Category: Sunday Soapbox


 

sanctuary

RACHEL: ‘What will you do?’

BRUCE: ‘Rebuild it.  Just the way it was, brick for brick.’

ALFRED: ‘Just the way it was, sir?’

BRUCE: ‘Yeah.  Why?’

ALFRED: ‘I thought this might be a good opportunity for improving the foundations.’

BRUCE: ‘In the southeast corner…’

ALFRED: ‘Precisely sir…’

 

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‘White Like Me’

 

eddie

Found out over the weekend how deeply my family in Houston was affected by one hurricane, and how old classmates are in the path of Irma.  So instead of a musical diversion to start the weekend, we’re going comedy…

This, has always been my favorite Eddie Murphy thing.  Not ‘Coming to America’. Not ‘Raw.’ Not ‘Delirious’.  Some pure silliness (the walk, the ‘Tiger Woods’ voice), some ‘there’s some layers to this bit’ which you know I go for.

Went down an SNL rabbit hole last week and was surprised to find it.

Enjoy!

 

 

wet-hot-american-summer-ten-years-later-paul-rudd-marguerite-moreau

I was sitting at my desk when an L.A. number I didn’t recognize came up on the phone.

It was the Casting Director for ‘Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later.’  He tracked me down through my IMdB page.  The producers, Michael Showalter and David Wain, had a small part they wanted to fill, and they remembered me from other projects they cast me in, and the part was mine if I was available.

You know my response, but I’ll tell you the why (which is what I told the CD): when I was still in the ‘trying to break into the union’ phase, they gave me one of the jobs that got me over the hump.

So a few lessons/reminders here:

Relationships: ‘The State’ alums are the most famous, but there are a few other people over the years where we’ve done enough stuff together where at this point, if I’m free, I’m going to say yes before I even see the script or know what character I’m supposed to play.  One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever heard as an actor is ‘You only need five casting directors/producers to fall in love with you to have a career’.  If you’re playing the long game, building five relationships is an incredibly realistic number.

Reputation: I knew these guys respected me, honestly had no idea I did anything beyond being professional to make myself memorable, considering the hundreds of actors they know and I’m sure are trying to get their attention.  Anyway, made it to the set an hour before my call time with my lines memorized, shook hands and spoke to anyone who wanted to talk to me, from the security guards to the extras; a long day for the crew by the time I got there, and I did my part to get my scene (the last scene of the night as it turned out) wrapped in less than an hour.  So no, my lines didn’t make it into the final cut, but no one on set can say I made their jobs harder.  Maybe they’ll remember that…

Growth: I’m smiling as I look at the previous two paragraphs.  When I came to this town, I knew NOBODY.  And I had no playbook on how to conduct myself and treat others in a game where I was/am a complete outsider.  You figure these things out. You endure.  You try not to get too high or too low on any one thing.

And of course, you keep going.

 

 

Louis_Armstrong_(1955)

Hope everyone had a good 4th.  I’ve mastered the art of not obsessing about work when I don’t need to be thinking about it, so I remain in my good place.

Quick thought on the new Jay-Z album.  Is it a masterpiece?  Eh, I think we need more than a week before we give it that.  But it’s definitely the best Hov record in a long time.  May turn into a turning point for hip hop (genuine grown folk lyrics).  But as I’m saying, we will see…

Been enjoying the blues the last few days, so we’ll start the short work week with two of the masters.

Enjoy!

 

 

hasan-minhaj-07

What’s up?

So I don’t have a lot of deep thoughts this Eid. The train is rolling so this will be assorted quick hits…

‘Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King.’  Uploaded to Netflix right around when Ramadan started, so I didn’t say anything that weekend.  But if you haven’t seen it yet, give yourself an hour to watch it.  Funny dude coming from a point of view we still don’t see often enough.

For someone who enjoys social media, I have to say…really didn’t miss it.  I’m back, and I enjoy being plugged in.  Do I need to be plugged in 24/7/365?  Don’t feel like it anymore (this space included).  Definitely shifting more into a ‘when I have something worthwhile to say/share, I’ll do it’ mode…

Having said that, I got all the texts, memes, notifications, songs and more while I was ‘away.’  They were all appreciated.  A lot of important phone calls made the past month.  The Dark Knight persona has served me well, but in terms of the truth of my life, it’s always nice to be reminded I’m not ‘alone’.  Not at all.

The future has never looked better; I’m looking forward to sharing my journey with you in due time.

Peace!

 

 

kenobi

His birthday just passed, but Malcolm has been on my mind a lot heading into this Ramadan.  Not Spike’s dramatization of his life.  Not even Malcolm’s own dramatization, as expressed in the Autobiography.  I’m referring to the thorough breakdown provided in Manning Marable’s great book.

After he was gone, Malcolm’s legacy continues to grow internationally and it’s certainly everlasting.  But in his final days, he was all too aware the organization he gave his adult life to was trying to kill him.  The federal government had its eyes and ears on him (much closer than he probably realized).  He’s still one of the best orators and fundraisers for his cause, but in the immediate aftermath of his life, he left very little for his children financially.  At the end of the day, even the best among us are still human: what does carrying all that stress do to a man’s psyche?

