Fun Video Friday – Shia LaBeouf, Murderer

Fun Video Friday Update

There are things a person can say about Shia LaBeouf. If you were a fan of Even Stevens then perhaps your memories are warm and fuzzy. If you are a Transformers fan maybe you forgot he was in those movies because explosions (although this “montage of no’s” is pretty funny).  He did some very good work in the Sia video for “Elastic Heart” and there have been some real legs on the student film project that has become Shia LaBeouf’s Inspirational Speech, but this piece from Rob Cantor has been stuck in my head since I first watched it.

I now pass this earworm on to you. Share it with those you love.

 

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Thank You Original New York Seltzer!

Curtis with ONYS

As some of you may recall, I wrote a blog about my excitement that New York Seltzer was coming back. You can find that HERE. Well, the folks over at Original New York Seltzer saw my post and were excited about my excitement! They generously sent me a care package that included a whole bunch of New York Seltzer. I did a unpacking video which you can see below:

Want your own New York Seltzer? Visit their website at DRINK NEW YORK SELTZER and let them know Curtis sent you. I don’t think you’ll get a discount or anything, but tell them any way.

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Fun Video Friday – Bats vs. Crocodiles!

Fun Video Friday Update

I don’t know that I have a lot to say about this other than BBC nature documentaries are far more exciting than I thought.

For more you can visit the creators at their YouTube channel: Blackhawk

Enjoy!

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New York Seltzer is BACK!

onys-black-cherry-soda-840x840

For those of you that grew up in the 80’s you may remember the bottle above. New York Seltzer was the Snapple of the time; a little independent drink company that had hardcore fans, but not a major national following. I found out that New York Seltzer is coming back and I’m really excited about it! It may be a bit silly to be excited by the return of a drink, but New York Seltzer has a special place in my heart. It is the first thing that I remember drinking when my family first moved out to California.

Before 1985 I lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin – home of cheese, Green Bay Packers fans, and terrifyingly cold winters. I have memories of not being allowed outside during the coldest ones because there was a concern that the lungs of children and the elderly would freeze. The door handle to my mom’s car snapped off in her hand once because it was so cold. Automatic doors to get into the grocery store would fail in the winter. It was damn cold. That being said I also have memories of awesome snow forts that took up most of our backyard and how my dad and I dug really long tunnels in the snow drifts.

Then in February 1985 my dad got transferred to California and we moved from Milwaukee to Brea. It was a drastic difference! We went from snow and heavy coats and boots to sunshine, swimming pools, and shorts. I wore my moon boots for the first month just because that’s what I was used to wearing (I was a fashion plate).   When we first got to California there were all kinds of things to check out. Suddenly we were in spitting distance of Disneyland, there was a beach that was against the ocean and not a giant lake, and new kinds of food – like avocados and salsa!

During one of our jaunts to explore the neighborhood we stopped at a little hole-in-the-wall deli. It’s not there anymore but I remember it vividly. It was dark, mostly by comparison because it was so bright outside, it had white walls and black and white checkered tile floors. There were framed pictures of New York on the walls and little bistro tables. I got a B.L.T. and my mom got me my first New York Seltzer. She thought it would be fun to try since they didn’t have regular soda there.

It wasn’t just fun, it was a revelation!

I had never tasted anything like it before. It was black cherry flavor and it was clear and crisp and tasted like California. That’s honestly the best description I can give. It was the taste equivalent of all the cliche romantic imagery of California wrapped up in a bottle that told you it was from New York City. Palm trees, beaches, smiling pretty people, surfing – it was in the bottle. It was like a movie montage of Southern California in your mouth.

It came in 4-packs and we bought them in a variety of flavors although peach and black cherry were my favorites. My friend, Tommy, used to have burping contests with me spurred on by the carbonated power of the seltzer. When we got really desperate we’d even drink the cream soda. When we were really desperate.

Then, in the early 90’s, the magic died. A competitive soft drink market killed New York Seltzer and all this nation was left with was a fading memory of flavor joy. I moved on to Pepsi and Dr. Pepper, but the memory of New York Seltzer always haunted me…

…until now!

New York Seltzer is coming back! It is available online and hopefully soon in stores! I haven’t tasted it in, wow, over 20 years but I’m really looking forward to it. If any of the New York Seltzer folks are reading this: I’ll happily plug the product for a few 4-packs! You can check out their website below and order all the black cherry soda you can drink!

Drink New York Seltzer

 

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Last Weekend to see me in Avenue Q!

Ave Q Logo

This weekend ends my run as Brian in Avenue Q at The Maverick Theater. There are four more performances:

For tickets dial (714) 526-7070 or visit the Online Box Office.

It has been a lot of fun doing a musical again and getting to play with a very talented cast. It’s been a long time since I’ve done a real musical. The last thing I sang in was the Christmas show last year, but those were holiday standards. It’s easy to forget that Broadway musicals actually have some very complicated harmonies! Nothing makes you realize how out of shape your voice is then pushing out tenor notes you haven’t had to reach since you were in your twenties. I don’t know if I’ll be hired for any national tours any time soon, but it’s been great getting back into swing of things.

