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your art. your story. Acting

More Than Just a Maid Fashion

Fashion Week San Diego Comedy

Theatre

Karith Foster

Memphis Mann

Comedy

mark christopher lawrence presents: vol 2 issue 2 summer 2012

Bringing Laughs, Comedians and Hollywood Glamour to San Diego .com


“At last, a heroine women can believe in!� -reviewer, Amazon.com buy it on amazon!

www.reinamenasche.com It all begins in the closet. Paris Jablonski, wife, mother, social worker, and aspiring writer, is celebrating her seventh wedding anniversary when she uncovers a secret letter about her sexy French husband—and his girlfriend. The letter is in French, nearly incomprehensible, and so is the betrayal. How could she, an experienced mental health professional, have so misread her own life? After traveling to France to confront her husband, Paris returns to face wildfires, evacuations, and a new job with recovering addicts. And she finds herself attracted to the most unlikely candidate: a recovering alcoholic who also happens to be a client. In this heart-tugging story of love, loss and renewal, Paris Jablonski is a heroine whose street savvy must learn to take back seat to a wiser heart.


paola hornbuckle, head editor editor/writers donnie matsuda kristen fogle sandra van de moere graphic design katie sundberg, head graphic designer sundbergcreative.com

marianne domingo mariannedomingo.com

sarai elguezabal

wix.com/elguezabal/saedesign

alizee hazan alizeehazan.com

elizabeth sanchez advertising/sales scott hornbuckle

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contents

ART OF SD LIVING

p. 8 Shopping Guide - Sandra Van de Moere p.12 Fashion Week - Kristen Fogle p.16 Conceptual Knitwear - Cecilia Ajayi

EVENTS

p.17 Teen and Miss North County Coastal

Competition Dates are Set - Katie Koentje & Anna Lovec p.20 Miss California USA Brings Beauty and Fun to San Diego Nightlife

ART

p.22 Artist Fit for the Endagered Species

FILM

p.24 The Chronicles of Rick Roll - Laura Limon

ACTING

p.26 More Than Just a Maid - Johanna Sieg mann

STAND-UP COMEDY

p.30 Being a Stand-Up Comedian Wasn’t a

Choice, but a Calling - Karith Foster p.36 Mark Christopher Lawrence Presents Donnie Matsuda - p. 36 cover and intro page design by katie sundberg

ART OF GIVING

p.46 A New Path - Gretchen Burns Bergman

THEATRE

p.48 Memphis Mann - Donnie Matsuda

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letter from the

editor “Humor is mankind’s greatest blessing” -Mark Twain This issue is dedicated to fun, laughter and the comedians of the world who help to provide it. They are entertaining, crazy and a little goofy. And, they are also doing us all a huge favor each time they take the stage. The art of making people laugh is a magical experience for the Comedian whose by-product of laughter is therapeutic for the audience. There have been numerous documented studies showing the positive effects of laughter on the body. We had a chance to sit down with several Artists aka Stand-Up Comedians over the past few months thanks to Mark Christopher Lawrence, television and movie-star, stage actor and comedian. As a college student at USC, Mark and his buddies would enter comedy competitions to make extra money. His comedic roots and desire to share fun and laughter with people has never gone away. For greater than a year, he has teamed up with the House of Blues bringing “Mark Christopher Lawrence Presents” a platform to bring other fantastic comics as well as Hollywood glamour to San Diego. Karith Foster is one of the many talented comedians who couldn’t have done anything else except make people laugh. For her as with visual artist, Carol Lozito, Art is a calling. Renee Victor has been acting, singing and dancing since the age of 10. She is very talented and as you read her piece, you’ll see she is also very funny as is the upcoming film “The Chronicles of Rick Roll”. Enjoy San Diego’s Fashion Week preview and a personal interview with actor/singer, Will Mann from the Broadway musical “Memphis”. Hope you have as much fun reading this issue as we did putting it together. Don’t forget to laugh a little. It’s allowed. You’ll feel better, look better and live better. Ha, ha, ha, he, he, he! 6 www.artsnfashion.com/Fall 2012


shopping guide

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Power Dressing Going for the Gold You can watch the Olympics and look to inspiration in the silver and gold, but really it is in the British preppie style and proper dressing that makes you want to run out and shop this seasons’ amazing styles. They are affordable and can be worn to fancy events or just a girl’s night out. From Plaids to peplums you can’t go wrong. Just reach for the pleats and don’t forget the power prints.

