2.25.2011

VIVA

LAS VEGAS

There's chills in my bones. The air is growing colder with the elevation and the creaking swing ahead in the R.V Park is rocking like a horror movie against the wind. I love little silhouettes like that. Vegas is gone, a trickled alien light board disappearing through the valley into a blue sunk dusk.

I walked past it today, finally. Went on south through the suburbs. I guess I didn't realize there were any. The desert middle class living seems lonely. Wake up, go to star bucks, manage whatever, all with those picturesque unphotagraphical mountains strung across the sky. What a sight. But what a lowly commercial spec to live in. It feels like a retirement community from Floridazona in the middle of a dry dusty valley. Nice cars, nice strip malls and shopping centers that look like strip malls and shopping centers anywhere else in the U.S. that's nice and surrounded by more chains in malls of more chains. It's a high end Baker, C.A. with gambling and gun stores. Tourists say Viva Las Vegas, these people live Las Vegas.

Parts of the west are lost so far as I can tell. Baron parodies of a glamorized time, ridden with empty casinos, hackneyed ghost tours, kitschy thrift stores and semi trucks galore. Towns are struggling for business and a purpose and enough people to actually call themselves a town. They're filled with good souls and souls sucked into screens and souls trapped in a bubbles like any other bubble. But they'll survive so long as people keep passing through. As long as vegas stands people will be passing through.

Im developing a philosophy called 'What does the Bear do?' Well, it wakes up in the morning, yawns, leaves the cave, gets a good scratch in before heading to the rest room, wanders the woods on his way to the stream where he enjoys his salmon lunch - he's watching his weight you know AND helping control the Salmon population- scares off some deer, eats a campers garbage, puts the moves on a friendly lady bear and depending on the season does all right for himself, heads back to the cave and goes to sleep. If its rainy out, screw it. The Bear will have a "me" day. And when it's cold? Forget it. The Bear sleeps through that nasty weather only to wake up in a beautiful spring and watch all the life rise back up. That's about it. Makes sense.

What does Man do?  Las Vegas.

It was a tough three weeks getting to Vegas and our anticipation was ill met. Literally. A.J. began a six day vomitous romp through the Sin City lights with some unknown alien death bug while the bottoms of my feet were stripped down to red and blistering. This of course culminated on Thursday, thirty miles before the strip. Nonetheless I was excited to get there, see people, lights, buffets. I've been known to play a hand or two in my day as well. The forced rest was much needed and Ballys proved to be a very accommodating hotel-mall-bar with gambling and go-go dancers.

Our room was upgraded at check in when A.J. ran like a flaming giraffe to the bathroom cupping his mouth before being able to sign the room bill. After informing Esther, the charming korean receptionist, that we had in fact walked to Las Vegas and A.J. was just feeling the effects, she immediately put us on a twenty second floor strip view deluxe room. Thank you Esther.

Las Vegas is a tacky boozed up playground for adults who love to get drunk and relive their frat days at big state before living in the middle of nowhere and visiting a shopping mall city, a fantasy land of pricey preoccupation.

Now, if I had to guess, I would say the entire state of Ohio was given a trip to the ole city of lights this Presidents Day weekend. Midwest tourists, everywhere! With their beer funnels and funny tee shirts and coupon books and boy do they walk slow. In the casino at night there were actually middle aged women sitting in large groups with tiaras on their heads, just like the commercials, drinking champagne, laughing like wombats and having the time of their lives in the "Night Clubs" like carmel, or fromagio or the X located next to the penny slots or table games with charismatic cover bands. It's just, like, the commercials...I can't believe it.

And guys just love talking to you to to report where theyre staying or what great deal they nailed.

"Where you stayin partner?"
"Ballys"
"Nicccce. Yep were over at the Aria. Great deal. Beautiful. Nailed it."

There are great deals everywhere. And boy do they buy, buy, buy, buy. Just stuff. A bunch of plastic souvenir blinky crap nothing stuff. That's all there is to do. Buy stuff. And It's great. It's big and stupid and fun and who doesn't like big stupid fun things and shows and cover bands and fake Sinatras and Streisands and showgirls and lights and money and roller coasters sailing through New York City. It can get tiring. The impersonators are weird. Why do people go see fake Michael Jackson....

