Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Adam Lerman ->i<- Jessica Delfino

According to Wikipedia, Jessica Delfino is described as follows:

Jessica Delfino (born June 8, 1976 in Bridgeport, Connecticut) is a controversial singer, songwriter, and comedienne based in New York City. Her songs tend to ridicule taboos and typically include jokes about vaginas and other sexual or dark topics. In her act, she plays an assortment of instruments including guitar, flying V ukulele and a rape whistle. She is also an illustrator and attended Philadelphia's Art Institute, as well as the University of Maine. She has won numerous awards, including beating out Flight of the Conchords to win the Best Musical Act at the 2005 ECNY awards[1], and a 2005 Village Voice "Best of" Award[2], in which the Village Voice declared her to be "fall-off-your-chair hilarious." She has appeared on Good Morning America[3] as a finalist in a national comedy competition. She has also won many other competitions, some of them unusual, such as The Stoned Spelling Bee in Brooklyn, the Madagascar Institute's Catholic high school talent competition [4] and the Arlene's Grocery "Gong Show," which later became The Gong Show with Dave Attell on Comedy Central.[5]

Jessica Delfino and I met in the fall of 2007 performing on the same bill of Megan Schantz's "Hot Blood Cabaret". Since then, we've found great delight in existing as not-siblings to each other, I've impersonated a close friend of hers, found her friends to be personable, and nearly had a stint doing an actual Delfino impersonation in the 2009 NYC Art Parade.

Jessica has always thrived in compliment and controversy as a well of commentary and expression. I have always enjoyed her thoughts, her jokes, and her songs about bathing-suit-areas and the like. In the cool spring month of April 2010, I wrote to Ms. Delfino, my non-sister (see future musicomedikanza "The Thaddeus and Olivia Lerfino Family Hour"), with a page of questions and occasional replies to unsaid statements. I asked my dear Jessica to fill out the page by filling in the blanks. This is what I received:

ADAM LERMAN: Ms. Delfino.


AL: Thank you so much for joining me in this conversation.

JD: Well, you know how much I love joining things.

AL: How so?

JD: Well, for example, I was in girl scouts. Can you see how my shoulder is indented lightly from where the sash would rest?

AL: I can’t see it, but I like your outfit. You were recently featured in Time Out NY for Best Dressed. Who are you wearing? And why? How many ounces does the clothing weigh?

JD: I’m wearing a look I like to call “the cat’s me-YOWZA!” because if I were naked, I’d get arrested. I’m gonna take a stab and say, “7”.

AL: You are a woman in comedy. Are you a comedian, or a comedienne?

JD: I’m a satirical musician; a dirty dittitarian; a twisted minstrel.

AL: Was that silly question? A sort of antiquated, mid-century, glass-ceiling-type question?

JD: Answering this interview is like one of those box puzzles you find at yard sales with all the best pieces missing, you know the type.

AL: Haha, you’re right. But I’ve never really found one.

JD: (silence)

AL: Are there too many comedians? Is there something we can/should do about this?

JD: Yes, I think there are too many comedians, but it keeps us honest. Give more comedians jobs, you know; census takers and the like, then these comedians will become other things, reducing the over-all number of comedians.

AL: You write a lot of songs about female body parts, and fantasy animals, and Chinese people. Why not automechanics? Or the German countryside?

JD: Oh, I do! I write about Chinese, fantasy animals & automechanics female body parts!

But I definitely should write a song about the German countryside, and soon.

AL: When did you write your first vagina song?

JD: The day I discovered the magic within.

AL: Are you, or have you ever been, a cultural commentator? A communist? A socialist? A proctologist?

JD: I’m certainly a cultural commentator, and possibly also a communist, socialist or proctologist, depending on your definition of these words and who you ask.

AL: What is your favorite instrument in your collection?

JD: I love all my guitars, I have four of them. I also really love my flying V ukulele and my electronic autoharp, which is like a keyboard from the future that a witch in the woods would play. Don’t make me choose between my children.

AL: What is your favorite instrument outside your collection?

JD: The dulcimer.

AL: I’ve never heard of that. Does it smell? Does it sound like a dog? Or yellow?

JD: I don’t know much about it, I just like the name. I know it’s a member of the “zither” family.

AL: What keeps you motivated to continue your act? Or do you want to discontinue your act?

JD: I go back and forth on a daily basis. At this point, it is supporting my life and taking me on travels and adventures. It’s still fun. I’d like to push it as far as I can and see how far it will take me. When it stops being fun, I’ll probably do something else. I’d like to run a bed and breakfast someday.

