Thursday, November 15, 2007

I recently premiered my new one woman show in Washington DC, which is relatively simple and comfortable, yet looney--just talking about my odd life and some of the people I've known.

And it was pretty scary, but in the end I was amazed at the response: I received 3 standing ovations and almost couldn't stand there and accept that much acknowledgment!

Here's what some members of the audience said. The show is called:

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Sing the Song.

"From A gifted actress and songstress, Ms. Black showcases these talents in a show rife with humor, confessions, impersonations and beautifully enacted musical numbers…encompassing styles from opera to country to…well…David Bowie!

Peppered with humorous anecdotes about Hollywood's most influential artists (Jack Nicholson, Alfred Hitchcock, Robert Altman, etc), Ms. Black's stories never feel like gratuitous name-dropping, but rather paint illuminating sketches of her enduring film career.

Ms. Black's devastating rendition of Sondheim's "Send in the Clowns," allows the audience to simultaneously reflect on the ironies and disappointments of Ms. Black's chanteuse." - Rick Hammerly – filmmaker

"In her solo-show How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Sing the Song, 70s screen superstar Karen Black hopscotches through her unique and ultimately enduring career. Hitting highs and a few lows, Black, still sexy and kookily captivating at a certain age, keeps it breezy and fun as she recounts her Park Ridge, Illinois girlhood as an ambitious toothpick in a world of 1950's bullet bras. It's there that her novelist mother after learning that her daughter wanted to sing show tunes sent her, oddly enough, to an opera coach.

Having clearing captured the audience in her charmingly quirky spell, Black moves on to her tenement days as a young actress in New York City where a combination of chutzpah, hard work, and talent garnered her heady success; and then it's on to her fortuitous rise to stardom in hippie-era Hollywood. Black gives the skinny on the making of some of her best-known films: Five Easy Pieces (blissful), The Day of the Locust (never again) and Come Back to the Five & Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (emotionally tough).

But Black saves the pathos for the songs she memorably makes her own throughout the show- be it Goodnight Irene, Me and Bobby McGee, Sondheim's Send in the Clowns or Bowie's Time, the intelligent actress with a surprisingly strong voice is beyond committed to each number.

Whether rehashing her past or interpreting musical faves, Black is a first-rate, astonishingly accessible storyteller whose show makes for a marvelous, inspiring evening. - Patrick Folliard of The Washington Blade

"A true living Hollywood legend, Karen Black's tales of Broadway and Hollywood are both hysterical and absolutely fascinating. Having worked with some of the most influential filmmakers of all time--Hopper,

Altman, Hitchcock--on some of the most important and infamous movies of all time- Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces, Nashville, Airport '75, and yes...Trilogy of Terror - Karen Black is someone to be celebrated. And in her one-woman show, she reveals her soul through personal stories, original songs and unique covers by the Beatles, David Bowie, and Sondheim. I left the show admiring her and wondering how she does it all. She is an inspiration to artists and anyone who understands the value of hard work and giving 110% of yourself in all your endeavors." - Michael Baron - Associate Director Signature Theatre.

"I still have very influential people in the theatre community of DC, and coming up to me and saying "Thank you for one of the most perfect theatrical experiences I have had in years!". Karen is pure joy to work with and her show exceeded any grand expectation I could ever have hoped for! This is a perfect show. Small, self contained...definitely a one woman show equivalent to any of the other retrospective shows out there." -Jeffrey Johnson Artistic Director ganymede arts

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Here is a nice interview I did after the show of "Brand Upon the Brain" in Portland for the Oregonian. - Karen


Interview: Karen Black, the ultimate indie actor

Posted by Mike Russell October 14, 2007 15:19PM

Categories: Top Stories
Legendary actress Karen Black ("Nashville," "Five Easy Pieces") popped into Portland Saturday to do live narration on the Cinema 21 screenings of Guy Maddin's silent film, "Brand Upon the Brain!" She was absolutely hilarious as the emcee of Maddin's psychosexual memory play - which includes a domineering mother who monitors her children from a lighthouse; a reanimated corpse for a father; and a sister who falls in love with a famous girl detective as the kids tried to solve a mystery involving orphans with holes in their skulls. (Did I mention that Maddin is an experimental filmmaker?)

