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U of MMA This Sunday!



One more Pay It Forward to end the week!

My friends down at the U of MMA are putting on another of their great cards this Sunday at Club Nokia.  The show is always a fun night down at one of my favorite hangouts in L.A. Live.  I’ve done everything from help put together the cage to sit cageside at their events; it’s cool to see an organization I’ve watched grow from the ground up continue to get bigger.

Don’t just take my word for it though, come down Sunday night and see for yourself!

Have a good weekend everybody!



Today is a Pay It Forward day.

Every year, the SAG Foundation holds a charity Poker tournament to benefit a facility I’m very familiar with: the Don LaFontaine Voice-Over Lab.  If the name is vaguely familiar to you, then the voice is instantly recognizable: he was THE voice of movie trailers (and several other projects) in most of our formative years.

Among Don’s charitable acts was setting up a top end recording studio at SAG headquarters where future generations of voiceover artists could work on their craft.  The Poker Classic is the biggest fundraiser for the Lab every year, and I can tell you from experience it goes to a very worthy cause for upcoming actors.

Watch the video below, and if you’re free Saturday, then hey…




I can’t completely put my finger on it…

But for some reason, the past couple of weeks, I’ve had ‘Don’t Believe the Hype’ and this video on my mind more than usual…

(And yes, that’s sarcasm for you literal minded folks.)




In keeping with our ‘stay in the moment’ theme…

(Yes, I know, I’m a clever one.)





Where to begin…

Let’s begin at the end.  Balance.

I couldn’t give you an exact day or at this point, an exact year, when I turned to meditation to increase my spiritual grounding.  Like everything else, the beginning is the hardest part.  You get frustrated that it doesn’t come naturally, you want to quit when you hit a wall without feeling like you’re making any progress.  Then you get over that wall and you sense the progress.  Then there’s no turning back.  I can’t imagine my life now without taking time everyday to shut everything and everyone out for at least a few minutes and concentrating on my inner self.  And yes, meditating may have the same purpose as praying but the two (to me at least) are COMPLETELY different actions.  Praying is a very conscious action, meditating is an attempt to not be conscious of nearly everything but your natural biorhythm.  So part one for me was making meditation a part of my daily routine.

Being an actor is obviously important to me; I love the craft.  I’ve implied this in other ways, but I don’t know if I’ve ever said this as directly as I’m saying it right now: one of the greatest benefits that acting as a full time commitment has given to me, is that it forces me mentally to stay completely focused on the exact moment I’m in (or at least pretending to be in).  Writing, directing, producing; they all can do it, but none with that immediacy.  On stage in particular, if you’re somewhere else, you can bring the whole show to a halt real quick.  I’m sure especially this is why I gravitate toward the Method and improv; you do all the research and preparation you can do ahead of time, but when the bullets start flying, you have to rely on whatever your instincts are telling you to do.  And you don’t really have time to consider ‘Am I making the right decision?’ until after the fact.

So here I am now, with that commitment of staying 100 percent in the moment I’m in, gradually, and until now subconsciously, seeping into my ‘real life’.  The natural tendency of the artist is to explore everything and everyone and try to get some understanding of the world to inform our stories.  My free spirited nature will never lose that (I hope).  But I’ve certainly become cognizant of ‘reigning it in’ somewhat.  I’m aware of the positive impact everything I refer to here has had on my personal and professional life.  If I could put a number on it, I’d say my listening ability has gone from 80 to a 95 (out of 100).  I feel wanted, I try not to discourage it (as I know I’ve done in the past).  I feel disrespected or being taken too lightly, I don’t hold grudges anymore; I just don’t get too comfortable.  My all time favorite analogy about relationships (extremely simplified) asks: ‘How many deposits have you made in this bank (and therefore, when you want to take something out, are you going to overdraw the account)?  What’s past is prologue, and I know I’m far from perfecting this skill (as it’s currently what I’m working on improving the most), but whether we’re clowning or talking business or sports or whatever, I can say with complete sincerity that whoever I’m conversing with at that moment has my full attention.  Whatever we may or may not have been or done to each other in the past, whatever we may or may not do with each other in the future, all we have at this moment is right now.  Let’s make the most of it.


