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family

A Death in the Family

Sunday, March 27th, 2016
I found out about the death of a cousin on Facebook because that’s how we learn of these things now. LISTEN TO THE PODCASTREAD MORE»

Today is My Mom’s Birthday and She’s Not Happy About It

Monday, March 7th, 2016
Today is my Mom’s birthday and she’s not happy about it. How can she be? She (and she is not alone in this) has succumbed to the constant subliminal and overt cultural messages that discount the...

The Middle of the Night Phone Call

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015
One of my biggest fears is that I’ll get a Phone Call From Home in the Middle of the Night when I’m too far away to do anything about it and once again I’ll be angry that we still don’t have Star...

Getting Some……

Sunday, December 21st, 2014
Several years ago, on Valentine’s Day I received a the best present ever. I got to be on television. It was my first live television appearance ever. Of course I didn’t know it was a live show until I got there, which was both exciting and scary. My boss Bruce wanted me to blast the company all over Good Day NY, and dress in my cute heart costume. I was to sing to the newscasters, and then go out and deliver.

The show filmed from 5:30-7:30 AM, and I had to be there about 5 AM for hair and makeup to go on about 6. It sounds horrendously early and it was. Welcome to the wonderful world of television. When I got there, I remember alerting the security guard who looked peeved he was made to wake up that early. He called someone down to get me. Arriving was  a butch lesbian stage hand who had a stern, businesslike look on her face. I had my heart costume in a laundry bag and was holding it in my hand.

“I’ll take that.” She announced in an authoritative tone.

“It’s okay, I got it.” I told her. If you know me I am super OCD about props and costumes and there was no way I was letting this stranger touch it. Plus it was all of 5 pounds.

Grunting with a mix of distain and the believe that I was in fact a moron, she snarled, “It’s a Union job.” With that, she snatched the laundry bag from my hand. I stood there shocked. So far, I only had one cup of coffee. This was something I needed three to deal with. The security guard gave me a sympathetic glance. Up on the elevator we went.

As soon we got upstairs, I realized my escort was not being difficult but rather carrying my things was part of her responsibility not only as a stage hand, but also as a Union member. So instead of being an asshole without adequate coffee, I decided to take the high road and apologized. She said it was okay and didn’t show emotion either way. Still, I do think she appreciated it. You always want to make friends with your crew. They are the last people you want to piss off, EVER! Even though I was unaware of the Union job, I was aware of that.

As I readied for my screen time, my hair and makeup was done by this gay man who was in a bitchy mood because not only was it early, but he had a busy morning. Bruce had suggested I look one way on television. This man had other ideas. While Bruce knows his stuff, this man was quick to tell me that would not fly on “his show.” Later, I learned he would tell people what they should look like and what they should wear whether that individual liked it or not.

Of course after I was waiting to go on, I began to talk to the campaign manager of a Senator from Illinois named Barak Obama. I learned that Mr. Obama was running for president and people were discounting him. Note: That is how long ago this was. Anyway, his campaign manager was a very nice man, and we were fast friends.

I went on in between stories to sing and perform for the newscasters, and the whole appearance was fun. However, there were fireworks behind the scenes. The hairdresser, king of his domain,  kept stealing me to fix my hair and makeup. In turn, the producer, a woman with a Type A Plus Plus personality freaked out when she could not find me. She and the makeup artist screamed at each other as a result. From what I understood, this was a normal day on the job and they were friends in real life.

In between my turn on the air, the news team was covering an exciting Valentine’s Day story. Of course, this was after my splits and tumbling from my days as an acro dancer at Dance Connection. While I was somewhat spry, I was not nearly as good as I used to be.

One newscaster, a perky Asian lady who’s name escapes me, said,  “The theme for Valentine’s Day is safe sex and they are giving out New York condoms. The slogan is, ‘Getting Some.’ What do you think of when you think of getting some?”

There was an awkward pause in the studio. The producer looked like her head was about to explode. This was live TV with no editing, and one wrong word or move could cost the station a few grand. This could go real wrong real quick. Even as the hair and makeup man attempted to steal me for another touch up, he glanced sympathetically in our direction. At that moment, the poor news woman realized she had opened a door accidentally, and now the battle ship could go down right quick.
Oh shit. It was early and had already been a long day. Now things were about to get much worse. For what seemed to be a few seconds but felt like an eternity, we all held our breath.

“Well, when I think of getting some, I think of getting some sleep!” Said the nice looking, male, talking head who looked like the white bread boy you would bring home to Mama. The rest of the team laughed, and the energy of the place eased. That was a brilliant save. A smile crossed the stressed out producers face. The make up dude shrugged. Barack Obama’s campaign manager let out a muffled laugh. God bless television. God bless New York.

Later that day, I tackled a full break neck schedule of telegram deliveries. Then I performed standup that evening with May Wilson. How did I do it in those days without killing myself? The thought makes me tired. How did I complete that day without dying of exhaustion? To answer your question I got no action that night. None, zippo, nada.

Since that day, I have been on television several more times. I have done a lot of shows, some scripted and some not. I have done a lot of shoots, some live and others pre-recorded. Still, the memory makes me laugh.  Over time I have seen a lot and that still is one of the best saves ever. End of discussion.

