Monday, June 18, 2007

What else would a girl named Diana be doing on this Monday night...

...than watching Princess Diana's two boys being interviewed by Matt Lauer?

I was a baby without a name for a few days...I was supposed to be called James, but when I was born a female, James was x-ed (obviously) and other names were thrown grandfather suggested Joan. Others were Jamie Lynn, Lindsay, and Annie Hall. (I would have freaking LOVED to have been Annie Hall!)

Luckily for me, Princess Diana and Prince Charles had gotten married the past year, and her face was splashed all over the magazines and newspapers. Neither one of my parents had ever known a Diana personally, and, just like that, I was named after both a princess AND a goddess. (Neither my sister or I have middle names, though, which always made me feel slightly like a freak whenever my friends would learn that and react to it. "YOU DON'T HAVE A MIDDLE NAME??? BUT YOU HAVE TO HAVE A MIDDLE NAME!" When I was confirmed, I chose the name Grace, which means I now carry the names of not one, but TWO, beloved blonde princesses who died tragically young in automobile accidents.)

Princess Diana was killed the summer before my sophomore year of college. I will always remember my sophomore year as the year when my own father was diagnosed with cancer. (He would pass away the next year.) The night of her accident, my older sister had left for her very first year of college, and my mom was quite upset. They went to their friends' house that night, and I watched Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman. (I never claimed that I had been a cool 15-year-old.)

The show was interupted to announce Diana's accident, and the next morning, I learned she was gone. I watched coverage nonstop, even when I went to babysit. One image that will always stick in my mind is her coffin with the card sitting on top of it, "Mummy" written across. Prince Charles held onto little Harry's hand as they looked at all the flowers that had accumulated at Kensington...William shook hands and said, "Thank much."

When my dad died, I entered the same exclusive club that William and Harry were already in...that 4% Club, I like to call it. (Four percent of people lose a parent before they reach 20 years old.) You do feel an automatic kinship with somebody that has been in a similar situation, no matter who they are or what the exact circumstances were.

I watched Matt Lauer talk to William and Harry tonight, and I must say, I love them! What sweet, fine boys they are. (I say this like I am their great-aunt.) I was disappointed to hear of William and Kate's break-up, because who doesn't want Prince William to be happy? (Might I add, that girl wears some fabulous hats. I guess if you're dating the future King of England you can get away with wearing fancy hats like that. If you are just a nice girl who works in a bookstore or an office and you were hats like that, you just look weird.)

And, of course, I have always had the faraway daydream that I will meet Prince William one day, and he will shake my hand and go, "Ah, yes. That is an easy name for me to remember." (Can't you just hear it? Oh, it will happen some day. It WILL.)

I wish these two lovely young men all the best in the world.

And I'd like to add, in case William googles his name in blog search and is reading this right now, I am single, but I'm also Catholic, so I hope that won't be too much of a problem.

Diana Rissetto

Theatre Review...

On Friday night, I went to see It's a Bird...It's a Plane...It's Superman! at the York Theatre.

I am not quite a Superman fan. I have never even seen any of the movies, even though I did love Lois and Clark back in the 7th grade. (Even then, I didn't care for the Superman character...I think I watched because I really wanted to be a journalist...and I loved the actor who played Jimmy Oleson! That guy was adorable!)

This show was around in 1966, and ran for about four months. While the book was pretty (not so great), most of the songs were catchy, and the show was hilarious if only for one reason and that reason is Mr. Cheyenne Jackson!

The first time I saw Mr. Jackson onstage was over three years ago when he played Duke Orsino in Illyria, an adaption of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. That year, I was taking a Shakespeare course in college for pure fun (I was the only non-English major in that class). The Shakespeare Geek in me loved that show and Mr. Jackson had the audience roaring.

I think the old lady sitting next to me summed up Cheyenne's appeal perfectly: "He reminds me of George Clooney...very good-looking, but he doesn't take himself too seriously."

Over the past few years, I have seen Cheyenne star in Aida, one of my all-time favorite Broadway musicals, (he got buried alive at the end of that one), Altar Boyz as lead singer Matthew, who sings, "Girl, you make me want to wait/At least, until our wedding date/'Til then...I'll own fate". Nope, I'm not making this up) and soon his star-making performance in 2005's All Shook Up, ALSO a musical take on Twelfth Night, except now Duke Orsino was a guitar-toting roustabout singing Elvis songs. The New York Times ran a huge advertisement with Cheyenne's picture announcing, "A STAR IS BORN!"

Last year, I saw him in several smaller projects...a naive pornstar in F-ing Men, a male prostitute named Trick Goodlay in the stage soap opera The Cartells (in which he stripped down to a pair of red satin shorts and did the Molly Ringwald dance), and as Victoria Clark's younger lover in The Agony and the Agony. (He had a tattoo of a snake on his neck for that one!)

As I watched Superman on Friday night, I recalled the many times I have seen this guy onstage and how he never, ever, EVER fails to do one thing...make me laugh like a freaking goon, causing people around me to look at me like I'm weird. (At The Agony and the Agony, I even heard one woman go to her companion of me, "That really wasn't that funny..." Oh, yes it is, Lady. You have no idea.)

He's just THAT funny, with impeccable comic timing, and somehow makes you completely forget you are watching such a striking-looking man.

