I had found a new agent, and one of the first auditions he sent me on was for an HBO series. I would be reading for the part of a father. It was an older, more mature role than I was used to. My agent told me to dress conservatively, maybe wear a suit.
I flew to New York the next day and took a taxi over to HBO’s offices. I checked in at the main desk and rode an elevator up to the 11th floor. The elevator opened and a receptionist greeted me. She walked me into a small waiting area and told me to take a seat.
I was sitting alone in the waiting area when one of the show’s production assistants walked through. She was carrying a stack of scripts. She saw me sitting in a chair and stopped. “Hi, are you here for the audition?”
I stood up. “Yes.”
“Can I get you some coffee?”
I shook my head. “No, thanks. A beer, maybe…”
She laughed. “Right. I hear that.”
I nodded. “Yeah, I’m a little nervous…”
She started to walk away. “I’m sure you’ll be great.”
I smiled. “Okay. Thanks, baby.”
The girl stopped suddenly. She spun around. “What did you say?”
“Did you call me ‘baby?’”
“Oh…yeah. Is that bad?”
“You called me ‘baby?’”
“I call everybody baby.”
“You’re auditioning for GIRLS and you called me ‘baby?’”
“I didn’t know that—”
She dropped her pile of scripts on a coffee table. “Do you know who I am?”
“Are you one of the PA’s?”
“OH-MY-GOD.” She put her hand to her head. “I don’t believe it…”
I tried to get her attention. “Wait, listen—this is TV, right?”
She was rubbing her forehead and looking at the floor. I waved to get her attention. “This is TV, right? We say ‘baby’ all the—”
The girl stepped in front of me. She stuck out her hand to shake mine. “Hi. My name’s Lena. This is my show. You’re auditioning for my show. Do you know why I started this show?”
“Listen, I really thought you were a PA—”
“Let me tell you why. So that women wouldn’t have to be called ‘baby’ and take crap from guys like you.”
“I call everybody ‘baby.’ Men, too.”
“Well, you must be very proud.”
She was standing very close. Suddenly, I recognized her. “WAIT—you’re the girl who always takes her clothes off, right?”
She was rubbing her forehead. “Listen, just forget the audition. Just pack up your stuff and leave. Now.”
She waved her arms. “Please. Just go.”
I picked up my coat. “But you’re the girl who doesn’t wear any clothes, right?”
“I mean, that’s you, right? You do all the nude scenes?”
“Yes, that’s me.”
I smiled. “Wow, I’ve seen you…”
A man came running into the room. “YEAH?”
The girl pointed at me. “GET HIM OUT OF HERE. NOW.”
The guy stepped in front of me. “Sir, I need to ask you to leave.”
I already had my coat in my hand. “Sure thing.”
I started to walk to the elevator. I could hear the girl stomping her foot behind me. I pushed the elevator button and turned to look back. She was pointing her finger at me. “You will never work in New York again. Do you hear me? I can promise you that.”
The elevator opened. I stepped in, pressed ‘Lobby,’ and rode the elevator down to the street.
I was at a party at The House of Blues in honor of the Olsen Twins, Mary-Kate and Ashley. Forbes Magazine had just rated the twins’ combined assets as the 20th largest economy in the world. The sisters had rented out the House of Blues to celebrate.
Whoopi had arranged for me to go as her guest. She put my name on the guest list. When I arrived, I drifted around looking for her. I couldn’t find her. Eventually I gave up and found my way to the bar.
I stepped up the bar. I tried to flag down the bartender, but accidentally bumped into Candace Bergen. I grinned at her. “Hi, baby. How are you?”
Candace looked away. “Uhh, fine.”
I smiled again. “You look great.”
The bartender came over. I nodded at him. “A vodka seven for me, and the lady will have a…”
“A Calistoga, please.”
I looked at her. “Nothing to drink, baby?”
She turned to the bartender. “Just a Calistoga, thanks.”
The bartender disappeared. I turned back to Candace. “Last time I saw you was so awesome, baby.”
“Really? I left you in handcuffs. I just split.”
