Awkward Moment #2 – Weddings

Awkward Moment #2 – Weddings

I left the house in plenty of time to make it to a friend’s wedding. Plenty of time that is without a traffic jam two minutes from the church. Not wanting to miss the bride’s grand entrance, I ran up the endless staircase leading to the humongous ornate cathedral only to meet the bridesmaids lined up and ready to go, with the bride not far behind. As I stepped through massive double doors and into the sanctuary’s center aisle, the processional song began and to my horror the entire congregation was on their feet staring at me.

joanna headshot purple shirt

In retrospect there were many reasonable options I could have taken. I could have sashayed up either side aisle. I could have slipped into a back pew, but neither of those options made their way into my brain. With all eyes on me, including the video camera’s (the videographer seemed to be adding me to the wedding footage) I inexplicably rushed up the length of the center aisle, heels echoing the whole way, to meet the rest of the wedding guests, who stood in the first few rows. As I finally slid into a pew, I turned around to watch the processional to find that the bridal party had been following me in and was now more than half way to the altar. Oops.

I hope my friend the bride, doesn’t mind that I decided to join the perfectly matched wedding party in my plaid coat and little black dress. I’m sure she’ll laugh about it when she watches the wedding video. Ok, maybe I’m praying that she’ll laugh. I’d do the same for her. Maybe.

Later at the reception, one would think that I would have tried to be a respectable guest and call no further attention to myself. Respectable was not in the cards for me that day.  I’m Irish and have insanely pale skin. Nicole Kidman has nothing on me, but when the DJ played a salsa, I could no longer contain my inner Latin dancer. Three minutes into the dance my flailing arm smacked the groom’s father in the face. He was not my dance partner.

Moral #1:  Be sure to arrive super early for any wedding but wear the same color as the bridesmaids just in case.

Moral #2: Don’t Drink and Dance.


Thank You Lee Daniels

Thank You Lee Daniels


The  powerful film, “The Butler” inspires on multiple levels. I don’t believe I’ve ever experienced a film that imparts so many impactful messages, intentional or not.

The film depicts the life of an African American Butler serving 30 years in the white house under several administrations. While the story does educate the viewers about the life of Eugene Allen (aka Cecil Gaines here,) the deplorable treatment of African Americans through the years, and helps us all to further comprehend the profound meaning of the election of Barack Obama, it also serves to inspire across racial lines. That said, I wish to thank the film’s creator Lee Daniels…

  1. “The Butler” reminded me of the importance of family as I watched Cecil’s family and how deeply they affected each other. Thank You Lee Daniels.
  2. “The Butler” reminded me how important it is to serve our country and that serving our country can be done in a variety of ways as each member of Cecil’s family did so differently. Thank you Lee Daniels.
  3. “The Butler” made me grateful for the family that came before me, beginning with my grandfather(and I’m sure going back further than that) getting on a boat at 16 to come to America from Ireland and work hard for many years as a welder under sweltering conditions, to provide for greater opportunities for his family for generations to come.  Thank you Lee Daniels.
  4. “The Butler” inspired me to want to do my best to honor the work of my grandfather and parents; for them to know their work was not in vain; for them to know that their work inspires me to make the world a better place, and to use all that I have been blessed with to do so. Thank you Lee Daniels.
  5. “The Butler” delivered some powerhouse performances that inspired me to want to move people through enlightening story-telling like never before. If Forest Whitaker and Oprah don’t get Oscars, I will be shocked. Thank you Lee Daniels.
  6. “The Butler” further reinforced my gratitude for all that I have been given and more passion not to waste it. Thank you Lee Daniels..
  7. “The Butler” brought to mind the incredible power of the medium to educate, illuminate, inspire and encourage, confirming my desire to want to do all three. Thank you Lee Daniels.
  8. I am incredibly proud of Americans for making “The Butler” #1. Thank you Lee Daniels.

In Short, Lee Daniels…thank you for “The Butler,” a film that crosses racial boundaries to not only deliver a historical education but serves to awaken us all from our slumber and create some inspiration of our own.

