Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Story About a Racoon

I worked in a bookstore for a long time.

I remember when I embarked on my journey with Barnes and Noble when I was 18, and my sister commented, "You know, it's going to be really boring!"


I was there for over five years and there was absolutely never a dull moment...(and when there WERE dull moments I would hide in the corner and reread my favorite Judy Blume novels and relive my childhood...)

We had laughs.

We had tears.

And sometimes, we even have true disasters.

Like the racoon incident.

A racoon crawled into our receiving room and wasn't looking too hot. He (or she) curled-up and settled on the floor right next to the door.

Now, I was the only girl working at the store at the time, and some might also say that would have made me the only one with common sense.

When I heard the commotion about the sick racoon in the receiving room, I suggested that we call the ASPCA.

This was also the day of the big American Girl Tea Party. I was tied-up in the children's department, and wasn't sure what had happened to the racoon.

After the little girls left, I went-out into Big People Land to find out what happened to that sickly racoon.

Me: So...how's the racoon?
Male Coworker: Don't ASK.
Me: Did the ASPCA come?
Male Coworker: Uh, YEAH. And they RAN OVER IT.
Me: Wait, what?
Male Coworker: They came in their truck! And they pulled into receiving! And they just RAN OVER THE RACOON! And they get out of the car, and they go, "Where's the racoon?" and we said, "YOU JUST RAN HIM OVER!" And then they put him in a garbage bag and drove away.
Me: Oh, come on...you're kidding.
Male Coworker: Could I MAKE this up?

He wasn't.

The poor racoon had been run over and killed. The guys actually took it worse than I did, since they had witnessed the accident, while I was in the back of the store reading about Felicity and Molly.

Now, I know that this poor animal needed to be put out of his misery anyway...but that is definitely not the method I would have chosen.

I still think about that racoon.

Diana Rissetto

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Fly Free, Heath...

Cool breeze and autumn leaves
Slow motion daylight
A lone pair of watchful eyes
Oversee the living
Feel the presence all around
A tortured soul
A wound unhealing
NO regrets or promises
The past is gone
But you can still be free
If time will set you free

I feel like my family has been through a lot during my lifetime, and some of those experiences have left me somewhat jaded.

I am speaking mainly, of course, of the death of my father when I was a teenager. I also never knew either one of my grandmothers, and my grandfathers passed away when I was 5 and 10. When I was 11, my little cousin died after an accident, and right now, another cousin is in his 30's and is battling cancer.

I think this has all made me a bit tougher, and when somebody dies in their 80's or 90's, it is hard for me to really get upset, because I just think about how blessed they were to live such a long life...and in cases such as these, we should be celebrating their lives. I have actually had a few arguments with people over the years regarding this very topic. It is hard for me to look around and see people my age who still have both their parents and grew-up knowing their grandparents and even great-grandparents and not feel jealous or sad at what I don't have.

Which is why it surprises me that I should feel so sad over the death of a "public figure"...one that I, of course, didn't know and wasn't even a fan of.

I just know that every time I saw a picture of Heath Ledger's handsome young face since Tuesday, I have wanted to cry.

Time now to spread your wings
To take to flight
The life endeavor
Aim for the burning sun
You're trapped inside
But you can still be free
If time will set you free
But it's a long long way to go

I have been saddened by celebrity's deaths in the past. When Frank Sinatra passed away, I felt like a member of my family had died...perhaps a favorite great-uncle. Yes, he was old, but he had also been a part of my life for as long as I could remember...his voice was the background of all of our home movies.

John F. Kennedy, Jr. died a few months after my father died, and I was in a very very bad "life stinks" mentality already...add that to the fact that I am one of those girls who idolizes Jackie, so I've always had a fondness for John, Jr...and just to know these three young, promising people were gone so suddenly...I watched coverage on the news and cried for days.

(I still remember that John, Jr. montage with Sarah McClachlin's "I Will Remember You" playing in the background.)

I remember seeing John's face all over the place...and thinking, "He's DEAD. He is not alive anymore!" I'm having the same feelings about Heath.

Keep moving way up high
You see the light
It shines forever
Sail through the crimson skies
The purest light
The light that sets you free
If time will set you free

I really wasn't a fan of Heath Ledger. We watched 10 Things I Hate About You at my 18th birthday.I think that is the only movie of his that I have seen. (And, no, I have never even seen Brokeback Mountain.

It's not that I didn't like the guy, I just wasn't a fan. (Honestly, I mainly only follow actors who had their heyday about 30-40 years before I was born...so that's no refelction on Heath.)

