Saturday, December 15, 2012

Babies

Our babies, our best and brightest and most beautiful humans, you whose eyes and minds are full of wonder and raw feeling, new thought and discovery - our babies, the ones who we ought to live for, you who quicken our steps and make us make it through the day - you, babies, you deserve a world better than this one: a world that deserves you. You, sweet things, are too good for us. We could not ask for more perfect creatures for the world. How can there be horrors in your world, the world you better by touching it, the world that ought to protect you? We fail you. We old ones ought to be your big brothers and sisters, your mothers and fathers when your real mothers and fathers are not nearby. We ought to keep you safe. We fail you time and time again. And there is nothing that can be said to justify it. Nothing can explain it. We fail.

Stop the violence. Give them back their world. Love one another.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Equilibria

ME! On set of Equilibria by Harley Brown's Cafe
This month I've been privileged and blessed to work with Harley Brown's Cafe on the new film Equilibria in which I play Marcus. Yes. MARCUS. As in, a male character name. As in, I had a beard and wig and a sock in my trousers most of the shoot. Am I transgender? An otherworldly deux ex machina? Triple agent? Who is the man behind the mask and who is pulling the strings - the mafia, the FBI, the church? You'll have to see the film to find out!

Director Norman Siopis, DP Shaun Jones and AD/renaissance woman Sara Gunderson
And let me tell you what, it's going to be a freaking beautiful movie. This cast/crew was a motley assortment of the most creative, loving, warm and fun people I have ever come across. Check out a sneak peak of the rich, gritty look of the film in these photos courtesy of Harley Brown's. It was one of the best weeks of my life - shooting a film all day every day with amazing people, accomplishing one of my life-long acting goals. Portraying a cross-dressed character has been a DREAM of mine since the first time I saw Shakespeare's Twelfth Night as a wee ten year old, and now I can say that I have done it. Check! So much to be thankful for! I am blown away.

FREEZING on set with director Norman Siopis, during his Hitchcock cameo
In the film my character Marcus is a force to be reckoned with, and there is a powerful theme of balance running through the story. Balance is something I have yet to master in real life. This Thanksgiving, I have a long weekend off from work - marking the first time I have a day off other than Superstorm Sandy since August. This week I am thankful of Equilibria's reminder of balance - of how important it is to find freedom in work, to prioritize artistic endeavors along with survival, to rest and eat and sleep as well as pound the pavement. Balance must be restored.

The universe has a way of self-correcting.

On set of Equilibria. The handsome gent with the beard is ME!!
In a season where I am extremely thankful for a moment's pause and reflection after working on a beautiful project with beautiful people,  I am also thankful for the world of entertainment and art that motivates me to keep pressing forward. I am thankful for the people I've been honored to work with along the way, and the new ones I have met this year. I am thankful for the jobs that allow me to stay in New York, and thankful for the reminder that these jobs are supporting a larger purpose. I am thankful to have a specific vision for the future, a clear desire and star to hitch my wagon to. I am thankful for the busyness before the pitch-perfect calm of balance. I am thankful for paying my dues and the perspective it's helping me to develop, even when I want to complain and stamp my feet like a tired toddler. I am thankful for the silly, tired mistakes I make that give me insight and help me learn my own limitations. I am thankful to know once and for all how important it is to find my equilibrium as an artist and a person, and I look forward to seeking that balance in every aspect of my life moving forward.

I love these people. Thanks Equilibria family!!
And you know what? I am looking forward to seeking balance, and to the balancing act itself. Because it is a blessing to be able to juggle along the tightrope. It's a blessing to be alive.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Frankenstorm

So much to be thankful for.

No sharks in my yard.

Plenty of food and water and power.

Good company.

Loving vibes.

A day off!!! (First in two and a half months! Last day off until Christmas...Lord help us...)

Friends, roommates, loved ones, and stranded guests playing spades.

A bottle of vino verde.

 Sherlock! On Netflix!

 Life. Tides changing. Tempests churning. Change. Climax. Turning points.



Friday, August 24, 2012

Like and Love

"If the need to act is so strong it wakes you in the middle of the night, then stay with it."  - Frank Langella

There are things in life that we like. I mean, really really like.

These might be the things that we crave for comfort on a tough day, or hope to get for Christmas. Nectarines, tea, a new dress, a smartphone.

What lights you up?
These things we like might even be people that warm us or cheer us up or speed up our workday. The guy with a joke about everything, the friend who listens to our ideas. We really, really like them. We want them to sit near our cubicle and come to our happy hour. We want to hear what they think. Their presence is like a refreshing bath or breeze.

The things we really really like might even be activities - hiking, reading, writing, swimming. Things that revitalize us and strengthen our health.

Then there are those things that we love.

The distance between the things we love and the things we like is subtle and sometimes confusing, but it is a sudden and shockingly deep precipice nevertheless. One day we might wake up and realize that the thing we thought we only liked we actually love, or vice versa. And then it might turn into one of those sprinting-to-the-airport, buying-the-cheapest-ticket-to-anywhere-just-so-you-can-bolt-through-security-and-race-into-the-gate-and-declare-your-undying-love-over-the-speaker-system-and-embarrass-the-crap-out-of-everyone-but-end-up-passionately-making-out-and-not-caring-anymore movie situations. That crossroads moment when everything is silent around you but the cry of your heart. The "once you know you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, you want the rest of your life to start right now" kind of deal. (God I love When Harry Met Sally.)

But until that day, how the heck do you know?

Sometimes I can't tell the difference between the lands of like and love. I squint and scrutinize but blur the line, spill something on my map, and lose track of where the boundaries are. Like is like love, I say to myself. Like is love in a way, I say to myself.

I think myself in circles, spending a lot of silly time trying to understand my feelings about things, and develop feelings for my feelings, and try to feel my way back to knowing whether or not my feelings are feelings of like or feelings of love - or feelings in a different category entirely unrelated to like or love.
Feelings, WTF!

Or whether my feelings are really a factor at all?

The thing about love is you can't think yourself into it, out of it, or around it.

It is, or it isn't. Right?

The thing about love is that it's mysterious and nonsensical. It can appear and disappear sometimes, and sometimes it can be a permanent weight in a small corner of your heart. Sometimes it can easily be mistaken for something else, or not acknowledged at all. It can be the huge writing in the sky that helps us make a choice, or it can be the choice we don't want to make.
King Kong's feelings are clear.