I nodded. “Don’t I know it. I’ve never been so turned on in my life. Nothing compares to that. Even when Barbra was tying me to her bed one time, and she had these leather spikes on, I wasn’t—“
“Please—” Candace put up her hand to stop me. “I don’t want to hear about it.”
The bartender came back with our drinks. “One vodka seven…and…one Calistoga.” He set the drinks in front of us.
I handed him a $20 bill. The bartender shook his head. “There’s no charge, sir. It’s a free bar.”
Candace explained, “The Olsen’s are paying for it.”
“Oh, cool.” I turned to the bartender and handed him the $20. “Well, take this for yourself then.”
He waved the $20 away nervously. He glanced up and down the bar. “I’m sorry, sir. No gratuities are allowed. The Olsen’s have already seen to it that we’re taken care of.”
The bartender hurried away. I turned to Candace. “I’ll have to go find the sisters and thank them.”
She took a sip of her Calistoga. “I doubt you’ll find them.”
“You wouldn’t get near them. Even Regis couldn’t get back there.”
“What do you mean?”
“Look.” Candace pointed to a private room off to the side of the lounge. Several large men in tuxedos stood in front of the door. I recognized one of them from my gym. “That’s where the twins are hanging out. They’ve only allowed Ashton Kutcher and Keanu Reeves back there so far. Just watch.”
I took a sip of my drink. I could see David Schwimmer step up to the door. He said something to the guy from my gym. The guy looked at him for a moment, then shook his head. Schwimmer said something else. Another man stepped in front of him and shook his head emphatically. Schwimmer’s face sunk. He turned and began to walk slowly away.
I turned to Candace. “Wow. That’s harsh.”
Just at that moment, Jennifer Aniston walked up to the men. They nodded at her and opened the door. Jennifer stepped quickly inside. For a split second, I thought I caught sight of one of the twins sharing a glass of champagne with Bill Gates. But then the door closed.
The bartender noticed us looking at the room and stepped in front of us. “Can I get either of you another drink?”
Candace gestured with her Calistoga. “No, thanks. We still have these.”
I took another sip of my drink. “But baby, I’m almost ready for another.”
She shook her head. “Go easy for once. You always drink too much.”
I nodded. “Fine…”
I took another sip of my drink and turned back to watching the Olsen’s private room. One of the men was turning Courteney Cox away. Courteney walked off glumly. I gestured at the room. “I wonder what their parents think of all this…”
Candace was sipping her Calistoga. “What’s that?”
I gestured toward the Olsen’s room again. Sandra Bullock was being ushered quickly into the room. “The twins. What do their parents think about this kind of thing?”
Candace looked at me for a moment. She paused. “You mean you don’t know?…”
I looked at her. The bartender seemed to be listening too. I leaned in close. “Know what?”
Candace lowered her voice. “Well…no one really knows where their parents are.”
“Yes…” She leaned close. “Their parents disappeared right after the girls turned twelve. No one’s seen them since.”
I shook my head. “Naw, that can’t be. I mean, who takes care of them?”
Candace glanced nervously at the bartender, who was hovering above us, drying a beer mug. She looked at me. “Maybe we shouldn’t talk about this now.”
“No, it’s okay. I don’t mind.”
She looked at the bartender for a moment. “No, I mean it. Not now.”
She finished her Calistoga, set it on the bar, and walked off.
I watched her walk away then ordered another drink.
Cows and Thunder is the result of a longtime musical partnership between singer-songwriter-guitarist Steven Capozzola and slide guitar-mandola player Dennis Sharkey. For more than a decade, the two have performed an original stew of folk, country, and blues music throughout the northeastern United States.
In recent years, the two have established Woodstock, NY as their musical home base, and have begun collaborating with a number of local musicians, including bassist/producer David Andersen. The resulting band, Cows and Thunder, focuses on sing-along country-rock and Americana music.
The ‘Cows and Thunder’ album was recorded entirely in Saugerties, NY, in the shadow of the famed Overlook Mountain. Several of the album’s songs were debuted at the 2013 Woodstock ‘Concert on the Green.’
