Sunday, December 26, 2010

My Holiday Gift to You

Last night after Christmas dinner, we drove from the Bay Area to our family's cabin in Lake Tahoe. Just the two of us. It was nice to drive in the snow, get here and have a White Christmas. Driving in the snow is always peaceful, everything feels so still and silent, even when you're playing music. My brain had a chance to relax for the first time since the day after Thanksgiving. And when my brain relaxes, it chews on things. I went on a little rant on Twitter around 3AM, and it's worth re-posting here.

My Holiday gift to you guys, in the middle of the night.

I'm a good person. Very good. Who's also nice, kind and loving. YET I've been treated like CRAP my ENTIRE life. Mean, bad things said about me- worse things invented about me for social gain, or EGO. For some dumbass reason, I felt I DESERVED to be treated that way. And I'm good, kind, nice and loving. All the time. It's a CHOICE. Then one day you wake up and somehow feel different. I woke and realized that people who are good, kind, nice and loving DON'T deserve to be treated like crap.

So I've been on a mission. And it's named after a concept I learned from my first "real" acting teacher. It's called "FUCK EM." I finally learned that I don't have to take shit from ANYONE (including my mother) if I'm a person who's good, kind, nice and loving. But it IS up to ME to redefine the rules of how I allow people to treat me. YES- I know I'm not normal. I'm creative! I'm NOT conventional! And NO ONE should have to apologize or be punished for being their authentic selves when they're not hurting others.

But when you've given yourself freedom, the people will revolt. Sometimes it's aggressive, which is relatively easy to deal with. Sometimes its passive/aggressive. And dealing with that when you are good, kind, nice and loving is difficult. You'd like to please everyone, but you have to take care of YOURSELF. That's important on so many levels, it's even important on a Darwin level.

So. If some people demand ridiculous things of you, you can say "no, thank you" and you're still good, kind, nice and loving. To move forward, you have to UNDERSTAND that last concept. If someone sets up a request where if you don't acquiesce (look it up), you're an asshole? That is the very definition of a DICK MOVE. They're trying to take advantage of you for personal gain. Period. And often, acquiescing feels like avoiding the passive/aggression, but it's not. It's a way to communicate tacit agreement. No one who is good, kind, nice and loving deserves passive aggression. No one. The only ways to dissolve those kinds of actions are to say "no thank you," and MOVE ON or COMMUNICATE openly with the crazies. It might seem more difficult, but at least you'll sleep well because you will have treated yourself with the same respect you give others. And you deserve that!

If you don't think you deserve that, I invite you to IMMEDIATELY go look yourself in a mirror, look into your eyes and tell yourself that you love YOU. If it feels uncomfortable when you do that, then you've got a lot of work to do, and it all starts in the mirror.

I may be crazy, but I'm also good, kind, nice and loving 365 days of every single year. And THAT is what Christmas is about, right? Don't believe me? S'cool. Daft Punk does. Check out their Face to Face from Discovery.

My gift to you all is this: I give you permission to treat yourself with LOVE. you deserve it - if only cuz I said so! #bestvibesEVER

As always: I said all that for me to hear just as much as I wanted you to hear it. We're all together, and it don't get better than THAT.

Happy Holidays, Y'all! Let's make 2011 AMAZING for EVERYONE.

[copywright MMX MD TOTAL all rights reserved]

Monday, November 22, 2010

Awards Season Has Begun with a Bang!!!


Hope you all are well! As you know, I’ve been working my ass off becoming a working actor for a while now. I’ve had a blast so far, even if most people on the planet haven’t yet seen the work I’ve done. I’ve performed in some of America’s most beautiful, historic theaters, and I’ve also performed in places where I had to use the same bathroom as the audience. I’ve even had costume changes in alleys! Really. But it’s all been incredibly fulfilling, bringing great work to people who work hard for their cash, and choose to spend it at a theatre.

Well, my hard work is beginning to pay off! I was nominated for two Broadway World SoCal Awards!
• “Best Actor in a Play (resident non-equity),” AND
• “Best Actor in a Musical (resident non-equity)!”

The best part is that these are fan awards, so you all can VOTE for Malcolm Devine! And while we’re at it, you’re allowed to urge all of your friends to vote for me too… I’m kidding! Except I’m not kidding at all. Or am I…?

VOTE HERE

Winning an award like this could actually help me a LOT. It would help me get into audition rooms I wouldn’t have been able to get into previously, and winning would give me a little momentum going into pilot season!

I’m also the CLEAR underdog in this competition – even though I’m up for two awards, I’m up against actors who have been on the cover of LA Weekly and have had pieces done on them in the LA Times. Don’t we all love to root for the underdog?! That’s definitely ME.

Also, any awards I might win would also be awesome for the two theaters that put on these shows. Small, struggling theaters have such a difficult time getting attention even when they’re putting up awesome work. This is a great way to give to these theaters for FREE!

REMEMBER: you can only vote ONCE PER EMAIL ADDRESS!

AND, If you’re so inclined you can also vote for these fantastic folk – they all (including the theaters that put on these shows) could use the help!

Best New Work (resident non equity) for “From the East to the West”
Best Revival (resident non equity) for “A Christmas Carol”
Best Actress in a Play (resident non equity) for Nickella Moschetti
Best Actress in a Musical (resident non equity) for Diana Martin
Best Ensemble (resident non equity) for “From the East to the West”
Best Scenic Design (resident non equity) for Trefoni Rizzi

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Entire Month Off: Week Two Roundup

YOU MEAN I HAVE TO DO THIS SHIT EVERY SINGLE FUCKING DAY?!


Now that's just me being funny. BUT... it's only funny because it's true.

Monday, November 8, 2010

An Entire Month Off: Week One Roundup

If I had known how many more emails this to do would require me to send/reply to, I’d never have done this.

But seriously! It’s overwhelming. And really stressful, y’all!

Or at least that’s how I honestly felt for the first three days, but then I turned a corner. I started making some strides in the work I had already done. All of a sudden, while working on the first of the two monologues, I began to feel the conflict my character was feeling. And that always feels like the shining star – the light that brings you the rest of the way home. And once you’ve seen that, you know you can do the rest of the work, even though you’re still at the very beginning.

And then even the annoying work began to feel good. On November first, I sent out emails to all the people who owed me footage from the projects I shot this year. Now, I put that on the list because I’d been trying to get footage from people all year long and had not been successful. Yet. It’s one thing to tell me in detail what stage of post production the project is in, and that’s completely understandable and most importantly, it’s honest. But when I begin to hear repeated excuses, it’s time to step up my game. And this is where it gets difficult.

I’m not interested in burning any bridges, and I’d gladly work with all of the people I worked with this year again – BUT – I also deserve the footage I was promised when I signed on to the project. You have to figure out how to remain likable while getting people to deliver what they’ve promised. It’s funny… people forget that most of us keep business email threads. They don’t seem to know that before I emailed them, I re-read all of our previous emails, so I know when they’re using the same excuses again. Even excuses that were outlandish in the first place were re-used! S’okay. Remain nice and likable and step up your game. You know what? After hours of emailing back and forth, I got one of my directors to agree to give me my footage. I literally went onto a studio lot, brought my hard drive into this director’s office and waited while he uploaded my footage. And that, my friends, is what we call producing.

That was also the first item crossed off my list.

