Sunday, September 30, 2012

Rejection


I am typing this week’s blog post from a laundry-mat because I find the plebian setting to be soothing on my artistic musings… and also my laundry needs to be done. Watching my colorful clothes circumnavigate their cylindrical chamber I find my thoughts are equally chaotic. It has been one heck of a week to say the least; a rollercoaster ride of emotions and events.

To begin with, I have been applying for jobs that I consider to be the “next level” in my professional career. These jobs are entry level and pay decently compared to an internship. And without going into too much detail, there were two jobs I applied for in which I focused a lot of my spare time and attention on. They were both in the realm of management, which I specialize in, and paid well enough to where I knew that if I got either of the jobs I wouldn’t have to worry about finding rent or upcoming student loans. Well after weeks of applying, waiting, interviewing, waiting, second round interviewing, and waiting, I found out this week that even though I was a “top candidate” in both of these potential jobs, I was not the one that either of them were choosing to hire. In both cases they went with someone who had “more experience.” Additionally, in both of these two jobs, the people I interviewed with made it a point to tell me that my application was really good, and that I should be proud of the work I did, and that if they could have they would have hired me.

Now, I am not writing this to rant and complain, I am writing merely to express how depressing it is to get so close to the next level only to fall short. I was so close to winning the race on both occasions only to fall short and come in second… and the worst part of all this was that I received both of these rejections this past week, within 72 hours of each other. Simply put: rejection is hard. And after having worked for weeks on these application processes only to come up short has left me drained, low on self-morale, and increasingly worried about the prospect of paying rent, bills, and student loans, which start in a month...

Everyone who worked on Secret Identity by Chris Weikel 
One of the highlights of my week, however, was working on the Lark’s major event known as Playwrights Week. I had the honor of stage managing two amazing play readings by up-and-coming playwrights. The first was Secret Identity by Chris Weikel and the second was Denny and Lila by August Schulenburg  I worked on both of these amazing plays and made some awesome friends in the process. Secret Identity was a play I really connected with because it was about a young awkward, comic book obsessed, teen who was trying to find out who he was all while being bullied and tormented, AND wrestling with his sexual identity. I didn’t have that last problem in highschool, but I had all the others, and so I really identified with this play as did the rest of the cast which consisted of 9 males and 1 female. It was awesome. Rehearsals were mostly discovery, fun, bonding, and lots of laughter which resulted in a memorable first play reading stage management experience for me.

Between stage managing these two play readings and going over to Jersey City to stage manage Regrets Only (the other show I am currently working on), my week was very full, and after receiving two job rejections I thought things couldn’t get any worse. Then New York had to go and prove me wrong. I am going to keep this next part brief because I don’t want to devote to much time or thought to complaining about the MTA, but for some reason, in their infinite wisdom, the Metropolitan Transit Authority decided that this weekend, the final weekend of the UN summit I might add, they were going to close all trains going in and out of queens. But no, they weren’t going to tell anyone about it, or even tell the individual stations about it. So what one station thought they knew, the next one knew something different and the end result was that there was ONE train servicing all of Queens. One lonely train! For literally a million people! And believe me when I say it was PACKED. Sardines would have felt claustrophobic in these mobile tin cans. Ugh, ok, rant over. End result of this all? I was late to Saturday rehearsal in Jersey City. Thankfully I left early enough to where it wasn’t a huge deal, but it was one of the most frustrating days I have experienced here.

So here I am, entering my third month of living in New York. I have one amazing internship, one stage management job, and random odd photography jobs. In one month, unless I can get them deferred, student loan repayment begins. And while we are being honest? It’s not looking good. I need to find a dependable source of income or else everything is going to come crashing down and I will have to join the armed service or something... So that’s where I stand. Looks like Mr. Luck is getting the best of me. Until next time.

"No matter how small I am--no matter how hopeless everything seems--I mustn't give up! My size doesn't matter! Even my life doesn't matter! No one can win--every battle, but--no man should fall-- without a struggle!" -Peter Parker

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pulp Stories

One of my favorite episodes of The Simpsons is the 21st episode of the 7th season titled "22 Short films about Springfield". Not only was it filled with numerous Pulp Fiction  references, but it was a feat in storytelling, cramming 22 separate, but related,  stories in to a 25 minute time frame. That episode is the inspiration for this week's blog post.

