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.

Midnight Makeout Session Flyer.jpg

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

I know I’ve been writing every day of this month, but today, with my blog post, I’m including a video. This entry comes because I wrote a new poem and performed it at our monthly gathering of #WeOwnThe8th. We created this amazing Asian American Arts Collective and we’re continuing to inspired each other and collaborate each other. So I hope you enjoy the video and poem. You can find out more about #WeOwnThe8th at weownthe8th.com

And for those of you that enjoy my poetry and have been asking about when there will be more copies of my sold out book, “Dante’s Poetry Lounge,” now is the time. A limited amount os signed books are available at Maker Shop.

Sunday Nights

Posted: August 10, 2015 in Uncategorized

Growing up, around the time sun would set on Sunday evenings, I would usually get a pain in the pit of my stomach because I hated Mondays! I hated the idea of having to wake up early the next day. All the fun of the weekend had ended, the playing in the park, the cartoons on Sunday morning, the meals after church and more playing around, it all ended and the only thing I can see in my foreseeable future was school… I dreaded Sunday nights.
Now as I get to sleep on Sunday nights, I have a different feeling, I don’t know when it changed. Maybe it has do with being an actor. See, now when I get in bed on Sunday nights I’m filled with a little bit of excitement. The dread, I used to feel is now almost opposite that feeling. And the thing that I’m excited about is Monday morning, the beginning of a new work week. I’m reminded that this week is filled with infinite possibilities. I said I may have developed this feeling with me being an actor and all because, we never know when we’ll have an audition, with every new week is the hope that a new opportunity is right around the corner.
I remember an actor told me once his car broke down on a Monday, he got an audition on that day, tested on a Wednesday and was a series regular filming in San Francisco that Friday. His whole world changed in a week… infinite possibilities.
So as I crawl into bed from such a fun weekend which included an amazing meeting with #WeOwnThe8th and judging the Ms. Philippines beauty pageant, I’m reminded a new week starts in the morning and you never know what’s going to happen. 

We Own the 8th Surprise

It’s the 8th of the month and today is the day that our Asian American arts collective meet’s in downtown LA in at The Great Company. Now every month, there’s a different event that takes place, from open forum meetings to talk about issues effecting the community, to keynote speakers and workshops, and live performance nights. Now, tonight was supposed to be a performance night where some of the founders including myself we’re supposed to perform from the group at large. The whole evening was hosted by Beau Sia, also one of the founders and was supposed to be us and others just performing for everyone… as I was introduced and took the stage to begin my set, the screen come down and a video starts to play… it’s a tribute video… to me! Friends and colleagues and fellow members of the 8th wishing happy birthday.

Beau really got me, I took a seat in the front row and after this wonderful video of well wishes, Beau began to bring on friends and family to honor me. It was funny and emotional and people talked of how I may have impacted them and the community. You know, the funny thing is, of course as performer, I’m comfortable in front of an audience to act or talk, but as the center of attention otherwise, it can be a little uncomfortable for me, I much rather lay low and fly in under the radar. But brothers hit the stage and told stories, roasting me a bit, a lot of laughter, then other stories which filled my heart up, I love those guys, songs from friends Olivia Thai and AJ Rafael, AJ even got me to join him for a duet… that was pretty crazy. I poem from my sister.

And the other crazy thing is, Beau, within planning for the show, asked me to write a new poem, talking about age and also becoming the leader of this group, “We Own the 8th.” It was to be apart of my set… although, ultimately there was no set to do. I was up all last night writing this new piece. Lucky for me, or I guess it might of happened how Beau planned it, this new poem I wrote was the perfect poem to end the night. So I read it to thank all those in attendance. (I’ll probably post the poem on my youtube later)

So my actual birthday is on the 29th… but this was a special night, to celebrate and honored by my peers and family, I appreciate everybody that came, everyone that took time to send in a video, everyone that performed, the poets, the singers and of course Beau. I am truly proud to be a member of the crew, #WeOwnThe8th!