However, he and I are around the same age. I remember when he first broke out on the scene about eight years ago. I remember people going gaga over him in high school.

(I even remember my mom calling me to tell me that, "There's some guy being interviewed on the Today Show right now...and he looks like your type...I think he's one of those actors you like..." Perhaps she thought so because he had curly hair.)

He was our age. He was our peer. And now suddenly, he is gone.

While we don't know exactly what caused Heath's death, I hope he finds all the peace that he was most likely unable to find on earth.

Sail through the wind and rain tonight
You're free to fly tonight
And you can still be free
If time will set you free
And going higher than mountain tops
And go high the wind won't stop
And go high
Free to fly tonight
Free to fly tonight

Diana Rissetto

Sunday, January 20, 2008

I needed a lazy day...

...and I spent that lazy day watching my favorite thing EVER from my childhood...

Faerie Tale Theatre.

I grew-up with this show.

I spent hours and hours watching them over and over. To this day, my sister and I can still quote most of them (looking at each other and saying, "Some...HAM?" and there are so many big-time stars that will forever be, first and foremost, Faerie Tale Theatre stars in my heart. (Ben Vereen! Susan Sarandon! Bernadette Peters! Matthew Broderick! Billy Crystal! And, of course, one of my favorite girls ever...Melissa Gilbert!)

In October 2004, an actor friend of mine (now a very very huge Broadway star with his picture all over the place and his own caricature in Sardis) performed at a benefit in Lincoln Center.

Some of the biggest names in theatre performed songs they made hits...Carol Lawrence of West Side Story did a medley...(nothing cuter than a 70-something year old woman skipping around singing "I Feel Pretty")...Jerry Orbach sang "Try To Remember" (which will FOREVER remain one of my most treasured theatre memories...since The Fantasticks is one of my all-time favorite shows, and because Jerry Orbach would be gone only two months later. I will absolutely never forget that...) Chita Rivera sang "America"...George Raitt sang "Hey There"...it was truly a remarkable night.

(Plus, Lincoln Center is simply just the most magical theatre in the world. South Pacific will be there in a few short months and I absolutely cannot wait for Matthew Morrison and Kelli O'Hara to take on that show. Cannot WAIT.)

So, we were at this completely wonderful show at Lincoln Center, and my friend came out with a bunch of other guys and did a number from The Full Monty. They came out in cop uniforms and stripped down to nothing and exited the stage. My friends were practically hanging-off the mezzanine and drooling...while I was pretty much hiding under my seat. It was like watching my older brother strip...I just couldn't do it.

After the show, my friends and I were talking to our actor friend, who told us, "Guess who is here! LAINIE KAZAN!"

One of my friends asked, "Who is that?"

I immediately responded with, "She was the Blue Fairy in Faerie Tale Theatre's version of Pinnochio!"

Our actor friend paused for a moment, and then, with an Italian accent, said, "A real...live...boy!"

Without missing a beat, we started quoting various Faerie Tale Theatre episodes left-and-right. Our other friends had absolutely no idea what was going on (they had never even HEARD of Faerie Tale Theatre!) as we imitated Rumplestiltskin's funky little walk (and mimicked, "Your firsborn child!") and my friend strummed an invisible ukelele, singing Snow White's Prince's song, "I sing in the valley...I sing in the woods...I sing for my true love all daaaaaaaaaay."

Faerie Tale Theatre
is just one of those things.

I find that people either have never even heard of it, or were completely enamored with it as children and, like myself, still know them by heart.

That winter, a miracle occured...Faerie Tale Theatre was released on DVD. $6.99 each for priceless childhood memories!!!!

My friend was also cast in his first original Broadway role, so I took the Snow White DVD and stuck it in a bouquet of flowers, writing "Love, ?" on the card...who ELSE would leave him flowers with a Faerie Tale Theatre DVD in it, after all? and left them backstage for him. (My friend and I laughed at the thought of him coming out after the show and going, "Diana! You'll never guess! I think SHELLY DUVALL was in the audience tonight and she left me flowers with a Faerie Tale Theatre DVD in them!")

I absolutely love Faerie Tale Theatre.

They premiered the year I was born, and all these years later, I find them every bit as delightful and funny and clever as I did as a child. (And, honestly, they snuck in MULTITUDES of adult jokes in those shows! So much goes over your heard when you are four-years-old...)

I love Faerie Tale Theatre.

I loved Faerie Tale Theatre when I was a child, and I continue to love it as an adult.

Shelly Duvall, thanks for the magic!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I feel like I need to make an official statement...

