May 2010


Blacktress is driving through the NoHo arts district in the valley when she spots a marquee in front of a small theater that reads: Sexy and Suicidal, LA’s fourth longest running stage play.  Blacktress is glad to be driving away from the theater instead of towards it.    I can’t believe it’s still running, she thinks.

Blacktress is no stranger to the production.  She’d been cast in the show years ago after being in LA for only two months.  The playwright/director/producer Tony White called to give her the good news.

“But I didn’t audition,” Blacktress said dumbfounded.

“I went over your resume and I liked it.  I’ve been doing this a long time.  I can just tell you’ll be right.”

Blacktress was confused but in no position to turn down roles.  Tony went on to explain the intricacies of his masterpiece.

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Blacktress has just arrived at Get Cast Now Acting Workshops.  This week’s guest casting director Rick Peterson, on the other hand, has not.  But his reputation precedes him and it stinks up the place…

“He’s a snarky little asshole,” a workshop devotee cautions, while stapling her resume to the back of her headshot.

Twenty minutes later he barrels in, bitching about traffic.  Blacktress hands him her picture.  He studies it, then her, then the picture again.

“Ewww. You need new pictures. I hate this one.”

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"To be an actor, you have to be a child."-- Paul Newman Photo by Miles Feldsott

In NeverLAnd you don’t have to look around too hard to spot those affected by the Peter Pandemic.  Michael Jackson wasn’t the only one.  The town is filled with Lost (Angeles) Boys and Girls who’ve run away from home, who like to hang out and get high on fairy dust, and who nourish themselves with happy thoughts:  like star trailers and pool parties in the Hollywood Hills.   These lost boys and girls are so afraid of growing up, that the most taboo question you can ask at a stranger at a dinner party is: “How old are you?”  Try it.  Most will look at you as if you’ve just asked them details about their morning bowel movement.  Especially actors.  We don’t want to grow up; we work in Playhouses.  And who does?  Not when getting older is associated with wrinkles, sagging skin, erectile dysfunction and general crabbiness?

(Click more to see the rest of this photo story…)

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Photo by Miles Orion Feldsott

It is Saturday night and Blacktress is more than happy to spend it gabbing with her girlfriend Iyanla on the phone, while  playing Virtual Catch-up:  the ritual of perusing the Facebook pages of old friends from back home in lieu of ever actually calling them.

“Why would I ever call these people?   This is far more entertaining.” Blacktress says while scrolling through wedding photos of a girl she never much cared for in middle school.  “Terrible color scheme,” she notes.

“And they’re all married back home,” Iyanla bemoans.  “Every. Single. One.  By twenty- five.  And they all have two kids.  In LA we have two roommates, maybe. But home everyone’s got two goofy-ass kids.”

“I know, what’s up with that?”

“They grew up.”  “We moved to Never Never Land where everyone still has dreams.”

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It’s the middle of the week and Blacktress is downtown at The Edison.  Her friend and former roommate Terrence Clarke, is slumped over on the barstool next to her.  It’s happy hour, but Terrence isn’t smiling.  He has become romantically (meaning sexually) entangled with Hollywood heavyweight, Sasha Brown, a successful actress.   Sasha also happens to be, not so successfully married to Keyvon Brown, a Hollywood featherweight.

“It’s a sin,” Terry says earnestly between gulps of his Cabernet.   “It goes against all my beliefs.”

Most of the people Blacktress meets in LA have long abandoned their childhood religious beliefs, in favor of practicing something more exotic, like Buddhism, Spiritualism or Narcissism (that is if they aren’t Scientologists.)  But Terry remains joyfully devoted to his Christian faith; a faith that, up until now, has always guided him down a righteous path…  Even if that path veered around golden career opportunities.

“I won’t trade in my integrity for an IMBD credit,” Terrence once told Bilal Patrick, an independent filmmaker.  A few months back, Bilal was desperate to cast him in the highly offensive role, “Monster Thug” in his movie, Hood Niggaz: Da Untold Story.

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