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Almost, Maine and Magic?

I cried on Monday. It was pretty great.

If you saw my post last week, then you know I produced and acted in Almost, Maine by John Cariani at the TBG Studio Theatre on the 10th! And it was exactly every actor/producer's dream. A big, responsive audience! A smooth show! And we raised $762 for the ACLU!!

But more than that, I'm so proud and grateful for the people I had doing the show with me, and I just want to take the time here to talk about how dedicated, thoughtful, and thorough they all were for this project. My director, Charlotte Grady, 100% made this show what it is. I may have handled the logistics, but she thought of so many things that go into putting on a show that I never considered, and without her, I don't even want to think about what it would've looked like. Speaking of the look, Ana-Sofia Meneses is a brilliant costume designer. At our very first meeting, she came in with several lookboards of ideas of what the characters and ensemble should look like, from the Norman Rockwell-ian to the idea of us all being seen through a frosted pane of glass like you would find in northern Maine, with pops of strawberry red for love. And, of course, the look wouldn't have been complete without Shannon Kavanaugh who has an eye not just for beautiful painting, but also making sure everything is cohesive and on-theme. Plus, when we got to the show date, she was happy to do whatever needed to be done backstage just to make sure the show went off without a hitch. And, of course, absolutely nothing on stage could've happened without the technical help of Claire Fishman. When we were in college together, I was part of a meeting where I saw several directors fighting over who got to have her as the stage manager for their show. And now I got to have her in mine! (And, I have to say, I'm exceptionally proud that we were able to come together as easily as we did and be an all-female production team.)

And then, of course, there's our brilliant cast. There were eighteen of us, so I don't have the space to talk about each one of them individually. But suffice it to say that they brought this play that I love so much to life, and they were totally willing to jump in, heart and soul, and give their time, energy, and thoughtfulness to this production, and I'm just so over the top proud and honored.

Valeria Avina
Arielle Beth
Adrian Burke
Jon Butts
Noah Chen
Dan DeCarlo
Therese Dizon
Raul Hernandez
Daniel Kemper
Corrie Legge
Chanelle McCoy
Uki Pavlovic
Rahmell Peebles
Marjay Smith
Chance Wall
Jenny Ward
Patryce Williams
Hannah Yi

And now, after this, it's on to the next show... which is literally this Wednesday.

It's called Magic? and it's a one-act told entirely in rhyme! The director and co-writer, Chris Erlendson, compared it to the way Shakespeare's works are written. And I promptly teased him for comparing himself to Shakespeare. The other co-writer is Yaakov Bressler, and Hannah Yi is gonna be acting with me in this, too!

But actually though, it's a clever, funny, sweet show. I'm psyched to be a part of it. I have my own theme music. It's that cool. And, for a variety of reasons, we had to pull it together in about two and a half weeks. But guys, I swear to god, we're doing it. Come out to Dixon Place this Wednesday at 7:30. It's gonna be incredible. (See how that's a link? It's a link to where you can buy tickets online!)

"But Emma, I'm a visual learner, how do I KNOW it's gonna be-"

VOILA! A promo video. Now you can be absolutely certain it's worth seeing.

Almost Maine and Being American - "The sentimental person thinks things will last - the romantic person has a desperate confidence they won't." - F. Scott Fitzgerald

I've been thinking a lot about what it is to be an American lately. On one hand, yikes. On the other hand, maybe I've just watched too much Aaron Sorkin, but I so deeply believe in what America can be.

(I know, I made a post like this at the beginning of July. Bear with me. It ends up differently, I promise!)

Beyond ridiculous, it would be foolish, ignorant, and pointless to ignore the atrocities that the United States has committed. We are definitely the country of modern day mass incarceration and an incredibly racist "war on drugs." The Japanese internment camps. Sandy Hook. The genocide of the Native Americans. The fact that we're built on the back of slavery. The whitewashing of Asian narratives like Ghost in the Shell and Death Note. And how I literally just got the NY Times notification that the Republicans changed Senate rules to block a filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee, despite having blocked President Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland.