But I like Vegas because I can sit down at a bar and order an Eiffel Tower of Margarita or a Football of beer or a Flamingo of Pina Colada. And they bring it right to you! Everywhere you walk is a moving walkway or escalator so you don't really have to walk anywhere, which is why it's incredible all those Ohioites, Ohioins? Ohiosters? People from Ohio walk so slow. Outside of Ballys is a hundred foot moving walkway that's engulfed by these continuing neon rings like a bright neon vortex. You just stand and slowly move through this gigantic unnecessary light tube from the lobby to the street. It's fun to ask the valet if he can point you in the direction of the "Tron Tunnel" as we have so aptly named it. Oh and every restaurant has scantily clad waitresses and bartenders who do tricks. Unless its the greek place I went to with the all you can eat Prime Rib special. They're waitresses are old and homely but they really know how to dish out round after round of prime rib.

So I spent most of my weekend sleeping or down in the spa or wandering the casino floor if my feet would allow me and wonder what there was to do at a casino without any money. I would wander the other Casinos too. Caesars is incomprehensible, The Imperial Palace is a dump and The Paris is lovely this time of year. I had slice of pizza inside New York New York at a stand in the cheeky hotel mini NYC located at Broadway and West Ave around the corner from 5th ave and across from Greenwich Village just past Brooklyn, next to the restrooms. The geography may have been off but the size of the fake three foot apartments located above the little shops were about right.

After an hour of wandering with no answer each time I would return to the room or the spa or the casino floor. It was during this wandering on Sunday that I got a text from A.J. who is back in the room recovering, -Dangerous Muse is playing at Krave tonight. must go.- Dangerous Muse...oh boy.

So pop sensation Dangerous Muse is playing a show at this club A.J. has been craving to go to, Krave. i pronounce it kra-vey. You can guess what kind of club it is. My friend Tom is one of two members of this electro pop group of mild fame. They're ridiculous and hilarious and great and one hell of a show. Both Tom and the front man Mike Furey went to college with A.J. And I, lived across the hall in my apartment in the bronx, and just so happen to be in Vegas when we just so happen to be walking through Vegas. So A.J. Felt miraculously better and my foot healed instantly and we put on our sunday best and went to meet them for Dinner at some french place before their show.

Tom sat hyper and joking with his oversized sunglasses and gelled half hawk red hair looking as always the rockstar while furey took in the strip from our prime outdoor table wearing his prim suit, risky business shades and looking as always the movie star. Their keyboardist was there too I think and someone's cousin. We sat and laughed and caught up and went back to the cabana that Krave put them up in, napped and headed to the venue around 1:30am. They were supposed to perform at 1:30am. Rockstars....

We sat backstage, enjoyed the complimentary bottle Jameson and cheeses and bullshitted with Tom and the keyboardist while Tyler the manager drooled over Furey, did I mention yet this was a big tacky gay club, and by about 2:30am Dangerous Muse was ready to perform some electro pop mayhem. And for nine and a half minutes they ruled. Yes they were flown in and payed and put up in a cabana to perform two songs on a Sunday night. Rockstars...

After the show Im sitting in the V.I.P lounge while Tom and Mike sell autographs and the Keyboardist pushes merchandise. The best part was that it was a Sunday night on Presidents Day Weekend and Vegas is flooded with Ohio and they're looking for a comp anywhere. So the club is filled with hundreds of awkward straight teenagers and old couples who got coupons for the concert dancing their pants off in that cheesy white person tourist kind of way with lots of finger snapping while Dangerous Muse, Logo T.V.s number one band three weeks straight, is blasting. The dance floor is surrounded by ten oily muscular men in thongs Go Go dancing on platforms and scaffolding in a fog filled strobe lit pop dungeon. In thongs. And the whole time everyone is seemingly clueless. I think the tourists just thought that this was what a night club was like.

"Great Deal"

2.24.2011

A PHONE CONVERSATION

Im in our 22nd floor Hotel room at Bally's in Las Vegas, groggy from a 5:30am radio interview I did with an NYC station.  Im on the phone with my Mom trying to explain how to send the this very blog to all of her friends. It went something like this:

ME ...no mom you just copy the link and paste it to your email-

MOM: Ok I'm clicking the thing and its not-

ME: -no just select and copy it-

MOM: I did that Mark.

