'd used the word about ten times and then we all felt a lot better listening to him talk because we suddenly understood what he was saying), which is to say: swollen but stable and not swelling any more. The fact that the edema isn't getting worse is definitely a good thing. But we want that swelling to fucking go away, so let's keep visualizing the swelling going down and the tissues in that part of her brain reforming and coming back to life. There's a chance that the swollen part of Uma's brain is dead, but since she's young there's also a good chance that the rest of her brain can compensate for a little bit of dead brain. And hey, anything is still possible at this point, so there's also a chance that the swollen part of her brain is still alive and let's keep visualizing THAT too. (Life is filled with possibilities--that's one of the things that I'm really starting to learn from all of this--sure, life can suck and your loved ones can get brain aneurysms and be in comas and all, but nothing is freaking impossible. Uma proves that simple fact every single day.)

It was mostly just the three of us at the hospital--John, Uma's dad Nithi, and me--Jason came by for a while too--and we all got to spend a lot of time alone with Uma. When I was in there with her, we held hands for about thirty minutes. Which is totally something I'm going to make fun of her for when she's all better because she is so not the hand-holding type. At least, not with me. And I think that our thirty-minute hand holding session today might have been the longest amount of time we've ever touched each other in all of the years we've been friends. At one point I asked Uma, "Is this okay? Do you want to let go of my hand?" And then she squeezed my hand even tighter. It was a definite response, a definite "no, I do not want to let go of your hand." And her eyes are much more focused today, which is really wonderful. Earlier in the week, when she first started opening her eyes, they didn't really seem to focus on anything, but now you can tell that she's looking at you. Now you can really see Uma there.

Uma's left wrist is restrained to the bed so that she doesn't reach up and pull out any of her tubes and at one point while we were standing there, holding hands, I noticed that Uma was staring at her wrist restraint. And this wasn't an idle stare, this stare was like: "why the fuck am I wearing a wrist restraint???" And so I asked Nancy the nurse (my favorite nurse, the one who yells really loud) if Uma had to wear the restraint and Nancy yelled to Uma: "DO YOU WANT ME TO TAKE IT OFF, UMA!?!?" Uma squeezed my hand tight and I told Nancy that was a yes. So then Nancy yelled out: "OKAY, UMA, BUT ONLY IF YOU PROMISE NOT TO PULL OUT ANY OF YOUR TUBES, OKAY?!?!?" Uma squeezed my hand tight again and I told Nancy, "she promises." So then Nancy loosened the restraint and Uma definitely appeared relieved. She looked tired and I told her it was okay to take a nap if she wanted to because we'd all still be waiting for her when she woke up. Uma closed her eyes for a few minutes, but then she opened them up again--she never closes them for very long because I think she wants to know what's going on around her.

At one point, I saw Uma move her right hand up and over several inches until it was resting on her stomach. This is HUGE. It may sound like a little thing, but I swear to you it is something to celebrate. The right side of her body is the side of her body that was affected by the aneurysm and this was the biggest movement I've seen her right hand make. All of these little big moments give me more and more hope, and they should give you more and more hope too. Uma is feeling all of our love, all of our support, all of our prayers, our visualizations. Our little acts of anarchy and visualization. Our wicked dance moves. They're all reaching her in that hospital bed and they're making her stronger. So let's keep it up!

A couple things you can do today (or tomorrow) (or the next day) to help keep Uma at the forefront of your thoughts:

(1) Share one of your favorite Uma anecdotes in the comments section of TeamUma.Blogspot.com.

(2) Go to 2220 Beverly Blvd. in Silverlake, where the fine folks of the Bootleg Theater have started up an Uma Prayer Wall--I think it's the main wall right outside the theater, there's a big green heart in the center of the wall so you shouldn't be able to miss it--and spread some Uma love with your sharpie. Consider it guilt-free vandalism.

Also:

Here's John's email update from Thursday:

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everyone,

there has been a different answer today than two days
ago. inexplicably, uma has begun opening her eyes and
moving her limbs (even on the right side) more than i
have seen since i saw her at our hotel on jan.31st.
when she hears your voice she looks at you. she
reaches for the rail of the bed with her left hand.
she reaches her left hand up to look at it. she raises
her eyebrows. her left leg moves all the time. i saw
her right hand (remember, this aneurysm/stroke
affected the left side of her brain which controls the
right side of her body) move at least five times today
and once, when i was rubbing lotion on her right arm,
she very briskly pulled it back from me.

she looks very irritated whenever i use the suction
tool to clear her mouth. (how very uma!) and she
routinely squeezes you hand with her left.

the ventriculostomy continues to drain more and more
clearly. it has a yellow tinge to it now (as opposed
to red) which indicates the continued breakdown of the
excess blood from the aneurysm. if this doesn't clear
up as soon as they'd like, she will be fitted with a
permanent shunt which would draw the blood from her
cranium to her abdomen.

she is much more relaxed and responsive today and her
dr. said that he is much more optimistic than he was
two days ago. her breathing is even and slow now -
she's not fighting it today. when i asked him again
about the angioplasty he said that many blood vessels
were reopened and that, in fact, there is a
possibility that the swelling is due to the re
infusion of blood in those areas.

tomorrow is the next catscan - this would correspond
to about a 72 hour period after the stroke. of course
we will look very much forward to another 'different'
answer then as well.

one of the last things i did tonight, after having
lots of time alone with her today (!), was catch the
focus in her eyes and i just smiled so big! you know
when you can be looking at someone's eyes but see
their whole face, too? and you feel there is some
connection there? that's what i felt and the left side
of her mouth rose up and her eyes crinkled ever so
slightly. (this mouth motion differed markedly from
the wince i saw yesterday - she was relaxed). wherever
she is in her beautiful but horribly beat up brain, i
think there was a warmth that was given and received
on a very basic human level.

a rehabilitation person came in for the first time
today to measure her for a splint for her right arm
which will provide passive resistance to it for
awhile. she hasn't been moving it that much and they
want to get started on that.

so - yesterday i felt like a ghost. i asked you for
your help and i am so grateful for all the emails and
calls i got today. i got help and so did uma. and it's
so nice to give you all some good news.

we've all been praying so hard and sending her so much
love (strangers email me to tell me they have yelled
for uma to 'wake up!') and i believe its important to
really celebrate the good news. it's a brave thing to
do when you think about it because tomorrow could be
bad news again. but still.....if you CAN smile, you
SHOULD! please have good smile for our girl tonight.
she's so brave and is working so hard against this.

i want to tell you that i truly think she's on a very
long road with all of this, but that she is not alone.
we are all with her however long it will be. to think
that she is out of danger is not wise right now. to
know, in all of our hearts, that she is doing better
is very wise. just before i left tonight i heard the
nurse say to the doctor something about her
intercranial pressure being up and they began working
on it.

we want her swelling and intercranial pressure to have
gone down
we want her awareness, her uma-ness to emerge as soon
as it can, specifically that she can, very soon,
follow a simple command and breathe on her own.
we want her to be able to avoid a permanent shunt.
we want no more stroke, no more vasospasm
we want no divisiveness against all of the bonds she
has chosen in life.

however loudly or boldly you pray for these things,
give a prayer of thanks just as loud, becaus this IS
the direction we want her to go in.

reading your emails and feeling all the love and
prayer and support in so many different ways....AND.
seeing uma the way she was today has made me feel like
a brand new copper-top battery. in some way, i can't
wait to see what she'll do tomorrow.

all my love and gratitude,

john

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Okay, time for bed. Lots of love to everyone,

Erik

(Previous updates are here, here, here, here, here, and here.)

Posted by bonnie at 8:58 AM | Comments (1)

February 14, 2007

Umatine's Day

The latest from Erik.


Before I get to Uma's health update, I just want to say that today is Valentine's Day we gotta embrace this Valentine's Day more freaking hardcore than any Valentine's Day we've ever been through. Because, here's the thing: if you ask Uma what she thinks about V Day, I know she'll say that she hates it--too commercial, too mushy, too red. But that's just what she'll say, and it wouldn't entirely be true. Now, yes, it would be true that she hates candy and chocolates and all the commercial aspects of this holiday, but even though Uma acts like she hates the mushy stuff, I know that she secretly kinda likes it. Okay, loves it. (She'll be mad when she reads this and finds out that I've spilled this secret, but I'm okay with that.) Because, see, the mushy stuff is all about love and it's hard not to like feeling loved.

I'm staying at my Aunt Julie's house here in New York (she's technically my Step-Great-Aunt) and last night we had dinner together and Julie's nine-year-old daughter was making Valentines for all of her classmates (and she made one for Uma too) and Julie mentioned that Valentine's Day is her favorite holiday "because if you strip away the commercialism, it's a day where we honor our loved ones--and without that love, we'd all be dead. It's impossible to live without love. Babies who aren't held, who don't feel love, they don't make it. We literally need love to live." I thought that was a good way to look at this holiday. Forget all the commercialism and just make damned sure that all of your loved ones know how much you love them.

Uma's in a really scary place right now. She's freaking beenin a scary place for the last fourteen days, but it got scarier last night. They did a new CAT Scan and found that she did, indeed, have a stroke. As a result of the stroke, there is swelling in her brain. This swelling is bad. This swelling could continue for the next 72 hours and there really isn't anything the doctors can do to stop it. They'll check on the swelling every day with a new CAT Scan, and we have to hope and pray that the swelling stops, that it goes down. If it doesn't go down, if the pressure gets too intense (elevated intracranial pressure), they might have to do a risky procedure wherein they remove a portion of her skull to give the brain room to continue to swell. We don't want this to happen. We want the swelling to stop. We don't want the swelling to continue for 72 hours. If the swelling continues, she could go into a deeper coma. We want the swelling to stop the fuck now.

That's the bad news. The good news, the strange news, the news that the doctors cannot explain, is that Uma continues to improve neurologically. When they lower her sedation levels, she still opens her eyes at the sound of her name. She continues to move a little bit on her right side, responding to sensation. Both of these neurological responses completely contradict the fact that she had a stroke. The doctor said that the stroke should nullify her neurological response level, but it hasn't. If anything, she's getting stronger--neurologically, at least.

That's because she's still freaking in there, fighting this thing. She's not giving up and we can't either. We have to keep the faith, keep hoping, keep praying. We have to visualize even more than we did before. With more focus. Because the Uma we know and love is fucking in there. And even though the CAT Scan results were the results we didn't want, even though her brain is waging a war on her body, we can't let the stroke and the swelling make us feel defeated. Fourteen fucking days ago--the day that Uma had her brain aneurysm--the doctor told us that Uma wouldn't live through the day--and here she is on DAY FREAKING FOURTEEN. She is a fighter and she is the most stubborn person I know. In a good way. Too stubborn to let a stroke get the fuck in her way. So we can't let the stroke get the fuck in our way either. (Sorry for all of the "fucks," but I know Uma wouldn't want me to hold my tongue.) Today is a day where we honor love, so let's keep sending heaps of it to Uma.

More good news, more reason for hope: She hasn't had any new aneurysms. The coil on her aneurysm is still working, it's still holding tight. The spinal fluid in her drain tube is getting clearer and clearer, which means that the blood in her brain is continuing to drain.

More scary news: The doctor said that it looks like the brain tissue in the area where the stroke occurred is dead. But then he said that sometimes young people can recover from that, they can use the rest of their brain to make up the difference. The doctor urged us not to give up hope, and so, if you get nothing else from this email, I want you to get that: DO NOT GIVE UP HOPE. We need to hope harder than ever before. And that message isn't just coming from the doctors:

I was taking a taxi back to Julie's house last night, after we got the news about the stroke, and I made a couple of phone calls--I called my mom, I called Erica, I called Marie--and then I hung up my cell phone and the cab driver looked at me through the rear-view mirror. "Anything can happen," he said. "Don't give up hope, you can't." (I swear that this is an exact quote from the cab driver, I wrote down everything he said as soon as he dropped me off.) He told me a story about his father and how his father had survived two strokes, and "you can't listen to the doctors, they just say what they say. Okay, maybe they know some things, but they don't know everything the body and mind are capable of. Your friend can get through this." I told him Uma's name and he promised to pray for her.

Alright, so: Today is Valentine's Day and I know this is kinda last minute, but let's make today an Uma Valentine's Day:

--Uma's favorite color is green, so if you haven't gotten dressed for the day yet, wear something green instead of the old Valentine's red cliché. The pukier and brighter the green, the better.

--If you've already gotten dressed and you're already out in the world, draw a green heart on your hand. If anyone asks you what the green heart's all about, tell them it's for your friend Uma, tell them you're hopeful, get them thinking about Uma too.

--I know that I gave out this directive sometime last week, and I already kinda said this in the second paragraph up above, but today's all about love, and it's worth repeating, so I'll say it again: call up your loved ones and let them know how much they mean to you. And not just because it's Valentine's Day, but because it's Uma Valentine's Day and you mean it and you want them to know.

--Visualize brain swelling going down. Visualize speech. Visualize memory. Visualize Uma waking the hell up. Visualize her smile. Visualize your love going into her brain and making her stronger.

Thank you,
and
love,
Erik


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(Previous updates are here, here, here, here, and here.)

Posted by bonnie at 8:59 AM | Comments (1)

February 12, 2007

Uma Update

The latest from Erik:


Lots of scary activity today, which ended with the doctor telling us: "You need to have hope, that's all you can do." So that's the message I'm sending out right now. Please be hopeful and strong and positive and send out huge healing vibes into Uma's brain.

I tried to take good notes when the doctor was giving today's update and hopefully this will all make sense:

The doctors did an angiogram and a CAT Scan this morning to get a better understanding of where Uma was at with her blood drainage and healing, etc., and they saw that she'd had a "rather large spasm" in her left middle cerebral artery territory, which would indicate that she'd had a stroke. As a result of this spasm, there is a dense area of blood where her blood vessels have clamped down and closed.

There's no way to tell when this stroke might have occurred--there were no indications of stroke activity the last time they did a CAT Scan (I'm not sure when that was exactly) and they do neurological tests throughout the day, every day, and none of those tests have ever indicated stroke activity. So they assume that if she did indeed have a stroke, it must have occurred recently, perhaps this morning.

After discovering this stroke possibility, they treated her with angioplasty--which opens up the blood vessels that were closed by the spasm she had.

And now we wait.

Tomorrow morning they will do another CAT Scan to see if the angioplasty fixed the spasm. That's when they'll be able to confirm definitively whether or not she's had a stroke. If blood supply has returned to the area where she had the spasm, and if her tissue in that area is regenerating and alive (I think the word they used was "revitalized"), that would mean the angioplasty was successful. If the tissue in that area is dead, I think that will confirm that she did have a stroke, the outcome of which the doctor said would be poor (affecting her speech, affecting her strength on the right side of her body). I think this is when he said the thing about hope being the only thing we have right now.

I choose to focus on this idea of hope, rather than any idea of "poor" anything. I refuse to waste any energy on fear or sadness right now. 'Eff that. We need to focus all our freaking energy on Uma. We will not know anything until tomorrow morning. There is a possibility that she did NOT have a stroke, there is a possibility for huge healing and blood flow and tissues regenerating. There's nothing we can know definitively until tomorrow morning, so we need to focus on these possibilities, on these hopes.

Reasons to be positive:
1. As recently as this morning, the nurses have said that she "continues to improve neurologically."
2. The blood in her brain continues to drain.
3. There is no new bleeding, no new hemorrhaging.
4. This morning she was moving her right arm--a very good sign.
5. Last night, when John and I were alone with Uma, I saw her looking directly at John. It truly felt like she was seeing him. John held up her engagement ring and told her he was looking forward to getting married to her, and her eyes focused on the ring and followed it, and then she squeezed his hand. We were so high last night from this interaction. She's in there.

Please keep Uma in your thoughts today and tonight. We really need tomorrow's CAT Scan to give us good news. Hope, pray, dance, vandalize, do whatever you gotta do, just send some strong freakin' love to Uma.

Lots of love to all of you,

Erik

Here's John's email, which I think describes some of the medical stuff more clearly, and which reinforces the call for hope that we need right now:

everyone,

this morning i had an hour alone with uma at 8 am. she
seemed a bit agitated. she was moving her left
hand/arm and leg a lot but her eyes were open and
moving. i really couldn't tell if she was aware of
much. i spoke to her and held her hand much as i've
done the last few days. her left wrist is tied to the
bed so that she can't pull at her tracheostomy. i
asked her if she would like to touch my face and
leaned down and put her hand flat on the right side of
my face. she didn't grab for it like she was grabbing
for my hand. she touched and caressed my face. i
really don't know what this means but it was an
unfogettable moment for me. i reallly thought i felt
her.
later, she was really grabbing my hand alot and at
times shit knit her brow and her mouth moved as if in
some pain. i showed her her ring again and her eyes
followed it again. at about 9 they needed to prep her
for movement to the follow-up angiogram so i went to
the waiting room.
a few hours later dr. jamuna came in to tell nithi
(the rest of us had gone for coffee) that he thinks
she has had a stroke and they are working hard on it.
he said it would be about 45 minutes before he could
come back. then he quickly went back to the operating
room.
we waited. we wait.
about 3 hours later dr. jamuna came back and told us
she very much appears to have had a stroke originating
from her left, middle cerebral artery. this is a major
blood vessle supplying the entire left side of the
brain. the were able to 'balloon' or open the vessel
to re-infuse that part of the brain but he said the
radiologist is fairly certain the area is dead.
they are not able to tell when the stroke occurred
(if indeed it ends up being a full stroke which they
won't know 'till tomorrow morning's catscan). but just
this morning she was still responding with an even
greater 'crispness' in her right arm/hand and leg and
just yesterday she moved her right leg again. the
neurological signs do not add up to stroke which the
doctor said was a hopeful sign. also good is that
there is no new bleeding in the area fo the aneurysm
or bleeding in the 'stroke' area.
if her brain accepts the infusion of blood she will
overcome this stroke. if it does not, the right side
of her body and her speech will have a very poor
outcome.
honestly, this news made me feel like i was just
being slaughtered here in this city so far from my
home. as i was walking back to the apartment to take a
break and re-group i was talking to my dad about all
of this. we spoke of the role of will power in prayer
and whether or not it makes any difference etc. if
one is to surrender one's will to God, release and let
go, then why 'want' anything at all? but for people
who believe in this we should assume that there is a
relationship between us and the divine that would not
be fed at all if we were robots. if we stand for love
and against everything that is not love we should be
confident that we're praying for the right thing.
as i'm talking to him on my cell phone i'm navigating
the crowded streets here in manhattan. today, for some
reason, a lot of people seemed to be just barely
missing me or hindering my forward progress. finally,
as i was about 3 doors down from the the apartment
entrance, a woman coming my way crossed over in front
of me to look at a hand bad in a shop window. i had to
stop suddenly and go around. for those of you who know
me well you understand how much will power it took for
me not to blast that woman off the face of the planet
with 'GET OUT OF MY WAY!' but i didn't say anything
to her.
i walked into the apartment building just in time to
hold the door open for an old man. he said, 'thank
you' and i thought, 'i don't want to die a lonely old
man.....' and as i turned to go up the stairs i
thought that the message i had for the handbag woman
was mis-directed. i need to yell at the top of my
spiritual lungs, "GET OUT OF MY WAY!" to whatever is
holding Uma back. GET OUT OF MY WAY! I AM GOING TO
HOPE AND PRAY AND HAVE CONFIDENCE IN LOVE AND IN UMA!
it seems as though we just keep getting reduced to
prayer. the doctors do what they can and then they
tell us to hope for the best. well, if all we have
right now is prayer, then that is everything in the
universe to uma.
the first thing i did when i got in the apartment was
wake up my laptop and check my email. in the very
first one i saw my friend ken had forwarded the
following .....bear in mind that the woman who wrote
this had not read this my email about uma's possible
stroke yet....

Ken,

Hey there! I read that you'll be stopping to visit
John & Uma. Just wanted you to send a big hug from me
over here. I just got off the phone with my friend
Brooke who experienced the same thing that Uma is
going through 15 years ago. She's an incredible
woman, whom I only met 5 years ago. She has spoken of
her struggles with recovery, etc. She (Brooke) ended
up having a stroke, which added time to the recovery
process. It took some time to recover, but I'm sure
Uma will be able to do this. Let John know Sierra
retreat has been praying for Uma on their daily
retreats and I've gotten some of the best prayers I
know on the case .....

so...i didn't enjoy the all of the sequence of events
on the way home but i feel very bold right now and i
urge everyone of you, as soon as you read this, to
very loudly say to whatever is holding uma back, "GET
OUT OF OUR WAY!"

pray for a lasting re-infusion of blood to her brain
for no more strokes
for no more pain
FOR THIS TIME OF CRISIS TO END! ENOUGH!

until later.....

all my love

john



I am dancing, screaming with passionate energy, and vandalizing my ass off for Uma. HEAL, HEAL, HEAL!

(Previous updates are here, here, here, and here.)

Posted by bonnie at 2:52 PM | Comments (0)

February 8, 2007

Cricket Feet Casting: Actors Showcase

Hey everyone,

I'm really excited! After years of planning (yes, years), I am finally producing the Cricket Feet Casting Actors Showcase along with showcase coordinator Eitan Loewenstein and renowned director Richard Tatum!

The breakdown was just released on Actors Access and we're accepting submissions through 2/23/07.

Auditions will take place the week of 3/5 and the showcase dates are 4/23, 24, and 26 in Santa Monica. PLEASE visit CricketFeet.com/showcase for all of the details and submit ONLY through Actors Access.

So excited to introduce my industry contacts to the BEST and BRIGHTEST actors in town! (And while that exposure--and the mega consulting on marketing materials and working within your primary type--is super cool, there are also prizes from our industry sponsors for actors whose showcase performances score the highest in our industry FEEDBACK forms. Coooooool!)

Thanks for your interest and support in this NEW venture! Woo!

Cheers,
Bonnie Gillespie
Cricket Feet Showcase on MySpace

Posted by bonnie at 5:32 PM | Comments (2)

February 7, 2007

Uma Update

The latest from Erik (KiKi) Patterson:

umadont.jpg

Hello friends of Uma...

I'm going to make today's update short and sweet. Today is Wednesday, Day Eight, and since it's Wednesday and all--the middle of the work week, and the middle of the work week always seems to drag--I want to urge you to keep focused on sending energy out to Uma in her hospital bed. We can't slack just because it's hump day!

Two big things to visualize today:

Uma's pneumonia is a little worse, so let's keep visualizing the pneumonia going away.

Uma%2B007.jpg

But even bigger than that...they are reducing her sedation levels today in the hopes that we'll see some signs of neurological functions, basically signs of waking up. Please think hard about Uma waking up and getting those neurological functions going!

In fact, you know that scene in the movie Network when Albert Finney's yelling out the window? If you could go to a window sometime today (or several times today) and yell "Wake up, Uma!" out your window, as loud as you can, that would be great. Don't worry about strangers giving you funny looks, strangers giving you funny looks is good.

Uma9.jpg

Let's put the idea out into the atmosphere, make Uma hear you!

Thanks and xo,
Erik

Thank you, everyone, for your continued energy on this. I KNOW it is making all the difference!
Uma%2B111.jpg

Also, please stop by Uma's MySpace page. She can't accept your friend request, but you can see the love her friends are sending her in comments there, and that's all good vibe-related stuff. Definitely give KiKi some love at his page too. (Photos above are from his blog.)

*beaming love and health to Uma*

Posted by bonnie at 11:57 AM | Comments (1)

February 5, 2007

Uma Update

This just in from Erik (KiKi) Patterson:

Hello friends...

I just wanted to send out a quick Uma update (an Umsdate?):

There were a few scary moments today, but for the most part it's good news. This morning they noticed that Uma's draining tube was darker, which meant that more blood was flowing out of it. They were afraid that there might be some new bleeding, but after doing a CAT Scan, they found that there was NO NEW BLEEDING. (Very good news.) The reason the draining tube was darker is that the blood that needs to get drained IS getting drained. Now, there's STILL blood in there, so we need to keep visualizing that blood draining, but I truly believe that all of the visualization we've been doing so far is working--the blood is draining!

Uma is moving in the right direction.

Unfortunately, Uma also had a fever today, and showed signs of pneumonia, and her heart rate is high. Her heart rate is high because of all of the medications she's on, but they're not too worried about that because of how young she is. They're working on getting rid of the fever and hopefully the pneumonia will go away quickly.


Please keep your prayers and love focused on Uma! Thank you for all of your emails, sorry I haven't been able to reply to most of them, but know how much I love all of you. We are gonna get our girl through this.

I'm back in LA for the next few days, but John is always at the hospital with Uma--and Marie (one of Uma's best friends) is there right now too. We're so grateful for all of your support. That cannot be said enough.

Thank you and big love,
erik

p.s. I HAVE A REQUEST: I know that whenever Uma hears the song "Hey Ya" by OutKast, she can't help but dance, and then when they started playing that song "Feel Good Inc." by Gorillaz on the radio, Uma called me and said "I discovered my new Hey Ya!," meaning she'd discovered another song she can't help but dance to. I was thinking that, sometime today, if you could take five minutes and crank up either "Hey Ya," or "Feel Good Inc.," or if you don't have access to either of those songs, then crank up some Eminem, or whatever song really makes your body move. (Or, hey, if you're a Buffy geek, then you could pick just about any song from the Buffy musical episode.) Do it alone in your living room, or do it with a friend, or do it out on the street with your neighbors. I don't care where you do it--just DANCE LIKE A MOFO sometime today, Monday Feb 5th. And while you're dancing send all of your dancing energy to Uma in her hospital bed. And while you're sending that dancing energy to Uma in her hospital bed, imagine the rest of that damned excess blood draining out, and imagine Uma waking up, and imagine Uma walking out of that hospital, fully recovered. Let's all keep sending those vibes out there...

I don't know about you, but I'm going to DANCE MY ASS OFF for Uma. All day long!

Posted by bonnie at 12:14 AM | Comments (3)

February 3, 2007

The End of an Era

Fun fact that most folks don't know about me. Until yesterday, I still had an "actor survival job." Yup. In 1999, one of MANY gigs I got through the Job Factory was a very long-term freelance web design assignment for a small college textbook publishing company in West LA.

roxlogo.gif

And while I put in fewer and fewer hours per week over the past seven and a half years, it was very comforting to know that if "this showbiz thing" didn't work out, I could always step up my work there and make rent. Or whatever.

So, yesterday morning, we were all summoned to the office for a meeting. We all had the feeling this wouldn't be a good thing, as we had been asked to do a LOT of work in the past six weeks to provide information to "investors" who were looking to buy a minority share in the company.

Yeah. That didn't work out the way we'd hoped it would. And the company has now been sold to a major international corporation. And we are all out of a job.

Now, of course I'm bummed to not have that safety net, but I'm far more sad for those employees for whom this was their JOB-JOB for as many as 21 years! Suddenly there's no more job. No more health insurance. No more nothin'. And no notice. Really shitty way to go out, y'know? And even if you know it's likely to happen, that's not cool to experience. Of course, so many people have been downsized. They've gone through this. Well, this was my first time ever in life "getting fired" or "being let go" or whatever. And the vibe in the room was one of shock, grief, and flat-out pissed-offness.

But as if the universe knew that I would like a little reassurance that "I'll be okay," on Wednesday night (about 14 hours before "the big meeting"), I got a call about a casting-and-writing-related opportunity that is pretty global in scope, way high-profile, and (presumably, potentially) very high-paying. So, thank you, dear universe, for making sure I would feel "more okay" than if I hadn't received that call at that time.

So, universe... for those who didn't get that kind of reassurance yet, could you show 'em a little love? Show them that an unexpected major life change can often be an opportunity to finally live your dreams!

927043402_l.jpg

And while I'm asking for stuff, please take care of the lovely Uma, whose ruptured brain aneurysm has her in a medically-induced coma in the neurological ICU. As the blood drains from around her brain, she can be brought out of the coma and head into rehab and recovery. As KiKi said, "Uma is a fuckin' fighter." Man, that's the truth. I am keeping her in my prayers and hope BonBlogs readers will all do the same.

Posted by bonnie at 12:06 AM | Comments (7)

January 24, 2007

A NEW TOMORROW Premiere, 2/3/07 9am!

I know, I know. Saturday 9am is way early, but believe me, this is gonna be worth it.

A New Tomorrow (a SAG indie feature film I cast in 2005) is screening in Irvine at 9am on Saturday, 3rd February.

Hell, I'm thinking mimosas and Krispy Kreme donuts are in order!

Details about this awesome mocumentary are at MySpace.com/ANewTomorrowMovie and ANewTomorrowMovie.com. C'mon, everyone loves a good mocumentary in the morning!

RSVP early to rsvp@anewtomorrowmovie.com and we'll see y'all there! Woo hoo!

LYMI,
-Bon.

Posted by bonnie at 12:06 AM | Comments (0)

December 14, 2006

Third Casting Announcement

Man! What a great day! Congratulations to Jason Winston George, who joins Howard Hesseman and Devon Gummersall in Broken Windows! Awesome!

jasonwinstongeorge.jpg

Saw 85 amazing actors read for three roles today. Will see another 199 actors (assuming everyone shows) for four roles tomorrow. Phew! I'm exhausted!

No time to rest. Gotta finish The Actors Voice: POV before midnight! Ack! Busy Bon. Happy Bon!

Posted by bonnie at 7:31 PM | Comments (1)

December 13, 2006

Second Casting Announcement

It was so much fun to attach our first actor to Broken Windows earlier this month. Even more fun to attach actor number two, today.

HowardHesseman.jpg

And because everyone loves "yesterday" photos too, here's Howard Hesseman (bottom right) in the '70s.

wkrp.jpg

Ooh, I'm just so giddy! We start prereads for seven roles tomorrow with two roles already cast. I LOVE that! Yay! Break a leg, everyone. This is going to be an amazing cast.

Posted by bonnie at 6:13 PM | Comments (4)

December 8, 2006

Appointments Scheduled for Seven Roles

Okay, I've just rolled out appointments for seven roles in Broken Windows and here's how the numbers are shaking out now:

UNVIEWED || VIEWED || SELECTED || SCHEDULED || CALLBACK || ROLE
0.....659.....165.....0.....0.....SARA
0.....106.....97.....0.....0.....TEDDY
0.....256.....100.....45.....0.....KATIE
0.....593.....200.....63.....0.....NATE
0.....258.....161.....0.....0.....BETH
0.....502.....189.....64.....0.....AMY
0.....566.....174.....0.....0.....WALT
0.....274.....100.....45.....0.....DJ
0.....6.....56.....29.....0.....BRIAN
0.....666.....178.....0.....0.....JOEY
0.....311.....101.....40.....0.....STEVE
0.....53.....44.....0.....0.....MARY
0.....139.....92.....0.....0.....DORI
0.....110.....93.....38.....0.....BENNIE
0.....1,076.....195.....0.....0.....WAITRESS
0.....15.....29.....0.....0.....WOMAN HIT BY CAR
0.....33.....64.....0.....0.....TEEN BOY

As before, VIEWED + SELECTED = total submissions. The SCHEDULED actors are already counted within the number of selects.

I'm trying to move as many SARA, BETH, JOEY, and WALT selects to other roles as possible, as one of those roles is cast, another is looking VERY good (with regard to a name actor offer we have outstanding), and the other two are going to names on a short list without auditions, no matter how our current offers go. But there are still so many great actors within those selects that I want to try and get them in on other roles, if possible.

Anyway, that's the way the numbers look today! Woo! Glad to get the schedule built. That's always very stressful and having it done is a big relief. I need a nap.

Posted by bonnie at 1:50 PM | Comments (0)

December 4, 2006

Hollywood Happy Hour, 12/11/06, 6:30pm ONE WEEK AWAY!!

Are you getting excited?!? Ooh, we are!

If you've RSVP'd, you should've received a confirmation email from the lovely Laura Lock, and that means you're all set for next Monday's event. Woo hoo!

That's Monday, December 11, 2006 for our next Hollywood Happy Hour with special guests, industry news and reviews, networking, loads of great prizes, yummy food, and adult beverages!

What: Hollywood Happy Hour filled with more fun than you could fathom! It's news, reviews, schmooze, and interviews!

Who: We'll chat with über-hyphenate Luke Yankee (seriously, we're talking actor-director-producer-teacher-casting director-author-playwright, here) and dish with rockstar agent Janet Tscha, head of adult commercial talent at Origin Talent. Julie Stevens is going to share tales from Life After Tomorrow with casting director Bonnie Gillespie)!

When: Monday, December 11, 2006, arrivals: 6pm; program starts at 6:30pm SHARP; schmoozefest from 7:45pm 'til they roll us out of there!

Where: Casey's, 613 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90017. Check out the photos at their website. We'll be on the gorgeous patio!

How Much: $5 CASH plus two items at the bar and/or restaurant (yes, sodas and food items count)!

