Issue 4 Excellence Happens

Page 1

Black History Month Issue black actors in Hawaii

The Wells Brothers Hawaii Actors Network

Wendy Lynette Pearson Jason Quinn Twan Issue 4

2011

F e b r u a r y


Creator

Table of Contents

JEANNE WYNNE HERRING

Issue

JEANNE WYNNE HERRING

Feb. 2011

4

4

The Wells Brothers

Editor Photographer

Hawaii Actors Network

JEANNE WYNNE HERRING

12

Wendy Lynette Pearson

Public Relations

22

Twan

32

Jason Quinn

45

Here’s the Deal

J&"//& 8://& )&33*/( Jared D.

Advertising & Marketing

JEANNE WYNNE HERRING

by Twan Matthews

Mahalo to our supporters: Hula’s Bar & Lei Stand Chef Cassie at Jawaiian Irie Jerk Manoa Valley Theatre Chiko’s Tavern Apartment Three OO-Spot Bassick Hawaii Actors Network .BOJGFTU

Location Sponsor for "Faves for the Month" ~ pg 50 ~ Apartment Three ~

Production JEANNE WYNNE HERRING

Technical & Web Development JEANNE WYNNE HERRING

Multimedia +&"//& 8://& )&33*/( Chad Burch


Writers

JEANNE WYNNE HERRING Scott Cozza AISJ 7FMBTDP D’Tafai Silipa

Logo Design Chad Burch

Photography Assistant Godiva

Model

Dessica Wimbush



T

hat name just rolls off your tongue. “The Wells Brothers.” So smooth, and dripping with charm. “The Wells Brothers.” A name that just about every person involved with the Hawaii Film Industry is familiar. If you you are not, it’s a good idea to get familiar because, not only have they done much for the community’s industry, but they are the nicest pair of gentlemen you will ever meet. Best known for their creation, Hawaii’s Actors Network, they show all of us that dreams were made to be realized, and love and togetherness are the way to guarantee success. We hooked up during an acting workshop conducted by Cary Tagawa and hosted by Hawaii Actors Network.


Teddy Wells and Micheal Snoopy Wells.... YOU GUYS ARE KNOWN AS “THE WELLS BROTHERS” VIA HAN (HAWAII ACTORS NETWORK.) BUT,WHO ARE THE WELL’S BROTHERS? Teddy: I have been an actor for about 15 years. After my character was killed off of Lost I was thinking how I could help other actors to get into future films, because I knew the difficulty for me as a Hawaii actor. Then my brother, Michael Wells, came over, and we started talking about it. We were trying to figure out who the creator was of this network. At first it was Teddy Wells, but that was too personal. I needed to still be an actor, and be like everybody else. So, one day I came up with a name and said “hey, we should call it the ‘Wells Brothers.’” So, we developed a corporation called the Wells Brothers, LLC, and it spun off from there. So, to answer your question, it started because we were trying to decide who owned Hawaii Actors Network because we both were doing it. It wasn’t fair to say “Teddy Wells was the owner.” It started “created by Teddy Wells.” But that didn’t really feel right. So, that’s why we came up with the “Wells brothers”. YOU GUYS, TOGETHER, CAME UP WITH THE HAWAII ACTORS NETWORK, HAN FOR SHORT. WHERE DID YOU GET THE IDEA? We wanted to create a website where it can be a conduit for the film industry. It would bring everything that has to do with the Hawaii film industry together. We were trying to figure out exactly what we would call it. We could have called it an established name which is “teddywells.com”. But we thought about it, and decided that the site wasn’t about Teddy Wells. The site was about, you know, it’s about the Hawaii


Actors. We didn’t want to name it after us. So, we went and looked up hawaiiactors.com, and it was available. We went from there.

them hotels, per Diem, first-class flights over, transportation, meals, all that stuff, it can be pretty pricey. The tax credit is not worth it at that point. No matter what it is. So, that’s kind The name is basically “Hawaii Actors Network” of the need I saw. It was better communication. because it is about the actors. We extended it because there wasn’t a network for film makers, WHAT WAS THE COMPONENT FOR THE photographers and models and all of that. So, ACTORS YOU WERE TRYING TO REMEDY? we basically kept the same format but extended to all other parts. Not just actors. For them to be able to get information on what productions are coming, what casting directors SO YOU CREATED THIS PROGRAM AS A are in town we need to register with, and what BENEFIT TO ENTERTAINMENT BASICALLY. acting coaches can help us better our craft. “I need pictures. Where are the photographers. Yes, people in entertainment. Mainly focusing I have a short film that I wrote. Who are the on film and theatre. We try to expand as far as filmographers in town?” These were answers groups for musicians, but we just found that that were not available on any current website. they haven’t gravitated too much unless they were musicians who are interested in being in So, you’d find that you could spend hours and film. I just recently found out that musicians, hours and hours on the Internet trying to piece when it comes to entertainment, are kinda together an independent film. So, we wanted in their own little world kind of thing. So, the HAN to be a place where they can go, and we haven’t expanded to full entertainment. get all the information and more. To be able to However, definitely the whole part would get news about what’s happening. If Will Smith be movies, theatre, modeling, photography, is in town, and doing an autograph session on filmography, stuff like that. the military base...well we have a forum where they are able to put that. AND YOU SAW A NEED FOR THIS NETWORK. WHAT DID YOU SEE THAT But the very interesting component that I MADE YOU THINK “HMMM... I NEED TO really wanted Hawaii Actors Network to have START THIS NETWORK?” was that I didn’t want to be the controller of all of that information. We don’t have all the I’ve been in this business for over 15 years. information. That is why we made the network (I) was not completely passionate about a social network, so it can be member driven. it until some eight years ago. So, as I was So, if there are 4000 people out there, they on the outside looking in, and then on the have eyes and ears like us that they also have a inside looking in, I saw the need for better place to come back and share cause Teddy’s not communication. Not only within our own going to know everything. That really was why state but better communication for other it is structured in that way, and it’s working productions that are looking at Hawaii. cause people come to me all the time,”there was a casting call on your website!” I’m like, “I It’s one thing for a state to give a tax credit, don’t know. I haven’t looked at it all day!” So but if they have to fly everybody in, give I’m learning about stuff.


remember it. Even me! I look at it and say “oh this movie’s coming? Okay!” So, it’s become information for me because it’s other people that has the information. WHEN DID YOU START HAN? It started June 13th 2009. That’s when it started. You know what? There is an interesting thing about that date. I don’t remember what was going on that day, but it was the day we decided we’ll sit there and start putting this together. So, I went online, and started looking at how we could put this together. Keep in mind, I never done a website. This is my very first time. So, we started putting it together, and everything. Then a year later we were putting together the first-year anniversary.

THAT’S BEAUTIFUL! OH MAMA! So, I believe it was a gift from her, and that gave it a different power structure. That gave it a whole different energy. I believe that was her gift to us, and that’s why it’s successful. HOW MANY MEMBERS DO YOU HAVE? I know it’s just over 4430. WHAT DO YOU GUYS THINK DROVE THE SUCCESS OF HAN? HOW DID YOU GO FROM 1 MEMBER TO NEARLY 5000 IN JUST 2 YEARS?