Lately I have been thinking of getting some. No, not sex. Relax. Get your mind out of the gutter. It has been forever and a day since I had a man though. Not that I would have time for one now. If I did what would I do with him. “Hi Baby, I have a huge writing assignment. Could you clean my apartment and cook me dinner?” Some dudes would be game for that.

Or, “Hey Baby, I am about to be on national television. Could you go away so I can prep? Yes, you ca play poker with the boys. Or better yet, you can cheat with that red head down at your hang out. It’s okay. I need the stage time and moments alone to prep for the next two weeks. I ain’t mad.”
Or, “Hey Baby, I never had an honest dude with a job before. I don’t know what to do or say. Since I am used to guys who have been to jail, can you just step in this cage? That way I know you won’t go anywhere.”

So far, I don’t have any takers. Who wudda thunk it?

But yes, I have been thinking of getting some, as in sleep. Since last week I have been living inside a treadmill on a pressure cooker. The workload has been insane. I have a photo shoot for this, a writing deadline for that, I have to get my video ready for this one, and then I have to send paper work to that one. There is always something to be done.

The upside is, much of this action is because years of hard work and keeping a break neck schedule have paid off. While many of my peers either were chasing the social life or gave up the dream to have a family, I kept chugging. Now as a result doors are opening for me, and that is not an accident. There can be a great many things said about me, but one thing no one can argue with is I have a hell of a work ethic.

I am grateful for a lot that has happened this week. For starters, I am performing as a part of the Guinness Book of World Records World’s Longest Variety Show. I perform January 2nd at 11:4 PM at the Metropolitan Room. (PLUG) Tony Danza is on that afternoon. We perform for four days straight. I still have to decide what jokes I am doing. We had our photo shoot this week. Then I got some good news on a writing project, but it included a deadline which meant I was working all night. The next day I woke up looking like someone who spent the night writing only to find out I was asked to be on a local show. At first I passed. I was too tired and looked like the camera and I weren’t going to be friends. However, they were paying me a decent day rate and were up the street. I am glad I went. I got the best Christmas present ever aka I got a Taft-Hartley into SAG-AFTRA. While I have been on TV a bunch, I never joined the union because I wasn’t working on TV consistently enough, and wanted the experience so I could book the jobs. Now I have it.

Of course then fans are ordering DVDs and I had to mail them along with personalized photos. Add in I had to do some video stuff. Oh and I had a full telegramming schedule. To say I am tired is the understatement of the year. Friday was a decent delivery day though. I delivered to the IAB aka the cops who investigate other cops. They were good people, and the guy I delivered to is actually a published author as well. He has another book coming out which is awesome. It was cool to meet one of my people. We are now twitter friends. I cannot wait to read his work.

I did another delivery Friday where my brain was leaking and I could barely complete a sentence. The dude I delivered to was cool, but the contact did not tip. People get stingy with tips around holiday season. Still, it was fine. I got paid. Whatever. Either way, afterwards, my poor little legs were so exhausted they could barely carry me. Mind you even before the Guinness Book photo shoot I had filmed for another TV show, did an animal benefit, and attended the Heisman’s and had family in town not once but twice during this whole time……that’s another story.

Either way, I am leaving to see my parents. Like most young adults, it brings up a mixture of love but also anxiety and dread. However, I also welcome the rest. I will be able to sleep in and I need it.
Of course my dad asked me when I will be releasing my next book. While I am so exhausted and worn thin I hurt when I move, it is sweet when your family dreams with you. My dad also asked if I am dating any dudes.

Before any of this can be done, mama needs a nap. So yeah, I am getting some. Getting some sleep. And when I wake up, perhaps I will get started on my next book. And in my dreams I will get lucky with a handsome prince that loves puppets and is gainfully employed.

Xo
April

www.aprilbrucker.com

Sunday Morning (No Doubt)

Sunday, December 14th, 2014
The last few days have been a whirlwind of busy. I can’t even get into it it’s been so busy. There is some exciting stuff coming as a result of my DVD, YIPEE!!! My fans are watching my video stream and then buying the hard copy online. The video stream was my webmaster’s idea, genius. Either way, I hope word gets out there about me and my hard work.

Thursday my mom and sister came to town to start Heisman weekend. My sister was the 2004 Wendy’s High School Heisman Award Winner. They bring back the alumni every year for this event, and they crown a new winner. It is a fun weekend, but it is so intense on so many levels. Not just my family coming into town, but then it always falls when I am super, duper busy. I was exhausted to begin with, and had a filled last few days and a few coming up. Of course a family visit only intensifies everything.

On top of that, the event is nice and everyone is always dressed up. It is a so called “family” event, which means I have to curb my normally foul mouth. And the action of the weekend is usually jam packed between the activities the Wendy’s people have planned, the event itself, and familial fireworks. Add in my already crippling schedule and you get the need for a nap and a Red Bull.

Thursday night I took my mother and sister to Pippin on Broadway. A good friend got me good tickets for free and so I took the two. Skipper and my mom liked the first act, and I did too. The second act was a little, eh. Pippin had commitment issues. Then the ending was blah. Basically my mother, Skipper, and myself concluded that Pippin was a whiner that would never be happy.