I was surprised to see what kind of things came up in my personal life. I’ve had no less than three situations I had to handle that in the past, I would have exploded at the people challenging me. But there’s something about being on your grind that allows you to remain present in the face of opposition and not commit any murders. And I, for one, am thankful for that!

At the end of the day, when you’ve chosen to demand so much of yourself, the peripheral distractions don’t seem so challenging. In fact, they almost help you see exactly where you are.

Define yourself through opposition.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The List: An Entire Month Off

Well. I spent most of last week [before I posted the Month Off post] trying to figure out if I really had the stones to attempt something so ambitious, in front of everyone. I knew once I posted it, I’d have to follow through. And honestly, that scared me. What if I failed? In front of everyone? I mean, it would be a lot of work, but that was the point. As soon as I realized it scared me, I posted it.

I ain’t getting taken down by fear. And neither should you.

So I sat down and made the list. What would I really want to accomplish? What would be the most helpful to me immediately, and also going into pilot season? I’m going to share my list as an example. Which, by the way, is also a bit scary, because now I’m accountable – but again, that’s the point. This is what I wrote:

•learn two new monologues
•learn and investigate a new song [which, ahem, is really just learning a third monologue]
•write one song
•write that “untitled” short
•re-organize the office space
•get to new, more accomplished level of fitness
•eat sublimely healthy food
•go through and donate clothes to Goodwill
•get footage from all outstanding projects and get them on my reel
•write outline of “untitled” screenplay idea
•find and apply for three paying jobs where I can work from home on my own schedule
•read two plays
•read one book
•spend more time with friends and family

Writing this list got me excited. This is not a list of things I want to have done, this is a list of things I actually want to do. Best of all, they all would have a positive impact on both my personal life and my career. This is a good thing.

As soon as I got this list written, I knew it would take some detailed planning and scheduling for the month. I mean – it’s not enough for me to say “Get to new, more accomplished levels of fitness.” I had to choose what I was after, what I was going to do, and for how many days each week.

The same with “Eating sublimely healthy food.” It’s easy to go to the grocery store and buy all clean food, but that’s not enough. I would have to think about meals. And snacks. Now I love to tear it up in the kitchen, but what if I have a long day and don’t want to fully cook a meal? Ordering pizza is not a viable option, I’d have to have something already in place, even for those times. Is that when I break out the Trader Joe’s frozen Pad Thai? It’s a good start.

As I was about to get down with the details, the power cord on Macbook crapped out. Oy. I went to the Apple store at the Grove at 5:30 on a Saturday evening. Angelenos know exactly what level of hell I walked into. But this was important – I needed my computer to work so I could get going on my scheduling. I had a feeling that if I didn’t give myself a good chance to actually plan this, I was sure to fail. The trip to the Apple Store was surprisingly easy. Plus, you don’t have to wait in line for a cashier because every single employee can cash you out with their ipod. Not bad, Apple.

The new cord did not fix the problem. I had known I needed a new battery for a while, but had not gotten around to buying one. No matter. I went back to the Apple store the very next morning to pick up a battery, but they were out of stock. In fact, after fourteen phone calls, I learned that none of the Apple stores within 60 miles of Los Angeles had it in stock. I would have to order online. And have it… delivered. What is this, the sixties?

I ordered the battery and felt dejected. Whyyyyy was this happening to meeeeeeeeee? And just when I’m trying to accomplishhh so muccchhhhhhh?! Okay, I wasn’t that whiney, but I got close to that. Then I decided: Not only was this not going to stop me, it wasn’t even going to slow me down. I still remember how to write, I could write my plans down! Do you hear me, Universe?! I AM DOING THISSSSSSSSSS!

I needed pizza. I drove to my favorite place in LA, which is not close at all so I had time to think while I drove. Not having the usage of my computer really did feel like a slap in the face, it was not the energy I wanted at the absolute beginning stages of this experiment.

And then, I let it all go. I was still going to do it all anyway, I might as well succumb to the experience, and observe what it brought up. I relaxed. Music in my car sounded clearer. Colors outside my car window were brighter. In short, I fell in.

It seemed that by choosing to do this experiment, I had stirred something up in my world. Things were changing. I came home feeling elated. I sat down and wrote out the things I planned to do on my Entire Month Off. I can’t lie, my handwriting sucks - but writing this list in pencil on a spiral notebook felt transcendent. Visceral. Even erasing an idea was work. Surprisingly, I remembered the entire list, and writing it down made it feel real.

Maybe I had to write it down to fully remember that the point of this entire exercise was Old Fashioned Hard Work? And you know what? Maybe my computer needed a new battery to keep up with all this work I’m diving into. Maybe it was a sign of a new beginning. All I knew for sure was that I was definitely doing this. And apparently, it just might change my life.

This is a good thing. Get into it.

Friday, October 22, 2010

An Entire Month Off

What would you do with an entire month off? Would you go out of town? Take a class? Would you learn a new monologue? Or two? Re-organize your office space? Finally get that screenplay idea down on paper? Devote more time to fitness? Spend more time with friends and family? Go to museums? Learn new recipes? Shoot a short? Shoot a web series? Overhaul and/or re-investigate your audition material? Edit your reel? Send out a targeted headshot mailing? Get new headshots?

Or would you dust off your “2010 New Year’s Resolutions” list and see how far you’ve come?

With a month off, I feel like I could get a lot done. It’s just that pesky job that takes up all my time. With a month off, I’d even have time for romantic walks on the beach. Wouldn’t I...?

As I was thinking about how I would afford to take an entire month off, I remembered that the Universe abhors a vacuum. If one month off was all I chose to pursue, the Universe could give it to me in a number of ways that had nothing to do with my own desires. I decided to make a list of the things I would be taking a month off to do. It’s always better to make choices in the direction you want to go, right?

What would I do with a month off from my survival job, really? I would definitely still go to auditions and shoot anything I booked. Obviously. That’s my career. But what about all the other time?

As I began to make this list, I got excited. These were all things I actually wanted to do with my time and were all things I wanted to accomplish. Best of all, they were things I could accomplish. With a little ambition.

After I made this list, I thought about how I would afford a month off to do all of this. Sure, it was possible and could be worked out. I would just have to work more at the survival job to make the money I’d use for an entire month off. It would take some time, but it could be done! But while I’d be saving up for this month off, I wouldn’t have time to accomplish any of my own goals until that month off.

What if I didn’t take a month off… and still did the things I would’ve done in that time… anyway?

As soon as I thought it, I knew I had to do it. And I should start as soon as possible. I decided I’d take November. I have ten days to get myself ready. This would not be easy, but wouldn’t I feel more fulfilled…? Doing this in November would also work as a big push through the end of the year. I’d have a shot at meeting the goals I set for myself in January. I could finally enjoy the holidays without feeling like I got lazy after Halloween.

The Plan:

I would take November “off,” from November first through December fifth. It would go five days into December to account for the five days around Thanksgiving (and for some neat reason this year, Nov 1 is a Monday and December 5 is a Sunday five weeks later. There are no coincidences). I’d plan my weeks and weekends around the tasks I’d set for myself AND work at my survival job. I’d use an app on my cell phone to schedule these events and set alarms to make sure I got going.

And then I wondered: Why I should do this? It’s not like I’m lazy. I already attend to my career, right? I work my ass off! Why should I work even harder than I already do?

Because, if you want to keep getting what you’re getting, keep doing what you’re doing – as they say. By all accounts, I can’t complain with the goals I have surpassed this year. But I’ve only gotten to wherever I am right now because I did more this year than last. And it’s time to climb to the next level, so it’s time to do even more.

