11:05 p.m.

There were some things I wanted to say

Having my family around me did wonders

And then I seem to fall apart

Or lose semblance of myself

I float away

Like Clooney in Gravity

I just float into darkness

My cries muffled

By now, the only person who can reel me in is me

Yes, I can do that now

Time for me to pull myself up together

Yes, I can do it





I have taken a liking/longing to my new parking lot, though it took me a little while to get used to it. I used to enjoy the transition of mobility between my house, the walk over to the lot and the 5 min. drive, usually through Skid Row to work. (San Pedro is way more cruise-able than the kitsch-pitsch Los Angeles St. (In Hindi, kitsch-pitsch is an expression of “rubbish”, which is exactly how Los Angeles St. is, in its total (mis)conception.)

The old lot was a few blocks away and it got me into a rhythm of you know, waking up, and at least getting some 3 blocks of sunshine/air on the walk to the car. I know it’s a small thing, but it actually made my transition from house to vehicle to work very full(filling).

However, when I realized what a shady operation the parking lot was, I had to – on principle – GTFO! I was sorry to leave this open-air spot because it’s spaciousness gave my mind a lot of room to stretch out and be in. It is always better when things flow.

The new lot looked totally shady, but was recommended by my building’s manager. I am realizing it is better to take people I know on their word of mouth these days. It strengthens an ever-strengthening social fabric. I should learn to trust people more. When I first arrived, the middle-aged (but not from the Middle Ages) blonde lady took one look at me and made an exception. Space is extremely strained Downtown. A good parking space is something to covet. The new lot was and is an unusual operation, but I didn’t know how entertaining and comical it would be! The lady has definite matron-hood over this joint! She runs the tightest ship. She keeps a golf cart around and cruises up and down floors! Lol! She has three younger, core workers who know if your car is being blocked, or where your keys are if you give them up (you give them up if you are going to be blocking someone). And, they are all incredibly sweet, honest and knowledgeable. They all look like they could be siblings. But I somehow don’t they actually are. That is just to say that there is a seriously familial vibe happening up in this biatch!

The building itself is like a funhouse from the 70’s. It reminds me of places like Fantastic Nathan’s (it was an indoor amusement park at Cinderella City Mall in Englewood, Colorado  full of mazes, inflatable castles, dank caves, glow in the dark rooms and much much more.) because of the awesomely trippy paint job. (But I think it won’t be that way for long)

You have to be SO careful because if you’re literally a couple inches off, you’ll wreck your car! That is because there are pillars every 10 feet to navigate through. And they’re painted an acidic forest green, while the walls are painted a bright turquoise and acidic blue! Hahaha!!! All of this though, is, of course become its charm. A super-narrow and super steep, spiraling ramp takes you up to the second and third floors. I run up and down this thing because it is superior to the rather straightforward stairwell. Both second and third floors are equally cramped and precarious to maneuver. But you know what? All of this dissipates because it is all managed well enough. When you are comfortable with people, everything changes and even tight spaces like this begin to feel….roomy. They are always moving cars, making more room and never losing their cool, though I imagine she definitely knows how to negotiate high-pressure situations.

In recent weeks, I became impressed by this Lego-like structure and the owners. A major overhaul/renovation overtook the outside lot and inside structure. little by little, workers appeared in teams. And just like that, my trips up to my car were highlighted by little improvements and additions. A resurfaced wall here and a newly-paved landing there. Next, they unfolded scaffolding throughout the building inside the structure and outside in the lot. Then, they mounted wire mesh screen throughout. Finally, over the course of just a day or two, resurfaced the whole thing in freshly-applied mortar. Awesome! I have a very primal response to this kind of activity. It reminds me of how they do things in India. It’s like when you lack modern equipment, you just go with other tried-and-true methods. Weirdly though, it feels like a home. Weirdly! To be a part of something where people are actually doing something good and doing good by others, is simply a loving environment. You go the extra miles when you love.




Under their influence

Kamil has taught me acting since October. We still have months to go before the whole three class blocks are completed. But something peculiar happened. Kamil vacationed in Singapore over the holidays. He was super stoked to reunite with his family. Yet at the same time, he was balling out here, picking up bigger and bigger opportunities in what seemed like a rapid climb to the top. Over the holidays, his friend’s Facebook walls would be continuously papered with his posts, obsessively capturing everything he would be eating; a journey told in food. I remember when we were talking about addiction in class and what sorts of behavioral ticks might capture being addicted – he used food of all things – as his own, personal trigger of addictive desire. He even went so far as to lose himself in feeling sweat upon his upper lip at the thought of food and probably all the delicious food he was going to drown in when he got to Singapore.

And low and behold, there were all those posts on his and everyone’s walls; colorful arrays of bowls of curry, soy shakes, spreads of entire dinners, and for weeks on end, nearly every day! I came to know the full extent of his food addiction.

