Don’t Worry, Be Happy (or some crap advice like that)

Fun fact: I’m a diagnosed clinically depressed human. Okay, maybe not so fun, but I’m very open about it, I can joke about what I call “my crazy,” and I’m not ashamed of it in any way. But I’m aware that there’s still a huge stigma about depression, and that the vast majority of people can’t seem to recognize it as an actual medical deficiency or condition as opposed to one huge, irrationally sad mood. My brain doesn’t work as well as others’ brains when it comes to making connections that have to do with, well, keeping basic sanity. And not overreacting to things. In my specific case, not dramatizing situations, which I’m preeeeeetty sure was the whole reason I’ve been known as a Drama Queen for my entire existence.

When I was first diagnosed in 2001 during my junior year of college, going on antidepressants was a quick fix. A clean, simple solution that I’m not sure actually worked, given the craziness of that time of life and the ever-changing relationship status I had with my boyfriend. After a few years, I decided that I wanted to “fight it on my own,” a phrase that makes me laugh in horror at my young, rebellious, stubborn mind. I mean, if I was diagnosed with asthma, or gonorrhea, would I have decided to “fight it on my own?” Absolutely not. Even things like acne and motion sickness are emotionally and physically damaging enough to warrant many different forms of medication and treatment without a second thought, or without suggestion that the sufferer is “too shallow about their looks,” or “would be better off just walking everywhere.”

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Credit: @RobotHugsComic

I started taking Zoloft again a year and a half ago under the medical advice of my psychologist and my general practitioner. It was a terrible start, complete with extreme nausea, insomnia and all kinds of fun things happening in my intestines. I considered quitting every day. Until almost two weeks in, when I realized that I could hear myself think. I remember the exact moment. I was in the car with my boyfriend (now husband; thanks, Zoloft!) and he asked me if I felt different. And the only answer was, “Yes.” And I asked him if I seemed different. And he just said, “Yes.” And then we both cried.

I was still sick to my stomach, couldn’t sleep for weeks and developed an awesome sinus infection to boot. But I was an adult woman with some side effects. Just three days earlier, I had been a confused, overreactive, sensitive woman with some side effects that made life seem unlivable at moments. I finally understood that I hadn’t felt human in years. I had been made up of feelings that came from what my brain was telling me to do and how to feel and think. And now, I was made up of actual emotions, and gut instincts that were louder and clearer than ever before. The impulses to take things the wrong way or to get irrationally angry still came up. But I just didn’t feel like acting on them anymore. It didn’t interest me. And eventually, they stopped coming up at all.

Now, I’m not trying to pretend that antidepressants are some sort of Magic Happy Pill, where everything is unicorns and tiaras, and cartoon characters run around singing and cleaning your house for you. There is definitely a lot more of that, for sure. But the main difference is that, instead of a jumble of physical reactions and chaotic thoughts entering my brain and body whenever I’m required to feel things, there is calm. Unless I’m mad. Then I feel mad. But now I know that I’m actually genuinely mad, as opposed to reacting in a mad way because my brain isn’t communicating well with itself.

Everyone has their own path to happiness. Some may involve therapy, some medication, some meditation, etc. There is no correct way. And while people fear that drugs of this ilk may leave them as a blank android of a person, I say: I have never felt more alive.

My name is Patti Murin. I love to sing, rescue dogs, live tweet “The Bachelor,” and hug my husband. I am also clinically depressed. And I’ve never been happier.

(Note: I am not a doctor. But I play one on TV. Though I play a pathologist, and that’s mainly dealing with dead bodies. So consult your real doctor if you’re considering any course of medical treatment for clinical depression. And know that there are different solutions for everyone. Love you all.)IMG_3961

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The One Where Patti Takes On the Chat Boards

Warning: The following blog post is going to make me either incredibly popular in the theatre community or incredibly unpopular in the theatre community.

As an actor, and as a human person, I’ve always cared about what others think. Whether it was that mean girl in fifth grade who made fun of my glasses, or the boys who teased me about my braces, or the popular girl in junior high who pointed out that I wasn’t wearing the right brand of jeans, I cared deeply. And so on and so forth, until I found myself in a career where it legit revolves around what other people think. Am I good enough, am I pretty enough, am I friendly enough, etc. We get reviews written about us, which other people are allowed to, and overwhelmingly encouraged to, read when they are delivered to their inbox or front doorstep. Hundreds, sometimes thousands of people pay cash money to come sit in a dark room and watch us work. This is what we do and we love it.

Just two days ago, I was in the middle of rehearsing for a really fantastic new Broadway musical called “Nerds” when we got shut down because our financing fell through. Literally, we were singing the lyric, “Live your dream” when our producer walked in the room. You just can’t make this stuff up. We are devastated, we are in varying states of shock, we are angry. But most importantly, we laughed as we sobbed and decided to perform our show one time for family, friends and the designers who worked their asses off for this show. Because as angry as we are, we choose love.

