Posts Tagged ‘Carolyn Power’

SEEING THUNDER, HEARING LIGHT

Many men see women as objects of sexual predation. Following recent reports about movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, many women have come forward to relate their experiences. My wife Carolyn will tell hers in a performance she began working on two years ago.

Carolyn will present a cabaret piece, “Seeing Thunder Hearing Light,” on Saturday night, November 4, at the Hotel Rex in San Francisco. Showtime is 8 pm. Doors open at 7. Dinner and drinks are available.

I’ve long witnessed the damage done to Carolyn in her childhood. We’ve been married 48 years. But she’s worked hard to deal with that ordeal. Yet “Seeing Thunder” isn’t about the details of what happened. It’s about how taking up acting in her fifties—she’d been a children’s theater performer after college and a storyteller for three decades—enabled her to confront her demons.

More women than we can imagine struggle to survive, let alone thrive, in a world in which men publicly place women on a pedestal and privately pull them down into the mud. Carolyn has been fortunate to have escaped terrible encounters as an adult. Still, she’s fended off a few unwanted approaches. As an actor who auditions for television and movies in Los Angeles and San Francisco—and has earned several roles—she’s fortunate to have been spared the attentions of Hollywood’s Harvey Weinsteins.

But Carolyn never underestimates the danger lurking for women—not only among strangers but co-workers, acquaintance and even friends. “Many men aren’t aware of what they’re doing,” she says. “The full-body hug, the forceful kiss on the lips, the supposed compliment. These make women cringe.”

Why the medium of cabaret? Carolyn loves to perform. Cabaret also offers a form of therapy, although for several years Carolyn has been seeing a therapist who specializes in trauma. A while back, she scratched an itch by studying singing with the late San Francisco teacher Richard Nickol. She continued with his successor—an outstanding musical theater performer—Mindy Lim. Carolyn learned about cabaret, which mixes songs with patter, and found it fascinating. Moreover, combining her storytelling skills with singing felt natural. Eventually, she began to write her own show.

Carolyn’s performance includes a variety of music tracing the pathway of her life. Some of it includes our relationship. Maybe a lot. I only have an idea since I’m usually upstairs writing while Carolyn’s downstairs working on one song or another.

As important, Carolyn—accompanied by pianist and noted cabaret performer Barry Lloyd—will not only provide lots to think about but also plenty of entertainment.

Sure, this is a plug for my wife. But it’s also another wake-up call. Human trafficking and sex slavery span the globe. In primitive societies—and I use primitive deliberately—old men buy and marry children. In advanced societies like ours, sexual abuse abounds but gets swept under the rug. A Harvey Weinstein, as Carolyn notes, draws our attention for ten minutes. Yet the damage from which women suffer lasts a lifetime.

So, if you’re free November 4, discover why Carolyn came up with the title, “Seeing Thunder, Hearing Light.” And find out how she fights back one day—and one acting or singing class—at a time.

“Seeing Thunder, Hearing Light” takes place through Society Cabaret. Dynamic ticket prices keep rising, so order now: online, or at 415.857.1896.

Carolyn will donate her share of the proceeds to the North Bay fire-relief efforts of:

Redwood Credit Union

Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, The Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties

Jewish Family and Children’s Services of San Francisco, The Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties

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HOLLYWOOD’S STARTLING SECRET

If you saw the movie Birdman, you may think all actors are narcissistic and way off kilter. Some are. Most aren’t. My wife, Carolyn Power professionally, knows. A Screen Actors Guild Member who’s had roles on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and NBC’s Chuck, as well as in several independent films, she attended last Sunday’s SAG Awards in Los Angeles. Her observations will surprise us non-Hollywood types.

Of course, every Hollywood gala offers its share of dazzle. This event, held at the Shrine Auditorium, lived up to expectations. Carolyn went with fellow actors Sioux Matson-Krings, Molly Brady, Matt Jain and Seema Lazar of First Take, Nancy Berwid Management. Of course, she bought a new gown and walked down the red carpet—the side reserved for guests. Nominees walk the other side where the media can approach them. The dinner was good. The after-party buffet was amazing, from Chinese food to chicken with mango and butternut squash. Not to forget an array of specialty cocktails. Attendees also loaded up on swag from lipsticks to skin creams to a cell phone charger.

All well and good, says Carolyn, but the SAG Awards are all about community and inclusivity. “This awards ceremony is unusual,” she says. Actors nominate, vote for and honor cast ensembles and individuals. Who fills the audience? Actors. “It was thrilling for our smaller community to join with the larger acting community.”

