A Christmas Carol from hell
Last month, a friend of mine and also one of the founding members of Haberdasher Theatre (I am a member too) asked me to help her in her next show “A Christmas Carol”. Well, a month has passed and I wish I had said no.
First of all, she never told me that the show was NOT a Haberdasher Theatre production, so I pour my heart and soul on designing a great poster, and a great set thinking that this is for my theatre company.
Meanwhile, rehearsals started. At rehearsal, this old man comes in and asked Holly (the director friend of mine) who is the set designer. I raise my hand, and he asked me to help him pull some set pieces from the back of the theatre.
He pulls several pieces from previous productions of “A Christmas Carol”, as he is pulling them on stage he was saying thing like:
-“Sandra (the writer) loves this piece” – or – “You must use this other flat because Sandra likes it” – or – “This is the clock, and it goes here and Sandra loves it”.
The set pieces were nice…. 10 years ago! – There were old, dirty, and in desperately need of repair if they will be use.
I stared at the clock and say to the old man (Jim).
-“The clock face is falling apart, I would have to replace it” –
-“Oh no! You cannot replace it! You can try to patch it, but Sandra LOVES this clock!”
I stopped talking and wonder what is the point of having me as a set designer if the set is already done?
Meanwhile, the writer sends me an image of the poster she has been using for the past six years for the show and tells me:
-“I love this poster, is visible, is clear, is pretty, I love how scrooge is holding Tiny Tim on his shoulder, and we have been using it for the past 6 years! but the person who used to update it for me lost the files. I know you are designing the poster, so could you duplicate this poster”
Did she just ask me to duplicate the work of other (really bad) designer?
This writer is WAY to involve, so before throwing a tantrum I ask a good friend of mine his opinion about this whole thing. His reply:
- “Authors RARELY have a voice in any of this unless they are hugely achieved. She is clearly not.
Alan Menken neither gets or asks for this level of approval or control.”
Alan Menken is a genius who more theatre credits under his belt that Sandra will ever dream of. Wiki that.
So I reached to Holly (Director friend who got me into this mess!) and ask what’s going on.
It turns out that Sandra is not only the writer, but also the producer.
So, this show is NOT for Haberdasher Theatre. Holly arranged a meeting with Sandra and me and our extremely talented costume designer (Katie), who has also been having a lot of problems with Jim, as Jim wants to tell her what to do in the show using the same lines he used on me:
-“You must used this costume for Scrooge, Sandra loves it” – or – “No, you cannot give Tiny Tim this shorts, is not how Sandra likes it”
First I show her the poster I designed :
Sandra’s first comment to it was:
- “Could you add Tiny Tim on Scrooge’s shoulder like in the old poster? That is such an iconic scene”
What? I am very patience and flexible with a lot of things, but I am very possessive with my artwork.
- “No Sandra, I cannot do that, this illustration took me about 20 hours to create and I would have to do a whole new illustration just so I can put Tiny Tim on the poster”
- “Oh, ok then I guess is fine” – Fine?! The weather is fine! A meal is fine, this poster is beautiful! Grrr…
She asked me to put her name on top of the director – “Because is customary to do that” – is it? – Also told me to put a line that read “Poster Design by Link Salas, 2013” in big bold letter at the bottom of the poster.
I calmly explain to her that I could not switch the names now (lie) and that a professional commercial graphic artist does NOT sing his work, as, unlike a painting, this will be reproduce many times. I could add the year somewhere if she wants but that is it.
I told her that thanks to crazy Jim, I am not designing sets, as he insists that we use the old ones.
Then the costume designer also complained about him, and we both have the same answer:
- “He is crazy. Ignore him. If he gives you any troubles, tell him to talk to me. Or tell him that I approved the changes.”
Great, now lets het to work!
The director asked me for set ASAP, as we need to rehear changes and such. I spent 3 days trying to get in touch with this ‘producer’ woman Sandra about when can I come to build, AND what is my budget?
He asked me for plans and renderings of the design, and for two estimates of how much the sets will cost. I provided what she asks. The set below would cost around $150 to make with all new materials. That is incredible cheap! Her response:
-“That is a lot of money, could you just use pieces from older sets? And if you need to buy something, Could you just buy it and then give me the receipts to I reimburse you?”
I also ask about times for building. My brother is in town for one week, he is a very skilled carpenter, it would have been GREAT to work with him, but Sandra just keep dogging the question. Finally I got a few text messages from her:
-“You can come to work on Friday before 3 (Can’t I told her I have a 9-5 job), Also on Saturday before 5, and on Sunday all day. Jim will be there to help you.”
