Saturday, February 15, 2014


Em teases John, because he always says yes, when his agent sets up auditions for commercials.

"The fact of the matter is, you don't need to do commercials and you never get the job," Em says. 

John explains why he doesn't gets the job. (If you are an actor, or want to make commercials, listen to what John's says about "playing yourself."

Thursday, February 13, 2014


I am not overweight but I am a very experienced dieter. Like a doctor, I keep track of everything that has to do with my health -- (blood pressure, height, weight, exercise, elimination, and worrisome little aches and pains  that come and go) -- more often than not, I advise my doctor who advises me, and when I see him for my annual checkup, Dr. Em tells the doctor what to prescribe for me. 

As a dancer, I kept my weight about 10 pounds under what my body craved. Movie stars do the same thing -- often they carve off more than 10 pounds because the camera adds 10 pounds. Dancers and actresses, like models, are doing what they have to do in order to succeed in their chosen profession.

I was NOT a ballerina and I didn't wear tutus. Though my body was comfortable and right looking at 116 pounds, I wanted to be 110. In tights, leotard tops, body suits, or transparent chiffon costumes, a slender body looks better.

Dr. Sanford Siegel quite often appears on various television shows and touts his famous diet plan -- a six-cookies-a-day, limited calorie diet that thousands of women and men have used since 1975. The cookies look like chocolate chip cookies, but they're nutrient packed biscuits. (I ate one -- they're not very tasty.)

Siegel's cookies are still current, competing with Jennie Craig, Atkins, Nutrisystem, South Beach, Raw Food, Mediterranean, Weight Watchers, Green Coffee, and Dr. Oz's latest super diet, Garcinia Cambogia (hard to pronounce but Oz and thousands of his followers swear it works).

In the sixties, a popular diet was one AYDS candy before each meal, or the "Sleeping Beauty" diet of 1966 -- with sedation, you didn't eat, you just slept for 10 days. Rumors  said that Elvis was on it.

In 1972, Robert Atkins, published his "Diet Revolution" -- eat all you want of high carbohydrate foods, and use ketostix. You pee on it -- if the stick turns purple, you're losing weight because you are in ketosis. (The body metabolizes body fat for energy, instead of glucose from carbohydrates, when you're in Ketosis.)

I tried the diet -- delighting in my purple sticks lost five pounds, but I lost energy -- found it hard to rehearse and prepare for my five performances a week touring schedule.

Robert Atkins was my doctor and personal friend for more than a year. He had a fabulous office, collected paintings, and famous patients, (or semi famous like I was, at the time). Because he liked the leggy dancer look of me, he took me off his diet, put me on a modified regimen of 1500 to 1800 calories a day; and 22 special vitamins.

Atkins is gone now. I no longer earn a living as a dancer. I still take the 22 vitamins, but I don't count carbs, or calories. I eat what I want and need; my weight is around 103, and yay -- I still have that slender leggy-dancer look because I still use my body like a dancer.

Going to the gym, bicycling, running, Yoga, Pilates -- all those things make you feel much better, but exercise doesn't make you lose weight. I do a 10 minute warm up and dance to music for 10 minutes every single day.

Okay, my dancer background motivates me. If you want to lose weight, motivation is the key.

You have to figure out why you want to be thinner. Is it your health? Is it envy? You want to be more attractive? Get a notebook; write in it: "I want to lose weight because ..." ( Include all the reasons, even if they seem silly, superfluous.)

Read what you have put down in your notebook every day for seven days.
If you get bored, annoyed, or skip reading it, don't go on the diet. If you agree with what you wrote, try Dr. Em's "EAT LESS" diet.

Just eat less.
Tell no one.
Pick a realistic goal.
Weigh yourself before you begin.
Thereafter, weigh yourself every two weeks, always at the same time.
Eat small portions; five to seven times a day is helpful.
Avoid (for two months) dinner parties and luncheons.
If asked to taste something, say, "I'm just not hungry right now."
Pray for will power, or say "will power!" loudly to yourself.

If you fall off the diet, re-read your "Why I want to lose weight" for four days. If it makes sense, try my EAT LESS diet again.