What Else: goodie bags from our FANTASTIC sponsors for winners of our business-card drawing (make sure to bring your card) and trivia questions, lots of freebies (see below for complete list of awesome goodies)! Bring headshots for Janet and Bonnie!

Parking: well, it's downtown, which is complicated... but here's the good news: We have $5 parking after 5pm at 624 S. Grand (with $6.50 after 4pm parking just next door), plus $6 parking all day at 737 S. Grand. Bring cash and stay for the long haul! Wilshire dead-ends at Grand... freeway directions are at the venue's website. You can also take any Metro Line to the Metro Center at 7th and Broadway (it's only $1.35 each way and you're within a block of Casey's... no designated driver needed).

RSVP: with your name, number in your party, and any suggested questions for the Q&A segment to rsvp@hollywoodhappyhour.com ASAP. We WILL run out of space and cap the RSVPs at this venue.

Introducing event photographer August Young! Be camera ready, y'all!

Hope we'll see you there... and also on the HHH Mailing List/Yahoo Group and/or the HHH MySpace page 'til we see you next Happy Hour!

Feeling nostalgic? Everyone's uncle, the amazing Uncle Bob, has put our shows on "tape" for our audio archives... Yay!

Free! Goodie Bags loaded with fun California Poultry Federation stuff, cosmetics and aromatherapy treatments from Pampered People Spa, memo boards from Showfax, goodies from BizParentz.com, and fun AquaHooks custom-made for HHH!

Free! Entry into the Hollywood Happy Hour raffle for all--just bring a business card to drop in the fishbowl!

You could win:
*Free headshot printing at Argentum Studios
*Free photo shoot with Kyle Clicks Photography
*Tickets to shows at The Ark Theatre
*Card Packs from Acting Outside the Box
*Three months free with MyActingSite.com
*You Must Act! version 2.0 CD-Rom from Bob Fraser
*Free seminars from Abundance Bound
*Free and discounted demo reel editing services from Lippincott Films
*Private session with Commercial Break
*Discounted headshot sessions from New Face Photo
*Discounted voiceover sessions from Absolute Voice
*Entry fee waivers for the 2008 Flickering Image Film Festival
*Tickets to shows from Theatre District at the CAST
*Discounted headshot sessions from About Face Headshots
*Free soundtrack from The Wedding Video
*Promo DVDs with deleted scenes from A New Tomorrow
*Acting Is Everything by Judy Kerr and Acting Out by Stuart Stone
*The Actor's Menu and discounted acting classes from Bill Howey
*Let's Dish Up a Dinner Party by Nelson Aspen
*Casting Qs and Self-Management for Actors by Bonnie Gillespie
*Acting Qs by Bonnie Gillespie and Blake Robbins
*Casting director labels from Landall's ActorDrops
*ActorTrack software and organizational books from world-famous Holdon Log

...and so much more!
(You must be present to win, natch.)

See you next happy hour!

Posted by bonnie at 7:08 AM | Comments (2)

December 1, 2006

First Casting Announcement

Woo hoo!

Congratulations to the first actor cast in Broken Windows!

devontoday.jpg

It's Devon Gummersall.

Oh... don't recognize him? Sure you do.

devonyesterday.jpg

Hee! Yay!

Posted by bonnie at 3:30 PM | Comments (5)

November 27, 2006

Congratulations to my niece Tiffany!

Congratulations to my niece Tiffany!

tiffengaged.jpg

She's engaged! Woo!

*sniffle*

So exciting! And surreal.

Posted by bonnie at 11:51 AM | Comments (4)

November 20, 2006

Hollywood Happy Hour, 12/11/06, 6:30pm

Hollywood Happy Hour, 12/11/06, 6:30pm

Please join us on Monday, December 11, 2006 for our next Hollywood Happy Hour with special guests, industry news and reviews, networking, loads of great prizes, yummy food, and adult beverages!

What: Hollywood Happy Hour filled with more fun than you could fathom! It's news, reviews, schmooze, and interviews!

Who: International entertainment reporter Nelson Aspen will chat with über-hyphenate Luke Yankee (seriously, we're talking actor-director-producer-teacher-casting director-author-playwright, here) and casting director Bonnie Gillespie with dish with rockstar agent Janet Tscha, head of adult commercial talent at Origin Talent. As usual, there will be a few surprise industry guests stopping by as well (I hear Julie Stevens is going to share tales from Life After Tomorrow)!

When: Monday, December 11, 2006, arrivals: 6pm; program starts at 6:30pm SHARP; schmoozefest from 7:45pm 'til they roll us out of there!

Where: Casey's, 613 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90017. Check out the photos at their website. We'll be on the gorgeous patio!

How Much: $5 CASH plus two items at the bar and/or restaurant (yes, sodas and food items count)!

What Else: goodie bags from our FANTASTIC sponsors for winners of our business-card drawing (make sure to bring your card) and trivia questions, lots of freebies (see below for complete list of awesome goodies)! Bring headshots for Janet and Bonnie!

Parking: well, it's downtown, which is complicated... but here's the good news: We have $5 parking after 5pm at 624 S. Grand (with $6.50 after 4pm parking just next door), plus $6 parking all day at 737 S. Grand. Bring cash and stay for the long haul! Wilshire dead-ends at Grand... freeway directions are at the venue's website. You can also take any Metro Line to the Metro Center at 7th and Broadway (it's only $1.35 each way and you're within a block of Casey's... no designated driver needed).

RSVP: with your name, number in your party, and any suggested questions for the Q&A segment to rsvp@hollywoodhappyhour.com ASAP. We WILL run out of space and cap the RSVPs at this venue.

Hope we'll see you there... and also on the HHH Mailing List/Yahoo Group and/or the HHH MySpace page 'til we see you next Happy Hour!

Feeling nostalgic? Everyone's uncle, the amazing Uncle Bob, has put our shows on "tape" for our audio archives... Yay!

Free! Goodie Bags loaded with fun California Poultry Federation stuff, cosmetics and aromatherapy treatments from Pampered People Spa, memo boards from Showfax, goodies from BizParentz.com, and fun AquaHooks custom-made for HHH!

Free! Entry into the Hollywood Happy Hour raffle for all--just bring a business card to drop in the fishbowl!

You could win:
* Free headshot printing at Argentum Studios
* Free photo shoot with Kyle Clicks Photography
* Tickets to shows at The Ark Theatre
* Card Packs from Acting Outside the Box
* Three months free with MyActingSite.com
* You Must Act! version 2.0 CD-Rom from Bob Fraser
* Private session with Commercial Break
* Discounted headshot sessions from New Face Photo
* Discounted voiceover sessions from Absolute Voice
* Entry fee waivers for the 2008 Flickering Image Film Festival
* Tickets to shows from Theatre District at the CAST
* Discounted headshot sessions from About Face Headshots
* Free soundtrack from The Wedding Video
* Promo DVDs with deleted scenes from A New Tomorrow
* Acting Is Everything by Judy Kerr and Acting Out by Stuart Stone
* Let's Dish Up a Dinner Party by Nelson Aspen
* Casting Qs and Self-Management for Actors by Bonnie Gillespie
* Acting Qs by Bonnie Gillespie and Blake Robbins
* Casting director labels from Landall's ActorDrops
* ActorTrack software and organizational books from world-famous Holdon Log

...and so much more!
(You must be present to win, natch.)

See you next happy hour!

Posted by bonnie at 12:23 PM | Comments (0)

November 16, 2006

Announcing THE ACTORS VOICE: POV at Showfax.com

From this week's Your Turn:

Hello, Actors Access,
First, thanks for your service. It's feature-rich, it's above average usability-wise, and--most importantly--it works.
But I have one big complaint; there is no column for working New York actors. LA-based hopefuls and professional alike have Bonnie and Mark. What do I have when I have questions about New York industry etiquette, or auditions, or the business part of show business? I've got nothin'.
Now, I'm proactive. I'm currently on hiatus from one show and rehearsing two others while working a corporate day job AND interning part-time in a talent agency. If I've still got questions after all that, don't you think a bunch of other New York actors do as well?
One day I hope to be knowledgeable enough to write a column for you about the New York industry. Until that day arrives (and to help it arrive sooner), could you find someone else to write it?
Thanks for your time. I look forward to hearing back from you!
This is not the first email of its kind to come to my inbox. In fact, I've previously done my best to try and get good information from NY-based professionals in an attempt to provide at least something for the non-Hollywood readers of The Actors Voice.

However, the stars must've really been aligned when this particular email arrived. Within three days, I had emailed some ideas back and forth with Showfax general manager Bob Brody and was then having a power lunch with Gary Marsh, owner of Breakdown Services, pitching what I am proud to say will be rolling out soon. (Drumroll, please.)

tnpovlaunch.jpg

Click to enlarge.

Introducing The Actors Voice: POV!

That's right, STARTING TODAY (and running on the 1st and 15th of each month), I'll moderate a column from the POV of a casting director, agent, publicist, studio head, working actor, filmmaker, screenwriter, show-runner, or any other industry pro in another market. Look, we all know that Hollywood isn't the only place where actors can earn a living pursuing their dreams. Sure, it may be the place where the numbers are greatest, but in an ever-shrinking world where a willingness to embrace technology allows for real-time casting happening across several time zones, it's time to provide outstanding information from industry professionals worldwide! We've got you covered in every professional showbiz market imaginable. This is gonna ROCK, people! Thanks for encouraging us to bring you the best information possible, wherever you live! Glad to oblige.

Visit The Actors Voice: POV now! Woo!

Posted by bonnie at 2:30 PM | Comments (1)

November 2, 2006

The Masquerade PARTY 11/4

I know you love to support movies I've cast, right? Okay, now's your chance to do so for The Masquerade... and to see clips before the rest of the world, party with the cast and crew, and help raise money for film festival entry fees.

medTheMasqueradeFlyer.jpg
Click to enlarge.

When: Saturday, 4 November 2006, 8pm to 2am, baby!

Location: The Rec Center Studio (director/producer Natalia Garcia, DGA, says it's "moody like the movie... with a fire pit!"), 1161 Logan St. (at Sunset Blvd.), Echo Park, CA 90026.

Details: $7-$10 suggested cover charge gets you FOUR BANDS, hors d'oeuvres, and FREE PABST beer from 8-10pm! (Only $2 after 10pm.) Monster Energy Drink is $2 all night.

To read more about the lineup of great bands and for info on this rockstar film itself, visit THE MASQUERADE on MySpace.

More from Natalia:

We're raising money for entry fees into Sundance, SXSW, Toronto, TriBeCa, LAShorts Fest, AFI, Cannes, Slamdance, a few more.
The party will showcase the behind the scenes:
- projections including portions of the EPK produced by The Nova Project
- framed production stills
- The Nova Project will also have different versions of the film's poster. You can vote for your favorite one and let us know which one you think is best.

Thanks for Brianne Davis and Natalia Garcia for putting this shindig together. It's gonna rock. Join us, won't you?

After the Ball, Ken (Chris Masterson) and Mary (Brianne Davis) head out to spend the night together only to discover they are not alone....

Posted by bonnie at 1:56 PM | Comments (3)

September 7, 2006

Faith's PRI Show Announced

Phew! It's official. And it's been renamed (it was "The F Word," with the F standing for Feminism). (That's another show. Still in play. Nevermind.) Press release is here.

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MINNEAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 7, 2006--Public Radio International (PRI) announces the creation of "Fair Game from PRI with Faith Salie," a high energy, interactive news and entertainment program produced by PRI and based in New York. Slated to premiere nationally this fall, "Fair Game" is hosted by the irreverent Faith Salie, Harvard alumna, Rhodes Scholar and star of "Significant Others," Bravo's critically acclaimed improvisational sitcom. With "Fair Game," PRI again moves the industry in a new direction, designing the hour-long weekday evening program as a hybrid of the satirical news and late-night variety show for a young, culturally connected, politically savvy demographic.
Congratulations to my dear cousin Faith Salie. We will miss you here in LA, but NY is lucky to have you (and yes, I will visit). Kick ass with "Fair Game." Public radio never looked so good.

Posted by bonnie at 9:14 PM | Comments (1)

September 6, 2006

Bon (and a Bon-Cast film) at LAISFF

I hope y'all will come out and join me at the LAISFF this (and next) week. Very excited to be taking part both as a panelist and beaming-happy casting director of a film at the LAISFF for the second year in a row! Woo!

10th Los Angeles International Short Film Festival

ActorsAccess.com Panel Discussion (The Access Revolution, 10:45am, Friday, September 8th, Arclight Cinemas #9).

Queen of Cactus Cove (Program 91, 3:30pm, Tuesday, September 12th, Arclight Cinemas #9).

The panel discussion is FREE--just show up! Tickets for the screening are $10 and are available at the Arclight Box Office or at LAShortsFest.com.

Arclight Cinemas (6360 W. Sunset Blvd., between Vine and Ivar, Hollywood).

Posted by bonnie at 2:10 PM | Comments (1)

August 24, 2006

Busy Weekend for Films I've Cast

While three films I've cast are SHOOTING this week, I noticed there's a whole lot of activity surround four shorts I've previously cast.

In case you're going to be headed to the Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films or if you're in Atlanta or Dubrovnik (!!!) you can catch these great little films as follows:

Friday, August 25th, 2pm, 2 Dogs Inside at the 12th Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films

Friday, August 25th, 7pm, Hombre Kabuki at the 3rd Atlanta Underground Film Festival

Saturday, August 26th, 10:30am, Queen of Cactus Cove at the 12th Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films

Saturday, August 26th, 4pm, Hombre Kabuki at the 2nd Libertas Film Festival Dubrovnik

Saturday, August 26th, 5pm, The Moor at the 12th Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films

Phew! That's a big weekend! Y'all have fun!

Posted by bonnie at 4:23 AM | Comments (2)

August 11, 2006

2006 Book Tour

I think it's time for another book tour. Remember 2004? Remember the trip we made to NY and ATL/Athens when the first Self-Management for Actors came out? Man, that was fun!

In 2004, I spoke at the Drama Book Shop in New York, University of Georgia in Athens, and yourAct Studios in Atlanta. And I was only "on the road" for a few days. I think I now want to do an even bigger road show this time around, speaking at more colleges and doing more book signings.

This is all Faith's idea, BTW. She's helping me cook up a way to come see her in New York (where she'll be living for the next year or so, doing her new radio show for PRI) and the more speaking I do, the longer I can stay. Hee!

Anyway, I'm thinking I need a rockstar New York "producer" type for this tour (looking like October-ish). Anyone out there with contacts (or willingness to make some) interested in helping me put this thing together? (Good news... I should be an even easier "sell" on the lecture circuit due to the success of my books and the festival heat for the films I've cast.)

I've registered at Eventful, so I should be able to put together a "demand" thingy soon. That'll help.

<a href="http://eventful.com/performers/P0-001-000003707-6/demand">Demand Bonnie Gillespie in your city with eventful.com!</a> Demand Bonnie Gillespie in your city

All right... let's hear it! Who's into it?

Posted by bonnie at 2:48 PM | Comments (5)

July 21, 2006

Um. Wow.

I had a rough day of prereads. Rough. More no-shows than I've ever seen in my casting career. A room that was way too hot for me by the end of the day. Communication glitches that were just annoying. It was a long day. But I love casting, I ADORE actors, and getting to see all of the possibilities is always a thrilling thing. So, I came home exhausted (and a little ready to retire from casting... which I think is a good sign of a hard day's work) and went to bed by 8pm.

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Awake by midnight, I checked my email and had a "Spam Summary" from an account I no longer use. One of the items looked to be from a former coworker from my days as a columnist for Back Stage West. So, I clicked to view more. And I am so fucking shocked I don't even know what to say.

From this week's Best of Los Angeles issue:

Welcome to Back Stage West's first attempt at a "best of" issue, featuring a compilation of our readers' favorites and staff picks.
Um. Holy crap, right? Wait.
Best Film/TV Casting Director: Mali Finn. Runners-up were Deborah Aquila, Billy DaMota, Richard DeLancy, Bonnie Gillespie, and April Webster.
Wow.

Wow wow wow wow wow.

I--with under FOUR YEARS of experience as a casting director--am named among CDs who have credits like, oh, I don't know... The Matrix; Titanic; LA Confidential; The Shawshank Redemption; Sex, Lies, and Videotape; Alias; Lost; and Knight Rider for cryin' out loud.

Seriously... 95 years of casting experience in that group. I am responsible for fewer than four of those years. I am humbled and amazed and floored and honored to be included in that group of CDs. And I guess, even on the toughest days, maybe I'm not so bad at this job.

THANK YOU BACK STAGE WEST! THANK YOU BSW READERS!

Posted by bonnie at 1:11 AM | Comments (19)

July 20, 2006

Nine Rooms in the News

I blogged about Nine Rooms before (but didn't say why... heh heh).

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Now we're in the news. Woo! Yup. I said we. Yippee!

Well done, "roomers"!

Posted by bonnie at 8:27 AM | Comments (1)

July 9, 2006

Tuesday Tuesday Tuesday

Woo! I just made my first effort at creating a MySpace Event. Hope I did it right.

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Anyway, my birfday is Tuesday and there will be a Dan Tana's outing. Come by. Play. Say howdy. Point and laugh. Whatevs. Woo!

PS--12 of 12 is Wednesday. Get your camera ready! I'll be doing it, hungover or NOT! My bonus pic is based on the word liked. Hmmmmmmm.

Posted by bonnie at 1:45 PM | Comments (2)

July 6, 2006

On Air

Woo hoo! I'm going to be in the studio with David Lawrence tomorrow night.

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Go to his show's website to get all of the info on how you can listen, but basically it's like this:

XM Open Road 171
Sirius Stars 102
or by podcast subscription through his website.
Woo! I predict much fun and silliness. Tune in at 8pm Pacific, yo!

Posted by bonnie at 6:57 PM | Comments (5)

June 29, 2006

It's a New Day, FURSHUR

Well, lookee here!

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Seeking Stardom, Actors Flock to YouTube, MySpace
June 29, 2006
By Lauren Horwitch

Casting directors, producers, and even network execs are also waking up to the talent on the sites. CD Bonnie Gillespie of Cricket Feet Inc. said a New York actor who regularly posts his audition videos on YouTube told her about the site last year. "He can't fly in for auditions but always wants me to see him for films I'm casting," she wrote via email. "I think it's a great use of a free resource. Most online audition footage services are very expensive for actors. For example, one upload of an actor's two best takes of an audition can cost $50.

"As fun as video-surfing is on YouTube," Gillespie added, "I think we've yet to unlock its full potential for actors and electronic auditioning."

Rock on!

In other news... I have a phoner later today for another potential casting gig, plus gotta set up some meetings between directors and name actors to take place over the next little bit. It's funny, I remember this time last year being my busiest as well, yet somehow I hear everyone talking about how "dead" it is. Yeah... okay... if you say so!

Gotta get my names list together for the new Wild Card Productions project (so so so freakin' cool, this one), since the breakdown will go out on Wednesday and we have our phoner tomorrow.

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Meanwhile, gotta attend FOUR FIVE kiddo parties in THREE FOUR days, while Keith bounces around town with STILL MORE auditions. Wow! Summer break, indeed!

Posted by bonnie at 10:24 AM | Comments (5)

June 26, 2006

Toodles!

We're out. (I'll miss you, MySpace.)

Little bit of this and a little bit of that.

If you drive by our place and see something like this, that's okay.

That's part of why we changed the timing of our trip. Woo!

When we return, casting begins on three new short films for the folks who brought you the award-winning Queen of Cactus Cove and 2 Dogs Inside. Breakdown goes out on "The Project" July 5th, followed shortly by the long-awaited breakdown for the brilliant feature film How I Lost My Mind and Killed Someone on July 10th. Yippee! It's on, y'all!

Posted by bonnie at 3:02 AM | Comments (2)

June 20, 2006

Nine Rooms

Press release from UK Cliff: Nine Rooms: A BlogCom

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Nine Rooms is a dramatic comedy based around the weblog of five main characters. It's a weekly blogcom, experienced through the postings of people who share a house that has (figures) nine rooms.

It launches on June 20 and is created by me, Cliff Jones, and includes some of the best writers I know (online writers from the blogosphere, virtually, and around the world, literally).

How does Nine Rooms work?

You read Nine Rooms by visiting the blogs of the characters, which are updated every week with their own perspective on events within the house and their own interconnected lives.
The characters (dramatics per sony)
  • Alan Cross: 27 year old insurance clerk and games console addict.
  • Joey Standton: An enigmatic figure of no fixed vocation. He is 25, well travelled, with a combination of sharp observational skills and poor timing.
  • Claire Goodwin: 28, edits a TV listings magazine. Former employee of Gina's mother.
  • Gina Nelson: Californian, 25, in London on a break and a mission to find her natural parents. Her wealthy philanthropist mother died recently and Gina received with her inheritance the news that she was adopted and taken to the USA as an infant.
  • Nick Stampfer: 37, former owner of a restaurant which was sold, his mother owns the house but has been squandering his inheritance around the world since her recent divorce.
For the purpose of the plotline, no one character knows that any other character is writing a blog and (between you and me) they will interact with members of the public who post to their sites, and seem like real individuals who hold normal lives, reply to blog comments, post pictures online and do all the things that bloggers do.

The sites are live, the emails are set up and the storyline has been written for the next couple of months, but the scripts themselves come largely from the writers. There are a few other characters due to join the cast, I guarantee there will be twists and turns along the way, so check Nine Rooms every Tuesday and follow the story.

June 20: Nine Rooms is coming. Nine Rooms ARE coming?

Cool, eh? More info via email to Cliff. Start reading at NineRooms.com.

Posted by bonnie at 12:45 PM | Comments (0)

May 30, 2006

New Casting Gig

Salvation, Texas.

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Yup. Looks like I've found a way to make the 14-Day Screenplay Challenge even *more* stressful.

And no, I don't know why my column hasn't posted this week. I turned it in Sunday night. *shrug*

Okay, time to put together the breakdown. It rolls out tomorrow. Woo! I'm 'cited!

Posted by bonnie at 2:44 PM | Comments (9)

May 8, 2006

New Casting Gig

The Masquerade. Very very cool SAG short film with a rockstar production team that I'm proud to be a part of.

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Breakdown goes out this week. Woo!

Posted by bonnie at 6:54 PM | Comments (6)

May 2, 2006

Catching Up

Actors aren't the only flakes in Hollywood. Last night, after the rockstar panel discussion I did with Marc Bass and Gary Marsh over at USC, I was approached by a grad student who is writing a paper for her pros-in-film class on casting directors. She had already interviewed Mali Finn, Monika Mikkelsen, and Nancy Nayor (whose partner I met last week on the Harvard ART/UCI panel), but she was feeling as though she didn't really have her questions nailed down when she spoke with them... Could I please, please, please do a phone interview with her (today)?

Of course I said yes (in the whole giving back vein) and gave her my home number and an appointed hour. Five minutes before the appointed hour, I put my headset on (best for long phone calls) and awaited "ringy dingy." Fifteen minutes passed and then I took off the headset. And now it's been an hour. Nada. Y'know... I guess it's good to know that it's not just actors who flake. Everyone can flake. Bah.

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Okay, so I used the time I was killing, waiting for her call, to look into becoming a producer on The 1 Second Film, which I'm gonna do. Profits go to the Global Fund for Women, and I'm all over that. I'm going to split the donation in half, so that Keith gets a credit too. Oh, and speaking of lovely Keith... his CSI: Miami episode airs Monday, May 8th, on CBS. He's in the very first segment--so don't tune in late!

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Sadly, my honey is leaving town for a few days. Luckily, I have a lot of stuffs going on while he's gone. Phew! This is like the busiest week ever! Fun, huh? SAG, Strasberg, cool birthday party for the lovely Anna, Nurse Bon duties for the amazing Dawn (I do hope this is the last surgery EVER for you, darlin'), plus the aforementioned USC panel and the rockstar meeting with the entertainment attorney today. Basically, I'm now his go-to gal. He has producers for whom he packages filmmaking deals... he didn't have a casting director. Now he does. Tah-dah! (So why the hell was I so damn nervous?? I know, I know... first time you do anything, you're gonna be a wee bit nervous and then you're going to be all cool about it, b/c now you've done it. Blah blah blah.)

Oh, and does anyone out there want to be my arm candy for the Bon-double-feature on Tuesday? Two short films I cast will screen at the Fine Arts Theatre in Beverly Hills at 8pm on the 9th. And while you're all invited, I do need "a date," since my honey has class on Tuesday nights. Any takers? I'll buy drinks after. Really. Honest.

What else? Oh, I have about a zillion things... just no time! Ack! Lipptastic Big Brother Bill, we definitely need to speak about my demo reel now. It seems "my lawyer" needs copies. Ack! And oy! Okay, so when you're sure it's time to hire an assistant but you have no time to hire an assistant (and suddenly your hubby who can usually assist is working so much--YAY--that you don't even have your "sometimes assistant"), what do you do?

By the way, the actor showcase thingy may actually still be happening (that's what happens when creative people are certain they have to continue to create... no matter what) and it looks like a new writing project is launching soon. This time... FICTION (I know! That is soooooo not me)!

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Finally, just got this email from the lovely Nelson Aspen (and no, Hollywood Happy Hour is NOT dead--we'll be doing an event SOON): If you get this in time, I just found out that my famous "Doin' the Cruise" dance spoofing TomKat will air tonight on NBC's "MOST OUTRAGEOUS MOMENTS" at 8pm Pacific Time. Tune in if you can, it's pretty funny stuff with my GMTV colleagues Ben & Kate. Definitely watch. Nelson is famous in Australia for a reason! Heeeeeeee!

Posted by bonnie at 7:04 PM | Comments (8)

Post-Meeting Thoughts

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Posted by bonnie at 3:25 PM | Comments (8)

March 28, 2006

Press Release Du Jour

"Self-Management for Actors"
Course by casting director and author Bonnie Gillespie

Bonnie Gillespie's Self-Management for Actors seminar provides an inside look into the business of acting and helps you identify your primary type, create your best self-marketing plan, and give you confidence to navigate the Hollywood landscape without personal drama.

Remember: Drama Costs Extra!

This small-group course answers the questions: What is your type? Does your headshot accurately portray you? How should you market yourself? What's in a great cover letter? Do you need to join the unions yet? Do you need an agent yet? Do you need a manager yet? Do you need a publicist yet? What are they saying about you after you leave the audition? What's a must in a demo reel? In what area do you need (craft) training right now and who is best-equipped to provide that? In addition to three hours on Self-Management for Actors, you'll participate in an hour of Q&A custom-tailored to your needs.

Class info: four hours in Santa Monica, maximum 12 actors in each class!

Next seminar: Wednesday, April 12, 2006, 6:30pm. REGISTRATION NOW OPEN.

For more details (what to prepare, how to register, etc.), please visit: http://cricketfeet.com/seminars.html.

Posted by bonnie at 4:39 AM | Comments (2)

March 10, 2006

Howdy!

Oh my, my, my, my, my. Busy gal. But I did want to come by and say HOWDY!

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Taxes got pushed back 'til I return from San Diego next week (subbing Billy Cowart's classes there) and I'm seriously grateful for that. Even after a couple dozen non-stop hours of working on our financials, I still had/have work to do. Should finish it all up today. Phew.

Made offers to two name actors for HILMMAKS today. That is seriously so much fun! Yippee! The other feature film I'm casting is on hold while producers get some legal stuff together (they weren't as ready to begin casting as they'd thought at our meeting earlier this week), which is good b/c it gives me a bit of breathing room to (hopefully) get some deals made on HILMMAKS before issuing the next breakdown.

Spoke to Billy DaMota's class at the Strasberg Institute last night. That's always such fun! Really talented kids over there. And catching up with Billy is a blast. He has a new book that we may publish through Cricket Feet. Stay tuned on that.

Keith is at an audition, then off to CSI Miami casting for his intern gig. I'm hoping to get our financial statements to a good "finishing point" before he gets home, so that I can then get my column written (early) and do some Roxbury work before leaving town. I'm very much looking forward to being entirely offline for a few days. There's something very comforting about that sort of break from the daily noise.

Let's see... other things to catch y'all up on...

Books are selling remarkably well. I'm so very pleased with how happy folks are with Self-Management for Actors. In fact, it's in stores now, so the numbers should continue to increase this month. Yippee! More important than sales, to me, is that people like the revisions. That's a big ol' happy. Otherwise, as long as we don't lose money on the printings, I'm just fine and dandy.

When I went to update the Cricket Feet site with some more screenings for Queen of Cactus Cove, I did a little poking around to see what's up with some of the other films I've cast. Holy crap, y'all! Hombre Kabuki also got into a qualifying festival for the Academy Awards, which means it is entirely possible (though certainly not probable, but a girl can dream, right?) that TWO FILMS I cast will be up for Best Live Action Short Film on Oscar night, 2007. HOLY CRAP, RIGHT?

Also, I learned that Chandler Hall will have its world premiere next weekend at The Other Venice Film Festival. I don't know anything about the fest, but I'm so freakin' excited to get to see how the film turned out. The film's website has a trailer and stills. Looks great! And honestly, I've been so busy that I haven't even had a chance to add a link to that site from the Cricket Feet site--nor have I edited together MY casting demo reel, which includes clips from all of these films that are (all at once it seems) starting to become available.

Hmm. Maybe I'll do some of that here, and y'all can go see the trailers on the sites where they currently live, and I'll use this post as a reminder to myself to come back and do all of this linking from the Cricket Feet site when I have a chance.

Ha!

I haven't even gone blog-reading all week for the most part. Eesh! I am one busy Bon! Okay, I'm going to go ahead and post this entry even though it's really boring and then I'll try to come back before I head south in order to link up some trailers. Man, I need an assistant.

===========

BACK: Okay, here are some links to trailers, if you'd like to see some of what I do for a living (outside of writing, which you can see every week).

Queen of Cactus Cove trailer.
Chandler Hall trailer is available here.
Hombre Kabuki trailer. (Hombre Kabuki came out of casting for Each To Each which is in post right now.)
The Moor trailer is up at the Cricket Feet site.

Posted by bonnie at 3:10 PM | Comments (4)

March 7, 2006

Get Ready for Blast-off, Y'all

So, there was the great news from Saturday, which has made casting How I Lost My Mind and Killed Someone an incredibly surreal experience. Then, there was the amazing dinner with the Damn Skippy Pictures gang (such wonderful people) last night! Today...

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rockstar meeting with the Visualize This team. Yup! Initial (private) breakdown will go out on Friday for Wanderers of the Wasteland. I CANNOT BELIEVE I AM CASTING TWO 7-FIGURE FEATURE FILMS AT ONCE! Any advice on how not to freak out over reaching a career level you only ever dreamed of would be greatly appreciated.

Meanwhile, the script-leaking process begins this week. Such fucking amazing stuff. Truly outrageously synergistically great experiences happening right now. Bummed I had to miss out on the tea with Tovah this afternoon, but I had my own meeting scheduled and that one was seriously kickass enough. I'm sure Joel and Trevor did just fine without me. ;)

Oh! Also got news that Queen of Cactus Cove has made it into yet ANOTHER film festival. Holy crap, we may actually have a shot at the Best Live Action Short Film Oscar in 2007. I can't even wrap my brain around what that would mean/how that would feel.

And maybe that's why all of this stuff keeps happening. I stop leaving room for negativity, I no longer fear saying NO to what isn't working, and I'm not questioning whether it's POSSIBLE to get what I want. Could it really be that simple? Wow. YotL.

Posted by bonnie at 8:36 PM | Comments (2)

March 5, 2006

Bustin' Out

CoCo showed up bearing gifts last night. Not only did she bring my favorite vodka to the party, she also brought amazing news.

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Yup. Conventioneers won at the Independent Spirit Awards last night. Read an interview with director Mora Stephens and then read a review of the film.

Why is this a big deal? Well, when Julia Stiles and Tom Welling have been pitched for the lead roles in a film that's fully funded at the $200K level (because the script is so rockstar brilliant), it's already a good day in the life of a casting director. When the writer/director of that film (How I Lost My Mind and Killed Someone) wins an Independent Spirit Award for writing/producing another film (Conventioneers), suddenly funding at a much higher level becomes guaranteed. And my phone calls to managers and agents tomorrow morning become filled with energy and excitement. We're at a whole new level of awesomeness now. It. Is. On.

And after what will certainly be a rockstar casting day tomorrow (interrupted only for a three-hour series of talks at the drama department at St. Monica's Catholic school across the street), we have a delightful dinner meeting with producer/director/writer/actor friends, followed by a big casting meeting on Tuesday for Wanderers of the Wasteland. Also speaking at Strasberg and teaching in San Diego this week. Busy. Awesome.

PS--Go read My Cousin Joni's Oscar Picks post. She's really smart.