Cheyenne also played Mark Bingham in what possibly might have been one of the most important films of the year, United 93. He proved he has a serious side, and what a way to prove it. He doesn't fool around.

As of Friday, Cheyenne will be starring (on rollerskates) in Xanadu on Broadway. I have absolutely no doubt that he'll be winning over audiences from his very first performance.

Back to Superman...Lois Lane was played by Jean Louisa Kelly, who you might know from Uncle Buck, Yes, Dear and Mr. Holland's Opus. Of course, what made her a superstar to ME was the fact that she starred in the film version of The Fantasticks several years ago. The movie got panned, but I freaking LOVE The Fantasticks and the fact that they cast JLK (who has dark curly hair) as Luisa made me feel that I, in my own dark curly hair crazy girl mind, was playing Luisa as well. She was lovely in the show, as was Shoshana Bean. David Rasche also was featured, and all I could think of whenever he came onstage was his stellar performance in the movie Bingo. (Remember that one??? A young boy moves when his football star dad is traded teams...and his trusty dog Bingo stops at nothing to find him...)

I enjoy seeing these random, small-scaled performances. Keep an eye out for more shows featured at the York, and, of course, on this shooting star Cheyenne Jackson!

Diana Rissetto

"The saddest thing in life..."

I just caught the last few minutes of the movie A Bronx Tale. Of course, this was a popular movie throughout my family when it first came out, as our last name ends in a vowel. (However, I am still yet to see a single episode of The Sopranos...)

The film ends with the young boy (played by an actor who, terribly enough, now faces murder charges for a cop's death) reminding us that, "The saddest thing in life is wasted talent..."

I feel like I am wasting my talent lately.

A bookstore is one of the saddest places that a writer could possibly work at. You can't really understand that until you've been there. While there is one side that goes, "A BOOKSTORE! I get to be surrounded by books ALL DAY LONG! I get to read them when it's quiet, I get a 30% discount, I get to toss around literary references and the people that surround me will understand is the most heavenly place in the world to work!"

However, there is another side...a much darker, frustrating, depressing side.

Did you know that there's a thing that bookstores do when paperback books don't sell out?

They rip the covers off, send the covers with the barcodes back to the vendor...

and put all the coverless books in the dumpster. (We were allowed to take home strips, which was one positive.)

I remember the first time I had to strip a book. It wasn't even an important book, I believe it was a little Powerpuff Girls chapter book from the children's department. My hands absolutely SHOOK as I ripped the cover off. I knew it would be much less painless if I just tore it off (like ripping off a band-aid) but it was one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do.

I worked at the bookstore for five years, and probably stripped, roughly, seven thousands books. I brought home as many as I could, but I never got around to reading most of them. They accumulated in the trunk of my car, until last year when I got a flat tire and had to get at my spare. I finally emptied out my trunk, and the multitudes of strips, and started reading these random titles on the train and discovered some gems that I never would have read had I not had the compulsive desire to give these strips a home...

Back to being depressed...

I like to consider myself a writer...but am I, really?! I have several completed manuscripts in my possession, and I have no idea what I am supposed to do with them. I know what a special piece of me is in all of those works, and when you are in a place such as Barnes and Noble for as long as I am, being around all those books, seeing all the names of those authors that nobody will ever really hear of again...knowing the love and hard work they put into those books, only to have them stripped and, if they're lucky, be read by a sympathetic clerk.

And the worst part is realizing that you're not so special after all. While when I was in high school, my old English teacher would refer to me as "the next Danielle (Steel)"...but the bookstore is full of those. I'm no different from any of them, and it seems pointless to even try.

Then I remember that the "saddest thing in life is wasted talent."

What have I been accomplishing lately???

My last job was rather mundane. My salary was quite less than staggering. I answered phones. I stuffed envelopes. I picked up packages. I was barely using my talents there, except for my sparkling ability to brighten up environments and make people laugh. (What??? I'm allowed to acknowledge my strengths, right?)

Since I was fired ("let-go", but, does it matter how they put it? I was fired). I haven't been doing much. At all. I send out about 100 resumes a day. (Since I got Optimum last week, I am hoping to increase that to 400 resumes a day.) I got on interviews. I rip stockings. (And, last week, I also fell in the street and got my first skinned knee in about 15 years.) I watch TV, and remind myself that I'll never be as pathetic or disgusting as those girls on the Maury Povich show who need to test fifteen men before they find out who the father of their baby is. (Then I realize I am pretty pathetic for watching it!)

I want more.

Right now, a friend of mine is getting ready to star in a Broadway show. I had appointed myself his PR rep a few years ago, and like to take some credit for his current success. (Not really.) I am so happy for him, and so excited, and yet there is a part of me that doesn't want to be the girl who just gets excited for her talented and special friends.

I want people to start congratulating ME because I've done something great. I want to be able to tell people that my book will be on stands in February, or my play is finally being produced, or I've finally landed that reality show! (Whatever, if Ashlee Simpson gets one, why can't I?)

I'm tired, and I feel like I am getting old.

"The saddest thing in life is wasted talent. The saddest thing in life is wasted talent. The saddest thing in life is wasted talent. The saddest thing in life is wasted talent. The saddest thing in life is wasted talent."

Diana Rissetto