My experiences have often defined me. It's a good thing. My faith in God and love for the Bible has also defined me and this also is a good thing. I live authentically and have no shame for the ways I live (I make mistakes like everyone else and will ask forgiveness for those mistakes and then move on). I seek love and am loyal when people are loyal to me as well and often even when they aren't. This has betrayed me a time or two, even when I am accused of doing things that the other party is actually doing or looking to do. It sucks. I'm not ashamed that I've lived out of my car so much. It's freeing. I work hard at my jobs, I pay my debtors when I can. I pay to Caesar what is Caesar's as I'm instructed, even though this government is mis-using my money in sick ways, lying to us, and doing severe damage instead of the good it could be doing. I've worked in restaurants for 20 years now, and I've enjoyed most of it. Working in 13 National Parks, Napa Valley, the Sonoma Coast, Big Sur, lakeside mountain lodges, Mackinac Island and even a couple strip clubs for a couple years has given me a lot amazing experiences with places, people and landscapes. I've taken up photography and gone to film school. I've been certified as a Sommelier and crafted unique cocktail menus. I've climbed mountains, dated strippers (briefly..), explored deep canyons, watched the sunset over the Pacific more times than I can count. Iv'e drunk uber-expensive wine, served celebrities and hung out in the bright lights of Vegas over 20 times. This is why I'm writing a book about my travels, starting with the distinction in lifestyle, spiritual growth and adventure that has come with working in the National Parks. But all good things must come to an end, and I feel changes in the air. Emotional and career wise. I'm not excited anymore about getting a huge list of certifications in alcohol based degrees. I suffered a couple serious illnesses recently and it put things in perspective. It's a perspective I had, but had been lost a bit, and I needed a kick in the ass. Since moving to Boulder in August, I've grown by leaps and bounds in my life and I'm grateful. But I always was drawn to the arts crowd more than anyone. And I always loved crafting my own products as much as anything else in the restaurant work. And being outdoors and on the road makes me happier than just about anything. And I've missed out a lot by working my busy restaurant life. And lost a little focus and balance on the other aspects of life that make me happy. And I'm tired of seeing the unnecessary suffering going on that should be healed and the corruption that needs and can be fought against. And the restaurant lifestyle is just not inspiring. So here I sit. Ready for and making changes. Getting back into the car and just driving. Hopping on planes, then hopping into a car at my destination and driving. And walking, talking to people, tasting new flavors, seeing new sights. Visiting the museums and artisans. Writing more. Getting errands done so I'm more efficient at the important stuff. Pulling open the laptop and writing, without thinking about it. Planning adventures. Spending time with people who are an inspiration rather than bringing me down. People who are sparked about life and giving to it. And that's where I'm at right now. Today I became a member of the Boulder Digital Arts group. I spent time with an inspirational art and theater worker. I'm getting prepped for new headshots as an actor and am applying for local acting gigs. I'm posting a casting call for scripts I'm working on. I've returned to the movie theaters for joy and entertainment. I'm doing. I'm living. And I'm being me. And there's a lot to come to show you. I'm breaking open. In a good way. Hell, maybe I'll even have a kid or 2. One never knows...
Infidelicacy, a surealist horror script I wrote with actor extrodinaire, good friend and writer Matt Baker in L.A., is now officially in pre-production, after years of sitting on the desk waiting to be made. Starring Matt in the lead role, and (tentatively) Machelle Allman, Ally Jones, Calvin Green and Larry Laverty in other lead and supporting roles, this is a most exciting project combining elements of Woody Allen, Hitchcock, horror and surrealism, all with an original take and style that Matt and myself have brought. I've chosen experienced stage actress and director Dianna Grogg as my Assistant Director, and had a great meeting with her and local filmmaker John Harden in Santa Rosa for an early meeting to talk about crewing, funding, and early generalities. Also attached is Art Design/Direction by celebrated artists Lynn Strough and Robbie Geiss. As we move forward with locations (some scouted in San Francisco and Petaluma) we look at assembling a top-notch crew in the technical departments, followed by the gear, F/X-costuming-props, onto solidifying the locations and all actors, followed by early shooting/test shots and the funding campaign. This is all exciting for all of us, and I look forward to every step of the process, and keeping everyone tuned!
Growing up in Oregon, you can't help but to know about the famous Shakespeare Festival of Ashland. Running from late Winter through the Fall, it's one of the Nation's legendary destinations in the theater world. Blending classic with contemporary, Shakespeare with non-Sheakespeare performances, it's a showcase for many of the most talented theater actors who come from across the country to study and be a part of the legend. ( http://www.osfashland.org/plays/index.aspx )
For whatever reason, I had not yet made a pilgrimage to visit, even though I had studied acting, theater and film most of my life (yes, I'm embarrassed..). Well, I finally made it on a beautiful early summer day as part of an overall Ashland study that has included historic hotels and resorts, restaurants, breweries, art and of course, the theater. So in part 1 of the of my blogs on Ashland, let me tell you how wonderful the Festival is:
It lives up to the hype. The first show my partner Lynn and I went to was Animal Crackers. As a longtime fan of the Marx Brothers, I was suspicious as to how anyone could duplicate their style and personality. Cast as Groucho Marxs' character Captain Spaulding, Mark Bedard is surprisingly brilliant. I say surprisingly simply because it just seems so impossible to capture the unique person that Groucho was. Brent Hinkley as Harpo's The Professor captures the childlike and physicality of Harpo Marx with a beautifully theatrical perfection, while the fun casting decision of the Asian-American Daisuke Tsuji as the Italian Emanuel Raveli that was played previously by Chico Marx, complete with in-joke references to the unusual casting in relation to the Asian play The White Snake was brilliant and shows the fun playing of the Ashland group of thespians. The remaining cast all did splendidly in playing with the classic characters, well-staged and sometimes elaborately choreagraphed slapstick sequences, and ensuing hilarity, with many actors pulling double and triple duty as various characters. The Angus Bowmer Theatre framed the display well, and allowed some wonderful interaction between stage and attendees incorporated into the play. Runs through November 4th, Directed by Allison Narver, whose history included work in New York and Yale.
Second up was Henry V, Shakspeare's heroic narrative that focuses less on battles than on personal forward thinking by the lead of Henry, played with both powerful drama, intercut with dry humourous notes by John Tufts. Showcased on the outdoor Elizabethan Stage (a sight to behold), the story unfolded with a brilliant intensity, featured a live percussionist, and thoroughly kept my attention for the 3 hour duration, unlike a previous small college production of the same play that I had seen several years previous. In the former, I had been unable to wait until the play was over, but in the beautifully staged and well directed hands of Joseph Haj (who has among his credits, an interesting staging of Henry V in a maximum security prison in LA!), it was over before I realized it, and applauded in a standing room only theater. Henry runs through October 12th.
I look forward to returning to the theater world of Ashland to revel in more of the artistic theater world that I miss, in a place as idyllic as any, and to learn more of the inner workings at a backstage tour that is offered most days at 10am (and is most often sold out), and to enjoy some of the many other interesting and diverse plays that the theater has to offer, as well as dive deeper into the wonderful, scenic and arts-filled world that is Ashland!
Visit http://www.osfashland.org/plays/index.aspx for more information