...regarding RENT announcing that it will close June 1st. It seems to be what "everybody" is doing this week, and I, like many, have a special connection to that show....

To days of inspiration,
Playing hookey, making something
Out of nothing, the need
To express to communicate,
To going against the grain,
Going insane,
Going mad

To loving tension, no pension
To more than one dimension,
To starving for attention,
Hating convention, hating pretension,
Not to mention of course,
Hating dear old mom and dad

To riding your bike
Midday past the three piece suits
To fruits, to no absolutes
To Absolut, to choice
To the Village Voice
To any passing fad

To being an us for once,
Instead of a them

La Vie Boheme

Okay, I was raised on Broadway showtunes. It's funny, because compared to most of my friends' parents, my parents were definitely always very very cool...and hip...and young. My dad was an athlete and quite a "guy's guy"...and my mother probably knows more current songs and artists than I do. (Not to mention, her wardrobe is probably trendier than mine as well.)

Yes, I grew-up with very cool parents. "Cool" and "love showtunes" are very rarely used in the same sentence.

Despite this, they both really LOVED Broadway showtunes. We would listen to their "American Music Theatre" CD collection (alternating with Frank Sinatra, of course) in the car on our trips from New York City to New Jersey. My sister had a Walkman...I didn't. I was soon sucked into the world of musical theatre...my sister was not.

By the time I was in the fourth grade, I knew just about every song on those albums. I also had already seen my first Broadway show (Peter Pan when I was 7)and many community theatre productions.

When I was growing-up, my musical theatre love centered around the classics...West Side Story, South Pacific, Carousel (which was my dad and my "show"...add that to the fact that is about a father who dies and comes back to guide his daughter and you can understand why I stay far, far away from it), The Sound of Music, Showboat, etc. etc. etc.

I like my musical theatre traditional...bright...big and bubbly!!!! I like dance numbers! Happy endings! Bright costumes! Rodgers and Hammerstein!

It wasn't until I was 18 that I fell in love with a show which was NOT written long before I was born. In fact, it debuted on Broadway in 1996, when I was in the 8th grade.


I was a freshman in college when I first saw this show. (A rather innocent college freshman at that. When Mimi was looking for her "stash", it took me a while to realize she was talking about drugs.)

It was loud. There were too many actors running around. I was in the mezzanine and had no idea what was going on for half of it.

I wasn't that impressed. I expected more from this show that I had been hearing about for so long.

However, I did promptly fall in love with two songs..."One Song Glory" and "I Should Tell You"...enough to buy the Original Broadway Cast Recording.

He Had The World At His Feet
In The Eyes Of A Young Girl
A Young Girl
Find Glory
Beyond The Cheap Colored Lights

Trusting Desire - Starting To Learn
Walking Through Fire Without A Burn
Clinging - A Shoulder, A Leap Begins
Stinging And Older, Asleep On Pins

Pretty soon, I knew the entire album by heart and when I saw the show for a second time, I was on the road to becoming a Renthead.

My second trip to the Nederlander Theatre was also the day that my mom spotted Sebastian Arcelus, then a new "swing" in the show, outside of the theatre and said, "Hey, there's the drug dealer! He was really cute! Go talk to him!"

(Now, how often does your mother encourage you to talk to a cute drug dealer? Sebastian would soon become one of my favorite "Broadway boys" of all-time. Talented and a wonderful guy who was able to all but two of the male roles in that show!)

Over the next two years, I would see Rent a total of nine more times.

525,600 minutes
525,000 moments so dear
525,600 minutes
how do you measure,
measure a year?
In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee

(I know that sounds extremely excessive...but seriously? It is not. There was this guy, the legendary "Joel" who saw the show, literally, ONE THOUSAND TIMES. To this day, Rent remains my most-seen show...All Shook Up, Aida, and Xanadu are all tied in second place with seven times each...I am pretty sure that Xanadu WILL surpass RENT...because Xanadu has glowsticks. And Cheyenne Jackson. And rollerskates and pink leg warmers!!)

Rent is, in a single word, special. It has often been said that Rent is for people who aren't into traditional musicals...however, I am clearly not one of those people. I LOVE my traditional, old-fashioned musicals...and somehow, Rent found itself a very special place in my heart.

I could go on forever about how touching it is...how the short life of Jonathan Larson should teach all of us to live our lives "no day but today"...that it brings out the starving urban artist in ALL of us...even those of us whose families moved us to the shelter of the suburbs. As much as we can't relate to those characters at all...at the same time, we can completely relate to them...if that makes any sense at all. (It doesn't, does it?)

