I Went to a Taping of the New Season of WILL & GRACE!!!

17 Aug

So, as the subject mentions, My boyfriend and I went to a taping of the second episode of this Will & Grace reboot. Now, I’m a huge fan of the show.  Huge Huge fan. I mean, for me? My 1, 2 and 3 is:                                                                                           

With F.R.I.E.N.D.S., Breaking Bad, Simpsons and Arrested Development following closely. Receiving the opportunity to sit for 6 1/2 hours with approx. 249 other fans of the show, watching a show that was so significant to the gay and female community was something I definitely didn’t want to pass up! So I didn’t. I sat in the fourth row center, chatted with Adam Lambert and his friendly company, won a hat and hugged Sean Hayes.

The show itself was Exactly the same. And I mean that in the best of ways and in one, obvious, concerning way. The chemistry and cleverness after 10 years is on point. That is sincerely and incredibly commendable. It’s the same Jack, Will, Grace and Karen we all knew and loved for 8 years without missing a beat. The “Situation” of this comedy was also exactly the same. It was like turning on Lifetime or Logo and watching an episode you kind of remember but hadn’t seen in a while. Plot-wise nothing was too new. Now this could be a tactic but either way it’s a risk that I’m hoping turns out well for fans.

I don’t know what happens in the first episode of this reboot, they’ve kept that pretty tight-lipped. However… in the second episode we are right back to a single (and older) Will on the prowl, Grace and Karen getting into familiar trouble and a single Jack trying to stop the aging process. We knew there’d be some age jokes as it’s been 10 years since they were in the dating scene, even more so actually since the characters had settled into a comfortable couple with their significant others (Leo and Vince played by Harry Connick Jr. and Bobby Cannavale). So the familiarity of this set up is potent, however I personally found it non discouraging. So without picking up RIGHT where we left off (With the marriage and the babies and the kids in college and the…) or setting up a REINVENTION that would throw off their fan-base, Will & Grace is slipping right back into our comfort zone. And it’s nice. It’s really comfortable.

Eric McCormack – Every time they yell cut or someone messes up, I move to the edge of my seat to see how he’ll react. He’s legitimately funny in real life. Says super clever things off camera and I actually think Eric is funnier than Will.

Sean Hayes – So sweet and just a King of physical comedy. I approached him after the show, as I was allowed the privilege to stand in front of the legendary living room post taping,  and he gave me such a nice hug and said thank you.

Debra Messing – I always felt that Grace made a noticeable change in energy and character after Debra became a mother. That change is still there. Deb gives the best “What did you just say” looks. She also stumbles on her words the most. But it’s cute. Always gives us a laugh.

Megan Mullally – I find her just adorable. When she makes a mistake to her firm choices as Karen Walker. She’s hilarious and a comedic inspiration to character actresses.

Jimmy Burrows – This guy is a freaking sitcom living legend director and there he was just walkin around, brushing my shoulder upon his exit from the stage. He knows this gig so well he didn’t even watch the scene, he listened to it and cut when he needed to, adjusted if necessary… he’s brilliant. I was probably most excited to see him do his thing live.

Ben Platt – Was the guest star!!!! Which is so awesome because next week my boyfriend and I are seeing him in Dear Evan Hansen in New York!!! (Thursday night, don’t call out!)  His comic timing is quick and awkward and awesome. He did a great job. I think he might have been nervous, but he’s a freaking Tony Award winner now… so. Whatever. They didn’t have him sing except for a couple of comedy choices for dialogue delivery, which was a bummer. But they can’t always just sit around a piano at the end of an episode and sing “Unforgettable”

Already renewed for a second season and I see plenty more to come. An inevitable second, emotional end in years to come . As the cast took their final bow for the evening, ‘we jumped to our feet for 16 1/2 minutes of uninterrupted thunderous ovation… and that was… just so you will know and your children will somebody know is the night the lights went out in Georgia (And all other 49 states)’

 

Welcome back guys!

STRANGER THINGS have been said…

28 Jul
Goonies meets Poltergeist meets Mazes and Monsters meets E.T. with a little bit of Heathers splashed in.
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It was so close to being as if someone found a missing 1980’s Amblin film and decided to break it down into 8 parts and release it within this modern phenomenon known as “Netflix Streaming”.
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It’s refreshing when you can find the time to watch a Netflix show. But then you’re immediately hit with the stress of “which Netflix Show??” Some of us have not been (hashtag)blessed with the luxury of having the time to watch these awesome shows when they come out. I missed the new season of OITNB, Still haven’t seen Kimmy Schmidt’s new season but have received several txt messages and Facebook posts about a certain Dawson’s Creek reference that I’ll go crazy over. And now that the hype of these two shows has died down, I find myself with a little time to take on new television awesomeness. In recent entertainment news, the show that has everyone all a buzz is a show called Stranger Things.
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Stranger Things is said to be the story of a boy who goes missing and the people in a small town who go looking for him. But it’s so much more than that. It completely, perfectly and successfully captures the 80’s genre of fantasy drama without going overboard, without getting cheesy and most importantly… without making fun of it. I couldn’t put the show down! It obviously mastered nostalgia and it reminded us of the simpler things in horror/sci-fi. It took what we knew and embraced back in the day and made us jump again in 2016.
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You can’t ignore how well this show is cast. David Harbour, whom I always enjoy watching (And who surprisingly has only been in the business since 2003) and Matthew Modine, appropriately playing a creepy fuck to the break out young stars of this TV/Film (praised below).
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The teenage plot lines on Stranger Things are crafted flawlessly. Barb… sweet, plump, unknowing Barb 😦 . I fucking loved Barb. SOMEONE CARE ABOUT BARB! Actors: Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton and Joe Keery do such a great job playing their roles in this series. Not just the performance of their characters but the tone they are responsible for setting within the piece is so, so important. These three nail it.
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Before I get into my incompatible feelings regarding A.) the joy I feel having Winona back in our lives mixed with B.) her “acting” “choices”.., I need to highlight some performances that are not so conflicting…
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Every single child on this show.
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EMMY! EMMY! YOU GET AN EMMY! YOU GET AN EMMY! EVERYONE UNDER THE AGE OF 15 GETS AN EMMY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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They were connected, they weren’t stale, I believed everything they said and did. The kids on this show are on another level and need to be acknowledged…. BY PAMELA EBERHARDT. I try to think of a favorite of the main four and I can’t. Gaten, Caleb and Millie are all so damn good. Maybe Finn is the weaker of the four, but not noticeably enough. Such a strong group of little performers. There were times my jaw dropped by how good they are. Okay, El. El is my favorite.
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SPOILER ALERTS
Those Eggo’s are for Eleven, right? RIGHT?!?!? They better be!! 😦 😦 😦
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Eleven’s supposed death had tears come out of my face. It’s not fair, papa. It is NOT fair!!!! A part of me was kind of hoping Eleven was a Clone of Hop’s daughter. Cause he hadn’t laid eyes on her for most of the series and I thought maybe that’s what they were doing over there at Hawkins?? But…. I was…. you know, wrong. “Not everything can be about cloning, pam” – a friend.
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Okay. Winona Ryder. You know what? No… I’m not going to disrespect Winona because… she means so much to so many and frankly, I’ve loved almost every movie she’s been in whether or not I’ve loved her performance in these movies. It’s just hard when someone goes to 11 so quickly. That’s all I’ll say. She looks the part, as always, and it was so great to see her again. I’m rooting for her, man.
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“I think the Prince at the end of the Little Mermaid should have asked more questions about what had just happened.” – me.
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FACT: There’s an Upsidedown world that the boy is missing in. He can communicate to us through lights. There’s a monster in there that hunts alone. it’s drawn to blood like sharks.
CHARACTER RESPONSE: That perfectly explains everything let’s go there now.
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Overall, I really loved it. It was fun to watch and i can’t wait for more though I’m definitely hoping the Duffer Brother’s ELOQUENTLY explain more things regarding this “parallel universe” in the second season.
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Maybe best quote of the series:

