Adventures in Mind, Body and Soul

I’ve had a really fabulous few weeks.

All those blog posts in the last 2.5 years where I’ve said I’m tired of being a struggling artist, and how I sometimes think of giving up, or how I feel bad about my body, are just blips in the past.

Those thoughts are GONE! I’m in a place right now where I feel wonderful, and I’ve outlined a plan in the next month to keep me feeling even MORE fabulous!

MIND:

I’m not really sure when I decided that I was going to be happy 100% of the time, but I believe it has a lot to do with the people with whom I’ve surrounded myself. I cannot express the amount of gratitude I feel toward the friends and family I have. I have a “New York Family” that is largely made up of artists and creative types who keep me motivated and positive. I also have my actual family, who I can call/text/FaceTime any time I need to. Not to mention the friends I have spread out over the country, whom I love and adore.

It is still tough to not know where my next paycheck is coming from, or know when I’m going to have my “break,” but once I let go of the idea that I needed to “be famous” by a certain age and just focused on my love of my craft, the stress melted away. I now feel like I can share my art with the world, and that will naturally lead me to success.

Also, success does not equal fame. Success to me, I’ve realized, is being able to do what I love for a living and be proud of the product I’m putting out in the world.

BODY:

Here’s a touchy subject I’ve written about many times. I know that I have a beautiful body, but it took me a while to get there. Recently, I’ve decided that I want to optimize this beautiful body and make it everything it can be. This doesn’t mean I want to drastically change myself, I just never want to stop improving.

So what does this mean?

Well first of all (you all know how I roll) I had to do it in style. I received a Victoria’s Secret VSX sport bra and yoga pant complimentary of Influenster in the mail. I have had the same ratty sport bras on rotation forever so I was in much need of a “sport bra breakup” with these babies.

Here is Influenster gift

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My new bra and pants accompanied me on my West Side Highway run, and I felt great afterward. Nothing like a good bra to keep the “sisters” happy.

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I also popped over to the GIGANTIC VS store in Herald Square where I dealt with some delightful associates who helped me find my perfect sport bra. Anyone who knows me, will know that this bra absolutely suits me:

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THEN, the ladies helped me order a new, hot pink track jacket that will be absolutely DIVINE for my breast cancer walk. Which BY THE WAY… my breast cancer walk is a month from today. If you would like to donate, I’m still pretty far from my goal of $1,800. It is a wonderful cause that I believe in very much.

Here is the link: http://info.avonfoundation.org/site/TR/Walk/NewYork?px=7595905&pg=personal&fr_id=2366

And this fierce jacket accompanied me to Central Park the other day.

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(PS: If you want the hookup with amazing free gifts in return for testing products and writing reviews, click on the badge on the right side of my blog that says “Citizen of Influenster Nation.” You can thank me later.)

Once I re-vamped my workout style, it was time to get down to my fitness plan. Last night I signed up for a personal trainer, who is going to give me a 5 week bootcamp 3 times a week along with a diet plan to optimize my weight loss. Now, when I use the word “diet” that simply just means what I’m putting into my body. I’m not doing some sort of “fad diet” or “quick fix.” This eating plan is something that I can carry with me for the rest of my life.

I’m a singer/actress/performer. My voice and my body are my instrument. Anyone who wants to condemn me, go ahead, but I see this as almost as if I’m taking my instrument to the repair shop. When I get my “instrument” back at the end of this 5 weeks, it will be fixed, tuned up, and shiny. I’m still the same girl I’ve always been, but now I’m getting a “tune up”

SOUL:

My soul feels at peace right now. A few months ago when I wrote that post about moving to Austin, and re-thinking my life plan, I was lonely, sad and confused. This summer has been a journey to repair my soul. I had to put a big bandage on my heart for a while, until I was able to carefully peel that bandage off and appreciate the scar that difficult part of my life left on me.

Every single “scar” and “scratch” I have on my soul is just a reminder that I need to keep pushing, working and remaining true to myself.

This month I’m going to focus on my artistry and let my music soothe my soul. I’m going to learn everything I have yet to find about my voice, my piano/guitar playing abilities, my sound, and my performance techniques. Even if this means using all my weekend time staying inside and writing music instead of going out.

It’s crunch time, and I’m ready for it all. I’m ready to have the life I’ve always dreamed about.

And guess what? Everything I’ve accomplished up until now is a result of my hard work.

Not too shabby, Shan Babe. Not too damn shabby!

This is the face of a happy girl

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Love, Rock, and Roll

Shan Baby

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The Evolution of Shannon Allen 2009-2014

It’s been about five years since I put together my first band in Boston in the fall of 2009.

Five years that I’ve been cultivating my skills and really focusing on a life of performance.

There have been so many ups and downs, twist and turns, hills and valleys.

I could sit here an write out a narrative about these past five years; the band members, the makeups, the breakups, the rehearsals, the songwriting sessions, the gigs, the friendships, the bonds we formed like family. But I feel as though this story is better heard rather than read.

So here it is, my story. The Evolution of Shannon Allen. The best of the endless footage I have of live gigs and performances.

A few notes before you watch this:

1. The Mojo Filters were my main band throughout the first half of this video. The players fluctuated slightly a few times, but mostly they were the boys who became like family in Boston. We broke up in 2011 for personal reasons, and also because I was moving to New York, but I will always look back fondly on my times with my Mojo boys.

2. You’ll notice as the video progresses that I start showing more original music, because that’s what I eventually started focusing on. Sadly, I don’t have the footage from my album release show, or my last few gigs in Boston.

3. Having said that, there were SO many performance that were left out of this video, not only for time, but because I didn’t record the gig, or the footage is in someone else’s possession, and I don’t have access to it. (2013, for example, only has a few videos because I only recorded one gig on my digital camera and I have no footage of my off-broadway show that consumed my weekends and performance time)

4. My look fluctuates, as does my weight throughout the years. A lot happened to me in five years. Go ahead and judge me. No one is perfect. The one thing that is constant in these videos is my strong ability to lead a band and rock vocals.

