Last night I shared the stage with my father at the Actor Gang’s WTF? Festival. I screened by dad’s favorite of his HBO specials, “Jammin’ in NY,” and then read from his memoir, “Last Words.” Then I read a few of my own stories about my childhood.
For years, I have been reading these and other stories about my life around Los Angeles at different spoken word venues. I did these essays as a side dish to my life. Never taking them or myself very seriously. I didn’t want them upsetting the apple cart – my relationship with my father. You see, he was a little uncomfortable with my chosen art form. It made him nervous that I stripped myself naked, metaphorically speaking, and spoke of the confusion, hopes and miracles that make up my life. He wanted to protect me from some kind of unknown harm – critics? The artist’s life? The impossible life in the limelight?
Thanks to the community of friends and artists I now find myself immersed in, I am taking my art form and myself more seriously these days. They have been telling me to take the stage more often, and so I am finally listening to them and to my heart that has been telling me for years that I belong on a stage, telling my stories and speaking about how I see the world.
Identity is bullshit ultimately. Who I see myself as is, in the big picture, meaningless. But in other ways it is essential to make an X on the ground and say, “Here I stand. And from here I will do this.” And so, I will take my mark. Stand my ground and go out and speak my truth. I mean after all, that is what the old man taught me everyday of HIS life.