The informal definition of a post-mortem is “a discussion of an event after it has happened, especially of what was wrong with it or why it failed." (Thanks, Cambridge Dictionary. But no thanks for the ad for the hoodie that looks like a man’s hairy chest. Hard to miss and harder to forget.)
I was one of those kids who really liked the Back to School season. The school supplies, the clean start to a new school year, the books, the weather change. Then came my birthday, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Eve.
Maybe that's why it was never a challenge for me to say, or hear, "Happy Holidays." It always seemed like a great way to scoop all those happy times together and just wish happiness.
As I grew up and my world got bigger, I realized my Canadian friends had Thanksgiving on a different day. My British friends had "Mothering Sunday," and not on "Mother's Day." I met people who celebrated Christmas, but very differently from my family's traditions. I met Jewish friends who celebrated Hanukkah, or even both Hanukkah and Christmas.
Today, we can easily see into the everyday lives of people all over the world. We can eat foods, see art, hear music, from all the cultures. There are apps (as well as old-fashioned books) that will help us learn just about any language we care to try out. Most importantly, most beautifully, we can encounter this profuse variety very close to us. We don't have to travel around the globe in person or via our devices. We live close to each other. Really close. And that is our strength and our challenge.
Life Lab Notes hopes you find joy, peace, and prosperity today. Whatever you're celebrating today. Also, tomorrow. And here's to a really excellent next Thursday. Happy Holidays. Happy all-your-days.
Episode 13, the final installment in a series that has given us an extraordinary glimpse into the personal lives of those who have crossed over. Today, we meet Robert, who has a poignant story of just how lonely one can be as a soul adrift. "Home," was written by Robert Stoccardo and Silvie Zamora, and performed by Robert Stoccardo.
[There are 1.67 sextillion H2O molecules in a drop of water. - Ed.]
Have you already heard the episode? If not, hear it first. We'll wait...
When we started writing and producing this audio fiction series, we knew that we wanted to show what we all have in common with each other. The humanness of us humans. We didn't realize that the very real story of our friend, Robert Stoccardo, and his time living on the streets, would connect so perfectly with the others in this series. The spirits in the other stories are also figuring out how to make things work, missing people and places, making mistakes, having doubts, trying to change, being invisible.
We are honoured that Robert agreed to answer questions about this time of his life, and to be so willing to share his story.
Robert Stoccardo is an actor and writer living in peace in Los Angeles. He was homeless for three years and two months.
Here are a few links, some of which will be local to the Los Angeles area, but at least they can give you an idea of what's out there, and you can search in your area along the same lines. There are many contributing factors that lead to homelessness. Different organizations focus on different aspects of this problem. Find one that resonates with you and make some good stuff happen.
Homeward LA and The Midnight Mission are producing a 10-day citywide event where multiple productions of monologues based on stories from people who have experienced homelessness are performed all around the city. They are looking for volunteer producers to organize professional, student, and community productions, and even home readings.
Charity Navigator has been around for sixteen years, and has rated over 9,000 charities. Look up a charity, for example, Homeless Families Foundation, and you'll see its rating and all kinds of awesome information, like what percentage of their money goes to admin expenses.
PATH - Making It Home has more than 25 locations throughout California. They provide services in more than 140 cities, and have more than 1,000 units of permanent supportive housing completed or in the pipeline. They follow the "Housing First" model that first connects people to permanent housing and then focuses on stabilization through voluntary supportive services. (This info is from their website.)
In episode 12, "Doubt," we meet Jason. Jason has been "in the time line" a few times. He's just taking a break right now.
"Doubt" was written by Silvie Zamora and performed by Tony DeCarlo.