Love makes us alive. Right until it we fall off the Empire State Building.

The reason I know that I love acting - not like it, but love it - is because I just KNOW. No thinking necessary.

Sometimes I toy with the idea of talking myself into liking acting and loving something else more, because loving acting is complicated. I sometimes want to love something that's easier to love. Something that's nicer to me.

But that's just ridiculous. Not to mention impossible. The heart wants what it wants. And what else would I do with my life for goodness' sake, make model planes? Grow a pea garden? Not there's anything wrong with those things. They're just wrong for me.

Tina knows EXACTLY what love has to do, has to do with it.
I remember my making-out-passionately at the crossroads moment with acting, when I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with it and I wanted the rest of my life to start RIGHT NOW. It was when I got the phone call that I was accepted into the Actors Studio Drama School, and felt for the first time that a life as a professional actor was ACTUALLY within my reach. I screamed so loud, and jumped around like such a crazy, I am sure I embarrassed everyone on the block. Or at least my brother. And it was amazing.

Today, Gentle Readers, I trust that you can also know what you love. And that you can have it.

You'll just...know...

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Life and Happy Thoughts

I don't know about you guys, but the beginning of August has been a bit rough and tumble for me emotionally, and it's not just the heat-and-humidity-induced smell of the city that's getting to me. Two amazing men in my professional life passed away this month, one of them much too young in the prime of his life. Both spent their time inspiring other people and tirelessly throwing themselves into their passion for this industry. 

Life is funny. Day to day I'm auditioning through the longest dry spell I've had so far in New York, simultaneously struggling to keep some perspective on why I'm still duking it out AND YET knowing with absolute certainty that there is nothing I want more than to act. I'm an actor, dammit. You don't really decide to be one. You just kinda are.

And so, August, I will begin my blogs in you with life filled happy thoughts. Because life is a gift. It can disappear startlingly fast. It can revive and rout the enemy with miraculous chance. It switches on a dime. And you know what? Life is great. Therefore, August, I will revel and rejoice in life. I will fill my brain with good thoughts from great people. Here are some I have commandeered:


"Life is too short to not have fun." - my Dad


"Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity." - Gilda Radner

"After each experience, you grow up, you get enriched with something, and you don't know how you're going to be in six months, you don't know what you're going to want, what you're going to need." - Audrey Tatou

"Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before." - Mae West
 
"In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on." - Robert Frost
"All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
"The world owes you nothing. It was here first." - Mark Twain 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Get Serious

OK self. Let's have a chat.

What are you doing here? Are you hanging out and surviving, or are you living out a dream? Are you just another post-prosperity young American drifting through economic hardship, or are you gaining ground and advancing on our goal of acting in feature length films, TV, and Shakespeare? Are you letting life just happen to you, or are you going to be bright and brave and beautiful and grab the bull by the horns? Are you going to blow the smoke away and DO what you're here to DO?
Why do you live here again?
Let's be real: if you're just going to work a smattering of jobs in an attempt to pay your bills and not put your entire energy every day into your acting goals, you might as well not be in New York City. If I'm just living my life, I might as well live somewhere easier and prettier and wilder, with expanses of sky and water and space. Like Tahoe, Montana, Sicily, or Galway. Remember why you didn't go that route? Remember why you're here? There was a reason. A good one.

There's a good reason you don't live here. Yet.
You are an actor.

Remember the advice given to you by an older, more experienced actor: the beginning is slow, the beginning is hard, the beginning kind of sucks. You watch friends marry and buy houses and earn livable wages. You watch the comforts and pleasure of life that you've postponed going on and thriving in their merry dance around you, and you get jealous. You want things you don't have. You feel you've maybe made a bad trade, that maybe you should take a month off the acting stuff and try to save up for a motorcycle. If you're not careful, you get bitter. You covet. Your focus swings off track and you get bogged down in pursuing contrary purposes.

But there's an easy way to avoid this. Remember the wiser actor's advice: get to the middle. Don't wallow in the beginning. Push through. Push to the middle of your career, the part where you're a well oiled machine and a passionate doer of deeds, where you audition your face off and know who you are and know what you want. 

The middle, where you keep in focus at all times that you ARE doing what you came here to do, that you ARE an actor, that you ARE closing in on parts that are right for you. The middle, where you're making that true. The middle, where your married friends with houses are stuck with mortgages and car payments and office jobs and you are not. The middle, where you are free to go to do an amazing, epic, romantic, steamy film in Brazil with Joseph Gordon Levitt if you want. Heck you could even tell him what a crush you have on him over craft services one day. Just be like, "Hey Joe, it's me the other Joe - what's up? What? What's that you say? You like chewing on matches too? Ok, let's make babies. Or not. You know, we could just hang out and work on a film together and make brilliant acting choices too...if you want...either way..."
"Hey JGL. Looking forward to our movie."

This is the middle, where you will live the rest of your life.

Get serious, self. This isn't a brief experiment. You want this life. You want this topsy turvy acting career. In fact, there is little else you want at present. You are shaping your reality - so don't forget to be intentional. You are the man behind the curtain, so to speak. If your hand sags, the whole puppet stops. Get going. Don't stop. Never quit.

Remember who you are.

Remember why you're here.
Mufasa says: "Remember who you are!!!

Friday, July 13, 2012

One Thing A Day: Rest

They say you should do one thing a day for your career. Some days, I do as many as 10 things. Some days, I am uber productive, focused, relentless, passionate, and cut-throat. I submit resumes, shoot emails, make phone calls, have meetings. Some days, though, I feel like I don't manage to do even one thing. I'm trying to learn how to make every day count.

Today I am pushing through my reflexive guilt and doing something very important for my career, something I hardly ever do, something that Americans generally probably suck at...

REST.

My one thing today is to rest. To take an actual weekend day. To sleep in. To watch a movie. To wear mismatching house clothes and not brush my hair. To have a skype date or talk on the phone with my mom. To hang out somewhere with friends maybe. Or, maybe, not do any of those things. Maybe do nothing. To rest for me means to reclaim space in my mind, declutter my soul, and touch the things that make me myself, dust them off, and let them shine again.


