Tuesday, January 24, 2017

In Which I Meet A Living Legend. (And A Dead One.)

A millennial is any young person you don’t like.

I prefer the wise, charming, older types. So when my ski weekend was cancelled, I took my friend Brian up on his offer to see Hal Holbrook’s one-man play, Mark Twain Tonight!

Hal created it in 1954, and has been performing it ever since, first in smaller theaters, then on Broadway, and then, in 1967, it was broadcast on CBS, and had 30 million viewers. (For perspective, the huge finale of “Breaking Bad” had 10.3 million viewers.)

Hal developed 15 hours of Twain selections to choose from, so the play is never the same performance twice. I saw it Friday, Inauguration Day, so most of Hal’s material was political. What quickly became evident: politics haven’t changed in 150 years. Mark Twain complained about congress and politicians as much as anyone today.

After the play, we were able to go backstage and meet Hal. He was still in costume, and smart and gracious. At 91, he’s the oldest person I’ve ever met, and I couldn’t help but tell him how much he inspired me. (He’s won five Emmys, a Tony and been nominated for an Oscar) Brian caught the tale end of my conversation, in which Hal tells me about his grandson, who is also an actor:

I can never say it enough: have heroes.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Or Not.

Here’s a survival tip: if you get lost in a snowstorm, a compass can help you get lost more north.

I didn’t have a chance to put this to use, because my ski trip this past weekend was cancelled. It snowed in biblical proportions in Mammoth, making it impossible to get in or out of the area, and forcing the resort to close its lifts. The shot above was taken at the base of the mountain yesterday. Whiteout.

I was bummed, but then I suddenly realized: I had a bonus weekend. I wasn’t supposed to be in LA, and now I was interested to see what would happen. First: I had the yummiest Japanese lunch with friends at the Mitsuwa marketplace:

I was able to see an amazing play and meet a living legend. (More on that tomorrow):

And, with my Saturday free, I could donate blood:

Here’s a bonus weekend tip: hoard it. Be super productive. Or not. Get into ten-ayem-beer mode. Eat, see, give. I slept on the couch with Ricky while it poured outside. I did two loads of laundry, then met friends out for dinner. I caught up on shows that had been accumulating on my DVR. And I’ll still get to ski more weekends soon. Good weekend, in what’s already a good year.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Gone Skiing.

There’s a low of 7° forecast up north this weekend. In the event that I freeze to death, please wield me around the slopes Weekend at Bernie’s style.

It’s time to put my fancy new ski boots to use. I’m going skiing in Mammoth, and leaving today. While it’s been raining in LA the past two weeks, Mammoth has been getting pounded with snow – 170 inches in the last two weeks, and 50 more inches coming this weekend.

Stories and photos when/if I get back. Have a good weekend.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

My Six Favorite Movies Of 2016.

Forget the Oscars – the Teen Choice Awards has to be the most legit award show, because teens always make the best choices.

But we’ll have to make due on Tuesday, when the Oscar nominations are announced. Up to ten films can make the cut. Here are my six favorite from last year, in order (and remember – I saw a lot of movies, but I didn’t see everything) :

Don’t Think Twice. It won’t be getting nominated because it’s a comedy, but for me it was the best film of the year. And not just because it was about an improv team, but because it was such a real portrayal of friendships and relationships and pursuing your dream and inevitable end of your favorite time in life.

Edge of Seventeen. Also a comedy, and it’s damn time all movies were considered. This is a great portrayal of teen angst, and Woody Harrelson steals every scene he’s in as the very cool, acerbic yet compassionate teacher.

La La Land. It’s my third choice, but these three movies are classics, so think of them really as 1A, 1B and 1C. La La Land is the greatest love letter to LA – a positive look at aspiring actors and musicians. I think about it every day since I saw it.

Deadpool. I saw this at the AMC Dine-In, which features the big, leather, reclinable seats. Not knowing what to expect from the movie, I figured at the very least, I could put my seat back and take a snooze. But from the moment Deadpool began, I was sucked right in. It’s hilarious and cool and doesn’t take itself seriously. It was last year’s The Kingsman.

Manchester By the Sea. I saw this with my friend John Kapelos. You might think that after appearing in over 200 films and TV shows, John’s suspension of disbelief would be on the fritz, but not with this film. It’s so incredibly tragic, it physically affected John. He cursed me for making him see it. In a good way.

Hell or High Water. This and La La Land will get real consideration, especially because the acting in this is so good. Definitely look for Jeff Bridges to be nominated for best supporting actor for playing the crotchety sheriff trying to extend his last case because he can’t bear to retire. Lot of good testosterone in this movie. I like that.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Now Read This.

If I ever need expensive surgery, I’ll just tell a surgeon I’m auditioning a few guys before picking one. I’ll have him do the surgery, and then say, “Okay, I’ll let you know.”

Yeah, auditions are an occupational hazard for us actors, and we need every advantage we can get. I personally do casting workshops, and find them to be a great way to perform for and get to know casting directors so that they’ll call me in for auditions.

But now I’ve decided to up my game, and occasionally be the reader in these workshops. Instead of one scene, I get to perform 24, and hang out and bond with big casting directors for three hours, and see what’s happening on the other side of the room as they critique actors.

I read for my first workshop Monday night, and it was amazing. I’ll be doing it several more times in February, and will it be that much more satisfying? I’ll let you know.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Fanciness, By The Foot.

Do you like freezing to death and knocking down trees with your face? Well, why not book a ski trip?

I just might, especially after I had new ski boots fitted to my feet over the weekend.Were they expensive? Yes. Am I worth it? Probably not – but I was in sheer agony in my old boots, and you can’t put a price on eliminating that.

Except you can, and it’s 1200 bucks. Worth it.

Monday, January 16, 2017

My Favorite New Restaurant.

The only problem with The Wolf of Wall Street? There were no wolves in the movie.

The same goes for Wolf the restaurant. The place is excellent, proven by how packed it was on a Sunday night.

Pictured above, lodge bread with pan drippings. Below, king salmon, along with crispy potatoes, which were tender and yummy.

Check it out when you can. It’s on Melrose by Fairfax, and damn good.