Saturday, December 30, 2006



Just as my odometer turns over it's first 1,000 miles, on the last day of mail delivery in 2006 (until Weds, actually - R.I.P. Gerald R. Ford), 51 days since the big move, the California DMV bestows upon me the official gift of the road: 2 license plates and registration stickers for my dusty little car (Note to self: check out the $2 car wash place on Santa Monica Blvd...). Now, I may be over my ideal weight, but I've never worn a 5XL; until now, that is. Just looking at that picture takes me back to the late nights of homework ignored to watch "L.A. Law" (not _just_ because it featured the first prime-time lesbian kiss - it was a well-written show before Rosalyn fell down the elevator shaft). You know that iconic opening title sequence kicked-off by the trunk closing shot of a California license plate?

la law

According to IMDB's trivia page, "the license plate in the beginning of the opening credits was during
the first seven seasons mounted on the rear of a Jaguar, but for the
eight and finale season it changed to being mounted on a Bentley
Continental R. The Bentley Continental R was mentioned for several of
the first episodes of the season when Arnie Becker was thinking of
buying one, and finally received one as a gift in episode 3 of the
eighth season." Mine's mounted on a Toyota Yaris Liftback. Can't wait for the opening credits of my first TV show...

Friday, December 29, 2006


ny style bagels

I'm a bagel snob (H&H rules!), but so homesick for the Big Apple that I took the plunge and bought some of these "New York Style" supermarket bagels. Boy, am I glad I did! They are respectably tasty. It's the little things that comfort...

I must be having L.A. conversion illness. In the same way that I'm incensed when I see a TV show set in NYC, but filmed generically in Toronto, Vancouver or L.A., then thrilled when I recognize actual NYC locations sprinkled throughout; I am now becoming similarly angered/thrilled when I see Los Angeles-set shows with real L.A. locations.

An Angeleno friend advised me to find things to love here that are uniquely Los Angeles. Thing #1: The Cinerama Dome. There's nothing like a big movie musical projected in the round... Many more things to come, I'm sure. I'm taking suggestions!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Xmas in Hollywood

xmas lights la

That's my neighbor's contribution to the holiday spirit of the courtyard.

I tried wishing my sweetie "Merry Christmas" on it's Eve, and she got all fussy with me, as if it was bad luck to bestow the sentiment too early. All my neighbors have been wishing it to me today. I must admit that a 75 degree Xmas feels very odd...

With no one to share this holiday here in Hollywood, I'll do my usual celebration solo this year: First run film in a theater (always something BIG), followed by Chinese food; A very Jewish Christmas. So, it's Dreamgirls @ the Arclight, then yumminess @ a restaurant yet to be determined. It's not as lonely as it sounds. I've been busy feathering my L.A. nest, and this'll be a welcome treat, getting me out of the apartment (everybody calls it a bungalow!), and into the world at large.

It's after midnight on this Coast, now, so MERRY XMAS EVERYONE!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Monday, December 11, 2006

Electric Trash


That Earthquake Kit I got off my Amazon wishlist came in very handy the other night, as transformers blew throughout the neighborhood, leaving us in total, soggy darkness. It seems that a small rainstorm can blow the grid, unfortunately. No worries - I just cranked my no-batteries-needed emergency flashlight/radio/phone charger and headed out to check on my neighbors. Most were in their jammies, but some were enjoying the mood set by candlelight and drizzle with alcohol. Although it was distressing that 911 was initially busy, then put me on hold for 10 minutes as the smell of smoke wafted through the courtyard, the offer of candles and vodka from neighbors in the moonlight offset the dread of possible conflagration.


Waking up to the Sun and not an alarm clock was a nice change. My mission: to pick up trash with some enterprising, civic-minded neighbors around the local grade school. I may seem like a cranky New Yorker, but I'm trying to be a generous Angeleno.

Thursday, December 7, 2006


OK, I just read through my last couple of posts. Boy, I'm cranky! I apologize; To my faithful readers (all 7 of you). To anyone I've offended or hurt by way of venting. To everyone, really (except Time Warner Cable SoCal and FedEx because they really did do me wrong). To Southern California, for not giving you the benefit of the doubt and in deference to the nice weather (although it's colder than I imagined it would be - note to self: buy sweaters). And to myself, since it's pretty darn hard to pull this off - I must remember to chill the heck out. There are beaches and canyons and parks around here for that, right? And friends, nice friends who have welcomed me while I've been too engrossed in the practical, annoying crap of setting up house 3,000 miles away from the life and loves I've known for all my years on this earth. I'm a little late on remembering the meaning of Thanksgiving; I can beg forgiveness just in time for Chanukah...

Attention Must Be Paid

Either I'm paid little to no attention or am the subject of unwanted attention here in L.A.

I went to see a brilliant writer friend perform at Wordamara the other night. It was a spoken-word evening filled with witty, poignant, talented writers and performers. There were a few familiar folks in the audience, and we exchanged pleasantries, but I was struck at how invisible I was to the new people to whom I was introduced. Sure, they didn't know me, but to be literally sitting in between my friend and the "new" people and be talked over - completely and utterly ignored (remember, I have nothing to contribute in terms of job opportunities, gossip or sex as far as they know). They were actually leaning on me to get closer to each other, bitching about whatever literary goings-on needed to be bitched about, as if I was bar stool. No eye contact, no acknowledgment that I was human, or even present, despite the recent introduction. Only the bartender noticed me and my wedged-in status, pouring multitudinous refills of Coke (G-d bless him...). I'm not asking for an instant fawning entourage, but common courtesy might be a little nice. At least don't treat me like furniture, and uncomfortable furniture, at that. As for the show, well, it was quite long and entertaining.

