This post was originally published on me personal blog in 2007 and was transferred here in March 2009.
7/14/07: The weirdest part of returning from the cruise is remembering that everyone’s not gay anymore. You re-adjust your mindset to auto-gay while aboard, and I today on the subway I thought: “Wow, there’re so many hot gay girls in the city these days!” and then remembered: “Oh yeah. Those girls look straight because they ARE straight.”
Also weird: I got about 1.5 hours of sleep last night and I’m still awake. I don’t know why. It’s either stimulants or insanity or both. When I first woke up, I wasn’t sure if my dreams were reality or not, and I had to double-check with Hav that no one had a foursome last night. Also, Lainy somehow packed one of my Chuck Taylors and both of my flip-flops (I hate flip flops in non-cruise context, so this’s not a big deal, but man do I miss that Chuck Taylor) in her suitcase, and I’m supposed to go to her place to obtain it, which seems unfair. I cannot do this. Instead I will just wear my cowboy boots.
Somehow I managed to get off the boat without my passport or filling out a customs form and possibly still fucked up from the night before. I’m like Johnny Depp but without a stunning jawline. Where is my passport? Good question. I haven’t seen it since I boarded on the first day. I’ve been feeling like Natalie Rabey lately [she likes to live on the verge]: though I frequently lose things like hats and sunglasses and umbrellas, it’s rare for me to misplace a key item like a passport and I’ve never lost a phone or a wallet (howevs: the Philly phone theft was not my fault whatsoever, and I mean that: I’m really good about accepting blame for things, even things that aren’t my fault, so when I say “not my fault,” I’m serious). I’m really on a roll these days, though.
The most brill event of the cruise, as featured on broadway.com, was the reading Heather and I put together for “Living it Out”/”Live it Out” (I like the former, Carly prefers the latter). Everyone seemed concerned we weren’t enjoying our vacation. However, relaxing gives me anxiety attacks, so I may as well be anxious, you know? It’s more productive. Heather, who stage manages Altar Boyz and pretty much whatever else you throw at her, assured me it was “fun.” It was fun! So yeah, we did a reading starring Andrea McArdle and Haviland Stillwell … omg I have so many bug bites I am going to scream or itch all my skin off. Probs the latter.
[P.S. I stopped taking photos. Layla has a bunch, which I’ll post as I get them.]
ALSO UPDATE: Speaking of the cruise … I wrote an essay about the R-Family Cruise I went on last year (Alaska 2006) and my dear friend Haviland, and it just went up on OurChart! Check it out and write me something nice.
Really Just “Cruise Blog, Part Two” but Told in the Format of a Top Ten, Highlighting the Highlights of the Last Four Days of the R-Family Cruise.
10. Night Watch: 7/13-14
Jenn, Riese [me, obvs], Heather, Megan, Haviland, Mary Mitchell
On the last night, backstage, following Annie: champagne for everyone and their mothers. Andrea threw Megan against the wall: “This is for the DVD extra deleted scenes, when Sydney pushes Parker against the wall and shows her who’s boss.” [Seriously though, that’s only the beginning of the amazingness Carly and I have planned for the DVD extras.] Anyhow, the champagne: entire bottles. Of Moet. So Heather slipped one in her bag, later we uncorked it in the hallway with surprisingly minimal poppage.
We all needed to sleep, to pack, to get up early … instead, we drank in the piano bar while campaigning for Megan to sing, for Hav & Megan to do “Take me or Leave Me,” for more champagne, poured into flutes, filling empty air with sugary bubbles. Later in the night–though I don’t know when, because I wouldn’t let anyone tell me what time it was, Megan noted: “I have no recollection of any time before this conversation.” It feels that way sometimes. We spent the last two waking hours — Heather, Haviland, Megan, Layla, Maddie and I — laughing in the smoky darkness of H+H’s stateroom. The sunrise, I hear, was perfect.
9. Boogie Nights: 7/13
We’re admiring A.McArdle’s Juicy separates — in particular, her bedazzled ass — and telling her how smokin’ hot she is, and she says: “But I’m like: the 70’s!” This was much funnier in person. I don’t know how to tell you that.
8.Wild Things: 7/10
Drinking Party, Courtesy of Room Service and the Pirate Liquor Store
Since I’m the Queen of Smuggle, I picked up some Smirnoff at the local liquor store in Key West and then poured said Smirnoff into water bottle and then re-boarded the boat. They don’t let you bring liquor on board : I guess it’s mostly so they can make more money, but perhaps there’s more to it than that. International Outer Space Laws or something.