“We have to trust them. They’re the Government. They’re on our side”

What a timely lie.

HE’S A VERY SMART PRINCE…

6 Jan

I interrupt my “Every Tom Hanks movie Ever” challenge to bring you my review of the 2014 adaptation of INTO THE WOODS.

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This will not be an insanely long review commenting on how Into the Woods effected my childhood and how much it means to see a well done film version of a show I hold so close to my heart. Anyone in musical theatre (most) have a special place in their heart for this show. I am not closer to this show than anyone else. I do not think that my insights on Woods should be taken into more consideration than others. I am not the world’s #1 authority on musical theatre film adaptations. I am merely in the top 50.

I want to start off by saying that it was a wonderful version. Anything “negative” that I may say, is all nitpicky because… the truth is…  they got it right.
I would also like to start off by saying that I saw this film at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin Texas and you get to drink there. A bottle of wine. You get to drink a bottle of wine while you sit before a score put to screen that represents such a large part of your childhood. Emotions.
One last thing… I saw the movie with my older sister (who played the baker’s Wife at 17 – but we’ve all played the Bakers wife at 17, haven’t we) and it was emotional just seeing it with her. Musical theatre, as with most of the people I surround myself with, shaped so much of our upbringing. Sondheim in particular with a light shining on Woods.

I wish….

I wish they had done the reprise of AGONY.

I wish they had nailed more of the jokes within the text/Line deliveries.

I wish they had just cut the Baker’s Dad part rather than doing what they did.

I wish that their voices didn’t often sound so… strategic? polished, on point – I wanted more… human error? personality? flaw for character?

I wish a lot of things…

I’m a BIG advocate of actors who sing. Not the other way around. So much of today’s new musical theatre is comprised of people with AMAZING voices (and some nasal musical theatre bullshit voices) and I miss that gritty – I’m singing a song with my soul – voice that is found in so many original cast recordings from   the 70’s and 80’s.

Let’s be honest, those of us who  know the show like the back of our hands will always and forever compare it to the original>< the Bernadette/Gleason triumph. So… let’s do just that.

ACTING

We’ve got some points for both columns here. Meryl did something which only Meryl Streep could do. Bernadette is in our heads as the witch. Her voice, her delivery, her aura. That being said, Meryl made the witch her own and after the prologue I stopped hearing Bernadette’s voice. Joanna Gleason’s comedic timing was so subtly brilliant that it just couldn’t be matched by Blunt. Emily was solid and gave a fine performance. But that’s… that’s it. Let’s everybody calm down. Anna Kendrick….. again, another fine performance. Solid. I think what is so often missed about Cinderella is how freaking funny she can be. Kim Crosby in the original came close and Laura Benanti(in the version where we’re only allowed to talk about her) was great as well. I feel that Kendrick in general is kind of underwhelming. Her voice is great, but it’s not mind-blowing. Let’s everybody calm down about that as well. I actually really liked James Cordon. Zien had a stronger voice, but always looked like he was going to crack up. it was like getting to see what Jimmy Fallon would have been like as The Baker. Johnny Depp… everyone was hatin’ on Johnny Depp. I actually thought he was great! I liked the sleazy salesman approach and I think we’re just all too quick to hate him these days. Let’s give the guy a break. Tracy Ullman – She was great. My heart goes out to the original Jack’s Mom, but Ullman was the perfect choice for this. I recently saw her in The Band Wagon with Michael McKean and wasn’t impressed. She was better in this. Jack – I LOVED the film Jack. I LOVED the original Jack. I liked that he was bigger and was scared of Little Red at times in the stage version, but I thought this kid was great. (P.S. Giants in the Sky was the first time water came out of my face. I’d like to say the “only time”, but that would be a lie.) Little Red. Nobody will be better than Danielle Ferland in this role. They just won’t be. Lilla Crawford was fine. My new dream role is Rapunzel because it is the most thankless, unforgettable role and it shouldn’t be. I have yet to see a Rap. where I’m truly moved. Rapunzel’s prince was fine. Who am I missing?? Whom am I… oh yes. CHRIS PINE. Chris, Chris, Chris Pine. Stole the film – Hence the title of this blog.

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DIRECTING

It was beautiful to watch. It was everything, visually, I wanted it to be. Was thrilled to see Jack go up the beanstalk. Was elated to see parts of the Giant (still not he whole giant which they could have really “Cloverfielded” themselves had they shown too much of her. And I was overjoyed at the splashy version of Agony.The film wins that point. HOWEVER, a lot of jokes were missed. A lot of line deliveries were sacrificed so that they weren’t “copying” the original. I understand that a lot of the jokes (i.e. dress dropping from the tree in a sloppy/comedic way, a cardboard or human Milky White) is humor that is truly pertinent to the stage version, however… I do think that they could have held true to a bit of what made the timing of the original so… perfect. It felt like Marshall was being very… careful. Which, at the end of the day, could have paid off more than sense of familiarity we all secretly/out loud wanted.  Cinematography was A+.