A lot of promotions. A lot of marketing. The secret is you have to grow it very fast. You have We lost our mom at a young age. I was 21; to over feed the baby because it dies quickly. Michael was 24, and we always remember her We found that you have to actually grow it during Mothers Day and always remember her because the first 10 members need to see that the day that she died, We never think about her other members are going on (the network.) birthday. You gotta keep the information active and current. You have to promote it. You gotta tell A year later (after the start of HAN) we are people about it, and develop a platform. looking at the date. We didn’t plan that date. We had to look back and find the date it There were several things that was the tipping started. I saw that it started June 13th. point that really boosted it. The first one was Pirates of the Caribbeans. When Pirates came, So, we’re putting together the anniversary. I the casting director (which was Sandy Alessi happened to be looking at some old family Casting who casts for Glee and several others stuff, and found that my mom’s birthday was and all the Pirates) found the Hawaii Actors Jun 13th! Network. She went in immediately, made a profile, made an announcement that Pirates of OH MY GOD! IT’S LIKE MAMA DRIVEN. the Caribbean was coming. Yes! THAT’S BEAUTIFUL! That’s her birthday, and now I will always

Me and my brother looked at each other and made that casting call viral. We went on Twitter and on Facebook. All day long we were talking about it: Craigslist ads, newspaper, all over.


HAN Career Center. HAN Career Center is We didn’t even know her, but we knew it would where actor folk (you know, amateur, new be good for Hawaii. We were part of the reason or professional) can come to be coached, to why we had that wrap around in Waikiki at be connected to whatever they need in the that casting call. business, and to get information. It will have a theatre in it, so local filmmakers will be able So, Sandy Alessi, when she saw the promotion to show their shorts, and invite their family, we put out, she directed her assistant to give friends and stuff like that. me a call. She gave me a call, and said, “Sandy wants to meet you when she gets to Hawaii.” We’ll probably have a schedule of films. Local films where tourists can come and watch. When I met her, one thing she said was that the plan was they would cast the entire show It will have rooms where people can come, and in Hollywood then come here. They’d bring do casting calls and classes. everybody here, shoot and then leave. It was because of the Hawaii Network that they I see a whole, entire Career Center where changed their mind, and decided that they we’ll teach video editing, and we’ll teach film needed 40 pirates from Hawaii Out of the 40 making in general. We may have equipment pirates 38 were local from Hawaii. for rental. I don’t know exactly. I see it being a business that is the main connector for any So, I have to say (it may raise some hairs some production, local or non local, coming to places) that her words were that the team she Hawaii. was working with had difficulty, previously, with the casting process. It was because certain people wanted to be paid first before they WHAT’S IN STORE NEXT FOR THE WELLS would help get the word out. BROTHERS? So, what was happening was a gamble. It’s okay if you get a production that is willing to do that. But, it’s a gamble. If the production says “no”, because you need to feed your pocket, it affects 100s of people maybe thousands.The productions spend money when they come! They activate business; they buy cars, and they do all kinds of things. So, that decision, because you need to get a hundred bucks before you even tell somebody about their casting call, can cause it to affect thousands of dollars and thousands of people. WHERE DO YOU SEE HAN IN 2 YEARS? Oh, Wow! In two years, I see us having

Well right now we own Tropical Smoothy Cafe. We own that company, so we are making another cafe here which should be opened the beginning of February. It will be in Aeia Shopping Center. Right behind Trina’s where the Wyland Baptist College. Right in that complex. We see, as far as the Wells brothers... Michael: Making movies... Teddy: Yeah. It’s looking like we’re going into production. We’ve been talking about it quite a bit.


It looks like I will be taking my own acting caree and putting it own the back burner to help others. That’s where my passion is.

Michael: Come to Hawaii and film as many movies as you want. Come to the airport, contact the Wells Brothers, and we got the rest!

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO TELL US? My message is this: we believe that Hawaii has all the dynamics of the film industry being the number one industry that drives our economy. First of all, drive it (economy) out of the ditch. Put it where it is sustainable for people to live. Also, we believe we should develop some sort of industry that can give our young something to look forward to. So, our ancestors have done a lot for us to have the opportunity and have what we have. I really feel that our generation is not doing enough for the next generation. We believe that the film industry is something easily enough to obtain that we can provide a future or a creative expression in Hawaii in a masterful level. So, our goal is to take what I call a “grassroots movement” to building a film industry, and build it by first acknowledging what we are lacking, why we are lacking it, and start to build it from there. So, this is obviously something that should have been done 30 years ago, but it wasn’t. So, we are going to start now, and we are going to start developing. We want to eliminate all of the excuses as to why productions can’t hire locally when they come to Hawaii. That really is our main focus: to support the local film industry, local economy, local actors, local production assistants, screenwriters and anybody who has something to do with the film industry. Give everybody more exposure. MICHAEL, DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING ELSE TO ADD?

For more information or to sign up for the Hawaii Actors Network, go to www.hawaiiactors.com



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first met Wendy in 2007 during a publicity photo shoot of The Actors Group's production of Fences by August Wilson. Wendy portrayed the role of Rose. When I had a chance to see the show I was blown away. She brought tears to my eyes. My heart broke to see this character struggle to make it in her unfair world. I felt like I was eavesdropping onto her private conversations, and I wanted to wrap my arms around her and say, “things will get better.� To my astonishment, I found out that this was Wendy's first acting performance. First of many. After sitting down with her at Manifest in Chinatown, I am now her biggest fan.


HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN you go back to the mainland for a visit, HAWAII? a conference, family, whatever, the more it becomes unattractive. I came in July of 1994. I TRIED TO LEAVE BUT I CAME BACK WHY DID YOU MOVE HERE? WHICH IS WEIRD CAUSE I’M NOT ONE TO STAY IN ONE PLACE. I came for my masters at UH (University of Hawaii at Manoa.) Japanese studies. Right, right, I’m a gypsy. My sister would That’s a story in and of itself. I thought always say we have to write Wendy’s I would just finish, and leave, but...you address in pencil. know. One year turns into two, turns into 16, and you think, “wow, I’m still here!” SO YOU MASTERED IN JAPANESES STUDIES. HOW WERE YOU WHY DO YOU THINK YOU STAYED? PLANNING ON USING YOUR DEGREE? It wasn’t really a conscious choice. It was, “I’m not ready to go back home yet,” and When I was an undergrad at Michigan then it became, “well I don’t know where State University, I studied Japanese. I to go yet,” and, “I need to think about it, was coming to the end of my fourth and figure out a good transition point.” year, and had no idea what I wanted Then it became, “well, it’s not the right to do with my life. I walked into my time,” and on and on and on. Each time Japanese class. On the table, there was


a little colored flier that said, “a year abroad in Japan.” I thought, “that’s it! I’ll go to Japan, I’ll take my year, I’ll see Japan, I’ll learn more Japanese,” and I was thinking I’ll find myself. I don’t know if I found myself, but I found out some things. The experience was life changing. It was my first time out of the country outside of Canada. I was in a small town. I lived with a family out in the outskirts even of that small town. It was a wonderful experience. I can’t say it was all rosy, but I came back changed, and I knew I was changed. I thought it would be ashamed to go through that, go work as an account executive at an advertising agency, and leave it alone. It meant something! I didn’t go through all that pain for nothin! I was adamant that whatever I found to do it had to do with Japan. I was fortunate that what I found was a grant process at Wayne State University curriculum development called Japanese Curriculum Development and Urban Michigan. What we did was take public school teachers through a workshop series. Then we did a 20 day tour of Japan. So, I got to coordinate the series and coordinate the tour. We were focusing

on Detroit teachers. Partly because, we were having a hard time recruiting teachers, one of the participants was my mom. So, after she, you know, robbed and begged and stole for me to go to Japan, I got to take her to Japan the very next year. She got to see all the things I was talking about. It actually changed her life cause after that she became a world traveler. That was her first passport. Then after that there was no stoppin’ her! I’m doing that project, then I realized that if I wanted to continue in Japanese studies, particularly curriculum development, I really need something beyond a bachelors degree so I came here, and here I am. WHAT DO YOU DO NOW? Now I’m in administration at UH. But, after I had finished school I worked for the School of Asian Studies (now the school of Pacific and Asian studies) doing program development. I did that for about five years, and then I was recruited into administration. THAT WAS YOUR STUDIES AND YOU HAVE BEEN WORKING IN THAT. HOW DID YOU GO FROM THERE


