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Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Lesson Learned from C. Michael Curtis

Once upon a time, I wrote an article about a reconciliation of sorts that had happened with my father (he even sent me a card years later which I wrote about in a previous post). 

Our reconciliation was the result of what I'd learned when preparing for an audition that I had been selected to do by Dustin Hoffman, after I had met him in a chance encounter.

It was my first year (or was it my second?) of living in New York City. I had been waitressing during those years, but was thinking of becoming an actress. However, I had done very little towards realizing that goal, except to get head-shots. As it happened, one very early morning, Hoffman came into the coffee-shop where I was working.

He was with Michael Ovitz, and I seized the opportunity, putting my head-shot inside Hoffman's menu under the words, "The Good Morning Special." Mr. Ovitz did not seem to think this was amusing, but, my actions evidently moved Hoffman; for he asked me to audition —  with him — for the 1980's Broadway production of Arthur Miller's Death of  Salesmanin which Hoffman played Willie Loman, the play's protagonist. 

My audition with Dustin Hoffman took place on the stage of the Broadhurst Theatre with Robert Whitehead and Arthur Miller in the audience; and the role I auditioned for was The Woman from Boston, whom Willie had had a fling with while on the road as a salesman. Coincidentally, my father was involved with another woman while married to my mother. Like Willie's son, Biff, I was devastated by it. Preparing for the role of "the other woman" offered me different perspectives and insights which led to an understanding about my father.

I had compared the play's characters with my family's in an article that I had submitted to The Atlantic Monthlybut I did not include the outcome of the audition. For me, the essence of my story was how a piece of literature and a chance meeting brought about an understanding. 

The Atlantic's editor at that time was C. Michael Curtis and he wrote me a lovely letter in which he commented that I was a "nice writer," but he also told me that my reader would want to know if I got the part. (I had purposely left out certain details as I like the reader to be able to form his/her conclusions.)

But, FYI, I did not get the role Dustin Hoffman asked me to read for, nor did The Atlantic Monthly publish my article. I have, to some extent, lived happily ever after. I now realize that some folks often want to know what happened in a variety of circumstances, and so in this post, I am following up on my notification (in a prior post) where I announced a presentation that I'd been selected to give at the Apple Store on 67th and Broadway.

The photo posted above was taken (by Alan Metrick, an Apple trainer/greeter) at that event. It is of yours truly giving a site tour. You can see I am referring to a large screen. This is where my "web-site," the on-line brochure, called The Last Leaf Gardener was projected. I was very gratified to be one of four selected to make a presentation, and was particularly touched that one of the trainers, Cat Morris, came to the event since it took place after her working hours, and she has a big commute. Two of the presenters were from Apple's Fifth Avenue store, and a gentleman and myself, were the two selected from Apple's Broadway (at 67th Street) store. It was fun to see my site on the big screen but, more importantly, it was a pleasure to be able to thank Apple for its wonderful programs and extraordinary trainers who were instrumental in my success with my endeavors.


  1. As of 9.19.2011, the on-line brochure mentioned in this blog entry has been redesigned since the time of this posting. The link included in this post has been changed to direct you, dear reader, to the latest version of my on-line brochure.

  2. As of May 2012, the on-line brochure that I speak about here, and that I worked so hard to create is no longer in existence, as I have taken it down. I did this because Apple has eliminated iWeb from LION (which I have upgraded to), so, now I cannot update my on-line brochure. )-:

    The decision to take down my on-line brochure was not easy, especially after all the work which I put in to build it. But "that's technology," says Apple (who no longer offers any support services for iWeb).

    Moreover, in addition to iWeb being eliminated, as of the end of June, Mobileme, a host I procured through Apple (for my on-line brochure) will no longer exist.

    My content is available here on blogger, my web-site, Patricia Youngquist Photo Art, Vimeo, You Tube, Pinterest, nybg's (New York Botanical Gardens) tumblr, and I have a Facebook Page for tHe last leaf gardener. I hope these "venues" cover my bases.


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