5. I’m considering making another video that has “home videos” of me writing songs, singing, performing and being silly. I wanted to put them in this video, but it would have just been TOO long.

Enjoy!

Rock and Roll

xx

Shan Babe

How to Function in A Big City

At first I almost titled this piece: Rules for Being a Tourist in a Big City. However, I realized that there are, in fact, many people who live in big cities who don’t know the basic rules of functioning in a city, or even functioning as a human.

I recently took a weekend trip to Boston, where I lived for 3 years, and just like New York, I saw the same stupidity from tourists and locals alike.

So, in order to do my duty as a citizen of the World, I present you,

Shan Babe’s Rules for Functioning in a Big City.

1. Walking on Sidewalks. 

General Rules: Walk on the right, pass on the left. Walk fast or risk being run over. Keep your bike off the sidewalk.

Yes, sidewalks get crowded, and sometimes you just have to weave in and out, (a bit like Frogger) but just try to at least follow of the basic principles of human decency and be mindful when people are trying to pass.

Tourists: I know that where you’re from, you probably don’t walk to get from point A to point B very often, but just imagine if I were in a car in your city, moving 15 mph in a 65. Would you be mad? Most likely, yes. So if you want to walk slow in the big city, you better wear knee pads.

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DON’T, for the love of CHRIST, stop in the middle of the sidewalk to take a picture, answer a phone call, search for your phone/keys/etc. If you bump into a friend, (or worse, a guy/gal you used to hook up with) and would like to catch up with them, kindly step aside into the nearest apartment stoop, minding the fresh urine from the homeless man who just peed.

Please don’t walk like a fucking idiot with your stupid friends 3, 4 or 5 people wide. This doesn’t make you look cool, it just annoys the shit out of everyone. This is a big city, people have places to be. Be mindful.

And while we’re on that topic… GET THE FUCK OFF YOUR CELL PHONE IF YOU CAN’T WALK AND TEXT/TALK/SEARCH SOCIAL MEDIA while still using basic brain function.

I’m a big fan of bikes! (Yay Mother Earth!) But get your fucking Citi Bike off the sidewalk. There are bike lanes for guess what??? BIKES! There is also the street where bikes are actually considered a vehicle. (Traffic laws DO apply to bikes as well, even though most cyclist think they are exempt). If you are too afraid of the bike lanes or the street, go to Central Park and ride your bike.

Also, the yellow ones don’t stop, so if you aren’t paying attention and get hit by a taxi… your fault. Sorry.

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2. Accessing Public Transportation. 

General Rules: Have your metro card/T-Pass/whatever they call it in other cities, OUT before you stand in front of the turnstile like a fucking dick. Let people off the train before you enter.

Don’t be afraid to ask a local for help finding a place/navigating the subway. Yes, you run the risk of that person being a bitch, but I’m happy to give a friendly tourist the help they need if it means one less stupid person clogging up the public transpo system.

If you don’t have your transportation card out when you reach the turnstile, kindly step out of the way. If you would like to piss off a New Yorker, you will prevent them from catching their train. I don’t wish that wrath on anyone.

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If you do happen to reach your scheduled train on time, it is IMPERATIVE that you let the people off the train before you enter. Basic logic will tell you that the train cannot, indeed, depart until all the people are off, so elbowing your way onto the train while people are trying to get off only slows the process… and again, makes you look like a dick.

3. While on Public Transportation. 

General Rules: Seats are for sitting, not for your piles of shit. Give up seats to people who need them. Move into the center of the train. Don’t be a pole-leaner. CONTROL YOUR FUCKING CHILDREN.

In an empty train, it is acceptable to put your purse, grocery bag, shopping bag on the seat next to you. I do it sometimes. However, once the train starts populating, you are NOT so special that you can simply hold this seat for your imaginary friend, Fred, or whatever your imaginary friend’s name is. Move your shit.

If an elderly person, pregnant lady, person with crutches enters the train, get your ass up and offer them your seat. In New York, some folks of these demographic will refuse, (being the tough New Yorkers they are,) but it is always appropriate to ask. You have two legs, good health, and are capable of standing. Yeah, you worked a long day at work, but so did everyone else. This is a big fucking city, most of us are overworked and under-slept.

Staying close to a door on the train is often prime real estate, especially when you’re trying to get off in a few stops. That being said, if the train gets crowded, scoot your ass over. Or, if you can allow enough space to squeeze by without assaulting your neighbor, please get the fuck out of the way.

FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY DO NOT LEAN ON THE POLE. If I have to busy out my balancing skills to not fall over on a train because you are leaning on the length of the pole, I’m going to go bananas.

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Next, we have the children of public transportation. Crying babies get a pass… they are babies, and although incredibly annoying, cannot help their annoyingness. Your toddler and kids though? They aren’t cute. Their iPad that is blasting their video game with no headphones? Not cute. Them treating the train like a jungle gym? Not cute. Them blowing snot rockets and spitballs across the train? Not cute.

YOUR KIDS ARE NOT CUTE.

Control them.

4. Personal Hygiene 

General Rules: Deodorant, deodorant, deodorant. Hand sanitizer is a must. Crop dust in less concentrated areas.

We all stink. We all fart. We all poop.

GASP!

In a big city, everyone is closer to one another because the population is exponentially condensed into a confined space: the subway, the bus, the sidewalk, the “hottest” nightclub where everyone is packed in like sardines.

Be courteous for us, and shower. Bathing is essential for living in a city. I understand some of us may be smellier than others, but I tend to carry around deodorant, a toothbrush, mouthwash, gum and floss with me in order to keep myself smelling up to standard. I realize most of us may not be THAT particular, but I see it as me doing my duty to society by being one less smelly New Yorker.