INTO ACTING? WHAT WAS THE something. My major was just in TRAIL? HAS THAT ALWAYS BEEN IN administration. THE BACK OF YOUR MIND TO BE AN I’ve always been kinda interested, ACTRESS? (in acting) but I was very insecure growing up. Very, very very very very, What’s funny is that I went to a very, very... magnet school, and a lot of people considered it the Detroit school of performing arts. Now we actually have HOW INSECURE? a school for performing arts. But, back then Cass Technical High School had a Very, very, very, very. If anything, if describe strong performance arts program. My anyone was to 13 sister went there then I went there. She me at the first was a performing arts major. My dad felt like it was a waste of time for her. I wanted to major in performing arts, but I remember him saying to me, “don’t major in that art shit!” Which is funny because my dad use to paint and draw in his spare time. I remember thinking, “okay, I can’t do that.” My sister did it, and he wasn’t feeling it. So, I need to find


words that would come out of their mouth, I think, was insecure. I still carry some of that, but honestly that year in Japan cured me of that. You got people staring at you like you are a blue lady walking down the street all day long. No, looking away or thinking it is rude. “This is something weird! I’m going to stare at it!” In some ways, I compared it to being a celebrity before I considered becoming an actor. You get use to people ogling you. As a black women in Japan, you get use to people doing it. So, when you come back, it’s kinda weird. “Oh, people don’ t find me interesting? Why aren’t you staring at me?” It made me a lot more comfortable. I felt quite a bit sure of myself, my choices and my decisions. I think being away from my family, and having to decide a lot of things for myself made me more confident in my own ability. But, for the acting question, one Sunday I’m reading the paper. In august 2007. The Honolulu Advertiser had a tryout section, and there was an ad for auditions at TAG (The Actor’s Group) for Fences. They were looking for an African American woman between the ages of 30 and 39. I remember thinking, “how many African American women are in Hawaii between the ages of 30 and 39?”


I was kinda laughing to myself, and I thought “I remember reading Fences.” Then there was a voice in my head saying, “you should go.” I was like, “I’m not actor! I’m not going to go.”

was. I wasn’t about to get lost. So, I’m going to take a taxi, go there, see what happens, go there and come back.

I’ve never gone out on an audition before. I didn’t even know what was required. I remember going on line. “Okay I need a head shot. I don’t have a head shot!” I’m imaging this big huge thing with casting around the block.

AND YOU WERE FABULOUS! FABULOUS, FABULOUS!

So, I get in the taxi, and I remember on the radio the John Ledger song That was the last day of auditions, and “Heaven” was playing. You know, I was reading it (the paper) at 9:00 and “heaven only knows,” and I remember auditions were like from 11:00 to 2:00 thinking, “who knows how this will or something like that, and I thought come out. Heaven only knows. Ha Ha “I should go! Who else is going to go if Ha.” I started laughing to myself. But, I you don’t go? Who’s going to go?” went, I got the part.

I need a head shot, and I need a resume. I needed all this stuff, and I didn’t even have a picture. I’m all looking through all of my what-not. Then I thought, “just go.” Then I thought I should at least read the play. But, I couldn’t find anything. So, I thought, “okay, you have no head shot, you have no resume, you don’t have the script, and yet you are going to this thing.” So I thought, you know what, “I’m just going to go.” TAG, at that time, was at Yellow Brick Studios. I had no idea where that

Thank you! But I remember he gave me the main monologue. THAT WAS DEREK BROWN, THE DIRECTOR? Yes...Derek Brown. I remember reading it and doing the audition, and there was this weird feeling that kinda came over me. Kinda light headed, but I was in character. It was a weird feeling, but a cool feeling, and I was kinda like “I wanna do it again!” So, it really did change the course of everything. SO, YOU JUST SHOWED UP ON A


WHIM AND GOT THAT ROLE. HOW through cancer treatments. At that WAS THAT EXPERIENCE FOR YOU? time, everything started looking up. I remember praying and saying, “Lord It was really wonderful. It was if I can make it back to Hawaii,” cause interesting because shortly after there were points where I thought I we started rehearsals my mom got would be in Detroit forever, “I’m really diagnosed with cancer. So, I went going to pursue this acting thing.” I felt home, came back and then there were like there was something there. several changes in the cast. So, it was getting use to new people playing She (mother) actually had an upturn. these roles. So, I come back here, got some head shots made, got my little resume with YOU WENT FROM NOT DOING ANY one line that I was in a play. You know, ACTING WHAT SO EVER. YOU DID this is ridiculous, but it was something THAT ONE ROLE, AND NOW YOU to put on a piece of paper. You know all the guides, you know “Acting for ARE THE LADY OF HAWAII. Dummies”, said I need a resume to That sounds quite pornish. (laugh) I’m attach to the picture. not that! (laugh) So, I sent it to all the casting directors I could find on line. In the process of It’s funny: we did that play, and one doing that, I saw that Anna Fishburn night these two men come out and they were talking to Derek. And Derek was having a workshop. So, I signed up for Anna Fishburn’s class. introduces them to me. “They are working on this film about African Two days after the class started I got Americans in Hawaii...” a call from Rachel Sutton from Lost saying, “we’d like you to come in, and Shortly there after Derek called, and read for a part.” okay... I had to Google said, “they were interested in you being apart of this documentary what that meant! project.” So, we’ve been talking about it for a couple of years. It ended up being So, I go in and meet Rachel. I read for this part for a nurse. She (Rachel) was in HIFF this year (2010.) really nice. Very warm reception. I had After the play closed, I went home a blast just in the audition. Within 24 to be with my mom. She was going


hours, she gave me a call, and told me that the director saw my audition, but he’d actually like to read me for the doctor role. It turned out that, that was the role that was supposed to be cast out of LA. It didn’t work out, so they wanted me to come in. Me not knowing much about acting, I knew that was a good sign. So, I go in to read for that one, she kinda rehearses me through it first, then she puts me in front of the director.

I felt like I was on a path or something. I did that. Shortly after, ADR called me and said, “hey I’d like to represent you.” Then I found a casting for Animal Planet, and I sent an email with my head shot. Have head shot will travel. I actually got cast via email. They hadn’t seen anything.