The fact that it won't be THERE anymore just makes me sad. I was a child when that show premiered, and now I'm an adult! That is a scary enough thought...and that show was there for me during that weird transitional period.

I leave you all with a funny Rent story from five years ago.

I was interning with Students, Live! and we were working with Rent. After the show, one of the students came up to me and said,what I THOUGHT, was "The show was really great!"

I nodded and said, "I KNOW!" and walked away.

My friend said, "You realize that she just said, 'You were really great!' and you responded by saying, 'I KNOW!' and walking away????"


I had been mistaken for crack-addict-exotic-dancer-Latina Mimi Marquez. (All petite women with curly hair look alike to some.)

Thank you, Rent, for twelve wonderful years.

goodbye love
goodbye love
came to say goodbye love goodbye
just came to say goodbye love
goodbye love goodbye love goodbye love

Thank you, Jonathan Larson.

Diana Rissetto

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Who's THAT being immortalized in Sardis???

One of my very favorite guys, Cheyenne Jackson, and his lovely co-star, Kerry Butler.


Diana Rissetto

Friday, January 11, 2008

"You must do what you think you cannot do..."

A couple of months ago, I lost a job. It utterly devestated me, and I didn't exactly react in the most graceful way (to put it extremely, extremely lightly) when I got the axe.

In fact, I was a raving lunatic...but I was promptly okay in a few hours.

And I am definitely okay now...even though I still cringe whenever I hear the name of that company, or even think about my time there, because everything is such a tainted memory now.

(I am a drama queen. Deal with it.)

Yesterday, I jumped at the chance to run an errand (something I really enjoy doing on those beautiful 60-degree January afternoons!!!!) for my new job.

And then I heard the address I had to go to and I almost threw-up.

It was the building which I used to work in.

I quickly relayed the story about what had happened to my coworker, and he said, "Who cares...you have a new job now...hold your head-up high!"

I walked out taking his advice, and as I walked downtown, I made two phonecalls...one to my friend Lori and one to my mother.

(I needed moral support.)

They assured me that I could do it. I trusted them.

Now, most girls are able to "hide behind" their hair when they are trying to avoid people they don't want to see. I can't do that. I have never been able to do that. My hair is my one distinguishable feature. My hair is the one thing that people remember about me. I am "that girl with all the curly brown hair." My friends and family use my hair to find me in a crowd when we get separated. It is my signature...and that is fine...but sometimes I wish I was able to hide behind it.

Like yesterday.

I needed a hat.

I needed a straightening iron.

I needed to hide.

I needed to get in-and-out of that building without anybody seeing me.

The doorman recognized me right away. Why wouldn't he? I was the bubbly, chippper girl with the curly hair that he saw every day for four months! I babbled, barely stopping, "Iusedtoworkherebutimjustherenowtodropsomethingofftoanothercompanyillberightdown!"

He looked confused and told me to go.

It was lunchtime. I could not take that elevator. Could NOT. I would certainly run into former coworkers, or worse, the women who had "released" me and witnessed my less-than graceful exit.

So, I took the stairs.

All eight flights.

And I went to the other office.

And then I took the stairs down again.

All eight flights.

I tried to escape through the fast food restaurant attached to the building instead of using the main exit. I was doing to well not seeing anybody, I couldn't blow my cover now.

But the door to the fast food restaurant was locked and I banged my face against the glass in my attempt to rush-out.

(I haven't gone NEAR fast food in years and years. Drastic times call for drastic measures.)

I realized that my best bet was to dart-out the main exit. I sprinted, called out goodbye to the very very confused doorman and didn't relax until I turned the corner.

And then I realized something...

I had done it.

I had faced my fears...and I was okay. In the grand scheme of things, what happened to me in that building two months ago means very, very little. Life absolutely goes on, and will continue to do so.

It was a bit of a "Josie Geller/Never Been Kissed" moment. Things ended-up working out for Josie, despite the heartbreaking disasters in her past, and things will end-up working out for me.

(I'm yet to meet that dashing young English teacher though...)

Diana Rissetto

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

I don't like goodbyes...

Saying goodbye, going away
Seems like goodbye's such a hard thing to say
Touching a hand, wondering why
It's time for saying goodbye

I really hate saying goodbye. I hate saying goodbye to ANYBODY. I think it runs in the family. When my dad was a kid, his older sister joined a convent. (She is still in a convent...she and the other nuns run a cheese factory. I am sure you think I am making that up, but I absolutely am not. Seriously.) I think my dad was 8 and Aunt Mary Anne was 18. She left, and then my dad would only see her about once a year for the rest of his life.

