Bread Crumbs

I was 15. I wanted to buzz my hair like Sinead O’Connor. The woman at the salon said no. She gave me a pixie cut, which I loved. Jokingly called, “My other son.” I loved it.


I was 14. Meant as an insult, “When you wear a skirt, you walk like a man in a kilt.” I loved it.


Alanna the Lioness. I wanted to be her. I wanted to live as a man and learn to fight and be underestimated because of my sex and then defeat them.


I was an alto.


Just kidding, there’s more to it than that, haha. I was an alto 2. I wanted to be an alto 3. Powerful in depth of voice.


When my hair started to grow out, I wanted to dress like a Beatle. I found a pair of Beatle boots and still whenever I find Beatle boots, I buy them.


When I was 14, I found a pair of boy’s dress shoes that fit me at a thrift store. I bought them. I actually had a moment where I thought, “What if this is my style? What if I just wear boy’s clothes?” And then I remembered that I was a girl and it would be weird.


I founded a theatre company based on nontraditional casting so that I could be John Adams in 1776. And Harold Hill. And Elyot Chase. So I could ask to play men’s roles and it would be in the name of art. Good cover.


Sophomore in college. Our sardonic History of Musical Theatre teacher was absent for a class and so made us watch Desperate Living while he was gone because he “wanted to show us that John Waters isn’t just Hairspray.” The butch character who asked to have a penis and then showed their partner and their partner was horrified even though it was something that that character really really wanted and so they cut off their penis. Could. Not. Stop. Thinking. About. Them. I thought, wouldn’t it be great if you could put on a penis every once and awhile? And then take it off?


When I first saw Hedwig. Oh my god, when I first saw Hedwig. Yes. Yes. The pain down in your soul was the same as the one down in mine. To feel like a fraud in pants and a fraud in a skirt and wondering why you can’t be both. The tragic humor of it.

When I look at myself in the mirror after putting on make-up (not for stage):



Kindergarten. My male friend Jesse was Skulltor. My female friend Vicky was Wonder Woman. I was “a bunny rabbit who could fly.” Genderless.


I loved Care Bears. I wanted to be Tenderheart, Bright Heart Raccoon, or Nobleheart. Three androgynous/masculine/undetermined characters.


I remember being told that my favorite color was magenta.


I’m not disgusted by my female body. I just don’t really know what to do with her.


I am uncomfortable with my assigned gender role.



I’m five. I’m in ballet class. Teacher asks us all what we want to be. Lots of princesses, fairies, lambs, fairy princess lambs. I want to be Peter Pan. Why? I say Cathy Rigby play him on Broadway and the concept of a woman being a boy fascinated me. I had Peter Pan dreams for years.


Back to Care Bears. I sorta had a thing for Dark Heart. Maybe I just have a thing for red headed cartoon boys?


I, uh, sorta want to be Gaston.


I think I loved Prince Philip because I wanted to be him. No carrots.


“Grace Kelly” by MIKA comes out. I need to meet him. I do at a Virgin Records store in Hollywood and he signs my album. This song speaks to me almost as much as Hedwig speaks to me.


Sephiroth and Griffith and Seshomaru and Beetlejuice (the cartoon) and Peter Pan (people I wanted to be/sorta attracted to)


I realize I’ve always had body dysmorphia, but didn’t know what it was called. And it’s not that I see my breasts and am upset by them, but I have always seen myself as a brawnier person. A larger person with burlier shoulders. I always feel that I physically take up more space than I do. I think I can’t fit in between a chair and a table when I can. I’m surprised when I see how much smaller my shoulders are. It dawned on me today that that is body dysmorphia. I always thought it was because I thought I was fat.


In Between

I am a native New Yorker from the West Coast.

I am patrilineally Jewish.

I am both a man and a woman and neither.

I am a Millennial born before cell phones.

I am a skinny plus size.