Bus Zed
It was my second week of being here and I decided to head to the local comic book shop to waste some time. After researching how to get there I determined it would be easier to take the bus rather than the subway. This was also my first time riding the NY bus, so I thought it would be good practice. Sounds great right? Well I walk to the bus stop and the first disconcerting thing I see was a no standing sign right above the bus stop, which was infinitely confusing. As I was pacing, waiting for the bus, a bus pulled up. I hopped on thinking "la la la... this must be the bus". Wrong. Evidently a renegade bus was in the neighborhood, or I read the sign wrong. Either way, I was now on the wrong bus heading in the wrong direction. Frustrated, I got off at the next stop and took the subway and just walked to the comic book shop. I made it a little later than planed, but made it. Everything seems resolved right? Perfect ending? 

Ezekiel 25:17
I loathe street musicians. It is said that on a good day a street musician can make more money than someone working a full time, minimum wage job. I have heard the street musicians and they are not good. You would think playing on the streets for hours upon days that these people would being to master their chosen instruments. No. Not so. To date of the hundreds of musicians I have heard, only 2 have I ever enjoyed, and only one have I ever paid. I made a promise to myself when I came here not to give out money to anyone on the street because, simply, I cant afford it. Well one night, after a particularly long day of work and rehearsal I was waiting for the subway in some random subway station. As I went to sit and wait, I could hear through my earbuds that someone was playing a guitar. As I usually do, I pause the ipod to check if they are worth listening too. Well this musician was a young female playing the guitar and belting her heart out. She was good. Her voice had that rugged beautiful quality kind of like Adele mixed with Carol King. But I told myself, "Stay firm, don't tip her, you are poor too." Then she played the acoustic version of Outkast's Hey ya, which moved my soul and filled my head with memories of home, but I said to myself", Resist, resist!" Then she sang a Bruce Springsteen song, and I thought "RESIST!", Then she sang The Animals version of House of the Rising Sun, and I broke. She was too good and too young not to help out. Just then the train pulled up and I had to act fast, so I grabbed some cash from my wallet, ran over to her, threw it in her case, and bolted to the train. I probably freaked her out, but I don't care. She earned the money.

Bus Zed is not Dead
So you probably thought the bus story was over didn't you? Well, guess again. After a pleasent evening at the comic book shop I thought to myself "Look self, maybe the first time with the bus was a fluke, try to take it home now, you will save time." By the time I left the comic book shop it was dark, but not quite night yet. The bus stop was only a few feet away from the comic book shop so I walked to it and waited. Sure enough the bus pulled up and I checked the number and it was the correct bus this time, so feeling confident in myself I hopped on. Then it drove the wrong direction, towards Brooklyn. I thought "Surely, it is just completing it's stop cycle, eventually it will be headed back to Queens." I waited, and it kept going. Deeper and deeper into Brooklyn, into increasingly sketchy looking neighborhoods. Then it pulled into a bus depot and I thought "Finally! It will being the trip back to Queens!" Then the bus driver said over the intercom "Last stop, everyone off." There I was, a skinny white boy deep into the sketchy parts Brooklyn at a nearly deserted bus depot. I started to get nervous. In between cursing the bus system and frantically searching for maps on my iPhone, another bus pulled up. At this point I didn't care where it was going, I just wanted to get out of where I was, so I hopped on. Instead of going deeper into Brooklyn, it went east, directly parallel of where I wanted to go. After nervously waiting and searching on my phone I found that this bus was only a few blocks away from the comic book shop. I knew if I could get there, I could get home safely. So I stepped out of the bus and stepped into a dark, deserted corner somewhere in Brooklyn. Instead of freaking out, I just put one foot in front of the other and started walking. I walked and walked and passed some very sketchy buildings and alleyways. I walked down dark streets that I will never visit for the rest of my life, and by buildings that looked dark and empty, but as if something was happening just behind the darkness. After what seemed like an eternity I finally made it back to the comic book shop, and then walked to the subway from there.  I made it home safely, albeit tired, and angry with the bus system, but safe. I vowed never to ride the bus again. Do you think I learned?