The immediate outpouring of support and love from our fellow theatre nerds and friends and families and fans was outstanding, overwhelming, and breathtaking. A devastating moment in all of our lives was wrapped in waves and waves of positive energy and text messages and emails and pizza and a CRAP TON of booze. I found myself at home, with beautiful fresh roses from my husband (who was out of town) blooming on the table, sitting with 4 of my girlfriends who had dropped everything to feed me, bring me cookies and wine, listen and let me cry. It’s hard to sink too low when you have that kind of beauty in your life.

And that’s awesome! So why are some people going to hate me, you ask? Because there’s also an annoying, petty, gossipy, catty side to our business that seems to creep up over and over again. For all of you non-theatre peeps, there are various websites dedicated to theatre and Broadway. Playbill is one, as well as Theater Mania, Broadway.com, and Broadway World. They are all wonderful in their individual ways, and over the years I have been able to count many of their journalists and photographers as friends. They give us love, we give them love, they report the news, write professional reviews, take great pictures, and it’s all done with mutual respect and understanding.

And then there’s the Chat Board.

Over on Broadway World, there is a whole section of the site dedicated to “Chat Boards,” where fans and theatergoers and heck, even producers masquerading as Muggles can write whatever they want about theatre. There are plenty of genuine people who truly want to discuss and debate their opinions, connect with other theatre fans, and to listen to what others have to say and respond in a mature and educated manner. These people use the chat boards to learn and spread positivity. If you are one of those people, I adore you!

But then there’s also a nasty faction of “fans” who take our hard work and turn it into gossip, and pissing contests over who can come up with the snarkiest insult or meme or GIF, and bragging rights over who is the most insider-y when it comes to Broadway and theatre secrets. It’s snarky. And you know, I like some light snark. But it’s nasty snark. Immature and uninformed people are hiding behind screen names and posting incorrect information, passing on rumors as facts, and just generally being dicks. To each other, and to us.

“So don’t read them, Patti!” That’s the obvious answer, right? And you know what, I actually try not to. I found an awesome website that taught me how to block specific websites, and if I REAAALLLLY want to look, I have to go through the whole process of unlocking it. It’s like having to take a Breathalyzer before you text your ex. But every time I go to Broadway World, they’re there, just staring me in the face. And sometimes the temptation is just too great. They’re the 3rd column on the top, beating out other categories, such as “Jobs” and “Students.” Only “Sections” and “Shows” are more important. I have many friends who have gotten upset over things that are said on them. I’ve had to explain to my parents multiple times that the people posting on them most likely do not know what they are talking about. Even if I don’t personally read them, they are ever present.

So I’m going to do the only thing I know how, and I’m going to write about it. I took some time this morning, and I searched those goddamn boards for any mentions of Nerds, or of me. And now I’m going to respond to some of them. And then I’m going to ask Broadway World to shut them down. Because this is just a teeny tiny blip in the chat board map, but I think it will give you a pretty great idea of how bad it gets.

First, there was this exchange when our show got announced:

the guy who wrote the music for this show is an executive at Jujamcyn. is the longacre a Jujamcyn theater? if so, then that’s how they got it. even with such a terrible show like this. -JM 226 1/14/16

The Longacre is a Shubert house. -(screen name withheld)  1/14/16

why wouldnt his own employer find a theater for his show -JM226 1/14/16

They’re referring to Hal Goldberg, our brilliant composer who happens to work for the Jujamcyn organization. This theatre fan knows sooooo much about how Broadway shows actually come to fruition, that he/she assumed that all you have to do is work for a theatre company. Geez, if I had known that, I would have gotten a front office job years ago.

Then there was this gem:

How lucky we are to be alive right now to decide between seeing Disaster or Nerds on Broadway. What a vibrant era of artistry in which we live. -BroadwayConcierge 2/11/16

I’m guessing that’s sarcasm? And also, please note the requisite Hamilton reference.

This one popped up in a thread about the first preview being delayed by one day:

Wow, this news should be shocking to no one. This show is already a mess. Maybe it’s a simple score with simple script and staging, hence they only need 5 weeks of rehearsal.     -Gypsy101 2/12/16

Okay, so here’s some guy, who maybe saw the show in Philadelphia a few years back, or North Carolina, or the NYMF show about 10 years ago. But said guy has not seen a single moment, script page, or photograph from the current production. Also he posted this 10 days before we started rehearsals. So…..yeah. Obviously an informed and highly researched opinion.

Then we have this, which was posted before our cast was announced:

LightsOut90 said: “(Name withheld) is apparently reprising his role from the 2013 production.