Overall – I give it an A-. Not since Chicago, I don’t think, has there been a film adaptation that really did the staged version of a favorite musical justice. Sweeney Todd was a travesty, Hairspray – for the most part – was rough, Mama Mia – yikes. Now on to The Last Five Years… which… is gonna be tough. mostly because I am the #1 expert on Musical theatre film adaptation and I have a connection to The Last Five Years that no one else has. 😉

 

 

TURNING 30

8 Aug

I turned 30 on a Tuesday.

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Getting older is my biggest fear.

I planned a trip with my best friend Dan Testa to Hawaii for this milestone.  I will be blogging about. It will be the best vacation of my life. I can tell. My future vacations just won’t be as good.

Here are SOME of my greatest accomplishments in the last 30 years: ( if I missed any… then i missed some. That’s how that works)

30. Almost becoming a Kardashian.

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Was at the #1 spot for weeks. Ended in #2 for an Eonline contest to “Become An Honorary Kardashian”. I’m as proud of this as I am ashamed and disgusted.

29. Dancing

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Any time I have to dance for any reason. If I do it… it’s an accomplishment.

28. My Bitstrips & Draw Somethings
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27. My 2009 Kate Austin Halloween costume.

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26.My LOST Series Finale party
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25. Getting Through Halloween 2011

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READ HERE

24. Conquering the Corporate World

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I had worked in the restaurant business for most of my life and then got a job in financial printing for the SEC. Now I work for a company that helps rebuild homes after natural disasters. Oh, I also cured cancer for a while with a bio- pharmaceutical company.

23. Trip Planning and Execution

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Any time I have to organize a trip for more than 2 people. The Play Club Hamptons Trip, Hawaii, the 2013 Outrageous Fortune trip to MA – That drive home was the worst drive of my life. In a storm. In a van. Responsible for the lives of 7 other people.

22. Playing Audrey in Little shop of Horrors
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There was a lot accomplished with this. Not only winning the role against some unbelievably talented people (my older sister included), but also performing it in front of Ellen Greene (The original Audrey & actress from the film). I was 16 years old and it was terrifying and thrilling.

21. Not Being Pregnant

No explanation or photo needed.

20. Playing Guitar

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Learning guitar and playing it in front of an audience is 100% out of my comfort zone. In 2013 I did it in front of audiences. It was a huge step for me. I was nervous as shit.

19. Editing

I’ve made several little videos and promos, acting reels and odd commercials on iMovie and edited my 2004 student film WIGFIELD on Final Cut. Learning this equipment and spending time working on it has been such a fun hobby.

18. The Midnight Move
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Our Williamsburg apartment was literally falling apart. It was raining inside the apartment. We were technically squatters. Our landlord threatened to put our stuff on the street if we didn’t pay rent. We found a new place and moved within 48 hours and did it all after midnight so our landlord wouldn’t find out. It. Was. Stressful. Haha, god that place was such a piece of shit. But it was our first NYC home 🙂

17.My Celebrity Encounters

PAUL RUDD
Jeff Goldblum hitting on me outside of Pillowman on Broadway. “Your freckles are incredible.”
George Clooney and Sam Rockwell chatting screenplays with me at the Q&A talk back of “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind”.
Howie from the Backstreet Boys waving to me and my friends as we were in the “Do Not Cross” Section of Madison Square Garden during their 1998 concert.
Meeting Bob Dylan and not getting it.
Performing as AUDREY for Ellen Greene.
and of course…
SINGING WITH SARA BAREILLES

16. I Spit On Your Podcast

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Love every minute of this. Except maybe being in charge of the sound editing. It can get EXTREMELY tedious  to turn a 2 hour episode/interview into a 30 minute one.

15.Surviving 2006 and 2008.

2006 was a dark time for me. There was a lot of wasting money, heavy drinking, closing out bars till 4am, rinse & repeat. I was definitely “going through” something. Things were looking up in 2007. Then… 2008 hit and it was arguably one of the worst years of my life. I was getting over the worst break up of my life, creatively stumped and was fired from my job. Definitely leaned towards the subway tracks a couple times. Got through it. Stronger because of it.

14. Surviving JRA

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I’ve had a lot of complicated relationships in my life. This one takes the cake. I learned so much about myself from the heartbreak here. I have a ton of regrets, a lot of terrible memories, but a lot of incredible memories too. It shook me up and molded me for sure.

13. Writing and Producing Theatre in NYC

It’s one of the most stressful things you can do as an artist anywhere. Especially in NYC. Things are more expensive, people are more difficult and there are thousands of people doing the exact same thing as you. It can be so discouraging. Getting through it and deciding to do it again and again takes a thick skin.

12. Wigfield

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Adapting this novel has been a joy in my life. Rounding up the entire Glendale Community College theatre department to film a full length movie was equally brutal and awesome. The screening for that film was one of the best nights of my life (even though I locked my keys in my car and missed an hour of the after party). The cast, the music and the words all came together and made something I am still so proud of today. Adapting the novel into a play is what I’m currently working on. And… of course… officially getting the rights 🙂

11. A Norman Rockwell Christmas With the Donners

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I was 17 years old. I wrote a play. Two of my dear friends thought it was funny. WE decided to produce it in a theatre in North Hollywood. Pretty much one of the scariest experiences I’ve ever been through. But an experience I learned oh so much about. Looking back at it now, I cringe at the material but revel in the experience. I was young and learning, but at the time “We were goin’ to BROAD- way.” The Donners was the beginning of everything.

10. Outrageous Fortune

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Writing this play meant so much to me. It’s the first time I wrote a play about a topic I found myself to be extremely passionate about. During my research for writing a play about the death penalty, I met some incredibly inspiring people. The “West Memphis Three” case and many others that I researched struck a chord inside of me and I haven’t been the same since. Organizations like the Innocence Project have been such a prominent thing in my life since I started writing this play and I have such high hopes for it. I want it to make a difference. I want it to open the eyes of people who are closed minded about our judicial system and the death penalty. Writing this play was a huge accomplishment for me and it continues to be through the revision process.