As a New Yorker and an extremely ambitious gal, it's hard for me to justify staying at home all day. The pace of the city and the drive of my heart's desires usually thump and pulse and propel me down my stairs and onto the streets. As much as I love sitting on my couch watching "Waiting for Superman," I feel like I'm missing things when I make myself rest. However, I think it's really important that I learn how to do this now in my 20s, before my film bookings and family things have me flying all over the world or whatever. Perhaps this rest is less for my career and more for my personal pleasure, but you know? I think those two things should intertwine. Resting not only makes me healthy, it makes me strong. It will allow me to hit the ground running.

I'm making rest part of my career strategy.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Making Things

Fiji fixes everything, right?
This week on my rollercoaster ride life as an actor, I've felt like I haven't made it. I've felt frustrated, tired, and discouraged more than once, and somewhere around Thursday night it seemed to me that I hadn't made much progress at all ever. I felt like I hadn't made good use of my year in New York so far. I felt like I hadn't made enough money, enough movies, enough of enough-ness to be enough. There was only one thing to do: move to Fiji and support myself by selling my hand-made shell necklaces.

By Sunday morning, Fiji seemed less lustrous as a feasible solution. Isn't there some saying about when the going gets tough, the tough get...you know...

I may have felt like the going had gotten past me without toughening me up or getting me going. I may have felt like "the tough" probably refers to somebody else, somebody who has made enough things or has simply made "it", clearly unlike my own state of un-made-ness. But, whatever my feelings might feel, the truth is I HAVE been making things: making space, making peace, making time, making art. I make kids learn everything from grammar to soccer in my day jobs. I make gourmet meals for myself and friends at home. I make sides come to life in auditions, and worlds appear out of monologues. I make theater productions from scratch sometimes, and sometimes I make my small contribution to larger, ancienter stories. I make tapes and lists and cards and mailings and contacts and friends. I make choices and merry and connections and magic. I make motion. I make stillness.

Once again this week, I am reminded that the voices in my head and my own swirling emotions aren't always the best way for me to look at my life and my work. Sometimes, it's not helpful to let myself feel my way through slow times or low thoughts. I have to remember objective reality and calm down, breathe, and go on making things. And as long as I'm making things, I have to remember that it is enough. And so am I. It's helpful to notice that what I can make, and what I have yet to make, are on course to intersect beautifully.

So I'd like to share with you something I've made - along with many other talented makers. It reminds me of what I've done, what I'm doing, and what I'm going to do. Go on making things, gentle reader! In our making things, we make the world.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Omerta

Or, A Love Letter to The Godfather

me, about to see The Godfather
Picture this scene: five-year-old me in pigtails and a frilly pink dress (dubbed the birthday cake dress due to it's resemblance to, well, a birthday cake), sprawled contentedly on the living room floor, playing with my barbie dolls. We're having a tea party, it's great, I'm doing all the voices and splitting up the imaginary cake into equal portions because that's what my mom does in real life. Then my Dad thunders in with a non-alcoholic beer and plate of pasta, takes up residence on the couch, and says, "Jeanne Joe, it's time you understood where you come from."

And how, you might wonder, does my Dad proceed to educate me about my origins? Fear not, it's not a disturbingly early talk about the birds and the bees. Actually it's somewhat more disturbing, in a totally different way, while also being completely endearing and one of my favorite memories of my Dad when I was little. What he does to help me understand where I come from is put a tape in the VCR.

Brace yourself. That tape is The Godfather.

Now, I'm not sure that going to therapy for the rest of my life would ever fully unwind the twisty ball of mental, emotional, and spiritual ramifications from this experience. Piecing together "where you come from" with a) the Mafia and b) one of the greatest movies of all time was so overwhelming that it left me at first just wondering if the film was where my Dad got the idea to use orange rinds to make toy scary teeth. My Dad was always using orange rinds to make toy scary teeth. Then I pushed past that thought and started wondering about the bigger question of whether my Dad was not REALLY a retired bus driver and poker player. We did have an awful lot of antique furniture, and some nice paintings...and I knew my great-grandmother had ran away from her family in Sicily for some reason...but, that's neither here nor there. What's important is that I was five. And that I've proven, later in life, that my Dad really is a retired bus driver and not a wise guy.

Following the logical chain of Luca Brasi's strangulation in the St. George hotel to the mattresses, thinking about what's so progressive about having a German Conciglieri, or trying to understand why the baker wouldn't take his daughter's rape case to the police are things your average five year old probably hasn't pondered. But I sure did. After the tape finished rolling and I woke up my Dad (no reflection on the film), my main question was..."Daddy, what's wrong with Fredo?"But right after that, my question was, "So why is loyalty and silence so important to us?"

what's his DEAL!?!
I think of my early exposure to The Godfather and it's presentation as "my culture" as one of the chief things that distinguishes my brain from other peoples' brains - because I took it utterly seriously. My Dad did everything in his power to help me believe this separation and to solemnly receive life lessons from it. Maybe because I grew up so far away from my other Italian relatives, Dad was determined to instill in me a sense of our history, my people, our characteristics, and our values. He wanted me to understand the world he grew up around back in Brooklyn and where certain feelings and impulses might come from. The Godfather was one of his favorite tools. To this day, whilst giving me his fatherly wisdom, he'll say things like, "That's Godfather 101, kid, don't forget it." I even read and underlined the novel by Mario Puzo, searching for my and my Dad's reflections in the stories of my people.

The only problem is...I'm not in the mafia...so...

You can probably see my problem. Going through life believing I'm a part of The Godfather has been problematic in diverse amusing and surprising ways. Mostly, applying the law of omerta has been confusing for me. Omerta is the code of silence, of loyalty, of non-cooperation with outsiders. It's why you go to jail for a crime you didn't commit rather than ratting out someone else. It's why Michael calmly renounced Satan, becoming godfather to his sister's kids, whilst arranging to have her husband whacked. It all makes logical sense on the streets, BUT, how am I supposed to do it without going crazy? Obviously cops are the enemy, but the whole "Don't let anyone outside the family know what you're thinking" thing can really only be applied in my case to EVERYBODY IN THE WORLD. Right? So...no one can be trusted. That's the only possible way to do it...since I'm not in the mafia...

I love them so much.