On my way to the launch party for OutFest's 25th Anniversary year at the Egyptian, I got way too much attention from the LASD. That's right; I got pulled over by the cops. Slightly disoriented by the traffic, Xmas lights and the insistent voice on my TomTom One to "Turn Left NOW," I made a left turn on Hollywood Blvd. right in front of an oncoming Sheriff's car. Now, the turn was perfectly legal, just a little close for his comfort. He followed my turn, lights flashing, siren yelping. Oh shit. I pulled to the side of the road, rolled down my window and felt like I was in the middle of a really bad episode of LAPD Blue (if it existed). I handed over my NY Driver's license and confessed that I had been lost, was just following my portable GPS, and was a dumb newly transplanted New Yorker. I like to think that my winning smile, accompanied by my pathetic rendition of the truth (my car's so new it doesn't even have license plates yet), and the fact that I didn't actually do anything illegal, led this imposing man to let me off with a warning.
"You won't do anything this stupid ever again, now will you, M'am?"
"No, sir."

As penance, I paid way too much for parking behind the theater.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Creature Comforts

Creature Comforts. Literal creature comforts. I think if I'd had my pets with me in L.A. for the past 3 weeks, I wouldn't have been so distressed about every little thing that went wrong or was done wrong to me. It's just been a rolling frustration train. The flight back to JFK was 3/4 turbulent. I get back to NYC and try to unwind by seeing a movie w/my sweetie, and instead my mobile phone gets flushed down the toilet @ the theater (yes, I reached in and rescued it, but it's a soggy goner). See? Even in NYC (or on the way to NYC), things go wrong and infuriate. The difference being, I get to come home to my apartment of 12 years, cuddle with my cats and kiss my girlfriend. Instant anti-anxiety pill. Did I mention my meds were stolen by the infamous TSA personel as they handled my bags? So, I'll get another prescription and then a pedicure at my neighborhood nail place where they know my battered feet well... I can let it roll off my back, or feet or cats. You get the point.

The reason for my return East (aside from the need to aleviate extreme withdrawal symptoms)? The screening of "Two Hands," a doc short by Nathaniel Kahn about the remarkable pianist Leon Fleisher. How's this sound for a swanky evening?
1. Private screening of "Two Hands" @ Makor.
2. Triumphant concert by Leon Fleisher @ Avery Fisher Hall.
3. Celebratory dinner with extraordinary people @ Cafe Des Artistes.

Nathaniel, Leon & Katherine
Nathaniel Kahn, Leon Fleisher & Katherine Jacobson

I think I can handle whatever L.A. throws at me for the next stretch. I'm Big Apple-fortified for now.

Monday, November 27, 2006

The life stuff.

Customer service?

I called the gas company nearly 2 weeks ago to have the service put in my name. They were scheduled for last Monday. They showed up this morning, bright and early, ringing the doorbell to wake me up and say "Gas check!" I felt like sayng, no thanks, I'm flatulent enough. Shortly thereafter, Time Warner Cable SoCal called to ask how satisfied I was with my service appointment this weekend. Oh, you mean the one where they were supposed to be here 1-3pm, but showed up closer to 6:30pm after tons of calls and time on hold (that'd be my friend Elizabeth Holder doing the calling - remember? "You appear to be calling from a number outside of California..."), so the guy can come and replace the broken cable box they gave me in the first place? I wouldn't let him leave until it worked with ALL the channels I'd ordered, which, after the 3rd cable box he installed, happened. I gave that poor woman an earful. The electric company hasn't even bothered to show up or call; Guess they don't want my money. Now I'm waiting for the bungalow's contractor to fix a bunch of little things which seem to constantly fall off the bottom of his check list. Don't get me started...

*UPDATE* Now FedEx doesn't know where the 4 large, carefully-packed boxes containing my worldly possessions are located. This is FedEx, with a barcode on everything that allows you to track the tissue you just used to wipe your nose. They don't know where my boxes are! Not only that, but 4 different calls to customer service yield 4 different answers as to what transpired when they were picked-up in NYC. Nor can anyone agree on whether they left New York City OR were returned to sender OR refused by my NYC doorman OR attempted delivery in L.A. OR sitting on a truck or a depot in Brooklyn OR shoved up some supervisor's nose! All I know is that I was looking forward to wearing more than the 2 pairs of shoes I packed in my suitcase, using the printer to print out my scripts, and make some soup in my favorite stockpot. It's not asking a lot of a package delivery service to DELIVER SOME PACKAGES, now is it!?!

I'm just trying to keep in mind the good stuff. The soothing stuff. The life stuff.

Dasha's life poster

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving out West

Sitting here watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV (all 13" of it off of Craig's List) gives me a little reprieve from the West Coast. It brings up giddy memories of watching the inflation of the parade balloons, tethered on the Upper West Side by the AMNH, thousands of kids agog at the nearness of a gigantic Kermit. Me agog, too.

There's Ballet Hispanico - they're on my block on the UWS! There's Sesame Workshop, my former awesome workplace. Big Bird looks a little deflated... My friend Liz Warner used to work the parade every year, putting around in a golf cart up & down the route with dignitaries in tow. Now Liz is here in L.A. as a morning DJ for 103.1 FM, and a friendly presence for me.

I've been in L.A. for 2 weeks, now. I've got an apartment, a car, (most) furniture, food, non-working cable TV and an intermittent internet connection. And a neighbor across the way with a rooster (and attendent chickens) that crows starting around 4am, and then whenever he feels like it after that. My immediate neighbors have all been incredibly nice and helpful and welcoming. I've also got great friends, new and old, who've been looking out for me as I take my first baby steps in the City of Angels.

As I spent the past 3 days in misery and anger on the phone w/Time Warner Cable on my upstairs neighbor's borrowed phone (I've only got my NYC mobile phone, so when I call the L.A. TWC, the message says "It appears that you are calling from a number outside of California, please hang up and try the East Coast number. Click.), on hold for hours, complaining about no-show technichians and their general lack of service, I realize that as flawed as they are on the East Coast, at least they answer the phone in under 30 minutes and show up for appointments. The Angelenos to whom I bemoan this eggregious behavior aren't surprised at all. Every one of them, nonplussed, explains that there really isn't a concept of customer service out here. Oy!

