|New York City|
|About schooling: I recommend it for anyone who is able to work in the confines of an institution. For some people, the activities that they become involved in ends|
|up being their formal education - and I've met a lot of people
since high school who were street-smarter and more well-read than some people
I'd known that had gone through the whole formal process. Suffice it to
say, I enjoyed my time at Canterbury, although I'm resolved at this point
that I was probably a huge pain in the ass to a lot of people, and that,
I think, arose from unexpected growth, and (like everybody else) I was trying
to decipher the adolescent codes and discover who the hell I was. Canterbury
was a great place to do this, because there was so many wackos (including
myself), you always had a new place to turn for a fresh perspective, and
you always (especially artistically), felt supported.
After a three-year hiatus, I vowed to get back to school. I had already chosen the institution (Stella Adler), based on the recommendation of another BOFA member (Matt Edison) - and after reading the book, I was convinced that this is where I wanted to wreak some more havoc.
I re-auditioned for the program in San Francisco, and that summer, I stowed in the back of a moving truck with $150 in my pocket (and no place to live), and came down here (NYC) to go to school. I had been accepted in the program, and started attending full-time in September of 1997. Despite some great teachers (and some hacks (And there are several ways to spot a hack: The first is, by definition. A hack is somebody that tells you that they are greater than they actually are (and it works in reverse - the great people in this world will never let on); the second, and this applies mostly to acting school - if they never quite had the career they wanted, and are thus fearful of the career you might be about to have; the third is, they once were great teachers and performers, but somewhere along the line, lost their minds)), I left the program in January. Was I bitter? Obviously. But I still took a good chunk of valuable material and ran with it. And I still think it's the best damn technique in the world.
I was a little disillusioned after that - but it taught me a valuable lesson: Never give money to a clown. Also, never bend down around any sort of shiny silver in front of a goat.
|I've been creating music in one form or another since I've
been at Canterbury (when I wasn't particularly good at it), up until the
present moment (where I can now realize my ideas). I've always written and
recorded songs, the titles of which escape me at the moment... Not really,
but there's no need to go in to the sordid and personal workings of my little
musical monkey. He only rattles the cage for himself.
I wrote a few plays too. The first one Crazy Logic, won a teeny tiny award at the N.A.C. The second one, Silence, I never submitted anywhere. In fact, I can't even find it. I've written a few little cookies (one-acts and monologues), and started dabbling with the idea of doing a one-man show. But when I really started mentally pursuing it, I bored myself into slumber, and when I woke up, I'd forgotten everything. Including the alphabet.
Then, last year, I polished off my first screenplay entitled Kings are Wild. For some reason, the only actor I could picture for the lead character was Nick Nolte. In December I flew down to San Francisco where Nolte was doing a highly-publicized new Sam Shephard play called "The Late Henry Moss" (about to premiere here @ Signature Theater with America's hero Ethan Hawke). I stopped the big man on the street - a mess of wild graying red hair combined with refined Southern genteelism, and gave him the screenplay. He asked for my phone number.
He hasn't called.
I'm now currently working on my second screenplay (as yet entitled) with a friend of mine (who happens to be (in my humble and limited opinion) one of the greatest living guitarists in the world (and I've seen a few, anyway) - his name is Askold Buk (you can check out his website www.askoldbuk.com (it's even got a picture of my ugly mug in there and my name misspelled under the "Photo Gallery - Jan. 19, 2001", but don't let that sway you)), and we're planning to make this one a little more... uh... commercial. Thank goodness Mr. Buk is preventing this new literary venture from denigrating into the ramblings of a madman.
|After I graduated, I bummed around for a bit. I tootled around
in a little comedy troupe called The Pez Family,
and we performed in various drinking establishments around Ottawa. I discovered
two things: 1. People will laugh at anything and 2. I'm not that funny.
The shows often went into the wee hours of the morning, and we mostly played
for beer and free nachos. I quit after I woke up on the back of a motorcycle
with my face tattooed and a new mother named "Frank".
I finally picked up and went to Vancouver, to continue acting there (I'd heard it was a little more lucrative than Ottawa, and the pot was supposed to be life-changing), since I didn't have the $$$ to go to post-secondary yet. I did some plays - most notably Sgt. Preston and the Deformers, a political satire that had me playing everything from William Shatner to a KKK member, written by a left-of-left writer/activist named Robert Light who made international headlines when he tried to catch a ballistic missile with a net spouting from a hot air balloon. After beating down a few doors, I acquired a fairly high-powered agent, did a couple of more plays, and rolled around in the grass with a few ladies. Still unsatisfied, and frustrated, I flipped open the newspaper one day as I was sucking back a cold one, and my eyes fell on a venture I might be interested in. Six months later, after a few meetings, rehearsals, and language lessons - I was on my way to Japan, employed as a full-time musician. I kicked around there for about half-a-year, managing to simultaneously entertain and piss off the many conservative established. There was a certain peacefulness to the country that I didn't take the time to enjoy (and now regret), and although I immersed myself in the culture somewhat and made some good coin, most of it was done while I was completely bolloxed and incoherent.
Since I've been in the Apple, I've managed to disgrace many stages, and a few film sets too. I don't want to roll out the ol' resume, in fact, I don't even want to say what I've done, because, well, I'm a little... I'm a little... well, I guess what I'm trying to say is... I'm shy. There. I said it. Can we move on now? What. You got a problem? Yeah? Why don't you come over here and do something about it? YEAH?! Oh, you're a tough guy, hunh?! How'd you like me to stuff your head down your neck?! I'll TAKE YOU DOWN! Yeah - OK! Whatever! Yeah, whatever! Yeah... yeah... so, alright.