We're just also a country that's full of people who are trying to do better. For all that we're a country of civil rights abuses, we're also a country of people protesting them and really believing they can change. We're the country of Alexander Hamilton and Lin-Manuel Miranda. We're the country of the American Dream, which never quite seems to die since we all do keep feeling hope for the future; eight and a half years ago, Barack Obama won the presidency because he tapped into that. We're the first responders who ran into the Twin Towers as they were burning to save as many people as they could.

It might be more accurate to say that I believe in the idea of America more than the reality of America. Because, like I said before, yikes. I don't even want to go into the current administration and how terrible everything surrounding it is.

I just think that the idea of America is something beautiful and worth striving towards, and I see that we do on a regular basis.

In that vein is why I'm producing a staged reading of Almost, Maine by John Cariani this Monday!

(See? I told you this would be different from my annual post around the Fourth of July!)

Almost, Maine is a play about everyday people in this average small town dealing with love and the human condition. What my brilliant director, Charlotte Grady, and I have done is assemble as diverse a cast with people of as many different skin colors, nationalities, and religions as we could. Because, despite our backgrounds and how we look, we're all Americans, and we're far more alike than we are different.

Which is, I think, the whole point.

Also, all the money we raise is going to go to the ACLU. Because they are just such a huge part of the solution.

If you're interested in seeing it, you should get your tickets now! They're on sale at almostmainetbg.brownpapertickets.com. (I'm also acting in it, if that helps!)

There's also an option there if you can't make it but just want to donate to the ACLU through us.

Because we're not in a great place right now. But I genuinely do believe that we can do better.

"Come on brain, think of things." - Lin-Manuel Miranda

I'm gonna be honest with you guys. I have no idea what to write about today.

There's the ever-relevant topic of politics, but that's already been talked to death, and I don't know what I could say to make people more politically active other than "do it". So that's pretty boring.

I've been thinking a lot lately as I organize a fundraiser staged reading of Almost Maine for the ACLU about how hard it is to do things and how many details there are to something that seems like it would be simple. But I've already written about discipline, and beyond that it's just kind of complaining about the hard work it takes to do something that I love.

I just finished a new short film called Lesbihonest, and I don't know that I'm allowed to post it online for everyone to see. I've been submitting it to contests and festivals, and I know that sometimes there are rules about not publishing your entries before they screen there or are rejected. But there's nothing interesting to anybody else about me posting on Instagram about having to look up rules and regulations.

Valentine's Day was this week, and since I'm single, I spent it mostly reveling in self-love and love for my friends. I used things that made my face all soft and pretty, and I ate chocolate, and got myself a smoothie, and went through Insta liking my friends' couple photos. But nothing, like, special happened.

I dunno, guys. I think it's just interesting how you can do a ton of things over the course of a week, and when someone asks what you've been up to, the answer has to be "nothing." Like when we actors post a regular selfie on social media with the caption "Super excited for projects in the works!" because we're not allowed to post anything more concrete, or our content isn't social media-ready yet. We want to share how hard we've been working and we want validation for all the little things we've done, but we don't have anything real to share yet.

The real MVP of that is Lin-Manuel Miranda. He spent seven years writing Hamilton. Damn.

So, in conclusion for this post, I want to be super clear. I was grasping at straws. I couldn't think of a single real topic for this week. And I still humble-bragged about my production of Almost Maine and Lesbihonest, along with comparing myself to Lin-Manuel Miranda. The self-love thing on Valentine's Day clearly worked.

I hope you all have had a productive week, even if you also can't figure out anything to really say about it!

Politics and Peru - "South America! It's like America, but SOUTH!" - Up (2009)

I wrote out this whole long political post. I had been working on it for a while. And then I hit the wrong series of buttons on my keyboard, and it all deleted.

