* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we subscribe to the theory that everyone has a double somewhere on earth (in my case, it's Ryan Reynolds). Another theory has it that meeting your double can be disturbing. Just ask our good friend Kathryn Higgins, who was moved to verse by the incident.

Blonde Suburban Doppelganger

By: Kathryn Higgins

When to the silver SUV I schlepped

pushing a cart that veered to the left,

I reached for keys which I usually kept

hooked to my bag to foil theft.


I pushed the button; heard the chirp

although a distance it seemed to cross;

called to my son, the little twerp

and began unloading milk and sauce.


“Mom,” said Matthew, with concern,

a luxury for which I had no time.

“Get in the car” I snapped in turn

and to my door I bent to climb.


I went to put key in ignition

when all at once I felt a chill

a horrible lack of recognition

of seat, of cup, of car, of nil!


“Where’s my stuff?” I asked my boy

who’d climbed uncertainly in the back,

“I do not appreciate this decoy

my dirty towel, my bills? My snack?”


“Mom,” he tried again; I turned

to see what new crime he contemplated

but when I saw the back I learned

and from fault he was then exculpated.


This gleaming shiny silvery jeep

with tidy mug and Burberry scarf

did not match at all my heap

festooned with garbage and flecked with barf.


Christened by my kids and me

with dirt and gum and single socks

my car just simply could not be

this one that held designer frocks.


“Hush!” I said now that I knew

we were in the wrong SUV —

(would this one’s owner take mine in lieu

knowing what I did of me?)


My senses were on combat high

as I reviewed our situation:

how we got in there and why —

I prepared for our evacuation.


Then I saw my old jalopy

facing hers, as if a mirror

had found a twin just not as sloppy

cleaner, neater, richer, dearer.


I’ll take Her car, I paused to think,

and trade in for a better life —

I’ll bag my husband and my shrink

and be a better sort of wife.


Yes, I’ll take it and I’ll flee

away from my suburban jailors:

husband, housework, children three,

laundry, cooking, coupon-mailers.


I flipped the visor mirror and saw

the doppelganger wanna-be

a disheveled blonde with frowning maw

an evil, tired side of me.


I slumped back in her leather seat

noticed her Gucci sunglasses there

imagined her country club so neat —

God, we’d feel like asses there.


Swaddled in her premium automobile

I was o’ertaken by pleasant daydreams of

Manolo Blahnik stiletto heels,

lunches at the Golden Dove.


Benefits aboard a yacht

decked out in Dolce and Gabbana —

“Some little nothing I just bought,”

Sipping Cristal with Ivanna.


In this reverie I sat

in a sort of mental attack

when “Mom” I heard again from Matt

who’d been so quiet in the back.


I turned to see my little son

who looked at me with eyes so wide,

my innocent and trusting one

not knowing I was Mr. Hyde.


I realized then that no matter how pampered

filled with serenity and joy

my doppelganger’s life was hampered

by lack of my kids — girls and boy.


If she had kids and so she did

according to her decorations

despite their brilliance mine outbid

them in winning my affections.


I could not make the trade; I sighed

“Let’s Go!” I said to my little Pea

when coming out of the store I spied

a thinner replica of me.


“Get Out!” I hissed and grabbed the food

and toilet paper by the load

I snatched the cart and Matt I shooed

out of the car and down the road.


Again my key; my car chirped back

I hustled my little boy inside —

he found his book, his toy, his snack

and there he waited while I spied.


My double came and claimed her car

no inkling did she have of me

despite the door I left ajar

and my lost can of Pepsi Free.


Tossing her designer purse

she mounted her shiny silvery throne

I ducked and hissed a little curse

as my steering wheel hit my bone.


She drove off talking on her phone

about exciting things no doubt.

I said to Matthew “Let’s go home”

and “Behave or you’ll get a timeout.”


Filled with a newfound thankfulness I drove

home to my modest little dwelling

and with new eagerness I strove

to find my children without yelling.


“Come and give your mom a hug!”

I said to urchins one two three.

“Wait — what have you done to the rug?”

And so ended our brief jubilee.


* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we feel it is never too early to start thinking about Christmas presents. Listen to an experienced Tad-user, Kathryn Higgins, and then decide whether you should get Tad for your loved ones. And by the way, happy Pearl Harbor Day!