Almost good, if it wasn’t for crazy Jim being there. He will no let me do ANYTHING without giving his input on everything. All I have to keep him at bay is to ask my brother to only speak Spanish when we are working, so Jim gets the message that he should no be there. So this coming Saturday I will try to build and finish sets. Hopefully it will be fast.
This is the first and last time I work for this theatre company. I have endure this long because when I am about to quit, Holly begs me to stay and finish.
-“Run, if you cannot run, walk, if you cannot walk, limp, if you cannot limp, find somebody to carry you, but never stop going forward”
Malcom Reynolds - Firefly
I like to think that we all have a bucket list. A list of experiences we want to have before we “kick the bucket”. I have managed to check many of the items off my bucket list.
Last Sunday November 3, 2013 I scratch one of the main items on my list. I ran a marathon. 26.2 miles (42.6 KM) of pain and glory.
My road to the Marathon Finishing line started almost 2 years ago, when my number was chosen among the thousands and thousands of worldwide hopefuls like me who filled out the online application. I filled my Marathon application on April 15, 2012.
When I received the notification that my name was chosen to run the marathon, I was beside myself. I will have 10 months to train for the 2012 NYC Marathon.
That year, my training was not the best; I was lazy, I would go for short run a few times a week, and I though I could pull if off when I ran 9 miles straight from my place in Washington Heights, to Tim’s place in Chelsea along the Hudson river. It is a beautiful path to run.
That year, unfortunately for me and for thousands of New Yorkers, super storm Sandy hit. Some lost their lives, many lost their houses. During those days, I learn that we, New Yorkers are very resilient.
That year, because of Sandy, Halloween and the Marathon were canceled. I remember being in line to get my bib when the announcement came in: “Due to the damaged that super storm Sandy did to New York City, we are very sad to inform you that the 2012 ING NYC Marathon ha been cancelled”
A few days later I received and email from the marathon organizers (New York Road Runners) offering several options: I could get a full refund for my marathon entry ($250) or I was guaranteed entry to the 2013, 2014, or 2015 NYC Marathon. I, of course, choose option two. I will run the 2013 Marathon.
Forward 8 months, and I found myself in my apartment, flipping channels, when I got an email from NYRR (New York Road Runners): “Are you ready for the run of your life?” The Marathon was coming.
I started training and after a few weeks I was able to run up to 10 miles without stopping. I briefly meet somebody who had run the marathon and she told me that I was behind schedule, that by now, I was supposed to run at least 16 to 18 miles. Oh boy.
The day of the Marathon started early. I was up at 5:00 am. I stayed in Chelsea the night before, at Tim’s place. The alarm went off
This past weekend I was in New Orleans!
Halloween weekend. And friend and I found super cheap tickets and free accommodations (friends down there) so we went to Lousiana.
I have been in New Orleans before, but this is the first time I was there for Halloween.
We did not do anything crazy besides bar hopping along Bourbon Street.
I have been working on my costume for about a week. I made it from scratch (As in I bough the fabric and construct it all!) and I am very happy with the final results. SO the first night, I was Captain Henrry Morgan:
Many people got it, and I was popular on Friday night.
The second night I used an old costume I had, Puck (A Satyr) , from Midsummer’s Night Dream:
We dance we drink, we laugh and were merry. We meet a lot of people and I have open invitations to go back to NoLA anytime.
This week, Halloween in New York!
One of these days…
I was burning time at the casino floor of the Borgata Hotel Casino while my friend eddie worked at one of the piano bars.
I’m not much of a gambler so I was sitting at the 1c slot machine.
Our of nowhere a black guard appears next to me and said:
-“Can I see your ID card?”
-“Can I see your ID? You have to be 21 to gamble”
I sigh and pulled out my ID and handed over to the guard.
He looks at it with his little lash light. Then he looks at me. Then he look the ID again and flips it over and bends it (NY state ID card are flexible, harder to fake), then he looks again at me.
-“This guy in the picture kinds of look like you but not really” - he finally says.
-“I have mustache and a small beard now” -
-“but is says here that you are …”
I see him doing the math in his head…
-“I was born in 79, so I am 34” - I said before he hurts himself.
-“what is your birthdate?” - he asked me while holding the ID vertically so I don’t see the front of the card.
-“this could be a good fake, hold on..” -he pulls a card, inserts it in my slot machine and the machine locks itself up, so now I cannot play or cash out the money I had in already (about $3.45). He walks away and after a few minutes he comes back with my ID.