God’s Plan for me to this point has played out as a series of ‘lessons learned from my heroes’: I’m more popular than I ever intended to be, but still have an extremely small inner circle, built on decades of trust and drama free bonding.  Financial stability taking priority over building a family.  The President of the United States is an overt Islamaphobe, but day by day the Resistance meets him with the checks and balances built in the system.

Hope, for the future.

Something I heard this week really struck a chord with me: You can’t be a person of faith and question God’s timing in the same breath.

As I’ve spent the past year locking back into my path, I’ve felt a lot of anger over time lost.  But I can’t have it both ways.  Human emotion shouldn’t be repressed, but at the same time, I shouldn’t let the scope of my ambition blind me to the progress that’s being made toward the endgame.  Even if I’m frustrated with the pace.

God’s timing.  Will of the Force. Trust the Process.  By whatever name you call it, I’ve improved on accepting things as they are (for now) and not as how I think they should be in my mind’s eye.  I’m still here, there’s still time.  I feel balanced in both my personal ambitions and also in doing what I can to serve the generation coming up behind me.

Good mindset to start Ramadan.

See you in June.

 

2pac

Many of you have watched me adjust to a life of order.  The weird days, the peaceful days, and the resentful days.  I’ve never been the hold on to anger type, really, but it’s human to look back at things you would do differently, knowing what you know now.

Today I was reminded of another cycle I’ve been breaking in real time; the place where you go from ‘intaking as much information as possible because you’re inquisitve/aware/woke’ to being overtaken by knowing so much.  Hitting the off switch, even in a time before we had all this ‘media’, is not one of the things I was taught; it’s something I’ve had to learn.  And relearn. And relearn again.

Make no mistake, I think it’s important to think about if x happens then y might happen, then z.  Obsessing over ‘z’ when x is still in play though, that’s a flaw of mine I own up to.

Getting more comfortable daily knowing when and where to hit the ‘off’ button, and turn my attention back to matters at hand.  Always a process, but the results are starting to show up.

So on that note, new week.  Track 1.  Let’s do this.

 

 

No post tomorrow, taking a daytrip shortly.  Feels like first vacation in my adult life where I’m not actually trying to ‘get away’ from anything; it’s just the right time since the summer will be full.

I’ve been trying to find the right words for where my head has been this year.  But a lot of my adjustment has been about (acting aside) not wearing my emotions on my sleeve. Not over explaining myself to people who aren’t interested in understanding. So I’ll try to keep this short.

Prayers to Isaiah Thomas and Todd Heap.  Prayers for Cleveland. A mutual friend of mine lost a close buddy this morning at 44; natural causes as far as they know at the moment.  So, more than enough reminders that we really don’t know how much time we have in total or how much time any of us have left.

So I’m appreciative to have worked until I could, in actor or meditation terminology, ‘be present’ at all times.  Lot of mistakes and bad things happen beyond my control, but I persevere.  And I enjoy life.

Wherever you’re at, or wherever you feel you’re at, I hope you can, or will eventually get to a place of peace.  If not for yourself, then to leave this world in a better place than you came into it.

Later.

 

 

Carlos-Santana-Bio

Got the script for the summer project over the weekend.  Started the character building.

Playing a ‘legendary musician’ type.  You know how they say ‘find something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life’?  It’s been a while since I’ve played an ‘uber cool’ type, so it’s been fun starting to build that out.  Trying on (name withheld’s) vocal inflections; borrowing (name withheld’s) style and seeing what looks ‘natural’ on me.  Watching clips of (name withheld) when he steps on the stage and owns the crowd for two hours.  I enjoy this part and we’ll see what the director likes and the director doesn’t.

One of many guys I’m using for influence in the legendary performers catalog to start the week.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

humannature

Looking out
Across the nighttime
The city winks a sleepless eye
Hear her voice
Shake my window
Sweet seducing sighs

Get me out
Into the nighttime
Four walls won’t hold me tonight
If this town
Is just an apple
Then let me take a bite

If they say,
Why, why, tell ’em that it’s human nature
Why, why, does he do it that way
If they say,
Why, why, tell ’em that it’s human nature
Why, why does he do me that way

Reaching out
To touch a stranger
Electric eyes are everywhere
See that girl
She knows I’m watching
She likes the way I stare

If they say,
Why, why, tell ’em that it’s human nature
Why, why, does he do me that way
If they say,
Why, why, tell ’em that it’s human nature
Why, why does he do me that way

I like livin’ this way
I like lovin’ this way

Why why
(That way) Why why

Looking out
Across the morning
Where the city’s heart begins to beat
Reaching out
I touch her shoulder
I’m dreaming of the street

If they say,
Why, why, tell ’em that it’s human nature
Why, why, does he do me that way
If they say,
Why, why, ooo tell ’em
Why, why does he do me that way
If they say why, why, cha cha cha cha cha cha
Why does he do me that way
If they say why, why, why, ooo tell ’em
Why does he do me that way
If they say why, ooo tell ’em
Why does he do me that way
If they say why, da da da da da da da da
Why does he do my that way, I like living this way
Why, oh why, why, why