Because he had to say goodbye to his older sister at such a young age, my dad never liked goodbyes. When my my sister left for college, my dad barely even said goodbye to her.

I am the same way.

I hate it.

I don't care WHO I am saying goodbye to.

I don't care how long I have known them, or even how much I like them.

I just absolutely hate it.

When I finally gave my notice at Barnes and Noble after five years of service, I did so with a great deal of sadness. I was LEAVING this place I had worked at for FIVE YEARS of my life. I didn't even give my notice in person...I wrote a long, handwritten, sappy letter saying that I wished I could stay there forever, but it was really time to move on and left the note in the schedule box.

And, there was a slight mix-up and I never got any kind of a goodbye party. Or a cake. Or a card.

(A recap: http://dianagolightly.blogspot.com/2007/08/i-was-once-curly-haired-girl-who-knew.html)

I was slightly devestated that I didn't get any fanfare as I ended by time at that store.

I started thinking...was I going to be missed? Did my coworkers and the customers like me as much as I liked them? Would they even notice that I was gone?

The answer, I decided, was no...which made me want to cry!

Saying goodbye, why is it sad?
Makes us remember the good times we've had
Much more to say, foolish to try
It's time for saying goodbye

I think I just thoroughly HATE change. I LIKE for things to stay the same. I want everything to stay exactly the same way all the time and I don't want anything or anyBODY to change. Ever. Ever. Ever. It's a terribly juvenile way of looking at things, but I am being completely honest here.

When my family moved from New York City to New Jersey when I was in the 4th grade, I tried my absolute best to keep in touch with all of my friends. This was before email! So we wrote letters! Stamps, stationary, the works! I wanted to stay in touch with every single kid in my class...even the ones I didn't like! I couldn't let them forget me!

While I managed to stay in touch with Daniela Bumbaca (and I am writing her name in case she googles herself and finds this and then we can renew our friendship!) until the 8th grade or so, I learned that most fourth-graders don't like writing letters.

So, I lost touch with them all.

Dont want to leave, but we both know
Sometimes it's better to go

When I first entered college, I started out at Allentown College of St. Francis DeSales. I really wanted a small Catholic school, which this definitely was, with a lot of nice, warm people. However, I was miserable. And left after a semester...but part of me was so desperate to leave right THEN because I knew if I "stuck it out" and stayed for the whole year, I'd end up staying just because I wouldn't want to say my goodbyes!

I like to look on the bright sides of things. In 2007, I lost two jobs quite suddenly. Now, this meant that I never had to say my goodbyes! Just very uncomfortable phonecalls and emails to former coworkers/friends the next morning. Things DO work out in odd ways sometimes.

And, of course, there is that slightly morbid sense that whenever you DO say goodbye to somebody, even if it's just until the next day, it really MIGHT be the last time you ever say goodbye to them. After September 11, I started making an effort to include "I Love You" with "goodbye" whenever possible. (To friends and relatives. Not telemarketers.)

Somehow I know we'll meet again
Not sure quite where, and I dont know just when
You're in my heart, so until then
Wanna smile, wanna cry
Saying goodbye

I guess nobody really likes saying goodbyes...I mean, if the MUPPETS don't...

La la la la la la la la
It's time for saying goodbye

Diana Rissetto

Saturday, January 5, 2008

How To Look Good Naked

It is no secret that I LOVE my Lifetime. (I was going to be really dorky and make my New Year's resolution to stop WATCHING so much Lifetime and start LIVING more of my OWN lifetime...then I realize how a) cheesy that is and b) how very unattainable it would be.)

I really can't even count how many rainy or snowy or cold afternoons that my mom and I spent watching television melodrama after television melodrama. "Valerie Bertinelli Sunday"..."Give Me Back My Baby! Saturday." We even watched Lifetime the morning of my sister's wedding...Patty Duke's beautiful teenage daughter is murdered by her jealous/frumpy teen mom best friend, and then the best friend moves IN with Patty Duke and gets really close to her and pretends she is trying to find the killer with her...and the mother never suspects a thing! Until the very end! It was a really happy, uplifting movie to begin something as major as a wedding day. Certainly. Oooh, and there's also another really good one with Patty Duke and Melissa Gilbert...Melissa Gilbert is an adoptee who needs to find her biological parents to get her medical history before she can get an operation that will save her life! And then she finds her mom, played by Patty Duke, who screams-out, in the rain, "I don't KNOW who your father was! I was raped!" Together, they go on a journey to find Mel's biological dad. Good good good stuff.)