Posted by bonnie at 3:52 PM | Comments (2)

February 14, 2006

Queen of Cactus Cove SCREENING

Queen of Cactus Cove screens in Los Angeles on Thursday, February 23rd, at 7:30pm as a part of the World's Shortest Film Festival. (Hee hee!)

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Click for PDF of the invite!

The World's Shortest Film Festival website also has more information about the festival and a link to RSVP. That site ALSO has the trailer! Woo! So cool!

I am just so excited about the festival life this little film is having. It's all over the place!! Getting such great reviews everywhere it screens! And the METHOD FEST?!? Heck, that's all about performances, right? So... I'm really excited about the casting of such amazing actors in this wonderful film. Very pleased to be able to share the joy at this particular screening.

Posted by bonnie at 6:16 PM | Comments (2)

February 8, 2006

Suckola

Wanna know the definition of suckola? I've got it for ya, right here.

7pm Tuesday: Computer (three-month old iBook G4) dies. Won't boot. Gives an error along the lines of "Invalid sibling link" and "underlying task reported failure on exit", and I only get that info by booting to the Tiger CD and attempting to run Disk Utility from the login screen.

Breathe, Bon. It's okay. You backed up everything on Saturday, so if your computer is dead-dead, at least you still have your life up through the 4th.

Well... sort of.

So, the short story is this: computer died. Fried fried fried. Keith was able to run a combination of Disk Warrior, Disk Utility, and Drive Genius on the computer until he could back up my more-recent-than-Saturday data to the external drive. Still couldn't get the computer to boot though. Ever. EVER. We had a brief conversation about what all we should back up, since we have access. "Documents folder should cover everything, right?" Sure! So, there we go.

And today, Keith goes over to the Apple Store and they confirm that Zed's Dead (OMG, I finally have a name for my computer: Zed! Yay!) and blow out its brains so that we can start from scratch.

Keith comes home and we start with system updates and such. There are a lot of those. Fine. Then we install Microsoft Office 2004, then import my documents folder, which includes my Entourage account settings (and tens of thousands of contacts and emails, plus my Palm backup--see earlier posts on that nightmare issue), and attempt to run Entourage. Woo! It works! Cool!

So, I'm not starting from scratch. I do, in fact, have the last email I received yesterday before the crash (from Ed... heh heh).

Okay, so it's now time to install Final Draft. Oops. We didn't deactivate the code on the computer before Apple blew it out, so we can't use our activation code, since the Final Draft database shows that we're already activated. Eff. We have to go to tech support. $2.50/minute. Eff. They're going to tell us it's time to upgrade anyway. That costs money too. Eff. Okay, fine. Not crucial. Just a pain.

Let's move over to installing In Design and the other great stuff from the Adobe Professional Suite. Oops. Keith lost the CDs. When? Oh, just last week when he took them on his casting job, to show off how you CAN edit PDFs. *grumble* *grumble* He SWEARS he put it back in his bag. Okay, then... where are the CDs now? Yeah, that's what I thought. Eff! Can't write a book without In Design. Can't even open the files for the books I've written in the past without it. Eff!

Fine! Let's install Fetch. Oops. Where are my stored user names and passwords for the 20 or so sites to which I FTP on a semi-regular basis? Oops. Keith Googles. "Looks like those live in your LIBRARY." Okay, great. When did we last back that up? Uh... um... er... EFF!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, I need to breathe again. How 'bout let's open up iTunes so that I can at least enjoy my favorite CDs for a bit. EFFFFFFF! Every effin' CD I imported over the past three or four years... all of the rankings I gave the music... all of the work I did to download cover art and categorize crap... all of the data on how often anything had been played (hell, even the CDs that friends brought over and let me put into iTunes, since I couldn't find my copies of the CDs anymore) is all gone gone gone gone gone!!!!!!!!!!!!! EFFFFFF!

Fine!!!! Let's install Firefox. Holy hell, are you effin' kidding me?!? No bookmarks. No saved passwords. No saved user id info, for that matter. DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY EFFIN' SITES I VISIT EVERY DAY AND HOW LONG IT'S BEEN SINCE I'VE SET UP A PASSWORD ANYWHERE?!? All of that info lives in my stored password file. Where's that? NOT IN THE DOCUMENTS FOLDER, THAT'S FOR DAMN SURE!

So, as we flash back to that moment at 4am, when we discussed backing up EVERYTHING and chose to just back up the documents folder, since that would be enough, we both just laugh. Because what else can you do, really? You have to laugh. It's just that effin' insane.

At this point, I believe I may begin going through my old blog entries (do not ask how many different user names and passwords I had to try just to get into my blog again) to see the things I've linked to in the past, hoping that may begin to ring some bells about the zillions of bookmarks I had and never thought about. If I somehow go missing from a site you're used to seeing me on, please let me know. It could mean I've forgotten how to get there OR that I can't log in anymore.

Have I mentioned my love for pen-and-paper recordkeeping lately?

Son of a BITCH this day is hell!

Bright side: I finally came up with a name for the computer. Zed. Yeah.

Posted by bonnie at 3:56 PM | Comments (13)

Message From Bonnie

Bon's computer died. If you emailed her since Saturday, please do so again, using her email address that is linked here at the BonBlogs.

Posted by chip at 3:31 AM | Comments (2)

February 7, 2006

Updatey

I'm taking a moment to get out of the sun that shines on my "work seat" during this time of day and, from the floor, share some long-overdue updates. It only makes me more giddy that the actor I want THE MOST for one of the roles in HILMMAKS is on TV right now! Hee! It's a sign!

Okay, so the updates.

First, Pamela Newlands (AKA Sassy McLassie, and a contributor to SMFA2) shared this goodie with me. It's an interview with her that ran in the East Kilbride News (and that was subsequently picked up by the wire and run throughout the UK) in which she pimped out my new book.

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Click to see the way-large version.

And if that's too large for you, just click here to see the "all about Bon" part of the piece. *giggle*

Oh, and so it doesn't get buried in comments, I'll share a share from super proofer Julie-O (who has scored a righteous gig recently--ask her about it) a link to Swingline Tot50 staples, though you'd better buy in bulk, with that $8 flat shipping fee. Thanks, Julie-O! Happy stapling, proofers!

Okay, so, for the other giddy, giggle-filled info that I can't technically share with the world yet. Remember that post in which everyone tried to guess stuff about the starfucking namedropping I did? Okay, well, I can't say what, but I can add some names to the collection. Oh, but maybe that's too much. I know! I'll be a link-sharer instead of a name-dropper. How's that? Kiki, does that make me a starlinker instead? Hmm.

Okay, so the links for my *giggle* start here: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. Yes, I've woven in non-names with names, plus earlier-posted names with new ones... just to make it fun. And because everyone loves a good
boost in the starmeter ratings, click this and this too. *giggle*

PS: the word of the day (per this post) is OKAY.

PPS: not telling, Ed. But it's not what you think it is. I'll tell you later. No one knows. Really. Honest.

~2 d, 23 h

Posted by bonnie at 4:52 PM | Comments (5)

February 2, 2006

*giggle*

What do Scott Foley, Julia Stiles, Tracy Pollan, Judith Chapman, Leslie Charleson, Chris Coppola, Jenna Von Oy, Christopher Masterson, David Anders, Andrew Bowen, Jessica Hecht, Richard Riehle, and Harriet Sansom Harris have in common?

I CAN'T TELL YOU!

*giggle*

I just so so so so so so so so so so love my job.

That is all.

Posted by bonnie at 1:23 AM | Comments (11)

January 31, 2006

SMFA2 Is Here!

Yippee!

The second edition of Self-Management for Actors is IN LOS ANGELES! Woo hoo!

Gonna do a little social gathering on Thursday evening, if you're around, in town, and local to Santa Monica. Comment/email for more info. We'd love to have you with us for the wee celebration. Meanwhile, I've GOT to stop freaking out about the idea that maybe I've ruined my book by changing it at all since the first edition. Ah... rebagging groceries, right?

Anyway, stay tuned for big, official events. Meanwhile, I can't wait to hear your review of my new baby!

Posted by bonnie at 6:22 PM | Comments (5)

January 26, 2006

On This Day In Casting History

I received my letter of intent for casting Wanderers of the Wasteland (FKA Swirl) from the amazing Visualize This team;

three directors who are reviewing the script for Retribution (the crime drama shooting in Upstate New York) have come back to me with interest;

and

the morning has been filled with final messenger deliveries for casting suggestions from the "big agencies" on How I Lost My Mind and Killed Someone in anticipation of my meeting with the Hyphenate Films guys this afternoon.

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And the new office looks AMAZING. Surprisingly, I think the "new den" is going to be my new favorite getaway. It's like a library. Little TV for DVD/VHS-watching, speakers from the household sound system (so we can do the whole XM, CDs, radio thingy), all of our non-industry books for pleasure reading, windows on two sides of the room, the lovely ceiling fan, and all of our TOYS! Yeah, that's going to be my new favorite in-home getaway.

One casualty from the redesign: our fax machine. No biggie. I bought it in May 2001 for $30. It's time to upgrade.

Thanks for all of the comments, everyone! I'm so glad to hear from y'all! More updates when I have more than a moment's break. Ack! There goes my SixHundy alarm--letting me know it's time to structure today's A-list actor casting presentation. Woo!

Posted by bonnie at 10:52 AM | Comments (1)

January 11, 2006

Queen Oscar?

Just got this email from Anna Christopher, rockstar director of Queen of Cactus Cove.

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Great news! Queen of Cactus Cove just got into the Florida Film Festival! This is the fifth festival we've been invited since we finished in November but this fest is by far the most important ! The Florida Film Festival is a top ten festival in the US and a qualifying festival for the Oscars. What does that mean? I'll tell ya! The winner of the Grand Jury Prize Award for Best Narrative Short will automatically qualify to enter the Live Action Short Film category of the Academy Awards. Yeah!

I spoke with the festival director today and he told me how much the selection committee loved our film. They got around 600 shorts. They ranked 'em, put the top 60 up on a wall and debated them for 12 hours. Queen never got questioned. He said everyone just loved it for its heart, simplicity, universal appeal, unique setting/characters, strong themes and high quality of filmmaking. Wow! He also said that no one had to champion the film because it was an all-around favorite. Aw, shucks!

Our film will screen twice--once for an audience with 'audience ballots' and once for the Grand Jury and Special Jury. The festival is March 24-April 2. We'll keep you all posted on how Queen does!

Roadtrip, anyone? Effin' awesome news! *beaming happy casting director*

Posted by bonnie at 12:45 PM | Comments (3)

January 6, 2006

Another Festival

The "Queen" has done it again!

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Anyone reading in Michigan, go show some love to Queen of Cactus Cove at the 9th Annual East Lansing Children's Film Festival.

Awesome.

Meanwhile, the revamped casting site has gotten some pretty high-profile attention. I'm now in talks for THREE MORE FEATURE FILMS, all of which will shoot mid-2006. Oh, and that's NOT including How I Lost My Mind and Killed Someone, about which I'm already so freeeeekin' excited.

2006. Rockstar year.

Now, if we could get rid of these pesky Santa Ana winds, I'd be über-blissed out.

Posted by bonnie at 1:35 PM | Comments (1)

January 3, 2006

Film News

Great news about a few films I've cast.

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Trees Grow Tall and Then They Fall will have its first public screening on Friday, 13 January 2006 at Raleigh Studios, Hollywood. I can get a limited number of guest passes. Lemmeknow if you want to join us for the screening of this awesome dogma film.

Hombre Kabuki (AKA Each To Each) has been named an official selection of the San Francisco Independent Film Festival and will screen between February 2nd and 14th. More details when available.

Queen of Cactus Cove, after being named Best Live-Action Short at the LA International Children's Film Festival, has been invited to screen at the San Diego International Children's Film Festival between April 7th and 9th. Before then, however, we have a campaign for which YOU can help! While we didn't get into the Cinequest Festival, we have been invited (as a "high scorer among programmers") to screen at Cinequest Online. They have a Viewers' Voice Competition in which visitors to the website can register, screen films, and VOTE in February 2006 to determine which films will then screen between March 7th and 12th in San José. Check back for a direct link. Our film's not up there yet.

More cool stuff going on with projects for 2006, details of which will be shared when appropriate. ;) Hee hee. Life, she is good.

Posted by bonnie at 6:59 AM | Comments (1)

January 2, 2006

Flickering Image Film Festival

Please join us Saturday, 7 January 2006 at the AFI Mark Goodson Auditorium, 2021 Western Ave., Hollywood 90027 for the screening of the ten winning films for the 2006 Flickering Image Film Festival.

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I'm pretty dang happy--having co-founded this li'l festival a few years back. This year, I'll be moderating a panel featuring Gary Marsh (Breakdown Services), Nick McCarthy (*Alpha 60), and Joel Viertel (Hyphenate Films). The panel discussion begins at 5pm and the winners' screening is at 7pm.

There is a requested donation of $2 admission at the door. Reservations are not required but seating IS limited. For more info and a map, click here. Hope to see y'all there!

Posted by bonnie at 4:52 AM | Comments (0)

December 29, 2005

Oh Thank God

News regarding Eric Gelman's killer:

Transient Arrested For Stabbing Death Of Waiter.

Thank God.

We miss you, Eric.

Posted by bonnie at 7:16 PM | Comments (1)

December 18, 2005

All Hail the Queen!

Congratulations, Queen of Cactus Cove cast and crew (*giggle*)...

on having the BEST LIVE-ACTION SHORT at the Los Angeles International Children's Film Festival, 2005.

Here's to many, many more awards in 2006!

Posted by bonnie at 5:41 PM | Comments (1)

December 16, 2005

Synchronicity

There is something so beautiful about the way life works sometimes.

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We make a casting decision late today on Still of the Night and I call the actor's agent. The voicemail has already been switched on, indicating the agency (one of the biggies) is closed until 4 January 2006. I don't HAVE to have this guy's contract locked today, but I sure as hell need him to know the offer has been made, get at least a verbal yes, and move forward in good faith with letting the non-cast actors' representatives know status.

I go to IMDB-Pro to look up this actor's manager info. Nope. Wrong info. Call the management company, whose employees have never heard of him... obviously outdated info. Fine. Call the attorney of record (for no reason other than to be SURE that someone, somewhere knows an offer is coming over). Leave a message with assistant.

Exhale. This may be as far as I can get with this deal this year.

Couple of hours later, phone rings... it's the attorney. I give him all of the info about the project, he says he'll do his best to get the info to his client, just so that we can know if he's even going to be available to do it (he's a series regular on a hot new show right now), we joke about how we're still busy at work at dark on the day when everyone in Hollywood left town at noon for the rest of the year. Hee hee, ho ho, good convo. Six minutes, tops.

One of the things he says, at the end of the conversation, is that he's very well-versed (surprisingly) in indie film deals, seeing as he reps a few producers and has built more than a few distribution deals, writer packaging, blah blah blah, and maybe we should get to know each other better.

Yes.

Let's do that. I tell him I'm just about to hit my three-year mark with casting, the next film I've got on my plate is a $2M feature film that I'm just really excited about, I'm movin' on up, yada yada, and it might be a good time for me to take a meeting at this level.

Why NOT have someone who is PAID (commission) to read scripts and negotiate my casting deals for me? Why NOT?!?

I'm sooooo in.

Oh, and a footnote... the owner of the big-deal agency that had been closed a few hours earlier just called me on his cell to give me a verbal yes on the deal, let me know how much his client loved auditioning for me and specifically for this project, and that we'll do the paperwork in the new year, "Tell Gary Marsh that I love him when you have dinner with him next week," and so on.

Life... she is goooooooooooooooood.

AND--Keith is on his way home with well-reviewed gluten-free pizza crust so that I can have something I've been craving (but finding unsatisfactory) for the year I've been gluten-free. Yippee! I just LOVE it when it all comes together! Thanks, universe! You rock!

Posted by bonnie at 5:59 PM | Comments (1)

December 12, 2005

Happy Casting Director

So, y'know I love to brag about the amazing casts I bring together for such GREAT films, right? Well... this one is different. Last night, I attended the World Premiere of Queen of Cactus Cove with the cast, crew, and our families.

And I cried.

Yes, I always cry when I see a film I've cast (and that's been four that have actually had public screenings thus far--another four not yet filmed, the other nine still in post), but this film was BEAUTIFUL. I am in awe of the cinamatography, the brilliant direction, perfect writing, and natural acting. Hell, to single elements out is unfair to the whole film--which is PERFECT. I was so giddy after the screening. I hugged the actors who turned out for the screening and gushed about how they made me look brilliant for casting them. Man... this is EXACTLY why I do this job.

And today I spoke with a friend/filmmaker/writer/actor who told me he is paying his casting director $10K to cast his film. Yeah. Y'know what... I'm going to start getting paid better in 2006. Starting up with HILMMAKS is a good launchpad. Man, the feedback on this script is amazing. I'm so happy to be casting it.

In other news, MCJ was here for a visit and it rocked. We had friends over for fun, drinks, games, and loads of gossip. And some emotions... Yeah. Did you know that when I drink I'm emotional? Oh, wait... did you know that when I breathe I'm emotional? Damn Cancer-the-Crab stuff. Oh well, in the company of good friends, it's all okay.

Okay, so I wasn't able to make the final casting offers as scheduled for Still of the Night, so I'll do those tomorrow (I hope). The book is at the printer, and that's a big sigh of relief. Keith is averaging about six national commercial auditions (and one callback) per week lately. It's just a matter of time. Rock on!

Posted by bonnie at 6:59 PM | Comments (0)

December 10, 2005

Yippee!

MCJ is on her way to LAX. Keith is on his way to pick her up. We're having people over this late afternoon/early evening, so if you're interested, call or email or comment here and we'll tell you when, where, and what to bring, if you're so inclined on the latter. ALETA IS BRINGING FUDGE!

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Oh, and I had a dream last night in which I was a prostitute (yes, we're still trying to cast the prostitute role in Still of the Night) and my second customer was Danny DeVito. I took one of his condoms with me to the upfronts with cousin Faith and disposed of it after I got off the boat that delivered us from the screening of Faith's new show back to the press lodge.

Um... okay.

Oh! If you come over tonight, be prepared--our next door neighbor moved after Thanksgiving, so they've been fixing up her place for the newbies, and that means lots and lots of PAINT FUMES 'round here! Woo hoo!

Posted by bonnie at 10:15 AM | Comments (3)

December 8, 2005

Self-Management for Actors (2nd edition)

It's up. The site, at least.

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Phew!

Just a few more weeks 'til the new baby is on the shelves. And only six weeks late! Woo hoo!

Thanks proofers, contributors, artists, and all wonderful supporters. Much love!

Posted by bonnie at 11:53 PM | Comments (2)

December 1, 2005

Inked!

A new casting gig. Woo hoo!

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'member the guys who did the brilliant Al Keyda short from the Bush In 30 Seconds days? Well, they've hired me to cast their next feature film. And it's seriously one of the best scripts I've read. Ever. And I've read a lot of really great scripts lately.

This one's like Se7en meets Fight Club meets Pulp Fiction, with all of the twists in time and perception and from whose frame of reference/POV we live the experience, etc. I love it!

Anyway... final offers for Still of the Night will be heading out next week (another effin' rockstar film with a nice, big cast) and more news on the next one (How I Lost My Mind and Killed Someone--great title, eh?) will always show up here or at Cricket Feet's casting site (which is due a redesign shortly).

And if you can't view the video of Al Keyda at the link above, try this one. Is that CoCo behind the desk? So cool!

Posted by bonnie at 1:04 AM | Comments (1)

November 18, 2005

Queen of Cactus Cove NEWS

Oh, I'm so excited! Just got news that my third 2005 film-I-cast screening experience has been scheduled.

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Queen of Cactus Cove has been accepted to the Los Angeles International Children's Film Festival.

From the site:

At 5:15pm [December 11, 2005] we feature the Teen Gumbo program, short films highlighting the modern US teen experience. We are proud to present the world premiere of the short film Queen of Cactus Cove, directed by Anna Christopher. In attendance will be the star of the film, Alia Shawkat, co-star of the popular television series Arrested Development, along with co-star Alex Frost, who appeared in the Gus Van Sant film Elephant.

Heeeeeeee! I'm just pleased as punch. *beaming, happy casting director*

Posted by bonnie at 1:30 AM | Comments (0)

November 17, 2005

Oh, and...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CHIP!

Posted by bonnie at 8:22 PM | Comments (2)

November 16, 2005

"Casting Qs" Event Tonight!

Brentano's November 2005 Book Signing Events

Stop By Brentano's in November to meet your favorite authors:

Wednesday, November 16, 2005 at 7:00PM - Bonnie Gillespie Casting Workshop with casting director discussing Casting Qs (bring your headshots) (Performing Arts)

For further information, please contact Brentano's at (310) 785-0204
Brentano's Century City
10250 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles CA, 90067

Posted by bonnie at 11:44 AM | Comments (1)

November 1, 2005

New Casting Gig

Still of the Night, an ensemble dramatic SAG ULB feature film, to shoot January 2006.

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Watch for breakdown later today. Woo hoo!

Posted by bonnie at 12:46 PM | Comments (1)

October 26, 2005

Quite a Loss

I just learned that the dear, sweet, talented Sue Ozeran passed away last week (after having survived pancreatic cancer for seven years) due to stomach cancer. Her friends Muriel Minot and Terrence Beasor wrote a loving tribute to her at the SAGActor.com board (you may have to register to read it).

I was fortunate enough to have been able to cast Sue in Queen of Cactus Cove earlier this year, after she'd made it to final callbacks on FIVE of the films I had cast prior to that one.

It is always tough to lose a talented performer who loves life and thrives on sharing her gifts with the world. Even tougher when that amazing person is a friend. Rest in peace, dear Sue. My prayers are with Bud and the rest of your sweet family.

Posted by bonnie at 10:25 PM | Comments (2)

Hah!

I get to have lunch with my favorite palindrome in a little over 11 hours.

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Hee hee! Hannah had soooooo much fun on her studio tour that we'll be taking it easy, El Cholo style, before we send her on her way back to Athens.

Coooooool.

PS--She says hi. She's been trying to check in dial-up style from the hotel, but it's not been too easy. I won't spoiler her story about the pier and impractical shoes. ;)

Posted by bonnie at 1:43 AM | Comments (1)

October 22, 2005

Ooh, that was a good one!

Nothin' like a nice 3.0 rollin' quake right here in Santa Monica to congratulate Keith on four years in SoCal (tomorrow)!

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Click to enlarge.

And because our server lives in Santa Monica, that would make Cricket Feet down. Again. What a great week iPower Web has been having! :\

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You're comin' to the party tomorrow, right?

Posted by bonnie at 8:49 PM | Comments (1)

October 17, 2005

Two Things

1. Email woes are over. Woo damn hoo! (PS--They're over b/c Keith talked the stupid tech guys THROUGH their system to find the problem. Sheesh!)

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2. Happy birthday, Def Jam Becca MC! You rock, celebrity girl! So glad I know you! Remember, tell that hubby to turn OFF the Effin' Fox News and treat you right. ;)

Posted by bonnie at 6:43 PM | Comments (1)

Glitch

Cricket Feet email is down. If you've tried to reach me since about 10:15pm Sunday, 16 October 2005 using any of the Cricket Feet email accounts, I've never seen the mail... I won't see the mail... and you won't get a bounce-back to let you know I've not received the mail.

Cool, eh?

*grumble*

Best news? No idea when they'll have it fixed. WHO ASKED THEM TO MOVE OUR MX RECORDS TO BEGIN WITH?!?

*grrrrr*

Posted by bonnie at 11:45 AM | Comments (1)

October 15, 2005

Color Me Happy!

The first review for Shrinks is here!

Click to enlarge.

Martini Republic's review of the play included such lavish praise as this:

The script, in fact, moves a lot like one of those staccato black-and-white 300-page-screenplay '40s romps....
[Maria] Jenson does not shy away from the precarious, she engages it head-on, and walks away clean almost every time. There's a sustained white-on-black Afrocentric exchange between [Lorin] McCraley and [Christopher] Grossett that unfolds in an entertainingly excruciating manner; it's like a Curb Your Enthusiasm improv where Larry David commits as many racial faux pas in as short a period as possible. Part of this play's appeal is the way it flirts with danger, inviting fantasy and cliché, Latinate diction and psychobabble, Brecht and Aristotle, all into the same room. So many ideas, so many demands on talent! Like her play, Ms. Jenson...only gets better and better.

*sniffle* I'm just about the happiest damn casting director on the planet. So proud! Opening night... sold out. We'll be there shortly. Woo hoo!

Posted by bonnie at 5:54 PM | Comments (1)

October 14, 2005

Home Sweet Home

Ahhhhh....

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Copperwynd was heaven... a lovely honeymoon-slash-Nonaversary celebration with lots of special everythings. Came home to three fat cats, a couple hundred emails, and a wedding present waiting for us. Heeeeeeeeee.

I'm beat. But, MAN, we both feel GREAT!

Shrinks opens tomorrow night. So excited!

Much to catch up on, but must sleep first, methinks. Ahhhhhhhh.

Posted by bonnie at 7:54 PM | Comments (0)

October 9, 2005

Yo, Proofers...

So, I've pulled a major all-weekender and gotten bootyloads of work done on the updates to the new edition of the book (woo damn hoo), and that means it's time to get to the proofing!

I think I've sent invitations to all of the proofer patrol members who re-upped for this edition to join the new let's-keep-it-all-in-one-place Yahoo group. If you're in for the proofing but haven't received your invite, click and join, please. Updates are happening FAST (got that Nonaversary trip coming up).

Yes, five-weeks-to-printer was ambitious. It'll be more like seven. It's gonna be okay... still out just before we sell out of the first edition (by like a dozen copies, if the math works out).

PS--THREE new scripts this week for casting, each with a budget near $2M. Rockstar!

Posted by bonnie at 10:22 PM

October 4, 2005

Well, That Was Fun

So, I just got off the phone from an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

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Meanwhile, enjoying watching the amazingly talented Kim Estes and Jasmine Jessica Anthony (two actors I cast in A New Tomorrow) on Commander in Chief.

We've booked our Nonaversary trip (yippee)!! And life, she is good.

Meanwhile, if anyone has a print subscription to THR and sees the blurb, could you save a copy of that edition for me? Thanks!

Edited to add: looks like Steve Tom is also in this episode. (He's contributing to the new edition of Self-Management for Actors. Hee.)

Posted by bonnie at 9:43 PM

Mitchell Fink on TV

Okay, so once upon a time, I met a guy online (yeah, that seems to happen a lot in my life, but that's not what this is about).

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Well, turns out, Mitchell Fink would end up moving to Hollywood and taking this town by storm. Watch the rockstar at work, all this month.

CSI on October 6th, The OC on October 13th, Cold Case on October 16th, and Still Standing on October 19th.

MitchellW (VIP) posted 01-07-2003 03:48 PM
I know I have never met you, but when I get to Los Angeles this summer, you will high on the list of people to meet.

I got the book last night and read a pretty good chunk of it and I am so impressed!

Great content, great insight and it's so nice to break down the wall of fears associated with CDs.

Love it...keep up the great work!

Mitchell
CastingQs (Administrator) posted 01-07-2003 09:42 PM
Yay! Love meeting new people!!

I am SO glad you like the book! Yay! That makes me very happy. That's the goal: for the whole "meeting-the-casting director" issue to be demystified. I'm glad it's giving you some good ideas for your approach, once you get to meet with some of these folks.

Thank you very much for the feedback. Do good work--and we'll meet soon!

-Bon.


Yes... I'm a wee bit proud. ;)

PS--Camille Mana, you were smokin' in the bathing suit on One on One tonight. C'mon, girl! You work it!

Posted by bonnie at 12:34 AM

October 2, 2005

Two Dogs Inside

New casting gig, y'all! Woo hoo! Two Dogs Inside is the title.

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Six speaking roles, shoots four days in November, SAG Short Film contract, copies, credits, meals, etc. Breakdown will go out tomorrow morning on Actors Access and through Breakdown Services, natch.

This is going to be a very cool, edgy little film--produced by those amazing Queen of Cactus Cove people I worked with earlier this year. Woo damn hoo!

PS--Got word that the producers-only screening of Trees Grow Tall... and Then They Fall was rockstar and that we'll be having the big screening soon. Awesome. I like October better already!

Posted by bonnie at 9:30 PM

Quite a Loss

Rest in peace, Mr. Wilson.

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You will be missed.

Posted by bonnie at 6:57 PM

September 28, 2005

See How Joseph Montana Loves Me?

He sent me one of these today.

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Sad to say so long to the Chicklet, but Keith's ThinkPad has been fried for a few months, so at least the Chicklet goes to a good lap in the same room.

Haven't come up with a name for the new iBook (and it's way bigger than the Chicklet), but since it has like a gig and a half of RAM and a DVD burner, I guess I can handle the extra heft.

Heeeeeeee. Love new toys! Love Joseph Montana! Love my sister Liz! Love my hubby Keith! Heeeeeeeeeeeeee. NEW CAR SMELL ROCKS!

Posted by bonnie at 11:26 PM

September 26, 2005

Leaving the House

Yep. I'm going to leave the house today. And tomorrow. Ooh! Very exciting.

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Yes. That's all the news I have right now. Zzzzzzzzzzz.

Posted by bonnie at 4:01 PM

September 24, 2005

My Work, In Public

Some cool opportunities to see my casting work out there...

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Click for the big version.

The opening night party should be really outstanding! Buy tix here. (Yes, I will be there on the 15th.)

This weekend (and no, I'm not healthy enough to leave the house yet), there's a cool cast/filmmaker Q&A and screening of the first film I ever cast (A Dull House) at Film Society tomorrow night.

And, a reminder to my east coast peeps, The Moor will be screening at the Hamptons International Film Festival in October.

Yeah, I'm like a proud big sis or something. It's cool to see my work comin' around in public. Neat-o.

Posted by bonnie at 3:52 PM

September 21, 2005

Acting Qs Book Event 9/21/05

Blake Robbins (co-author and working actor) and I will be doing a book signing and talk with Jill Andre and Stephon Fuller (both working actors we interviewed in our book Acting Qs: Conversations with Working Actors) at Brentano's, Century City, on Wednesday, 9/21/05 at 7pm.

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Brentano's is located at 10250 Santa Monica Blvd. 90067.

Woo hoo!

PS--Camille Mana may also stop by!

Posted by bonnie at 1:25 AM

September 20, 2005

And... SCENE!

Cool. It's raining.

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As Keith would say: "Rain. Classic literary symbol for change."

Good.

After a very fitful night of semi-sleep, I woke up around 4am with a searingly sore throat and the need to blow my nose... a bunch. But somehow, my head felt CLEAR.

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That braincloud crap I've been enduring for just over a week was seemingly gone.

So, I came into the livingroom, began sorting paperwork for the new book (busywork, to sort of see whether the panic had passed or was just hiding), and within an hour... RAIN.

Felt like that moment in the movie when you realize everything's gonna be okay, in spite of everything.

Awesome.

Posted by bonnie at 5:15 AM

September 15, 2005

Hey, Proofer Patrol

Early request of the proofer patrol for the 2nd editon of Self-Management for Actors:

If you are on my proofer patrol and you have the first edition handy, could you be so awesome as to "bunny up" to do one of the following things?

1. Look up every casting director whose name is in the book (you can use the index for help) and find out whether they are now (or no longer) members of the CSA and/or CCDA?

2. Look up every casting director whose name is in the book (again, you can use the index for help) and find out what their most recent credits are (this is an IMDB job)?

3.

4. Visit the sites in the Online Resources section of the book and determine if those sites still exist and, if they do, if the description is accurate?

Holla, helpas! You get copies of the book and my undying love! Oh, and acks in the acks section, of course! Deadline... October 1st, so there's plenty o'time.

Posted by bonnie at 9:18 PM

September 14, 2005

Congrats, Camille!

So, last week, Keith and I went to a taping of Camille Mana's new TV series, One on One. Very cute.

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Well, starting next Monday (the 19th), you can see her every week at 8pm on UPN! Woo hoo!

You may recall that Camille is featured in my book Acting Qs. Hee hee! Yay! Speaking of the little book: co-author Blake Robbins will be on The OC for the next two weeks *and* the wonderful Bob Clendenin (along with his wife Erin, of course) has welcomed his second son into the world! Woo hoo! Further, Jill Andre (who smoked up the screen in The Moor Sunday night) will be joining me and Blake on the 21st at Brentano's for a talk and book signing.

Oh, how much I love bragging on my friends!!

'member when I was all airheady a few months ago? Well, I'm there again. I really hate it. Anyone recall how that ended up leaving my life, after having been such a pain in the ass for me? Really hate feeling all out of sorts.

Def Jam Becca MC got me a wedding present: a link to a way cool Gluten-Free blog. Thanks, Becca!

