"Tell me again why you're going to L.A.?" Maggie's mom was heard to shriek over the noise of the jets as the plane taxied the runway at Kennedy Airport, "What's out there that's not in New York?"
"I toldja, Mom, I just feel like it," Maggie mimed through the plane's steamed-up window.
So Maggie Van Ostrand left New York and the Broadway scene for Los Angeles and the Hollywood scene.
During her lengthy stay in L.A., Maggie has been a theatrical agent, personal manager, roadie, head writer for a TV show, seat saver at the Oscars, book reviewer, ghostwriter for stand-ups and TV sit-coms, and all around story-gatherer. Why?
Because these experiences supplied a ton of great material for her award-winning humor column, "A Balloon in Cactus." The column appears in enough publications to keep her kids hopeful about a large inheritance, and she writes enough freelance articles for big time newspapers like the Chicago Tribune and the Boston Globe, to get service at hot dog stands all over the country, if the line isn't too long.
Maggie drove with her dog from L.A. to Dayton, Ohio, to attend the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop. It was the first time a dog ever graduated cum Laude. Maggie herself graduated cum Softe.She has been a judge of Erma Bombeck Writers' Contest in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and judged the 2007 Arizona Press Club's award for best column of the year in the humor category.
She attended the American Society of Journalists and Authors conference in Manhattan at which she was overheard to ask, "Say, who are all these people anyway?"
Maggie writes entertainment columns which can be found at filmschoolrejects.com and fandomania.com; political satire for Huffingtonpost.com; about the Old West for texasescapes.com; this and that for local newspapers from California to Ohio, and a bunch of other stuff.
While in New Orleans attending the National Society of Newspaper Columnists' conference, she was actually asked for her autograph at world-famed and supremely elegant restaurant, Galatoire's. Somebody thought she was Mayor Nagin's mistress. Raised to be polite if not gracious, she signed her name rather than bashfully trying to pull the tablecloth over her head. She never met Mayor Nagin.
Maggie was interviewed by ABC-TV Sportscaster, Ed Daniels, about the thoroughbred racehorse, Seabiscuit, and the grass roots effort to get him on a U.S. stamp. Smarty Jones was supposed to appear on camera, too, but he was a mile and a half away and couldn't make the distance. After 8 long years, the U.S.P.S. finally listened, and came out with the Seabiscuit pre-stamped envelope, thanks to everyone who signed those petitions!
Maggie was invited by New York's Optomen Productions to audition for host of Lifetime TV's proposed reality show, "You're Not the Man I Married." She doesn't consider any of her marriages worth mentioning and laughed aloud when Optomen called her a "relationship expert." "Relationship Expert!" she snorted, "All my marriages put together didn't last as long as this phone call!" The producers professed to adore this anti-social, madcap attitude. They probably thought she was kidding.
Maggie was keynote stand-up comic at Direct Marketing's Christmas meeting in New York, received big bucks, and a suite at the swank Warwick. That was her first gig. Since then, she has appeared numerous times proving she's not afraid of public humiliation. Last July found her attempting to entertain 250 deacons and bishops from all over the southwestern states. They gave her the hilarious topic of Immigration. The biggest laugh came when she told them how Sister Andrea had whacked her on the knuckles.
Maggie did her first podcast as "A Woman of Significance" for a women's group in Lansing, Michigan. The moderator made it easy at the time but since then, has been unreachable when Maggie calls or emails.
In June, Horace J. Digby, recipient of the 2006 Robert Benchley Humor Award, interviewed Maggie for his radio show. Prior guests included Dave Barry and Bob Newhart. The sad truth is that Digby dialed Maggie's phone number by mistake but being exceedingly polite, put her on the air anyway.
Maggie was interviewed for a satirical feature documentary by two award-winning documentarians (Sundance, Berlin, and Harlem Film Festivals) concerning the current emigration situation in the U.S., based on her column, "Is Superman An Alien?" Others featured in the documentary include actress-singer, Jennifer Lopez, and comic George Lopez. The documentarians, who arrived at Maggie's mountain home with lights, mics, and cameras, were so cute, she considered holding them hostage until the following spring, when they plan to present the documentary at Sundance, until she realized that unless she released them, they couldn't begin sucking up to various foundations for funds to complete their movie.
Maggie was also interviewed by Lutz Dammbeck who is producing and directing a documentary about Mark Goodson and the game show business for a PBS channel reaching Germany and France. As of Jan 2014, they expect to get to the editing phase by March.
Maggie has homes in both Pine Mountain, California, a village in the mountains northwest of L.A., and in Ajijic, Mexico, a village in the mountains southwest of Guadalajara. Each village has a population smaller than Al Pacino.