What are the credentials that actors need to succeed? Acting is one of the few professions that does not require a degree, or even specific training to get a job. It’s the only profession I’m aware of where if you have the best training in the world, studied at the finest institutions, performed theater all your life, and practiced under the most prestigious acting coaches and gurus - you are not guaranteed to get work.
Artists of every discipline are notorious for being lousy self promoters. Whether it’s because they’re overly right brained, rebellious to the expectation that they be smart business people in order to succeed, or just lazy, whatever the reason, it’s not enough to be unbelievably talented and prolific. If nobody ever hears or sees you, you won’t stand a chance of being able to make a living as an artist, musician, actor, writer, or whatever. You have to make the time to cultivate some business sense.
Who doesn’t want to get more done?
Hmmm……where do I begin? Well, honestly I never really considered myself a dancer! I was born with unbridled energy, rhythm and passion in Brooklyn, New York to a very loving Family in very close quarters and not much income. What we lacked in finances was filled with support, encouragement, hope, dreams and discipline.
“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone”
‘The Bite’, 52 films/52 weeks, 2011
Sometimes the easiest way to advise a person embarking on their dream is not to tell them what to do and how to do it, but what not to do and how to avoid doing that over and over again.
“As a white candle in a holy place, so is the beauty of an aged face.” - Joseph Campbell (Gaelic name Seosamh MacCathmhaoil), Irish poet.
These wise words were the inspiration behind photographer Robin Hart’s newest exhibit, “The Wisdom of Wabi-Sabi,” now open at the NoHo Senior Arts Colony Apartments, a Los Angeles senior apartment community centered around the arts. This wonderful new exhibit will be on display now through March 3, 2014, and is free to the public.
I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately. Yes you, seriously, you. The people I share my real experiences, lessons, successes and failures with. It’s an intimate relationship even though we may never meet in person and it is important to me that it is authentic and honest.
DancePlug was created by dancers for dancers with the simple purpose to raise the awareness of dance through media and the world wide web, as well as to provide a platform for dancers, teachers, and choreographers to promote themselves in an accessible professional way. DancePlug is also a leader in online dance classes. In these tech savy times, online classes may not be a unique feature, but DancePlug distinguishes itself with superb quality, both in videography and instruction.
Amongst the many other resources DancePlug offers are demo reels, audition listings, events calendar, a dance video library, and their bi-weekly web episode “The DancePlug Dish”.
The DancePlug Dish provides fresh news on various dance topics and individuals across the globe: from the Los Angeles star industry to world-renowned Ballet companies, from Broadway musicals to popular or traditional performances. The DancePlug Dish is a 10-minute show about the who, the where, and the when of the dance world. Tune in every other Wednesday 5pm PST.
For more info - visit www.danceplug.com
The beginning of the year is the perfect time to do a self-assessment; to review, make plans, and set goals. In my classes at the Actors Workout Studio, we spend time in January and February working on goals and actions, and discussing the actor’s business model. Painfully, a lot of actors don’t want to discuss the ugliness of business, just the beauty of making art. Some students even avoid my business classes altogether, and return when we get back to learning the craft.
We in the NoHo Arts District are proud to have known Spike Dolomite for years, and she is a regular arts and advocacy contributor to www.nohoartsdistrict.com. Above all, she is a champion of the arts in the Valley. So when we found out she was participating in Fun A Day, our team had to know more, and more importantly, we had to see what she was doing about it. Get ready, NoHo, and meet Spike, our “Pissed Off Art Mom of the Valley.”
What is Fun A Day?
Fun A Day started on the east coast about 10 years ago by artists who wanted to keep themselves stimulated and productive during the bleakest month of the year – January. The idea is to pick a project to work on every day during the month and have fun doing it. Then, at the end of the month, everybody who participated gets together to install their own work in a temporary space for a group, pop up show. Anybody can participate – visual artists, musicians, poets, performance artists, photographers, bakers, jewelry designers, young or old, professional or amateur. It has been making its way across the country. This is the first year that Los Angeles will be participating and Reseda is hosting. Chloe Cumbow is producing Fun A Day Reseda. She is rather new to Reseda, having moved here from Rhode Island. She produced it there for several years. A local business owner, Natalie Haim of H & M Appliances on Sherman Way, has donated an empty commercial space around the corner from H & M that she owns for our show. The show will be on February 28 and March 1.
