Archives for posts with tag: acting

… in just about every area. I always feel like I’m working one step above my capacity – which can be great, and challenging, and certainly fuels growth. But I’m starting to burn out on never feeling any amount of comfort at the level I’m at because I’m constantly running to catch up with what others expect of me. And I, of course, expect myself to be the best at whatever, and therefore keep running.

In acting, I bounce between feeling very professional because I’ve been doing this so long, and feeling like a total newbie because I’m playing this game for real now, in LA, in the most major arena. I feel like I meet people who assume I have all my professional ducks in a row – when really I’m just nodding and making notes about whatever they’re saying, reminders to myself to look all that stuff up later.

In my design business, I’m constantly asked to level up on each new project- I’ve never made a site with the same technology twice. I have a great breadth of shallow knowledge, but when is there a moment for me to acquire the depth?

In my relationship I often feel like I’m stuck at the 22 year old me, throwing tantrums and barking insecurities at my partner, who fortunately is so loving and kind that she just fixes me a cup of tea and removes herself from the path of my storm.

It’s like that Teddy Roosevelt quote, “Whenever you are asked if you can do the job, tell ‘em, Certainly, I can. Then get busy and find out how to do it.”

I feel like I’m so busy finding out how to do my life, I don’t have time to live it.

Wow, where do I start?

Outfest was fantastic. I remember last year when I went to the Girls Shorts event on All-Girl Friday I was like, whoa! Here they all are!! OMG!!  This year was basically the same, times ten, because this year I was actually a part of it all, albeit in a small way.

Over the course of 11 days my gf and I went to maybe 20 different events – before and after parties, screenings, panels, the whole gamut. I have much more to write about it, but let’s just leave it at how grateful I am that the universe provides. Because it is SO difficult to trust that, and to believe that just asking for what you want is enough, and then listening for the answer. But it happens.

And of course, Outfest reminds me that no, I am actually not the only butch in LA, even though I am one of the only butch actors. (But for now I will keep my catchy tagline. 🙂  )

With the cast and director of ‘Somewhere Along The Way’ – not the only butch actor, but certainly the tallest.

Highlights included, of course, performing in Erin Greenwell’s new screenplay Somewhere Along The Way with director Guinevere Turner, and the talented Jo Armeniox, Naserin Bogado, and the inimitable Patricia Villetto.  I’ll mention here that I also had the pleasure of meeting Christa Faust, of Butch Fatale fame, Campbell X, the fantastic director of Stud Life, and I connected with a friend from my past, the reigning drag king of S.F., otherwise known as Delicio Del Toro.

I was pleasantly surprised that some folks I met knew me from my writing here. So – hello! Thank you! It was fantastic to meet you! It is a bit overwhelming to talk in person with those who have read my every insecurity on this screen, but I remain committed to write my warts and all here – because being visible isn’t also about being airbrushed, if you know what I mean.

 

 

 

I signed on to direct a workshop of a wonderful play by my friend Tobias K. Davis: The Naked I: Monologues from Beyond the Binary.  It was a really hard decision because I’m a) already directing the queer musical that is making me tear my hair out and b) not really interested in directing much anymore. It’s hard for me to muster the enthusiasm. Ever since I went to ensemble theater school (read: clown school), working live performance in a traditional way is a bit boring to me. But this play needs exposure, and I need  desperately to connect with queer community, so I agreed.

Also, when the play was first written, Toby asked me to play one of the seminal characters, and because I was scared of my life and my gender identity and my butchness being all exposed on stage (not to mention actually nude), I turned it down.

Here’s a little promo from a colleague’s Minneapolis production a few years ago:
In February 2009, 20% Theatre Company took the Twin Cities by storm with its production of The Naked I: Monologues From Beyond the Binary by award-winning, transgender playwright, Tobias K. Davis. Often compared to the Vagina Monologues, The Naked I was made up of monologues and short scenes in which transgender, transsexual, intersex, and a variety of other gender-variant individuals explored their bodies and dissected society’s assumptions. This play was based on interviews conducted in New England by the playwright. Our production sold-out all five performances at Bedlam Theater, and involved over 25 members of the local queer community.

