Really Mistaken Beliefs

I don't know where it started, or where it came from. It was just there, in my head like a fact I had always known.

I can hum along to any song I had never heard.

Of all the things for one to be capable of, this seems quiet ridiculous.

It wasn’t something I ‘made up’ exactly. That would have required some thought behind it. My efforts were more spent on defending this ridiculous statement.

Why humming? It had nothing to do with an actual ability. I was not a prolific hummer by any means. I didn’t' regularly strut around the house in a top hat swinging a pocket watch. I can't even remember a single instance where I even wanted to hum.

I might have owned a kazoo at one point in time. And I had one of those “make fun stuff out of the things in your home” books. One of the activities was turning a comb with a piece of wax paper into a kazoo. After I created it I remember thinking.

Seriously?

Even at 7.

So my prolific humming wasn’t one born of experience. It was just something I claimed, and for some reason, something I was proud to share.

Perhaps it was me compensating.

It could have been due to the fact that I couldn't really whistle. Not in the traditional sense anyway. I would try and try but it just, it didn't work. I couldn't understand why either. It seemed like a simple two part process.

But as I would learn later in life, over and over again; how simple something is has nothing to do with how good I am at it.

I would do this kind crap whistle, which came as a result of making a Lamaze face and pushing air out between the space in my front teeth.

I'm not sure how many people I told or how often it came up. I do distinctly remember an argument with my sister though that took place in my kitchen.

I had shared my secret ability with my sister and she immediately challenged me.

But how do you know?
I just know.
But how?
I can just do it.
Any song?
Yea I can hum along to any song on the radio.

The discussion then went deeper with my sister trying to use things like "logic" and "reason" which I had no interest in.

In all fairness, I was 7.

The beauty of youth is that you can say completely insane ridiculous things that carry no significance or any bearing on the course of your adult life. Had I known this back then, I would have claimed to be good at far more interesting things than humming.

It was also around the same time that I had developed another mistaken belief. This one I didn’t really share with anybody, I just thought about it a lot. My belief was that, when competing in the Olympics, the possible medals were:

Gold
Silver
Bronze
Copper

I have NO idea where I got this idea.

Maybe I had some kind of inferiority complex and wanting to make sure that I always had the chance for some recognition, I created a recognized 4th place as a possible thing to aspire to/fall back on?

I would revisit this notion as I did underwater somersault contests by myself at hotel pools on family vacations.

I would pretend to be different people in my class from school, going through underwater commentary in my head. I would do as many somersaults as I could without coming up for air, somewhere between three and five usually.

The people I liked or was friends with would do very well getting the silver or sometimes a bronze. People I didn’t like would get a copper or nothing at all.

I always got the gold.

I pretty much knew I wasn’t going to get gold in any real events, so why not one I made up?

It is not exaggeration to say I spent hours doing this.

It still doesn’t explain where the copper came into all of this.

The only place I could have even heard of copper is in a 64 pack of Crayola Crayons with a built in plastic sharpener. Copper was one of the four crayons in the box that had a very distinct metallic sheen to it. So I must have just thought if Crayola deemed it enough to be part of the pack then it must be deemed adequate by the International Olympic Committee.

Not that I knew what that was.

It wasn’t until years later watching, or should I say, actually paying attention to the Olympics that I found myself thinking:

Hey what happened to the copper metal?

I might have brought up this point to my parents, or I might not. There is a good chance I just continued watching the Olympics, observing the athletes compete for far 25% fewer medals than I thought should be available.

I probably just watched the TV as athletes crossed the finish line 4th, and thought to myself they deserved a medal for their efforts, something to act as a thank you, something they could treat as their swan song.

A swan song I could probably hum along to.

Sumpin Good

It was called the sump.

Quite a name huh?

It was this reservoir/murky water/sewage area enclosure between the big town park and the driving range. I actually didn't know it was called the sump until I got to high school. The only reason I knew it was called the sump was because apparently, that's where teenagers would go to drink and smoke and do god knows what else.

And those stories always involved the sump.

I say god knows what else because I never found out… because I never went. Just like I never went or did a lot of things in high school. Not that I was a sheltered kid. In fact I would argue I had a more robust high school experience than most people. However, my experience consisted of things that did not happen in a sump.

I was never a part of that kind of crowd. Looking back you could probably have picked out the "Sump" crowd in 4th or 5th grade.

I might have had some casual acquaintance with pre-sump people back then, but that was it. I remember hanging out with my friend Jeff one day when he ran into a couple of his slightly older, slightly more nefarious friends. Pre-sump types. The types that left at each other's jokes but seemed to never hear mine. No matter how many times I repeated them.

Well Jet and I and the pre-sumpers were just walking around one day when we all went in to the local drug store. They all bought large cans of Arizona Iced Tea. I didn't particularly want one but I figured this was what cool people did. So I bought one too.

We then walked behind the bank and sat on the curb of the closed drive through teller drinking our iced teas. Like it was illegal or something. I distinctly remember stepping outside myself to observe us sitting against the backdrop of white washed brick and thinking "Is this what being cool is about? Sitting behind the bank and drinking Iced tea?"

It was merely a foreshadowing for years later when alcohol and cigarettes would replace ice tea and tires, broken glass (and possibly sewage) would replace white washed bank walls. Teenagedom was a far cry from adolescence.

People started referring to the gathering at the sump as "Sump Parties."

It seemed a strange pairing of words even back then. Like, Manure Fiesta or Compost Celebration.

But when you are a teenager with no privacy and nowhere else to go, I suppose a sump is the equivalent of a local Tijuana.

There might have even been a donkey at the sump, who knows.

I never went to the "sump parties" for several reasons. The first was, IT WAS AT THE SUMP. The idea of lying to my parents to hop over a fence into a park, to sneak through another fence, to scramble down a disgusting trash filled hill in the pitch black of night so I could hang out around of bunch of people I couldn't see smoking cigarettes just didn't get my joy meter spinning.

I was far more interested in staying home, watching Friday night television about idealized versions of high school and cramming things like waffles, ice cream and as many sugar based toppings as possible into a bowl in a sundae that probably should have come with a full medical and dental plan.

The other reason I never went to a sump party was because, well, I was never invited.

Now I'm sure most of the people who went weren't "invited." Ninth graders aren't known for sending out hand written invitations to partake in illegal activities. I'm sure most of the people just heard from somebody who heard from somebody else. They probably didn't need to say more than "alcohol, sump, night" to spread the word.

But I had never gone to an event that I wasn't invited to. We had these "float making parties" in 7th and 8th grade where a bunch of kids would get together to fold tissue paper flowers to go on the floats. But those weren't the kinds of parties that everybody wanted to go to.

Hey guys, who wants to do some manual labor?

But there were girls there, often lots of girls. So needless to say, I went. There was usually a healthy amount of pretzels and soda and that was good enough for me.

That wasn't a real party type of party with cool kids and sketchy goings on. Those were the kinds of parties that like... moms invited to me to. In fact looking back, I'm almost positive I was invited to more social gatherings by mothers of my friends than by my actual friends.

And that formalized invitation, which expressed interest in having me partake in a social function was something significant for me. I was invited and so I attended.

This inability to understand social gatherings would follow me into my college years when people down the hall said, "Hey we're going to a frat party." And my first thought was "were you invited?" I had never really gone anywhere I wasn't directly invited before. I always thought that the only people who were supposed to show up were those directly told of the event.

I've come a long way since then considering when I plan my own birthday I usually end up telling my friends "Tell anybody who might like me they should come."

Needless to say I haven't typically had epic turnouts at my birthday.

But then again, I've never had my birthday at the sump.

Sandy Memories

The beach is called Bar Beach. It's not a glamorous beach by any means. It is quite utilitarian in the sense that while pleasant, it is little more than a sandy inlet on the north shore of Long Island. It is sandwiched between the slightly more glorious "Hempstead Harbor" and far less glorious "Water Treatment Plant."

We didn't go to Bar Beach a lot growing up, but there was one day we never missed.

Every year, on the Friday before Memorial Day, Bar Beach held it's annual Fireworks Spectacular. And on that day, the Boehmckes loaded up the car for 6 hours of what in my memory, is pure bliss.

I don't really know when we started going, but I don't ever remember not going. It was one of those things that, by the time I was a sentient human being, was already a part of the fabric of our family.

We went every year.

I'd get home from school at 3:15 or 3:30 to find my parents already home from work. My dad would have the trunk of his car open and be packing up coolers, blankets and beach chairs.

My mother would be in the kitchen packing up the snacks; fresh fruit and cookies, always cookies. 

Oh how my family loves cookies.

My sister and I would hurry up to our rooms to pack up a sweatshirt and sweatpants for when the sun went down.

And in almost no time we'd be in the car on the way to pick up some fried chicken to bring to the beach for dinner.

For many years, until it closed, the place we went to was called 'Chicken Galore.' The sign outside had some faded image of a yellow chicken dancing around, seemingly completely unaware of what was going on underneath him.

When the chicken made it's way into the car, and the smell infected us all we'd sing this ridiculous song that went:

I feel like chicken tonight, like chicken tonight.

And my mother and I would start flapping our wings. I don't know if that was an actual song, the jingle for Chicken Galore, or something my mother made up.

We'd arrive at the beach before most, the sun still high in the sky, and unload all of our stuff to get to the beach in one trip.

We were always part of a group of families that went, four or more families creating a sandy island of blankets, beach chairs, and fried chicken. We'd locate the families already there and begin the delicate ballet of trying to lay out all of our stuff without spreading sand everywhere. Sand, that despite our best efforts, almost always ended up seasoning our chicken shortly thereafter.

Man this chicken is so moist I really *CRUNCH*

Everybody was always in a good mood. Why wouldnt't they be? Everybody was out of work early and sitting on the beach at the front edge of a three day weekend. I could barely contain my excitement.

Once we were setup and in place, we'd open up our food and listen in to the entertainment for the evening.

The Capris.

They were a half dozen Dean Martin wannabees in mint green and white jackets on the stage of a mobile bandstand belting out the hits of 40 years ago with as much enthusiasm as though it was their debut concert.

It was where I heard hits like Beyond the Sea and Mack the Knife for the first time. To this day it is hard for me to hear any of the songs from that time without thinking of The Capris.

After we ate the kids would wander off together. We'd create games to play, or walk along the beach picking up shells we'd eventually lose track of.

We'd have sand fights which almost always ended in screaming and tears.

But after the majority of sand had been removed from ears and eyes, things went back to normal. Transgressions on the beach were quickly forgiven

Some years when the sun went down, the beach got very cold, some years the temperature barely changed at all. But as we got older it seemed as though the landscape changed, or my sister and I did. It seemed kids from other schools started attending in larger numbers, but more likely we just started noticing it more.