A few theatrical highlights: Playing Christy Mahon in Synge's Playboy of the Western World (a role that all the greats have tackled, and a role that I butchered mercilessly); playing Junior in George Walker's Escape from Happiness (and I actually got good reviews!); premiering a show called Six-Inch Adjustable that went on to win a Samuel French writing award; playing a mentally-challenged character named Edge in Some Big Hero and having a social worker who saw the show comment at the after-party that she thought I was slow in real life (only to realize that I was socially retarded); doing a show at the much-lauded and very cliquey E.S.T. bla bla bla. The most rewarding experience I had, was, I think, playing a clever simian and outwitting (also, subsequently reforming) the cunning jaguar in the Neigbourhood Children's Theater production The Jaguar and the Monkey. Why was it so rewarding? It was a show for the homeless and their children. Ah...yeah, well, so I'm a bit of a softie...so what? WHAT?! YOU got a @#%**# PROBLEM?! Whoa - let's not get into that again. Geez.
A few film highlights: Playing a psychotic cowboy in Jim Riffel's upcoming Mass of Angels; playing the a thirties movie hero called the Slim Man in the High Times Magazine film "Potluck" (get it? ha har!); getting a little, tiny biscuit of a part in Ron Howard's new film A Beautiful Mind (see: Opie's Opus, Chapter 14), in a scene with that glabrous, musical lothario, Russel Crowe; playing a non-musical gay cowboy (yikes!) in Harry Maxon's Django.
And, you might see me in a locker room full of Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders
(and other assorted model-types), on the campaign, so to speak, during
the Superbowl, or drinking a Heineken in Iceland. My advice would be to
turn off the TV, run upstairs, hide under the bed, and don't come out
until you hear trumpets playing in the sky.
|I can barely organize breakfast. And sometimes when I do,
the sun has already set.
I'm not really a take charge kind of guy. I make Boris Yeltsin look like a tri-athlete. For instance, I got this questionnaire a year ago. Most of my answers have been ghost-written. When I do write for myself, I tend to get off topic. I like puppies.
However, recently, I donned the robes of producer, or at least assistant producer, or at the very least assistant to the assistant producer. Which reminds me, I once had a landlord named Mario. He named his son "Mario Jr." Mario Jr. in turn, had a son, and named him "Mario Jr. Jr." We at the house dubbed the little hellion "Mario Ju-Ju" for short.
Anyhow, with the films Mass of Angels and Black-Eyed Susan (both of which I acted in, and both by world-famous Jim Riffel (soon to releasing a major pic starring some high-class bigshots, who shall, for the purpose of avoiding lawsuits, remain nameless)), I ended up performing some producer-like duties - such as helping to co-ordinate the soundtrack, finding a producer's rep, cleaning up elephant dung etc.... it's not really that different from the circus.
A word about producing: "@#%$#@!! "
It's a nightmare. The phone rings constantly, and not necessarily during normal business hours. People ask questions that have no answers. You're surrounded by people buoying on inflated self-worth. You start living at Kinko's. And the more you get involved with the entertainment industry, the more you realize how trivial it is...
|OFF THE JOB|
|I keep my charities private.
I keep my sports non-competitive.
I keep my avocations work-related.
Other than that, I spend my time reading, watching old movies and trying to figure out what went wrong. Sometimes, I take a phone call.
I do have one devoted hour of mental massage every Thursday night when
I listen to radio monologuist Joe Frank.
|LINKS YOU WANT|
|If you want to know more about the great but underrated über-guitarist
Askold Buk - please go to http://www.askoldbuk.com.
To learn more about Joe Frank - go to: http://www.kcrw.org and go to "programming".
To learn more about the movie "Potluck" - go to: http://www.potluckmovie.com.
If you want to see a picture of yours truly in character, look through
the photo gallery for any B&W's of The Slim Man.
|It would take a monumental amount of time to explain this
mess. I definitely don't know of any children that I might have, although,
there may a little toddler named Kazuko out there right now who's learning
the art of mortal combat, and will one day stow away overseas and exact
brutal revenge on me so that he may regain his mother's honour.
a woman in Australia, but I just can't seem to get it together.
|FAVOURITE BOFA MOMENT OR MEMORY|
Or, pizza sleep-overs at Jane's.
|Life is full of possibilities, I guess. Whenever I think about this question, I can't seem to make up my mind. I've run the gamut from quitting acting and building orphanages in Serbia, to changing professions and going back to school, to picking up where Warren Beatty left off in film and where Wynn Handmann (who I studied with) left off in theater...i.e. minor revolutions - I still don't know...|
|These questions are too difficult to answer. My mind just
isn't built this way. All things have their own value, and all tasks have
their own meritorious results. I once was Runner-Up in the 13th Annual Texas
Meat Chuck and Ham Circus. But the prize was too terrible to mention.
I can't really say that I'm proud of anything I've done, only more relieved that I got there. At the same time, I have very little shame. I think that's obvious.
The only thing I truly hate is the "business" end of "the business". The gladhanding, the relentless party-networking, the rejection, the game-playing, the self-definition hinging on your own tenacity, the large floating garbage barge of non-talent in a small pool of legitimate jobs... but, with that, comes the payoff from the Doppler effect of suddenly not caring. At this point, life in New York City is completely overshadowed by the World Trade Center disaster.