I say all of this to explain the mistrustful mental underpinnings I've recently begun to become aware of in myself. Omerta is somewhat damaging to artistic honesty and interpersonal openness. If you trust no one and never break a personal code of silence...how can you really tell good stories? Or even trust yourself? Or, beyond that, if I continue to go through life with this unspoken assumption of omerta, imagining myself in some operatic conclusion of ancient Sicilian origins, misapplying it willy nilly to everyone I meet and automatically regarding the universe with mistrust, how can I really experience joy? Or faith? Or freedom? Or learn to receive?

Don't get me wrong here - I'm not kicking out The Godfather from my personal culture. It's in my blood and (by now) my subconscious. It's life lessons are ENDLESS and beautiful. From "Leave the gun, take the canoli" to "I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse," there are priceless gems and moments of self-recognition for any Italian or cool person of any kind. It illustrates for me ways of understanding the wrenching pain of betrayal, the justice of long-term consequences, the randomness and senselessness of violence, the power of family, the undying beauty of true love. I will always make meatballs when I am sad and give the death-stare to anyone who buys pre-canned tomato sauce. What I hope to surpass, though, in my personal and professional walk, is omerta. I'm determined to learn to open my heart and learn to trust. To give people the benefit of the doubt once in a while. (Once, though, probably not twice.) I'm determined to unlearn thinking of the universe as a hostile enemy and regard it as a platform for blessing. After all, I'm not in the mafia or the 1950s. I don't have to be silent.

my big fat Italian movie family
Learning to share life with others has been an amazing journey for me and has really magnified my life recently - it's kept me encouraged and plugged in as an actor, helped me to see myself and others more clearly, and kept me growing as a person. Also, it's helped me realize just how powerful, formative, and lasting the effect of excellent filmmaking can be. Here I am, still reacting to The Godfather, all these years later. I love that a film could become a part of my culture, that a film could be a way for my Dad to communicate with me, that a film could inspire a post from me to you. It's magic. Thanks for letting me share so much with all of you, gentle readers, through this blog!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Feelings

I'm so tired. I'm capable of anything.

I still love you. I never want to see you again.

I'm rusty. I'm talented.

I can't stop thinking. My brain is a blank.

I'm still so young. Life is going too fast.

My career has barely started. I've done so many great projects already, and tackled some awesome roles. 

I'm an idiot for not knowing that film lingo. One should always be learning - humility comes before honor. 

There isn't enough time for me to prepare. I am capable of bringing my training, presence, joy, and personality to anything if I concentrate and breathe.

I'm doing it already. Where I want my path to go seems so far away.

I want to hide. I want to perform. 

I'm lonely and alone. "I am human, and therefore nothing human is foreign to me." Art unites me to the world.

My feelings sometimes have episodes of schizofrenia; they and their opposites race around my solar-plexis simultaneously, not mutually exclusive, all true, all clamoring and jabbering and dressed up like triplets at their quinceaƱera. I'm a little bit country AND a little bit rock and roll. I'm one of those egotistical cocky actors AND one of those needy insecure actors. How can one individual person contain such a galaxy of burning, glaring, overlapping noise - and the white noise machine to cancel it all out? How can I possibly make sense of my impulses onstage when offstage my wires are all crossed? (And there's no cool 1940s Rosie the Riveter kind of chick as operating the board, patiently answering and transferring calls). And, not to panic, but how can I stay in the game for another 10 years if after 2 my emotions are already going cray-cray?

I'm not necessarily advocating the Pollyanna anecdote for all dark, overwhelmed, or low-energy feelings - and many of my fellow artists know that when your natural voice needs to be freed and it ain't happy, you just have to let it growl.

Clicking my heels has never brought me magically home, so what I'm attempting to practice lately as an actress and as a human is thankfulness. If a song comes on when I'm in the shower than reminds me of a sad memory, instead of bemoaning the fact that I still have feelings stirred I try to say, "Thank you. Thank you that my heart has that in it." If I see something weird happen on the subway platform I say, "Thank you, universe, for entertaining and surprising me constantly." If my feelings get all twisty and emo on me, I say, "Well thanks for your opinions, guys. Just know I'm not letting any of you be in charge right now." If I run around like a crazy person all day in 90 degree heat with no time to eat meals or finish an audition tape, I say, "...." Well. I'm trying to think of something to be thankful for about that one.

I have lots of feelings. And no feelings. And both are true, and both are ok. What I'm realizing about my acting career is that my feelings are riding the roller coaster curves too, and that the best thing I can do for myself at any given time is to not judge my own feelings. They're there, like my body or the floor or outer space. Judging might be fun for me as a hobby once in a while, but it won't effect any change over whatever I'm judging. I can say, "Sun, you are too hot." But it doesn't stop being hot. I'm not going to judge my feelings anymore. Rather, I strive to notice them, mark them, experience them, and then - dammit - use them in my acting.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Live Your Life

Like any normal girl my age, I follow the Humphrey Bogart Estate page on Facebook. This means that whilst whiling away time reading my friends' status updates and snooping around their recent picture uploads and liking links and sharing snarky posters around the internet ether, I take an occasional break to read some quotes and get some inspiration from one of the greater actors (in my humble opinion) and studliest men that ever lived. The more I think about it, studly might seem an unlikely appellation for a somewhat small, dark, weathered and reserved person like Bogart, but I know for a fact that when I call him studly I am in agreement with a large part of the world. He is studly not so much because of his all-American good looks like so many other heartthrobs who run about a dime a dozen, but because of his edge and his energy and his soul. 

This week I was so inspired by one of the Humphrey Bogart Estate page's status updates that I am going to re-post it here: 

"An actor needs something to stabilize his personality, something to nail down ...what he really is, not what he is currently pretending to be." - Humphrey Bogart on his life-long love of sailing

Danger: studly, shirtless Bogie on a boat.
I can't quite pull off the shirtless sailing thing like Bogie (without getting arrested), and in fact I've never set foot on a sailboat - but this resonated with me in such a powerful way that I can't stop smiling about it. In a way, I've been thinking about it ever since I began acting school almost five years ago. As an eager young student, my tendency was to bury myself in the bubble of classes, classmates, and shoptalk and never come up for air even when it would have been much more socially appropriate for me to do so. (My poor, long-suffering mother really didn't need to hear me talking endlessly about vocal fry or Terence or sense memory...I love you, Mom.)