We began spending less time with our families on the blanket, and more time seeking out our friends. 

High School saw us trying to coordinate with our friends before we got to the beach based on where we had set up the year before.

OK you know when you see the bandstand, the second light pole from the right before you get to the benches, we're usually between there and the ocean.

Ridiculous plans that we tried desperately to adhere to.

As day turned to dusk, and dusk leaned into night, the vendors selling glow necklaces and bracelets would venture along the beach.

When we were kids we'd lay on the beach looking for shooting stars. As we got older we pursued far less elusive things the dark could provide.

But no matter my age or the year, I always loved the fireworks. I have met people in my life who tell me they don't like fireworks, or don't get them. Often, I don't get those people... or don't like them. 

I have always loved the soul shaking boom of the explosions, the overwhelming brightness you anticipate but are still affected by. It was the most impressive and magical thing I can remember as a child.

I had friends in high school who looked to other substances to enhance the experience, but I didn't need that. Nor did I want it. The evening in and of itself was all I really wanted. Regardless of the friends, or girls, the fireworks were enough for me.

The night would end and if we hadn't already, we'd return to our families, commencing our critique of the fireworks as we all packed up our stuff.

Do you have all your stuff?

That question would be asked no less than 9 times before we left the sand.

We'd then make our way to the parking lot and load up the car before sitting in traffic on the one road that could get you to the beach.

I'd quickly fall asleep, head against the window, or the middle arm rest that folded down, when my body was small and limber enough to bend as such.

We'd arrive home, take off our shoes and socks outside because of all the sand, drop our stuff in the laundry room and go to bed exhausted and elated, excited to do it all again next year.

My Chevrons

The game was called F-Zero. I didn't own it myself since I didn't have Super Nintendo but my next-door neighbor had it, and I would go over his house and play it once in a while.

It was a racing game. Except it took place in the future so you didn’t drive a car, you drove a hovercraft. You would race around these futuristic tracks competing for who could finish fastest and take first place.

I probably played it a handful of times, and while I don't remember a lot about it I do remember these little chevron signs on the ground that, when you hovered over them, gave your hovercraft a boost forward allowing u to pick up speed.

I have been thinking about those chevrons lately.

Earlier this year I declared this to be the year of incredible focus. Usually I set resolutions or tell myself I’m going to achieve something big yet incredibly hard to define like ‘commercial success.’

However, the exhaustion of the past year left we without desire to replicate that New Year strategy. I didn't know exactly what this year was going to be. What I did know, was I was going to try hard to understand my life and my passions and pursue the life that wanted to live in me.

January was spent on thinking.

What was this year actually going to be? What was I going to do? How would I approach? What did I actually want?

February was spent on planning.

OK maybe I will buy a plane ticket here and take a vacation there and invest some time in doing this

.

March became the month I clicked purchase, hit send, and set the unstoppable wheels in motion.

And all was good.

Then April happened.

And I had two thoughts, one was:

Holy shit it’s April! I can't believe a third of the year is gone. Is this the year I wanted to he having?

And the second was:

OK... What now?

With summer looming I worried I was going to become quickly swept up in that vortex of "

Ya know what I really want to do this summer…

" that quickly spits you out on the other end of "

I can't believe we didn't end up....

I began to worry that my year of incredible focus had somehow slipped into a year of seemingly deep thought but familiar (in)action.

I have been spending some time with an incredible group of go-getters who just go, do, make, be and live beautifully. One of them is my new friend Julie.

A couple of weeks ago my friend Julie and I were having drinks after our yoga class and Julie was telling me about how she just bought a bunch of concert tickets for this year in batches of two.

She knew she wanted to go to the shows; she didn't necessarily know who would go, so she just bought the tickets and figured she would find somebody later.

I thought it was such an excellent idea. And she asked me to join her for one of them.

Well kind of.

I sort of just impose myself on awesome opportunities and people. Like a friend barnacle. I tend to put myself in scenarios where I become the only viable option. Like joining a dating site where for some reason all the guys happen to be "lizard enthusiasts."

Julie and I went to that concert last weekend. We spent the afternoon working on a video project for

her new book

. And then went and grabbed some dinner and drinks before the concert.

The whole time, we talked about our lives, our friends, past loves and our spirit animals. (Trust me, it’s a thing) According to Julie mine is some sort of playful monkey/hybrid.

I still insist mine should be a pterodactyl.

After our spirit debate we arrived at the concert and immediately my heart vibrated with the base from the band. It caught me a little off guard. I was kind of shocked to feel so surprised at the sensation.

It had been a frighteningly long time since I had felt that sensation. It's a beautiful feeling.

I used to go to concerts a lot when I first got to the city. Maybe it was because I worked at a music magazine, or maybe it was because I had nothing else to do. Either way, I realized it had been a while.

Which was a shame but a wonderful wake up call. Because I am always, always looking for things that move me, that stir my soul, that make me dance, that make me so thirsty for more that I pursue those things wildly. Blindly. Freely.

And that’s when I thought about F-Zero, about those chevron signs on the track, and how I didn’t even realize I had them in my own life. They weren't under me. They were my friends, my experiences, concerts, and art, and connection. They were in front of me, next to me, and all around me.

As the night went on my love for this city and the life I lead expanded in the exponential way it tends to do when someone has managed to be present in a magnificent moment.

My mind filled up with up with realization, remembering how great I feel after I spend time with my close friends, with the people whose best characteristics I strive to emulate, and how watered the plant of my soul feels walking away from those moments.

How had I gone so long without noticing?

I started thinking about those people and things not so much as things I might happen across while on the track, but rather, things I would aim for, plan for, to make sure they were in fact always coming up soon.

And while its not a race to see who finishes first, having those people places and things that propel me forward, that get me to the next check point, rest stop, or finish line, is completely invaluable.

Your Best Shot


I have been playing Golf since I was a kid and I have never gotten a hole in one.

Granted I play about six rounds of golf a year and spend most of those rounds wandering through the woods looking for my ball like I am lost on a jungle expedition.

But regardless of whether I play one or twenty rounds a year, and despite the fact that it is one of the rarest possible achievements in any sport and requires a perfect confluence of factors to even be possible… every time I step up to the tee box on a par three it is all I can think about.

I tee up my ball, take my practice swings, take a deep breath and set my stance.

And then my mind goes bat shit.

Hit it go hit it hard smash it come on hole in one here we go come on man they are looking at you what the hell are you waiting for?

And that is why on most par 3s I end up hitting the ball 40 feet, or into the water, or somewhere I will never be able to find it.

I’m not sure I will ever play golf regularly enough to have a legitimate chance at a hole in one, or if I will spend the rest of my life praying that I just don’t embarrass myself.

My father on the other hand, plays golf several times a week now that he is retired.

And this past Wednesday, just a week before his 67th birthday, my father got his first hole in one.

It was in the seventh hole of the course he plays every week with his buddies. It is a hole that he has played dozens of times, wide open with swirling winds and a seemingly innocuous yet somehow magnetic lake along the left hand side that collects way more golf balls than it should.



It was a beautiful 73 degree day in South Carolina. He had already played very well on the first 6 holes of the course this particular day.

My father is a pretty cautious man when it comes to his golf game. He knows his tendencies and the bad habits he can fall into. He doesn’t overestimate his swing or his strength, and always takes maybe a little bit more club than he should. He’s practical. Not flashy.

His approach to his golf game is not unlike his approach to life.

The winds that day meant he would need some extra club so he pulled out a 5-wood which might seem like way too much club to some people. But again, he was being cautious. And while I can hit the ball farther than my father when I’m playing well, there are really no rewards that come from hitting a ball into somebody’s backyard, which is what I tend to do.

Sometimes their front yard.

But he stepped up to the tee box, kept his head down, and it happened.

He didn’t know it at first. It wasn’t until one of his buddies put his arms up in the “touchdown” signal that my father realized what had happened.

After some celebration my father’s group moved onto the next hole and continued, what turned out to be, one of the best rounds of his life.

Had he played a crap round full of deep divots and shanked shots, he could have chalked his hole in one up to luck, a fortunate turn that saved an otherwise lost round.

But that wasn’t the case. This was a great round, a phenomenal one, something he'll never forget. So it makes sense that his hole in one happened during this particular round.

Standing on the tee box I often feel myself wanting a hole in one just for the sake of being able to say I go a hole in one. I have never played well enough to warrant it but man do I crave it.

Like life, where I might crave a promotion, a prize or some other kind of incredible reward without having really earned it, I hope for that one moment, an unprompted panacea.

Sure you could chalk my father’s hole in one up to luck. I'm sure there are people who have shot 130 with a hole in one tossed in.

But this was a perfect hole in a fantastic round, a phenomenal shot on a tough hole that came as a result of the correct club selection and an undeniably perfect swing.

And I think there is so much to learn from that. In that for as much we may spend our whole lives thinking about something incredibly occurring, many times, that incredible thing doesn’t happen until the absolutely perfect moment. We can’t control when it happens, we can only hope to be present if it does.

The summary for the golf course describes hole number 7 as such:

This medium-length par three can be visually intimidating from the teeing ground. An elongated green, sternly protected by a long bunker and water on the left, makes proper club selection and flawless execution a must.  A missed shot that travels long or right of the green will leave the player with a very difficult pitch.  Bold tee shots played to the back left flag positions are risky endeavors.  A ‘3’ always looks good on the scorecard.
Yea but you know what looks even better?

‘1’

Happy Birthday Dad.

Sliding Slowly Down the Mountain


How do you feel?

This is the question everybody keeps asking me.

After nearly 6 months of working to bring a play from idea to implementation, after beating a script into submission, hunting for theaters, soliciting actors, rehearsing to ungodly hours, doubting every facet of my life, and more restless sleep than I care to remember… I’m not sure how I feel.

I know I am incredibly proud of the show, I felt warmed, and purged, and impressed, and wowed and fulfilled, but this past week has almost felt like a hangover.

I know I don't feel numb, it's actually quite the opposite, I think I feel everything. Kind of like being underwater, where every sense on your body feels something, like you’re enveloped.

I do know I feel tired. I haven't felt this tired in years, since I was 21 and running homecoming for my school. A week of events had left me so drained that I fell asleep sitting up at the lunch table on the last day. The mayor was sitting across from me, kicked me under the table and said

Hey, go home and go to bed.

This feels kind of like that.

How does one even begin to contextualize something like this? How can I make others understand when I myself have barely managed to wrap my brain around it. I think about every moment of the process every hour of every day. I quote the play in my head. I replay conversations I had with my actors. I relive the feedback I heard from the attendees. It is like the entire experience is on loop in my head and I kind of can’t stop it long enough to realize:

A: It’s over.
B: What that means?

