Tuesday, November 27, 2012

So, to continue with What I Did Not Write About, This Summer.... As well as being cast in David-Matthew Barnes' "Made From Scratch", which occurred before end-of-August, I have had, all summer, the privilege of attending The SAG-AFTRA Conservatory Lecture Series/Workshop Series, with the Lecture Series usually held at the fabulous space known as The Green Room Actor's Lounge (begun by one smart, lovely Atlanta-based actress and her savvy co-horts. It's a sweet place for coffee, tea, or if you prefer, a cocktail, wine, treats, and more...), in SoBu (South Buckhead area of Atlanta) on famed, arts-friendly, Bennett Street, just off Peachtree Street... Often, the acting-workshops are held at Creative Studios of Atlanta, in Midtown... I've been able to attend the awesome "Private interview with Alpha Tyler"; the Casting Director, George Pierre lecture; the Casting Director, Mark Fincannon lecture; the former owner of Atlanta Model & Talent, Kathy Hardegree lecture. All these had Q & A afterwards. I also participated in a very helpful On-Camera Workshop with Bob Harter, of yourACT Studios(located in Scottdale, near Decatur, Georgia, they have a wonderful facility, and faculty. Among them: Della Cole, with whom I had an On-Camera class--very reasonably priced-- years ago), which was held at the aforementioned CSA. ALL of these events are offered for FREE, courtesy of our local SAG-AFTRA union, EXCLUSIVELY FOR UNION MEMBERS. I did not write about "Lend Me An Ear", the annual fundraiser for Atlanta Community Food Bank, which SAG-AFTRA/AEA actors produce each year, at The New American Shakespeare Tavern, in Midtown. This year, we did all-comedy, including "The Jack Benny Show". I had two small-ish, very fun roles, but you know what they say: "There are no small parts, only small actors..." Because of getting to interact, once again, with great directors like Barry Stoltze ("The Jack Benny Show") and Karen Beyer, I decided to enroll in an on-camera class when SCA offered a workshop (very inexpensive, especially considering the tremendous amount of actual ON-CAMERA time you receive!) here in Alpharetta, with Ms. Beyer. Karen's a terrifically talented actress--you'd recognize her as the (recurring-role)obstetrician on Lifetime Channel's "Army Wives" who delivered babies at the base; recently you may have spotted her in Lifetime's "Drop Dead Diva", or the recently-released Dolly-Parton spectacular feature film, "Joyful Noise". She's also directed, at ART Station Theatre, and in many other venues. Karen is always encouraging, and my confidence level has soared, since taking her class. I plan to enroll in another workshop with her, next February. Let's see...I also have not written about my wonderfully old, and sweet and fun Daddy and his great visit, which was admittedly, too-short, but I'm always grateful to get to have good family, visit. Daddy regaled me with tales of Indiana/memories as a young lad: of hearing about Pearl Harbor and WWII, and his early school years...We celebrated my birthday (Nov. 4th)just two days after he arrived; on the morning he left to go home, I surprised him with my first-ever "Pineapple Upside-Down-Cake": I bake everything from scratch, and frankly, I was concerned about the "texture"--it looked less than perfectly smooth to me, though every crumb hugged each slice, proving it was "plenty-moist", as I call my always-desire for cake....I'm hoping Daddy will consider visiting and staying here--a few months at a time--- each year. He loves traveling to see family, and after returning to his home for just a few days, he flew to his birthplace--Trafalgar, Indiana, to visit with his 90-year-old Aunt Catherine Hicks (my Grand-Aunt) and assorted first, second, and third cousins, and various nieces and nephews... Thinking of rural Indiana, and their stories of poverty and resourcefulness, forgiveness and spirituality-- prompts me to mention a novel I've just read, which echoes with many of these themes, and more: "Hardscrabble Road", by Atlanta-based author, George Weinstein. I attended the Book-Release at Peerless Book Shop in Alpharetta/Roswell area, and was so tickled to see such a great turnout. Bought two copies, one for Hansoo and I, the other for a dear friend's birthday (we attended her fabuolus "40-is-20" 1920's-themed Wowsers-of-a-party later that same evening), and had George (who I know from many years ago, at The Forum Writer's Workshop at the B& N, in Norcross' The Forum Shopping Center...and later, through Atlanta Writer's Club, which is THE local, "go-to" writer's group) sign both. "Hardscrabble Road" deals with hard truths, on hard clay. The story is ostensibly Bud's story, but it's our--the reader's story, too--anyone who's ever struggled against overwhelming odds--anyone who's ever hurt another person, or floundered over which path is the one to walk--anyone who's fought against brutality, the harshness of words or fists--anyone who's ever opened a book, to escape, to immerse oneself in the words, to bathe in that beauty of imagination---anyone who connects with this, with what I often call "the luxury of thought"--that thing that so few irreparably, irredeemably broken, poverty-stricken folks seem able to get to have--that "luxury of thought" that poor little Bud ignites and often engages in, is what saves him, rescues him, frees him...I'd argue "Hardscrabble Road", does the same, for anyone bold enough to open the pages, and curl up to read it. You'll be breathless, waiting for release. Peace, kids. UPDATE ON "HARDSCRABBLE ROAD": After only three weeks of release, this novel has gone into a Second Printing. Perhaps because it's just been nominated for The Pulitzer Prize!!!

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