(When I entered Project Greenlight seven years ago, my screenplay got pretty good feedback...one review said that it was too much like a Lifetime movie...okay, THAT is supposed to be a BAD thing? That is the best thing you could have said to me, random person!!!!!)

Lifetime is a fun place. It is also full of Golden Girls and Reba reruns. (I love Reba. I wish she was my aunt or neighbor or something...we would have so much fun together.) And, hopefully soon, it will ALSO be the home to Family Practice, a new hour-long drama starring Beau Bridges, Ann Archer and some guy named Cheyenne Jackson (ever hear of him???)

This morning, I was watching Lifetime, as I do most lazy Saturday mornings, and tuned into How To Look Better Naked.

I am in love with this show.

I was never really a Queer Eye for the Straight Guy fan (I know, that's probably a surprise to most people about me...but I think I probably just have enough funny gay men in my life that I don't need to watch a show about five of them.), but I am already a fan of Carson's just from this one episode of How To Look Good Naked that I have watched. In this show, he takes a woman who doesn't feel so great about herself and brings her on a journey to self-acceptance. He just comes off as so warm and kind and sweet.

I cried! I cried when the girl felt good about herself because Carson helped her pick-out a nice bra and underwear set and they ran through the rest of the store together! I cried when they revealed a billboard of this girl showing a lot of skin and another woman commented that she was hot and the girl gave her a big hug! I cried when she thanked and hugged Carson at the end! It was so touching! I WILL be watching every week!

Without getting on a complete soapbox (I could just go drag-out the very long paper on body image that I wrote for one of my Communication courses in college, but that paper was really boring and had a lot of studies in it), I would just like to say that I honestly hate it that so many women are so insecure with the way they look! And it is no wonder WHY. I clearly remember when Alicia Silverstone gained a little weight when Batman and Robin came out (I think it was considered the worst Batman movie yet, but Chris O'Donnell will forever remain my first big movie star crush), and there were headlines all over saying, "Batman and Fatgirl", "Look out Batman! Here comes Buttgirl!" and that she was more Babe(you know, the pig) than "babe."

(It is really weird that I remember this...it was more than ten years ago. I guess it made quite an impression on me.)

I also remember when I used to read YM and Seventeen Magazine when I was a kid. There would be ads for weight-loss products in these magazines, with a smiling teenage girl saying, "I was fat and now I'm the homecoming queen and I have a bikini for every day of the week!"

Amazing how magazines that would include articles on health, eating disorders, exercising, and self-confidence would include such advertisements. The most classic example of putting money before the well-being of their audience, in this case, very impressionable teenage girls. I wonder if they still do that. I'll thumb through an issue the next time I'm in the bookstore. Shame on them if they do.

I think it's all really sad, and as uplifting and touching and great as this new Lifetime show is, the fact that it needs to exist at all is even sadder. Do THAT many women feel badly about their bodies that there needs to be a whole television show dedicated to them gaining confidence? (Well, there are shows for everything these days. Scott Baio is 46 and Single, anybody? Corey Feldman and Corey Haims take Over the World or whatever the heck that one was called...the Gotti Grandchildren...)

Every so often, however, a reality show comes along that is just worth watching. Nothing will take Dancing with the Stars' #1 spot in my heart, but I think How To Look Good Naked just might come in a steady second.

Leave it to Lifetime to produce a winner. Lifetime can do anything.

Diana Rissetto

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

I saw Atonement today...

...fine, fine film and I still have the chills from the last scene.

I would like to comment that I found James McAvoy positively adorable when he was Tumnus the Faun in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe two years ago.

And, call me crazy, but Mr. McAvoy is even dreamier as a World War II soldier than he is a "half-man/half-goatlike thing".

Who knew!

"It's gonna be a Happy New Year..."

It has been my observation that I have better years when they end in an even number.

The odd-numbered ones haven't been so wonderful.

My theory is illustrated beginning in 1999. Now, as some of you might now, that is the year that my dad died, and remains the worst thing I have ever gone through. A few months after my dad died, John F. Kennedy, Jr. and his wife and sister-in-law were all killed, and as I watched the coverage and kept seeing their young, lovely faces, and I kept thinking, "Okay, 1999 has just been awful. End already! Bring on the new millenium NOW!" (Of course, I did not know John, Carolyn or Lauren...but I am one of those really obnoxious "I Love Jackie O." kinda girls.)