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Also, be mindful that millions of people are touching that subway pole, that turnstile, that bathroom door, etc, etc every day. Don’t cough or sneeze and then wipe your hand on public property. There is a reason I contracted the swine flu a year ago, and it’s because there are fucking nasty people who inhabit this city. Do yourself a favor and go to Duane Reade, CVS, Walgreens or your closest neighborhood bodega and buy some .99 cent hand sanitizer. The world will thank you for it.

And just as a courtesy, if you have to fart, just look behind you. There is nothing worse than being downwind of a silent-but-deadly bomb. Research says that farts release fecal particles into the air, so think about how you would feel if a piece of shit hit you in the face.

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Speaking of poop…

5. Public Bathrooms

General Rules: Wipe up your piss. Girls, don’t get gross with your lady business. Smelly poop can sometimes not be avoided.

There is no excuse for piss on a toilet seat that everyone uses. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t like to sit my ass cheeks on a public toilet seat. I’m well-versed in the art of the “squat and pee.” There is, however, a little rhyme all of us should remember: “If you sprinkle when you tinkle, be a sweetie, wipe the seatie.”

Simple. Or, just lay down TP on the seat an then sit your ass down. A Myth Busters episode took cultures of toilet seats and said they are often much cleaner than people assume. Also, fun fact: the first stall in a series of stalls typically has the least amount of germs since it often gets overlooked.

Now… next up: ladies. Once a month we have to endure Aunt Flo and all her glory. Most of you have been experiencing this every month over the course of many years. WHY, THEN, is it so impossible for you to not be the GROSSEST HUMAN ON THE PLANET, and clean up after yourself???

Get it together.

The last uncomfortable topic I will talk about is poop. Sometimes it’s unavoidable in a public place. If you find yourself in public, and know you need to poop, try these tips. Use the stall furthest away from the closest human. Use the restroom in the basement of the facility or the top floor; those are usually less condensed. If you find yourself in the awkward position of being in a single stall with a line outside the door, simply flush a few times, and apologize to the next person in line… or just blame it on the previous occupant…

Sometimes shit happens… literally…

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6. Escalators.  

Yes, escalators.

This one deserves it’s own category because it INFURIATES me when people don’t know the basic rules of the escalator.

IF YOU WANT TO STAND, STAY ON THE RIGHT.

Do NOT stand side-by-side with your stupid friend and clog up the whole damn escalator when there are people trying to pass on the left.

It is so simple, yet there is always that ONE MOTHERFUCKER who ruins it for everyone.

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7. Eating Out

General Rules: ALWAYS TIP. Large parties: be prepared to split the bill or just bring cash. Don’t be a dick.

This one is for all my friends in the service industry.

Some people may disagree with me here, but there really is not ever a reason not to tip. Especially in a big city where wages are usually meager enough, and some people live SOLELY on tips. Unless that server or bartender came to your home and slaughtered your first born, cut off your sexual organs, or physically assaulted you, you should ALWAYS tip.

Are there situations where I’ve dealt with some real cunts as servers/bartenders? Sure. Have I ever given someone a crappy tip for being a cunt? Sure. Have I ever not tipped? No.  My hope is that karma gets the best of these people, and in the city, it’s likely they won’t last long anyway if this is how they treat their customers. Also… YOU might be the cunt, and the attitude you get from them might be deserved.

This is especially true with large parties. Large parties are fucking annoying. If you are going to go somewhere and have a large fucking party, discuss the details ahead of time. Is everyone expected to split the bill evenly? Is everyone bringing cash? Is the server okay with splitting checks? How about the person who has one beer and an appetizer? Is there a person designated to work out the bill at the end of the night? (In my case it was always my friend Christina, she was a MASTER of working out the check).

If you find yourself in a large party, DO NOT assume that because you want to order fucking mozzarella sticks and chips and guac and potato skins, that everyone else wants to eat them… OR PAY FOR THEM. I’ve been in so many situations where we’re all supposed to “split the appetizers” when all I had was a small salad and a glass of the cheapest wine. I’m broke as a fucking joke. Don’t assume everyone has money to throw at your fucking potato skins.

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And don’t be a dick. If you can’t afford this birthday party, be honest. I’ve gone to dinners where I’ve let the birthday boy know that I would be eating at home and had one drink that I paid for in CASH. If you know that you need to bring cash, go to an ATM. We’ve all been in these situations, and they are THE WORST.

8. Going Out

General Rules: Have your ID out when you get to the bar/club. Don’t be an idiot and order a crazy complicated drink at a dive bar. Don’t get white-girl wasted. Spilling drinks is not cute.

Just like having your metro card ready when you enter the subway, have your ID out when you go somewhere. I want to drink, and if some dumb bitch is standing in front of me is giggling while she tries to search through the bottomless pit that is her purse for her ID, I’m going to get aggravated.

Don’t get between me and my whiskey.

Again, I have a lot of friends who are bartenders. They tell me what annoys them the most. Girls who come into dive bars/sports bars and ask for mojitos or cosmos or some other complicated drink that you usually get at a cocktail bar. If you’re at someplace in Midtown Manhattan that has some kind of incredibly Irish-sounding name, chances are you’re going to annoy the piss out of the bartender when they have to make you some stupid fucking sugary drink, when you should have just ordered a beer or a well drink.

Don’t get white-girl wasted… or try not to. This one is more of a guideline… not law.

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However, if you choose to get white-girl wasted, pull yourself together. None of this spilling drinks bullshit or taking off your shoes. Remember our lesson on personal hygiene??

 

9. Tolerance

General Rule: Different strokes for different folks

Just because you don’t understand a lifestyle, does not mean it’s wrong. As long as no one is hurting you, anyone else, or infringing on your rights as an american, I see no reason why we all can’t co-exist. Big cities tend to be filled with all sorts of weird birds.