AL: Is there a venue you’d love to play, that you have yet to?

JD: Madison Square Garden. The main rock stage at Coachella. A coffee shop on the Champs De Elysees.

AL: Finally, do you think that comedians are under-sexed, and if so, do you think a government bailout would help? Who would they send as a liaison?

JD: I think that male comedians are under-sexed at first, and that is why they start doing comedy. Like for example, Carrot Top. Comedy gets them at least evenly-sexed, and that’s why they stick with it. The sex keeps them in comedy! Women can get sex any time they want, even ugly women, so comedy doesn’t factor in. I think that guys are possibly even less attracted to a female comedian, because they have a tendency to be more brash and smart, less likely to tolerate baloney, more likely to talk about vaginas or other undesirable topics. I don’t understand part B of the question.

AL: Man, so true, though I’ve never heard of him. You are so smart. Do you want to get some coffee some time, and I’ll interview you or something? Um… wait… [exhales loudly].

* * *

Adam Lerman is an actor, writer, thinker and kinda tall. He lives in Brooklyn, NY with his two hats.

To follow the life and times of Ms. Delfino, please visit the following sites:

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Adam Lerman >-i-< Jessica Halliburton

On a crisp, December afternoon, proceeding a nauseating trip to Chip Shop in Brooklyn’s Cobble Hill neighborhood, fellow foodie Brian Hoffman and I took a walk across Brooklyn’s Municipal District onto and up Flatbush Avenue to visit famed grocer Bklyn Larder. My dear friend had heard about certain vegetable side-dishes that were much sought-after, and felt it was the perfect time for the hunt. Brian found himself empty-handed in his search for the much-publicized Pickled Cauliflower (but did go home with containers of brussel sprouts, marinated mushrooms and spinach), and meanwhile, I made a playdate with another friend and fellow-foodie, Larder-employee Jessica Halliburton.

Throughout the past four and a half years, the main focus of Jessica's work has been around food - talking about it, making it, writing about it, selling it, serving it and growing it.
Working as the food columnist for her college paper soon lead to an apprenticeship at a modern French restaurant in Northampton, MA where Jessica quickly garnered techniques in knife skills and kitchen banter. After moving to New York in 2007, she began working as a restaurant publicist, with clients ranging from corporate powerhouse BLT Steak to the New York classic Gotham Bar and Grill to Williamsburg's revered independent pizzeria, Motorino. As much fun as the free food and chef gossip was, the p.r. life was not inherently in Jessica's blood, so after a year and a half she packed her bags and spent the past summer season living and working on an organic vegetable farm in northern California. Harvesting beets and weeding fields in the sun provided a much better way to spend her days. With her life back in Brooklyn, Jessica is continuing her work in the local food movement at various urban farms while selling cheese and cured meats to Park Slope residents.

She is the owner of a number of t-shirts, pants and toothbrushes, and has, at any given hour, at least ten fingers and toes (an average of five of each). A regular breather, she can stand for up to 10 hours as long as she doesn’t sit down. Folklore has it that she is the first woman in history to say, “Hello my name is Jessica Halliburton and I work at Bklyn Larder 3-5 days a week, usually.”

That night, Jessica and I spent the evening talking about food, farming, music and the general art of living; from the politeness of alarm-clocks to the emotional sensitivities of squash, we had ourselves a real nice anthropomorphic conversation.

* * *

ADAM LERMAN: (Keeping his hands to himself) So, [you’ve said to me before] that you have certain particularities in regards to what you do and do not put into your body, in regards to health and nutrition?

JESSICA HALLIBURTON: That’s why I would never want to put anything artificial into my body, like hormones. The other day I was in Trader Joe’s and I saw these chocolate chip cookies and the majority of people, I’m sure, turn over the back and they see, “How much sugar is in it? How many carbs are in it?” and I wanted to see no more than six ingredients on the label. I was like, I want to see flour, sugar, eggs, maybe some butter, chocolate chips, no more than that. This was important to me before I went [to work on a] farm, but after I spent a summer working on [it] and literally feeling how amazing my digestive system was feeling, how it was acting—and I know that sounds like a strange thing, but you couldn’t help but notice how happy your body was. Really, really happy.

LERMAN: Wow. What was the diet? And where was the farm, and what was the farm?

