maybe "rants" isn't the right word. these are simple thoughts about my life. some may be more colorful than others. some language may be offensive, but it depends on your definition of offensive. consider this your warning ;)

30 April 2012

Actors and Athletes Part II

Both actors and athletes alike compete and perform, and for it to be less messy, they tend to compete within their own circles. The disparity in the income earned between the two professionals is staggering, and as I am much more of an actor than an athlete (click here for Part I), I saw the difference from the financially inferior end. Until recently, I blindly scoffed and shook my head over and over as ESPN reported on trade deals, multi-million dollar contracts, and the poor attitude with which these business negotiations and offers were regarded, but I’ve begun to realize where this rift begins.

I have had the pleasure of attending (and working on) a large variety of theatrical performances, from free public school and community center performances to orchestra level seats on Broadway, and the ticket price range extends much, much higher than those I’ve been fortunate enough to afford. As for sporting events, tickets are not even necessary for some community leagues either, but I would be sorely naïve to omit the seats from this blog that I may never be able to afford—courtside NBA or 50-yard line bowl game.

Yes, the events are much different, and the venues are starkly different beasts, but the point is to illustrate the fee-based similarity in two distinctly different events: one where the audience watches athletes and the other to watch actors, and in both cases, premium ticket prices can soar into the thousands.

Fact: Both plays and games can get equally expensive, really quickly.

In any case, let’s get to the performance aspect. John Stockton and Doc Rivers have offered some of the best performances ever seen, but neither was nominated for a Tony. Conversely, the third gazelle from the left in Julie Taymor’s The Lion King could possibly outrun the average human, but they probably will not be invited to the NFL Combine. This should be no surprise, as Stockton and Rivers were NBA stars and didn’t set foot anywhere on a Broadway stage (at least in a running production), and dancers aren’t drafted on their ability to arabesque. However, it would be remiss to allow passage of the fact that actors exert themselves physically in addition to mentally, or that athletes are not challenged mentally.

Fact: Both actors and athletes exhibit levels of physical and mental prowess in their respective vocations.

What are the four requisites to qualify as a theatrical event?
  1. Performers
  2. Patrons
  3. Venue
  4. Content

Criteria Play/Musical Sporting Event
Performers Actors Athletes
Patrons Audience Fans
Venue House/Stage Stadium/Field
Content Script Game

What can we infer? That both stage plays and sporting events are theatrical events.

Fact: Competition is a major factor in both actors’ and athletes’ jobs.


In the public’s eye, when it comes to criticism, the athlete’s physical ability and the actor’s mental ability are their respective primary targets, regardless of the fact that physical and mental prowess are intertwined partners. Acknowledging society’s point of view on the difference between the two professionals, it can still be ascertained that both athletes and actors exert themselves physically and mentally during their performances.


Fact: Actors compete to perform for a living. Athletes perform in competition for a living.

Broken down…

The exhibition of (mainly) physical (but also mental) strength and prowess is the athlete’s art. Competition is the medium through which athletes perform.  At every level, athletes are competing with peers to get to “the big show,” and when they get there, it’s another competition. However, this terminal competition is viewed as entertainment to non-participants.

The exhibition of physical and mental strength and prowess (together) within a performance is the actor’s art. Competition is the medium through which actors earn the chance to perform. At the audition/callback level, actors compete with each other to get to “the big show,” but when they get there, it is no longer a competition, but a straight-forward performance purely for entertainment value.

But, if actors and athletes are so similar in the skills they possess to execute their jobs, why is there such a difference in the way they are viewed?

Fact: Physical superiority has had mental/creative superiority in a headlock for thousands of years.

In mind versus muscle, muscle has been glorified time and time again. Not to say the excellence of the mind is not regarded, but it’s just not as…dare I say—sexy.

As cliché as it is, let’s go back to the times of Greeks and Romans…

There were physical tournaments (think Olympics and the Colosseum with Gladiators) and theatrical festivals (Festival of Dionysus). Many enjoyed both, but how do you measure success?

When two athletes are pitted against one another, one can easily be declared a victor by whoever is still standing. When two actors (or playwrights) are pitted against one another, the victor is a matter of opinion—literally.

Striving for superiority, athletes and actors evolved and each pushed the boundaries of their craft. Bodybuilders were just that, building upon their own bodies, while actors were…building upon an intangible creative muscle. As athletes compete over measurable factors, actors perform (after the competition) for entertainment value. The theatre becomes a place of leisure and recreation while the stadium becomes a battleground for physical warriors.

Fact: Comedy is more criticized than fear.

As recreational theatre becomes a staple of entertainment, it becomes commonplace that theatre is meant to make the audience feel good. The apparent goal of this magical place where you can escape your own life is joy.