FOLKS, YOU SEE IN THE PICTURE THAT SHE IS GORGEOUS! SHE IS ALSO TALENT. TO ACTUALLY HAVE I’m auditioning here for a L.A. director BOTH HELPS. with all of one play under my belt, and I had to Google what it is to read for So, I’m doing the Animal Planet. That’s something, and here I am trying to how I met Teddy and Micheal Wells. It fake it till I make it, right? seems like there was always something to do here, so I can do some acting. Rumor has it that they rewrote the part, and took away a few lines THIS IS REFRESHING TO HEAR because they knew I didn’t have a lot BECAUSE ONE THING I HAVE NOTICED of experience. HERE, AND ON THE MAINLAND, BUT ESPECIALLY HERE BECAUSE OF THE It was in the emergency room. There POPULATION, THERE’S NOT A LOT OF were all of this activity! The gurney’s CASTING OF BLACK PEOPLE, ALBEIT walking in... it was crazy. AFRICAN AMERICANS, CARRIBEANS, AFRICANS, BRITISH, OR WHATEVER. That was my first time on camera, IF THEY DO CAST THEM THEY ARE anybody’s camera. How did I end up TYPICALLY GUYS AND/OR THEY ARE here? MIXED. A LOT OF TIMES HAPA. WHY That first experience, I was so nervous DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE BEEN that I couldn’t even think straight. But ABLE TO DO SO WELL.


I don’t know. I never went into it thinking it would be so hard for me. I guess me spiritually putting it out helps. Even the things ADR has sent me on... it’s rare that it’s been they were specifically looking for African Americans. In fact, when I interviewed with them I asked her (ADR agent Nazarene Anderson) what kind of things will they send me out on. I interviewed with another agency, and I interviewed with ADR. When I interviewed with the other agency, I asked them, “I’m an African American Woman, what do you see sending me out on?” They were pretty blatant in saying that they won’t send an African Americans out unless they’re asking for an African American.

experiences. I never felt like it would be harder for me as an African American. In fact, I feel like when programs come here, and they’re shooting, and it is supposed to be some place other than Hawaii they’re looking for me! You never know. With that Doctor’s part, they were looking to cast a white man, and here’s Wendy! My mother told me something once, (I don’t remember what I was complaining about, but I felt like I was missing out on some opportunity or something) she said, “you know what Wendy, what God has for you he has for you.”

There’s no sense in feeling like At ADR, they said, “if they are looking someone’s going to bar you from some for a women we will send you if you opportunity, or this person doesn’t meet the profile.” A lot of what comes want to cast me, so I’m not going to through is non specific. get the part. If it’s for you you’re going to get it, and no one can get in the way I read for Hawaii Five-0, and actually of that. the part is for a Latina. That’s not me. So, when I went in, Rachelle said, “you If it’s for me, I’m going to get it. know what, we don’t know who we’re going to cast opposite. We just want a strong actor.” That’s been my experience. I know some people have had different



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early six years ago I went to my first rehearsal for my first show in H was stepping into my first rehearsal for the greatest show ever.

Now, I have gotten use to being the only African American in almost eve prise, I spied with my little eye a loud, gorgeously large eyed, beautifully me! Literally! Exactly like me. The only difference was that he was skinny you can mention in just about any circle and many will reply “oh I know Twan is Twan and Twan is the poster child for “fabulous!”


Hawaii. Manoa Valley Theatre, in 2005, was putting on Cabaret, and I

ery group I’m in especially when it comes to the theatre. But, to my surwide smiling, unusually dressed, mass of fabulusness who looked like y, and he was a he. But not just any he. He was Twan Matthews! A name Twan!” Don’t be surprised if this happens to you at the president’s table.


OKAY CAN YOU SAY YOUR NAME FOR ME HOW WAS THAT? PLEASE? Wait, the name that I go by? Twan Matthews. THE NAME THAT I GO BY? The name that’s on my birth certificate?

I have to say it was probably one of the best experiences of my early twenties. Staying on my own, not having to answer to anybody, doing what I wanted to do, exploring my sexuality, if you will, and waiting tables. So, it was possible.

AND WHAT WOULD BE YOUR NAME ON WHY DON’T YOU TELL ME A LITTLE MORE ABOUT YOURSELF? YOUR BIRTH CERTIFICATE? Dmetton Antwan Matthews.

Well what do you want to know? There are some things I can’t share on the Internet.

OOOOHHH... People should know that I love to laugh, and It sounds snotty. make other people laugh. I’m a bit of a leader I have to say. Snob! People call it snobbery. I I LIKE THE SNOTTY. say you should know your worth, and I like to be around fabulous people who know they are It sounds very snotty, but that’s my full name. fabulous, as well. I like to be around people who are confident, and know where they want to go HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED IN HAWAII? in their lives versus people who have no direction and people who are STUPID! I cannot stand I lived in Honolulu, well my family has been ignorance! Ignorance is boring, and I’ll let you here since 1989… I’ve been here off and on for know it offends me. It does! the last 10 years. So, I grew up here essentially. Moved here when I was 13. I’m raised here, so I love fashion. Anyone who knows me knows 21 plus years. that. I don’t like to dress like everybody else, and I know I don’t dress like everybody else. Because SO, OFF AND ON YOU’VE BEEN WHERE? here in Honolulu they look at me like the creature that came from the deep, and I’m like, “please!” LA and New Mexico believe it or not. If they dropped them in the middle of Chelsea in New York City they’d be like, “what the f@#& NEW MEXICO? WHY WERE YOU IN NEW is that!!” MEXICO? So, you know I love to act. I love to entertain. I’m Because I was 21 years old, hated my father, and going to school right now at the ripe old age of I wanted to get out of the house. I had a friend 34, and I’m gonna get my theatre degree. from high school that I went to school with here in Honolulu. He had an extra bedroom in I’ve been doing musical theatre for the last 10 plus Albuquerque of all places, and I took it. So, I had years at Diamond Head (Theatre), my primary no money... and 50 bucks to my name, and went. theatre, but I’ve also done shows at Manoa Valley


Theatre, Army Community theatre and Hawaii yadda yadda! But, I didn’t care, and it was always Theatre, as well. So, acting has always been a in me to want to act. passion of mine, and singing. I think when you’re gay or the minority, and Now I model but, not with my clothes on. Relax you’re completely outside the societal norm you people it’s just for the art students. We’re in the are more of a creative person. As well as because middle of a recession! I gotta make some money! you’re not confined by society’s rules, and you see I need to put some minutes on my phone! I got how the world really does operate, and how people one of those disposable phones. My friend in LA really do treat you. That kinda goes into your said, “fake it till you make it!” You may not have work. When you can play different characters, a dime in the bank, but at least you look like you and different persona, which is why I think a lot do!! I like have negative 10 cents in the bank. of, not just acting, but creative arts period, that’s why I think a lot of people are gay. I’m like the portrait of the American College I shouldn’t say you’re gay because of an art, but Student right now. Anyone who is anybody right it fuels creativity. I think it’s part of our DNA. I now, who is my age, is either going back to school think people should be so lucky. or starting their own business. WHY DON’T YOU NAME SOME OF THE I like guys a lot too!! Just in case there’s somebody SHOWS YOU’VE BEEN IN, HERE? reading this. But, you have to be in shape and dress really well! Theatre? There’s been so many! I can’t remember them all! I’ve been in Victor Victoria, Ragtime, SO, YOU’RE AN ACTOR? Chicago, Cabaret, Kiss Me Kate, My Fair Lady, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels... I would like to say so, yes. UH, HELLO! THE PRODUCERS! WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO GET INTO ACTING? (Laughs) The Producers, La Cage Aux Folles. I Soap operas! told you I cant remember them all! I remember watching One Life to Live at my THE PRODUCERS WAS THE BEST! babysitters house, Vicky Cuba. She was a total soap opera junkie. She’s very WT. I cant tell you It was a fun show I have to say! Puss in Boots. what that is because I might offend some people, But I have to give a shout out to John Rampage but I think you can figure out what that is. because he’s really the one that started me in She always watched One Life to Live, and I musical theatre, as well. And a shout to Diamond remember being 11 years old and saying I want Head Family. to do that. I always wanted to be on a soap opera, and my father always deterred me from doing WHAT ABOUT TV AND FILM? anything artistic because he didn’t think there was any money in it. He was like, “do you know I’ve done this show called Hawaii. I was supposed how early you have to get up for that,” and yadda to read for the part of the transvestite prostitute.