I made the most of my time, while waiting 8am-6pm for technicians everyday, by building furniture, cooking/baking and putting up curtains. Setting up a home here just makes me long for the one that's already set-up back there, and the gorgeous talented redhead who's baking cookies in it. If my internet connection decides to stay mostly "on," I'll video-conference with my sweetie and family, all gathered together in Baltimore. If I can't be with them, at least they can be with each other. I'll be with family friends from synagogue back in Baltimore, who are kindly taking me in. As my new neighbor Guin said "You're a Thanksgiving orphan, huh?"

I know I'll start thinking of this place as home eventually (the comfy new mattress helps), but for now, I'm counting the days - 7 - until I go back to NYC, my adult home. I need my family, my sweetie, my pets, my friends. I need my fill of the East Coast. Withdrawal is a bitch. And I'm thankful for the heartache of it all, and the means to pursue my dreams.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


bayou blue toyota yaris

I have the cutest most awesome new car EVER. The dealer called yesterday morning and said my Toyota Yaris in beautiful Bayou Blue had made it off the boat earlier than expected. After a 2 1/2 hour drive (bad rush hour traffic) down to Toyota of Orange, as arranged through my high school friend Zack, I picked up my little piece of automotive heaven. Well worth the hassle! I drove it off the lot with just six miles on the odometer. Six! And, the requesite new car smell, of course. I proudly put the AAA auto emergency pack (complete w/lug wrench) in with the spare tire, too.

new bed

Then, while waiting for my vintage loveseat to be delivered, I tinkered away at assembling my new Ikea Hopen bed. I'm pretty handy (& I bought a full tool set w/drill, too), and have had plenty of experience assembling Swedish DIY furniture, but this one took five hours. Five! And my back is completely tweaked from the effort - all that leaning over and balancing wood and metal for hours with a tiny allen wrench in hand... Ouch!

Tomorrow: return unmatching misc. home furnishings and cover at least four windows. Four!

Missing my sister's three kids. Three!

Counting is so much fun. Ah, ah, ah! (ref Sesame and now to bed....)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Packing It In

packing it in @ Ikea

This is what happens when your furniture eyes are bigger than your convertible stomach. In the NYC-area, Ikea will deliver whatever is in your cart and the big stuff they pull from the warehouse, too. After assuming that LA-area Ikea's operate the same way, I showed up at the home delivery desk, cart filled to brimming, ready to hand over the goods to be delivered with my new bed tomorrow - I was informed that nothing bought in the Marketplace section of the store can be delivered. Ack! This wouldn't have been such as issue if I wasn't driving an aging borrowed Mazda Miata. After a supreme packing job, topped off with copious amounts of twine, convertible top down and TomTom One programmed for Hollywood, I headed very slowly back to my new pad and made it unscathed! I suppose it's just one right of California passage.

Next? Almost have the car...

Friday, November 10, 2006


view of my new Hollywood courtyard

General first thoughts on L.A., now that I've been here all of 24 hours:

- I have shin splints in my right leg from just ONE day of start/stop traffic in my friend's borrowed Mazda Miata.
- people are very nice here when they're NOT in their cars
- cool @ night, but scorching on the road during the day
- BIG grocery stores with huge aisles
- palm trees look really odd, but are relaxing
- the moon shines brighter in Santa Monica than on the Upper West Side

So, it took me less than a day in town to score a place to live and a mattress. Time to get a car of my own...

Monday, October 30, 2006

Vote Different

While I sort out Gay Marriage in NJ, what to pack for LA and how much candy to buy for Trick-or-Treating, enjoy this Apple TV ad parody with a decidely political, but no less clever, bent.

The democrat is my friend Jamie Effros!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Like The Way I Do

Like The Way I Do
Tasha and the other Lesbian Overtones rock the Go NYC house!

Well, I did it. I sang my first solo with The Lesbian Overtones at the Go NYC Magazine 4th Anniversary Party! I belted out Melissa Etheridge's anthem of adultery "Like The Way I Do." Too bad nobody could hear it.

I was the lone Overtone at the soundcheck, and the monitors and mics were great, but during the show there was a ton of feedback on the mics and nada on the monitors. We couldn't hear ourselves and only the first row or so of sweaty lesbians caught an earful. It's a shame, because we rocked in a newly reconstitued form - 2 of our beloved 'Tones went off to pursue their educational and filmmaking dreams - to be replaced with 2 new sparkling musical personalities. I will be the next to go. So, our gig at Mo Pitkins this Tuesday night will be my tearful last. I'll always be a Lesbian Overtone at heart, even on the Western shore of this Sapphic country.

The evening wasn't a total bust - my picture kept flashing overhead and on monitors throughout the club as one of the 100 Women We Love (always good for an ego boost) - while I hung out with many of the women I love:
Dasha, Laura, Sarah, Erinliz dahmen inside the female sign
Dasha, Laura, Sarah, Erin       and        Liz Dahmen a.k.a. Terry Tone
jen howd, michelle wolff, julie neumark4th anniversary party
Jen Howd, Michelle Wolff, Julie Neumark

So, be there for my farewell performance, because really, no one does it Like The Way I Do:
Coming Out
October, 24 2006
8:30pm at Mo Pitkin's
34 Avenue A, New York, 10009
Cost: $5

coming out at Mo Pitkin's

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

New Yorker at heart

image from

Just as I'm getting down to the nitty-gritty planning of my move out West, a grim reminder that I'm truly a New Yorker at heart: A plane crashes into a hi-rise building in Manhattan, killing a Yankee pitcher, no less. I was at a doctor's appointment in a hospital complex when the news broke; ambulances streamed out of the hospital and down to 72nd Street - that's what prompted me to check the latest news on my mobile phone. Instant horror on a tiny screen. I'm sure I'm not the only person shaken by 9/11 flashbacks.