People also keep asking me what’s next. And while I know, I’ve known for months what my next project would be… I’m not ready to look at it yet.

It’s kind of like finishing a really amazing dinner. A meal that was slow cooked that you took your time to savor than lives on your tongue long after your plate is cleared. And the natural instinct is to start the next course, or dessert, but I’m not ready for the sensation on my tongue to dissipate yet.

This project took so much out of me in the best way possible. I honestly believe by the time Saturday night came, and my actors took their last bow… I had nearly nothing left to give.

Every night of the show I watched from the back of the theater, trying to gage the audiences reactions by their faces, trying to anticipate how it was making them feel. My head swiveled back and forth from my incredible actors to the audience. Back and forth, back and forth.

But on the last night I had a hard time watching the show. It had nothing to do with the fact that I knew exactly how it would go, or that I had seen it dozens and dozens of times. Something about the fact that this was the last time it was going to happen made it almost unbearable to watch.

Logic says to me that it should have been the opposite, that I should have been glued to their performance, but for some reason, not knowing if I would ever see it staged again almost… hurt.

And so these last 7 days I too have almost hurt. I feel slow, purged but at the same time sluggish, laden with all of the emotions I struggled with over the last 6 months… over the last year.

I have had crazy dreams every single night. Wild dreams with diverse casts of characters in far off places, a result no doubt of having repressed my creativity for anything except this very project.

My emotions have been so close to the surface. The first two shows I did I felt this overwhelming storm of tears brewing within me, and sure enough sometime after the show ended, those tears came in force, no doubt aided by alcohol.

This time was different. Seemingly little things bring tears. A story from my actor telling me what she appreciated about the show. Questions from friends about how this affected me. And as always, self realizations about who I am or am not.

All of this has made it feel like I am walking through sand the last week. Not getting anywhere quickly, incredibly aware of how much energy it takes.

And this might not make sense, but the way I feel, the way I have been this past week has almost felt… earned. Like I deserved it. In some sick way, this exhaustion is almost exactly what I didn’t even know I wanted to feel.

One of my good friends who came to the show and I were talking last week about the important attributes artists need to have to be successful. I mentioned vision. We went back and forth a little bit about it but as I sit here now and write this, I realize how important it has been for me.

The ability to see where I want to go, to trust that I have the ability to take myself there, that I can will myself into something more than I was when I woke up this morning, that such a thing or place exists, to me that has become more important than ever before.

So I turn my eyes to the future, to unknown lands, and to the next mountain I look forward to sliding slowly down.

Content is King


When I applied to speak at the 20 Something Blogger Summit in Chicago this summer I basically gave them a list of 239 things I could speak about in the hopes that they would select me. They ended up choosing me to speak about “The Future Will Be Vlogged.”

Seemed like a fancy title, but it wasn’t until I started thinking about it that I realized I had a lot to say about that. It wasn’t just because I had created content in the past, and made videos, and posted things on the Internet. No, it was because I was getting frustrated.

Everything I saw on the Internet was so negative and snarky. Or if wasn’t directly making fun of something it was parodying it. Now I definitely believe parody can be awesomely relevant, but it just seemed liked anything that was made was parodying something else and it seemed so derivative.

And video blogging? Forget it. It seemed like every video blog I had ever came across was some pimply tween whining about how they found a hole in their sock during math.

Who cares?

So how the hell was I going to lead a session in Video blogging when I hadn’t really found anything I wanted to watch?

Well lucky I didn’t have to talk about what I liked, only what the future would hold. And luckily people tweeted live as I moderated this panel so what follows is what I actually said, and what I meant.

There is a tremendous demand for content. The rate we share content outpaces the rate we create.

In the beginning there were very few platforms whereby you could create content and share it with your friends. But then the ability to share became second nature. And amongst the major social platforms we now get bombarded with the same videos from different people on a regular basis.

That becomes an issue when every channel is airing the same shows and movies. When every website has the same videos. When you can see a piano playing cat on YouTube, Facebook, twitter, and dozens of other places.

For a while the pendulum was swinging in the direction of sharing. And while the rate at which we share will never slow down, the demand for content is now just as important. That is why you have brands like Hulu, Yahoo, YouTube, Netflix and more doing their own original content.

For a while people wanted to ingest content as fast as they could, but with that means content gets old quickly. Those who create content in the future will control it.

Content isn't a well that runs dry. It's endlessly refreshed

So many people have had great ideas for scripts, a series, or some other type of broadcasted content that they haven’t implemented because they worried about using up their good ideas.

The thing about creating though is that it’s not a one-time thing. Sure you have one hit wonders and people who do one big thing and never work again. But for the large majority of people, if you have enough in you to make one thing, chances are you have enough in you to make another. Making begets making. Start making something and see where it takes you.

It's not a challenge to find out how to be different. It's a challenge to be MORE of yourself.

And now with the hierarchy of content creators flattened and everybody having the ability to create whatever they want whenever they want, people worry, oh how will I stand out.

And so that is why you have people being audacious and ridiculous online. Doing incredibly stupid things to get attention. And sure it might work for a time. But since now everybody can make stuff, the possibility that someone out there is making something for YOU is greater than ever.

My prediction for the future is that there will be fewer major celebrities and what you will see is the rise of middle class celebrities. Not to say that minivans will become extremely popular. Rather I mean that there will be new niches and audiences that will spring up as more people connect with those with the same interests. And the best way to do that is by talking about or just doing the things you truly love.

The transition from content creator to curator happens fast. They like you; they want to know what you like.

And this is how those middle class celebs will come to be. Since we now all have an online presence, the people who like what we make will be curious to see what we like. This is how community is built, people liking things together.

So the people that never thought they could make anything will make stuff and people will see it and follow the stuff that those people making stuff never thought anybody would care to see.

Make sense? It probably shouldn’t.

Things that people have said will never work, work all the fucking time.

OK granted this is pretty vulgar but it’s true. I swear when I’m emphatic. And I am emphatic about this. The success of our culture is based on the principle that people who say stuff won’t work HAVE to be wrong.

Nobody knows for sure anymore. I have no idea what will work or what won’t. But I know what I love, and I know what I love to do. And I know how I feel when I do those things. So if I can pursue those things without harming anybody and while making myself happy… why the hell not?

So if somebody tells you no, well, just remember what Brian Grazer says:

No is just a moment in time.

I left that conference extremely enthusiastic about what I had to say and what people were eager to know. And thusly, after mocking, making fun of, and privately judging video bloggers… I became one. (anything I made fun of I eventually became.)

It supports the things I stated here. I talk about what I love. I keep it relevant. It is positive. And most importantly, I make it happen fast.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you…

90 Second Love.


Play Time

I was 25. I had been living on my own for about a year. And my social life was anything but bustling. “Going out” typically meant drinking beers and eating fancy pizza with my friend Andrea whom I had done theater with in high school.

Andrea mentioned to me that our high school theater teacher who was a huge mentor for me, was putting on a play in Manhattan and she was going to get tickets. She asked if I wanted to go. I readily agreed.

As we took the elevator the 4th floor of a sliver of a building just off Broadway, and walked down a narrow hallway past a meeting of some very large, bearded, individuals meeting for a support group, I wondered if this was indeed the best use of our time.

The play went well and afterwards my mentor told me had a small part in a play for me.

Seeing as I was not an actor and hadn’t been in a play since I was 17 and was now an “adult” with a full time job and my own apartment, I was a bit surprised and not really sure I should be in a play. But on second thought I really had nothing else going on in my life, so why the hell not?

As it turns out there was a part for Andrea as well

It wasn’t really difficult acting that I was required to do. I had a handful of lines and basically my role was to run around the stage and portray the life of an 8 year old who was up to mischief in the woods.

A tony deserving performance it was not.

The show only went up for two nights and it was sparsely attended. And it made me realize a couple of things.

The first was that I find acting to be extremely boring! The performing part of it is fun and something I enjoy, but the sitting still in rehearsals, not talking, having to stay in one place while things get set up around you, oh man was that boring. It was about the worst thing in the world for my ADD.

But after the show was over I realized something else. I too could write a short play that not many people come to see!

So that’s what I did. While waiting for my turn to speak at a job function I was attending, I wrote 3 pages of dialogue in red pen on the back of my notes. Those pages became the foundation of dialogue of my first play; Disengaged.

I convinced Andrea this was something we should do and she agreed, or maybe I just hung up on her before she could disagree.

Either way she was in.

I wrote a companion piece, we booked a theater, and put on our first show. It was one of the most incredible experiences watching the words I wrote come out of other people’s mouths and see an audience react to them.

I was immediately hooked.

I took a couple of weeks off after the show but I started writing again, and nine months later we mounted our second show Safety and Desire.

It was different than anything I had ever done before in that it was more grounded in real life conversations and there was poetry in it, my own.

We actually oversold the show and by all accounts it was a great success. But afterwards I felt like something was missing.

And the more I thought about it, I realized it was because it went so quickly. I had spent months working on the script. And then more months planning, looking for theaters, casting, marketing and countless hours with Andrea discussing every minute aspect of the show.

And then for six weeks we rehearsed. Nearly every single day we spent several hours with the actors running lines, blocking scenes, and getting ready to put this thing on. I was still bartending at the time too.

So I would work from 9 to 5, then go to rehearsal from 6 to 10, and then rehearse all weekend and then bartend on Sundays from 4 to 10.

And for as crazy bone tired as that made me, I never didn’t want to do it. I was in love with it the whole time. Sure I had no time to do anything else and kept running out of clean underwear and cutlery, but it was worth it.

So when both performances of the show were over it felt kind of like… that’s it? I wanted more. I didn’t feel purged of the show. I felt like I wanted it to go on longer, to share it with more people, and prolong its life.

And I think a part of me was also hoping for the show to save me. I don’t know how that would have happened or what it would have meant.  But I think I just was expecting some kind of reaction or response or something more significant.

So I made a promise to myself, the next time I did a show it would be for longer.

Well guess what… that time is here!

My next play is coming December 7th – 10th in Manhattan! So if you are going to be even close to the area I’d love to see you there. It’s called Ripped at the Seems and you can buy tickets at www.ripped.eventbrite.com.



It’s a show about a lot of things, but more than anything it’s about the things we think but never say. It’s about the conversations that Andrea and I have after rehearsals or when we’ve had too much wine (which isn’t an infrequent occurrence).

I am so excited to put this show on for twice as many nights as any show I’ve done but I’m also excited because I’ve made another promise to myself.

And that promise is that this show won’t save me. Whatever hopes and dreams I have for after the show, I’ve let go of.

Well, almost let go of. I’m close. Really close.

But the goal is just to enjoy the process, because it’s all process. We all spend too much time on this for it to be just about what happens during 4 days in December. I have made a commitment to just love every minute of this.