The thick woods and pine trees of West Saugerties inform much of the album’s vibe, and Capozzola says he particularly enjoys the crickets that remain clearly audible throughout the album’s closing track, “When The Money Runs Out.”
He explains, “We love Woodstock, and we love the music scene up here. We’re not worried about breaking new musical ground. We just want to play the kind of songs that we love to listen to. When I listen to the finished record, I think of driving along Route 212, or strumming guitars on the back porch and looking up at the mountain. Hopefully we’ve captured some of that on the album.”
Cows and Thunder continue to play gigs throughout the Woodstock area. The featured track on the album, “Driving,” is now available on iTunes.
I flew up to San Francisco to meet with the producer, John Montoya. He was working on a new TV series called ‘I Love Flipper.’ According to my agent, he was considering me for a lead role.
I met up with John at a private party being held at Caffe Proust. It was a birthday party for a singer he’d produced, Joe Powell. When I walked in, I saw John Montoya talking with his brother, Baby Jim. John was wearing a full-length fur coat; two small dogs were barking at the trailing edge of his coat. John ignored the dogs and hurried over to give me a hug. “Hey Man…”
John gave me a look. “Listen, you can’t call me ‘John’ anymore.”
“Oh. Sorry baby.”
“In this town they call me ‘2 Cold.’”
“Right, right. ‘2 Cold.’ Got it.”
He nodded. “It’s just too cold for me here. I can’t roll with it. L.A.’s my town.”
“I hear that.”
2 Cold pointed to his brother. “This is my bro, Baby Jim.”
We shook hands. “Good to see you again.”
2 Cold put his arm on my shoulder. “Come on. I’ll get you a drink.”
He began steering me toward the bar. The dogs trailed after 2 Cold’s fur coat. Suddenly we bumped into Joe Powell. He was talking to Anne Heche and Emilio Estevez. I paused and patted Joe on the back.
“Happy Birthday, Joe.”
He turned and gave me the famous Joe Powell grin. “Thanks, man.”
I smiled. “You know what, Joe, I gotta tell you, your band is so great. ‘Stanley and the Prince James Love Machine’ is the best band in America. I’ve been meaning to catch one of your shows because— ”
Joe squinted at me. “It’s ‘Stymie and the Pimp Jones Luv Orchestra.’”
I nodded. “Oh, right. Yeah, I think I heard that—”
2 Cold leaned over and began pushing me toward the bar. Joe gave me a quick look and turned back to Anne Heche and Emilio Estevez.
We stepped up to the bar. I noticed that Miss P herself was bartending. I smiled my tough-guy-with-love smile and looked into her eyes. “How are you, baby?”
Miss P grinned. “Fine, thanks. What can I get you?”
“A Bud, please.”
2 Cold looked at Miss P. “Make that two Buds.”
2 Cold turned to me. “Let me tell you about the show.”
“Yeah, baby. Lay it on me.”
“I want to do a show that’s totally retro, you know?”
“And I want to take the best stuff from the best shows.”
“Talk it like you walk it.”
Miss P reached across the bar and handed us two bottles of Bud. I smiled at her. “Thanks.” I put a $5 bill in her tip jar.
2 Cold took a sip of his beer. “What I want to do is take part of ‘I Love Lucy’ and mix it with ‘Flipper.’”
I drank my beer. “Yeah, baby.”
“And maybe a little bit of ‘Leave It To Beaver.’”
2 Cold adjusted his coat. Several gold chains jingled around his neck. He looked at me. “So I need to get the good-looking Ricky Ricardo guy who teaches the dolphin, you know? ‘Cause it’s all about their relationship. Each week we gotta learn more about them.”
I nodded. “Yup. That’s it.”
Suddenly, Baby Jim walked up to 2 Cold. “Your lady’s getting hit on by Anne Heche.”
2 Cold looked at Baby Jim. “Anne Heche is digging Warmer Parts.”
“That’s what I said.”