I Have a Blog No One Reads, Too — And I Know How to Use It

So. . . it’s been awhile. Turns out when you give birth to twins, your ability to sit still for lengthy periods of time seriously dwindles. I did pull off the all-female production of 1776, which was nominated for five local BroadwayWorld Awards and won for Best Costumes (YESSSS!). I was nominated as Best Actress in a Musical and as Person to Watch, which was very flattering and exciting, even if I didn’t win. I also performed in two other productions (Into the Woods and a world premiere play called My Dear Miss Chancellor, which was about a secret society of sword fighting lesbians set in Jane Austen era London and yes it was as bad ass as that sounds).

I’ve been busy. Happy. Exhausted. Busy. And not very full of writing, I am sorry to say!

So what, dear reader, has brought me out of hibernation?

Why, self-righteous rage, of course!

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All-Female 1776

If you just read the title of this blog post and went, “OH MY FREAKING GOD NO FREAKING WAY THIS IS AMAZING” then I’ll just put this here:


For the rest of you, I’ll catch you poor souls up. 1776 is a Tony Award-winning musical about the writing and signing of the Declaration of Independence.  It is famously known for having a fiercely intelligent and witty book and for being a great musical with very few songs in it — there are only 10, I believe.  I saw the movie in the 6th grade when we were learning about the Revolutionary War and I thought it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen. I was right.  The movie, while long, is pretty fantastic and, for those who care, it stars Mr. Feeney as John Adams.

As a young character actress, roles in musical theatre are few and far between and 1776 is chock-full of amazing characters — the founding fathers of 1776 are portrayed as wildly passionate about Independence, pro or anti, but also as lewd, drunken, bawdy, short-tempered, and all around bad ass.

There are two women in the show. Abigail Adams and Martha Jefferson. Martha has a scene and a half.  Abigail appears in beautiful duets between her and her husband through their letters (with most of the lyrics/dialogue taken from actual letters they wrote back and forth <3). While I appreciate the tip of the hat to Abigail, who was an amazing woman and for whom one of my daughters is named, 1776 isn’t really a show with a lot of good female parts in it.


I am co-producing an all-female version of this remarkable show and at the tail-end of our fundraising effort.  To read more about my project, check out our Indiegogo campaign and maybe consider throwin’ in a little somethin’somethin’:




My Favorite



When my husband, then boyfriend, and I first moved in together, we wanted to get a pet because that’s what couples did to show they were committed. M Fox suggested that we foster, not adopt (how romantic). I thought, “Great! Let’s get a pregnant kitty and have five kittens to play with!” Well, apparently everyone else also had that idea so when we signed up with a local animal shelter, we were on a waiting list. For adult cats. Meh, I thought. Fine, whatever.

Weeks of visiting animal open houses at PetCos and feed stores went by and finally a shelter volunteer with big eyes turned to one of the older jaded workers and said, “What about Hershey?” They both smiled.

A week later I met the big-eyed girl in a PetCo parking lot and she handed me a bag with a cat in it. It was kind of how I imagined an artless drug deal to go down. I took the bag, said, “Thank you,” and then got in my car and drove home with our new charge.

I don’t remember when I found out about Hershey’s origin story. They told me he was a year old (which is pretty much what all shelters say about any non-kitten) and that he had a brother who was all white. They were bonded. Some old woman had wanted to replace her dead white cat, but didn’t want both Hershey and his brother. The shelter forced her to take both. A month later, she called the shelter and said that Hershey was attacking “her cat,” his bonded brother, and that she didn’t want him anymore. Get him out of her house. They found him, terrorized, under her bed. I don’t know who that old broad is, but I both hate her and am grateful she was such a raging bitch so that we could have him.

When I got Hershey home, I put him in our bedroom with his litter and his food and opened the bag. It was all black inside except for two large emerald eyes. I went into the living room to tell M Fox that I’d put the new cat in the bedroom. M Fox said, “That cat is just going to go under the bed.”

For two weeks, Hershey lived under our crappy, four-inches-off-the-floor IKEA bed. He would sneak out in the middle of the night to eat and use the bathroom, but if we ever stirred, he fled back underneath.  Friends didn’t believe us when we said we were fostering a cat — there was barely any evidence.

Here’s the thing, though. If you stuck your hand between the wall and the side of the bed, he would squiggle toward you, rub against you, and purr.  He wanted to love you.

