Thursday, October 27, 2011

More on karma...

Okay, I had a rough few weeks.

I decided to do something that felt like a very nice gesture and would increase my good energy.

I made a list of everybody I had any kind of an issue with...it didn't matter what kind of an issue it was. It didn't matter if that issue was only in my head and that they probably didn't even remember who I was.

That list turned-out to be very short (maybe my good energy is already pretty good?) and I wrote-out very nice greeting cards to all of them.

I put them in the mail and tried not to imagine them being confused or even rolling their eyes.

I pictured them opening the cards and thinking, "Wow. That's really nice. I'm going to do a random nice gesture for an unexpecting person now!"

A few days after I mailed that card, an act of kindness and generosity from one of those people came right back to me, and I took it as a sign that everything was now turning around (it's been a really rough year for me personally). It was a very small gesture...this person wasn't offering me a new job or giving me money to fund a play...but it was still a major one.

And then I was told that nice gesture was actually a mistake and, just like that, it was taken away from me.

I felt crushed...absolutely crushed...and so confused as to exactly how this universe works.

Doesn't anybody appreciate kindness and care about others' feelings...or am I completely alone on THAT list?

I was hurting, and I am confused and I am really ready to see good things start to happen for good people. This year has been rough. I copied a quote about how true success means you go from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm. I hope I'm doing that and I hope it's true.

You know, you just have to keep going, because you never know when something really wonderful is going to happen. Maybe that karma is still on its way and maybe that good energy I sent out wasn't about getting anything back in return at all.

Diana Rissetto

How Deep is the Ocean

Last week,  I was lucky enough to be able to attend something I have been hoping would happen for several years...

A Peter Cincotti musical.

For those who have been reading this blog since its start, you'll know I am a huge fan of this young man and am always extremely confused when I have to explain to people who he is. We live in a world where Snookie is a New York Times best-selling author (OH COME ON!) and Peter is still playing to modest crowds? Really? Really?

(Ends the rant of our struggling, unemployed young writer...)

It should be no surprise that some serious talent runs in the Cincotti family, as Peter wrote this show with his sister, Pia Cincotti. (Pia also helped write a bunch of Peter's songs.) Collaborating on musicals is a tricky, emotional thing (learned that firsthand several years ago) and I'm glad the Cincotti kids were able to team-up and work-together. (I'm sure there are different rules when siblings become co-writers. You can openly fight and disagree and yell at each other...but still have to love each other and speak after it all.)

The musical took place in Monmouth Beach, NJ. My family moved from New York City to Monmouth County when I was a kid, so I was able to appreciate so many of the references that I never thought would be sung about on stage. (Sally Tee's Grille...Max's Hot Dogs...Strollo's Italian Ice...West End, NJ...which spans about four blocks and where my church is.)

The premise was over-the-top and ridiculous and along the lines of the Broadway hit Urinetown. A pool man is obsessed with chlorine...it takes over his life and nearly ruins his relationship with his wife through a comedy of errors. (Don't worry...there's a happy ending.)

Being so familiar with Peter's music, I found that the music in this project really showcase how versatile and talented he is. Peter played onstage during the reading and watching him was as entertaining as paying attention to the cast. He was so into the music, mouthing along, hands flying across his piano. (He needed to tune it at one point...ah, live theatre.)

(I've sat in audiences at my own productions in the past and I know what that feels like. Since I usually write comedy, I am always praying to myself. Laugh. Laugh. PLEASE GOD MAKE THEM LAUGH. I remember stressing over, "But what if they don't laugh?" before a show once and my friend texted back with, "But wouldn't it be worse if you wrote a drama and everybody cracked-up?" It probably would.)

There is also a number which mentions prosciutto repeatedly, which made me laugh because I had a joke about prosciutto in my play Pigeons, Knishes and Rockettes which was removed because nobody apparently found it funny but me! (I still think it's funny...)

The evening featured a talkback with Pia, Peter, the director and cast of the reading. Pia talked about how she started writing this as a short story then a novel, but realized she was better-suited for plays because she had problems with grammar. (I had the very same experience! I realized I was made to write dialogue and not much else.) Peter said that Pia was on his back for several years to finally start working on this project.  Ever the gracious artists, they took one man's critical commentary with class, thanking him for the good points he brought-up. (He compared the show to The Book of Mormon, saying it wasn't as tight book-and-music wise. Oh, COME ON.)

(I was also happy to find the cast included Jason Collins, who appeared in the most beautiful musical at the YMCA two years ago, Signs of Life. )

My main gripe for the evening? Every single time I laughed...whether it be with everybody else or at a random moment, since I have a habit of giving a very loud "HA!" at things that nobody else finds nearly as hilarious...the young girl in front of me...and she was quite young!...would turn around and glare at me. GLARE. My two friends both noticed it and it was a running joke for the rest of the show. I started to try to lean forward and glare back, but she would turn back around by then.

When the cast bowed and I gave Mr. C an extra cheer, this young girl's father turned around and glared at me.

I guess it runs in the family.

(Seriously, it's an over-the-top comedy. It's not like I'm cracking-up as the Gestapo arrest Anne Frank, people...)

After the show, I made sure to introduce my friends to Peter. (Since we ARE able to casually talk to Peter, because, as I said before...he's not famous...which makes no sense to me.)

My introduction says it all..."This is...well, this is the next Billy Joel."

Or maybe he'll just be the first Peter Cincotti.

Either way, the guy's pretty much out-of-control with the talent. I'm so glad I discovered his stuff when we were kids, and I really hope we can work together one day.

Diana Rissetto

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Would somebody like to invite me to a Halloween party???

I want an excuse to buy this dress...



And this hat:


Wear this ring (which I admit to already owning...)



Blow-out my hair...

And be HER...



(I'm obviously MUCH taller than her, so that might throw people-off, though...)



Diana Rissetto

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Karma in action...

I told myself that I was going to start doing or saying ten really nice things a day in order to get my good karma off-the-charts. (What??? It doesn't matter the motive. As long as those good deeds get done!)

I realized, however, that this isn't necessary. You can't keep track of these things...and I do nice things because doing nice things comes easier to me than being a horrible, miserable, sadistic person. (Not that I've ever met any of those.)

Recently, I was waiting for a train when a young woman walked by and a hat fell out of her bag.

I picked it up and caught-up to her to tell her she dropped her hat. She said, "THANK YOU! This is my FAVORITE HAT!"

That very same day, I was walking behind a young man and a $20 bill came flying-out of his pocket.

(I was wondering if we were on What Would You Do?)


I grabbed the $20 and shouted, "YOU DROPPED THIS!" (He had his iPod on.)

He thanked me and said that he wished the world had more Good Samaritans like me.

I thought that was a very sad comment.

WOULD most people just pocket that money?

A few days after that, it was raining and I was using an umbrella which had seen better days.

The woman in front of me dropped a box of cookies (the GOOD kind of sand cookies...) and I picked it up to get it back to her.

(People drop things a lot in this city, don't they?)

As I was getting-up, my umbrella completely snapped.

The woman apologized profusely, asked me if she could buy me a new umbrella and shared hers with me until we had to separate.

Maybe it was karma.

Or maybe it was just another person being nice...

Diana Rissetto