Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I can't believe that 2009 is almost upon us. It has been a stupendous year for oh so many reasons and I have combined a totally random rant reviewing various things from 2008. Please excuse the discombobulation of this compilation. It's just how I'm rollin' right now. I may add more if I have the time, but let's start with these...

I love me some Jay-Z. The guy just reeks of cool and he is always turbo chill unless he is pumpin it up onstage. So why in the hell did he go and marry Beyonce??? Beyonce. Seriously??? A few reasons why I don't like the B:

1. Beyonce has really scary armpits. Trust me. And they are everywhere.

2. Beyonce’s mom designs all her pageant-reject dresses and she ends up looking like a bad tranny. Her outfits just don’t ever work for me and it pains me to see my boy Jay with her
3. Beyonce is not articulate
4. Beyonce rubs me the wrong way so Jay shouldn’t be with her.

P.S. If Beyonce looked like this all the time

I wouldn’t be so annoyed at her.


What can I say about the Queen of Disaster? She has given us so much over the course of her life. She has given us K-Fed (Papa-Zao!), her 2 boys Tater Tot and Nugget, a public melt down, the noun “Britney” as in “wear some undies with your skirt because I don’t want you to flash your Britney at me when you’re getting into the car,"and she has contributed to the world of film with her documentary detailing her “come back,” The girl just doesn’t stop giving. What a trooper.


Lilo has really outdone herself this year with Romancing the SamRon. I don’t know if I totally believe her lesbianess, but whatever. She has made some dramatic improvements, even though she is still obviously a cracktard. She learned from Britney to cover up her, well, Britney, which was a huge step for her and we haven't had a LoHo Peep Show in quite some time. We haven’t seen her passed out in the front of a car with blow all over her face, although she has been surrounding herself with the booze and the bumps since getting out of rehab. Two points for LoHo. Looking forward to marking her progress in '09.


I don’t really have to say much about this except that NKOTB rocked the world this year with such force it could have given you 2 black eyes and an orgasm all at once.

Next, please.

This has been around for awhile, but some folks didn’t know about it and I have used it more this year than ever before. It is a website that will find you walking/public transportation/driving directions for several major cities in the US. It is brilliant. Check it out.


I never liked instant hand sanitizer because the idea of rubbing alcohol on my hands and then putting my hands near my mouth or whatever always grossed me out. I found this stuff in Whole Foods. It is an all natural hand sanitizer and it works. You can buy their products at most health food stores. Love them.


These kids are just wonderful and get my number one slot for 2008. I fell in love with them long before I saw them in concert, waited anxiously for their very first album to come out and it did not disappoint. They manage to make beautiful sounds and write lyrics that could tip the scales in the cliché direction, but somehow they end up being poignant. It was by far my most favorite live performance of the year. And they are pretty much all completely adorable, which doesn’t hurt. Oh, and the lead guy plays the ukulele. Holla!

Check out their website here.

We couldn't have won the election without him. And we couldn't have had as good of a 2008 without him.

Thank God for his life, because he is one entertaining spectacle.

Girl: "I miss Mike. I mean, I wish we could still hang out but it's like, I have a restraining order against you, man."


Have a very happy and safe New Year's. I'll see y'all in 2009!!!

Monday, December 29, 2008


I completely forgot about this video post until a friend reminded me over the holidays. Call me a terrible person, but I just get such a kick out of this. I am dying with laughter. DYING.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


I am hopping on a red-eye flight tonight to head back to the Big Apple. I've had a superb visit home and I can't believe it is already time to go, but I am also excited to return to my apartment and be in the city that never sleeps.

I will definitely be sleeping on the plane tonight and hopefully my steady practice of drinking a glass of red wine, putting in ear plugs, and slapping on my eye mask before the flight even takes off will serve me well.

See y'all from the East Side!

Thursday, December 25, 2008


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of my faithful blog readers.

You make my days merry and bright. I love you all dearly.

Major Thankful Credits:
Director of Photography: Coogs #1
Lighting: Mrs. Coogs
Set Design: The Holy Family

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Jeremy Piven has apparently abruptly left the Broadway production of David Mamet's "Speed The Plow" because he has high levels of mercury. What?? How does that even happen?

Mamet's comment has made my day:

"I talked to Jeremy on the phone, and he told me that he discovered that he had a very high level of mercury," Mamet told Daily Variety. "So my understanding is that he is leaving show business to pursue a career as a thermometer."

