Thursday, November 13, 2008

That's my boy...

Cheyenne Jackson is one of my favorite people to watch onstage, and also happens to be one of my favorite people in the world off-stage. I absolutely love this guy, and watching him rise from obscure random chorus boy slash understudy (to Gavin Creel. See the Creel and Cincotti entry.) to huge superstar has been quite surreal. (I think his Facebook pages speaks for itself. He can write, "Cheyenne Jackson Drank a Snapple" as his status and get about seventy-five responses.)

Last spring, I bought a few copies of The Advocate because Cheyenne was on the cover, and this month, it looks like I will be buying Out.

Cheyenne is featured as Out Entertainer of the Year!!!!

One of the loveliest people you will ever meet, inside and out!



Is Cheyenne Jackson the man we've all been waiting for? Handsome and talented, able to seduce audiences of all genders and ages, he's the elusive figure with the potential to demolish the theory that an out actor can't get plum roles. Most recently he starred in Broadway's hilarious surprise hit Xanadu, which closed in September after 513 performfances ("That's 512 more than anyone thought we'd do," he says). Jackson is definitely not a privately tortured leading man like Rock Hudson—who, incidentally, Jackson says he would like to portray: "Tony Roberts, who I worked with the last 15 months in Xanadu, knew Rock Hudson and said that I reminded him of Rock, and that resonated with me.

I think it would be a good marriage of subject and actor." Neither is Jackson the openly disaffected would-be leading man, like Rupert Everett. "The only way I know how to be is me," he says of his singular potential as an actor. With an album in the works, an upcoming TV tryst with one very lucky Lindsay Price on Lipstick Jungle, and hidden talents yet to be revealed, we should all be paying very close attention.

Diana Rissetto

Creel and Cincotti...

Being in New York City and working in the entertainment industry, one has to learn to be able to just pass a celebrity with nothing more than a casual glance.

(Actually, I also learned this lesson living in Monmouth County, New Jersey. Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen live in the area, and they would both frequently come into my bookstore to shop.)

I have gotten pretty good at doing that.

Besides, there aren't many "celebrities" that I would get truly starstruck or nervous around...and the ones that I would are either no longer living (I can't help parents brainwashed me with black-and-white movies when I was a child) or are living, but a bit on the random side.

(Like Tom Brokaw. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be able to make eye contact with Tom Brokaw.)

However, I had a moment at the Gavin Creel and Shayna Steel concert last week and was able to go up to somebody and ramble incessantly about what a huge fan I was of their work. I can't remember the last time I did that.

(Sidenote...that Gavin Creel is amazing. I first took notice of him, of course, when he played Jimmy in Thoroughly Modern Millie six years ago. One of the most glorious voices I have ever heard, and he couldn't be cuter if he was an orphan with a limp. Seriously. And the movie Eloise at Christmas has been my guilty pleasure holiday favorite...whatever, I have about 90 guilty pleasure holiday favorites...since it first premiered. Gavin plays Eloise's best friend Bill, and he dances around on the piano and then dances around the snow and he is positively enchanting. Love Gavin Creel. Love love love.)

I almost didn't go to this concert, because sometimes pajamas and Ugly Betty seem really really appealing on a Thursday evening.

But...oh, am I glad I ended-up going.

It would obviously take a lot to distract me while Gavin Creel was onstage performing.

One of those very few things that would be able to distract me while Gavin Creel was onstage performing (sorry, Gavin) would be...

Knowing that Peter Cincotti was sitting directly behind me.

I have been a fan of this kid since I was a freshman in college. He is a year younger than me, and released his first album when he was just eighteen. I definitely regard him as one of the most talented musicians that our generation has produced.

A velvet voice, magical piano hands (a close second to watching Harry Connick, Jr. bang that piano. And for those who know me know that "close second to Harry Connick, Jr." is not a term I throw around lightly), and the music...oh, the music. Every so often, I find songs that I enjoy reading the lyrics almost as much as I enjoy listening to. (Duncan Sheik was number 1 on that list for a while, but got bumped to number 2 by the young Mr. Cincotti.)

He's great.

Honestly, honestly, honestly, just GREAT. So much talent in one young guy.

Now, I threw aside my "just give a celebrity a casual nod" rule for Mr. Cincotti...because I realized that he, crazily enough, isn't considered a celebrity by a lot of people. In fact, it didn't seem like anybody else at that concert recognized him besides me.

Most normal people would just go up to their favorite singer and tell them, "I really enjoy your work"...but when did I ever claim to be normal?