Of course we all remember exactly what we were doing when 9/11 occured - I believe it was the beginning of the end of my love relationship at the time. I stood frozen in front of the unfolding terror on TV while she went out for groceries and cash in anticipation of shortages. When she got back I said "I'm a New Yorker." She said "I really miss Seattle." She always said that she couldn't imagine me living anywhere but the Big Apple. But she was wrong. I would've moved anywhere to be with her. Now I'm moving for myself.

Yes, LA scares me - mostly because there are earthquakes and people who don't read the New York Times. I'm scared that I'll develop road rage and skin cancer. I'm terrified that I'll go nuts without my pets, girlfriend and family (not neccessarily in that order). I'm anxious about finding a car and a place to live. Until today, I feared that I'd lose my New York-iness. So, a trauma solidified my NYC credentials, but they were minted by the love of Broadway, the hum of the subway and the beautiful diversity of its inhabitants.

You can take the girl out of New york, but you can't take New York out of the girl. Westward-ho!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


I don't follow astrology, but damned if I'm not stuck in the whole "Mercury in Retrograde" phenomenon. Here's the bad luck, especially as it pertains to communications:

- my phone/palm treo 650 suddenly and catastrophically failed last week
- the new phone/palm treo 700p that I got to replace my busted old one would sync but not transfer any data from my computer to the phone, then it refused to connect to the internet
- my laptop (which took a spill a few months ago and has been hinky ever since) was finally diagnosed today as a goner
- worse still, the daily data backups I've been making were found to by corrupted (a lifetime of scripts down the drain!)
- my laser printer (which somehow broke a part while standing still) will only print from the upper tray (and only when it feels like it), and not the fancy large capacity tray for which I bought the darn thing in the first place
- I caught a cold from my beloved nephew this weekend while celebrating Rosh Hashanah with the family (and my gf got it, too)

OK, so that last one is more about communicable diseases than communications, but you get the drift. The last time I was socked with electronics whammies, my laptop, palm and ipod and my bosses's laptop and palm got fried. Not a very good precedent.

The one bright spot in all this computer conflagration is that I had the absolute nicest, most helpful, genuinely caring customer service everywhere I turned today. And this is from some notoriously bad tech help sources, like Verizon Wireless. I tell you, I am still flabergasted at how kind and thorough these folks were from Apple, Palm, Veizon Wireless, Tekserve and Asurion. I'm pissed as heck about the failure of my devices, but I can only imagine how ballistic I'd be if the companies I called had been their usual nasty and inadequate selves.

The upshot?

- My new phone works and has all the data synced properly now (which is good, since my laptop is toast).
- All the backed-up data from my laptop MAY be salvageable.
- I have paper copies of all my scripts (except the specs I've been slaving away on for the past 2 months)
- I'll probably get a new laptop, but in the mean time am using an old "just in case" G4 Cube I keep around just for this purpose.
- I can print to my inkjet printer until I get my laser printer fixed or replaced.
- Colds only last 7 days.
- I'm alive and loved.

Now, can someone please tell me when it's safe to come out of my apartment with electronics again?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Last night I got an email from Nathanial Kahn, director of a new short about the remarkable Leon Fleisher. I served as line producer for this gem, shot in my hometown of Baltimore, MD about 1 year ago. Nathaniel's email said that the film is done - transfered onto 35mm, even! I can't wait to see the finished product. It prompted me to go back and look at my behind-the-scenes pictures and video that I shot. Check out the footage from our last day of shooting at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra below.

(it seems jerky on YouTube - you can also see it here)

Look for "Two Hands" at a prestigious film festival soon (hopefully)! I'm very proud to have worked with Nathaniel, a great crew and the amazing Mr. Fleisher.

Buy Nathaniel's family masterpiece "My Architect."

Buy Leon Fleisher's triumphant return to 2-handed piano recording, "Two Hands."

Monday, September 18, 2006

Mainstream-land and Queer-country

Angela Robinson, Photo from

Props to Sarah Warn and the folks over at for giving lesbian-pop-culture-filmmaker Angela Robinson a monthly column. For her inaugural column, Angela describes sitting on Frameline's Persistent Vision panel “Where's Our Dykeback Mountain?"(I SOOO wanted to attend PV this summer, but spent my West Coast excursion at the OutFest Screenwriters Lab instead.) Lucky for us all, Frameline has posted MP3's of the panels online. My baby, the NewFest Filmmakers Forum doesn't have the cash to record our annual entertaining and informative panels. But I digress...)

Angela basically says crossover of lesbian films would be great, but they're unlikely and unneccessary, 'cause we can just make targeted media for the lesbian audience and deliver directly to them. I heartily agree, as I sit here writing mainstream (read: not queer) spec scripts while simultaneously doing a rewrite of "To Do:" (read: lesbianic).

Does this sentiment sound familiar? A little history lesson, here, folks: Dyke TV, broadcasting on public access cable since 1993. Their mission: "To arm the global queer community with the tools to produce media to incite political change, subvert mainstream hetero-normativity, provoke action, and to organize a counter mainstream media movement." In other words, make our own damn TV about us, for us. After taking a final cut pro class there taught by Erin Greenwell (who is all about "make it yourself - I'll show you how!"), I made a movie myself aiming for the lesbian bullseye that hit its mark. At film festival screening's Q&A's I always say "If you don't see yourself reflected onscreen, then get off your tushy and make it!"