P.S. I am back in California!! Wahoo!! A very exciting holiday video post is coming your way soon...

Monday, December 15, 2008


This weekend was full of activity because I moved into my new apartment (yey!!) but it was a little exhausting. And, I have already had a run-in with our resident Crazy. He is loony and lives next door. Awesome.

I had a delicious brunch at a fabulous vegetarian restaurant around the corner with my friend, Kimtastic, and then it was off to a holiday party in Brooklyn. I then came home and made ginger snaps to give as presents to a few peeps before I head back, back to Cali Cali on Tuesday.

They turned out pretty well!

But let us just say that cooking in a weenie east village apartment kitchen is a CHALLENGE. I almost hit my head about 40 times, I had to balance cookie sheets on various semi-flat surfaces, and I had to cream butter and sugar together with my bare hands because I don't have a Cuisinart.

But it was worth it.

Tomorrow promises to be a busy day because I have to get lots done before hopping on my flight home Tuesday afternoon. I am SUPER excited to go home and see my family and friends for the holidays. But for now, I must sleep.


After a lovely conversation this evening with my mother, she told me in closing that she really loves my blog and reads it daily (thanks, ma) but that she was concerned by my last post because it was not putting kindness out into the world.

Basically, my Mom was mad at me for posting about Tara Reid going to rehab because she felt like I was making fun of Miz T and I hadn't put up a nice picture of her.

I explained that my post was supporting her decision to hi the 'hab, and that, unfortunately, there aren't any decent photos of Tara available because she has been roughin' it up pretty much for the last 25 years.

But, Tara, I am SORRY for blogging about you going TO REHAB and I wish you ALL THE BEST and ALL THE KINDNESS in your SOBER ENDEAVORS.

I hope you are granted the serenity to accept the things you cannot change, the courage to change the things you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Friday, December 12, 2008


Tara Reid checked into rehab today.


Wishing you lots of luck, Miz T.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Every Tuesday I participate in staged readings at this great theatre company here in NY called Naked Angels. They do really wonderful work and you should totally check them out. Anyways, tonight I was at the readings and I look to my right and who do I see but DAN LAURIA WHO PLAYED KEVIN ARNOLD'S DAD ON THE WONDER YEARS.

I KID YOU NOT. I died. I immediately died. I have seen famous people before and I don't care, but this rocked me to my core. I kind of got teary eyed and wanted to just go and hug him. He was in one of the readings and he was actually fantastic, which made the whole thing even better. He was really, really good. Spot on, actually. He was endearing, vulnerable, and funny.

And, if you know me or read my blog at all, you know how much The Wonder Years has meant to me.

I am over the MOOOOON people. Do you even know what this means to me?? I was in the same room as Kevin Arnold's dad?

I could die right now.


Monday, December 8, 2008


This week is getting a little wackadoo. I am moving into another sublet on Saturday and then flying home for Christmas on the 16th, just got back from a faboo gala for a theatre company and have stuff booked all week long and it has been freezing and I forgot my hat this morning and thought I was going to die.

I felt very posh tonight shmoozing amongst some theatre elite. I ate a lot of brie and almost bid on a silent auction spa package. ?!??!?!?? What was I thinking???!?!??!? I didn't do it. I was being an idiot, but I really thought it would be great to have a day at the spa. A day at the spa that I totally can't afford. More on all that later.

I just read that a woman in India had a baby and she is SEVENTY YEARS OLD. 7-0.

I am so grossed out by this. What were they thinking? SIIIIIIICK. I am totally horrified and am going to have trouble sleeping. My mind is HAUNTED.

On a better note, Liza Minelli's show is up and running in New York. That my friends, is siiiiiick in the best sense of the word.

Glory be.

Sorry this post is so cracked out.

I will leave you with the fact that THIS GUY

was one of the many stellar folks at the gala tonight. And if you don't know who he is/what show he is on, you are a poopy loser.

Friday, December 5, 2008


I've just returned from my first trip to Sotheby's to pick up 2 photographs that were purchased at auction by one of my employers. I obviously felt very fabulous pretending like the purchases were mine and they even gave me free coffee while I was waiting for them to wrap them up. I'm am a little bit wired because I don't usually drink the black stuff. I had coffee earlier this morning after my 7:00am trip to the gym, and I obviously couldn't say no to a free cup from Sotheby's. I mean, COME ON.