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Combined dress with pleated necklines Zara 79.90 www.zara.com

Knuckle Clutch fall 2012 Alexander McQueen Price upon request www.alexandermcqueen.com

Inverted Pleat Dress. T by Alexander Wang 325.00 www.needsupply.com

ISeamed Rib Maxi Skirt Rachel Pally 198.00 www.shopbop.com

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Winter Wool coat Cashmere/Grey Dbl Breasted FM908 98.00 www.etsy.com/fm908

Burgundy Patterned Pants H&M 17.95 www.hm.com/us/

Mary Jane Tan and Black Dsquared2

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The Art of SD Living

w

fashio 12 www.artsnfashion.com/Fall 2012


week

on

Showcasing Local Designers, Coming in October By Kristen Fogle

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The Art of SD Living

Oct 1-7th,2012 Fashion Week San Diego is being billed as a “collaborative entertainment fashion event to celebrate the people of San Diego in fashion by showcasing and highlighting the pulse of these entrepreneurs and what they are creating.” Founded in 2008 by Allison Andrews—owner of APA Consulting, a firm that works mainly with fashion clients— events will be held October 1-7 in downtown San Diego and La Jolla and will feature spring collections from several designers, including A’Doreus, a plus size line by Sharlene Borromeo; Amy Thai’s “fractured kaleidoscope” line, which contains geometric black and white shapes throughout; Andre Soriano’s old Hollywood glamour looks for men and women; Dazlme, a line best known for its hats and head pieces as designed by Camille Wood; Dos Caras’ cheeky swim and resort wear (by Syncletica Muniz and Aida Soria); and Stacie May’s fun, versatile, timeless women’s wear.

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The Art of SD Living

Bottom of Form One designer will be awarded a business package to help make their label and designs a reality and will be chosen by the audience at Fashion Week 2012. The designers will be scored on creativity, wearablity, and overall production. There will be recognition for second and third place as well. Prizes include logo design by Phoebe Street Creative, business consulting and strategic sales/marketing plans from APA Business Consulting, Inc., a fashion photo shoot with photographer Melissa Au of Dandelion Dreams Photography, prize money, and much more. For the full calendar of events or for more information on Fashion Week San Diego, please visit www.fashionweeksd.com. ANF / 15


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events

Teen and Miss Nort h Count y Coast al competition dates are set

Mia Bella Couture in Del Mar recently hosted a trunk show for the young ladies competing for the titles of Teen & Miss North County Coastal. This is the first annual Miss North County Coastal pageant and will take place on October 13th at the Star Theatre in Oceanside. Areas of competition include Swimsuit, Evening Gown, and Interview. The young ladies had an amazing time at Mia Bella Couture and were able to pick from an array of dresses to find a cocktail dress of their choice that they will wear during the Opening Fashion Show at the pageant. Also in attendance at the Trunk Show was Audrey Bolte, Miss Ohio USA 2012 and 2nd runner-up at Miss USA, Miss Greater San Diego 2012 Mabelynn Capeluj, and Miss Greater San Diego Teen 2012 Cassidy Wolf. Pageant directors Anna Lovec and Katie Koentje are pageant veterans and are very excited to help two young women prepare to compete next year in Miss Greater San Diego, an official prelim to Miss California USA. The prize package is valued at over $2,000 and includes services and gifts from local sponsors. The deadline to enter is September 15th. Interested young ladies 13-24 should contact the directors at MissNorthCountyCoastal@gmail.com.