2 Cold looked around the room for a moment. Then he turned back to Baby Jim. “That’s cool.”
Baby Jim nodded. “Just thought you’d want to know.” He took a sip of his drink and walked away.
2 Cold adjusted his fur coat. He took a sip of his beer and stared out across the room. “Yeah, all my ladies, man…But Warmer Parts, you know…She and I are tight, you know?”
“Rick James has got Mary Jane. I got my Warmer Parts.”
He took a sip of his beer. I finished mine and motioned to Miss P for another.
2 Cold looked at me. “Are you and Roseanne still kickin’ it?”
I shook my head. “No. That ended years ago.”
“Oh…” 2 Cold stared off across the room. He took another sip of his beer. Then he turned to me. “Anyway, I’m gonna make this show a big hit. And I’m gonna need that Ricky Ricardo, dark-haired, handsome dude, you know?”
“I mean, you hear me, right?”
I nodded. Miss P handed me another beer. I put another $5 bill in her tip jar. “Thanks.”
I turned back to 2 Cold. He took a sip of his beer. “And I’m gonna need you, too.”
I paused. “Wait—what?”
2 Cold nodded. “Yeah. I need someone to play Big Craig. He feeds flipper. Each week he falls into the tank and they have to pull him out. He makes a big splash and gets all water-logged. They have to pull him out before he drowns. The audience’ll love it.”
“You’ll be perfect. How much do you weigh?”
I put down my beer. “I…I’m not sure.”
“You gotta find out, man. Have your agent call me. We’ll get some clothes fitted for you, okay?”
“Okay, great…Listen, I’m gonna go talk to my lady. But you enjoy the party, okay?”
2 Cold turned in his fur coat and walked off across the room. For a moment I watched the two little dogs jumping at the bottom of his coat. Then I picked up my beer and took a gulp.
Ovitz and I were sitting in the bar of the Hotel Roosevelt, talking about women, baseball, and life. Richard Simmons was supposed to join us. But he called from his cell phone to say that he couldn’t make it. Ovitz was hurt that Richard was blowing him off. He threw back his martini. “Jesus. Richard doesn’t even have time for me. My ex-wife wants more alimony. I can’t get arrested in this town.”
I took a sip of my whiskey. “Come on, Mike, you’re the king. You and Geffen, man. You guys are IT.”
He shook his head. “I don’t feel like I’m ‘It.'” He waved to the bartender for another martini.
We sat quietly for a moment. The bartender shook up a new martini and set it down in front of Ovitz.
I gestured to the bartender. “Put it on my tab.”
Ovitz looked at me slowly. “You don’t have to do that.”
I patted him on the back. “It’s no problem, baby.”
Suddenly Christina Aguilera drifted through the lobby with her entourage. I waved at her. “Christina, baby, I love you…come have a drink with me and Mike Ovitz.”
Christina strolled over to us. Two of her bodyguards followed. Christina’s hair was braided with little red-white-and-blue ribbons. Just as she stepped in front of us, I caught sight of a shiny silver ring piercing her navel. She smiled at us politely. “I’m sorry, do I know you?”
I raised my whiskey. “Baby, we bumped into each other at the post-party, you know, after the Heston funeral thing.”
Christina looked at us. “I wasn’t at the Heston party.”
I looked at her. “Oh, baby, I’m sorry. I had you confused with someone else. Can you ever forgive me?”
“It’s all right.”
She started to walk away, but I pointed at Ovitz. “Hey, Chrissie, you know Mike Ovitz, right?”
She paused. “Umm…I know the name…”
I nodded. “Everybody’s heard of him. He’s the best agent in Hollywood.”
Ovitz stood up and shook Christina’s hand. “Pleasure to meet you.”
Christina turned to her bodyguards. “You guys can go get a drink or something.” She waved them away and they drifted off. Christina took a seat next to Ovitz.
Ovitz lifted his martini. “Here’s to you, Christina. You and I could make millions together.”
“I’ve already got an agent.”
“Oh, really. Who?”
“Oh. Well, I’ll get you away from him eventually.”
