Monday, November 15, 2010

MY LIFE - In 1,000 words or less

I have had an interesting life-varied and interesting…
Art and theatre are recurring themes-I have done both since an early age.
Theatre has gone by the wayside at this point other than ATTENDING a performance and the occasional odd review for a local paper.
ART continues to center my life and into it I pour a huge amount of my creative fervor.
I also like movies (films too).
I started working at the age of 12.
I did sketches for my Aunt’s ready to wear clothing business in the L A garment district.
Interesting isn’t it that at that age I had a sense of style that was worthy of being a sketch artist designer? I find it so anyway.
I did plays and designed sets and programs and program covers, acted supporting and lead roles even directed and stage managed before I was out of high school.
I discovered one day to my astonishment that I could sing-I had an enormous voice of some quality.
Later the pundits would say world class; A world class voice was wasted in favor of ostrich feathers and rhinestones when I abandoned show biz.
I had performed in, designed or directed over 100 productions; theatre had begun to bore me.
Those who want to know how I managed to do so many productions in a short period of time forget that OPERA singers can literally appear in 3 or 4 productions a week during their amateur and even semi-pro careers.
I often was in Santa Monica on Tuesday, Beverly Hills on Thursday and somewhere south on the weekend essaying a variety of roles in various productions.
Meanwhile in my off hours I would be sketching a new “Hoffmann” for some company and a production of “Little Foxes for another.
I designed everything from SUPER GRAND OPERA like AIDA at Redlands Bowl (complete with animals) to production shows with lots of flash and bare bosoms to straight plays and musicals and even some experimental theatre productions.
If I could have made a living at it I might have been a milliner-I loved making hats and head dresses.
In the early 70’s I was a professional soloist at a famous Los Angeles Church in the old Philharmonic building downtown (Weds eve and Sunday mornings) I was on the faculty of the LACCD Opera Theatre at ELACC Tuesday and Thursday evenings teaching and designing sets, costumes and make-ups and designed confections for Basking Robbins during the days.
Later from 1976 to 1979 I gave VIP tours at Universal and met some amazing people like Jean Genet, Signe Hasso, Lotte Lenya, Jane Fonda, Jimmy Carter…the list goes on for days.
In my spare time I illustrated poetry and was commissioned to do pen and ink drawings for various fans and the occasional “Celeb”.
Like many artists and actors I would try to keep a rent paying gig as much as I could and I did many odd (and far flung) jobs over the years.
I waited tables in some better restaurants, ran a telecommunications company and managed 2 subsidiaries on the side, did art shows, designed crafts, craft kits, dolls and t-shirt designs and even managed a nightclub and gift shop on the Redondo Pier-A very young Ellen De Generous appeared there for a week as did Margaret Smith and many others.
Whatever I did I always gave art my attention for at least part of the time.
I sang less and less over the years and gave my last staged performance as Sharpless in Madame Butterfly at Opera 500 Laguna Hills in the late 1980s.
The oddest bit of casting in my career found me playing Nick Aronstein in Funny Girl-not something I would ever do again I am much more comfortable as Scarpia or some other villain than as a leading man type.
In the 90s I was a writer, usually on, about and how to do ART. I was the crafts coordinator for a national magazine, wrote several (not too popular) books on decorative painting and faux finishes, contributed to many national magazines including BH&G and I taught at seminars and appeared at trade shows-Television was inevitable.
I did a few cable shows and was just getting ready to launch a show of my own when I was sidetracked by family illness and problems of various kinds.
Frankly, I didn’t want to be on TV carrying a show and worrying about ratings.
I sold shrunken heads and rubber cobras at Disneyland and later carved people’s names on leather items while wearing really bad costumes-that lasted 3 years and is my previous rent payer to now.
Here I am today in a new arena doing DIGI stamps-a couple months back I had no idea what a digi stamp was-I am having a great time and planning what I want to do next.
I have negotiated the contract for hard stamps now I would like to get back into licensing my work for various products like T shirts and collectables-at least I think that’s what I want to do.
Friends continue to try and coerce me into performing but my voice while still huge is not dependable so L A Opera will probably NOT be on my agenda other that as an audience member.
I wrote this because someone asked me what I HADN’T done in my life time.
I have been an ARTIST, DESIGNER, FLORIST, SINGER, ACTOR, MAKE UP ARTIST, MILLINER, STAGE HAND, DIRECTOR, LIGHTING DESIGNER, CHURCH SOLOIST, WEDDING SINGER, ICE CREAM SCOOPER, MANAGER, TOUR GUIDE, TEACHER, MANAGING DIRECTOR, WAITER, MAITRE’D, TELEVISION PRESENTOR, SPOKESMODEL, PRODUCT DESIGNER, CORPORATE EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, NIGHTCLUB MANAGER, GIFTSHOP OWNER AND BUYER, WINDOW DRESSER, PATIENT ADVOCATE AND AT LEAST 3 OR 4 THINGS THAT HAVE SLIPPED MY MIND.
All things considered-it hasn’t been dull!

4 comments:

  1. Since you sing, you might enjoy this clip!

    http://www.philly.com/philly/video/106492678.html

    ReplyDelete
  2. ThaNKS FOR SHARING THAT-IF YOU GO TO yOUtUBE THERE ARE QUITE A FEW fLASH HAPPENINGS FROM OPERA TO BRAODWAY TO dANCE

    i PARTICIPATED IN A fLASH PERFORMANCE A NUMBER OF YEARS AGO AND THE BEST PART IS THE LOOK ON THE AUDIENCES FACES-THEY JUST ARENT SURE WHAT TO DO AND THEN THEY FINALLY GET INTO IT

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  3. I just noticed that among all your accomplishments, you list 'florist'. I was a florist before I quit work to raise our children. It seems like another lifetime now!

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  4. I think its interesting when you get a group of creative people together and they start comparing backgrounds how much we all share as far as finding creative jobs as outlets for our talents

    I certainly know that wqhat I learned in floristry helped me in costume and set design-everything leads to another thing and back around again

    ReplyDelete

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