After Thursday night was over came Friday, the most intense day. I told myself if I lived past Friday I could do Saturday and maybe the next six months. Friday I had a television show taping and then I was headed to perform at an animal benefit in Staten Island. Before that, I did some Christmas shopping with my mother and sister and we got matching dresses at Forever 21. After that, we had lunch at Juniors and I was on my way.

I went to my TV taping and gave my commentary. During one of my lines, I was kind of stuck in my head aka thinking. When I think real hard I look like I am going to kill someone. So they kept having me do the line and they commanded me to smile. I hope they use my footage, and I don’t look too much like an angry jerkoff New Yorker.

From there it was the ferry to Staten Island. On my journey to the event I passed the infamous Bay Street where Eric Garner was killed (RIP). The whole thing is kind of sad and they so need to put cameras on police cars. So then off to the event I went which was far out in the island in Tottenville aka where all the big houses and old horse farms are.

There was much drama surrounding this event. Apparently the night before the event there had been some disagreement that got heated. It was a gentle reminder of why I didn’t book and produce live events anymore, shit like this. One woman got so mad she even tried to cancel the event on facebook, and had purchased a table and didn’t show up. Again, a gentle reminder of why I stopped producing live events.

When I got there, I met the people and socialize a bit, which is not what I normally do when I perform. The DJ I had messaged wasn’t there, but his assistant was. I donated a few of my books to be auctioned off for charity and to benefit the animals. The people were nice, very passionate about animal rescue. I didn’t know a lot about animal rescue before that night so it was a little educational.
I sat at the table of the woman who tried to cancel the event and didn’t show up. Originally, I was supposed to go on at one time but the people from the rescue mission were speaking about the shape they found one of the dogs in. Then dinner was being served. Of course the demographic of the event was mostly women and some men who were dragged along because their wives were in rescue-not the normal April Brucker crowd. Not to mention I wasn’t told until I got there that a child was going to be present. It was as if God was trying to test me.

During dinner, there was some heated discussion about the adoption of the dog the benefit inspired and the ethics behind it. The woman sitting next to be had the most insight on the situation. I told her the event had some interesting behind the scenes happenings. She said, “There is always drama in rescue.”

As the discussion intensified, this same lady said with a big smile, one of those one wears when things are truly awkward, “So, when are you going on?”

I went on shortly after dinner. At first I did a little crowd work and they seemed like they would be into it. I was in the middle and almost surrounded by tables, so the only way to perform was to walk around. The crowd was laughing, but then they would return to talking amongst themselves, but then they would laugh again only if I engaged them. I had a nice set planned, but the second I started into my material I saw it wasn’t happening. So I decided to abandon Plan A and just go to them.

I got out my puppets and went from table, to table to table. One table, the one with the mix of guys and girls, was really receptive and took photos. Two tables of women were cool and laughed. One table was hard to crack completely, and another was 50/50 depending on the puppet. Granted, these people were tough like most SI crowds are, but sometimes you have to come to the people. Was the set a success? I dunno. All I know was it wasn’t a dismal failure, and people laughed and took photos. That’s the important part.

The crowd knew there was comedy, but wasn’t there to see comedy if it makes sense. While it wasn’t the best set I ever did, it wasn’t a complete disaster either. I made it work and sometimes that is what live entertainment is about. People were gracious afterwards, and they invited me to dance during the dance party. Also, the people who won copies of my book during the raffle friended me on facebook, and from the looks of it I got some new fans. They also did me a solid and made sure I got back to Manhattan, the and DJ played my song “Hell No, Joe.”

While the night was a far cry from what I did at the Metropolitan Room or the theater in Long Island, I tackled a mostly female crowd on Staten Island and wasn’t killed afterwards. I did alright. I wouldn’t have been able to do that 5 or 6 years ago. I wouldn’t have been that quick on my feet with the gear change. That in itself was a victory. My only prayer is that they enjoy my book. I also find myself perhaps wanting to foster a dog someday, and wanting to do more animal benefits if possible.
My only regret is I felt bad about how I ran out of the event, but the downside of having your mother in town is she thinks you are dead if you don’t pick up your phone. So I bounced out at 11:40. My driver was a nice dude, and we talked about life and family and all that jazz. Poor guy had another job at JFK early that morning, so although the animal peeps had covered my ride I gave him a generous tip. FYI, always tip your drivers well.

Friday had concluded and I wasn’t dead. The weekend was 2/3s done. Now I just had to live through Saturday.

Saturday came, and there was no way I was going to be Skipper’s date to breakfast. My mom went instead. I was originally going to go home, drop my stuff, and join my mom and sister at the hotel, but I nixed that plan. My mom had been half asleep waiting for me, and the hotel was only down the street. So I just went to there instead. I saw some people from the event by the elevators and we caught up. Yes, Ashford and his friend Manny. Ashford won the same year my sister did, and Manny is his buddy from business school. Ashford like my sis had just gotten engaged, and Manny’s engagement had broken. We shot the breeze for a bit before I went back to my room.

Of course my mom was up waiting for me. Life in comedy means I come tumbling in at all hours, and having my mom in town meant it wasn’t that easy. Some things never change. Either way, I was so exhausted that I just fell asleep in my clothes.

