Waiting for my flight…

Posted: February 5, 2016 in Uncategorized

It’s less than a week and I’m back at the airport, LAX, waiting to board another plane, this time flying to Vermont to speak at the university. Looking forward to it, it’s one of the state’s I haven’t been to and I haven’t seen snow in a year.
But waiting for my plane, I had a memory flash into my mind from the long time ago. I remembered the first time I came to this airport. I must have been around 12 years old, I was here shooting an episode of television show called “Highway to Heaven.” I don’t think I had even been on a plane yet, but we were here early in the morning, break of dawn. Michael Landon, not only starred in the show, he was the director. He was a big star in my mind, I used to watch reruns of “Bonanza” with my brothers and he was “Little Joe.”
In the episode, I was adopted by a white family and I was being reconnected with biological family. I think I was playing Vietnamese, I know the late, great Hang S. Nor played my father. He had recently won an Oscar for “The Killing Fields.” It was odd that he didn’t really know his lines, I remember as kid I found that strange. My biggest memory of the gig is it was the first time I had to cry on film, it was nerve wrecking. It was an emotional scene, saying goodbye or something. When you haven’t cried before on camera, a lot of thoughts go through your mind, like… where are these tears going to come from? You’re just kind like, in your dressing room, thinking about, seeing if you can force a tear out, then trying to save it up for when the cameras are rolling, thinking about all kinds of bad stuff like your parents dying and stuff. I mean, your just a kid on a TV set, working with some pretty legendary people and you kind of want please people or at least deliver what they hired you for.
But at the end of the day, I don’t remember how those tears came, we were in the little airplane bridge that connects to airplane and we all started acting, everyone else was crying and next thing I know, so was I…
Acting 101… assume the position.
If I can find a picture at my mom’s house later, I’ll post it.
But my plane’s boarding… gotta go!

Fashion Sense: Dressy Sneakers

Posted: January 19, 2016 in Fashion Sense

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For all the sneaker heads like myself, something happened… We grew up. No matter how fresh your Jordan’s are, they just don’t look good in you skinny jeans. I love shoes, I always have, maybe because I grew up in the hip hop generation where fresh kept sneakers were an extension of your personality or maybe because I’m Filipino and I have Imelda Marcos syndrome  of owning too many shoes coursing through my veins. Shoes have always been an important part of my life.

Lately I’ve been obsessed with these particular hybrid kind of shoes. These Cole Haan’s… Now I know people are always thinking bloggers will only write about products that are sponsored or what not, and I do recieve my share of swag, but this post is unattached to any of that, they didn’t send me shoes, (although I would not be opposed to that) this is just me falling in love with a product, as I do sometimes and then obsessively going too far by buying more pairs of shoes than any one individual needs.
The skinny of it all is, we love wearing sneakers, Air Max’s, Jordan’s, Air Force 1’s, not just for the style, but because they’re comfortable, I mean they’re sneakers. And although it’s become the norm to wear sneakers in almost any outfit, as we’ve grown up, our styles have gotten a little more mature and so has our shoe game. The great thing about these shoes are they are dressy on the top side, wing tipped, suede or leather and on the bottoms are like Nike running shoes, the Lunar soles or the Zero Grands.
Not only do they look good, there are so many color combinations which again appeal to the hip hop fashionista in me, I can get funky with my style and add a little flair to my look. Cole Haan is not the only brand dealing in these upscale sneakers, my other favorite brands in this space are Clay and Common Projects.
So as this part of my blog is just a conversation for every day guys and fashion, I say to step up your shoe game with this new wave of dressy sneakers.

