TBD WITH LDT is being REBOOTED as “Let’s Talk Story with LDT.” (Eps 1 - 39 are old eps. Episode 40 is the first reboot episode.)
Humanity=storytelling. Each moment has a beginning, middle, end -- and then the next moment begins. Regardless of background, occupation, aspirations -- each of us is a living story, told by ourselves, unfolding in real time.
I sit down with folks to talk about the stories that: --inspire them --they want more of --they're a part of --they WANT to be a part of --they carry with them --they left behind
SUPER SLEEPY whilst recording, but I had some thoughts tumbling round my head about attitude, considering others the way we want to be considered, how attitude affects others, and how our attitude towards ourselves can impact our relationship to others and our attitude towards them...or theirs towards us.
JOY! That's the theme of this week's podcast. Adam Ferguson and I are working on an sound recording assignment for class, and I loved his idea of asking strangers the question "What brings you joy?" On today's episode of TBD With LDT, I recount some of the answers we got, as well as some of Adam and I's reflections -- and I list some of the things that bring ME joy.....like Rhea Butcher and Cameron Esposito's "Put Your Hands Together," which is both a live comedy show that happens weekly in LA and a podcast that you can listen to anytime, anywhere! Check it out. And also check out a longtime friend and fellow joymaker, Chelsea Foy, whose site lovelyindeed.com is constant source of joy and ideas on how to make and spread it. Have a great week, y'all!
The one and only Teyonce. The one and only Ooohwee. That's right, ladies and gents and all non-binary folx, on today's episode I am joined by Te'juana Johnson and David Brice-Miller, two of the funniest, smartest, bad-assest people ever. We talk shade, identity, politics (for just a moment), and so much more. I know I say this all the time...but this really is one of my very favorite episodes of TBD With LDT.
New year, new episode of TBD With LDT! I didn't make any "new year's resolutions," but I have made conscious choices about what I want going forward. I want to love myself. To say yes to myself. Audre Lorde sagaciously said: "we have been raised to fear the yes in ourselves." This is true of millions and millions of us: we have gotten "NO" from so many sources that we have internalized that No, to the point where we may have forgotten how to say YES to ourselves. For myself, I am choosing to say yes by taking better care of my physical vessel, by loving myself first (so that I can continue to love others), and by saying yes to personal growth and change.... like starting the year single. Thanks for listening to TBD With LDT, and I hope your new year brings you much YES!
The one and only Amy Seeley is on the podcast today. Amy is an actor, an improvisor, a writer, an educator, an empowering force in the Universe, and a founder of Chicago's Factory Theater -- amongst other things. She and I sit down for an absolutely heartening, inspiring, dee-lightful conversation about life, learning, finding your voice, #metoo, improvisation, and a whole lotta other great stuff. There's a reason why Amy Seeley is a favorite human of many, and you can hear why on this week's episode of TBD With LDT.
Bethany Saint-Smith is a singer-songwriter, a poet, an autobiographer, a mother, a survivor, a force of nature -- and a piece of the Universe glowing brightly. Of her singing, The Supreme’s Susaye Greene said, “Bethany has the instincts of an aged American blues singer. There’s a tug in the heart when you hear her sing that grabs you and makes you wonder what she's lived through. She reminds me of the earthy Odetta of 60's Folk-rock fame, or of Nina Simone's scathingly sophisticated perceptions of life.” Bethany and I sit down and discuss life and barriers and human relationships in what will hopefully just be one episode in a series of talks with this incredible artist. Follow her on bethanysaintsmith.wordpress.com and find her on Facebook and Twitter.
Greg Sidnam is a fellow MFA in TVFT student at Cal State LA, a technician, a director, a former actor, and one of those people who gives meaning to the term "don't judge a book by its cover." When we first met in Fall 2017, we probably wanted to punch each other in the face a little bit. But the thing about listening to others is that you often learn that there are more similarities than anyone could imagine. This episode is about life's journey's, the unexpected paths that this life of art will take you on, and how it's never too late to make discoveries and open yourself up to new experiences. We also argue about how graphic novels are not comic books...because everyone should read Alison Bechdel's graphic memoirs.
DISCLAIMER! From 12:03 - 12:39, there is a high-pitched tone that comes on over the PA system in the room we were recording in.