Are you feeling me?

The Challenge:

Join me: From November 1, 2010 through December 5, 2010 – let’s take the entire month off! We’ll make a list of the things we want to accomplish if we had taken the entire month off from our survival jobs. Then we will prioritize that list, and bite off a little more than we think we could chew without actually taking a month off from our survival jobs. But it has to be more than we think we could actually do. We would have to be ambitious. That’s the only way we could get done more than usual.

Best of all? We all get to do it together and share our experiences with each other. If it gets difficult, we can all come back here for inspiration! We can all comment and talk about how we’re handling our journey. If we want too. Or not. At the very least, I promise you I will document my journey here. So even if you’re skeptical about doing it now, you’ll be able to track my own progress and decide if you’d like to do it later.

I just have a feeling that now is an excellent time to put the cart before the horse. And nothing bad has ever come from working our collective asses off, has it…?

In the next post I’ll go into my own list of things I’m choosing to accomplish during my month off, and I’ll even talk about how I’m going to schedule myself.

This is a good thing. Get into it.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

"15 Albums in 15 Minutes."

Well, by now either you've been tagged in a note or you've seen this note floating down your facebook news feed. At first, I sort of ignored the notes because I wasn't to keen on having another "25 Things" sort of total pop culture takeover. But one of my friends tagged me in her note, and it was the best one I've read so far. So good, I figured I'd actually take part. And I'm posting it here! I will just copy and paste, so you know I was fair. I will also tell you that I really did only spend 15 minutes choosing the albums, the rest I added later. You know how I feel about RULES...

•••••••••

Pretty much everybody loves music, right? Everybody does. Everybody. The thing about me is that I’m an only child who was raised by a single parent. And as such, I spent a lot of time alone. A lot of time alone. A LOT. I discovered what it meant to play an album on repeat far before that was a function on CD players. I was so lonely all the time. All the time.

Until music discovered me.

I had forgotten how lonely I always used to be until just today. I was watching a DVD of George Michael’s latest concert and was having a blast until he hit one note – and it was not an off note, in fact he sounded AMAZING – but that one note somehow opened up a memory of how lonely I used to be. How lonely I was before I truly found music as a part of my expression. And I cried. I wasn't reduced to a blubbering mess - but hot, salty tears burst from my eyes so quickly, even I was surprised. They were so salty. And today was the first day I realized exactly how music has saved me.

I was definitely a weird kid, but music kept me out of trouble. Well, outside of that whole “pursuing performing as a way of life” thing. ;)

Here are the first fifteen albums that came to mind.


1. Thriller. (The King of Pop) I mean – “Wanna Be Startin Something?!” “Human Nature?!” Everyone talks about Billie Jean, but “Beat It” has always been my JAM – it’s got Mike (he’s my bro) and Eddie Van Halen on lead guitar! C’MON! Name a song recorded before that with a black male lead vocalist with a straight up rock guitar not only as a rockin solo, but as a major aspect of the song!

2. Ray of Light. (Madonna) This record came around just when I was being Awakened to so many things. Everyone thinks of the title track, but the song “Frozen” still sounds as good now as it did then, in fact – it sounds even better. And the rest is just as brilliant. “The Power of Goodbye” is a gorgeous ballad, in all it’s four chord glory. And the rest? Post-modern fantastic-ness. Listen to it again, from beginning to end and you’ll agree.

3. Fumbling Towards Ecstasy. (Sarah McLachlan) I love every single track on this record. “Possession,” “Good Enough,” and “Ice Cream” are the tracks everyone remembers – but “Plenty,” “Mary” and “Wait” are the tracks I hear in my sleep.

4. Purple Rain. (Prince)

5. A Rush of Blood to the Head. (Coldplay) I unabashedly love Coldplay’s music, no matter how many people keep telling me how uncool it is to do so. I should add Viva La Vida, but I didn’t because “Clocks” was the recessional at my wedding – and most importantly – “In My Place” is my SONG. Quite.

6. Joshua Tree (U2) For a minute, my mom dated an Irish dude from Dublin long distance. He gave me this album and said “Malcolm. You’re going to love this album. This band – they’re your people.” He meant my people, it was not a generalization . And he was correct.

7. Faith. (George Michael) Or Patience. His first solo album or his last one. They’re both PERFECT. This man wrote the title track, “Faith,” “Father Figure,” “I Want Your Sex,” “Precious Box,” “Cars and Trains,” and “Amazing.” And he sings the hell out of them.

8. Crash. (Dave Matthews Band) This album came around just as I needed to LET GO. I may have discovered it on a weekend party-all-the-time trip to Myrtle Beach, but tracks like “#41,” and “Say Goodbye” still slay me.

9. Janet. (Janet Jackson) This album came around when I started dancing seriously. To hear this album on radio, see the videos on TV, and do the choreography in dance class all at the same time changed me as a performer. I still know all the choreography to “If.”

10. Senses Working Overtime. This is actually a Starbuck’s compilation, but it’s AMAZING. It’s all music from the New Wave: Talking Heads. Bowie. KATE BUSH. Roxy Music. The Cure. XTC. The Pretenders. New Order. Echo and the Bunnymen. Peter Gabriel. The English Beat. I mean, C’mon!

11. The Dirty Dancing Soundtrack. It’s a blend of soul music from the early sixties and a couple of 80s pop tunes like Hungry Eyes, and Overload and of course: She’s Like the Wind. It’s got pop, soul, R&B and Merengue!

12. Heavier Things. (John Mayer) This album got me through some rough times. ROUGH. I have three words for you from someone who spent five years in a long distance relationship: “Split-Screen Sadness.”

13. Linus and Lucy. (George Winston) The album where Winston did all Vince Guaraldi songs, who wrote the music to Charlie Brown. This album means AUTUMN. It just doesn’t get any better than “The Great Pumpkin Waltz.”

14. RENT (Original Cast Recording.) I was living in NYC, studying acting and musical theater when this took over the city. It still has me.

15. Soul Christmas. Have you ever heard Otis Redding do White Christmas? Because you NEED to. Did you know Luther Vandross recorded one of the best non-traditional Christmas songs of all time? Have you heard of Carla Thomas? Get this album, get it NOW.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Two. Years. Old.

Soccerboy in LA is two years old. Yes, it’s been amazing. And yes, even I’m astonished by how much joy it’s brought me. Most of all, I don’t know what to say. Clearly, I love posting here as you can see by the archives. And yes, it’s true that the past two months is the first time I’ve posted regularly in a long time. It’s also true I had stopped posting regularly because I have been fortunate enough to be acting regularly and have been focusing all my energy on doing that job really well. I no longer assume that was the best or smartest choice. I just didn’t know how to be that far in it and hold enough objectivity to write about it all at the same time.

The first draft of this post included stories about what I’ve been up to since I used to post regularly. It was surprisingly fair and balanced, but it read like a resume. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what specific acting jobs I did. All that matters is these acting jobs changed my life for many reasons; professionally, artistically, emotionally and personally. And if you’re interested, you can read all about that here.

I also have to mention, many of those jobs came into my life directly because of Soccerboy in LA. And for that, I am beyond grateful.

These new posts that began back in May [since the logo change, ahem] are all pretty special to me. Not only are they a great way to get an idea of who I am right this moment, but they’ve also become the most read posts in the history of Soccerboy in LA.

