Wednesday, June 1, 2011

June Is Bustin' Out All Over...and Life Lessons from Dee Wallace and Mary McDonough!

"March went out like a lion
Awakin' up the water in the bay;
Then April cried and stepped aside,
And along came pretty little May!
May was full of promises
But she didn't keep 'em quickly enough for some
And the crowd of doubtin' tonuses
Was predictin' that the summer'd never come"
Nettie in Carousel, Rodgers And Hammerstein
Happy June!
What great lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein! I got up this morning and as I was preparing my coffee, I put on this song. I get something new from these lyrics every time I hear them. That is a testament to good lyric writing AND music. I recently read that everything is happening as it should be. I feel that all kinds of lessons are coming my way these days. Maybe I'm ready. Maybe I'm more "in tuned". I don't know. I do know I'm ready to receive. Just look at my horoscope today:
"Relationships in general and affairs of the heart in particular will benefit from today's eclipse. In fact this is the ideal time to remind those you love that they will always be special to you. Yes, of course, Aquarius does romance!"
Also, I'm hosting a show with Dionne Warwick on June 8th! Details to follow! What should my opening number be?

There has been a very interesting thread on my wall on Facebook over the last few days.
It started when I posted an article from Michael Musto about Francis McDormand stopping the show over the weekend because a woman in the audience had a cell phone go off in the audience."Frances McDormand Stops The Show!by Michael Musto, THE VILLAGE VOICE Here is the article:

And I'm proud of her.

At last night's performance of the Broadway play Good People -- right at a climactic plot moment, when the audience was on the edge of their seats, waiting for information about the baby -- a cell phone boldly rang in the house.

The audience gasped. The actors froze.

And the woman took the call!

Good people, indeed!
"Hello?" she screeched -- though she would have been more accurate if she'd said, "I'm the dumbest pinhead in history!"

McDormand stopped in her tracks, put her arm around co-star Renee Elise Goldsberry (above), and deadpanned, "Let's wait."

After the unwanted bit of audience business was settled and silenced, McDormand made a rewind gesture and said to Goldsberry, "OK, ask me the question again."

And they resumed the scene."

From that "thread", one person's response was "Well, you can't control an audience. Ignore it", one person defended his right to run out of the theatre as curtain calls were happening (and even declared happily that he booed a director at one show". I mentioned that a woman was knitting in the audience the other night at a show that I was in. The scene by the way was a very dramatic piece. See for yourself what that experience was like for the people behind her:
You can clearly see her knitting in the audience. Barbra Streisand in her last New York concert told someone in the audience to "Shut the f!@# up!", Patti LuPone has stopped the show, Hugh Jackman, and I am sure so many others. What has happened. I was brought up to believe, and still do, that the theatre is a sacred place.
There should be a level of respect for the actors on stage AND for those around you.
Here is what Carol Channing says about her first time on a stage, ""My mother said, 'Carol, would you like to help me distribute Christian Science Monitors
backstage at the live theatres in San Francisco?'
And I said, 'All right, I'll help you.' I don't know how old I was. I must have been little. We went through the stage door alley (for the Curran Theatre),
and I couldn't get the stage door open.
My mother came and opened it very well.
Anyway, my mother went to put the Monitors where they were supposed to go for the actors and the crew and the musicians, and she left me alone. And I stood there and realized – I'll never forget it because it came over me so strongly – that this is a temple. This is a cathedral. It's a mosque. It's a mother church. This is for people who have gotten a glimpse of creation and all they do is recreate it. I stood there and wanted to kiss the floorboards."
Carol still believes it is "hallowed ground". I still do! If you are not there to respect the sanctity of it all, everything that happened past, present, and future, to bring you to this moment, don't go!
I also believe it is a calling for me. Perhaps because it is not a calling for some, they can't see what it means to those of us who have been called to service.
There have been several books written about the fusion of art and spirituality.
Julia Cameron's "The Artist's Way" is a great start.
There are even classes being taught for "Shamanic actors".
Are YOU ready to receive?
Bright Light is an autobiographical tale of how the actor’s craft became a spiritual journey for her, and how she applied those lessons to her life. It is also a story of Everyman: how we lose our light and steps we can take to reclaim it. For Dee Wallace has discovered, like her co-star E.T., that the journey home comes from following the heart’s lead.