If you still want to lose weight, but what you wrote in the notebook doesn't make sense, I recommend that you read my novel, "Circle of Ivy" ($2.99, Amazon). It's about a person who almost lost her life from dieting, and learned what you need to learn -- be who you are -- be what you are.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


I didn't  think much about prejudice till I got to New York City and was trying  to be a dancer. Junior Ann Henry, a black girl, and I became a dance  duo. Duke Ellington liked us, so did Louis Jordan. You can read about the year I tried hard to be black in AIN'T NOBODY HERE BUT US CHICKENS  (7/24/09)

I  didn't want to dance like the white dancers I knew -- they  didn't thrill me. But black dancer Talley Beatty did -- he  had magic in his bones. So did Janet Collins, Alvin Ailey and Carmen de Lavallade. I wanted that magic in my own bones.  It just wasn't there. I wondered if it was because I was white.

I  had a head-on collision with another kind of prejudice when it came to  gays -- the good-looking male dancers I hired for my Dance Drama  Company. It bothered me that most of them imitated what I didn't like about women --. exaggerated helplessness,  that sibilant tone of voice that was excessively female, and those  broken wrists, their ridiculous concern with a perfect hairdo, perfect  outfits.

It didn't occur to me  that I was prejudiced, but when we had a flat tire, the men who could have, should  have helped, sat cozily in the warm car, while we girls went out in the  snow, and did the work.

Another slam-bam --I  was told by a friend in a lesbian relationship, that whenever I  talked or wrote about gay guys or gals, I expressed old-fashioned  race-prejudiced ideas. It got me thinking about remarks I made about  various well-known creators in show biz. "Oh he's gay!" I would murmur, letting "gay" explain why so-and-so  was successful. Was it because birds of a feather flock together -- the gays hire gays? Was it jealousy? Was it because I'm not gay that top flight show-biz creators didn't hire me?

Apparently, what I heard and observed as I toured the country and performed in the south, a lot of prejudice stuff  that's part of American culture -- is in me.

Black American Touré, (he uses  one name only), essayist, music journalist, cultural critic, and  television personality, author of four books, including  "Who's Afraid  of Post Blackness," which the New York Times called the "notable book for 2011," said, in an article in Time recently, "Inside the racist mind, bias is the complex neural play  between emotions and beliefs. It's learned quickly, often after a  single presentation, of an unconditioned stimulus in a fear learning  paradigm."

Quoting surveys, psychologists, and research, Touré proves how prejudice is ingrained in us.

I wasn't surprised to learn that 15 percent of Americans believe that  blacks pose a greater threat to public safety than any other groups, and realize that my prejudices about gays is built on words in the air,  hand-me-down ideas of what's masculine, what's feminine.

Okay, Touré, you're right. I'm prejudiced. Prejudice is a pair of gloves in  my drawer that's filled with gloves I've sort of collected over the years.

I don't wear them all the  time, but I sometimes I put them on them without thinking -- it's the weather -- they look nice -- they sort of enhance the outfit I'm wearing.  Without thinking, just reacting, when I see plays, like "Streetcar Named Desire," with blacks playing the leads, it seems wrong. In Shakespeare In the Park, when a black actress played the lead in "Measure for Measure," I was very aware,  distracted by one black nun in a group of whites nuns.

I can't change. It's a conditioned reflex. I see a black person and it  registers -- he's black, she's black. I hear someone's accent and I might think "Latino." Also, it registers if a person is fat -- I am prejudiced against fat people. I am prejudiced against women who wear too much perfume. Hey, I am even prejudiced against old people inching along, crowding the sidewalk when I'm in a hurry, or homeless people sleeping on my street.

I don't know how to eliminate prejudice.

But I can try to throw out the gloves.

Sunday, February 9, 2014


"A great actor," John says.

John mentions awards Dennehy has.received, and the great roles Dennehy has played -- roles that John would have liked to play.

Em mentions a not very important movie they saw recently, where Dennehy was playing a very small role. The fact that Dennehy, like John himself, is no longer playing leads -- that actors like Gene Hackman prefer to retire rather than play grandads -- is a fact of life, for many actors.

John, who reads the scripts says, "If I like the project, like the scene, I do what Brian does. Like Brian I say yes -- the size of the part isn't important to me."