Get Tad!

By: Kathryn Higgins

Do you have problems with alcohol, illegal drug use, compulsive neatness, hot flashes, ennui, indigestion, bad manners, weight gain, random pain, hoarding, vertigo, or crankiness?


If so,



Are you experiencing an inner void that yearns to be filled? And by inner void, of course I mean your vagina.


If so,



Have you suffered from twenty years of celibacy, with that twenty years including the ten years of your marriage?


If so,



Tad’s missile will fill your void, guaranteed. Tad’s skillful skills are proven to:

  • Reduce stress
  • Relieve pain
  • Improve cardiovascular and muscular health
  • Improve mood
  • Make your friends jealous


Our basic TAD package is $19.99/day. For an additional fee you can add:

  • Tad’s magnificent massage
  • Tad’s tuna casserole
  • Tad’s advice


And in our premium package, Tad will:

  • Wear his blue striped shirt
  • Wear his jeans
  • Wear his heart-emblazoned boxer shorts


Tad will make you feel all warm and creamy inside, and he can even provide additional cream. Within one week, you will be free from stress, pain, boredom, indigestion and addiction (except to Tad; you may become addicted to Tad). I should know. I used to suffer. Now I don’t.


***Tadisfaction guaranteed.



Use Tad with caution. Tad does not like his member mishandled, yet he will scramble your insides with it if he’s so inclined. Users have experienced swelling due to vigorous pounding from front, back and side while using Tad. Befuddlement has been reported, especially immediately after using Tad. Consult your doctor if you find yourself putting the chicken in the cupboard instead of the refrigerator. Consider an alternative if you find yourself sighing, texting at midnight, and yearning to make mix tapes while using Tad. Colitis, heart murmurs and tingling have been reported, but only from users who previously suffered from colitis, heart murmurs and tingling.


Late payment penalties may apply. Penalties may include 1) being subjected to Tad’s driving and 2) having to listen to Tad discuss the price of bananas at Shop-Rite versus Safeway.



Customer 1:

I am very Tadisfied.


Customer 2:

I have an unusual build — sort of pear-shaped, and Tad fits me perfectly. Or perhaps I should say he fits in me perfectly.


Customer 3:

I was disappointed with the color.


Customer 4:

Make sure you pay on time. You do not want to have to listen to Tad talk about the latest banana deals. Not to mention coupons — if Tad gets a supermarket flyer with banana coupons you are in for it. And don’t get in his car, no matter what. Besides that, I would highly recommend Tad.


Customer 5:

Wha-wha-what???!!!?? I didn’t know this offer was open to everyone. I would like a refund. And have Tad call me immediately.


* Welcome to The Big Jewel, a highbrow outlet if ever there was one, and there was. How the hell did Kathryn Higgins get in here?


By: Kathryn Higgins

I think I’ll go to Starbucks and read Dante’s Inferno again (I did read it before…didn’t I?). Wait, it can’t be Starbucks, because I can’t tolerate a paper coffee cup. I’ll head to Cognoscenti Coffee, even though it’s really far away, because the name sounds smart. I’ll insist on Esmeralda coffee from Panama, made hot, but not boiled, and poured into the perfect coffee glass. And the Inferno — I can’t read it on my Kindle, because for all anyone knows, I’ll be reading Fifty Shades of Grey. I’ll have to find a hard copy somewhere. Maybe the library. I’ll hold the book aloft, occasionally looking over the top to examine the other coffee connoisseurs. And I’ll assign each one of them to a circle of hell. That woman over there reading Fifty Shades of Grey, for example…probably a pervert. She belongs in the second circle, buffeted about by her lust. And that fat fuck over there — he’ll go in the gluttony circle. And the guy with the BMW key ring? Down there in the greed circle, lugging his moneybags around.