And hopefully it shows.

Until then, enjoy the trailer!

What Happened to the High Five?

Do you remember the high five? That most jubilant of traditions whereby a human, celebrating some sort of success, would take their open hand and slap it against the open hand of another human, creating a sound and also a collision of fulfillment and rapture.

Perhaps you don’t, because in recent memory the high five has been replaced by the touching of closed fists known as the fist bump, or soul dap, or pound, or a half dozen other aliases.

That itself makes me frustrated with the gesture. What is your problem fist bump? Why must you have all of these aliases? Be yourself. You don’t see the high five masquerading around town as the “raised finger star formation” or the “open palmed slap” or the “elevated pancake joint hand gesture.”

No, it is the high five, it has always been the high five, and it will always be the high five. It knows who it is, and that is comforting to me.

Whereas this fist bump creature has probably always been around, it is relatively new in the mass consumption realm. If I had to place blame, I would trace it back to the first time fear of mass pandemics hit the U.S.

I don’t remember if it was Bird Flu or Badger Pneumonia that set off the hand washing craze (which, is just about the saddest thing in the world that hand washing would hit an all time low to return as a “craze”) a couple of years ago, but when that happened people became absolutely mad about germs.

Individuals would wear one glove on the train to hold the rail; they wouldn’t shake hands with business partners, and would Purel their hands if they accidentally touched anything. Hey, I was one of them. I don’t like being sick either!

But it was around that time that I noticed a wealth of fist bumps going around. Guys fist bumping guys, girls fist bumping guys, and children fist bumping dogs. It was spiraling out of control. The reason it bothered me so much is because I derived no satisfaction from it.

A high five is only as good as the force put into it. A weak high five can feel more like a futuristic hand scan than a celebratory act. And I know you can go too far and end up with a hand that feels like it was slapped with a broken piece of Chinese Bamboo. But generally it’s a gratifying experience. I can give a robust high five to guys and girls alike.

Not so much with a fist bump. Giving a forcible fist bump is a great way to end up with a set of broken knuckles. Now I don’t mind hitting fists at a moderate strength ration with one of my male friends, but I can’t go punching the fists of women. I mean I think its best to avoid any type of woman punching, even if it is consensual. That’s just good life advice.

But still on its best day, a zesty fist bump is only as good as say… lukewarm creamed corn.

You want to believe it did the trick, but really deep down, you know it just didn’t.

If this fist bump were so key to our society we should be teaching it to children. But we don’t teach it to them do we? No of course not, because tiny children don’t really know how to make fists.

There is a reason that the only thing adults know what to say to children under 5 is

“Hey give me a high five.”

It’s never:

“Hello toddler, might we engage in a soul dap?”

I like the high five because the instructions are in the title.

Your hand goes high and you hold up five. Oh Ok, I get it. Done, no problem.

That’s probably also why I like “All You Can Eat” Buffets, “Diving Boards” and “Row Boats.” For all of those things, the instruction is right in the title. How can you go wrong?

Fist bump is pretty clear, but soul dap? I don’t even know where my soul is, and I’m not even sure how to dap. It sounds like tap, but maybe, a secretive tap? And give me a pound could really seriously confuse some British folks. I’m trying to increase international cooperation here, not obfuscate it!

But I think the real attraction of the fist bump is that it allows one to “play it cool” as it were. There is a fair amount of commitment on one’s part when you throw your naked paw into the air anticipating reciprocity.

There is always the chance that nobody will touch palms with you and just leave you out to dry. Like being the only one in a bathing suit at a pool party, or walking across a bar to talk to a girl who doesn’t speak English.

I’m not speaking from experience on either of those, I just, well, OK let’s move on.

But like I said there is an element of risk to initiating a high five. You could just end up leaving your bare palm in the air like you’re trying to ask an uninterested Miss Flanagan for the bathroom pass.

Sometimes we fist bump at work. It’s very appropriate because closing a “How To Ticket” doesn’t really elicit high five type of joy within me. A subtle fist bump works for me there.

But in the moments that matter, if I birdie a hole in golf (which I don’t) or I guess the answer correctly (which I never do) I want to feel the excitement resonate in my palm.

Otherwise I will spend the rest of my life equating “How To Tickets” with things that actually are awesome.

Like diving boards.

I Quit, You Win


I am, what some cultures refer to as, a “quitter.”

That is not to say that I quit everything I do, but I am pretty easily swayed to. I’m not real big on “overcoming adversity” or “trying really hard.” I’m more of a take it as it comes kind of guy. And if that thing is too difficult... meh. I'll just try something else.

Like tonight. I’m pretty much out food in my apartment except for some frozen chickens and vegetables. So instead of making something elaborate like pasta, or doing something difficult like defrosting chicken, I just went downstairs to the bodega in my building and bought milk and Cinnamon Toast Crunch to eat for dinner.

This give-up-type attitude is not something new. This has pretty much always been my modus operandi. In pretty much every grade I was always a straight B student. You need somebody to get an 82 on your test? I’m your man.

There is probably no greater example of my commitment to mediocrity than when I worked as a furniture deliveryman at the Oak and Brass House.

I was 17 at the time, and my job was basically to assist my boss in delivering enormous pieces of wooden furniture that needed to be assembled on site.

I was good enough at the job, I mean as good as you can be at carrying heavy things upstairs. But where I didn’t excel was the “how are we going to do this” part of the job.

Often we would be moving a dining room table, a bed, or some other massive object and arrive at a challenging point of entry. Perhaps we would have to move around a tight corner, down a narrow staircase, or over a ridiculous couch. And the conversation would always go the same way.

Boss: Hey Rich do you think we will be able to fit this?
Rich: No.
Boss: What if we angle it?
Rich: I don’t think so.
Boss: Do you want to try?
Rich: Not really.

But because this was his business and not my own, we would always try to make it work. And you know what? It fit.

Every. Single. Time.

So you can imagine my attitude when it comes to things like marathons. I have a friend who ran a marathon a couple of years ago and afterwards he said to me:

Rich, you have to run a marathon.

No actually. I really don’t.

There are many, many, MANY things I would rather do than run a marathon.Things that I hate with a fiery passion that burns like a cosmic ulcer in the soul of my soul.

So when my friend Sophie told me she would be running the New York City Marathon this weekend, you can imagine my excitement at being a part of one of New York City’s finest events, without actually having to participate.

What could be better than cheering on your friend while she runs around the 5 boroughs of New York... on purpose!

I was pretty pumped; this gave me a really good reason to watch a classic New York tradition. I was also really attached to it because I had a horse in this race. Not that my friend Sophie is a horse. In fact, she is quite the opposite of a horse. And its not so much a race as it is a massive army trotting into war, like the Crusades.

So basically it's like your friend is in the crusades. So I was very excited. Seeing as Sophie was participating in one of our civilization’s most incredible feats of health and fitness, I made sure to counter balance that by setting up shop at a pub along the route and drinking beers from 9 am until I saw her.

Now people had told me that the race was emotional.

Yea right, emotional. It’s people running. I see people running every day. I have literally seen a person running in every place I have ever been.

Except maybe church. People don’t run in church. But I did see an altar boy show up late once, so no, my original statement stands.

But running is just really fast walking. If I need to be somewhere fast, I don't run. I take the train, or a cab... or I just don't go.

So people running? 26.2 miles? I mean does anything sound more boring to watch in your life? Maybe if there was a stampede involved, and the people running had to run to avoid being impaled by a rhinoceros or a stegosaurus, yea, now that sounds like damn good entertainment. But just running?

Well, after only 20 minutes of race watching I already felt the rush. This was exciting.

We were set up along 1st avenue, which starts mile 16. We were inside the bar drinking and eating and we would pop out when a crowd came by. The first people we saw come by were the wheelchair racers. They were incredible. The feat of strength it took for them to complete the marathon was amazing in and of itself.

But I across the way from us there were roughly 25 Spaniards set up with banners, and pom poms and a huuuuge Spanish flag.

So when we saw a wheelchair racer with the Spanish flag roll by I knew it would be an awesome reaction. I didn’t expect to feel emotional. But I did. And watching the racer pump his fist as he passed the crowd, well, it kind of choked me up.

And after a half dozen more experiences like that throughout the day, I realized, I was involved in this race. And we hadn’t even seen Sophie go by yet.

 You hear it in anecdote, you see the stories in the news, but for so many people this isn’t a race, it’s a battle. A personal triumph. A vindication for a past loss. A tribute to close friend who passed away. The looks on the faces of the people who run past tell the entire story. There is nothing I can write that could possibly elucidate the significance of this race for the people in it.

They wear their names on their shirts so you can call them out and cheer them on. You scream out their country, or shirt color, or once, “HEY GUY IN A CHICKEN COSTUME!”

It’s exciting, it’s enthralling, and it’s impressive.

So by the time Sophie ran by, deep into the 16th mile of the race we were elated and super excited to see her, and vice versa. Heck, she even leaped into a beautiful jump of smiling joy when she saw us.

And while I have extremely impressive friends who do incredibly impressive things, I had never been more proud of my friend in my life. Here she was, after 2 hours of running, looking amazing, looking like she had hardly just begun.

She finished the race at a personal best that blew away her last time and we were all so excited for her.

And while it was extremely cool just to know somebody who ran the whole marathon, it is even cooler knowing that somebody did something so incredibly physically difficult and mentally challenging... and didn’t quit.

You rock Sophie.

Is That A Camera In Your Pocket?


The shift from summer to Fall in New York City is always different. Sometimes it is abrupt, sometimes prolonged. But one thing always makes it easy to tell that summer has left is the fact that the 750 Billion tourists who visit New York with their cameras, are gone.

I’ve been doing a lot of filming around the city lately. Not in the touristy way of “Oh my gosh those people are doing hip hop dancing on the street, I have to film this!” And not in the “QUIET ON THE SET” type of way either. The filming I have been doing is more project based. Videos for contests, friends’ companies, and things like that.

I mean I still stop and watch the hip hoppers, I just don’t film them.

Filming in the city is a very interesting experience. If you spend any amount of time walking around the city you will see 2 things. The first is a movie set. You see them all over the city. I have seen the set for Gossip Girl nearly a half dozen times… which is kind of unrewarding because I don’t even watch Gossip Girl.

Seriously I don’t. What? Stop looking at me like that.

But if it’s not professional big budget movie/tv sets that you see, its amateur photogs, film makers, and students shooting every square corner of this fine city. I suppose it makes you feel like you are really somebody walking around the city with a camera. But as a passive observer, when you look at some of the other people walking around this city with cameras, you realize carrying a camera may not necessarily make you look like somebody.