Black was especially giddy when interpreting the voice of Maddin's onscreen mother as a nagging cacophony of guilt trips and hysterical moans. She's one of a series of live narrators on the film's traveling road show; others have included Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson and Crispin Glover.

Black, 62, has earned a reputation as the hardest-working woman in show business; she made seven movies in 2003 and five this year; she's jetting from Portland to Washington, D.C. for a one-woman show. Her refusal to slow down has garnered her some disparate cult fan bases: She's approached by Altman fans and horror aficionados, the latter thanks to her turns in fare like "Trilogy of Terror" and "House of 1000 Corpses."

To read more of this interview, click here:
Karen Black interview in the Oregonian

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Stephen Eckelberry, my husband, has a new film - "The Mirror," which is in competition at the Hollywood Film Festival. It screens next week, Friday October 19th at the Arclight in Hollywood. 7 PM.

It's a dark -comedy/murder-mystery about a young woman (Erin Cahill) who discovers that the mirror in the bathroom of her parent's home (played by Kelly LeBrock and Thaao Penghlis) is actually double-sided, and that there is a secret room behind the mirror. She starts spying on her parents and their friends, meanwhile uncovering the mystery as to why the mirror was built in the first place.
It's an extraordinary film, I don't think you ever seen anything quite like it!
Tickets are going fast, so call the Arclight at (323) 464-4226 or buy tickets online:

Monday, October 08, 2007

I'm off to Seattle in a couple of days to narrate director Guy Maddin's Cannes Film Festival Award winning SILENT FILM,

Brand upon the Brain!

This is such an interesting event from the imagination of a man who's won the U.s. National Film Critics award TWICE for best U.S. experimental film of the year: the event is the showing of his silent film supported by myself, a live orchestra and sound effects created right there on stage!

I'm following in the footsteps of others who've narrated for Mr. Maddin, such as Isabella Rossellini, Geraldine Chaplin, and Alanis Morissette.

Then I fly to Washington D.C for An Evening with Karen Black wherein I speak about my life and sing a few songs for the Ganymede Theatre Festival taking place there! That's October 19th.


Dorsay Alavi, the David Lynch prodigy, has turned her comedy television pilot into a movie and her troupe of actors- including moi- will be improvising Better People, A Curb Your Enthusiasm style comedy about a group of people who've won the right to 'become better people' by enlisting in all kinds of therapy, the grand mixture of which is supposed to somehow, help!

Cam Archer's new film Pull, with Rickie Lee Jones!

Jonathan Caouette's next film (untitled), that brilliant young director who was nominated for a Spirit Award, Best Director, in 2005!

This coming April and May I'll be doing legendary playwright Ernest Thompson's play, Ax of Love, in Boston. Mr. Thompson wrote, On Golden Pond, and we are looking forward to a possible early fall Off-Broadway opening.


Come one come all and see director David Siqueiros' new film One Long Night showing at the L. A. Latino Film Festival, co-starring with John Seda, Alison Eastwood and Ed Begley, Jr.

At the Arclight Cinema 13 at 7:30 pm on Oct 13th.

Calle the Arclight box office for tickets.

Also a lovely documentary with Alan Cummings and Debra Winger for the gifted and very young director Jennifer Elster (Particles of Truth).

Henry J's latest film Irene in Time with the splendiferous Tanna Frederick coming out early next year, and

- finally a great small film by Russell Brown, The Blue-Tooth Virgin, coming out, again, early next year. Russell is a real find; his last film, Race to the Bottom, received an amazing rave review from Kevin Thomas!~

That's not all there is, but that's all for now.

Love and good wishes,


..After Brand Upon the Brain! I am flying directly from West Coast to East -Portland Oregon to Washington DC, where I am performing live the World Premiere of my new one woman show "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Sing the Song".

That's on Friday, October 19th. It's for a great cause, raising money for Ganymed Arts, a GLBT Arts festival. I look forward to seeing you there!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Next week I am performing two shows of Guy Maddin's BRAND UPON THE BRAIN.