-“Everything ok? I asked him”
-“I scanned it and is real! Damn man! I thought you were way younger!”
He handed me the ID back and unlocked my machine.
There where two women in their 40 playing next to me watching the whole scene.
-“Aren’t you going to card
us to?” - one of them asks.
We all laugh and the guard walked away.
This is third time that people doubts the authenticity of my ID. What would happen if they plain out don’t believe me? Is not like I will walking everywhere with my passport…
Something wicked this way comes
My favorite holiday is coming!
I will be Captain Henrry Morgan.
And I am building my own coat. It is a lot of work, but it looks great.
To start the celebrations properly, my crew and I went to a Hunted Corn Maze out in NJ. It was a lot of fun!
The maze is carved into a real corn field (of course) with a faint moon shinning above us as we pushed (i was pushed in front of us) through the maze.
We walked trough several hunted locations and many monsters (zombies, clowns, demons, etc) will jump in front of us and scare us.
It was fun! but after it was done, I was emotionally exhausted.
Is better to be loved
Yesterday something interesting happened at work.
On Tuesday, almost a 5:00 PM, the director of fiscal walked into my office and asked me to design some signs indicating which way the bathroom and kitchen was. We have monthly training in our main offices and people from the network come over, many of them never have been in the Manhattan office, and getting to the bathrooms and kitchen is complicated.
I told the director of fiscal (Paul) that I will try to get to it, but I have a queue of request before that.
On Wednesday, I could not get to his signs. I was slammed with several projects that took priority over his paper signs. At 5:00 PM I went to pick my buddy Mark at his desk (he is awesome) so we can walk back uptown together.
I was in the elevator lobby of the office when Paul and his assistant come out of the office.
-“Link, do you have my signs?”
-“I am sorry Paul, I could not get to them”
Then, out of nowhere, he started screaming at me
-“WHAT? I gave you several days to do those signs! We have training tomorrow! What have you be doing all this time?! This is unacceptable!
Other employees, including his assistant, surrounded us. They all cowered and pretended not to be there. I stood straight and looked at him with a very serious face:
-“Paul. I had a lot to do the past few days. My queue of job request is full. I will get to your signs tomorrow”
Paul kept screaming
-“No! Training is tomorrow! I make the signs myself! Giselle, make a note to make the signs! I am very upset!”
The elevator came and they left. I was pissed, but at least I wont have to make those damn signs.
I was thinking that night about how to handle this; will this guy (The director of fiscal) complain to my bosses (the director of development and the CEO)? Should I mention the incident to any of them just to cover my ass?
Next morning I came to the office and there were these small, crappy frames with what it looked like a hand made sign in them, hanged all around the office.
I walked to the kitchen and run into one of my bosses. He said “Nice Frames”, with a puzzle tone, almost like wondering if I made them.
I replied – “Those are not mine” – and told him what happened the day before, more as an anecdote, not expecting anything.
What happened after happened quickly.
My boss told the CEO, who adores me.
The CEO summoned the Director of Fiscal and told him that he is NEVER to scream at me, not even raise his voice as me and that he will send me an apology. He also ordered him to take down those signs immediately as they where “horrible!”
Then my other boss called his guy in an explain to him that there is a system in place to request print and design jobs for me (request Google docs form), walk ins are no recommended and entirety optional for me to do in the time requested.
The signs were taken down, and the apology email was send (2, very business like lines, which is far more than I was expecting)
The CEO walked into my office and put his hand in his shoulder and said:
- “I took care of it Link. You are my favorite” – and walked out.
To add a touch of irony, the Director of Fiscal confused the dates. Training was NOT that day, but the following week.
What you find online... (Grindr)
- Started in Grindr, a handsome guy sends me a message.
- Christopher: Hello there, You are hot.
- Me: Thanks man.
- Christopher: Wanna meet? I have great oral skills.
- (a day passes)
- Christpher: Hey man. You are no interested in meeting?
- Christopher: (201) 555 1234
- Christopher: Text me.
- (Another day passes)
- Christopher: Why haven't you text me? Send me a message. Please?
- (I text him)
- Me: Hello Christopher.
- Me: This is Lucas, from Grindr.
- Christopher: Hi gorgeous man
- Me: How are you Christopher.
- Christopher: Good, so tired from cleaning all day
- Me: A clean apartment is a good place to be tired at.
- Christopher: Yes,I want your cock tho...lol
- (I was doing a photoshop, so I couldn’t reply right away)
- Christopher: Sorry, didn't mean to upset you
- Me: I am kind if busy now. Photoshot. Hard to chat when there is a camera in my face.
