Art & Activism That is Actually Funny

Zak Barnett Studios hosted an invite-only event last week celebrating the first-ever book of its kind LGBTQ Comedic Monologues That Are Actually Funny, out now from Hal Leonard Books Applause Theatre & Cinema Books. I MC’d as top-notch LGBTQ actors & their allies read monologues from the book.

The piece that I wrote, Sugar Coat It, was performed brilliantly by three-time Tony award nominee Kevin Chamberlin — which made me swoon. Wilson Cruz (My So-Called Life, Rent on Broadway), the Comedian Comedian Ant, Danielle Macdonald (The East, Every Little Thing, Daryl Stephens (Noah’s Arc), Jai Rodriguez (Queer Eye for a Straight Guy, Rent), Kiff Scholl (Reno 911, Criminal Minds), Emmy- and Grammy-winner Alisha Gaddis (also the editor of the book), and moi also performed.

Post performances, Zak Barnett (who I am honored to call an old friend) moderated a lovely, raw, and timely-all-over-again discussion about the import & intersection of art & activism. #loveislove

Pics courtesy of Lucianna Faraone Coccia and Wire Image.


Three-time Tony nominee Kevin Chamberlin


Monologue writers Leah Mann, Alisha Gaddis, Ilana Turner, Jamison Scala


Ilana Turner and Zak Barnett, Owner ZBS Studios

The Horror Just Outside the Frame

“The Horror Just Out of Frame” is about how my personal Horror story unwittingly became a part of our collective Horror story when “The Blair Witch Project” was shot in Burkittsville Union Cemetery, where my sister is buried literally just outside the frame.

I promise it’s poignant — yet funny! Thanks to FreakSugar for having me back. Happy Halloween!

The Horror Just Out of Frame

The Horror on Stage at Samuel French

Tomorrow I’ll be performing a new monologue I’ve penned, “The Horror Just Outside the Frame,” at Samuel French Bookshop’s 2nd Annual Halloween Monologue-a-Looza. This piece, written first as an essay, talks about how my personal Horror story unwittingly became a part of our collective Horror story when “The Blair Witch Project” was shot in Burkittsville Union Cemetery, where my sister is buried — literally just outside the frame.

The Samuel French Theatre and Film Bookshop is celebrating 65 years in Hollywood as the West Coast’s premier Theatre and Film Bookshop, and I’m honored to be performing there. Please come if you can, and click here for details.


Waxing funny with FREAK SUGAR

I talk figure skating & bringing the funny with FREAK SUGAR in support of  Comedic Monologues That Are Actually Funny, out now from Applause Books.


Funny Monologue Published in Funny Book (that you should buy)

Proud to have a monologue, “Sugar Coat It” included in the first-ever book of its kind, #LGBTQ COMEDIC MONOLOGUES THAT ARE ACTUALLY FUNNY, now available from Hal Leonard Books and Applause Theatre & Cinema Books. Scroll down for the scoop & click to order on Amazon#loveislove


The first-of-its-kind book, LGBTQ Comedic Monologues That Are Actually Funny, is out now from Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, part of the Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group. For many years, actors have bought anthologies of monologues to use for auditions, but LGBTQ Comedic Monologues That Are Actually Funny is the first and only book specifically tailored for actors auditioning for LGBTQ roles. 

Edited by Emmy- and Grammy-award winner Alisha Gaddis (Lishy Lou and Lucky Too), this hysterical, cutting-edge monologue book features works by LGBT writers and comics, and their allies, who have written and/or performed for Comedy Central, Backstage magazine, NBC, the Huffington Post, the Onion, Second City, E!, and many more. LGBTQ Comedic Monologues That Are Actually Funny (224 pages, $14.99) is the sixth book of monologues Gaddis has edited in the Applause Acting Series of Monologues That Are Actually Funny.

Taking Top Shelf Direction

I am incredibly grateful to have worked for three of the top 11 directors on this list of The 50 Best Commercial Directors in the World — and I’ve worked for one of them twice. Wow. Humbled. #luckyduck


Even Cow Shit Is Inspirational When David Lynch Directs It on FREAK SUGAR

Even Cow Shit is Inspirational When David Lynch Directs It



The Hush-Hush Perils of Small Boobs

The following article was originally written for Turner Broadcasting (2009), and is posted here as a writing sample.