Over time, and as I read more and more biographies of artists I loved, it began to dawn on me what was wrong with this picture I was painting for myself of what it meant to be an artist. Wearing myself and my friends out with earnest discussion didn't seem to have any tangible connection to my ability to emote on stage, and that is probably because great artists don't spend every second of their life in classrooms or overtly stewing in their work. They are, first and foremost, people. What drives art is not just sweat and focus and talent. The beginning, middle, and end of art is humanity. And when you're an artist, your life and humanity is what keeps you going.

My roommate K. who is not an actor has a saying that I think sums this up beautifully and, actually, has helped me relieve a lot of pressure and reinsert the joy into my acting career - not to mention putting a sparkle and wink into my personal life. "Live your life," she says. She says this when I ask if it's okay to eat another helping of nachos, or when I decide to go out at night even though I have to work a lot the next day; if I wonder if I can pull off wearing a bright pink belt on a bright green dress, or instead of studying lines like a good little actor I tell her I'm going to ditch the homework to go out for a walk. "Live your life," she says. Yes, dammit! I will, thank you.

After all, what is it that actors do, children? That's right. We act like...people! We act out stories about...LIFE!!! We pretend to be...people living their lives!

And, as a side note, what do actors spend a majority of their time doing in daily life? That's right...not acting, and actually being people.

Me and some roommates, living our lives.

This may seem really obvious to you, and if so, I congratulate you - because this is still hard for me to grapple with in my relentless, goal-oriented brain. Confession: I'm going to be real with you here. Part of me feels like this whole "live your life" thing is just a nice way for me to try to coddle myself with nice-sounding sweet talk when I'm not booking the roles I want or achieving my goals. But that's baloney. Jobs will come and go. Auditions will come and go. Apartments, clothes, even some friendships will come and go. Even ambitions will come and go. But you know what will stay with me my entire life? What the common denominator is? Me. Who I really am. My personality. What I really am, not who I am currently pretending to be.

So this week, the Humphrey Bogart Estate facebook page helped me blow some smoke away and realize in a practical way how important - nay, ESSENTIAL - it is for an actor to ground their personality in real life. Yet, I submit to you gentle Reader that this wisdom is applicable to all humans everywhere and not just to actors. So, what is your stabilizer? What helps you nail down your personality, and realize who you really are versus what you are pretending to be? Honestly, for me, this blog is a big help. Writing. My church community. Yoga. Working with kids.

There are so many ways to be a person...

Friday, March 23, 2012

Career Party

Last week I had a birthday party. We ate too much, laughed too much, and drank too much - all my favorite things, all of which I think it is actually impossible to do too much of. It was great. I am still tired (now that I am super old, one party makes me tired for a week) but pleased as punch and happy as a clam to have so many comrades in arms to toast my health on my womb-launching anniverary. It's important to get your groove on among good friends and celebrate LIFE. Life is a beautiful gift and I am thrilled and not a little surprised to enter into a new year of it. I admit, I always saw myself as the "burn out in a blaze of glory at 19" type...think it's the inner goth talking...but I am so so so so glad that did not turn out to be the way of things.

This Friday, I had a different kind of party. There were no fuscia pink feather boas (courtesy of Larissa) or glow-in-the-dark lip gloss (courtesy of Krista) or clever cards (courtesy of everyone) or alcohol (well...a negligible amount). This party was less of a celebration and more of a summit. Not a libation, but an intended liberation.

Tonight, we had a career party.

Joined by my room-mate, the exquisite dancer Tiffany, I groaningly sat down with a pair of lap tops, two brains, the NY Agent Book, and a blank piece of paper. Our purpose: to brainstorm and talk through our current performance career goals, break them down into doable steps, and attack.

I miss the feather boa.

To start, I was cranky and defensive. Tiffany kept asking me things like, "Is your list of agents and CDs current for your mailings? Do you have any friends you can ask for referrals?" I'd scowl and grumble that my list was just fine, thank you, leave me alone. It's hard to say why it was so hard for me to get in the spirit of mutual encouragement and full disclosure - perhaps it's because, like many actors, I feel like I am working really hard and am not sure I have the energy reserves to do more. But tonight's career party ended up revealing what we knew all along but couldn't quite see; like Dallas Travers likes to say, it's not about doing more, it's about doing less more often. It's about simplicity, focus, and smarts. Doing more is what I'm doing right now, and it's just not working as well. I can continue scrambling around the city burning up energy and hope, or I can reassess and refocus my work to match my goals.

Here's what I came up with: if my goal is to be in a feature film and a Shakespeare play this year, it doesn't make a lot of sense to spend a bunch of money on voice lessons or dance lessons. It makes more sense to sign up for an on-camera class for TV/Film or a Shakespeare class at the Barrow Group, and refresh my efforts to keep in touch with agents and casting directors that work on those kinds of projects. It would better serve me to send out a focused mailing and take clowning. Tiffany, along the same lines, wants to cross from musical theater to TV/Film but has no reel. However, she has an additional goal of becoming the next Ellen DeGeneres and starting her own TV show. We figured out that if she devotes the next month to writing a comedy sketch, we can film it ourselves and have it finished by this summer as a web sketch - both providing her with a reel and a valuable learning experience about acting/producing for the camera.

Even though I started out grumpy and frustrated, by the end of our career party I was excited. Why? Because it really gets my blood pumping to think about the things I love, to push through my lethargy and form tangible steps that are within my power to take. Acting can be overwhelming if my goals are too nebulous. Breaking it down into bite-size pieces helps me to see that not only is the next rung of success attainable, but I have already achieved a lot. I'm already doing a lot. In fact, I can do less - more often. Where there is strategy, the celebration can't be far behind.

What would a career party look like for you? Is there something you want to achieve that seems too far-off, too unattainable? I bet you can get there. One party at a time, friends. All we need to do is break it down.

so many parties...so little time...