2000 was actually quite good. Senior year of high school was a fun one...and on graduation day, I was pretty sad because just when I was feeling happier about things, they had to end.

2001 will forever be remembered for one thing only, and I will never be able to hear "2001" without placing "September 11" before that.

Hmmm...now I need to work backwards...

2007...rough rough rough year. I was laid-off from a job that meant a great deal to me in March. (One week before my birthday! Happy Birthday, Di!) That set me down another stressful jobhunt, which brought me a lot of (very familiar) feelings of insecurity and self-doubt.

2006...I got that job that had meant so much to me in March of 2006. This absolutely made everything better. I even went to the Tony Awards with this job!

2005-Total year of an absolute nightmare jobhunt.

2004-A very good year! I graduated college! I was so enthusiastic and ready for whatever was next!

Honestly? Don't really remember what happened in 2003. It couldn't have been THAT bad, because that was the year I had my first New York City theatre internship...

However, I think I am sensing a pattern, so all I can say is...

BRING ON 2008!!!!!!!!!!!

Some resolutions:

-To be happy. My sister's father-in-law, a Vietnam vet, recently said, "As long as nobody is shooting at you, then you're doing okay." I think that's an absolutely brilliant way of looking at things. NOTHING can ever be THAT bad.

-To stop picking my nail polish off or to simply, not WEAR any nail polish. There is something oddly oddly satisfying about being able to peel your nail polish off in one swift move. I need to stop that. It looks messy. It leaves shavings of nail polish all over the place. It might even be a fire hazard somewhere. (Maybe?) No more picking nail polish!

-On a similar note, I did very well with last year's resolution of not buying makeup just because I like the name of the shade.

-Read more! And read quality books! I feel like I used to read a book a day. When did that change? I shall look at my commute as extremely valuable reading time! Today I bought Atonement (I saw the movie tonight...wish I had read the book first) and The Hidden Life of Otto Frank, which I never read cover-to-cover, just snippets in the breakroom when I worked at the bookstore.

-Even more importantly...WRITE MORE! And DO more with that writing once it is done! In April, a show I cowrote will be produced. This is a huge huge huge (when did I become Eloise?) first step and I plan on looking at it as just the beginning.

-I'm going to eat better. I have a crazy schedule. And when things get crazy, I get thin. Not because I'm not EATING...but because I run around like a lunatic and eat really weird stuff. Like, I'll have eight cups of strawberry green tea (so good! so so so so good! For all those who don't like green tea, this is SO not your typical green tea) and then a frozen organic macaroni and soy cheese for dinner at 9:30 PM. Not good. Three solid meals, Diana! Three solid meals!!!!

Happy, happy New Year.

Diana Rissetto

As we travel along...

In April 2008, I went to see a musical that, in its own delightful way, changed my life.

The Drowsy Chaperone.

I remember leaving the theatre with my friend and now writing-partner, Lori Mooney, and practically dancing in the street because the show was just so infectious.

Yes, this show had Sutton Foster (I would give Sutton Foster ten Tony awards if all she did was sit at the edge of the stage and paint her toenails), but, most importantly, it was the most inspirational show I had ever seen! (After In My Life, the touching tale of a young man with Tourettes Syndrome who falls in love with a girl with OCD...after his mother and sister are killed in a car accident...and the two of them dance around in Heaven and look down at our hero. Nothing could top that one.)

The Drowsy Chaperone centers around a Man in a Chair...we never learn his name...who seems to live a solitary life, and he invites the audience to join him as he listens to a record of his favorite musical...a 1920's show called The Drowsy Chaperone.

The musical comes to live in his kitchen, and the narrator's face lights-up like a little kid as he watches the story unfold, almost like he's watching it for the first time...even though he knows it by heart.

Towards the end, the Man in the Chair says, "So, that was The Drowsy Chaperone. I love it so much...I know it's not the most perfect show...but it does what a musical is supposed to do...it takes you to another world, and it gives you a little tune to carry in your head for when you're feeling blue..."

If we're lucky enough, we all have our own Drowsy Chaperone. It reminded me of my love for The Fantasticks...which is really a very very silly and dopey show...but lifts my spirit and reawakens the hopeless romantic in me and makes me fall in love with it every time I listen to it or see another community theatre production of it.

(Funny story...last year, I was doing "The Run" for my last job, and was stopped outside of the Marriot Marquis. A woman asked me if I wanted free tickets to see a Broadway show...and all I had to do was have my picture taken with a member of the cast!" I said, "Why the HECK not!" and Jennifer Smith, who played Kitty in the show, handed me a big bag of Starbucks coffee. They snapped our picture and handed me two free tickets to see Drowsy...it would be my fourth time.)