Normally, I look to write something uplifting to mark the passage of an anniversary, and this year is only different because I debuted that piece early. That piece is The Semmering. If you haven’t read it yet, do so. It’s good. It also became the second most read post on this site in three days.

I’m amazed it’s been two years. I started this not knowing if I’d even make it four weeks and look at where we are now... I should’ve dreamed bigger, not that it’s too late for that... ;)

Most importantly, not only has writing here gotten me in the habit of being creative every single day [which is beyond priceless], but it got me in the habit of expressing myself every day in a way that people saw. This is no journal – these posts are read all over the world. And becoming comfortable with expressing yourself in something new every day is a gift that reaches many different parts of your life. Most importantly, it’s gotten me more connected with who I am as an artist, if only because I continually show my work.

That’s what artists do; we show our work.

I’m grateful that people have read what I’ve written at all, and I’m grateful that it’s even entertained people at all. There aren’t many things more satisfying than the feeling you get when you know you’ve entertained someone. And if some people find some features to be meaningful to them? That’s the sprinkles on top of the icing on the cake.

It’s all amazing.

And it all makes me wonder what magical dreams this next phase will bring to fruition…

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Where the Fuck Have I Been?!

Okay, we haven’t talked about this but we all know it’s the elephant in the room. Sometime around the sixth episode of Everybody’s Stupid, I sort of disappeared from posting regularly. I know, it was as if I vanished in a puff of smoke. A post here, and then a post there weeks later. And then all of a sudden, there was The Cannes Diary – fifteen days of nonstop posting. WTF?! Then in May, I posted a Bachelor’s Paradise recipe and didn’t even have the courtesy of pretending that I had been gone. Who the hell do I think I am, exactly?

In my defense, I’ve been busy. And I got busy (hello, mid 90’s) because people hired me from my work here. There are definitely worse things. I figured that now, a week after our second anniversary, would be a good time to share some of my experiences. Well, all that I can tell and not get myself in trouble…

So what exactly have I been up to since I stopped posting four times a week? We’ll have to look back a little.

A producer saw the fourth episode of Everybody’s Stupid, and cast me in a monologue slam and I won third place! It was the first time I’ve ever had to stand on stage alone and deliver a five-minute monologue. I fell in love with it immediately. I did a piece from Fences that is rarely ever done and I will say this: I will play Troy in the next Broadway revival of the show. Yes, I know it’s on the Broadway right this second with Denzel, but I’m talking about 20 years from now. It’ll be me, and you’ll know that I’ve been preparing since now.

Another producer who had been a fan of my show since the first episode cast me in a showcase of hers. It was a tiny, one-line role but I was beyond grateful. This showcase was sold out and real industry professionals who hire actors and writers would be in attendance. This was the first time I felt the idea “Whatever it is, I’ll make it funny.” Because of scheduling conflicts, I only had one rehearsal, and that was during our tech run of the show. I had a few entrances and exits, but my one line came at the very end. In my second to last exit, in one of those moments where you can feel that every single eye in the room is on you, I turned around and gave the main two characters a “look.” The audience fell apart laughing for about thirty seconds. Really. Thirty seconds is a long time in a theater. It was the best feeling in the world.

That same week I was cast as a replacement in the world premiere of a play called The Bitter Herbs. I was excited to play two completely different characters. Not only was it fantastic to be in a play that had an entirely sold out run for seven weeks, it was great just to receive so much love from the audience every night. The theater had to add seats in the aisles to accommodate the people who wanted to see this show! It was also great to settle into a role and let that take over my thoughts for a few months. I loved performing in this play – it was a screwball comedy that had a meaningful idea to discuss. It was normal to hear people blowing their noses because they were crying. I could have done that play eight times a week for a year. Out of all the shows I’ve done, I’ve said that less than five times.

Last summer, I understudied the lead role in a two-person play called 74 Georgia Avenue and wouldn’t you know it, I went on for an entire weekend after just six hours of understudy rehearsal! It was a classically difficult experience, and I learned much about confidence. I was seeing the show one night [as you do as an understudy to get the rhythm in your head] and an audience member tapped me on the shoulder and said she knew me. I couldn’t place her and she thankfully stepped in and said she recognized me from The Bitter Herbs and thought I gave a marvelous performance! Talk about bestowing confidence when I really needed it! There also was a lot of behind the scenes drama that I won’t go into detail about, which I can say helped me solidify ideas on how to behave in a professional environment. I can say that the producers were worried they’d have to turn my understudy gig into a permanent replacement. Really worried. Ahem. We even got reviewed the weekend I went on and I’ll admit to being proud to have been reviewed so positively.

In the fall, I was asked to sing in a concert for Haviland Stillwell, who is an actress most well known for playing Fantine in the Broadway revival of Les Miserables, but you might also recognize her from The Client List and Eastwick. It was a great experience to work with talent of that level and see how these people work up close and know that you belong. Halfway through sound check, I thought to myself “Well, I haven’t been asked to leave yet, so maybe I deserve to be here…?” Sometimes it takes not being fired to know you’ve made progress. Ha! But, seriously. It was also my Los Angeles concert debut.

I also booked an interesting gig as a co-host for a dance show – as a replacement. We were to perform in scenes that were between the dance numbers and even danced in one number. It was a great lesson on acting in that environment. At times you’d break the fourth wall and talk directly to the audience, and other times you’d perform just as you would in any other play. Sometimes, you’d speak and dance at the same time, which is more difficult that dancing and singing at the same time, ironically. It was also great to play myself as a character. All the text was fictional, of course, but they hired us for our real life personalities. You had to show up every night and be the “star” version of yourself, which is a skill that is not taught in acting class. You can’t get on stage and just be the dude who watches soccer at home, this is a performance. It made me think differently about the way I approach playing different characters, and that is priceless.

While I was performing that at night, I was also rehearsing for the LA Premiere of a new musical version of A Christmas Carol. I was a replacement in that show, so I had a lot of catching up to do. A lot. To say the absolute least, it was overwhelming. I’d never had two shows in my head at the same time before – I never did summer stock. As difficult as it was, it was also invigorating to push myself so hard. And I promptly got the flu. But I survived and also survived doing a show with kids for two months! I’m kidding, I’m kidding… This show was also featured here in the From the Rehearsal Hall series. Best of all, I got to bust out my ballet skills for my solo song. It was all very de rigueur, but doing pirouettes, grand jett├ęs and dancing across a stage that was covered entirely in fake snow while singing was, as they say: “Like, whoa.”

I was fortunate enough to be cast as a replacement in a workshop of a brand new play called From The East to the West this past February. Have you noticed how many gigs get booked as replacements? It just goes to show, you never know… I got the call for that gig one morning and spoke with the director. He said he’d email me the script for me to peruse while he was calling other people he was considering. About an hour after the script was emailed, he called again saying that he asked no less than five different people who they would recommend for the role and my name came up five times. Every single person recommended me. I started rehearsal that very afternoon. It was an exciting process, and because we were opening in less than two weeks, I had to work quickly! Not only was it great just to get a gig at all and have to work so hard so quickly, it was great to be subtle and nuanced in my acting for a change. Generally, African-American males are not used that way in theater or film. More often you’ll find that in television, but still, not all the time. I have to admit, that’s the kind of storytelling where I feel the most comfortable and it’s rare I get to do it. Best of all, that play will have its World Premiere next summer at Steppenwolf…

One day, I was walking out of an audition when someone who saw me leave the building ran after me and asked me if I was interested in doing an indie short? I said sure, and asked when the auditions were. He said he was familiar with my work [what?!] and wanted to offer me the part outright. I was surprised, but was present enough to say yes and took his card. Three weeks later I was on the set of Lonestar. It was my first time with tricky blocking combined with tricky camera choreography, and I again was thankful for my dance training. Some of my scenes had long takes where I would have to hit several marks, with turns, pauses and then fight choreography. At times like that, you don’t want to be the person holding up the entire shoot. It’s funny; you’ll have a blast shooting yet you’ll still be excited to get home like any other day. But on those days, you go home with a grin on your face. Best of all, Lonestar is premiering this week at the Comic-Con shorts festival! Woot.