Soon he would come out at night and sleep between us.  Then he would stay out as long as no one opened the door. Then the apartment belonged to him. M Fox found a cat post on the side of the road (like you do) and we began teaching him tricks.  He could nimbly jump to the top of the post and wait for treats.

Every time I came home from work, he would run out to greet me with his little meow. He was a regal cat, sleek and handsome. He had a little squeaky meow. That he used. A lot. My squeaky wheel. Squeak. He deserved a much more dignified name, but at least it was better than his shelter name. (Hershey? That doesn’t even make sense, he was black, not brown. Also, a brand name? Please.)

He became what was called a “failed foster.” We adopted him. He would sit at the window and wait for us to come home, in every apartment we lived. He knew the beep of our car locking in the parking lot. At one point, we had deck and if I went downstairs to hang out at the neighbors, he would sit on the deck and cry for me if he heard my voice. He went through three different companions: Stripe (who we ended up not adopting because HE KEPT PEEING ON ME. PEEING. ON. ME.), the baby, and the witch.

We’re shitty at naming animals, okay?

Well. . . the witch is pretty aptly named.

Well. . . the witch is pretty aptly named.

He loved them all, he took care of them, even Stripe, a territorial tom who didn’t like him very much.  When one of them was hungry, he came to me on their behalf, squeaking.  If the baby had knocked something over or locked himself in a drawer (sweet, but not bright, that one), Squeak would come and get me. If the litter was neglected, he squeaked, politely. Sometimes he just wanted me to sit down for ten minutes so he could sit next to me and purr. He never destroyed anything, he never hurt anyone, he was a gentleman.

He only peed and pooped outside the box once, and he felt really bad about it, even though it was entirely our fault.

We went away for the weekend and left the bedroom window open, which blew our door shut, trapping him in. But even then, he didn’t go on the carpet. He made a little poop nest in M Fox’s sleeping bag in the closet. It was kinda cute, actually. Very organized.

My special child. My perfect child. My favorite. My favoritism toward Squeak was a running joke, but it wasn’t a joke. I always said my children would never have to worry about vying for my favor because Squeak was my favorite and always would be.  My daughters would say to their teachers, “My mom says her favorite is the cat!”

He used to sleep in between my legs at night. I swear he could hear me putting a blanket on my legs from across the house and he’d trot over and want in on it. He loved blanket tents. He loved sitting on M Fox’s lap while he tried to tie his shoes or take them off. He loved watching birds outside. He loved hunting flies in the house. He killed spiders and bees for me. He was a midnight face-walker. He loved hair ties, he would shoot them from a fang and a claw and chase after them. He liked to sit on my laptop and on my shoes, especially my flip flops. He licked plastic. He was a big fan of the If It Fits Philosophy.

He didn’t like people food, so he never begged — he politely declined tuna from the can, chicken from the bone, and even some nigiri. He loved to knead certain blankets in slow motion with his eyes half-slit in ecstasy, so you felt sort of inappropriate watching. He sneezed a lot. My windows still have Squeak snot on them. He ran when a stranger walked in the door, but would eventually come out and want a lap. He had a special affinity for people who were allergic to him. Of the ten guests in the living room, he wanted the one whose esophagus would close upon contact.

He was perfect.

We grew up with him. M Fox and I became engaged. We married. We moved to Seattle. We lost Alvin Bean. We miscarried. We got pregnant again. We found out we were having twins. My pregnancy was awful, I was in bed or hovering over the toilet. Squeak followed me around and sat with me, kept me company in my misery. He didn’t even seem hurt that I wouldn’t let him sleep on my stomach. Every night he’d try to sleep on my swollen aching carcass, as if me pushing him off the previous three hundred times was just an honest misunderstanding. After I brought the girls home, I thought about how they’d grow up with Squeak. How I would have to comfort them when he died of old age.

I could tell he was losing weight.  I had heard of cats being stressed out when new babies were brought home and even though he loved hanging out in the nursery with everyone, he was still a sensitive cat.  So I took him into the vet.

There was a mass in his abdomen.  The options were expensive surgery that would maybe extend his life by anywhere between not at all to a year or. . .

