Saturday, January 19, 2019

Time and Home.

There's a song called LONESOME LOSER by Little River Band from the late 70's. I have it saved on my play list and every time I hear it I get melancholy. A nostalgic ache that reminds me of being a small child in the back seat of my parents Plymouth Volare hearing it blare on the AM radio, no seat belt, driving down the rural roads of the Chicago suburbs. The warm, summer wind blowing in through the windows. The wispy, fun of the journey to or from our small but cozy home and my parents in the front seat. The excitement of the vast future that awaited me and

Lately in my 40's I am hyper aware of how fast time has gone by. What once was 'oh that feels like yesterday' now feels like a lifetime ago. It was actually. The distance from then to now profoundly more vast since both my parents are gone. So I, like many who have experienced loss, walk around a bit with a hole in my soul. You never really recover from grief it sort of sets up shop within, and just when you think you're fine makes itself known unexpectedly like a storm. A song. A smell. A tangible reminder in some form or the other of our lost loved ones. It feels like that is how they are communicating from who knows where. The only 'comfort' I feel, and I use that term loosely, is I know everyone feels this to some extent. That each of us are assigned a life path with gains and losses.

The loss of people I love seems to be the special brand of trauma the Universe has assigned my life. Losing friends, romantic relationships, family sometimes. It's like as I'm getting older this is happening more. Is it because my boundaries are stronger? That people are not growing with you? Is aging just accumulating more scars? What's the phrase, that if we could throw all our struggles in a pile in the middle of the room we would STILL reach back for our own problems versus others. I think that's probably true although I often wish my life had less loss.

There's always been this sense of searching for 'home' in me. Home, wow what does that word even mean anyway? I've bounced around so much the last 19 years I'm not really sure anymore. I've had to make wherever I am home. I've never found that feeling I had with my parents. Maybe it's safety. Maybe it's that you didn't have to worry about a roof over your head or bills lol. That they were 'always' there. But I think it's the feeling of being understood and held in a way only they provided. My parents were my biggest supporters, confidantes and soul mates. There was some dysfunction as there is in any family sure, but mostly love. Some days I still can't believe I have to trudge this world, thrive, fall, deal with awful people, work, travel, go about my day without even the possibility of talking to them. I miss them so much. Arthur and Diane made me who I am and they are woven into the tapestry of everything that is good about me. I hope they are proud of me. I see people posting on social media with their parents and I think do they truly know how fast that can change?

So time marches on. The bridge gets wider and wider. I can't remember everything clearly but most memories remain. I breathe. I wake. I try to stay in the moment and vortex of gratitude rather then look to the past. It's a process. And so this Lonesome Loser moves onward, he keeps on trying..

"So how do I do normal
A smile I fake
A permanent wave of
Cue-cards and fix-it kits
Can't you tell, I'm not myself

I'm a slow-motion accident
Lost in coffee rings and finger prints
I don't want to feel anything
But I do, and it all comes back to you.

So listen up, the sun hasn't set
I refuse to believe it's only me, feeling." HEAR ME OUT- Frou Frou

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Soul of the Ocean

My morning ritual Nov 2017.
Just finished our fast, furious and incredible run playing Mike in FREAKY FRIDAY at the Virginia Musical Theatre and it was a splendid experience! I loved being back there. Last show I did there was 14 years ago THE STUDENT PRINCE in 2003! Man time sure does fly. Back then I learned so much, met my best gal pal, and had one of those amazing experiences you remember always. This one was no exception and came at just the right time in my life when I needed it most.

Another fact for me back then was: I was heartbroken over the end of a relationship.

Cut to this experience and once again, heartbroken. This time over the end of a friendship. Seems like I am only in Virginia Beach when I'm like this and need the ocean. I am so grateful for this contract and for the joy of working on a show with great people in a magical place I love. The Atlantic ocean for whatever reason, seems to hold a healing balm to my heart when I need it most. Every morning I walked the oceanfront, a lot of prayer, assessing, affirming. It's my ritual there it seems I did it last time. I spent 6 years in mountains and let me tell ya there is no question mountains don't do it for me I am an OCEAN seeker the Ocean water in it's vastness is my sweet spot. Speaks to my soul I could walk on one for the rest of my life. Beachfront property, anyone?

There's been lots to think about. Why these have happened. Who I was back then, who I am now, where I am headed. I think the difference now is I know I will overcome heartbreak where 14 years ago I didn't think I would. Been finding out about colleagues and friends who have passed away recently too, which sort of puts it all the more in perspective. I know loss well with my parents. This is part of life, the joy and the pain. I've lived long enough to know that into every life a little rain must fall. But for the moment though how lucky I am to be alive in this time and space, despite the pain of living sometimes.