I hope he’s not playing either Jobs or Gates because neither of them are mentally retarded. -ClydeBarrow 2/19/16

WOW. Wow. This is offensive for more than a million reasons. As I’m typing this my foster puppy is crying in his sleep, and I’m pretty sure it’s because this upsets him as much as it upsets me. So not only does this guy insult an actor in the most degrading, cruel way, but he disgustingly insults an entire population of people, the vast majority of which have nothing to do with this show. Ironically, ClydeBarrow lists me as one of his favorite performers. I’m flattered, and I thank you, but what I would really like is for you to be a better person.

These next few are some of my favorites! On the day the cast was announced:

I feel bad that such people like Patti, Lindsay, and Rory are attached to this. They’re all so talented and they can’t find better work? -neonlightsxo 2/22/16

It’s all about paying the bills, people. It’s a very, very short list of Broadway performers who are in a position to turn down a show of a quality they consider too low. Pretty interesting, even maybe great cast—even though this won’t be anything but a flop.             -BroadwayConcierge 2/22/16

Thank you so much for being so concerned about us and our careers. But did you ever stop to consider that the show is…wait for it….good? And that we couldn’t find better work because we jumped at the chance to do this because we loved it? And that our director, Casey Hushion, is maybe one of the most genius women to ever cross through the land of Musical Theatre? And that we would have given our left thumb to work with her? And that all of us in that cast had multiple projects on the horizon that we turned down or backed out of because this opportunity was truly incredible? And last but not least, consider this: Maybe we are REALLY GOOD at making decisions for ourselves and we don’t just work to be working, even if it’s scary to say no to something. If that was the case, we would all be working on shows every single day of the year. But we wait until the good things come around, the things that make sense for our families and careers and personal lives. And this, neonlightsxo, was a really, really good thing.

And then there’s this guy in a thread about the Tonys:

I WANT LINDSAY MENDEZ TO WIN! oh wait… too late. -Call_me_jorge 3/9/16

Okay, so you’re just a dick.

Now we got some truly loving support from Lesli Margherita, who tweeted the following:

Takes millions ($ and peeps) 2 put up a Bway show & when it doesn’t work it’s💔so think before u write assy stuff on a blog/hell board

Now I have never met Lesli, but I adore her from a distance for her insane talent and take no shit attitude. She’s beloved in the theatre community for her sharp hilarity and her big heart, and this tweet makes me even more obsessed with her. One of the responses to this tweet on the BWW message board is the following:

Lesli Margherita calling this message board a “hell board” is kind of rude. People say nice stuff about her all the time on here. -gypsy101 3/8/16

And we are back to our friend Gypsy101! So because people say nice stuff about Lesli, she doesn’t get to dislike the board? Even if posters are slaying her friends and shows left and right? She’s not allowed an opinion because people say she has a great voice, which I’m fairly certain she’s very confident in already, thank you very much?

And, there was one thing that kind of bugged me about Lesli’s tweet. I understand that no one likes it when people talk about them or what they do etc in a negative light. However, I’ve felt that if you’re in a profession where you’re opening yourself up to the public, comments, good bad and otherwise will occur. It happens in sports, TV/film politics and music etc. What makes Broadway any different? I get it, there are things that people shouldn’t say or things that get too out of hand in terms of commenting etc. But, it is going to happen. -Islander_fan 3/9/16

So because people are legally allowed to say shitty things about anyone and anything they want, you want to be an asshole too?

I love Broadway World. I have been writing recaps and blogs and features for them for the past few years, and I’ve made a few very good friends who work for them. I think they do a fantastic job of promoting theatre in new, exciting and creative ways. I will always say yes to interviews, article requests, etc from them. There is no denying that they are a major force in the Internet/Broadway connection.

But for these boards to exist on a website like BWW, one that is all about the joy and love and passion and artistry of theatre, is a direct contradiction of everything they stand for. They love and support actors and directors and creators and designers and dressers and  box office staff and ushers and the awesome people who stand in Times Square when it’s 20 degrees outside passing out flyers for shows. So I want to know why they would willingly cultivate a cesspool of ignorance and negativity? Many of these posters are mean to us, and they are just as mean to each other. I’m sure the traffic flow has something to do with it, as this is quite a popular destination, but is it enough?

I am officially asking you, Broadway World, to take down your chat boards. Create a whole new website for them that has nothing to do with the incredible content you generate. But placing that negative bullshit next to a joyous article about a Broadway show opening does not make any sense to me. To be clear, I’m not asking for them to be shut down forever. Everyone is entitled to express their opinions as loudly as they want, just like I am right now. But they should be their own entity entirely, because much of the time, they are not in the spirit of creating, and cultivating art, and supporting people who are taking real risks to do what they love.

