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Day 10 Operation: Television’s Curtis Andersen 2.0 – We’re Moving!

Well this is a bit of a twist in the ol’ plan, we are moving!

Not far, literally down the hall. A bigger spot opened up on our floor and we were able to take advantage of it. However, it also means that we are moving THIS WEEKEND!

This may impact my ability to update, much less actually work toward the goal.

That being said, I am doing my acting intensive April 28th from Noon to 4pm in Portland. Right now registration is only open to actors at Actors in Action, but if there’s any remaining space I’ll post here about it as well.

Here’s the playlist for April:

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Day 1 Operation: Television’s Curtis Andersen 2.0

Today represents the first day of a new personal initiative. Back in 2015 when I started Operation: Television’s Curtis Andersen I had the goal of just getting back on TV in some way shape or form. After 400 days and lots of little victories in between (including movie roles and getting back into voice-over and doing a few shorts), I was cast in FEUD!: Bette & Joan. Success!

Then Frankie had his first tachycardia event.

This was a major turning point for Rene and I and it’s only with hindsight that I can really see just how profound that evening in March was. On March 28th Frankie passed away, surrounded by Rene and I, some of the best veterinary doctors we’ve ever known, and our friend Caroline (mom to his doggy friend Stella). It was a soul crushing day and Rene and I are still pretty devastated. We had completely turned our lives toward his care and we both feel a little lost now without having Frankie to be dedicated to.

But losing Frankie also kicked in a particular type of motivation, mostly a desire to keep my brain too busy to be sad all the time. It wasn’t all that effective (although things are getting better) but none the less that motivation is here and I feel like I need to use it on things that are constructive. The most constructive thing I can think to do with this energy is reaffirm what I feel like I’ve spent the last three years reaffirming but not necessarily working toward enough – reviving and then maintaining my entertainment career.

I know how this sounds given that I seem to do this re-start or make this declaration on an almost annual basis but this tells me two things:

  1. I cannot get away from this calling. I may have times when making money in reliable ways takes priority, but in my heart and in my soul I am a performer and I am not truly happy unless I am performing or involved in the industry in some way.
  2. I have not done enough to maintain my career. I seem to allow myself to get back to square one too often when I need to be taking more advantage of the opportunities that are presented to me.

I seemed to do my best when I was doing the first round of Operation: Television’s Curtis Andersen so it sounded like a good idea to me to try it again, with a different focus. Now instead of the single laser focused goal of just booking a show I am making the broader statement that I will work only in the entertainment industry again.

If you know about goal setting and making plans you know that this is not a good goal – it’s too broad. So instead of just having this overarching goal, I’ll be setting smaller, better goals each step of the way. Things that are achievable so I can get where I want to be.

Goal 1: Finish Born For This by Chris Guillebeau before the end of April.

It’s not a long book, but I am still working twelve hour days and it’s hard to read when you’re exhausted. Once I finish the book then I will set a new goal and we will continue on from there. I’ll also be making videos again, like the one below, as often as possible (but I honestly don’t know how often that will be).

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Here’s an Update!!

I finally put an update video out! TLDW: New agent in the PNW, new gig with a new toy company, new movie coming out, and a beard. The beard isn’t new, but I still have it.

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Rene & Curtis Do The Big Float!

We are really jumping into the Portland life and enjoying a lot of what our new city has to offer. We regularly use the public transportation, we enjoy the local bars and restaurants, and the creative scene is more than we could have hoped for. On Saturday July 15th we joined in on the annual Big Float put on by the Human Access Project. See the video below:

To learn more about The Big Float and The Human Access Project you can follow the link for more information, but here is a description of what they do:

What the heck is THE BIG FLOAT?
The goal of The Big Float, quite simply, is to encourage people to “get into their river” and support its preservation and healthy development as a recreational resource. And to have a whale of a good time in the process.

The annual event is a fundraiser for the Human Access Project. Open to all ages, TBF begins with, naturally, a parade. Floaters gather at Tom McCall Bowl Beach (where the Blues Festival is held), then carry or wear their floatation devices and march south along Waterfront Park to the put-in point at Poet’s Beach beneath the Marquam Bridge.

Floaters will paddle down river and land on the west bank at the Tom McCall Bowl. Here, Portland’s grandest downtown beach party will be held – complete with music barge and live bands, food carts, beer/wine garden, sponsor booths, and a kids’ activities area.

Human Access Project
Wouldn’t it be great if people in Portland could actually get into the Willamette River? Simply stroll down to the water’s edge, wade out into it, and swim or paddle around to their heart’s content in a safe, public area? It’s time we did something about that. And that’s what our not-for-profit organization, Human Access Project, is all about.

