Friday, March 09, 2012

Meeting and Becoming "Meathead"

(The Mayor's Prop 8 press conference)

I'd been reflecting a lot recently. In February, I honored 10 years that I've been a published author. Of course, I'd been creative much longer than that. I got my first acting agent at sixteen. I went to colledge to study Drama at 18. I started doing performance art/solo work in my twenties. My first novel was published when I was 34.

However, long before that, I remember feeling that there were some things that just weren't fair in the world. All of that shows up in my writing. When my family first moved to America, we lived in a ghetto in Boston. I remembered that dishevled neighborhood, and maybe feeling there was something not right about that situation.

My father was happy that we left for Los Angeles. In Boston, he said cops would come around and harrass the immigrants. This was back in the late 1960's and early 1970's. In my adulthood, I'd had the pleasure of performing near that neighborhood (which is now a trendy part of Boston). I felt nothing but safe and welcomed.

In the 1970's we moved to Los Angeles, and I remember the class divide when "Bussing" came into the fray. Kids from economically depressed neighborhoods (like mine) were bussed to wealthier nieghborhoods (like Bel-Air). I think the goal was to improve race relations and equal out educational opportunities. I'm still not sure.

(With writer Dustin Lance Black)

When I was going to drama school in the 1980's, I couldn't help but notice that my white friends were going out for real roles, roles with names and backgrounds. I was going out for roles like Drug Dealer #1 or Asian #3. I knew I was as talented as my counterparts, but the opportunities were slim. In the 1980's, I also saw how gay people were dying of AIDS and there was a good portion of society who believed that they deserved it.

Recently, I'd been thinking about my work and my life. I'm grateful for the opportunities that came my way and the opportunities that I created. If I have work or get published, I think it's with people who feel along the lines that I do.

I continue to write and I continue to be socially aware. Every once and awhile, it gets glamorous, like when I was asked to represent API Equality-LA , (I serve on the Steering Committee) at a press conference on Prop 8. It was really cool.

However, most of this creative and socially conscious life is usually pretty ordinary. I write as much as I can. I show up to help at work.

(With actor and writer Rob Reiner)

Sometimes, I like to think that I get a sign that I'm on the right path. I do think it was pretty cool meeting "meathead" at the press conference. Rob Reiner played the fiery liberal antagonist to bigot Archie Bunker in "All in the Family." At the press conference, he came off that very same way! Mr. Reiner spoke passionately for gay marriage.

I've become that fiery liberal. I'm Meathead.

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