To all of you who I have quoted, or who just want to say hello, please introduce yourself to me. I’m on Twitter. I’m on Facebook. I would love to know who you are and see your faces so I can remind myself that you are also an actual human and not just an angry, nasty Gollum who finds sick joy in other people’s failure (cause that’s kinda how I picture you). We make ourselves vulnerable every single night on these stages, and now I’m asking that you make yourself vulnerable as well.

One last random chat board gem, in reference to the high note Glinda sings at the end of “Thank Goodness” in Wicked:

CATSNYrevival said: “Don’t they just have someone off stage singing her high note at the end of “Thank Goodness?”

No. Most Glindas can hit it with the exception of a few. (Name withheld), (Name withheld) and Patti Murin couldn’t hit it and usually a Glinda understudy that is onstage in her own track sings it instead. -mailhandler777 8/29/15

Mailhandler777, I don’t know where you get your bunk ass information from, because I sang the shit out of that high C, as well as every other note in that show. So SUCK IT, and go handle your mail elsewhere.

UPDATE: Robert Diamond, the founder and creator of BroadwayWorld, reached out to me within a half hour of this posting. He was immediately open to a dialogue that can lead to change for the better (sorry, I couldn’t help it), and rolled out a new feature, a “report to mods” button that exists on each individual post. It’s been in development for a while now, and Robert rushed it through to show how serious he is about improving the boards. We have a lunch meeting this weekend, where we will collaborate and most likely hug, and see where this goes. Thank you, Robert, for being so understanding and caring about this entire community.

UPDATE: I changed some wording after realizing that I made it sound like I don’t read the boards at all. I do at times, whether it is pure curiosity, or because it does provide information. I apologize for that miscommunication, which was entirely my fault. 

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“35 For 35” UPDATE!

4 and a half months ago, I made a list of 35 things I wanted to do or achieve or work on during my 35th year on this planet. “35 For 35.” Get it? So I figured it’s time to review my progress and see what I have accomplished, am working on, or just plain forgot about. Here we go!

1. No more emotional cutting.

I’m getting better. I have relapses, but I’m gonna say that I’m kinda kicking this one’s ass.

2. Send birthday cards on time to friends and family.

Ummm…..

3. Research LASIK and get it done if possible.

Not done yet.

4. Drink sauvignon blanc in New Zealand.

Okay, this one may not happen this year, but I did drink a crap ton of wine in the Maldives, somewhere I have always wanted to go.

5. Be on a TV show.

DONE! Catch me on Chicago Med this Tuesday, February 16th at 9 EST/8 CST. They let me be a doctor!

6. Complete a draft of a TV pilot.

I started it!

7. Publish one blog a week.

With #PartyWithPatti, I think I’ve actually exceeded this one.

8. Eat a freaking cronut.

WHY HASN’T ANYONE BOUGHT ME A CRONUT YET???

9. Commit to my year-long project and do it.

This is #PartyWithPatti. I’m doing it. It’s happening. It’s fun!

10. Read all of the books on my shelves that I have not yet read, and donate the ones I have no interest in reading.

HA HA HA HA HA HA I just bought like 4 more books in the time it took to type all those HAs.

11. Take a writing class at Second City.

May have to wait until next year.

12. Learn to like eating peppers.

I’m actually even more scared of vegetables now, after drinking carrot juice sent me into anaphylactic shock and all allergy tests were completely inconclusive.

13. Call at least one human being a day.

Checking phone records, and I think I’m doing okay on this one. Sometimes it’s not on purpose that I speak to a human, but it still counts.

14. Relearn how to speak Spanish.

Note: Start Rosetta Stone.

15. Play the clarinet again.

I just gotta find a clarinet now….

16. Learn how to cook 5 new meals.

I’m doing okay! I made Curried Chicken earlier this year, and Alfredo Mac and Cheese bites! Many more food celebration days coming up too.

17. Volunteer on some sort of wildlife rescue mission.

Note: Research this.

18. Run 5 5Ks.

I actually have to amend this one, as my left knee has been giving me a bit of a problem this year. So instead, I’m going to donate to every one of my friends who is running a marathon or half marathon this year.

19. Keep $1 in my pocket everywhere I go, so I’m always ready to give it to a homeless person.

I do okay at this! I find myself not walking right past them anymore, and if I don’t have $1, I give whatever change I can find.

20. Greatly reduce my addiction to my iPhone.

I would say I’ve reduced my addiction to it by like 4%.

21. Pay off my student loans.

I DID IT!!!!!!

22. Visit one museum per month.

Ummmmm…….

23. Create photo albums.

I made our wedding album, realized how easy it is, and now have plans for more.

24. Make peace with my body image.

It’s truly getting so much better.

25. Reevaluate my relationship with alcohol.

This one goes on and off, but the awareness has been a huge step.

26. Be on Broadway again.

More on this later…STAY TUNED FOR NEWS!!!

27. Read one inspirational book per month. 

I bought like 6 more…does that count?