9. The Runaway Clone

We wrote this musical in 2 months and did two workshops of it within a 4 month period of time. The collaboration for this has been such a joy and it’s definitely one of the funniest things I’ve ever written. Cast members from this experience bonded in ways that I haven’t seen in the 13 years I’ve been professionally producing theatre and just a handful of performances. It’s so rewarding. I love this show. It’s so fun to do as well. Musicals are hard.

8. Right Together Left Together

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This show has been a labor of love for over 8 years. So many titles, so many workshops. I’m so proud of this piece. Everyone who sees it loves it and loves it in a way that feels particularly special to them. This is a sweet show with beautiful music and great dialogue. I am in love with it.

7. The Unknown Artists

Founding this company with my friend in 2007 was a HUGE accomlishment. We started with a play I wrote called “420” and continued with the birth of, what is now called “Right Together Left Together.” I spent so many years in NYC growing the company and making the name known on the east coast. It is now thriving on the west coast and I’m so proud. This little nugget of an idea that we were passionate about didn’t crumble or fall apart as so many theatre companies started by kids in their early 20’s do. It had its ups and downs… but it still breathes today and has a ton of dedicated members and has launched a ton of amazing projects.

6. Play Club and Ruckus Rockwell
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Play Club was started in 2011 by myself and 3 other actors/producers. 3 1/2 years later we have a successful branch in Los Angeles and a branch in New Orleans celebrating their 6 month anniversary. We have between 100-200 active members on each coast and the family grows each year. The most amazing, most wonderful part about the whole thing is when actors come to us and tell us how much Play Club has helped them in their professional lives. I love hearing about how much members value that this club exists. It was a lot of work and full of a ton of failed and winning experiments. Ruckus, started by myself in 2014 has already, in its 8 months of existence has brought me so much promise and so much talent. I’m grateful for it. The idea of helping people, through projects, do what they love is a dream come true.

5. 505 Theatre Department

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Some kids are lucky to have an adult in their life who helps mold and shape them. My high school theatre department WAS those kids. We were not a “High school For The Arts”, yet we had unbelievable talent and guidance in those years under Rod Rothacher. Most of my current best friends were a part of that department and we have gone on (10+ years later) to still create amazing art together. It was here that I learned how to write. It was here that I learned what I love. I’m so unbelievably grateful for my experiences with this group. And so are all of them. I know… because we talk about it all the time 🙂

4. Maintaining Friendships over the Years

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I am still so close to my childhood friends from Long Island, even though I moved at age 14. I’m so proud of that. It took such hard work. The important friendships I have now have years and history behind them. These friendships have taught me so much and have prepared me for any new, incredibly awesome people I meet today. My best friends are my soulmates. I have my “Person”. And I make sure to surround myself with the most talented, inspiring people out there.

3. I’ve written 46 plays,  2 1/2 musicals, 4 screenplays, 6 TV pilots, 72 sketches and 5 novels.

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2.  NY –> CA & CA –>NY

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In 1999 I left my small town on Long Island and moved to California for my sophomore year of high school. In 2005, I moved to Brooklyn from LA. Both moves took a lot of guts that I didn’t know I had in me.

1. Craig Jr.

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So I know I didn’t “accomplish” Craig Jr. But sometimes when I yell at him I say, “Look at me! Look at me, damn you! I made you!”. Pretty much just keeping him alive has been a feat. He was a stray. He found me. People marvel at his size. He has a FACEBOOK PAGE. I’m not the only writer for it…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOW I WILL MEET TOM HANKS

2 Jul

In 2013, Tom Hanks was cast in a Broadway show called “The Lucky Guy”. All of my friends phoned me, texted me, facebooked me asking me when I was planning to see it. I said “never. I can’t see him in actual life. There must always be a TV screen or a film screen between us” Now… I know this may sound weird. It sounds weird to me too but I refuse to meet Tom Hanks in a way that will be forgotten by him. IN an insignificant “You’re my favorite actor” bullshit way. Any other celebrity I can handle. Even Leonardo DiCaprio (my second favorite actor)… I could deal with it. It would be tough… but i could deal with it.

For those of you who don’t know, Tom Hanks has been my favorite actor since i was about 7 years old. When I was about 9 I started collecting his movies on VHS and then when I was about 15 I owned every single Tom Hanks movie ever made. Then when DiVinci code came out, I bought Bosom Buddies on DVD and stopped collecting them. Did I mature? Or was the switch to DVD too overwhelming? Who knows.

Now, allow me to clear something up for you… I am not IN LOVE with Tom Hanks. This is not a romantic thing. He is a father figure to me. A fun uncle who happens to be the best actor in the world.

Here are my favorite performances of his: CLICK HERE

(Since that list was made, I would add the last 15 minutes of Captain Philips where he taught people how to act.)

I’ve met several fantastic actors in some fantastic ways. Paul Rudd would DEFINITELY remember my story: CLICK HERE

George Clooney spoke with me for 25 minutes about screenwriting:389598_10150909230941902_1534375399_n

Yes, those are butterfly clips. Yes I have regrets.

And Sara Bareilles almost got my vomit on her, but I held it in well: CLICK HERE

I get it. They’re regular people. I get that. That gets me through meeting most celebrities that I admire. But it’s different with Hanks. It’s just different.

The point is… when I meet Tom, it must happen in one of the following ways:

1. He’s in the audience of a play I wrote.

2. He and I are about to collaborate on a project.

3. He makes my dying wish come true.

That’s it. Any other way is unacceptable to me. Don’t forget what happens when Stan sees Wendy:

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That time I performed with my Idol and COULDN’T TELL ANYONE ABOUT IT!

15 Jun

I’ve known since March 6th that I would be rehearsing and performing with the incredible  Sara Bareilles for a wedding this month in June. I wasn’t able to post about it on Facebook or Twitter because the performance was a surprise for one of the grooms.

Will Collyer and Colin Ebeling got married!

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I met Will in 2001 when we did a production of Little Shop of Horrors together.

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I met Colin shortly after. The three of us lived together during the summer of 2013. We all survived!

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They went to college with Sara B and performed in a UCLA acapella group called “Awaken” with her.

 

(this Awaken track was an inspirational song for my entire high school theatre department.)