I woke up to a contraband breakfast smuggled from the hotel. Then I was told we were hitting the hotel gym then headed to a bowling event at Lucky Strike. FYI, Lucky Strike is the only bowling alley in NYC with a dress code. We walked over with Emma, a girl who won the Wendy’s High School award last year and was now attending Yale. She seemed like a nice lass. Emma was seeing a chap on the baseball team and playing lacrosse. She seemed to have it figured out kind of.

Our bowling game was interesting. Skipper and I were the bi-polar bowlers. We had some strikes, but then would just screw up. Emma was consistent. Ashland and Manny joined our team. Ashland was decent, but Manny was amazing. I was kind of fancy on Manny, but couldn’t tell whether he was into me or not. His doctor fiancé had dumped him because he didn’t make enough money, but now that he had completed business school she wanted Manny back.

I asked Manny whether or not he hit the strip club after the break up. Manny insisted strip clubs were unfulfilling. I then inquired as to whether or not be had sex with random women. Manny said he didn’t do that. Instead he went to business school. That’s when I lost interest. Not because he did something positive, but because I felt he was lying. No dude just breaks up with a girl and does a positive thing. There’s usually some drunken sex with randos.

After that we went back to the hotel for the event. Of course, we showered and got beautified. Originally, it was just going to be Skipper and myself. But then something happened and someone’s date backed out, so there was an extra ticket for my mom. As you can imagine the three of us jumped on top of that. My sister dawned her outfit and got ready. My mom changed hers a million times. I just tried to stay sane.

We raced to the Best Buy Theatre after the reception hoping to get good seats. Instead we found them slow to open the doors and waited outside in the cold. I cursed my sister out because it had been her idea for us not to bring spare shoes, and thus my bare toes were getting frozen. Finally, the doors opened and in we went.

There was some drama over where we would sit, because my mother is rather tiny and it is hard for her to see, and plus she hates to be cold. Then of course she wants to take a thousand photos and my sister Skipper was resistant. My mom wanted pictures up close and personal, so she snuck down to the stage. The corporate people thought she was in charge and asked her where to sit. My mom directed them, and then told them her single daughter April was there and to say hello. They waved and I waved back unaware that my mother was trying to sell me to a bunch of strangers. When I found out I almost killed her, but decided against it because if I did I wouldn’t have any more good stories for my blog. FYI, everyone in the vicinity thought this was funny.

The Heisman Ceremony started, and was lovely as always. My father who could not attend was watching live at home, and my mother was texting him during the telecast. As for my sister, she was texting Boomer her fiancé. Melvin Gordon and Amari Cooper were both very nice young men, and I know life will be good to either one. However, Marcus Mariotta won as we all knew he would. A nice, humble, mannered young man, he gave a speech that nearly moved the whole place to tears. Two words, “Go Ducks.”

After the ceremony, we met some former Heisman guys and their wives who were all quite nice. Got to see Matt Leinart again, and had not spoken to him since my sister won in 2004. He’s retired from the Pros, and now is just chilling out with his son I suppose who is very adorable. My mom accidentally hit Matt coming out of Starbucks with a door, FYI. Then we met Jim Plunkett and his wife who were both quite nice. They are passionate pit bull owners, and the bull they own (Godey I believe is it’s name), is very protective of their grandson. It was a good night.

That is, until my mom got her camera out and Skipper decided she was pictured out. Skipper walked away from our mom to join a conversation with some other folks. Fuming, my mom sent Skipper the following text:

“How dare you walk away from your mother? What is going to happen if I ever walk away from you, bitch? Did you learn nothing from the young man that won tonight?”

My mom sent this seething, scathing text to Skipper, someone who would never intentionally hurt anyone. The whole thing was amazing, and I almost died laughing. Then my mother commanded me to mingle. I went back into the broadcasting room, and met some people and learned more about the event. My mother followed me in and took a massive amount of photos. At least she was happy with one child, but that could easily change on a dime.

Then Skipper sent my mom an apology text and she joined us in the broadcasting room. We took some more photos, and then went to socialize. While Skipper and my mother had made peace, I could tell there was some animosity still brewing underneath. That is, until we saw a dude who looked like Colt McCoy. A few years earlier a guy had come to the Heisman’s impersonating Reggie Bush. This dude was forthcoming and admitted he was not Colt McCoy but rather the senior QB at Princeton. 

Well Skipper then informed him that I was single, and I was only a few train stops away and available. My mother joined the chorus and they both buried the hatchet as they both rejoiced in torturing me. I nearly killed them both right then and there. The Colt McCoy look a like felt my pain and was a good sport about it, especially when he learned my mother had tried to sell me earlier in the evening.

I would have killed my mother and sister, but again, would have no material for my blog.
We left and now Skipper had changed her mind, she wanted to take photos. I was pictured out and my mom was revved up and ready to go. I went with it, but bitched and moaned the entire time. When we got back to the hotel, my sister had to call Boomer and my mom had to call my dad. 
Having a significant other seems a lot like having a probation officer, you have to check in. Sigh….

Then I remembered the weekend was about family. I also remembered the people at the dog benefit putting their heart and soul into a good cause even if it looked like they all might kill each other. I remembered how well they took care of me, making sure I got home safe. I remembered the hard work behind the Heisman event, and Mariotta’s endearing speech. And yes, he had probably wanted to throttle his family members several times during the weekend.