Ode to Sam Raimi

Ode to Sam Raimi

I’ve always been a fan of superhero movies. The dichotomy between the hero and his alter-ego lends itself to fascinating character study, commentary on our own humanity, and even brilliant comedy! How awesome would it be to play Mary Jane Watson, or Gwen Stacy?! Or better yet, how about Spiderwoman! A young looking of course,  middle aged superwoman:) who is bitten by a spider at “mommy and me!” She can multi task now like never before! Woo hoo! Ooh Maybe I’ll write that!

Spiderman has always been a favorite of mine mainly because the differences between the nerdy Peter Parker and the powerful Arachnid hero with “spidey sense” produced some of the most interesting, funny cinematic moments to date!

Yesterday, my appreciation for Spiderman increased tenfold due to a spontaneous meeting over lunch with the Spiderman trilogy’s director, Sam Raimi!

Since moving to L.A. on my quest to contribute to the industry and  tell funny, uplifting stories, I’ve been doing what the kind people in entertainment call “background” work, otherwise known as being an “extra” in T.V. and film.  In six months time, on countless projects from big budget to small, no director has ever carried his lunch tray over to a table of “background talent” and humbly asked if he could sit with us.

For those of you not in Entertainment, perhaps I.T. people…imagine an ordinary day enjoying your lunch at work, when suddenly Bill Gates asks if he can join you… or I don’t really know your heros…um…ok. Bill Gates is all I got.

The gracious Mr.Raimi then started a  conversation as two extras and I stared at him in stunned silence. I  hope my mouth was not agape. Although I tried to be cool, it was quite thrilling to be honest.  I think I eventually recovered from my trance, but while talking to Mr. Raimi and learning of our shared love of the duality of superhero personalities my own inner nerd was screaming, “YOU ARE HAVING LUNCH WITH THE DIRECTOR OF SPIDERMAN!, YOU ARE HAVING LUNCH WITH THE DIRECTOR OF SPIDERMAN!”

So thank you, Mr. Raimi for breaking down the walls, or trailer doors on set, and engaging with us as colleagues! We love you even more now than before. You are a class act;  kind, generous and a shining example of humility for us all!

When I asked him what his favorite project has been, Sam, as I call my new best friend:) replied, in the most shocking example of his lack of pretention,  “I think a movie called Spiderman 2.”

Yes, Mr. Raimi we have heard of that movie. And we loved it. We were blown away by your work. We admired the director that you are. Now we admire the man that you are, and hope we can emulate your generosity of spirit.

Awkward Moment #1 – Tissues

Awkward Moment #1 – Tissues

I guess denial is no longer an option. I’m not quite young anymore. Up until a few years ago, I sang and danced in regional theatre and national tours so when a friend asked me if I would dance in a local production for a fundraiser, I thought, “Sure, why not? It might even be fun!” After all I hadn’t been sitting on the couch watching Lifetime movies for that long. I was sure that I was still in “dancer” shape.

During the first rehearsal, I figured I should stretch before attempting any real dancing, as my muscles might be a tad tight, but still capable. Never mind the fact that I hadn’t so much as walked around the corner for 2 years.

After stretching out my hips, I took a step. Suddenly my groin tensed and pain shot down my leg. So much for capable. I hobbled through the rehearsal with a pulled groin muscle and rushed to the freezer for ice upon returning home.

The next day, before rehearsal I went to the ladies room and slathered “Icy Hot” to the injured area, spilling some of the “miracle” cream on the floor. Reaching into my purse, I pulled out a tissue and wiped up the mess.  Without a thought, I threw said tissue back into my bag.  Within seconds my crotch was on fire, but surprisingly, the pain had abated. I thought, “Icy Hot rocks!”

The rehearsal space was rather cold that day and my nose was runny.  On a break, I grabbed a tissue from my bag and blew my nose.  I was walking back to the dance floor when the fire ignited in my nose…

Life Lesson- Throw away used tissues….