sick

these days i feel like i am sick more often than i am not. nothing works the way it used to. there is always a cough or a wheeze, a back ache, fatigue. feet and ankles ache. stomach is constantly upset.

thoughts turn inward and i have a hard time focusing on how fucked up the world is because i just want the pain to stop.

i turn 41 in a matter of months and sometimes i feel like death would be merciful for not me but everyone i inconvenience with my creaky aching spewing rotting carcass.

but then a debbie gibson song comes on my shuffle and i think well ok

Giving Me the Business

My first professional acting job for film or tv was in a shitty little indie movie called “Bystander”. I played the comic relief (quelle surpise). You can watch my big moment here:

Since then I’ve had the chance to work as everything from a background extra to a major player in mainstream film and tv, and the one thing I’ve enjoyed is the sheer professionalism you find on set. Everyone there is there to do a job. It’s work. It can be fun, it can be tedious, but its a job and at the end of the day you’re there to get paid.

Recently I have been working on an HBO project called “Mare of Easttown”. It has been an ordeal. On my first day, there were around 500 background actors on set, and it was truly a cattle herd situation that nobody had under control.

My second day was filmed in an abandoned hospital. There were about 30 actors on set. The wardrobe people were supposed to have an outfit for me as a doctor, but they were not provided large enough sizes to fit my body. As a result, I was downgraded to a generic hospital nurse. Except they didn’t have large enough sizes in scrubs for my body. I ended up being downgraded to a “visitor” at the hospital, and was on set for about 12 hours without being used on camera. The fun part is, they told me at the START of the day that they couldn’t imagine any visitors being needed because the scene took place in intensive care. They knew they didn’t need me (and three other actors provided as “visitors”.) None of us worked.

In addition, there were multiple accidents on set that day. I sat down in a chair provided for us in the holding area and it broke apart underneath my body. I fell flat on my back in front of 20 odd other actors, who were all horrified. Production did not seem interested. Later that day a petite woman walked face first into a GIANT rearview mirror on a truck that was parked in the pitch black darkness of a small area outside we were forced to use to leave set that night. She literally fell to the ground crying. Production did not seem interested.

My third day on set, I never made it to set. I took an Uber out to a little town in Pennsylvania no one has ever heard of, and waited in an empty parking lot for a shuttle that never came to pick me up. No one answered any phone numbers I had to reach anyone, so I just went home.

Now, I am roughly three weeks due on a paycheck from working November 19th, and it hasn’t arrived. I emailed the payroll company yesterday and they did not respond. I called them today and they said they were never notified by the production company that I had worked. I’d already emailed them my work voucher, so they dug into their email and found it, and said they’re going to have to touch base with production and investigate why I wasn’t reported as having worked.]

I am reluctant to continue doing work for this production based on all of these experiences. In my 20 odd years in this business, I have never seen such a shoddy, shifty production company, nor have I felt more neglected as a professional.

MellowTron

Spent most of the day at home doing absolutely nothing, which is my least favorite yet most common mode of function these days. I live with a beloved slob (self confessed), and lately I haven’t felt like cleaning up after her. Today I got 100% of the laundry and dishes caught up, took out all the trash from every room, and cleaned up the entire living room. Mopped the kitchen. Also I was on kid watch today so I fed and nurtured the kid and all that junk.

Two hours later the laundry basket was full again with all the kid’s dirty laundry. So where’s my Nobel prize?

Dreams

When I was 19 I used to say a lot of stupid shit. Two of the stupid shit things I would say were these:
1.”I’d rather die penniless and hungry in the street than spend my life doing a job that isn’t my dream.”
2.”I’d rather smell shit forever than not be able to smell anything ever again.”

I thought I was REALLY deep.

I’d just signed a record deal with Richard Morel, a hot shit dance music producer who in turn had been working with Deep Dish, grammy nominated remixers based in the D.C. area. I lived and breathed creative nonsense 24/7 and there was never a rest to my creating. I wrote a book of poetry. I took photos of everything, all the time. I was writing a new song every day and most of them were shit.

The ones that were the least shitty turned into “Mnemosyne’s Lounge”, my first album. It was a heavily collaborative process with Morel that ended badly. It took me a solid 10 years to really, truly get over the fact that the project went nowhere. Morel’s fingerprints are all over the music we made together, but the lyrics, the vocals, the heart of the project was my own.

It was a concept album. Mnemosyne is the goddess of memory, the mother of the muses and sister of the furies. Each track I’d written for the album (many of which went unrecorded) was inspired by a muse or a fury, and meant to address a different part of what my life had been up until that point. In reality we only truly finished six fully produced tracks, and the final project I released was more like an extended E.P. with bonus instrumentals.

“Scarecrow Song” was inspired by the death of Matthew Shepherd, but was directed at the gay community, who had chosen to martyr this young attractive white boy when at almost the same time an older man named Billy Jack Gaither had been slaughtered in a similar crime and got no press attention at all. (PS – no shade, but I released my track before Melissa Etheridge released hers!)

“Kissable” was about all of the near-miss romances we experience in life. “Circle’s Side of the Story” was about angry young men who reject the status quo but never quite pull out of the muck of trying to live an alternative life. “Red Hotel Wall” was about a childhood friend who was addicted to heroin.

The single from the album, “Relationship Destruction Machine,” was the most popular (humor me.) It was a hard house dance song about the way one can build someone up to be something they aren’t, and then after falling in love with them, become resentful that they’ve “changed”. That track was my first commercially released song, put out on compilation CD by the label “DC:ide”. It was later used in soundtracks for both a TV show and a movie.

1999 was an intense year of change for me. It began a more than ten year period of complete reckless abandon and terrible life choices fueled by mental illness. My mother had just recently died, I had been living as an adult since 17, and all I knew is that I was running from something.

I’m 40 now and I’m ready to stop running. To stop chasing that dream and find a new dream. It’s the most painful thing I’ve ever had to face, and I don’t know that I will come out the other side of it altogether myself.

“Dreamteller”
(From the upcoming album “Syrup”)

whatever is a boy to do
when everyone keeps telling you
you, you’re the one, the best
the unfailing scatterheart bequest
it’s a never start

blink blink, that shade of blue
wide open eyes were never so untrue
so they take and they take from you
you’re gonna take it all back
you can do

he’s the dreamteller
what a dream, what a total dream
he’s gonna take the stars from the sky
grind them into a cream
and spread it all across a life
a life that’s gonna fly by
dreamteller, never let the dream die

Hey. Sup? ASL?

For my many trillions of fans (counting guinea pigs), you might notice I’ve revamped my page. 2020 is upcoming and I’ve got lots of irons in the fire, so I wanted something a little more polished and organized.

My autobiography is finally getting a release in March of this year!
I’m working on a new E.P. called “Syrup”.
I’ve been working on a new TV show for HBO called “Mare of Easttown”.

Basically this is the year I finally become a worldwide star! By which I mean I’ll drink strychnine and melt into the Earth as was always intended.

Either way, thanks to the they of all you yous who have stuck around these last twenty odd years. XOXO – James