ME: Select it so it's highlighted at the top.

MOM: I think I've got it.

ME: You copied the link?

MOM: What? No. What are you talking about?

ME: Ok, why don't you just forward the email I sent you to everyone you want because the info is already there-

MOM: Do what?

Me: Forward it....forward the same email you received from me back to all of your friends-

MOM: Forward it? 

ME: Yes. You know how you send me all those chain emails all the time, the ones that say you'll die or have bad luck or get food poisoning for seven years or whatever if you don't send it to 30 friends?

MOM: I do not send those anymore, I delete them-

ME: -do that, but with the email I sent you.

MOM: Delete it?

ME: No don't-

MOM: Oh so you mean they have to read it now and resend it or else-

ME: No they won't have to resend it or else-

MOM: Thats a good idea-

ME: -No don't do that-

MOM: Why not? 

ME: Because it's only a chain email if you want it to be.

Pause...

MOM: Ok. I think I get it. Now, is there a way I could email people and have them immediately sent to your site?

Pause...

ME: Yes Mom...Thats exactly what we're talking about right now. Just do everything I just said-

MOM: I AM doing everything you said Mark, It's not working. You just never-

ME: -OK, ok ok...just start a new email then and address it to everyone you want to see it. Then in the body just type www, dot-

MOM: Hold On, w w w, dottttt-

ME: uh huh, dot-

MOM: Dot...

ME: Yes...dot, Sin loud-

MOM: -hold on...ok, sin loud-

ME: -speak easy, dot-

MOM: -speak...easy...

ME: -dot, com.  Or whatever site you want them to see-

MOM: Wont this just take me to your site if I type this?

ME: Not unless you click it. Now that URL becomes a link and as soon as they click it they'll go straight to the blog. Like if you sent an email to Jackie that said, Hey Jackie check out www.CNN.com Then from the email she could just click the link and go to CNN. It's a shortcut so any web address you type automatically becomes a link-

MOM: Your on CNN?

ME: No It's an example-

MOM: Ok I think I got it, but I don't want them to see that strange man on your site.

Pause...

ME: Strange man?

MOM: Well there's this man at the top of your site, right there in the open, right next to you and I have no idea who that is.

Pause...

ME: ....What?

MOM: That man Mark, on top of your writing, do you know him?

ME: No...

MOM: Well why on earth is he right there on YOUR site next to your writing and my name?

ME: Your Name?

MOM: Yes. I did one of those...things, so I can read your...what is this thing?

ME: Blog-

MOM: -right, but who is that man?

ME: What?

Pause...

ME: Ohhhhhh, yeah I don't know him but he has his own blog so he's probably reading mine.

MOM: Well why is his photo there? 

ME: He probably has a blogger account.

MOM: Well I just signed up my name for on those to read your site everyday and my picture isn't there.

ME: Have you uploaded a photo of yourself to your own blogger account?

MOM: What are you talking about? Mark, there is a man on your site and you need to get, him, off. Now.

ME: He isn't on my site Mom, its googles site, and He's following me.

MOM: What? You're telling me someone you don't know is following you!

ME: Yeah it's how the Internet works now. You want as many people you don't know to look at your stuff and follow you. The more you have the better because you then become connected to everyone they're connected to and the more connected you become the better you are.

MOM: At What?

ME: At the internet. See, this guy follows me which means I should follow him, even though I don't know him, so that maybe people already following him will see my picture on his page and start following me. It's like free publicity but using other people.

MOM: And you don't have to know them?

ME: No. I think Out of the nine hundred something friends I have on Facebook I really only know like, 14 people.

MOM: Really?

ME: Yes. 

MOM: Well I don't like that.

ME: Me niether...

Pause...

2.16.2011

MOON CYCLE

Another Desert dusk and the stars are gaining glow. A.j. And I are standing in the sandy clearing at the Valley Falls Safety Rest Area 20 miles past Baker, California. Baker is supposedly the hottest place in America and did you know they have the worlds biggest thermometer? It's great. It's actually not that big, fifty feet maybe? But it sure is cool looking, all lit up in Red at night with a bright neon sign reading "GATEWAY TO DEATH VALLEY" but the only road leading out of Baker, the 15, is a direct route to Las Vegas, which is two hours away from Death Valley. Either way, it was a nice landmark to strive for two nights ago walking in to town. And it's the world's biggest thermometer!
 