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MNCC Pageant Contestants Caitlin & Courtney

events

Armond Antonie Salon giving a consultation to MNCC Pageant Contestant Kristen Yoon

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Audrey, Miss Ohio USA with Teen & Miss Greater San Diego


events

MNCC Pageant Directors Katie Koentje & Anna Lovec ANF / 19


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ADVERTISE WITH ARTSNFASHION MAGAZINE Email:

marketing@artsnfashion.com or go to www.artsnfashion.com for details.

ArtsNFashion Magazine celebrates all types of artists and the artistic process. We know that behind every work of art there is a human being working very hard to make it happen. We want to honor the artist by exploring the process and his/her journey. To us, the story of the artist is as relevant as the art itself. We seek to showcase the up-and-coming as well as the established artists. We encourage all genres of art – visual and performing. www.twitter.com/artsnfashion

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Viewing


acting

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More Than Just

Maid

A

Photography and Text by Johanna Siegmann

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st acting

The next thing I knew I was at her home in Sherman Oaks, and Renee was pulling items from her fabled wardrobe. One haute couture gem after another emerged – Elizabeth Arden, Balenciaga, Bob Mackie… tossed on top of each other in a colorful, gauzy, sparkling heap. Years of collecting, decades of experience. None of it having anything to do with maids. Each gown has a back story: “I wore this to the Emmy’s. This stole the show at the Grammy’s. This was made for Assassination Tango.… made for the headlining number in my Australian tour.” It was while sharing her stories that we hit on the idea of posing her in glamorous gowns while holding common housecleaning tools: Sure, Latinas can play maids like the rest of us; but also like the rest of us, they can play so much more. Renee’s love affair with fashion began as a child at her mother’s feet. Her favorite gown is a spectacular “Butterfly” dress with a ruffle that runs down the back, the entire length of the dress. It was hand painted and made for her by an Italian seamstress in Australia for a show Renee was doing Down Under. She has toured the world dancing and singing, even playing the Nevada Circuit (including Vegas), “the toughest of all because of the competition and excellence of the standards of performance”. 28 www.artsnfashion.com/Fall 2012

One cannot help but notice Renee Victor. This petite San Antonio native has enough energy to power a small Texas town, with enough surplus to run – and dance – circles around most people, and carries herself with the easy grace of a life spent before an audience. Her first role was as a featured dancer in the opera Carmen, when she was only 10 years old, and she has sung, danced, and acted her way around the world ever since. I met Renee years ago through our mutual love of Argentine Tango, only later learning that she is also a singer, and a popular actor, best known for her role as “Lupita” on the hit Showtime series, Weeds. I constantly found myself complimenting her on her extraordinary wardrobe. “This is nothing,” she would reply, waving a wellmanicured hand. “You should see what I have in my closet”. It was while at Tango one night that we got to talking about the frustration most Latino actors face these days: women mostly get cast as maids and prostitutes, men as gangbangers or drug dealers. “I am more than just a maid”, she exclaimed, and therein lay the inspiration for this shoot.


acting

acting

I tell my agent a maid role is “ok, if the role is a MF”. Yes, the dainty lady can talk like a truck driver. And mostly likely can also play one to perfection.

Renee’s professionalism and standard of excellence permeates everything she does, allowing her to transcend the typecasting to play a wide variety of roles, from wives, mothers, and grandmothers, to a nurse, a nun, TV reporter, prostitute, and peasant guerrilla fighter. She was the host of KTLA’s “Pacesetters”, is the voice of Helena in “Fanny and Alexander” and the female gargoyle in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”, and “Skyrim” (winner of Best Video Game Award). She is currently on location for her third film with Robert Duvall, the first being “The Apostle”. Ironically, her best-known role, Lupita, IS a maid, though hardly your typical one, and she is deeply grateful to Showtime for creating this empowered character.

Green silk ball gown (bathroom), pink fringe (worn in Assassination Tango), and sequin cocktail dress: Lady Jane Couture Gold brocade and multi-color linen dress (kitchen): Elizabeth Arden Velvet cape: private collection

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stand-up comedy

being a

I am a habitual night owl and I love to laugh- it is quite possibly this lethal combination that led me to a career in comedy. In fact it’s 3:42am while I write this article- this is my “magic time,” when my creativity is at it’s peak and I get ideas for jokes, scripts and my blog. I’ve learned not to fight it anymore so I just go with it. Rule number one for being a comedian.

