Actor & Comedian Tallie Medel Is Starring in Two Movies Right Now, Quar Be Damned

Q(uar) & A is a series of interviews with some of our favorite storytellers and creators about how they’re living while in lockdown.

Tallie is a little half-Mexican lady from Alaska. She’s one-third of dance-comedy trio Cocoon Central Dance Team. She also stars in the films Fourteen and Jules of Light and Dark, both of which you can now watch virtually.

Where are you currently sheltering in place?

I’m sheltering in Ridgewood, Queens with my husband in our one-bedroom apartment.

What does your face mask look like? 

I had some face masks from Walgreens initially. We had a bad flu previous to the outbreak and I’d bought masks then. My mom mailed us reusable bandana face masks with a wire insert so we can shape them around our nose bridges. Mine is red with white trim and my husband’s is navy with light blue trim. My in-laws mailed us a box of disposable masks as well. When our fabric masks are used and unwashed, I use the disposable masks.

Do you follow any kind of routine at this moment? 

I wake up and if my husband hasn’t made coffee yet, I’ll make it. I write. I was running but it’s hard with a mask. I exercise every day, which wasn’t part of my routine until now. I’m looking up low-impact cardio workouts on YouTube, there’s a lot of classes. Saturdays I take my cousin’s virtual yoga class (Santa Barbara Yoga Collective, Saturdays 10:30AM PST with Jenna, she’s wonderful). Thursdays I write with Cocoon Central Dance Team and our collaborators Rachel Wolther and Alex Fischer. I’m finally on top of my Duolingo, that’s new. Spring in New York usually means community gardens and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden to me. I’ve been so happy instead with gardens and blossoming trees in my neighborhood.

What are some pieces of entertainment that you have consumed and loved during this time?

Our friend lent us his Criterion Collection login. The Libby app connects to your local library and there’s audio books there, if you need a break from violent podcasts like I do.

Are you working on anything during this time?

I finished a draft of my screenplay so I’m submitting to competitions and intensives. I was able to focus on that awhile, and some very generous friends did a read-through with me. I recommend a virtual reading these days, if you’ve got something you need to hear out loud.

Have you taken up any new hobbies? 

I’ve been sewing everything in need of repair. I’m inconsistent with a needle and thread but I can put a button back on. 

What’s the best meal you’ve eaten so far?

There’s a very good recipe for red lentils in Plenty, and we’ve been putting that in wraps with roasted potato and homemade cilantro chutney. And lots of homemade pizza, and roasted eggplant.

What’s your current iPhone wallpaper and what’s the story behind it?

My phone wallpaper is a Derek Marks illustration of his character Fabulous Topless Woman throwing her phone out the window. Follow @derekgmarks — you’ll be so happy you did.

What’s the best quar purchase you’ve made so far?

My best quar purchase is an old buy that’s come in handy, my Wonderwash (“The Laundry Alternative”). Crank it up, babe! 

Who are the writers, storytellers, or makers who are bringing you great joy right now?

My hus Bob (@bobwalles) deejays on Instagram live and I dance and that’s very fun. It gets shut down quickly, but that’s one of my favorite things to do. We watched Taipei Story and Where Is The Friend’s Home? recently, and both those films are bringing me a lot of good feeling when I think about them. Dan Sallitt’s new film Fourteen (starring me, tbh) had its virtual premiere on May 15 thanks to Grasshopper Film and I’m happy to finally share it with everyone. I love the opportunities Miranda July is creating for artists in quarantine. Kady Ruth Ashcraft’s poetry posts on Instagram (@kadyrabbits) are always excellent.

Any unexpectedly memorable moments so far?

The fire hydrant on our block exploded and shot straight into a neighbor’s garage.

Find Tallie on Instagram and Twitter @talliemedel.