I also made sure I went to the bathroom while I was there to check it out. You can always tell how classy and clean a place is by the bathroom (especially in restaurants). Wasn't as swanky as I had hoped, although they did have a ladies lounge/powder room with seating before the actual bathroom. But, it was really small and the chairs were wooden; they didn't look comfy. I mean, even the ladies lounge at Neimans has couches. Whatevs.

I'm feeling rawther Eloisian today.

My sis is having a lovely holiday dinner this evening that I am very much looking forward to. I will most certainly be busting out my holiday playlist and vocalizing like whoa.

Falalalala lalalala.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


I have just returned from seeing Four Christmases. It was so bad I didn't even know what to do with myself. And, I was on the film shoot for the movie and I'm not in it. Cut, nixed, gone.


The SF Chron guy fell asleep. I, on the other hand, was so awestruck by the crapptacity of the movie that I stayed awake. I was so confused that I randomly burst into laughing fits with my roommate. I felt robbed, I felt drunk, I felt cheated, I felt disappointed in Reese.

And they totally busted up the geography of San Francisco.

We told our doorman not to see it as well as the stranger in the elevator.

Hey Seth Gordon: You owe me $12.00.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


When the weather first dropped to uber frigid, I literally froze my arse off one day. It was so cold and I was walking around for hours and didn't have a layer on under my jeans. My friend Eliz told me about these heat-tech tights from Uni Qlo. I have purchased them, and they have made me oh so very happy.

They are light, not itchy, and they actually fit well. And they keep me uber warm and fit under my jeans. They also come in tons of cute colors and patterns including herringbone; check it out online. The solids are under $5 and the colors/patterns are $7.90. Not bad!

For those of you unfamiliar with Uni Qlo, it is a Japanese store that is similar to H&M in terms of price point, but has more classic stuff and is a higher quality (for the most part).

I dig.

SIZING: I stole the photo of the tights from somewhere online. I got the S/M and they fit perfectly; I checked with a store clerk and if you are taller get the L/XL because they have more length. I am 5'5" and there is even a little extra space for me in there. I think they might run a smidget big.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


I am attempting to recover from my stellar Thanksgiving outside the city. I spent 4 days laughing my arse off, eating my face off, laughing my arse off, and eating my face off. It was a wonderful, vicious cycle that I am now suffering slightly from and will probably be working off at the gym for the next 2 weeks, or 12 years. My lack of sleep combined with my massive quantities of mashed potatoes and wine made me a bit wackadilly yesterday on the train ride back into the city and I managed to sleep for 12 hours last night.

We have an annual football game over Turkey Day and I was obviously on the winning team.

The others did not posses the skills necessary to dominate on the field.

Although I did manage to slip in the mud and fall on my a**, so I am rocking a stellar bruise on my right side. Totally worth it.

The weather today was the grossiest of grossies, so I spent the majority of my time drinking coffee with my pal Al and avoiding the rain. I can't believe it will be December tomorrow and I will be heading home to CA for the holidays in 16 days.

Where has the time gone??!?!?

Oh! And just a reminder that tonight they will be airing the documentary on Britney Spears. I can't wait. I am going to hop in the bath and then park it on the couch. Britney dramz are perfect for rainy day evenings.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


My family's favorite Thanksgiving movie, and, well, just one of our favorite movies of all time. Home For The Holidays directed by Jodie Foster. Stellar cast. 1995. Rent it. Love it. I've watched it every year since it came out. I think you'll understand why.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Last night at the theatre I started to feel like I was getting a little bit of a cold, so I went into my "Mega Prevention Mode." I should seriously have it on my resume how good I am at avoiding illness; I can kick something so quickly my body doesn't even know what happened. I think I developed the skill from being in shows all the time where you can't afford to get sick at all. I am not big on using actual meds, I tend to take more of a holistic approach, and it works pretty darn well, so I thought I would share with you all some of my favorite, incredible remedies for beating that cold. You can buy all of this stuff at almost any health food store, Whole Foods, even at basic drug stores.


