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Welcome to the site! You are here because you are interested in the comic actor Jennifer Lanier or you took a wrong turn on your way to reading about Jennifer Lopez or Bob Lanier.

Now that you are here, check out the site. Later there will be information about booking our hero for stand up sets, emcee action, or for one of her solo comedy full length shows.

Jennifer Lanier is a classically trained big brown lesbian actor who stumbled into an improvisation class and was changed forever. After having the opportunity to work with Robert Moyer and Paul Sills, original directors of Second City, Jennifer started creating solo projects that leaned heavily on the funny. One result, NONE OF THE ABOVE, is an award-winning show that has been seen all over the US and Canada. She is currently acting and doing stand up comedy in the Pacific Northwest where she lives with her wife, two sons, dog, 2 cats, & an anorexic tortoise.

Buy Me a Coffee 

Sometimes I don’t have anything particularly inspiring to say. Just that I hope y’all are okay. My family is doing what it can right now. We are trying to keep our heads above water but I am the only financial support and my work all dried up. We are hoping that one job will come back but I will believe it when I see it. Until then, my mother-in-law is keeping us fed and in toilet paper. I did find a cool way to get a little extra. It’s called “Buy Me a Coffee”. Here’s the link: 

https://www.buymeacoffee.com/JenLanier 

You click it and you can do what you would do if we were together right now instead of in quarantine: you would buy me a coffee. If you want to do that, cool. If you want to share this site with other artist friends, please do! I hope many folks can utilize this to help them out in this wacky time.  

Until next time, stay safe, stay home. Read something funny. 

Working from home: an adventure 

My friend, Chris Murphy, shared some thoughts about working from home. I added a few of my own. Hope these are useful to y’all.

1) Create a schedule and try to stick to it as much as possible. That sounds pretty basic, but it is vital. Creating a daily triage always makes me more productive and feel accomplished at the end of the day. However, family dance parties are legit schedule breakers!

2) Do not work in the same space that you sleep. If you live in a small studio apartment, that can be difficult… but do what you can to separate your work space(s) from your sleep space.  Note that pets rarely follow this rule as everywhere in the house is a sleep-&-work space.

3) Work at keeping your home clean. A messy and cluttered room slowly saps my energy and fills me with a slight sense of tension that can have severe ramifications part way through the day. So do your best to do a 15-30 minute power clean first thing in the morning when you wake up (or before you go to bed if that’s your thing.) I will literally set a timer on the microwave each morning and clean stuff as fast as I can.  This will keep you from considering homocide when the kids “forgot” to clean the kitchen the night before.

4) Open windows and get in some natural light and fresh air.  Take the dog outside yourself this time!

5) Take a shower in the morning and get dressed like you would be going out. This is so so so important. I know everyone jokes about working from home in your pajamas and not showering all day. HAHAHA… so funny, it’s the best… yeah, I get it. BUT, that wears off REALLY REALLY quickly. You work from home now, take it serious. Showering and getting dressed does this weird mental shift in your brain which tells your mind and body it is ready for work. You will be more productive, and more importantly you will feel better.  When the cat sniffs you and does that weird-smell-cat-face, you know it’s been too long.

6) Get your emotions in check. If you’re like me and you need to be around people… working from home can get really lonely and leave you feeling weird. Feel the feelings, that is fine… but, don’t let your feelings make decisions for you. Drink water. Stretch your legs. Put on music. Go for a walk. Depression hits at random times when you are extroverted and work from home.  Remember they are your spouse/partner/child/UberEats driver and NOT the enemy.

7) Sit at a table more often then you sit on your couch or a comfy chair… your body will thank you for it, plus… the moments you decide to reward yourself by sitting on the couch with your laptop for an hour or so, will feel so much better.  The dog will disagree. Do not listen. The dog is compelling. DO NOT LIS...and we’re on the couch.

8) Mute conversations on Facebook messenger. SLACK however can save your life! Check it out

9) Stop checking your email all day (unless you have to). If possible set times for when you deal with your emails.  You don’t OWN me!

10) Instrumental music is your friend. YouTube has some great coffee house music mixes which is really awesome for background noise.  All Classical 89.9 is my jam!

11) If you are hopping on Zoom meetings, give yourself 5 minute buffers to join the room. With so many people working from home, Zoom and other conferencing tools are being a lot slower than normal. Expect it to happen.  Remember: they aren’t trying to mess up your day. Their dog HAD to go out NOW!
 

Remember: stay home, stay safe, love each other!