Which is okay, really. I haven't posted in a month, but I think you can all guess generally what my post was about if it was political. And frankly, I don't have anything new to say. It was mostly going to be an advocacy for using logic, even when it doesn't benefit the immediate point we're trying to make, because if we can't be simultaneously filled with humanity and logic, then our beliefs are based on nothing. (I don't know about your Facebook feeds, but I've noticed that a lot of the people using #notmypresident are the same ones who were pissed when President Elect Trump said "your president" during the debates about President Obama. Saying that President Elect Trump, who won based on rules that we agreed to beforehand, isn't our president is a glaringly obvious double standard.) So really, most of what my post was can be summed up with the Your Logical Fallacy Is website. (See also: Logical Fallacy Referee!)

So I guess I'll just do a quick catch up here from the past month instead! I meant to tell you guys at the end of October that I wouldn't be posting for a couple of weeks, but, if you read my last post, you'll understand why I was distracted.

The reason I knew in advance I wouldn't be posting for a couple of weeks, though, is that I went to Peru! BOOM! Surprises everywhere! I know, I know, I had just been to London. But I always wanted to see Machu Picchu. So I did.

I really like ruins, you guys.

I really like ruins, you guys.

I've also moved over the course of the past month! Still in Manhattan, but now I'm in a new apartment in a new neighborhood. That involved having to go through all the stuff in my childhood bedroom and throw out/donate almost all of it, but the discussion about dealing with that is a post for another day.

I also went up to Boston to shoot the indie feature Tales From Shakespeare!

You should check out that Tales From Shakespeare link to see why I'm such an angry bride. Just sayin'.

You should check out that Tales From Shakespeare link to see why I'm such an angry bride. Just sayin'.

In addition to shooting, Ingot to visit with friends I haven't seen in a while, and see my old college campus, and it lowkey highkey ripped my heart out. But, like, in a good way.

It feels weird to think about things that I'm doing instead of freaking out about how an anti-Semitic man who thinks that only property owners should vote is going to be the new chief strategist. Has anyone else noticed that? You'll be in the middle of something totally unrelated, and then you remember that we've elected someone supremely unqualified to the highest office in our country, and you wonder what the hell you're doing?

But also, life goes on, and we have to go on with it. I have to pay rent on this new apartment, after all. Keep calling your congresspeople. Keep protesting. Keep researching all of President Elect Trump's cabinet picks. But a month into it, this is the time to go to work. In every sense of the phrase.

California Dreamin'

You may have noticed that I'm a primarily film and TV actress living in a theater town.

So I'm considering the move to LA.

On one hand, it terrifies me. I'm a native New Yorker. Being a part of this city is a part of who I am as a person. And what if I go out to LA, and I can't gain any traction there? There are so many actors out in LA, what's going to make me stand out? I'm going to spend all of this time and money moving, possibly jeopardize the relationships I've already built here in New York by not being here, and what if nothing even comes of it? It'll be such a colossal waste of time.

But I also keep hearing that I should follow the fear. That if I'm scared of something, that just means that it's the next great thing.

Moving to LA also doesn't mean that I can't come back to New York. Being bicoastal is definitely a thing. And I can start meeting bicoastal CDs and agents/managers now, so I'm prepared to be able to fly back and forth whenever I need to, or at least send video auditions on a regular basis, and I'll have the support system to give me the opportunities to do those in the first place.

If I do move, it'd be in late April, or early/mid May. If I tried to move now, it'd be too late to know anyone well enough for pilot season 2017, and I don't want to throw away a perfectly good pilot season here in New York. And then, if I'm going to be here that long, I also want to be here for the Tribeca Film Festival next year.

This isn't an announcement or anything. Just something I'm really, strongly considering.

After all, I know I have to go out there eventually. It may as well be now. Or at least soon.

Is it Bragging if I'm Really Just Proud of Myself?