So many lessons surrounding these endings this time for different reasons I am still working through them. Sometimes the narrative people want to tell themselves is that you are 'bad', instead of the realty that we are ALL flawed and sometimes make mistakes, and it's not always black or white sometimes it's grey. That circumstances of life can permanently destroy a relationship. That asking forgiveness is essential. Forgive yourself in the process too. It doesn't always work out. But knowing deep down either way, you will be fine.

Back in the Midwest for Christmastime. That's a whole other blog blogsters as I am a man always on the run. We'll see what's next I go back to NYC in Jan after some time in Chicago. Trying to remain hopeful about the future with our current state of government. But, there's always a chance to be hopeful, if you decide ahead of time there is. Virginia Beach Ocean front, don't you forget about me...

“We want the spring to come and the winter to pass. We want whoever to call or not call, a letter, a kiss-we want more and more and then more of it. But there are moments, walking, when I catch a glimpse of myself in the window glass, say, the window of the corner video store, and I’m gripped by a cherishing so deep for my own blowing hair, chapped face, and unbuttoned coat that I’m speechless; I am living…”

Marie Howe, from What the Living Do
Virginia Beach, Nov 2017

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Train Now Leaving...

“If you ever find yourself in the wrong story, leave.” ― Mo Willems.

New York City was my home for 10 glorious and at times depleting years. I had some of the most unforgettable experiences in my life and met the most extraordinary people there. I still have a hard time talking about it in past tense as if it's "done" because I try to be there once a year. (In fact I'm flying to New York this week for most of Sept). I grew the most I ever have there and still feel like I was taken out of it's womb too soon. But for all intents and purposes I don't know where I live at the moment. I never thought I would leave NYC. In 2010 I needed the change so off I jumped to the west. So many factors then indicated it was the "right time". In January I officially moved away from Denver after "trying it out" for 6 years. Yea right trying it out cut to me 6 years later 😆. Guess I was born a ramblin' man. To quote Oprah "When you've grown as much as you can grow in one place, it's time to go." It was time to go.

When I moved to Denver, I thought maybe I could be a  full time performer again and as it turned out that's exactly what I did. I felt the pull to move, to have new experiences, meet new people and to step off the rat race of Manhattan into a smaller market. Initially it was a great community, but maybe I overstayed my welcome as was sometimes insular, hot and cold treatment, and a possessive nature of the work available. Regardless it was a life experience, I met my mentor friend Nicolette and did some good work. Sometimes we ignore the call that our stories are leading us elsewhere--that each place has well, an expiration date.

Patti Lapone recently was quoted regarding her show WAR PAINT that it's her last, how musical theatre is exhausting and she's done. I agree, musical theatre does takes everything out of you, seem to prefer on-camera and theatre as of late.So we know that's true. I know I'm talented with a lot to offer but where and in what capacity now?

We'll see what comes from New York next week and some auditions. Sometimes life is at a standstill and you just have to trust the journey. Currently in the Midwest working with my agents. Maybe NYC again, it is (or maybe was?) my heart home. In the musical COMPANY the character of Joanne quips "One knows when to come to New York, and one knows when to leave." That was true. Clearly I am full of quotes in this blog but I digress 😊 One of the things I am the most proud of myself is that I have thrown my net far and wide and lived all over the U.S. I cannot imagine if I had just stayed in my hometown my entire life and never left. I recently scoped out Seattle to see if its a fit (it's not....for now) and am surprisingly enjoying being back in Chicagoland. It's the nature of the beast I suppose when it comes to expat location and expat relationships. Some fall away when you leave or change. The good part is you now have friends all over which you can hold in your heart. And you have the lessons and the growth. That's a win. Ahhh but still where to next?

I welcome your thoughts on these musings gentle bloggeristas and social media moguls......what does home mean to you and what are your thoughts on your proverbial train?

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Tough skin with a vulnerable heart

I wrote this article for Actors Embassy a couple years ago about the ups and downs of showbiz, and I'm finding myself referring back to it lately. Thank the Gods I am on an upswing of work lately to which I am beyond grateful, but with a rough fall into spring came the nagging familiar feeling that maybe I should be doing something else with my life. I've spoken with a couple of actor friends in the same boat and we all feel it sometimes. I am an artist first and foremost, but a consistent paycheck is lifeblood. I was back in New York in February pounding the pavement and although I still love it there the stress of the city just depletes my health much faster now. I'm about to do a show in Los Angeles and I'm pretty sure I would never want to move there. Some of my most talented and beautiful friends are leaving LA after years of trying to make it. If they can't well a Ricky Schroder look-a-like like me ehhhh. Besides, I don't think any actor 'makes it' really there's no linear progression like other careers say where 20 years down the line you're Vice President.