It just occurred to me: maybe I am invisible? I feel like I’ve opted out of everything required and all the rules all week, and no one seems to notice or care or I guess just dare to challenge me, which makes me worry perhaps I have no more skin and everyone can see through me?
I mean … wow. OK:
- I smuggled some prohibited things onto the ship.
- Boarded without a ticket, also not on the room list.
- Skipped the lifejacket drill.
- Drank vodka from the mini-bar and replaced it with water, avoiding cost.
- Smuggled Smirnoff onto the ship in a Dasani bottle.
- Made about 400 copies without paying until the last 15 or so, when they got a new desk clerk.
- Stole an inner tube that’s supposed to cost $20 to rent.
- Scheduled an event which conflicted with a already scheduled activity and got that activity canceled. for our event.
- Enjoyed free drinks at private events simply for being best friends with Haviland .
- Ordered room service simply to obtain mixers (juices are not free usually) for our smuggled alcohol.
- De-boarded without a passport.
- Walked right by customs, since I hadn’t filled out a form yet, because I’m stupid and didn’t know we had to.
I think that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
7. Incredibly True Adventures: 7/11
I’m not big into the beach, swim suits, sand all over my skin, etc. But this private island at Grand Stirrup Cay was too beautiful for me to be cynical, even when I got my hands sticky from watermelon. The Island was my only shot at getting tan but Haviland made me put on suntan lotion. Boooo . By this point, I’d totally stopped taking photos because Heather and I were so busy putting together the reading that I couldn’t really think about much else, like pictures. But other people took pictures. Like Jenn and Nick, photographed on your left.
We stole a big raft/inner tube thing and laid on it–Heather, Lainy and I–talked about Susan Powter and stared at the clean blue sky and big sun. Then we heard a little voice yell “Heather Joy!” and turned to see a cute Havi-head bobbing in the water, nearing us. “Heat
her Joy I’m swimming all the way out here I better get a kiss!” And it was so funny. Almost as funny as my bathing suit which did not match. Layla’s got a photo or two of that situation.
That’s Jenn and Nick on the left.
Jenn, Ross and Nick after that, and then a lovely photo I took of Heather and Haviland on our way out to the island.Heather and I had to go back to the ship to make fliers and stuff for the reading, confirm space and actors, etc., then we came back out for the island dance party and drank a lot of tequila really fast, then spent the night chillin’ with Caroline, who works at Cattyshack and is Heather Matarazzo’s girlfriend. Later she called Heather-M and I talked to her on the phone and was like “What’s up? Why aren’t you here?” because I’ve been her fan for like, for-ever, since Welcome to the Dollhouse, obvs.
6. Boys on the Side
This is a photo of the one time I did not either eat at
The Garden Cafe
or skip a meal altogether.
I keep walking into the kitchen with my plate but there is no food to put on it. Where is my food? Do I have to make it myself? I’m gonna walk into another room with my plate and see if I can find some food. Perhaps some hummus or salad? The worst part of the cafeteria (it’s called the “Garden Cafe” but we all know what that means: dining hall!) was that the fries were in the kiddie section, which is blocked off with little fences, a la McDonalds Playland, so I had to fully bend over to access the knee-high serving area to get fries. I’d eat adult food, but it looked un-tasty.
5. High Art: 7/10
“I am WAY BUMMED to not be on the boat and the reading sounds like the most
exciting thing to ever happen to me – slash – not happen to me, as I
am not there.”
I wake up on Tuesday morning with my mind a-buzz, thinking: “We should put together a reading of this teleplay.” I go to Heather and Haviland’s room, relay this idea. Then Heather morphs overnight into Super-Producer. Seriously: Heather Weiss, you are abso-fucking-lutely amazing.
There was so much talent on the ship. Casting was fun. Most important of all was getting someone amazing to play Sydney and Andrea McArdle said she’d love to do it. And she effin’ nailed it, it was brill.
So Wednesday, we’re making invitations, securing space, inviting actors, she’s calling Michael The Event Coordinator drunk after our night at the beach luau dance: “The thing is, Michael, that there are a lot of important people coming to this reading, Andrea McArdle is reading the lead …”
Then he gave us permission (which he tried to redact the next day) and then we started handing out fliers. By that I mean we collapsed laughing in the hallway and handed out fliers with relative abandon. I think my flip-flop fell off. I don’t know what happened, all I remember is sitting on the carpet while Heather was laughing.
4. If These Walls Could Talk 7/10-7/12
Our girl … Shaana? I forget her name. Anyhow, she rocked. We filled out a recommendation form for the desk clerk … “Dude, she’s gonna be promoted to ship captain.” She even crossed her fingers for us when Heather was talking to Michael.