The amount of tourists that roam around the city in Summertime seems to increase every year. But the amount of tourists that meander around Manhattan with digital cameras that cost thousands of dollars appears to have dramatically increased in the last couple of years.

And its not just expensive cameras, it is the expensive cameras with gigantic telephoto lenses attached.

Now you might be saying, but maybe they are press. Maybe they are here to take pictures of professional athletes. Maybe they work for the news.

I considered that. But press photographers typically don’t walk around 5th avenue with 7 Abercrombie bags wearing an I Love New York shirt and a camera lens so big it looks like it could tell the last time there was a high tide in the Sea of Tranquility.

What is so far away that they need to be taking pictures of? The whole point of coming to New York City is so you can see these things up close. Who comes to this city to get pictures of things that you want to stand far away from. That’s like going to a strip club to stand outside. I mean, like, other people. Not me, I’m, ya know… uh… moving on.

Like this guy whom I saw outside a taco shop near Union Square.


He stood there for a good 10 minutes looking around with his monstrosity hanging from his neck. I’m not sure if he was lost or just looking for something to take a picture of. Maybe people from other countries have stronger neck muscles than Americans. I don’t even like having change in my pocket. Anything heavier than a granola bar and I want a wagon to pull my stuff around town.

I mean lugging a 4 pound camera around a city all day just doesn’t seem like my idea of a good time. That is why I bought a video camera that I can fit in my back pocket.

Well, I mean that and the fact that I don’t have a couple of thousand dollars.

It is with this camera that I have recorded the last 6 or so videos I have posted up on my YouTube channel.

Recently I was working on a video in Central Park. Now I haven’t filmed a video in a park since the very first video contest I entered.

And the main reason is I am terrified of being arrested. I mean currently I owe the library some money and that is causing me massive stress. And that’s just the library. But New York City has very specific rules about filming in certain places and requiring permits for certain types of filming in specific locations.

So the last time we went to film I was very discrete about my tiny little camera and my cast of 7 that I was filming with. No giant telephoto lenses for me. It was guerilla film making at its finest. Well, as much as you can call 7 people lounging in the middle of the Sheep Meadow on a September day “guerilla.”

In fact the greatest threat came not from Johnny Law himself, but of the Asian Jungle Jim who was throwing a rather large glider plane around the meadow. He was dressed in a vest and explorers hat just hanging out by himself throwing a plane around, nearly hitting small children and unsuspecting loungers. He didn’t hit us but he came close.

But filming with a pocket sized camera doesn’t make you feel like some kind of fancy professional. It actually makes you feel kind of goofy. Like you are trying to fool people into believing you actually have a camera. Which in some cases, actually enhances the quality of your work so that you're not focusing on trying to appear like some fancy pants, but rather actually trying to make something decent.

But we actually succeeded in completing our Central Park project. I was happy with the way it came out. Hopefully it will lead to more projects doing videos for companies. And that way, maybe I too will be able to afford a 4 pound camera. And a wagon. I will need a wagon too.

But either way, enjoy the end result.




Mad Men... Myself - The Conclusion

So after 30+ pictures I finally called it quits on my roof. Now you might think 30 pictures doesn't sound like too much. But it was

1. Hit menu
2. Select timer
3. Line up shot
4. Press the button
5. Go pose and wait
6. Review picture
7. Restart

Add into the fact that halfway through the shoot my batteries were almost dead, so I had to stop and charge them for like... 4 minutes so I could continue being a narcissist on my roof. I also kept panicking that my whiskey bottle was going to fall off the roof and kill someone walking by and really, I would have no good alibi there.

At one point after taking so many pictures I started taking swigs from the bottle. And let me tell you...  old Jim Beam does not taste as awesome as.... well, nobody probably think old whiskey tastes good. Yea that one was all on me.

Anyway, after I finished I spent 3 days sorting through the pictures, asking people's opinion, cropping, moving, and stressing over which one to pick.

The fact that every single person I asked like a different photo certainly didn't help either. But I was able to choose one after narrowing it down to this batch.

The Executive


The Suspicious


The Dreamer


The Desperate


It is amazing the differences of opinions. Some people are very vehement about which pictures I submit to contests I probably don't have a chance to win. So which one did I eventually choose?

Well I'll tell you. But only if you promise to vote every day!

See the final photo here:



A Good Reason to Go Crazy



Hey you! Yes I’m talking to you! The one sitting at your desk slumped over like the hunchback of Internet Explorer. I know exactly what you’re thinking!

You are thinking,

Man, I have way too much free time and money on my hands. I am looking for a way to be stressed and really alter my life. How can I do that?

Well lucky for you I have just the way! It’s new, it’s exciting, and it will also possibly help you lose all of your friends in the process!

HOLY CRAP THAT’S AMAZING!

Yes. Yes I know. So what is this amazing activity? What should you be doing? Or more specifically, what should you do now?

I’ll tell you, you should put on a play!

What? Rich Boehmcke that is ridiculous.

No, YOU are ridiculous.

No seriously, stop it. You should go back to doing what you do best, eating cereal and tripping over your own feet when you make eye contact with women.

Trust me. It’s so much fun. I’ve been doing it since I was 10 when we put on a dancing lip-synched version of Aladdin in my neighbors backyard.

Well, I mean if I’m being honest, that show never made it out of rehearsals. It was fatally flawed from the beginning.

Perhaps it was the fact that half of us had not hit puberty yet, and the other half had no theater training greater than the part of Protractor #3 in Mrs. Fink’s 5th grade production of The Case of the Missing Bookcase.

Or it could have been something more specific, like how none of us could figure out how to make a turban out of a bath towel and a safety pin. Or maybe it was the fact that none of the background dancers (Read: Neighbor kids) could say: He’s got the monkeys; let’s see the monkeys, without bursting into hysterics.

Now some might say I was a bit of a diva, starring of course, as Aladdin. But I only was seeking perfection for my cast. I mean we weren’t really organized. My sister was a good director and all, but a dozen kids acting like maniacs in the front yard of your house to the repetitive sound of Robin Williams' voice on a Disney CD isn’t exactly a well-oiled machine.

It wasn’t so much a musical as it was a summer mental asylum for ADD lunatics.

But I digress.

Three years later (tired with the musical theater industry… of my front yard) my friend John and I produced the first (and subsequently) last season of 2 very prominent television shows.

The shows I speak of are of course “The Rich Boehmcke Show” and the “Joe ‘The Hunk’ Shmo Show."

The shows basically consisted of John and myself taking turns hosting a talk show at my kitchen counter in front of the video camera. We used some cheesy wedding reception noise maker as applause, a ska CD as our intro music, and we dressed up in a variety of clothing from around my house to resemble different guests.

OK, basically it was really us putting on my mother’s old wigs, shoving pillows in our shirts, and pretending to be Pamela Anderson or Carmen Electra.

Again I know what you’re thinking.

RICH THESE SHOWS SOUND AMAZING! WHERE CAN I SEE THEM?

Alas, like all great television shows, the originals have been lost. Rumor has it that they may be somewhere in a box in my parents house in South Carolina but only time will tell.

But again, I digress.

I took roughly a 13 year sabbatical from TV and musical production to focus on other more productive activities like getting an education and staring at girls I was too afraid to talk to.

But alas, last year after attempting many different pursuits I came upon the brilliant idea to write and direct 2 shows. And being the charming individual I am, I coerced  my friend Andrea into assisting me assuring her it wouldn’t ruin our friendship, even though I was almost positive it would.

The shows, which were written, rehearsed, and put on in less than 4 months were an excellent study in budgeting, sleep loss, and extreme stress.

Sounds amazing right?

Well it actually was. It was maybe the most fantastic experience of my life, including the crying. And then afterwards I went back to work, and life, and just being a normal Rich Boehmcke.

Things kind of rolled along as usual, took a dip south towards crappy for a while, but then the spring happened and things were going really well for me. I was happier than I had ever been. And I realized…

Something was missing.

I realized it was the sleep loss, the stress, the neuroses and all the panic attacks that come with putting on a self financed production based around your own writing.

So we decided to do it again!

Well not so much “we” as “me” and I kind of just told Andrea I wanted to do it again. And I think I did it while she was sleep deprived or not paying attention, thereby confusing her into saying yes.

So you too should join me in this endeavor. Keep your eye (or both eyes for that matter) on me in the next month as I get ready for our next show. As over the next 4 weeks I forget to eat dinner, wear one sock at a time, and walk around town with my fly open as I commit all available brain cells to our next play.

Wait, what’s that you say? What is the next play? What the hell is it all about? Where can I buy tickets? Is there a trailer?

First of all, stop asking so many questions. You are stressing me out.

Second of all, all your questions can be answered here…




Thrillist Miami - The End of... ME


So its not even noon in Miami and it is 100 degrees outside, and it is humid as a Turkish sweat lodge, which I’ve been in! The pool deck is massive with hundreds if not thousands of chairs, and cabanas and sexy sexy people in their sexy sexy swimsuits… and me.


The palest American ever.

(P.S. Thanks to Nick McGlynn for capturing for the world why I should never ever take my shirt off... ever)

So I got comfortable in the VIP section and started chatting up everybody. There was very loud dancey pop music playing putting people in a good mood so I just danced it up, but quickly realized I was going to burn to a crisp.

So I quickly put some sunblock on.

You put on sun block but you can’t stop sweating so you are just mixing sun block and sweat into a type of baste. So you baste yourself and realize you are so damn hot you have to get in the pool, which is super warm.

So it doesn’t really cool you off it just feels good. A sweaty, bastey, feel good soup of people.

So you are in the pool and you realize, you are thirsty, so you get out and you get a Corona. But as you drink your Corona you start sweating again, so you bring it into the pool. And so that’s how it went for the next 5 hours.

But being in the pool with a Corona is dangerous. I like a little limejuice in my Corona, not a little Chlorine. So I put my Corona in a water bottle.


Problem solved.

The people from Thrillist had brought a beach ball for every single person in the hotel, or at least it seemed as such. I decided to lend my powerful lung capacity to blow some up. After blowing up 1 I realize… I don’t have powerful lung capacity. So I quit that and went back to my Corona.

Something about pushing a beach ball up in the air is like Spanish fly for people looking for a good time. We had a dozen people tossing it up in the air and every 4th hit it would bounce off some strangers head, but we didn’t care. We had numbers! Somewhere between 200 and 300 people were poolside living it up like we had all just escaped from an island, an island of sobriety and no pools, and we were here to live!

Of course I lived a little too hard because I jumped up and tried to swat the beach ball and felt my shoulder pop (quickly) out of and back into its socket. I realized this was going to be painful, so I went and put more Corona in my water bottle.