In the spring, I worked on the new Nickelback video, which was directed by the legendary Nigel Dick. Let’s get real, music videos are not at all high on the ladder of respect, but being able to work with and learn from Nigel was amazing. He ran that set like a film set, and we were expected to keep up with him and his team [who are also top notch], while delivering top notch performances. It was also great to be able to hang with Nickelback for a couple of days. There was even a moment when it was just me, the other football player, and the band, who were playing some music. It was nice. Then they went into Hotel California and I sang with them... Near the end of those two days a member of the crew came up to me and gave me a great compliment by asking me “Do you see how Nigel and the band and the crew are all treating you differently than everyone else?” It was not said with jealousy, this was a member of the crew pointing something out to me. I had noticed it.

Then I spent a week in Ventura County on a film called Adult Entertainment that shot on the same soundstage that Julia Roberts shot Erin Brockovitch. [In fact, our new logo picture was taken from that very stage!] It was a phenomenal week getting to be funny and outrageous. I’ve never laughed so much, for so many days in a row. I get to do comedy a lot, and I am grateful, but this was the first time I was also expected to riff. I was so happy I had done my actor homework so I could totally free myself to improv in character. As much as I felt removed from my everyday life, it was difficult to leave such a fun set when it was over. Westley Eldredge has a career ahead of him as a director, his ability to inspire greatness while staying cool and fun is rare. I can’t wait to work with him again.

The week I got back from being on location I booked a principal role in a national commercial campaign for Cablevision's Optimum Wifi that included two spots in the initial order. I would be the lead, the only character carried over to the second spot. We shot on the lot at Universal Studios, which is amazing on it’s own. It was a huge production – a crew of fifty, fifteen principal actors and two hundred background actors! I even got to work with a blue screen for the first time. And I was in every shot. Really. Every single one. That is the kind of responsibility you can feel. And it felt good, no - it felt great to get my ass kicked in that way. It also gave me a lot of confidence in my abilities.

ADDENDUM: OCTOBER 25, 2010

I shot the lead role (and title role) in a short called The Moving Man. First time I worked with CGI, which is cool. It was also the first time I'd ever done a supernatural thriller. It's interesting, I've played a lot of different characters, but this was the first time I had to spend an entire day scared out of my wits. It was an interesting experience. It was another day where I knew I had become a better actor. I also spent four hours climbing stairs, which my thighs paid for the next day.

The very next afternoon, as I was recuperating from the stairs, I got a call asking if I could be at an audition in an hour. Sure, why not. I got the material, it was 12 pages! Good thing I'd been working on my cold reading skills, riiiight?! I did the audition then went to the grocery store. As I was putting down my groceries, I got a call from my agent saying I booked it, and it would start the very next morning! I booked a Guest Star role on, iCarly, the hit Nickelodeon sitcom. It was my first guest star role. It was an amazing week. And difficult. And more fulfilling then I'd ever imagine. I'll actually do a multi part series to talk about it in length.

A few weeks later, I booked a co-star role on Outlaw, the Jimmy Smits drama on NBC. My scene was with Jimmy Smits!! It was a physical scene with difficult blocking, where I broke up a fight. It's so simple, but it took time to get right. I will say this: Yet again, I was glad I have dance training. I highly suggest all actors spend some time in a dance class or at the very least, take a movement class. It will not only help you hit multiple marks without looking down, but your sense of physical timing will be improved. Trust me. At one point, Jimmy Smits (who is a producer on the show) yelled at me because I wasn't hitting a specific mark in time. "Fuuck, Jimmy Smits is yelling at me!" The entire cast and crew grew silent and every single person stared at me. You could hear a pin drop. Then I took a deep breath and charmingly explained exactly why I was having difficulty hitting it and what we could do to fix it. From that moment on- from the director to the PAs - everyone treated me differently. They treated me with respect. I think it has just as much to do with how I said it as it was with what I actually said. At the end of the shoot the Jimmy Smits and the director both came up to me, shook my hand, and thanked me for my hard work. It was a good day. And, Jimmy Smits yelled at me!!! :D

I’m ready for the next challenge.

As you can see, I’ve been busy. What’s crazy is I can trace just about every single one of these jobs I booked directly back to Everybody’s Stupid or back to something I learned from doing it. Either someone saw it and hired me, or them seeing it got me into the audition room.

My favourite part? I’ve become a better actor because of all of this. And that, my friends is what it’s all about.

Monday, July 5, 2010

A Ballad For Ed Limato




Ed Limato, Hollywood’s last great agent, passed away early in the morning of July 3rd, 2010. He was the best agent in Hollywood and had the best client list in a generation. Simply the greatest.

Most don’t know I spent two and a half years working at ICM when Mr. Limato was Co-President. At first I was a floating assistant based in the mailroom before I settled in at Agency Contracts. At that time, it was a cushy job where HR let me go to auditions in the middle of the day. And best of all, I learned about the industry from the belly of the beast. It was like going to grad school, and you received a Masters in Show Business. Without that job, I would not have been able to start producing as soon as I did.

Now when I say that Limato had the best client list in a generation, I am not exaggerating. His client list, over the years included Antonio Banderas, Michael Biehn, Nicholas Cage, Kevin Costner, Russell Crowe, Claire Danes, Geena Davis, James Franco, Matthew Fox, Ava Gardner, Melanie Griffith, Goldie Hawn, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Thomas Jane, Frank Langella, Jennifer Lopez, Derek Luke, Adrian Lyne, Madonna, Matthew McConaughey, Bette Midler, Liam Neeson, Sam Neill, Nate Parker, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dennis Quaid, Doris Roberts, Diana Ross, Sylvester Stallone, Sharon Stone, Meryl Streep, Paul Walker and Marlon Brando.

Because of that list, it was normal to see the likes of Denzel Washington, Sylvester Stallone, Michelle Pfeiffer, Richard Gere or Clare Danes walking through the building. By the way, and just so you know; Michelle Pfeiffer would stop traffic even if she weren’t a famous actress. Mr. Limato represented Hollywood royalty.

He was Hollywood royalty.

And we all knew it. He had the clients he did not only because he was a prodigiously talented agent, but also because of his commitment to his client’s art. Most importantly, Mr. Limato had the clients he did because he treated them all like family. And it was rare for any of his clients to leave him - some never left. Other left and came back immediately. When you consider the level of clients he had - that's almost incomprehensible.

Because of that, his office was busy all the time. Limato’s office was so busy, the mailroom would send up his morning mail two hours before the first official mail run, which would be met by Limato’s third assistant. THIRD. This man had three assistants, and they were always busy.