(I never thought I would see the show without writer and star, Bob Martin, but leave it to Jonathan Crombie, GILBERT OF THE ANNE OF GREEN GABLES TRILOGY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, to bring me back.)

Two days ago, The Drowsy Chaperone closed, and I think Broadway is one great star dimmer.

Thank you, Bob Martin, for helping me realize how important it is for me to create something that could touch others.

Diana Rissetto

Williamsburg Virginia and Battle Reenactments

Last year, I had an interview with a very nice woman at the New York Historical Society for a job. When I applied for that one, I wrote in my cover letter that I really loved Williamsburg, Virginia and often dragged my friends to battle reenactments.

When the lady called me for the interview, she said that she really loved my sense of humor in my cover letter (I get a lot of compliments on my cover letters. I should teach a seminar!)...to which I almost replied, "Who's being funny? I really DO love battle reenactments and Williamsburg, Virginia!" (My dad and I used to go to the Battle of Monmouth reenactment. They would, magically, always pick the hottest weekend of the summer for that one.)

It sounded like a fun job...included making MySpace profiles for historical figures. (I told my friend about it later on, and she said, "So, if I get a Friend Request from Betsy Ross it means you got the job???")

(I didn't get the job. But I DO love the New York Historical Society now.)

In fact, I love history.

Or do I, really?

At that interview, the lady asked me, "So, you're a big history buff?"

To which I resplied, "Why, yes, I am!"

But...I don't think I really AM. I loved the American Girl dolls and books when I was a kid. I still watch Little House reruns. And, my gosh, Tom Brokaw's Greatest Generation books are PURE HEAVEN. I enjoy the History Channel, and I always did well in history class in school. (I think my photographic memory has something to do with that.)

However, I don't think I'm really and truly into history...but more so, the fact that people existed years ago, just as people exist now...and while so many things have changed, the things that truly matter never will. Emotions and relationships and feelings of people that lived two hundred years ago aren't so different from my own.

When I was a kid (around 11 or 12), my family and I went to an antique shop one Saturday afternoon.

My favorite purchase of the day?

A really big, framed portrait of a soldier.

A completely random soldier.

I am honestly not sure which war this soldier was from...just a black-and-white portrait of a handsome, clean-cut young man in a soldier's uniform.

I hung it on my bedroom wall. It stayed there for years. My friend Raquel would come over and ask me to turn it around because it freaked her out.

It didn't freak ME out though...I loved my unknown soldier. I loved thinking that he was a REAL person...he lived a life! He had a childhood! He had hopes and fears and dreams! He was loved by his family and friends!

And I wondered if he survived the war, and how this big framed photo ended up in an antique shop. And perhaps he was even still alive!

(Maybe I should scan the picture and try to find the guy's family on Craigslist. Hmmm...)

I remember in the 9th grade, when we learned about World War I. A boy in my class was protesting the grade he got on an essay test, and he argued with Mr.Overton, "BUT I MENTIONED SOPHIE!"

Ah, yes, Sophie. The wife of Archduke Francis Ferdinand, who was murdered along with her husband and triggered World War I.

Truthfully, that is really the only thing I remember about 9th grade history. One day, my mother, sister and I started talking about that...and my mom said, "Isn't it funny that we all remember Archduke Francis Ferdinand and his wife Sophie?"

I am sure a true history buff would be able to tell you all about that war. I can't.

Recently, I found a book I had read and loved a few years ago...War Letters by Andrew Carroll and brought it along to reread on the train.

This book covers wars from the Civil to the first Persian Gulf War. I absolutely ate that book up. This isn't a history book...this is a human interest book. My favorite letters, of course, are the World War II ones...I have always been absolutely in love with the 1940's and felt like I was born about fifty years too late.

The letters that move me the most are the ones that go back-and-forth between a young husband and wife...only to be told by italicized words at the very end "Mitch was killed before Sue received this letters..."

It's things like that which truly humanize war for me. When 9/11 happened, I remember completely connecting with a girl on The Today Show...she was a few years older than I was...and her boyfriend and brother were both working in the World Trade Center that day and neither had been found yet. I remember, "What's the difference between myself or my friends and that girl?"

All of these soldiers and "victims"...they were human beings with lives before all of that. And, like my soldier on the wall, was a REAL person and lived a life...and had a childhood...and had hopes and fears and dreams...and was loved by their family and friends.

I might book a trip to Williamsburg Virginia soon.

Diana Rissetto