Let’s face it, even if you wanted to swim in the Willamette River in downtown Portland today, how would you do it? There’s no easy way to get into it. It’s like this: if you want birds to come into your yard you put up a bird feeder and plant trees to create a bird-friendly habitat.

The same is true for humans and the river. If we want to make it so people can swim in the Willamette we need to create better access and a more inviting environment. For instance, imagine the Tom McCall bowl area redesigned with a beach instead of the unfriendly jagged rock river edge currently there.

In short, the Human Access Project is driven to promote activating the Willamette River for recreational use that considers all the critters that live and love the water, including humans.
Human Access Project Mission
The Human Access Project vision is simple: a city in love with its river. This grassroots not-for-profit group has three concentric goals:

1) Create a human habitat and more access points along the Willamette River in downtown Portland.

2) Inspire people to get into the Willamette River.

3) Facilitate stewardship of the Willamette River and Watershed.
HAP Accomplishments
Human Access Project (HAP) was conceived in November 2010 when founder Will Levenson began organizing an event called “The Big Float.” The Big Float (TBF) is a group innertube float and after-party on the Willamette River in downtown Portland, Oregon. The idea behind TBF is to get a large number of people in the water in an enjoyable way and make a powerful statement showing Portlanders and our city government that the Willamette is safe for human recreation. In short, to transform our relationship with the Willamette River.

TBF had its first launch in 2011 with 1,300 participants. By 2014 TBF had grown to 2,300 participants. This year, we hope to draw 3,000 participants.

Human Access Project has undertaken three Willamette River beach clean-up, habitat restoration projects which are ongoing. The first is on the eastside of the Willamette River by the Hawthorne Bridge. HAP has to date removed 18 tons of concrete in numerous clean-up events in this area revealing a sandy beach. HAP aspires to create a formal beach in this spot, which we have nicknamed Audrey McCall Beach after Tom McCall’s wife.

The second project is a beach creation effort at Tom McCall Bowl on the west side of the Willamette River by the Hawthorne Bridge. HAP hosted a community kickoff event called UnRock the Bowl in 2012 and has held an annual beach clean-up event every year since. Volunteers move rip-wrap rock from the water’s edge of the Willamette River back to the bank where it was initially installed 30 years ago as bank protection.

The third project is Poet’s Beach (under the Marquam Bridge on west bank) where HAP has hauled out immense chunks of basalt to clear the way for safe access to an existing sandy beach. To bring life to the site, HAP worked with the not-for-profit Honoring Our Rivers and the Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde to inscribe children’s poetry and Chinook phrases into rocks lining the path to the beach. Hence the name Poet’s Beach. HAP will continue to undertake beach clean-up activities to support its mission.

Our first major advocacy success was in 2013, working with the City of Portland to install “Swim at your own risk” signs at the Tom McCall Bowl and Poet’s Beach .

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Should I read the Dark Tower Series this Summer?

That’s the question, so I got some of my best friends together to try and figure it out.

What do you think? Leave your opinions in the comments.

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Operation: Television’s Curtis Andersen Day 50!

Op TVs CA Explosion Opener

We’ve reached Day 50!

Here’s a recap of my activities leading up to today and a little news about what’s coming up for 2016. It’s a long one, but there was a lot to say:

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from Rene, Frankie, Charlie & I!

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Autumn, Nostalgia & Mixtapes

memorex

It’s only August, but just the other night I got a hint of a scent in the air that was unmistakable to me as Autumn. I don’t know how to describe it other than wet and earthy. It’s a smell that reminds me of October and all of the Americana that goes along with it: changing leaves, costumes, Halloween in a Normal Rockwell kind of way, and the best parts of my adolescence.

There are certain smells that just go with things. Football players talk about the smell of the field before a game.  I remember that smell, there really is nothing else like it. It almost smells as if the field is sweating before the game begins. The other day at a rehearsal for “Rope” I caught the scent of  a very specific hairspray in the dressing room, a hairspray that I’ve smelled in dressing rooms for decades and with that one contact I was suddenly reminded of all of those shows. The Autumn smell works the exact same way and triggers some of the strongest nostalgia I feel during any given year.