This thing has changed my life. I have suffered from serious sinusitis and allergies my whole life and used to get chronic sinus infections. Since I started using this daily, it has been years since I got a sinus infection (I honestly can't even remember the last time I had one) and I no longer get sinus headaches. You put a saline solution (1/4 tsp of salt mixed with 8oz of room temp water) and pour it into the pot. Then you tip your head and pour half of the liquid into one nostril and it comes out the other side, along with all the shiznit in your nose. You then flip your head to the other side and do the reverse. It seems a little whacky at first but it is worth it. Trust. If you have allergies or feel like you're sinuses are getting blocked, pick up one of these and start irrigating your nasal passages! I do up to 4 times a day when I am feeling really stuffed up. That woman above even did it on Oprah!


This is the essence of Black Elderberry and is a great immune system support. It tastes yummy, too! I start taking a few table spoons of this a day if I start feeling a little wonky, or if I am entering a time of high stress. I swear by this stuff.


This caffeine free tea is a singer's dream. If you have a tickle in your throat, this stuff definitely does the trick. It really does actually coat your throat (duh) and is extremely soothing.


Eating fruits, as opposed to just taking Vitamin C, is a great way to keep yourself munching healthy things as well as getting the vitamins straight from the source. Tomatoes! Kiwis! Broccoli! Spinach! All good sources and so good for you, too.

This stuff is actually a little treat for me, but full of anti-oxidants. I mix it with a little sparkling water and it is a yummy drink that I like instead of soda. You can also throw in a splash of orange juice (and some champagne once you aren't feeling sick anymore). Delicious.


I love baths. LOVE them. But they are also great for steaming the living daylights out of yourself and relaxing. Put a few drops of Eucalyptus oil in there to open up your lungs, relax, pamper yourself a little bit, and let the healing begin.


Just drink it all the time. Even when you're not feeling sick.

I like puppies.

Oh, wait.

LoHo is just passed out from doing a little too much blizow. Oops. Let's use a different photo, because she really has come so far from those days. I mean, now she is LoLez and is "sober."

Get lots of real sleep (like at least 8 hours a night). Lots of it. LOTS. And this is one of my favorite books about napping and sleeping and shut eye goodness.

Stay warm and healthy this winter. And don't forget to get your flu shot!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I will never pronounce crocodiles the American way ever again. And I am going to have my babies in Europe.

Once upon a time... from Capucha on Vimeo.


Diddy speaks out on equality/feminism.

"I shave and groom my private areas. It's a better presentation for me. If men require women to go through the pain, we should return the favor."

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Today I held something that I have been coveting my entire life. Something that I will one day own and walk around showing to everyone.

Today I held...

A Tony Award.

It was magic and felt so natural in my hand (obviously). Someday I will have it on my living room mantel, just like the owner of the one from today. I even gave a short acceptance speech.

My real speech when I win will surely move everyone to tears and I will be weeping buckets, but also be really articulate and not just thank everyone in my life ever but also manage to make a really poignant, grateful statement about how lucky I am to be involved in the arts, how art heals the world, has no cultural boundaries or something, and people will be so blown away. And I will thank all my blog readers.

I'm counting down the days.

Monday, November 17, 2008


The weather has officially chilled out and I spent Sunday shopping with the sister and running errands. After being out in the freezing cold we picked up a pizza, cupcakes, and sat on her couch to watch the official "the winter season has arrived movie" we all know and love...

Awww yea.

Nothing like eating pizza and cupcakes (and drinking homemade root beer!) to bring in the holiday season. I am totally opposed to allowing Christmas decorations to be put up in stores before December 1st, same goes with playing carols in the stores before then too, but this movie needed to be watched. It just needed to happen. And the movie is really about LOVE, as opposed to Christmas, so it is okay.

The classical pianist who lives upstairs from me just busted out Angels We Have Heard On High. Seriously.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Some of you have inquired as to who I was for the Ween of the Hallow.

I was Suri Cruise. I am holding my "Dianetics for Kids" book.

And this year, Suri really got down.


Just remembered part of my dream from last night. Check it:

I was at this big, old house somewhere and I had to go inside to get something for my trip (I have no idea where I was going) and Raven Symone was in there and she was waaaaaay depressed.

I mean, I would be too if I ever went out looking like that when it wasn't Halloween.

Well, I would be depressed if I ever looked like that.

That was rude. I'm sorry. I digress.