My first very first time on stage came in 1998 after taking a class because I had no idea how else to get into stand-up comedy. It was awesome and I knew it was the right thing for me, but I was clueless as to how to progress from there. So while working my day job as a PA for the TV show “The View” I worked nights and weekends in the basement of Stand-up NY Comedy Club in NYC. It wasn’t pretty and I didn’t get paid, but I did get stage time and the opportunity to see other amazing comics, like Patrice O’Neal, Lisa Lampanelli, Jim Norton, Tom Cotter and countless others who are all now friends as well as people who inspire me. I don’t care what anyone says; this isn’t about tooting my own horn, but comedians are some of the smartest people in the world.

by karith foster

Since I am a professional comedian, going on 15 years I might add, I should preface by saying that I was never the class clown- if anything I was quite the opposite as a goodie two-shoes who did whatever I could to avoid negative attention, but that didn’t stop me from a) observing and b) giving humorous commentary to whatever audience I had. My initial life plan was to be a pediatrician. Later on I thought being a lawyer was the way to go. Ultimately, I decided that being a journalist was my true calling so I got my degree in it. I never in a million years thought that I would become a stand-up comedian, but looking back it all makes sense. What I do makes people feel better like a doctor; I get to use my brains and my words to communicate like a lawyer; and I get to make people think about their world around them like a journalist. But, the best part is I still get to be me.

My parents and younger brother are very funny people so it was definitely in my blood. I always loved having an audience and being popular and well liked was a big thing for me. Another factor was that I always appreciated and respected comics like Bill Cosby, George Carlin and Rita Rudner, among others, who I would see on TV as a kid. I adored them not only for making me laugh, but for having both the smarts and cojones to get on stage and do their thing.

calling

stand up comedian wasn’t a choice but a

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Whether they have a law degree from Harvard or they barely made it past the 8th grade, there is a brightness and intelligence that one must possess to find humor in the most mundane and the most complex of life’s experiences. I

will also say that stand-up comedy is probably THE most vulnerable art form that exists. Because as a comedian it’s ALL YOU - your words, your thoughts, your body and expression all on stage ALONE for complete acceptance or rejection. This is why I think doing stand-up is so compelling and addictive not just for me, but the rest of us who get on stage night after night to see how it’s going to go. Getting a laugh is part of our payment for the pain, problem solving and overall work that went into creating a successful joke. I can’t speak too much on drug usage- not because I am the goody two shoes I mentioned before, more because my asthma and allergies kept me from experimenting, but I cannot imagine a greater high than getting an entire room to laugh at and with you about something that you also think is hysterical. It is magic at it’s finest. It is in that moment when I am getting that laugh that I feel invincible. There is seriously something otherworldly that occurs when you are on stage and the entire room is “with you”. That has gotten me through many a night when I’ve had a rough day or been ill. I once performed with a 102 fever, I damned near collapsed when I got off stage, but while I was up there performing it was like some divine intervention had its grasp on me. I believe that’s how you truly know something is for you. Not only do you want to do it all the time, but it feels SO good when you’re doing it.