Sara Bareilles is MY FAVORITE FEMALE ARTIST OF ALL TIME. I listen to her more than anyone, I relate to her more than anyone and I cover her more than anyone…

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A #sarabareilles a day – #kingofanything

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When I heard that I would be singing with Sara Bareilles at their wedding…

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But it happened!!!

sara

And the rehearsal was one of the most nerve wracking experiences of my life.

But she was so cool and laid back and so unbelievably talented that the actual performance at the wedding was smooth sailing.

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The performance, a surprise for Will, was a hit! He cried. We cried. There was a lot of water coming out of faces.

I love you guys!!!!

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And i love Sara. And I think… deep down inside, somewhere she hasn’t even recognized yet but will in due time… she loves me.

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SERIAL KILLERS (Not for the weak of stomach)

3 Jun

About two years ago I became extremely passionate about exposing the flaws in our justice system and  the psychological and emotional strains that one must go through when wrongfully convicted of a crime.

I’m also drawn to inquire on the psyche of those who ACTUALLY commit heinous crimes. Where and When did things go wrong? Why did this happen? What were they feeling/thinking? Were they born to kill or did society turn them into killers? How do they feel about it now? My interest in crime and criminal law hasn’t been that long.  I’ve been researching a lot of cases that involve the wrongfully convicted as opposed to sociopaths, psychopathic or even the “seemingly sane”  killers. But they’ve always fascinated me as well.

Do not misunderstand this blog. There are Facebook groups that almost celebrate these “people” and I am not one of them. I am a writer and I try to educate myself on multiple topics in case they inspire a play, screenplay, musical… whathaveyou. Okay, Mom?! (she won’t be reading this, I’ll bet)   I think Ted Bundy’s trial judge put it best (below) on how I feel about it all. The “What could have been”.  I personally don’t believe any of the serial killers I researched were born to kill. I think society and circumstance aided in the misguided and damaged mold of their self control. of their will and of their minds.

I spent the last few weeks researching several serial killers. Killers that I’ve always been curious about but didn’t know much of and serial murderers whom I hadn’t heard of but when learning of them, was astonished at their crimes.  From William Fyfe, “The Killer Handyman” to the legends of “Jack the Ripper”, I’m emotionally and a little physically exhausted. I could really only commit to 2 or 3 a day.  Below were the 7 I found the most fascinating.

WARNING, the below is extremely upsetting. Do not read it if you are sensitive to hearing about murder, sexual assault or cannibalism.

7.DBerk

The Who & Where: David Berkowitz was known as “The Son of Sam” who targeted women of couples in the New York City area. Queens, The Bronx and then finally in Brooklyn.
The Crimes:  David used a .44 caliber bulldog rifle to kill several women during the late 70’s in NYC.
Diagnosis: I almost didn’t want to add Berkowitz to this list because I found him, not so much fascinating, but an insecure weirdo who managed to terrorize an entire city and force brunette women into dying their hair. So many others are interested in the son of Sam so I thought I’d oblige. In the #7 spot. Do you know what I’d look like as a blond? It’s not pretty. Do I believe that he took orders from his neighbor’s dog to go out and kill? No. no I don’t. Do I believe that he actually heard and saw God after speaking with the “lady of the cloth” who visited him in prison? No. No I don’t. I believe he was 100% legally and mentally responsible for his actions. He was a hit and run killer and he committed all the crimes at night, in the dark which is a clear sign of someone not wanting to be caught because they know the difference between right and wrong.
The What & When: Mostly shootings, but his spree did start with the stabbing of two women. One of them survived.
The Why: He was the son of an affair. His biological mother gave him up for adoption. He was then adopted by a socially awkward couple.  That’s his childhood tragedy. Next…
The Law: He was spotted by an eyewitness as having a very negative reaction to a parking ticket near the scene of the crime. It amazes me that if that parking ticket hadn’t been placed on his car, he would have gone off to kill more women.
The End: Berkowitz pleaded Guilty despite his attorney’s attempts to sway him towards the “Insanity plea”. He’s still in prison.

6.Andrei

The Who & Where: Andrei Chikatilo known as “The Rostov Ripper” committed the murders of several women in Russia.
The Crimes: Committed the sexual assault, murder and mutilation of a minimum of 52 women and children between 1978 and 1990
Diagnosis: Legally responsible. I would have not voted for an insanity plea here. The reason being is that he had enough self control to hold off on killings when the investigators were getting closer. He monitored the newspapers carefully, held off on his homicidal tendencies and even switched up some of his mutilation and “death tactics” to throw off authorities.
The What & When: It all began with the sexual assaults of his students in the early 70’s.  He was eventually asked to resign by the principal of the school where he taught ineffectively. His first documented murder took place in the late 70’s when he lured a 9 year old girl to an abandoned house and attempted to rape her. He couldn’t maintain his erection so he stabbed her and ejaculated during the process. This reaction to murder has been severely common in most of the serial killers that I combed through. Those who have had trouble having sexual intercourse the “normal” way, tend to feel a sexual thrill while taking a life or committing acts of severe violence. As the killings went on, he attempted sexual intercourse with most of his victims and when he couldn’t stay erect he would tailspin into a fury and murder them.
The Why: He grew up hiding from Nazi’s and being beaten by his mother. He had to share a bed with her and would often wet it which he was often berated for. A Nazi solider was suspected of raping his mother, impregnating her with his sister. Andrei was consistently targeted by bullies at school while trying to persevere as an ardent student. At the onset of puberty, Chikatilo discovered that he suffered from chronic impotence, worsening his social awkwardness and self-hatred. I know a couple of guys who suffer from impotence… they are not serial killers. That i know of.
The Law:  I want to know what the hell happened in 1984 when police HAD him, tested him and his Blood tested A but the semen at the crime tested AB. It happened again during his final arrest and then some genius discovered that the semen type can be different from the saliva and blood type. Who fucked up here? He was released. They also had this crackerjack plan to have a ton of “obvious” police officers manning the stations on Chikatilo’s kill route in order to discourage him to strike in another area where they had a ton of undercover agents at play. Chikatilo lured another 16-year-old boy off a train at  another station under surveillance from undercover police and killed him in a nearby forest. Awesome job, officers.
The End: The details of what he did to his victims postmortem came out in his confession. It was absolutely chilling and horrifying. Chikatilo was taken from his death row cell to a soundproofed room in Novocherkassk prison and executed with a single gunshot behind the right ear… On Valentines Day.