I was going to write a post about talking with people when you don't really have anything to say, but as I got into it, I quickly realized I didn't actually have all that much to say on the topic. ~Irony~

But there are a few quick announcements I want to throw out there for my Thursday post! Turns out, people think I'm a good actress, and they like casting me in things, and that's been especially true over the past couple of weeks.

First, I was cast in an NYU short called Ideal Versions of Us. In fact, I was cast in that, shot it, and, because it was shot in a three camera studio, the director finished with post incredibly quickly, so I already have it back! Here's the thing:

Second, the same day I was cast in Ideal Versions of Us, I was also cast in a short for the International Film School of New York called Acceptance, and I shot it the next week! I don't have that back yet, but I'll put it up as soon as I do.

Finally, remember how I mentioned last week that I had "rocked an audition earlier today"? The director agreed with me about that, and I've been cast in yet another short this summer called Burnout. That one is filled with all kinds of special effects, so believe you me, you are going to see plenty of pictures and things from it when we start shooting on Saturday.

Who says the summer is slow?

Live from New York, it's Saturday Night Weekend Update! - "You thought I was gone, didn't you?" - Amy Poehler as Hillary Clinton, SNL 2008

D'ya think Lorne Michaels is gonna sue me for using his thing? I mean, I don't think he would. It's such a famous phrase that once I thought of it, I couldn't think of anything else. And it does technically describe what I'm doing, so I'm technically in the right. Right?

You're all getting a rare Saturday update because I've been getting so much footage in from so many interesting, beautiful, and emotionally spot-on short films I've done that I just couldn't wait to share it!

First and foremost is the short I made inspired by the Studio 360 It's a Wonderful Short contest: "The Subscription". It's sweet, funny, and intense, all while being 30 seconds long! Anyone who knows me and how much of a not-so-secret romantic I am can absolutely believe I made this movie.

Written and Directed by Emma Lieberman Director of Photography: Thaddeus Bouska Production Sound Mixer: Julian Seltzer CAST Becca - Emma Lieberman Rachel - Amanda Jane Stern Thomas - Jesse Boone

Secondly is a film called "Arranged". My Jewish identity is very important to me, but this film is an exploration into how far I would let that take me. I'm also not wearing any makeup at all in it, which I'm pretty sure basically makes me Scarlett Johansson. I'm fairly certain that's how that works.

And finally, I present to you "Trapped"! I genuinely wasn't sure whether to call this a drama or a comedy, and that makes it one of my favorite kinds of films.

Right? They're pretty intense.

I was also in a sketch show with The Mailroom NYC at The PIT earlier this month! There isn't video of that (yet) though, so I don't have fancy proof. You'll just have to trust me that it happened and was hilarious. But don't worry. I'm pretty trustworthy.

Next up as of now is another screenplay I'm working on! Still untitled (god, titling things is the worst) about a couple of young lawyers having to work together towards what they both know is an impossible goal. Looking to shoot towards the beginning of 2016, so be sure to look out for that soon!

Tribeca Film Festival 2015 Crew Member!!

Oh hey, so you know what I didn't tell you guys?

!!!!!!!!!!

True, I'm not in a film that will be screening there or anything. But I'm so psyched just to be working there, to be surrounded by other filmmakers, and to get to see some of the great indie films of this year at their premieres! Or at least be working around their premieres, and then watch them during crew screenings later!

This is the best kind of microblogging post.

Microblogging - "Brevity is the soul of wit." - Oscar Wilde

I read an article on Backstage about how actors should be "microblogging." The idea is that I would be posting a whole bunch of two or three sentence blogs about the things that I'm doing, with links to their websites. Posts like...

Come see me this weekend at Columbia University's BET Ensemble showcase "HEAR ME!: 10 Minute Play Festival Featuring the Columbia/Barnard Poetry Slam Team"! Tickets are on sale for Friday and Saturday. Hope to see you there!