Of course, it's really hard to make a living doing what you love, especially if it's all queer, all the time. I know a few lucky souls who are pulling it off, but the rest of us are scraping by via other means or creating the LGBT media reality out of thin air for ourselves (Mike Wilke of Commercial Closet, Sarah Warn of AfterEllen, Ellen Huang of Queer Lounge, Lisa Codikow of Power-Up, Jen Howd & John Baez of Punkmouse). Some seem to have made it big in gay gay gay tv & film, like Julie Goldman in Logo's upcoming sketch comedy series "The Big Gay Show," and several LGBT film festival hits; But it's not exactly adding up to a luxury lifestyle. (I think Julie should be heralded as the new queen of comedy with her own show and millions of bucks, and I should write that show with her and have equal compensation.)

Angela's and Erin's and my insistence that we don't need "the Man" to make media by, for and about our own community is true, optimistic and totally impractical, but not impossible. What did Angela make after the feature-length "D.E.B.S." (for Sony, no less)? "Herbie: Fully Loaded" (for Disney). She IS the crossover, not her work. Angela Robinson works on "The L Word" AND makes mainstream movies AND makes a decent living to boot. She proves that you can exist in the whole entertainment world, without segregating yourself to one or the other. Some folks live in a gay ghetto and prefer it that way. I live in both mainstream-land and queer-country, and hope to work in both without having to get a visa or surrender my passport to either side. Oh, and make a living at it, too.

Sunday, September 17, 2006


"Imagination is only a posh word for guesswork."
- David Hare

stuff happens
photo from The Public Theater

This gem was uttered by the playwright after the free reading of his play "Stuff Happens" in Central Park earlier this month. Curious audience members wanted to know how he filled in the behind-closed-doors-blanks of the historical record of the road to war in Iraq that the play chronicles. He prefaced his answer by listing all the research that went into the crafting of "Stuff Happens," and then said that he just used his imagination. An appalling answer to some, and a delightful response to me.

Unlike recent topical works (Guantánamo: Honor Bound to Defend Freedom, The Exonerated) which are more documentary than drama, this play takes dramatic license unabashedly to new heights. What did Colin Powell really say to President Bush before testifying in front of the U.N. about evidence of weapons of mass destruction? Was it as juicy as David Hare has imagined for our theatrical pleasure? I don't care about the reality of it - I care that one of the world's top playwrights took a creative leap for my entertainment. Art can be more truthful than journalism, because it reveals emotional truths. And theatre and film illuminate such truths better than any other medium.

photo from NBC

As I sit here imagining terrible crimes with ingenious plot twists for my Law & Order: SVU spec script, I'm thankful that my "crimes" are just made up, and horrified that I can dream up such inhumane scenarios. I know that people actually commit far worse acts upon their fellow man, and my scribblings are just posh guesswork of the most grisly kind.

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Family Resemblance

Elaine & SolEmily & Leo
Aunt Elaine & my father as kids AND another big sister and brother goofing around 2 generations later - Emily & Leo

I've been sifting through old family photos and scannning them for posterity. I'm suppossed to have been doing this for years, now, but something more urgent always intrudes on documenting my vast family tree. I only got this last batch done because there was a deadline: my Aunt Elaine's Oregon memorial service this past weekend. I didn't attend, but my parents did, and my mother read my Blog Entry tribute to her in my stead as some of the scanned photos flashed behind.

Elaine BorkoJudy Snyder
Who's the Mom? Both. My Mother as a kid, and my sister as a kid.

I find myself most drawn to images of my father as a child. We've only seen a few choice photos of his youth over the years, but the latest batch my Aunt Carolyn mailed to me was a treasure trove of goofball and formal poses of all my aunts and uncles, cousins and grandparents - even a few of my sister & I. It never stops to amaze me when I see the same eyes staring back from an antique picture and a modern shot of my nieces and nephew.

Dasha in collegeAbigail in the old house
The Tanta (years before Abigail's birth) and her vivacious first niece

Do our bodies naturally find the same poses, our faces contort into the same genetic smiles, our familial spirits steal out of the eyes? I know that I hold my chin in my hand identically to my father, and I see the same gestures in my cousins - so it's a trait with deeper roots than my immediate blood, but perhaps a learned/observed behaviour passed on in practice rather than a double helix.

I know that many an ill-health gene made it down the family line, too many to count, unfortunately - and some I hope that never make it, too. I've had more than my fair share of illness, but I just assume that the gene for Endometriosis probably sits on the same chromosome as the gene for screenwriting. They're DNA neighbors for better or worse. I believe that holds true for all my creative, health-hobbled relatives. Breast cancer must be next to the drawing gene in my Aunt Elaine. Bad-back/slipped disk disease snuggled-up next to the designing experiments gene in my father. And on and on. My only hope is that fewer medically disastrous genes make their way to the next generation. So that my nieces and nephew are left with only the spark of creation and the good health to stoke its flames - and that same smile passed down from Snyder & Borko to Kastenberg and beyond.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I'm giving in to the surveys...

Another survey from jen & michelle. how can I resist my actors?

1.You have 10 bucks and need to buy snacks at a gas station what do you get?
Fig newtons, root beer & a lottery ticket

2. If you had to be reincarnated as some sort of sea dwelling creature, what would u be?
Blue whale. No contest.

3. Who's your favorite redhead?
My girlfriend.

4. What do you order when you're at a waffle house?
If its truly a waffle house (like the awesome Canadian Waffle House that used to be at Broadway & 82nd St. and NOT pancake house), then I'd get the cornbread waffles. Heavely.

5. Last book you read?
"Fifty Degrees Below" by Kim Stanley Robinson

6. Have you made out with anyone on your friend's list?
Um, duh.

7. What's your lucky number?

8. Describe the last time you were injured.
Rough and tumble cuddling with the gf - we bonked heads.

9. Of all your friends, with whom would you want to be stuck in the jungle?
All the stage managers and 1st & 2nd AD's. They are prepared for EVERYTHING.