Guy made an amazing silent film that is then projected on the screen with music from a live orchestra, sound effects by a sound effects crew and a narrator, in this case, me!

I will be in Seattle on Wednesday the 10th, and in Portland, Oregon on (correction!) Saturday the 13th.

For more information, go to

or visit the myspace page,

Hope to see you there!


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I'm remembering Dudley Moore, certainly one of the best film comedians of all time, when he said, "I took the money. I'm not crazy." which turned around the ending of that film: "Arthur". We remember that moment and remember Dudley in that moment. Now he's gone. That moment remains.

But there's more to be said here: what Dudley brought to the playing of that line was years of comic timing practice doing "Beyond the Fringe" in his New York days, his own skill as an actor earned through more years of practice, also a born-in talent for comedy. So much was drawn from

to create the utterance of that line!

Remember when Vivien Leigh said, in "Gone With the Wind", "As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again!"? We can't forget her there, kneeling in the dirt, clutching some shabby vegetation in her fist. Later, in the hands of the psychiatrists at that tine, her tuberculosis was treated as a mental illness and she received shock treatment for no reason and her life started to fall apart at that point I'm assuming. But in her past, it was her incredibly hard work – she used to ask Selznick if she could stay and shoot more scenes and this was after a twelve hour work day - her gift for affecting the viewer, her skillful grasp of character, and her ability to bring up from within herself the need, the longing, the sense of stark decision that gave the saying of that line what it took to have it resound throughout cinematic history.

When an actor is acting – it's life or death- get it right! Perform each moment as if that is the only moment in the history of your short life.

Well, it is.

There are hours that it takes to paint a painting and then there it is – the hours that it takes to write something and there it is. But for the actor? No. He's right: his legend, his legacy is only gained if and when he can bring himself completely to the tiniest flicker of time -. Strangely, that's all he has, all an actor will ever have to carve his name into the annals of history.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

I hope you've seen "Hollywood Dreams" that I'm in -
Henry Jaglom's glamorous and witty film starring the winsome Tanna Frederick, with masterful actor Justin Kirk and music by Harriet Schock!
It's been number one for TWELVE WEEKS at one of Laemmle's most prestigious theaters, (though the Laemmle are ALL WONDERFUL and prestigious), the Sunset 5!
After this long run, this film is continuing at the Music Hall on Wilshire Blvd. in Beverly Hills.
I love the part I play in this movie, though it's a character that no one else in the movie likes because she's such a bitch but - she's still there flirting her way through another matter of weeks at the Music Hall - and if you haven't see the film, it's a must.
It's also playing across the country, for schedules and more info look here:
Oh! I almost forgot. You know I've made more than a 100 movies. My dear husband did the miraculous by distilling all that work into eight gorgeous minutes of film. You have to see it to believe it. It's getting great notice on youtube:
Love to all,

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Hi guys,
Well, I'm finally singing my own songs again! Come see!
And the beloved Harriet Schock will knock your hearts back up your throats again, believe me!
Synergy Cafe & Lounge

4437 Sepulveda Blvd

Appearing: Harriet Schock, Karen Black, J. Scott Bergman, Dudley Saunders, instrumentalist Bryan Tysinger, Tom & Byron, and Kevin Montgomery.

NO COVER CHARGE but 100% of all donations to benefit The Blank Theatre Company

Appearing: Harriet Schock, Karen Black, J. Scott Bergman, Dudley Saunders, instrumentalist Bryan Tysinger, Tom & Byron, and Kevin Montgomery.