(Fun fact: You should come see me this weekend at Columbia University's BET Ensemble Showcase "! Tickets are on sale for Friday and Saturday. I hope I'll see you there!)

(Fun fact number 2: I'm definitely going to do a microblog post of exactly that after I've finished writing this post, in case someone comes over but doesn't want to read this much longer post. So if you see it twice, you're not crazy. It's just that I am.)

The argument for more "micro" blog posts is that they're good for people who just want a quick update of what I'm up to, I can post more of them without looking obnoxious for throwing blog post content at everyone all of the time, they're good for people who aren't willing to read my longer essays about the industry or analyses things, and they help increase my search engine optimization (SEO) so this website is the first thing that comes up when someone searches my name. (Fun fact number 3: When I first created this website, if you searched my name, you had to scroll through several pages of Google results before it would come up.)

But for all of those very rational and legitimate reasons to microblog, it hurts my Creative Writing major's heart. There's no art to microblogging! I like writing longer posts because it can show more of who I am as a person, I can actually use my writing style and training, and it's just more personal - longer blog posts are not something a machine could churn out, but anything can post a link and type "check it out!"

So I'm going to ignore the people who say that you can't have it all in this as well as the rest of my life, and I'm just going to do both kinds of blogs. Because as helpful as microblogs can clearly be, I fail to see what the point of having a blog is if I can't passionately express my love for all kinds of media on it every so often.

Alternatively phrased: I fail to see what the point of having a blog is if I can't find myself incoherent and start writing anyway.

Finally, on a totally unrelated note, happy Purim! In light of that...

Recipe of the Week: Lazy Hamentaschen

Fun Fact (number 4, I guess): For all that it is a specifically Jewish holiday coming from one of our holy books, God's name is not mentioned once in the Book of Esther. (Source)

#TheDress #whiteandgold #blueandblack

I had a wrap-up post about the Oscars planned. But I wanted to make sure I really thought through my opinions on things like Patricia Arquette's speech, the prevalence of suicide mentions throughout the ceremony, the ceremony itself, and the winners.

And by the time I finished doing that, the internet had moved on, and any such post would've been utterly irrelevant.

By this point, you've probably heard about The Dress, but in case you haven't been online in the last 12 hours, it's about whether this dress is white and gold or blue and black.

(For the record, I can see both. Suck it, losers who can only see it one way.)

Almost everyone on almost every social media feed I follow has been talking about it, or at least has put in their opinion as to what colors the dress is. And I know a lot of people who have gotten angry at how much everyone seems to care about it when there are, admittedly, many things of far greater importance in the world.

I've also seen people who are angry at how shallow an "issue" this is. Which isn't inaccurate. At least with, say, last year's ice bucket challenge, money was being raised for ALS research. But this is just people having heated arguments over perception.

But, to be honest, I kind of like it. I don't mind small, shallow things sweeping through social media quickly and then vanishing as this undoubtedly will in a few days. I'd far rather we think so little about something as inconsequential as this - a matter which is easy to discuss, simple to form an opinion about, and good for connecting with people - than think equally little about issues of actual importance.

I like memes because they give us a shared cultural experience that we don't have to worry about rushing or under-thinking. And we can then put more thought into things that actually matter.

I am working on a short film now. It's about millennials, sexism, and what it means to be a professional in the modern world where everything about everyone's life is scrutinized and the news can change in an instant. It's something I've had to put a lot of thought into, and every time I have friends read the script, the feedback I get this most is to "go deeper." And I love it. It doesn't have to get published right away - in fact, it won't come out for a while, considering how I'm still in the writing stages - so I can state a fully formed opinion, one that I have truly thought through and considered from every side.

And you know, people still go to the movies. People are still interested in points of view that have been deeply considered every bit as much as they are in #TheDress. After all, everyone had an opinion on the Oscars, too. You have to have seen at least one or two movies over the course of the year to care about the awards that much.