Squeak, who feared the carrier and the outside, who ran at the sound of tin foil, who fled when I sneezed. Who I suspected never fully got over his origin story. Operating tables and doctor’s offices didn’t sound right. Not for something unfixable. M Fox and I were once again faced with the terrible privilege of choosing dignity.

The last week of Squeak’s life had me following him around the house with various plates of crappy cheap cat food to entice him. He was over the nice organic grain-free stuff that we’d been feeding him for years. I guess I can’t blame him. Eventually he stopped even wanting the “cookies” that he loved so much. Pie pans of water appeared around the house. My heart sank watching him sit near them, but not drink. I never begrudged him, even though I constantly stepped in it or kicked it over at 4am when I went to feed one of the girls. He was a gentleman until the end. He didn’t want to be a bother, he just wanted to be near. Until he was too tired to move. And then he just wanted a chair by the window to watch the birds in peace.

I didn’t believe that you could fall in love so thoroughly with an animal you didn’t raise from babyhood. My life is so enriched from having been proved wrong. I was his person. And he was my favorite.

Yes I Can, Yes I Can!

Let’s start with this brilliant musical theatre duet:

I admit that I am pretty easily manipulated if you frame something in terms of my ego, for example, our household’s longstanding Quilt Challenge.  My husband has very openly stated that he would love it if I would make a quilt, but he knows that I couldn’t do it.  Despite this pathetically obvious attempt to use reverse psychology (in reality, my husband believes that I can do anything), I have totally fallen for it and I know damn well that someday I will make a quilt!  My excuse now is that I don’t really have a sewing room or even a sewing spot and our cats would sleep on it and it’s actually really expensive to get started and I also don’t own a sewing machine.

But god damn it, I’m going to sew a quilt one day and make M Fox eat it.

The problem with pregnancy Dos and Don’ts is that it’s not just about your ego; your choices affect the life (or lives, in my case) of a blissfully ignorant little creature who is happily jabbing you in the cervix because it’s so excited that its limbs move.  Awww.

There are the undebatable Don’ts — like you can’t chug a Long Island Iced Tea, shoot up some heroin, and then hop on Space Mountain.

To be fair, you probably shouldn’t do that when you’re not pregnant, but ESPECIALLY when you’re pregnant, such behavior is frowned upon.

The dietary Dos and Don’ts are mostly a matter of common sense and personal preference.  Apparently you’re not supposed to eat cantaloupe, fro-yo, or turkey sandwiches.  I say (and, remember, I am a doctor*) use your best judgment.  If you want to live off of goldfish and the occasional grape (after drudging it in vinegar to get off the poison), then hey, go ahead.  If, like a certain Classy Dame, you want to drink diet soda and gorge yourself on sushi, then hey, go ahead.  Pregnancy safety is a matter of statistics and paying attention to statistics is, oddly enough, totally subjective.  *No I’m not

But that’s a conversation that a lot of people have already talked themselves hoarse over.

The thing that I find most oppressive about pregnancy is the conversation that goes beyond eating, drinking, and going to Disneyland or Space Camp — it falls into either the pitying with concern (“How are you going to be able to do that?”) or the pitying with certainty (“You realize that you won’t be able to do that ever again”) category.


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Star Wars Fan Fic

This is a fan-made Star Wars anime that is gorgeous.  In two minutes, this wordless cartoon made me feel more than in six hours of Episodes 1-3 (for the record, my children will have to discover Episodes 1-3 on their own.  I want no part in exposing them to that sort of filth).  I posted the video on Facebook and the following conversation ensued:

Friend and Fellow Star Wars Fan:  Although it always makes me feel guilty rooting so hard for the Empire.

Me: Who knows what the Empire had on those pilots, though? Maybe their families are being kept in a room with the oxygen slowly being siphoned out — maybe they pump in another liter of air for every rebel ship taken down.

Friend and Fellow Star Wars Fan: I wanna read that fanfic.


. . . . okay :)


Extra credit: Teenage Mutant Ninja Fan Fic


Jaclyn stared down at the pinprick of blood on her index finger.  It was remarkable how despite the number of souls she had sent back to their makers, she had never once seen a single drop of their blood.  The sight of her own mesmerized her.

