rants, reports, raves, and embarrassments from eric trules

baby boomers

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,…

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…

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…

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…

An Homage to “Teachers”

General Constance Greene. Lieutenant Colonel Joan Colaprete. Those are the names of the two “teachers” in my life. Both high school English teachers. Both members of the legion of “teachers” we all hopefully remember from our childhoods throughout the course of our lives. Both were strong and unrelenting. Both eccentric and inspiring. They set the bar high so their students could rise. They got the best out of us. And they planted the seed in me, for the hunger to learn. I use the word “teacher” as an homage to the great John Steinbeck, the Mark Twain of the mid…

A Baby Boomer’s Belated Blog to George Will

Dear Mr. Will, Hello. How are you? I am sorry that it has taken me so long to write to you. Almost 25 years, I suppose. I see that you are a very popular man to attack on The Huffington Post these days, what with your recent “controversial” article about sexual assault on college campuses, where in the interest of full disclosure, I have worked for the last 28 years, albeit only as a “crazy theater professor” at the University of Southern California, which I’m not sure qualifies for true condemnation or contempt in your morally superior world of intellectual…

Childhood Heroes, Part 2, Cassius Clay aka Muhammad Ali

Cassius Marcellus Clay. The “Lousiville Lip”. “The Greatest” heavyweight boxing champ of all time. “Floated like a butterfly, stung like a bee!” My second boyhood hero… long before he became known as the most famous man on the planet, Muhammad Ali. In 1960, when i was 13 years old, 18 year old Cassius Clay burst onto the national sports scene by winning the Olympic gold medal. He was brash. Talented. Faster than lightning. And he couldn’t be beat. With the help of loud mouth and equally-brazen sportscaster, Howard Cosell, Clay brought entertainment, poetry, and show biz back to the dismal…

childhood heroes, part 1, mickey mantle

june 10, 2014 i’ve been blogging a lot about my childhood lately. my first discovery of anti-semitism on valentines road (http://www.erictrules.com/blog/there-was-a-horse/). my horrendous, forced-upon-me  bar mitzvah at temple sholom (http://www.erictrules.com/blog/bar-mitzvah-blues/) . a lot of pain, a lot of negativity, blah blah blah. we all have it. so what? can i really transform the microcosm of my own pain into the universality of art? make it the story of other people’s pain and suffering? like o’neill? arthur miller? tennessee williams? the 3 greatest american playwrights. not that i’m a great american playwright. i’m not. but… i’m a theater prof, and a…

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