Tag Archive: entertainment


 

nataliesnl

Now the fun really begins…

Three shows of ‘Natalie Portman: the Musical!’ this weekend, the first one…Midnight Tonight!

This ensemble of ours is a well oiled machine; if you’ve seen the show in our previous incarnation, you should come back to see the newest modifications.  The beauty of sketch comedy and improv is every show is different.  Don’t miss out!

http://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/1362

 

NPimage3

I already hate my IPod for going into a John Mayer mix as I write this.   Anyway…

Among the many good to great things that I’ll take away from this calendar year, near the top has to be being a part of Natalie Portman: the Musical.  It’s a funny script written by a talented writer, that really comes alive with a great cast of talented comedians who each brings something to the table.  The reviews have always backed this point up, but it’s true: the best comedians in the world can have off nights, or can write a joke that’s funny on paper, but doesn’t work in a live setting.  Beyond one infamous night where the majority of the crowd probably didn’t understand what we were saying (long story), the show always works.  And the great part of live performance is it feels like a new show every night because different people find different things hilarious.  It’s a fun, relatively low pressure hour and a half.

For the revival I spent a lot less time researching my characters and more time learning about the people (not as actors) who I’ve been working with.  I want to say it was Robert Downey’s character in Tropic Thunder who brought up how every play and movie you do becomes its own little family unit for a little while just by nature.  You spend a lot of time with the same people and you become more comfortable around each other and see everyone’s quirks and appreciate what makes each of these people unique.  If you’re really lucky, you might even like them!  (No, really, that is NOT a given.  Think about your family or where you work.)  So long story short, I have some type of attachment to everyone you’ve seen me share the stage with at some point this winter, I genuinely like all of them, and hey, if we work together again down the line too, well, that’s just icing on the cake.

Man, I’m rambling tonight, what was the point I was trying to get to?  Oh yeah!  Last shows of the year Friday and Saturday night!  Come get your laugh on, and maybe even shed a few sentimental tears.  Not me of course, because I don’t cry, but you get the gist of it…

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

You’re Whole

 

Alright gang, here’s one of the projects I had the honor of being a part of.  Insomniacs be ready to stay up, the rest of you, set your DVRs…

Late tonight (or early Tuesday morning if you prefer) on Adult Swim will be the spoof infomercial, ‘You’re Whole’.  The show was created by Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter, for those of you who are fans of The State, Stella, and Wet Hot American Summer.  Even in my bit role as ‘Astronaut #2′, I was honored to be cast, and a little starstruck (to be honest) when I saw who else was on the call list.  I owe those guys my ‘card’ so this one in particular will always carry some weight for me.

So that’s tonight at 4 AM (I warned you) on Adult Swim.  Check your boy out.

BAD25

 

So what do you get when my personal favorite filmmaker (Spike Lee) does a documentary about my personal favorite artist of all time (Michael Jackson)?  You get BAD25, an absolute must see for all die hard MJ fans, and a well spent 2 hours for those of you who were fans of Mike at the apex of his artistic powers (which covers the rest of planet Earth, minimum).

With a near perfect mix of interviews with celebrity crushes/interviews, music industry insiders, choreographers, and the short filmmakers, BAD25 is both a great tribute to the iconic King of Pop, while also showing how many super talented collaborators Mike had to help bring his vision to life.  It starts with the still ridiculous question, ‘How do you top Thriller?’  When even some of his closest people thought Mike should try something a little different, Mike set the goal of actually topping the greatest selling album of all time.  Smart decision number one was getting together again with the icon in his own right Quincy Jones.   From there, we get first hand accounts from everyone from Siedah Garrett to Martin Scorsese to Sheryl Crow on what it was like to work with MJ in creating each song, each video, working on his first solo tour.  We even get a nice bit of comic relief when Spike has to address ‘Just Good Friends'; looking at the album playlist now it really is ridiculous.  Ten songs EVERYONE knows…and ‘Just Good Friends’.

So needless to say, I can’t recommend this one enough.  If you’re in L.A., it’s still playing at the Chinese Theatre for a few more days.  It’s premiering on ABC during Thanksgiving weekend.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a floor to ceiling mirror I have to battle…

(buckling up my knee high boots.  EVERY buckle…)

 

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…

 

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!

 

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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