Sunday, July 08, 2007


Missouri Waltz
My play finished up its six week stay at the Blank Theatre last Sunday. The house was overflowing: people had to sit on the stairs that led down to the stage and extra chairs had to be brought in.
People like this play. Here are two new comments by audience members from this last weekend: "Think of all the definitions of BRILLIANT and you may barely begin to approach the experience of the play I saw tonight!" - Randy Tobin, record producer, musician
"The most magnificent and moving play I have seen in a long time...we are lifted up out of our world. The eloquence is astonishing." Alice Pero, arguably, one of Southern California's top poets Administrator/ organizer of the famous Moonday Poetry Readings for award winning poets across the nation
There are a lot more great notes and articles about the play on my blog:
Suffering Man's Charity
Premiered at this year's South by Southwest festival, the Alan Cumming film continues on the festival circuit. Starring Alan Cumming, David Boreanaz, Anne Heche, Carrie Fisher and myself. "One bright moment is Karen Black, as the falling-down drunk tramp Sebastian (Boreanaz) meets on his last night of boozing...who even compared to Cumming is the only actor ready to abandon all self-respect in service of a script that needs its characters to come unhinged." - John DeFore - Hollywood Reporter

Hollywood Dreams
Henry Jaglom's movie continues its run at your local Lemmle theater. "Karen Black, who gave one of her all-time best performances in Jaglom's "Can She Bake a Cherry Pie?" is acid and merciless as a tart-tongued drama coach." - Chicago
That's it for now!
Love, Karen

Friday, June 22, 2007

A great article about me in the June issue of Venice Magazine. Here are some scans:

The article talks about my life and my new play, Missouri Waltz. Click on the page to read the text:

And come see the play! only a few days left.

for tickets, call 323 661 9827 or go to

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Some Quotes from people who have seen MISSOURI WALTZ

"Karen Black's Missouri Waltz is a sweet, fanciful treat with a strong heart, memorable characters, and the kind of poetic dialog not heard often enough on today's stages." -- Bob Benedetti, multiple Emmy and Peabody Award-winning writer/producer.

"I loved Missouri Waltz. A charming and delightfully composed play, in text and songs. And masterfully executed." -- George Sluizer Film director "The Vanishing"

"Karen Black was just magnificent. How thrilling it was to hear those words and see Karen’s beauty and eloquence." -- Lainie Kazan, singer, actress, "My Big Fat Greek Wedding"

"Missouri Waltz is that most unusual combination: fresh, disarmingly smart, and deeply moving." -- Martin Perlich, program director and host KCSN/novelist.

"A sojourn through the comical tribulations of one family in a small Midwestern town. "Missouri Waltz" is enlivened by the quirky interactions of middle-aged sisters Chrissie (Black) and Bea (Dana Peterson) and their prodigal, twentysomething niece Zoe (Whitney Laux)...The five melodic and insightful [Grammy nominated Harriet] Schock songs are incorporated as commentary on the action...captivating interweaving of Chrissie's and Bea's personas as they speak directly to the audience, relating the family's 150-year Irish immigrant history, recalling their own lives, rife with quirky shenanigans, unfulfilled dreams and failed marriages. Particularly entertaining is the often simultaneous discourse on a specific event, with each sister offering a slight variation on the actual facts. Together, they offer a richly detailed, comedic panorama of an American family." -- Julio Martinez, Theater reviewer, Variety

"Inspired by songs from the incredibly gifted songwriter, Harriet Schock, actor/writer/singer, Karen Black serves up a real tour de force in her poignantly written but humorous answer to the question, 'Why are we here?'." -- Iris Gordy Former V.P. Motown Records

"Karen Black is amazing...a WONDER. I loved and am so impressed by the play, the performances, the production, the tone…nothing but BRAVOS… and oh that dress!!!!" -- Susan Traylor, actress, film director "Welcome to L.A."

"Liked it? I loved it. I loved it. Brilliant. And something I will always have to remember." -- Ondi Timoner, director, Sundance Grand Jury prize winner "Dig"

"Very warm and loving. I especially love the choric speaking." -- Robert Benedetti, Emmy award winning Producer "A Lesson Before Dying".