And, as if my blog is in retrograde, both my Google ads *and* Blogpatrol are now broken. WTF?

Okay, back to the good stuff: congrats, Camille, Blake, Bob, Jill, and everyone else in my life who's doing some really cool, amazing work! (Even spied Subhash on TV today!) Me? Gotta get my head grounded and then I can get these book revisions going. HUGE THANKS TO THE PROOFER PATROL AND CONTRIBUTORS ALREADY ONBOARD!!

Posted by bonnie at 11:45 PM

September 13, 2005

Oh, All Right!

We're telling people.

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Click images for larger views.

Thanks to our most wonderful hush-hush friends for helping us keep this private for as long as we have. And congrats to those who figured it out despite our best efforts to keep it very low-key.

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Honestly, doing this with only four days of planning was a lot less stressful than the way we were trying to do it back in 2002. And keeping it private was a nice way to honor the intimacy of it all.

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So, yeah. I'm a Mrs. Who'dathunkit?!? Tee hee.

Posted by bonnie at 6:19 AM

September 12, 2005

Congrats, Kathy!

Congratulations to Kathy Joosten for winning her first Emmy!

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Coverage of the awards-before-the-big-awards event here.

Posted by bonnie at 7:39 PM

Love, Love Me Do...

...you know I love you! I'll always be true. So, please... love me do!

So, the beautiful film The Moor screened tonight at the LA International Short Film Festival--which rocked like a cradle!

BTW--The Moor is hitting the Hamptons Film Fest next. Rock on, rockstar film! As CoCo said, it's the feel good romantic comedy of the year, yo? ;)

There were many wonderful films at this screening, which made me way happy (and there were many way cool actors, producers, directors, writers, and other Bon camp folks). Also, there were actors I love in the house, who I'll cast any time--plus some potential love connections. I hate that some of the people we were most excited about hanging with ended up having to go home, but it was still a great night. Real life happens. What can ya do?

More than that, it was a great MORNING. I met with many filmmakers who are at that amazing "gotta hire someone to cast my next film" stage. And maybe they want me. That could be cool.

Still, I must focus on the book before I find room to cast more films.

Damn you, time management! ;)

Good night. Good times. I cried like a baby for the first two minutes of The Moor and said that it's that whole, "Everything relies on my ability to do my job right," thing. I think I was just really, really proud.

Ah, it was way gratifying, all the way around.

Oh, and... you should read this...

No politics. Just what it is.

Posted by bonnie at 1:59 AM

September 9, 2005

New Favorite TV Channel

You know me. I don't sleep on any "normal" schedule. So, around 4am when I've emptied the TiVo and need to have something on while I work, I now go to Google Current.

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This is what I think "reality" TV should be. Really brave, self-produced and submitted POV "pods" with on-screen status bars so you know, going in, how long the pod is and how far along in the story you are.

I first saw a pod about Katrina (and the warnings that came years ahead of time, graphic depictions of land loss, timeline of evacuation and rescue activities, all set to Flood by Jars of Clay*) last week and was hooked.

Last night, I watched for hours... further hooked. THIS is what TV is coming to. Wikipedia-like self-correcting viewer-scored user-submitted pods on everything. So long, CNN. Rock on, Google Current. I'm in.

*Lift me up--when I'm falling
Lift me up--I'm weak and I'm dying
Lift me up--I need you to hold me
Lift me up--and keep me from drowning again...

Posted by bonnie at 1:27 AM

September 7, 2005

Revisionist

Okay, so it's time to revise Self-Management for Actors and get it on the shelves by 15 November 2005.

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Yes. You read that right. I will attempt to turn this book around and hand off to the printers in FIVE WEEKS, max. Soooooo... if I seem to hibernate for a while, that's what's what. And if I spend way too much time blogging, know I'm procrastinating and kick my bootie, okay?

Proofer patrol... you up for some more?

Oh, and Joni, it seems we need to start our production company soon. I've been hearing that would be a way good thing. 'Til then... gotta write, yo!

Posted by bonnie at 1:17 AM

September 6, 2005

Too Angry To Blog

Why haven't I blogged (much) about Katrina? Well, I tend not to get political in my blog entries (anyone who knows me knows where I stand on most issues--and those who don't know me can probably place safe bets, based on my words when I *am* vocal about political issues) and when I think about the state of disaster relief (and the lack of action that could've occurred BEFORE the disaster to lessen the loss), I get pissed.

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Watched most of the 48 Hours' episode on Katrina and, in a story about FEMA, heard this gem:

What does FEMA say about all this? That this was a storm like no other. Local FEMA coordinator Michael Beeman says he doesn't want to bring in too many people too fast and overtax the devastated infrastructure.

"How many of you are having problems getting gas and you're asking us to bring more people in here? What we're trying to do is to think the process out," he says.


THINK THE PROCESS OUT? Are you fucking kidding me? No, I'm not asking anyone to charge in anywhere half-cocked, but for the love of God, FEMA, don't you EXIST to be in service when disaster strikes? Isn't a part of your raison d'être the fact that you HAVE FUCKING PLANS IN PLACE FOR HOW TO HANDLE DISASTERS?

This is an embarrassment, plain and simple.

I don't care what your politics are. Bureaucracy at this level isn't ABOUT your political agenda or your beliefs. Bureaucracy at this level equals an abandonment of a population. This is a form of genocide.

Posted by bonnie at 9:02 PM

September 5, 2005

Happy Birthday to MCJ

Some years ago, my cousin Joni was born on this day.

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This is her, just a few years later. (That's me, on her bootie.)

When we start our production company in a few years, some version of that photo will be our logo. I can't say much more, as it's all very top secret. ;) Hee hee.

Happy birthday, JoJo!

Posted by bonnie at 3:03 PM

September 1, 2005

More Film News

Okay, so I did the big email inviting folks to the screening for The Moor and got replies back from the producers of several other films I've cast, sharing status updates. Yippee!

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Looks like Each To Each has spawned Hombre Kabuki, which is screening on 9/9 at the Breckenridge Film Festival! How cool is that?!? Two films screening in one weekend, both at festivals! I'm such a proud casting director!

In other casting activity, I got word that there was need for a recast on one of the roles in A New Tomorrow, so I hooked 'em up with some help today. Also, still heavy on phones with Teenage Dirtbag casting activities. We should have cast locked by late next week.

Looks like Trees Grow Tall... and Then They Fall will have a cast party/screening in September and a cast member of Queen of Cactus Cove emailed to say she finished ADR today, so that's almost finished too. Ooooooh, I'm so excited to finally get to see so much of my work on screen. Yippee!

Sorry I haven't had a lot of updates lately... just not much time. Let's see what I can address quickly. The book event at Brentano's is now an Acting Qs' event on 9/21, with guests from the book (Yay! Like Inside the Actor's Studio, but in a bookstore). The CD panel for young actors is now in a new location on 11/19. And... my rock-n-roll brother is coming in town tomorrow night. We'll go to Keith's staged reading of a screenplay, then play for a day 'til he has to fly home. Fun!

Posted by bonnie at 12:50 AM

August 29, 2005

The Moor: Los Angeles Premiere

I'm so very excited! I hope you'll all be able to join me in celebrating the Los Angeles premiere screening of The Moor at 8pm on Sunday, 11 September 2005 at the Arclight as a part of the LA International Short Film Festival.

Woo hoo! This is only the second public film screening of the 15 films I've cast thus far in my career. I'm very proud of this one and I hope everyone enjoys the beautiful story as much as I do. Russell Banks wrote the story and his daughter Caerthan adapted it and directed the 35mm film with an amazing cast and crew!

You can view the trailer here: The Moor (QuickTime 1.9mb).

As usual, with film festivals, there are no free passes, so I'll understand if you can't make it to this one. Still, wanted to get the word out. Also, on that same day, Gary Marsh of Breakdown Services and I will be doing a panel ("Producing Your Film from A to Z") with a few other wonderful people who help steer filmmakers through the indie production process.

Since I'm in an updatey mood, here are some other things coming up in the next few months:

Fun stuff, fun stuff, fun stuff! Yippee!

Posted by bonnie at 7:04 PM

August 25, 2005

Scout FOUND

Going public was a hard decision for Lylith and family, but I'm sure they're glad they did it.

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Within 24 hours of issuing a statement, they were given the gift of Scout Taylor-Compton's SAFE return HOME!

And really, that's all anyone wanted! Blessings galore!

As one friend said:

They will still need our prayers and support as they put this behind them and move forward.

Thank you, EVERYONE, for your support and legwork in helping get Scout home safe! May we live in a world where all news stories about missing children end so very happily!

Posted by bonnie at 1:29 PM

August 24, 2005

Media Coverage: Scout Taylor-Compton

Stressful day. But the word is out and that will help.

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Links to stories (with photos) about Scout Taylor-Compton:
Yahoo! News
Zap2it
E! News Live
AccessHollywood

I'll keep updating. I have footage of Scout from her taped audition for Teenage Dirtbag as well as her demo reel, but I want to speak with Lylith about that material before sharing it. Check back.

Meanwhile, a thanks from Lylith for everyone's willingness to post flyers and spread the word while letting her (and Scout's excellent publicist, Laura Marks--with whom I did a panel discussion for Showfax's Actors 101 series two years ago) deal with the media.

Posted by bonnie at 8:35 PM

August 23, 2005

"What can I do?"

The most asked question of late is, "What can I do to help bring Scout Taylor-Compton home?" The answer is: "Put up flyers (wherever you are). Link to the flyers. Use passive spread-the-word techniques like including a link to the flyers in your everyday emails and posts. Put a flyer in the window of your car."

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And in the spirit of "if a picture paints a thousand words, a video must paint a million," clicking on the above screen capture of Scout will launch a 2.4 MB QuickTime video file (scout.mov) of an outstanding PSA Scout did last year.

Bring Scout HOME.

Posted by bonnie at 4:38 PM

Scout Taylor-Compton: Still Missing

"Other stuff" below. But first, this update on Scout Taylor-Compton.

In my email exchanges with Scout's mom in the wee hours of Monday morning, I have been reminded what strength and grace exists. Everyone, please know that your prayers, your vibes, your willingness to hit the streets with the flyers (wherever you live) help. Truly.

I wanted to share this photo of Scout as a blonde, in case her hair has been changed since she was last seen on the 12th.

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Please, if you have seen Scout, call 1-800-THE-LOST immediately.

Other stuff...

Final callbacks were bittersweet (since Scout was not there), but fantastic. Teenage Dirtbag casting information will come out soon. I am such a fan of so many amazing actors in this town. What a blessing their creative energy and passion is to us all! Brilliant work!

My big brother Bill loves me so much! He recommended a chiropractor IN MY 'HOOD (which rocks, since my chiropractor of six years retired last month) after reading my last blog entry. Awesome. Thanks, bro. I'm calling in the ayem.

I am questioning my sanity at enduring Inside 9/11 on the National Geographic Channel. Keith told me that he would NOT be watching, as it angers him to "kill" levels. Marines with combat experience get like that, so I don't question it. But I have to watch. So, last night (while emailing with Chairman at E! and Lylith about Scout) I watched the first half of the documentary. I'm watching the last half tonight. I'm shaking and quaking with pain, grief, disgust... Thank God they've edited this documentary to include tales of righteous heroism between steady doses of tragedy or I wouldn't be able to take it. I'll report more about this at Monitoring the Culture momentarily.

I simply keep trying to understand the world we live in. Isn't that all any of us can do? I have to constantly remember the millions upon millions of miracles I witness every day to try and balance the sadness I feel right now. It takes my breath away.

Get Scout home NOW. NOW. NOW.

Posted by bonnie at 1:30 AM

August 21, 2005

Scout Taylor-Compton

I will continue to blog my silly-little-life stuff when time permits, but I wanted to get this update to you, regarding my last post on Scout Taylor-Compton.

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What follows has come from Scout's family:

Scout Taylor Compton, a good friend to many kids in the biz, is MISSING, and the family is requesting help. They are asking everyone not to speculate on why she is missing, but to concentrate on helping to find her.

Please print out the attached poster and hang it up anywhere and everywhere. Banks, grocery stores, retail stores, malls, library, etc. Print extra copies and have them in your car, available to hang up if you are visiting somewhere, or in a town other than yours. Please HELP!

The flyer, in PDF format, is available here. Most copy service companies will print missing children flyers for free (B&W) and reduced cost (color).

Prayers continue here, Lylith and family. We know and trust Scout will make it home safely very soon.

Posted by bonnie at 9:15 PM

August 19, 2005

A Little Freaked Out

So, after sleeping for 30 hours (with a total of three hours up; one to cancel my day's plans and take some medicine, two to watch bad TV, take more medicine, and blog), I finally dragged my arse out of bed to get the callbacks for Teenage Dirtbag scheduled for Monday.

First check of the email brings this from a manager friend about Scout Taylor-Compton:

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It's a poster from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children for an actor we have been looking at for the lead in this film (heck, I've looked at Scout for the lead in four films so far this year).

Usually, links in emails about missing kids turn out to be hoaxes, so I'm conflicted even putting this up here, but I'm so very concerned that it's true--see, Scout had to put her audition for me on tape from out of town because she was on location for a film, staying with the director's family. She was scheduled to be back in LA within days of the "MISSING SINCE" date on the poster.

I'm just really freaked out here. Please, if you're into prayer, pray that Scout makes her way home safely. If you'd prefer sending good vibes, that's cool too. I'll be sure to post an update as soon as I get one.

9:14pm edit: a message from Scout's mom.

First of all, let us just say that we are overwhelmed with the response from the acting community concerning Scout's disappearance. So many people have offered to help in any way that they can, and it's truly appreciated.

At this time all we can say is that the authorities are investigating the issue. The classification of Endangered Runaway was given to get her into the system immediately. As soon as they have all of the information needed, the classification will be upgraded.

Those of you who know Scout, who know our family, know deep in your hearts what to believe. It saddens us that such horrible rumors could be generated and spread at a time like this.

I can tell you, that this is the hardest thing we have ever been through. As a friend stated to me this morning... the worst thing in the entire world must be not having your child around. Unfortunately we can tell you first hand that this is true. Hug your children.

If anyone has any information regarding Scout, please call the National Center for Missing Children at 1-800-THE-LOST, or the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department at 760-245-4211.

Please email Scout's family with information you may have at Scout_Taylor_Compton@yahoo.com.

Posted by bonnie at 3:21 AM

August 18, 2005

Here's What Sucks

Get obessed with working out.
Find that working out pretty much fixes every other stress in life.
Begin relying on workouts to balance stress.

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Get sick.
Wonder if working out while sick is a good idea.
Learn it's probably not.
Have loads of stress and no energy to face the stress, no outlet for the stress, and loads of restlessness over this situation.

Back to bed. Ugh.

Posted by bonnie at 4:55 PM

August 15, 2005

Hey. Busy.

Did I share this with y'all yet?

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Click to see the Wal*Mart page.

And, it seems that my friend Brad sees this in my future:

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Hee hee.

Still editing tape for Teenage Dirtbag producers to watch online in Idaho. Callbacks next week. I'm exhausted. Very busy week, here.

PS--Quite enjoying watching Paradise Hotel (and the post-show interviews) on Fox Reality Channel. What a flashback to my life of May 2003!

PPS--Oh, Greer, I tried to watch your new show but I just can't get past Kyra's bad accent.

Posted by bonnie at 7:31 PM

August 11, 2005

Another Friend To Brag About

Yay! Amy Harber did one of those "hometown press" interviews I so love, and lookee here:

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Click image for the article.

I'm so pleased to have been mentioned as an author whose book had a positive impact on Amy's acting career (alongside my book-mentor Judy Kerr) and to have been mentioned as a "friend" who shared some words of wisdom with this talented actor!

Hee hee! You GO girl! Way to work it! And THANK YOU!

PS--Happy birthday Dawn, Mitchell, and the mighty TicTac.

Posted by bonnie at 3:08 PM

August 7, 2005

Cool Stuff

Just gotta keep braggin' about my friends!

Congratulations to Caerthan Banks and all of us involved with The Moor as we have our Los Angeles premiere at the LA International Short Film Festival next month!

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And, as I get this news via email, I catch two of the fine actors we interviewed in Acting Qs on tonight's Cold Case. Danny Pino (of course, since he's a series regular) and the amazing Baadja-Lyne Odums.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't praise the sexy and wonderful Keith Johnson, as he has his first ever callback for a national network commercial tomorrow. Rockstar! Break a leg, baby. Kick some ass.

Posted by bonnie at 8:41 PM

August 6, 2005

Weddings Are Fun

Today, Keith and I spent some wonderful time with old friends at the celebration of marriage between Tracy Eliott (AKA Tracy Hernandez) and Dick Tatum (AKA Richard Rosenblatt). We got lots of laughs out of the various combinations of names, plus enjoyed a brilliant toast from... who was that oh-so-funny guy? Richard? Robert? Augh... didn't catch it.

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Barry Carver performed a beautiful wedding (that's him above, holding JA, for Tracy and Dick, several years ago--click for larger). Children played like children do. We made new friends. It was delightful.

I was worried about wearing jeans, but then I said, "LOOK. They want you there. They don't care what you're wearing." I'm so glad I talked myself into going despite my lack of suitable wardrobe options. That's just a constant battle for me, so it's nice to just get over it for a moment and go have fun with dear friends.

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And, since this post is about wedded bliss (and yes, Dawn, it does seem that this wedding thing is in the air lately), I thought I'd share this gorgeous photo of Cousin Faith Salie and my new cousin-in-law Nick Holly. Again, click for a larger version of this princess photo. What lovely bliss! Cool tie-in: Faith's former castmate Brian Palermo went to college with Tracy, so he was at the wedding today, among all of the ARK friends, Wolfesden folks, and years of Orphans Christmas Dinners-buddies.

What's beautiful about celebrating unions like this is that we all benefit from the reminder that we do need one another. Keith and I talked on the way to the wedding about my upbringing (wherein survival and independence was championed above partnership and investment in others--since others can go away) and how every day that he is in my life is a triumph of human connection over going it alone.

Awesome.

Posted by bonnie at 7:35 PM

August 4, 2005

Casting News

Okay, so, in a world where I have cast 15 films, but only TWO have held public screenings thus far, it's pretty cool when one has its premiere within a couple of weeks.

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See the film.

See the press.

Hey, not bad for a day's work in casting!

See y'all at Hollywood Happy Hour tonight!

Posted by bonnie at 5:01 PM

July 31, 2005

Coolness!

Got this email today:

Was loafing doing an extra gig for Malcolm in the Middle last week and someone had your Acting Qs book prominently atop a pile of books on the AD's table in holding all nite. Seemed like a clever mode of getting its name out there. Did not find out whose it was though.

How effin' cool!

Posted by bonnie at 2:32 AM

July 28, 2005

Surreal Moment of the Day

(I'm noticing that I seem to have quite a few "Surreal Moments of the Day" when casting.)

While on the phone with an agent...

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Agent: "I want you to consider a wonderful actor named Timothy Carhart. He recently did this great little film called The Moor and I know you'd like his work."

Me: "I *cast* The Moor. I *cast* Tim in The Moor. That was one of my first films."

Seriously, I was stunned and am not sure of what I said, exactly.

Agent: "Oh, wow. Listen, Tim is *very* critical. He came in here with the DVD for The Moor and said, 'This is one of the best projects I've done.' He was really proud."

*tear*

Reminds me... I haven't shared the trailer for The Moor yet, have I? Enjoy. It's a 1.9MB .mov file.

Posted by bonnie at 12:22 PM

July 27, 2005

Finally!

Acting Qs is now FINALLY available for purchase on Amazon.com.

Get those reviews up, baby! Woo hoo!

Posted by bonnie at 8:00 PM

Book Event

Go support my buddy (and former boss) Rob Kendt in one of his last LA-based appearances. We selfishly hate to lose you to NY, but I think it's a good move (for both you and the place you're headed). Have fun!

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Details on the event at Skylight Books (Saturday) at this link.

Posted by bonnie at 12:30 PM

July 22, 2005

Kiss Goodbye

Bye-bye. Here's your sloppy kiss.

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I'm in Missouri. Back Tuesday. Bye.

Posted by bonnie at 11:42 PM

Hollywood Happy Hour presents Talent P.I.M.P. Live!

GREAT news! Hollywood Happy Hour is proud to present Talent P.I.M.P. Live on Thursday, August 4, 2005! Woo hoo!

For those of you who've already taken advantage of the free six-month HHH deal with Talent Pimp, you're already aware of the cool networking, headshot typing, and discount opportunities for actors. If this is new to you, well, Talent Pimp is Your Pipeline Into Motion Pictures! Get ready to get involved! What: This first LIVE event for Talent Pimp is brought to you by Hollywood Happy Hour and is filled with entertainment, industry networking, actor-goodies, and exciting giveaways! Who: Your host Patrick Keane brings you the brilliantly funny standup comedy of Henry Philips, Matt Dwyer, Blair Butler, Melissa Paull, and Bob Oschack. Now THAT's a great lineup! Industry guests scheduled to attend for the schmoozefest include casting director Jami Rudofsky, agent Tony Martinez, casting director Bonnie Gillespie, Couch Potato Corner writer Kris Burtt, and a selection of actors interviewed in the new book by Bonnie Gillespie and Blake Robbins: Acting Qs: Conversations with Working Actors.

When: Thursday, August 4, 2005, 10pm!

Where: The World Famous Hollywood Improv, 8162 Melrose Ave., Hollywood

How Much: $5 if you RSVP to info@talentpimp.com in advance; $10 at the door otherwise. Two-drink minimum in the club.

What Else: Goodie bags from our sponsors and lots of freebies (see below for complete list of awesome goodies).

Feeling nostalgic for old Hollywood Happy Hour events? Everyone's uncle, Uncle Bob, has put our past shows on "tape" for our audio archives ... Yay!

===========
Goodie Bags for winners of our trivia contests loaded with...

*fun California Poultry Federation stuff
*cosmetics and aromatherapy treatments from Pampered People Spa
*cool AquaHooks custom-made for HHH
*card packs from Acting Outside the Box
*tickets to shows at The Ark Theatre
*tickets to the legendary 15 Minutes of FEM shows (and the NEW 15 Minutes of HIM series)
*tickets to shows at Theatre District at the Cast
*host coaching session with Kris Burtt
*acting class from Fawnda McMahan
*Acting Is Everything by Judy Kerr
*Acting Out by Stuart Stone
*Let's Dish by Nelson Aspen
*Casting Qs and Self-Management for Actors by Bonnie Gillespie
*Acting Qs by Bonnie Gillespie and Blake Robbins
*headshot photography session with RadStar Photography
*Holdon Log Audition Organizer and Booked Projects from Holdon Log
*Agent and Casting Director mailing labels and guide books from Breakdown Services
*Subscription to Showfax.com sides and Actors Access services
*annual membership on ActorsBone.com
*DVD directing/cinematography $500-value course from Hollywood Camerawork and narrator Julie O'Malley
*membership on Talent Pimp
*acting classes at the Actors Creative Workshop
*discounted headshots from Deborah Vancelete
*discounted registration for Building Your Wealth Cycles with Abundance Bound
*headshot session from Karen Somers Photography
*tickets to Take Command of Your Career workshop and a Charmed Life Coaching book from Morgana Rae
*headshot drops-offs by Landall's Box Office

and so much more!

You must be present to win, of course. We're going to have so much fun! Can't wait to see you next Happy Hour--where we present to you: Talent P.I.M.P.!
--
Bon
News, Schmooze, Reviews, and Interviews!
Yahoo Group for HHH
Talent PIMP

Posted by bonnie at 1:16 AM

July 21, 2005

Two Things

1. Had to cancel my social plans for the afternoon and evening (dinner with Nelson and a rockin' good time at Fluffy Bunnies before it heads to New York for a run there) due to the fact that I am totally overwhelmed by all that I have to do before leaving town for a few days.

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2. Learned that the best way to stay cool in a non-A/C environment when the temperature soars is to soak a tank top in ice-cold water, wring it out, and wear it like a sorority girl on spring break in Daytona Beach. Niiiiiice.

Posted by bonnie at 2:04 PM

July 20, 2005

New Casting Gig

Really excited about this feature film, shooting in September in Idaho under the SAG Ultra Low Budget Agreement.

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Teenage Dirtbag, an amazing drama written by Regina Crosby, produced by Seth Caplan and Christopher Aagaard for Sky Castle Films, director: Sean McQueeney. This is a great group of guys and I'm really excited to be a part of this project.

Huge thanks to Anna Christopher and Brenda Weiermair (from the AFI 35mm film I cast a few months ago, Queen of Cactus Cove) for the referral. I so love my job!

Breakdown will go out tomorrow and I'll start scheduling when I get back from the casting gig in Missouri next week. I'm sooooo excited about all that's going on! Awesome!

Posted by bonnie at 2:05 PM

July 19, 2005

Good News/Bad News

Not in my life... I'm swamped and therefore too busy to evaluate what's happening as good or bad (though it seems all good, upon skimming).

But here's today's news that impressed me as awesome and not-awesome.

Super cool gig for performers without health insurance (just perform for hospitalized patients and receive $40 per performance hour in credit toward your own healthcare).

Health insurance on the barter system--a hospital in Brooklyn is offering free health care to dancers, singers, and actors in exchange for performing for patients.

Read the story at WABC* for more info.

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And further proof that I was right when I chose NOT to get a MySpace account...

News Corp announced on Monday that it has bought Intermix Media, owner of the popular MySpace.com social networking site, for $580 million.

Yep. That's the evil Fox News Network people, buying up all of the pseudo-Friendster bloggy kids. Have fun with that!

*Eff you, ABC World News Now, for making a story so completely impossible to find on your website. Why, when I see the story on YOUR overnight show and write down the key information that should make it easy to find the show on your website, do I have to resort to checking your many ABC affiliates' websites before finding said story? You RAN the story... you should LINK to it. Grr.

Don't mind me, I just spent a serious half-hour looking for something that should've been available in like 90 seconds and three clicks. Effin' Internet.**

**Not you, Internet. I love you. I'm just mad at the media.

Posted by bonnie at 12:30 PM

July 18, 2005

Long-Awaited Photos

Finally! Here are some photos from Quinn's visit. Click on any to enlarge by quite a bit.

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Keith and Quinn on the lifeguard stand.
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A kiss from Quinn on the beach.
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Family on the beach.
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A hug from the Q-man!
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Keith and Quinn, all smiles.
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Recognize that smirk? I do!
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Like father like son.
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Here I come!

I really love these photos. Thanks again to the amazing Cathy McCall for doing such great work. We're really happy with the way you made us all look so good!

Enjoy these photos (and this post) for a while. From the looks of this week, it's going to be pretty tough to get to post. New feature film casting gig, next Self-Management for Actors seminar, meeting to discuss the next-next feature film casting gig, HHH joint venture press release to create and blitz media with, plus packing for the trip to Missouri to cast a weekend's worth of short indie films for the American Academy of Art's Indie Filmmaker's Bootcamp. Hoo, boy... that's some lots of stuffs!

PS--The NEXT book (the one I haven't written yet, the one that's only been announced to our distributor due to the fact that their catalogue runs way early) has already presold 571 copies. What IS that?!?

Posted by bonnie at 12:12 AM

July 14, 2005

Onward!

Here's the best news about always having a few pots simmering on the stove at all times.

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When you need to focus more attention on another dish, you can turn the heat down on one eye, up on another, stir in other ingredients, and end up with a magical feast.

Now, I don't cook, so I know that's probably a way sloppy analogy, but here's the point:

Keith and I always have so damn much going on at once that when one of those things doesn't quite work out, it's not like we throw up our hands and exclaim that dinner is ruined! What we do instead is turn the heat up elsewhere and keep on cookin'!

To wit:

Called all of the actors (and agents of actors) cast in Shrinks (cast webpage will be added later for your viewing pleasure), discussed the next casting gig with that project's director (a feature film), met with the principals of a wonderful Hollywood startup about further deepening our relationship (press release to come next week), attended the SAG Indie Contracts Workshop, and left there having committed to a new column for actors plus another SAG LifeRaft event (this one for kid actors and their parents).

Sure as hell doesn't feel like the same day it started out being.

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Keith and I toast tonight with the champagne Maria and Kevan bought me for my birthday (and giggle over the rest of the gift, which was brilliant and private). We drink a toast to COOKING. Always cooking.

Oh, and Wayne, you'll probably NOT be surprised by this, but I had delicious salmon for dinner tonight after the SAG event! You are ON, man!

Thanks, everyone, for the lovely vibes and well-wishing and hugs. It's cool. As I tell actors all the time: focus on the WORK, not the GIG. Right on.

Posted by bonnie at 10:59 PM

Feeling Blue

Just got word I didn't get accepted to the Casting Society of America.

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My board member friend tells me I didn't meet the "two years in casting" requirement.

Um. If I worked as casting coordinator of a TV show in February 2003, another in May 2003, and cast my first feature film in June 2003 (and have cast another dozen films, worked in casting on two more TV shows (one as full CD, mind you), and just finished casting a play), isn't that at least two years in casting?

I'm so blue.

I know this is sooooooo not a big deal (and my friend on the board told me that she had the same issue when all she had on her resumé were indies and AFI projects), but I'm sad now. :( I don't like being sad.

Good thing it'll pass.

Note to self: resist temptation to be a brat and get all anti-joining. Although... hm.

Posted by bonnie at 10:25 AM

July 11, 2005

HBTM

I'm 35.

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That is all.

Posted by bonnie at 12:35 AM

July 9, 2005

Where to begin...

Where do you begin when you have so so so so much going on that you can't even begin to STOP and organize thoughts into words (much less organize thoughts into words that accurately represent the non-stop goings-on)? Whew! I am spinning!! LOVE IT... but it's a LOT of swirl. I feel like I'm in the center of a kick-ass Spirograph design with lots of color. It's gorgeous, complex, and thrilling to behold. But, man, is it a lot to wrap my brain around!

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We've finished up prereads for Shrinks. Wow. Some of the most amazing (and also some of the most baffling) actors I've seen, for this one. I'm thrilled with the actors we'll be bringing to callbacks (once we are able to cut down even further; we currently have too many actors on our short list). As for what was baffling... well... let's just say I actually WISH there were a Hollywood Blacklist so that I could make sure one actor is on it. *shudder* I have written (for the first time, ever): NEVER AGAIN across a headshot. I'll explain why over drinks somewhere, sometime... later.

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Just got back from the Chandler Hall table read (I didn't stay for any of the read itself; just went at the start to get the last two actors to sign off on their SAG contracts and to get *my* final check for casting services). It is so very cool to see all of the actors cast in one place at the same time. Casting directors never really get to do that. We may see two or three together during chemistry checks at callbacks, but it's so neat to see a dozen confident, CAST, happy actors gathering, meeting, ready to begin the journey that will result in a feature film a year from now. Very gratifying.

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Happily completing my essay (to go with my application) for joining the CSA. Received a copy of the letter Michael Donovan wrote on my behalf. It made me cry. What a wonderful man! And truly, he has been a mentor for me since the very beginning of this road (heck, even before I had any idea it was a path)! Wonderful letter. Wonderful man.

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In fact, Michael was one of the first people Keith called with the good news. Yup. Keith Johnson, just three years after his first acting gig in Los Angeles, has signed with Origin Talent. That's right. THE Origin Talent. That's Origin Talent of JP Manoux, Katie Stuart, Patrick Malone, Susan Wood, Rodney Rowland, Kate Flannery, Christa Campbell, Suzanne Krull, Patrick Bristow, Jf Pryor, Will Wallace, Sean Bell, Rusty Joiner, Lindsay Hollister, Jake Hanover, Jessica Lancaster, and *ahem* Bob Clendenin fame. Awwwwww, yeah! That's a working actor agency, baby!

Fucking rockstar development. Abby Casey is the best manager on the planet and Keith Johnson now has a manager and TWO agents. Kathleen Schultz for print (signed earlier this week), and now Origin frickin' Talent. So so so so so amazing. Just unbelievable and delightful and perfect. Congratulations, my working actor baby. Oh, and break a leg at your THIRD producer callback session for Big Love. Nail it to the fucking wall!

*ahem* Sorry 'bout the f-word all over the place. I'm just really happy.

Okay, so in a week full of amazing developments, I get this email from someone who has read my advice in a new book published by the UGA Alumni Association.

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Seems my advice to 2005 UGA grads is on page 35. You can download the whole PDF by clicking that phrase. If you just want to see my passage in If I Only Knew Then..., click here (also PDF, just smaller). I shared advice that was shared by my aunt Jean, back when I was in crisis over my decision to move back to Atlanta and go to grad school. I couldn't believe I was actually considering leaving Hollywood. It was my PLAN. She taught me about Plan A and Plan B... well... read the passage. You'll see. Cool to have already gotten email about it.