The Watch
I have made a friend in my neighborhood. His name is Good Luck. Good luck is a black cat I met one day walking to an interview, one of my first New York interviews for a part-time job (I think it was at Sears or something). Anyways, I was already nervous, and as I was walking to the subway I looked up and saw a black cat walk in front of my path. It was the cleanest, darkest, blackest cat I had ever seen. And for a cat on the streets of New York, it was quite hale and healthy looking. As soon as it crossed my path I started to think I was cursed, as if my interview was doomed before it began because a black cat crossed my path. I went to the interview and left not feeling good about it, and I didn't end up getting called back. But it turned out that it was ok because if I would have gotten the job, it would have closed off doors that I didn't even know were open to me. It all ended up working in my favor. I was going to an another interview, recently, and this Black Cat walked right in front of me. So instead of feeling cursed and negative, I said " Screw this, you make you're own luck." and I named him Good Luck. He goes by Mr. Luck at formal gatherings. The interview went great, and my confidence was never better.  So now whenever I see the cat, and I do quite frequently, I tell it that, "You make you're own luck." and I swear sometimes the cat winks back at me...

Bus Zed is Dead
OK, I am an idiot. I made the mistake of trusting the bus system. Again. A few nights ago I was coming home from rehearsal and got on the wrong train. Luckily it stopped a few blocks away from a train station with the right train I needed to be on. So I got off at the train station and walked to the correct train. Well as soon as I got there there were signs posted everywhere and it turned out they were making repairs on it at 11:00pm, and it would no longer be servicing. I looked down at my phone, 10:55. I thought I could make it. I took one step and heard what I thought to be the last train passing. I was far enough away that I couldn't just walk home, but close enough to make the whole thing frustrating. On these signs that said the train was not running at night, they suggested taking the local bus. I silently cursed the sign because I knew the taking the bus would be a mistake, but I had no other option... so I swallowed my pride waited for the bus. The bus came, and I got on. As I was getting on the bus I looked up at the train station and saw MY TRAIN, my phone said 11:04. It was, infact, running after 11:00pm for whatever reason, and if I had just stayed I could have been on the train home... But this time I was prepared for the bus and had my Google maps up and running so I could trace exactly where it was going. Well it turned out that wherever it was going, it was not going my way. It went north when I needed it to go east, silently taunting me and taking me further away from home. So I decided I would just get out and walk it. I wasn't going to try and figure it out and end up father away from where I needed to be, so I got off, and walked. Beings that I was in Queens, the neighborhoods were a little less scary than Brooklyn, but I was walking the streets at 11:45 at night in New York... still scary... I huffed and walked all the way back to Sunnyside from Astoria, where the bus had left me. As I turned the corner to arrive back in Sunnyside, I looked up at my home train station and what did I see? A train, my train, pulling into the station. I couldn't even be angry, I just laughed. Those signs we're horribly inaccurate and the trains were running all night long. Did I learn this time? Yes. I am never, ever, taking the bus again.


"Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go home and have a heart attack." -Vincent, Pulp Fiction

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Quest


I finally feel that I can move at my own speed, which is, fast.

New York is a fast paced town, to say the least, and you have to either run with it or get trampled, sometimes literally. (Sidenote: I have learned that when there are large amounts of people crossing the street at the same time, sometimes it helps if you "draft" behind someone who is bigger than you, because they tend to clear a nice path). One thing you learn to do is  live out of your backpack. You have to plan ahead, make sure you bring everything you need for the day, other wise you is screwed. Cause you can't just hope in the car and run back to the house, nope. Not in this city.

Having a routine helps out immensely in this city, because when your schedule is organized it can leave you less to worry about and forget. My life is starting to settle down into a nice routine, for the time being.  I usually get up pretty early, get ready and go to work at the Lark Play Development Center. I typically work at the Lark until 4pm or 5pm depending on how much work there is, and then for dinner I go into pizza questing mode (I will explain in a bit). I typically enjoy my pizza while watching the Boccie Ball players in Bryant Park, or just eat and walk. Then after a 20 min train ride under the Hudson River I  arrive in Jersey City for Regrets Only rehearsal and prepare to stage manage. I am typically early to rehearsal, as all stage managers should be, and because of this I am left with some spare time. So I typically wait in the park across the street. I think this is one of my favorite parts of the day because everything suddenly slows down and the park is just becoming calm and beautiful. The sun is beginning to set, so the sky is ablaze with orange's and yellow's, and I sit in the bleachers and watch young kids play basketball and enjoy the slight fall breeze. I then either fire up my laptop and work on stage management stuff using the free Internet, or just sit and enjoy the beautiful moment of perfect weather and people having fun playing in the park. Then it is off to rehearsal at J-City Theater. Rinse. Repeat.


