Tag Archives: sxsw

About that Time I Met Mindy Kaling

Did I wake up that morning thinking I’d meet her? No, I did not, but there was a chill in the air from the North and I was having a good hair day, so you could say there were some signs.

If you haven't watched clips of this play yet while then I actually don't want to hear from you...

If you haven’t watched clips of this play yet while then I actually don’t want to hear from you…

And of course I had imagined it the way I still imagine sitting front row at the off, off Broadway production of Matt and Ben (curse my high school self’s sense of social importance for preventing me from seeing this work of gold!.) I’d walk up to her majesty and pretend like we had met before. I could see it all now. I’d call her red jumper “bold” and she’d tell me she liked my new Zara coat — “classic yet current,” she’d say. Soon enough we’d be chatting about her time playing Ben Affleck, the writer’s room at The Office, and the struggle of being a woman in comedy.

Somebody would snap a picture of us assuming I was also a celebrity because of the comfortable and candid nature of our interaction. The picture would get retweeted endlessly by the like twelve followers I have till it inevitably ends up on Perez with the caption “Mindy and her new bestie, Aly, a writer currently living in Austin” and then he’d say something cheeky like, “watch out Mindy, that new bestie has some serious styleZz” or “this girl gives writers a GOOD-LOOKING name.” Seriously, I could be like Karlie Kloss to Taylor Swift, except for the whole me not being a supermodel thing.

Chic, right? Right?!?!

Chic, right? Right?!?!

The day it happened as I said, I was wearing my new Zara coat because I recently decided Zara was super chic and also so it wasn’t obvious that I was not in possession of a festival badge. (SXSW Hierarchy breakdown: badges get you in to everything, wristbands get you into almost everything, having neither gets you in a line for three hours to see some random indie band from fifty yards away.)

So as I approached the Austin Convention center with Matti, badgeless save for the press badge I consistently imagine myself wearing, I readied myself. Sure, even existing in the same building as Mindy Kaling was enough to brag about for days but I needed to actually see her, breathe in her full-bodied, female talent or whatever. When we entered the building it was clear that security was ready for me — every possible entrance to upstairs, (or heaven as I came to see it) was guarded by some volunteer who’s only job was to shame people without badges into not asking if they could go upstairs. I eyed my target by the elevator, an innocent looking young man who reminded me of the skinny Conor Oberst fans I used to make fall in love with me in middle school — so, I had this in the bag.

“How do I get upstairs?” I asked the the fifteen-year old guarding the elevator.

“Probably by using that elevator.” Well, that was easy.

I liked his style, direct, to the point. As I hopped on to the elevator, Matti was caught by the Connor Obersty looking temple guard as he exclaimed, “Badges, only, people, badges only!” Apparently, the boy had turned in to an angry Newsie after I entered the elevator.

I felt unjustifiably avenged as I rode the elevator to my ultimate destiny while Matti was left behind in the figurative dust. “Female comics unite!” I repeated over and over under my breath like my own personal Captain Planet mantra.

The older, badge-holding woman standing next to me in the elevator chimed in, “he’s not going to get up here without a badge.” and then as the statement left her lips lined with a magenta pencil, she started to look me up and down, “wait do you even have a badge?”

“YOU WILL NOT RUIN THIS FOR ME,” I loud whispered at her as we exited the elevator.

The closest I got to Perez Hilton stardom was a mini photo shoot Matti took of me posing with a signed picture of Mindy. Things could be worse..

The closest I got to Perez Hilton stardom was a mini photo shoot Matti took of me posing with a signed picture of Mindy. Things could be worse..

And then I saw her. Doves flew from under the table she was signing at and I could have sworn I heard Beyonce live-singing “Who run the world? Girls!!!” in the background like I was slow-motion-walking into my future or some shit.

After waiting in line for about 30 minutes the devil dressed in a “Volunteer SXSW” t-shirt came up to me and the others in line, put his hand straight out in front of me and said, “this is where the cut off will be to meet Mindy, but you’re welcome to stay and see if she has more time!”

I immediately hated him and all of the decisions that led him to this exact moment, denying me access to the my idol, my future writing partner and best friend. Of course I stayed and waited. And as we inched closer and closer in line she was right there in front of me. Her teeth were more imperfect than I had imagined which only made our bond stronger as I like to brag that my teeth “have character” that way people are less inclined to poke fun at my snaggle tooth, you know, because I choose to like it.

True to the devil’s word, the lucky rotund seventeen-year old with a badger her daddy probably bought for her (or I just have to imagine this to make myself feel better) was the last person in line to have a converstaion and picture taken with Mindy.

He's even sassy in black and white!

He’s even sassy in black and white!