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Catharsis




It's March! I'd like to start off the month of my birthday with a great scene. This is a clip from "Party Girl," a 1995 film directed by Diasy Von Sherler Mayer starring one of my all-time, top acting heroines, Parker Posey. In this scene, Parker forever seals both her place in my heart as an acting genius and in my intellect as a damn cool chick. The rest of the film is great as well and has many of my favorite things; Manhattan, libraries, the dewey decimal system, anagnorisis, sex in a library in a rainstorm (yup), Liev Shrieber, and best of all (through this scene), catharsis! There simply aren't enough chances in real life to have these satisfying outbursts when things are unjust, wrong, or incorrect. Let's change that this month in constructive ways. Let's fight against those people who stack their own books. Why would they do that? Why?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Happy Lent

“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.  Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." - From The Book of Common Prayer, Ash Wednesday, 2012 (Matthew 6:16-21)
 

photo from blog "liturgical time"
Happy Lent everyone!  Last year, I gave up movies for Lent and was very cranky.  Hardest thing I've ever done, probably, and a HUGE lesson for me in the nature and purpose of fasting.  This year, I don't feel a particular pull towards any specific Lenten sacrifice.  Maybe hot air balloon rides?  Maybe group sex in public parks?...or inappropriate jokes?

Growing up, I spent most of my time attending "non-denominational" Christian churches with my mom and missed out on a lot of the the more ancient church-calendar practices of the Catholic and more traditional protestant churches.  As an adult, I've developed a sense of curiosity and respect for the mysticism and tradition of these practices and am still learning a lot about what's behind the thinking of something like Lent, for example.  Today I discovered Liturgical Time, a blog that tracks and illuminates the church calendar.  There's a great deal of peace and reassurance for me in following the footsteps of this cycle of meditation, grace, and mercy.  

There's something artistic and uncanny about Lent, and the church calendar, and indeed about church.  But Lent in particular, for me, is a creative act; a time of gestation and preparing the soul to be receptive.  For me, the season of Lent is a sense of smouldering embers, suppressed desire, boiling water stirred up and seasoned tightly under a lid (as my acting teacher might say), and of really facing truths that might be hard to look at.  

A friend of mine recently told me that one reason he no longer participates in the church is because of an involuntary epiphany he had one day.  Already an actor, he attended service and found himself looking at it from a professional theatrical point of view.  Like always, he saw priests and volunteers wearing costumes, standing on a stage, following a script, using music and cues, telling a story based on a book.  With a sudden, life-altering smack, he concluded that church is basically the same as the theater - all a big show.  He went on to conclude, differently than me, that it must be a fiction.  

I see his point, I really do.  There's an element of religion that's mass manipulation (pun intended), where church assumes the role of a big business playing and preying on peoples' senses of conscience and dignity, family and guilt to take advantage of them financially and, worse, spiritually.  I do see what my friend means about churches seeming an awful lot like theater - there's music and performance, the leaders use public speaking techniques to manipulate their audiences (sorry, I mean, congregations), and the entire teaching and message is part of a narrative/story that some argue is created, not divine.  I get it.  Sure.  A good church service - or any public event - will most likely follow Freytag's pyramid of dramatic structure, just like a good play or a good calendar year.  And I'm not going to say it's always a great thing that churches put on a show, but for me, in general, the theatrical elements of church can make it all the more beautiful. Indeed, I go to theater for much the same reason that I go to church - to experience the truth, to enter a no-bullshit zone where I can make some sense and possibly even some joy out of being human.  We can know God (I believe) as easily in a black-box or the subway as in a pew.

And if church is like theater, the church calendar spells out it's dramatic structure.  Lent is sort of the climax.  In Christian terms, it's the crucifixion - and now, everything is waiting for the denouement, the surprise reversal of Christ's resurrection.  But for now, the shit has hit the fan in Lent.  We have to deal with being human.  The beauty of believing in God is that our story doesn't end there.  Being human isn't limited by our humanness, but rather transcended and set free in infinity.  All of it is building, building, building....waiting, waiting, waiting...

"Remember you are dust and unto dust you shall return."  It's theater at it's best.  And then some.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Equity Bathrooms


The whole union/non-union question is a debate with as many opinions as there are actors.  In fact, probably two opinions per actor.  Everyone sees it through a complex, individually prescribed lens uniquely cracked and shaped by economics, politics, ambition, practicality, need, desire, and pride.

"Why does there even HAVE to be a union," one experienced non-equity actor friend of mine recently vented.  "Isn't it sad that we need a union to force employers to treat us with respect?!"  Another, just bumped up to must-join status, pipes in, "Don't join too soon.  Why rush it?  Let it build up and come to you."  One dear dancer friend, a card-holding equity member who also happens to be (unjustly) unemployed, beats her breast in dejected frustration after long chorus calls and shakes her fist at the sky. "Lot of good an equity card does me," she observes, irked. "Why can't I get a freaking job?!"  Meanwhile, the friend who just marked the anniversary of her first Broadway contract shrugs.  She works really hard and has made it to the top - the White Way.  I ask her, what's it like up there?  Can she picture herself ever doing anything else?  She sighs.  "I dunno.  Acting has just kind of always fell into place for me.  I'm not really that driven, just too lazy to do something else."

it's blurry because it's so glamorous
Humph.  Right.  So, wtf do I do with all that?  Clearly, punching equity actors or myself in the face solves nothing.  So many actors, so many paths.  I get a huge kick out of hearing stories and opinions, and a recent passion of mind is reading biographies of greats - Katherine Hepburn, Ingrid Bergman, Myrna Loy - to get a sense of HOW they made it happen for themselves.  How?  HOW!?!?!?!

Friends, there is no simple answer.  There is not even a complex one.  There is no answer, actually.  There is no rule of thumb or formula for success in this business.  Whatever advice our friends, family, agents, teachers, coaches, or directors can give us, we are the ones who must make the choice.  After all, making choices is our job.  Choices are what an acting career boils down to - on or off the stage - big or small.  Will I sleep in on my day off because I've been feeling sick and I should listen to my body?  Will I get up and try to crash that EPA even though there are approximately 600 other non-equity actresses who look exactly like me?  Will I buy into AFTRA because they are merging with SAG even though I don't have a lot of TV or commercial credits?  Will I take the risk to step up my game by focusing on better job opportunities and higher quality auditions or stick to what I'm used to?  Questions upon questions, diverging paths upon diverging paths, forks forked by forks on top of forks in the road - and no one else can do it for us.  We have to make a choice.

