Archive for September, 2012


 

So how was my first run on an L.A. stage?  It’s been great.  Truly.

Earlier this week, I was in more of my natural element: a television soundstage.  12 hour day (usually the minimum), even with digital technology, at least 45 minutes between each setup to (hopefully) capture five minutes of usuable footage.

You use the same toolbox to build a character, but the stage experience is different in every other important way.  You’re on for two hours every night the show plays, ideally the person in the back row has to hear every word and see every gesture as clearly as the person in the front row.  You space out and forget your line or your cue, you come up with something else immediately or hope your scene partner bails you out.

The above is just stage acting; now let’s talk about the play I’m in.  First with live comedy, have to stay in character.  Drama is the same sure, but when you’re telling jokes, and your scene partner loses it, or you just get the giggles, you have to commit.  In this cast/show, I am the ‘Host’, so I have the easiest load to carry.  In sports/music terms, keep the show going, don’t take anything off the table.  If the audience wants to laugh, let them laugh; if they’re ‘too’ quiet, up the improv ante to try to warm them up.  In the audition and rehearsals I did impersonations of Denzel and Morgan Freeman, but let’s be honest: Samuel L. Jackson and Chris Rock are naturally more ‘theatrical’, and if you’ve seen the show, they work better for the ‘role’.  I still have no ambition to do stand up, but after doing this show I have to admit I feel more confident I ‘could’ do it, even if I was telling killer jokes in front of a sold out crowd who refused to laugh (which happened one night during our run).

In character, I’m supposed to be at the Theatre ‘because I owed someone a favor’, I’m supposed to be surly and undersell the jokes and the talent of the rest of cast, just in every way possible, I’m pissed to be roped into the show.  Basically, the exact opposite of how I truly feel, so you could say I have the hardest acting job in the cast. (See what I did there?)

But seriously, the reviews back it up, everyone who has come down has backed this up: it’s a fun show with a very talented cast.  Once in a while I betray my character and smile, but it’s still fun to watch the scenes play out, and to hear the songs sung.  Out of character, I’ve very much become a fan of everyone in the cast (and crew) individually, and hope to work with each of them again.

And Natalie, honey, if you’re not campaigning for Obama this weekend, you should get a sitter and come down.  I’ll comp you front row…

Alright stragglers, this is it!  The last weekend to catch Natalie Portman: the Musical! So what do you need?  A nice review from one of my old stomping grounds? Fine, here’s what the Daily Trojan had to say:

http://dailytrojan.com/2012/09/19/haute-highlights-36/

What’s that?  They were biased?!?  I didn’t even know they were in the audience!!!  Fine, how you like these LifeinLA apples?!?

http://lifeinla.com/7702/172/Natalie+Portman,+the+Musical+.html

Tomorrow, I’ll talk about what this whole experience has been like.  Tonight, there’s still three shows left to do.  Get on board gang.

http://chromolume-theatre.com/natport.html

 

Once in a while, you sit back and you look at the decisions you made (and didn’t make) and you wonder in what ways you may be better off (or worse off).  And then I finally got my copy of GQ this month, which has a fantastic interview with Denzel.  The whole interview is worth reading (there are nice pieces with Javier Bardem and Chris Paul too), but this particular response in relation to maintaining a private life struck a strong chord with me:

“(But) that’s not my job to put stuff out there.  Sidney Poitier told me this years ago: ‘If they see youfor free all week, they won’t pay to see you on the weekend, because they feel like they’ve seen you.  If you walk by the magazine section in the supermarket and they’ve known you all their life, there’s no mystery.  They can’t take the ride.’  My professional work is being a better actor.  I don’t know how to be a celebrity.’

I love that.  And it’s really interesting (and admittedly kind of fun) to see how all of us navigate the public/private line in the Facebook/Twitter generation.

And that’s a nice segway into the ‘public’ part of Malik Aziz: I’ve put a few more projects under my belt this year so I’ve updated what used to just be the ‘Lady In My Life’ page to include some of the other projects I’ve been lucky enough to be cast in.  You can find that on the ‘Where Do I Know You From?’ tab up top.