I tapped Christina on the shoulder. “Baby, do you want a drink?”
She smiled. “Are you buying?”
“I sure am.”
“Okay. A whiskey sour.”
I turned to the bartender. “One whiskey sour for this fine lady, please.”
The bartender hurried off to make the drink. I turned to Christina. “Baby, you are so fine.”
Ovitz slugged his martini. “Damn right. She’s finer than frog’s fur.”
Christina giggled. “I’ve never heard that one before.”
“What? ‘Finer than frog’s fur?'”
The bartender brought over Christina’s drink. I nodded at him. “Put it on my tab, Darryl.”
The bartender squinted at me. “It’s David.”
“Oh, right.” I handed the drink to Christina. We all clinked our glasses and sipped our drinks. I looked at Christina and smiled. “Baby, you are finer than the finest grain of sand.”
Ovitz nodded. “You are finer than the finest Persian silk.”
Christina giggled. She pointed at me and said, “I like it better when he tells me how fine I am.”
I patted her arm. “That’s right, baby. I know just how fine you are.”
Ovitz took another sip of his drink. He looked at Christina intently. “Well, let me tell you, words can’t begin to express how fine you truly are.”
I nodded. “Yeah. Scientists can’t even measure a grain of sand as fine as you.”
Christina laughed. She touched my arm. “You are so funny.”
Ovitz glared at me for a moment. “Yeah, he’s funny all right.”
I looked at Ovitz. “Come on, Mike, lighten up.”
Christina nodded. “Yeah, lighten up, Mike.”
Ovitz frowned. “I’m trying to talk business here and you’re getting in the way.”
“I’m not getting in the way.”
“Yes you are.”
I turned to Christina. “Baby, if Mike and I keep arguing like this, we’re gonna end up going “No I’m not,’ ‘Yes, you are’ until both of us throw up our hands and say, ‘FINE.’ But let me tell you, you are finer than both those ‘Fines’ put together.”
Christina touched my leg. “WOW. You are so funny.”
I grinned. “Baby, you are finer than all the fines I’ve ever paid for overdue library books…”
Christina giggled out loud. Her breasts started to tremble with laughter. “Ah-hah-hah…”
Ovitz slugged down his drink and stood up. “That’s it. I’m out of here.”
I waved casually at Ovitz. “Okay, Mike, see ya.”
Christina continued touching my leg. It was a good night.
I was standing on line at the bank when I ran into Candace Bergen. She was wearing sunglasses and flipping through the latest issue of ‘Variety.’ I walked up behind her and whispered in her ear, “Hi baby.”
Candace spun around. “HUH?”
I smiled at her. “How’ve you been?”
She lowered her sunglasses. “Oh…it’s you.”
She smiled. “What’s going on?”
“I just did the Heston funeral.”
“Really? You went to that?”
“How was it?”
“Great. I rocked it.”
“What do you mean?”
“Best gig I had in a while.”
“It was a funeral.”
The person ahead of Candace stepped up to the next teller. We moved forward in the line. I nodded. “Yeah, I know. But I had a speaking part.”
“A speaking part?”
“Yeah, Lenny asked me to give a short speech. And I nailed it. I had all my lines down and everything. It just flowed. Whoopi said I did a great job. I think it might lead to some other work.”
One of the bank teller’s said, “Next.” Candace turned to me. “See ya.” She stepped up to the teller. I continued to wait in line.
I’m not sure when it was, or for what movie, but my agent once sent me to New York for a movie audition. I flew into New York and took a cab into midtown Manhattan. I found myself hurrying down the main escalator of Grand Central Station, in a rush to catch a train to my audition. I had probably a minute-and-a-half to make a train on the lower level. I was sort of pushing my way down the escalator, ducking past people, muttering, “Excuse me, excuse me.” Near the bottom of the escalator, I half-stumbled into a short, dark-haired woman.
“Pardon me,” I said.
The woman poked me in the shoulder. “Why don’t you watch where you going? You knock me over, why not?”