Don’t get me wrong it’s not always the best time. I’ve bombed on several occasions just like every other comedian out there. I’ve been heckled. I’ve had shows where it was so painful I contemplated my existence- that’s part of the process- but you persevere and don’t let it keep you down because you’re only as good as your last show. Sure, there are plenty of reasons not to do stand-up. It’s hard. It is grueling fighting for stage time, getting paid nothing when you’re starting out, dealing with other strong (and crazy) personalities plus the b.s. politics of the comedy world. It’s just like real life and other careers in that respect. But there is something different about stand-up comedy. It’s a career that so many people think about trying, but very few actually have the nerve to try it or stick with it. And since only about 1% really make it- like the Eddie Murphys, Chris Rock, Ray Romanos and Ellen Degenereses of the world, it is kind of a daunting career. But when it’s rewarding, it’s rewarding! It’s not always a monetary reward either. A few years ago I had a woman come up to me after a show and the first words out of her mouth were, “My son was killed six months ago.” I was in shock and not sure how to respond. She quickly continued by saying, “Tonight was the first time I’ve laughed since. Thank you.” I was speechless. There is no amount of money that compares to hearing something like that. I am so fortunate to have had so many incredible experiences and so many wonderful people in my life who have validated my career choice. I’ve also had many friends in the business who’ve had my back. One of the main things I’ve learned from my friends and mentors who’ve come before me like Lisa Lampanelli and Larry the Cable Guy - is that being a good stand-up also means being a good businessperson and having business acumen - something many would never associate with stand-up comedy. Meaning you have to build an audience and a following as well as be willing to branch out with your comedy. I took their advice to heart. I’ve written a book ANF / 33


stand-up comedy

“

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Karith Foster performing at the San Diego House of Blues, May 2012

“

I cannot imagine a greater high than getting an entire room to laugh at and with you about something that you also think is hysterical.


“Laugh Your Way to Happiness: 101 Ways to Have a Great Laugh.” I have a comedy CD in rotation on Sirius/XM “Karith Foster: Straight Outta Plano.” I recently began a blog titled which can be read at www.DiaryofaPregnantComedian.com. I’ve had the wherewithal to create other businesses that incorporate my love of humor. Stereotyped 101™ is a diversity program that I co-created with another comedian. This program uses humor to address and open the dialogue on issues of racism, sexism, sizism and homophobia on college campuses across the country. I have another presentation Laughter Bootcamp™ which utilizes humor and laughter to relieve stress, promote productivity, cohesiveness and creativity in organizations and corporations across America. I also teach stand-up comedy through a course anyone can order called “How to be a Successful Comedian.” At the root of all of these ventures is comedy: because that is what I love, what I know and what I’m good at. In a perfect world everyone would realize their dream at an early age and have all the right people guide them and all the right doors open for them. Comedy, much like life doesn’t necessarily work that way. It hasn’t been that easy for me, but I haven’t been defeated either. This vehicle of comedy has landed me on television, radio and stages I never would have seen had I not given it a shot. I feel so blessed and do

believe that I have been exactly in the right place at the right time for my dreams to come true. I wish that for all of you who are looking for success in your life as well. If comedy is something you aspire to do, I say go for it. The world needs more laughter!

us on facebook!

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Mark Christopher Lawrence Presents:

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Bringing Laughs, Fellow Comedians and Hollywood Glamour to San Diego

stand-up comedy

Photography by Shadowcatcher Imagery www.shadowcatcherimagery.com Mark Christopher Lawrence is one of San Diego’s best known celebrities. Multitalented, the star of NBC series “Chuck”, feature films like The Pursuit of Happyness and Terminator 2 Judgement Day is also heavily involved in local theatre and stand-up comedy. Hard-working doesn’t say enough about Mr. Lawrence, but being the great guy that he is, he gathered some of his fellow comedians for a great photo shoot and sat down with us to answer a few questions. He is now hosting a monthly comedy show at the House of Blues that features local and national comedians and his dream is to one day see “Mark Christopher Lawrence Presents” take the main stage in the House of Blues and run for many years to come. article by donnie matsuda graphic design by katie sundberg

