In late February of 2022 I was contacted by John Flynn, the owner of Rogue Machine Theatre in Los Angeles, to see if I would contribute to the lastest edition of Rogue Machine Theatre’s spoken word event, Rant & Rave. The mother who raised me, Marianne, had passed away only two months earlier and my heart leapt at the opportunity to speak about something so important to her. It was very difficult to write, mainly because I was restricted to 1500 words; I probably wrote around 6,000 words to get down to 1,500. I wanted to include my childhood with my adopted parents, what it was like to find my biological family, and the intrigue of learning more about my biological father. That’s a lot to squeeze into 1500 words. But I did manage it by not naming any names or getting into any whys and whatnots. I’m still not satisfied with it by any measure. Some of the edits took the edge off other parts that remained in and I didn’t have time to polish it completely. But that’s okay, it’s called Rant & Rave for a reason and what I presented didn’t need to be perfect; it just needed to be.
What was truly wonderful is that my younger sister, who I met only a few years ago, came with me from New Mexico for the event. Even better, it was being held in West L.A. on Melrose, so our hotel was on Beverly, which meant The Farmer’s Market, The Grove, Pan Pacific Park and Melrose itself were all within easy reach. I lived in this area for a few years and am very fond of it, so it was a real treat to stay there and to be able to share it with my sister. The features already mentioned occupied most of our time, though we did take walks in the neighborhood and my sister was delighted by the local flowers and plants. Melrose was fun as always, but I will always miss the original Golden Apple Comics store. It was great to see how The Groundlings have expanded to the property across the intersection, also! It wasn’t open to the public as it used to be, so we couldn’t wander in and get nostalgiac looking at the lobby photos like I used to.
It was fun performing at The Matrix; I’ve been there a few times over the years as audience. The lobby photos featured a few shots of Ian McShane in some show, and my friend Will Rothhaar, and there was an old lobby poster for a show featuring Orson Bean, rest his soul, who I had known in my Venice Beach years. The stage was set for Rogue Machine’s production Happy Ending, which meant it was arranged in a long oval with seats rising all round it. The reading was done at one end of the oval, which felt a bit removed from the audience, but we were all game to work with it. The Rant & Rave series always makes use of whatever performance space it’s bastardizing, and so were we. I learned from this performance to always print what you’re reading with very, very large font, so that your eyes can connect more often with the audience.
The entire performative aspect was unexpectedly new to me. I am very accustomed to being on stage in a role, but to get up and do a testimonial felt completely foreign. As soon as I hit my mark I felt a surge of imposterism and what-the-fuckism, but then carried on. Ultimately it was a great experience which taught me the difference between acting and storytelling in terms of performance and purpose, expectation and execution. And, having got a taste of it, my thoughts about doing more of it are plentiful.
The Rant & Rave was in April but video just became available. I could pick it to pieces but you’ve been kind enough to read this far so I’ll spare you. Trust me, I’m rewriting! Anyway, here it is, and thanks for reading and watching.