10. Are there any odd things that make you feel uncomfortable?
goldfish that swim upside down, the toilet paper roll hung the wrong way, doctors offices

12. What is the wallpaper on your cell phone?

13. Soda?
root beer

14. Flavor of pudding?
flavor = chocolate, type = non-dairy

15. What type of shirt are you wearing?
PJ top.

16. Prescription medication?
Too many, but less than before.

17. Name two things you did last night?
bought cookies at the Union Square Green Market, attended a screenplay reading with friends

18. $100 bank error in your favor, what do you buy?
I'd feel too guilty to use it, knowing it'd be corrected against me eventually and then out $100 bucks...

19. How many people on your list do you know in real life?

20. What are you listening to right now?
my cat sniffling

21. Most recent movie you've watched in a theater?
Lady in the Water (for free at the DGA)

22. If you could invent one thing, what would it be?
World Peace

23. Name a boss you had the hots for:
Haven't had the pleasure, yet.

24. What's your favorite town?
Always NYC, but St. Petersburgh is a close 2nd.

25. Favorite kind of cake?

26. What's the first word that comes to mind right now?
hoo hoo

27. When was the last time you saw your mom in person?
2 weeks ago

28. Who got you to join MySpace?
Maggie Burkle

29. What did you have for dinner LAST NIGHT?

30. How long have you been at your current job?
too long/not long enough

31. Is Tom on your friends list?
yes. can I dump him?

32. What's the last thing you said out loud?
'night, hon.

33. Look to your left, what do you see?
Amsterdam Avenue.

34. Who is the last person who spent $100 on you?
my parents

35. Who's your least-favorite tennis player?
Ivan Lendl

36. Favorite sport?
women's basketball

37. What's the last piece of clothing you bought?
swank shorts for my trip to LA

Under The Pink Carpet

Witty Interviewing @ HH

And the press never ends... Back at our beloved Drunken Pussycat, Henrietta Hudson's alter ego in "The D Word," some cast and I sat down to chat about our little film that could to Robin Cloud of "Under The Pink Carpet," a cable access show like the gay "Entertainment Tonight." It's been nearly 2 years since we shot in HH, but it still feels like home. The nicest part about it all was hearing my actresses (yes, I use the possesive), Mellyss'ah Mavour and Victoria Soyer, talk about how wonderful they felt about the experience of shooting our little show. Like I said then, and I'll always believe: no matter what crap went down on set that day, I always went to bed with a smile on my face - knowing how lucky I was to be making MY movie with cool people. May I always carry that joy.

PS - notice that "212" shirt? That's my way of saying "I'm a New Yorker, dammit!" and why I made fun of LA...

Friday, August 11, 2006

Terrorists Suck; Liberty Rules

I'm a die-hard NY Liberty fan.

I keep going to games even though they do things like lose by 33 points to Indiana this week. I cheer like a maniac in my season subscription seats. I throw away my $10 Nalgene water bottle after standing in line for nearly 10 minutes to get through security at Madison Square Garden.

Wait. I did what?

Yeah, I trashed my favorite H2O bottle filled with my own home-Britta-filtered water, just so I could get in the door to watch my beloved 2nd-to-last place team in their 2nd-to-last game of the season. It used to be that security would confiscate bottles of soda and water at the door for 2 obnoxious reasons: 1. So that you'd be forced to buy liquid refreshment at insanely inflated prices from their concession stands inside and 2. To prevent the nasty bottle-cap-throwing incidents of Men's games, whereby irrate fans would toss trash onto the court. When you buy a bottle of water inside MSG, they take the cap off and hand you the bottle. Annoying to say the least. So, when they took my Nalgene bottle off of me at the gate this evening, thanks to the most recent terrorist plot in the news, it was more of a test than I'd imagined it to be. Many penny-pinching patrons like myself, when presented with the choice of their sodas or the game, chose to turn around with their pop in hand. As if the attendence at Liberty games wasn't dismal enough due to their abysmal record...!

As a person with a history of Kidney stones, I carry and chug water at all times. It is nearly impossible to separate me from my water bottle. I was so pissed-off that, parched, I refused to buy a beverage through the first half. But then my thirst got the best of me, and I plunked down $4 for a Dasani Water with no cap. Bastards! It was at that moment I swore that the Liberty were going to win this game, dammit.

And they did, in a nail-biter. With the game tied at 62, the ball in NY's possession, Barb Farris sunk the winning basket with 1.7 seconds to go. A thrilling victory, made possible, in part, by angry loyal fans willing them victory as compensation for lost goods. And with this win my bumbling lovable team became the third-to-last team in the Eastern Conference. We still got some pride, you know.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Idiot Proof Pets

WARNING: Technical and potentially boring post ahead!

I'm trying to idiot-proof my apartment for whomever has the pleasure of living here while I'm in LA. This is most difficult and important when it comes to my pets. My poor turle Esmerelda, who started life as a tiny drop of a reptile in a dixie cup on a Chinatown street corner (now nearly 8"), has graduated to ever-larger tanks until 2 years ago, when she took a step backward in habitat size as I moved to a small studio apartment sublet. She went from 55 rectangular gallons to 46 hexagonal gallons. For those uninitiated into aquarium geometry, the bigger a tank gets, the longer it gets, generally speaking. So, she was used to length. The hex tank gave her great depth - even standing on her tippy toes, her nose barely reached the surface. This is how I discovered that my turtle loves to dive, not just swim, but lurch into the water and splash around happily. Since the 55 gallon tank went away with my apartment renovations, Esmerelda's been stuck in tall but cramped quarters ever since. That will all change in the coming weeks.

After exhaustive research and comparison shopping (and selling off lots of old computer and electronic equipment on Craigs List in order to fund this endeavor), I settled on an All-Glass Aquarium 65 gallon tank and stand. Problem is, that's not a popular size and only 2 places on the East Coast carry it - and I was in no mood to drive out to Pittsburgh; but Copiague, Long Island? That I can handle with a ZipCar; and so I made the trek to Pets Warehouse today.

