Category Archives: Inspiration

Stepping into tomorrow…

….got both feet on the ground. Stepping into tomorrow, my destiny is found.  This melodic mantra by the great jazz trumpeter Donald Byrd  has become my theme song for 2017.

I don’t know about you but for me 2016 was a Mutha F&@^#  filled with a lot of heart break, loss and disappointment.  By the end of it, I felt like Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Revenant” after getting mauled by the bear, except thankfully I wasn’t abandoned by those closest to me. Quite the contrary,  the hardships of 2016 created a deeper bond with those I love and love me the most.

But ultimately I’ve come to the conclusion that it is I alone who must take responsibility for my own happiness and the quality of my life. I can’t allow myself to wallow in the muck of a messed up system or blame others or to look to anyone else to save me. No. I believe that we all have the God given potential to transform and create the life we desire.

But sometimes I do get overwhelmed with doubt and fear and feel lost and confused about what my purpose is and what I am doing with my life. During one such moment of confusion, I received some really great advice from a counselor that I’d like to share. He advised me to look back at my adult life in 5 year increments and to take account and write down all that I was able to do and accomplish during that time. Then I was encouraged to write out a list of 5 things that I wanted to do/create/accomplish in the next 5 years. The point of the exercise is to see the running, creative  themes that connect our past with our future and to step back to see the bigger picture that is being created and then with pride and joy continue filling in the blank spaces with more of our unique ideas, passions and desires.

Have you ever heard the saying that we were made in the image of the creator.  I interpret this to mean that we are all made to be little creators,  granted with the immense responsibility and creative ability to create.  Life is a constant collaboration between the supreme creative force of the universe and our own abilities coming together in a moment to manifest our destiny on a daily basis.

So that is my resolution and my commitment this year.  TO TAKE GREAT PRIDE AND JOY IN CREATING,  CELEBRATING AND EXPRESSING MY OWN UNIQUE PERSPECTIVES AND LOVE OF LIFE.  I hope and pray that you will do the same.

Peace and Love…

 

The Legacy of a Creative Soul

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I recently lost a great friend of mine.  His name was Charles E. Drew Jr. and he was one of… NO.  He was THE MOST creative and prolific artist and writer I have ever known.  Charles wrote plays and musicals the totals of which are still being tallied.  Not only did he write because that’s just who he was and what he did but he also produced and directed his plays, constantly sharing his work with other artists and audiences all over America.  His writing was a manifestation of his huge, multi cultural, magnanimous soul.

He told stories about people from all walks of life and from many differing cultures. The subjects  of his plays varied from football players and cheerleaders “Somewhere in Texas” to getting “86’d” from an 8th Avenue, Port Authority NYC Hustler Bar to  the story of”Jacob and Sara”‘ a newly married Orthodox Jewish couple living in Williamsburg, Brooklyn then “Back to the Barrio” and the bodega and cuchifrito culture of Spanish Harlem all the way overseas to an Italian family  of circus clowns in “November 10th, 1989”.  His plays captured the universal humor and pathos of humanity but he also celebrated the subtle nuances of each culture also.   His characters were young, old, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Italian, American heterosexual, homosexual, transgender, black, brown, white, off white but always colorful.

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Charles’s writing was bold and unapologetic yet sensitive and subtle, full of heart and soul and never ever without humor.  As a writer he was the best gift any young actor looking to do meaningful work in the NYC theater scene could ask for. I do not know where I would be as an artist if I hadn’t linked up with Charles and  became an honorary “munster” of his Absolute Theater Co.  Charles challenged me to expand and grow as an artist by giving me creative opportunities and roles that point blank scared the shit out of me.

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In his epic play “Jacob and Sarah”,  I play a  man who develops feelings for his co-worker Jacob Feldman, a young Orthodox Jewish man who is paying my character to pee on him.  Yup, you heard that correctly.  That  role and play in particular was witnessed by Al Pacino who  was so inspired by Charles’s writing and the play that he made a financial contribution to the Co. which allowed us to take that play and others to Los Angeles, which I personally was able to parlay into finding  a manager and subsequently  transitioning into the film and television industry.

