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My Bold Bonus Life: 15

Audrey Hepburn came home.

For new arrivals here, this is the way I think of the New Yorker whose apartment I’m “sitting” in for my extra mini-life as a Manhattanite. Her glamorous job called her back a few days earlier than she’d planned; she’s now staying with a friend so that I can finish out my life here.

It was a happy meeting. (She’s the daughter of a friend of a friend and we’d never set eyes on each other before; though, after two weeks in her sunlit studio, I felt I knew her pretty well.)

Well, she’s everything you’d expect of Audrey, plus outgoing and at ease. And totally unworried about the health of her plants in my charge. (see plant crisis)

Yesterday turned out differently than I’d planned. This is not a new phenomenon in any of my lives. It was chilly and raining pretty vigorously when I went out. By the time I’d walked a few blocks, my shoes were soaked through as were my jeans to a level up above my knees. No museums or long hikes.

I came back to the apartment and worked most of the day, except for a break for my first-ever bowl of matzoh ball soup at a nearby deli and my late-afternoon meeting with Audrey.

Then last night, dinner at a little place I stumbled upon near the little theater where I was going to see another of the Fringe NYC festival’s plays. Mission Cafe is what I think of as a shotgun restaurant: one narrow room with a bar on one side and a single line of tables on the other. (see photo above)

I ordered one of the dinner specials: a deep bowl of penne with shrimp and salmon, with bread plus olive oil to sop it in, and a glass of pinot grigio, all for $10.95. And it was all good!

The evening’s Fringe play was Faye Lane’s Beauty Shop Stories: a one-woman musical about her growing up in Texas in her mom’s beauty parlor. I didn’t realize that comedian Joan Rivers had attended the play the night before and the word of this had spread as a sort of endorsement. On this last night of the run a crowd was waiting outside the door.

I got in line. There were eight tickets left. I was number eleven in the queue. The two guys in front of me left. I was number nine. Waiting, I chatted with the Dutch theater studies student in front of me who was reviewing the festival for a Dutch online publication. (I’d find the idea of reviewing a string of plays in Dutch a little daunting.)

The line started to move. The student reviewer in front of me apologetically got the last available ticket. I was told to wait; maybe some of the press seats wouldn’t fill. I leaned against the box office window and chatted with the woman who sold tickets.

The line of admirable people who had planned well and bought their tickets in advance filed past us into the La Ma Ma theater. We waited. Then: two more tickets. One for me and one for the tall texting fellow behind me. I didn’t even have to be the one to smile ruefully at whoever was first to be turned away.

The show itself was a delight. “Volumptious” Faye Lane told and sang her story of being a fat little girl doing song and dance before the captive audience of women under hair dryers. And then as a young woman selling everything she had and lighting out of Texas with $1100 and a ticket to London.

Spoiler Alert: In her first three days in London she met and moved in with actor Anthony Hopkins’ daughter and had a director ask to do a movie of her life. Six months later flying back into England after a trip to Cannes, she was given 24 hours to leave the country because she didn’t have a work or student visa.

The next day she was back in Texas. Two days after that she answered the pay phone in the beauty parlor where she was again at work: “Casa Vale Beauty Shop.” It was the director. He asked her to marry him. They rendezvoused at the Chelsea Hotel in NY, and “never checked out.”

Their twentieth anniversary is next week. Faye Lane gave a warmly emotional performance that felt fresh and genuine. I got the strong impression that “the director” was in the audience up near the front on the left side last night.

Guests leaving the show were each given a banana Moon Pie, an important item in the life of the young beauty shop star. Faye Lane stood out on the sidewalk (see photo) greeting people at the end of the show.

I never expected to end the day walking through the East Village eating a banana Moon Pie. But you never know how things are going to go.

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Categories: extra life, faye Lane, Fringe NYC, La Ma Ma

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