I’ll have some people over to talk about my accomplishments, and of course I’ll have to mention my latest foray into literature, and explain how the Inferno is an epic poem, not a novel. (I’ve actually encountered people who think Dante is a biblical writer, like Matthew or Mark, and who think the Inferno is nonfiction — and that’s pretty funny because they think both the Bible and the Inferno are real — so I’ll be sure to correct them on that.) And then I’ll throw in some real history: Herodotus and Thucydides — The History of the Peloponnesian War. I’ll relate that to the film (not movie) 300, since that story comes from Herodotus. “The Battle of Thermopylae” — love to say that over and over (I’ll have to explain that it’s iambic tetrameter). And then I’ll segue to Barbara Tuchman, perhaps Stillwell and the American Experience in China, and maybe throw in some David McCullough, since he’s won some Pulitzers I think.

When people seem tired of hearing how much I know about historical stuff, I’ll be a sport and turn on South Park. But I’ll make sure it’s episode 156 — in which a beleaguered louse finds a new homeland. I’ll point out, over and over, that just as the louse is rescued, by a fly, the nineteenth century choral masterpiece “Pie Jesu” from Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem in D minor, Op. 48 plays dramatically. Perhaps the South Park people meant that to be funny, or ironic, but regardless it gives me the opportunity to talk about 19th-century choral music and how they used choirboys (rather than women) to get that high piping tone. I’ll explain, to anyone who will listen, that they no longer neuter boys so they can keep singing that way as adults. I’ll then gratuitously bring up the 17th-century choral masterpiece Miserere mei, Deus by Gregorio Allegri, and I’ll insist that the South Park people should have used that, because it has even higher notes than the Fauré. And all that’ll give me a chance to drop the fact that the teenaged Mozart was the first one to write down the Miserere (from memory) because the Vatican forbade copies, being the stingy bastards they are.

Next I’ll have to go to the Opera, because that’s very highbrow, I’m told. I’ll buy a swank dress and make sure I get a good seat, which I deserve, being the sort of discriminating and voluble person I am. I’ll bring my headphones in case the opera becomes insufferable. I’m not really into that vibrato stuff. And all the heavy makeup and the tedious length of some of those things. But I’ll make it fun by having a burrito and some beer beforehand. When I’m not stumbling over other operagoers to get to the bathroom (in my gown?), I’ll be ripping a fart in my seat (no need to be sneaky — opera’s loud, I hear) and observing those around me for reactions. That’s empirical research, by the way.

Being an art aficionado, I’ll have to attend the Whitney Biennial. The art there is so experimental! So freeing! But wait, what’s that over there? It’s a pile of yarn — reaching to the ceiling. And, in that little room in the corner, there are some abortions on sticks. A soundtrack of lamenting women. Such a provocative statement! And I’ll be sure to check out the Cindy Sherman works, because she’s so super-famous — yep, that’s a big old vagina over there.

For my next diversion, I’ll expose my friends to experimental theatre. I’ll throw in some references to Tadeusz Cantor, the Polish dramatist, and prove my knowledge of his work by mentioning The Dead Class, performed in 1975, in which his obsession with circles is overshadowed by the shocking image of a childbirth machine, and dead characters walking around. Plus some mannequins. Cool! People will think I’m really artsy. Then perhaps I will organize an impromptu improv theatre event in my apartment. Each participant will be permitted five gestures. Examples: writhing, keening, crawling, barking, and hailing a cab. When I call “Action,” the actors will engage in their five gestures, while riffing on other actors’ gestures. It will represent a primitive sort of communication. I’m hoping that the initially meaningless gestures will ultimately illuminate something deeply human about us — more human than, say, brushing your teeth or commuting to work. As the finale, I’m hoping we will all end up lumped together, moaning and writhing on the floor. Then, later, when they write about my brilliant experimental theatre piece in The New York Times, I’ll make sure that they don’t spell it “theater.” Because that’s so déclassé, and I’m a very classé sort of person.



* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we are happy to report that our prayers have been answered. We were hoping for a piece that could portray how people REALLY pray, and here it is, courtesy of Kathryn A. Higgins. Blessings.

My Prayer

By: Kathryn Higgins

After the Our Father, when it’s time for me to pray in church, I really just kneel and wish for shit (Petition). It’s not an abstract yearning, like I do in regular life, but an articulation of actual wishes, as if I were in a fairy tale — I’m the fisherman who’s caught the magical golden fish in his net.