I also took the initative and designed a new ramp/basking platform for her, having it manufactured to spec at Canal Plastics, fittingly, just blocks from her original purchase in Chinatown. Picked that up today, too. Thank G-d plexi-glass is cheap!

The final technical hurdle in this habitat project is a new idiot-proof filtration system. Right now I'm using a powerful cannister filter (Fluval 304), but the priming sucks, and it's a huge pain in the ass to clean. So, emboldened by examples set by industrious and clever fellow-red-eared-slider owners, I decided to try an externally hung bio-wheel type filter - retrofitted to eliminate (or at least decrease) the waterfall effect which is bound to happen in a turtle tank. For the aquatic turtle uninitiated: Aquatic turtles need plenty of H2O to swim in and a dry refuge under full-spectrum UVA/UVB lighting and heat to dry out their shells, too. This means that the tank isn't filled all the way to the top. So, if you've got water pouring like a waterfall out of a filter, it'll have farther to fall in a turtle tank, thus splashing and making an awful racket and mess. The real virtue of this filter? It takes standard cartridges. So, whatever pet-sitter is tending Esmerelda in my stead can just pull out the old dirty cartridges and stick new clean ones in. That's it. Simple, huh? Of course there will be the occassional addition of water and the daily feeding, but that's pretty easy. Oh, and I got a timer, so the lights will go on and off automatically.

All of this will take another week+ to assemble and run before actually placing Esmerelda into her new playground. I can't wait. Neither can she - the new unassembled kit sits across from her current tank, so she swims up next it and stares intently through the glass.

As for my the rest of my menagerie, I've been looking into automated cat feeders & waterers and the ultimate in feline care: the self-flushing litter box. They have similar products to handle my fish as well (the feeding, not the pooping)...

I'll be passing on my hex tank on to my niece and her new smaller turtle Harry (named after Harry Potter, of course). And we'll convert Harry's current tank into a fish tank for my other niece, reusing the hood/filter combo I have from a past aquarium. My nephew already has 2 fish and 2 frogs set-up in his room, so he's good to go, pet-wise.

So, I feel virtuous in simplifying the care and nurturing of my pets and the recycling of used materials to care for my family's critters. If only I could simplify my actual pets... They're just affection whores, especailly the turtle, believe it or not. I guess we all are in this household. That'll be one of the hardest parts about LA - no pets to come home to, missing them all and our routines and cuddles. And missing the biggest cuddle of all: my girlfriend's arms.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

I Heart My Lesbians

Why would I get up before the Sun on a Sunday, trek down to a sandy field on the bank of the East River, don a shirt 5 sizes too small and dance around a softball diamond? To shoot a comic video with friends, of course! Laura & Nicole, the dynamic duo who brought "His Name Is Cosmo" to the LGBT film festival circuit, have teamed up again to film an hysterical music video for Clay Drinko's single"I Heart My Lesbians."

"Cosmo..." screened with "The D Word" at the Long Island Gay & Lesbian Film Festival earlier this year and the fest's director asked us in the Q&A afterwards if there was a small lesbian filmmaking mafia (the "Muffia" as it were) in NYC. We laughed it off, but if you're hitting the queer festival circuit, the connections seem clear. The Muffia is as tangled-up as the dyke dating scene in Park Slope. An example of 6 Degrees of Dasha Snyder:

- Dasha Snyder (that's me) took an editing class at Dyke TV, taught by Erin Greenwell.
- Erin Greenwell edited "The D Word" and wrote/directed/produced "Mom" starring Julie Goldman.
- Julie Goldman (was also stared in "The D Word") is a writer for Mr. Murray Hill.
- Murray Hill has hosted "The Lesbian Overtones" (all lesbian, all a cappella, all the time) several times at his show.
- "The Lesbian Overtones" is made up of several illustrious voices, including it's founder's, Elizabeth Dahmen.
- Liz Dahmen has appeared in many queer shorts, including "Bar Talk (also starring Alix Olson who made "Left Lane" with Samantha Farinella)" "His Name is Cosmo," & "Mom" which brings us back to Erin Greenwell and Dyke TV, which leads to Jules Roskam who made "Transparent" and Sam Feder who made "Boy I Am" which were both shown at NewFest, where Dasha works and met Cherien Dabis who made "Little Black Boot" which was funded by Power-Up, etc...

So you can see how the connections pile up for the Muffia. No wonder they put me in the "Muffy" shirt for the shoot...

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Fear is just a lack of imagination

That really IS Melissa Etheridge jamming at MSG

Melissa Etheridge concerts, like the one last night at Madison Square Garden, are like primal scream therapy: cathartic, felt in the gut, deeply emotional, and in this performer's case, unabashedly sexual and spiritually uplifting. Hair still closely cropped after her bout with breast cancer treatment, "The Ridge" rocked the house with oldies, indignant anthems and joyful tributes. Thank you American Express Gold Card Events for the awesome seats!

For a brief moment, my sweetie and I thought we might get to actually meet the rock goddess as tag-alongs to Shelly Mars and Urvashi Vaid, also sitting in our section, but the opportunity vanished as quickly as it was proffered. We had mused on our way to the concert how we might get to meet with Melissa Etheridge and her wife Tammy Lynn Michaels, not just as fans, but to talk some business for "To Do:" - a script about a young lesbian with breast cancer with a plum role for Tammy in it! We laughed it off as an impossibility, but when the slim chance of success appeared, we both wondered at the coincidence of speaking that which you desire, and it's appearence in the realm of possibility. No more excuses: as Melissa said from the stage last night: "Fear is just a lack of imagination."

I'm a writer; I've got plenty of imagination to go around.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Sing Along

Fred belts it out with a little moral & vocal support from me

My girlfriend kept asking me "What do you want for your birthday?" and I kept replying "A really good party." She was focussing on a physical present, and so was I, but of a different sort. Yesterday, after dozens of friends and family showed up to sing out and chow down at my Karaoke Birthday Bash (thanks to Karaoke Champ and Liz Dahmen), she got it.