   The town of Baker is really just a mile long strip of Gas Stations and very sanitary fast food joints  located in bigger mini fast food joint strip malls that also sell Leather Vests, Cheap Beer, Crude Bumper Stickers and other parifinalia mish mosh. And Jerky. Lots of Jerky. It's Great. Not really, but it's pretty convenient and fun and a real slice of life. Subway, Jack-In-The-Box, Burger King,  Denny's, Mad Greek, Pizza Hut, TCBY, and Quiznos to name a few other slices. A real fast food Americana salad. Baker. The Temperature Read 48 Degrees walking out.

As we stare at the moon after an exhausting day A.J. and I comment on how it's changed since we began our journey. It was just a sliver of light at 5 a.m. On Venice Beach two weeks ago. Now it has become near full, quietly significant and noticeable.

Walking through the dessert is like terracing an Alien planet. Behind us the Sun, ahead the Moon and the powder sky swells with pulsing clouds in the broad dessert daylight. My feet trek and trek across the brown red dirt of the Mojave and she hangs steady, white, right in front of me and it doesn't feel real. The mountains in the distance seem to grow smaller with each step, expanding and contracting. I think I'm losing it. Walking towards them they seem more and more foreign as little tiny lizard guys scurry in front to hide under dried out dessert brush. They look like miniature dinosaurs. They basically are.

Every few miles I would spot a tiny pink flower growing through the dried out bedrock of a once stream or a crazy looking flat cactus I've never seen. It's amazing where life can sprout. Its amazing what life will sprout. I watch my step every step for the massive ant hills that spread. Not just for fear of tripping and being eaten alive by alien desert ants but those hills look like they took a really long time to build. This entire sweating excursion is in a place I've never been with terrain I've never walked, weary creatures I've never seen and the whole time the moon is right there staring me in the face as the Sun, brighter than I have ever felt,  strikes my back...It may as well be Mars. These are just a few of the unique qualities of the West that you have to see to disbelieve.

An old acting teacher of mine lives by the moon. He's a Viking. A striking, funny guy of five foot five with a beer belly and something timeless about him. His bright white hair bristles against his bright white viking beard and personalized ADIDAS sneakers. I began to notice he would often subtly dictate our classes based on the moon.

"New Moon this week. Tough one..."

Things like that. New moons are always tough. He was also a mask maker, making masks during different cycles of the moon. I pretended to understand what he meant at the time but I was 22 and  thought I knew everything. I'm excited that it will be a full moon in Vegas this weekend. I am starting to fall into it's calendar rather than our own.

Five hundred years ago sailors crossed worlds on our earth using just the stars and winds to guide them on hand crafted massive wooden ships built to handle the hells of the sea. For all they knew they were going to fall off. That's guts. Mental strategy and problem solving used in full force with physical endurance and grit. True brilliance, one taken for granted now. We drive and drive, so comfortable. "Don't move to L.A. the traffic is a nightmare." Mapping the Arctic was a nightmare, just ask Captain Cook. 

We live in a "Complete" World now, A globe, A Mapped Planet. Google Earth it, you'll see. Our GPS loses power on the way to Target, A business meeting, Disneyland or wherever and we freak out. People are so preoccupied in they're own world it seems we have forgotten to look up. Walking is meditative. Walking the Mojave is spiritual. When you work your body as hard as your mind there is a satisfying clarity and good nights sleep ahead.

The moon  grows a halo piercing clearly through the sailing night clouds. A.J. Says its bad luck almost in sync with the cawing crow that swoops in front of us. We laugh. The air is much colder now than the day and I want to go back to the R.V. As I stare silently at the sky I think...

I've looked  at the map my entire life. I always saw California, I always believed It was there. I assumed. Now that I am walking it, I see California, and I can't believe I'm here.

2.14.2011

FACEBOOK

I'm at the kitchen table of the R.V. Which is also Johns convertible bed and the curried rice were hosing down after a 22 mile day is spicy in all the right ways. Were bullshitting, eating while the ripping motors from the 15 zoom constant behind the Valero Gas Station were homed behind for the night. I'm exhausted. We all are. I think it's Sunday but days are losing relevance in the best possible way.