5.gacy

The Who & Where: John Wayne Gacy was known as “The Killer Clown” who killed males specifically in Chicago, Illinois.
The Crimes: convicted of the sexual assault and murder of a minimum of 33 teenage boys and young men in a series of killings. I would like to applaud Donald Voorhees for sticking to what’s right in not allowing The Killer Clown to scare him out of testifying.
Diagnosis: Definitely insane. Since fascinating is the key word here, I’m going to use it hard in this particular case. Gacy managed to keep his criminal past a secret from his friends and family as he murdered several of his employees. He was known as a well respected member of the community, would even dress up as  Pogo the Clown for children’s birthday parties. His friends often described him as adored and thought highly of.  This always blows my mind and I often thought that Hollywood glorified Serial killers this way. How could anyone keep up appearances while also being a vicious murderer? A lot of the people on this list, and people that I’ve researched in addition… there was always something off about them to the public. The ones who could wear a mask of such convincing normalcy are the most interesting.  Gacy was a guy diagnosed with Antisocial personality disorder but took on playing the character of someone who was anything but.
The What & When: Between 1972 and 1978 Gacy would lure unsuspecting boys and men (most of them, his employees) to his house and they’d end up dead in a crawl space beneath the grounds.
The Why: Gacy’s early life was all kinds of messy. From being molested by a family friend to a physically abusive mother.  He had an extremely difficult relationship with his father as well. he spent a few years in the hospital because of seizures and an appendectomy. In his role as a mortuary attendant, Gacy slept in a cot behind the embalming room.In this role, he observed morticians embalming dead bodies and later confessed to the fact that on one evening while alone, he had clambered into the coffin of a deceased teenage male,embracing and caressing the body before experiencing a sense of shock. So yeah… I’d… I’d say that was a pretty good sign that things were going awry.
The Law:  The Iowa Board of Parole did not learn of the incident in Chicago where Gacy was charged with sexually assaulting a boy. The youth didn’t show up in court, but in any event, this violated the conditions of his parole but eight months later,  Gacy’s parole ended. The following month, records of Gacy’s previous criminal convictions in Iowa were subsequently sealed. Awesome.  As you were, Pogo. As you were.
The End: Up to the end, Gacy maintained his innocence (Despite the accurate description he gave authorities as to where the bodies would be found.) He claimed that employees had keys to his house and committed the murders. Gacy was executed by lethal injection. It was reported that his last words were simply “Kiss my ass”.

4.Shipman

The Who & Where: Dr. Harold Shipman known as “Dr. Death”, murdered trusting patients of England.
The Crimes: Shipman’s victim count is over 250. The line becomes blurry on which were “murders” and which were “medical procedure.”
Diagnosis:
The What & When: In 1975 he was caught forging prescriptions of Pethodine for his own use. He was fined £600, and briefly attended a drug rehabilitation clinic in York. A fellow doctor was prompted by some individuals, including a funeral parlor, to express concerns to a coroner about the high death rate among Shipman’s patients and cremation forms that he had needed countersigned. This trusted doctor was changing the wills of his patients, leaving him sums of money that he would collect after their death. Incredible. Like police officers, the people who are meant to keep you safe in this world can sometimes not be trusted.  People were SHOCKED when the truth of this man surfaced.  This case, and the case of the… stairs (The staircase) is the exact reason why I tell my friends and family that if I die suddenly and with any question, I must be buried rather than cremated.!!! One of his patients (a former Mayor) was exhumed and traces of diamorphine (heroin) were found. “old Age” my ass, Dr. Shipman. My ass.
The Why: Shipman’s mother died of lung cancer when he was about 17 years old. They were very close and in the later stages of her disease she had morphine administered at home by a doctor. This became Shipman’s own modus operandi.
The Law:  When the police initially abandoned the Shipman investigation, and Shipman’s eventual arrest, he killed three more people. Good job, detectives. Good job.
The End: Shipman died in January, 2004, after hanging himself in his cell at Wakefield Prison in West Yorkshire. A few British newspapers and magazines celebrated his death and encouraged other serial killers to follow in his footsteps.

3.Elizabeth

The Who & Where: Erzsébet Báthory of Hungary known as “The Blood Countess”
The Crimes:  Báthory and four collaborators were accused of torturing and killing hundreds of girls between 1585 and 1610 in order to bathe in their blood to obtain eternal youth and beauty.
Diagnosis: I can’t really say she was crazy. This was a completely different time and who knows what was considered insane/sane by “law”. I do know that when i watched that woman in Hostel II do the same thing, I thought she was pretty bat-shit.  She was so well educated that it seems to me something must have been off with her.
The What & When: During the 1500’s Erzebet Bathory was said to have killed over 650 young women beginning with methods of atrocious torture and ending in  large amounts of blood loss.
The Why: Elizabeth was charged with the mishandling of her husband’s estates while he was away at war. This threat could have caused an enormous amount of stress on her.
The Law: As a result of her influence and her family’s stance in society, she never faced trial. She was, however, imprisoned for her “crimes”. Dozens of witnesses and survivors, sometimes up to 35 a day, testified. All but one of the Countess’s servants testified against her–the one who refused had her eyes gouged out and her breasts removed before being burned at the stake. I have to say that I”m glad this is not how we handle witnesses today.
The End: She was kept in four rooms with little ventilation and died four years later. She was buried in the church of Csejte, but the people wanted her moved so she was laid to rest with in her family crypt.