A particularly loud squawk from her infant son, squirming on the changing table, brought her back down from the black.

“Alright, alright, almost done.”  Jaclyn finished pinning the cloth diaper to her child, lifted him to her shoulder and turned.  She startled at seeing her husband, Larek, leaning against the doorframe of the nursery.  He was smiling at her.

“What?” She said, shifting uneasily.

“I just like seeing you all domestic.”

“Har har.”

Larek wrapped his arms around them and pressed his face into her neck. “It suits you.”

Jaclyn closed her eyes and inhaled the scent of her family.

“Mama!  There’s a man at the door!”

“Coming, Remmi,” she called. “Wait for me.”

“Zak already opened it!”

“I did not, the wind pushed it!”

Jaclyn and Larek shared a smirk before heading toward their front door.  Rounding the corner, Jaclyn’s blood chilled when she saw the uniforms.  She handed the baby to her husband and gestured they stay.  She slowly walked toward the open door.

“Boys, go to Papa.”

Zak and Remmi obeyed, sobered by the tone of their mother’s voice.

Jaclyn planted herself in front of the Imperial officer.  “Can I help you?”

“Ahh, Captain Jaclyn Antarres,” he said. His face was cheery in stark contrast to the helmeted guards that flanked him.  “What a pleasure to finally meet you.  Your reputation proceeds you.”

“It’s Mrs. Reed now,” Jaclyn said nervously, wondering what Larek’s face looked like behind her.

“May we come in?” Said the officer, still smiling.  “It won’t take but a moment.”

“Of course.  Larek, would you take the boys-”

“No,” said the officer, “please, don’t usher them out on our account.  This may well be a family decision.”  The officer helped himself to a seat on the couch.  The guards remained standing at his sides.  “I am here to inform you that your services are needed again, Captain.  Congratulations!”

She followed him into the living room, her body tense. “But. . . but the Empire won.  Why do they still need me?”

“Oh, of course we won, thanks in part to your tireless efforts, but there are a few loose ends.  I won’t bore you with the details, after all, do they really matter?  The Empire needs you, Captain.  Won’t you join us?”

Jaclyn sat down across from the officer.

“But, Jaclyn,” behind her, Larek’s voice was thick with disbelief, “You said, I thought-”

“It’s not what you think,” she said, staring at her lap.

“I’m so terribly sorry, how embarrassing,” said the officer.  “Perhaps I am mistaken.”

He produced a small device from his jacket pocket and clicked a button.  A holographic video projected on the coffee table.  Cheering Galactic Republic soldiers choked a Star Destroyer landing strip as they surrounded a TIE-fighter.  A young pilot nimbly leaped from the cockpit.  She removed her helmet, revealing a young Jaclyn, grinning and pumping her fist.

Jaclyn stiffened, hearing her husband gasp and her boys, not understanding, grow excited.

“It’s Mama!” shouted Zak.  “Look, it’s Mama!”

“I want to see it again!” Remmi pleaded.

The blue light of the holograph reflected in the steely eyes of the officer as hundreds of Separatist fighter jets exploded in the living room.  “Am I confusing you with another Jaclyn Antarres?”

“No, sir,” Jaclyn whispered. “That was me.”

“Oh good!”  The officer clicked the button and the image disappeared.

“Aw, no fair!”

Quiet, boys,” barked Larek.

“You had me worried for a moment that I had come to the wrong house!” Continued the officer, seemingly oblivious to the family tension. “You know how government bureaucracy can be so messy.”

“Yes, sir,” said Jaclyn.  She didn’t dare look at her husband.  She could feel his stare burning into the back of her neck.  “I’m afraid I can’t accept this honor, sir.  I just had a baby, you see, and-”

“You won’t reconsider?”

“Well, maybe when the baby is older, I could-”

Jaclyn didn’t notice more guards had already filed into the living room, surrounding her family.

The officer stood.  “I’m afraid, then, that we are no longer asking.”


Zak and Remmi had never been off-planet before and Jaclyn wished she could have enjoyed their wonder as their home planet became smaller and smaller beneath them.  At least it took their minds off the cuffs around their wrists and ankles.  Larek held the baby, his eyes closed.  When she reached over and put her hand on his knee, his eyes snapped open.  The fury in his face made her recoil.