“Not so fast!” I said to myself, apparently audibly. I ran out in front of the table where Mindy was signing and started to bow. For some reason, bowing was the one thing that came to my mind to do. Do I regret it? No. I regret nothing. (Except for that time a couple of days ago when I saw Daniel Esquivel from Project Runway at the local food co-op and I didn’t tell him how much I loved his purse).

“Mindy…I just… wanted to…”

“INTERACT WITH HER!?” Some blockhead yelled from behind me, as if this were her moment with the queen (of course, her instinctual completion of my sentence was completely accurate but that’s beside the point).

“Hi!” Mindy mused, like an angel, “well it was a really good interaction.”

And then I bowed again because apparently that’s my thing when faced with overly exciting, fabulous situations. I just bow it out.

I was not lying about the jumpsuit...

I was not lying about the jumpsuit…

I then convinced Mindy to sign her remaining head shots to give out to the rest of us mere mortals. She thought it was “the best idea!” so you could say we’re friends now. I may still be waiting for that whole Perez Hilton story thing but at least I came away with an almost friend in Mindy and a new found confidence in wearing loud jumpsuits. So, win-win.




P.S. – I also met Stephanie Beatriz and Melissa Fumero from Brooklyn 99 after. They told me “they liked my whole outfit I had going on.” Despite not really knowing if that was a compliment I’m pretty sure they’re going to look me up when they’re back in town. brooklynn99

Why I Won’t Give You a High Five


I don’t know what it’s like to be a normal healthy person, but if you are, is it possible to stand and walk for 10 hours straight without feeling like a 90 year old woman walking to her own funeral? I’m genuinely curious. Either way, this year’s SXSW was not lacking in all out exhaustion. It also wasn’t lacking in glorious moments of other people’s intoxicated stupidity. My own most recent moment like this took place in London on the way home from Belushi’s near Fulham Broadway. Walking safely is always tricky (right?!) but it’s especially tricky when you’re a 20 year old American lady in London walking back from a bar. So, of course I broke my foot avoiding a crack which if stepped on, would of inevitably led to my mother’s broken back. (Check yourself before judgement is made). The best part about this was I payed absolutely nothing for my monster boot or my doctors consultation. (YES I am a total Commie!) Recently, I told a coworker this story.

“Maybe if you ate your bones would work correctly.”
Apparently, this is how men flirt now.

I assured him I was still chubby when I lived in London so he was stupid and also not allowed to speak to his boss that way. Did I mention how fun it is to be the boss of mostly men? And by men, I mean big boys that sometimes dress in adult clothing. And by adult clothing I mean tshirts with drawings of Lincoln and Washingon playing beer pong with the caption “political party.” (Don’t laugh, you’re better than that).

Either way, we were on our way to see Flaming Lips at Auditorium Shores when I get jumped by a frat guy demanding I give him a high five. I did not give him a high five. Now you’re thinking I am no fun, which, is sometimes true but either way this guy did NOT deserve a high five. (This coming from a girl who, two years prior, during SXSW, was running around 6th Street demanding miserable looking people give me high fives.)

This guy was really a boy so I’ll refer to him as such. He wore tight pants, a collared shirt, and his hair was a blonde, AC Slater throwback type mess. I scowled in the large crowd, waiting to cross and make our way to the venue and SURE I was getting impatient. But do you know what I didn’t do? Run across the street as the cars were still flying by. Unfortunately, homeboy was not as smart. This man-boy ran full speed across the street, succesfully dodging cars until BAM! The man-boy is doing a 360 aerial as the man driving the truck is all like “What the fuck just happened?” Man-boy totally rocked the guy’s side view mirror but by the grace of the drunken gods, man-boy was unfazed and totally spry.

For some reason, I really hated this kid. He could have been killed and that poor driver would’ve spent the rest of his life wondering how he could’ve prevented it. Why do people expect other people to look out for them when they don’t look out for themselves?

I felt a little bad after but as we walked across the street after the accident, the man-boy getting questioned by the cops, I yelled back, “Hey dude! High five!”

The joke was on me though when halfway into Jim James’ set I saw man boy in the 20 person line for a margarita. He was way ahead of me. Of course, the entire time in line I thought of all the cops I had come into contact with from that moment forward, the jerk that gave me a speeding ticket a minute after buying my car, the too excited boy cop who pulled me over for forgetting to turn my back lights on ASAP just to prove to me cops are nice by giving me a warning. I could not believe this little twerp was not only let into the venue but also NOT arrested for stirring up some serious shit. This is the moment where my teacher mode sets in and I’m all like ‘worry about yourself not about everyone else’ which is, of course, the mantra I spew to nosy, unappreciative tattle tellers who think they know it all. So it was time to take my own advice.

I watched manboy purchase his liter tall margarita, most likely with a fake ID, and proceeded to the mosh pit area to find everybody, the same mosh pit where two years prior I was peed on by a guy I would then help beat up. So, I think I’ve grown up in some ways.