And, I sent a note to Aunt Jean to thank her for the advice and to show her the impact it obviously had on me. I'm guessing she doesn't even recall that particular conversation, but it certainly helped me, in those tough early-20s (when you're so sure you know how your life is going to turn out and think it's WRONG to not know (vs. how blissful it is to not know, which you eventually learn)).

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I love living in Santa Monica. We're almost at our anniversary here. So blissful. Being so close to the beach, being able to walk everywhere, the cool weather, the friendly people. Ah, people laugh about, "Never wanting to go east of the 405," but Keith tells them I try not to go east of 26th Street! The temperature drops there, when you're coming back from "the rest of LA" to the Westside. It's not just that, though. It's also the vibe. My pulse actually slows at that point. I relax differently. It's awesome.

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And while I love my digs... man, doesn't this place look cool?

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It's almost that time! I'm really excited about this birthday. It's been an outstanding year.

That's Ash in last weekend's LA Times. (Click it to see the whole article/scan--very large.) Go, girl. You are definitely the breakout star of MTV's The '70s House. Win! Win big!

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Okay. If you haven't already, shame on you. And go NOW. Read the brilliance that is (collectively) Colleen Wainwright's "Searches, We Get Searches" blogs. Of course, every bit of her blog is brilliant, but it's the SEARCH stuff that makes me *snork* (snort-laugh). So much, in fact, I asked her to teach me how to track searches to my blog so that I could try to be so funny.

So far... here's what I've got. In seven weeks of tracking, the most interesting searches that have come my way have been (and my lame attempt at comedy follows each):

Eva Longoria Golden Globes (Yes, yes she does. Mmmmmm.)
Greer Shephard dress (She does, too. Probably once or twice every day!)
Miata touch-up paint Miata (That's catchy! I could sing that.)
photo of Kevan Jenson (Hm. I don't have one, but I'll see if I can snap a pic on the SixHundy on Wednesday, if you'd like.)
star caps (Tooth-coverings for famous people? Headgear for celestial bodies? Five-point bullets? Nah... just a bright-orange, garlic-smelling herbal drug thingy.)

How'd I do, Coco? You say the searches will get better with time, right? ;) Hopefully the comedy will too.

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Just transition artwork, above. It says my name. Cool, huh?

Okay, so we took a vote in the Gillespie-Johnson household. Best Hunter: Thwok. Sexiest Vixen: Salema. Sweetest Oaf: Archie (although Keith was close on that one... he's not as sweet).

Oh, and Lily, here's my blog!

'Til next time!

(reminders to self: blog about why a special agent from the ATF stopped by on Thursday, the cat that meditates to the Stones, Fantastic 4, and cool sofa repair guys. also look up the date's for Joni's vist, find out if the casting gig in MO and the trip to Tahoe are mutually exclusive, roll out a SMFA seminar press release, and consult the SixHundy for the rest of the scary to do list. that is all. back to work. stop with the blogging and trust that you'll remember all the other shyte you want to write about when the time is there to do so. seriously. go now. now.)

Posted by bonnie at 11:41 AM

July 5, 2005

Such Super Cool Press

Got a cool little gift in my inbox today.

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Click to download PDF.

It's coverage by the ATAS (those cool Emmy people) of the panel I moderated back in May. Rockstar cool.

Posted by bonnie at 1:53 PM

July 1, 2005

Reasons I'm Sad/Reasons I'm Happy

1. (Sad) luther.jpg. Honestly, Luther (and one of the Tonies from Tony Toni Toné) was one of the best-smelling guys I ever worked for, back in my Left Bank Management days. As much as I loved taking weed over to JT's house, catching Richard's stalker, making the world believe the '93 album was the second LP from Meat, making the last contract offer ever made to Nirvana, chilling with the brothers G, or helping Joey with his folks, I have to say that it was Luther Vandross who was loving, sweet, genunie, and just a big ball of love-to-hug. What a loss! Too soon. We'll miss you.

2. (Sad) sandra.jpg. Are you kidding me? You couldn't wait an effin' three years to help us out? Ugh. I remember when you were brought onboard, Ms. Sandra Day O'Connor. I'm feeling as old as you must feel. I just feel mad at you for handing the keys of freedom over to that rat bastard W. Grr.

3.

4. (Happy) tnfontanaletter.jpg (click it to read it). Cool mail from Tom Fontana, who wrote our kick-ass foreword. It seems he enjoyed the gig too. Right on.

5. (Happy) tnbonimdb.jpg. Did my application for the CSA and asked for reference letters from my favorite casting mentors. Very happy. *fingers crossed* for approval, seeing as the vote for new members takes place on my birthday (that can't possibly be a bad sign).

6. No pic. Just love. I'm a happy happy happy gal. Cast is near-locked for Chandler Hall (even received flowers from the actor we cast in the lead; a lovely note saying, "I didn't know what your favorite flowers were, so I sent you mine. Thanks for everything! Your Jimmy Bravo," (SUCH A CLASS ACT)), auditions are scheduled for Shrinks, and... best for last... Keith has signed with his first AGENT. Yup. My cute boy now has a PRINT AGENT in Los Angeles. It would seem "NFL-lovin' grill dad" is big biz in the sale circulars! Cool deal!

Big weekend. Big love. Woo damn hoo!

Posted by bonnie at 11:22 PM

June 29, 2005

Amazing Day!

Okay, so last night's callbacks were BEYOND ROCKSTAR (and I do mean BEYOND ROCKSTAR). I've spent the day making offers to talent, negotiating billing (and extras like dressing rooms), and setting up audition sides for the next project I'm casting.

Simply AMAZING day with loads of great phone calls (and, I know... I always hate the phone, so it's kinda weird) and then Keith brings up the mail.

What's there?

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Freaks and Geeks, the complete series! This has been on my wishlist forever and Keith ordered it for my birthday. Yay! Early happy birthday Bonnie gift! Woo hoo! I cried. Seriously. I CRIED with joy!

Phone rings. What's that? Oh, cool. I've been hired to cast a short at the American Academy of Art's Indie Filmmaker's Bootcamp at Stephens College! Yup! Thanks to a referral from a manager friend of mine, I'm off to Missouri in late July! Woo hoo!

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And... I think today's the day I apply to join the CSA. Yup. Feels like that kind of day.

Next? Nosotros' American Latino Talent Showcase, of course! What better way to celebrate? Woo damn hoo!

Posted by bonnie at 4:35 PM

June 24, 2005

It's Just Damn Funny To Read (RIF)

Reading *is* fundamental! Really!

I come home from a super amazing dinner party with old friends and new (Lily, you have the BEST friends EVER and you *must* hurry back to LA so I can cast you in something) and check up on the blogs.

What's cool, hip, and now?

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Chip found some self-heating coffee that scares me a bit.

Jocelyn showed me a photo of like my favorite yummy Chick-fil-A food ever. Damn you, gluten!

And...

Chip found what is probably the best FREE KATIE conspiracy theory article ever!

Question... am I all about Becca's Michael, b/c I quoted Fox News Network?

Okay, seriously need the bed. Director coming over mañana to watch preread selects with me here rather than doing the high-tech thing I spent 20 hours making available for him to view. *sigh* Someday the world will be all the geeks like me.

Posted by bonnie at 11:38 PM

Fun Day Fun Night

Got the SAG contract faxed over to our first cast member (woo), breakdown went out on the next project (woo hoo), pulled an all-nighter to edit all preread selects onto a CD for the director in prep for callbacks next week (woo damn hoo).

There are some seriously amazing actors who read for this film. Wow. Such a great experience, casting.

And tonight, we head out to see Lily Mercer, who comes to town to visit from NY every year or so. She was the director of the Christmas play I did at the Attic Theatre in 1999 (tiny grainy photo above of me with a castmate) and is an outstanding actor. I'm so so so much a fan! Always a blast to get to hang out with her and my fellow former Attic Theatre Company Members. So much catching up to do!

In other news, Keith had yet another agent meeting (set up by his rockstar manager) and just received his contract for a SAG film shoot. Good Friday.

Posted by bonnie at 5:30 PM

June 23, 2005

Casting Union

This just in:

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The results of the NLRB-sponsored election are in.

More than 96% of the Casting Directors and Associates who took part in the election voted to be represented by the Teamsters. 96%--an overwhelming majority. In addition the NLRB representative said that, in his 25 years, this was the smoothest mail ballot that he had ever overseen--a testament to our willingness to work together with the AMPTP representatives to make this happen efficiently.

The next step is to sit down and negotiate a contract. Steve and the Teamsters will be in touch with the AMPTP to set a date to begin formal talks. We will let you know as things progress.

Thank you to EVERYONE for their hard work in getting us to this point. Thank you all for believing it could be possible and following through on the work to make this happen. Your trust in the essential notion that together we are capable of great things has led us here.

Your NY/LA Steering Committees

*sigh*

Nice to come home to such big news after an amazing day of prereads for Chandler Hall. Man, what a great cast this is going to be!

Breakdown for Shrinks is going out next, then a nap. I'm exhausted--and with good reason.

Keith is too. Producer callback for Crossing Jordan (AGAIN! Third time!) and second agent meeting for commercial rep. Whew! What a day!

Posted by bonnie at 5:26 PM

June 22, 2005

Welcome, Ben!

Welcome to the cast of Chandler Hall...

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Ben Savage! Woo hoo! How much do I love this kick-ass job? Prereads all day tomorrow for the other roles, then back to offers next week. LOVE it!

Posted by bonnie at 4:01 PM

Real World Austin

Holy crap, that's a good show.

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So, I got home from the SAG LifeRaft talk (which was effin' rockstar) and from taking Keith and Quinn to the airport (Quinn was VERY excited about taking the red-eye home) and found that Kris' boyfriend TiVo had saved Real World: Austin for me. Holy crap, what a good show! I don't remember such an exciting first episode ever.

In other I-love-TV news, I've noticed a whole buncha cool stuff coming up for my summer TV viewing. More on that later.

I've got to tweak the schedule for Thursday's prereads, plus finish the breakdown for Shrinks. Man, I should be sleeping! Oh well...

PS--There is a much more agile version of Archie who lives outside these days. What a panic attack seeing him run through the courtyard tonight gave me! Thought the oaf had escaped Casa Gillespie-Johnson. Nope. Still sleeping, right where we left him. Ha!

Posted by bonnie at 2:25 AM

June 21, 2005

Accomplishments

1. Got the prereads for Chandler Hall scheduled (sides out, top actors for each role scheduled, etc.).

2. Got A New Tomorrow final cast list handed off to production (just need to get the cast webpage updated now).

3.

4. Sent out MOST of the comp copies of Acting Qs. Got an amazing thank-you note from Tom Fontana, as well as super feedback from actors interviewed. I'll share soon.

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5. Quinn had his playdate with Drake (that's Drake on set, above). They really enjoyed themselves. Turns out Puzzle Zoo is like the coolest store EVER. Will post photos from Quinn's visit when I can. I promise!

6. Got someone at SAG to agree to fax over the Limited Ex talent contract (even though it's only good for another couple of weeks--then we go to Ultra Low Budget contracts for SAG). Bless you, Paul Bales, for the fax!! (Will pick up a copy of the AEA 99-seat Code while in the building tonight, thanks to Nancy Daly.)

7. Got Quinn *mostly* packed, though he'll leave without his memory book completed this year, for the first time (bummer. I just could NOT get it together quickly. We'll mail it later). LOVE the drawings he's leaving behind. Perfect fridge material!

8. Confirmed that tonight's SAG LifeRaft event is over-booked with a waiting list--which means it will fly by (and we're taking 150 copies of Self-Management for Actors to give away). C'mon DayQuil! Hook me up!

9. Got Quinn's "LOVE QUINN" scrawled on all of our thank you notes from this week's 1/2-birthday gifts and treats. Seriously, Quinn had an amazing time! (I'll get 'em out in the mail later.)

10. Purged a few thousand pages of sides from previous projects' auditions, which felt good in a major way. Amazing the little things we can do when sick that happen to improve the general spirits, without taking too much out of us physically.

11. Slept. That was the biggie. Still not 100% (and Keith is worse), but enough to get the talk done tonight, get Keith and Quinn to the airport, and then get back home to write the breakdown for Shrinks, do Rox work, update the business-hours list for tomorrow, and get all of the email-based contact work possible done before Wednesday rolls around. Ack. Exhausted just looking at all of this.

So, I'll stop. Time to get on the road soon anyway. Thanks for all the good vibes, everyone! They feel GREAT!

Posted by bonnie at 2:25 PM

Q&A

Q: Where is Bonnie?

A: See old blog.

Ugh. Bleh. Zzzzzzz.

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That is all.

Posted by bonnie at 12:55 AM

June 17, 2005

New Casting Gig

This time it's a PLAY! Woo hoo!

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Huge thanks to Judy Kerr for the referral! Awesome! I absolutely adore Kevan and Maria Jenson. This is going to be an amazing play. It's co-produced by Visualize This and Hudson Theatricals. They've already hired a publicist and everything! Hee hee! Amazing script, dense dialogue, rich characters, and fantastic concepts. I'm eager to cast this play under the AEA 99-Seat Agreement!

Look for the breakdown next week. Woo hoo!

Posted by bonnie at 3:48 PM

June 12, 2005

List Thus Far

Updates to the list thus far:

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I have a script to read [read enough to know I'll accept the offer to cast it tomorrow], a column to write, offers to fax [got authorization for dollar amounts on three of them, holding on one more], feedback to provide [this is going to take forever and I always worry I miss something and end up just not doing any, which I hate, since I know it helps the actors to get feedback], bills to pay [that's the very next item, I promise], books to sign [can do that with wine, later], books to pack [ditto], books to mail [pack 'em up for Keith to take after he and Quinn return from NoCal], headshots to open [ugh, that's forever in the making], headshots to sort [this list is still way overwhelming], headshots to purge [I thought I'd gotten so much done today], a screen to put back in a window [waits for Keith], a shower to take, litter to scoop, dishes to wash, three websites to update [coming soon], a font to install [having some bugs with the Tiger upgrade... must research], and dayplayers to enter into the Breakdowns system to email to producers [later].

Holy bejeebus. I thought I'd gotten so much done already. Lists are evil. (No, they're not. I know that.)

PS--I cannot watch ten minutes of television without seeing an actor I know. That's kind of cool.

PPS--It seems I will get to officially make an offer to one of the most talented actors I know tomorrow (and someone I count as a friend) to star in one of the movies I'm casting. I'm so so so so so freakin' excited about this film. Can't wait to make it official!! Rockstar!

Posted by bonnie at 6:10 PM

June 9, 2005

Short-Notice Gathering

If you were involved with this:

and you're free tomorrow evening, meet me at:

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(or post a comment here/send an email to let me know you want to join us and I'll be less cryptic and give actual information).

PS--If you weren't involved with Acting Qs but you want to be one of the first people to buy one on the planet (since it's not yet available anywhere else), you could come too. Just lemmeknow, so that I bring enough of the SEXIEST LOOKING BOOKS EVER! Ack! So excited!

Posted by bonnie at 3:44 PM

June 8, 2005

He's Here!

Okay, so today Quinn arrived for his annual visit. I'm in heaven already!

from the 2004 visit

Keith brought Quinn to the acting class I was teaching (just the last five minutes of class) and when they walked in, I said, "Hi! Introduce yourself." He said, "Well, this is my dad!" All big and proud and not shy or anything. So awesome!

Then Keith said, "Tell them our names." He said, "This is my dad, Keith. I'm Quinn."

Awwwwwwww.

Then I said to the gang, "This is going to be my stepson." Then to him, "Can I get a hug?" And he ran to me and gave me a HUGE hug. Soooo wonderful!

"Bonnie, do you know what?" "What, Quinn?" "I missed you when I was in Michigan." *melt*

My boys are sleeping now. Long day. Tomorrow... BEACH! Woo hoo!

Posted by bonnie at 8:49 PM

Obsession

Have you ever been so totally and completely obsessed with something that you cannot fathom NOT thinking about it, even for a second?

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Yeah. I've been obsessed with 1990 Mazda Miata touch-up paint.

*sigh*

Not well.

See, when you have a nearly 16-year-old car, you need to touch up the paint in places from time to time. And when you pack to MOVE, you put things like the touch-up paint you bought ON THE SAME DAY YOU BOUGHT THE CAR in one of several boxes that (after the move) may not get completely unpacked--or even ones that may get put deep into a closet for storage, since you haven't needed anything in the boxes for months--and God help you if you think you can begin to find said touch-up paint when you realize there's a little fleck-off going on after the TicTac had a visit to the carwash.

Worse, give up EVER thinking you could find the damn thing, if you just looked ONE MORE TIME inside EVERY FREAKIN' box, drawer, closet, storage unit of EVERY kind... but please do go ahead and LOOK one more time (scratch that... not ONE more time... try a dozen more times). But don't you DARE stop THINKING that you *could* possibly find it, if you just looked ONE more time.

Again.

*sigh*

I told you I was NOT WELL.

Yes. I finally broke down and spent the FIVE BUCKS plus shipping to order the dang thing from a Miata shop online. Do you think *maybe* I could stop obsessing about where the damn thing is now?

Place yer bets, folks!

PS--I realized that the producer callback Keith had today was for the same show he's gone to producers for once before during pilot season. Effin' rockstar!

PPS--Just got home from a great industry thingy hosted by the TMA, Breakdowns, Barefoot Wine, and the Hollywood Reporter for the CBS fall season roll-out (preview, keynote, and panel). Way cool. Awesome giftbags! Swag is goooood.

Posted by bonnie at 12:05 AM

June 7, 2005

Sooo Soon!

Quinn will be here so soon! Sooo soon! Yippee!

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Keith went from a producer callback for a new fall TV show this morning straight to the airport. He'll be in McChicken (Michigan... hee hee) tonight, and head back in the morning with the Q man. Woo hoo!!

We're hoping to do increasingly-longer visits each year (like we've done thus far), meaning maybe next year will be a month... building up to all summer one of these years.

I'm very very very excited to have Quinn here. Hurry home, honey. Bring that kiddo of yours to Cali!

Posted by bonnie at 1:05 PM

June 4, 2005

Happy Wedding Day, Cousin

And welcome to the family, Nick Holly! (See the New York Times announcement here. Or click here to see the screen capture.)

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I'm sure it was perfect and beautiful and wonderful and magical, just like you are, dearest cousin Faith Salie!

Mazel Tov!

Posted by bonnie at 7:52 PM

June 3, 2005

Theory of Car Drama and Showbiz

Okay, so I've always had this theory (and it seems to pan out, according to most actors I've talked to) that if you get a parking ticket while you're at an audition, you will book the gig.

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Well, yesterday, Keith's car was towed. And he had a rockstar meeting (over 90 minutes) with an amazing agent, after his rockstar manager hooked him up with a week filled with agency meetings. Have we mentioned how much we love Keith's manager?

So, if a parking ticket during an audition means a booking, I think it's safe to say that a tow-away the morning of an agent meeting means you're going to get signed. We shall see.

In other news, A New Tomorrow is almost fully-cast. I'm doing some offer letters to name actors on Monday for this film *and* for Chandler Hall, based on some wonderful pitches we've gotten since the breakdown went out Wednesday night. Excellent progress.

Quinn and the book arrive next week. I'm teaching four classes next week plus attending an amazing CBS/TMA event. It's just an amazing, kick-ass life. Period.

Posted by bonnie at 11:10 AM

May 31, 2005

Booked! Giddy up!

So, tomorrow and Thursday, we're in callbacks for the feature film political mocumentary A New Tomorrow. I'm so damn excited about the cast we've already assembled, I'm hoppin' out of my skin.

And tonight?

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Just came home from a two-hour casting meeting for my NEXT gig... Chandler Hall for Pollack Pictures. This is a seriously amazing feature film with a nice, healthy budget. Ooh, how happy am I!! Yippee!

Posted by bonnie at 11:11 PM

May 30, 2005

SAG LifeRaft Seminar Announced

It's official! My Self-Management for Actors SAG LifeRaft Seminar is on the books!

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Register soon! These things fill up fast! See y'all at SAG on the 21st! Woo hoo!

Posted by bonnie at 12:30 PM

Special Day: 8 June 2005

Okay, so not only is 8 June 2005 the day that Quinn arrives for his annual visit,

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but it's also the day that Acting Qs reaches Los Angeles.

Woo hoo!

Now, while I get ready for a big casting meeting for the NEXT feature film (Yippee!) and prepare for callbacks on the CURRENT feature film (Woo hoo!), you go read this (brilliant) and this (also brilliant). Oh, and go outside to enjoy this PERFECT day! Wow!

Posted by bonnie at 11:42 AM

May 28, 2005

Joseph Montana Update

Reports from NoCal: Joseph Montana is doing much better, thank you.

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Yay! The vibes worked! Thanks, everyone!

In other news: T-minus 11 DAYS until Quinn gets here for his annual visit! YIPPEEEEEEE!

from the 2004 visit

I'm so excited I just can't stand it! Yippee yahooee and hooray!

Posted by bonnie at 11:33 AM

May 27, 2005

Happy Girl/Saturn Return

Okay, I'm a super happy girl!

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We're now finished with prereads for A New Tomorrow and I'm going to be able to cast a half-dozen or so roles this weekend, based on the rockstar job the actors did for the minor roles at prereads. Awesome. Callbacks next week! Yippee!

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I'm putting this here to remind me that Saturn Return is kicking my ass until mid-July. It's very easy to forget that and to get really really down on myself about things that aren't working. So... last night, I got out the grease pencil and drew Saturn on the mirrors in the house. Now I can't forget to let myself off the hook for the hell that is living sometimes, when things get too overwhelming.

Saturn, the planet ruling lessons learned and realities faced, is now traveling through the very last degrees of Cancer. You have had Saturn pressing you since June 2003, a time that you may have begun to see your responsibilities noticeably increase. Saturn is now moving at unusually swift speed, and in a matter of weeks will be completely out of Cancer. Your end date will be July 16, 2005. No matter how you look at it, you are entering a far better phase. Best of all, Saturn always leaves a gift by the door after he has exited, as thanks for having dealt with the rigors. You will see this to be true in the weeks that follow July 16. When this reward is given, you will know when it arrives. In the meantime, the gifts of strength, wisdom, insight, and maturity have already begun to grow within you, and you have earned the respect of others around you. You have grown in stature and authority, and you see life with far greater clarity.

See? It's not "just" me! It's a huge planet pressing down on me at its hardest. Thank goodness the gift is almost here.

Hopefully, I won't need the reminder to let myself off the hook anymore, now that I have artwork on the mirrors. AND... I have the film 1/2 cast! Woo hoo! Casting meeting for the next film?? Tuesday, baby! It's just rollllllin' in now! Woo hoo!

Posted by bonnie at 10:36 PM

May 24, 2005

Audition Gridlock

So, today we had the first day of prereads in Santa Monica (the first time I've held auditions outside of Hollywood and on the Westside).

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Click for the story.

The wreck that happened just before prereads started had people late all day long.

Other than that, prereads rocked. I love my job. More casting later this week. Tomorrow, I'm guest-speaking at the St. Monica School across the street. Rock on.

Posted by bonnie at 10:31 PM

May 22, 2005

Joseph Montana

Please send peaceful, happy puppy vibes to NoCal for Joseph Montana, age 14.

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Joseph has always been very good to me--sharing a bed with me on visits to Liz and Brandt with Keith, sending me Hello Kitty presents (with Liz's help, of course), and remembering all major holidays with cards in the mail.

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Last night, Joseph was taken to the vet with major old-age issues in his back, making his legs basically not work so much. Since Joseph is diabetic (and blind), these are serious concerns.

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We love you, Joseph. Hang in there, if it's not painful. Go quickly, if it is. XXOO

Posted by bonnie at 6:50 PM

Best Things on TV

Best things on TV tonight?

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That'd be Tina Fey doing the Risky Business spoof on Saddam Hussein in his BVDs and Keegan Michael Key doing "Man Up" stomp on MadTV. God bless TV that doesn't get cancelled. Ever!

WB Shows Cancelled
NBC Shows Cancelled
Fox Shows Cancelled (What???? Life on a Stick? Cancelled? Noooooo!) *rolls eyes*
ABC Shows Cancelled
CBS Shows REMAINING
UPN Shows REMAINING

Huge bummer-meter on the Joan of Arcadia cancellation in our household. That was a Season Pass for Keith. :( And, bigger bummer that our friends' pilots didn't get picked up. Still... I believe it'll happen. There's really good material there... and SOMEWHERE, there is an audience for stuff THAT good. 'Til then... we watch the bad and wish network TV fed us better morsels. :\

Oh, and as if I needed an extraction team to get me out of the house on Thursday nights... there's Hit Me Baby, One More Time, which seriously must be worse than that ballroom dancing show on UPN ABC (thanks, Ames).

Posted by bonnie at 12:24 AM

May 21, 2005

Get To Work, Gang!

Acting Qs: Conversations with Working Actors is up at Amazon.com.

Get to it, gang that I love! Y'all know what to do. Wheeeeeeeeeeee!

Posted by bonnie at 6:34 PM

May 20, 2005

When in doubt...

...believe what the universe shows you.

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Yeah. Today was good. Got a call from a producer on the film I'm currently casting, asking if he could send me the script for the NEXT film he's producing--one with a big budget--so's I could consider casting it, seeing as the director on this current film raves so. Rock on!

Best news of the day: El Cholo's seasonal Green Corn Tamale: gluten free, y'all! Woo damn hoo!

Posted by bonnie at 3:21 AM

May 17, 2005

Good Upfront Coverage

here, at TV Squad.

Posted by bonnie at 12:07 PM

May 16, 2005

New Casting Gig

Woo hoo!

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Remember that intense casting phone meeting I had last week? Booked the gig. Yowza! Watch for a breakdown mid-week.

Woo hoo!

Posted by bonnie at 5:00 PM

Announcing: SMFA Seminars

Self-Management for Actors
Course by casting director and author Bonnie Gillespie

Bonnie Gillespie's new small-group seminar on Self-Management for Actors provides an inside look into the business of acting and helps you identify your primary type, create your best self-marketing plan, and give you confidence to navigate the Hollywood landscape without personal drama.

Remember: Drama Costs Extra!

First seminar: Monday, 6 June 2005. Click here for more information.

Wish me luck!

Posted by bonnie at 3:57 PM

Page Six: Extras Fired

Oh, wow! This is a doozie.

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From the article:

The union extras-—who were playing cops, reporters and rioters-—refused to work unless they were paid more. The job action didn't end until a production manager gave an impassioned speech.

"He threatened us," said another extra. "He said, 'We'll never bring any more movies to New York if you hold up shooting here. We'll let everyone in California know about this.'"

Along with the stick came a carrot. "They compromised and said they would pay us," the extra said, "and then turned around and canned us. We finished that night's shooting, and then everyone who had complained was told not to come back. We're blacklisted."

Yikes!

May 16, 2005--UNION extras upset by smoky fires on the Yonkers set of Freedomland staged a sit-down Thursday night that disrupted filming of the Samuel L. Jackson/Julianne Moore movie reportedly for nearly an hour.

The "background performers," who are members of the Screen Actors Guild, demanded extra pay before they would continue filming a riot scene in the nearly abandoned Mulford Gardens housing project, which is slated for the wrecking ball.

"SAG rules say the actors are supposed to get paid extra for hazardous conditions," said one extra. "Steam is okay, technical smoke is okay, but you can't burn cardboard boxes. The smoke is toxic."

The union extras-—who were playing cops, reporters and rioters-—refused to work unless they were paid more. The job action didn't end until a production manager gave an impassioned speech.

"He threatened us," said another extra. "He said, 'We'll never bring any more movies to New York if you hold up shooting here. We'll let everyone in California know about this.'"

Along with the stick came a carrot. "They compromised and said they would pay us," the extra said, "and then turned around and canned us. We finished that night's shooting, and then everyone who had complained was told not to come back. We're blacklisted."

Freedomland is based on the brilliant book by Richard Price, which was inspired by the case of Susan Smith, who drowned her five children and told police they'd been kidnapped by a black man. Jackson plays a police detective who is helped by a newspaper reporter, played by Edie Falco. Moore is the homicidal mother. The movie is being directed by Joe Roth and produced by Scott Rudin.

A Freedomland spokeswoman said shooting was disrupted for no more than five minutes and denied rules were broken.

"We're a union shop. If there are grievances, there are ways to resolve them," she said.

The spokeswoman also denied anyone had been fired: "We had 275 extras on Thursday night. We needed only 175 on Friday night."

The pampered extras also complained that they were cheated out of their "meal penalties" (overtime for missed meal breaks) and that they weren't provided with enough toilets and a space to wait between scenes separate from the non-union extras.

"They've been breaking every rule in the book. They shouldn't be allowed to get away with it," groused one extra, who said he was fired.

Posted by bonnie at 3:15 PM

May 13, 2005

Big-Ass Casting Meeting

Just had a big-ass casting phone date with some cool-ass filmmaker types.

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I was hoping to end the call with a, "You're hired!" and I certainly may get that phrase from them next week, but they have some budget snags to work out first.

BTW--did you know that SAG Indie's contracts are being revamped July 1st? Whole new set of rules to learn! Yippee! I like what I've seen so far.

Man, that was one hella long/intense phone call. Phew! Hope I get the gig.

Posted by bonnie at 3:16 PM

May 11, 2005

Book Faire

Enjoy.

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It's official. See y'all there. And yes... that's how "y'all" is spelled. Don't punk out.

THE FIRST ANNUAL ACTORS CASTING/AGENTS PANEL AND BOOK FAIRE

THE ACADEMY OF TELEVISION ARTS AND SCIENCES and the Performers Peer Group "Road to Success" Series presents NAVIGATING THE NEW HOLLYWOOD LANDSCAPE FOR THE WORKING ACTOR

Casting Directors: Richard Hicks, Jane Jenkins, Ellie Kanner, Sonia Nikore, April Webster.

Agents: Chris Barrett of Metropolitan Talent Agency, Glenn Salners of Stone Manners Agency, Robin Spitzer of Origin Talent Agency, Mitchell K. Stubbs of Mitchell K. Stubbs & Assoc., Jeff Witjas of APA

Produced by: Conrad Bachmann & Alex Georgiev
Moderated by: Bonnie Gillespie

When: Saturday, May 21 2005
Where: CBS Studio Center, 4024 Radford Ave., Studio City. Please park in the structure (Gate A) north of the main gate on Radford. Pre-registration and photo ID required to enter the studio lot. Security guards will direct you to the commissary and event location.

Gates to open at 9:30am
Seminar: 10:30am-12:30pm
Book Faire: 12:30pm-2pm

Come for the Seminar, Stay for the Book Faire.

Actors Access and Showfax members are invited to attend a FREE seminar sponsored by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. If you have already RSVP'd through the Academy, you are set. If you haven't, just go to:

Click here to RSVP and fill out the online form to secure your reservation. Only attendees with valid confirmations will be allowed to attend this free event. If you want to just come for the Book Faire, be at the CBS Radford gate at 12 noon.

After the seminar you will have the opportunity to meet and greet authors who have set the standard for books for and about actors. Meet Terri Apple, Bonnie Gillespie, Margie Haber, Ellie Kanner, Rob Kendt, Judy Kerr, Brad LeMack, Nancy Rainford and other signature authors.

This is an exciting must see event at CBS Radford. Topics will include how technology has changed the way agents and casting directors work and how actors can take advantage of this new work flow.

Posted by bonnie at 11:49 PM

May 7, 2005

Ya Gotta Love Hollywood

Breaking news: Jennifer Garner, confirmed pregnant.

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They break into regular programming for this stuff around here.

Posted by bonnie at 4:36 PM

May 3, 2005

Many New Things

So... what up, G?

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Buttloads. That's what.

Sheesh! I'm seriously blogging now.

Politically incorrect observation #1: There is much more traffic on surface streets these days. Why? Someone who wants less traffic on the freeways is shooting people to get the road to himself. Mission accomplished. We're all taking Wilshire now.

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Politically incorrect observation #2: What kind of society do we live in where a fallen child star (Danny Bonaduce) can pull himself together, get clean, get a top-rated radio show, do voiceovers and guest spots on prime time TV regularly, often admit that he had his "major addict" days... and then manage to slide, publicly, back down off that wagon (and saying so, regularly), yet be supported in his work environment... and THEN get ridiculed when he puts himself back in rehab?

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I mean, really... if you SAY you're slipping, if you OWN that you are boozing it up... how can ANYONE decide to judge your arse once you do the RIGHT deed, which is signing up for help? Fuck! If they're going to bitch about you, they should do so when you're boozing in front of them and trying to hide it. That's what I expect, when I'm off-wagon-falling. At the very least!

There is no politically incorrect observation number three, as there is never a three (which really should be some other number) based on the reality created by somesuch-whatnot and the good folks there.

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Not politically incorrect, but amusing... Chip took this shot at the Twilight Criterium. Oh, how I remember the bliss that was our WUOG Sports Director living in the pace car for that in '95! Ah, memories.