But family cannot be replaced. They are who they are and you need to roll with it. You also need to put your best foot forward, and sometimes your job was just to make something work when up against the wall. This includes saving animals, performing onstage, dealing with family, and playing football.

My mom and sister got off safe, but not before I told some asshole in the elevator to go fuck himself. He was being an asshole to impress a girl. I should have punched him but figured he wasn’t worth a felony. That is when it occurred to me that the weekend was over, I lived, and it had been the New York woman that got me through it. Now that New York woman needed a rest before she got ARRESTED.


And I can’t take my photo for World’s Longest Variety Show if I am in lock up. Yes bitches we are going for the Guinness Record xoxo

www.aprilbrucker.com

The Show That Never Ended

Saturday, November 29th, 2014
Yesterday I ended up visiting my Mema Ralph in the nursing home where she just moved. From what I had heard, the place was like the Taj Mahal of nursing homes. The way my relatives spoke of it, my 90 year old grandmother was living in the lap of luxury while us little people were forced to be working stiffs at the mercy of The Man who went back to their humble abodes at the end of the day.

Of course, moving Mema to assisted living had not been an easy decision. It came as a result of some health complications she had as a result of age. Also, with these health complications my Mema needed around the clock care, and she could not get that at her residence that she was living at. When she got the news she was being forced to leave her domicile, she did not give up without a fight. After moving her in, my Mema, who is wheelchair bound, tried to escape. The staff, worried, deemed her a flight risk. Meanwhile, there are only two places one can go from the nursing home. One is Lowe’s Home Improvement. The other is Kool Springs Golf Course. Both would have been incredible if she did make the escape. This flipped out my aunts and uncles, but her grandchildren thought this was amazing. So yes, my Mema is magic.

However, she has calmed down. Two weeks ago, I got news my Mema and some of the other residents of the nursing home were taken out for a day to the casino. Yes, my Mema Ralph was gambling. I know you are picturing a sweet, demure old woman. Think again. My Mema could rival a Dominican at dominos, and she would cut them if she lost. I have seen her in action. She made my cousin Jared who stands 6’2” and plays line for Case Western shake with fear. Mema was taking black jack just as seriously. So basically, now that she was in assisted living, she was shining brighter than ever.

I had seen my Mema the day before. Of course this was during my Thanksgiving Pilgrimage Marathon. I was on the road from 10:45 AM until almost 10 at night. People drove like idiots and the day was intense and had a lot of eating. However, it was also a ton of fun. I enjoyed seeing my cousins and being updated. I had also seen my Mema. However, the next day, although my Mom, Dad and I were tired, we decided to visit Mema one more time because I was travelling back the next morning. Plus we didn’t know if she had any visitors that day.

When we pulled up to the home, I saw it was more an estate than a home. There was a courtyard and fountain, a far cry from the state run nursing homes where children dream of condemning their parents everytime they piss them off. We signed in, and went to my Mema’s room. We knocked. No answer. My dad entered. When we got in, the Deadly Women Marathon was playing on Discovery ID. However, there was no Mema. Maybe one of my other concerned aunts and uncles assembled the same plan before my cousins returned to college or their perspective jobs.

Or maybe she had escaped to Lowe’s or Kool Springs. While it would shorten my father’s life span, it would be beyond words awesome if that was the case. So we went to the front desk to see what was the case. The perky looking attendant explained Mema Ralph was at Happy Hour. “Do they give them booze?” I asked my mom.

Mema Ralph could be pretty wild if she got a few in her. I had read about the STD rate in nursing homes. There was a lothario with pants up to his nipples with pick up lines and game waiting for a ride on those hot wheels she possessed. Despite what Mema Ralph says about being happily widowed, liquor is the eternal game changer no matter how old you are.

“Sometimes they do.” My mom said with a half smile, reminding me not to respond at all.
We went to the lounge, and a nice worker lady gave my dad, mom, and I chairs. Mema Ralph was sitting in a far corner enjoying the show, and we waved. She saw us and waved back. The residents were enjoying Ginger Ale and cake. Onstage, in front of the room entertaining, was a man singing to karaoke track. His hair was brown, but not a natural color one might have. Rather, it was purchased in Aisle 6 of the local drug store. His face had a tint to it, and I could tell he did a little Wayne Newton powder for one reason or another. The suit was an off blue, and his voice was somewhat off pitch and flat. However, he was engaging and seemed comfortable with the elderly crowd, a tough one to hold. I know this from experience. So aside from empathizing with him, I could appreciate that he was working his ass off.

The man sang a few songs and seemed nice enough. While I hold entertainers to a high standard, I can also appreciate someone sweating for a tough crowd like he was. The first story I heard him tell was, “When I was a young kid, I always dreamed of being in Casablanca, but I was too young to be in the movie. So it made me depressed. That is why at this moment, lets pretend we are all in the movie.” Okay, it made no sense but it was charming enough.