HALLIBURTON: The farm was Green Fire Farm. And it was up in Humbolt County. (Laughs)

LERMAN: So it’s a lovely, very positive place.

HALLIBURTON: It’s a positive, marijuana-free farm. The land is in the middle of a valley so it gets really, really hot. Which is awesome, because in July and August, they can grow amazing, really hot weather crops, like squash and cucumbers and peppers and eggplant and tomatoes and basil and all of these crops that love a lot of heat. And what they could do, the farmers, they would be able to harvest it and go to their two farmers markets, which are on the coast, and the majority of the farmers at the farmers markets in Eureka and Arcada—you know the weather’s colder as you get closer to the beach—and so their little tiny zucchini would literally be half the size of ours!

LERMAN: Now you said squash—hot weather friendly. Yet also cold weather friendly? Because squash is a winter vegetable, is it not? What’s the deal?

HALLIBURTON: Yes, well—that’s a very good question.

LERMAN: (Pleased with himself for the compliment) For whom is squash playing? What are its political orientations? And if squash was a person, what kind of person would squash be?

HALLIBURTON: Squash is like The Royal Tenenbaums.

LERMAN: So who’s Gene Hackman?

HALLIBURTON: Oh man, Gene Hackman is a winter squash.

LERMAN: Is he, like, Butternut?

HALLIBURTON: Yeah, he’s like a Butternut, for sure. Or maybe even a kabocha squash.

LERMAN: Kabocha squash?

HALLIBURTON: Kabocha. I think it’s one of the best winter squashes ever. It’s really sweet, the only problem is it is really hard to hack into.

LERMAN: Do you need a power tool? I’ve seen people do that.

HALLIBURTON: (Laughs, because she really finds Adam pretty funny) You don’t need a power tool. I have seen people do that. But the thing is, is that there are so many different kinds of squash, and squash is just a fruit. I learned this over the summer: “vegetable” is not a botanical term.

LERMAN: Is it an emotional term?

HALLIBURTON: (Laughs again. Two points: Adam) “Vegetable” is basically an edible plant; an edible plant that maybe isn’t necessarily that sweet. It’s a way to distinguish from much sweeter fruits like plums and peaches and apples.

LERMAN: Because those are edible plants.

HALLIBURTON: Right, exactly. But, the thing that’s really interesting about fruits and vegetables is you get to find what part of the plant they’re from. Like, the broccoli is a floret. It’s right before the plant is about to flower. If you don’t harvest a broccoli flower, the term is, it will “go to seed.”

LERMAN: (Appalled) It will impregnate some person?!

HALLIBURTON: It wants to impregnate the soil. Every plant wants to spread its seed.

LERMAN: Would you call broccoli a pervert?

HALLIBURTON: I would call all plants big perverts. They’re very sexual.

LERMAN: (Clearly a bit turned on) Very sexual.

HALLIBURTON: (Smartly returning to the original topic at hand) But just so you’re clear with this on the squashes: if you have the much more thin-skinned squashes—your zucchini—

LERMAN: Yeah, don’t insult the zucchini.

HALLIBURTON: (Laughing) They’re very sensitive.

LERMAN: Actually, if you cook a zucchini in complete silence, you can hear it scream, like a lobster, right before it hits the hot oil.

HALLIBURTON: (Laughs just a bit more)

LERMAN: In the fall, when the summer and winter squashes meet, do they meet? Is there a meeting? And if so, are the thin-skinned squashes bullied?

HALLIBURTON: (Laughing, unsurprisingly) You know, at Green Fire [Farm], we actually kept them very separated. They were so separated; they were on a completely different property.

LERMAN: Do they know the other exist?

HALLIBURTON: They have to.

LERMAN: Why that farm? And then, what are your thoughts on current green market cultures in California and in New York, and specifically, the Greenmarket in Union Square?

HALLIBURTON: Well, there’s a great organization out there. The full name is World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farming, which I know you’ve heard of. So, my friend Roach and I decided—it was actually our New Years promise to each other. We had this really long beautiful dinner and she just kind of looked at me and she said, “You know I really want to work on an organic farm this summer,” because she’s a dancer and she wanted to learn what it was like to use her body in a different way, but still in a form of work. And the minute that she said that it was as if she had opened a door that was inside of me this whole time that I didn’t even know was there.

LERMAN: And then you experienced life in terms of the farmers’ economy. What did you then glean from that about how farmers’ markets work? And specifically in California?