Further not politically incorrect, but perhaps self-aggrandizing, is the observation that I no longer am capable of casting a "small project." It started when the first actor arrived at the audition location today. He said, "This must be some good production company with a healthy budget, to get you on board!" I laughed and said, "Oh, honey... I'm very affordable--I'm still at the beginning of my casting journey and that means I'm doing the same thing actors do, at the beginning of their careers: working cheap and choosing great projects with wonderful people."

Typically, one out of every ten actors says something about my books, my columns, previous casting visits, my online presence, speaking engagements, etc. This time? One out of every TWO.

And.

I can usually count on 30 no-shows out of 150 scheduled appointments. This time? NONE. Not ONE no-show. And I am so terribly sad that some people had to leave, after waiting for so long, and/or that people just waited and waited and waited so more. I ALWAYS HAVE ON-TIME SESSIONS! It really bummed me out to suddenly NOT. But then it occurred to me (and Keith said it out loud) that I'm suddenly not a CD who people think is casting one or two little projects here and there--but I'm someone who people know (in an: "if it's not this project, it's the next" type thing) will soon be casting something else they want to get on my radar for... and they show up. THEY SHOW UP! Even if they aren't confirmed, they show up.

Crap. I've just bumped up a tier. I've steadily increased my day rate for casting indies and I continue to get offers. WTF?? I increased my rate to cut down on the number of projects I got, and it's not happening. Sure enough, it's a sign that I'm right where I'm supposed to be and doing it right.

But now I have to schedule far fewer actors for auditions than I'd like to. That sucks. But, I guess it's a quality problem.

Looking forward to the day when I can hire MCJ (My Cousin Joni) to be my full-time assistant and get loads more work done with the sense of efficiency that only a Virgo can provide.

BTW--I love actors! Everyone rocked today. Amazing, how wonderful and confident so many actors are. I love that. I am such a fan of so many wonderful people!

Posted by bonnie at 8:39 PM

April 29, 2005

That Was Intense

Ooh! That little quake was actually pretty intense.

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2.8 four miles outside of Santa Monica.

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Ack! Shook me up--seriously.

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I'm beginning to notice that I always mention something about the weather just before a quake happens.

Earthquake weather: myth or truth?

Posted by bonnie at 1:21 PM

March 23, 2005

Two-Day Recap

Goodness, I've been working hard! Visit the pretty new excerpts from interviews at the book's site and ooh and ahh.

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Keith bought me some of these. Aww.

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And we had another one of these.

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Looks like this quake was a 3.4 just a few miles south of us. Cooooool.

HUGE thank you to the many volunteers for proofing--and DANG, some of you folks are FAST!!! What an amazing turnaround!

Okay, gotta go. Must give Tom Fontana some details about the content he's providing for our foreword.

PS--Keith went to producers on the new Tom Hanks pilot today. Rockstar.

Posted by bonnie at 11:55 AM

March 1, 2005

Bragging on the Birthday Boy

Keith has had a stellar year. His birthday is Thursday (he is very old). We started the year off with a little affirmation about his life as a working actor and before the first week of 2005 had ended, Keith had signed with his rockstar new manager.

Now, before he signed, he had already been called to go on tape for producers on the new show Head to Toe at Nickelodeon.

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Within a week, his manager called with a tape-to-producers audition for The Shield.

Then came another audition. This one was for Crossing Jordan.

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(Here's where it gets really good.)

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In the past few weeks, Keith has had a preread (which led to a same-day producer callback) for CSI, a meeting with legendary casting director Mike Fenton for a feature film currently titled The Hunt, and a preread for a pilot called Invasion. That last one led to a producer session today with the pilot's executive producer... Shaun Cassidy.

It has been a good year.

Baby, I hope you get a big bowl of BOOKED for your birthday! I am very proud of you, excited for you, and thrilled to experience this journey with you.

Posted by bonnie at 7:11 PM

February 26, 2005

2.9 in Encino

Sooooo much fun.

Another quake (see last time)! This one was much closer and of much less magnitude.

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Clickee for Biggee.

Funny thing was, Thwok had been sweetly sleeping on my lap while I was working and suddenly sat bolt upright and RAN out of the room. Within three minutes, JOLT.

Cool. Little ones are fun.

Posted by bonnie at 9:23 PM

February 5, 2005

I Love News Like This

Saw this on the news Thursday morning and have been meaning to post about it. Really cool.

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From the story (linked to photo, above):

The medieval old town of the Estonian capital, Tallinn, will be brightened up for four long winter nights this week by 10,000 lights, hoisted above the city on 500 helium-filled weather balloons.

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The semi-permanent art installation, called the Light Dome, will illuminate the city every night for three hours from Thursday to Sunday.

Since SAD is such a big part of life in a place with such a loooooong winter, this concept is not only beautiful, but a wonderful contribution to a mental health issue. I love that!

In February, night falls at about 4:30pm in Estonia, the northernmost of the Baltic countries, and lasts about 16 hours, with the sun not rising again until about 8:30am.

If you can find it, look for the video of these candle things being released. Absolutely gorgeous! And touching.

The smoky effect will be created by special candles used in firework displays, set on nearby roofs. "These candles are also used in the film industry to make fog. They are used to intensify firework effects, but do not produce fireworks themselves, but rather an ephemeral, mysterious atmosphere," Valk explained.

Awesome.

Posted by bonnie at 5:02 AM

February 2, 2005

News: No Casting Strike!

No time now, since soooo much is going on (new casting gig, big book interviews in just a couple of hours, Keith driving back to LA in a new car), but I had to share this news.

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Latest Headlines include declarations in Variety and other trades that there will be no casting director strike.

Woo damn hoo!

Posted by bonnie at 2:31 AM

January 19, 2005

He's Leaving

So, this morning, Keith brings out his suitcase and puts it on the living room floor.

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I start mock wailing.

HOW COULD YOU LEAVE ME?!? NO! NO! NO!

I finally feel what the cats must feel, when they see luggage. And, sure enough, Keith leaves to run errands and the kitties are all over his suitcase.

IF I STAY ON TOP OF THIS THING, YOU CAN'T PACK IT AND YOU CAN'T LEAVE US.

Yes. I think I will try that.

*sigh*

Or, I guess I'll just miss Keith for the few days he's in NoCal and get some major work done.

Yeah. That's more like it. ;)

Posted by bonnie at 11:56 AM

January 14, 2005

"Casting Directors To Seek Benefits" (LA Times)

Excellent article about the casting director unionization effort in today's LA Times. Excellent!

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Nice work, Mary McNamara. Thank you.

...each has assembled the talent for films and television shows without receiving the benefits--health insurance, a pension fund, timely payment, consistent working conditions--secured for virtually every other employee of a film or television show, from the director to the on-set caterer.
...AMPTP President Nick Counter has refused to recognize Teamsters representation of the group; casting directors, he has said, are independent contractors rather than employees...
Teamsters argue that casting directors are no more independent contactors than are costume designers or production designers or cinematographers, all of whom have union contracts.
"The SAG Awards has an ensemble award," says [Ronnie] Yeskel..."and rarely do you hear an actor or director thank the casting director. But who do you think put those ensembles together? The director? No."
"I laugh when I read about the 'amazing cast' some director has assembled," adds [April] Webster. "I think, really, when exactly did [the director] do that?"

Awesome coverage.

Posted by bonnie at 11:02 AM

January 7, 2005

Congratulations to my baby!

Congratulations, Keith!

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On a rockstar day (me: career consulting and a power meeting re: the new book; he: manager interview and producer session for a new sitcom), Keith started strong, signing with Abby Casey, one of the kick-assiest talent managers on the planet.

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Way to go, honey. I'm so proud of you.

Posted by bonnie at 5:03 PM

January 6, 2005

Didja Feel That?

Earthquake.

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4.4 in Fontana just moments ago.

One of the joys of staying up all night. The sofa moved... and kept moving. Kitties stirred, a little freaked.

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LOVES me some Earthquake Weather! I totally called it at HHH Tuesday night. I said, "As soon as it stops raining, we'll get an earthquake."

Woo hoo! Glad I felt that one! Hope everyone is okay.

Posted by bonnie at 6:41 AM

December 28, 2004

Wow... really?

Tornado Warning at Catalina?

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Yep, if you're reading this around 10:20pm PST on the 28th, that red blur over the island there is a tornado. Eeeeek!

Wild!

Posted by bonnie at 10:17 PM

December 21, 2004

Responding to Recent Comments

Okay, rather than emailing replies to comments or posting them within the comments field here, I'm gonna do that every-now-and-then thing that I do... making a post out of replies to comments.

First... OW. My head hurts to the extent that I would really like to lop it off and operate as a headless body. I AM SO SICK OF THIS PAIN!

Next... put a red rinse on my hair for a festive holiday kick (first rinse I've used in over two years) and it seems they've changed the formula and of course I didn't read the instructions and... well... I look like a poinsettia. Niiiice.

Excited about upcoming social engagements. We'll be out doing the holiday festivity thing every night starting tomorrow. Yay! Love our friends!

Have been told that my symptoms of joint pain, allergies, and migraines seem typical to those of a gluten allergy, so I'm doing research on all of that. Any advice/hit lists of non-obvious foods to avoid is much appreciated.

Updated the book's page to reflect recent interviews. Wow! What a rockstar-looking book we have going on here! AND... we're half-way done with conducting interviews! Woo hoo!

Oh... CHIP! I keep forgetting to tell you this! You may recall that you said, in your blog last year:

I think it will have one really good season and we will end up watching all of them hoping that it will get back to the basics of drugs and sex that it has strayed away from with guest stars and very special episodes. But, I will watch it anyway if only for Peter Gallagher's hypnotic brows.
Okay, well, I was watching a Best Week Ever a few weeks ago (who knows when it actually aired... TiVo has so spoiled me) and someone actually said the exact phrase: Peter Gallagher's hypnotic EYEbrows, which is almost EXACTLY what you said well over a year ago!! Should you sue?

Cingular still way sucks. I've now faxed a copy of my contract from early 2004 to the SEVENTH person within the Cingular organization and we've gone to the Cingular store from which this contract originated THREE times. I think, at present, I've logged about 10 hours on the phone with various CSRs and managers. Result... I'm still grabbing my ankles and awaiting the inevitable you-know-what you-know-where.

Yes... if this situation is not resolved to my satisfaction, I will blog ALL of the gory details and create a website called something along the lines of Cingular Sucks dot com or such. And then, when they sue me to take it down, I will insist on mediation through The People's Court, produce my contract, and become a clip-du-jour on Talk Soup or Reality Wrap-up or whatever is out there for such clips of brilliance anymore.

Grrrrr.

Let's see... how far will I go before I decide this fight isn't worth the money in dispute? Hm. If it's anything like the fight I had with Experian and its erroneous reporting of my credit rating while I was in debt consolidation, it'll be some time AFTER every government agency with an interest in consumer protection has heard about it.

I've realized, my biggest issue with ANYTHING is fairness. I want what's fair, what's right, what's promised to be delivered. That's all. I don't want an unfair advantage. I don't want something I'm not supposed to have. I want exactly what I signed up for. And when I'm being screwed... well... I screw back. Hard.

And then, eventually, I move on, realizing some institutions are simply unscrewable.

It seems like a zillion years ago that I was so tweaked up over the whole Experian thing, but it really did consume me a couple of years ago. Every spare moment, I was writing another letter, faxing more confirmation, making more phone calls, researching more consumer rights, etc. And now that I'm out of consolidation and Experian has returned my credit rating to its rightful 100% PERFECT standing... well... I'm getting an offer a day for a 0% six-month introductory APR credit card with a $15,000 limit and a post-introductory 7.9% FIXED APR for life.

My answer? No thanks. I'll enjoy the offers and turn in all of my chips when it's time to buy a house or car or both and y'all can just keep salivating over the idea of getting my business until then. Ha!

Yeah, that'll show 'em.

I know. I've got nuthin'.

Okay... on to the comments.

Re: sushi and joint pain, Ames added (from Ohio, even)

ugh...so want sushi right now!!! hope you are feeling better.
Sushi rocks. Seriously. But I had baby lobster tails with truffle and miso spinach instead of sushi the other night. Holy crap, that's some good stuff. Keith's steak was the best I've ever tasted. Yes, better than Dan Tana's. I don't know what they soaked it in, but it was TASTY! As for the feeling better... nah. But I'm thinking that gluten allergy thing might be a key. We shall see. Thanks for checking in.

Re: excellent music, Nini contributed

Ooooh I LOVE that Love And Rockets song! It's on a cool '80's mix CD that I made for myself...it always puts me in the BEST mood when I hear it.
Love and Rockets has been a favorite band for nearly 20 years now. Man, I'm old. I've seen them in concert seven or eight times, most recently in 1997, methinks. Such a great band (and the bands before it comprised of its members). We came in the other night to Haunted when the Minutes Drag on the '80s DirecTV music channel and I just melted. Keith doesn't get it. Classic rock is more his speed. WhatEVER!

Re: Orphans' Christmas, Nini said

Hmmm...have this again next Christmas too, okay? Greg and I just may.......attend. *hopeful grins*
That so seriously gets me bouncing up and down on my big sofa! I would LOVE that!! Yay! What a great goal for 2005... for me too! I can't wait! Yay!

Re: missing my mom, Nini gave

(((HUGS)))
I know. It's tough. You haven't known me long enough to know how tough this time of year is. I'm currently crying pretty much every day. Thank goodness it's the "self-aware" kind of crying, rather than the really crappy misunderstood kind.

Re: my age-15 photo, Nini observed

Straight out of a John Hughes movie! :o)
I know, I know. I was a serious Molly Ringwald contender. Wait 'til you see my 1985 Homecoming photo. Seriously... way Pretty in Pink. Tee hee.

Re: Keith's Marine photo, Nini growled

Yowzah!
Uh-huh. You got that right, sister. Yummy!

Re: 2004 in Questions, Nini said

Physical peace......yes, *that's* what it's called. It's what I'm looking for too. What a great list. I'm gonna snag this too!
Oh, goodie! It's a good one. I've reflected on my answers and the meaning of the year, using those questions to guide me, quite a few times since posting it. Definitely want some of that physical peace. You let me know if you find it first and I'll make the same deal with you. ;)

Re: Lost, Nini asked

And what did you think?
I liked it. A little too suspenseful for me (and I'm not a big fan of getting the crap scared out of me in the name of entertainment), but I'm a huge JJ Abrams fan, and had I known he was involved, I'd have watched from the beginning just on repuation. I'm in. We'll keep watching. ;)

Re: Cingular Sucks, Aimercat shared

my dear, you need to read this. I'm convinced that Cingular is Latin or ancient Greek for shit.
I'll be sure to link to that, when I create my hate site. ;)

Re: migraines, my sis Deb wrote

Oh, honey. Vibes for you to get better right away. Migraine... BAD. Happy smiley pain-free Bonnie... GOOOOOD!!!
Keep those vibes comin', sugar. Ugh.

Re: quote attribution, the new winner in the God of Google contest, Chairman contributed

Perusing the Google links regarding that quote, quotation-resource sites unanimously attribute the quote to Mary Anne Radmacher. The results that pop up attributing the quote to Hunninghake are almost all from message boards where it shows up as someone's sig-line or as a quote in someone's post. Most importantly, Mary Anne appears to attribute the quote to herself in one of her motivational art pieces which can be seen here. With too much time on his hands at work,
Yours truly,
-cb-
Holy crap, Chairman. I bow in your honor via the Internet today and will do so in person at Christmas dinner. Awesome.

Re: life rocking, getting more interviews done, celebrating at Dan Tana's, my lovely sis, Deb, wrote

I'm so damn happy for you, sis! You are getting everything you have worked so damned hard for and you deserve it! Woohoo! I can't wait for this book to come out! I'm jealous you went to Tana's! I'm having withdrawals!!! Loooove Mike, *said in my best Croatian accent*... "Shut up and drink!" Teehee! Miss you!
I've been quoting Mike ever since that night. He was in rare form. "Drink, bitch!" Wow! I've moved up in the world, eh? ;) Very excited to get to see you this week. Yay! We'll have a blast! PS--Thwok is so big. I mean, she's still a kitten, but she's growing so much!

Re: the PhD with poor grammar and a mean streak, Nini commented

Aw GOD that sucks so bad. I'm so sorry. ((Hugs))
Yeah, it's not even the NO. That's fine. It's what I expected, really. It's the way the no was served up with a plate of cruelty. *shudder* It's hard to shake that one off.

Re: sofa, Hannah the decorating goddess said

Yay for Sofa Day!!! I meant to comment earlier that I think the picture of it is SO pretty!!! Good luck with the book work. :-)
Awesome. Thanks so much. Your sense of style is so very cool, so it means a lot that you like our new furniture. Now, if I could just stop feeling so intimidated by those recipes you post in your blog!

Re: others' children and actor no-shows, Michael from Toronto commented

Read about your NO SHOWS(still amazed that that is the LOW end of the scale down in your neck of the woods...) and got sucked into reading the rest of the blogs (like so many before me I am sure) We are actually playing the role of parental units this weekend as well - because our friends went home for American Thanksgiving and the little guy is in a play and can;t miss rehersal. It's this great warm feeling when you have a little someone to have fun with - we've never played so many board games in our lives. Will be sad to see him go (Cody...he's the next big thing in Musical Theatre...he's 8) ! My parents have assured me that other peoples children are always much more stress-free than your own....wonder if that rings true?
I think it's definitely cool to have others' children around. Especially fun during the holidays. I think we'll be doing some family/friend visits with our friends who have kids in the next few days and weeks and we'll certainly feed off all that. As for the no-shows, yes, we really do have that level of no-shows 'round here. I guess it's market saturation and a sense of entitlement, combined. I hear there are nowhere near this level of no-shows among New York actors. There is a theatre-actor discipline that spills over into everything, methinks. Here... it's all just so casual.

Re: y'allbonics, Suesie contributed

oh, i get these..HA!!!! as a chicagoian...born and raised (southern after marriage and birthin' three kiddos in 3 different southern states!!), i love it....rock on, jo-ja peach!
Weren't those fun? Ah... I miss grits. Can we have those, next time we come over? ;)

Okay, I'm a little exhausted. Looks like we may have some movement with the Cingular folks. *fingers crossed*

And Salema, while walking across my computer, managed to pull off a key from the keyboard (the | \ key--wow, that was hard to type without the key in place) with her claw. Interesting, these kitties' technological capabilities.

Later, all!

Posted by bonnie at 4:46 PM

December 19, 2004

Idiots!

Okay, so we're watching Headline News and they're talking about the drugs that keep slipping through the cracks in the FDA approval process.

"We're dealing with products that are difficult to evaluate," said the acting commissioner of the FDA.

WHAT? No you're not! You're dealing with effing financial incentives to rush pain killers and dick-stiffeners through to the marketplace while drugs that could wipe out cancer and AIDS are left sitting in pergatory of the drug approval process for years and years!

There is nothing "difficult to evaluate" about that, you fucknut. As long as money and healthcare are woven so deeply, there will never be swift approval of the drugs that don't make pharmaceutical corporations billions of dollars.

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Posted by bonnie at 11:55 AM

Christmas Dinner

Anyone stuck in LA for Christmas? Looking for a fun thingy with some cool people? Lemmeknow. I have been told our location for this year's Mostly-Jewish Orphans' Christmas Dinner with Traditional New Orleans Stuffed Peppers is a "the more the merrier" style joint.

Cool! We like lots of room to spread out and play the Celebrity Game! Wow... was it JUST one year ago that I learned that game from Shelley the Great? Wow!

Okay, anyway, lemmeknow if you're in town and want to join us for the potluck of all time. We always have a blast. The proof is in the photos. Visit the photo page and see for yourself.

Orphans' Christmas in LA... a tradition since 2001. Ah... gotta love those long-standing Hollywood traditions.

Posted by bonnie at 4:08 AM

December 9, 2004

Save the Date: 4 January 2005 (HHH)

Big announcement coming soon regarding Hollywood Happy Hour for January 2005!

Can you believe we've been doing Hollywood Happy Hour for almost TWO YEARS now?!?

Wow!

With the support of the amazing Kris Burtt, Keith Johnson, Uncle Bob, and Aunt Diana, Nelson Aspen and I have seen Hollywood Happy Hour grow way beyond our wildest dreams (well... maybe not our WILDEST dreams... but you know).

THANK YOU for all of the support!

Oh... what date should you save? That'd be...

TUESDAY, JANUARY 4TH, 2005, for Hollywood Happy Hour... ringing in the New Year and Pilot Season Kickoff!

Woo hoo!

Posted by bonnie at 11:27 PM

December 8, 2004

Two More in the Can

Woo hoo!

Another two interviews for the book today. AWESOME interviews. I swear, I so love this new book already. Really wonderful. And Blake is such a great partner. And... we both come with awesome partners of our own. Karen is designing the cover. She's a major Madison Ave. ad designer. Seriously. And, Keith is handling all of the specs for publishing and distribution. Rockstar collaboration, this one.

Oh, and the guy we interviewed today... ooooooh. He's hot (one) and he's SUCH a good person. He's so grounded, centered, seriously connected to his process and his life. That's SO healthy for a kid who was a star of "24" at... 24.

The second interview... also rockstar good. Such an amazing child actor (teen, really) from New York. A series regular on "Third Watch" and such a WISE soul! Man... this book is going to ROCK!

Went to a showcase tonight and got to hang out with fellow actor-turned-casting-director Lisa Soltau. She's loving working for Junie Lowry-Johnson and the rest of the "Deadwood," "Six Feet Under," "Star Trek" gang. Dang... cool gig, Lisa! ;) Good luck with that meeting Monday. Aim high, baby!

The showcase was wonderful. Excellently written and acted. Review to come on "Shows I've Seen" once I get updatey over there. Man... I'm so frickin' busy. I LOVE IT!

Keith has an interview with a talent manager next week. (Woo hoo!) This rocks especially since all of my casting work is keeping me from managing his acting career as much as I had been, early on. *sniffle* My little actor man is growing up. *sniffle*

Out with friends last night after another show (and a showcase the night before. Man, is it showcase season or what?). I think we shut Dan Tana's down. Can't recall. Damn you, Mike and your never-ending pour of Ketel One!

I'm hurting for Keith, still. I've never seen someone so very wounded yet still traveling the high road at every turn. I swear, he's teaching me grace every day. I am amazed at what a good man he is.

I am so tired, yet wired. I am so glad to have handed off casting to production on "Trees Grow Tall and Then They Fall" so that I can swing fully into book mode now. I LOVE going into book mode. Man, writing rocks!

Okay, put the brakes on, Gillespie. It's time to get some rest... or at least turn your brain off and make out on Catalina for awhile. Heh heh.

Oh! Chip... Def Jam Becca MC wants to talk to you about blogging. She needs to blog... and she can't log in to comment. If it helps, she's a 90210 junkie too. ;) Becca, I'll email you soon. Gotta unwind a bit first.

Man, I love my life. Seriously, every day is a mountain of bliss lately. That is so dang cool!

Posted by bonnie at 11:37 PM

December 4, 2004

Gratified. Tired. Gratiftired?

Callbacks were great. I should be allowed to make actor offers tomorrow or Monday at the latest. Rockstar good stuff. Amazing actors. Really, really awesome.

Shifting into BOOK MODE for the new book, Acting Qs: Conversations with Working Actors. Got lots of work to do, which is always fun, but I'm going to have to start saying no to some casting jobs in order to get the writing done on our timeline.

Tomorrow is a big day. I'm going to a really wonderful casting director holiday craft fair of sorts. Over 300 people have RSVP'd and every name on the invite list is a name I recognize (casting directors, agents, managers). I swear, this will be great networking, a good way to get a little advance info on the big, emergency casting union meeting coming up this month (possible CD strike afoot), and a fun opportunity to see what other CDs do when they're not casting. I know what *I* do. What do the rest of us do? Well, some craft! I look forward to buying handmade-by-casting-director gifts for my actor friends. That'll be fun. Also awesome to hang out with Chemin, as always.

Okay. I need sleep. Already napped once today (after the callbacks) but still need a little more of the good stuff before that big day o' mine. Oh, and I don't EVEN want to start thinking about how many days straight of commitments I have the rest of this month. Shows, showcases, more shows, more showcases, holiday parties that are more networking than socializing in nature.

Sleepytime. Sleepy. Pleased. Spleasedy? Yeah.

Posted by bonnie at 10:33 PM

December 2, 2004

It's Almost Happy Sofa Day!

I guess, technically, it IS Happy Sofa Day already, but since the sofa won't actually be here until between 11am and 2pm, I'm saying Happy Sofa Day actually begins in a number of hours. No use getting even MORE excited so early.

I'm seriously THRILLED. Can't wait!

We moved the other sofa (started to call it the "old" sofa, but I don't think a sofa purchased just over three years ago counts as "old," really) over by the floor-to-ceiling window and it is LOVELY there. Really gorgeous. Hm. We may like keeping it there, after all.

Anyway, the area for the new sofa is prepared. Even hung family photos over where the sofa will be. Finally! Getting photos up really helps us feel like we've moved in... despite all the stuff still in boxes. We really need a good two weeks with NOTHING else to do and a maid to help us with the deep-clean and a kid to help haul off all of the trash, donations, whatnots. Then we'd be moved in.

That said, we are steadily moving forward. We will, in fact, have that housewarming party... say, early January. Finally.

Oh, spent most of today and yesterday working on the new book. Realized I'm going to have to turn down some casting work here in the next couple of weeks in order to get this ready. Quality problem, of course, but also a bummer. Nah, not a bummer. I love that intense "book work" time. It just takes a shift of my energy, after having been casting for so long. The last time I went into "book-writing sequester" mode was August 2003. That's a pretty long break, actually.

Hee hee. Archie is snoring.

Short films accepted into Sundance 2005 will be announced on the 6th. I can't wait to learn whether The Moor made it. *fingers crossed* I'm so excited!

Posted by bonnie at 12:37 AM

December 1, 2004

Well, well, well...

January 1st will be VERY interesting 'round here.

Why is that so interesting?

Well... lemme make it a leeeetle clearer.

Need it a leeeeetle more clearerer?

Bonnie Gillespie went to UGA. Keith Johnson went to UW, Madison. Should be QUITE the fun bowl game, from this couple's TV. Heeeeeeeee.

Go, DAWGS!!

Ooooh, and what I REALLY love is the poll standings at the Outback Bowl site today!

Who is going to win the 2005 Outback Bowl?
Georgia: 715
Wisconsin: 366
Total: 1081
34.gif

That'd be Georgia with the big ol' honkin' majority of the pie up there. Heeeeeeee!

Posted by bonnie at 4:20 PM

November 30, 2004

We Won!

Keith just cleaned out his car.

On August 21st, we won $2 in the lottery.

Woo hoo!

Posted by bonnie at 12:53 PM

November 26, 2004

Did We Do It Wrong?

In honor of Buy Nothing Day, we bought this:

newsofa.jpg

Oops.

And yay!

Posted by bonnie at 2:06 PM

November 24, 2004

It's a Boy!

No... I'm not knocked up. ;)

We're helping a friend who sorely needed a romantic getaway with her hubby, who's been working in NoCal for several weeks at a time. The wonderful couple's awesomely cool son is staying with us for the long weekend. So fun!

David and Keith are currently at the market. They were going to roller blade there, but decided to table that plan for tomorrow. Roller blade to the beach to Boogie Board. Man, I forget how cool it is that we live that close to the Pacific Ocean. Way cool.

And David has written a script--Keith is the bad guy--so they'll probably do a little shooting this weekend too. David brought his camera gear. The official shoot won't start for a couple of weeks.

Anyway, it's fun. We'll have Etta and Gabe over for our first Santa Monica Thanksgiving, and then Friday we're headed to Suesie's for family-away-from-home family time. Saturday, there's dinner with the newly-engaged Tracy and Dick. That should round up the weekend, methinks.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Posted by bonnie at 5:12 PM

November 17, 2004

Three Things

Keith and I went to a great screening tonight. Cast and crew and supporters at the Silent Movie Theatre in Hollywood (GREAT location). Very well done. Congrats, Chuck! And very cool to see Moira in such a meaty role, plus the joy of getting to hang out with Jennifer both before and after the screening... CONGRATS on signing with ICM, you frickin' rockstar! Wow! Awesome!

Spied an amazing actress who stole the show in every frame she occupied. I will DEFINITELY be calling Ms. O'Brien in. Definitely! Phew! That's talent, baby!

[Yes, I'm intentionally not name-dropping. Yet.]

On the drive home, Keith and I talked about a zillion things, one of the most entertaining was a discussion of our favorite types of exam questions in advanced high school math classes. Seriously. Loves me a good proof!

Finally, Tony Dungy, shut the fuck up. Seriously. If you are worried that your kid is being damaged by having to see the suggestive ad for Desparate Housewives prior to watching your players crush into each other on Monday Night Football, then please have the camera-operators stop squeezing in for tight shots on the cheerleaders' racks between plays. Sheesh! Hypocrite. *grumble grumble*

Oh, one more... it looks like we may try to take Quinn with us to Scotland for Faith's wedding. Can you imagine father and son in MacTaggart kilts?!? Oh, I'm hopeful we can work that all out.

I so love my life. Wow. It just rocks. Seriously.

Posted by bonnie at 11:37 PM

Happy Birthday, Chip!

Happy Birthday, dear Chip!

I love you! XXOO

Posted by bonnie at 12:08 AM

November 3, 2004

No Comments

From the amazingly patient and loving admin of the SpyNotebook, Chip, we have no comments on the blogs for now.

the 411 on the spynotebook
November 2, 2004 05:11 PM
Lunarpages has decided that the mt-comments script is no longer allowed on their server. This means, there will be no more comments for now on the blogs. I am going to move to a new provider but this will be a more leasurely
[sic] move than the other moves I have made in the past.
Sorry!

Bummer. Comment via email or just hold up. ;) Of course, this is very good news, re: spammer-commenters. It'll be nice not getting asked ten times a day if I'd like to have longer, stronger erections.

Hee hee.

Posted by bonnie at 1:02 PM

Well, Hell.

Keith said, as we got up this morning, before Kerry had conceded, that even if Satan stays in office, these, our first three and a third years together, all occurred while a criminal ran the country and we've had some of the happiest, most amazing times in our lives. So, he said, even if Satan stays in office, we can still have some of the happiest, most amazing times in our lives here in the next four years.

And then, said I, we can enjoy a full 16 years of Democratic presidencies: Clinton/Obama 2008 and 2012, then Obama for another eight years after that.

My dyed-in-the-wool Republican fiancé even got into it with a RNC telemarketer who called to confirm Keith's vote Monday. He said, "I am a Republican. I am a lifetime member of the NRA. As a Marine, I worked at the white house for Ronald Reagan in the '80s. I know the number of criminal acts that a president must engage in over the course of a presidency. Still, the level of 'criminal' was redefined by Dubya and there's a special place in Hell for him."

I don't like to get political, so that's just me sharing a little story from my lovely fiancé. I hope you enjoyed it.

kitties-for-kerry-small.gif

(Nabbed from Nini whose friend made it.)

Onward.

Posted by bonnie at 8:29 AM

November 2, 2004

Covered in Kitties and Keith

Everyone is glad I'm home. Especially me.

Posted by bonnie at 9:49 AM

September 22, 2004

Happy Dance

In just a few hours, I get to go see my FAVORITE band at the Greek. My fiancé bought the tickets for my birthday. I don't think he'd know a Pixies song if he heard one, and he certainly couldn't name one. That's love.

15.jpg

I'm sooooooo excited!!

Posted by bonnie at 11:41 AM

September 18, 2004

Must Be Excited

I keep not sleeping despite the fact that I'm a zombie by now. So so so so much work going on and getting an hour of sleep at noon today was my one "thing" to get ready for the big afternoon meeting.

Why is it so hard to put the brakes on something (for the purpose of SLEEPING) when you're so dang excited? You KNOW you need the sleep... but it's just so frickin' awesome to keep working you don't want to stop doing so.

Or is that just me?

Man, I'm wiped out. And in such a delicious way!

Thanks for all of the book suggestions, everyone. Blake and I have already gotten a handful of YESSES for our book, so it's a "go." One interview already "in the can" and being edited (hence the all-nighters). It's really amazing how we set our sights way high, asked, and were told, "Sure! I'll do it! Sounds great!" by people we were calling our long-shots.

Is this Excuse Me, Your Life is Waiting living or what?!? Yeeeeeeeehaaaaaw!

Oh, one more update: Keith's quick trip to Sacramento was uneventful, which is EXACTLY what we were hoping for. Court went well and everything is in motion now for the best outcome possible. It'll be a few weeks before there's more news. Thanks, everyone, for keeping those amazing good vibes coming! They really help!