Then after that, the guy talked about playing in Vegas and recording an album. Was he someone of note? Hell if I knew. He kind of looked familiar. Then again, so does someone on a Most Wanted poster. So of course then he said, “Dean Martin only made a few films but he made it big with his concert appearances. He was like prune juice onstage…..he kept going.” My jaw went slack and I looked at my mother. Did this man legitimately crack a poop joke in front of a packed crowd of old people? Granted, the whole place probably had prune juice as a dietary staple but still. When the crap jokes start, there is only one direction things can go in.

The singer went into a Dean Martin standard, and the audience politely clapped. They were awake and weren’t drooling too badly. For this place he was killing, no pun intended. During his routine, some of the residents even sang along. His voice was good, but not so good that you felt intimidated to join in. I saw him working for even a muscle movement from this population. Gosh, he was pulling my heart strings.

However, seconds later that changed. Our singer friend decided to go into a tale about his time as a nursing home entertainer in between his time in Vegas. He explained, “I always love doing the senior centers and senior shows. People come and people go. There was one guy-Jimmy. Jimmy knew all the words to my songs. Jimmy is no longer with us. But sometimes you just have to move on whatever happens. Then again, someday we all have to move on.” I glanced again at my mom and dad, who glanced back at me equally as horrified. I don’t know if our singer friend realized this, but much of the population was latter 80s and early 90s. Translated, asshole, most of their spouses, friends, siblings and in some case children are no longer here. Yes, not only do they know the Angel of Death but they play cards every Tuesday.

Then after a few more songs, he said, “This is my last song.” I felt relieved. While he wasn’t doing a terrible job, I felt like if he stopped now I still might appreciate his hard work and might forgive his tactless tale. No such luck.

So after he supposed last song, he had another song. He proceeded this selection with a crazy story about how he was stationed on a battle ship. I couldn’t tell how old he was looking at him. He was either a little younger or older than my parents, and they were Vietnam era. “What war was he in?” I asked my mom. Maybe it was Persian Gulf.

“Shhh….He’s crazy and wasn’t in any war.” My mom informed me.

“Bring our boys home. Being overseas for Christmas is no fun.” The man explained. Then he went on to tell the story of White Christmas, except he got several details wrong. The rest of the room was semi-comatose. I was lucid and was tempted to correct him, but why ruin the happiness of those having a good time with dementia by being fact checker bitch?

While he promised this was his final song, the man lied again. I clapped politely like the others, but his lying was getting on my last nerve. Our singer friend decided to do some crowd work. Going over to a dude in an army hat that was older than any museum fossil, the singer asked, “Were you in a war, Sir?”

He asked the guy who looked like he was confused as to what day, month, and year it was. It made me wonder if our army vet was the local lothario, the mythical 83 year old creature they speak of in retirement communities. While this was not apparent now, perhaps during the happy hours the residents were allowed true alcoholic beverages those hot pants were pulled up and he was rocking and randy.

“Were you in the Korean War?” The man looked confused and nodded.

“He was never in a war.” A woman that I assume was his daughter said. There was that awkward moment where we all paused unsure of what to do.

“Did you like Frank Sinatra?” He asked the guy. The confused old man nodded again. Then our singer friend went over to his machine and turned on the track. A few seconds in he realized it was the wrong track but covered well. This awkward moment had turned into an awkward five minutes. Wow, this trip was becoming creative gold in ways I never expected.

The singer recovered well, and danced with the program director for a few minutes in the song. It was a lovely moment, and I could tell despite all his selfishness with encores and horrible stories he did truly have a good heart. I had seen better, but I had seen worse. This dude was alright. He was winning me back. We all clapped hoping this would be the finale like he promised.

No such luck. Then he sang Jail House Rock. His version was okay, but despite his promise, this was not the last song. Now I didn’t know what to think or feel about our singer friend who was sending my emotions in so many different directions. As he kept promising that the song selection would be the last, it felt like the last words of an idiot general in an epic battle in the Wild West against the oppressed Native Americans. The guy kept promising something, but then some Native American brave who knew the general was an idiot all along scalped him thus ending the stupidity for everyone on both sides.

Well our singer friend was now wandering into the zone of STOOPID. He told some terrible story about how he was wandering the wilderness before his wife captured him and chained him to the door so he could never escape. Granted, dementia was the normal state of mind in this place but several of the residents had a WTF look on their faces. On the bright side, he was keeping them awake. Perhaps his wife earned a stable living and had good health insurance. Yes, these were probably the missing pieces in this narrative.

After that, he told us 21 years later, he and his wife had a dog. It was his job to take the dog out at 5:30 AM to pee, and his wife wanted to sleep in, probably because he had to be at an office or something. Recently, during the snow storm he took the dog out at 5:30 am and the dog faked like it was peeing but didn’t just to mess with him. Instead, he peed on himself in the frigid cold, and locked himself out of the house. So he woke up his wife who grudgingly let him in. What this had to do with the song I don’t know, but he began singing. Now I was at a loss for words. I have lived more than many and have seen a lot, but this was one experience I have never had.

The man spoke of an album he recorded a few more times. Uttered that he was singing another song, and he did. Now he wasn’t promising it was his last song, and we had given up hoping. Maybe he had just been faking just like his dog had. But during this whole time, I had finally determined poor Jimmy’s cause of death.