28. Stop apologizing for everything. 

I have improved greatly.

29. Go to the ballet and the opera.

Ummmm……

30. Get paid actual money to write.

Not yet. Only a matter of time, right?

31. BE ON TIME.

Getting back to my old punctual ways again!

32. Stop playing Candy Crush.

HA HA HA I actually downloaded a whole new Candy Crush game HA HA HA HA HA

33. Make exercising about enjoyment, not calorie-burning.

DONE. I found Heated Power Vinyasa Yoga, and I love it so freaking much.

34. Take a ballet class.

Ummmm……

35. See my wine glass as always being half full.

I can honestly say that I am happier now than I have ever been in my entire life. And it isn’t about being employed, or feeling important, or being skinny. It’s because I love my life, and the people in my life. At the risk of sounding goopy and cheesy, I didn’t know happiness like this was even possible.

Now, off to find a clarinet….

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Read If You Love Puppies

Hi friends!

So, as I’m sure you all know, I love dogs. All dogs, but rescue dogs have a very special place in my heart. So much so that when I have to cry in an audition I just think about the poor little peanuts sitting in cages, waiting for someone to love them, and I’m such a bawling mess that the casting people are petrified and my mascara is dripping into my cleavage.

I’ve been volunteering with rescue organizations in New York City for almost a year now, and through that, I met a whole group of incredible women who also cry when they think about our furry friends who go unloved for years, often before meeting an untimely and unceremonious end. Oh god, I need a tissue break.

Okay, THIS is where the happiness starts! One of these women, Rachael Ziering, has taken it upon herself to start a brand new rescue in the NYC area. Went through the whole government application process, is tirelessly raising money to defray startup costs, and works nonstop to find as many foster moms and dads as possible so she can pull more and more dogs from high kill shelters. The name is Muddy Paws Rescue, and if you follow me on any sort of social media or blog site, you will involuntarily commit this name to memory before long, because I’m gonna be a HUGE pain in the ass about it.

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This is Fawn, a 9 week old boxer mix. She was neglected for the first two months of her life, but is now gaining weight and becoming the playful puppy she was meant to be. Now all she needs is a home!

http://www.muddypawsrescue.org

TONIGHT is Muddy Paws Rescue’s very first adoption event in New York City! It is taking place from 7-9 PM at Doggystyle pet store, which is located at 46 University Place at 9th Street, just south of Union Square. 8 pups have been adopted already, and there are 23 more who need their angels to come in and give them homes, so they can finally learn how to be safe and happy and, well, dogs.

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This is Petey. You can’t have him.

I personally witnessed the dramatic change when we adopted Petey, our 2 year old terrier mix. He was skin and bones and wouldn’t look anyone in the eye. He was incredibly submissive, though very protective over his food. But after just 3 days of being in a home, with a canine brother and two loving human parents, getting fed every day at the appropriate time, and snuggling so deep into our laps that we couldn’t tell where his head or tail was, he was well on his way to trusting a human, something he probably had never been able to do before.

So please, help any way you can! If you can, foster! If you’re feeling charitable, donate. Even $1 or $5 will help immensely. If you aren’t in a position to do that, please follow Muddy Paws Rescue on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and retweet and share and share and retweet. You never know, one of your posts could very well help to find a pup their permanent family.

I’ve always loved dogs. But it took a while for me to realize just how much. I’m so proud of Rachael, and so honored to be sharing this journey with her from the very beginning.

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This is Monkey, a 4 month old, 4 pound chihuahua mix. You know those terrifying TV shows about hoarders, where they find animals amongst all that filth? That has been Monkey’s life so far.

 

Saving one animal will not change the world, but for that one animal, the world will change forever.

http://www.muddypawsrescue.org

 

“The Bachelor” Recap: Vegas, Baby!

You guys, I’m so sorry that I haven’t written a recap since the premiere, but I’ve been busy. And lazy. And also a little drunk most Mondays after the show. But I’m back (at least for this week), so let’s dive in!

It’s Week 4, and we have a bunch of ladies whose names I do know, a bunch of Laurens that I can’t tell apart, and some other women who literally could have snuck in the back door last night and I wouldn’t know the difference. It’s a super exciting episode immediately, because Ben and the ladies are going to….Vegas. I mean, VEGAS! By the way they scream at this, you’d think they all got a lifetime of free hair extensions and no-chip manicures.

It’s no secret, I do not like Las Vegas. I spent 6 weeks there while on tour with “Wicked,” and while the people are truly lovely and kind, that city is the devil. But these ladies are excited, especially when they see their super sweet suite inside the Aria Hotel. Date Card #1 arrives, and it’s for JoJo. Olivia, our resident crazy, is very Zen about Ben going out with other women, because as she says, “Ben is my peace.” At first I think she says “Ben is my piece,” like, he’s her piece of ass, and you know what? I’m gonna choose to believe that.

