rants, reports, raves, and embarrassments from eric trules

american culture

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……

Friendships Across the Aisle, Abridged

This is not a political piece. Or maybe it is. It is a piece about friendships. New and old. And how they can make you see yourself, and the world, differently. Especially at the start of a new year, on the East Coast of not so sunny Florida, half way between West Palm and Miami Beach. I’ll start with the new friend. Mr. Bobha. That’s not his real name, but it will suffice, even though the man is not a Buddhist, in fact far from it. He’s a devout Christian, Catholic in fact. He and his childhood sweetheart, now wife,…

TEDxFulbright 2015 in LA, Sept 26 @ the Broad Stage

I’ve had the good fortune and privilege of traveling abroad twice as a Fulbright Scholar – once to Islamic Malaysia in 2002 shortly after 9/11, and a second time to Bucharest, Romania in 2010. The first time I was a Fulbright Senior Scholar, the second, a Fulbright Senior Specialist in American Studies (Theater).  Unlike most academics, I was not  a “lecturer” per se; rather I was  a teacher of theatrical workshops in solo performance, improvisation, and clowning. Both Fulbright grants offered extraordinary experiences, for me personally, and I hope too, for my students and colleagues in each of these unique…

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…

Pigs, Pestilence & Rats

I’ve gotten 4 traffic tickets in the last 2 weeks. The first was for speeding on the 2 Freeway in Glendale, where the cop was in hiding under an overpass. An obvious speed trap! He said I was going 80. I said I was going no faster than anyone else in the left lane. Let’s see who’s right. I’ve called the Ticket Clinic. The 2nd was just a $73 parking ticket right here at Echo Park Lake. I was showing a new friend around the neighborhood. I was probably just in too expansive a mood, was unaware of the No…

Losing My Old Voice to Find A New One

Just about everyone who knows me knows I have a big mouth. Not just the size of it (I once fit 12 eggs into it), but also my compulsion to say whatever I want. Because of it, I have burned far too many bridges, hurt far too many feelings, and stepped on far too many toes. More than I would ever like to admit. But… I like to see how far I can go… to get away with something… to fight for “the right”… right up to the precipice… before I pull back… without injury or damage… to myself or…

“Dog Wars” in LA’s Elysian Park

“Road Rage”. We all know what that is, right? That explosive and provocative malady driven by frustration and self righteousness, overtaking ordinarily peace-loving auto drivers, at unpredictable (or perhaps very predictable) moments of pique anxiety and stress “on the road”. Especially in LA. Perhaps you have a touch of it. I know I do. Sitting in traffic, late for work, I sometimes “tap” on my horn to just “wake up” all the absent-minded, dull and distracted drivers in front of me. To get them to just “step on the gas” a bit, or perhaps… torun that yellow light, just a fraction after it’s turned to…

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