When I went to read, I actually saw transvestites They just say, “currently we are not taking on at the casting. I didn’t think we had to dress the new clientele right now,” but I think it is because part, but these people actually lived as women. I am too black. I went in and acted like I lived as a woman, but I think there is a small market for African I looked like a guy. Needless to say, I didn’t get Americans in Hawaii, but there is a lot of talent the part. here. So, if I want to actually make it successfully as an actor in film and television, I would have to But, they liked me so much that they created a leave and go to New York or Los Angeles. role for me, and I got a speaking part and my own trailer and an assistant. I felt like a star! HOW HAVE YOU BEEN GETTING YOUR ROLES? Then I did Lost. I was cast in Lost. Then I got fired! Initially Margaret Doversola remembered me HOW DID YOU GET FIRED? from 15 years ago from reading a pilot for ABC, and she’s very good with names. Whenever she Because the director saw me and he liked my face. thought something’s right for me, she’d call me up. First I read for the casting director. Then I read for the director. He liked me. Then they casted Everything was just a twist of faith. I have been me. The day before shooting I had to go drive represented before in the mid 90s, but they didn’t clear across the island to the North Shore where do anything for me. they were shooting, and I had to do a fitting. The producer saw me and fired me! Well I didn’t find A lot of agents do not prefer people of color out till the next day. He thought I was too pretty, here unless you are local or Asian or Caucasian. and I was supposed to play an evil person. He It is very, very difficult, for me I should say, to get representation. Several times I have sent my said, “he looks too sweet.” picture to casting agents, to talent agencies, (and Little do they know! I can’t say bad words on you know who you are) and I haven’t received this can I? replies or the replies I have received have been rejection notices. YOU CAN SAY IT, BUT I JUST WON’T PRINT IT. WELL ALL THESE FILMS AND TELEVISION I won’t say it then. Then, two years later I just did SHOWS ARE COMING OUT HERE. DO YOU background on Lost, and that was fun. FORESEE ANYMORE OPPORTUNITIES FOR AFRICANS AMERICAN? DO YOU HAVE AN AGENT? I do because I think the people need to promoted No, I don’t, and funny you should say that because more to casting agents, and also to the mainland no one wants to represent me. casting agents here. A lot of times the local agencies are NOT sending their people of color REALLY? AND WHAT EXCUSES HAVE YOU out on these castings. They are usually going to people who look like the part. It’s Hawaii. It’s an BEEN GIVEN? island. They are Hawaiian looking people who


look like they live here. There are Black people, Japanese people, there are people from Latin America. There are so many types of people who live on this island! I think that they all should be represented equally, and I think that’s (not representing all types) a disservice internally to the film business here in Honolulu. In LA and New York, it’s much more diversified. SAY THAT YOU WERE HOLDING A SEMINAR FOR THE CASTING DIRECTORS AND TALENT AGENCIES, HOW WOULD YOU PRESENT SUCH AN IDEA TO THEM TO ENCOURAGE THEM TO PROMOTE THE DIVERSITY OF HAWAII BETTER. Have them look at film. Have them look at different type of film. The funny thing is that I was watching Hawaii Five-0, the old one because my mother likes to watch the older one. Actually it’s much more culturally diverse then, than it is now. I just think a lot of the casting directors need to look at films and TV shows from back then because, believe it or not, it seems like we are going in reverse rather than going forward. You just can’t stereotype people anymore. I mean it happens all the time in television, but you really have to step outside the box. BESIDES THE TV SHOWS AND THE FILMS THAT COME INTO HAWAII, I NOTICE THAT THE COMMERCIALS THAT THEY HAVE HERE THE ACTORS ARE WHITE, HAPA, HAWAIIAN, OR ASIAN. THEY DON’T USUALLY CAST AFRICAN AMERICANS. THE GROWTH OF AFRICAN AMERICANS ON THIS ISLAND IS STEADY AND IT’S HUGE. I THINK THE WHOLE IDEA THAT THEY HAVE


HAD IS THAT THERE IS NOT A MARKET FOR AFRICAN AMERICANS. BUT, IT SEEMS TO BE Oh my God! I have to say I really like doing dance INCORRECT NOW. SO, HOW WOULD YOU ensemble. I really, really, really, because I haven’t PRESENT THAT? had that many lead roles here, but I really, really, really, really love doing big dancer numbers. Even Go where the black people hang out! Step outside though, I complain about them afterwards, they the box. It’s easy to say, “well there’s no market have really increased my dance technique. here,” but if you’re here in town all of the time, and you are always in town, and you don’t go outside My favorite role is Carmen Diez from The of town, of course you are going to think that! Producers. But, I think people thought I played That’s your box. That’s your whole world! But if it so well I was actually that person. I go “you you go past Nimitz to the military base which, do know I’m not really that person.” That was there are a lot of military bases by the way, with probably the most physically recognizable a ton of African American military personnel. character. I got stopped randomly while I was on lunch at my job. I was grateful but just weird. There’s always going to be an influx of African Americans on this island. It may not be prevalent WHERE DID YOU GET YOUR ACTING, to those on the east side of the island, but it is DANCING AND VOCAL TRAINING. extremely prevalent around the island period. I know that for a fact from being here for 21 Funny you should ask that, Jeanne! I sang in the choir as a kid. I think every black person has a years...I know. story in the church. My mother made me. She So, you know I just think that there’s a lot of said when I turned 18 I could quit, and so I did. hidden racism in here too. There’s a lot of quiet I quit and never went back. racism that people don’t want to discuss because Hawaii is supposed to be this total melting pot, Acting, I been acting since I was 14. But and people are supposed to be all Ohana. I have technically I think just being on the job. experienced both sides of the coin. It’s been very nice, but I have also experienced the racist My dancing came from John Rampage in just side. But, I also think the white people have doing shows consistently, and staying with it. experienced it, too, equally because I have heard it. YOU MENTION JOHN RAMPAGE A LOT. IS I would tell people to step outside the box. If HE YOUR FAVORITE DIRECTOR? you want to market something anything and everything, is marketable. Especially in this He is my favorite director, and I respect him recession. If you want to make money, you create immensely because he saw something in me. He a market for it, and you make people want your really taught me a very interesting lesson in life product. If you are not creating a market for it, when I did Victor Victoria, which was my first it’s because you don’t want to! Cause you don’t show at Diamond Head. want to. Before that, I did Funny Girl, and I had no dance GOING BACK TO YOUR ACTING, WHAT HAVE training. I just got thrown into it because I could BEEN YOUR FAVORITE ROLES? sing. I was horrible in that show! I was bad! i


didn’t know an 8 count from a two step.

think she is a supremely talented actress! If you look at her body of work: she was in Mahogany, WHO DID THAT SHOW? she did Lady Sings the Blues, she was nominated for an academy award, she played a junky, she’s Brad Powell directed that show and Vernon? truly a talented actress. Campbell choreographed it. There aren’t any male actors that I’m like “oh my I heard that John wanted cut me from the show gawd he’s amazing!” I think there’s so much more because I couldn’t dance, I couldn’t move. I heard range for female actresses. he wanted to cut me from the show, and I was like “oh hell no.” Any woman entertainer of color that came up in the 20s to the 70s who paved the way for Then he cut me from a dance number in front of me to work. Because, back then, it was nearly everybody. It was a huge dance number. I’ll never impossible. forget that day. He cut me from it, and I was so mortified and embarrassed! WOMEN SUCH AS... I had to stay for three hours to rehearse, and I didn’t want to go back and I said to myself, “if this is something you really truly want to pursue in life you can’t quit. It’s going to be twice as bad as this!”