- Christopher: Who are you posing for? At this hour? I didn't know you were a model
- Christopher: Hello?
- (next morning I woke up to this)
- Christopher: Now you are just ignoring me?
- Christopher: You just stop replying to my texts
- Christopher: I don't understand why
- Christopher: Why are you dismissing me? And ignoring me?
- Me: Yes?
- Christopher: Why are you dismissing me?
- Christopher: You're being very weird and rude dude. I'm a good person
- Me: Christopher, We haven't meet. We started texting about 12 hours ago.
- I am sorry Christopher, but I don't respond very well to drama, guilt trips of unnecessary questioning.
- Christopher: I'm not trying to make you feel guilty about anything
- Me: If I didn't text back right the second, I might have been busy. You automatically assumed I was ignoring you on purpose.
- Christopher: Having a conversation and then being ignored is rude, no matter when we began texting.
- Me: Ok then...
- Christopher: I assumed you were, hence why I asked instead of assumed, then you freaked out, lol
- Me: I'm am sorry you feel this way.
- Christopher: Your text was odd, so I felt inquired to ask
- Christopher: So, then why not just reply instead of dismiss me? Lol
- Me: Have good day Christopher. Sorry this didn't work out.
- Christopher: You're being very rude and weird dude. Lol. Are you not able to have a simple conversation? What are you hiding?
- You're being weird, lol. I want to hookup, why are you being weird? Lol just a typical NYC gay like every other guy?
- Christopher: Hello?
I found myself waiting for the path train. (I have friends in Hoboken, which is the only part of New Jersey where I might consider living). When the train came, and I found a seat, I noticed that sitting next to me was an Asian woman reading Wired Magazine. Funny enough, I also had a copy of that very same issue on my backpack, so I pulled out my magazine too; and find the very same page that she was reading, and folded the magazine the same way she had it, and for the remainder of the ride, I ‘read’ my copy of the magazine, mimicking every movement she was doing.
She must have noticed something at some point, I don’t know if she did, but the people sitting in front of us did noticed and where chuckling, and somebody was taking video of the action. I was doing my best to be discreet and make it look like I was honestly flipping mages on my own time, not mimicking my seat mate.
Finally we made it to Hoboken, and my seat mate looked at me and gave little chuckle before leaving.
When Newy Yorkers attack
I was biking up 8th Ave at rush hour.
There always is a lot of people walking on the bike lane, who seem to ignore that the bike lane is still part of the street, and that bike can hurt you if they hit you, especially 50 lbs CitiBikes.
I was biking around 55th Street, when a biker cut me, I slow down but my front wheel touched his back wheel. I say “Sorry” and I drove around him.
This biker looked at me, got of his bike and pushed me so hard that I flew of my bike and slammed against a parked bus!
He stared screaming at me: -“Why are you fucking hitting my bike!” – This guy was big, I would say 6’2”, and 300 pounds of good old white American stupidity.
I was very surprised. I look at the guy and thought, do I run or do I fight? So I said to him – “What the fuck?!” and pushed him back. This gorilla slammed me against the bus again. I was going to jump him, thinking: “Round 1, FIGHT!”.
When the fight was about to start, the bus driver comes around screaming at us: “Get off my bus!” The bus driver was a small, muscular black guy– I don’t know how much of the scene the driver saw, but he took my side.– “This fucking asshole is attacking me!” – The gorilla look at me and said – “You want more?” – and step toward me, all menacing, the bus driver stood next to me and we both looked at the gorilla. The gorilla got in his bike and slowly biked away. The bus driver helped me pick up my bike and said “I am not afraid of his size”
I noticed that the gorilla parked his bike in the corner and blocked the bike lane, waiting for me to come to him.
I slowly biked to him and stopped, and say to him “What the fuck do you want”
I was expecting his to say something like “I want you to say you are sorry to hit my bike” or ask for an apology. Instead he said. “I want to break your fucking jaw” – I look his straight in the eye and reply – “Go ahead sweetheart, hit me” –
This gorilla was seeing red, I could feel his rage, and he was about to charge, but then this Asian lady on the sidewalk stopped and says to him “Stop that! I am calling the police right now!”
As soon as the gorilla heard the word “Police” he jumped on his bike and raw away.
Now, WHAT the hell was that? This guy had anger management issues. He attacked me just because I touched his back wheel, and when he hear that the police might get involved, he flew. I got some bruises in my right arm, but nothing bad