I pour some more hot sauce on my rice, it's the cure all to bad food and a blessing to the good. In tonight's case a blessing. SNL is blaring from Hulu on our Mac Book Pro but our Wireless VZW 5 spot WiFi is too slow because were out of 3G range and the HD runs at too high a rate. God the problems we face traveling across the country.

The crew starts discussing some guy who I know I should know but I don't know who or why I should know him and when I ask I'm met with a glare by all.

"He wrote social network?"

"Oh he did that..." I reply calmly. I'm still on a bet that I make it through the day without making a single joke which is giving me stroke like convulsions at almost every instant. The group is beginning to invent games to distract us on 22 mile days walking through desolation California with the same old poetic train alongside us, keeping it's beauty but losing it's appeal as the tracks again disappear into the horizon at another breathtaking sunset. My head rambles in thoughts of all directions and I think...

There is an evaporating America that no one sees. Tweetless country folk with nothing to update, finding joy in their personal freedoms and could care less who you are or what you do so long as we help each other out.

The weather is an amazing conversation starter in strange areas and an inexplicable means of commonality because who the hell really knows? And if it's hot to you then it is or isn't to me and that is something we can talk about. The winter Mojave is filled with abandoned towns and nothing villages, pieces of places, gas stations that take pride and a struggling fraternity of "what is, is." Its been two weeks and the only kind of people we've encountered are the kind that pull over on the road to ask if you're o.k.

"Yeah were fine. Thank you so much" I say in a tepid pre dusk eve to a man in a mustache with a four wheeler in the back of his neon blue pick up and a dog on his lap, a Docson Chihuahua mix named Bailey. We talk to him for twenty minutes about life, about the film, about old Native American tools found in the desert and he's loving every second of it as much as we are. I run to get the camera. He says his name is Rodger and A.J. Tells him about why we are walking and he takes a breath, puts deodorant on "for the camera" and says something like:

" Now Im not Gay. That's just something I'm not. I cant do it. But I'll tell you what, I have to believe, you don't choose it. You are who you are-Ill tell you, I do business with Gay men, interior designers, and boy are they fantastic. They're the best. so who am I to say that it ain't human?"This is the America I am just beginning to discover.

So, Facebook ( Which should always meta for Twitter, Myspace,IMDB, Friendster, Grinder, Match, Eharmony, okcupid, Adam meet Adam, and all the other literal millions of these social car bombs), The Facebook Movie...

"Yeah I didn't see it."

"it's a good movie"
"yeah really good"

See, I just don't care. I'm lost in my head from the experience I have already had in two weeks walking from Venice Beach to now Baker, which has the worlds largest thermometer for a reason, I'm lost in my thoughts, too much to write, even more to take in. The mind thrives in simple living.

I already know what Facebook is. I do participate. Why? Because I'm not ready to move to a log cabin yet, though a 1996 Ford Tioga 28 Ft RV is becoming pretty close to the same thing. In my profession you have to adapt to the times, even if you feel out of the time like I usually do. I understand the gift of mass messaging, connection, staying in touch, all the yada yada and agreed positives. But what happens in a generation when people don't know how to speak anymore? How to write? Out here I wonder has the love letter gone? Where is that lost art? I think tomorrow is Valentine's day...

Our times? my generation? I don't get it, I don't understand what's going on right now. I know every era is important and taxes were always to high and the president is a moron and he's brilliant but this technology, the rate of information being passed at at near light speed, the dirt being dished, the money being made from it, the on and in and in and in and complexities of it all. Our advancements are happening faster than we are but are so user friendly no one stops to realize what is actually happening. Just one click of a button and you are a different person. It must be understood that Facebook is a tool, a connecting resource, not a lifestyle. And yet with Twitter everyone thinks they are a celebrity. There aren't many places to "check in" out here.

Coast to coast the search for fame...I'll get into that in a bit or maybe later.

