rants, reports, raves, and embarrassments from eric trules

ageing

On Retirement from a Life in the Theater

Tomorrow I’ll pick up my final pay check. It’s my “last day of service” at the great University of Southern California, where I’ve taught in the School of Dramatic Arts for 31 years. I started as a simple adjunct instructor with a single improv class, and I ended up improvising my way to becoming a full-time “Associate Professor of Theater Practice”. Non- tenured… but still impressive in my parents’ eyes, and not anything I could have anticipated or imagined when I graduated college in 1969 with a degree in Frisbee. That’s almost 50 years ago… during which time I grew…

Finding Myself… at “Mo Ming”. Or… What the Hell is “Mo Ming”?

I don’t know about you, but I was raised to be a good kid. As a child of the 50s and 60s, that meant: going to school, getting good grades, being honest with your parents, getting into the finest college, graduating Cum Laude, becoming a doctor, working hard, getting married, buying a house, having children, making lots of money, retiring and have grand children. No one mentioned the bumps in the road: puberty, adolescence, repaying student loans, dating, co-dependence, landing a job, changes of career, changes of cities, sickness, divorce, doing taxes, Medicare, 401(k)s, disappearing pensions, getting old, cancer, or……

Still Alice?

I finally watched STILL ALICE with Juliane Moore on Netflix. I was sitting in my deceased father’s red leather chair in my bedroom, and my 8 year old, adopted nephew-to-be, from Indonesia, was sitting on the huge, king size bed, playing with his iPad. I had heard that Ms Moore’s performance, which won an Academy Award for her, was spectacular, but that the movie was only so-so. In fact, I had been warned not to watch it just the day before by a German artiste who absolutely hated it. Nevertheless, I watched it and… I was completely captivated from the…

July 4th, 2015: Cassius & the Kid Soften the Curmudgeon

Yeah, ok, so I’m a curmudgeon. A parsimonious tough guy. On first approach, I have a stern face and a menacing growl. I put people off. I’m not very open to meeting new folks and not very easy to get to know. Some take it for arrogance, but c’mon, you know that’s not the real me. I’m just a big, over-sensitive softie. Inside, where it counts. All that barking and menacing? It’s just a front… a defense… a performance persona… to keep the hostile world at bay. It’s been that way ever since… well, forever. Or at least ever since…

He Was a Friend of Mine: Jack Slater

“Friend” is a word I value. I don’t use it lightly. As in “Facebook friend”. The word has more respect about it than that. At its core, it resonates with words like trust, loyalty and longevity. Because it also has substance about it, something Facebook and merely “acquaintance” simply don’t have. And there is a beautiful song about friendship that I love. it’s called “He Was a Friend of Mine”. My favorite version was sung by Dave Van Ronk, the salty, crusty folksinger with the raspy voice who was sort of the Mayor of Greenwich Village back in the early…

The “R” word

5/13/14 It used to be the “C” word. C-c-c-ommitment. Normally a young man’s word. Why ever get married, settle down, have a family, limit your (sexual) options? What about freedom? Opportunity? Spontaneity? Improvisation? Living in the moment? Be here now? What about the 60s? Sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll? I’ll tell you “what”. Life is what. It has a way of catching up with even the best (free-est) of us? Leaving us older, lonelier, less and less healthy and attractive with each passing year. Maybe even sadder, wiser, but more isolated… eventually, if we don’t make the effort, we…

on retirement

“RETIREMENT”… with guaranteed income and/or a pension doesn’t exist in our country anymore. And SOCIAL SECURITY simply isn’t enough. The basic “contract” with workers has been “broken”. “Work long and hard and you will be guaranteed a financially secure “old age” and “retirement”. Sorry, that’s an idea of the past. Yet why is it that US postal workers, can retire at 55 years young, and union Teamsters, who are guaranteed 75% of their working salaries after they retire – for the rest of their lives – are so well taken care of? While the rest of us schmos? We have…

R.I.P, Clay the Dog, 1998 – 2013

It ended the same way it began. On a hard, linoleum-covered wooden floor. Me lying next to Clay, the Dog. Comforting him at the very beginning. And comforting him again at the very end. Clay, my homeboy companion. My escape artiste extraordinaire. Clay, the canine outlaw of Echo Park. The cat killer and coyote enforcer. The sweetheart and heartbeat of Elysian Heights. Clay, the Dog, who is no more.

act three?

“act 3”, you know, of a play? it follows its 2 predecessors: act one, which brilliantly sets up what’s at stake for the protagonist. followed by act two, in which the play develops with tension & suspense as it builds in “rising” action, when finally, you have, “act 3”, the climax and resolution of the play. if it’s a good/happy ending, the play is called a comedy; if it’s a not so good, bummer of an ending, the play is called a tragedy. in either case, act 3, the “falling” action and… the end of the play. now being a…

mountains and ocean and hollywood sign… and yet?

look to the right, exactly 90 degrees from the terraced hillside back deck of lucretia gardens, and there are — the san gabriel mountains — gently looming over the hazy glendale flats. turn 180 degrees back to the left and there’s — the glassy silver rim of the pacific ocean, dividing the big sky of another multi-colored california sunset from the slightly high-rise sprawl of snarky century city and the equally-hazy flats of LA’s toney west side. turn back another 90 degrees to the right, and there, straight ahead, is the white dome of the griffith observatory, the shrubby tree tops of tom mix hill (of legendary silent film cowboy lore), and lo and behold… the iconic hollywood sign itself.

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