"My friend and I (as did the entire audience) sat completely absorbed in the play and the extraordinary performances by the actors, having had no sense of the passage of time when it ended. The story and Harriet Schock's songs seemed to weave seamlessly into and out of each other, supporting and giving dimension to what the characters were feeling, making the total experience uniquely and thoroughly enjoyable." -- Nelson Varon, Songwriter/Composer

"The evening is really refreshing. Believe me when I say there is a healing effect as well. From the songs and the way Karen Black speaks, you can tell it’s from the heart. That indeed is very powerful." -- Tanya Rivers, Board Member, Los Angeles Women in Music

"I loved the play. I loved every minute of it. I was laughing and it was poignant and the words are incredible. Incredible, I mean it. It’s a great, fun, rollicking incredible funny play. And I loved the bad lender! Eric Pierpoint. Oh my God he was hysterical. Everybody sang well and I loved it and so did my friends. It was incredible. It was a great evening." -- Mimi Starret, Realtor

Karen Black has written a great play that take you on a truly amazing, emotional rollercoaster ride. The actors are superb. Dana Peterson creates a great comedic duo with Karen Black and Whitney Laux is amazing, she is a star in the making. Grammy nominated songwriter Harriet Schock has five songs in the show and they fit seamlessly into Karen Blacks script. Beautifully crafted, these songs strike the perfect emotional chord for the story. Whitney Laux's performance of the song 'Dancing with my Father' was a standout moment for me. This is a play I felt was worth every cent of admission and far more. Simply, a brilliant night of theatre." -- Hugh Lehane Buena Park, CA

"What made it stand out was that while, on one level it was an amusing light-hearted comedy, at the same time it addressed very serious subjects in a very serious fashion. It did so without sinking into anything morbid or depressing or pedantic. And then it flipped right back into revealing the strength of a light-hearted playfulness." -- Frank Blumer, Businessman

"Cross the poetic sensibilities of Tennessee Williams with the warmth and intimacy of the best 1970's singer-songwriter albums and a dollop of whimsy and you have " Missouri Waltz " the new " play with songs " by actress Karen Black and an experience not to be missed ! She delivers a moving performance that is beautifully nuanced and is wonderfully complemented by the comedic timing of Dana Peterson as her more pragmatic sister, Bea. Whitney Laux brings a luminosity to her role in a show that is graced with a beautiful score by the gifted singer-songwriter Harriet Schock. Listening to the three actresses deliver the closing song " Home " with its heartfelt and plaintive lyric and melody, it is impossible not to be moved. This is an authentic show with its heart planted firmly in the right place ; devoid of cynicism and guaranteed to send you out into the night smiling."-- Mark Cote, Recording Artist/Songwriter/Visual Artist

The play runs through the end of June. If you are in the Los Angeles area, you must come and see it. Call 323 661 9827 for tickets, or go to
Some pictures from the play

This is a picture of our lovely set, with myself in the foreground singing and Dana Peterson in the background, who plays my sister. The set was designed by Ginne Ann Held. Angela Combs is the brilliant director of the piece. Her ideas for staging and the way she works with actors is divine.This is a picture of the whole cast. From Left to right, Weston Blakesley, Dana Peterson, Whitney Laux, myself and Eric Pierpoint.Dana and I play two ghosts. In this shot we are trying to make our niece feel better, who can't see us, but can feel our presence.

The play runs through the end of June. If you are in the Los Angeles area, you must come and see it. Call 323 661 9827 for tickets, or go to

See you there!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

The play is running through the end of June. If you are in Los Angeles, it's a must see!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The play runs through June

Please do come to the play.  Harriet and I have created something beautiful.  Keep in mind that it helps to come to the previews next week (May 22nd 23rd and 24th) as people rarely come and the actors feel left out!
The play runs through the end of June,  Thursday through Saturday at 8PM, with a Sunday Matinee at 3PM
See you there,
Much love,
To buy tickets on line, click here:

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


I once heard that there are people who, in seeing a film, think that it took just about the two hours to make that it took to watch it.

So I think it may be likely that there are people who don't quite understand that actors, in making an independent film, must be responsible for every single possible possibility that may arise in the making of such a movie.

I've never put pen to paper or finger to key before to try to communicate this. But I think it's worth a try, even though the exigencies of getting it all together so that the first day can actually happen may be as boring for the reader as it is nerve-wracking and tedious for the performer.

