Monday, December 15, 2008

Bikers and Monologues

Well, I signed the contract for the theatre today. I always get a little nervous when the money starts to get, well, spent. I have to remind myself that is what I'm here for, not to spend money, but to get two plays up. In Los Angeles, rents are higher, theatre professionals you have to pay for, and there are a thousand different things to start thinking about. I thought of hiring a producer, but then again, I've done this enough times that I think I can act as producer if I assemble the right team around me. I called Scott, (my cousin) and asked him if he will stage manage and associate produce. He seemed excited about doing it, it will give him another focus while he's trying to shlep movies. This is a town, however, where anything might happen. I brought a box full of scripts that Collette and Cheryl (other cousins), helped me print out and put together. I have two film scripts and four television scripts. L.A. is a place where I might run into someone who is looking. Both of my film scripts, I think, are very good and very polished. The television scripts are from 'Caffeine' and from 'Oedipus Wrecks'. Eric Smith from Boulder helped me put a music demo CD together before I left Boulder, so I have that as well. An over used phrase, but "luck is when preparation meets opportunity..." I'm quite sure as I get into the whole theatre world, I'll have an opportunity to get something else off the ground. I met another television writer at my meeting on Saturday, and as it happens, he's up for a job on an FX series, 'Sons of Anarchy', about motorcycle gangs. Oddly, a few years ago, I read several books on the subject, and well,  have some first hand experience as well. 

About fifteen years ago, a man named Guy (won't use his last name)  was a drug dealer out towards Cave Creek, AZ. I grew up knowing Guy, as  Guy was my best friend Red's older brother's friend. So, with out getting into my part in this whole episode, I'll just tell you that Red and I spent a lot of time out at Guy's, and he had a lot of parties as his house was 'out in the desert'.  One night, a guy who was associated with a motorcycle gang (remaining nameless) broke into Guy's with the idea of robbing him. After he robbed Guy, his girlfriend, and his girlfriend's friend  at gunpoint, he took them all out into the desert and shot them execution style in the back of the head. The two girls died, but Guy somehow managed to live. As the story became known, another biker named Mike (can't say), who was a very good friend of Guy's and my older Brother Gary, somehow found out who it was, and also knew he was heading to Las Vegas. He got on his motorcycle and tracked him into Vegas and made a 'citizen's arrest' with his own weapon, and took the thief and murderer into the police station. Of course, Mike (can't say) became a folk hero out around Cave Creek and what we called 'The Valley'.  I remember just staring at him when he would show up at parties. One of the saddest elements of the story is after all Guy went through losing his girlfriend that way, and still having a bullet in his head, he went back to his same occupation. Its been many years now, and I don't know what's become of any of them now, but it was a very vivid time in my young life.  The bikers that rode in Cave Creek were called 'The Dirty Dozen', but they have all assimilated into 'Hell's Angels', as Sonny Barger (the founder of the Hell's Angel's) moved there. Through my older brother Gary, I became acquainted with many of the bikers who lived and rode up and down Cave Creek Road. When I was just nineteen, I frequented the bars where they drank and sold their wares. At the time, we lived just off of Cave Creek Road near biker bars such as 'Betty's Swingin' Door Saloon', 'The Desert Star', 'The Cheyenne Saloon', 'Ruby's', 'The Ole Corral', and (believe it or not) 'The Wagon Yard Steakhouse' where you could always find some rough customers. Back then, bikers mixed with the cowboys and rednecks, and they all knew each other. I can tell you this, shots were fired in everyone of these bars. I can remember being in there at quarter to one, and feeling the danger. I loved being in those places, maybe its why my plays are filled with dangerous characters. I didn't know it until later that we lived in a part of the city where probably most of the guns where. I remember the night that Paul (you know the drill) was shot six times in 'Betty's Swingin' Door Saloon', but that's another story. (I will tell you that he lived!)  Anyway, these stories made good conversations in regard to the television show, 'Sons of Anarchy'.  I saw those guys every night for quite a few years. I can remember seeing and being part of this crowd and thinking later on, no one is going to believe this, I was a true 'fly on the wall', and found myself in some truly dangerous situations. To spare my mother a scare, I'll save the ones I was directly involved with for the book. In Los Angeles it seems, everyone has a story, and everyone is creating one, and pitching one, and trying to live one. I'm realizing just how many stories I really have. I didn't seem to have a brake in my 'life car', so I gathered up quite a few as I sped down the highway. 

Its raining in L.A. tonight, and I woke up a little overwhelmed and depressed this morning, but as the day became fuller and I went down to the theatre, I feel much better. Saturday night, I rewrote the monologue 'to my mother', although I tried to find the beauty of the speech, it took me into territory that affected me for a day or so. I had to go way back into childhood, connecting my mother and father, which can always be a little unsettling. Again, when you go back, you can't rely on the memory, you have to make it relevant for the present. Tonight, I will go back to it and re-write what became of it after forty-eight hours. While I was at the theatre today, I took my guitar in to the theatre (where the plays will be) and played a few songs and monologues. It feels good to be on a stage. It feels good to be doing the impossible. It feels good to risk it all once again on a sack full of money and a play...


Grace said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Grace said...

Love it!

It takes me back to my own childhood(bittersweet), not full of soccer practice and sleepovers but cowboys and fighters and bar flys..

Oh barfly, oh nostalgia.

Love the blog.

Play sing and write, until next time.

Chuckh said...

Careful who you tell your stories to out there, could end up on the TV.