Mingling with nominees at the after-party was a highlight. Some famous actors are standoffish because they’re usually mobbed everywhere. “Understandable,” Carolyn says. Yet Steve Buscemi took a picture with Matt. Kevin Costner did the same with Molly’s husband. Newer actors making their mark were entirely accessible. Carolyn cites the women from the cast of Orange is the New Black (Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series).

Orange’s Uzo Aduba (Crazy Eyes—Outstanding Performance by a Female in a Comedy Series) and Gwendoline Christie (the warrior Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones) proved warm and gracious, humble and grateful. “Oh my goodness, to see how beautiful they all look since they play roles in which they’re not made to look as attractive as they really are. It’s a thrill to be able to walk up and say, ‘Your acting is so specific and so believable, and I enjoyed your performance.’” Actors all want to be appreciated.

An important lesson came from meeting these actors. “They’re people,” Carolyn notes. If she’s cast in a role with one of them, she’ll be excited but realize that “we’re all actors here.” She cites Edward Norton, who stated how grateful he was for his nomination (as an egomaniacal actor in Birdman) but also to be a working actor. “He was an actor among actors, and he honored all of us with his words.”

Carolyn also was thrilled to meet LaVerne Cox, a transgender woman in the cast of Orange is the New Black. Our son Yosi is trans (female to male), so LaVerne as an actor and a trans person means a lot to both of us. She posed for a selfie with Carolyn. “LaVerne is beautiful, kind and gracious,” Carolyn reports.

So here’s to the Hollywood the media often ignores: actors as people just like the rest of us. Only maybe with better hair.

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HURRAY FOR HOLLYWOOD

Hollywood used to make movies about performers suddenly discovered and thrust into stardom. It happens to some. But most take their careers a day at a time, becoming highly accomplished but not necessarily famous. I’ve seen it first hand.

My wife Carolyn is a very fine actor. She’s had small roles on two network TV shows—Chuck and Grey’s Anatomy. She’s also done wonderful stage work. And work it is with endless classes and countless auditions. A performer’s rise to public acclaim comes through great effort and the occasional shedding of tears—all usually hidden.

My son Aaron is a very talented dancer now concluding his career. He discovered his passion for dance as a freshman at Humboldt State. He won a spot with the Eisenhower Dance Ensemble in Detroit. Years with ODC/Dance in San Francisco and Alwyn Nikolais Dance Theatre of Salt Lake City took him on many trips to Europe and Southeast Asia. Audiences saw the beauty and athleticism. We knew the sweat and the pain.

I’m also proud of a new “not-quite-yet-but-maybe” overnight sensation—my son Yosi. Wednesday night, Carolyn and I flew to Los Angeles to see Yosi perform (fiddle and drums) with Hurray for the Riff Raff at the Hollywood Palladium. The band just signed a contract with ATO Records and opened for one of the hottest groups in America—and their label-mates—Alabama Shakes.

Yosi’s road has been long. He started playing drums in middle school. At San Francisco’s School of the Arts, he became an outstanding percussionist. After high school Yosi wanted to play the viola, but that was too big an instrument to take on his travels around the country. He bought a violin on a Friday and was playing on Sunday. He’s taken lessons from outstanding teachers and practiced with unwavering determination.

Then there’s the road. For years Riff Raff has played gig after gig across America, many in small clubs, bars and even private houses. Glamour? Not exactly. Riding in a van means too little sleep. A tight budget means limited food choices. Even a dressing room can be a luxury.

But Riff Raff keeps going, and each year they rise. The band has appeared at big festivals like South by Southwest in Austin. They’ve toured the United Kingdom three times and played on the Continent. Yosi and Alynda lee Segarra, the band’s fabulous singer/songwriter and leader, even appeared on Treme, HBO’s series set in New Orleans (where Yosi used to live). Their CD’s are rightfully acclaimed, and they’ve won many thousands of loyal fans.

There are no guarantees, but their hard work seems to be paying off. Las Vegas and Vancouver dates with the Shakes are coming up. There’s the Vancouver Folk Festival on the 23rd. On July 25th they open for Judy Collins in Waterford, Connecticut. Two days later they play at the Newport Folk Festival. On August 10 Hurray for the Riff Raff appears in New York at Lincoln Center’s outdoor Roots of Music Festival.

So Hurray for Hollywood. And a bigger hurray for every artist rocketed to stardom one exhausting leap after another.

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Read the first three chapters of David’s novels SAN CAFÉ and SLICK! at davidperlstein.com. You’ll also find online ordering links for iUniverse.com, Amazon.com and bn.com.