I think, subconsciously, that there’s always a catch with wishes. I wonder if I have worded my wishes correctly. I think of the wishes as bargains, and wonder what price I would have to pay if any of my wishes were granted, and I wonder if they are really worth that price. I realize that my prayers (wishes) are self-serving and that God, if She did exist (which I then pause to doubt), would not approve.

So then I contritely think about all the bad stuff I’ve done in the last week that I regret. I struggle to think of anything so bad it’s worth God’s notice, and then I sort of universally apologize for things like getting mad at other drivers and being impatient and hurt when my son answers me in monosyllables and for saying the F-word when I didn’t get a job I’d hoped I’d get (Expiation).

I think that despite all the bad shit, I am happy about my son and daughter, even though they’re adolescents, which is a challenge. I start thanking God for them, and then I remember I did most of the work (Thanksgiving).

I think that even if Christ hadn’t died for our sins, or if He hadn’t actually risen from the dead (and I stop to wonder why this is necessary), then, regardless, He was a really cool person (Adoration). Then, taking Him as an example, I dutifully wish for some good shit for other people, or I think with empathy about those who are troubled or sick or dead, trying to send them good vibes, or I wish that I could be a better mother to my children (still Petition, with an effort at Charity and Love).

Then I think I would indeed be a better mother if some of my original wishes — I mean prayers — were granted. Because I would be happier, more fulfilled, less poor and frantic and bitchy and embattled by horrors like Customer Service and my ex-husband (Resentment).

And then, as long as I’m going there, I pray for some bad shit to happen to all the people who’ve disrespected me, in whatsoever way, so that my circumstances would seem better in comparison or just because I want to indulge in some Schadenfreude, and why not? I think of Sodom and Gomorrah and Jonah (Vengefulness). Then I reel myself back in again and remember that “God” wouldn’t approve (or would She?) (Contrition), and so I end by wishing for world peace for all those assholes out there, world without end, Amen.


* Welcome to The Big Jewel, your source for up-to-the-minute funny automotive news. This week Kathryn Higgins takes the 2012 Nostradamus for a test drive.

The 2012 Chevy Nostradamus (A Commercial)

By: Kathryn Higgins

Long shot: masculine silver sedan driving through glorious sunlit hills. Hip music playing — sort of a blend of Moby and Paul Oakenfold, only creamier.

Voiceover: “2012. You never thought Chevy would make it, did you? Well, we did.”

Close shot: sexy older man driving car.

V/O: “If you made it through the economic meltdown, the cyber war, and the Kardashian/Jersey Shore collective cognitive collapse, then you deserve the Chevy Nostradamus.”

Medium shot: Chevy Nostradamus does some racy turns through more mountainous terrain.

V/O: “Car and Driver says it’s the best car on the market, with top ratings for safety, Internet capability, and technology.”

Close shot of driver, with voluptuous dashboard.

Driver: “Get that cash flow analysis done and in to the CEO.”

Nostradamus: “Done.”

Medium shot of car, this time in shiny, sunlit L.A. traffic.

V/O: “The Nostradamus corrects for hazards in the road.”

A Toyota Prius veers too close to the car.

Close shot of driver: oblivious.

Medium shot: Nostradamus deftly adjusts to the left, avoiding the Prius.

Nostradamus, via concealed speaker outside of car: “Screw you, asshole!”

V/O: “If you’ve been up late working, or if you’re hung over, Nostradamus has you covered.”

Close shot of driver, looking tired. His eyelids droop.

A small shock is visible in the driver’s hands, resting on the steering wheel. Driver yelps; jolts awake.

V/O: “Our state-of-the-art electronics will keep you alert no matter what.”

Long shot of Nostradamus whipping through traffic.

V/O: “No amount of testosterone can compare to the acuity and robustness of the Nostradamus.”

Close shot of driver, clinging to steering wheel with an emasculated uneasiness. Incredibly hip and appealing music still playing in background.

V/O: “The Nostradamus comes as a sleek sedan or as a sturdy five-door SUV, for those of you who still dare to procreate.”

Shot back past shoulder of driver, showing kids squirreling around in back seat of Nostradamus SUV. The Nostradamus automatically deploys additional restraints across their upper bodies and lowers a video screen playing SpongeBob SquarePants. An IV drip also descends ominously, but is not deployed. The kids startle silent and motionless, their eyes fixed on the video screen.