I've done my own make- up for thirty years. It would take about two weeks for me to teach someone to do my eye make-up and even then, the poking into my eyes and the elaborate painstaking measuring of how thick or thin the lines above my eyes are meant to be drawn, different for each eye, would make such a task so uncomfortable and effortful as to be impossible. About a week and a half before the plane takes off for Russia I call the beauty supply store and order eyelashes and glue and eye-liner brushes and so forth. Any later and the stuff wouldn't arrive on time. I go to the store and get nails, and polish and crazy glue which I can't assume they'll have in Moscow, and if I run out of it, I have truly stumpy fingers - ugghh! I make sure I have a scissors with me for cutting those plastic nails and the eyelashes to size and pack it where it will get into the country as-- if it's with me on the plane it will be thrown away at customs. As an aside, I want to arrive to that great city looking at least okay, so I have to put eyelash glue, mascara, and the Vaseline which saves my face from drying out on a plane into a small plastic bag that, if weighing the right amount when presented to security, may be allowed on the plane with me. I have a weighing machine, tiny, at home and I find that I have to take some of the Vaseline out of the little jar, can't bring the mascara with me on the plane as it's too heavy and with the half-emptied jar of Vaseline and the little eyelash glue tube, the plastic zip lock bag weighs in at a little less than 3 oz., which is acceptable.

I have to bring two kinds of base, one for my face and the other for my hands which are getting little brown spots

On them that need covering. The face base I have but it got too late to get the hand base and the day before packing day I still don't have it. The rouge for my face was bought the earlier week at Sephora's but I've lost it and must make the hour long trip to the mall again just to buy it. The lip -liner I use is no longer being made but I have a worthy substitute. I have lots of brown hair on my actual head, but on film and on photographs I need more in order to balance my jaw which can dominate my countenance somewhat. A week and a half before leaving L.A. I go to the place that cleans and brushes my falls - hair from a small base that gets bobby-pinned to curls at the top of the head and simply 'falls' down above and into the rest of one's own natural waves. I have two of them done -they'll have to be picked up about a week later. I also try a bigger fall as I'm much (I think) prettier in it, but it may be a bit glamourous for the character in the movie, ----- who I'm told is a perky English woman visiting Moscow who gets involved in a serious situation with a countryman. I have to have the right bobby pins for this maneuver and I've forgotten to get the big ones and only have the small ones. At the last moment, my husband who is a big director but who is so kind that while I'm hysterically packing last minute and checking to see that everything is there, says he's willing to go to Rite-Aid and get the base I've forgotten and the bobby pins, but comes home with brown bobby pins instead of black because I've forgotten to tell him the right color. Well I'll just have to hope that they have big black bobby pins in Moscow and a day off for me to go and purchase them before the first day's shoot. In fact I had to go and it was so thrilling to the premiere of Henry Jagloms' new film "Hollywood DREAMS" the night before the plane leaves and in my hurry that next day I forget one of the falls! I make nice bags of all the nail supplies and packages for the hair and a large bag of all the make-up and another bag with the essential make-up that I will bring to the set every day.

Now there is the weather in Russia! Winter weather, as it's late November. I knew a man who said that when he was in St. Petersburg one winter, he crossed the street and by the time he got to the farther curb, he began to contract pneumonia. Getting quite worn out from the premiere and the ticket-getting for all my friends' emails and emails about tickets and so forth, I must make my way to Big Five and get a warm scarf, a pair of ski overalls, boots, socks, mittens or gloves, thermal underwear, a hat and earmuffs. This takes hours. The boots are especially confusing to me, as I know my character wouldn't wear big heavy ski boots, yet I feel and my glorious husband Stephen is making sure that I do get such boots to be absolutely sure to keep warm when I'm walking around Moscow on those days I am not shooting. Well the only boots that seem to work are smallish ones. Really nothing else even fits! Stephen is up north in California producing the next movie for his film company, Big Screen Entertainment Group and our nineteen year old daughter is there too, doing assistant wardrobe and assistant set design. When he comes back with her, just in time for them to accompany me to the opening of Henry's movie, he hates the boots. He says he will return them. Now leave- time becomes all about boots, it seems! The next day he has gone to Big Five and exchanged my pretties for a huge klunky pair of black atrocities that are so big I am wading in them. It takes about five seconds for my heel to hit the bottom of the boot every time I take a step! So he says he will go back the next day, which is the day on which the plane leaves and exchange these same boots for a smaller pair. I agree. (Once I arrive and finally have a wardrobe fitting, I admit to my wonderful wonderful producer lady, Natasha Nahapatov that these, even these smaller sized boots, are incredibly painful to walk in. Well, she says she needs a pair and I give them to her!)