On this episode, I once again sit down with Jeremiah Ripley, a fellow MFA Actor at Cal State LA, and this time we dig deep into matters of queer identity, politics, acceptance, awareness, representation, and more. Progress was made in the midterm elections, but our world still has work to do -- and some of that work starts by letting ourselves and one another shine, just like mama Marianne Williamson taught us.
...aaaaand we're back from Unexpected Hiatus Due to Life as an MFA Acting Student! The past few weeks have been tough ones, not just because of an intensely fulfilling school workload, but also because our country--our WORLD--is in a state of tremendous upheaval. Over the past two weekends, I was privileged to sit in the audience of two theatre pieces that resonated with me strongly, not only because of their own depth and breadth, but because of the intense connection and reflection on current events and current mindsets. Truly, these were reverential, sacred experiences, akin to the transcendent moments that occur in a church, temple, fellowship hall, mosque, or other places where people gather in faith. If you are in the LA area this weekend, you have a chance to partake of one of those experiences -- Sarah Mantell's "Everything That Never Happened" is in its final weekend of performances at Boston Court in Pasadena. GO SEE IT.
TW: This week's episode centers on the current national narrative surrounding Ford/Kavanaugh. This was not an easy podcast to record, and I understand if it's not easy to listen to. I'm worn down and worn out by the crushing weight of anguish and anger, I'm tired of saying the same things year after year, I'm broken apart because every time a high profile abuse/assault case has come to light, more and more people I know are stepping forward with their own stories -- men and women -- so many, that it almost feels as though I may not know ANY woman who has not experienced sexual abuse/assault. And do you know what would (will) be even more heart-breaking than learning that all the women I know have been abused/assaulted? When I learn that, I will not be surprised for even one moment. Not because I don't know good men, or because I hate men, but because of the history of our world, our justice system, and our legacy of victim-blaming, shaming, and demeaning. We need to do better. We need to raise ourselves and our children better. We need to do some soul searching as a species.
"It takes a village to raise a child," the old saying goes. In our modern world, we could easily replace "village" with community and the meaning would be largely the same. I'm so grateful to the community that I am a part of, because you all show me that there is empathy and generosity of spirit alive and well in the world. I see my community paying it forward and working together for ongoing growth and progress, and it's heartening. ...I mean, I still don't know if I'll ever bring a kid into the world, but I know that if I did, they'd be embraced by these awesome communities that I'm a part of.
August 20th marked the beginning of the 2nd year of my MFA, the first semester of the Teacher Training program, and Joel's first year at CSULA. On August 15th, I got word that my dad had a stroke and was in the hospital. He's doing okay, all things considered, and these past few weeks have been big ones. Balancing the emotional/mental/physical workload of school is already a big journey; getting to be a part of my Dad's life during this is a journey all its own. This episode of TBD With LDT talks about stretching -- how life stretches us, pushes us, and how growth often comes with growing pains as we stretch through and past the discomfort of unfamiliarity. Join me as I talk about some of the discoveries of the past few weeks. And as always, thank you for listening.
SO happy to sit with my friend Adam Ferguson: Equity/SAG actor, voracious reader and theatre-goer, and a fellow MFA student in the TVFT program at Cal State LA. Lots of laughs in this episode as we riff with one another about an array of topics. Enjoy!
This is my favorite episode of TBD With LDT so far, and for good reason. Not only is Traci Sprague the Artistic Director (and de facto Technical Director!) of Center Stage Conservatory in Modesto, she is also the mom of four amazing kids who are artists and activists in their own right. Traci is an actor, a director, a public figure, and she is an inspiration to pretty much anyone who has gotten the chance to work with her. She works hard and it shows in everything she does. On our episode, we talk about "The Wolves," an all-female play by Sarah De Lappe which just finished a successful run at CSC, and we talk about the theme of CSC's upcoming season, #thefutureisfemale . This was so joyous and inspiring to record, and I think it's even more so to listen to. Enjoy.
Hannah Gadsby's show "Nanette" is available for streaming on Netflix and I highly, Highly, HIGHLY recommend it. It's categorized as a comedy show, because Hannah has been working as a comedian for years, but this transcends comedy. This is a Truth in Storytelling master class, a raw and real and intensely human piece of work. It's theatre and personal narrative and stand-up and it is so damn good. Life-changingly good, even.