If we had to do something for his office, his name created miracles. If we were in the middle of development season and the TV Lit department was duplicating hundreds of scripts, every other script order was slowly worked into the queue. If I walked into duplication and asked for four scripts to be copied immediately, I would be laughed at. Then I’d utter three magic words: “It’s for Limato.” They’d be ready in less than fifteen minutes.

Mr. Limato's style was uniquely sartorial. If you’ve never seen him or met him then you can’t really understand how well heeled he was or what a gentleman he was. He would wear plaid suits. To work. Or a salmon colored shirt. I’m just kidding – he would wear a salmon colored SUIT. Or mustard, just because. All without a hint of irony! That’s what I noticed about him immediately, if this were NYC these tailored garments would have be worn with a sense of humor. But Limato actually liked them, and he knew he could do anything - if only because he said so.

Don’t get me wrong, Ed Limato was also legendarily demanding - as demanding as anyone who is great at his job should be. The opportunity to see how this legend really worked was priceless, and most of his assistants worked so hard because they understood this. Some couldn’t handle the stress and pressure. I remember one assistant who quit by leaving a message on his office’s voicemail in the middle of the night.

“Oh, WOW,” I said. “That fool didn’t just quit working at ICM – he quit show business.” We all knew being that disrespectful to someone as great and legendarily powerful as Limato meant he would, as the saying goes, never work in this town again. It was sobering. And completely understandable.

As someone who was not an agent, nor one of his assistants, I was never really on his radar. Or so I thought. Late one morning I was riding the elevator from P4 to the third floor. The elevator stopped at P1, the VIP parking level. The doors opened and an impeccably dressed Ed Limato walked in. I didn’t know what to do – just Limato and me in a slow elevator together! I shouldn’t make eye contact! Should I bow my head and look at the floor? Just as my head was about to explode, I forced myself to speak.

“Good morning, Mr. Limato.”

“Good Morning, Malcolm,” he replied.

HE SAID MY NAME!!! I could have fainted right there in the elevator.




The only time I ever saw Mr. Limato outside of the ICM building was at a party for Tom Ford. Ford was leaving Gucci Group and was receiving a star on the Beverly Hills Walk of Fashion. I'd been to all sorts of parties, but this was easily the most luxurious party I had ever been to. A friend who worked at a management company scored me an invite, because he knew how much I respected Tom Ford’s work - this was the hottest party that month. Seriously. Not only did you have to be on the list, but they were checking ID's at the check-in table. They completely shut down Rodeo Drive from Little Santa Monica to Wilshire and built a party in the street that was two blocks long, with a third block for catering. I mean, it was built up off of the street and lined with black carpet! Imagine, Rodeo Drive, carpeted in black with multiple levels that you could get to. Every star in town was there. And I mean stars, there were no celebrities. At the three-hour mark, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson gave a little speech and presented Tom Ford with his award. I was trying to find a place to stand and found a place at the top of a small set of stairs. I could see above everyone.

Seemingly out of nowhere, a smiling and stunning Lucy Liu bounded up the stairs and hugged the person next to me. She looked so happy to see this man – I had not yet seen her look that luminous on screen. I looked over to see Ed Limato. They hugged and chatted for a minute. I remember thinking “Nothing about this is fake. Everyone truly loves this man.” She hugged him again and went back to her guest. I did notice she went up to him alone, she didn’t bring her guest up with her to be introduced…

I turned to him and forced myself to say something. “Mr. Limato… I work at ICM. It’s nice to see you here.”

“Oh yes,” he said and extended his hand for me to shake. “Are you enjoying the party?”

I was always impressed by his behaviour, he easily could have high-tailed it somewhere else so he wouldn’t have to make small talk with me, who was not even an agent. But Mr. Limato was a gentleman.

Rita Wilson presented Tom Ford with a plaque. As we cheered, white rose petals rained down on us. Now that’s confetti. This party was magical. Then, Gloria Gaynor took the stage and sang her huge hit “I Will Survive.” Mr. Limato, the greatest agent in Hollywood, in a sotto voce, sang right along with her. Really. Right before the bridge, he turned to me and said:

“This is my favourite disco song.”

I chuckled. I thought back to what his life and career must have been like. From working with Franco Zeffirelli in Italy in the 60s to going to work in the mailroom in NYC at the agency that would later become ICM. Being promoted and surviving a merger, then moving to William Morris and then back to ICM, becoming Co-President of the agency and still, all the way through the late 2000s having the greatest client list in all of Hollywood. Yes, of course “I Will Survive” would be his favorite disco song – a song he still knew all the lyrics to. All of them.

“It really is a good song, isn’t it...?” I replied, looking right into his eyes. I knew by his look how much he meant it.

Gloria Gaynor finished and Mr. Limato moved on, but not before putting his hand on my shoulder and saying goodnight. The man was a class act.

In just two brief moments with him, I may have learned two of the most important lessons I’ve ever learned in showbusiness. I will always us remember passing each other in the ICM hallways, him being so impeccably dressed and making my Banana Republic wardrobe look like thrift shop rags. Not once did Mr. Limato ever fail to nod his head to me or say “Good Morning,” as he passed by. He truly was incomparable,and what he did as an agent will not ever be duplicated.

This is the end of an era.

In a class by himself, Mr. Limato was a true gentleman. The real deal.

[© MMX MD TOTAL all rights reserved]

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Semmering

Have you ever heard of The Semmering? It’s an area of the Alps that covers parts of both Italy and Austria. It is an impossibly steep, very high part of the mountains. And as those places generally are, it’s a beautiful part of the world. The vistas, valleys and the clean fresh air are like nowhere else. Even the water tastes incredible.

The only way to see The Semmering at ground level is by train – The Semmering Railroad. There just aren’t roads in this area, you have to sit back, relax and see it the same way everyone did when it first opened to travel. The people who designed and built these train tracks back in 1848 were incredibly smart. They knew there needed to be a train that took people from Vienna, Austria to Venice, Italy. It would be great for the economies of both cities and everywhere in between. Most importantly, it would be good for the people themselves. People work hard all the time, all year long and their souls need to relax, they need to be transported to a magical place. And this railroad would take them someplace people had never been.

Since this would be the world’s first true mountain railway, there was not a train in existence that was able make the trip. But they built the tracks anyway. They built them because they knew, someday, the train would come.

You could say that being an actor is a lot like being one of the people who built those train tracks in the Alps. Us actors spend a lot of time preparing ourselves for the possibility of a magic moment somewhere in the not too distant future. We train ourselves, whether in conservatory or in class. Even if we went to conservatory we still take class. We practice at home, we rehearse and perform in plays in hole in the wall theaters, some of which are smaller than dorm rooms we’ve lived in. We act in short films. We write and perform in web series. We act in student films. We have private coaching for auditions. We produce and perform in showcases, concerts, and benefits. We sign up for open mic nights, we go to mixers, networking events, tweetups. We do targeted mailings and in person drop-offs. We do all these things in hope that it will get us noticed by people who hire actors, or at least noticed by people who can put actors in front of people that hire actors. And if that one thing we did does not accomplish that goal, we do another thing. And after that, another thing.

It could be easy to begin to feel lost, to feel like you’re going nowhere, that all of your work has been for nothing. Or worse – that it has all only been something for you to do. It would be easy to get frustrated, angry and self-destructive because you’re looking for more and/or faster results. Or even worse – it would be easy to lose your confidence in your abilities. It would be easy to question why something hasn’t happened yet, or why it hasn’t happened again.

It would be easy to lose yourself.