Have a good week all.  More later…

 

Before I go into full promotional mode, let me say this: I’m not doing one of my deliberate ‘quiet’ things right now, in terms of what’s going on in the news/politics.  I know some of you are already fatigued by it (and we’ve still got a month to go to the actual election yay!); truth be told, I’m trying to hold off until October to go into more detail about my own feelings about alot of what is (and is not) floating around.  I will at least say this: I think it’s all related to the upcoming Presidential election, whether it’s explicit or not.  Now moving on…

Two more weekends of Showtime!  To the friends who have already come down, thank you, I love you, the cast loves you, the crew loves you.  To everyone who has written nice reviews, told their friends about the show being funny, reposted and retweeted and on and on, thank you as well.  Now for the rest of you…what’s the holdup?

Get your sweet, sexy asses down to the Chromolume Theatre this weekend (or next) and get your chuckle on!

http://chromolume-theatre.com/natport.html

When the Lights Go Out

 

 

So many different topics I want to cover, but a lot going on personally right now, so I just have to tackle them as I have them.  The perfect segway for this clip…

This has been making the rounds a bit more recently, but if you haven’t seen it and you have 10 minutes it’s worth checking out.  Emotional, but it’s one of those perfect examples that express that acting, doing standup, or any other profession where you stand in front of hundreds in the room or millions at home, doesn’t make you remotely immune from having deep pain.  As this brother expresses, it sometimes takes more effort to mask it or hide it:

 

 

After a great opening weekend, we’re back at it again this week doing Natalie Portman: the Musical.

But don’t take my word for it; check out the review from L.A. Weekly:

http://blogs.laweekly.com/arts/2012/09/new_theater_reviews.php

3 weekends left; if you’re in L.A., I hope you make it down!

 

I found myself nodding quite a bit as I watched this one.  Here’s the (hopefully not) last edition of Ask a Muslim.  The subject is 9/11:

 

Catching Up

 

 

First, thanks to everyone who came out for the opening weekend of Natalie Portman: the Musical.  (Of course I’m going to say this, but in complete sincerity) Everyone who’s come down has told me they’ve enjoyed it and spoken very highly of everyone in the cast.  Behind the scenes we all can name all the times we’ve screwed up, but we’re all professional enough to cover each others tracks.

So if you haven’t come down yet, we still have three weekends to go.  Come get your laugh on:

http://chromolume-theatre.com/natport.html

One other link before you start your week: so a week or so back I told you that a short I was in, State of Separation, was accepted into the Raindance Film Festival.  That’s the good news; the bad news is that for shorts, the festival doesn’t offer any help for the filmmakers to get to the festival.  Ryo and Megan could use your help, that link is here:

 http://www.indiegogo.com/SOStheMovie#share

So that’s my pay it forwards to start the week.  More later…

 

 

In no particular order…

1. Word made it back to me that opening night of ‘Natalie Portman: the Musical’ has already sold out.  Thank you to the numerous friends who have sent congrats to me for getting the role, and my various L.A. people who have let me know they’re coming through either this weekend or later this month.  I’m still making script notes and I’m about ready to go full Daniel Day-Lewis with my character, so you’re inspiring me to hit the stage with a passion this weekend.  Be ready to laugh.

2. I’m still nodding my head thinking about Michelle Obama’s speech at the Democratic Convention, and judging by my various timelines, so are many of you.  As I tweeted, that’s the emotion you want to hear the First Lady speak with when she’s talking about the President of the United States.  Hell, that’s the passion any man wants to hear his woman use when she’s speaking to others about him.

3. I’m ready for some football.

 

 

So…here is the project some of you have known I’ve been rehearsing and posting pics of…

I am honored to be part of the cast of the Los Angeles run of ‘Natalie Portman: the Musical’.  As the title and the image above suggests, the play is a comedic look at the life of times of the Academy Award winning actress.  So who do I play?  I am the ‘Celebrity Narrator’; you’ll need to come on down to see who I’m impersonating.  Like Natalie, he’s someone I have a ton of respect for (and I think at most one degree of separation from).  Speaking of which, if any of my various L.A./Hollywood friends are close to Natalie, take my word for it, this is not a mean spirited comedy.  That’s as far as I will go in terms of ‘spoilers’.

The cast is one of the most talented groups I’ve ever been around, and everyone gets their chance to shine.  Does that mean you’ll get to hear me sing onstage?  Maybe…guess you’ll have to come down to find out.

The show premieres Friday night at the Chromolume Theatre, and runs every weekend this month.  You can buy tickets online here:

http://chromolume-theatre.com/natport.html

So L.A. Family, come out and get your laugh on!

Happy Labor Day all!

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