Every year, usually later than now, when the air starts to change and the nostalgia comes on I find myself searching though my music to make a playlist appropriate to the season. I started doing this back when I was a teenager, making mix tapes on my dual cassette/CD stereo system. There was more of an art to it back then. People had tape lengths that they liked to work in (I was a Memorex 90 minute man, myself) and you’d have to plan out your songs and hope that they would fit each side perfectly. I became very good with the Play/Pause button and mastered the length of the tape lead before it started recording. I could do it by feel, no counting required. Somewhere, deep in boxes that probably haven’t seen the light of day in at least a decade, there are dozens of mix tapes made from my music library circa 1990-1996. These tapes were with me during car rides with my friends when we first felt the “freedom” of being teenagers with cars. They were there for early relationships and the break-ups that went along with them. They were there for my first cigarette and for my first sips of Boones Farm Strawberry Hill. They were the soundtrack to my coming of age and represent all the songs that meant something to me at the time. They were also a pretty good representation of alternative hits and underground bands of the time.

My friends did it too, across the board. We’d listen to what each other made, finding new songs that we liked and new bands. My friend Jeff introduced to me to Oingo Boingo, Voice of the Beehive and October Project this way. I discovered that my friend Dan and I had a mutual love of The Cars and The Police this way. And my friend Scott exposed me to the power of Bad Religion and Pennywise this way. Entire backyard parties were powered by these tapes. They were teenage sorcery that could help bend the mood of entire rooms full of hormone fueled basket cases.

Technology changed and iTunes and iPods made it very easy to generate playlists based on whatever mood you were in at that second. Gone was the finesse of tape creation; instead you could just slam together song after song on a whim. I remember sitting at the computer for hours at a time, days in a row plugging songs into the playlists where I felt they belonged. I had the perfect list for whatever mood I was in. It was pretty awesome… until the crash of 2007 when iTunes and all of my playlists crashed and burned. That killed a lot of the fire I had for digital playlists. So much time was spent creating things that were wiped away in, literally, a moment.  After that it took until I discovered Spotify before I felt that a digital playlist would be worth creating again. I haven’t created as many playlists as I did before 2007, but I do find that the ones I curate now get a lot more play.

I started a new playlist for autumn 2015 on Spotify. It’s the start of something that will probably get bigger as the days get shorter and the air gets crisper. I’m sharing this because I selfishly want you to share your playlists with me. Back in the day we would swap tapes and CD’s, but now we can toss entire playlists around digitally. This playlist is full of songs that take me back to being sixteen-and-angry, ready to rage against the world… as soon as I finish my journal entry about no one understanding me. It’s what I would want to listen to on a rainy day, hence the name. Check it out and let me know what you think, but more importantly share your playlists with me. Drop them in the comments and show me something new. I want to try and capture that feeling of sharing music again from back in the day. Whether it’s a favorite album from your favorite band or a playlist of your own creation, pop it in the comments and let’s hear something new.

Happy listening.

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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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New York Agrees With Us



It’s cliche to say that New York is an exciting, vibrant town. It is truly a working model in “hustle and bustle.” The sidewalks are full of people going somewhere and the streets, although packed like the 405 at rush hour, still seem to move at various steady paces depending on the time of day. As much as New Yorkers have a reputation for being rude, we find that they are actually some of the friendliest people you could meet who are happy to help when they can, but will also tell you to shove it if you’re being an ass. Rene and I have only been here a few weeks but we are already finding that New York works pretty well for us. 

I started this post when I was still in the city. I was in the apartment that were were sitting and curled up on the couch. I never did finish a post while I was there, mostly because there was so much to do and so many people that we wanted to see. And the experience itself was overwhelming. I’ve been to New York before. The last time was a while a ago, 2004, but one thing that’s great about New York is that it doesn’t seem to really ever “change” in its fundamentals. There are probably a few New Yorkers that would argue me on that, and I would concede on points that are specific to the new economy of the city and the gentrification of certain areas, but the fundamental energy, can-do spirit and cultural ferocity that songs are written about and that draws people from all over the world to visit and settle there has never really changed. It’s a viceral thing, you can actually feel it as you walk around. For a week straight neither Rene or I got the kind of sleep we normally need and functioned as if we were powered by a celestial Dynamo. There’s a reason they call it the city that never sleeps. This was illustrated all the more for me when I got home and found that I was bone draggingly tired. You could blame the lack of “vacation adrenaline” for the change, but I’ve travelled a lot and have not ever felt this kind of dip except when visiting New York. It took me a week to really recover and my recovery required a great amount of sleep. 

But as great as the city is, this trip was as wonderful as it was due to the people that we got to see while we were there. From Kim and Roy who were the reason we were there in the first place to Jenna and Joel who are a powerful reminder of what I want to be doing to all the folks that we met for the first time, they helped to make New York a wonderful temporary home. 

There is so much that I want to talk about, some touristy stuff and some not so touristy stuff, but those are best left for different posts. Do you like slide shows?

See you next time!

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