Okay, now bed. Really!

Crap... one more thing. Keith got a new job at Google. THANKS, ROSE!!!

Posted by bonnie at 3:55 AM

September 15, 2004

Wish List?

Okay, gang...

I need your help. If you were going to read a book of interviews with "name" (see def. #5) actors that would inspire you (pretend you are a starting-out actor, looking for inspiration from working actors), what would the table of contents on that book look like? Who would be your TOP FIVE actors to read about (their path to working-actor-dom, their advice to starting-out actors, their tips and clever ideas, their favorite thing about pursuing this crazy lifestyle)... IN THEIR OWN WORDS?

Yes, this is like Casting Qs, but with working actors. Actor Qs, perhaps? We'll see.

Blake Robbins (my co-author) and I have already started making contact with working actors to check interest and availability and it looks like we weren't just dreaming when we came up with OUR wish list yesterday. We can actually GET some of these people to sit down with us for an hour, talk openly with us, and then have their stories in our little book (which I'll write up and Cricket Feet will publish).

[Insert a moment when I realize how happy my mother must be that "her daughter, the writer" is starting her third and FOURTH books, simultaneously, and that she has the "cred" to get these folks interested and her national distributor way wired about the level at which this book will sell, vs. "specialized" titles like li'l ol' Casting Qs and Self-Management for Actors.]

[Insert another moment when I realize I switched from referring to myself in first person to third person in the above bracketed segment and laugh defiantly, "Muwahahahahaha! I am a WRITER! I can change the rules on a whim! Muwahahahahaha!"]

Okay. I'm over myself on that now. ;)

List away, BonBlogs readers far and wide! Now's your chance. We start the official interviews later this week!!!!!!! Ack!!!!!!!

[Have I mentioned how much I love my life lately?]

Oh, and the meetings today were rockstar. Onward with new, lucrative relationships with both MXAT and LMU, among other, more hush-hush ones.

ROCK!!

Posted by bonnie at 1:37 AM

September 14, 2004

Follow-up

You know if a meeting lasts THREE hours and then you spend the next TEN hours on a major workaholic blitz of focused attention to the project that it is going to be a gooooooood thing.

Oh, man... I am so frickin' excited about this new joint venture. Holy crap, it just keeps getting betterer and betterer.

Next up, meeting with the head of a college drama department hiring me to both consult on a spring showcase for students currently in the Moscow/Harvard (MXAT) program and come to the campus in the spring to teach Self-Management for Actors to their graduating class.

And then a staged reading tomorrow night.

Shouldn't I sleep?

Yes... but then how can I keep doing happy-dances if I'm unconscious? Hm. This is too dang cool!!

Posted by bonnie at 4:19 AM

September 13, 2004

So so so so much...

...going on.

Tons of meetings over the next few days and lots of happy new collaborations, joint ventures, exciting relationships and developments.

It's on, baby!

Posted by bonnie at 2:01 PM

September 8, 2004

Big Brother

Kenneth came through town on a transport run yesterday. We got to hang out for most of the day (him watching me try to schedule actors for callbacks and going nuts juggling all the different schedules) and then went to Naked Angels' Tuesdays @9, which was very cool. From there, Kenneth left for NY. Great seeing you, big brother!

While at St. Nicks, I was approached about writing a new book with a working actor who had been thinking about putting something pretty special together, but knew he'd need me and Keith to help it actually come to life. Within a half-hour, we had a handshake deal for what will be my third book; a co-authored piece on working actors and their tips for navigating the business. We'll have a meeting this weekend and then the writing begins.

My life rocks. I really do love that, while entertaining my big brother for a few hours, I can work a business deal into the mix. This town suits me fine.

Off to the valley for a pet-sitting gig. Wish for cool weather or powerful AC. Either one will be fine.

Posted by bonnie at 9:38 AM

September 2, 2004

Lots To Share...

...but I gotta be quick about it.

Took Thwok on her first errand run today. It was a hoot. She pretty much stayed on my shoulders, around my neck, or on my head the whole time. Hee hee.

Got Keith's headshots back. You can see MY favorite 27 here. And here's a really solid new one:

Great work from Mitch Burmeister. Very cool.

What is the mindset of animals when they look in a mirror? Do they think it's another animal or do they know it's their own reflection? Any pet psychologists out there who care to let me in on that one?

Oh, and I keep forgetting to share that Keith and I are both living on our first Boulevard. I thought I had lived on a Blvd. in the past, but it turns out I've lived on a Road, a Drive, a Parkway, a Street, an Avenue, and now a Boulevard. So, I still have a Court, a Circle, a Place, and a Lane to go at the very least. LOL

Joni, I still haven't gotten whatever you mailed me. :( Boo, hiss!

Here's something: Rachel and I spent no less than 11 hours straight sorting headshots on Sunday and I still have another two days (at least) to put into that task. Ack! Rachel, are you still feeling ill at the site of headshots or are you ready for more? Hee hee hee. This has to get finished before the next breakdown goes out. Ack!

Okay, must focus on anything else. Oh, look. I can see neighbor Steve's 50" plasma screen TV from here. Nah... I'm not jealous. Just shopping. Hee hee.

Posted by bonnie at 9:58 PM

August 14, 2004

Screen Door

Today we got a screen door. I'm so happy. It's like a small town around here. Still need a welcome mat though. Where's my local Pier 1?

Vibes to Keith, who remains in Sacramento dealing with family issues. I miss you, honey. Come home to me soon.

Thank you to the most supportive friends on the planet, including Bill, Cindy, Shon, Amy, Hal, and Eric. So dang awesome, you people.

Posted by bonnie at 6:21 PM

August 8, 2004

"Each Box Is a Surprise."

Ah, the wisdom of the Keith.

He mentions how smoothly some of the boxes-into-the-right rooms thing is going as he brings over another load (the final load) of "stuff" we had stored during this move (Thank you, Nelson!!). I say, "Yeah, that's because of my writing on the side of each box. Office, closet, bed, bath, linens, ent. ctr., lvng. rm, dining, kitchen, kitties... these markings (along with that handy arrow Keith chose to ignore when putting each box upside down or on its side) tell us where to put things so the boxes are already in the right rooms when we go to open them."

This is after he mentions that he can't find his new sneakers (Thank you, Mitchell!!). I ask, "Which box has 'shoes' written on it? I'll get your new shoes for you!"

"I don't know what box they're in," he says (while I wonder if they even made it into the same box).

"Keith! Why don't you LIKE to know how you packed things? That lets you go right to the box you want to open and get out the things you need."

"But my way makes it so each box is a surprise!"

Yes. I guess that's true.

*insert eye-roll here*

We met one of our neighbors Friday. We had walked to the Promenade to see a movie (cheap date--one ticket was free, the other was $7) and as we came up the stairs after our date, Janet was watering her plants. She introduced herself (a 21-year resident) and gave us some good info about our neighbors: Steve (the landlord) will go out of town with no notice and without providing emergency contact information (this explains why we've had no power in three rooms since Tuesday night), a neighbor below us has lived here for 50 years and has a copy of every newspaper he's ever had delivered to his apartment, and sharing the top floor with us are an FBI agent and an attorney.

Handy!

She also said that she had told another neighbor about us (she had seen us moving in). "They are the most organized people I have ever seen. Not only was that move-in completely orchestrated, but they knew exactly what time and for how long they'd stop for lunch and where that would be."

I laughed, because I'd love to believe that we DID have such a move-in-like-clockwork experience, but I actually know some of the chaos that lives within the well-labeled boxes and smoothly-executed lunch break. ;)

That said, we have all but a handful of small boxes unopened by now and the happy news is, NOT A SINGLE THING IS BROKEN. Not one. I think this will go down in history as the first move in my personal history in which nothing cracked or got shattered. No, I do not count the crystals Eric knocked off Faith's light fixture with his head, as I was able to reattach those with no trouble whatsoever. How's the noggin, Eric?

Kitties are luscious. Still no high-speed Internet, long distance phone service, or power in those three aforementioned rooms, but man, does the tap water taste great! And for some reason, since reconnecting in the 310, TiVo keeps trying to grab some really high-brow TV shows. Are you trying to tell me something, TiVo?

The Big Thank You List

* Thank you Aleta, Homer, and David for the truck, the entertainment center, the moving help, the personal deliveries!!
* Thank you Eric for the coffee table, the Krispy Kremes, and the gloved-muscle man work!
* Thank you Debra, Ashley, and Madison for some of the best (and sweetest) elbow grease I've ever seen. Man, can y'all clean a house! Thank you MOST of all, of course, for Thwok!
* Thank you Shon and Jodi for the photos and the "we're helping ALL of our friends move" visit. Great to get unexpected help on such a busy day!
* Thank you Faith for all of the lovely goodies you left behind, including some of the best dang Feng Shui cures on the planet!
* Thank you Nelson for the use of your garage for no less than a month. You really helped us get the bigger stuff packed by letting us have a place to store the little stuff early on. Thank you!
* Thank you Jackie for the garage space you loaned us while on your European cruise. It worked out perfectly for more than just our bikes!
* Thank you Joni (and now Maxine and Bullet) for continuing to hang onto those last few boxes that just couldn't make it out of Georgia. We'll be sending for them eventually, I promise!
* Thank you Val for the DVD series I think I'll finally be able to watch soon (just hooked up the player today... gotta find the remote).
* Thank you Cindy, Carly, and the whole K-gang for the boxes, packing tape, and DELIVERY of said items during one of the most hectic weekends of this whole process! Oh! And thanks for the birthday goodies. Tee hee! Loving them!
* Thank you Conan and crew for the champagne, which allowed us to toast our new apartment with the crew that moved us in. We raised our glasses to the happy new home we've created. Thank you for helping us have that blessing!
* Finally, thank you thank you thank you thank you Liz for everything you always do to help us along. You, quite simply, rock!

Expect a more "formal" thank you to come. But I figure you definitely deserve big public praise too. Y'all kick ass! Thanks for making our new home come together so seamlessly. Really cool.

Anyone up for a walk to the beach? Meetcha there! ;)

Posted by bonnie at 4:15 PM

August 7, 2004

Dial-Up Bites

I'm so spoiled. Three years ago, Keith tried to convince me to get DSL. I told him I did NOT need DSL, couldn't imagine why I would be so greedy as to think I had to have DSL when dial-up is "just fine, thank you," and assured him the cost was not worth any gain of speed.

Man.

Three years after losing that argument, I'm sitting here stuck on dial-up until Earthlink finishes the transfer of our DSL (which, for some reason, takes seven to ten business days) and I am whining like crazy!

Oh, it's just too funny.

Kitties are settling in well. Keith and I have kept our promise to one another that we will walk EVERY DAY and explore our neighborhood. Delightful! Still have a lot of unpacking and placing to do, of course, but it's starting to feel like home. I just LOVE how cool the weather is. Got COLD last night. Had to turn off the fan, close the window, and get the QUILT out! Holy cow!!

More updates once I'm ber-connected. For now, just wanted to be sure to check in with a hello. Photos will come. Haven't unpacked the media reader yet. Getting there! ;)

Posted by bonnie at 10:03 PM

August 4, 2004

X Aus Ted

I have so much to say... but can't seem to keep my eyes open long enough to say any of it.

I'm sooooooo worn out.

Posted by bonnie at 12:24 AM

July 2, 2004

The Hits Keep Coming!

I've just been hired to cast a 35mm SAG Experimental short film called "Each To Each," directed by Leo Age, produced by Cary Becker. Look for the Breakdown on ActorsAccess.com beginning Tuesday, the 6th (which is Hollywood Happy Hour, BTW).

Woo hoo!

Oh, and if you're a male or female between the ages of 33 and 40 with STRONG THEATRE CREDITS, get me your headshot. ;) Woooooo hooooooo!

Happy dance! So far, July is the best month EVER! I soooo love my birthday month. It's always the awesomest! Yay!

Posted by bonnie at 11:59 AM

July 1, 2004

We're Moving!

Yep, just got the call a few minutes ago... we've been approved and will be the new residents of cousin Faith's current pad (a kick-ass 2BR seven blocks from the beach in Santa Monica).

Anyone wanna help us move?

Heeeeeeeeeee!!!! So excited!!!!

Posted by bonnie at 10:20 AM

June 2, 2004

Tomorrow Ayem

We will leave Los Angeles at 5am (ack) to have Breakfast with Shamu.

Rock! That's so dang cool!

bfastwshamu.jpg

Very excited!!!

Oh, and today... I finally got started on our taxes. LOL Man... I definitely need the Sea World trip. ;)

Posted by bonnie at 7:32 PM

April 20, 2004

More Jobs?

Good Lord, at all the jobs I'm getting!

I just signed on to work with the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners in their certification testing program. Pretty dang cool little gig every six months.

Looks like my first column for Showfax will go up next week. The Actors' Voice moderated by Bonnie Gillespie shall debut soon! Remember to fire up your questions and shoot 'em to me by email so that I can get to work on the next one! Woo hoo!

Chatted with our buddy Craig Susser at Dan Tana's last night (spied George Clooney and Conan O'Brien--not together--there) and learned that, while he was on the set of the new Elmore Leonard adaptation Be Cool, The Rock got Punk'd. And in a big way. They blew up his trailer. LOL

Saw a showcase last night and will go to another tonight, plus a show Thursday night and another showcase Sunday afternoon. Details at the Shows I've Seen blog. Yay!

This is the week we get shooting scripts to the actors cast in Perfect. Woo hoo! Still need to know what the Significant Others season two shooting schedule is in order to lock in contracts, but I have a very good feeling about it all. I do have to give a drop-dead deadline to the name we have an offer out to for one of the roles this week. Can't delay any more! Stop dragging those feet!!

Ah yes, Mercury is in Retrograde. Silly Bonnie! Tee hee.

We have finally completed casting on The Moor. Hooray! Life is good.

Posted by bonnie at 4:30 PM

April 17, 2004

Phew!

Holy crap, the BonBlogs are BACK! Woooooo hoooooo!

Thanks, Chip, for all the hard work to get everything moved over to the new server. Good luck for a speedy transition on all other fronts. You're the best!

Lots and lots and lots of news since the last post I made a week or so ago, but it'll have to wait, as there is also lots and lots and lots of work to do right now!

Meanwhile, enjoy this photo from our outing Thursday night (I'll update the Shows I've Seen blog soon too). Good times!

vidabonelle.jpg

Posted by bonnie at 12:15 PM

March 7, 2004

Faith Salie in the Press

Not only is Significant Others getting great reviews, but precious cousin Faith Salie's photo will be in tomorrow's Hollywood Reporter!

Sneak peek:

I saw the behind-the-scenes interview segment they're running on Bravo this morning and cried. Seriously. I sat here like a little baby and cried. I'm just so damn happy for Faith, Fred, Hersch, Andrea, Jane, Brian, and the whole dang cast and crew. This show ROCKS. *sniffle*

Quizland

us-tx.gif
You're Texas!
You aren't really much of your own person, but everyone around you wishes you'd go away, so you might as well be independent. You're sort of loud-mouthed and abrasive, but you do have a fair amount of power. You like big trucks, big cattle, and big oil rigs.  And sometimes you really smell. But it's not all bad, you're big enough to have some soft spots somewhere in all that redneck madness.
Take the Country Quiz at Blue Pyramid.

Posted by bonnie at 3:38 PM

February 26, 2004

Home Home Home

Oh, it is so so so very delightful... sleeping in my own bed. Ahhhh. Very very nice. Of course, I sprung awake after just a few hours' nap, but wow... what a nap it was!

Glad to be home. Our trip was just amazing. Truly wonderful, in every regard. Just every happy hope we had for the best possible outcome in every situation came true. EVERY best possible outcome.

Hightlights:

Athens: Taco Stand yumminess and a possible "crack-the-recipe" experience with their delightful queso spinach dip; wonderful catch up visit with Chip, my niece Tiffany, former Athens Academy student of mine Ann, and got to meet Joshua and Jocelyn; the talk at UGA's Drama Department was so very rockstar that the head of the MFA program asked if I'd be willing to come back each semester and teach two weeks of cold reading and business of acting as an adjunct professor (holy crap, that's cool!); donated books to my former home, the J-School, and to the Drama Department; saw my awesome doctor who tells me I'm insulin resistant and need to follow the Schwarzbein Principle rather than Atkins; got my second tattoo re-colored at Pain and Wonder; weather was gorgeous and photos will be forthcoming.

Atlanta: fantastic gathering of old friends at Twist (a great martini and sushi bar--thanks for the suggestion, Pete); good family time with Dad and SM--I finally saw my first ever episode of Sex and the City... yeah, it was the series finale (Dad said, "Oh, wouldn't it be neat to see your book in the store window like that?" My reply, "Yeah, Dad. It is." Tee hee); looked for awhile like we were going to fly to DC and then take the train to NY, but we were able to book a flight on Song (what a rockstar airline--I ranked second in the all-plane/all-flight music trivia tournament... damn that Josh in seat 3B); the most amazing family gathering in honor of my aunt and uncle's 50th wedding anniversary. Got to catch up with so many wonderful people I love so much. Just delightful! And we went back to Joni's with Reid and Liana for the now-regular-whenever-Bon-visits-event of Chicken Foot and Orange Crush. Excellent! Again, photos to come. Thanks for all of the gorgeous weather! Also cool... got word right as we left Atlanta that I will be appearing live on Australian TV (the show is called Sunrise, for those of you down under) via remote from Los Angeles on Thursday (Friday morning, their time) in a pre-Oscar sketch with Nelson!! Woo hoo!

New York: Amazing!! So very very very amazing! Beautiful weather and just enough snow to make me feel like I'd had a little winter (one of those happy moments when we exited the subway and, at some point during the ten minutes we were underground, snow had begun to fall); a fantastic VIP taping of The View compliments of rockstar Subhash; walks through Times Square at night, a delightful hotel right off Broadway--and an amazing surprise at the airport: a Towncar to pick us up and escort us there!!; the talk and booksigning at the Drama Book Shop was inspired--the actors in attendance were receptive and happy to share their toys, filled with great questions, and the few we went out with after were just awesome to get to know; Sara--an old friend from LA--came out to play as well. So very cool to get to see her again! Of course, also wonderful to meet online friends and make new friends altogether; yesterday we visited the World Trade Center site. Sorry. There will be no photos of that. Wasn't right.

But I'm glad we went. *moment of silence*

As for the folks we couldn't/didn't hook up with, I'm not exactly sure why... but a few folks have emailed to say I DIDN'T HAVE YOUR NUMBER! Um... well... this very blog was the source for all the info anyone ever had about our trip... and there was a nice happy link in the big official post about it all to our Cricket Feet Contact Info. Bummer that we didn't connect, but hey... we tried!

So so so so so many people with whom we DID connect and spend lots of time... THANK YOU SO MUCH for coming out to join us at all of the various places and events. Just fantastic to reconnect with so many old friends and to meet new ones!

As for those of you in Chicago, DC, Texas, and the other places we thought we might have to tour as a result of busy/full Delta flights, sorry we didn't get to have a happy layover visit. Still, that flight home in Business Class was... wow... so very cool.

If this experience is any indication of the future of Self-Management for Actors and my promotional/touring activities surrounding it, I WILL be in your city soon!

Meanwhile, the Letters of Intent are coming in from our already-cast members of the Perfect cast, one decline from a "name," and a zillion packages to open/calls from agents to return once I get back from the shoot today for Australian TV.

And the third book's initial promotional material and cover artwork are due to our distributor next week. Ack!

Oh... and I need to get our taxes done! Eek!

Wow... was that a vacation? Tee hee. I know the answer.

All right, come back for photos. It'll take awhile to get them ready. There are hundreds!!

Finally, THANK YOU JEANA for taking care of our babies. They are fat and happy as always, and that's a great sign. We'll arrange getting the keys back soon (you're certainly welcome to stop by at any time to leave them... we'll be the ones seated in piles and piles of headshots and resumés, trying to dig our way out).

Great time. Glad to be home! More catching up later. XXOO

Posted by bonnie at 7:25 AM

February 22, 2004

Update on the NY Thang

We have booked our flight to NY. Woo hoo! We bought tickets... it was just easier than worrying about getting on a plane standby. Woo hoo!

Oh, and we had a blast at Twist last night. Really good fun. Chip has posted some photos from the T-stand night in Athens at his blog. Very cool.

Headed off to Maxine and Bullet's 50th wedding anniversary party soon. It's so dang awesome being here. Probably won't post again until in or en route to NY. Thanks, everyone, who's been coming out to spend time with us as we make our stops around this area. Awesome fun.

Posted by bonnie at 7:22 AM

February 18, 2004

Boarding Pass

I HOPE I can post from the Sixhundy. *fingers crossed* But if not, this will be "it" 'til we return next week. Soooooooooo excited about our trip!

Posted by bonnie at 4:37 AM

February 13, 2004

Headed East, Y'all!

Here's the deal.

Wednesday: late late late, arrive in Hotlanta. Staying at le'dad's house.

Thursday: 4pm, meet up at the Taco Stand in downtown Athens (247 E. Broad St.). After that, we'll wander around doing downtown Athens kind of things and then crash at Chip's pad unless it's easier for us to grab a hotel room. Either way.

Friday: I have a morning appointment in Watkinsville, and then at 12:20pm, I'll be speaking at UGA's Department of Drama for a couple of hours. After that, we'll head back over to Athens Academy to visit some of my old students and coworkers. At some point in there, we want to hit the J-school to donate copies of my book to their departmental library. Not sure how late we'll stay in town on Friday, but I'm thinking we'll most likely head back to Hotlanta sometime after Friday traffic (oh, I'm so excited to be somewhere that actually has "rush hour" as opposed to lifetime high-traffic).

Saturday: noonish, a date with the Harbins for Chicken Foot, karaoke, Orange Crush, and Chick-fil-A. 5pm, Twist, 3500 Peachtree Rd., Atlanta (in Phipps Plaza). We'll be there 'til whenever. At the end of the night, we'll head back to dad's and SM's for an overnight.

Sunday: 2pm, Aunt Maxine and Uncle Bullet's 50th wedding anniversary party in Hapeville. Very excited. Sunday night, after much hanging out with the Harbins, we'll head back to dad's for one last overnight.

Monday: NYC, baby! So very very excited. Nothing but touristy stuff planned for Monday, as we're not sure which flight we'll take or into which airport we'll choose to fly. *shrug* Just happy to connect with some folks, do some visits, do some touristy stuff, act like we know what to do in cold weather, etc.

Tuesday: morning, a cool VIP taping of The View compliments of a way cool friend-of-Joy (Behar) who saw we were headed to NYC and wanted to make sure we got to meet one another. How effin' cool! 5pm, I'm speaking and signing books at the Drama Book Shop, 250 W. 40th St., New York. Afterwards, we'll go out with some NY locals and working actors we've befriended online (and folks who contributed to my latest book) as well as some casting directors I'd interviewed by phone for my first book. So excited!

Wednesday: headed home. Looks like we'll have to take two long flights to get home, rather than just to a non-stop to LAX from NY. *fingers crossed* that we can do the latter, but the numbers on those flights, even this far out, aren't looking too promising. Oh, the joys of being a Delta brat! Tee hee.

Okay, huge thanks to Jeana for babysitting our monsters while we're gone. We really really really appreciate it! And YOU!

We'll return to a buttload of submissions on Perfect and then get going on scheduling auditions for the week of March 8th. Woo dang hoo!!

Lots of cool stuff going on. Very very very happy.

Oh, if you want to try and reach us while we're on the road, use the cell number listed on our website and that'll do. I'm also trying to get my email set up on my new toy (the Treo 600, methinks, shall be named "Sixhundy") so that I can stay in touch that way, while travelling. We'll see how that all works out.

Of course, I could just take this as a vacation. LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!!!!!

Hope to see y'all (my Los Angeles friends) at Hollywood Billiards tomorrow night (7pm) and look forward to seeing my NY and Hotlanta/Athens friends in just a few days. Wooooo hoooooo!

Posted by bonnie at 11:09 PM

February 11, 2004

You Know You Want To...

...it's time for Hollywood Billiards (and darts, and karaoke, and other alcohol-soaked activities).

Join us Saturday night, will ya? Details here, at the 'Den.

Can't wait!

Posted by bonnie at 4:31 AM

February 4, 2004

Drama Book Shop Event

Event RSVP information and details at Drama Book Shop's website. Woo hoo!

And now... happy to announce that I'll be speaking to theatre majors at UGA on Thursday, February 19th. Time and place TBA. Woo hoo!

Posted by bonnie at 4:41 PM

February 2, 2004

Planning the Plans

Okay, folks. I need you to weigh in on our travel itinerary for later this month. Don't be shy... remember, I'm not from around those parts anymore.

Thursday, February 19th: Taco Stand, 247 E. Broad St., Athens. Arrival time... yet to be determined. We'll be driving up from Hotlanta (family time with the pops and SM) mid-day, so I'm guessing 4pm would be a good gathering time.

Friday, February 20th: nothing way social scheduled. Any ideas? We will be doing some errands and visiting my former place of employment, Athens Academy (do I even KNOW any of the students there anymore??).

Saturday, February 21st: Hotlanta gathering... and here are the top three choices. PLEASE VOTE using the comments function, below. I have no preference which of these places we gather. This will also likely be a 4pm gathering time, since that allows us to disperse before it gets really crazy (or not... tee hee).

Option 1: Fadó Irish Pub. This is where we met up with everyone back in May 2002 when we last were in town. Mellow. Good drink options. Appetizers. They didn't run us off for staying for hours and hours.

Option 2: Atkins Park. This was suggested by several of My Cousin Joni's friends. It's the oldest bar in Atlanta (and it's in the Highlands). I've never been, but it's named after the guy whose diet I'm following, so it can't be bad, right?

Option 3: Twist. This one is in Phipps Plaza, which makes parking a breeze. The menu looks amazing and quite hip and trendy. Not sure that matches everyone's style, but I'm up for trying it out. This comes at the suggestion of one of my Mr. Personality guys, Mr. Orange Mask (an Atlanta local). Hee hee.

Weigh in, people. Before the Saturday gathering, I'll be playing Chicken Foot and drinking Orange Crush with my second cousins Reid and Liana. This is a very important date. Hee hee.

Sunday, February 22nd: that's the big anniversary party for my aunt and uncle. Very excited. Looks like Kris Burtt will do on-camera hosting duties, should the NBC coverage of the party come through. Hee hee. Very excited.

Monday, February 23rd: New York, baby! Planning just to arrive and loaf around like tourists. Resting up for the big event.

Tuesday, February 24th: 5pm at the Drama Book Shop, free book signing and speaking thingy. The flyer is here in PDF format. Looks like Kris Burtt will be with us on this little book tour too. Woo hoo! We'll probably go out after with some of our NY friends. Yippee!!

Wednesday, February 25th... wah. Vacation over so damn soon? Boo hoo! Oh well, I'm sure we'll do it again in a few years. Can't wait to see y'all. Yay!

Posted by bonnie at 4:01 PM

January 30, 2004

Warming Up

And heading out for some karaoke action. Woo hoo! Aleta gave us this great guide to local karaoke locales. We're choosing Amagi tonight (dinner first). Woo hoo! It's good. I haven't done regular karaoke in years (used to go weekly AT LEAST back in 1999 and 2000). Good times.

See y'all there, party people!

Posted by bonnie at 8:02 PM

January 25, 2004

Home Again, Home Again...

It's actually VERY difficult to be at home and AVOID anything that would tell me how things are going on the Golden Globes right now. I really appreciate the FEW award shows that are, in fact, aired live (yes, even at 5pm here), especially ever since that awful Emmy issue on NBC, 2002 (blogged about here, during last year's Golden Globes). Since the Golden Globes will gear up on TV in a few minutes... after they've been going on for three hours down the street... I've been formatting the photos from our trip to San Francisco. And unpacking. And reading a zillion emails. And begging the cats to forgive me for having left them alone for 54 hours. Sheesh! You guys hadn't even eaten all of your food yet! What did you have to be mad at us about?

Getting really excited about our travels to Atlanta, Athens, and New York next month (and for the staged reading for Perfect, which will take place just before we leave). Time to hammer out some of the more major details, but it's all coming together nicely, which makes me happy.

Oh! AND I'm actually getting excited about writing my third book! I had sort of "back-burnered" it, after all of the excitement over the second book. Since I knew there was no way the third could ever be as big as the second, I didn't want to set myself up for any sort of let-down. So, when I found myself REALLY eager to get Casting Calendar: An Actor's Datebook and Action Log started during our trip, it made me very happy. Hm. I guess I am a writer. Cool.

Back to the staged-reading thingy... I need a nine year old(ish) boy. No... not in the Michael Jackson sense of the phrase. So, if anyone knows of a "still has the baby fat on him" type brat character, I could use his help in a couple of weeks.

Okay, go see the photos from the trip. Comment. Have fun. XXOO

Posted by bonnie at 7:52 PM

January 23, 2004

Off We Go!

Really looking forward to our time in San Francisco. Haven't spent more than a few minutes there since... wow... was it 1990? It's definitely time for a nice long visit. Yay!

See y'all when we're back. Woo hoo!

Posted by bonnie at 8:29 AM

January 18, 2004

Travel Plans

Okey dokey, here's the general plan for our upcoming travels. Please do let me know if you want to actually schedule an intersection for any of the dates/times we'll be in your 'hood.

January 23rd & 24th: San Francisco
February 19th & 20th: Athens
February 21st & 22nd: Atlanta
February 23rd & 24th: New York

Very excited!

Have I mentioned that Faith has been asked to appear on the VH-1 special, "I Love the '90s" when they produce it later this year? Holy crap, right? So cool! My cousin, the icon.

Posted by bonnie at 4:33 AM

January 17, 2004

Resolution on Ants vs. Fleas

Hee hee hee! I win!! I win!! Ants ARE scarier! Everyone agrees!! Well... enough of y'all agree. Hee hee hee! Take THAT, scared-o-fleas Keith! Hee hee!

Okay...

Here's a little news: trip to Atlanta/Athens/New York is now in the works. San Francisco trip remains the weekend of the 23rd of January. Athens will be February 19th & 20th, Atlanta will be February 21st & 22nd, New York will be February 23rd & 24th. Looks like Chicago is out for this trip. Not enough time or money to make it work THIS TIME.

Yee haw! Excited to travel. It's been too long!

Posted by bonnie at 9:35 AM

January 11, 2004

Totally Neglected To Mention...

that today is my 1/2 birthday! Woo hoo!

And, if you want to see some really amazing news, you should check out FaithSalie.com and see all the new press photos Faith's got from Significant Others. They're shooting commercials for it next week! Ack! So excited!!

Okay, time for bed. I have a big meeting in the morning and need to attempt to get five hours of sleep. Might as well start now, since it's not likely to work. Still, stranger things have happened. Tee hee.

Posted by bonnie at 11:27 PM

January 1, 2004

Still Tweaking

I still definitely have some things to fix in this new Blog setting (now Movable Type) in order to get it all looking like I want it to look. But... I'm way too busy with a zillion other things to spend time reading the MT manual. Later.

'Til then...

Quick notes

LOVING 2004. LOVING it.

Went to see Big Fish. Amazing. Ah. May. Zing. Wow. Go see it.

Love my new favorite low-carb food store. Wow! Awesome store. Great selection. Happy to support the little business here in the big city.

Shorts Fest Saturday. Can't wait.

Hollywood Happy Hour Tuesday. Can't wait.

Lots of big meetings and lunches and all sorts of important kicking-off-the-new-year-in-a-kick-ass-way kind of stuff. So cool.

There's more, but I'm tired. Bed now. Yes... before midnight. Wow. So much going on!

Posted by bonnie at 11:58 PM

December 29, 2003

Happy Anniversary to Me!

Today is my FIVE YEAR ANNIVERSARY of living in Los Angeles. Woo hoo!! Let the celebration begin!

Posted by bonnie at 12:24 PM

December 21, 2003

Announcing 1/6/04 HHH

Woo hoooooo!!!!!!!

It's time to make it all offical! The first Hollywood Happy Hour for 2004 is set!

All Details: HollywoodHappyHour.com

The Basics: Hollywood Happy Hour is BACK!!

Please join us on Tuesday, January 6, 2004 for our next Hollywood Happy Hour with special guests, industry news and reviews, networking, loads of great prizes, yummy food, and adult beverages!

Who: Executive Producer of many ground-breaking television shows including the current Golden Globe nominee and FX smash Nip/Tuck Greer Shephard and former Outfest manager, former supervisor of graduate film production at AFI and, Award-Winning indie filmmaker JD DiSalvitore with hosts Nelson Aspen (whose new book is on its way to the printer), Bonnie Gillespie (who is casting a feature film), and with a triumphant return to Los Angeles, it's Kris Burtt with her Couch Potato Column... LIVE!