Especially if you’re a tourist, or a non-native, you cannot be judgmental when you come into OUR city. Keep your racist/sexist/homophobic/naivety to yourself. You are a visitor. I don’t go to the Bible Belt and start shouting about how I’m an atheist. Don’t come to Hell’s Kitchen and run around screaming about how you hate gays.

Tolerance is a beautiful thing.

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10. BE SMART

The city is a beautiful place, but you share the city with millions of people. BE MINDFUL. The universe does not revolve around you and your smart phone. BE ALERT.

Also, remember your manners. Remember to be kind. Try to be patient with those who deserve your patience. If someone is being an idiot, and you absolutely MUST call them out, try not to be the bitchiest version of yourself. Stand up for intolerance. Practice basic principles or cleanliness and hygiene. Don’t hold up the line… whatever line that may be.

No matter what city you live in, be it New York City, Boston, Chicago, LA, Rome, Paris, Tokyo or Beijing, remember that there are different cultures and ways of operating. If you are visiting, figure these things out BEFORE you travel. The natives will thank you for it.

Now go! Get out there! Frolic wild and free through the streets! You now have the basic principles for functioning as a human!

Goodnight New York City, Goodnight moon

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xoxo

A New Yorker,

Shan Babe

 

I Need to Clarity: I’m NOT Giving Up

Jesus.

The amount of concern coming from people today is unbelievable. If I had this many “friends” in real life, I might not be feeling the way I do about my city.

I need to clarify this to everyone who has chosen to flip out at me via Facebook, Twitter, blog comment, phone, or text:

I’M NOT GIVING UP.

Just because I’m considering moving out of New York, does NOT mean I have any less plans about pursuing my dreams.

All it means is that New York might not be the right place for me.

Also, never did I ONCE say that this is something that is for SURE going to happen.

Everyone should calm down.

Let me explain, before I bite someone’s head off.

LET ME CLARIFY EACH OF THESE STATEMENTS BEFORE EVERYONE JUMPS DOWN MY THROAT. Also, I’m entitled to the way I feel. Just because YOU may not think these things true, does not mean that they are any less real or important to ME. Let me try telling you how to feel about something you are incredibly insecure about and let’s see how that conversation ends.

1. I might leave New York because I feel like my talent is wasted. 

Now let me explain to you what this feels like.

Imagine you spend your time going to audition after audition, and having casting directors tell you that you are a wonderful singer, have a mature voice, and can clearly hear my range of vocal style. And then not getting a callback.

YES, I realize that there are MANY people who don’t get callbacks at auditions, and spend YEARS and YEARS going back to face only more rejection.

But my question is, why am I feeding into this bullshit where a “tastemaker” (ie casting director) sits there and tells me how wonderful and talented I am, but then chooses another direction? Aren’t there places where I can go and be appreciated for my talent?

Yes, I believe there are several different places I can go and be a singer. Perhaps New York is not picking up what Shan Babe is laying down.

Perhaps it’s because I’m a rock singer and not a theater singer. Perhaps it also has something to do with my body type. I’m not sure.

I also was lucky enough to get my SAG card this past year, but what those of you who don’t work in the industry may not realize, is that a SAG card does not guarantee that you’re going to be a rich and famous actress. Basically all it means is that I owe them a SHIT TON of money up front, pay dues twice a year, get to vote at the awards, and make more money per day than non union, but also sometimes receive less work since there are often limited union spaces on shoots. Also, being a background actor, although very cool at times, is not really a big deal. It just means that I am used to color the background of a scene, so it doesn’t look awkward when a lead is in a scene.

Again, New York is not the only place in the entire world where I can be creative. There are so many places that I’m sure would be happy to accept my talent.

I’m also not afraid of being the little fish in the big pond. I’ve done it for two years now. I have absolutely been validated that I HAVE the talent, but I would just like to use it, rather than beating a dead horse and continuing to audition for parts that are not right for me. There WILL come a day when someone gives me the big, “YES,” and it might not be here.

2. I might leave New York because I’m the “fat girl.” 

If ONE more person in New York City has to make some fucking comment about what I eat, how much I weigh, or the shape of my body, I’m going to respectfully tell them to fuck off. ESPECIALLY the gay community. I listen to all my Queens complain about their bodies 27/7 and I have NEVER once made a negative comment to them about anything of the sort. But for some reason, gay men find it incredibly fulfilling to tell me just exactly how they feel about my body. And it isn’t always so in-your-face either.

I’m talking about the backhanded compliments. The, “Oh you look SO much better than you did 6 months ago,” comments. Or the, “I love grabbing your love handles,” comments. Or the, “You’re such a REAL/THICK girl,” comments.

You don’t want to sleep with me, so get the FUCK out of my head about my body.

Since I’ve moved to New York, I’ve accrued a severe case of body dysmorphia. I can’t even look at myself in the mirror half the time in the morning, because all I do is pick myself apart or immediately start telling myself how ugly and fat I am. I then turned to the gym, where I blew out my knee from obsessively exercising 7 days a week without breaks and cutting my calorie intake, so that I barely had enough food to sustain myself the day.

I’ve NEVER had a problem with this before I moved here. In fact, when I was at my skinniest in Boston, I had a boyfriend who I would constantly drink mass amounts of craft beer with and eat things like fried chicken and nachos and hot dogs. Sure, I was active and went to the gym, and I didn’t indulge ALL the time, but I think I was skinnier back then because I was just plain HAPPIER.

3. I might leave New York because I’ve become a prop rather than a friend. 

I’m tired of being invited out by friends, and then ditched when it’s time for them to hook up with their significant other. When I signed up to be your friend and go out with you on a Friday night, I did NOT sign up to become your prop until you find a hot girl/guy to sleep with that night.

I did not sign up for a half-of-a-night friend date.

4. I might leave New York because no one wants to make art, everyone just wants to get paid. 

I haven’t had a band in two years since I left Boston. Every single player I’ve encountered who wants to play because they believe in me, is too busy with their lives, which I can’t fault them.