2.Dahmer

The Who & Where: Jeffrey Dahmer was  the “Milwaukee Cannibal”.
The Crimes:  He committed rape, murder and dismemberment of 17 male victims between the years of 1978 and 1991.
Diagnosis: The thing that kills me about this is that Jeffrey Dahmer was found to be legally sane at his trial. The man cooked people and ate them because he had fears of abandonment. He wanted his victims to stay with him, to be a part of him and it sexually aroused him. That’s…. that’s not insane? I know there are very strict instances where “insanity” is defined within a courtroom murder trial. but Jesus… there was nothing “Borderline” about his personality disorder. My belief is that the Jury wanted him to rot in a prison instead of a psychiatric hospital because of the extremely unsettling nature of his crimes.
The What & When: As a young child he was fascinated with what the inside of animals and people would look like. Red Flag.  He started finding roadkill and cutting it open to explore those curiosities. In my research he never actually killed or even harmed an animal with his own hand until the murders began. At 15/16 years old he started to come to terms with the fact that he was specifically attracted to men. Growing up in a church-going household one could assume that his feelings of homosexuality being “wrong” would lead him to envision killing his “lovers” after drugging them to lay beside them and listen to their bodies simply exist. In his 20’s, he eventually moved from motel killings to the privacy of his grandmother’s house. He would drug his “Lovers” and lay beside them as they slept, eventually he would fall asleep as well. He drugged them so he could gain sexual control over the situation with out the pressure of entertaining or adhering to their sexual requests. According to Dahmer, never actually intended to kill them unless something went wrong during the “zombie-like” state he attempted to place them in. Or if he believed they would wake up and be angry with him. He preferred having “light” sex with the unconscious bodies but would also partake in the same sexual behavior with the corpses as well. He would eat the victims to keep them close to him. To make them a part of him so that, in a sense.  he could never be left. He preyed on gay men, mostly black men, whom he was drawn to. Whom he was attracted to.
The Why: Dahmer’s parents had a messy divorce and there was a lot of screaming lining this unhealthy environment. His mother abandoned Jeff and his father and took his younger brother with her. Dahmer and his psychologists believe that his deterioration occurred as a result of his mother’s leaving. If anyone finds any interviews with the son or mom, I would love to read/watch them.
The Law: Dahmer’s case also has a few instances where our trusty law failed yet again. A police officer pulled him over one night because he had swerved over the middle line. He passed the sobriety test and when asked what was in the garbage bags in the back of his car, he came up with a story about how ‘going to the dump in the middle of the night’ relaxed him. He was let go. Hey… officer? Guess what was in those garbage bags. Awesome job. Another instance that I find UNBELIEVABLE is when a woman called 9-1-1 to report a young boy disoriented and naked in the street. The cops showed up and traced his origin to Dahmer’s apartment. Jeffrey said that they were boyfriends, had a spat and that the “kid” got way too drunk. Dahmer then showed the officer pictures (that unbeknownst to the officers were taken prior to the drugging in exchange for money) and used them as proof that they were lovers. The cops bought it and left the disoriented kid with Jeff calling it a “lover’s quarrel”. Hey… officer? Guess what happened to that kid who was actually underage but you thought was of age. Awesome job!
The End: Dahmer only served about 2 years of his 900+ year sentence before he was murdered by a fellow inmate. He died on the way to the hospital.

1.Tbundy

The Who & Where: Ted Bundy was a serial killer known as “The Campus Killer” who started hunting primarily in the north western region of the country, traveling down to California and was finally apprehended in Florida following a most clever prison escape.
The Crimes: A rapist, kidnapper, and necrophiliac who assaulted and murdered numerous young women and girls between the ages of 15 and 25 during the 1970s .
Diagnosis: A Definite Sociopath. A definite criminal mastermind. Bundy knew the law and he knew how to buy himself time, privileges and escape routes. He was a truly engrossing serial killer.  He was obsessed with possessions. The most materialistic serial killer I’ve read about. Possessing his victims before death and post mortem put Bundy in control. He would visit the “resting place” of his victims and have sex with the bodies, paint their nails, apply make up and even wash the hair of the dead. The continuous cultivating of his “possessions” was part of a very intense ritual for Bundy including the removal of clothes and the redressing of his victims as well. Bundy was so careful and meticulous about maintaining a lack of physical evidence to link him to crime scenes. He also escaped from the confines of the law twice. This man was VERY aware of his surroundings, his abilities and the acute sense of his victim’s vulnerability. As part of his ritual, he insisted on drinking large amounts of alcohol to “significantly diminish” his inhibitions and to “sedate” the “dominant personality” that he feared might prevent his inner “entity” from acting on his impulses.
The What & When: There is speculation that his murders/kidnappings could have started as early as 14 years old with a victim as young as four years old. His home life was an absolute mess, but in so many interviews he claims that he had the most normal childhood with loving parents. His “parents” he would soon learn were actually his grandparents and his “sister” was in fact his biological mother. Rumors have bounced around about who is father is, but nothing was actually proven. There was even speculation that it could have been his mother’s father (his grandfather) who was his biological father. (See Black Christmas remake “his cousin uncle brother’s mother sister….”) He was in a relationship that ended because she felt he was immature and unmotivated. The rejection devastated Bundy and sent him leaping into determined success. During his university years he was considered charming, well dressed, educated and was climbing the political ladder. His professors thought very highly of him. He was in a relationship with one woman when his former girlfriend returned, impressed by the change in Bundy. He started seeing both women simultaneously and when his former girlfriend and he discussed plans of marriage, he soon cut off all contact with her and when she demanded to know why, he simply said “Stephanie, I have no idea what you mean.” and hung up. She never heard from him again and he later claimed that he just wanted to prove to himself that he could marry her. His crimes began by sneaking into the bedrooms of his victims while they slept and bludgeoning them. As he grew in age and expertise, the crimes were carried out in a much more sleek and careful manner. After his cunning escape from Glenwood Springs, Bundy broke into the Chi Omega sorority house at Florida State University and sexually attacked and severely injured 4 woman in a span of 15 minutes  within earshot of more than 30 witnesses who heard nothing. Bundy was famous for disguising himself as a charming, harmless man who might be injured and might need help getting something to his car. (*This tactic was specifically mimicked in the film  Silence of the Lambs by the Buffalo Bill character who pretended to have an injured arm so that an unsuspecting woman could help him lift a couch into the back of his van.) After gaining their trust, Bundy would then overpower his victims and sexually assault them before ultimately strangling them to death.
The Why: Bundy and other family members told attorneys in 1987 that his grandfather was a tyrannical bully and a bigot who hated blacks, Italians, Catholics and Jews, beat his wife and the family dog and swung neighborhood cats by their tails. This was the man that might have been Bundy’s biological father (though this was never proven). Bundy, through out the course of his life, blamed his psychopathic behavior on everything from the psychological damage of not knowing his true parentage to the sexually violent pornography he read in his youth.
The Law: Police and detectives had a near impossible time pinning crimes on Bundy due to his cautious ways of maintaining a clean crime scene. A significant obstacle for law enforcement were Bundy’s generic, essentially anonymous physical features. He was said to look like a different person in almost all of his photographs just by a simple change of expression. This made him difficult for survivors and witnesses to identify with 100% accuracy. This might be my favorite part: When Bundy stood trial for the Chi Omega homicides and assaults in June 1979,  despite the presence of five court-appointed attorneys, Bundy handled much of his own defense. It was said that he “sabotaged the entire defense effort out of spite, distrust, and grandiose delusion,” and that “Ted [was] facing murder charges, with a possible death sentence, and all that mattered to him apparently was that he be in charge.” Back in jail in Glenwood Springs, Bundy ignored the advice of friends and legal advisors to stay put. While they say he could have been a free man because, at the time, the case against him was weak… he would have been caught eventually as his urge to kill was something he couldn’t control even when he tried post escape.  There was a shot for an acquittal, but Bundy was a stubborn defendant and acquired a hacksaw blade from another inmate and accumulated $500 in cash, smuggled in over a six-month period. While his fellow inmates showered, he sawed a hole about one foot (0.30 m) square in the corner of his cell’s ceiling and, after losing 35 pounds, was able to wiggle through it into the crawl space above. How Shawshank Redemption of him. Using books and papers to simulate a sleeping Bundy, it wasn’t until around noon the next day that officials knew he had escaped. By that time he was already in Chicago.
The End: His trial judge, Edward Cowart, was recorded saying, “It is further ordered that on such scheduled date that you will be put to death by a current of electricity, sufficient to cause your immediate death and that current of electricity shall continue to be passed through your body until you are dead. Take care of yourself, young man. I say that to you sincerely; take care of yourself, please. It is an utter tragedy for this court to see such a total waste of humanity as I’ve experienced in this courtroom. You’re a bright young man. You would have made a good lawyer and I would have loved to have you practice in front of me, but you went another way, partner. Take care of yourself. I don’t feel any animosity toward you. I want you to know that. Once again, take care of yourself.” I can now use Ted Bundy as an excuse for why I won’t help disabled people.