This is NOT us 

I was heading into a grocery store and I saw a young woman come running out with a small bunch of groceries in her arms. The clerk was running after her and a passerby grabbed her and stopped her, hollering, “get a job!”  

The young woman let go of the groceries, grabbed her bike to takeoff. She said “I’m just hungry y’all.” I turned to the clerk as he was walking back in the store with the groceries and asked “can I just buy those please and give them to her? I’ll pay for it don’t worry about it.” He said , “It’s too late for that. She steals. It’s not worth your time.”  

I went over to the young woman and said “I’m sorry I don’t have any cash on me. Do you have any where I can shoot some money to you?” She said “no it’s OK I’m just hungry.” I said “Cool. I’ll buy you some stuff and bring it to you.” She looked at me and said “I’m OK.” And she got on the bike and took off.  

What are we becoming? “Get a job!” Really?! I have three jobs and no work. I don’t see myself stealing. Yet. But really, what kind of people are we becoming?

Love in the Time of Corona 

There are approximately 160,000 actors in the United States. At any given time, roughly 1% are working. That is less than 2000 actors working. I am usually part of that 1%. In 2019, I worked in conventional union theatre and film in Portland Oregon for 20 weeks. I am also Co-Artistic Director of Original Practice Shakespeare Festival which performs Shakespeare in parks around Portland Oregon in the summer so add 12 weeks to that. And I work as a Standardized Patient (an actor who augments the training for medical, nursing, and other students in case simulations) at a major medical university. Those gigs are generally a day or so long. Added up, probably 10 weeks. I also teach workshops in acting, Shakespeare, auditioning, improvisation, and gender illusion. Call that 2 weeks. Out of 52 weeks last year, I worked as an actor for roughly 44 weeks. I earned about $40,000 for that work. I support my family of four (and Miles the dog & Ginny Weasley the cat) and receive few benefits: sick pay (when I call in on days I am working), free parking and lunch at the Standardized Patient job, comp tickets to shows. No medical, no 401k, no vacation pay. I’m not complaining; I know what I signed up for when I chose to be an actor. When so many of my colleagues don’t work as much as I do, I consider myself lucky. As the song says, who could ask for anything more? 

Then COVID-19 hit the world. And in a matter of days, I watched as all my work for the next two months (and likely more) was cancelled. Suddenly, thousands of dollars in income was cancelled. It’s terrifying. Some people have understanding landlords who are cutting their rent in half for the next few months. My landlord is not. I am contacting the utility companies to ask for some leniency so fingers crossed. I have already used our savings for my wife’s unexpected medical costs. It is hard to ask, friends, but I need some financial help.  

Whatever you can do, thank you. Your generosity is always greatly appreciated. And there are some premiums available! See, it’s just like a public radio fundraiser except my premiums are personalized! I am a talented writer & actor and I am happy to create a lovely, funny personalized special song for a birthday, anniversary, congratulations, etc. A video will be sent of me performing their special song to the person you are celebrating, continuing the social distancing we are all learning to live with. Happy to literally sing for my supper! If a song is not your speed, I can write a fun personalized poem for them (wacky rhyming is my specialty!) and perform that on a video for them. You don’t even have to know right now. You can hit me up for that video when you are ready; I am flexible.  
My email to reply is jenlanier25@gmail.com 

 

My email for PayPal is jenanddustina@gmail.com 

My Venmo is  

https://venmo.com/code?user_id=2175113726263296958

Y’all have always been so wonderful to me and other theatre artists and I know many folks are asking. Please keep me in mind as you make your giving decisions during this bizarre period. I thank you. My dog Miles thanks you. And Ginny Wesley the cat thanks you. 

Slavery on My Mind 

Every day, Facebook asks the same question: “what’s on your mind?” 

Cat videos. 

I share them. Not afraid to admit it. 

Union struggles. 

I share them. Not afraid to say it. 

My friend’s shows. 

I share them. Obviously. 

I read through the posts about folx being slaves to their budgets, slaves to their diets, slaves to their schedules. They call themselves slaves. 

Slavery.  

Slavery is on my mind.  

It’s been exactly 400 years since the first slaves were brought to North America.  

August 1619 

Since the beginning of justifying our inferiority  

With quack science and skewed Bible verses. 

“The more you know.” 

Slavery is on my mind.  

The institution that shaped the economy of this country,  

shaped the social stratification of this country,  

shaped how we treat workers. Corporations, take note. 

Slavery is on my mind. 

When I started rehearing the play, REDWOOD, I read the script over and over, and it made me think about my ancestors and wonder who was that first woman who was kidnapped and brought here and had children? I don’t know her name. How did she deal with that and which of her children were sold and was she ever happy? 