Until now I have lived in New York. Movie tickets are at eleven bucks minimum and that's if you buy from the computer at a senior discount weekend rate. So I, like most New Yorkers, shh its our secret, Only go to movies where stuff blows up and the aliens invade and it's in space at the middle of the earth during a zombie holocaust war with disease breaking out and the semi trucks are gigantic robot weapons from outer space trying to discover the fountain of youth which is all a dream inside an insane asylum and the entire time kaboom! With slow motion action scenes and shrieking sound effects starring Angelina Jolie and Justin Bieber and a CGI version of Jeff Bridges twenty five years ago and it's produced by everybody and in IMAX 3D HD. I pay to see stuff blow up. The good stuff? I wait till I can watch in Solace.

Facebook...ugh.

My only interest in seeing the Facebook movie was to set my Blackberry to ring only for Facebook updates, all the while facebooking, which I believe is now an accepted word and will find it's way to Websters. And my Facebooking, causing light and constant noisy response on my phone, would interrupt the rest of the movie experience during this important drama, with the hopeful end result being my removal from The theatre by the security staff, for Facebooking.

I had to work the Friday night it came out. Shame

Facebook...

Ok, With no mention of names, here is the first and most random wall post I can find while scanning my "friends". This message was left on a public profile, for all to see. This is...everything.

I quote Post:


"k sooooo I've been drinking since 11:30am and I AM NOT an alcoholic, so you can imagine what mental state I'm in. I just had a really really rough night and day!!! Ex-BF crap. He was texting taimie over 40 text messages to her alone, with threats. You know how crazy he is and I don't take his threats lightly. My nerves are on end and well....... I've had a few cocktails today. hee hee. We need to have our spaghetti night with miss smelly and roscoe and rilley and kitty.I'm gonna bring my old movies, so you can watch them!! have a great night.....xoxox"

Facebook...

2.10.2011

Los Angeles

If L.A. Is a a jungle than surely New York is a Mad House which makes me insanely happy to be out in the wild. I arrived on Jan. 17th. Leaving Rochester, where I spent Three weeks with my Family before the journey, it was 9 degrees. 8 hours later I land in L.A. To 80 degree weather. I immediately decide I am never going back to the east coast. this will be a recurring theme.

In a city like L.A where 'Whatever' is acceptable, I imagine its easy to turn into socialite molases. Kurt Vonnegut once suggested that everyone live in New York but leave before they get too hard and everyone should live in L.A. But leave before they get too soft. At this point I'm looking to get as mushy as possible.

L.A. Is like public high school for grown ups and it's a blast. Sometimes. People work in their scene, their scene is their work and all they seem to discuss is each other and each others work in their scenes. They talk of meaningless teens and tweets, faggy inter twining and only the first three seconds of any statement is comprehended or comprehensible. I think they're all too distracted by the weather. Distracted by The Guys or The girls. Or maybe it just continuously feels like sunday at 2pm and who doesn't love brunch? When it's bathing suit weather year round, I can see how one would become distracted by themselves too. Sometimes. Yes I have only been exposed to a small circle but Im pretty good about getting the feel of a place after a couple weeks. call it my 7th sense.

Yes there's this and that and what you've heard and what you've seen. There's traffic, pollution, crime, gangs, drugs, sex, trannys, celebs, glitz, glam, gutters, an abundance of tacos, wildlife stalking the streets and all the rest. and God is there so much flannel. if L.A. Blew up right now, the sky would be blanketed in various crossing patterns of unmatching colors. But its the west and it's gravitational pull is amazing. After two weeks out here, it only takes one moment every day to make me wonder why anyone would want to live back in NYC. I said it would be a recurring theme.

I'll be fine anywhere. I don't worry about losing attachments or abandoning loved ones. I should hope anyone who calls me their friend understands my need to disappear. Nor do I mistake friendly new acquaintances for lifelong relationships. We, like every moment, like every tick, like every breeze, like every performance, are in passing. It all come and goes. I find comfort in this. And like Cat Stevens sang "...there's a lot of that anywhere" 
  
But in the L.A theres this shade of dusk light, a hinted emerald green caught between the fired sky above and shadowed mountains below. It lasts only as long as it takes the sun to sink in the smog polluted haze behind the hills that hold the fading streaks of hell so gently. From the bluff we watch a master at work, painting a watercolor right before our eyes. We see our fair dome fade to black vacuum, all within a few degrees and just beyond the neon purple hills' haze holds a thriving sky. Every sunset is more beautiful than the rest. As the day fades into night, so do I.