What are you doing for Fun A Day?
I am having fun with my 11 year old daughter creating hearts to go along with the Reseda Neighborhood Council’s “I Heart Reseda” campaign that is so popular right now. People are loving on Reseda right these days! Our idea is to make various hearts and then place them throughout Reseda in various settings to give people that good heart filled Reseda feeling whenever they come across our hearts. So far we have made a giant metallic mosaic heart that we put on the front of Councilman Bob Blumenfield’s sign in front of his district office in Reseda, a big “2014” sign with the 0 a painted heart and the rest of the numbers filled in with glued buttons. We put that over the LA River on January 1 on Sherman Way. Sophie sewed a heart pillow that we hung on a tree outside of the Chairman of the Reseda Neighborhood Council’s house (Kevin Taylor). One side said “Reseda” and other side said, “Fun”. We made a cardboard box full of cardboard 3d hearts that spilled out of the box onto the sidewalk with caution tape around it. A shop keeper came out and asked us what we were doing. We said, “It’s art”. That was funny because the poor shop keeper didn’t want to come across as not being hip so we did what we could to make her feel hip to art. We’re going to yarn bomb a tree with crochet hearts next week. Keith Haring inspired hearts have appeared on street corners, on white tshirts hanging on hangers from utility poles, on tiles spread on sidewalks, and on cardboard signs, some with messages that read, “Put a bookstore here”, “Put an art gallery here”, “Put live music here”, “Put a cool café here”. We tried to be anonymous, like Banksy, but some people have us figured out. What’s fun about the Keith Haring inspired hearts is that we’re painting them in our garage and putting them around town just like Keith did around NYC in the 80s before he got famous. We get to feel what I imagine Keith Haring felt when he did his chalk drawings around NYC – it’s a lot of FUN!!!!!
What is your Vision for an arts-filled Valley?
I am a proud resident of the San Fernando Valley – well known for being the Pissed Off Art Mom of the Valley. I have spent the past 15 years championing arts education through the nonprofit that I started, Arts in Education Aid Council, getting the arts into Valley schools, and challenging the status quo as to what a quality public education really means (kids need the arts so they can challenge the status quo, think outside of the box, exercise their rights as free citizens, and express themselves freely). Our office was in Canoga Park for several years where we participated in community arts partnerships in the West Valley. The NoHo Arts District is our theatre arts district and it continues to grow. Pacoima is getting well deserved public attention for its murals. And Reseda is experiencing a renaissance right now where the arts are playing a vital role in bringing Reseda back through the arts. This is an exciting time for the Valley right now, but it’s nothing compared to what we’ll be seeing in the next 1-5 years. People are going to be traveling in the other direction to experience a thriving art scene. Over the past few years I have had people get all snotty with me, wanting to know why they couldn’t participate in exclusive events that were designed just for Valley artists, etc. I’ve even had people lie about where they live in order to get in on some of the events that I have produced over the years. It’s bugged me that people have lied, but it’s an indication that people don’t think of the Valley as being void of culture like they used to. It won’t be long when people will need to ask, “Which direction?”, when someone says they’re going over the hill for a night on the town. As the Pissed Off Art Mom of the Valley, I must confess, I’m gonna LOVE IT.
Spike Dolomite is an artist, cartoonist, writer, arts education activist, and health care reform advocate. She is a regularly featured cartoonist on NoHoArtsDistrict.com, and has a published book of cartoons, “ART by Spike Dolomite” which can be purchased at a number of arts centers in the Valley or online. She founded and runs a nonprofit organization thirteen years ago, Arts in Education Aid Council, to restore the arts to public schools of the San Fernando Valley. She became politically active after her first child was born eighteen years ago, and has become even more active after finding herself with Stage 3 breast cancer while temporarily uninsured in November 2011. Saved by the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), Spike has become a proponent of health care reform out of gratitude. “Left Turn in NoHo” is her new liberal political blog. As the Republicans get crazier and more medieval, Spike gets more outspoken and more liberal. To see some of her paintings and cartoons, visit her website, www.spikedolomite.com. For more information on her arts education nonprofit, visit www.aieac.org. To read her health care blog, “Health Hazards”, visit www.highdeductibles.blogspot.com. Get one new ART cartoon a day by liking ART by Spike Dolomite on Facebook. Follow her on Twitter @SpikeArt.
