Blacktress has exactly three weeks before she has to be naked on camera for the Indie Film, Open Mic Knight.   She thrusts herself into body beautification mode so intense one would swear her wedding day to the Prince of Wales is approaching.   Her first order of business is to track down all her vegan friends.   Ordinarily she finds them far too annoying to invite to dinner parties or share meals with.   But now that I’m watching my calories like Jennifer Hudson, this is the perfect time to catch up with those lunatics over lunch, she thinks.   When even thinking the words “catch-up” makes her crave a turkey burger and sweet potato fries, she realizes that she’s in for a long three weeks.”

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“Stevie Wonder Black” refers to someone you can tell is Black even with your eyes closed.

Today, Blacktress finds herself walking onto a small studio lot with a self-assuredness that surprises her.  In the last year she’s booked the role of a Ugandan refugee, a depression era jazz singer, a teenage Crip girl, and is in serious contention for the role of Chantal, a pre-op tranny hooker.  Today, she’s up for a part far less challenging.

This breakdown reads like my bio, she thinks.  Piece of cake.

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Blacktress watches as her I-phone lights up and sings a digital blues riff.

“Hey Sam,” she says eagerly.

Her agent talks quickly as if Blacktress is a stenographer in need of a challenge.

“ Sotheywannaseeyouforthisthing. Saglowbuget.  Theroleof… Chantal.  A gorgeous pre-op tranny hooker.”

Is there even such a thing?  Blacktress wonders.

He goes on.

“The producer’s got a name.”

Blacktress rolls her eyes.  Don’t we all?

Sam powers on.

“They’vebeenlookingallover.  They’ve seen boys, girls, he/she’s, and shims.  Younameit.  Theycan’tfindit. Gogetit.”

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On a Thursday evening Blacktress and her British friend, Ann are waiting in line amongst film snobs and film students for a free screening of the new art house indie, Red Romance.

“Its getting a lot of Oscar buzz and I hear the performances are impeccable, ” they overhear the woman in front of them explain to her husband.

Blacktress and Ann are seemingly there to enjoy high art, but are actually there for the much publicized down and dirty sex scenes.

“I hear the lead girl gets head for ten minutes.  In real time.”  Blacktress explains to Ann.

“Oooooh!  Lovely,” she responds.  Her proper English accent warms over with a smoldering breathiness.

“What would respectable single girls do without kinky, art films?”

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It’s the closing night party for the play, Dusty Melody. The walls are lined with LA theater types, their plus ones and the kind of actors whose faces you know but names you don’t.  Blacktress is tangled within the crowd wearing  a short red dress, sipping a dry red wine.  But she’s more high from the successful run of the show than the libations.  People are buzzing about eager to acknowledge her performance.  A handsome man in his thirties taps her on the shoulder and immediately begins blowing smoke up her ass.

“I just wanted to say that you were absolutely wonderful.  Won- der- ful.   I saw the show twice.”

He leans in closer.

“And you were my favorite.”

Blacktress beams.

“Thank you.  It was a lot of fun.”

“So what’s up next for you?”  He asks.

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Blacktress is driving through the NoHo arts district in the valley when she spots a marquee in front of a small theater that reads: Sexy and Suicidal, LA’s fourth longest running stage play.  Blacktress is glad to be driving away from the theater instead of towards it.    I can’t believe it’s still running, she thinks.

Blacktress is no stranger to the production.  She’d been cast in the show years ago after being in LA for only two months.  The playwright/director/producer Tony White called to give her the good news.

“But I didn’t audition,” Blacktress said dumbfounded.

“I went over your resume and I liked it.  I’ve been doing this a long time.  I can just tell you’ll be right.”

Blacktress was confused but in no position to turn down roles.  Tony went on to explain the intricacies of his masterpiece.

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Blacktress has just arrived at Get Cast Now Acting Workshops.  This week’s guest casting director Rick Peterson, on the other hand, has not.  But his reputation precedes him and it stinks up the place…

“He’s a snarky little asshole,” a workshop devotee cautions, while stapling her resume to the back of her headshot.

Twenty minutes later he barrels in, bitching about traffic.  Blacktress hands him her picture.  He studies it, then her, then the picture again.

“Ewww. You need new pictures. I hate this one.”

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