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Charles provided 100’s of people like myself the opportunity to create and thrive as artists.  His  Absolute Theater Company’s annual Urban Fairy Tale  Theater Festival provided so many actors the opportunity to sink their teeth into juicy meaty material . He was always encouraging those around him to draw from their own soul’s experiences  and to write down their own stories. He appreciated and celebrated people for who they were with all of their unique “munster” idiosyncrasies and foibles and not who he wanted them to be. He was an enigmatic spirit with a huge loving heart in a big lumbering  body.  He was a lot. He was loved a lot and by a lot of different people. I have never been this personally close to someone who has had such a profound emotional and meaning full effect on so many  people in so many different ways . And it has made me so much more aware of the importance of legacy.

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What are we going to leave for others to reflect upon after our time in this body is through. Whether you are an artist like Charles  or an inventor whose creations  actually change the plight of the world like Steve Jobs or you might just be a simple, kind, generous,  loving,  loyal family member like my dear (little grandmother) Abuelita who had such a profound effect on family, friends, and total strangers in her life alike.  What we do,  how we choose to live,  the actions we take to create our lives moment to moment from birth to death will continue to be felt and produce a resounding wave of meaning and significance in the wake after the wake.

I’m so grateful and thankful for all of the inspiration of Charles E. Drew Jr., Muhammed Ali, PRINCE and all of those who passionately lived and created and who were unapologetic about celebrating their unique god given gifts , creative powers, and soulful re-evolutionary perspectives.

Blessed with this magical breath of life, I pledge to live my life with passion and compassion and to continue to create new realms of positive creative possibilities.

WE MUST CELEBRATE WHO WE ARE IN ORDER TO CREATE WHO WE WANT TO BE!

 

 

 

 

 

Better recognize!

525929942You must recognize THE SIGNIFICANCE of living every moment.You don’t have to amplify it – just recognize it. Recognize history. Recognize you are a continuation of history. Stella Adler – The Art of Acting

Momentous occasions have a way of putting our personal journeys into perspective. Whether it’s a birth or death, celebrating a hard sought professional milestone or coming to terms with a career change or a decaying relationship, all of these experiences have a way of putting the BIG PICTURE in focus. Our past and the choices we’ve made suddenly become illuminated under the proverbial microscope. It’s as if at that moment  we are stopped in our tracks half way up the mountainside to a catch a glimpse of the long winding road that we’ve travailed to get to this particular panoramic view. And whether that moment breeds a feeling of awe or confusion, the reaction is usually the same, “Wow, look how far I’ve come, how the heck did I manage to get here?”.

This past month for me has been filled with those types of deep, intense reckonings, the operative word being intense. I love that word. Break it down and you get in-tense, somewhere between the past-tense and the future-tense, beyond pretense is INTENSE. Last night’s movie premier for me was a wonderful celebration of my ongoing journey and evolution as it’s culminated to this point. I was also aware of every one else’s journey as well. From the veteran superstars who’s careers have spanned decades, to the fresh face up and comers who are just now stepping onto the scene, to us “journey men” who have managed to string together a succession of gigs enough to make a living, but who are still in hungry pursuit of that ultimate success. My whole day preparing for the premier was filled with so many thoughts and reflections, different memories fluttered back to me like homing pigeons carrying messages from the past.

Sharing the day with my 16 year old daughter June made me so sensitively aware that she is the only person who has physically been a part of my professional journey every step of the way. Her birth was the catalyst that caused me to ratchet up my focus on doing what I truly wanted to be doing. I remember thinking, ok now is the time to get serious and step it up, a common mental effect after having a child that continuously lingers on.

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I also recently lost a special friend who played a major role in my development as an actor. His passing has brought a tidal wave of profound deep reflections filled with gratitude and spiritual significance. He was a writer and a director and if it wasn’t for him I really don’t know how I would have made it to where I am today. Charles gave me and so many others the opportunity to soar and grow as actors and to live out our dreams of performing Off-Broadway theater in New York City. I actually came out to LA with Charles and the his theater Co. and we put on a theatrical showcase that I was able to use to court my first manager and get the ball rolling out here in LA. I will for sure revisit  the topic of Charles’s significant role in my life in future posts but for now I am going to continue sharing the subtle myriad of memories that colored the significance of my day.