Alas, Ben is not her piece/peace for long, because he arrives to pick up JoJo and kisses her in full view of the ladies while waiting for their helicopter to land (I can’t believe I type these sentences sometimes). It’s an Exorcist-style turnaround for Olivia, who is all of a sudden raging with insecurity and angry eyes. Date Card #2 arrives right away, and everyone except Becca is going on the Group Date the next day. Olivia immediately plots Becca’s murder, as this means she has gotten the second One on One Date.

JoJo and Ben have a perfectly lovely time, and she opens up about her “difficult past,” which includes a boyfriend cheating on her. No, that’s it. That’s her difficult past. No one died, no one mugged her at gunpoint, she doesn’t have an eating disorder. So if JoJo has a difficult past, my past is tragic and it’s a miracle that I’m still alive. Ben gives her the rose, there’s a special fireworks display for them, and he obviously wants to stick it in her as soon as humanly possible. Prediction: One Fantasy Suite card for JoJo, please.

It’s Group Date time! Caila is the first person to ever be excited for a Group Date, and they all head to a theatre, where they meet Terry Fator, the brilliant ventriloquist from America’s Got Talent who has a resident show in Vegas. He informs them that today’s challenge is a talent show that they will perform in front of 1200 people, to which most of the girls say, “I have no talent.” At least, not a talent that they can perform on national TV in front of a room full of people. ZING!

Some people are legit awesome, like the twins and their Irish step dancing, and Jubilee and her cello. Then there’s a Lauren dressed up as a chicken, and maybe another Lauren in clown makeup. But the high/lowlight of this event is clearly Olivia. She picks out a Vegas showgirl outfit, complete with a cape, finds a fake cake to pop out of, and proceeds to do a “dance” routine that would make Nomi Malone push her down the stairs just so she would stop. She’s barefoot in tights, clearly is not a performer in any capacity, and everyone is mortified and yet can’t look away. I was afraid she would do something topless, but by the end I think that’s the only thing that could have helped her at all. Honestly, I would have been truly impressed if she had shown how she gets her hair to part so perfectly every day. Now THAT’S talent.

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Happy Birthday?

Olivia knows that she did not succeed, and has a panic attack after leaving the stage. It’s actually kind of sad, because it’s the most self aware she’s been so far this season. They transition to the evening portion of Date Night, and Caila grabs Ben right away for a minute alone. He’s impressed by her forwardness and calls her a “sex panther.” A sex panther? Really, Ben? If a guy called me a sex panther, I would TOTALLY….make out with him and then regret it upon further consideration later. And then probably make out with him again.

Lauren H. hangs out with Ben and Little Ben for a bit, who is “way bigger than I would have expected.” Guys! Get your minds out of the gutter! Little Ben is a PUPPET. Also, Ben is a terrible ventriloquist, and Lauren H. will be picking hair out of her teeth for the rest of the night from making out with Little Ben. THE PUPPET, GUYS!!! What do you think this is, Week 7?

But Olivia has other plans, and drags him aside in her bathrobe dress and kitten heel strappy sandals to apologize for making a fool of herself. He tells her it’s all good, but before she can get any further with him, one of the twins interrupts. Which one? I have no idea. The one who wears jean shorts on the treadmill, maybe. Or the one who…yeah, no, I have no idea. Ben spends some time with a twin and then a Lauren, and is chatting up the other twin (I think), when Olivia COMES BACK AGAIN.

This time it seems like she snorted a little too much Vitamin C powder or chugged a green juice, because she’s snapping her fingers and dancing around nervously, and Ben has to ask what the hell is going on with her. She apologizes again, Ben is not into the reassurance thing, but he steels himself for a quick kiss on the lips anyway, and Olivia is happy again. That’s all she wanted. And we see her mood spin Exorcist-style once again, to the point that she’s convinced herself that he loves her and they’re going to get married. Basically, what I did every time a guy wanted to make out with me between the ages of 21 and 33.

Olivia is quickly disappointed again, as Lauren B. is the recipient of the Date Rose. Oh, Olivia. You were literally created to appear on Bachelor in Paradise.

It’s time for Becca’s One On One Date! A huge box arrives at the hotel for her, which (of course) contains a wedding dress, as they are in the “marriage capitol of the world.” I’m assuming the annulment capitol of the world as well. Becca puts on the gown, and manages to make something that was clearly bought in a nameless pop-up prom shop in the mall look decent-ish. Jubilee accurately snarks that Becca is the only person in that room who can wear white, because remember? Becca is a virgin! Still! She hops into the pink convertible that’s waiting outside, and is driven to a chapel.