I also ran out of sun block at some point and went to the hotel gift shop which only had SPF 15. The price? SIXTEEN DOLLARS! Outrageous! I mean shouldn’t there be some sort of “No more than a dollar per SPF” type of rule? But not wanting to burn, I bought it anyway.

Then my new British Vietnamese friend suggested we have a chicken fight against a 30 year old mother of 3 with a crazy slamming body.

I refused. Chicken fights, for those of you who don’t know, are when women decide it would be fun to wrestle each other while sitting on the shoulders of men who are trying not to drown.

I am a HUGE fan of not drowning. I mean I had thus far survived not getting a nosebleed in the pool and I just had a bad feeling that having 2 women fight… above me could end poorly.

So naturally I ended up in one. The BritNamese chick climbed on my shoulders and Mom of 3 climbed on another dude’s. I was almost positive we were done for. I remember thinking

Hmph, I never would have thought I would die in Miami.

I mean a mother of 3 who looked like she did Tae Bo in her sleep versus a tiny BritNamese girl with a very ladylike accent. I thought the fight would end in 2 seconds unless my girl bit the mom’s ear.

So it starts and it is crazy. I have no idea whats going on because I am just trying to keep my balance and the girl on my shoulders and I can’t look up cuz I need to keep track of how close to the water I am so I don’t drown… which I hate.

Thirty seconds later we finally went down and I came up thinking we had lost but it had been a valiant effort.

No. Not so much.

No, BritNamese was locked in battle with Mom of 3 until she took Mom of 3's head and palmed it into the water.

WE WERE CHAMPIONS!

So I celebrated with a Corona. Little did I know that this chicken fight would be the reason I wouldn’t be able to move my shoulders for 2 days. But I didn’t care. More dancing on the pool deck, more dancing in the pool. I was living it up. The crowd was amazing, and everybody was happy.

And that’s when the greatest moment of the weekend happened.

I was doing my nonsense thing in the pool when a girl I hadn’t talked to much came up to me and said;

Girl: Who ARE you?
Rich: Who are YOU?
Girl: Everybody here knows you as the guy who is always having fun.

I laughed, toasted her, and went to get more Corona.

Then the poolside concert happened and things REALLY got into gear. I can’t even really describe what it feels like to be dancing, in a pool, with a drink in your hand, surrounded by beautiful people, and knowing you haven’t spent a DIME to get any of it.



Oh yea did I mention there were Klondike bars? They came out of nowhere and rocked all of our worlds.

But we had to wrap it up and head to dinner.

And I went back to my room and noticed the beginning of the sunburn. But I couldn’t waste time I had to get to dinner on the roof of Red Steakhouse. And I know what you’re wondering.

Rich, this was your last night in Miami! You had only 1 more chance… did you…

You bite your tongue! How dare you question me? YOU of all people, how dare you? You want to know if I did? Of course I did.


I rocked the $#!% out of those white pants!

Boom!

We all were in our Miami best when we got to dinner where we were greeted by a violinist playing the classic hits. Including this piece of awesomeness.




I mean it really doesn’t get much better than that. We went up to dinner on the roof, and we had many drinks, and there was a ridiculous rainstorm which we thought would kill the fun.

And yes we ate, and danced, and drank the night away.  We all looked at each other knowing nothing ever would come close to Hotel Thrillist, the greatest weekend of (almost) all of our lives.


And it's funny, we all got these bracelets that got us in to all of the events. They say I "thrillist logo" Miami. And it's kind of ironic because a chunk of the "I" on mine is missing.



Which makes sense, because I definitely left a piece of myself down there.

The End.

P.S.
And yes, I did get burnt to a crisp anyway.

Damn it.

Thrillist Miami - The Beginning of the End


Today, right now, as I write this to you, I am in considerable pain.

And I know what you’re thinking. Rich went to Miami with Thrillist and drank too much and now he is hungover.

But honestly it wasn’t the booze that did it. Not that there was any shortage of booze!

I mean it was possibly the swag, the yoga, or the 100 degree sun, or the Nerf Football chucking, or the pool beachballing, or maybe it was the massage, or the dancing in the pool, or the dancing next to the pool, or the dancing at dinner, or maybe the dancing at Club LIV, but really… I’m getting ahead of myself here. Let’s go back to the beginning.

Friday morning I boarded a flight to Miami. I didn’t know anything except that when I landed I would be escorted to, what was promised to be, 36 hours of awesome.

I landed and immediately met a bunch of great people who were ready to get it popping. We get to the hotel and instantly the Thrillist special check-in had gift bags with so much swag that as it was handed to me I think I felt my bicep rip.

As I plowed through my swag and mugged it up for Nick McGlynn, the best damn photog in the business with my new homey Kim from Chicago, I realized the gift bag alone was worth the trip! But more details on that later on.

So then we said alright, cool we’re in Miami, let’s get our bathing suits on and go poolside! A quick room change and we got to the pool where I immediately grabbed an icy Corona and a fish sandwich.

I know what you’re thinking, Rich, a Fish Sandwich to start the weekend? Did you learn NOTHING in Istanbul? I know, I know. But it was worth it.

And that’s when the wind picked up like CRAZY and it started to rain. For an idea of how bad the rain got, take a look at my special (and slightly dark) report with Number 1 stunner himself, Todd the Weather Stunner!




In fact that chief weather expert eventually lost it and went for a swim should have pretty much clued me in that this was going to be my buddy for the weekend.

So we went back to our rooms again and showered and got ready for dinner and drinks and looking our best.

Here’s what I learned about a 495 dollar a night room with a beachfront view in a 1.3 Billion dollar hotel: It is hard to leave. I mean the TV in the bathroom was enough to gather my love. But the phone next to the toilet I mean, I wanted to make a long distance phone call while sitting on the bowl just so I could tell the person on the other end of the phone:

Hold on I’m watching the game.

But I eventually got my life together because after all, there were 200 strangers I needed to meet for free drinks.

The great thing about meeting 200 people for free drinks is nobody really knows each other. So you can do one of 2 things. You can sit on the side and only talk to the people you know, or you can walk around and try to toast every person with a drink.

Guess which method I use?

So we had some Coronas, some vodka shots with warm pineapple (incredible) and the drink of the weekend which was Bacardi Torched Cherry. And if you haven’t tried this beverage let me tell you, it will get your engine started.

We had dinner and it was incredible. One of the best meals I ever had. All the hotel restaurants contributed just phenomenal things. Truffled this, braised that, I mean it was unbelievable, but the highlight, was far and away, the corn.



I wanted to tip the guy who served me that corn it was so good.

Mind you the whole time we are eating, there is a band playing with a guy playing the conch, and not just one conch… TWO CONCHS!




I mean if that guy doesn’t have groupies there is something wrong with the universe.

From there we went to Club LIV. We all got VIP wrist bands, but by the time I got to the actual entrance, there were already 200 people in an unruly crowd around the 5 very large bouncers guarding the velvet (possibly felt, I couldn’t tell) rope. So with no better ideas, I just put my wrist in the air like I was Wonder Woman trying to stop a very poorly aimed bullet.

And ya know what? It worked. I pushed my way to the front of the those saps and got into the club where there was much drinking, much dancing, and very low lighting so I wasn’t entirely sure who I was talking to or what was going on for most of the evening.

We danced until the wee hours of the morning and I got back to my room in need of some water and that’s when I figured out what 495 dollars (or in my case, 0 dollars) a night DOESN’T buy you… glasses.

There were no glasses to drink out of, and the hotel water was like, I think 482 dollars, so being the inventive invention genius I am, I filled up the ice bucket and drank out of it like I was some kind of peasant.

I woke up the next morning feeling slightly injured, and reached for my water bucket, and as I got to the bottom of it I saw my reflection and it was not good. I looked like Frida Kahlo after a slap fight.

But that couldn’t stop me. I hopped in my awesome shower, used my awesome hotel soap, popped some Advil, and made my way to buffet breakfast outside where it was already in the high 80s. And there I feasted on fruit, donuts, and truffled eggs.

What? Yes. I said truffled eggs. They were so good it made me angry. But I didn’t have time to be angry; I had to get to beachfront yoga.

There are few things that are more awesome than doing yoga on the beach. It was my first time doing yoga. I realized I am not good at yoga. For an hour we breathed, stretched, and contorted ourselves into poses like Sun Warrior and Wild Thing which really could have just been called “Wedgie” and “Bigger Wedgie.”

This is were I probably started trying too hard because I stretched parts of me that I have never used, including trying to get myself into “Pigeon Pose” which I have chosen to rename “I don’t want to have kids pose.” Awesome.

But it was still an awesome workout and then I jumped into the ocean to refresh. And it felt amazing but it was the warmest water I’d ever been in. I could have stayed in it all day, but there was a pool party to go to.

Poolside I met the awesome ladies of Nerf who supplied me with footballs which I then tried to throw 50 yards. I was nearly successful. I then thought the only thing better would be to punt one, and that is when I hit some woman in the back of the head. That is when I decided I was probably less dangerous in the pool.

And that is when things got RI-DIC-U-LOUS!

To Be Continued…

Miami Bound Machine - Part 3

My experience at the beach can pretty much be summed up by an experience from my college years.

I was home on Long Island, back from my first year at ASU. One weekend my buddy Mike, his friend Jen, and I all went to the beach. We parked the car, grabbed our stuff, and headed out to the sand.

After finding a spot and dropping our things Jen and Mike stripped down to their bathing suits and jogged merrily down to the water.

I on the other hand, took off my shirt and immediately got a nosebleed.

It wasn’t like a little one either; it was like what happens when one catches a football with their face.

I started to panic. I’m not sure if you’ve ever tried to track down a tissue at the beach, but trust me, they are in short supply.

The awkward thing about getting a nosebleed at the beach is there is just nothing to stop it. What are you going to use… sand?

Mike: Hey Rich why are you laying face down in the sand?
Rich: Oh nothing, just a nose bleed, I think this is how they stop oil spills. I’ll be fine.

No, you can’t do that. And of course there is nobody around, I am bleeding all over my hand and the only thing I have to stop the bleeding is the shirt I just took off.

It was either use my shirt or just go bleed in the ocean. So naturally I chose to use the shirt.

Imagine my friends’ confusion when they came back from the ocean to find me with a tank top in my nose and blood on my hands.

It doesn’t get more embarrassing than that. I mean I hadn’t even been there 10 minutes! And I had JUST gotten my shirt off, which is quite the event itself. My body being so pale and reflective it requires sunglasses just to witness.

Much later on, Mike told me about a conversation he had with his friend Jen and my name came up.

Mike: Do you remember my friend Richy?
Jen: Is that the kid who almost died when we went to the beach.

Pretty much. I mean I might as well title my memoir that

The Kid Who Almost Died When We Went to the Beach: The Rich Boehmcke Story.