The Hush-Hush Perils of Small Boobs

My Dad told me not to ice skate in backless leotards. He said that if I didn’t wear a bra, one day my boobs would sag. I scoffed. Like most female athletes, I was (and am) small-boobed. My 34A and me were shiny-happy, looking forward to a long life of halter tops and vintage Halston.

Well, every teenager lives in a bubble of some kind until one day it bursts like a cherry on prom night. My bubble was literally frozen, as it housed 300 square feet of Olympic ice. Eschewing the Je-m’appelle-Gypsy-Rose-Lee outfits figure skaters inexplicably wore, I took to the ice only in dance gear. My uniform: Pop! Six! Squish! seam-up-the-back Bob Fosse tights and the afore-mentioned, structurally unsound leotard, angsty black. My father’s advice was blithely ignored because he, a man, could not possibly know more about my breasts than I did. (To be clear, I was a teenager and he could not possibly know more about anything than I did.)

Fifteen years later, my mammaries are all alone in the moonlight, the star of their own low-rated, scientifically-sponsored Estrogen Channel dramedy. Hindsight’s a two-fold bitch. It seems that my Dad, with four daughters and two wives, knew nothing if not boobs and their inevitable downward mobility. The women in my family are blessed with many a perky feature, not one of which could be called “tit.” I’ve seen my beloved elders in the buff, and I can read the handwriting on the wall. (Actually, it’s a pictograph and it bears a striking resemblance to South Park’s Ms. Diane Choksondik.)

The second adolescent lesson I failed to learn was, understandably, in Physics. Despite my ability to harness the very laws of science and the universe to defy Earthly gravity or walk on (frozen) water, I failed to grasp their true power. Apparently, the tremendous torque and thrust of figure skating are violent enough to decimate any burgeoning bosom from the infrastructure out. One more Salchow and my chest would have looked like Bessy’s udders.

Now, chastened by time and a tailored wardrobe, the arrogance of my youth has come to haunt me. Betwixt genetics and athletics, I am doomed to spend tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow buttressed and cantilevered by a bra so technologically advanced it has been code-named Wonder. When I walk into a room I want to pick jaws up off the floor, not my tits.

Bartender for the Aughts

The following article was originally written for Turner Broadcasting (2009), and is posted here as a writing sample.

Bartender for the Aughts

Not so very long ago, a young man sat perched atop a craggy vinyl stool, pouring his broken heart out to the neighborhood bartender whilst pouring whiskey down his throat. Not so very far away, a young lady sat beneath a Lady Sunbeam hair dryer, dishing all about her boyfriend’s bedroom burn-up and her BFF’s affair with the boss. Bartenders and hairdressers were veritable vaults of a most valuable commodity: information. The good ones kept their traps shut.

I am the Bartender for the aughts, the Hairdresser of the digital age: I am a Pilates Trainer. My career started simply, as a quest to forge steel cores and open closed joints. Ten years on, it has grown into something quite unexpected and risqué, rather like a tea party-turned-Celebutante Ball. Pilates, it seems, opens more than ball-and-socket joints; it has the power to open hearts and minds like Sesame. Breathing (posterior-laterally, of course) with one’s feet in fuzzy straps eventually uncorks even the most well-bottled practitioner. Secrets are oft whispered to me before their rightful conferee. Skeletons, de-closeted, are passed down like battered third-gen Goyard steamer trunks.

This being Los Angeles, I’ve no doubt some of these hand-me-down bones could easily attract the Paparazzi vultures. I, however, am a good one and TMJ is a small price to pay for such open-hearted confession. Perhaps my position is really that of the post-modern Priest: a Therapist. In times of yore, we looked to religious officials for guidance and cochlear compassion; since Freud, we confide from the couch.

Though I am certified to realign a spine, I am in no way qualified to address the multitude of imbalances caused by a marriage/affair/divorce/burial/cancelled show. Yet, day after day, it is my advice clients seek: to call or not to call, whether ’tis nobler to suffer the slings and arrows of a tumultuous marriage or take up arms in the form of an expensive Beverly Hills lawyer, to quit: perchance to get a better network deal (ay, there’s the rub).

I give counsel as best I can, honored by the invite to such private parties. In the best of times, clients turn comrade and Pilates is quickly abandoned for cocktails. In the worst, I am left to ponder my own philosophical question: if I am an (unlicensed) Therapist in practice, am I insolent enough of office to double my rates?