Tuesday, June 29, 2010

How To Find What You're Not Looking For

Ciao fuckas!

Hey did you know that you can't get pregnant through the mouth?   So put back that pregnancy test Jane, you ignorant slut! No need to worry ladies & gentlemen.  I just wanted to share some wisdom in case some of you are having cubicle pubicle romances.

Yes parishioners,  the spirit is moving through me and I've been in the blogesphere more than usual.   Like the Budda, I have a overlapping belly and have wisdom to share.

This spring a friend and colleague, a wonderful artist-hustler named Mara Casey approached me about teaching a class at her studio. Typically her classes are geared towards actors: casting director and/or director workshops, scene study etc., (Let the record also show that she manages to gather really good talent.) Not just a bunch of cute assholes that bring in scenes from a Danielle Steele novel, and declaring it a classical text.  But you know, smart and savvy artists.  So when she asked me to teach a class, I immediately pooped my pants.  And all I could think was "I don't like children. What if they're mean? Or have stupid names like Denim? Or Apple? Or Shiloh? Or LaDoncorleonisha? I can't beat them...what if they bring guns to class? Or pot? Will I be tempted to buy pot from the student? What if they talk about Gucci Mane or Soulja Boy and I snap and---beat them?" Then I remembered that this class was for adults. Phew.

So after I gave Mara every excuse for not teaching a 4 week workshop on the creative ways of making art for writer-actors, she could see past my bullshit and wouldn't take no for an answer.  Now, you may not know me dear reader. Allow myself, to introduce...myself. My name is J. Nicole Brooks. I am and actor, writer and director.  Acting is the main event. Writing is still new and strange. And directing is something I've always loved and knew I would end up doing.  I've done many things in my short life.  I've driven the bus (yes, I have a CDL), I've been a model for the Art Institute of Chicago, I've waited tables, worked for a dating service, sold expensive cosmetics yada yada yada...but never NEVER have I been charged with the responsibility of teaching.

It was slated to be a 4 week class that met once a week, from 7-10pm.  The class size was about 8 students.  Mara offered to send me each students IMDB (Internet Movie Data Base) profile if I wanted to know who was in.  I chirrped "sure, yes, that'd be great"  Know full and fucking well, that if I had really looked at their credits I would not have shown up the first class.  Most of their IMDB profiles are longer than my arm, while mine own profile has credits shorter than your pube hair. (Boy I'm makin a lot of pubic jokes today.)

So from what I understood, these were seasoned actors who were interested in writing. They were all at different levels in writing--which made me question even more, why in fucks name I was "teaching".  I swear my nerves were wrecked. Everyday before class I would call my fellow ensemble member David Kersnar a brilliant actor, writer, director and a professor. And the conversation would often go like this:

"Hey David, it's Slick!"
"Hey Slick! How are you doing out--
"Yah, dude cut the bullshit. Tell me what you know."
"Wait, what? What do you mean--"
"Mothafucka I know you know! Them white folks pay you good money at Northwestern! Don't be selfish! Share your knowledge! I wanna teach. Teach me how to teach. NOW."
"Okay...well, what exactly is your goal for the class Nic?"
"Oh I see you on some bullshit.  You don't wanna teach me how to teach?"
"No, I'm happy to help you. I just wanna know what kind of class--"
"Fuck you David. You're a goddamned racist and I hope you accidentally eat some ham you Jew!"

And then I'd slam down the phone and dial my next would be teacher...But I think Mary Zimmerman put a block on her phone against my number.

So the Yellow Brick Road was crumbling, and these people...these students--IMDB actors had paid money to watch spout out wisdom.  I tried to channel Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society, but I got freaked out at the idea of one of my students committing suicide.  Then I tried to channel Joe Clark in Lean on Me.  And it clicked! Yes, I will be Morgan Freeman! I will yell and beat them until they raise their test scores and can sing Fair Eastside in 4 part harmony.  (cue Gangsta's Paradise music) I'll visit their homes, teach them a sport and save them from crack heads and bad produce!  One girl will get pregnant and I'll deliver the baby because the father is in jail---

Fuck wait...they're not kids. Oh my god. It's the first class, and I'm here. They're here. I have a group of adults--like really good actors that you see all the time working-- staring at me.  And I staring back at them.  Mara is staring at me. And I don't know how to begin. I felt nauseous, and my vision blurred. I remember stumbling about...slam. I hit the floor. Silence... And then suddenly my teaching angels appear. 

"Where am I? My head...wait, I hear bells. Mr. Belding? Is that you?" I managed to say.
"Yes Slick! I've come all the way from Bayside High to help you. And I brought some friends." he said
"Mr. Kotter? Welcome back Kotter?! You taught the Sweathogs!??" Jumping to my feet.
"Up your nose, with a rubber hose slick! Go get em kiddo!"
I looked around and the studio was filled with all of my teaching heroes. They had come to save me.
"Oh my god! You're all here? For me?! Oh my god look it's Theo's math teacher from The Cosby Show...I was so happy when you had that baby Mrs.Westleg.  Oh look, it's Mr. DeMartino from Daria. Oh your eye really is creepy and bulging...And oh my god! The White Shadow! Coach Ken Reeves you taught the boys basketball and taught them about life---you're here. You're all here..."

Welcome Back Kotter steps foward and hands me an apple.  He told me a corny joke and when I opened my mouth to laugh he shoved a quaalude down my throat. I still don't know why he gave me an apple. I think he was using the fruit to distract me from the hallucinogenic drug that he forced me to take. Wanna know what happened next? A magical calm that only teachers feel (well, drug users know the calm too) My fears and intimidation suddenly vanished. My vision came back to focus and with the army of great TV teachers behind me, I was ready to lead.  And for 4 weeks, with the help of Mara, and the input of the students we did it.  We created a 4 week workshop for actor-writers and man was it rewarding.  I was humbled and honored to witness their glory.  A group of brave, honest and present people.  And so friends, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

So my advice dear friend, is to do something that scares the shit out of you. It will make you stronger.
I'm not sure where this rabbit hole will lead, but maybe I'll follow it.
Haha I said rabbit hole.


NEXT BLOG: How Parasites can make you thin and sexy!

1 comment:

Kamal said...

what the lil weezy?!?!? You are sooooo stoooopidly hilarious. I have too many comments for this blog. But I'll sum it up in one: I'm officially your biggest fan now