And then we got the email. Kamil was not coming back to finish up the second block following the holiday break due to a family emergency. As usual, we were prepping  a laundry list of homework for class including our scenes. And then, nothing. Admittedly, a pang of relief crept up within me. I mean, I strive to finish what I begin, but at this stage, I was beginning to wonder if I had veered to far in the wrong direction with his instruction.

Yet, it had been a glorious fall. He had an intensity about him, every time, when someone is dedicated like he is. Much of going back to class in some sense, is redeveloping your social connective tissue. Many of us, new to this fold, were probably looking to reconnect with ourselves. But in the process, it became before our eyes, an experiment in group social interaction. We had to let go of ourselves. Say what was on our mind. Turn our feelings outward. Doing that with a group of people you just met is both exciting and uncomfortable. How this came about was special. A lot of bonding took place. So in essence, you’re tight with these people. It is so….tribal.

I knew I was ambivalent upon returning to class. I was wearily tired from a holiday season that seemed to be herky jerky in terms of flow between activities, work and friends. Knowing that there’d be this discontinuity of teaching and changes in how the class would be taught, and how we would resume  – or if we would – I was a little worried because at orientation 4 months prior, I’d gotten a bad impression of Dom, who was taking over. He struck me as unfocused, all over the place and without an ability to give direction. He seemed weak. It was almost as if he were looking for our approval. Needless to say, I wasn’t looking forward to this class and interacting with his nervous energy, but there were also, only two more classes to go. And how this transpired baffled me.

Class #7 of 8

In walked Dom. I was immediately in a strange mood. I was relieved on one hand, that much of Kamil’s intense classes were over. In some ways, it felt like someone trying to beat you over the head in order to get you to relax. It was Kamil now that it was over, who’s nervous energy I realized was not jibing overall. But in other ways, I was still upset. In my mind, no teacher could just come in expecting we were going to be comfortable enough to let ourselves go, and also, to try and connect what we were working up to, with another plan. It turned out, we were not going to be doing our scenes. I just didn’t get it. As the first class with Dom ended though, the bluster of feelings running rampant inside of me had transformed to good will. I saw that even though Dom had not the punch and energy and passion as Kamil, he was freaking seasoned and that was why he seemed to have a lot less of the three up front. In other words, he can deliver bits of wisdom at random in a single breath without batting an eye. How was I going to be against his own good will? That would be stupid. I decided to stick around. I get caught up sometimes. I will admit that.

The material we explored with Kamil, the “school” of thought we were a part of, opened me up, invariably to the luster of this kind of acting. Like the difference between seeing Lincoln and Django. The former puts all its chips so much on the characterization of Lincoln himself. Everything else is almost secondary and supporting. Here, Lincoln – or D.D. Lewis, goes so far into himself, to connect to Lincoln, that he becomes Lincoln, and becomes self-possessed. To me, this approach is pretty dry, but from this class I’ve learned this different way and the techniques that amount to building a singular character. This cerebral approach won’t be found in Django, which is rooted in an intellectual and actively social approach. Each character in Django embodies a world rife with it’s own history and culture and agency. In effect, Django, like all Tarantino films are about people and people’s motivations. His characters are all caught in questions of their own life paths. Lincoln is a different kind of performance altogether. In it, the narrative is the main character, rigidly so.  The actors bend themselves around the lines. There is never a question of what takes precedent. The words. Take. Precedent! : )

Anyhow, my horizons have been broadened to learn about working towards the script. I would never naturally, have gravitated towards this approach. I would have been more naturally inclined to explore myself and those in the scene and to let human nature dictate a performance. Django does this with aplomb. I will never forget what we learned with Kamil though. His attention to specificity has gotten me to think a lot more about details. I am thankful for his class. Being the young guy he is contrasts greatly with a veteran like Dom. Kamil has a lot more to prove. Dom, has proven himself. Kamil is just a little bit like watching the Chicago Bulls under Tom Thibodeau. He is new and somewhat winning to this game, enthusiastic but has a lot to learn that only life experience can impart, or maybe it can only impart so much. Maybe he is just a worker plain and simple. I don’t doubt he will go on to better things though. He is as determined and steely as they come. It is a huge difference to watch this dynamic of somewhat-experienced vs. experienced unfold these days in class with Dom.  It is a night and day difference to work with someone who comes to class without an agenda, and one who just comes, truly relaxed enough to make everyone else feel relaxed enough to be themselves. It feels full. That is the goal you know. To feel full.

I just gave a critique of two teachers, both whom I respect, but one who I gravitate towards more. I can’t believe Dom is actually a lot different than what I saw. I hope I can help him with this because I wonder how many judgmental people there were that day in orientation who got the same impression and chose another teacher. I know I did, when it should have taken a drastically different turn.

Now in the end of my post, I realize a happy, fulfilling life is all just a matter of compatibility. Having better compatibility will always get you better results. I am happy and even rewarded to have worked with Kamil. He built us up nobly and made us work damn hard. But still, I wanted  meaningful dialogue in addition to the work I was putting into this. Again, I wanted to feel full. Now I do. I am glad to be under the wings of this seasoned veteran now.