There are times when things slow down for whatever reason. For example, we don’t have control over the fact that business slows down in the summer. We can’t control the fact that most of scripted television is on hiatus, that there are less commercials shooting in the summer. Instead of falling prey to your fear; just keep working. Rehearsing. Training. Getting better. And instead of focusing on what has or hasn’t happened, try focusing on the growth you know you’ve made as an actor.

Remember how you got better because you were in a play for six weeks and played a character that was more difficult and demanding of your talent than any other character you’ve played? Focus on the fact that you got better, and then find a way to build on that growth so you may become an even better actor.

Remember when you surprised yourself? Seek to figure out what you did, and resolve to find a way to do it better. Find a way to be more spontaneous, with stronger, more specific choices, while you are even more present. Trust me, at the very least – you won’t have time for negativity. When you’re working to get better, and it all comes from a place of positivity and acceptance – you’ll give yourself even more room to grow.

And while you’re doing that, keep up the targeted mailings and the in person drop-offs. The auditions, plays, short films, open mic nights, concerts, benefits, the mixers, networking events, tweetups.

All the while, never forget that our art is noble. At the very least, our art is for the people who work hard all the time, all year long - whose souls need to relax, need to be transported to a magical place. At most, our art deeply moves and inspires people.

So when it gets tough, just remember The Semmering. Just like them, we have to lay the tracks before the train can come. Work diligently and lay the foundation with an expectant optimism. Nose to the grindstone.

You’ve got to have faith that the train will come. And when it does, you will be ready.

[© MMX MD TOTAL all rights reserved]

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Love Letter For All The World To See

I rarely get super personal here. But I’ve got the blues, y’all. The blues. And I’ve got it bad in a serious way. Like, hearing Sarah McLachlan singing The Rainbow Connection on the overhead play at a Starbucks just might make me cry while I’m waiting in line. See? BAD. But it’s with good reason. You all know I’m married, but you may not know that my love goes to Chicago for grad school every summer for six weeks.

The Great Divide started today.

Last summer was the first of the three summers. I was stuck here in LA because I was doing a play, and this year is no different. This summer, I’m working on an independent short film I will play the lead in, and that I also have a hand in developing. I’m stuck again – grounded, as it were.

I don’t take any part of this relationship for granted, but as soon as we get to this point in June it somehow feels like I do. At the absolute least, I sure have gotten used to sharing the bed.

But six weeks is nothing, you say. Before you know it, it’ll be over – right? Well I can explain this. This is our fourteenth year together and our fourth year married. We even lived in different cities for five years. And four years ago, when we finally were able to be in the same place again, we felt this was it.

Now don’t get me wrong – the two of us both know the score, and the roles could be reversed at any moment. Actors leave to go on location all the time. I’ve been on tour, and have worked out of town. Hell – I just spent a week on location in Santa Barbara in April and even that was somewhat difficult, yet I am STILL grateful for that experience. Yes, I know these are the lives and careers we’ve chosen. But that doesn’t make it any easier.

A few days ago, Shoshana Bean posted a video of herself rehearsing a song she was to sing the next day at a small venue here in LA. Her show was called “Today I Sing The Blues.” The two-minute video was amazing. As a singer, there’s not a lot more I respect more than someone who can sing the blues. As a listener, it hurt; I’ve got the blues. I wanted to see her show – it was cheap, and just down the street and I knew she would blow my socks off. But I just couldn’t. I didn’t want to go and cry throughout her entire set. That just ain’t right, you know?

As it got closer to showtime, I watched her video again. And again. And again. I thought about taking my love with me. But I chose not to. I was sure what would happen. But as I watched/listened to her video on repeat, I did find a sort of solace.

Yes, having The Blues hurts. But the way Ms. Shoshana Bean was singing that song… She understood. She knows.

And hearing her sing that song provided me with relief.

Then somehow I was reminded how lucky I am to have found anyone at all. And it could be worse – I could be lonely, yet, that’s not what I feel.

I'm just going to miss all that light.

I’m reminded of Romeo and Juliet, who both met untimely ends. BUT – they found each other. And THAT is reason enough to rejoice.

I wouldn’t feel all of this if I weren’t in LOVE.

REJOICE.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

PRIDE.

As a black American citizen who has benefited from all the hard work people accomplished in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, I have a vested interest in American ideals, our citizens’ rights and most of all; Equality.

If not for the Civil Rights Movement I would not be able to vote.

If not for the Civil Rights Movement, I would not have the education I have.

If not for the Civil Rights Movement, I would not be married to a person from another race.

And the list goes on.

This mindset is where I come from when I think about the issue of Gay Rights.

I have lived in New York, Los Angeles and even kind of lived in San Francisco for a minute [full disclosure, I was in SF about two weeks out of every month for quite a long while] – and because of that, I always think about Gay Pride at this time of year. I’ve been thinking about it a lot in the last couple of years because of Prop 8, and the way the Gay community responded nonviolently. Martin Luther King, Jr. made the contributions he did because nonviolent change was the cornerstone of his message.

What I’ve been thinking about today centers around two things regarding the Pride celebration. What does walking around in your underwear have to do with Pride? And this completely wild behavior – what does it advocate?

In case you don’t know, haven’t heard about it or seen it for yourself, people at Pride celebrations go Ca-razy. Sex, drugs, rock ‘n roll. And then they do it all over again. And then they do it again, for real. I mean, c’mon – the first one was just a rehearsal, right? People always mention that the way gay people act during Pride is exactly the way heterosexual America thinks gay people act every day of the year. C’mon son, now we know that’s not true! We all know there are too many gay people in this world for us to have a functioning society if that were the case.

But it does make me wonder, why should gay people have to be on their “Best Behaviour” during Pride? For some reason, I’m reminded of black people telling other black people not to eat watermelon in public. No one tells people to behave themselves at Mardi Gras, or Carnivale, right?! Why not? Because everyone accepts that those are isolated events where people act that way, they don’t assume those people are like that all year long. I’m all for telling everyone to be safe, and that is important. But telling people to “watch themselves” just seems to be the opposite of what it means to be “proud.”

Gay people still feel oppressed and clearly feel a need to LET GO. And for people who grew up feeling like a freak, being with 100,000 people who are similar to themselves is reason enough to throw down! But that’s just my observation, combined with my opinions of events of the past. I mean back in the day, black people were definitely told to “act right,” because we were proving that we belonged in society – that’s also why we were nonviolent. But gay people being “flamboyant” is not only nonviolent, it’s downright loving.

The first time I ever saw a Gay Pride Parade, I was on vacation with my family in Montreal when I was 14. Now, I’ll admit – that parade was a lot to take for a 14 year-old from the South. And the men walking around in public in tiny underwear thing was especially strange to me. Most of all, it was intimidating. We were trying to get back to our hotel, and everywhere we turned there were hundreds of people; topless women in leather, men in their underwear and they were all chanting “We’re Here! We’re Queer! Get used to it!” It was a lot to handle. By the time I moved to New York City, I had gotten used to the progressive dress code and simply accepted it.

Many gay people continually talk about the underwear thing with disdain. I always forget that even if these people are gay and moved to New York City by the time they were twenty years old, it’s very different from anyone seeing it as a student in Junior High School. I was young enough for that to be part of my childhood, but once you’re twenty – you’ve already solidified some ideas and ideals.

