It's December Already, 2017
What can I say? Each year I hope the world heals a little more, but every year it sinks deeper into our societal septic tank. Although everything keeps getting more fucked up, however, personally life is good despite its challenges at home and around the world.
First on my mind is gratitude for my beautiful family. Even beyond the love of our canine pals Kenmore and Genji, I think I’m the luckiest guy for miles ‘round with a beloved partner of 48 years (officially married for one!) and a gorgeous, gracious, amazingly adoring boyfriend who’s 42 years my junior—which is a big help when hauling off garbage and bringing in groceries from the car, among many other little “gifts” from which I benefit in our unprecedented May-December (or is it January 1-December 31?) relationship.
Victor is thankfully still stable, although getting him to eat or shower is an effort. He doesn’t ever go out and even going to the doctor is a trial for him, yet we went to Las Vegas to “git hitched” last Christmas and he did unexpectedly well—even if he did spend most of our trip in the hotel room watching the same TV shows he watches day and night in LA. That led me to try another trip with him this year, taking him for his first visit ever to New Orleans last spring on my semester break—and let me tell you, Judge Milian and Guy Fiere looked exactly the same from our garret at the Bourbon Orleans as they do when watching them in LA. Still, Victor says he had a great time, so we are heading back to Vegas to celebrate our first (legal) anniversary for Christmas, my favorite time of year there when the Strip is as gloriously non-festive as anywhere on our risky planet.
I’m also returning to NOLA on my next semester break, but this trip I travel with my Ganymede to celebrate our own fifth anniversary together. I’ll get to show him the N’awlins that tugs continuously at my heart and I can’t wait to share it with him. Hugh was there once several years ago but only for an evening, traveling with a bunch of jocks while working as a stuntman on a film being shot in Baton Rouge. He remembers little except stumbling down Bourbon Street clasping a giant drink, being tossed a massive amount of beads, and wondering why random girls kept showing him their tits, so I’ll get to introduce my favorite city to a lover in the truest and most romantic sense, something I’ve always longed to do there.
So, after over 30 years of reviewing theatre in LA for other outlets, I have started my very own handydandy website this year and resigned from all my other journalistic obligations. It’s called TicketHolders LA and it’s a joy to not be restricted by what I can and can’t say—or to have the heart edited out of my pieces by people with a different kind of passion and purpose than ol’ Travee, a fellow forever hunting those artistic windmills in our parched and often surprisingly uncultured desert climes. And you know what? I love being my own head honcho or, as it says on my business cards, Asswipe-in-Chief. If you haven’t visited my site before, please do! There’s a lot more than theatre criticism there, including an album of my artwork (and more for sale), a rollercoaster ride featuring photos of my life beginning before my dinosaur companions got stuck in the tarpits, my novel, a link to my acting website and demo reels, even a page of my Gany’s mindblowing poetry. Check it out!
[And of course, if you're reading it here, you're on it!]
And you notice I said a link to my art for sale? Well, that’s the biggest news this year. I have painted all my life but never really thought my work was good enough to market. When people asked me why I didn’t paint more, I’d say I didn’t have any more unused wall space or friends moving into a new home. But thanks, really, to social media, I was encouraged to the point that, in July, I opened a shop on Etsy to potentially sell my wares (and also offer them through my website). Amazingly, since July I have sold thirteen original paintings, fifteen signed giclée prints on canvas of my work, and finished two commissions. Three of my canvases (I’ve done almost 40 this year, including all six pictured here) were featured on Ava DuVarney’s Queen Sugar TV series, produced by Oprah herself on her OWN Network, and in September, I returned “home” again to NOLA with 10 of my French Quarter and cemetery paintings in tow. They are currently on display at the historic Charlie’s Steak House uptown on Dryades Street which, aside for a discerning eye for great art (HA!), was voted one of the 10 best steak houses in America. As I mentioned, you can see my artwork posted on my website, but you won’t get a steak like that anywhere but Charlie’s.
I had two wonderful too-brief acting assignments this year, reprising my stay in the dayroom as Cheswick in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, again directed by Jenny Sullivan, at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica with the incredible Nancy Travis as our Nurse Ratched and Tyler Ritter as B-B-Billy B-B-Bibbitt. Then, always cast in the classiest of roles, I was given the opportunity to channel my inner Margo Martindale as a rather gregarious matronly victim of hypnosis named Marge Moore in a stage recreation of that 1962 Earl Hamner Twilight Zone episode called A Piano in the House at the Ensemble Theatre Company in Santa Barbara opposite my old friend Gregory Harrison, NCIS’ Joe Spano, and Chris Carter, creator of The X-Files, as Rod Serling!
I’m still private-coaching lotsa spoiled divas and neurotic TV stars, and I’m about to start my 8th year teaching acting and theatre history at New York Film Academy’s LA campus. I had the pleasure of directing two plays there as well this year: Laramie Project: 10 Years Later and Aaron Posner’s remarkable Stupid Fucking Bird—which you might remember I did in 2014 at the Boston Court Performing Arts Center. And as my tenure there lengthens, so does my resume. I have started teaching a lot of BFA and MFA classes for the NYFA’s LAS division, including a new assignment I began teaching this fall: Media in Society. You can bet I have a lot to say teaching that one.
And what is it I have to say? Don’t get me started. Let’s just say I've lived 71 years without ever hating another human being. Disliked intensely, yes. Cut someone out of my life, yes. But never ever have I felt real wish-you'd-die-a-horrible-painful-death hatred—until now, thanks to our stupid, ignorant, soulless, ego-driven dickwad Celebrity Appresident systematically destroying everything I've worked all my life to champion and change. My real wish this year? Let me live long enough to see this monster and everything he and his minions stand for utterly and totally destroyed.
Stay strong… and fight your ass off for a return to sanity in 2018!
Travis (a self-portrait on the steps of Marie Laveau’s home) ...
Genji Tacomeat and Kenmore Foodle...
…and our aquatic friends Donald, Barry, and Hill