Dee Wallace IS a Healer. Love yourself beyond anyone or anything else. Love yourself so much that you can't doanything that doesn't make you love yourself more.
As a much sought after public speaker, Dee has spoken at numerous national and international venues including the Love and Harmony Forum in Tokyo, Japan; The Dillion Lecture Series, Unity Temple, Cornerstone Foundation, and the Kansas Film Commission in Kansas; The Sally Johnson Studio in New York; Spiritworks; The Sierra Madre Womenís Club; Energetic Healing seminars throughout England; and her own healing and teaching seminars throughout the United States. Dee has appeared on every major news and talk show and has been featured on E! True Hollywood Stories, Oprah and The O'Reilly Factor. On a weekly basis, Dee conducts numerous private healing sessions at her office in Woodland Hills, California.

As an author, Dee has written a book devoted to the art of self-healing. She conducts monthly workshops to introduce people to the healing techniques outlined in her book, Conscious Creation.

In addition to her ongoing work with fellow actors as an acting teacher and mentor, Dee devotes all her extra time to her beautiful daughter Gabrielle.
From Dee's website, I just read, "Just finished reading Bright Light. It was the most well written, identifiable, and healing book I've ever read. I laughed, cried, and healed by the time I was done. Truly an amazing piece of work."
I've been in love with Dee ever since I saw her in ET! I just ordered my copy. Cannot wait to delve in!
Dee Wallace (born Deanna Bowers; December 14, 1948),also known as Dee Wallace-Stone, is an American actress and comedienne. She is perhaps best known for her roles in several popular films. These include the starring role as Elliot's mother in the Steven Spielberg film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), her most widely seen role. She also played key roles in popular cult films The Hills Have Eyes (1977) and The Howling (1981)and appeared in The Stepford Wives in 1975 and 10 (1979). In total, Wallace has appeared in more than 85 films.
Thank you, Dee Wallace For the gifts you've given us and continue to give!

Another great actress that I grew up with Mary McDonough. Mary McDonough, who may be best known for the role of Erin Walton that she created and played for over a decade on the hits series “The Waltons,” has penned an exciting memoir and winner of the ELLA DICKEY LITERACY AWARD, entitled of Lessons From the Mountain: What I Learned From Erin Walton (Kensington Publishers), and taken it on the road.
(Mary McDonough with Dolly Parton at GMHF in DOLLYWOOD - Photo by Jason Gilmore)
After a reunion with fellow Walton cast members in Los Angeles and then an appearance in Washington DC at the Kennedy Center to sign the book, she headed South with appearances at the Gospel Music Hall of Fame at DOLLYWOOD, where Dolly Parton greeted her with “It seems like I have known you my whole life,” followed by The Country Tonite Theatre where the Coalminer's daughter, Miss Loretta Lynn, was over heard to say, “I just love you! You were my favorite Walton,” and received an invitation to join her at the ranch, Mary wrapped the tour up at The Opry Shop at The Grand Ole Opry.
(Loretta Lynn and Mary McDonough - Photo by Jan Barton) The one thing each location had in common? Not enough books. Not only did each location sell out the stock on hand, but also sent runners out to secure more from neighboring stores. The only sad note on an otherwise successful tour was Ms. McDonough's highly anticipated appearance scheduled for Sunday, May 22nd, at Barnes & Noble in Fresno that had to be canceled due to a non-disclosed threat towards Ms. McDonough, causing security concerns for the store. As often is the case, when a public personality is involved, there is an inherent need for additional security measures. Not only for the artists themselves, but the public that is gathering as well. Ms. McDonough, who had already arrived in the Fresno area, received word of the cancellation early Sunday morning, responded with “I appreciate the concern by others for my safety.” And although she still would have rather made the appearance, added “I have to understand and respect their decision to place priority on their customers safety.” Prior to Ms. McDonough's departure from Fresno, she accepted an invitation by Barnes & Noble to stop by and sign books in stock for any patrons that might still wish to acquire a copy of the book, despite the disappointment of the altered schedule.
(Mary McDonough signs book - Photo by Chelsea Claus Photography)
“If you're a fan of The Waltons, don't miss this book and the chance to re-visit Walton's Mountain.”
- Ellen Feld/Feather Quill Reviews.
(Mary McDonough presents book - Photo by Chelsea Claus Photography)
Ms. McDonough's memoir is the first from the cast of the perfect American family and is a poignant story of growing up on Emmy award-winning series The Waltons, playing the middle sister, Erin. The show is still being shown worldwide and has fans all over the world. At the age of ten, McDonough was cast as Erin Walton in The Homecoming, the movie of the week that inspired the dramatic series and overnight, her life as a normal kid in a working-class, Catholic family changed. As McDonough says, “It was bizarre, fun, tremendous, painful, wonderful and different. It was definitely not a normal way to grow up.”