Like I mentioned above I have begun a quest. I am attempting to find the best slice of cheap pizza that New York has to offer. So far I have only explored the Times Square area because that is where I work. In my questing I have found that every legitimate cheap pizza shop offers this deal: 2 slices and a can of soda for 2.75. If you pay more, your paying too much for pizza. It is affectionately known as the "recession special".  I learned the hard way that this doesn't mean 2 slices of whatever you want. They mean cheese. Toppings are extra. But 2.75 for two hefty slices of cheese pizza is not bad. Plus all of these shops have spices set out that you can throw on to your pizza to add more flavor to it. I have a theory that when the pizza has more flavor from the spices it fools the brain into thinking it got more food than it actually did. I will be publishing a paper on this theory eventually. But I digress... So far, out of all the pizza places I have tried, there is one little shop that stood out as the bests "cheap pizza place". I promise I didn't choose it for this reason, but its called "Joey Pepperoni's Pizza" on 6th and 35th. They have the best cheese on their pizza because, not only is it tasty but, its also thicker than most of the competition, which means more pizza for your dollar. Literally. Plus their spice spread has this wonderful spice that I absolutely love and isn't at any of the other shops. The problem is there isn't label so I literally have no idea what it is, but it tastes amazing. 

Lastly, I have discovered through this blog traffic info tracker thing, that I have at least 3 dedicated readers in Russia, for whatever reason. So to all my Russian Readers: 
Привет и спасибо за чтение!

Until next time!


"The beaming sunrise buries the night

The setting sun destroys the light"

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Risk

Many of you are probably wondering: "Hey Joey, what gives? Where was last week's blog post?" Ill be honest, I had nothing to write about last week! For real! My boss was out on his honeymoon at Disney Land, so I didn't have to come into work, and I didn't have anything else to do...So there was nothing to write about. Weird huh?

But alas! The muses have inspired me this week and I am back at it, blogging away about life, love, and the pursuit of not being homeless in NYC.

Something I have been trying very hard to do hear is become financially stable. Crazy right? Well these past few weeks I have been applying like crazy to grunt jobs so I could take stress off of my bank accout. Places like Starbucks, McDonald's, 7-11, Dunkin Doughnuts, White Castle, Sears, Kmart.... this list goes on. But I just was not having any luck getting hired. Then it hit me:
Instead of working a part time job to pay the bills, I could take a risk and devote this same time to promoting my photography, and possibly make more money and have fun while doing it.... 
It was risky, because there is no guarantee anyone will give me business and I could wind up worse off....but if it worked, I would be so much happier working as a photographer than as a fast food employee....

So I took the risk. I stopped applying to these grunt jobs and focused all my effort to photography, and I think it is paying off. So far I have photographed an art event (In and Around C by Mad Mohre) a fashion event (Tanya Taylor S/S 2013 Fashion Event at the MoMA) and to date I have had two head-shots session and I have one coming up this week. I even have a website now to promote my work: Joeystamp.com

Hopefully this risk will pay off. My work is starting to get out there, people are learning my name, and maybe, just maybe, I might go somewhere with my photography.

I think this is working will work because I have my professional job work I do: General Management and Stage Management, but then I have this photography work, which is more of a passion. During one of my headshot sessions with a screenwriter, when I told her I do both Arts Management and Photography she told me good and:
"Don't make your passion your job, because then it becomes work."
Its true. One sure fire way to kill your passion is to make it work.... food for thought anyways...

In other news, I have officially started Stage Managing! Our production has had it's first read through this past Saturday and this week we going to begin rehearsals. So it looks as though things are starting to pick up, which is good because that will mean more to write about in blog posts! So keep reading and keep laughing. Until next time!


Smile and the world smiles with you. Cry and you cry alone.
Charlie Chaplin