As athletic games develop around their measurable factors, it becomes a commonplace that games are about physical superiority, denoting a winner and a loser. Physical strength and intimidation result in the conquest of the opponent. The audience looks on, and the apparent goal is to be on the side of the victor.

With these two understandings, the presentation of the dramatic/though-provoking work faces some friction from the public as they have been trained that theatre is a place of laughter. Also, the physical conquest of the opponent (often resulting in death) raises a champion to the crowd, and as self-preservation prescribes, you side with the victor, because opposition may result in a fate similar to the carcass being carted off the field.

As time went on, a value was placed on the measurable art of athleticism, and the opinion-based success of actors bred an opinion-based value. Money, power, respect. Lather, rinse, repeat. Fast forward to 2012 and multi-million dollar contracts are flying around the world for athletes from…around the world. Physical competition is still being measured, pushed, and stretched, and the actors’ creative competition/performance is still opinion-based.

Although that delved further into the income disparity, it leaves one major factor out, and that will be explored in the future. That factor?


27 April 2012

Actors and Athletes Part I

Let the games begin.

Right off, yes, I acknowledge that between athletics and arts, I’m much better suited to address the latter. However, anyone can ask questions, regardless of vocation. I played the violin for many years, sang in choirs and vocal ensembles, directed for the stage, and acted in stage and screen pieces. In my own defense, though, I will proudly admit that I’m more than just my arts background. I enjoy sports. I like good beer and wine. I love pizza.

That's me in the middle as Angus in a production of the Scottish Play at Diablo Valley College. But enough about me.

Today was the first day of the 2012 NFL Draft, Luck to the Colts, RGIII to the Redskins, trade frenzy, A.J. Jenkins to the 49ers, a couple more, and good night, see you tomorrow. The tweets and Facebook statuses have been running rampant. Coaches from the couch get louder and people think they know how to run a professional sports team.

I digress.

Amidst these draft highlights on SportsCenter (my favorite show, according to my fiancée, yet I don’t deny it…) I notice that one of #SCTopTen is Walden’s blown save, succumbing to the Rays’ walk-off HR. A few days ago, Philip Humber of the ChiSox threw MLBs 21st perfect game—ever. Yes, this is a feat, but it brings up an interesting concept.


Professional actors (in addition to dancers, musicians, and countless other performance artists) are held to a very high standard. Performances are scrutinized meticulously (at base, to honor the words of the script/libretto), but with good reason—could you imagine heading to Broadway and hearing Annie sing, “The moon will come out tomorrow,” or Elphaba singing, “Defying Gravy”?

Actors say the correct words, often multiple times a week (sometimes twice a day) because it’s their job. We love what we do, we want to be a part of something bigger than us, and yes, we also love the applause. Well, maybe not everyone, but those are definite possibilities—if anything, the first reason applies—it’s their job.

Walden is a closer, as are Brian Wilson, Mariano Rivera, and Joe Nathan, but they all have losses on their records.

But it’s their job!

Now, hold on, put the stones down and let the dust settle.

Actors and athletes have one major thing in common—they’re human. Although some of them may be machines, freaks, or whatever you may call them—they’re human. Yes, athletes are conditioned to perform at a certain level of physical prowess, and the human body can only be driven so far. Actors, believe it or not, are also subject to a level of physical conditioning…and the human body can only be driven so far. Actors (and let’s talk non-musical/dancing for now), broadly speaking, exhibit much more mental and emotional prowess than physical exertion. Athletes, conversely exhibit much more physically, but their mental and emotional states also come into play.

Hammer cocked, point blank—who decided physical prowess needs a greater margin of error than mental/emotional prowess?

This is not about which one is better. I’m not asking about opinions, I’m asking about the standard to which both are held…and how they’re compensated.

Albert Pujols, Torii Hunter, A-Rod, Jeter, Kobe, Peyton, LeBron, Tiger, the list goes on.

Idina Menzel, Don Cheadle, Jonathan Pryce, Kristin Chenoweth, Norbert Leo Butz, I’m sure you caught all the articles on them about their multi-million dollar signing bonus, extensions, or hour-long specials to announce where they’d be taking their talents.

Oh, wait…

Please comment and let me know what you think. I’m all about having an open, rational discussion, and I’m always down to learn more.


24 April 2012

Back in the saddle

There are several other tasks I should be doing right now, including writing, but right now I write for someone that hasn’t been written for in a too long of a period of time—myself. Yes, the latter half of that statement referred to Marlon in the third person, as does the former half of this one. And so, in conjunction with the first two sentences, Marlon has successfully referred to himself in the third person (wait for it…) three times.