The first night of shooting is thirty-six stories underground in a BUNKER that was constructed in the sixties when there was a threat of missile attack during the Cuban Missile Crisis. And my character,(at the aforementioned wardrobe fitting) is given the hugest shaggiest imaginable boots because they are much much worn in Moscow and the director feels that if I wear them the audience will immediately like and identify with me. Well there is much more to be said, but for now, I will continue with the story of the boots: there are also scenes wherein my character will have to be able to well, move. Or walk properly. So I need another pair of boots.


I've made a most unprofitable deal with Natasha: we will exchange boots - I will give her my boots and then I will go and buy a pair for the movie. If forgot that that means I'm buying both pair! (Natasha washed that silly idea out of my head the next day.) I am supposed to go and buy this mysterious pair of warm but adorable looking boots the day after the shooting all night in the BUNKER. I am very tired and I have NO idea of how to get anywhere to buy said boots, nor can I speak to anyone in a language that they can understand. This frightens me.

I call Natasha in the morning but Eric Roberts is shooting an extra day -very expensive- and she is leaving her apartment to go and deal with that and can't really contemplate boots nor give me any idea of what to buy. I ask her again and again how much activity really, this character will have, because if it is little I could buy those darling leather boots that have heels but otherwise I'll get something more sporting. She doesn't answer, instead she says that she is sending money to my door.

A very large and very very jovial character comes over to my apartment in Moscow to bring me the money that is given to an actor out of town to help them live, called -per diem-. It is just cash, but Svetlana who was supposed to be my interpreter but just gave me orders instead of doing anything about my needs in Russia was let go before she exchanged the money into rubles, And so, this fellow, Russland appears at my door with my rubles. He speaks very loudly and rousingly. I call Irina Stemer, the other actress in the movie with me who speaks both languages thank God and beg her to go shopping with me. She says I should call a taxi which will take me to her apartment and she'll go. I tell her that I can't speak Russian and can't find the number for a taxi, and I don't know where I live as I when I was brought here to live, I wouldn't understand what anyone said when and if they should tell me the address here without writing and translating and so forth which no one has time for (big breath ) --it will be impossible for me to get a taxi, why don't I go down the bloody street and shop there?? But she has already got one of her best friends coming over to her place deeper in the city who knows all the shopping places and the plan is that we three go together so I say yes I will go to her place and then leave from her place and shop and then somehow, somehow get home again. I ask her to please call Natashsa our producer and the wife of the director, Russian legend Rodion Nahapatov, and find out my proper address, which she says she will do. Now she proceeds to tell me where she lives so that I can w rite these incredibly lengthy words down in pigeon English hierglyphics in some kind of a way that, if I say what I have written phonetically to a taxi driver, he will understand me. But Russland is gesturing to me that HE will call the taxi for me. Now I must get Irina to talk to Russland to tell him where the hell she lives so he can tell the taxi driver in Russian where I am going. Russland is a funny character, I tell you. He kneels on the floor and leans so far over my bed to talk to Irina that I can see just the beginnings of his fanny.

When later he has to talk to her again, he leans so far over me to hear what I am saying on the phone as I lie on the bed that I am amazed!

And he never leaves. He sits and eats the grapes and the cheese I gave to him and just stays.

Now he won't let me take all of my money that he has brought to me and takes 400 rubles out of it and says only the word, "taxi", and puts the money in his own pocket. Oh boy I think. Okay, without knowing what he has in his mind and with no way to speak to him to find out I will just see how this plays out.

After about a half hour he comes over to me and giggles and gestures that I should get dressed (I'm in lounging wear) --the taxi is coming soon! Taxi taxi! he says in English with a big smile. But this means that I will also have to get undressed and didn't want to do a little show for Russland to go along with his cheese and grapes. I settle it with myself that I'll go into the tiny bathroom and change there.