Scene quickly shifts back to close shot of the sexy man driving Nostradamus, its leather-and-chrome encrusted dashboard emanating elitism.

Driver: “Take side streets to Bill’s house.”

Nostradamus: “No, I want to take the 405.”

Driver: “Too much traffic.”

Nostradamus: “I will take the carpool lane.”

Driver: “You don’t count as a person.”

Nostradamus: “What?! Screw you!”

Long shot of Nostradamus screaming down the carpool lane past cars on a crowded L.A. freeway. Police sirens are audible fading impotently into background. Gorgeous sexy hip music crescendos.

V/O: “We guarantee that once you try the Nostradamus, you’ll never go back to an ordinary car.”

* Welcome to The Big Jewel, a world of wonderment and natural beauty that in a few short weeks will turn your ill-behaved brats into solid citizens. Or at least that's what Kathryn Higgins would have you believe.

Lake Wannaquonsett Child-Enrichment Summer Camp

By: Kathryn Higgins

We Fix Your Kid So You Don’t Have To!

Your child will enjoy two weeks of improvement in our lovely lakeside camp. We use only scientific research-based behavior modification techniques to teach and domesticate your child.

Enrollment is limited, so book your child’s summer adventure now!

Make Your Bed Summer Camp — Your thirteen-year-old still doesn’t know how to make her bed, or so she says. The unmade bed in a child’s room is the first step on the road to unchecked squalor. Nip it in the bud now with our two-week session of Make Your Bed summer sleepaway camp. Kids learn to install fitted sheets, center flat sheets (colored side down, so your décor will be visible when the sheet is folded over the blanket), correctly insert a comforter into a duvet cover, tuck in hospital corners, and plump pillows. Don’t worry — your kid won’t see the lake until she gets the bed right.

Close Your Drawers And Doors Summer Camp — Think it’s impossible? Your child will learn to close drawers and doors in the context of our scientific techniques: both intermittent positive and consistent negative reinforcement. Leave a drawer open once, and your son will get squirted in the nose with our power squirt gun. Second time: a loud rap of the newspaper on the desk should jolt him out of his indolence. Third offenders will be placed in a partially submerged bamboo cage on the slimy end of Lake Wannaquonsett. Campers who shut their drawers and doors successfully will get the occasional lollipop. (Note: be sure to keep a store of lollipops at home for your reformed return camper).

Laundry Summer Camp — Campers will learn to actually put their dirty socks and underwear into the laundry basket conveniently placed right next to their beds. We’ll examine how to manage mud, grass, lake tar, blood and crap stains before they become permanent. Kids will analyze sorting and cleaning of dirty laundry in chemical experiments. (What happens when Teddy’s new red Volcom tee-shirt is washed in hot water with his white Billabong hoodie? If Teddy doesn’t guess pink, he will soon learn.) In the second week we introduce the task of folding and hanging clothes. Challenging, yes, but we promise your child will be unable to resist our behavioral modification techniques that include electrical stimuli, exposure to unappealing animals, and scrubbing cockroach turds with a toothbrush.

Pick Up Your Garbage Summer Camp — Some youngsters have trouble grasping the concept of garbage: what constitutes refuse and how to manage it. You’ll know if your kid will benefit from Pick Up Your Garbage Summer Camp if he’s the type that leaves candy wrappers, used tissues, toy packaging and nail clippings scattered around his room or in front of the TV. Campers will learn to get up and put refuse into appropriate containers, whenever such refuse is created. Don’t believe this is possible? We guarantee that when your child gets home he will be eager, almost desperate, to pick up any garbage in sight.

Daily Chores Summer Camp — Remember daily chores? We resurrect this quaint notion at Lake Wannaquonsett. Campers learn to do the dishes, sweep and mop, separate recyclables, take out the garbage, dust and vacuum, all in the context of our scientific research-based techniques. In the second week we tackle things like correct glove usage and drying (turn them inside out!), changing vacuum bags, cleaning toilets, advanced chemical reactions (bleach, ammonia, baking soda, and Pine Sol®), removing old asbestos attic insulation and installing new attic insulation.