Author Elizabeth Gilbert recently spoke about taking passion off the table in our career endeavors, and instead replacing it with--follow your curiosity. I love this. Follow your curiosity. Tony winner Karen Olivo who I admire was quoted in the NY times about leaving the industry "I was operating like an actor in life--which is scary---constantly wanting people to like me and thinking that I had to promote myself--and the truth is in life, you don't need to do that." Actress Laura Bell Bundy said "There's something soul less about hustling and running around and trying to convince people that you're worth something---and you can do that--- as long as your feel like you have some other creative outlet or some other thing that's enriching your soul..."

Such good reminders for us creative folk.

I think it's very important to live your life outside of the biz. Focusing on your relationships, family friends, and whatever else that gives you a modicum of contentment. This business is about so many things that you have little control over. You are offering YOU so it's hard to not take rejection personally sometimes,You can only do what you can do and not everyone will like you. Seldom is the reward for your commitment and sacrifice but then, sometimes it is. You just keep moving forward keeping a tough skin to survive the business, while maintaining your vulnerable heart for the craft.

I'm proud of myself for persevering 20 years now through this uncertain profession, although I'd be lying if I said I don't think about throwing the towel in. I think the question of moving forward will always be here for me, am I living up to my full potential by just doing this? Grateful I have branched off into Directing more as it feels like a natural progression, and I'm good at it. My desire for financial stability may never be answered. I guess it's a career that has chosen me versus me choosing it. To sit at the Hollywood round table getting accolades for your art is not always guaranteed and when it does it's fleeting. Maybe I should be doing something else, but it also may simply be about persevering.

Follow your curiosity bloggers.....but keep that vulnerable heart.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Return to Chicago....

This past fall, I spent a month in my hometown Chicago, Illinois. As much as I had hoped, it did not feel like the homecoming I had wished for.

I grew up in Round Lake Beach Illinois, a cozy suburb 50 miles north of Chicago. My parents moved there from Chicago proper in the 70's to begin a new life with two young children. At the time real estate was more affordable far north, and many city dwellers were moving there for affordable housing to raise their families.

Last night I looked out my window and noticed a glowing plane traveling high in the night sky. Where was the plane going? What is the story of the people on it? How many miles away? A visceral memory surfaced, one that I remember feeling acutely as a child. This wonderment of seeing planes in the sky never having been on one. Like I wanted it to take me to a destination of ultimate happiness somewhere. The seeking of elsewhere.

I remember being filled with a fascination of life's complexities as a child. I would get hooked on projects and coerce my parents to help me actualize them. I had a long run of staying up all night fostering my creativity (and not telling my parents) then sleeping very late (something as an adult I can't even fathom). I tried to keep this hidden from my parents but eventually they found out and were none too pleased, insisting I go to bed at a reasonable hour. It was the seeking of that wonderment that kept me awake.

I was a complicated child. Highly sensitive right out of the gate-intuitive, thoughtful, imaginative, creative. I was put off by other peoples suffering myself included. I could feel when people were hurting or if they weren't a good person. I could feel when places were haunted. I had a kinetic, intense inner world that often baffled my parents. Could be an explanation of why I became an actor this keen sense of awareness-a blessing and a curse.

There's a beautiful song by Alanis Morrisette called ORCHID. Some of the lyrics:

"I'm a sweet piece of work, well intentioned and unloved.
Unlabeled and misunderstood, treated like a rose when an orchid."

Returning to my hometown I was disappointed to discover it was not the same for me now. I think much of it has to do with both of my parents being gone. I told my sister that going back wasn't the same mainly because they were not there. I know people from childhood who still live in my hometown. I cannot imagine the countless lessons, people and growth I would have missed out on had I never spread my wings. After 10 years of living in New York City and now 5 in Denver the old adage you cant go back to before rings true. When I left Chicago originally I remember thinking it was a closed chapter for me, and to my surprise that perception did not change. On one hand what a beautiful reminder of how it's led to all the thoughts and feelings in between. On the other hand, a bit sad.

The best part was having a mini high school reunion with some of my favorite friends from my formative years. I absolutely loved seeing them (they know who they are!) and learned that maybe your oldest friends can be your dearest since they know you longer and deeper than most. I got to be reunited with lovely people, some great auditions and meetings, and time with my dear friend during her breast cancer treatments. The visit was definitely not a bust! But it also wasn't "home" anymore.