And even though I sometimes spontaneously bleed there, I do love the beach. But for many reasons, the beach doesn’t so much love me. Typically a lot of awful things aside from nosebleeds have happened to me at the beach. Granted this is because I have done a fair bit of travelling by myself. So I am usually at the beach on my own with nobody to look out for me.

Going in the water by yourself is a stressful situation. I remember my time in Australia when I finally got up the courage to leave my stuff on the beach and just go swimming by myself, only to see this sign when I emerged from the ocean:


Awesome.

My body was built for many things: sitting on a couch, reaching for high up objects, making really dramatic awkward movements, but the beach? No, this vessel I have is not necessarily beach ready.

Those of you who have seen me in person (and once again, my apologies) know that my skin is not really a durable looking kind of skin. I am pale. While my mother is of Italian decent, my father’s Irish German lineage beat out my mother’s genes when it came to whose skin I would get.

While “lily white” is a beautiful color, it isn’t exactly a good color for skin. And it certainly isn’t a sun proof kind of color. It is the main reason that from the ages of 6 up until recently I always wore SPF 45 when I went to the beach. And not just SPF 45, a very specific brand called Water Babies.


It is a fine product that works well but you just get to a certain age and you just look to avoid using products that have pictures of half naked children on them.

So if I am going to go to the beach I need to make sure I have plenty of sun block on hand. I reapply many times, and make sure to hit all exposed areas.

Though if I am by myself, the issue usually arises about what to do about my back. If I apply it to myself, I usually miss a rather large spot in the middle of my back, which I don’t know about until somebody points it out to me later on.

This became very obvious to me in Chile last year.

It would be beneficial if somebody could invent some sort of back scratcher/sun tan lotion applier. This way I could go to the beach alone and actually enjoy myself. Half the time I am just standing 2 feet into the ocean praying I don’t get burnt and staring at my blanket hoping somebody doesn’t steal my stuff.

But Miami should be different because I will be there with friends.

Well, not really friends, more like 100 strangers I have JUST met, but hey, same thing.

This fancy hotel I am staying at will perhaps have some sort of sun block applier. I sure hope so anyway because my goal to show up tan has failed.

In fact at this point I have really lowered my hopes for all the things I wanted to be before I showed up in Miami. I realize I won’t be buff. There is a good chance I will be ostracized for my clothes. And as for tan? Like I said, I’ve given up any hope of that.

Now my goal for when I show up to the beach is just not to look like Gollum.


Stranger: Hey Rich why is your nose bleeding?
Rich: THE PRECIOUS!

But that all remains to be seen when I finally put my feet in that Miami sand, which hopefully, I will not need to use as clotting material.

The End.  (Kind of, I’m sure there will be a recap.)

Miami Bound Machine - Part 2

So after settling on a collection of (questionably) stylish pieces to wear to Miami I am faced with another decision to make.

Do I want to get in shape before I go?

Now I wouldn’t say I’m in bad shape but the words used by other to describe me (lanky, gangly) don’t exactly bring to mind the image of an Adonis. And this is Miami! Nobody looks crappy in Miami.

Now that I think of it that could be the catch phrase for Miami. Ya know,

Virginia is for Lovers
Georgia on My Mind
Nobody Looks Crappy in Miami.

Some of you may know that I had an unfortunate falling out with my gym last spring. I haven’t gone back to that, or any gym, since..

This is not to say I haven’t been working out. No sir, I work out, like a healthy champion. I have gone through several iterations of a workout plan with varying levels of success.

First I started working out in the park near my apartment. This was going well for a decent part of last summer. I would get home from work, change clothes, and then go do whatever routine I had cobbled together for myself. Sometimes doing pull ups on the monkey bars or step ups in the playhouse.

But then I worked out on a Saturday, and the park was full of kids and their families. I didn’t think much of it until I realized jumping around sleeveless and sweaty with a bunch of 8 year olds is a great way to live your life if you are a camp counselor.

Otherwise, it’s just a great way to end up on the news.

So I quickly put an end to my park workouts.

I decided I could just rollerblade instead. But there is a funny thing about rollerblading that you don’t notice until you are actually doing it.

And that fact is, NOBODY ROLLERBLADES.

I mean practically nobody. Apparently the year that rollerblading started getting cool was the same year it stopped being cool. And I certainly don’t look cool doing it. (Remember, gangly and lanky)

While I am blessed with a certain degree of athletic faculty, if I hit a bump while I am skating, my limbs spring out from my body like 3 different Jack in the Boxes. Which wouldn’t be so bad if there weren’t so many people around to see it happen.

Add into the equation that dogs don’t like rollerbladers. I mean if they don’t like a biker, that biker can just ride away no problems, no worries.

But on Rollerblades, a getaway is not as easy.

Dogs don’t instantly bark, they just stare intently at you as you approach. You can see them thinking…

Herehecomes herehecomes herehecomes “WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF!”

As they launch forward yanking their leash and owners arm nearly out of the socket. I usually try and laugh it off but I really can’t hear or focus on anything anyway because the adrenaline influx I just experienced is enough to bring a Mastodon back from the dead.

Plus there is a rather large hill on the way to the park. And while it is a bitch to get up, it is practically a suicide attempt to go down. I mean I am OK at stopping but there really is no OK at stopping when you are on Rollerblades. You can either stop, or you can’t.

And the hill ends at a rather busy intersection where I have to make a sharp right turn to get to the park. So I would either have to jump OVER the traffic like I’m Evil Kinevil, or just smack straight into it like… well, Evil Kinevil.

The last time I attempted this hill I was going down the hill so fast I had to jump off the side walk and jog onto the grass (in my rollerblades) to stop.

This near death experience quickly changed my view on using Rollerblading as my primary workout activity. Seeing as one of my requirements for my workout regimen is that I live through it. And as much as I’d like to be in good shape, I do not consider “dead” to be good shape.

So I’ve started working out in my apartment. I even bought one of those pull-up bars that you attach to your door frame. I bought it in Bed Bath and Beyond if you can believe it.


It seemed like an awesome way to do pull ups without ending up on To Catch a Predator.

I opened it and there were a lot of pieces. I have to admit I was a bit skeptical that the whole apparatus could be put together using the exact same tool I used to put my erector sets together when I was a kid.


But it worked and I have been using quite frequently. Granted it has been more out of guilt than anything else. Like this weekend where I eat 2 cupcakes at midnight, have a bacon omelet for breakfast and then do 20 pull ups like that is going to negate that refuse my body is now trying to process.

I tried doing pushups in my living room but every time I do pushups, the following morning my wrist gets sore and a bone starts to protrude out of it like I’m a crappy fetal Wolverine.

Again, a description I try to avoid at all costs.

I thought about joining a gym just for a month until I left for Miami but then I remembered the conversation I had with Neil, one of the prized idiot salesmen I met when I first joined my gym back home.

I was there with my buddy and the salesman says to me,

“Hey so here’s the deal, you guys like hot girls? Cuz we got a ton of them here.”

Wow Neil, nice. Very profound. In fact you could probably write slogans. How bout this one.

Miami: If you like hot girls, we got a ton of them here.

But seeing as there are now less than 2 weeks left to go before Miami and I have made nearly 0 noticeable progress, I have pretty much resigned myself to the fact that my body will remain more or less in the non Adonis phase as opposed to, well, you get the picture.

I have even convinced myself that taking the stairs up to my apartment can wipe out eating three chocolate croissants a day.

Desperate people come up with interesting theories.

But I have something else even more serious to concentrate on. On this trip there will be beach time involved and that means going shirtless, and that is something Miami is really not ready for.

To Be Concluded…

The Dancing Manifesto

What do Channing Tatum and I have in common?

No it’s not the bedroom eyes (thank you for noticing though), and no it’s not the supreme physique and the ability to make women swoon (though I mean, I could if I wanted to...really).

No no, according to latest issue of Details Magazine, what Mr. Tatum and I have in common is a love of dancing.


I know this is not going cement my status as an uber-man, but I really love to dance. I have since I was very young. In fact, I have loved dancing since I was old enough to shake a limb. But for as much as I love to dance, I haven’t always enjoyed dancing.

When I was a really little kid I remember going to weddings of family dressed up in my little blue blazer with gold buttons and a red clip on tie. Thanks to my mother my hair would be perfectly parted on the side with military precision.

And I would stay that dapper until the point in the party when some DJ with a 4 dollar Vanilla Ice haircut invited all the kids out onto the dance floor.

At that point it immediately became my mission to get as sweaty as humanly possible in the shortest amount of time. And I loved it. Dancing felt good.

But then came puberty and a time of insecurity and self preservation. I began closely hording my inhibitions, stuffing them into a sack on my back like I was saving them for the insecurity apocalypse, the time when I would REALLY need them.

That time, as it would turn out, was the year of the Sweet Sixteens.

Sweet Sixteens are when girls (especially girls from Long Island) celebrate their 16th birthday by having their parents throw them an elaborate party in a catering hall complete with a very fancy dress, a DJ, a buffet meal, and a lengthy candle ceremony whereby the girl thanks the 16 most important people in her life thereby causing incredible riffs in friendships.

Jenny: Oh my god I can’t believe I didn’t get a candle
Stacy: I know. She’s such a bitch. Let’s go get 8 other girls and go to the bathroom.

While I loved going to Sweet Sixteens (much to my mother’s dismay as she had to buy me a gift for all of them) it became like a mini West Side Story. The girls started the night on the side of the room with the dance floor, and the guys did so on the side with the seats. I was eager to get out on the floor and start dancing and socializing with girls, but I was unable to do so.

Why? Well, much to my dismay, no self respecting teenage guy walks into a Sweet Sixteen and immediately starts dancing. No you have to sit around for an hour or two while the females gathered into circles and dance by themselves. Because ya know, you have to get a couple Pepsis in you before you go out on the dance floor.

It was an amazing foreshadowing of what would come later in life when guys don’t dance until they get enough beers in them not to care. It’s like they knew that in a couple years they would have regular access to alcohol and they were already practicing the timing on how long it would take them to be drunk enough to dance.

And I wasn’t the toughest guy to begin with. I was trying to fit in with the jocks and whomever else was loud enough to appear confident. So chiming in with a, “Hey guys who feels like dancing?” just wouldn’t fly.

But that’s all I really wanted to do.

By the time college rolled around my group of friends wasn’t really one to go dancing. I distinctly remember my friend Russ asking me freshman year if I wanted to go dancing. For whatever reason I couldn't that night but I can only imagine the look of longing on my face. It was like he had asked me if I wanted to go to a pool party at the playboy mansion.