My summer job this year is working at a Summer Arts program for kids ages 10-15. I'm a theatre teacher, and in the morning I get to do bio-mechanics work with all 140+ students. Being around these kids has thrown sharp perspective onto the current events of our world, particularly what's happening right here in the US. I reflect on some of the challenges of being a human and an artist in the current landscape, on how we need healers right now, and more.
You guys, life gets BUSY sometimes! But honestly, I prefer it that way. Here's a little catch-up on what I've been doing, why my summer is so busy, why I prefer to stay busy, and some of the things I have planned for Summer 2018 -- including some LONG held goals that I want to FINALLY accomplish. Thanks for listening!
Happy Pride Month 2018, y'all! We're here, we're queer, and we're celebrating all month long! Today's episode is a personal and heartfelt explosion of gratitude for the progress we've made, and a sobering look at how far we still have to go. We still live in a world where being openly LGBTQIA+ makes us a target--from anything to subtle microagressions to denial of human rights to murder. Each year we are faced with groups seeking to reverse the progress made towards LGBTQIA+ equality--and sometimes, those groups are within the highest forms of government and power.
Stay strong my family! Together we will carry this torch, keep it blazing bright, and we will illuminate the hearts of humanity!
The first time I sat down to record an episode about "adulting," the Audacity app crashed and the file was corrupt and unable to be resurrected. This second time, I was 15 minutes deep into recording when I realized I wanted to start all over again -- which I did. Now if that isn't the most meta commentary on adulting ever, I don't know what is. Because let's face it -- adulting often deals with losing it all, starting from scratch, choosing your battles, and forging your own path. In this episode I talk about some of things adulting means to me, the ongoing question of "control," and my own journey of self-discovery and owning who I am.
I went to DragCon on Saturday, May 12th and was able to see Brian McCook's (aka Katya)DEB Talk. It was so GOSH DANG inspiring and I HIGHLY recommend that you check out his podcast "Whimsically Volatile," Brian talked about boundaries and living in the moment and much of what he said resonated with me and was directly related to some of the taking-stock that I've been doing as Year One of Grad School draws to a close. I'm in a TV, Film, and Theatre program, and although I've been really digging the film stuff, I have realized that theatre is my #1, for now and forever. I love how NOW it is, how present and living and resonant a theatrical experience can be. So that's what this episode is about. It's about all of that.
(And it's also a little bit about the script for "Clybourne Park" (which happens to be running now thru May 20, 2018 at Prospect Theater Project in Modesto.))
The books I read as a kid and as a young adult made lasting impressions on me, shaping my personal perspectives and behaviors in powerful and positive ways. What books or media did you consume as a young person that shaped and influenced your adult self?
As a result of racial bias and racial profiling, a Starbucks employee called the cops on two real estate agents who were waiting inside the store for a potential client to arrive for a business meeting. The gentlemen were arrested, despite their innocence (they were not acting against any official Starbucks policy by simply waiting in the cafe), and there was an immediate response from the public when news of the arrest broke. Since then, Starbucks has taken some major strides to not only apologize to the two men, but to actively seek out ways to prevent this sort of incident from happening in the future. As a result, Starbucks will be closing all stores and some corporate locations (a combined total of over 8,000 locations, nationwide) across the US on May 29th to hold racial bias trainings which are currently being designed "with input from groups including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Anti-Defamation League" (NYTimes).
This is a notable step in the right direction. This is an investment by Starbucks that hits them in the pocket book and will not have immediate results (racial bias and other systemic biases take a long time to really whittle down), two things businesses and corporations tend to shy away from. We'll see over time what impact this has, not only in Starbucks stores in the US, but in the policies and approaches of other corporations. Starbucks is setting a precedent. Will others follow?
Gentlemen, start your engines, and may the best woman...win! Yes, henny, today's episode is about one of my FAVORITE things, RuPaul's Drag Race. Listen up and hear how Drag Race helped get me through the 2016 Presidential Election, learn which Queen I went to school with, and get a micro-mini lesson about how RuPaul's Drag Race has opened up the LGBTQ narrative to a wider audience while also celebrating the empowerment of finding one's one voice and choosing one's own family.
Here's the gritty reality folks: I'm a recovering alcoholic who, in addition to being an actor, ally, and artist, also gets to deal with anxiety, social anxiety, depression, and otha' fun (read: not fun) stuff. In this episode of "TBD With LDT," I discuss how my social anxiety has shifted over the years, and what it's like dealing with it while also in recovery. Nearly every single human being has their social anxiety dial turned up just a notch -- it's what keeps us on our toes when we meet new people or are in new situations. But for some of us, the social anxiety dial is turned up -- and sometimes, it's blasting.