So, Raven was all weepy because her career had gone down the tubes because she wasn't as cute as when she played Olivia on the Cosby show and how Maya Angelou was her grandma and had stolen the part she really wanted in the "Secret Life of Bees" movie and they had just wrapped filming and she didn't get to be in it at all.

She was really upset.

And the kicker?

She was SINGING all of this.

Yes, Raven was vocalizing all of her feelings while walking around a big ole house in my dream last night.

I have NO idea what all of this means. Do I need to start going to a jazz club and singing the blues? Is that what this is all about???

Friday, November 14, 2008


One of my closest friends from high school wins the costume competition for Halloween. I know this is late, but I just saw it because he lives in D.C. But regardless, it is so stellar.

I just had to share his genius with y'all.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I've had a little crush on this kid for awhile now and I finally bought his new album the other day. He has collaborated with some of my other musical faves, including Feist. His first album had some good ones on it, but I am partial to this new one, entitled "Jim." It is totally slammin' and I love (almost) every single song on it. And the first track is an insta-hit!

The music video is a little weird, but I like it. I mean, who wouldn't want some turbo foxy guy in a bangin' white suit who can croon like a whiz give you a new pair of eyes? Or ears? Or a mouth? I'm so game. I also think I would be a really great back up singer for his band. Right? I'm glad we're all in agreement here.

I can't wait for him to come back to the states so I can see him get his groove on live and we'll obviously fall in love because he'll see my fierce moves on the floor and be all twitterpatted by the sight of me.

Buy the album. You won't regret it. And, it is the perfect kind of music to put on and dance around to in your apartment.

Not like I've done that or anythingggggggggg. It is just a suggestion.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008




JOHN: What are you thinking??? How is this:

The same person????

This is going to boggle my mind all day long.

Friday, November 7, 2008


A Butler Well Served by This Election

For 34 Years, Eugene Allen Carried White House Trays With Pride. Now There's Even More Reason to Carry Himself That Way.

As a butler at the White House, Eugene Allen saw eight presidential administrations come and go.

Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 7, 2008; Page A01

For more than three decades Eugene Allen worked in the White House, a black man unknown to the headlines. During some of those years, harsh segregation laws lay upon the land.

He trekked home every night, his wife, Helene, keeping him out of her kitchen.

At the White House, he worked closer to the dirty dishes than to the large desk in the Oval Office. Helene didn't care; she just beamed with pride.

President Truman called him Gene.

President Ford liked to talk golf with him.

He saw eight presidential administrations come and go, often working six days a week. "I never missed a day of work," Allen says.

His is a story from the back pages of history. A figure in the tiniest of print. The man in the kitchen.

He was there while America's racial history was being remade: Brown v. Board of Education, the Little Rock school crisis, the 1963 March on Washington, the cities burning, the civil rights bills, the assassinations.

When he started at the White House in 1952, he couldn't even use the public restrooms when he ventured back to his native Virginia. "We had never had anything," Allen, 89, recalls of black America at the time. "I was always hoping things would get better."

In its long history, the White House -- just note the name -- has had a complex and vexing relationship with black Americans.

"The history is not so uneven at the lower level, in the kitchen," says Ted Sorensen, who served as counselor to President Kennedy. "In the kitchen, the folks have always been black. Even the folks at the door -- black."


Sorensen tried to address the matter of blacks in the White House. But in the end, there was only one black man who stayed on the executive staff at the Kennedy White House past the first year. "There just weren't as many blacks as there should have been," says Sorensen. "Sensitivities weren't what they should have been, or could have been."

In 1866 the abolitionist Frederick Douglass, sensing an opening to advocate for black voting rights, made a White House visit to lobby President Andrew Johnson. Johnson refused to engage in a struggle for black voting rights. Douglass was back at the White House in 1877. But no one wished to discuss his political sentiments: President Rutherford Hayes had engaged the great man -- it was a time of high minstrelsy across the nation -- to serve as a master of ceremonies for an evening of entertainment.

In the fall of 1901, another famous black American came to the door. President Theodore Roosevelt invited Booker T. Washington, head of the Tuskegee Institute, to meet with him at the White House. Roosevelt was careful not to announce the invitation, fearing a backlash, especially from Southerners. But news of the visit leaked quickly enough and the uproar was swift and noisy. In an editorial, the Memphis Scimitar would write in the ugly language of the times: "It is only recently that President Roosevelt boasted that his mother was a Southern woman, and that he is half Southern by reason of that fact. By inviting a nigger to his table he pays his mother small duty."