On the road again…

Posted: January 9, 2016 in Uncategorized

It’s a little past 7am on the second Saturday of the new year and I find myself at the airport for the first time in 2016. I was lucky to get upgraded to first class, doesn’t always happen, but it’s always great when it does, I mean who doesn’t love first class. (Side note: an actor from “Scandal” just walked by, I watch the show, so I’m a fan, the lawyer guy, you know who I’m talking about)
I love airports, I love just people watching when I’m here early for my flight, I don’t have to rush and I can just sit here and people watch. You see people from all walks of life roaming around the airport. Hopeful faces, maybe going on their first plane ride or someone about to embark on an adventure overseas. People wearing hats and tshirts of the teams and places where they’re from. Faces of people arriving, happy to get off the plane, happy to get home. An elder couple, not arguing but the wife insisting her husband take out the plastic baggy to make sure there’s no “goop” is spilling out of it, he of course does what’s asked. The women’s voice comes on over the intercom with a mix of boredom and a little forced positivity to assure everyone our flight is on time. Sometimes, you can’t help to feel like cattle being herded around on these massive buses that just happen to fly around in the sky, flying around on a regular basis isn’t luxurious as I imagined as kid. There’s the faces of those that have traveled ten’s of thousands of miles, who look like they are just over this whole process and I guess I don’t blame them.
But I still have to sit back at times and just look at everyone in an actual state of transition, everyone going somewhere or coming from somewhere, myself included… and just now, the nice, slight bored lady is letting me know it’s my turn to board.
This is the first of many plane rides this year.

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So I woke up this morning and had a little bit of a panic attack because my play, “Midnight Makeout Session,” opens in two weeks from tomorrow on Dec. 3rd. Now I say “my” play, because I not only star in it, but I also wrote it.

What the play is about and all that, can be found out at midnightmakeoutsession.com, but I’m sitting down right now to talk about why I wrote it… Well see, it’s kinda like a love note to all those who we’re here in Los Angeles in the 90’s, running around this crazy town we call home, Hollywood. We we’re all just kids back then, hustling our careers by day and by night, chasing adventure in the golden age of the LA club scene. Now we’re all grown up and this play discusses all the things I want to talk about to all my friends from those times. Some of us are still here working, some have passed away, some have left town to return to wherever they came from to continue their lives.

I hope friends around town can come check it out and reminisce about some of those times, but anyone who wants to revisit a more romantic time in life, this is for you. It’s also for people who love 90’s Hip Hop and R&B, the play is full of that because that was the soundtrack of my life… For all of us really, back then, every club spun everything from Jay-Z, Usher, R. Kelly t0 Biggie, Tupac… Man, back then, if you we’re at the right clubs, there would be a good chance you would be partying with them! (Shout out to “Joseph’s”, “Dublins”, “B-Sides”…)

And if you’re just a fan of me, well, you’re invited too… If you come see the play, you probably get to know me better. All the male characters are basically different aspects of me, mixed in with my closest friends and the girls… well, you know how that goes, if we’ve dated in the past, chance are you might see a glimpse of you showing up in this piece.

Now, it’s not a perfect play in any way… in fact, it’s the first play I wrote, but it’s me.

So… I personally invite you to the Midnight Makeout Session.

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My Birthday Recap…

Posted: September 5, 2015 in Uncategorized

So I wanted to blog everyday in the month of August coming up to my birthday… I was a little overwhelmed to say the least. I ended up throwing a big party, reunited my band to play a set and shot a youtube video food fight to commemorate the whole thing. Thank you for everyone that came out to the party and all of those who sent their well wishes.

Here’s a recap of the party, the playlist to see the music set and the food fight video.

Now… on to the next decade!

What Movies Mean To Me 

Posted: August 13, 2015 in Blog

I’m sitting in my bed, in my hotel room again in the middle of the night, thinking about my day and thinking about what I want to talk to you guys about. I had a long day of walking around Disney World, took a bunch of silly pics on my snapchat and rode a bunch of rides. I was pretty taken with Hollywood side of the park, walking through the gates and seeing my town, Los Angeles on display for the whole world to see. Familiar sites, replicas of buildings and restaurants. Sometimes you don’t see the beauty of the things in your backyard. On a last minute decision, we raced across the park to catch The Great Movie Ride, actually they we’re closing that area for some reason, I think due to end of the evening, we kind of jumped the roped off area and went to catch the ride anyway. We ended up being the last folks to do the ride. I was sucked into the movies again.