First of all, and to be fair, we have to talk about the phenomenon of people turning themselves into sex objects. Most of the year, people work their jobs, go to the gym, see movies, visit their family and go on vacation. And then when Pride comes along: RELEASE! I think these gay people not only want to feel attractive and sexy, but they also have a healthy need for that attention, love and expression of sexuality as well.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Being a sex object it so looked down upon in our society, that most wouldn’t dare do it without an excuse. Just like Halloween – that is the reason every costume you see is either the slutty or sexy version of a costume idea. And why is there nothing wrong with that? Because: people who need that release don’t allow themselves that freedom in their everyday lives. And everyone, no matter who they are, deserves Freedom.

I’m reminded of a conversation I recently had with a female friend. She was understandably frustrated with the idea that there is no word in our society for a male slut. Slut is a word used to describe a promiscuous woman, and the sexism of it all rightly pissed her off. I told her that we do have a word for a male slut. We call male sluts “Men!” She laughed so hard she spit out her coffee. Really.

But back to the main event [and I think this is the heart of the entire matter]. So many gay people grew up feeling like a freak even before they knew anything about their sexuality. And once they got an inkling that they may be homosexual, their feelings of oppression were multiplied and were confirmed by society. We all know Gay people are oppressed, that’s a fact not an opinion. So when these people, who have felt like an outcast their entire time on this planet, finally liberate themselves – they feel AMAZING. Free. Complete.

And after spending your life in the dark, once you’ve finally given yourself light… You finally feel so proud that walking around in your underwear is an expression of your FREEDOM. You can’t truly oppress a soul that’s liberated itself.

That’s PRIDE.

[©MMX MD TOTAL all rights reserved.]

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Summer in LA

It’s about to be summer in LA! It’s the time of year when you start getting random phone calls from “friends” asking for things. Will you refer me to your agent? Can you call that casting director you know and recommend me for this project? You know who covers Paramount at CAA, right? I know you’re union, but will you perform in my Primetime National Network Commercial for free…? THEN a week later, at a party, you’ll overhear them saying how they can’t believe all you did was talk about yourself on that call. Bitch, after you asked for a favor AGAIN, you asked me how I was!!!




SUMMER IN LA!

Chace Crawford got arrested in Texas for Pot Possession. If he wasn’t already gay, he definitely got ate up by all them horny mens in the clink! Y’all know what I’m talking about: if Chace Crawford wasn’t rockin a beard right now, you’d think that pretty boy was one hot lady.

Apparently the Universe is trying to get me to go to a party at the Playboy Mansion in July, because multiple friends who don’t know each other keep contacting me to get me on the list. The Playboy Mansion. In the middle of summer. Yowza.

Rue McLanahan died and we are all torn up about it. Though the wisdom of Blanche Devereaux will live on forever! In related news, Betty White was seen standing on a mountain, holding a sword as lightning strikes behind her, shouting “THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE!!!”

Christina Aguilera sang a song on the American Idol finale that shows off how mature she is, and what she’s capable of expressing. It was a brilliant performance of a breakup song that was surprisingly not oversung. Most striking was her acting of the song – she came on and created a mood and sang on it. If she did that performance in a Broadway musical, she would win a Tony Award. Really. But just to make sure we know she still got it, she performed this song in a skintight unitard, that was partially see-through! Christina Aguilera: all class, all the time.

Janet Jackson performed on the same American Idol finale while she was in between weaves! She was rocking the same hairdo she had when she played Penny on Good Times [which was the last time I saw her real hair, not that there's anything wrong with that]. Apparently grief does make you brave! “No mama, don’t burn me with that iron!” CLASSIC!

I got a fortune cookie the other day that said “Good Luck!” What the hell kind of fortune is that?! Is my life so ridiculous that even a fortune cookie is telling me I need luck?! DANG, MAMA!

Now that it’s warmer, people are walking their dogs everywhere. When a dog is pooping on a patch of grass, am I the only one that wants to point at the doggie, laugh and say “You have to poop outside! Even YOU look ashamed! You are not dignified! HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!” You know you want to. And you'll think about the next time you see a dog "make."

Got some See’s Candies as a gift. Tell me something: How the hell does See’s Candies get away with not giving you a map of what each candy is? ARROGANCE!!! They think their candy is so good that we shouldn’t need to know what it is before we eat it? Well let me be the first to say: Fuck you, See’s Candies! We don't ALL love hazlenut, you motherfuckers!!!

And that, friends, is just the beginning of Summer In LA. Let The Games Begin!

[© MMX MD TOTAL all rights reserved]

Friday, May 28, 2010

Bachelor’s Paradise: The Perfect Cosmopolitan

In honor of Sex and the City 2 being released in theaters I present you, dear bachelor [whether single or married] with a recipe from my private bar collection for a Cosmopolitan. Not just any Cosmo – this is not the cheap, overly sweet and sticky concoction served at most bars around the world. This recipe was inspired by the recipe used at the famous Bar 89 in New York City. New York City?! Yes, City. As in “Sex and the City.” After many afternoons with the bartender at Bar 89, I made a suggestion to him about changing the recipe. He laughed in my face. I won’t tell you what was changed [some secrets are kept forever] but I can tell you that after he tasted my version, Bar 89 changed their house recipe to mine. And they were already famous for their Cosmopolitans.

This is The Perfect Cosmopolitan.

But why would you want to make a Cosmopolitan at all, you ask? You can’t stand that drink – and worst of all, it’s PINK! Agreed. But this is no ordinary Cosmo – this drink is magical. You will make this drink for the woman in your life and tell her that it’s in honor of the new Sex and the City movie’s release. You don’t even have to go to the movie with her – most likely she’ll want to go with her girlfriends, if you’re lucky. Make her one of these [or more!] when she gets home and let me tell you… You see, a real Cosmopolitan is not a drink for college co-eds, it's a beverage for grownups. Grown men love this drink, as they should. Because in its heart, this drink is a mean martini. This drink means business.

The Perfect Cosmopolitan will get you laid.

Ingredients:

•A good clean vodka. Absolutely no substitutes. Grey Goose, Belvedere, Chopin or Tanqueray Sterling. Or better. Stoli or Absolut will not suffice.
•Cointreau. Absolutely no substitutes. I’m talking to you, Grand Marnier.
•Fresh lime juice [about 10 limes]. Absolutely no substitutes. Yes, you will juice your own limes.
•Cranberry juice.

What makes this The Perfect Cosmopolitan is not only the proportions, but the quality of the ingredients. The fresh lime starts you on your journey and opens your palate to the clean vodka. Then the subtle orange and cranberry mix together and finish with a refreshing zing. These ingredients make this beverage sublime.

Hardware:

•Cocktail Shaker
•Two-sided Jigger [the one with two different sized measures]
•Ice [big cubes are better, no crushed ice allowed]


Working Quickly:
•Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
•Fill the larger side of the Jigger with vodka. Pour into shaker.
•Fill the smaller side of the Jigger with Cointreau. Pour into shaker.
•Fill the larger side of the Jigger with fresh lime juice. Pour into shaker.
•Fill the smaller side of the Jigger with Cranberry Juice. Pour into shaker.

Place cap onto shaker and shake like hell. You’ll want to shake until the shaker is very cold in your hands. At least 20 shakes. Strain into a martini glass and serve.

Why a martini glass? Martini glasses force you to take your time and sip. And they give you time to flirt.

Enjoy the rest of your evening. Remember to use birth control if you’re not trying to have children at the moment.

[© MMX MD TOTAL all rights reserved]