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Dear Little Bobby,
I’ve been acting for almost 20 years, and I’ve grown more and more discontented with the industry. On more than one occasion I’ve been sexually harassed at various creepy levels. These men are in charge, and they’re dangling the carrot, and I want the carrot. I want the roles.
At least I think I did, at one point. I still want this career, I think. But the lines are just terrible; the characters I’m asked to play, shallow—a caricature of femininity. The gatekeepers are terrible—controlling, manipulative, exploitive. Where do I go from here?
—Lost in LA
Dear Lost in LA,
I’m sorry that you have been harassed and that there are so many people trying to manipulate you. I know a VERY talented young lady—in fact, she’s one of my best friends, like a little sister to me—who has been involved in theater here in New Mexico for years and has always considered moving BACK to LA, where she grew up, to pursue acting. Because I care about her (AND you), I would never want her to endure being subjected to such asshole-ery as you describe.
I would also like to mention to you what I’ve tried to point out to her: In LA, any given actor is like a tiny fish in a VERY big pond. Actually more like an ocean. Whereas in a place like New Mexico, someone like her is a bigger fish in this pond. There has been a growing acting scene in Albuquerque for years, but that is always subject to change (for example, our current governor sucks).
If I were you, I’d put my happiness over my perception of success. That’s why my band Shoulder Voices never bothered moving to Seattle, LA, etc. You don’t have to move to Albuquerque, but you also don’t have to put up with such assholes for a part you may or may not get, or even want, judging by your words. Life is short. Do what brings you joy. Maybe that means staying in LA, looking for that awesome part. Or maybe that means community theater, where you get to act, direct, collaborate, write, etc., but have a day job (and that job doesn’t have to be waiting tables). You could live there teaching or somewhere like HERE working on the set of the next “Breaking Bad” spin-off (Yay!) or Transformers 5 (yawn).
Wouldn’t mind waiting tables if the place was cool, my band would STILL be a blast
Dear Little Bobby,
Can somebody like Dave Matthews and not be a complete tool?
—Sorting in Saratoga
Dear Sorting in Saratoga,
The short, judgmental answer would be: Hell no!!! EVERYONE who likes Dave Matthews is a tool.
On the other hand, just this weekend at our Shoulder Voices band practice, I felt compelled to tell everybody in the band that I just noticed our guitar player “likes” Charlie Sheen on Facebook. He claimed it’s because Mr. Sheen just came out as HIV positive (our guitar player works with people who have HIV, helping them get health insurance).
I said “Okay, then, explain why you also like Nickelback. Are THEY all HIV positive as well?” He then made some half-assed attempt to explain that it had to do with a meme going around social media along the lines of “Who can get more likes, Nickelback or this photo of a rotten egg sandwich?”
Maybe he doesn’t like eggs? I dunno.
My point is that my guitarist has fantastic taste in music (normally) and is not only a great musician, he is also a great person, not at all a tool. So we shouldn’t always assume why a person likes or truly enjoys anything. As far as Matt Matthews, or whatever his name is, I can’t stand his boring-ass attempt at music. But there are far worse acts that are far more popular. Adele comes to mind. What an amazing voice she has…and what terrible songs she sings. And I assume that Mr. Matthews and Adele have family members who like them and aren’t complete tools for doing so. Rock on.
#1 Monkees fan, with a tattoo to prove it