What's next I'm not sure--- but how bad would it be to have a life where you've lived all over? I'm thinking of Seattle next which would be my 4th city. The journey continues in ways you don't always envision. That little Illinois boy staring into the night sky out his bedroom window may still be in here-asleep-deep within by the formalities of being an adult--but whispering assuredly to me how far I've come....and how far is left to go.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

So proud to have been a part of this lovely short! Loved working with these actors too. Rekindle your crush today!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Recent short I did for the MS Symposium in Orlando. Although serious in tone, we spent a lot of takes cracking up, which of course you cannot tell on the finished product. :)

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Foodie Pontificates Part 2...The Shift.

In 2009, I wrote about the changes I made after seeing a wonderful nutritionist in New York (read it here). At the turn of 2013 I wanted to kick it up a notch on my nutrient dense food consumption. And kick it up I have! I now call myself a ‘flexitarian’, and like my previous blog I wanted to list some of the pointers I've gained to inspire the foodie masses. I’ve been extensively reading, researching, watching documentaries, going to food lectures and implementing healthier choices in my meals. Our health is symptomatic of what we eat, no question. Food is our medicine, and our fridge should be our “medicine cabinet”. Below I have listed my Top 10 2013 Foodie tips fresh off the press! I truly hope they inspire you as they have me:

  1. I’m eating more 'raw' food-raw cashews for more cream based raw dishes and drinks. I make a delicious spinach dip with raw cashews, garlic, and nutritional yeast (google that). I’ve also found an almond cashew based cream called Mimicreme that goes great in coffee or smoothies. No dairy, no cholesterol and delicious with a bit of agave nectar or stevia.
  2. I try to listen to what my body wants nutritionally. When we load up on processed fatty unrefined foods, our body grows addicted to the chemicals in them and craves it. This continues to make us sick. It’s when we break that cycle (which takes a little time, be patient) that our body eventually starts healing and comes back into a more balanced healthy state- by choosing more whole organic food. Even making just a few changes, you'll notice a huge difference inside overall.
  3. I try to use meat as the ‘side’ dish now in my diet, and make vegetables, quinioa, rice etc. the main course. And whenever possible budget wise I buy organic, grass fed antibiotic free meat and avoid red meat in general. Whole Foods or Sprouts are my go-to stores. Read labels to avoid inflammatory chemicals like High Fructose Corn Syrup. Food with the least amount of ingredients.
  4. I’ve started tampering with gluten free options. This is something I am just scratching the surface on, and I don’t know for sure if I am indeed gluten intolerant. It’s more an experiment. Gluten is just a piece of the puzzle really. If you can get tested for it great, but for me it’s more about trying to eat food with the least amount of processing. Some of the gluten free options are quite good and I highly recommend them.
  5. I watched a couple of incredibly insightful documentaries: THE CURE IS, THE LAST HEART ATTACK by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn (his son runs an amazing plant based website called Engine 2.) and I read THE MOOD CURE by Julia Ross which correlates how food affects our moods. Finally the epic docu' SUPERSIZE ME (who author Alexadra Jamieson recently became my vlog friend!). If you haven’t seen these, I encourage you to check them out if only to educate yourself on processed food and it's contribution to disease.
  6.  Learning about toxins in our food: GMO’s for example. The book THE UNHEALTHY TRUTH by Robyn O’Brien, talks about synthetic growth hormone/proteins approved in the US in 1994 for mass food consumption. The US government had never tested these hormones, and they say “until its proven dangerous” they will allow it into our food supply. All to enhance food profitability. Only in the US geez, many other countries now require GMO labeling in food.
  7. I allow myself to slip up. It’s ok to have fast food, coke etc. I was raised in the Midwest after all. But now, I’ve looked at food from both sides now. I’m so grateful I have the education to compare and contrast. I actually like now when I eat certain foods and get sick, its my body's alert system telling me what inflames it, and I want to be getting that information. It's a preemptive health alert!
  8. Meat and dairy free alternatives. Once you allow yourself to try these a couple of times, you truly love them. My most recent fav’ is Sunshine Burgers and Gardein chick'n breasts, I practically crave them on an Ezekiel wrap with avocado, grape seed veganaise and dark leafy greens. And of course my staples now; Rice and Almond Milk. A good life is feeling good in your body-and from there the other good things in life flow.
  9. Cook more of your meals at home. Make large batches of healthy food and freeze things for later convenience. Inevitably whatever we’re cooking at home with coconut oil, olive oil is better for us than restaurant food caked in grease. Enjoy those restaurant foods yes, but occasionally not consistently.
  10. A Whole Food mega vitamin, Fish Oil, Vitamin D and additional supplements as needed. This has been HUGE for me in overall feeling healthy. The research is abounding. And of course, Exercise is crucial to our well being, it just makes everything better. You may not like doing it during, but you will always like how you feel after. You invest in your future.
When you know the truth, it is hard to go back and unlearn it. I think we all sort of don’t want to hear too much about this, and the thought of giving up our most tasty fat laden foods is unthinkable. I’m not saying give them up, make them the occasional treat and make food for health your priority. It's easy once you do it, really. I get so sad when I see sick or obese people coughing, wheezing and struggling to be physical. We hold in our hands the choice for our own health and it's up to us. Alertness, agility, energy, feeling good overall. Our eating behavior is symptomatic to our rates of disease, sickness, depression, exhaustion. Sickness doesn't just HAPPEN to us haphazardly always, we contribute to our ill health by what we eat and do. So how important is your health to you? When you have your health, you have everything. The shift for me has been ‘do I want to eat to live, or live to eat’? I have heart disease, diabetes and cancer in my family, that eating choices and smoking have caused without question. If I want to live a long, healthy life I've envisioned it has to start with what I put in my body and what I do. Nutrient dense meals, exercise, meditation, giving back. It’s all synergistic and just takes some pro activeness. And so the foodie in me continues to pontificate....hopefully growing in vibrant health. It's you...only better right?

