Caught a cold yesterday (it wasn’t the pig’s knuckles, I swear.) Staying in bed till show time. Highly unusual for me. Somewhat blissful, actually. I pray my energy will resurface before the 7pm show. I’m sure it will. So let me tell you about this doctor who actually came to my apartment to check on me!!! (He just left). I didn’t think this happened anymore-house calls. His name is Dr Barry Kohn and he said it would be okay for me to blog about him. I’ve actually met him twice when he came to the play. He had a private practice in Sacramento and then, 14 years ago, retired and now does pro bono work for actors, part time in Los Angeles and part time in New York. He actually said, “My practice was good to me. I’m not ultra rich or anything but I have enough and so I decided I wanted to give meaning to my life by treating actors, especially theatre actors, without charge. I think theatre actors are so brave.” When was the last time you heard someone say they had ‘enough?’ That they didn’t want their life to be about getting more? I just had to tell you about him. He has been on the board of Broadway Cares, the non-profit all of us in the New York theatre community have been raising money for these past four weeks. We have 2 weeks to go. Broadway Cares provides resources for people living with HIV/AIDS and other serious illnesses. We do this through The Phyllis Neuman Women’s Health Initiative and the Free Health Clinic of the Actors Fund. We also provide grants to 400 food banks around the country. I make the pitch after every performance and we’ve raised soo much money. We’re trying to raise more than any other non-musical. April 28th there’s an Easter Bonnet event at the Minskoff Theatre to mark the end of the fundraising effort. Each play puts on a skit and designs a bonnet and there are winners-for the skits, the bonnets and for who raises the most money. We want to win!!! If you want to contribute, make a check out to “Broadway Cares” and send it to me at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre, 230 West 49th St, NY, NY 10019. If you send $75 you get a playbill signed by the whole cast. If you send $150 you get a Play poster signed by everyone. For $200 you get my memoir personally signed to you from me.
To change the subject: I liked the pigs knuckles. They were very tasty, gelatinous but tasty. I don’t mind gelatinous. Some of the blog comments said I was brave to try them. Hey, you want brave, I’ll give you brave: Years ago when I was married to Ted Turner, we were in Montana where he had (has) a large herd of bison. I had come to enjoy eating well cooked bison and wanted to slaughter a young one to eat but I decided I wanted to ask a friend of mine, a Northern Cheyenne chief, Bill Tall Bull, to come down with his grandson’s and show me how native Americans slaughtered bison. I had been studying about this and read that they, of necessity, made use of every single part of the bison-making purses out of the stomach, moccasins out of the fur at the back of the hoof, etc. So Bill came down. I asked him what he would like in exchange for demonstrating this quite laborious procedure for me. I expected he would want cash, but no. He said, “We’d like the hooves, the heart and the intestines.” “The hooves!!!!” I exclaimed. “Why the hooves?” “Oh,” Bill replied, “When word gets out that we’re having hoof for dinner there won’t be any room in our home.” He was going to make soup with them. Kind of like Pigs knuckles, I guess. The intestines would be made into sausages and I watched him clean out the skins in preparation, sticking a hose in one end and letting the water wash it clean. The heart of the bison is, of course, a prized organ, so their keeping that didn’t surprise me. The work of slaughtering and cutting up the animal takes several hours and is very hard which is why Bill, who was elderly, had brought his grandsons to help. He also wanted to teach them the traditional ways. As they worked, they spoke to each other in their traditional language. Half way through the gutting, they cut out the liver and hung it up on an upright fence post, slicing little pieces from it from time to time and eating it. They told me this was what they did to keep up their energy. Well, since I was doing the work right alongside them, I decided I should do whatever they did and I cut myself a slice and ate it. I like cooked liver a lot, but, I tell you, swallowing that raw chunk took all the guts (pun intended) I could muster. After that experience, Pigs knuckles is a piece of cake.
(I must be getting better. Two hours ago I wouldn’t have imagined writing that story in a blog).
One comment to my last blog said they were having Easter lunch on the beach at Santa Barbara. That’s where my son and his wife had Easter brunch before they went for an Easter egg hunt at his cousin Bridget’s (Bridget Fonda Elfman, Danny’s Wife-he of early Oingo Boingo fame and now the greatest composer in Hollywood). Bridget has an almost 3 year old son, Oliver, and, Knowing Danny and Bridget, it was probably the most fanciful egg hunt ever.
Whew-all this writing has worn me out. Gonna catch a few more ZZZZs before I have to perform. Many thanks to all of your who have sent me blog comments. They have sooo cheered me up.