In fact one of the scariest things I ever did in my life was take dance classes in college. There is no sitting around and warming up in that room. And you can’t be there for any other reason. If someone asks you why you’re not dancing in a dance class you can’t say,

“Oh I am just waiting until after the candle lighting ceremony.”

If you are in a dance class, you just have to forget your inhibitions and dance. It wasn’t until after college that I really hit my dancing stride (pun intended).


It was also after college that I realized one of my biggest complaints about dancing in general.

It’s the criticism. We’re all guilty of it.

Look at that guy, he looks ridiculous.

Yea but I bet he feels amazing.

If somebody wants to flail around in the middle of the dance floor like an epileptic witch doctor at a rave in Ibiza… I say more power to them!

You see there is no such thing as “not being able to dance.”

If you are catatonic, sure, you are not able to dance. I will give you that. But everybody else can dance.

One leg? You can dance. In a wheel chair? Of course you can dance. Fat, skinny, or German? Dance it up my friend.

Sure you may not look great while you dance. You might not be able to follow the beat particularly well. And you may step on more toes than Kanye at an awards show, but you can still dance.

Dancing is just the art of shaking your body around, moving with music (or against it for that matter) and just living. It is cathartic, it is pure, and it is beautiful.

And yet people continue to make the argument that themselves or others cannot dance.

Really?

Nobody ever tells a toddler they can’t dance. As a 6 year old in my sweaty clip-on haze, I don't remember ever hearing anybody say to me, “Hey kid, you can’t dance, you suck, go home.”

No of course not. That’s ridiculous. Nobody tells little kids they can’t dance and nobody should ever tell you.

It is the simplest thing in the world. It is elemental. It is expressive, elegant, or aggressive. But whatever it is, it is distinctly you.

I argue that you should dance just because it makes sense to. Dancing just makes sense, and that is reason enough to. Dancing makes sense. And in fact, with all the things going on in our world from earthquakes to contract breaks, it might be the only thing in this life that truly does.


Dance.

Tearful Thank Yous

Accepting a compliment from another human being in person is quite possibly one of the most difficult things to do in this life.

It's not because we don't want compliments. Quite the contrary actually. We really want them.

It seems we spend most of our lives chasing compliments, wanting people to tell us how good we are, how pretty we look, or what a wonderful job we've done. The funny thing is, once we actually do get those compliments, the compliments we've thirsted for like water in the desert, we dismiss them as though they are no big deal.

"Don't be silly" we say, or "It was nothing." We do this because the actual act of receiving an honest compliment is way more difficult than any of us are willing to admit.

I think the hardest part about a compliment is the eye contact. Having to look someone deep in the eye while they express to you how they feel about you and the work that you did without looking away... wow. I mean many of us can't do that with the people closest to us, but even strangers? That can be intense.

It is certainly something most of us are not used to. Nor do we actually know how to react. It is incredibly disconcerting. That connection is strange. But if you can find a way to embrace it, it really is electric. It will make you feel unlike any way you've ever felt before.

Or if you are like me... you will cry.

Not little sissy tears either. Nope. Big, huge, waterworks, man baby tears that don't stop.

The plays I had been working on for the past 3 months finally went up last week. Thursday and Friday night saw the end result of weeks and weeks of intense preparation. Everything that had been an idea, a possibility, or a thought since July became a reality twice over the course of 48 hours.

And shortly thereafter, it was merely a memory.

After the lights went out the first night, I felt kind of strange. The shows has been great and everything had gone off without a hitch. And yet, I did not feel like I expected to feel.

I did feel good about what had just transpired. I felt proud, and slightly accomplished. But I didn't feel an overwhelming rush crash over me like the wave of joy I had hoped for. One moment the shows were about to start, and slowly but surely they slipped away from me, like sand through my fingers.

Friday however, was different. The air in the room even felt different before the shows started. People seemed more excited than they did the night before. There was an energy in the room that added something to the performances that I could not have planned for.

And when the lights went out on the final scene of Friday's show I felt excited, I felt slightly relieved, but I was energized. And I was lucky enough to have many of my friends and loved ones come up to me and congratulate me and say such wonderful things.

I did my best not to dismiss the compliments. I, my cast, and my crew (Andrea) had worked hard for this. And if people had good things to say, I really wanted to appreciate the fruits of our labor. I wanted to take in their compliments, digest them, and squeeze every last drop of goodness from them.

Wishing my actors good luck before they went on I got a little teary, and the same when saying some personal thank yous to my friends after. But I was pretty much able to keep my emotions at bay. The tears sat patiently locked up in their cages behind my eyes.

The after party happened, many hugs occurred, and eventually the night came to a close. I went home and went to sleep.

The next morning when I woke up I was feeling pretty great. Exhausted from everything, and a little surprised that I hadn't had a complete emotional breakdown immediately following the applause.

The catalyst that triggered my breakdown actually would come in the form of a compliment from a person I didn't even know.

You see I had a good friend fly in from California on Friday just to see my shows and hang out in the city for a short weekend. She came with a friend of hers whom I had never met. But I was anticipating liking her since she was flying 3,000 miles to see my $12 dollar show.

We all got together for brunch on Saturday and spent the day having drinks and walking around the neighborhoods. We ended our day with a fabulous dinner at a great restaurant, a lovely place with low lighting and delicious food.

And sometime after dinner, in the middle of a low lit dining room, in the west village in Manhattan this stranger told me what she thought of my plays... and I cried like a little kid lost in the woods.

Not big whaling cries with sobbing and huff huff huffing. No it was just a very wet, can't turn off the faucets kind of cry.

We so often take for granted the support we get from our loved ones. And that is not a good thing, but yet it still happens. Yet there is still something so heavy about the compliments given to you by the people you do not know. You realize they may not be as concerned with protecting and nurturing you, they don't owe you anything, and when they say it, well, you have no choice but to pay attention.

Perhaps there was more involved. Maybe it had something to do with having had a full day to process what had actually occurred the night before. Or maybe it was the 2 bottles of wine we had with dinner. I mean that probably helped.

But who knows if I would have cried like this had this fine human not said what she said to me. Maybe my emotional connection to my work would have faded with each passing day. And maybe I would have found myself bawling in my bed one night as the exhaustion got the better of me.

But I am glad it happened when it did, because it felt right. It put a definitive end on my emotional connection to my work. It signified completion. It put a soggy exclamation point on an incredible mini journey.

And I wouldn't have had it any other way.

The Bavarian Buff

Like many New Yorkers, I get a fair amount of my random knowledge and news blurbs from small televisions in the elevators in my building. They flash a series of headlines, stock quotes, and other current event updates throughout the day. I am in the elevator about a half dozen times over the course of the day and I will catch 1 or 2 stories each time that I am in there.

While leaving work one day last week I was preoccupied with something but glanced up for a second to catch this headline.

German Nudist Hiking Trail

Whatever I was thinking about before, was quickly forgotten as my mind tried to wrap itself around the ridiculousness of this news story. I did a little more research to find out the details. This is what I found:

Germany is launching a new hiking trail for tourists who like to walk in the nude. The 18km (11-mile) route runs through the Harz mountains in central Germany, between Dankerode and the Wippertalsperre, near Leipzig and is receiving praise for giving nudists an opportunity to express themselves more freely.

Now, I am not a hiker. In fact, I know very little about hiking. But I am of German lineage. And I would now like to take this time to make fun of my people. For the sake of this post, I will be taking the side opposing the German Nudist Hiking Trail.

I will start with the obvious. Hiking usually involves being out in the wilderness with bugs and critters and other things. There are places on your body you should never NEED to put sunscreen, never mind bug spray. These are the parts of my body I do not want to expose to mosquitoes or poison ivy. And ALL of those parts get exposed during nude hiking.

I mean, can you imagine trying to explain that to your dermatologist?

Oh yea, I was hiking in Germany. What's that you say? No, no I was not wearing pants. What? No, no underwear either.

I would also like to point out that from what i do know about hiking, it is not something you should do barefoot. Good socks and hiking boots seem to be necessary equipment. So if you are wearing shoes and sock you are not technically naked. I know I'm splitting hairs here, but I just want to point that out.

Being German I know that when I am outside I should stay as covered up as humanly possible. There are many kinds of sunscreen available but the only kind appropriate for me is SPF Poncho.

Germans take good things to the height of ridiculousness. I mean... just look what they did to dancing.

Some things are good in extremes. Giant beer? Good. Giant bratwurst? Very good. But this latest spin on hiking just doesn't seem to be an improvement at all.

Also shouldn't the possibility of chafing along turn them off the naked hike? And again, does backpack = naked?

I just don't think it's necessary for a nude trail. I mean, even the animals on this trail aren't naked. They at least wear fur!

What also scares me is Germans affinity for travel. in my travels around the world I have noticed they travel more than almost any other country. This naked hiking thing is something that could possibly spread to other trails in other countries!

What if I DO decide to take up hiking? I don't want to have to worry about being accosted by Frau Hatenmypantz. But in fairness to the trail itself, the proper authorities (be they naked or otherwise) have put up a sign warning people that says;

If you don't want to see people with nothing on them, you should refrain from moving on.

But if I saw that sign, I would probably just think it was a joke. I wouldn't honestly believe there was a chance I would see some naked people!

It is also understood that some kinds of naked are hilarious. Like watching somebody streak across a baseball field from hundreds of feet away. That is hilarious.

Watching somebody streak towards you in the middle of the woods? That is terrifying.

As I understand it, undergarments were made to enable us to move quickly with ease, thereby streamlining the transportation of ourselves. So what happens if a bear made his appearance in the woods and you had to run? I can't imagine running naked feels (or looks) good.

Also I am curious as to when it is that these naked hikers remove their clothes. Is it before they even leave the house? Do they gear up that way? or do they arrive at the trail head and somebody just fires a gun and yells STRIP!

Is the park ranger for this particular trail naked? Shouldn't he or she be? Because if they park ranger isn't naked, I can only imagine the kind of perverts you'd get applying for that job.

And also can clothed folks be on the same trail? If you have committed to an 11 mile naked hike you have probably also committed yourself to not taking any sit down breaks. I know I am not crazy about putting my bare butt on public toilet seats, so, putting my bare butt on the world of nature? I mean jeez.

Plus I don't like animals seeing me naked. I think they judge me. A cat saw me naked once and I might be exaggerating here, but I am pretty sure it was judging me. It cocked its head as if to say; "You disgust me pale boy. Cloak yourself."

And then the cat walked into a closet and tried to dig a hole.

My point is this whole naked trail thing can only be a harbinger of bad things to come. I know this might seem like a momentous occasion to some. And there is a probably a swell of enthusiasm for would-be nude hikers around the globe.

So for all you who are exited about what this trail means, and the opportunities it presents, I will say to you what my parents said to me when I got too excited about things as a kid.

Keep your pants on.