However, then there are the players who clearly have no idea how the music industry ACTUALLY works, especially when it comes to unknown bands and original music. I was told that in order to keep my band happy, I need to pay each player $50 per rehearsal, and $50 to $100.

So this means, in a band that is bare bones (ie singer, drummer, bass, guitar), I’m paying $150 for rehearsal (in addition to the cost of a rehearsal space which is usually $50 for 2 hours), then shelling out another $300 at a gig that will most likely only pay me a percentage of tickets after the break-even point, which then is most likely split between a few bands. (There are many kinds of deals, but I don’t have time to give you a lesson in the music industry at the moment.

So let me ask you this, where the FUCK am I getting $500 every time I want to gig? Also, PLEASE remember, that I’m not getting paid for these gigs either. I don’t get paid to write the songs, the charts, the arrangements, book the show, rehearse, or sing. So the fact that someone wants to come to me, TELL me they want to play with me and believe in me… but for a price, is just about the most insulting thing you could ever do to me.

I’ve ALWAYS been up front about the fact that I will split my earnings with my band evenly. I’m not trying to play the diva.

If you want to make that kind of money for a gig, you better join a touring act, a cover band with a residency, or a wedding band.

Don’t fucking insult me and my talent. That is INFURIATING.

5. I might leave New York because I’M BROKE. 

Rent sucks. Food prices suck. Utility bills suck. Transportation – ehhhh, it’s okay considering we don’t have to pay for gas or car insurance. Beer/wine/liquor prices suck.

The job market is still very lean. No one is hiring. Even the shit jobs can’t pay more than $10 an hour, which is insulting considering what the average New Yorker pays in rent every month. Most of my friends have multiple jobs, and STILL have trouble paying the rent.

6. I might leave New York because I simply CANNOT go on another first date in this city. 

I actually shouldn’t even call them dates. They are more like, “wanna meet up for casual drinks where I’m going to tell you that I don’t want anything serious and if you try to contact me after this ‘date’ or whatever it is I’m going to label you as a ‘crazy’ girl because I told you I didn’t want anything serious and you read too far into it,” thing.

Misogyny is alive and well in this city (as it is everywhere) but throw in the egomaniac nature of the finance, layer, even the actor/musician guys and it’s amplified times A THOUSAND.

I don’t even know the last time I was even treated like a proper lady.

7. I might leave New York because there is a great big world out there, and I’m only 26. 

New York is not going anywhere, and I’m not getting any younger. Shouldn’t my happiness trump living in a city that is currently making me unhappy?

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So there you have it. There’s my short list of BIG reasons influencing my POSSIBLE decision to move.

Now, you may be asking, “Where will you go, if not New York?”

Well, my short answer is this, “Anywhere I fucking want to go.”

But honestly, my first move would probably be home. I might need some time to regroup and get my life together before I make another big move. Since I’ve been 18 I’ve moved to Cincinnati, Boston and now, New York, so making yet another gigantic move is a big deal.

Somewhere I’ve been considering very seriously is Austin, Texas.

Some of you might be wondering why my answer wasn’t LA.

Well, to be quite honest with you, I feel like I might have similar, if not the EXACT same issues in LA.

But something about Austin, Texas appeals to me.

1. First of all, it’s cheaper. I could make my dollars stretch significantly further in Austin than in New York.

2. I would have to drive, but Austin is also a very bike-friendly city and I would most likely live someplace where I would be close my job and my industry.

3. I would be close to my family. My brother and his wife are in Houston, which is only a few hours away. It would be nice to be around the corner from them.

4. The weather.

5. I could bring Blue (my dog)

6. Just based off the ads I’ve seen on Craigslist, I would be better off moving to Austin and finding a band, than sitting around here for another six months to have more musicians flake out on me.

7. There is live music (ESPECIALLY rock music) EVERYWHERE. EVERY. NIGHT.  I’m not hating on the theater, because LORD knows I love the theater, but I wouldn’t have to worry about being talented, but not the right “fit” in Austin. Austin is a rock and roll city. The place THRIVES on it.

8. SXSW

9. There is a large Berklee community in Austin. Even though I’m not currently close with any Berklee alumni in Austin, I know that connection is there. It’s like when I go somewhere and find out they were in my sorority; I don’t know then personally, but there is always a connection.

10. New York will ALWAYS be there. Period.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE stop sending me text messages asking me why I’m leaving. I’ve already made is CRYSTAL CLEAR that this is only something I’m thinking about and not allowing myself to make decisions about until I’ve weighed all my options. Who knows, in two days I could write another post saying that I was just being dramatic and that I’m back in love with the city and want to live here for ten more years.

Who knows.

I don’t, so STOP badgering me and just please respect that this is something I’m trying to work out.

I’m NOT giving up

I’m NOT doing this for attention.

I’m NOT moving right this second at this very hour.

I also would appreciate if everyone would stop telling me that my feelings are wrong or incorrect. How a person feels is never incorrect. You may see something one way and I may see it another. Unless we’re talking about laws of science (which we’re not) I’m pretty sure that I’m allowed to feel the way I want to about subjects pertaining to my life.

Okay.

Glad I got this off my chest.

xoxo

Shan Babe who is NOT giving up, just considering her own happiness as a priority.

New York, We Need A Break

Dear my love, New York City,

It’s Shannon, here. You know, your loyal girlfriend for the past two years. Today actually marks our two-year anniversary.

I wasn’t exactly sure how to tell this to your face, but I think we need a break.

Trust me, it’s not you, it’s me. You were never insincere about who you were; you were always honest. I think I just played into a fantasy of you. I loved the idea that you could give me everything I always wanted. I’ve had this imagine in my head since I’ve been a little girl, that you would be the one to save me, fix me, make me happy.

But that’s just not the case anymore.

Believe me when I say I haven’t fallen out of love with you. The reasons I initially fell in love with you are still there, but I can’t keep pretending that I’m happy in this tumultuous relationship with you when I’m not.