“Captain? So you were good at murdering people, were you?”

“Larek, please, I can’t be blamed-”

“You worked for them,” he hissed. “You lied to me.”

“Larek, I was young, I was broke, it was a job.  I didn’t know.”

“The Clone War was nearly over.  The Purge had already happened.  Don’t tell me you didn’t know.”

“It was a job.”

“For the wrong side.”

“For the winning side.”

“I see.”

“Larek, it worked out for us.”

“Has it?  Our children are in chains, Jaclyn.”

“I’ll fix this, I’ll-”

“Kill when you’re commanded.  Like a good Imperial dog.”

“That’s not fair.”

“Fair?!  My parents were murdered by the Empire.  My childhood home was razed to the ground because we were accused of harboring Jedi.  For all I know, it was you that did it.”

“No, I never fought on the ground, I was only a pilot, I was only-”

“A coward.”

The ship jolted as it entered the tractor beam of the Star Destroyer.  Tears brimmed in Larek’s eyes as his children cooed at the size of the warship.  Jaclyn looked at her feet.  She’d seen plenty before.

The Reed family was herded to the detention level and Jaclyn noticed quite a few other families, their civilian clothes pitably plain next to the gleaming white stormtroopers that patrolled the halls.  Droids zipped and tottered by, ignoring them.  She could tell the other former pilots by the guilt on their faces and the betrayed looks on their spouses’.  She wished she could hold Zak and Remmi’s hands.


“I don’t want you to go, Mama.”

“I know, darling, Mama will be right back, I promise I’ll be right back.”  They were in a cell now, much nicer than Jaclyn would have expected.  It was square and squat, but there were chairs and a thick glass window that looked out into the hallway.  Red, black, and white uniforms passed by outside.  Perhaps they only planned to intimidate, nothing more.

“Please don’t go, please don’t leave me.”

Jaclyn ran her hand through her son’s hair, but before she could speak the guards roughly grabbed her arms and drug her out of the cell, slamming the door behind them, cutting off the wails of her children.

Jaclyn whipped her arms around and released herself.  The officer stood impassively in the hallway.

“Was that really necessary?!” She snapped. “We’ve come quietly, haven’t we?!”

“And we’ve been more than patient.  Your fleet awaits you, Captain, and we don’t have time for any more sentimental moments.”

A hissing sound filled the hallway.  Jaclyn looked up and then through the glass window into her family’s cell.  Larek could hear it, too, and was gathering the boys around him.

“What’s happening?  What are you doing to them?”

“That is their air supply leaking into the hallway.”


“The general is so very fond of games and incentives.  For every rebel ship you take down, another liter of oxygen will replenish your family’s cell.”

“One,” she choked. “One liter?!”

“The average adult needs 550 liters of oxygen a day,” said the officer cheerily. “So I hope for their sake, Captain, you have very good aim.”

Jaclyn rammed herself against the glass window, watching her children’s mouths open in screams that she couldn’t hear.  Seeing her, they broke free of their father and ran to the window, faces red and wet with tears.  Their fingers couldn’t reach the glass.  She looked up at Larek, who only stared back at her from across the cell, his eyes empty.  The hissing stopped.

Not bothering to wipe her eyes, Jaclyn turned to the officer.  “Take me to my ship.”



Black uniform hugging her body, helmet under her arm, Jaclyn strode toward the landing strip, callously ignoring salutes from lesser officers as she passed.  She recognized no one from the old days and bitterly envied her former compatriots who managed to disappear or die young.  She put on her helmet and climbed into the cockpit. Her TIE was an advanced model, though the interior didn’t feel much different from her old ship; the controls had a nicer font and the seats were leather.  The escalating whirr of the ship’s engine sent adrenaline shivers through her body.  It felt like home, she conceded guiltily.

How easy it is to shed your humanity in space, she thought, dazed as it came time for her ship to launch into the black.  After all, the X-wings weren’t filled with people, they were filled with oxygen.  And Captain Antarres intended to get every last one.