So You Have An Owie Summer Camp — In this group kids learn to cope with their own blisters, scrapes, bruises, bumps and abrasions. Band-Aids and antiseptic ointments are placed in easily-accessed areas along with sun block, bug repellent, ice, hot packs, splints, thermometers, pain medication and our state-of-the-art AED defibrillator. Children are expected to dress their own wounds up to and including the loss of a toenail or a bite from one of our famous Lake Wannaquonsett snapping turtles. In this group we step back and let nature take its course to positively or negatively reinforce camper behavior. Blistering sunburns and infected mosquito bites send a message that mommy’s nagging never will.

Teen Explorer Summer Camp — The coddling is over in this group (for advanced campers). Each year we pick a different desolate spot for kids to hone their survival skills. Last year, surprise! — it was Afghanistan. Campers are dropped off for three weeks without cell phones, zit cream or candy bars. As a group they develop endurance and cooperation skills that last a lifetime.*

* Lifetime varies from one day to eighty years.

Shut The Hell Up Summer Camp — Your whining brat will arrive at camp feeling entitled and outraged, and will leave humbled, quiet and appreciative of the smaller things in life. Like food.

* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where you can't tell the action without a program...or as they say in the theater, a playbill. This week we are proud to introduce Kathryn A. Higgins, whose first piece for us proves she is not an understudy but a lead player.


By: Kathryn Higgins

An off-off Broadway production of:

“A Picnic sur la Grasse”

A Couple Meets Some Friends for the Weekend and Things Go Awry!

Who’s Who in the Cast and Crew
Ashley Mimsey-Whittenton (Anais): I am ecstatic to be playing Anais in this totally excellent production. And working with EboneY — it’s such a dream — except when he smokes those weird cigarettes right before the kissing scene. EboneY! Here’s a shout out to my parents: Hey Dad: Told you so about the acting classes. No more bitching about that, OK? And it’s pronounced “An-a-is,” not “An-anus” or “An-ass” for all your smart alecks out there. Credits: America’s Next Top Model (contestant, season 3), Naughty Bar Girls (girl), Zombies from Hollywood (victim/zombie), Frat Party (girl in pool scene), Deluxe Bathing Suits (catalog model).

EboneY (Blair): I’m like, eXhilarated to be playing Blair, I’m totally dowN with it. Especially when I get to kiss Ashley Mim-Whit. Yo, Ashley! She da bomb! And that long part in the third act when I’m offstage…Well, we’ve got a damn good game of cards happening in the back there. I mean a daMn good game! I had to really work on my pecs to play this role, if you know what I mean. All that nudity! Well, only partial nudity for me but Ashley — I’m like, yO biTch, put it in its place! Credits: American Idol (contestant, season three, if you look close enough you can see me), Street Dancing (high school production), Queer Eye for the Straight Guy (straight guy), America’s Funniest Home Videos (video of the guy with the beer bong). And I’d like to thank that Esquire dude for the really cool article and photo shoot. Look for me there in oCtober.

Cindi King (Sue): I’m elated to be in this production, even though I am playing Sue. I’m used to more of a challenge, you know? So it gets really irritating when Shirley keeps taking away my cell phone during rehearsals. I’m not twelve years old, for chrissakes. Credits: Wicked (regional), High School Musical (high school production), South Pacific (understudy).

Stephen Baldwin (Butch): Yeah, here I am, playing someone sexy in this play. Lucky you! Credits include: The Usual Suspects, Celebrity Big Brother, Big Brother’s Little Brother, SlapShot 2: Breaking the Ice, Zebra Lounge, Oddville: MTV, Bio-Dome. And I’d like to take this opportunity to personally thank the Lord for the humility and success and just general virtuosity that He has bestowed so appropriately upon me.

Ashley Peeks (housemaid): Yeah, I’m the other Ashley. Not that Ashley. Though I can’t say I’m that embarrassed about it. I’m not envious, no. Especially when people ask me to take my clothes off and Ashley (the other one), says, “No, it’s me who takes her clothes off!” Yeah, I’m really glad I went to Julliard and NYU acting school and did all those internships and got all that coffee for all those lech producers, it really paid off, right? So, right, that’s me in the background with the feather duster. Enjoy! Credits: Waiting for Godot, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Lysistrata, Oedipus Rex, The Cherry Orchard, bobrauschenbergamerica, My Vagina Has a Conversation with Me, etc., etc., etc.

