Take your Shirt Off and Cry

Take your Shirt Off and Cry

A Memoir of Near-fame Experiences

Book - 2009
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One woman's laugh-out-loud account of the oddities, indignities, and outright absurdities of a life in show business.

In this strikingly candid memoir, Nancy Balbirer distills two decades of drama school, auditions, bit parts, cameos, and off-Broadway plays into an account by turns hilarious and horrifying . From studying theater in college under the searing purism of David Mamet ("Being a woman in [show] business, you'll be asked to do only two things in every fucking role you ever play: take your shirt off and cry. That's it. Take your shirt off and cry.") to weathering advice from her brazenly insensitive L.A. agent ("I didn't think it was possible. But you managed to bore Luke Perry") to scoring a Saturday Night Live audition based on a drunken Debra Winger impersonation, Balbirer's adventures are sometimes bizarre, sometimes painful, and always unforgettable.

Between run-ins with an eccentric cast of all-too-real characters, including an infatuated acting teacher who introduces Nancy to the joys of firearms, a former sex symbol desperately seeking a toilet, and a jazz musician who fancies himself a reincarnated Jack Kerouac, Balbirer wrestles with her own ambitions and disappointments, struggling to determine what she really wants and who she really is. She may not be destined for Hollywood stardom, but as Take Your Shirt Off and Cry makes clear, she is definitely a one-of-a-kind talent.

Published: New York : Bloomsbury, 2009.
Edition: 1st U.S. ed.
ISBN: 9781596914780
Branch Call Number: 792.028 BAL
Characteristics: xiii, 231 p. ;,21 cm.


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merovinchian Jul 25, 2012

Not very good. Starts off interesting enough, but goes downhill.

The experiences never draw you in, each chapter talking excessively more than it should but without revealing any interesting details.

Basically, you learn that it's tough to get a job in showbiz, and that men can be shallow. Characters who were never interesting at the start and reappear for more boring cameos later on.

At the end, it's a rushed conclusion without resolving or learning anything.


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