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3:34 PM - Thurs 3.01.18
From Voracious Eater To Voracious Reader

(Wish I'd started this sooner - I'm not gonna have time to finish in one sitting, which I'd like - but "it is what it is"...)

Well, it's the beginning of March, and nothing has happened yet, booking-wise - I haven't managed to put a single win on the board.

In my own defense, I've only had four auditions -
five if you count the museum thing, which was kind of an "outlier" - and I was pinned for one of those (The Disney show, the lone TV audition).

Most of that hot audition action was in the first two weeks of January - I've had just one shitty commercial audition since, a straight-to-callback thing where I had one two-word line (For a Director I worked with once a dozen years ago, and never since. Though he's brought me in for auditions so many times I've lost count)

Hoping things will pick up soon. I'd very much like to book something, maybe even a couple "somethings", before Shameless starts back up.

Since learning the coming season may be the last, it's hard not to fixate on booking "The Next Shameless" - and with any luck, a "Next Shameless" that brings me more money and more to do than the original - but I know that's a recipe for a year of chronic anxiety and unhappiness. For now, best to just think about just "getting on the board" with something.

But while not much is happening in terms of "new business", I'm happy to report that Exxon accepted my agent's request for more money, and renewed my Internet spot for another year (I found out a couple days ago).

It's nice that this piece of work is continuing to have a life, and not just because of the money, but because it feels good to think I did good work (This is now the second time the spot's been renewed).

So while I still very much want to start booking new things, it's nice to have some relief from the money pressure I was feeling - Barring catastrophe of some sort, even if nothing else happens (!) I'm clearly going to be okay while I wait for Shameless to start shooting.

(While not completely relieved - I don't know what, beyond being a regular on a successful series, would achieve that - I felt relieved enough to allow myself to buy the "classic" Iron Man action-figure I've had my eye on at Target...though I actually got if off Amazon, because it was $5 cheaper.)

The other nice thing that struck me with the Exxon thing getting renewed - beyond the money and the nice feeling that the work "worked" - was thinking how nice to have someone whose job is to ask people to pay me more money (That would be an awkward thing if I had to do it myself, so "Yay!" for having an agent).

FRI 3/2/18 (11:10 am)

Got up, messed around a bit, then showered and dressed, ready to go back to my first WW member meeting in months.

I walked out the door, was about to get in the elevator, looked out the window, and noticed it was gray and drizzly.

So I didn't go.

(In short, I kinda suck.)

But anyway...

Well, while I'm not acting, and haven't done theater since the earliest days of my coming to LA, I have been watching other people act/do theater - Last week I went to the theater twice with friends (The ostensible "goal" of my attending theater, beyond just being fun, a good excuse to get out of the house and hang out with friends, is to figure out some entrance-point back into theater myself - What kind of theater's being done in LA, what I'd want to do, what the various theaters are like, etc).

A week ago Tuesday, I went with Josh, Matt, and Michelle to see a performer - Natalie Palamides - workshop a one-person show where she improvs the role of a macho, sexually-aggressive guy (They'd seen it before - I had not).

It was, by its nature, very loosey-goosey, and I wasn't really sure what I was supposed to "get from it" (Though I did feel like she tried to bring out what's under our guy's macho exterior. And at one point, there's some extremely questionable sex she clearly wants us to ponder), but I was impressed with her commitment, energy and command of the audience.

Then last Friday, I saw the play/musical Denim Doves, with my friend Liz (This was the first Sacred Fools production I've seen at their new venue in Hollywood - They used to be located on Hyperion, I think, just off Melrose, an easy walk from my apartment).

It's a satire/absurdist comedy (That takes a dramatic turn at the end we both agreed didn't quite "land") about a polygamist cult/society so patriarchal and phallocentric in nature that the husband is literally called "Penis".

I enjoyed it, though would have enjoyed it more if it had had an intermission - I spent the last half of the production thinking as much about my full bladder as to what was happening onstage.

Clearly, there's some thematic "connective tissue" between the two productions.

They also both had some "audience participation" (Liz had a brief time on stage at one point during Denim Doves), and some nudity - Seemed a weird coincidence that I see no theater in years, then see two shows in quick succession that both have people getting naked. But maybe that's "just the thing" nowadays.

In the workshop show, at one point she takes off her shirt, while still wearing the wig and mustache she's had on as the character, and it was interesting - Not sure if this was her intent or not, but for me, her clearly feminine body acted not as a contradiction, but as comment on the character (Our macho guy, a real "man's-man", has "moobs" and drawn-on chest hair).

Then, at the climax of the piece, she transitions from the character screaming/yelling, to the actress screaming/yelling (She goes under the shower, and gets even more "naked" - taking off the wig and mustache she's been wearing as the character - which I found effective even if, once again, I wasn't quite sure I was getting what she was driving at. Maybe that, male or female, we both are in emotional pain?).

While in "Denim Doves"...well, I don't remember what motivated it, but at one point, "Penis" starts taking off his clothes, revealing that his denim goes all the way down to denim underwear.