Like us, Jimmy had attended the show that never ended. While we had a few more years on us, Jimmy did not. Rather than have him sit through another “final song,” the Grim Reaper too grew tired of being lied to by this nursing home lounge singer and spared poor Jimmy. The sad thing was, Jimmy’s wife was dead and she was been an insufferable wench when she lived, and his children were assholes that never visited. I don’t know. I am just making that up so that Jimmy seems sympathetic. The Grim Reaper did a good thing. This man still went on for five more songs. He would have come back to get more, but even Death can’t do nine final songs. Thus, the cause of death will never be listed and his tale has not been told until now.

Well the singer did not lie, nine songs later, this was truly his final song. After the show, we thanked him. The man might have selfishly taken three encores, but he selflessly gave himself to a difficult crowd. So while I loathe his lying, I like him as a human. He just needs better stories. And apparently he is a nursing home favorite, because he informed everyone he was booked for two more dates. Hey, he can handle the crowd. Most entertainers can’t. Points for him, even if you might die during the course of his show.

After the show ended, we visited with Mema Ralph for a bit. She showed us her new digs, and informed us she had gotten into a turf war with one other resident. We asked why she didn’t say anything. Ordinarily, my grandmother is a spitfire. Mema was tired from Thanksgiving, too tired to fight I suppose.

We got back to her room, which by the way she has a single. Yes, she has more living space than most of the NYC Metropolitan area. We arranged her furniture so living and moving would be easier. As we did this, the women who kill their husbands shows still played in the background. My parents and I were getting sucked in. Apparently, my grandmother watches them all the time. Sigh, runs in the family. Still, the women who killed their husbands were the perfect thing to do after the lounge singer. They prove the thesis that some show end faster than others, and sometimes you need to rewrite the script and kill your costar.


After that, we headed home. With age comes wisdom. So I followed the lead of the elder crowd, had some cake and pop as we say in Pittsburgh. As I chowed down on this delight, my mother popped on a movie. My parents and I celebrated by falling asleep in front of the TV. 

www.aprilbrucker.com

Saving Christmas

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013
If you know anything about me, it's that I have a love/hate relationship with the holidays. I love them because Santa brings me presents. I get to see my family because we are all in one place. I also get to see my aunts and uncles. I hate the holidays because of all the stress, pressure, and family drama that always seems to occur. It's not just me, everyone has it.

Lately though things have been crazy. I have been in a series of circumstances where it seems people are counting on me for all sorts of things. Sometimes it is to give them advice. Sometimes it is to guide them. Sometimes it is to be the lynch pin on a project or two. I have a love hate relationship with this as well. I love it because it seems like people need me. But I hate it because it seems like people need me. I just see the children of the world clawing at the gates and begging me to ride Santa's sleigh. I see myself desperately searching for Rudolph and saying, "Fuck you all. Do you know how much trouble this is?!?"

Yet I see this children crying like I am their savior and I have no choice. What a self-centered, codependent dream.

Still it's how I feel right now.

As I embark on this weekend with my family, I will remember sometimes it is not about me. Whether it's my father refusing to eat at an establishment without a table cloth. Or it's my mother raw, emotional, and fresh after my Pop Pop's passing. Maybe it's my anal retentive sister Skipper making me crazy because the sound of my fingers texting interrupts her concentration. Perhaps it's the people I work with testing my last nerve. Perhaps it's some of my other business associates who do things their own way, in their own time, and make me crazy as a result.

But then I realize it isn't about me. We all need to save Christmas in our own way.

Love
April
I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl
www.aprilbrucker.com

New York (Alicia Keys)

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013
This past weekend I received a surprise family visit. Friday I had gotten done working and I got a facebook message. My Uncle Bob was in New York. A little background, this uncle is one of my faves. He's a good dude, my sister's godfather as a matter of fact. Plus he is a huge Steeler Fan. Anyway, Uncle Bob and his chums take a big trip once a year to follow the black and yellow. They have been to Florida, Arizona, Colorado, and other places. However, this was their big guys trip to New York.

When my Uncle told me he was at a bar two streets and one avenue up from where I lived there I went. I spent Friday night with the crew. They ended up seeing Times Square, some had never seen it before. Of course I took them to my pal Richie's bar. Sitting across from Manhattan Plaza we all wondered about the stories in those windows. What was the truth behind each door. One of my uncle's friends, a union stage hand in Local 3 (New York is 1 and Chicago is 2) wanted to know the layout of the city. He wanted to know how close Brooklyn was. How close Queens was and if he could walk to either. He wanted to take the subway. I explained that since they were too far to walk. However, I also remember my first time to the city, thinking Brooklyn and Queens were different counties. Now I go to the boroughs like it is nothing. Kind of crazy.

It is crazy how long this city has been my home. I know it like the back of my hand. I have my favorite spots and such. As we were talking in Times Square I told my uncle and his friends Paul McCartney had done a surprise impromptu concert the other day in Times Square after appearing on The Today Show. They were like, "WOW call me the next time that happens."

My uncle and his friends headed to Jets stadium Sunday, somewhere that I have been many times to perform. Of course today, I was in my corner store having my bagel and coffee and reading my paper. This was right after working out at Manhattan Plaza Gym. Trivia, Alicia Keys grew up in that building. Anyway, my new friend Jimmy from Yemen was teaching me how to count in Arabic. While there I met a new friend who was from Egypt. He told me I was very beautiful and he had a food cart. He told me to stop by and he would give me a free hot dog.

