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  • Writer's pictureJoe Russell

Live from New York

My first post as a temporary New Yorker! New York is really wonderful. I have been taking acting classes from Anne Jackson and Karen Ludwig, voice lessons from Martha Bernard and fencing from Joe Daly. I recommend every actor come here at least for a little while to experience being an actor in this city. It will make you appreciate being an actor in LA a lot more! Getting around the city was really confusing for the first few weeks. One time, I not only took the wrong train, but I took it in the wrong direction! That was a long day. Met some nice people though.

Although actors here are very interested in working, I find that they have more passion for learning acting as a craft vs just booking jobs. I, of course, do not think that statement holds true for everyone... but I think a larger percentage of actors in NY are much more well rounded actors than those i've met in LA so far.

I am living with my friend Jason Zimbler's mom and dad in Livingston, NJ. They have a kosher kitchen and have 2 separate sets of plates. One set for meat, one for dairy. Every day I ride the Path train into Manhattan and get off near the world train center (the WT station is still closed.) All of the buildings here are so tall and wide, I can not imagine what a horror that must of been when the trade centers went down. That part of the city is a very somber place now. Such a tragedy.

Apples dipped in peanut butter, pizza and bagels have been my main food staples. I go through a jar of peanut butter probably every 3 days. I buy apples from street vendors, which are everywhere! I mostly avoid the big tourist areas (Broadway) and I feel the most at home on the Hudson side of the island. There is one bench I like to sit on overlooking the water. I sit there, dipping my apples in my jar of peanut butter pondering life and waiting until my next appointment or train ride.

I have had a few auditions, visited the Actors Equity building and the SAG building, gone to museums, movie nights in central park, visited the set of One Life to Live (to visit my friend Amanda Cortinas who is on the show) and I walk an average of 7 miles a day when I go to the city. On days I do not go into the city, I probably walk 700 steps.

I am working part time at a really cool french restaurant called Pastis as a bike delivery guy. It is very fun and exciting to race around the city on a bike. Although I use kryptonite bike locks, i've had 2 bikes stolen already (in just one month.) Having a bike stolen is a bewildering experience. At first you think maybe you parked it somewhere else, then you try to remember if you locked it right, then you look around hoping you can find the thief and all of a sudden EVERY bike looks like your bike and you suspect everyone! Probably a van was tracking me, waited for me to park and just rolled up, cut the lock and threw the bike in the van. If you are a jerk who is thinking of stealing something... please don't. :)

We deliver to Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Mathew Broderick. The last time I delivered to Phillip, he asked me if I was an actor. I told him "yes" and he said "You just have this presence about you... you know?" I said, "I do know." He then asked me if I would like to take over his current role on Broadway. I said "Nah, that seems to easy... I want a challenge." Then I started eating his food and said "There is nothing you can do about this." So, he just watched me finish, then he handed me a napkin, paid for the meal and thanked me. Ok, ok... the only part of that story that is true is my eating his food. He ordered his usual burger and fries and as I was getting ready to deliver it to him, he canceled it. So, I got to eat it!

My favorite thing to eat at Pastis is their strawberry shortcake. Sometimes at the end of the night, they have extra helpings of it so they give it to us. Oh lucky day!

I am going to Boston this weekend to visit my girlfriend Laura. I am really looking forward to seeing her.

Have you heard of If not, your life is not complete. It is one of the best websites ever created (by my friend Ben.) If I ever die and get reincarted, I hope I come back as

Thanks for hanging with me... this was a super long post. I will keep them shorter in the future.

~ Joe

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