So, because I love and care for you so much, I’m going to give you one month to see if I can see myself continuing in this relationship.

Now remember New York, I’m not saying this to scare you or test you, but I think I’ve given pretty much all I can to you up until this point, so I need to think carefully about where our future together lies.

You will have my final decision on July 3rd, 2014.

All My Love,

Shannon

 

20 Things New Yorkers LOVE to HATE

20. The Weather

Let’s be real. This is pretty much the first thing out of any New Yorker’s mouth when it’s raining, snowing, cold, hot, windy, sunny, cloudy, or even a reasonable temperature. New Yorkers will never cease at the opportunity to complain about the weather.

Lately we’ve being going through the period of the “polar vortex” and some people have said that New York is not as cold as other places in the country.

Yes, we are aware.

HOWEVER, most of us don’t drive and then THIS happens:

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There is nothing worse than walking around on a rainy New York day and having the bottom half of your pants SOAKED in water, and then your umbrella turning inside out, ruining your perfectly straightened hair and causing your mascara to run all over your face.

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DON’T even get me started on the summer months…

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Although I’ll be completely honest, when people ask me if I would rather live anywhere else, I say no.

I grew up in Cleveland, where the weather was even more bat-shit crazy than here… I’ll survive.

19. Slow Walkers

We live in New York.

WE HAVE PLACES TO BE!!!!

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GET OUT OF MY WAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

At least if you are going to be slow, please do not go all “Sex and The City” style on me and hold hands with your girlfriends and TAKE UP THE ENTIRE SIDEWALK.  That is NOT how people walk here, despite what every movie or television show you’ve seen about New York tells you.

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18. Hipsters

I actually have a lot of love for Hipsters. I also dress like one from time to time (those clothes are COMFY).

But I think the general consensus on why New Yorkers hate hipsters, is the pretentious attitude that goes along with the hipster persona.

Especially when this is true:

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There is nothing worse than getting in a conversation with a hipster and them making you feel bad about literally every life choice you’ve ever made.

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Or worse: makes you feel like an idiot for not knowing “that band” or shuns you for being “so mainstream.”

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To which I reply:

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17. Train Construction/Planned Service Changes

Oh that’s cute… you wanted to take that train from Midtown Manhattan to Brooklyn???

NOPE

You are going to have to transfer at least twice, wait 20 minutes between trains and then pack yourself like a fucking sardine into the car because everyone else is trying to do the same thing as you.

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16. The people that would rather live in LA than New York, but still live here…

Don’t complain to me how you hate everything about New York and can’t wait to move to LA.

And how New York is “so over,” and the industry is “all in LA.”

Just fucking do it!

No one is keeping you here!

Don’t sit around and shit on my city!

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17. Hot Garbage

Here is the evolution of smelling hot garbage in July.

At first you’re like:

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Then you’re like:

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Then it really starts to hit you and you’re like:

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Then you just get furious and you’re like:

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Then you cry:

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16. No Seamless or GrubHub delivery from a restaurant.

Wait??? We have to CALL and order our food? Or even worse… you don’t deliver??? I have to PICK IT UP!?!?!?

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15. Anyone with a flyer

No! I do NOT want to go to the strip club, buy anything from your shitty electronics store that has been going out of business for months, or a coupon for your dry cleaning service that will probably lose my favorite dress shirt.

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And when I ignore you, that is NOT an invitation to stick your flyer closer to my face.

14. Lines at Starbucks

Guy in front of you has a super complicated coffee order:

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Then I get up to the counter and order something super simple. WHY DOES IT TAKE SO LONG FOR YOU TO FILL UP MY LARGE COFFEE WITH ROOM!?!?!

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13. Trying to Hail a Cab and “gypsy” cabs slow down

I am a single, 20-something living in a big city.

No, I would not like to jump in your unmarked car and end up in the East River.

K Thanks.

12. Pole Leaners

It’s okay, I didn’t want to grab on to a pole during rush hour on the subway or anything.

Clearly you are the ONLY ONE on the train right now because CLEARLY this is your own personal train.

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To you, I throw SHADE:

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11. Taxi drivers that treat you like tourists

I asked you to use the West Side Highway. But instead you chose to drive down Broadway… on a Friday night… at dinnertime.

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You’re not getting a good tip.

10. TOURISTS

I’m always happy to help a nice tourist with directions. I’m incredibly patient about answering questions. But DO NOT come to New York without doing your research.

This video will help you:

And you may THINK you look like this when you’re walking around the city:

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But you really look like this:

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We can spot you from a mile away.

9. Time Square/Herald Square

Every time I’m in these areas.

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And then I just start plowing through the rows and ROWS of clueless people standing everywhere.

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8. Hearing “IT’S SHOW TIME” on a subway train

There’s always a night on the train when my favorite song will come on my phone, and I’m quietly reading my New York Magazine. Content. Happy. Minding my own business…

“IT’S SHOW TIME!”

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7. Having to Leave your Burrough

You live out at the end of the J line?

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You’re silly.

6. “Sorry, we’re CASH ONLY” 

You get through your entire order at a restaurant/bar and then they’re like…

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So then you’re like…

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5. RENT

The rent is too damn high! Tell em Jimmy McMillan! LIKE A BOSS

4. Crowded, Sweaty, Loud Bars

Your friend drags you out to the hottest new club…

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And you are bumping into everyone, spilling your drink all over your brand new dress.

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So then you just say fuck it, and make due.

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3. Alcohol Prices

If you’re like me, you enjoy going out on the weekends… and the weekdays… and Sunday during the day… and sometimes during the day in general…

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So you go to a cute, new cocktail place and try out one of the fancy bourbon drinks.

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“That will be $27.50. Would you like to open a tab?”

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But you pay anyway… because you want to get drunk.

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2. Time Warner Cable

They may wish to provide you with top-quality customer service…

But they won’t.

