Monday, July 26, 2010

I've been Out-ed

I received in the mail recently a letter asking if I wanted to buy a subscription to Out magazine, a magazine highlighting the gay and lesbian lifestyle. It took me aback.
The first thing that came to mind was “Why the hell would I get this?” Then, “Did someone do this as a joke?” Which led to, “My God, how many women does a guy have to sleep with to prove he’s not gay?” And finally, “I’m married.”
I walked into the kitchen and said with a chuckle, “Hey Honey, look at this. It’s a notice to buy a subscription to Out. What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Well, let’s see Larry. You get Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, Men’s Journal, and GQ.”
I thought for a moment and said, “Wow, if I was looking to sell gay magazines I would have sent this, too.” Actually, I think it was the Details magazine that put the publisher over the edge but my wife wouldn’t have thought of that.
I used to be hooked on current events. Thus, I had an enormous array of “infomo” periodicals, ever letting my goss-sip-o know what’s going on in my Shangri-La. (Did that sound gay? If it didn’t, throw three snaps back.)
It came from doing radio. I had to know when a celebrity, politician, or everyday knucklehead got his ass in a crack so I can belittle them the next morning. Plus, I like to be in the know.
The Details and the Men’s Journal are only 10 dollars a year and if I can get three jokes every 30 days for less than buck, I’m good.
Men’s Heath is my favorite, tons of useful stuff, fitness, relationships, cuisine, two or three photos of sexy women, the picture in the educational sex video ad in the back, all done with humorous and thoughtful headlines and stories I can read in the bathroom. Men’s Fitness was because I like Men’s Heath so much I could get through it in less than a month and it was added inspiration to keep me exercising.
I love to read. Or, is it that I crave knowledge? If words are close I’ll glance at them. I’ll tilt my head to be nosey.
Are we what we read?
I’ve been reading Men’s Health for so long, I should be fit enough to be on the cover. I guess I’m I not reading hard enough?
I read newspapers to get the news, billboards to see manipulation, plays to study dialogue, shampoo bottles when nothing else is there, and street signs from far away to see if my eyes are going bad. I’m a junky.
I do a comedy bit on TV where I get footage of light up signs with the letters missing and end up spelling something unintended. When the “S” is out at Shoney’s it could be a strip club called “honey’s.” When the “Ch” is out on Chick-fil-a, it’s “ick-fil-a.” When the “C” is out at Tony’s Canal Gas, it’s…you get the picture.
With theatre and radio I became enthralled with the spoken word. I studied accents, fluctuation, and the obligatory emphatic pause. Now it’s the language as written. Are two of my worlds colliding? I hope, coming together.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The latest tattoo.

I was talking with two female art students here at the museum about tattoos. One said, “I want to get a bar code on the back of my neck.”
The other piped up with, “Don’t do that, a binary code is the latest thing.”
Knowing all tattoos become outdated I said, “I wouldn’t do either. My grandfather is still pissed off he got the Dewey Decimal System on his arm.”

They didn’t think it was funny.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Does pretty sell books?

I was once a model, a kid with long, wavy red hair and freckles and as with anyone’s look, it got me jobs and took them away. I auditioned for the movie “Pretty Baby” with Brooke Shields. The character’s name was “Red Top. When I had to look Italian, no one called. It was then I learned my look was important.
As a teenager I was in a Popeye’s Fried Chicken commercial. It was August, outside in New Orleans but the setting was winter in Pittsburgh, so everyone wore overcoats. It was extremely hot and uncomfortable. The director, with a feminine voice and lots of large hand gestures, kept telling everyone, “More teeth please, I need more teeth. This is TV. You have to look pretty, people.” It was then I learned it is better to look good than to feel good.
In college, a girlfriend who was an art student, asked me to model for her class. I was flattered. I thought finally I might be considered good looking. The art class drew what was below my waist. I was thrilled I got to keep my shirt on.
Sitting on a table, leaning backward with my open legs dangling, I knew one day I’ll laugh at this. It ended up looking like most I guess. No one called.
I’m a glutton for punishment. In my chosen profession I have to fight with pretty. Something I, and many struggle with. I’m old and a lot less cute.
It is true, Danny Devito is a major star but he’s an actor. I’m screaming, commercials, modeling, hosting, news anchor, and damn sure the music industry. I remember a voice teacher in 1978 at my performance arts high school told us about something new called a music video. I thought, “Aw crap, not something else you have to look good for.” It ended up ruining the careers of very talented musicians and creating many with nothing but a pretty face. All singers do have nice teeth or at least get them when their career kicks in.
To be an anchor at Fox News is the holy grail of being told you’re hot for television and these 9 and 10’s must be backing it up, they’re the number one news network. I thought the show Ugly Betty was a nice comment, looking into the heart and soul of a young woman as beautiful people surrounded her.
I have my picture on this blog. For me it’s shameless self-promotion. Some use drawings or cartoon characters to remain anonymous and I would think some use someone else’s picture. It’s a mystery and I’m OK with that. I follow because I like your work.
From an early age I was made to worry about the “look.” It was a little easier when I was in radio.
Does being pretty actually sell more books? I would like to agonize over a back cover. I am a glutton for punishment.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Hanging at the bottom of the food chain.