If a Baker’s Week contains one more day than the regular 7-day week, then it’s taken me three Baker’s Weeks to look back on 2011 in a Year in Review/Recap Blog. By no means was this intentional, and I’ve been quite busy this month in my new position at work (which actually feels like THAT position sometimes), but I did realize something quite interesting about my unintended blog negligence—I’m much more excited to look to the future than I am to my past. Not to say 2011 was a bust, far from, but with the road ahead (although even more uncertain than some in years past), I’m positively anxious and sometimes downright giddy about my future (or should I say “our future”? Confused? Maybe this Recap Blog will help).

New Year’s Eve 2010. Fred’s in Huntington Beach with Pocahontas and the Padre. Midnight hits, a documented kiss, popped collars and high fives everywhere. Balloons fall, noisemakers squeal, and the goal of 11 margaritas before 2011 fell short. Not that I intended to start the year with a missed target, let’s just say the stakes weren’t high enough to really drive the progress. Taxi home, everyone’s safe, hello new year.

Winter Session at CSULB witnessed a few internal promotions at the Forty-Niner Shops, and my transition from Corporate Receptionist to Viral Marketing Assistant began. Facebook flipped from a time-wasting distraction to a foray into the endless field of Social Media. Twitter seeped into my life and my online pulse began to rise. By the time I had settled into a groove with social media, internal communications, and PR, the Spring semester had started and I had survived my last first day of school of my undergraduate career. Yes, almost 12 years since I graduated with the first senior class at Deer Valley High School, I was finally starting the home stretch towards the diploma of a finish line.

Spoiler: I graduated, kept my job on campus, turned 30, got engaged (below is the last pic we took before the proposal ;) , and went back to Fred’s in HB for New Year’s Eve.

Yeah, it finally happened. A long path that started with an encouraging spirit in 2005 that introduced me to Beth McBrien at Diablo Valley College led me through a series of life-changing semesters with some great people at DVC. Thanks to the financial support of the 9/11 GI Bill and the mental momentum from the ‘A’ Train experience at KCACTF, I headed down to 562 with two of the coolest people that transferred in 2009. May 27, 2011 I was conferred a Bachelor’s of Arts in Theatre Arts with an emphasis in Directing. A few weeks before that I had received my class ring in the mail, something that I had wanted since high school, and with that it began to feel like a reality. I was the next to last person to walk at our College of the Arts ceremony.

My dear friend, Bethany Lynn Bunce was determined to be the last person to cross the stage, and I stuck by her to run interference and to usher late comers to go ahead of us. It wasn’t easy, but she succeeded in her goal, to her and her sorority sisters’ delight. As for me, with a couple of winks, waves, handshakes, and hugs from the faculty and staff (including President Alexander and Dr. Robinson, whom I was privileged to have dinner with earlier that week at the Graduating Veterans Dinner), I posed for the requisite photos and walked back into the screaming crowd, for our commencement was coming to a close.

For many of us, this was the hard-earned end to a major chapter in our life; for some, this was the teaser of an ending, having made the decision to walk early, having one last semester before full completion. For all of us, though, it was a time of celebration, and celebrate we did. There’s partial documentation in a video of me breaking a celebratory plate at George’s Greek Café at my victory lunch after commencement. Opah!


And that's where I left off when I started that post back on January 24th. That would explain the "three Baker's Weeks" statement.

It has since then, passed almost three months to the date, and I've decided to blow the eDust off my blog and jump back in the saddle. However, if you ride bareback (as many of my blogs are...straight out and raw), would you still call it, "back in the saddle" or would it just be, "getting back on"?

Whichever it should be, I'm back. Obviously, and if you're wondering how the rest of the recap blog would have gone, here were the little reminders I kept to make sure I covered everything:

  • Angels Baseball
  • Keeping the Job/corporate theatre
  • Fall Semester, moving on without going anywhere
  • right shoulder surgery
  • Two Words. En. Gaged.
  • Wrap it up!

Now that we’re all caught up… ;)

I’ve thought about coming back to finish the recap blog many times in the last few months, and the more I thought about it, especially when I thought about how it was starting to become a regular thing, you know, my annual recap blogs…I realized I had more exciting things to look forward to, than things to reflect on. This is in no way a dilution of 2011, absolutely not, I finally got that elusive B.A. in Theatre, turned 30, and got engaged. That’s a life turkey (Gobble, gobble, bowling friends), and I loooove turkey.

In a month, Sarah graduates with her B.A. in Theatre, and as we both dive into working as much as possible, we take these next months to transition out of college life with planning our wedding J

Everyday I usually think of something to blog about, and I’d be lying if I said I’d write one everyday, but I’ll shoot for 2 each week. You may remember my attempt at daily blogging last July, and that only lasted a couple weeks, but it was awesome while it was happening.

Until next post, good day, sir!

ps. the following image was the day Ortho released me from the full immobilizer brace I had to wear everyday the first month after surgery. The picture above (pre-proposal) was a couple days later :)