While we were rehearsing we shot a series of promo videos to help advertise, I’m sure you’ve seen the one of me if you follow my Twitter feed or are a friend/fan on Facebook. In case you haven’t, here are all of the promos in one spot!

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Filed under acting, actor stuff, puppets, shameless self promotion, theater, videos, YouTube

Fun Video Friday – It’s a Laser Gun!

Fun Video Friday Update

Real Genius was one of my favorite movies when I was growing up. It was in rotation with Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Buckaroo Banzai: Across the 8th Dimension, and Clue. The primary McGuffin for Real Genius is that they are trying to make a super laser that, unknown to our heroes, will be used by the military to assassinate foreign targets from space.

In the 80’s that was science fiction.

Now kids are building the proto-version of that laser in their garage.

I present to you, on this fine Friday, a demonstration of a laser weapon that may not be powerful enough to fill a house with popcorn, is powerful enough to strike fear in the hearts of balloons everywhere.

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Fun Video Friday – REDNECK AVENGERS: TULSA NIGHTS

Fun Video Friday Update

It’s been a rough week post Memorial Day week so I’m glad to post something that can make people laugh. I’ve featured videos from Bad Lip Reading before – but it never hurts when you add Iron Man to the mix.

Enjoy!

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May 29, 2015 · 8:00 am

A Death in the Community

Curtis Jerome

A man named Curtis Jerome has died. He was a director, set-builder, costumer, actor, dancer, singer, and all-around performer. He was a tent pole at The Maverick Theater in Fullerton, CA. He was in a terrible car accident and did not survive. His death was as shocking to our little theater community as it was tragic. He was a man who meant a lot to a lot of people and I am sad that he is gone.

I really didn’t know Curtis, other than how he and I were often confused in conversation for sharing the same first name. He did most of the musicals at the theater and I did only plays, usually, if I wasn’t doing Shmimprov. I’m sure that he and I were in the same room more than once, but we never quite got introduced. While our paths never crossed, his reputation preceded him.  Many people credit him with giving them their first chance at something, whether a role or a new skill, and for being very supportive in his direction. He was known as a work horse who got things done. He was good people.

Theater, when it comes down to it, is a community more than anything. It’s made up of people who come together for the shared goal of telling a story, live, in front of a group of strangers. It doesn’t require a special location or crazy technology – as long as you have free space and people who will watch you can put on a show. It’s the quality of the people who come together to tell that story – the community – that dictates how well things work. When that community grows it depends on each person to help it run. And when you lose a part of that community the ripples of that loss are felt throughout.

I didn’t know Curtis, but I miss Curtis.

I feel for everyone who had the benefit of knowing him personally, but I’m also grateful for all of the lives that he touched and people that he helped to mentor while he could.

Thank you, Curtis. You will be missed.

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Creativity on the Daily – The Highlights

Andelon Discussions Creativity

Back in February we held our first Andelon Discussion video roundtable. I got together my oldest friends, who all happen to have varied and diverse careers, and we talked about being creative. It was a really good discussion, if I do say so myself. We covered a lot in an hour.

Admittedly, we did have a few technical troubles (namely the sound for the first 10 minutes) and an hour can be a long time to ask people to watch on the internet, so I edited together what I feel are the best 13 minutes of our discussion that will hopefully help to inspire the creativity in your life.

I want to thank Dan, Dean, Jeff and Scott for participating. If you want to learn more about them see their links below. Also, Jeff wasn’t wrong, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield is amazing! I’ve provided a purchase link down below.

Scott Sanford – IT specialist for the financial industry.

Dean Ethington – Graphic Designer and web developer for Oakley.

Dan Zarzana – Manager at an entertainment payroll company.

Jeff Garvin – Author and musician.

What do you think about being creative? Did anything the panel said strike a chord with you? Let me know in the comments.

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The Value of Journaling

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Not that long ago I dug deep into the pits of my parent’s storage space to where I keep the bits of memorabilia that I saved from high school and college. There underneath old trophies and certificates, under the photo albums and  envelopes filled with pictures (we used to have to get them developed and physically printed!) I found the trove of old high school journals that I was looking for. I was pulling them out, on purpose, for a project that my friend, author Jeff Garvin, and I were thinking about working on.

A bit of advice if you ever reach a point where nostalgia overrides your more rational thinking: Things you wrote down at the height of your adolescent hormonal development are not light reading. You should be mentally prepared before diving back into that headspace.

I was not.

My friend Zeke has always said, “Five years ago I was an idiot.” It’s a great phrase. How often have you looked back on things and noticed that your opinions had changed or shifted? It’s easy to forget that most of us actually change our minds quite a bit about a lot of things as we grow and get older. Thanks to social media and “flashback” apps we can now be greeted every morning with a list of things that we have posted to the public via a variety of different platforms to lord knows how many people that shows exactly where you were at in your head. Thanks to these apps I can attest that I as well was an idiot five years ago. And I’m sure that I’ll feel that way in another five years, and then five years after that.