I’m going to gloat, so here is thy alert.
I jumped into a summer musical, “Return To The Forbidden Planet.” The role of the mad scientist, a combination of Shakespeare, Star Trek and Spaceballs was started by a local celebrity, an entertainer, one time national spokesman for Chevrolet, and a writer of a staple Cajun Christmas song that sells every year. He wasn’t ready with a week before opening. He was sorry. Most were, but understood. It was a tough part and I was asked to fill in.
I did a telethon with this gentleman years ago and he kept calling me Larry Wyatt. I said after the third time, “It’s Larry Hyatt buddy, but at least we now know who is a bigger star.”
The best way to get me to do something is to compliment me first. That’s what the director did, possibly since we don’t do this for the money and it being community theatre it’s about entertaining you. I know the mission. It’s what I live for, being an overweight starving artist. I pulled it off and now the gloating is over.
What troubles me is a couple of the younger cast members.
In our town, as in plenty of community theatre’s summer shows, the cast is made up of theatre and music students who have gone to New York or L.A. to study, come back to perform, not remembering this is community theater, the idiots, and when the show doesn’t go exactly as planned, they meltdown.
My thought, “Boy I hope they become stars, because one day they’re going to kill themselves.” This backstage drama was going on for weeks, and understandably upsetting the cast members, creating an atmosphere that shoots the shit out of the whole reason to do this.
At first I thought this frustration was because of the embarrassment of appearing with amateurs, who do this for the love of theater, the chance for community, and the excitement of appearing on stage. Then I thought maybe, they’re getting their ass kicked in New York and they realize up there they have to hang with the cannibals, now doubting their ability.
Life’s a bitch and hanging at the bottom of the food chain should be rewarding.
I was once an entertainment director and performer in a club called Illusions. I was basically an impersonator. Not a female or Elvis impersonator, there I drew the line.
I would white my hair and sing Frank Sinatra, put on glitz and be Elton John, black my skin and become James Brown, or invent characters, all to entertain the crowd. I called it theatre in bar. It’s so original. It was once called vaudeville.
I surrounded myself with actors and actresses, dancers and comedians. I called up everyone I worked with to put on a show, the show, and my show.
I met with a few I worked with from the theatre department at Nicholls State, the local college. Most of them snubbed me. They were the elite theater people who didn’t think my stupid little barroom act was anything they wanted to get involved in. I was second rate until they realized performing is learning and not every theatre dream happens when you reach twenty-two years of age and graduate from college with a (say it through your teeth) theatre degree.
When those ass hole students did speak to me and realized that at least I had a gig, they asked to join. You know what I told them? I told them, the elite “theatre people,” I would be honored to have you join us. I can certainly use someone with your talent.” I’m not crazy. The show must go on.
I didn’t say to them that humility is a bitch but I hoped they got it. Young people don’t realize that many before them had the dream and that many before them were going to set the world on fire.
One of my favorite quotes is, “I’m not gonna stay here. I’m going to make a name for myself, I’m going to be somebody.” I hoped they did, knowing their drive. Three years later they put an ad in the paper for theatre lessons. I hope she instills humility in her students.