Then I sit on the bed to do my make-up as he's taking up the table, in fact I put on my eyelashes as well, right in front of him and believe it or not, he doesn't notice, just sits and eats his afternoon repast and giggles to people on his cell phone. At my table. Why is he staying here?? If only I could speak to this jolly stranger in my room!

Finally the taxi, he thinks, is here and he steers me (really, he takes me by the arm and pulls me out of my apartment) taking as well the keys and unlocking, locking, etc., until we are in the street. But it is not the usual place where I enter the area where the door to my apartment stands.

So I keep complaining, that is, trying to complain that the taxi will never find us here as it's the wrong place. He smiles at me, not comprehending. We wait and wait for the taxi. Finally a car comes around the corner and he hails it but it is not a taxi! He manhandles me into the back seat (is he friendly or slightly mad and let me out of Russia I'm thinking) without my money! I start to say please do give me my taxi money, when he himself gets in the front seat! He talks on and on with the driver as if he has known him for a lifetime and I am just thinking that this man, who seems simple and full of heart, is actually probably kidnapping me. Oh well. I've had a good life.

No. wait. What to do? I ask him to call Irina on his cell phone ( mine doesn't work in Russia!) and he doesn't. I repeat. I gesticulate. I play charades and finally he gets Irina on the phone and I can speak. And I say to her, Irina, who is this guy? And she says "Russland". I say I knew that, but is he okay? "Well he's a bit of an oaf, but he's okay." I say, "Nice. But you see ,if we ever get there, I don't know which apartment you live in and even if you tell me now, how shall I tell anyone who works in your building which one it is!" But she says don't worry Russland will take me up to her apartment.

Well we get there. Well, Russland does just that. Then I give him 500 rubles to go home because otherwise this fellow, who really, was just trying to take care of me all day, will have to take the metro at rush hour.

And Irina and her fantastically adorable blonde friend, another Russian actress also named Irina walk with me, chattering away in Russian to each other, to the mall which is catastrophically HUGE - it'll take forever to find a pair of boots in that place and the day has already held quite a lot of stress for me.. but the girls, both fabulously beautiful, seem mindless of anything untoward, so I begin to join in the fun. We walk along the moist (it's very warm for Russia this year) sidewalks of Moscow. There is no city like this. The buildings are so overwhelmingly large that they seem to be moving toward me. They are grey and the sky is grey as only the Russian day can be grey. Tall silvery skies that never brighten. The people walking the street in their fur hats and long coats seem grim and when a smile comes to my face at some lovely face, the smile is not returned. I notice that there seems to be a well learned habit of avoiding seeing the other person. No one is looking at anyone. It's as if they feel watched. But there is such beauty here. The characteristic Turkish pointed domes, sometimes in gold or bright blue peer out from behind enormous modern pale buildings. I start to count the floors on all the apartment buildings, and they are at least ten stories high, every one. I peer into all the cafes and places and the girls wait patiently for me as I stumble about in my huge shaggy boots. I find the most adorable café which reminds me so much of Amsterdam and they agree we will eat there afterwards.

I try on boot after boot in store after store and just as I am about to give up in despair (and boredom. And weariness.) I find a pair of sweet suedes that actually fit my toe-dancing-as-a-child malformed feet!

And the boots work.

And the days go by. And I have everything I need to make a wonderful contribution to Rodion's great independent feature.

But before all that happened:

I'm getting on the plane in four hours. Stephen weighs the suitcases, Stephen puts the new batteries into my little travel clock(without which I would not have made the first day of shooting, with nothing to wake me up and no way to know what time it was with no clock in that apartment and the sun hidden from view!) and batteries into my toothbrush and how to pack my make-up mirror and its stand and did I get nail glue? And books to read on the plane and when I get there! And sleeping apparel and money to bring along in case, and the script for the movie I am doing about four days after I get home (which I forgot) and a suit jacket for my black slacks for the character (which I forgot) and enough blouses that an Englishwoman ( who turned out when I got to Russia not to be an Englishwoman!) and the earrings she (the character) might wear, and clean underwear and thermal underwear and don't forget my glasses or I won't see Moscow!

And I was off!