Here we are at the end of another escapade in the city that never sleeps, in the 14th Street subway station to be precise. What experiences could have left us looking a tad smug, you might ask.
Let's begin at the beginning, shall we? On July 25th, we went to the Citizen's Brigade Theater for a taping of comedienne Catie Lazarus' show "Employee of the Month", in which Catie asks her guests to talk about their work and how they got to where they are. (Some of the answers are surprising and refreshingly frank.) For the price of admission, we were treated to four interviews: first with actress and comedienne Janeane Garofalo, then New Yorker writer Emily Nussbaum, followed by Stacy London, host of What Not to Wear, and endig with star of The View, Joy Behar - not to mention an opening monologue by Catie Lazarus and musical interludes by the band (pictured below).
What, you may ask, was the price of admission? Does $5 each strike you as fair and reasonable? Yes, $5 each! How could we resist? We stood in a long line outside the theater (ahem - Valerie stood in a long line outside the theater, and on one foot, no less) but managed to score front row seats. Unfortunately (or fortunately, as it later turned out), our seats were at the far left of the stage, right next to the door through which all of the guests entered and exited.
Lazarus videotapes these encounters and downloads them to the web. To see a bit of the show we attended, click on this Vimeo link: http://vimeo.com/71660617 If you look really carefully, you can just barely glimpse us (OMG!) in the far left of the frame in several of the shots in this vimeo of the final bows of the the guests.
Except when Catie stood for her hilarious, self-effacing monologue, she mostly sat at her "desk" with her back to us, facing her guests, and simultaneously obscuring them. We had to be grateful at certain points during each interview when Catie sat back in her seat, and we could get an occasional view of the guests.
The first guest was Janeane Garofalo, whom Catie quizzed among other things about growing up in Rochester, New York and about her experience with Botox injections. After getting over the shock of the question, Janeane admitted that the anti-wrinkle injections did work for the furrow between her brows. Unfortunately, because she had to run to another gig, unlike the other three guests, Janeane didn't stick around for the curtain call.
Next up was New Yorker writer Emily Nussbaum, who was asked about her previous gig as a movie reviewer at another publication.
Much to Jean's delight, Lazarus' interviewing style is much like her own conversational style -- interrupting people mid-thought, blurting out what she thinks are bons mots while the speaker is still talking, and helping them finish sentences they are perfectly capable of finishing on their own. (Valerie, for her part, felt sympathy and empathy for the perplexed but polite guests.) The best line of the evening was Catie's question asking something about what percentage of New Yorker writers wear tweed with and without irony.
Showing off her newly purchased, presumably expensive handbag to the audience, What Not to Wear star Stacy London admitted, in reviewing her own fashion choices early in the series, that she was not "camera ready". In talking about making the leap from Vogue editorial staffer to on-air personality, Stacy did own up to her own fashion faux pas, admitting that it was a "difficult" transition going from behind the scenes to out in front.
After bemoaning the fact that she had no boyfriend, Catie asked Stacy for a little fashion advice. On cue, Catie's long-suffering assistant entered the stage wearing Catie's mother's fur jacket and skirt and the comedienne's own faux fur animal-eared (animal-headed?) hat. Although Catie vigorously defended the hat, Stacy ventured that perhaps the hat might be one reason for her host's date-less situation.
In a hilarious strip-tease, the assistant peeled away the first layer to display Catie's grandmother's robe, sealing the deal and to Stacy's way of thinking, confirming that such wardrobe choices were a "clue" to solving Catie's dating quandary and would most certainly be a first-date turn off.
Seemingly knowing no shame, like one of those Russian dolls within a doll, the assistant proceeded to further disrobe to reveal Catie's red bikini.
We were definitely positioned for the "money shot" - complete with porn socks! The assistant's barely visible flesh-colored Spanx became the next point of heated discussion with Stacy strongly defending the use of "shape wear" to smooth out any woman's silhouette.
Stacy's new handbag is visible in this shot. Can you name the designer?
Final guest Joy Behar revealed another degree of separation from first guest Janeane Garofalo, saying she had taught high school English in Rochester, but admitting that Janeane was not one of her students. Joy talked about her stint on The View and her future, planning to work rather than retire.
Joy's revelation that she in fact is not Jewish was followed by her comment that she is perceived to be, even winning an award from Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America.
Our moment in the spotlight took place when Joy interrupted Catie to point right at us and say she was just fascinated by those two stylish "women in the first row wearing hats that look like flying saucers"!! She then made us stand up so the other members of the audience could see us. Valerie gamely did so, despite the fact that she was recovering from her recent foot surgery and was wearing a protective and most unstylish bootie.
During the finale, each of the three guests was individually escorted back to the stage by Catie's assistant, wearing a very fetching black teddy. Each guest took a final bow and received her very own framed Employee of the Month photo. Members of the audience were invited on stage to briefly chat with Catie and her guests before being chased out of the theater so techs could clear the stage and break down the set to prepare for the next show hosted by another actor.
Just like Creedence Clearwater Revival's Willy and The Poor Boys, we found ourselves "Down on the corner, out in the street" with the band as members of the audience asked to take pictures of us.
When they asked to pose with us for photos, we were able to impose on them to take one with our camera. Now, FINALLY, after all these years, we can say We're with the band.
The theater was just one block west of FIT and a short walk to amusingly misnomered hotspot Cafeteria, one of our faves in that part of town. We started at an outdoor table to discuss the evening's events, compare notes and make a stab at solving the problems of the world before getting on the subway. Below, we pose for photos just before it started to drizzle and we had to move indoors. Foodie Alert: their crispy battered green beans are terrific as are their salmon BLTs!
But what about the cocktails? Divine! (Long-time fans will recall that we brought the Forest City Fashionista to Cafeteria after one of the vintage shows, and that we celebrated there last year with one of the other senior models after appearing in Marla Wynn's fashion show at the Fab Over Fifty event at the Metropolitan Pavilion.)
We thought we'd scored a real coup finding a great show, AND at such a great price, but we were later disappointed to discover we're really not that cool after all, as this show has been managing quite well without us for a very long time! Employee of the Month has podcasts of previous shows, and quite a list of high profile guests. To see the list of podcasts and photos of guests previously put under the microscope, click here. (Also, they asked for our email address so they could alert us to monthly Employee shows, but we weren't alerted to the August show. Hmmmmm.....)
In the 14th Street subway station, we ran into quadruple threat Steff Reed: singer, songwriter, producer and music educator. Check him out at http://WhoIsSteffReed.com. Jean and Steff were gang-signing approval of Valerie's bootie. (Note the Andy Warhol Marilyn print sock and her Warhol soup can shoe!)
BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE!
Imagine our surprise to see our image on photographer Mindy Tucker's Stolen Moment of the Week series and this incredibly complimentary notation:
Check here soon for the interviews with Emily Nussbaum, Stacy London, Joy Behar, and Janeane Garofalo from this taping of Employee of the Month, hosted by Catie Lazarus. More photos, including one of two audience members who are some of the most stylish New Yorkers I've ever seen at a comedy show, are here.