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What are you hoping to accomplish with the House of Blues Comedy Series? I started doing comedy in high school. I was in the 11th grade the first time I got on stage and it was always a struggle to find a place to do what I wanted to do on stage. Because when you are starting out you get 3 minutes or 7 minutes and even then, it was like, I’ve got to find my own kind of thing and I had no idea of how to do that back then. So basically what this comedy series does for me is it gives me a forum to hire the comics that I want to hire, hire the musicians I want to hire, and work with the people I want to work with. And if I decide one night I want to do a half hour of my own material or an hour of my own material, I will. So it is truly my show to do what I want to do with it. I have a lot of friends who are headliners and they comprise a lot of the comics that I bring to the comedy show. The openers are usually people who are up and comers who I think are funny – people I’ve seen and who make me laugh - and I try to hire local guys who are both clean and interesting. So to answer your question as to what I want to accomplish with [this comedy series], it is to build a space where I can do what I want to do and also create something that will be a mainstay of sorts. It would be nice to have “Mark Christopher Lawrence presents” at the House of Blues for years. Currently, we’re in the room upstairs by the patio. But, the hope is to get it so big and get such a big following that we have to put it on the mainstage. And so we’re building slowly and we’re very happy with where it is right now. Tell me a little more about the red carpet aspect to your comedy shows. I think the main focus of that is to draw attention to it. Because it is right there on the street, it draws attention to passersby and people who live in the area. It sort of catches their eye other than just the marquee. And the other thing is, I’m at a place in my career where I have to sort of attach my name to my face. Because a lot of people know my face, but not necessarily my name. And is it like a real red carpet where you interview people? Yeah it’s a real red carpet. We have press photos there, we do interviews, we even did a radio show right on the patio…so, yeah, it’s a real red carpet in that sense. And we’ve been fortunate to get some celebrities from LA to come down and run the red carpet. So its pretty cool. Try and “glam up” San Diego, huh? 38 www.artsnfashion.com

Yeah [laughs] How do you go about finding talent? I’ve been doing comedy since high school, so I know thousands of comics. My headliners and my little acts or featured acts are comics that I’ve known for years. My openers are generally people who are on a show with me - so if I see someone who I think is really funny, then I get them on my email list. So before each of my shows I send out an e-blast to comics that I want to work with and say, look, here are the dates that I’m booking…let me know of your availability. And I think the thing is a comic doesn’t have to be squeaky clean to work my series, but I just don’t want anybody who is dropping 40 or 50 f-bombs. You know what I mean? I think that’s the easy way out. For a comic to use that as shock value - and it is not even that shocking anymore - it’s just annoying. So far, all the comics that I’ve worked with work with any audience. And I think probably there may be a night where I’ll do an all-blue show just to loosen it up. I’ll get like the dirtiest, funniest comics I know and put them on stage. Just to see [laughs]. MCL …after hours! [laughs] Yeah…we’ll do a late show! [laughs] In your opinion, what are the qualities that make a good comedian? I think comics are first and foremost human beings. So each comic is going to be extremely different from the next. Because that’s who we are as people. And I don’t know that who you are as a person necessarily translates into who you are as a comedian. I mean are probably hundreds of examples of people that are really good people but who aren’t funny. You know what I mean? Or maybe people who are funny onstage but not funny in person. Exactly. So I don’t know if I look for that. What I look for is did you make me laugh when I saw you? Pretty simple criteria. Yeah. [laughs] You’ve done a lot of acting – movies, TV, theatre, voiceovers – I’m wondering which of those genres do you find most challenging and why? I think stage because stage is so deep in terms of the writing. For TV or sitcoms, for example, it is all on the page. It is also very formulaic: there are three jokes per page, you have to hit certain emotional beats


stand-up comedy

I think it’s the first time in my career where all the pieces are in place and I am able to push harder than I’ve ever pushed before. And that’s what I’m doing.