Anybody can tell somebody that there stuff is great...but I think it takes a special kind of (delightful!) weirdo to tell an entertainer:

"I really wish you had a Christmas album. If you came-out with a Christmas album, I would probably listen to nothing but you all year! And now it's November, so I really can't listen to you until after New Year's...and that just makes me SAD!"

(I am a total Christmas FREAK. I am one of those really annoying people that have to watch every single Christmas movie...classics and cheesy Lifetime holiday films alike...and I will never understand people who are not able to get swept away in the me to tell somebody that it's a total calamity that they do not have a Christmas album is the most ultimate compliment.)

"I can't believe you are not selling-out Radio City Music Hall yet. No, really, I mean that!"

(Radio City Music Hall is huge! Radio City Music Hall sits 6,000 people! Another ultimate compliment, Mr. Cincotti!)

"Anybody who has ever been in my car with me has been forced to listen to you!" (That kinda sounds like a backhanded compliment, doesn't it?)

Peter Cincotti kept hitting me on the shoulder and laughing. He was either very uncomfortable or very amused (or perhaps both!)

He asked me if I was there checking out the concert...which made me worry that he thought I saw him go inside and followed him off the street..."No, really, I have been a big fan of Gavin's for years! Quiz me! Ask me who was his understudy in Thoroughly Modern Millie!" (which was, of course, one of my very favorite guys, Cheyenne Jackson!)

Seriously...though...what an incredibly talented kid (and I can call him a kid because he's a year younger than me.)

(And when he finally DOES release a holiday album, I expect to be thanked in the linear notes.)

Diana Rissetto

Scary stuff...

After I graduated from college, it took me almost two years to find a full-time "real" job (I would later learn that no matter what ANYBODY said, working at Barnes and Noble was, indeed, a real job, and a pretty difficult and stressful one at that...seriously, work retail for five Hermione at a Harry Potter Midnight Madness Release in charge of the children's department on a rainy Saturday afternoon...and you can handle absolutely ANYTHING that life throws at you. I know that now. People who have only worked at desk jobs will never get it.)

I absolutely began to measure my life's worth by the fact that I didn't have that "real" job I was looking so hard for. Old friends and teachers from high school and college would stop by the bookstore, see me working there, and question why I was "still there"...since I had a college degree. I started to hide when people I knew came in. I was embarrassed. I was ashamed. I felt like I had fallen so far behind everybody else.

And then I got a "real job." I loved my "real job." I did everything I was told, took ever demeaning order with a smile on my face, and then I lost that "real job", one rainy March afternoon.

(It's been nearly two years, and I still wish that I had that all on video tape. I was walking down 42nd Street, in the pouring rain, hysterically crying, juggling all my junk from my desk, and had tickets to see Les Miserables that night. I am pretty sure it does not get more pathetic than that.)

I would be lying if I said that I still wasn't a bit hurt from that entire experience.

I have seen my old boss, the one who sadly told me my job was being eliminated and watched me pack-up my desk...I could tell he felt bad. He didn't want to do it. He really did like me. But somebody had to go...and I was the last person they added to the I was the first one to get the axe.

Somehow, that thought didn't make it hurt any less.

Every time I WOULD see this boss, I would barely be able to make eye contact with him, even though he'd always attempt to give me a warm hello and ask me how I was doing. Seeing him just brought back too many sad memories, and I'd automatically just picture that pitiful young woman walking down the street in the pouring rain that day.

I saw him in the street last week, and I told myself, "I'm turning over a new leaf! I am going to give him a very cheery hello!"

I called-out, "Hello, (Former Boss' First Name)!" right in the middle of 8th Avenue where anybody could have seen me.

I was so proud of myself! I felt had I had come a long way.

It wasn't my boss.

(However, since he did have a very common first name, there's a good chance that random man actually DID have that name.)

It's the thought that counts after all, isn't it?

Over the past couple of months, a numerous amount of my friends have lost their jobs.

Some are taking it amazingly well (much better than I did). Others are not.

I am realizing that it is nothing hard as it is not to take it personally. When my boss told me I no longer had a job, it was impossible not to take it personally. "You have known me for a year. You have seen me five days a week for eight hours a day. And now you're telling me I have to leave and never come back."

It really does happen to everybody at some point, but I am finding all these lay-offs absolutely terrifying. I have always been a believer that "things happen for a reason"...but when everybody is getting laid-off, where exactly do you find another job?

I must keep repeating to myself what I wish I had known as a new graduate...a job is just a job. They come and go. At the end of the day, all that really DOES matter is that you're a good person, with friends and interests and dreams...and none of that can be contained in a cubicle.

Diana Rissetto