The Educational Theatre Association (EdTA) has been posting a series of awesomely inspiring infographics, featuring facts/quotes from articles and studies regarding the positive impact of theatre on students. It is SO inspiring that I've dedicated a podcast episode to "Theatre in our Schools," sharing a few of the EdTA posts with you and discussing the benefits of theatre and of arts education in general. Keep the arts in our schools and enrich the lives of children everywhere!
#TriggerWarnings: This episode, among other things, discusses depression, anxiety, binge eating (briefly), repression, and PTSD (also briefly).
There's been a lot on my mind lately -- a lot of personal stuff. Stuff like self-reflection that's resulted in some discovery. Or gratitude for being a self-aware human being, and for awareness in general. Stuff like who I am and where I've come from and the realities of my life and how they've shaped me. This episode is a little rambly, and a lot deep, and I'm actually really pleased to share it with you.
Join me for a publicly private exploration of this thing called life.
The somber truth is, I wouldn't be here if it weren't for the power of narrative. I would have taken myself out of this world if not for the strength, hope, inspiration, and fortitude that I found in books. In this episode, I discuss a recent revelation I've had about feeling like an outsider since I was at least three years old (and how that must have shaped me), and then I fondly list some of the female writers and female protagonists who inspired me -- and sometimes saved my life. #RepresentationMatters, friends. We're making steps in the right direction, and it's progress which saves lives. What are some narratives that shaped your life in a positive way?
What is the job of an artist -- an actor, a writer, a musician, a dancer, etc? What do people REALLY mean when they tell an artist to "shut up and do your job?" What does it mean when someone tells an actor "just shut up and say your lines--leave the politics out of it...I didn't pay for you to mouth off about your beliefs," or any number of dehumanizing commands? In this episode, I sound off on why this particular line of critique really gets under my skin, and I give a little history lesson on just how interconnected politics and art has always been.
10th episode of TBD With LDT! Too bad my brain is too mushy to enjoy it! I was in need of inspiration, so I turned to Storycorps.org and their question generator...but first I waxed sentimental about what a great organization Storycorps. If you haven't checked them out-- DO YOURSELVES A FAVOR AND GET INTO 'EM!
Gary Thomas suggested that I talk about surviving tech week -- that dreaded week before a play opens, when all elements come together for the first time. One thing I forgot to mention? Humor! Humor helps, even if it's just laughing at yourself when there's a snafu. Here's some tips on staying calm, self-care, and creating a productive collaborative environment -- tips that work for all disciplines, not just theatre!
On today’s episode, Jeremiah Ripley and I sit under a stairwell in the TVFM building at CSULA and talk about the things we do when we’re bored, music and music festivals and large crowds, and getting in trouble in high school.
I've been playing Skyrim (PS4 Special Edition) lately, which has resulted in odd dreams and me reminiscing about some dreams I had when I was a kid...followed by some memories of truly bizarre childhood LDT behavior. Ah, neuroses.
Last night I logged into an ancient email account and was ambushed by memory lane...so today I’m talking about the tricky nature of memory, what it’s like to revisit old emails (tangent: why doesn’t every BA/BFA/BS program have mandatory classes in “Email Writing For Your Field?”), and transitional periods of life (and their anniversaries).
Episode Three of TBD With LDT is about representation and narrative...and it's the first of a series on representation/narrative.
I hope to hear from some of you who would like to be guests in the Representation/Narrative series on TBD With LDT.
I'll leave you with a quote from the last few minutes of this episode:
"When you're missing from the story, people don't have to worry about you. They don't have to think about you as a human being, they don't have to think about legislation that benefits you, they don't have to think about going out of their way to help you on the street, they don't have to think about your troubles and your own human issues and the fact that you, like them, have feelings, right?
If you are missing from the story, then nobody has to give a shit about you. But if you are in the story, then people cannot ignore you."
The 2nd episode of TBD With LDT: radio plays, local theaters, the 1940’s, Fred Astaire is NOT Frank Sinatra (thank God), and Mark Hamilton’s sandwich bit. Go see PTP’s Radio Cavalcade in Modesto this Sat, Dec 16, 2017 at 8:00pm!