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stand-up comedy by a certain page number, etc. On stage, the writer has more time to truly develop a character and because of it, as an actor, your work is more intense and more involved and more in depth to creating the character that the writer has laid out for you. But you still have to search for it and find it and find the truth in it. So, for me, the stage is my favorite place to work because I’m challenged and challenged and challenged. And even when you think you’ve got it, you can find something else…there’s more in there. Film, I think, is a little more in depth. But even that you don’t necessarily have control over your performance because you don’t know how they are going to cut it. You know what I mean? For example, I did a movie with Will Smith, called “The Pursuit of Happyness.” We had three scenes together and for one of the tougher scenes my best take was not his best take. And they used his best take. So in terms of that, you don’t have any control, whereas on stage you have control every night. That’s very true. I’ve never really thought about it that way. Yeah, on stage, the performance that is set but it is going to grow every night. And it is going to be different every night based on what the audience has experienced throughout the day, what the actor has experienced throughout the day, and what you yourself have experienced throughout the day. So all those variables are truly intangibles that you have no control over, but as an actor, you need to stick to your main objective, which is “what do I want.” And “how do I go about getting it?” And those intangibles help you to really focus, really listen, and really play the scene for the truth in that moment. Whatever that moment is… Whatever that moment is as it changes and evolves over time. Well, I for one am curious how you do it all. You’ve been so successful in so many different genres. Some people devote their entire life to being a stage actor, right? But you do all these different things and you do them incredibly well. What is the secret to your success? I think that it is just a matter of not wanting to have a whole lot of free time. You know what I mean? For me, I’d rather be working than not. But that means I need to learn a new skill to do something different. For the past three years, I’ve started shooting firearms and I’m getting really good at it. So that’s something I can put on my resume. Look, I’m an expert at firearms. And that puts you in a 40 www.artsnfashion.com

whole different place of things to audition for. So I just like to keep moving from one thing to the next. Yeah, you seem like a guy who likes to be challenged [laughs]. In my research for this interview, I came across a quote from you that reads: “You don’t choose acting, acting is something that chooses you.” What do you mean by that? I went to USC on a debate scholarship and I was clearly going to be a lawyer. That’s what I was going to do. And I had done a play in high school I had done one summer stock play, and it kept sort of calling me. And then, I was like “no I’m going to be a lawyer…that’s what I’m doing.” And then I got to USC and took a voice class and the instructor said, “you can’t pass this class unless you do two songs and two monologues.” So I did these two songs and two monologues and he talked to me about auditioning for the acting program at USC. He coached me for the audition, I auditioned, and I started working as a professional actor that same year. First thing I did was “Antony and Cleopatra” at the Los Angeles Theatre Center. And then I continued working there – it was like my home theatre - and since I graduated, it has just been a slow sort of build. Do you feel that a lot of your progression has been luck or do you think a lot of it has been hard work or do you think it’s a combination of both? It is definitely a combination of both. Because there have been periods when I didn’t feel like the team around me was very strong or I didn’t have all the right pieces of the team together. Right now is the first time I’ve had all the pieces of the puzzle together – I have a manager, I have an agent that handles me for theatricals, I have an agency that handles me for commercials, voiceover and print, and I have a publicist behind me. So it’s like I have all the pieces of the puzzle in place to maximize the effort. Early on I had an agent and was satisfied with just that. I didn’t know that I probably needed some other things. And so I think it’s the first time in my career where all the pieces are in place and I am able to push harder than I’ve ever pushed before. And that’s what I’m doing. Good for you. I know you’ve been hard at work on several films. Can you tell me more about “Land of the Free Except for Me”? I don’t know what I can say, as I know the FBI is involved in the piece. Without giving anything away, I can tell you I met the writer and after I read the script, and it is really an emotional roller coaster of a piece. It’s riveting, it’s poignant, it says so much about the world that we live in, the horrors that are out there, but it also says stuff about hope. As a