HALLIBURTON: It’s funny. The way that farmers’ markets work in California is that, Number 1: There are more of them. Because the weather in California is so amazingly conducive to—I mean, it’s the country’s bread basket, is what my dad always called it.

LERMAN: Does your dad eat a lot of bread?

HALLIBURTON: My dad? My dad eats a lot, period.

LERMAN: Great.


LERMAN: But bread is included?

HALLIBURTON: Oh yeah, absolutely.

LERMAN: Are other states other baskets for him? Like is Idaho?

HALLIBURTON: His potato basket? Right. Exactly.

LERMAN: And is…

HALLIBURTON: Texas is the country’s….

LERMAN: Rib basket.

HALLIBURTON: And Florida is the country’s orange basket.

LERMAN: Connecticut is the country’s…

HALLIBURTON: Wasp basket.

LERMAN: Exactly. “I’m looking for a good sting!” “Head over to Connecticut.”

HALLIBURTON: Go to that basket, right.

LERMAN: “Welcome to Connecticut! We’ll let you know if you’re allergic to bees. Trial and error here!” And there are a lot of lawyers there, so there’ll be a lot of trials.

LERMAN: What do you think is American cuisine? What does that mean to you?

HALLIBURTON: I think a lot of people have been trying to answer that question, and I think that that’s why we have a really hard time connecting with our food.

LERMAN: What are American spices? Like, we know Indian spices. We can definitely say that. Chinese spices, yes. What are American spices? Salt? No, salt’s everywhere.

HALLIBURTON: You could get… um… fat drippings? Bacon grease?

LERMAN: Is there anything that grows in this country that doesn’t grow naturally, indigenously, anywhere else? Aside from a fascinating breed of greed?

HALLIBURTON: (Laughing, because as an American, she’s witnessed this… but she also knows it exists other places… which is scary, and could lead to nuclear war, or the disappearance of everyone with ample buttock) I think cranberries, actually.

LERMAN: Cranberries?

HALLIBURTON: Yes, I’m almost positive.

LERMAN: You don’t see cranberries other places…

HALLIBURTON: Peanut butter?

LERMAN: You see peanuts everywhere.

HALLIBURTON: I’m just kidding.

LERMAN: (Feeling like an idiot, because he didn’t realize she was kidding, which brought him back to a feeling of being picked on back in middle school.)

HALLIBURTON: I mean, we’re a peanut butter nation…

LERMAN: (Changing the subject) Where does your genealogy lead? What is your ethnic background?

HALLIBURTON: I’m embarrassed to say that I can’t answer that question very well. I do know that my grandfather’s parents have Russian lineage, but I don’t know anything about my dad’s side of the family… I don’t have a lot of contact with my dad’s side of the family, so I just don’t really know where that lineage leads me. So there’s a little Russian me, that’s all I know!

LERMAN: What are you listening to these days?

HALLIBURTON: I listen to a lot of folk.

LERMAN: A lot of folk?

HALLIBURTON: Yeah. I started making a wake-up playlist—

LERMAN: Folk music is so perfect to listen to in the morning.

HALLIBURTON: Yeah, it’s really nice. And I know that this may sound silly since I’m just realizing this now, but waking up to the sound of an alarm-clock is just a horrible way to begin your day.

LERMAN: (Remembering all the times his alarm scared him so abruptly he urinated a little bit in his clean sheets.) It is terrible. It’s really terrible.

HALLIBURTON: I was talking to my therapist on the phone, and I was just kind of mentioning this to her, and she kind of joked around with me, she goes, “Yeah, why would you want to literally alarm yourself the first thing when you wake up?” …So, waking up… not only does it motivate you to continue with whatever mood that music sets, but, chances are, if you’re going to make a playlist for yourself, you’re going to pick a song that already makes you feel good. Or a song that reminds you of someone that you love.

LERMAN: (Eyes perking up, because he would love to be loved, even by an alarm clock)

HALLIBURTON: I wake up to a Jeffrey Foucault song and it reminds me of the farm. And what a lovely image to start my day! As opposed to, well, I don’t know, it’s hard to gauge exactly what your first thoughts are every morning, because its kind of like an etch-a-sketch in your brain, and when you try to think about it just sort of shakes.

LERMAN: (Laughs, because etch-a-sketches are so silly) Ha, that’s a great way to think about it. (And it actually is. He shakes his head, and then gets a head-ache.)