Some have a dowry, others have Nathans.

Either way, I am grateful and blessed to live in such a city.

Love
April
I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl
www.aprilbrucker.com

Top of the World (The Carpenters)

Sunday, August 18th, 2013
Sometimes it feels that it is you against the world, like Sysifus rolling the boulder up the hill. It never makes any sense how it happens. I think women have this feeling more than men, although men have it too. For women, it's that we take on too much while we are never enough. At least that is my experience. For me my career is everything. Maybe I place too much importance on something so material. When I wake up in the morning I am on.

This past week I was having a meltdown. I am a personality who has to be in control. Even when I don't want to be I find myself in charge somehow. Some of it is because I am "bright." Some of it is because I am hardworking. As an artist, I am more apt to create my own work anyway. I have been told when I "make it" my career will be on my own terms. This is true. So far it has been. I work very well independently. Some of it is being a middle child. Some of it is being a woman with half a brain in a jungle of sexist male nitwits. Some of it is being this same woman and having no support from my own and being forced to stand on my own. With this independence always comes a feeling of anxious apartness and terminal uniqueness, like I am the only one with my issues and will never fit in.

Tuesday was a rough day. I am currently working on a project with someone that has a personal life, something totally alien and foreign to me. I have my friends but no lover. Anyway, we got into one of the many text wars we had this week over the fact this person's decision to marry someone lovely is getting in the way of a mutual project goal we have. I was speaking to my mom about the crunch I felt. That is when my mom said something wonderful. She said, "Well isn't it nice not to have to work alone?" As we were speaking I stopped in the middle of the sidewalk. My mom had a point. While my partner shortens my life span from time to time it could be worse. He makes up for the things I lack. In contrast to the fact I get so fired up I could blow a gasket, he is very live and let live. While he tells me to chill quite a bit which I hate with a passion, it is nice to know that I don't have to make important decisions by myself.

As I felt overworked to the max and panicked because these days I have an assistant and don't know what to do with it, there was a terminal uniqueness that came over me. Not to mention I felt like no rising star ever had my issues and no one ever felt overwhelmed in their creative endeavors. This week I ended up seeing a fellow I knew who was a composer who's musical opened in London. He knows exactly how I feel. He is a reference point in case I need support. We connected because he is open to talk as my friend if I need one. He gets it. Another man I knew in passing was walking back from the close of his Broadway show. He too knows how I feel. Both could identify with wanting to have full control all the time and no one else understanding them at points when it came to their art. Other friends who might not be creative identified with the feelings I had. I am not terminally unique after all. I don't have some growth on my head. Sometimes I just feel like it though.

Of course there was the mean girl issue I had. Sometimes that can make me feel so isolated especially because this individual is so tiring. Needless to say my friends were wonderful. Some of them had suggestions on how to block blocked numbers on my phone. Some of them had experience to share with someone similar. Some had feedback on how not to upset myself and to keep myself safe from an alcoholic, drug addicted stalker. Some even told me to shut the hell up about it.

The beautiful thing about friends and connections is that they remind you that it's not that serious. Even those you meet on the sidewalk. As I was stewing at the world as a whole this week I saw a little girl run by in a Wonder Woman outfit. Suddenly it took me out of the zone where I was tired, angered that people didn't act the way they should, and no one appreciated me. I gave the small girl a high five and we had a laugh. How can you be angry when you see a two year old Wonder Woman? Answer, you can't.

How can you be angry when you see a friend zip by on a City Bike as she is on her way to work? And how can you be angry when you see a picture of her little girl in some play on facebook as she is dancing with another friend. Answer: You can't.

How can you be angry when you see your friend on the way to work and you two shoot the breeze about life? How can you stay in your head where it is dark and lonely?Answer: You can't.

How can you be angry when you go to kickboxing, bust a few punches on a bag, and burst out laughing at the big clownish man in the class? Answer: You can't.

For as big and wide spread as the city is, I know at any given time I can walk down the street and see a friend or make a new one. With any bad day, I can press restart. I can laugh with people who can enjoy my Beyonce moments cause they supported me when I was Lindsay Lohan. Translated: I am not alone unless I have to be.

Love
April
I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl
www.aprilbrucker.com

Shit Sisters Talk About

Friday, August 16th, 2013
This morning my baby sister, Dr. Skipper, messages me. Lets just say this is another golden convo

Skipper: Hi April, I'm working nights and about to go to bed. Just know I am thinking of you, have a great day.

Me: Aww thank you.

Skipper: I know we are home on different weekends and I am sorry because I know you wanted to be home on the same weekend. We'll have to catch up by phone.

Me: I would like that.

Skipper: I am sending you this message while pooping. You are not allowed to use this text stream on your blog.

Me: LOL, I didn't need to know that but thank you. And your text are golden, it is going in the blog.

Skipper: I thought you would appreciate this moment of intimacy. Anyway, have been reading your blog. Seems like you are doing a lot of exciting things. So proud of you.

Me: I am proud of you too. So proud this is going in my blog.

Skipper: Oh my!!!!

Me: What can I say, your exchanges are golden.

Love
April
I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl
www.aprilbrucker.com

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