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The first actor I see when I enter the premier is Giles Marini of the “Sex and the City” movie who I haven’t seen in 15 years. The last time we saw each other is when did an ad for Jose Cuervo. I had just moved to LA and booked my first film role in “The Crow, Wicked Prayer ” and Giles was so happy for behaving not yet experiences his big break which would soon to come. Both of our teenagers were toddlers then and now he tells me that he had to borrow his sons car and promise to put gas in it just to get to the premier.

Earlier that day I was on my way to a fitting with Warair Boswell, fashion designer extraordinary when I turned the corner onto S.Broadway and saw the marque for the Orpheus Theater. My mind immediately flashed back 17 years earlier to the very first time I traveled to LA for a modeling gig. I remembered the feeling I had walking around downtown LA anticipating that my journey was going to inevitably veer west. I was standing on another great precipice, about to turn the page on a new chapter in my life, stepping blindly into a new journey with no road map or idea how I would navigate this new terrain but somehow here I am 17 years later…so many gigs later, still managing to not only survive but to strive continue to step strongly toward my ultimate goals and success.

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The actors journey is definitely not for everyone and can be a very precarious path. It takes a certain type of person to be able to live their lives not knowing what the next day is going to bring. IT can be exciting and exhilarating or it can be straight up maddening. But for me the way that I’ve managed to preserver and maintain my passionate pursuit is I don’t take any of it for granted. Each moment, each audition, each gig,s each and every mentor, all of my life’s challenges and milestones all continue to contribute to the man and artist that I am perpetually becoming. I want to thank you if you’ve read this post. Thank you for caring, thank you for all of your well wishes and support, thanks for believing that my day is going to come….each and every day.

Today is another amazing day in LA and I’m off to another blessed gig, an AT& T commercial.  Maybe it is not as glamorous as the last one but  it’s just as important, each brick is another building block in the pillars and foundation of my career.

The “Mothers and Daughters” Premier

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Tonight is the big night. I’m so excited to reconnect with the cast and crew of “Mothers and Daughters” and share this wonderful celebration with my daughter June, who will be my chaperon tonight. Anybody in the business knows what a miraculous feat it is to get a movie made. It all starts with the dream of a screen writer banging away on their computer keys for months and sometimes years on end, molding imagination into characters and stories. Then that writer must shop their finished product and pray to find some passionate brave producer who sees and believes in their vision and decides that they would like to either invest and bring other producers on to invest in in order to get it made. Then a director has to be chosen to guide the whole process along, a crew assembled..and actors have to be cast.

For me, this experience was a dream come true. Mainly because of how it came to me. About 4 years ago I was performing in a powerful play written by Pedro Antonio Garcia called “Firehouse” and after one particular performance I was approached by a passionate producer named Amy Williams who was so enamored with the play and my performance, that she decided she wanted to keep in touch with the hopes that one day we might be able to work together. A few times throughout the years she reached out to refer me for other projects but none of them panned out for me. So when this one came along, I have to say, I decided I wasn’t going to allow myself to get my hopes up. I thought this was way too good to be true but Amy persisted to leave me messages, telling me how she wanted me to play this one particular role but then suddenly that role ended up getting cut down in the script, so she left me another message saying not to worry that there was an even better role that she had in mind for me. She proceeded to tell me all about the project and all who was going to be in the film and how hard she had fought not only to get it produced but to have me in it and although I was extremely flattered and hopeful, I still would not allow myself to believe that it was going to happen.

As actors we play so many mind games with ourselves, trying to focus and visualize exactly what we want and believing earnestly that it is going to happen and although I do believe in that sort creative visualization, on this occasion I just said, screw it, it’s going to happen or not. If it does, it would be an amazing blessing and if it doesn’t, so be it. Well it turns out it was an amazing blessing. I had such a great time working on this movie, the cast and crew were awesome and it was such a wonderful experience that no one can ever take away. So I am going to sit back with my baby girl with a bucket of pop corn and just bask in seeing another dream come true. Thank you God! And Thank You Amy Williams!!!