I remember one of my most feared and respected acting teachers in school saying something along the lines of, "If you're going to make a choice, make a bold choice.  If you're not going to make a choice, stop wasting my time and go home."  Yes, this is a paraphrase.  Confession: not only did I not really understand what she was talking about for an embarrassingly long amount of time, but I've also realized that I tend to avoid making scary choices in my career sometimes.  Sometimes I make the (gasp! shame!) safe choice.  Safe is the worst of all four-letter words, for an actor.  And, what's more, sometimes I prefer to just not make a choice and instead avoid making tough calls, preferring to ride in the nether-gray-lands, neither agreeing nor disagreeing, neither pushing forward nor lagging behind.

hold on to that feelin'
Guys, we all have more power than we realize over the course of our careers.  I've had my EMC card in my hands since September, and I used it for the very first time - last week. 

Gasp.  Shame.

Like me, you probably sometimes just sit around with your EMC card...at least, metaphorically.  Sometimes, we slow down instead of accelerating.  But the thing to realize is, THAT IS A CHOICE.  Not making a choice is actually, itself, a choice.  And that's fine, as long as we are honest about what it is.  Sometimes it's important to listen to your body, listen to your wallet, do what you need to do to survive and take care of yourself.  Sometimes we need to choose to postpone making bold choices until we're in a reasonably safe position of power, stability, or confidence.  But know that it's a choice.  And feel empowered by that.

I'm not sure if it's the right time for me to try to buy into the unions and focus on status and membership and all, but I'll tell you, I now choose to make it the time to learn what this whole EMC stuff is all about.  I choose to pay attention, listen, and learn.  I chose to take the card out of my wallet and use it.  And dudes, there is one definite, massive, enormous, beautiful plus side to having an actors union and an EMC card....two words....Equity bathrooms.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

I Want to Not Want to Not Want Things Anymore

You know that auburny-haired gal in your high school who wore crazy outfits built around men's boots?  She was the one who had unpopular and vehement opinions about politics/religion/everything that she never stopped talking about in or out of the appropriate class situation, who read (and quoted) Bronte novels incessantly (especially in everyday conversations), stubbornly tried to revive archaic slang like "swanky," and always won staring contests/vows of silence?  You know, the one who during trips to Wal-Mart would say things like, "I don't want a normal life!  I'll never live in a suburb." And, "Psssht!  I wouldn't be caught dead reading Harry Potter." And, "God, I don't want a St. John.  Gross.  What am I, an automaton?"  (Jane Eyre reference, anyone?)

Well.  X-amount of years later, she's realizing something kind of kooky and wonderful about her life, something that should probably have been obvious all along.  Sure, maybe her obsession with curia and underdogs and gypsies and life's unobserved nooks and crannies stems from something good, some desire to explore and create...and maybe her desire to be different is really not that different, but rather a common symptom of humanity...but all this is beside the point.  The fact is that without meaning to, our bespectacled heroine has followed her creative urges into the swampy land of Contrariety and let it become all about what's NOT for her, what she DOESN'T want.  And this is not fair or brave or really honest.  "I don't want 2.5 kids."  "I don't want to vote for any of these guys."  "I don't like pink."  Okay, well...what DO you want, Miss Too-Cool?

You may have figured this out, but this bon vivant of vetoing to which I refer is...me.  I've never seemed to have had a problem pointing out what I disagree with or what isn't perfect or what isn't as it should be.  My mom could tell you that the eye-roll and the "death-stare" were my specialty.  I've gloried in the revolution, the rebels, the devil's advocate.  I own 4 - yes 4 - leather jackets, one for every flavor of outsider.  Why does everything have to be contrary though, Jeanne Joe?  What might happen if I spin the rhetoric, change the attitude?  Take that same desire to create and explore and mix in bravery?  Why is it so hard to admit, even to myself, that I want things?  I don't want to not want things anymore.  I want to be okay with the fact that I do want things.

It's not about what I don't want anymore.  It's now about what I do want.  The truth is that it was safer to play on the edges and shoot down what I don't want, but that's taking the easy way out.  See, if I admit that I actually want something, that makes me vulnerable.  It means I stand the risk of not getting whatever that thing is that I want.  Or worse - getting it!  You can't be disappointed if you don't hope.  Your heart can't break if it doesn't first skip a beat in excitement.  My Dad hates that word, hope; he always says, "Hope is not a strategy."  He's right.  It's not.  But, it can be a source of inspiration.  Inspiration fuels of strategy. 

"Without vision, the people parish."  I want to be brave enough to wear my heart on my sleeve instead of hiding it behind my wits.  Perhaps nothing earth-shattering will happen at first, but rather than continue to play it cool, I'm going to let myself make a fool out of myself with yearning.  Yearning, wanting, admitting, and celebrating my frail human appetite for wanting things.  Probably no Greek mythological figures will appear to wave a scepter and grant my wishes.  But, something magical might happen.  If I can actually admit to myself (and the world) what I DO want, that might be the first step towards achieving it.

So, I've made a decision.  I will keep my love for the obscure and the strange, but no longer will I put down other loves.  I will probably stay quirky, but I will do it in the light instead of the dark and stop shrugging off the truth of what's behind my pangs of desire.  I will own up to what I want and not be ashamed to go for it.  I will be positive, and form my vision for my life out of "yes" instead of "no."  What I am about to say is scary for me, but I think it will be fun.  This is not an exhaustive list but rather the highlight reel, if you will.  My mom would say, "Go for it!"  I hope to look back at this entry in a year's time and see track marks from this moment leading in the direction of these things that I want.  Here are some:
  • dance an actual tango
  • get married and have kids (this is hard for me to admit for some reason, but I really, really do want it.)
  • adopt kids
  • be on 30 Rock!
  • ride the Orient Express...it's still there, right?  Probably called something less racist now.
  • take my mom and dad to the Oscars!
  • learn Spanish
  • visit a rain forest
  • study at RADA
  • act in feature films
  • portray a vampire...dead serious (get it!?!)
  • be British (pretty sure this one won't happen for me, unless I can---)
  • invent time travel and alter the past
  • direct a movie
  • start a production company (oh wait, check!)
  • publish a book
There's nothing wrong with knowing your mind or playing devil's advocate.  But the bottom line is, I need to be able to say yes as well as no, to stand up and be counted.  It's okay to want things.  No shame. 

I want to not want to not want things anymore.   ;)


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Showtime



Inspiration becomes a solid, smoldering idea.  The idea becomes a need.  The need becomes a collaboration.  The collaboration becomes a pursuit.  Consultation.  Pitching.