Once there, Ben totally pulls the fakeout proposal move on her, and Becca actually looks disappointed when he reveals that he wants her to “marry OTHER people” with him. As in, he’s an Internet ordained minister and people actually want him to unite them in holy matrimony. She changes into a normal looking (but still white!) dress, and they begin. There are multiple men in tuxedo tees, a lot of colorful tattoos, and one extremely weird kiss that would take too long to explain. Nighttime falls, and they head to one of the coolest places in Vegas, The Neon Museum. It’s where all of the old Vegas signage goes when it’s taken down, and is pretty spectacular. They have dinner but don’t eat, talk about Becca’s virginity, and I fall asleep because they’re both so good looking and boring. Becca gets the Date Rose and a kiss, but in my opinion, I don’t think Ben feels as passionate about her as he does some of the other ladies. She’s super pretty and perfectly lovely, but still kiiiiinda cardboard-y.

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And that’s it for the dates! Or is it?? Chris Harrison comes by the hotel to tell the ladies that Ben wants to take the twins on a Two On One Date…to their house. See, the twins grew up in Vegas and still live with their mom and 5 dachshunds just down the street. Is it all starting to make sense?

So in possibly the WORST date ever, they go home to visit mom, and he gets a chance to see their bedrooms. One of which (Haley’s maybe?) has a multitude of bright lacy bras hanging, stuffed animals, and at least two pictures of her and her ex-boyfriend still framed and displayed. That DEFINITELY screams “very near future wife.” Ben sits down with mom, and we have no questions about what the twins will look like later in life. And in the most humane rejection ever, he tells Haley that he is choosing Emily to move on, and she has to stay here with here mommy. Both girls cry for different reasons, but mainly because now Emily has to come up with a new occupation, since she can no longer just be “Twin.”

Cocktail party time! Jennifer (who?) steps up and grabs Ben right away, and gets him for a WHOLE THREE MINUTES before Olivia does her creepy stalking thing and steals him away. (Side note: If I was on this, I would change the rules of stealing. If a guy was like, “Can I steal you?” I would be all, “No, Derrick, you can’t, cause I’m not a possession. I’ll let you know when I’m done talking to Monty S.”)

Olivia thinks it’s a perfect time to eat an entire piece of cheesecake in front of Ben, as she has discovered that her real talent is “eating.” If that’s her talent, then I’m a professional dog adopter, wine taster, online shopper, and pizza order-er. He gives her the same spiel he’s given her twice already this week, and moves on to reassure Jubilee, who is also quietly freaking out. It’s that week, y’all. That week when they realize THEY’RE ALL DATING THE SAME GUY.

Rose Ceremony time! Roses go to Amanda (who??), Lauren H., Jubilee, Emily, Caila, Jennifer, Leah (I give up), and…OLIVIA. But Ben gives an obvious grimace before he announces her name, and we’re pretty sure the producers made him keep her around cause everyone else is too normal. This means Amber and Rachel are headed home, and Amber fails to find love on her third series of the franchise.

Next week, I promise you more crazy, roses, Mexico City, and enough sequins to dress an entire toddler beauty pageant! Adios, amigos!olivia-mouth-600x329

Kaleidoscope Heart

Everyone has their music. That band, that singer, that original cast recording, that movie soundtrack. The one that you realize one day has followed you through the years, marking very specific moments in your life, without even trying. You love their music, but more than that, it is actually ingrained in your life and your memories, and 30 years from now when one of their songs comes through the Bluetooth chip embedded in your head (pretty sure that’s where technology is going), you’ll be transported back to that moment with all of the feelings and images completely intact and as fresh as ever. That music, for me, is Sara Bareilles.sara-bareilles-browadway-waitress-2015-bb26-billboard-650

“Gonna quit my job and move to New York and tattoo my body with every Broadway show.” Those are lyrics from “Vegas,” and a boy that I was flirting with hardcore gave me his headphones so I could hear those words and marvel at how wonderful they were. Someone singing about Broadway shows, while we were in the dressing rooms of OUR Broadway show! Doesn’t seem too deep, but I eventually married that boy, and the memory stuck.

“Gravity.” I wanted to sing this song so badly at a concert that I scoured the Internet for the sheet music, and when I realized it hadn’t yet been released, I found someone to transcribe it for me. I sang it at any audition that required a pop/rock song, and because it wasn’t as well known yet as it is now, that song made me look amazingly cool and hip. It also made me cry every time, though I didn’t know why. At least not consciously.

“King of Anything.” This song was part of a playlist called “I Rock,” which I would run to on the treadmill at the gym. The aforementioned marriage did not work out, and the rejection and hurt and anger were raw. Pink, Kelly Clarkson and Sara B. were my support system, through their words and voices and emotion. Eventually I graduated to the acceptance stage and picked myself up, right in time for “Brave” to come out.

“Brave” was a revelation of energy and love, and the first time in months that my tears were born of happiness. It was a turning point, where I learned how to dance by myself in my bedroom, because nobody else was home. And I was okay with that. I could be brave.