Hattie McDaniel, Lena Horne...

Through out the years, John has become a very dear friend to me, and somebody I truly love and respect immensely as an artist and a choreographer, but also as a friend.

Of course, Sidney Poitier, Cecily Tyson, Dorothy Dandridge. These women, although, at the time, they didn’t know what they were doing, really, really struggled. We just see the final product!

WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE ACTOR?

I love Opera Winfrey, of course.

Lena Horne was incredible because she refused to kowtow the Hollywood standards, and a lot of films she was cut out of in the south because they didn’t want a black woman featured in their So, I went back the next day, and the next day, movies. She wouldn’t stand for it. She was really and did the next show, and the next show. heavily involved in the Civil Rights movement.

Well of course Meryl Streep!

Then there are the playwrights like August Wilson and Suzan Lori Parks. They wrote specifically for I THOUGHT YOU WERE GOING TO SAY black people about black people. JEANNE HERRING! THIS INTERVIEW IS OVER! YOU ARE YOUR OWN PERSON. NO ONE IS TWAN. TWAN IS NO ONE BUT HIM. WHERE I’m sorry! Strike that from the records your honor. DID YOU GET THIS ATTITUDE? I mean Jeanne Herring! Mary Sims! BULLIES! I’m telling you kids, this is my plug, I have to say Diana Ross. I really, really, really it does get better.


People were absolutely evil to me in school. I thought about killing myself, too. The only reason why I didn’t was because I was scared of going to hell because I was a Southern Baptist. But it really does show strength of character, and what kind of world we live in. We live in a very closed minded, evil kind of civilization where people are killing each other over stupid, stupid things, and people are killing themselves over things. I have to say God. I’m not as religious as my mom wants me to be, but he has been my foundation through all things. I just really think what doesn’t kill you does make you strong. You have one of these choices: either you lead, you follow or you get out of the way. I will not kowtow to anyone, and I don’t care how hard it is. My father was a jerk growing up! He was extremely, extremely mean to me and bullied me, as well. It just made me stronger, and I think when that does happen to you it really sets the tone of what kind of person you’re going to be in life. I say to any kid out there who is being bullied: go to somebody that can help you. Go to your parents, go to your counselors. Don’t give up because on the other side of that is this! ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO ADD? Let’s get a cocktail!



Over a year ago, I was honored to direct August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson. Being able to direct my favorite August Wilson’s play was exciting but full of challenges. First challenge: were am I going to get talented African American actors for this play? My friend, Dan Kunkel, told me of a young man playing the role of Pericles in the Honolulu Shakespeare Festival’s Pericles. He called him Jason Quinn. I went to see Pericles, and when the Pericles stepped on to the stage the heavens opened up and the angels began singing. Not only was he in my play, but he gave a brilliant performance as Boy Willie every night with the audience singing his praises. After a short photo shoot, Jason and I chatted over drinks at Manifest in Chinatown about where he came from and where he is headed.



YOU WERE BORN AND RAISED HERE IN HAWAII? I was born in Mariland, but I was raised here. I don’t have anyone memories from there (Mariland.) Then we went back to California for a little bit. We came back and forth. ARE YOU A MILITARY BRAT? My Dad was Military, and then when he went to jail my parents separated. My mother came back to Hawaii. Tell me about bad boy Jason before he discovered acting. My dad went to jail, and my mom couldn’t handle it. So, I was running around. You know at the time I thought I was a gangster. I would swear up and down I was a thug, a gangster. I was not even remotely close to being a gangster. I was never a gangster. You know, I was running around. If you sell a little weed, then you got a lot of money at that age. So, I had an apartment, two cars. I had anything anyone that age could possibly want and I was burning through it fast. WHAT AGE WAS THIS? Sixteen to seventeen. I had a house in Kapolei when Kapolei was first being built. Three bedrooms, two car garage, a downstairs. I had two cars. I had a Buick Rivera pimped out. Black and purple. It was great! I had a blue filter on the lights inside so


when you opened the doors the light hit the bench, cement floor, a little whole in the floor purple plush. and a little steal toilet, and that’s it! That was the only time in my life I had too much DID YOU SERVE. money in my life! No, no! I wrote letters, my mom helped me. It We would sell at all the strip clubs. It was fun never went through. I wrote letters, and got off but fast money pays fast! It was right around the with probation, my license was revoked because I time of the D.A.R.E program. They burned all was running from a cop. So, my license was revoke the Marijuana fields on the Big Island. Marijuana indefinitely. I got my GED because I had dropped shortage. At the exact same time Chrystal Meth out of high school. I had to pay a $8000 fine (that came, and none of us had a clue what it was. I there was no way I can pay) or something like love these commercials they have because that’s 3000 hours of community service. So, I got my exactly what it is. It’s f ’d up! It should be wiped GED and went back to Leeward and got into the film production class, but had to do community out of existence. It is horrible! service on the days I didn’t have to go to school. You only smoke that shit once, and you are hooked. So, my whole crew got hooked in one YOU GOT INTO JULLIARD. night. I remember that night. Yep, and wound up going to AMDA. Me, I didn’t sleep for almost a week and a half after that one night, and I didn’t eat for four days. WHAT IS AMDA Which is why I didn’t do the drug again, because I love eating. Three things that are most important The American Musical Dramatic Academy. Full in my life, activity wise. My wife and son are most ride. I was in wonderland. Imagine coming after important in my life, but I mean activity wise. all of that street stuff, and really realizing your Most important activity wise in this order: sex, dream. That was inconceivable when I was in jail. eating and sleeping. When you smoke ice you That was inconceivable when I was drinking a can not have sex, you cannot eat and you cannot forty with a bracelet around my wrist. sleep. Why do that drug? So I made myself quit, but my whole crew disbanded. WHERE DID YOU GET THE IDEA TO TAKE Within four months, people were going to jail... FILM PRODUCTION AT LEEWARD? two people died. None of those guys made it out of that, and I went to jail. That was the down I went to Campbell High School. The teacher Ron fall...Crystal Meth. Martin ran a little theatre, and it had cameras. We would do editing and stuff. I thought I can It ran through neighborhoods. It was horrible. do that as a real job. But, at the same time the theatre sucks you back in. And I said screw it! What woke me up was the gavel. You know, they I’m gonna fly out and audition. hit the gavel, and it was final. No more arguing. There’s no more nothing. They go, they pull that SO, YOU FLEW OFF TO AMDA. HOW LONG door and you just sitting in there on that cement WHERE YOU THERE?