Slavery is on my mind. 

For those of you keeping score at home 

Another entry to the list of “white privilege”is the privilege to forget about slavery. 

The privilege to ignore slavery 

“That’s way in the past, that doesn’t affect me. Or you.” 

My father was born in 1922. My grandfather in 1880. My great grandfather 1845, about. 

My great grandparents were slaves. Let that drop in, friends. 

My father—his parents, my grandparents—their parents were slaves in North Carolina. 

Actual slaves. 

I have walked on the ground of the tobacco farm where they lived. 

Where they were owned. 

Where they worked without pay 

Without choice. 

Slavery is on my mind. 

I wonder if my great grandmother was raped by the men who owned her. 

By the men who had complete control over her body.  

I wonder if her mother was. 

Some of you are uncomfortable right now. 

Some of you have already mentally checked out and are wondering who is next. 

Some of you are forming arguments in your head against everything I am saying. 

Some of you are thinking, “that’s kinda sick, fixating on the rapes of her ancestors.” 

Fight or flight has taken over. 

I don’t fixate. I have mirrors. And whenever I look in a mirror, I can’t  

NOT SEE IT.  

You and you and you can decide not to think about slavery. My light brown skin eviscerates that privilege. 

You and you and you can decide to ignore how slavery made the US a serious economic power. 

My light brown skin is a testament to the horrors experienced by my grandmothers that made this economic super power possible.  Can’t take flight from that.  

You and you and you can silently sit in your privilege and think “they get all the scholarships, they get all the preference in hiring, they get all the diversity casting calls.” 

I am the living breathing proof of those everyday crimes that built your family’s wealth and kept mine from building any. 

Slavery is my DNA. 

Since I can’t take flight, I fight. By writing. By acting. By being. By answering Facebook’s nagging question. 

“What’s on your mind?” 

My white allies: what would change if slavery was on your mind?

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OPS Fest Online: MUCH ADOE ABOUT NOTHING

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My Shakespeare company, OPS Fest, is dealing with the Coronavirus lockdowns by performing shows online with all the actors working from our own homes. You can still boo the villains, cheer the heroes (from the comment section!). Join us at www.Facebook.com/opsfest for the live stream

MUCH ADOE ABOUT NOTHING: The Prince visits Leonato with his evil brother John. Beatrice and Benedick feud. Claudio plans to marry Hero. Folks gull Beatrice and Benedick into thinking the other loves them. John makes Hero appear unfaithful. Claudio spurns her at the altar. Hero fakes her death. John's plot is revealed. Everybody marries.

OPS Fest Online: TWELFE NIGHT or WHAT YOU WILL

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Our wonderful improvised Shakespeare company is doing shows online now with all the actors participating from their own homes! We still have our scroll, you can still boo & cheer (from the comments section), and the prompter will still interrupt the action from time to time!

TWELFE NIGHT or WHAT YOU WILL Orsino loves Olivia (unrequitedly). Twins, Viola and Sebastian, are shipwrecked. Viola cross-dresses, works for Orsino, and Olivia falls in love with her/him. Olivia's dr-uncle and friends trick Malvolio into thinking Olivia loves him. Olivia (confused) marries Sebastian. Twins reunite, Malvolio's gulling and Viola's gender are revealed, Orsino proposes to Viola. Want to donate? https://www.buymeacoffee.com/OPSfest

OPS Fest Online: A MIDSOMMER NIGHTS DREAME

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A MIDSOMMER NIGHTS DREAME Hermia loves Lysander (requitedly). Helena loves Demetrius (unrequitedly). Pucke (a fairy) accidentally makes Lysander and Demetrius love Helena. Chaos ensues. King Oberon bespells Queen Titania to love an actor transformed into an ass. The fairies reconcile. Pucke fixes the spells (except Demetrius). Everyone gets married and watches a terrible play

OPSFest Online: AS YOU LIKE IT

Facebook-landia

Our wonderful improvised Shakespeare company is doing shows online now with all the actors participating from their own homes! We still have our scroll, you can still boo & cheer (from the comments section), and the prompter will still interrupt the action from time to time! AS YOU LIKE IT: Frederick exiled the rightful Duke to the Forest of Arden. Orlando's brother won't raise him right. Orlando and Rosalind fall in love. Frederick banishes Rosalind. The girls escape to Arden (Rosalind cross-dressed). Rosalind gets Orlando to pretend she/he is Rosalind and woo her. A god appears and performs many marriages.

Want to donate? https://www.buymeacoffee.com/OPSfest