You want to pay a reasonable amount for cable and internet and still get the speed you need as well as all the channels you want???

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Then you’ll tell them how another company quoted you something much less for an exorbitant amount more, but they don’t care.

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Then you cry.

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1. Dating

Dating in New York is a tricky one.

Usually the first date is a whirlwind of warm fuzzies. You feel like you’ve FINALLY made a connection with someone in a city with literally millions of people.

And there is cuteness…

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And cuddling…

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Then sometime after this, the other person’s texts start to get shorter and shorter. And then they eventually disappear off the face of the earth.

And you’re all like, “What the hell happened??”

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Then the overanalyzing starts.

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And then you’ll casually text about meeting up, because you think there still might be hope.

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And then you will see a “read receipt” that says the other person read that text, but get a text two days later saying, “SO SORRY! Just now seeing this… sorry I’ve been SO busy with work.”

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Until you finally decide you’re going to confront this ass hole for making you a crazy bitch.

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Then one the rage is over, acceptance sets in. You become your rational self again, and realize that it was the other person, not you.

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Until your best friend tells you they just got engaged…

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Then you’ll talk behind her back because you’ve just lost another single friend… leaving you out in the cruel world of dating.

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Rinse and repeat.

Happy Saturday! 🙂

Love,

Shan Baby

“BACKGROUND! Annnnnnd…. ACTION!”

If you work in my industry, these are words with which you are absolutely familiar.

Today, after three EXTREMELY long days of background work, I wanted to share my personal list of:

The 25 people you will meet while doing background work.

Yes, I understand that not all my readers are familiar with how my job works, but hopefully you too can find some humor in this post.

Here goes.

1. The guy who forgot his pen

This first one just baffles me. EVERY set we are required to fill out a talent voucher. Why you don’t have a pen is just BEYOND me. The only time I haven’t had a pen on set is when someone from the last set I was on stole mine, never gave it back, and I forgot to replace it. Now I just throw 20 pens in my set bag so that I’m never in this situation.

I actually had a guy offer to buy my pen off me two days ago because after working outside for 12 hours in the NYC blizzard, he just wanted to go home. The poor guy. I just gave it to him. HOWEVER… GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER AND HAVE A FUCKING PEN IN YOUR BAG. Come ON!

That’s Background 101.

2. The outspoken lady who knows EVERYTHING about the union and makes sure that EVERYONE in the entire holding knows

Oh lord. This one.

Listen, I always appreciate a good know-it-all, for the simple fact that they are a wealth of knowledge about some things that I would actually like to know. And what’s better is that there is never a union question too stupid for them because they just want to talk.

However, lady, you need to SHUT THE FUCK UP FOR LIKE FIVE MINUTES ABOUT THE UNION BECAUSE NO ONE CARES! We also don’t care that you have a personal relationship with every PA and AD on various sets around the city, (because you don’t), or how long you’ve been doing background work, (forever), or that you were featured as a “female detective #14” on Law and Order that ONE TIME.

We will solicit your knowledge as needed. K Thanks.

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3. The guy who never actually does any background work and sits in holding all day

Some people are just the master of not working. This person will always sit in the corner of holding, with a hood above their heads, ear buds in. Whenever the background PA asks for volunteers, you will never see this person’s hand go up. He will spend the 8-14 hours on set reading a post-modern novel, or taking a nap.

He will always be first in line for lunch.

4. The angry old man

He looks something like this:

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He hates EVERYTHING and EVERYONE. Don’t tell him “Good Morning!” or worse, try to ask him how he’s been, because then you will get a 15-minute rant about why his life is awful and how NOTHING IS EVER GOING TO GET BETTER IN LIFE BECAUSE LIFE SUCKS AND IS AWFUL AND TERRIBLE AND THERE IS NO GOD.

Good to know.

5. The wildly inappropriate middle-aged man

There is one on every set.

That guy who is in his 40s who thinks it’s okay to grab a 20-something’s ass, whom he’s just barely met. I had one of these men tell me (after I commented on my muddy boots) that he would like to “lick them clean.”

Ew.

I could honestly share story after story about this one. It’s amazing to me that these men are functioning members of society.  No, I actually did NOT ask you to casually grab my arm when we are talking because it’s MY FUCKING PERSONAL SPACE.

Now go chase after some other poor girl before I knee you in the penis and balls.

6. The first-time fan girl

A newbie background actor is endearing. A first-time fan girl, not so much.

Seriously girl??? You’re going to ask for a picture with the hunky lead guy? REALLY??? We are around famous people all the time. They are at work and so are we. Pictures are for pedestrians. Let’s all be professional here and get back to work.

You’re making the rest of us look bad.

7. The kid who’s SO above it all/The Diva

Listen… NONE of us want to be background lifers (even though we know plenty of people who are). We all believe that we are good enough to be principle actors, or else we probably wouldn’t subject ourselves to being human props for 14 hours at a time. But there is no reason to act like you’re better than the rest of us… because guess what???

You’re not.

8. The eager one

I actually admire this person, because they genuinely excited to do just about anything from the production team 100% of the time. Not to say that I don’t love what I do, but being over-zealous to jump into a scene where I know I’m just a blurry blurb in the background is just not my style.

One time I was placed in the DEEP background of a pedestrian scene and a woman started taking deep breaths in and out thinking about what her “character” would be. Good for you girl! Get that acting. I’ll just be over here making fart jokes until they yell “rolling” and then I’ll walk normal through the shot 2-5 times and call it a day.

I’ll waste my talent and energy when the situation is appropriate.

9. The lady who thinks everyone loves her, but actually, no one can stand her

She never shuts up. She never stops complaining. She knows everyone. She’s a background lifer. She makes jokes that no one thinks are funny. She bends your ear about things you don’t care about.

Run away from her.

RUN.

