Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Look Itsa Pooka!

I'm in a pulitzer prize winning play!

Well, yeah the play was written in 1944 and yeah, its been done a million times and yeah, Jimmy Stewart starred in a movie about it in 1950, BUT I was just hired on for another show with Sierra Rep in the fall. Whoop, Ety, and Doo, folks. 

I'm incredibly excited. A wide sprint closer to Equity status. A paid professional theater job. A chance to continue honing and disciplining skills on which I sorely need to work.  A continued relationship with Sonora, the socially pocked capital of California. A longer time to explore personal, artistic endeavors. More time to ponder the IOOF. More time to explore Yosemite. More time to thrift. More time to read. More time to write. More time to practice yoga on my lonesome which I do often now and love.  More to watch hummingbirds. More yards from which to eat organic tomatoes, plums, peaches, apples. More ponds to ponder near. More cheap Knob Creek at the Iron Horse. More life to live and work to do toward goals I was already churning like butter in LA - and knowing I am near enough to be back soon.  

I feel very patient about everything right now. I don't know why except the change of pace. The stir-crazy feelings that should usually encroach don't because I am working as an actor. Its like my process and energy in rehearsals translates to a swipe of the blood of the Lamb on my front door frame while the Angel of Death floats past toward a different poor soul to envelop. Ten Commandments anyone? Anyone? Charlton Heston? Cecil B. DeMille epic? Oh. Man. Pom-Pom. So good. 

Hey, I know where to get good espresso, a great salmon salad, so-so sushi and I have a simple syrup lil' gym to visit if I want to be surrounded by high schoolers and their funny masks. Yes, we were all like that not long ago and wait, many haven't changed except to evolve their mask, refining them to a tee no one would quite notice because others are either too self-involved or are adept at doing the same thing and bored by yours. What? I didn't say that. Even though you know its true, though I'm not admitting it for a second. 

Instead, I can be truly concerned with this incredible script by Mary Chase - a woman who is apparently indirectly responsible for the Donnie Darko screenplay (I'm speculating!) because in 1944 she wrote about  an extremely pleasant alcoholic man who is best friends with a six foot (and a half!) tall white rabbit named Harvey, who is a Pooka. What is a Pooka? Here is a Pooka.  It's kind of fascinating. And the fact that Ms. Chase could popularize such subject matter within such a strict era context was pretty groundbreaking.  Reading about the main character, Elwood P. Dowd, I was inspired by his wonderfully lovely demeanor and overall true embodiment of tolerance over all things - specifically people and the handling of life that he is tied to.  It doesn't matter how many options are before us, there are always people pulling us in directions without our approval or consent.  Elwood, despite his alcoholism and constant companionship with a Celtic spirit, added the most truly evolved element to the lives of his loved ones and well, basically all newcomers to his conversation. 

He represents fairness, love, peace and many of the qualities we yearn for our own race on a majority level. Global loveliness. John Lennon-like levels. But this was all in 1944. So I really just want to talk to Mary Chase and understand who she based these people on.

In La-La, time is of the essence. No one is getting any younger. Time is money. In it to win it and all that. All I can say is, I'll be right back after these messages...from the Universe. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Where the Wild You Is...

Welcome to the Afterlife. 

I'm in Sonora, California. It's not heaven, nor is it hell - despite the glowing fires visible last night from a lone Tuolomne cabin burning not so terribly far away, sitting like a vermilion fog across the mountainside. If Mordor was ever a real vision...Truly wild and uncontrollable rage of nature, awakening locals as normally as coffee brewing.  The smell of smoked branches and foliage permeating each household, clamping the hearts of loved ones personally tied to the meek bravery out there among the trees, or what's left of them.  I'm awash with helplessness and little relation to the whole thing save for my current location. Pay your verbal respects, know the containment percentages and buy a firefighter a Blackeye at Starbucks.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light. 

I don't think Dylan was referring to a rim fire, but it is certainly fitting. I sat awestruck on the stroke of midnight, absorbing the orange cloud with my tired eyes and feeling nothing about myself, just wonder at a thing so powerful and so pure yet so foreign.  A sense of guilt lay suspended in the air for having thoughts of beauty tied to such a monstrous, damaging thing. I think I had the same experience with an ex once.  What can I say? Dark needs light and so on.

Earlier today, I claimed a need to be stirred and roused with emotion. I mean in the sense that one can have that uncontrollable, unconstrained wailing release of pure feeling. The dam is breaking. I am seeking a perfect host through which I can wet the dry walls of the well. You know, that Well that lives at your core being. Music has definitely stormed the sea up into a tizzy, but there is no wave yet to upturn the boat and lose oneself to the elements. Danger Mouse, Doves, Norah, Jack, Cass, CocoRosie - the emotional and the strange. I will take it for now despite their lacking crowbar efforts to crack the safe. Pair these things with a winding, rural drive and there is nearly a solution.

Don't get me wrong, it is a blessing to be moved by things.  But it is an intake/outtake issue.  Like Lion's Breath in yoga, one needs to exert as much as take in. The Libra in me screams balance, the Virgo in me seeks urgency and the Scorpio Rising watches with distanced interest how it all might play out.   Release is craved, in so many ways.  I believe the answers lie in the finely combed honeygrass 'cross these California landscapes.  The land may be burning, but it is also calling. 

As I age, the battle against myself to allow feeling, to allow instincts and to trust my own joys, horrors and reactions seems both less daunting and yet far more sensitive. I have been trying to give in to the wild parts as of late. I AM wild in certain parts - even the most conservative countryside has some wild patches here and there. But how will you know who you are if you don't explore these territories? If you let fear keep you on the same path day after day, letting the familiarity not only cloak you - but rob you of fresh air?  Breathe, my darlings, breathe.  Breathe every single day, long glorious breaths - unless there is smoke in the air.  I think therein lies the problem.   I am tumbling through youthful emotional spaces that may or may not have rattlesnakes. I say to all, yes, go, journey, but there are no promises of safety. Belt out a glorious peal of laughter but do not be affected by the emergence of judgement. Don't even give those disrupted humans the time of day. But go, GO into the wild, what's a little poison oak?

Round Sonora, I drive from town to town, county to county, location to location, rehearsal to rehearsal. I often pass the IOOF, it's proud electric pink lettering mockingly reminding me to enter on the side door. I'm not a man, so I'm not allowed (though I may be an odd fellow, I'll give myself that).  But as I steer away from the main strip, my headlights catch what appears to be a cat playing furiously by the sidewalk in the dark street, easily in harm's way. I wonder all at once if he is feral or a kitten or if he needs a home or has caught a rat. I park instantly around the corner and walk back to see if I might rescue the thing or at least absolve my curiosity.  On approach, the little beast is revealed to be motionless in a pool of blood. The witness of such wild writhing was actually of his last moments in death, a mere... ten seconds ago. I stand still, mouth covered by hand, and imagine the wealth of pain. Again, beauty in the horror. Or is it horror in the beauty? This strange portrait experience seems related to so many planes of the day and of Sonora in general. Equal parts terrible, true, lovely and pungent.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light. 

Perhaps this is all too cryptic for you today. Perhaps my head is so chock full of things from a lack of blogging and lack of release that things are thick as coconut oil been sittin' in the fridge too lawng. Perhaps being out of urban territory has inspired way more synapses firing than I ever dreamed.  

I don't know, darlings. But have a beautiful day, won't you?

(PS, I took a photo of this door in Sonora four days before this event. It not only happens to be the very street on which my ill-fated stray died, its body was lying directly in before it.)