Can you tell me more about your other film, “The Chronicles of Rick Roll”? “Rick Roll” is really an interesting concept. It’s this piece that uses an unconventional way to sell itself. I haven’t seen anything like this…ever. What the writer did is he wrote a script with specific viral personalities in mind and he took those specific viral internet stars and rolled them into his movie. What that gives him is massive hits: because of the number of people he has written in, and their combined number of hits, is like 20 billion. I mean for me, if I knew I had 20 billion hits, I could go to any studio and say look I’m going to do this movie and these are the hits that I have. You can look me up and see that I got 20 billion hits…I get a green light. So even if the film is terrible, because of the eyes on the people that are in the film, it is gonna be a hit. How would you describe its genre – Comedy? Drama? I would say sort of an action fantasy. I understand you’re involved in charity work with a charity called “Act Today.” What is it all about and how did you get involved? “Act Today” is Autism, Care and Treatment. You have huge foundations that go out and raise money to find a cure, and meanwhile, people are living with children who have autism that have needs today: what do I do today, I can’t have a conversation with my child today, my child is hitting me today, what do I do today? So what “Act Today” does is it raises funds to give families support today. They say it takes about 3 million dollars to raise an autistic child. And because of that, it is like “what do you do?” Where is this money coming from? It’s a daunting task. My nephew has a son and a daughter who have been diagnosed with autism and he married a young lady who has a son with autism, so they have three kids between them that are autistic. So what does a family like that do? Try and raise 9 million dollars? How do they deal with that? Because of that, it really sort of drives me to help raise money and for me to be able to support something like that … it’s a no-brainer. Good for you. Last but not least: any exciting other projects in the works?

I’m also working on a couple of different ideas for filming a webseries. And I’m starting a Kickstarter campaign to do a comedy tour. Last year, I went to Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC), which is a medical center for the military in San Antonio, TX. I literally walked in with a whole bag of things that I thought were problems and after sitting there and talking and listening and spending the weekend hanging out with these guys who defend our rights to be artists, defend our rights to be capitalists, defend our rights to live however we want to live, I was transformed seeing the sacrifices that they’ve made. You know, these are the ones that came back and we hear all the time about 8 or 9 soldiers were killed. But we don’t hear about the thousands that come back that are wounded. At the center, they have a burn unit and within the burn unit there’s a 4 unit apartment complex of just regular apartments. So I walk into this apartment and there is this solider about 26 years old who had gone to Iraq, got hit by an IUD, and lost both legs, one arm, and the hand on his other arm, as well as his sight. And as I talked to him, he was so upbeat and so happy to be alive. As we were having our conversation, I started thinking about all the issues I walked in with. And he says, “Mr. Lawrence, you seem to be getting a little quiet.” I said, “I’ll be honest with you: I came in here with a sack full of problems and nothing that I walked in this door with is life changing. Is life altering. Nothing. Not one of these issues can’t be solved.” I said “you are changing my life…and you are going to change other peoples’ lives.”

piece about human trafficking, it is a very powerful, moving story. One that is really gonna change the world.

So with this Kickstarter campaign, I want to raise money to take a clean comedy show to different centers (BAMC, Walter Reed, etc.) and do a show for the families. You know, a let’s just forget about our problems for an hour and a half and laugh. That way I can pick a team of comics and rotate comics in and out based on their availability and go to different places, and I think two things will happen. One, people who are grieving and struggling and fighting for their loved ones will have a moment to breathe and relax and laugh. And the comics I hire will learn that it is not about us. We get to be comics because these guys are willing to put their lives on the line.

A friend of mine, Tommy Ford, is producing a film called “Conflict of Interest” that’s a small budget independent film and another piece about hope. ANF / 41


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stand-up comedy

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Comedians Featured at Mark Christopher Lawrence Presents:

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ANF / 43


Jimmy Burns www.TheTeacherComedian.com “Laughter is the music of my life.”

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Vicki Barbolak www.vickybarbolak.com

stand-up comedy

“I hear laughter is the best medicine, and since I wasn’t smart enought to get into medical school, stand-up seemed the next best option.”

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Scott Wood MrPunchline.com Facebook.com/ Mr.punchline

“Stand-up comedy is an art form that is best when performed clean! The funniest comics in the world are the ones who can bring down the house without ever uttering a curse word. The best never need to GO THERE.” ANF / 45


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ANF / 47


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ANF / 49


Jacket and Pants by LIST

Profile for ArtsnFashion

ArtsNFashion Magazine Fall Issue 2012  

This issue is dedicated to fun, laughter and the comedians of the world who help to provide it. They are entertaining, crazy and a little g...

ArtsNFashion Magazine Fall Issue 2012  

This issue is dedicated to fun, laughter and the comedians of the world who help to provide it. They are entertaining, crazy and a little g...

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