I was there two years. I was anxious to get out, which starred the guy from Married with Children (Al) and Donnie Walberg and a couple other but I learned a lot. random guys. I had a lot of talent, but not a lot of skills. It taught me skills. You’re building a foundation. You’re YOU WENT ON TO DO SEVERAL OTHER TV making chairs. You’re building a story, you’re SHOWS. making a story. Sopranos, Law and Order. Guest star stuff. I did You’re making something that’s real, so you have a lot of day time stuff, some soap operas. to shave it. You have to carve it. You got to know how to use all the tools, and to use your voice, and how to use your facial expressions. All that TELL ME ABOUT CSI MIAMI stuff you need to learn. After school I wasn’t in any unions or equity, so CSI Miami... David Russo, he is a perfectionist, I auditioned for a lot a free shows. I was always and he will do as many takes necessary to nail broke and hungry. All I had to eat was hot noodles. the one liners he does on the show. Canned tuna, saimen and pasta noodles. I didn’t have any health insurance. Then in my WHAT CHARACTER WERE YOU? third year I booked my first equity tour. I played Calvin Joiner. I was the snitch. So Gregor Manns, he is my mentor and best friend, whenever they had to deal with gang stuff they he cast me in my very first professional show. would come to me, and I got killed in the episode (He) continued to be my mentor through out my called “Shoot Out in the ER”. career. In fact, I’m staying at his house in LA next month. He is amazing, and taught me so much When I got killed off, I really felt like I was getting about everything. killed. He cast me in that first show. He took a chance, because I could not sing a lick, and you were supposed to be able to sing in that show. They told me “you did great monologues, you did the poem great, can you sing for us,” and I was like “I can’t sing. But I can rap.” There was a white dude in there who was like, “I don’t know,” and Gregor Manns was like, “let’s hear the flow man, let’s hear the flow.” I bust the flow, and he cast me.

I brought that script home, me and my wife were like “ahhh.” But that was good. It was like going to the next. Those are my main credits. Hawaii 5-0 gave me a nice scene with the actors, and now all my agents and managers are calling me, and asking “I thought you quit, are you back on the scene?”

It gave me the courage to go out for bigger things. I’m going to get back in shape, and I’m going to I got into Law and Order. My first on camera get back out there. part I got was a body guard for a show Big Apple


My intentions were to come back here, and do community theatre, surf, have fun and just do good work. SO, WHY EXACTLY DID YOU COME BACK? Got killed off of CSI Miami, ran out of money, writers strike, actors strike. Writers strike lasted for nine months. Actors’ strike lasted for something like a year and two months. That’s two years of not working. A kid came. I had a kid so my wife wasn’t able to work, and I wasn’t working. So, all the money I had saved up had ran out...and a kid. I was running out of money. So, we were actually going to come back, and she was going to go to massage school here. I was going to go back. It just didn’t work out that way. Then I got the contract with HTY (Hawaii Theatre for Youth.) I was like, “you know what, I’ll stay for a year. Stay for a year I’ll do this contract with HTY and do good theatre.” You talked to me about doing Piano Lesson


after seeing me in Pericles. Pericles was a very big YOU ARE BLACK. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT classical role, and then being able to do the sort THE STATEMENT I JUST MADE? BECAUSE, IN of black Shakespeare which was August Wilson. MY MIND, AS A BLACK ACTOR, I DO SEE YOU GUYS AS REPRESENTING OUR CULTURE So, coming up to Hawaii, and being able to do VERY WELL HERE. those things with a theatre contract, I was like, “yeah! I’m going to stay here!” Me and Moses talked at length about that when we were going to do Top Dog Under Dog. We felt Now it’s time to go and give it one more swing to that we had a responsibility to the work. the fences while I’m in my prime. If things work out, it’s kinda like a win win. If things don’t work A lot of people in Hawaii, believe it or not, don’t out oh boo hoo I have to go to Hawaii and surf know the black experience. A lot of people in every day and do good theatre. If things do work Hawaii are new to it because the only experience out well then I can make lots of money, then with black people would be from the military bring money to Hawaii, open up more theatre bases. companies and bring some more productions to Hawaii and stuff. That’s my main goal. So, when we did that show (Top Dog Under Dog) we felt responsible. We have to do it, and show I don’t see why Hawaii can’t be a prime theatre the nuances and not show a stereotypical black location. It’s a tourist haven. Why not have a character. Just like with the August Wilson, “let’s couple of Broadway scale musicals here, and a show all of these detailed things.” couple of Broadway scale plays here? Why not Yeah, it’s a heavy responsibility, but you have to tap into that tourist market? take it lightly. They keep trying. Olalina tried and they just need HOW DO YOU TAKE IT LIGHTLY? THAT’S A to keep trying. LOT OF PRESSURE. It just needs seed money, and big named artists. I try to think of it the same way I attack any other So, that’s going to be one of my goals. To bring character, I’m black. I don’t have to be black. I that here, and tap into that tourist market. think that’s one of the things about the black experience. Disney opened up in Koolina, so maybe they will try. Moses put it perfectly. I don’t remember exactly what he said but something like, “we’re black. I Hawaii can be a prime theatre location like don’t have to act black. I don’t have to talk black. I’m just going to talk, and guess what I’m going Florida, New York and Los Angeles. to be black.” So that’s how you take it lightly. ONCE YOU AND MOSES GOODS, (ANOTHER FANTASTIC LOCAL ACTOR WHO IS AFRICAN I acknowledge the fact that I’m black, and that I’m AMERICAN) RETURNED, YOU GUYS BECAME representing all, but I’m just going to be myself THE “IT” ACTORS. THIS IS FANTASTIC and that’s going to be black. So, that’s how I take SPEAKING AS A BLACK PERSON BECAUSE everything.


When you try to play a tough guy. I’m going to try to play it true. The story says he’s tough. I’m going to play a bad guy. He doesn’t know he’s bad. I’m going to play it truthfully, and the story will show that he’s wrong or bad or black. You know what I mean? That’s one of the processes I try to do. THE GREAT THING I HAVE NOTICED OVER THE PAST COUPLE OF YEARS IS THE UPSURGE OF BLACK ACTORS IN THE THEATRE INDUSTRY HERE. BUT, THEY ARE SEEING THERE’S NOT A LOT OF OPPORTUNITY FOR THEM HERE. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE THEM? I would say that this is the training ground. There is no such thing as failure here. Attack any role. White or black. Play A View from the Bridge. I just finished Closer were I played a British dude. A white British slimy dude. Right? There is no failure here except within yourself. So, read every script you can get your hands on. Read everything and try everything. Audition for everything because there’s such a safety net. The theatre community is just happy to be a theatre community. So, use it as a training ground even if you do not plan to go elsewhere. Try to perfect it within yourself by your own standards, and you can’t fail. You can’t. WHAT WOULD YOUR ADVICE BE TO AGENTS, CASTING DIRECTORS AND FILM DIRECTORS HERE? Go see some shows! There are so many talented actors here! Try to plug into the theatre community. There are some amazingly talented people. I’ve seen shows here