Monday, August 12, 2013

My healthy eating mentor Alexandra Jamieson, of the Oscar nominated SUPERSIZE ME, answered my question on her Vlog today mentioning me by name! Thanks Alexandra! Bummed I have to lessen my meatless meat consumption but so valued her advice. Check out her vlog!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Recent amazing shoot for! Filmed with lovely people on location in Vail, CO.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

TOP TEN Driving Annoyances-a symposium.

Years ago I wrote about my Top 10 Subway Annoyances in New York. When I moved to Denver in 2010, I had not driven in almost ten years. Cut to me buying a car, hittin' the road and subsequently relearning how to drive all over again (you never really forget). And with that, the return of all the abounding douchebaggery on the roads. So in the spirit of revision, I give you my Top Ten Driving Annoyances of 2013. I dare you not to relate-And of course please chime in with your own car'irritants:

1. Bizarre turn lanes. All of sudden you're driving and are forced, by the evil road Gods, to turn L even though you did not want to-and are late-and were given no warning beforehand. Dislike.

2. Driving in rain that is misting down lightly. The tires from cars in front of you form a fine mist that basically renders you blind as a bat. And god forbid it's a semi truck in front of you. It's a complete whiteout mist comparable to a Tibetan hurricane. Come to think of it, TRUCKS in general should be their own obnoxious category. They just don't care honey badger. Go away trucks.

3. Construction zones. It does not feel like you are there to make our roads better Construction people. It feels like you are there to make our lives hell, to just have work, and to perpetually add 25.7 more minutes to our travel time. #roadconstructioncanbiteme

4. When merging 8 million cars from aforementioned construction zones, douchebags who cut all the way up to the front and try to bully their way into the lane you have patiently waited in. No I will not let you in, it's called rules of the road.

5. Parking lots. Why parking lots why? Pulling in, pulling out. Always crowded. Pulling out of a parking spaces without being able to see what's coming.*ouch my neck hurts. Keep alert in parking lots, that's all I'm sayin'.

6. Entitled douchebag drivers speeding recklessly (in snow storms or bad weather). To ye, I put a voodoo witch curse on you to get pulled over and ticketed exorbitantly, crash your car (not die of course....well...maybe) and skyrocket your insurance payments. *Ssst Ssst.

7. Anybody driving in HU'OGE heavy duty pick up trucks that are too wide. No one needs that much car. NO ONE. What are you transporting a whole state? You are over compensating for your small penis and we all know it.

8. Traffic jams that are caused by cars slowing down to stare at the accident on the side of the road. Keep looking ahead people.

9. It's called turn signals. You use them whenever you change lanes, exit or turn. Forget about them, and someone could end up dead.....where did you learn how to drive?....Don't answer that.

10. And the number ten spot goes to...*drum roll....Tailgating! The primal rage this causes in me I can't even explain. Here it is: Two cars stopping distance in front of you. Say this with me "One thousand one, one thousand two" as you drive along. That's right, keep counting and get off my ass please.

Ok that really got my blood pressure up. Hopefully this will go viral and save millions of people. Surely you have more where this came from fellow drivers?

Happy Trails.