Notable Serial Killers I Chose to Leave Out:

Charles Manson – Of The Manson Family – Too predictable.
Donald Henry Gaskins “Pee wee” – Might be the worst one I researched. He was too evil for me to write a profile about. They called him “The meanest man” and I found myself so angry reading about his crimes. I have a line, I guess, and Gaskins crossed it. Tommy Lynn Sells also crossed it.
Gary Leon Ridgway – “The Green River Killer” – Looked an awful lot like Andy Samburg in his mugshot. There was nothing particularly “fascinating” about Ridgway. I did, however, find Ted Bundy “working with authorities” to lead them to Gary due to his expertise in serial killers (being one himself), extremely interesting. Ted Bundy was the Hannibal Lector to Ridgway’s Buffalo Bill. It was also ridiculous that getting STD’s from prostitutes angered him but didn’t stop him from having unprotected sex with said prostitutes. #winning
Richard Ramirez – “Night Stalker” – Again, nothing psychologically intriguing here. His crimes could most definitely be considered a Sloppy Spree. They were almost random yet he followed a predictable path. He was definitely crazy, but legally responsible for his crimes mentally. It definitely hit close to home as so many of his terrifying murders happened in the Southern California area where I lived for many years.
Tommy Lynn Sells –   “Coast to Coast Killer”  – This was a serial killer that I couldn’t quite wrap my brain around. I know he was heavily influenced by drugs and alcohol. His murders seemed to not be premeditated and they were gruesome and with 100% no attachment. He didn’t have much of a plan when he would commit these heinous crimes. One of his murders was SO horrific (worse than Gaskins) that it involved a woman prematurely giving birth from the shock of watching her family die around her. Like with Gaskins, I won’t even go in to the rest. His childhood was a nightmare but obviously doesn’t excuse his adult actions.
Thug Behram – Thug – Was a member of an Indian gang who may have been responsible for up to a million murders in the late 1700s early 1800s. The English term “Thug” comes from the name of this gang. I thought that was pretty interesting.
Jack the Ripper” – Since no one was convicted of his crimes, I have no personal background to dig into for psychiatric evaluation.
Alexander Pichushkin – “The Chessboard Killer” – Or whom I refer to as the “Andrei Chikatilo Wannabe”.
Edmund Kemper – “The Co-Ed Killer” – The only serial killer I read about who killed his family along with his serial spree. This guy would keep his victim’s bodies at his apartment and have sex with the severed heads and corpses. #dreamboat
Herbert Mullin – Just contributed to giving California the title of “Murder Capital of the World”. No Catchy Serial killer nick name here. His best friend was killed in a car accident and he was devastated by the news. So devastated that he built a shrine in his bedroom to honor his dead friend. He also had fears of possibly being homosexual because of his strong feelings for this deceased friend. He was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia which was also enhanced by his taking of LSD.

Ed Gein – “The Mad Butcher” – Definitely gets voted “Most Creative/Artistic” Of his Serial Killer graduating class. Ed would take human remains (Skin, bones… hair) and make little trinkets and furniture out of it. Think about it, for just $9.99 you could brush your teeth with someone’s collar bone!

Dennis Nilsen – “The Kindly Killer”  – I also like “British Jeffrey Dahmer.” The abandonment Dennis felt from his grandfather’s passing was similar to the abandonment Dahmer felt towards his mother, possibly driving them to kill. And the favoritism of Dahmer’s little brother being taken away to “Safety” mirrors that of Nilsen’s contempt for his mother’s favoritism towards his older brother. Oh yeah, and they both ate their victims.

Carl Eugene Watts  – “Coral” – This was an interesting case where professionals believed that his murders were not sexually driven. That’s new. For serial killers. Earlier diagnosis’s found Watts to be mentally retarded, but then people would say he was extremely lucid and well spoken. He committed murders in several different jurisdictions which made it difficult for police to find (in addition to the fact that semen wasn’t found on the victims, making a DNA identification near impossible. ) Also this pictures of this guy… he looks really kind and intelligent. Kind eyes. It threw me off.

There are a lot more serial killers, unfortunately. I researched about 20 in a two week period so instead of researching 20 more, I decided to release this blog. Maybe there will be a Volume 2. God, I hope not. I definitely feel a play coming on.