I continued down the escalator. I half-turned to the woman. “Sorry, baby— I gotta make a train.” I continued jostling down the escalator. “Excuse me, excuse me…”
Behind me, the dark-haired woman shouted, “`BABY’— you don’t call me ‘baby.'”
I ignored her and jumped down the last few steps of the escalator. I landed on the tan marble floor of Grand Central’s main hall. I began hurrying toward the north stairwell. I had less than a minute to get to the lower level and catch my train.
I hadn’t gone more than 10 steps when someone crashed into me. I fell forward, landing flat on my hands and knees. My Bitterman trenchcoat— which I’d been carrying over my right arm— draped itself across the floor.
A woman’s voice shouted behind me, “That’s for calling me ‘baby.'”
I stood up and turned around. It was the dark-haired woman from the escalator. She was wearing large wraparound sunglasses and a black leather jacket. Her face looked familiar. She touched her bun of hair to steady it. I suddenly realized that I was looking at Yoko Ono.
I hurriedly picked up my trenchcoat. “My God, Yoko, honey— I had no idea it was you.”
Yoko glared at me. “You a very bad person.”
I folded my trenchcoat. “Oh, baby— don’t say that. You gotta forgive me. See, I just gotta make this train.” I turned and pointed at the stairwell to the lower level. “See, I gotta go. All right, honey?… Everything’s cool, right? Okay, bye…”
Yoko stomped her foot. “No, no. You say sorry, right now.”
I was frantic to make my train. “No, Yoko— I love you, baby, you know that—”
I had to think quickly. “My God,” I shouted. “What’s that?” I pointed to something behind Yoko. She turned to look, putting up a hand to steady her hair. Instantly I sprinted off to the stairwell.
I jumped down the first part of the stairs. Behind me Yoko began shouting, “Creep, creep…”
I jumped the final steps to the lower level. I could hear the clip-clop of Yoko’s feet echoing behind me in the stairwell. She was chasing after me. I ran down the hall to my train’s gate. I ducked through the gate and sprinted down the ramp leading to the platform.
Yoko saw me run through the gate. She began shrieking something unintelligible, “Eeeeeeeeeeeehhh…”
I spotted my train waiting along the platform. At that moment, a bell sounded. Just as I reached the first car of the train, the door slid shut in front of me.
I panted frantically. I glanced back at Yoko and began pounding on the door of the train.
“Please, somebody. For God’s sake— open the door…”
I pounded on the door again. A Metro-North conductor walked by; he ignored me.
I glanced back again at Yoko. She was bounding down the ramp. Her bun of hair was flopping loosely around her ears. I pushed off the door of the train and began sprinting down the platform.
I ran past the next car, and then past the dining car, trying to put some distance between me and Yoko. I glanced back and saw her lurching clumsily along, half-trying to steady her hair. Stray black hairs had fallen across her sunglasses.
The bell of the train rang again. I ran to the next car and began pounding on the door. “Please somebody— anybody. Help me. God—”
A conductor appeared in front of the door. He was holding a clipboard. He yelled through the window, “You got a ticket?”
“Yes, yes,” I shouted, still pounding on the glass. “I have a ticket.”
“Let me see it.”
I reached into my pocket to pull out my round-trip voucher. I glanced back at Yoko. She had pulled a hairpin out of her hair. She was charging toward me, holding the hairpin like a knife in her hand. All her hair had flopped down crazily around her face. She saw me glance at her and began to shout, “AIGHHH…”
I dug out my voucher and held it up for the conductor. “Please, hurry. She’s gonna kill me…”
The conductor glanced at my ticket. Then he reached up and pushed the door release button. A bell rang and the door slid open. I fell inside, panting and wheezing.
“Oh, thank Christ,” I gasped. “Thank you, Lord.”
The conductor released the button and the door slid shut. Just at that moment, Yoko leaped for the door. I looked up in time to see her face bounce off the window. She fell back onto the platform.
The Metro-North conductor didn’t seem to notice Yoko caroming off the door. He reached down and helped me to my feet. “Let me have your ticket.”
I handed him my round-trip voucher. The train began to rumble down the track.