At that point, I wondered - as I'm sure many others in the audience did - "Are we going to go there...?".

We went there.

The actor took off his underwear, revealing an extremely average body in every respect, then gathered his clothes in a bundle, and went, comically awkwardly, up a flight of stairs to his character's room.

Talking about it with Liz afterward, she didn't see much point to it - Thinking the gag with the denim underwear was sufficient - while I also didn't really see the point (The closest I could get was that maybe the visual of this rather unimpressive male body was supposed to add to the sense of ridiculousness - "This is what they're venerating?" - because I don't know what we would have drawn from the scene if the actor involved had been a body-builder with a big dick, other than "See? Gratuitous nudity can go both ways").

I was glad I saw both things - And got past the inertia that always makes my first emotional response to a potential night out "I would prefer not to" - but at the same time, it was disconcerting that the experiences frightened me as much or more than they inspired me.

The "fright" boils down to two questions:

1. Do I have the juice?

Not "Can I still act?" or "Do I still have stage-presence?" or even "Can I still memorize all those line?" (Though those are all also concerns), but "Do I have the energy, and the physicality, it takes to perform at the level I would want to perform at for a performance/run of a show?"

2. Is there a "place" for me in theater here?

Are there roles for me in Los Angeles theater? Not just any roles, but roles I would actually want to do? I don't want to discover I'm as much of a "bit player" in LA theater as I am on TV.

And - In the case of mounting a one-person show (A prospect often suggested to me that seems hella daunting) - Do I have anything to say? And if I do, is it anything anyone wants to hear? (Not sure we're at a point in our history where anyone really wants/needs to hear what an old white guy has to say about anything...but on the other hand, if I feel like that's the case, why do I bother to do this?)

Terrifyingly enough, there are no answers to these questions - The only way to know is "Try it and see".

(Or else don't, and live with how that makes me feel.)

____________________

I'm still struggling with my eating, getting myself back to WW meetings, etc (I just ate six coconut macaroons - I had to throw the remaining six down the garbage chute in the hallway, which begs the question, "Why did you fucking buy them in the first place, Jim?").

But I have added the resistance-band, push-ups, and planking to my exercise regimen (Which for the past couple years, has consisted entirely of Zumba and occasional long walks).

I'm not doing anything worth bragging about - And really, it's hard to imagine ever "bragging" about how much I exercise. That just seems weird - but I am doing it consistently.

And I'm starting to run up against the same questions/concerns I've had other times I've begun/tried to keep up an exercise regimen.

I'm perpetually worrying about "threading the needle" between doing enough...but not too much (Do too little and nothing happens. Do too much, and you hurt yourself).

And I'm uncertain of how to keep myself motivated, in large part because I'm not certain how long it takes to see noticeable results (Again - I don't want to just feel different - I want to look different).

And off the top of my head, other than my initial weight loss at WW, I can't tell you the last time I did something long enough, in terms of diet and/or exercise, to notice visible results (Zumba's not really changed my appearance, at least that I can see, because I'm still eating too damn much).

____________________

(5:50 pm)

(Just got off the phone with Mark and Jane a short time ago - We had to time-shift to today for our weekly confab, because they had another commitment at our normal time. As usual, it was great fun.)

One thing I've thought about in recent years, which I didn't really consider in the past, is what kind of body I'd actually like to have (Also, what's my natural build, how hard am I willing to work, etc).

And what I've kind of boiled it down to is, I'd like to have a kind-of "stealth body" - I don't want to be a lot bigger than I am (Okay, maybe a little bigger arms and chest), but would like to be surprising to anyone who might see me without my shirt on.

So I'm looking more for "definition" than "bulk", which means I definitely need to get control of my food/weight - If we're just talking looks, there's no point of having muscle definition if it's hiding under 40 lbs of fat.

And I will need to step up my exercise game - I'm good for now, because I'm just trying to get a routine started, but I'm pretty sure just doing what I'm doing now won't get me where I ultimately would want to go.

Speaking of which, I haven't done today's thing yet (That's another thing - It's already something I'm tending to procrastinate on. But knowing me as I do, I'd be better off doing it as soon as possible in the day, whenever possible, then being done with it. Even if it hasn't happened yet, it's just too easy to get tired and let it "go by the wayside" otherwise).

Well, I could write more - I actually have a list - but then I wouldn't be doing that exercise I was just talking about.

I also have to pick up a few things at the grocery store (Well, I don't have to, but I've barely done anything today, in part because it's been raining on-and-off all day, and figured that would be a ready excuse to "go for a walk").

And I'm trying to get myself back into reading (Not just articles on the Internet, but books and magazines and the like, like I did back when I was younger and smarter).

Because I like myself better as a "reader" than a...whatever-the-fuck-I-am-now. So I need to make some time for that.

(Current project - Finish the last quarter-or-so of What Dreams May Come, which I've been working on for a really long time. I just finished This Is Just My Face, the Gabourey Sidibe memoir, which I had also been working on for a really long time. Neither book is exactly heavy-lifting, mind you - We're just a really long way from the days when I was "voracious". But I want "voracious" back.)

 

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