LA really needs this. The college where we’re mounting it really needs this. I’m glad to finally be a part of it.

After my horrendous Tuesday which bled into an equally horrendous Wednesday last week, I am finally recovering a bit. Had to really sleep it off this weekend.

On Thursday I was able to sit down with the Coach for ten minutes and run the scenario of my Tuesday night reaming by him. He was so sweet, duly mortified, and incensed on my behalf. Aside from pointing out the disrespect that man had to go off on me in HIS arena, surrounded by HIS people, where I couldn’t truly defend myself without banishing all polite conduct, Coach brought up an interesting point about Hollywood: in this town, ‘gay’ is an action. Until you are ‘doing the thing’, maybe you’re gay and maybe you aren’t. Everything else is style.

Which is why so few actors can come out before they’re famous. Sure, they’re gay in private, out with friends and their partners, but not on the talk shows or in the movie theaters.

This isn’t news to me, but last week clarified the concept in a new way. That man I spoke with on Tuesday obviously was offended by my style because of the verb it conjured.

I have to say, though – the closer I get to myself, the more I love that my concept of being butch is lessening its grip on my identity as queer.  For me, the two are indelibly intertwined, but I think I’ve long struggled with they idea that folks would obviously “see I was gay.” I went from being ashamed of that to accepting it, and now I can see beyond it entirely. Who cares?

I also love knowing that, although I don’t know anyone personally like this, there are women out there who consider themselves butch and are NOT gay. That’s awesome – that opens up a whole new vista for self-expression. I give a virtual high-five to those women.

I’ve been out for 18 years, and I’m not planning on stuffing that away while I pursue this most-public of professions, but I’m gaining the courage to defend myself from the haters and this just adds another tool to my arsenal.

I went off to the play audition for the FTM character last Thursday dressed in my college-years best: baggy khakis, full binding, gray t shirt with blue plaid button down and a black skater jacket. Incidentally, my college gf was in town visiting – her comment when I came out to leave for the audition was: “Whoa, does somebody have a cappella rehearsal or what?”  because I had basically regressed ten years. (Not that I consider keeping in touch with my trans identity regressing, it’s simply a style thing. I don’t wear a lot of khaki these days, much less full binding.)

I was, as is usual when I go out for LGBT parts, worried that I didn’t look butch or trans (or old or young) enough.  I needn’t have worried.

How do I say this? Friends, I was the ONLY women they saw for the part. Everyone else there was a cis-man. Straight up Male. And unless the two guys who came in right as I was leaving were fully transitioned FTMs who passed so well I couldn’t read them at all, there were no other queer or otherwise trans identified folks there, save for one excellent and flamboyant drag queen (isn’t there always one excellent and flamboyant drag queen?). I was the only butch in a button down.

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Went to a special screening last night of Pariah, an INCREDIBLE new film by the very talented lesbian-of-color writer/director Dee Rees.

This film is astonishing, hilarious, and heartbreaking. Although I didn’t grow up black or in Brooklyn, Dee Rees managed to convey most of the aching pain and triumphs of my own coming out story.  Adepero Oduye is the gentle, smart, 17-yr old Alike – struggling with her own identity and jumping full force into what it fully means to like girls. The real winner for me, though, is Pernell Walker’s portrayal of the butch best friend Laura. Walker’s combined bravado and vulnerability had me almost standing up to say “I did that! I did that!”. AND the best moment of the q&a afterwards was when Dee let it slip that Walker’s headshot was like a magazine glamour-shot, all parted lips and big hair.  Hi-larious.

Pariah opens in select theaters December 28th. GO. You won’t be sorry. Check it out here.

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