Now imagine diving back over twenty years ago…

…Idiot doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Actually “idiot” is too harsh of a word. I was a teenager and suffered from being “sixteen and angry.” I think we all have our “sixteen and angry” time, I know that everyone I ever knew had one. It’s a tumultuous time when you are starting to figure out who you are as a person separate from your parents, when you start to make decisions for yourself, when you desperately want to be considered an adult but secretly enjoy the shield of being a kid. This is when you find all the great music that will become your favorite into adulthood. This is when crushes are defined as “love” and every relationship can last “forever.” You fight with your parents, go on your first adventures with your friends, and generally raise eight different kinds of holy hell.

I managed to document my sixteen and angry period in nine volumes: eight journals and one sketch book. The picture at the top of this post is of all but one of the books. Inside are entries that detail my thoughts and feeling about friendships, relationships, and some stories that I used to write about a fictional version of my friends and I. Reading it back revealed that things were a bit different than the memory of those times in my head. It’s easy to romanticize the high school experience. I didn’t mind high school. I had a lot of friends and did well academically. I was fortunate enough not to have the troubles that make it into after school specials like bullying or drugs. My friends and I were no saints, but we weren’t troublemakers either. I can safely say that there were no arrests and any statutes of limitations have expired. My memories of high school are full of laughing, inside jokes, musicals, and enough Pepsi cola to kill an elephant. Seriously, my three best friends and I drank Pepsi by the case. I’m pretty sure that my blood was at least 4% Pepsi by my senior year. It’s amazing any of us have teeth.

However, these books tell a different tale. One of extreme emotional turmoil, dramatic shifts in friendships, and document the kind of existential crises that would make Sartre roll his eyes. None of it is ironic, it is clearly very earnest and deliberate. It feels like a different person wrote it. They are remarkably detailed history books that talk about people I had nearly forgotten about; people who, at the time, were very involved in my life. They discuss music I liked, places I went, and in some cases even what I was wearing. I actually put pictures in the front and back covers of almost all of the books. Some of myself, some of my pet chameleon, Fred, and some of my friends. I have one here of me circa 1993:

Curtis Circa 1993

Great hair, right?

The strangest thing about the entries is that they are written like blog posts. There was apparently a part of me that thought that people would like to read the hormone fueled ramblings of a teenage boy so the entries often referred to the reader and explained things in great detail so that a stranger who might not have any previous knowledge of me would be able to understand the context of the situation. Thank God the internet wasn’t then what it is now. They are a set of volumes that document the true feelings I had as a teenager. As embarrassing as they are they are valuable.

Journaling is a pretty great exercise. It requires you to write down what you think and feel without a filter. It is a time capsule of an exact moment in your history. It’s honest even if you are lying in it, since the lie is part of that moment. I fell out of journaling when I was twenty or so. I was in college, working more, and my dramatics were getting me a paycheck as opposed to being spewed into the blank pages of a book. I also moved to digital means of note taking and idea tracking. I had PDA’s with styluses that would let me write and store things away or send to my computer. Nothing at all like the pages of these books and none of those items made it to today – they are lost on some old hard drive in a landfill somewhere. I got completely out of the habit and I think I regret that now.

I started journaling again when I was doing my 52 in 52 challenge. I keep an idea book where I jot down story ideas and I was leaving a Barnes and Noble. I had some extra time so I sat on the patio and wrote some things down, stream of consciousness style. It felt like I was giving my head a spring cleaning. It wasn’t anything extraordinary, nothing even worth having a conversation about, but what I wrote down had been sitting in my brain taking space. It felt good to have it out. Then Rene and I did the Dragon Tree Challenge. I won’t lie, it’s a bit hippy-dippy and new age-y, but it got me in the habit of daily journaling again. Journaling has helped to focus my thoughts and let my brain work on the stuff that I need it to without having to navigate through all the gunk that fills it up during the day. I highly recommend it. It’s especially good if you are in a creative field! Most of the other creatives I know keep a few different books to write in depending on the mood. Personally, have my pocket notebook for notes and tasks, my story idea book, a sketch book (the same one from twenty years ago), and a journal for just private thoughts that aren’t really for the world.

Here are some tips if you’d like to give it a try:

  1. Get the right book for you. I’m currently using one of the old journals I found from 1993. It was empty and some of the pages are yellowing. It has age on it, like me, and the pages are a little crisp because of it.
  2. Get the right pen. This might sound silly, but when you get on a roll the words are going to come out fast and the last thing you need is your pen running out of ink or not being comfortable in your hand.
  3. Don’t judge what you write. No matter what my teenage self thought, what you journal probably isn’t destined for public consumption. It’s for you – and you don’t ever have to read it again. Just write and let it all come out, warts and all. Really clean out that brain.
  4. Date your entries. Just in case you do ever want to go back and read what you’ve written it’s nice to know when you’ve written it. It helps to put everything into context.

Do you journal? Are you going to give it a shot? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

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Filed under artist, books, creativity, Curtis Andersen, nostalgia