“Chasing the Sun” became a new treadmill song, and I was ready to open my heart again, just a little bit.

I was fortunate enough to be introduced to Sara’s “Waitress” score sooner than most people, when I auditioned for a reading of it. I wasn’t nervous to sing for her, I just really wanted to remember every single detail about that moment. “She Used To Be Mine” was a song that I couldn’t listen to or sing without collapsing into a pool of tears for about a week. I was in a new relationship with the best man I had ever known, but I was still going through the process of figuring out who I really was and wanted to be. It seemed like I had been given a second chance at being happy, and this song felt like it had been written for my heart.

This was the day I finally met Sara, and she was everything I wanted her to be and more. Sounds cheesy, but I promise you it’s true. She radiates warmth and kindness. There’s nothing disingenuous about her. She listens, and she hears. She also gives excellent hugs.

Cut to one year later, dancing with that wonderful man at our wedding. Our wedding song? “I Choose You.”

Sara Bareilles has been with me through the tough times, the uncertain times, and the most joyous times. She has always been my friend, she just didn’t know it until recently.

“I am not scared of the elements, I am underprepared. But I am willing, and even better, I get to be the other half of you.”

 

“Daddy’s Little Girl”

I love oldies music. I know oldies music better than most people from my generation. Oldies songs come on the radio that I swear I’ve never heard before, yet somehow I know every single word. When CDs started showing up in our house, I would choose the 50’s collections over the 80’s collections. And when we sang “Rock Around the Clock” in fifth grade, I was absolutely the kid who belted it louder than anyone else, because I was COOL and KNEW THAT SONG ALREADY.

This can be explained very easily. One of my earliest fully formed memories is of visiting my dad at the radio station he worked for, either to bring him dinner, or just to say hello and watch him talk into the microphone, on the other end of which thousands of dedicated music lovers were listening to him and his own Oldies Show, “Magic Oldies Magazine.” My dad, Greg Murin, was a DJ.284378_10150319521840450_6613687_n

He started at Marist College while he was still in undergrad, doing shows for the student radio station. Then he became a middle school biology teacher, and fell away from it for a while. About 15 years later, he was looking into applying to the Connecticut School of Broadcasting to take up DJing again on the side, when Putnam County Radio in New York asked him to come work for them instead. He started with a  Sunday morning show, also worked in sports broadcasting, and eventually worked his way up to his own Saturday night show, the aforementioned “Magic Oldies Magazine.”

It was a show that he could create himself and had free reign over. He used to say, “If it’s two years old, it’s golden.” So because an oldie could be anything from 1955 up until two years before, it appealed to a much wider audience. He would have a featured artist every week and play highlights from their career, and he also liked to get creative and employ themes. For example, he would play only songs that had a color in the title, or songs about rain, etc. He didn’t do it for the money: according to him, being a DJ has always paid terribly and still does. He did it because he loved music so much, and still does.

Eventually he had to stop because he was taking on more responsibility at school and coaching various sports teams (seriously, my dad can do ANYTHING), but he would still fill in every now and then. When I asked if he would ever get back into it now that he’s retired, he said, “Only if I win the lottery and can buy my own station. And I would do a real Music Lovers’ Station, where I may play a Broadway song, and then an oldie, and then something more current. There’s nothing like that out there now.”

Among his favorite songs of all time? “It Ain’t Me, Babe,” but the Turtles version, not the Dylan version. “The Pied Piper,” a little known song by Crispian St. Peters. “Elusive Butterfly,” another obscure song by Bob Lind, which is pretty fantastic (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5mD_loFlfg). “Your Song,” by Elton John. And, of course, “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” by Elvis Presley, which happens to be my parents’ wedding song.11036540_1142162649142835_2554597558841786358_n

He absolutely loves his iPod, and finds himself still downloading older music that he remembers from when he was a kid. But he does switch on the Top 40 satellite radio station every so often to listen for a few days and see if anything strikes him. Among his current favorites are Andy Grammer, and “All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor. That last one shocked me, and then I realized once again that my dad is really freaking cool.

He’s not one of those people who looks down on new music because he’s stuck in the past. He recognizes really great song structure, and has been immersed in some of the best music in the country for his entire life. The only thing he doesn’t consider music is rap. But here’s why: “I don’t consider rap ‘music.’ I consider it poetry. It’s artistic, but it doesn’t have a melody and so I can’t think of it as music. It is poetry, however.”

Kind of brilliant, right? I owe so much to both of my parents for introducing me to theatre and musicals at a very early age, and to my dad for making sure my musical vocabulary was vast and comprehensive. My dad was a DJ because he was passionate about it. Not only did he show me music, but he showed me that it’s okay to do what you love, even when the only thing you’re getting in return is happiness. I love you, Dad.patti and colin 4-0787