**** For information on Los Angeles theatre, tickets to theatre in North Hollywood's NoHo Arts District, theatre reviews, the NoHo Event Calendar, restaurants, news and local businesses in NoHo, bookmark nohoartsdistrict.com.
The Art Directors Guild (ADG, IATSE Local 800) Gallery 800 debuted their 2014 Season with Three Artists You Should Know which opened on January 11th with a hosted reception. Gallery 800 showcases guild members’ personal art in a series of shows throughout the year. The January 11 reception featured personal works from Production Designer/Art Director Al Brenner, Scenic Designer Chris Coakley and Graphic Designer/Illustrator Pierre Bernard, Jr. The exhibit will be on display now through February 15, 2014.
For some reason, the month of January is my time to re-evaluate and realign my life, goals, and purpose. It’s a time where I encourage myself to do something differently, be adventurous, or change a habit. And for Auld Lang Syne, each year I gather my intentions, light the candles and make resolutions to become a better person. Wish me luck.
Last week my friend, Mr. Dolce, who is a language arts teacher at Van Buren Middle School in Albuquerque, NM told me about a list he had found on the web that some of his students were discussing in a round table type format. He read the list, called 16 Harsh Truths that Make Us Stronger, to me over the phone and I immediately knew I wanted to see it for myself. The original list was written by Marc and Angel (of Marc and Angel Hack Life). As a ballet teacher I felt inspired by their list to write 15 truths about being a professional dancer. Some are adapted from Marc and Angel's list and some come from my own experiences. If you haven't looked at Marc and Angel's site, I highly recommend it. They have many inspiring posts.
A story should have a beginning, a middle and an end… but not necessarily in that order.
- Jean-Luc Godard
Well, thats one way of looking at it, but before the story there is the idea, and a beginning.
It seems as though the whole country takes to the streets in Iran, Turkey and Egypt when the people have had it with their government, at great personal risk. But not us. No, Americans love to pound their chests and brag about how great America is, rant and rave about how politicians are a bunch of bums, and refer to the Constitution as if they’ve actually read it, but take to the streets? Nah, we have better things to do with our time, like shopping, watching TV and feeding our addictions.
I had the chance to talk to the lovely Toria Brightside. At such a young age she has achieved so much, running fashion shows for charity, being featured in fashion magazines as big as Vogue, all while studying Photography in Leeds. There is yet so much more to come from this bright young thing.
‘Across The Pond’ England, 2009
All the movies released over the past year, and even some not yet to be released, are vying for our attention, good reviews and possible consideration for various award ceremonies.
I adore this time of year! Yes, somewhere chestnuts are roasting on an open fire but here it’s my favorite time of year because there are sparkly lights everywhere, my birthday is imminent, and there are an abundance of reasons to go shopping! What’s not to love?
Paul Becker is best known as a protégé to the genius Kenny Ortega but he has evolved far beyond his dance roots to become one of the world’s busiest and best choreographer/directors; frequently appearing as a Judge on hit television shows like So You Think You Can Dance (CAN).
I am pleased to say, I am following my own advice. If you have been reading these articles for a while you would know that I am a huge advocate of self-production, creating your own material. So, in keeping with what I am asking all you to do, I am writing a screenplay. It's not my first, it's actually my seventh. And, as I am forging my way through my third draft it occurred to me that there are lessons to be learned about acting from writing. What are they? Here are four simple thoughts that come to mind:
Gustavo The Great, 52 Films/52 Weeks, Angeles Crest, 4am, 2011.
Our second episode about episodic’s!
What stunning thematic dialogue we are having!