When: Tuesday, January 6, 2004, 5:30pm arrivals, 6pm program start, 7:30pm schmoozefest

Where: Alessi Ristorante & Bar, 6602 Melrose Ave., Hollywood (corner of Highland; valet parking available)

How Much: $5 plus two drinks... also, plan to take advantage of the half-priced Hollywood Happy Hour appetizers and pizzas!

What Else: goodie bags from our sponsors for winners of our business-card drawing, lots of freebies, and everyone's uncle, Uncle Bob, will be putting it all on "tape" for our audio archives... Yay!

RSVP: with your name, number in your party, and any suggested questions for the Q&A segment via email ASAP.

The Details: Free! Goodie Bags loaded with fun E! Entertainment Television and California Poultry Federation stuff--plus cosmetics and aromatherapy treatments from Pampered People Spa, memo boards from Showfax, and fun AquaHooks custom-made for HHH!

Free! Entry into the Hollywood Happy Hour raffle for all--just bring a business card or headshot-postcard to drop in the fishbowl!

You could win: Free passes to the legendary 15 Minutes of FEM shows; Naughty T-Shirts from Freshproduct; Hand-crafted soaps and bath teas from Goblin Gifts; Website package and headshots from 123Hollywood; Passes to shows and private instruction from Theatre District at the Cast; Casting Qs and Self-Management for Actors by Bonnie Gillespie; Sacred Blood and Let's Have a GAY Dinner Party! by Nelson Aspen; Acting Out by Stuart Stone; Acting Is Everything by Judy Kerr; ActorTrac software demos from Holdon Log; 15% Discount at Take One Film Books; Agent, Manager, and Casting Director mailing labels and guide books from Breakdown Services; Subscription to Showfax.com sides and Actors Access services; Annual membership on ActorsBone.com; and so much more!

You must be present to win, natch.

Nelson, Kris, Uncle Bob, Aunt Diana, Keith and I can't wait to see you there, everyone! Yay!!!

Posted by bonnie at 8:34 AM

December 14, 2003

Announcing

I'm pet-sitting for sweet Nelson's dog and cat and don't have a ton of time to play online, but I did want to go ahead and happily announce the following new joint venture:

Currently Casting, a partnership between me and Michelle Foumberg, one of my favorite people on the planet. What a wonderful time we shall have, rocking the known casting universe!

Woo hoo!

Okay, back to work. Much to do. Much. Yay!

Posted by bonnie at 1:32 AM

December 5, 2003

The End of JenniCam

Rest in peace, JenniCam. You certainly started something. News from SlashDot.

Posted by bonnie at 12:04 PM

November 16, 2003

Two-Car Household

So, today we became a two-car household. Huge thanks to cousin Faith for passing along the email that became our ticket to a little freedom. Here's what it really came down to:

Every time Quinn comes to town, we have to rent a car (no back seat in the TicTac). Every time Keith drives out to Joshua Tree to visit his computer clients out there, we have to rent a car (TicTac doesn't do long trips anymore). And whenever we both have to be somewhere, we either have to work out a sharing thing or Keith rides the bus and his bike in some combination. This is better. And only $1500.

Do we HAVE $1500? Uh, no. But that's not the point.

The film festival is coming along nicely. I'm very excited about this year's crop and the panel discussion that will take place at the festival is going to be rockstar! Go ahead and mark your calendar for January 3rd in Hollywood. It's going to be a great festival!

Going to see a play Sunday. Very excited.

Developing the course on "Self-Management for Actors" for UCLA Extension and the Learning Annex. Getting great early feedback from my speaking events in which I try out some of the material. It's cool.

Oh, and if you're looking for something amazingly inspirational and cool about this little Hollywood thing, check the contributors page at the Self-Management for Actors site. I'm linking a story Stephon Fuller shared with me about his 119-day journey from dropping off his headshot for consideration in a little Steven Spielberg project to wrapping his scenes in it. Awesome.

Posted by bonnie at 1:25 AM

October 20, 2003

This and That

If you're local (or visiting... amazingly, many-a-folk is visiting Los Angeles this week or next), come to the book's party on Friday. Woo hoo!

The car, it seems, has been sitting at the body shop for just shy of a week now. JUST. SITTING. Finally today got the go-ahead to do the tear-down that they TOLD US they'd done on Tuesday. Grr. Grr. Grr.

Hearing good feedback about the book. No major snafu pointed out just yet. One typo I found, but not a biggie. Those of you who tuned in for the Casting Qs release recall the fun chapter in which I renamed a casting director 18 times (over half of the interview itself).

Looking forward to the party Friday. Very. That is all.

Posted by bonnie at 11:29 AM

October 15, 2003

It's HERE!

Wow. I love it. Love it, love it LOVE IT.

(Get well soon, TicTac... it's been a hard few months, eh?*)

*=Details to come. Don't want to muddy up the Happy Book Day post. Wheeeeeeeeeeeee!

Posted by bonnie at 1:56 PM

October 11, 2003

Fun

Y'know what's fun? Quitting the job you hate.

Ah... yes. That's a lot of fun.

Posted by bonnie at 6:32 AM

September 7, 2003

New Project

Here is the PDF version of the breakdown for Consider As True, the new feature film I'm casting. And here it is posted on the 'Den. Excuse the trigger for LOL caused in the name LOLA. Hee hee.

I'm tired. Working several jobs has always been big fun for me. Exhausting, but fun. And big fun. Yes.

Posted by bonnie at 12:22 AM

August 29, 2003

Migraines Still Suck

Day three. Very very ill.

They caught the blaster worm guy, a 320-lb., 6'4" teenager. Wow. Shouldn't he be playing football?

Archie does not like pugs.

That is all.

Posted by bonnie at 8:14 PM

August 11, 2003

Booked!

Okay... the book is on its way to the printer this week.

Click the banner to see the book's site.

Once I laid the sucker into PageMaker, it became 248 pages, which is now a total of 12 pages over the original estimate. Not bad, if you ask me. The release date is also off by six weeks. Had I known about Mercury going into Retrograde in late August, back when we declared the release date, I'd have said October 1st to begin with.

Kind of nice, though, since the release party for the book will coincide with our October 2nd Hollywood Happy Hour. Woo hoo!

I slept for four hours this morning. Outstanding! Phew!

I start up my job with the Fox show Project X (again) on next Monday. It'll be nice to make some money again. It looks like we may have some investors lined up for help with printing the book, though. Pretty dang exciting to have this thing come together. With or without the money my brother owes me. It's almost better to do it without any relatives' (note I did not say "family") fingerprints on it. Feels damn good.

And no, we did not win the $91M lottery. This time.

Oh! I did get a call from "Mr. Purple Mask" of Mr. Personality the other day. Seems he and the "psycho crazy NFL Mascot guy" from the show are painting the town red (the latter is here on a visit--the former and I have stayed in touch and hung out a bit since the show was cast) and want to meet up. Surreal life I've got going on, here. Can I just say that the lobster at The Palm is some of the best food I have EVER put in my mouth? Yes. I can say that. Thank you thank you thank you to Bob Brody for what has now become one of my favorite dinners EVER in Los Angeles. I don't recall having such fun in public!

Okay, so go buy the book. I have life stuff to catch up on while we wait for final word from each of the peer-proofers I've got out there. Also, one last paragraph to add in. Once that happens, the book... she is published! For those of you who expressed regret that you weren't able to help with this one, worry not. Casting Calendar: An Actor's Datebook and Action Log is due out in the Spring of 2004. Sign up now to help. Hee hee. And to everyone who did help with this one, like I said... I owe you something pretty. I hope you like free copies of the book.

Cheers, everyone. I'm loving life and thrilled to share it!

Posted by bonnie at 10:32 AM

August 8, 2003

Oh... California

So it's Ah-nohld vs. Arnold (Drummond) in the race-to-replace our current Governor. Good lord, is this what it means to be a Californian? Yes, I've been asked whether I'll soon be throwing my hat into the proverbial ring. No. I declared--back in 1988--that I would run for president in 2024. I stand behind that. No need to rush my leap to political greatness.

I know full well that Southern California and Northern California should be two different states. Anyone who lives here should admit as much.

I live in the state of SoCal, in which voting is not a strong suit.

Let's see... there's the tiny-margin defeat of the SAG-AFTRA merger which--again--passed with no problems in every other state and was voted down largely by Hollywood voters. There's the "free Hollywood" campaign for which many, many residents begged and pleaded publically... and then voted down once behind the privacy curtain. And, while I joke about the Dueling Arnolds, I must say that any campaign that includes the community's favorite "you-gotta-be-kidding-me" girl Angelyne has to show up on anyone's radar screen as a laughing stock.

Hm.

Checking my options...

I vote "no."

Posted by bonnie at 12:17 PM

March 23, 2003

Free Casting Director Panel

More updates to come, but for now... a press release:

March 26th, Wed., 7:30pm

Take One Film Books, 11516 Santa Monica Blvd., 2nd floor

Featuring:
Robin Nassif, CSA (of Nassif Baca Casting, having cast LA Law: The Movie, Gentle Ben, Halloween: Resurrection, and oversaw casting of over 250 pilots while at ABC);

Cathy Kalmenson (of Kalmenson & Kalmenson Voice Casting, having cast the Budweiser Frogs, auditioned over 21,000 actors in one year, former voice over agent for Abrams Rubaloff, Tisherman, and Special Artists); and

Mark Sikes (casting director for LA Heat on TNT, dozens of Roger Corman's films, 30 films for PM Entertainment, and master teacher)

moderated by Bonnie Gillespie, owner of Cricket Feet Management, author of Casting Qs: A Collection of Casting Director Interviews and the forthcoming Self-Management for Actors: Getting Down to (Show) Business, fresh off her four-week stint as casting coordinator for Fox's Mr. Personality.

RSVP: Take One

Woo hooooooooo! Bring headshots and resumés and show up early!

See y'all there!

More later...

Posted by bonnie at 9:32 PM

February 25, 2003

Well, holy bejeebuss

Guess who's the new Casting Coordinator for the latest Fox Network reality show... ala Joe Personality... even?

Yeah... that'd be me.

Be ready to not see me around for a bit. Four weeks of ass-off working to coordinate the nation-wide search for 25 men and one faboo fem for the show... I'll be busy. But I'll still host Hollywood Happy Hour with Nelson and Kris on the 6th. Amazing how one (me) is able to negotiate a deal around the schedule that already exists somehow.... Tee heeeeeee.

To RSVP for HHH, email info@HollywoodHappyHour.com and you'll be all set. To get on the big Bon's got an effin' mailin' list mailing list, email info@CricketFeet.com and you shall be there!!

Okay... time to get an hour or so of sleep before starting a new JOB. God help me!!

Posted by bonnie at 12:06 AM

February 15, 2003

Checking In Before Checking Out

Keith's mom died last week. It's a relief. She'd been hanging on through two strokes, two heart attacks, kidney failure, lung cancer, and end-stage diabetes for far far far too long.

Now it's the family stuff. Oh, man... Poor baby Keith.

Honestly, I'm better--emotionally--now that his mom has gone on than I was while she fought and struggled to hold on. That brought up too many old ghosts for me. In a sad piece of irony, just as happened to me the day my mother passed away, Keith had a flight home scheduled for just hours after she would end up dying. I have to believe that neither of us were meant to be at our mothers' side while she died... but I also have to admit that it hurts like hell to have been anywhere else at that moment, knowing we were both on our way there at the time.

Sunday, we will drive up the coast. I've never done that before, so we're taking the rental car the long way... up the PCH and across the Golden Gate Bridge. I look forward to that part of the day. Then come all the things I dread--but nowhere near the level that Keith must dread them--for so many reasons. Ugh.

And then we head back Monday.

Happily, I will be an industry judge at The Best of FEM that evening. Keith was more reluctant to miss out on it than I. He needs to get back to normal and that showcase of outstanding female talent in this town is a ritual for us. He needs it.

The outpouring of generous support during this time from friends and mere acquaintances has been outstanding. We really do have a majestic group of friends and associates. We are very blessed to live as we do.

Ah. Yes. Live. Let's do that.

Keith's episode of Lingo aired this week. That means that he and Rich should each see $2500 checks next week or so. Even though I knew they won, it was a nail-biter, as gameshows go. I'm such a sucker in the audience!

The casting director panel Wednesday night was, simply stated, rock star good. I couldn't have asked for a better mix of people... and this time there were more actors in attendance than ever before: 150 by my count, and I couldn't even see everyone there. Sadly, the owner of the bookstore is going to have to take RSVPs for the next event (March 26th), as we're really violating firecode, at this point.

I now totally get why it is that unscrupulous people in this town gouge actors for the "privilege" of getting to see casting directors. The demand is there. Forget it. I'm keeping these things free as long as there's room to put 'em up and folks in casting willing to do them for free. As it stands now, that could be a long long long time. Fine by me. I love moderating these panels.

Color me the next Oprah Winfrey, baby. I got goals!

Hollywood Happy Hour is chugging along nicely. We got an amazing new corporate sponsor and the enthusiasm (and RSVPs) from our soon-to-be fans is building steadily. Very excited to get this up and running on March 6th!

I'll spend a week working at the paper when we get back from NoCal. That's always nice for a change of pace. Once that week is done, it's time for the final planning, goodie bag-stuffing, sound-recording logistics, and program creating/printing/folding to take place. Can't wait! It's like throwing a big party, but not having to clean anything up after. Woo hoo!

Stuart's book is edited an on its way to the printer. Can't believe that means my second book is next up. Yikes! Still so much to do! Labor of love, labor of love, labor of love!

Oh, we received a check today from a bookseller in New York. He'd been in town here for a conference in early January and we gave him a case of books to sell back in New York. They all sold! Already! So...

I guess I have to admit this book is good. Thing is, my big, crying moment was when the University of Illinois picked the book up. That would've been the accomplishment that most filled my mother with pride. That's her kind of glory.

Thanks, Mom, for staying with me on this journey.

Posted by bonnie at 10:18 AM

February 7, 2003

Wow

The University of Illinois just ordered the book for its Spring Semester.

Wow.

Posted by bonnie at 2:50 PM

February 1, 2003

Turn on CNN

Space shuttle explodes on re-entry over Dallas.

Posted by bonnie at 6:52 AM

January 19, 2003

Press Release du Jour

I have been avoiding television for hours... hate those tape-delayed award shows! Just hope effin' NBC doesn't ruin this one like they did the Emmy Awards. Yes... they did a news teaser about 15 minutes before the award show ended in LA and showed the cast of The West Wing in the press room, holding their awards. Of course, that award hadn't been given out at that time, in the tape-delayed version of the show we had to watch here in LA... on that same effin' channel!!!

Oh, I'm not bitter.

But if they do that to me today, there will be hell to pay. And not in the good way.

Okay... here's the press release:

Hope you can join us!!

Take One Bookstore, 11516 Santa Monica Blvd. (five blocks west of the 405) 310.445.4050 Wednesday, February 12th, 7:30pm, FREE OF CHARGE.

Back Stage West Casting Columnist Bonnie Gillespie will moderate a panel discussion featuring casting directors Patrick Baca, CSA; Carol Elizabeth Barlow; Matthew Barry, CSA; and Michelle Foumberg.

Casting Director Bios:
Patrick Baca--CSA, partnered with Robin Nassif in Nassif & Baca Casting. Newly-elected to the Board of Directors of the Casting Society of America. Casting credits include "Halloween: Resurrection," "L.A. Law: The Movie," and the series "Strip Mall" in addition to studio and indie features, MOWs, pilots, and theatre. Currently casting two feature films.

Carol Elizabeth Barlow--has cast hosts, sketch comedians, and actors in shows like "Hype!," "WinTuition," "Primetime Glick," and in many commercials and music videos. Recently cast "Trigger Happy TV," "Scrabble," and the Jerry Seinfeld-produced pilot "Letters from a Nut." Currently working on pilots and a series called "Are You Hot?" for ABC.

Matthew Barry--CSA, former Broadway actor who has cast many features including "John Q," "Rush Hour," "Con Air," "Friday After Next," and forthcoming New Line feature "The Notebook." Currently partnered with Nancy Green-Keys in Barry & Green-Keys Casting working on features.

Michelle Foumberg--current casting director for the Oxygen Network's "Girls Behaving Badly." Casting credits include MTV's "Becoming" and CBS's "Big Brother 3." Constantly scouting for standup and sketch comedians as well as pranksters for her current show.

Hope to see you on the 12th!

Posted by bonnie at 8:00 PM

January 18, 2003

Progress, Not Perfection

Okay, so the website updates are going well. I'm pretty happy with some of the design work I'm doing and I hope I'll have it all up in short order (but not like a cook... you know).

First, I must let the world see this site (at its humble beginnings) that will someday be true greatness. It's Mugshots.org. The Hollywood section is my favorite, natch. Of course, I'm very sad that the Bert is Evil website has been taken down. Aside from that *insert moment of silence* this was a good discovery by Cool-Ass Norm of Somesuch-Whatnot.

We're going out to shoot pool with friends tonight. Can't wait! It's been far far far too long!

Lucy made the move to her new address (Lucy is the server, duh) without incident! Yay, Chip! You rock!

My last big insomniatic (is that a word) push yielded the beta version of the website for Hollywood Happy Hour, which we'll launch (the event, not the site) on March 6th. Really really really really excited!

Next casting director panel at Take One on February 12th. Man... there is just so much going on right now... and I'm not even touching on the big stuff. Really.

Just wow. 2003. It's. The. Year.

Posted by bonnie at 1:46 PM

December 23, 2002

It's a Dark Day

Joe Strummer, dead at 50.

That is all.

Posted by bonnie at 9:35 AM

December 14, 2002

Exciting Development

We now have a new four-way stop at the top of our hill. That means a whole new way of giving directions to our home.

Of course, so far, no one has actually stopped until they're about half-way through the intersection (which really isn't an intersection, in the traditional sense) and realize, Hey! That's a new stop sign! You'd think the big white line on the street and the big white letters STOP would do the trick, but I'm sure it'll all sink in soon.

That's what's new and exciting at this hour.

Posted by bonnie at 9:44 PM

Bye Bye, Bread

Yep. Sunday is the day we begin no-carb-ing. Ugh. But it must be. My body is suffering. I took care of the pain of losing Mom two years ago by eating. Everything. I know that's better than having chosen to resume smoking or to bring back a good ol' addiction, but it's now been (almost) two years and I've turned a coping mechanism into a habit. Time to rewire my metabolism and--after MUCH research--I've decided Atkins is the way. Dinner with Amy the other day really worked it out for me. She is the self-proclaimed poster child for Atkins. I'd learned that via email, but to see her in the flesh, looking better than she did when I met her nine years ago, really put it in perspective.

I'm told that I should expect to be extremely cranky over the next ten days. Woo hoo! Get ready, folks. (Poor, poor Keith.)

I chose Sunday as the start-day because of Michelle's party tonight. She is such an amazing chef and hostess. Well...I'm not at the party. So, my "farewell to carbs" meal is a leftover half of a BLT with avocado on sourdough from lunch and some ice water. I'm sure the spiced cider and finger foods would've been better, but this is good too.

Got Christmas presents wrapped and packaged for mailing. Next up, Christmas cards. Ho ho ho!

I was interviewed on KRLA tonight during Back Stage Live. That was really very nice of the hosts RJ and Rob. We talked about the book and my take on the whole casting director workshop issue, the new state guidelines, and whether any of that really means change. Pretty cool little gig. Loves me some radio!

Met with a super online friend for lunch today. She's going to write a section of the new book for me and also collaborate on Hollywood Happy Hour when that gears up. Very cool. She's a host for a shopping network, right now, but she is back and forth to LA for various projects. I'm pretty excited for what she's up to and what she brings to the proverbial table for our future collaborations.

Tomorrow is one year since Keith proposed to me. Wow. What a year this has been! I am happy. It's a tough month, but I'm happy. I have everything I need and want in life and more. I know my mom is proud of me. I feel her with me when I write, when I moderate a panel for a room full of actors, when I wake up to realize there are kitties sleeping on me--Mom's kitties. So sweet.
--
Bon

"If 1999 was the year that changed movies, 2000 was the year that reminded us why movies needed changing in the first place." [Joni, from DeadLaszlo's Oscar Picks Edition, 2001]

Posted by bonnie at 9:15 PM

December 7, 2002

Happy Update

Santa is goooooood. Keith came home with a new chenile blanket and pillow for me to curl up with while I'm in ultra-nesting mode this month. Gorgeous iced-green color and sooooo soft. Love it!

But the best gift of all came after I gave him his Santa Claus presents (Collectors Edition DVDs for "The Lord of the Rings" and "Star Wars: Attack of the Clones") and he decided to give me my biggie too: an autographed copy of my book. No. Really. He went to every casting director, every person I thanked in the Acknowledgments, and every person who wrote a testimonial for the book, and had them autograph their page. It's like the ultimate high school yearbook. They've said such amazing things, such kind sweet words of gratitude and respect for me and my work.

Wow.

Keith is a great Santa. This was a brilliant gift and he pulled it off. Wow.

-Bon.

Posted by bonnie at 9:05 PM

December 6, 2002


Bon, Glenn Quinn, Heather Prete, May 2000 (photo by David Boreanaz)
I'm speechless.

Posted by bonnie at 12:41 PM | Comments (0)

November 24, 2002

Love for Theatre

The 2002 Ovations were wonderful. Theatre LA did a great job putting the gala event together, and Alfred Molina was pure genius, calling out to the audience of 800+, "Are there any theatre people here tonight?" The love in that room was something only theatre people could "get." And man, was it good love!

Major shout out to my dear friend Faith Salie and the rest of the Colony Theatre ensemble for kicking ass with The Laramie Project. Also, kudos to Taper's Flower Drum Song, for taking several awards and Road Theatre Company for its multi-award-winning Napoli Milionaria as well as Deaf West's Big River.

Amazing night filled with joyful actors who may happen to have TVQ, but--much more importantly--who love theatre. Period.

Yay! Faith!!!! Yay! Theatre!!

Posted by bonnie at 11:35 PM

November 21, 2002

Press Release

And yes, I'll post about jury duty later (I kept a journal... wheeeeeee). But for now... dig this:

Take One Bookstore, 11516 Santa Monica Blvd. (five blocks west of the 405) 310.445.4050 Wednesday, December 11th, 7:30pm, FREE OF CHARGE.

Take One and Back Stage West present another in a series of free casting director panels, this one in celebration of the publication of moderator Bonnie Gillespie's new book, Casting Qs: A Collection of Casting Director Interviews. Panel will feature casting directors Twinkie Byrd; Linda Phillips-Palo, CSA; and Mark Teschner, CSA.

Bring your headshots and Qs for Q&A!

Casting Director Bios:

Twinkie Byrd, casting director for many high-profile music videos, including Notorious B.I.G.'s "Sky's the Limit" and Ice Cube's soundtrack songs for "Friday After Next." Also cast several national commercials, TV shows such as MTV's "Lyricist's Lounge" and "Becoming," and did additional casting on the films "Blow" and "The Joy Luck Club."

Linda Phillips-Palo, CSA, independent casting director who frequently casts features for Francis Ford Coppola. Past casting credits include "Shetan, The Young Black Stallion" for Buena Vista, "Jeepers Creepers 2" for MGM, "The Rainmaker" for Paramount, and "The Virgin Suicides" for Paramount.

Mark Teschner, CSA, casting director of "General Hospital" since 1989. Former Vice President of the Casting Society of America. Has received one Emmy nomination and has won three CSA Artios Awards for excellence in casting. Mark is a former actor, so he knows what it's like on both sides of the casting desk.

Moderator:

Bonnie Gillespie--casting columnist for Back Stage West, author of "Casting Qs: A Collection of Casting Director Interviews," consultant on the business of acting, and owner of Cricket Feet Management.

Posted by bonnie at 8:27 PM

October 23, 2002

Sharing two quick things.

One, Quinn, Keith's precious son, was on the phone with me when his step-sister hurt herself. I could hear her crying in the background and asked, "Quinn? What's going on?" His reply (he's three-and-a-half, BTW), "Oh, she hurt herself. But it's no biggie." So adorable!

Today is Keith's one year anniversary in Hollywood! Wow. What a year it's been!

Okay, here's the second thing (press release for an upcoming event):

Free Casting Director Panel 11/6/02.

Take One Bookstore, 11516 Santa Monica Blvd. (five blocks west of the 405) 310.445.4050 Wednesday, November 6th, 7:30pm, FREE OF CHARGE.

Back Stage West Casting Columnist Bonnie Gillespie will moderate a panel discussion featuring casting directors Judy Belshé; Michael Donovan, CSA/CCDA; Dino Ladki; Melissa Martin, CCDA; and Michelle Morris-Gertz, CSA.

Casting Director Bios:
Judy Belshé--casting director with over 25 years' experience, screenwriter, and three-time award-winning author of "It's a Freeway Out There! The Parent's Guide to the Film and Commercial Industry. More info available at www.askjudy.biz.

Michael Donovan--CSA, CCDA, former actor, recent Artios Award nominee, resident casting director of Long Beach's ICT and New Centre Theatre of Vancouver, currently casting several independent features, and many commercials. More info available at www.michaeldonovancasting.com.

Dino Ladki--casting credits include MTV's "Undressed" (pilot), MTV's "Lyricist Lounge," and game show "You Don't Know Jack." More info available at www.TheCastList.com.

Melissa Martin--CCDA, former actor, cast national campaigns for Ikea, Propel Fitness Water, Pizza Hut, Sony, Cotton, and MicrosoftXP. More info available at www.martincasting.com.

Michelle Morris-Gertz--CSA, Universal Studios Features Casting/independent, casting credits include "American Pie 1 & 2," "Big Fat Liar," "Legally Blonde," Project Greenlight's "Stolen Summer," "Honey" (the new Jessica Alba feature). Artios Award winner for best comedy feature casting 2000.

Moderator:
Bonnie Gillespie--casting columnist for Back Stage West, author of the forthcoming book "Casting Qs: A Collection of Casting Director Interviews," consultant on the business of acting, and owner of Cricket Feet Management. More info available at www.cricketfeet.com.

Hope you'll join us if you're in LA.

Posted by bonnie at 11:41 AM

October 13, 2002

Okay. So, this is how this is gonna go:

You'll notice, if you've been reading my posts just about anywhere, that there's some redundancy here. Well, that's b/c I merged a whole bunch of stuff into one place, and now... that'd be right here. So, things should be a little more streamlined and more frequently updated from here on out.

If anyone can tell me why it is that the font changes after I insert my first link within my Blogger code, I'd really appreciate it. Yes, I've checked out the code. Yes, I know what to look for. No, I haven't found an obvious trigger.

Today (the 12th... which I still call today since I only slept for two hours when I went to bed), Keith and I celebrated our Nonniversary. Very cool. I think we'll celebrate it every year. Tee hee.

One of my best online friends is pregnant! I won't out her, in case she's going to go public in a major way later, but wooooo hooooo! I'm so excited!

The radio show went great today. Even better than last week, with call-in guest casting directors and the like. Very very cool. Should have a good reel to shop around now for some projects currently in development (and under wraps... sorry).

I'm still sick with the Hollywood Crud thing. I stopped taking antihisthamines today, just for my own sanity. I really do think my body decided to form a mild addiction to the junk, and that's why I'm in so much pain when I don't take the drugs. Gotta just flush it out of my system and get better on my own. The more I continue the cycle, the longer I'll be dragging. Got WAY too much to do this coming week to let that happen.

Sunday: Coffee with Faith. Dinner with friends and a play starring several of my clients and friends. Very much looking forward to it!
Monday: Coffee with a client.
Thursday: Covering the Artios Awards for the paper (this is the Oscar-like award night for the Casting Society of America... very cool).

Those are the biggies. Anyway, I need a dress.

G'nite, all. SpyNotebookers, I think I'll do weekly Blog replies (or comments directly on y'all's Blogs, as possible). We'll see how that all pans out! XXOO

-Bon.

Posted by bonnie at 5:24 AM

June 23, 2002

Okay, so...

What is up?

So much.

The other night we had a big bash to celebrate the launch of Cricket Feet Management. Officially going live July 1st (shh). Rob Kendt, who is my boss at the paper, is also my client in the music world. Several of my actor clients and a few wannabe clients and a ton of just good ol' friends (even one on crutches) came out in support of Rob's show at The Mint that night.

It was an amazing show. We sold tons of CDs and I felt like a real manager. That's a good. Rob did a great job. There were many label people there, so that's also a good thing.

The main problem with managing, at this point, is the cost. It's $500 to join the Talent Managers Association. It's $400/mo. to get Breakdowns (the list of what's shooting and what's casting and where to submit, etc.). One of my clients advanced me money against future commissions (totally unsolicited and very much appreciated) but it's still not enough for what the start-up costs really are. Man... and we thought we were getting away with murder, being able to incorporate for $100!

Still working away on the book. Planning to have it to the printer by August. That's stressful, but exciting. Need to get it out to the printer and then up on the shelves very soon, as it's the main source of income scheduled for the first few months of management. I do expect to get my clients some gigs, but 15% ain't a lot of cabbage.

Keith and I are still working on our problems (and, really... they're HIS, not mine... and he owns that). It's hard, but it's something I'm willing to do. Dammit, I love the guy. That so sucks!

D's doing great. Her treatment cycle #4 was the best so far. The bad news is that she's having to go in far more frequently for those shots now, and the ones I give her are now EVERY day during week two, not just a couple of the days. That's all part of a deteriorating system, which goes with having been exposed to the cumulative effects of all of the chemo. She's in great spirits, though. We're down to like 31 days before she gets the PICC line removed. She is a very happy lady!

RE: Car Moving... I used the same company twice. Once in 1994 (no problems), once in late Dec. 1998 (major problems). So, All-America Auto Transport, while affordable ($750 coast-to-coast), messed me up big time the last time I used them. Just know that, no matter who you use, you can't get them to deliver the car when they promise it's coming. Be prepared for that.

RE: House on Holman... I almost bought one there. Which one?

I am going to live to be 88 (dying on Jan. 24, 2058). I think it was Sept. 9, 2049 the last time I took that test... so this is a good sign. See, quitting smoking is a good thing!

Okay, back to work. If any bloggers know how I can find a black spaghetti strap tank top that isn't an effin' midriff cropped one, please let me know.

XXOO Bloggers all!

Posted by bonnie at 2:04 PM

December 18, 2001

Recent Developments

Posted by bonnie at 6:50 PM

October 15, 2000

An LA Theatre Invitation...

For those of you who haven't heard, I totaled my car a few weeks ago, at least in the eyes of my insurance company. Chris Berube, owner of The Next Stage Theatre, has offered up the space for raising the difference between what the insurance company will pay and what it will cost to fix my car.

While this cause is nowhere near that of the Bar-o-fit, for Barry's film, the place is the same (1523 N. LaBrea, north of Sunset, above the Lava Lounge), and your presence is requested.

Bon-e-fit, 10pm Saturday, 21 October (starring the LA Berubian Improv Troupe), $10. Those who come for Sketch-n-Sniff at 8pm then stay for the Bon-e-fit pay only $5 (that's 2 great shows for just $15).

Chris Berube has earned up some really great karma with the care he takes of his crew. I am proud to be a part of it! Thank you all for the rides you've given me during this car-less time.

Posted by bonnie at 8:44 PM

May 29, 1999

Moving On

So, so many changes to report since my last entry. Not with my weight. Unfortunately, I'm still bobbing around the 170 mark and that's really okay with me right now. I have much bigger stuff going on.

I'll be moving over the weekend of the 11th. I'm so very excited. My new place is a bachelor pad, complete with hotplate and dorm fridge. It's tiny, but it's clean, safe, beautiful, and exactly where I want to live. Miracle Mile is the museum district near the LaBrea Tar Pits. The address is LA, but everyone calls it "Beverly Hills Adjacent". I find that so funny!

Anyway, I'm not only leaving The Valley and my roommate, but also my full-time job. I'm going to be working one day a week in Maria's office and then doing my freelance computer consulting and (hopefully) some hand modeling. The rest of my time will be devoted to acting class, working out, and preparing for the business end of Show Biz. Oh, and of course, there's karaoke every week. Can't forget about that!

The big news on the acting front is this: our TheatreSports scrimmage was 17 May and I got promoted to the next level! Yea! The audience was filled with the friends and families of my classmates and all my sweet friends came to show their support. It felt so good to be up and performing again (after a LONG absence from the stage) and even better to be doing it in front of people I love and trust and respect... and all without a script! I love improv! It's very freeing.

So, the next two weeks will be filled with packing and planning then shopping for some furniture (since I sold everything back in Athens). Thank God for good credit! Ikea, here I come!

Email address stays the same, and I'll probably get better about checking it, once I'm in my own place. So, keep in touch and know that I am loving my life right now, as it is filled with new adventures and lots of supportive, wonderful people.

Posted by bonnie at 4:55 PM