May the Force Be With You.



Alright, I’m over here singing and humming (because I’ve been completely out of the Matrix for a few hours so I’m not caught up on the news), so let’s get this out now while I’m still buzzing.

It’s the weekend.  Enjoy yourselves!

(maniacal laugh…)




The world is living in dark times (clearly); for today at least I’m choosing to counterprogram for those of you who come here to be entertained.

With my favorite power ballad (yes I have one).





‘You look like a god damned rat pack.’

R.I.P. Lauren Bacall.




You know, I was planning to bring back the ‘full silly’ today, but…it’s not time.  I’m not feeling it either.

I’ll echo a lot of my friends and say, outside of my home and my personal space, it’s been a rough couple of days.

You can read the parable I wrote yesterday if you want to know why I place peace of mind and love above money and excess materialism (if you didn’t know that about me already).

I don’t think my brother Ben would mind me placing one of his regular tweets here as my message for tonight:

Here’s today’s song.  Enjoy.



Griffith Observatory

I made my annual trip to Griffith Observatory this weekend.  I saw a show that wasn’t playing on my last trip, and as usual I marveled at how big the Universe is, and how small we are, and how much we still don’t know.

I walked outside; darkness had fallen.  I looked out over Los Angeles.  My city.  My home.  And I felt…frustrated.

At this point, I was supposed to be putting the finishing touches on my rise to the Crown.  Kobe would be closing in on ring 6, and I’d be courtside with Jack, who’d be grooming me to be the next ‘Laker Fan Number One’ when he’s eventually gone.  That was the plan anyway.

But the best laid plans…

As I’m thinking this, I feel his presence.  Dressed in a dark jacket not that much different my own.  He’s sharp, but in such a public, touristy place like this, nobody really notice us.  We look at most like two extras out of a Michael Mann film; maybe people glance for a second, but then they immediately go back to their own business.

The Devil’s voice is charming and playful.  Like the voice of VD in that Chappelle skit with the puppets:

‘Why hello Malik Aziz!  Haven’t seen you in a while!’

‘Nasty muthafu…’

‘It’s not too late for you, my old friend.’

‘Not too late for what?’

‘The courtside seats.  The customized black Maserati GranTurismo Sport with gold trim.  You know, the Devil is not one to spread gossip, but you give me a year to build up your profile and status, and Beyonce might be back on the market…’

‘Uh huh.  Yeah, well, I’m not Michael anymore.’

‘Oh please!  You were posting MJ songs on Facebook three days ago!’

‘How do you know that?’

‘I’m one of your Facebook stalkers.’

‘I guess.  Anyway, not MJ.  I’m not Michael Corleone anymore.  I don’t daydream about that kind of stuff like I used to.’

‘And what do you dream about?’

‘I have visions of my woman admiring me for making peace with climbing as high up this mountain as I can without completely selling out what I stand for and what I believe in.  I see my children looking at my actions and seeing all the major decisions I made: who I married, where I lived, what I prioritized; and appreciating that it all started with love.  And hopefully no matter what I try to teach them, when it’s their time to make those life choices, they’ll start from the same place.’

We’re quiet in each other’s presence for awhile.  The moon is out tonight.

‘The world is not kind to honest men, Malik.  And this thing you’re passionate about, even less so.’

‘Man, I learned all that before I left Kansas.  I guess now I’m just really starting to accept it.  I told you, my ego is content now with who and what I attract through my natural abilities and personality.  You have nothing else to offer me.’

‘So be it.  Jedi.’

The Devil slinks away to make a deal with some other insecure, tortured soul.  This is Hollywood.  I’m pretty sure he got that done before he got to the parking lot.

I take a deep breath, and I look out over my city.

My home.

I turn my phone on and send a sarcastic text to one of my aces.

I jump back in the Matrix and like my people’s posts and updates to let them know I’m thinking about them and I’m glad they’re doing well.

I walk back down the hill to my car and put on the Easy Star.

I feel at peace.  It’s been a good night.



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