that far surpasses some of the Broadway shows. Kumu Kahua... They need to see all these shows, It’s amazing, and it’s all here for them. But the and they should know them (theatre actors) all by theatre actor don’t mix with the film actors. name because there are only about 400 of them, and they should know them all by name. Ryan Wuestewald just played Hamlet. One of the best Hamlet’s I’ve seen in my life, and he’s WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU? auditioning for one line on Hawaii Five-O. Pilot season in Los Angeles and theatre season It’s hard for theatre actors here to go from standing in the east coast and west coast. So, I’m going to ovations, and then go into a casting office and say give it a run for the money! one line and get shuttled away like they’re nothing. I just wanted to say that I was in a very low place I WAS TOLD BY AN AGENT, JUST RECENTLY, when I came back here. It was Eric Johnson, THAT I CAN’T ACT BECAUSE I CAME FROM Harry Wong, all of the people at TAG, you, Brad, THEATRE. OF COURSE HE HAD NEVER SEEN Frankie... just took such great care of me. R Kevin ME ACT. Dole, Tony Pasculi, Reb Allen, Christian Lane, Gaven Venta and all of these people. No, no! Theatre translate to film. You just have to turn it down. It was like a village surrounding this wounded lion, and just picking me back up on my feet and I think it should be the responsibility of the film giving me my creative mojo back, so that I’d felt directors to tap into the theatre, and this is not like an artist again. just for Hawaii. I felt like an artist again, and gave me the There’s theatre all over the world, and they rarely confidence to go back out there and give it another use theatre actors. When they do they end up shot after being knocked on my butt like that. winning all of these awards. Basically it’s a thank you to the Hawaii theatre Kevin Spacey, Clive Owen, you know, all these community for providing such a nutrient rich great actors. They’re theatre actors. You know?? environment for everybody, and for everybody It’s up to the directors to know the vocabulary of to keep doing that, and remember it’s not about the theatre actor so they can say “just like that. Po’okelas and all of that. It’s not about trying to be Just turn it down.” a business. It’s about being that heart felt theatre community here. These film directors should take theatre classes so they will know how to director theatre actors. So, thank you! That’s a pet peeve of mine. You know what I mean, because I was a theatre actor first before I was a film and television. It happens a lot, and that’s not just here in Hawaii. The casting directors and producers need to try to go see all of these shows at Diamond Head and



By Taylor A single silver limo was parked in front of the club as I approached for the final Friday night party at Pipeline. Inside the DJ’s were prepping for their last time on this large stage. Now I know some of you are saying, “Wait Pipeline closed? When did that happen?” Perhaps you are a recent resident of the island, and you have never really heard of Pipeline. So, here’s a little bit of back story for you. Pipeline Café opened in November of 1999, and over the years has played host to many bands local and mainstream such as The Black Eyed Peas, Fall Out Boy, Mos Def, and Jim Jefferies. Now fast forward a little bit to oh say 2 ½ years ago. That’s when Greg Azus became the owner of the Café. Greg kept up the tradition of bringing in mainstream bands. He also brought in Comedians. It was the comedy nights that Greg really enjoyed. We attended a few parties in Pipelines final days. Let’s start with Double-O-Spot’s Last Rave at Pipeline. Yes, I do like a good rave. Granted it’s been many years since I have gone to one, but I didn’t let that stop me.

ferent feel to it. The music and the ever loving environment remained the same. With loud music vibrating through the club, I found it hard to hear those I was able to speak to, but they just smiled and repeated. There was one noticeable difference, the clothes. In my days, the ravers were easily spotted in their baggy pants and t-shirts, or, in the case of the guys, mesh shirts or no shirt at all. As I wove through the crowd, I noticed a lot of girls wearing not much at all, short shorts and t-shirts on some, others in bras and panties. The guys in their skinny jeans and t-shirts, or bare chest, asking them to stop for a photo almost felt boarder line pedo to me. Now let’s clear up a myth that has been perpetuated in movies and television. Raves are NOT about the drugs. True, a lot who go are on something. They are easily spotted with the facial masks to hold their Vicks, or sucking on the pacifiers. But those who are truly there for the rave experience know it’s all about the music, and accepting all who walk in the doors. Everyone is there to have fun, and they love all who walk in. They make new friends as they wait in the long line to get into the party. Like Samantha, a local girl who arrived on the scene around seven and waited two hours to get in the door. She was chilling with a friend before the party started, and then enjoyed the music directly in front of the DJ.

Having not been to a rave in a really long time, I was a little shocked to discover they have not changed much. Sure the ones I used to go to We ran into London, a local actor, who said were in big warehouses, with lots of rooms This that raves were not his scene, but his brother one was in a club. So, it did have a slightly dif- wanted to go, so he tagged along. He was danc-


ing to the music and having a great time doing it. Twenty minutes in I caught up with Tina, a photographer, and her friend Maddie, who came to Pipeline because it was the last rave at the club. They had fun giving us a mini-photo shoot. Who ever said photographers don’t like to have their pictures taken obviously never met this girl. We also spotted a group of guys who were just out having a good time. I spoke with DJ Young Past, who gave me a big hug and told me he knew who I was, and was a fan of my work. Not sure how he knew me, or if he really did, but I always love a good ego stroke. The following weekend I ventured back to the club, twice. Once to watch a comedy showcase that featured some great local comedians like Grant Uchida, and then the last Friday night party with DJ Ikon and DJ Billy G. Once inside the doors, I were greeted by some old friends who were on the dancing floor, enjoying their chance to party. One girl told us, “Pipeline is the Heart of Hawaii. It will be sad to see it go.” Comedian Shawn Fellipe had this to say about Pipeline “this is the one place that brings national artists to the local scene.” It’s a little strange that, in all my years here in Hawaii, I had only ventured into the club twice before. I would hear them talk about the shows on the radio. Hudson and Scottie B are big supporters of the club. And yet in its closing week I was there three times, and even though I have only been there a handful of times I know this, the people will miss this place. Pipeline Café heldits final party on Monday, Jan 31st, 2011. R.I.P Pipeline. You will be missed.



Here’s The Deal

By Twan Matthews

When I was writing this article, I had such a hard time trying to figure out what to write. As many of you know or may not know, February marks Black History Month. You would think that me being a black person that I would have a lot of things to say about my forebears, and their many accomplishments. Many of which has gone unnoticed by the mainstream history buffs. Well I am here to tell you that I was one of those people who knew absolutely nothing about the history of my people, and some of your people, as well. Madame C.J. Walker was America’s first self made millionaire. She invented the hot iron press. Which, by the way, I am completely grateful for. Without it, I would be a mess; or at least my hair would be. She revolutionized how black people could straighten their hair. Hattie McDaniel was the first black woman to win an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, for her role in Gone With the Wind. At the time, it was unheard of that a person of color could win such a coveted award. There are many other influential people about whom I would love to go into detail. I am not a historian, so bear with me. Here is a list of the people who have contributed not only to society, but also has placed themselves in the annals of history: W.E.B DuBois (1868- 1963) Civil rights leader, Co-founder of the NAACP. Organizer of the PanAmerican Congress in 1919. Benjamin Banneker (1736- 1806) Astronomer and mathematician. Published annual almanacs. Ida B. Well (1862- 1931) Civil rights leader and women

rights advocate. Co-founded NAACP. Jack Johnson (not the singer) (1878- 1946) First heavy weight champion title in 1908. There are many other dignitaries that I would love to mention. But time and money do not permit me to do so. I hope that you all enjoy this information, and I hope that this will inspire readers to do their own research. Have a wonderful Black History Month. This is Twan Matthews signing off. Remember that is just my GAYWAY! See you around!


And when this happens, when we allow we will be able to speed up that day wh able to join hands and sing in the word

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w freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, hen all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be ds of the old Negro spiritual:

ree at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

~The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. XSJUUFO CZ %h5BGBJ 4JMJQB






Attention!!! Diamond Head Theatre closes its 2010-2011 season with the Hawaii premier of the hit musical Hairspray, July 15 – July 31, 2011 This extremely funny and exciting musical touches on the topic of the struggles of African Americans in entertainment, segregation and the clash between whites and blacks in the 60s. DHT will be auditioning for this show in the spring, and will need a large cast that include African American boys, girls, men and women.

To hire Jeanne for photography services, go to her website Jeanne Wynne Herring Photography jeannewynne.com Visit me on FaceBook: Jeanne Wynne Herring Photography Go to excellencehappens.net to be on the EH eZine email list!


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