I've been waiting for nearly my entire adult life to be healthy enough to grab the microphone and sing out strong, with the cheering from friends and family as the ultimate bonus. I got the hard-sell in LA to move out to the West Coast and capitalize on the momentum of the Lab and my script. Now that I'm finally able, it's time to make the move and work my brain to the max in pursuit of my writing career. It's oddly exhilerating and terrifying to contemplate the move, even if temporary. Didn't I just make fun of LA in The D Word...? Not to mention the logistics of apartments, pets and girlfriend. Oh yeah, and I've got a ton of spec scripts to write before I even get there and attempt to land an agent, get staffed on a show and raise funds for my next film. All minor technicalities...

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Jet Blue Made Me Green

So, like a savvy traveler, I hustled my girlfriend to the Long Beach Airport early, thus saving an extra day's worth of rental car charges and making an earlier flight back to NYC. Alas, as stated here before on this blog, no good deed goes unpunished.

Our flight hit a lot of turbulence. Now when I say turbulence, I mean the kind that makes you puke and think you're going to die. After circling JFK for 20+ minutes, we attempted to land in the middle of severe thunderstorms and succeeded only in terrifying the entire passenger population, having to break off the attempt and fly out of harms way; that'd be to Stewart Airforce Base in Newburgh, NY. After revisiting the meal that Jet Blue didn't serve us, I asked that we be let off the plane (and was supported by other beleagured passengers). I wasn't keen on taking flight in stormy weather any time soon. I thought: spend the night in upstate New York recuperating from the ordeal and take Amtrak to NYC in the morning, right? Not happening, as our incredibly-out-of-touch-bordering-on-rude crew informed me. (BTW - they were out-of-touch and rude before the whole "we're going down!" incident.) Stewart AFB was not equipped to de-plane passengers and there were more detoured planes touching down by the minute. So, what to do? Refuel and try to land back at JFK, apparently. Which is what we did.

Guess what? The gate where we arrived was just a trailer, so they bussed us to the Jet Blue terminal to retrieve our baggage - but there was an entire plane of queasy, tired, pissed-off folks and only one tiny bus making lots of trips. Strapping young men butted in front of women with children and the elderly. Everyone was so ready to get the hell outa' there.

Did I mention we flew into Queens, which was omninously dark due to electrical outages across the borough, thus making the AirTrain or subway an impossibility?

And who could forget the crying baby in front of our seat? The really bad "jokes" the head flight attendant kept telling over the loudspeaker, making us feel like prisoners in a maniacal comedy club? The airport ground crew member wearing a t-shirt depicting an suicide bomber's aftermath with the subtitle "You want to start a war?" Watching the trailer for Oliver Stone's "World Trade Center" on the Direct TV at our seats - over and over and over again?

Bad travel day. Sit. Paw. BAD travel day.

Monday, July 17, 2006


Dasha & Kermit (the Frog, that is...on the Walk of Fame)
Dasha & Cousin (Steve, that Santa Barbara)

Profound thoughts on the end of the whole LA experience to come soon - when I get back to NYC.

Pool Away From Home

What started out as a small gathering of NYer's around a foreign object - a pool in LA - grew into a friend and filmmaker hang at the Standard. I feel like such a Yente, putting interesting folks together and then enjoying the frothy interaction. Much laughter, swimming and drinking was had by all.

And a shout-out to one of my mentor heroes, David Dean Botrell who won an Outie last night for "Available Men!"

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Celebrating friends

First the LGBT committee of the WGA held their "Video Fun House" panel, then we celebrated the final screening of "MOM" at the DGA. It was a small invasion of NYer's, led by MOM's auteur Erin Greenwell and her stars Julie Goldman & Emily Burton. We cheered wildly from the back row then chowed down at CPK afterwards. I can't wait to come back and celebrate with friends at future fests.

The "MOM"ers: Julie, Melineh, Emily, Erin & Erin's Mom

Who cut the cheese?

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Hearts and minds

mentors & fellows: Luther, David, C. Jay, Barry, Anne, Sam, Seb, Guin, Dasha, Isaac

I can't begin to describe how amazing the lab has been. At least not in the short time and space I have at the moment. Suffice it to say, it rocked. More later. Promise.


Thursday, July 13, 2006

Mentor heroes

Dasha lounges by the pool at Chateau Marmont

This is the life... Talking writing with brilliant, funny, working screenwriters - my mentor heroes - then getting advice from industry powerhouses, all in such an idyllic setting. I want to do this forever; Even when it's not this glamorous. I'm getting a glimpse into the world of possibilities, not just for my script, but for myself. This lab is permission to follow my passion. I didn't realize that's what I needed. The living examples of our mentors enables me to give myself permission to write; To really pursue writing. I want to be my own mentor hero.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Down to business..

Dasha, Isaac, Luther, Sam, Seb
The 2006 OutFest Screenwriters Lab Felllows at the Chateau Marmont Hotel.

Dasha Snyder, TO DO:
Isaac Webster, AMOS AND LOWELL
Luther M. Mace, ON THE LOW
Sebastien Gauthier, FUCKING PRESTON

We got down to business this morning; 5 mentors, 5 lab fellows, festival staff, special guests - all in an historic luxe bungalow (Yes, it is the Belushi Bungalow...) in the heart of Hollywood - all working towards the same goal of making good scripts great and screenwriters better. I wanted the sessions to go on for hours more. Can't wait for tomorrow morning...

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The same old faces

A brief history of meeting Kimberly Yutani (OutFest & Fusion programmer) at film festivals around the world:

Sundance 2005 (w/Sarah Warn of

London 2005

Frameline 2005

OutFest 2005

Getting a little more intimate this year at OutFest 2006

Where will we meet next?