Fifty years later, invitations to the White House were still fraught with racial subtext. When the Daughters of the American Revolution refused to allow pianist Hazel Scott to perform at Constitution Hall because of her race, many letters poured into the White House decrying the DAR's position. First lady Bess Truman was a member of the organization, but she made no effort to get the DAR to alter its policy. Scott's husband, Harlem congressman Adam Clayton Powell, subsequently referred to Bess Truman as "the last lady of the land." The words outraged President Truman, who vowed to aides he would find some way to punish Powell and barred the fellow Democrat from setting foot inside the Truman White House.

The first black to hold a policy or political position in the White House was E. Frederick Morrow, a former public relations executive with CBS. Gen. Dwight Eisenhower's presidential campaign operatives were so impressed with Morrow's diligent work during the 1952 campaign that they promised him a White House executive job if Ike were elected. Ike won, but Morrow ended up being placed at the Department of Commerce. He felt slighted and appealed to Republican friends in New York to force the White House to make good on its promise.


The phone finally rang in 1955 and Morrow was named administrative officer for special projects. He had hoped the title would give him wide responsibilities inside the White House, but found himself dealing, for the most part, with issues related to the Brown desegregation ruling, the Rosa Parks-led bus boycott in Montgomery, Ala., and the 1957 Little Rock school crisis.

"He was a man of great dignity," says Stephen Hess, senior fellow emeritus at the Brookings Institution, who worked as a speechwriter for Eisenhower. Morrow was in a lonely position, but "he did not complain," says Hess. "That wasn't Fred Morrow."

When Morrow left his White House position, he imagined there'd be corporate job offers. There were not. "Only thing he was offered were jobs related to the black community," says Hess. Nonetheless, "after Morrow, it was appropriate to have a black person on the staff of the White House."

'Pantry Man'

Before he landed his job at the White House, Gene Allen worked as a waiter at the Homestead resort in Hot Springs, Va., and then at a country club in Washington.

He and wife Helene, 86, are sitting in the living room of their home off Georgia Avenue NW. A cane rests across her lap. Her voice is musical, in a Lena Horne kind of way. She calls him "honey." They met in Washington at a birthday party in 1942. He was too shy to ask for her number, so she tracked his down. They married a year later.

In 1952, a lady told him of a job opening in the White House. "I wasn't even looking for a job," he says. "I was happy where I was working, but she told me to go on over there and meet with a guy by the name of Alonzo Fields."

Fields was a maitre d', and he immediately liked Allen.

Allen was offered a job as a "pantry man." He washed dishes, stocked cabinets and shined silverware. He started at $2,400 a year.

There was, in time, a promotion to butler. "Shook the hand of all the presidents I ever worked for," he says.

"I was there, honey," Helene reminds. "In the back, maybe. But I shook their hands, too." She's referring to White House holiday parties, Easter egg hunts. They have one son, Charles. He works as an investigator with the State Department.

"President Ford's birthday and my birthday were on the same day," he says. "He'd have a birthday party at the White House. Everybody would be there. And Mrs. Ford would say, 'It's Gene's birthday, too!' "

And so they'd sing a little ditty to the butler. And the butler, who wore a tuxedo to work every day, would blush.

"Jack Kennedy was very nice," he goes on. "And so was Mrs. Kennedy."

"Hmm-mmm," she says, rocking.

He was in the White House kitchen the day JFK was slain. He got a personal invitation to the funeral. But he volunteered for other duty: "Somebody had to be at the White House to serve everyone after they came from the funeral."

The whole family of President Jimmy Carter made her chuckle: "They were country. And I'm talking Lillian and Rosalynn both." It comes out sounding like the highest compliment.

First lady Nancy Reagan came looking for him in the kitchen one day. She wanted to remind him about the upcoming dinner for West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. He told her he was well ahead in the planning and had already picked out the china. But she told him he would not be working that night.

"She said, 'You and Helene are coming to the state dinner as guests of President Reagan and myself.' I'm telling you! I believe I'm the only butler to get invited to a state dinner."


Husbands and wives don't sit together at these events, and Helene was nervous about trying to make small talk with world leaders. "And my son says, 'Mama, just talk about your high school. They won't know the difference.'