10. The stage parents

It’s funny to me watch these mothers fuss over their children being perfect, when really this is what they’re thinking:

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11. The conspiracy theory guy

Yesterday on set I literally had a guy ask to borrow my phone so he could show me a theory about how famous Renaissance artists were actually painting images reflective of a black hole in space.

Or something like that. I don’t know… my eyes glazed over in about five minutes.

Then he started talking about how robots are going to take over the world and start reproducing, and humans are going to become obsolete, unless we create a self-sustaining utopia.

I can’t MAKE this shit up.

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12. The guy who ALWAYS has a piece of crafty in his hands

I love this guy! He knows exactly where the crafty table is, what’s worth getting, what you must stay away from, and is ALWAYS willing to share!

For those of you who don’t know the lingo, “crafty” just stands for the craft food service table. Just think the “snack table.”

Crafty guy never has a problem sneaking away even when production is ready to call “rolling,” and will usually return five minutes later with one plate for himself, and a coffee (exactly the way I like it) for me!

Crafty guy, Shan Baby salutes you!

13. The person who never fails to share their personal resume with every person they encounter on set

I don’t care how many times you’ve been on Blue Bloods, or Nurse Jackie, or that you’re core on The Following.

We’ve all pretty much worked the same shows in New York.

You’re not special.

Also… I’m not a casting director, so you are wasting your time bragging to me, because I don’t care.

14. The non-union person who bends your ear about why their career is so much better because they are non-union/The union person who bends your ear about why their career is so much better because they’re union. 

Unfortunately these conversations are un-avoidable. There will always be the pro-union people and the anti-union people. We can argue all day long about non-union commercials disappearing when you join SAG, or why it’s worth it to join SAG and work less, for more.

The argument is endless, and no one will ever leave this conversation anything other than angry or confused.

I’m guilty of getting into several of these conversations. Sigh.

Let people decide whether they want to join the union on their own.

I’m tired of talking about acting… let’s go back to fart jokes.

15. The union person who thinks they are an A-list actor because they do union background work

We all hope this will happen:

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But until it does… you are nothing but a background actor.

16. The complainer

After I got into wardrobe the other day, I had a woman come up to me and complain about how her week was awful, and how she hated the way her costume fit, and how she was worried about getting sick in the cold, and how there was no more eggs at breakfast, and how her coffee was too hot, and that she had a zit on her face, and that her shoes were too tight, and her daughter was mad at her, and blah blah BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH.

When she was finally done, I turned to her and said, “I’m sorry to hear that, but my week was FABULOUS!”

She shut up.

17. The socially awkward one

Doesn’t know how to interact with people, so chooses a profession where he has to be around people all day!

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WIN!

18. The actor/model

I’m jealous that ever time a show is looking for a “model type” that you can apply in addition to all the posts for us “normal” people. Stop being so damn pretty!

While you’re looking all pretty… this is me at the crafty table:

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19. The actors/singers/theater people

Oh this is DEFINITELY something I’m guilty of being. After we get to a certain hour, the singing starts happening… complete with theatrics.

My favorite recent relapse of theater behavior was being dressed in 1900s attire skipping around with an umbrella for a prop, singing “Let’s Go Fly A Kite,” at the top of my lungs.

Then everyone joins in, but there is that ONE GUY, who is annoyed.

And to him, I say:

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20. The young charmer guy

Now I know I might take some flack for this… but this guy is usually from Jersey or Long Island, has a thick accent, probably Italian, buff, good looking, and hits on EVERY WOMAN on set.

And then there is…

21. The pretty/innocent girl who is charmed by the young charmer

Poor girl.

22. The career advice guy

Somehow I always end up getting myself into these conversations with people older and “wiser” (note the sarcasm) about how I should “never give up,” and “keep going,” regarding my career.

No matter how many times I tell them that I’m definitely not giving up anytime soon, it’s like they just ignore me and continue to give me positive reinforcement. I have to imagine in their mind they imagined me coming up to them, about to throw in the towel with acting, and begged them to give me their “expertise” advice.

From then on, whenever I see these people, they point and wink at me and say, “Don’t you give up now, Shannon. You’re talented!”

Thanks?

23. The DEMENTORS from Harry Potter who literally SUCK THE SOUL RIGHT OUT OF YOU

The complainer, the grumpy old man, and a few others are close to this, but the Dementor is just on a whole OTHER level.

They will literally suck all the joy out of you until THIS happens:

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The Dementors have the ability to ruin days on set.

Damn soul suckers.

24. The person who only knows how to talk about background work and refuses to talk about anything else

I have lots of interests.

I’m sorry you don’t.

I’m going to go talk to someone who does.

Bye! 🙂

25. The normal people

So finally, after all the bullshit, I will find those friends on set that I love and respect.

We giggle and sing and talk about things OTHER than background work. We quote movies and play games in holding. We don’t make stupid stories up about our “character” when we talk through sets. We can fill out a W2 and I9 in our sleep and always bring extra layers/gloves/shoes/socks for whatever inclement weather we are going to face. We commiserate with each other when there are crappy circumstances on set, but never go into bitchy, crazy complain mode. We find silver linings in everything. We sleep on each other’s shoulders in holding. We share tips about the best way to take shits on set. The hair/makeup/wardrobe department LOVE us, as do the PAs and the AD because we are nice and agreeable. We don’t talk to the leads, unless for some reason they want to talk to us (which sometimes happens because we are awesome). We get drinks with each other after long days.

These people make everything worth it.

So there you have it.

I work with crazy people.

Such is the life of a performer.

We’ve all been at least one of these people. Hell… I’m guilty of several of these numbers, some of which I’m less proud of than others.

So cheers to all the struggling actors, performers, theater kids, singers, musicians out there. Paying our dues is part of the process, and I’m happy to say that I  get to work on television and movie sets until I “make it big.”

Love,

Shan Baby the crazy actress/singer/musician/performer/outrageously theatrical/loud/driven lady