I just loved seeing the films that I grew up on, not because I’m as old as most of those films, but because I grew up an actor and a big part of my training was watching all those films, watching and studying what is literally the history of our industry and craft. I went through my head the names of all the films that were being showed in the clips… Public Enemy, Maltese Falcon, Tootsie, Bonnie and Clyde, Grease, Doctor Zhivago, True Grit, Singing In the Rain, Casablanca… some films I haven’t seen in awhile and feeling that urge to go back and watch the classics. The excitement of seeing the opening of films and the music of the lights of 20th Century Fox or the Universal globe, knowing I’m in some way apart of all that.

The ride takes place in a replica of the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood and I was thinking of being in the original theater for my own movie premieres, one being “Biker Boyz,” which I was ironically recognized for later in the park, shooting in front of the theater in a pilot called “Hitman,” where I was stealing a Corvette. It’s cool to see your town being recreated somewhere on the other side of the country and people enjoying it, to feel like you’re apart of it all, even if it’s just a little bit.

Upon returning to my hotel, I remembered I couldn’t play my favorite video game, League of Legends, due to a restriction on the internet and I went back to Netflix and found myself watching this amazing documentary on Roger Ebert, called, “Life Itself.” I must say, I’ve never really been keen on movie critics, I mean what actor really is? I always felt we do the work, we’re filmmakers, let them decided if what we did was good or bad, they can talk about it all they want later… But, I was really touched by the film and felt a kinship with the man, he loved film as much as I do and was incredibly articulate about it all. He lived a fascinating life, a great life. Through the film, I definitely have more respect for the role of the critic… They help raise the bar.

I do remember him not liking the movie “Hook,” and of course, I know the film was flawed and didn’t really open to critical acclaim only became a cult classic later… but I also remember him really appreciating a smaller film I did  called, “The Debut,” an indie movie about a Filipino American kid coming of age played by myself.

I guess I feel like, in the Hollywood movie making fraternity, with this guy and all us who’ve been around this industry for years, Ebert is one of the people who help make these movies we make for entertainment, fluff to some, have weight and importance, puts it in the context of great literature and fine art.

Movies just mean the world to me, I’m lucky to have been apart of some classics, big films, indie films… I look forward to telling more stories.

3am. Orlando. Nina Simone.

Posted: August 13, 2015 in Blog

I’ve been traveling all day and now I lay wide awake after an early evening nap in my hotel room in Orlando. I’m in town to make an appearance at the Anime Fest Orlando. After finishing up the Daredevil series on Netflix, I wandered on to the documentary, “What Happened, Nina Simone?” about the life and times of this amazing musician. Honestly, I can’t tell you I knew much of her life, I know some of her music, because I love music and some of her songs have been anchors in my memory to my family and special times. Her voice is instantly recognizable and incredibly powerful.

Parallels that I’ve always made in my mind to Nina Simone, has been Lauren Hill and Amy Winehouse. Artist that are supremely talented and impactful in my life, yet somewhat tortured, you can hear it in their music, maybe it’s why I love there songs so much.

With Nina Simone and this film, I got to see her true craftsmanship as an artist, she was a world class classic pianist and she became an activist in a time when America was in great disorder and was in need of change… She was apart of that.

As an artist watching this film, I am deeply moved. One can only wish to be in a class of artistry that Nina displayed, fame and everything else aside, I want to be that good. You know, sure we all want to be rich and famous, but to be really, really good, is most important… to me at least.

And then there is the life beyond the art, the activism and just living… being happy, in the end, artist or not, we want to be happy. Exactly what will bring that happiness can be elusive.

As the years go by, I checkin with myself and how happy I am, as an artist and a human being. What have I accomplish professionally, what have I accomplished personally. There’s still a lot of work to be done on both sides of that coin.  The humanizations of those we put on pedestals, is always interesting to me, the singers and actors and politicians. Sometimes they’re like gods in our minds and then you see their flaws, not unlike our own, there is something comforting in that, hell it even makes the art that much more great.

Now I’m just rambling in the middle of the night, taking stock of what I’ve done, being happy with that, but not content, knowing you can still hang with with the best of them. But it’s 3 o’clock in the morning, in Orlando and I’m alone in a hotel room, I’m just going to fall asleep listening to Nina Simone songs.

So I’ll leave you with on of my favorites: Angel of the Morning