* * *

Adam Lerman is an actor, writer, thinker and professional dog-confirmer (he confirms dogs exist, professionally). He lives in Brooklyn, NY, on the fifth floor of a building.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Here Is mY First Interview


AL: Hey dude, thanks for agreeing to this. So silly, right?

AL: My pleasure--you got me on my lunch break, so I'm down.

AL: Rock.

AL: Totally. Let's do it, yeah? How do we start?

AL: I'll just throw something random out there. You live in an apartment in New York City, home of the Yankees. A-Rod or Jeter?

AL: Um, I would say either both or neither. Depending on whether or not they're playing.

AL: I hear you.

AL: ...

AL: So, the New Year is coming up soon, 2010--got any resolutions?

AL: I'll do my best not to write '09 as the year when I fill out forms with sections for the month, day and year. I have bad habit of writing the last year for most of the next year. It always takes me a good 11 or 12 months to get used to writing the new one. Which has been a bit of a vicious circle-type problem for me. Last year my resolution was to call this decade the "aughts" instead of the "shoulda-coulda's". That's what I almost called the 90's, but I decided that I wasn't mature enough then to have the wherewithal to know whether or not I should have or could have done something different from what I was choosing to do. But in the shoul--I mean, the "aughts", I have been of a wise enough age to know whether or not something is worth doing. However, after calling them the "shoulda-coulda's" for the last few years, I've realized I've been getting really down on myself and living with a hefty load of remorse. Didn't really want to go into the 10's with that kind of emotional baggage. So yeah, while the "aughts" still has that tinge of regret, it is a little easier to just toss off, you know, and then look forward. What are we going to call the 10's? The teens? What about the "We'll-see-after-2012's"? You know... we just don't know what'll happen.

AL: Change is hard, eh?

AL: Yeah, most change tends to be small; coins for me, mostly. I tend to carry just a little cash in my wallet, mostly singles and a twenty or so. So I get a lot of change. I like the pants with the little change-slot above the right pocket, so when I do get change, it doesn't rattle all around, warning people I'm coming around the corner. I hate that. I wish people would be more surprised to see me coming around the corner. Sort of like personal entrance music. That way I'd have this perpetual atmosphere of surprise surrounding me, as if people would see me turn a corner and think, "Wow! He's here!" As if I were repeatedly defying people's expectations of my imminent mortality. You know? Like, every time they see me, they think, "Didn't know if he was going to make it, but since he is, I'm relieved and happy and my day will most likely go generally pretty darn well. Man! I sure am glad HE'S just arrived." And then from there who knows where things might go! It'd get pretty sweet, you know, like I could get asked out on a date, or be offered a small box of imported Belgian truffles (the chocolate kind, not the fancy root hunted by pigs), or, you know, just a really solid high-five. Since they're so happy to see me.

But yeah, I dig coins. Change is hard, but it gets your laundry done, you know?

AL: ...

AL: ...?

AL: ...

AL: ...

AL: Hm. You sleep, yeah?

AL: I mean, I've been doing a lot of reading, but yeah, I guess.

AL: And is it true you've been seeing someone?

AL: I've been seeing a lot of people lately. It's a pretty populated city. I live right over an entrance to a subway, so I see a pretty good amount of people every day. Plus, my job forces me to go to work, so that helps get people in my line of sight as well. Kind of nuts, yeah?

AL: [Laughing] Yeah, like Macadamia!

AL: [Laughing as well, but not sure why] Hehe, what?

AL: Macadamia nuts--you said kind of--

AL: [Interrupting, no longer laughing] Oh, I got it. Yeah. Macadamia nuts. Yeah.

AL: Yeah.

AL: Yeah.

AL: Well, this was awesome. Thanks so much, and good luck with whatever is next!

AL: Finishing my lunch break in peace and silence?

AL: ...

AL: ...

AL: Yeah, I guess so. Thanks!

AL: You're welcome. [Whispering something unintelligible under his breath]

AL: What's that?

AL: I said "chuckin' brick." I was thinking of working out later and throwing some mortar. Some cement, some bricks. Chucking Brick. It's an antiquated form of exercise, but it does the job. Really into antiquated exercise right now. Really into it. Antiquated exercise.

AL: Alright...

AL: Cool. Peace.

* * *

Adam Lerman is an actor, writer, thinker and personal-chef-to-himself. He lives in New York City. His subject, Adam Lerman, is also an actor, writer, thinker and personal-chef-to-himself. He also lives in New York City. Unlike at the end of this interview, he usually gets along with himself.