Fundraising.  Crowds of supporters come out of the woodwork, from sometimes surprising and always humbling and amazing places.  Concept building.  Casting.  Booking space.  Finding a theater.  Weeks of rehearsal.  More collaboration.  Evolution.  Hiring support.  Volunteers.  Building a website.  Finalizing the script.  Organizing tickets.  Trying on costumes.  Buying snacks.  Tech week.  Light cues.  Dress rehearsal.  Speed through.

What's different about this opening day?  What's special about this particular showtime, for me?

That first inspiration, that little idea that became a need - it was my need, my idea.  It met a partner, Larissa Dzegar, and evolved to something better when our ideas and needs mixed.  Our ideas together became a pursuit that both of us just HAD to see brought to life.  We made this show out of the raw materials of our own selves and what we could reach in the world around us, joined by other artists, supported by an astounding number and caliber of people who believed in us and our project.  Today, when the audience walks into Space on White, it will be because Larissa and I wanted it to happen, because the universe supported our venture.  And because, of course, God is good.

The Body Stories is a dream come true for me.  Thank you, thank you, thank you, for letting me tell this story, for putting this show on the stage, for acting, for showtime.  Now I can say, "I am Jeanne Joe Perrone - an actress, a writer, a producer, an art maker, and a director.  I am a creator of The Body Stories.  My dreams come to life."

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Home

Treehuggers: me and my mom
"Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do... but how much love we put in that action." - Mother Teresa (from Brainy Quote)

As an actor and self professed gypsy, I have often made cavalier statements like: "I have no hometown," and "Home is wherever you hang your hat."  Whenever I say stuff like that, I obviously try to be standing mysteriously under a streetlight or smoking a cigarette or be backlit by the city skyline with sirens blaring eerily in the distance or something equally cinematic, epic, and devastatingly worldy.  Of course, I don't smoke, so I never look as noir in actuality as I do in my imagination.  And I am sure I never sound as cool when I say that stuff as I think I do.  Probably I just sound silly.  But I can dream.  I can pretend to be that hard-boiled femme fatale with no past and probably no future, with undisclosed secrets and seemingly invulnerable armor - a la Lauren Bacall.  I can tell everyone and myself that home is whatever I make it, but really, that's not entirely true.  All it takes is a Christmas back at my mom's house, and my tough outer shell crumbles like Santa's cookies in milk. 

As an actor, it's really most important for me to be honest with myself.  After 7-going-on-8 years in New York City, I finally am experiencing my first homesickness.  Took me long enough right?  I guess it's some consolation to me that this proves, once and for all, that I do actually have a heart.  Yes, I doubted it once.

Over Christmas, I was hit with powerful waves of sea-salt tinged nostalgia as I drove up the California coast north of San Francisco with my bestie from high school in a rented Fiat (!!) and caught up about our lives.  Over dinner with my mom, it hit me just how precious and rare our time together is.  In my teenage bedroom, whose walls have been re-plastered and painted past recognition, I fell asleep in luxurious 1,000 count cotton sheets with the recurring thought: "This is so great.  This is so wonderful.  I would love to live here again.  I want to stay home.  Life is so much easier and pleasanter and better here. How nuts do I have to be to leave all this behind for cockroaches, subways, and a rat to human ratio of 4:1?"

Like many actors (and, let's face it, most adults of any kind), the city I live and work in is far away from my family.  I see my crew usually once a year for the holidays, if I'm able to go back home - or if my mom is able to come visit me.  This year was special because due to my brother's wedding, my own reckless stubbornness in forcing vacation time into my schedule, and my mom's acquisition of a traveling buddy, I got to see everyone two or three times.  Maine, New York, Texas, Southern and Northern California - no point on the map was safe from my obsession with being physically present with my loved ones for a change.  I even made two trips to Texas to see my Dad.  Texas.  

Perhaps it's the extra face time that's got me all homesick and mushy and showed me the cracks in my femme fatale facade.  Honestly, those cracks were probably painfully visible to everyone else all along, but I liked to think I was cool and aloof and, you know, worldlyWorldy above all things!  But it was really good to see everyone.  I mean really really good.  There's no one like family - good or bad, crazy dysfunctional or sweet and loving.  Being around them, whether for a quick weekend engagement party or a extended Christmas sit-in, gave me a much-needed reminder of who I am and what makes me strong.  And there's no place like home.  No friends like childhood friends.  Yada yada yada.  I've been thinking today that this longing I have for family, for home, for an identity that is interdependent with others who know me intimately and is based on where I come from, is a great reminder of what it's like to be a human sojourning in this world.  

This world doesn't really feel like home a lot of the time - I am sure that must be true for other people in fields other than acting, too.  The world can be competitive, cold, difficult, unfair, all those things.  It can be, well, worldly.  It can make one feel small and disposable and overwhelmed.  Yet, this world can also be beautiful and lovely, so much so that there are moments and experience that make me absolutely ache with their beauty.  But for some reason, it seems to me that the times I see this world at it's most lovely are the times I feel the most homesick for another world, a perfect world, a heaven.  Perhaps human nature is a little bit like the nature of pursuing an acting career: we are far from home, and we're sojourning in a harsh and often dark city - but who we are, and what makes us tick, is still secreted away in a place that's full of love.  

We have to find a way to keep in touch with it somehow, in the absence of home.  We have to take our home with us, and recognize that there's more to this world and to ourselves than meets the eye.

This evening I attended Trinity Grace Church in Chelsea with a friend, and the main thing that struck me in the talk was when the preacher said, "Once you find that focal point of love, the impossible becomes possible."  It almost seemed impossible, this Christmas, to come back to New York.  It was quite tempting follow the path of least resistance and stay somewhere warm, safe, comfortable, and loving. But hold on, I can't give up.  I can't.  I love this too much.  And love is a big aspect of what makes a home.  Love makes acting my home away from home.  What can seem impossible in my pursuit of acting will be made possible by my love for it, and the love I receive from the people in my life that make my life possible.  That is the home that I can take with me wherever I go.  Love is what makes home home.  If I can put my love of acting into each audition, every cold read, every mailing and rehearsal and performance, I will have really achieved something.  I will have achieved a homecoming.