3. All Over Me 7/12/07
-sign outside the CINEMA
Me: “This is the best thing I have ever seen in my life.”
Heather: “We need to photograph this sign and then save it for our hypothetical scrapbooks. This is amazing.”
(We totally forgot to do that, but it’s true: the joy that swelled in our ambitious hearts when we saw it … it felt real. So many of my projects exist only in theory–this one included, of course–but the fact that this reading was coming together, was official, had displaced The Pursuit of Happyness … made me feel pretty excited about pursuing my own happiness. And Carly’s, obvs.)
Because circa 24 hours ago, we’d reserved the space (or so we thought), confirmed it’s availability … and then seen The Pursuit of Happyness on the schedule. Obvs Heather took care of that immediately by opening the display case and removing that information, lest anyone get excited. I suggested we post a sign indicating “the movie’s been relocated to your room, where it happens to be showing on your in-room movie channel at this exact moment,which’s brill planning on behalf of the Norwegian Dawn.”
I refused to accept that our reading could be displaced by a crap Will Smith movie (confession: I kinda love Will Smith sometimes, I mean, “Fresh Prince”? Holla! Also I.C. used to write for that show).
Back Row, L to R: Esera, Janet, Andrea, Craig, Anne, Jen
Front Row, L to R: Tara, Megan, Haviland, Riese, Nick, Lainy
So, that night, if anything could be more exciting than that sign, the men in black showed up with fruit and water and chairs and music stands and then our cast:
Andrea McArdle (Broadway’s original Annie, obvs) as Sydney, Meeeeeee as Morgan, Haviland Pekor Stillwell as Samantha, Craig Ramsay as Caleb, Janet Caroll reading stage directions/etc, Megan Jacoby as Parker, Nick Nerio as Joe, Anne Steele as Courtney, Esera Tualo as Aiden, Tara Michelle as Kyra, Chelain Goodman as Hannah, and Jen Namoff as Deb/Lizzie Marriot/”Angry Dyke.”
2. Saving Face
“What’re you gonna say before the reading starts?” Everyone assumes that because I don’t like talking to humans one-on-one, I’m similarly frightened of crowds. So not true. I was an actress once upon a time in my youth, and though that was eons ago, I’m not afraid of stages, talking on them, or speaking to audiences. I love readings! Hello, sex and dating panel, anyone, obviously not. Howevs, I didn’t know what I was going to say to introduce the reading, and I actually don’t remember what I did say.
But I had this really fabulous idea to say: “HELLO! I’m Ilene Chaiken, creator and executive producer of Showtime’s hit series The L Word. Today we have a special new project to share with you, starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers…“
Here’s the thing about that: it’s really effin’ addictive. Once you start saying “HELLO! I’m Ilene Chaiken !” in an Ilene Chaiken voice, you can’t stop. I kept saying it over and over. I wish I could’ve introduced it like that, but what if no-one laughed? What if they thought I really WAS Ilene Chaiken, you know? [Then I could probably get this show made tomorrow, even before Carly and I go back to do more revisions. I could be like: “This show isn’t the greatest, but it’s about lesbians!” and then, BOOM, made.]
1. Imagine Me and You
There’s so many good things in the air right now. It’s hard to know which one to face and run at full-speed, and it’s hard to know what full speed even is. I think I/we’ve done our best to go for it, though, re-channeling negative energy into progress and direction and dream-making.
Our cruise, in fact, was re-routed: apparently we were owed another day at the private island, but the boat was unable to run at it’s optimum speed and we had to cut out the extra morning to make it home in time. I didn’t care because honestly I had no clue where we were going in the first place.
That’s probably a good metaphor for life. I could use a lot of boat and water related metaphors right now, like stuff about going with the flow and seeing where the wind takes you or something, but those are all pretty passive. I wanna be a little Jet-Ski like zzzzzzzz.
Really though: one of the best things about coming home was checking my voice mail to hear one from my grandmother: “We saw your article in the magazine,” she says, Ohio accent in full force. “Well, sweetie. We didn’t realize you were in such a state!” Yes: Marie Claire magazine, this time featuring an article written by me and no terrible picture of me, is in stores now and buy it!
Below I’ve tried to construct a graphic like the kind they have in restaurant windows with the mag-cover and a little snippet of the article they’re referencing. See, it’s my first byline in a major magazine!! By Marie Lyn Bernard! It’s like, 4 pages long, ’cause I tend to go on for a bit, but ay! Go buy Marie Claire. Anne Hathaway is on the cover, and she is smokin’ hot.
I wish I’d written “Discover your Inner Fembot!” I mean. Wow. Who knew, you know?
Here’s our video!