New York I love you but you're dragging me down

For eight years I have called New York City Home and I really do mean home. I have lived so many different lives, known so many different people, and in many respects have been many different people myself. The actor, the singer, the intern, the manager, the bartender, the director, the boyfriend, the asshole, the musician, the yes sir, the boss, the student, the funny man, the mess, the best. I received my schooling in the ways of the world in the one city where the entire world is located. I loved and hated every second. Something was missing. Something has always been missing. Something unexplainable. Something out there...


I found different parties, hobbies, jobs, girls and performances to temporarily fill that void but none of them stuck. Every night would end with the same lost feeling, though the location and company often switched. Every night with that same void that has been there since I can remember. It's a part of me, taking the place of the other part that is missing. The part I am still hoping to find. In some ways it may boil down to the eternal "Who am I?" Cliche. But Cliches are cliches for a reason. When every supposed night of your life turns out exactly the same, hungover in one way or another, year after year, then you begin to question if what you are doing is sane. I was not.

In New York You really can be whoever you want. No matter how silly or distant you may feel one day there is comfort in knowing the next person you walk past is equally if not more so confused and messed up. OR, more than likely, wearing roller blades and dressed like a vampire. And no one gives a second glance. So go ahead, pick your nose or your wedgie or swear out loud because whoever notices has seen something much more calmly bizarre already on they're way to work that day. For all of my complaints, my voids, I can only ever say I was living the dream. I have experienced every 5 Star and no star restaurant, I've hung with the subtly famous, bought Governers a beer, movie premiers, private parties, heart to heart talks with the homeless. I've crashed in to so many different lives and parties and hearts. I have had the honor to grace hundreds of stages, venues and halls. I have conquered roles and failed epicly in the public eye with reviews in the Times and others to prove it. I have experienced. I have lived.

It's the Chaos that kept me in New York for so long. My blessing and curse is the ability to live in the moment, drop whatever preconceived plan I think I may have had and just say "Yes" to the very next adventure.

"Mark, want to go to a lesbian glitter party?"

Yes

"Mark, want to take a week off from work and reconnect with your estranged, rich uncle who wants to put you up in the Pierre hotel and party like a rockstar?"

Yes

"Mark, want to drive to Canada?"

Yes.

The experiences are numerous because all you ever have to do is Say "Yes". And Yes always, always leads somewhere. When Every night is potentially the biggest, craziest night of your life you would be a fool to say No. With so many friends in both the performing arts and Bar business amongst other lively professions, there is always a party to go somewhere. You either feel guilty for not going or guilty the next day FOR going. I was sick of living in that guilt. I will recount my full time in NYC soon, but I still need to process it all.

Then one night in November, I got the call. I was laying in bed restless at 4 am, staying in and trying to be a good boy. The tenor of ambulances, traffic, voices on the stoop and all of the other wonderful potpourri of continuous metallic ramble that makeup the NYC soundtrack were living in the back of my head. Why do we put up with it? My cell vibrated. It was A.J. Calling from L.A. He is my best friend from Fordham University that I never see since he moved out to Cali 3 years ago to attend USC grad for film. For the past year A.J. Has been prepping for his thesis film, a documentary about A 4,000 mile walk across America from L.A. To Boston and interviewing people about Same Sex marriage. I had a sneaking feeling in my gut for a long time that I would somehow be involved. After the normal "Hi, how are things, what's up, how's the weather etc..." the tone in A.J.s voice changed and the conversation went a little something like this:

AJ - Mark, I really need someone to drive the supply car. Feb 1st is getting closer and closer and I can't imagine doing this without you. Your my best friend and I need you.

Silence...

Me - well...I mean I'm flattered. Of course I would love to but...I don't know. Things are picking up here, and...Let me get my shit in order and see if this is even possible. I'd have to quit my job, my new comedy show, my friends, my apartment...let me call you back Friday.

AJ - Ok. No pressure. I just would love you to be here.

I hung up the phone, stared out my 7th story Columbia dorm RA suite I was illegally subletting and took in my life, all of the excuses I had just lifted. A weight fell fro, my shoulders and a smile came across my face. I called back 5 minutes later and simply said the only thing I Knew how to say any more...

Yes