"The senators were all talking about the colleges and universities that they went to," she says." I was doing as much talking as they were.

"Had champagne that night," she says, looking over at her husband.

He just grins: He was the man who stacked the champagne at the White House.

Moving Up, but Slowly

President Kennedy, who succeeded Eisenhower, started with two blacks, Frank Reeves and Andrew Hatcher, in executive positions on his White House staff. Only Hatcher, a deputy press secretary, remained after six months. Reeves, who focused on civil rights matters, left in a political reshuffling.

The issue of race bedeviled this White House, even amid good intentions. In February 1963, Kennedy invited 800 blacks to the White House to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. Louis Martin, a Democratic operative who helped plan the function, had placed the names of entertainer Sammy Davis Jr. and his wife, May Britt, on the guest list. The White House scratched it off and Martin would put it back on. According to Martin, Kennedy was aghast when he saw the black and white couple stroll into the White House. His face reddened and he instructed photographers that no pictures of the interracial couple would be taken.

But Sammy Davis Jr. was not finished with 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. He got himself invited to the Nixon White House to meet with the president and talk about Vietnam and business opportunities for blacks. He even slept in the Lincoln Bedroom once. When Davis sang at the 1972 Republican convention in Miami, he famously wrapped his arms around Nixon at a youth rally there, becoming forever identified with a White House that many blacks found hostile.

Lyndon Johnson devoted considerable energy and determination to civil rights legislation, even appointing the first black to the Supreme Court. But it did not translate to any appreciable number of blacks working on his staff. Clifford Alexander says he was the sole black in Johnson's White House, serving first as a National Security Council officer, then as associate White House counsel.


"We were fighting for something quite new," says Alexander. "You knew how much your job meant. And you knew President Johnson was fighting on your behalf." As a young man growing up in Harlem, Alexander had heard about Morrow. Mothers and fathers pointed to him as a grand success story. "Fred was a lovely man," says Alexander. "But they did not pay any attention to him in the Eisenhower White House."

Colin Powell would become the highest-ranking black of any White House to that point when he was named President Reagan's national security adviser in 1987. Condoleezza Rice would have that same position under President George W. Bush.

The butler remembers seeing both Powell and Rice in the Oval Office. He was serving refreshments. He couldn't help notice that blacks were moving closer to the center of power, closer than he could ever have dreamed. He'd tell Helene how proud it made him feel.

Time for Change

Gene Allen was promoted to maitre d' in 1980. He left the White House in 1986, after 34 years. President Reagan wrote him a sweet note. Nancy Reagan hugged him, tight.

Interviewed at their home last week, Gene and Helene speculated about what it would mean if a black man were actually elected president.

"Just imagine," she said.

"It'd be really something," he said.

"We're pretty much past the going-out stage," she said. "But you never know. If he gets in there, it'd sure be nice to go over there again."

They've got pictures of President and Mrs. Reagan in the living room. On a wall in the basement, they've got pictures of every president Gene ever served. There's a painting President Eisenhower gave him and a picture of President Ford opening birthday gifts, Gene hovering nearby.

They talked about praying to help Barack Obama get to the White House. They'd go vote together. She'd lean on her cane with one hand, and on him with the other, while walking down to the precinct. And she'd get supper going afterward. They'd gone over their Election Day plans more than once.

"Imagine," she said.

"That's right," he said.

On Monday Helene had a doctor's appointment. Gene woke and nudged her once, then again. He shuffled around to her side of the bed. He nudged Helene again. He was all alone.

"I woke up and my wife didn't," he said later.

Some friends and family members rushed over. He wanted to make coffee. They had to shoo the butler out of the kitchen.

The lady whom he married 65 years ago will be buried today.

The butler cast his vote for Obama on Tuesday. He so missed telling his Helene about the black man bound for the Oval Office.


First of all, I just wanted to mention yet another reason why I love NY: the bathrooms in the Actor's Equity building where they hold auditions are labeled "Guys" and "Dolls." I just love that.

Also, I walked out of my audition today in Times Square and who was sitting in front of me in a black SUV with the window rolled down looking at everything?

Ricky Gervais! Rock on! He even smiled and did this pose to me!!!

Just kidding. We didn't even make eye contact, but I still got a kick out of seeing him because he is so farking smart and hilare.

Happy Friday!