Maybe I'm just being an silly optimist. But I'd much rather be an optimist than be legitimately angry over people talking about a dress.

Recipe of the Post: Chicken Marsala

Life Hack: Put a bit of colored tape on the top of all of your USB wires - that way, you'll never try to plug one into your computer while upside-down again!

Golden Globes 2015 Wrap Up - "I can't believe I f@!%ing won," Kevin Spacey, The 72nd Annual Golden Globes

Firstly, some website housekeeping stuff: I updated my Actress Page! You should wander over there, especially if you want to see some of the things I've been in most recently! It looks pretty good, if I do say so myself.

As for the Golden Globes...

Gosh, I didn't do so well for myself last night, huh? I only went 10/25! Although, in all fairness, we did get to see our favorite stars at varying levels of drunk while beautiful, Kevin Spacey finally got a Golden Globe, and Benedict Cumberbatch photobombed Meryl Streep and Margaret Cho, so I'm pretty sure, to a certain extent, we all did well enough for ourselves last night.

Besides, in my own defense, some of those that I missed were real surprises to everybody! And even Variety agrees with me on at least a few of them, so I figure I'm not doing too badly.

My original idea here was to write a breakdown, award by award, of why they won and what I think, but then it occurred to me that there is literally not enough time in the world for me to say everything I think and feel about movies and television. Even just these few movies and TV shows.

Besides, I'm listening to the (Golden Globe winning!) The Theory of Everything soundtrack as I'm writing this, and it's mildly breaking my heart and stomping all over it. In the best way possible, of course! But my soul is also crying with how beautiful it is.

That being said, it was certainly a big night for Amazon, huh? Winning their first ever Golden Globe gives them a Netflix-style legitimacy that they just haven't had before with their original series. Obviously, Transparent deserves it, but it's not something the overall corporation has had. And if this level of quality holds for Amazon as well as Netflix, it bodes well for other web-produced studio content. (Like, for instance, season 6 of Community as produced via Yahoo!) It also shows a clear shift towards studio/corporate level productions for the web, meaning that they are finally following where the consumers have long gone... although what that means for television overall, I still can't say I'm sure.

Also, what a surprise that The Grand Budapest Hotel beat out Birdman for Best Comedy! I still don't think Birdman exactly qualifies as a comedy - I still consider that it was just put there so it could have the chance to win an award of its own, since nothing ever had a shot of beating Boyhood for Best Drama - but that it was beaten there, too! I don't think it'll be repeated come the Oscars, as the Oscars just has Best Picture overall, but it was, for me, the biggest surprise of the night!

I'm starting to write the epic length novel I really didn't mean to do about all of this, so I guess I'm just going to have to cut myself off and stop here with my awards discussion before I really do write a breakdown of every single film and TV show and how it did!

Until the Oscars come around, of course! Then we get to do this all over again.

"Grew up in a town that is famous as a place of movie scenes..." - Empire State of Mind (Part II), Alicia Keys

Okay everyone, I promised I have some Big News last night...

Just a few days ago, I moved to NEW YORK CITY!!

I am still a Northeastern US based actress - in fact, I'll be going back up to Boston this weekend to work! And I'm still happy to travel anywhere I can get via bus, train, or plane (which, considering how this is New York, is pretty much anywhere.)

But I now full-time reside in Manhattan, and I couldn't be happier.

Don't misunderstand me - I love Boston! I think it's an amazing city.

I'm originally from New York, though. I am a New Yorker in my blood. And I can't wait to dig in to the city and start working here. After all, if I can make it here, I can make it anywhere!

Oh god, I can't believe I just said that. It's easily one of the corniest things I've ever said, and I'm a deep lover of puns. I say corny stuff all the time. I'm so sorry.

Not sorry that I moved back to New York, though! I can't wait to get into all the opportunities available to me here and make the most of them!