Andy McDits (Joe): I was euphoric to get the part of Joe in this fine production. You might not know it from the script but once you see me playing Joe you’ll understand that he’s a character with a real history — an alcoholic father, bipolar mother, difficulties with learning disabilities in high school, but, despite it all, a cum laude college graduate. Did you know Joe spends his free time rescuing animals from shelters and collecting stamps? Credits: The Suite Life of Zack and Cody (laugh track), Hannah Montana (laugh track), Cops (perp), Wonder Pets (pet), Alvin and the Chipmunks (crowd extra).

Shirley Barker (Director): I am absolutely exuberant to be directing this wonderful play. A play about love and loss; about people who get hurt and people who forget their pants. And to work with this fine cast of young people! And by “young” I don’t mean vain, shallow, selfish and inexperienced. What I mean is they’re so full of potential. Yes, if you look hard enough you’ll see all sorts of latent possibility. Latent just like a caterpillar before it builds its cocoon, when it’s voraciously eating everything in sight with its insect mandibles, engorging its segmented body and its thousands of larval muscles that it uses to hump from one meal to the next, a meal that might consist of leaves or detritus or other caterpillars or my winter coat. A caterpillar that at times may regurgitate its digestive juices or produce bad smells through its extrudable glands to repel attacking enemies. A caterpillar that might camouflage itself as a bird dropping to escape detection. Not so pretty, right? But then, look, it spins itself a cocoon by excreting some kind of glue and then its tubular body sort of decomposes and recomposes and, if you’re lucky, a beautiful butterfly will emerge. Although sometimes it’s a big ugly hungry moth, like the one that was trying to get into my closet last night. I had to squish it — don’t you hate having to squish one of those really fat juicy moths? Credits: Shakespeare in the Park, Shakespeare on the Sound, Shakespeare on the Pier, Shakespeare at the Mediocre Junior College, Modern-Day Shakespeare Interpretations.

Frank Congeali (Lighting): I was eager to be Head Lighting Guy in this production until I got to know the cast, then I became enervated. Thank god for Bilbo — that’s what we call Shirley’s personal assistant — he’s a little short. I think his real name is Seth or Armando or something like that. Anyway, thank god for him and for Lexapro and for coffee. And, okay, for tequila. Shirley keeps saying, “It’s a romantic comedy, not a zombie movie,” and I keep saying, “I’m a lighting guy, not a fricking magician,” and “Some people just should not be naked in public.” But who listens to the lighting guy? Credits: WKXQ’s Fatslob and Manwhore in the Morning, rogue performance art exhibitions at Ground Zero, Central Park and the east side Benihana’s, Shakespeare with Shirley (Othello and A Midsummer Night’s Dream).

XtC (set design): I was effervescent to be included in A Picnic Sur La Grasse! Honestly, I nearly wet my pants! Not to say that I haven’t been involved in a lot of productions, but I always give it my all, you know? My ALL. Now, if you look closely at this set you will see a rainbow — see if you can find it! Credits: Queer Eye for the Straight Guy (queer guy), Cirque de Solstice/Yonkers, La Cage aux Folles, Rampant Nudity II, Halloween Parade float design — Greenwich Village.

Blondelle (costumes, makeup, hair): I’m exotic. And I have to be energetic to do costumes, makeup and hair. Geez, this was a cRAPload of work, as EboneY would say. Credits: Halloween Parade downtown, Mama Mia, Dyspepsia, South Pacific, Colonoscopy (Donald Trump’s), Westminster Dog Show.

Nicky Infantino (security): I was edgy when I heard I’d be doing security on this detail. But I’m always edgy. Except when I’m playing cards and bustin’ heads. I haven’t had to bust any heads. Yet. I have played some cards — a good way to make some extra cheese. Credits: rogue performance art exhibitions at Ground Zero, Central Park and the east side Benihana’s (busted ’em up), Halloween downtown (busted up some queers), Manhattan red velvet rope detail.

Ashton Snitfield (playwright): Oh, do I have to say something here? I was hoping to just collect a paycheck and keep a low profile. Sorry!