"Mary is a whole lot more than Erin on The Waltons. This book shows how she's handled all the highs and lows with grace."
--George Clooney

In the book, McDonough shares intimate, behind-the-scenes memories of Will Geer, Richard Thomas, her two “moms,” Patricia Neal and Michael Learned, and all the other Walton cast, crew and guest stars.
She discusses what it was like growing up in front of America.
In real life she found it difficult to keep friends and as an adolescent she battled depression, insomnia, body image issues and experimented with drugs in an attempt to manage the pressures as she tried to be “Mary-not-Erin” while alternately embracing and rebelling against her good-girl screen persona.

Interesting anecdotes found in the book include: How her very first audition earned her the role that would define a lifetime; Alternately embracing and rebelling against her good-girl screen persona; Life as an adolescent battling depression, insomnia, body image issues and experimented with drugs; How her mother responded to Mary's auditioning for role of Regan in The Exorcist (that went to friend Linda Blair); Becoming a an activist/expert on health issues she personally faced after obtaining silicone implants and being diagnosed with Lupus; as well as recent career roles on Boston Legal, The New Adventures of Old Christine, ER, Will Grace to name a few.

"A fascinating look at what it's like to grow up in front of and beyond the cameras."
-- Eve Plumb

After the series ended, McDonough details how she tried to reinvent herself with artificial help and almost died. Over a period of ten years, McDonough's health deteriorated and she suffered rashes all over her body, headaches, chronic fatigue, sore joints, and severe allergy attacks. Following the birth of her daughter Sydnee, McDonough's health went up and down and she had low-grade fevers and flu-like symptoms for years.
She developed ulcers, began losing her hair, and developed lumps in her back and leg. Despite the various medications she was taking nothing seemed to help. After seeing doctor after doctor she was correctly diagnosed with Lupus, a connective tissue disease that affects the immune system.

Following her diagnosis, McDonough went on to become Founding President of Lupus LA and has for the more than fourteen years been a citizen activist for women's health issues. “I know the families - one famous, one real - that I grew up with, the unusual experiences, the good and bad choices made me who I am today. I'm happier than I've ever been, not by trying to forget, but by appreciating and learning that I wouldn't be who I am without my journey over and around that famous mountain,” says McDonough.

“… she (Mary) reveals the terrifying challenges that forced her to become more “Erin Brockovich” than “Erin Walton!”
--Alison Arngrim, New York Times Best Selling Author of "Confessions of A Prairie Bitch"
(Source: Harlan Boll)

Thanks for being a loyal reader of Richard's Rants And Raves! I wanted to give you heads up on big news coming on June 5th.

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Richard Skipper,

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