Tony DeCarlo is an LA-based actor and member of the theater companies Theatre of NOTE and Sacred Fools and much appreciates the opportunity to be a part of Life Lab Notes fabulousness. Other things + times well spent include writing, voiceover, spoken word, standup, improv, film/TV and duocorns. All I’m saying is if there are unicorns somewhere, then out there, in the hinterlands, there’s a duo, I just know it. Thank you for listening and supporting Life Lab Notes. For more info: TonyDeCarlo.com
More from Tony:
A random postscript just because and in honor of the 13 Days of Halloween podcast, here are 13 costumes I’ve donned: a batch of grapes (a surprise hit), the TV from Poltergeist, a frozen-stiff-(cheap ice crystals in my facial hair)-yet-somehow-apparently fine-and-milling-about-a-costume-party Jack Torrance from The Shining, a tomato (yeah, you can picture it…and yep, you got it, it was a total dud), and about 5-7 times Angus Young (mostly worked, some people just said “rock guy” and that’s a-ok). Umm, I can’t remember 13 after all. That’s all I got. Cheers! Happy Halloween!
A little respect is all they ask. And to not be prey.
Today's episode, Hunted, was written by Joanna Ke and performed by Cesili Williams.
---If grace married silliness, their child would be Joanna Ke. Joanna is an award-winning filmmaker who thrives in the industry as an actor, writer, professional script reader, and producer. Being half Taiwanese, she champions diverse stories led by women behind and in front of the camera. Wielding her broadsword is a favorite - both on and off camera.
Cesili Williams received her MFA in acting from Calarts. Originally from the Chicago area, she graduated with her Bachelors Degree from Illinois State University. She played Celie in the hit LA musical The Color Purple at Celebration Theater, directed by Michael Matthews (2012). Cesili received an Ovation Nomination for Best Leading Actress in a musical, won a Scenie Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical, and won an Ovation Award for Best Ensemble for The Color Purple.
Alright, alright, yes, it's my birthday. No need to make a fuss.
Now that that's out of the way...
We all hope, when the day finally arrives, to shuffle off this mortal coil surrounded by loved ones. For Ruth Wooster, this was not exactly the case. Today's episode, "Exit," was written by Rikki Schwartz and performed by Joel Scher.
Rikki Schwartz has been acting and directing for Michigan theatre companies for over 30 years. About 18 years ago, her love for the footlights led to a passion for playwriting…and a new “supporting role” was born. Since then, she has written three full-length plays, as well as dozens of short plays and monologues. Rikki’s work has been produced at over 25 theatres, megachurches, podcasts and festivals across the U.S. and Europe.
Los Angeles-based, Joel Scher been a member of the award-winning Theatre of NOTE since 2006. Some of his most memorable theatrical experiences at NOTE have been: He Asked for It (ensemble cast LA Weekly nom.), Holy Ghost, Eat The Runt, The Invisible Play, Supper (nom. Best Actor Comedy stage Raw), and recently Marion or the True Tale of Robin Hood. Earlier in 2018 he appeared in the hit show The Art Couple at Sacred Fools Theater.
The house at the end of the street is deserted now. Mostly.
Today's episode, Cul-de-Sac, was written by Michael Bonnabel, and performed by winner of the Best Halloween Surname Award, Linda Graves.
Linda Graves (not just her Halloween name!) recently retired as the Interim Director of the Haugh Performing Arts Center at Citrus College. She is thrilled to be able to return to acting: on-camera, live, and voiceover. She is a proud member of Theatre of NOTE in Hollywood. Linda is also attempting to learn Italian, Yoga, and T’ai Chi.
Michael Bonnabel is an LA based writer/actor. Performances include Asher Hartman’s mythic “Sorry, Atlantis” at Machine Project, “Bob's Holiday Office Party," at the Atwater Village Theatre, Ken Roht’s “Miss Julien” at the MorYork Gallery and “Synesthesia” at The Bootleg Theater. The Bootleg is also where Michael premiered his solo play "The Good Boy," which moved to the Los Angeles Theatre Center and eventually had an Off-Broadway run at The Abingdon Theatre in New York. Film and TV appearances include “The Linguini Incident,” with Marlee Matlin and David Bowie.
There's a lot going on in this world, on both sides of that mysterious portal called Death. So, go ahead and have your seance, call on the spirits however you like. You just may not get who you were asking for.
"Summoned" was written by Silvie Zamora and performed by Sandra Kinder.
She didn't merely start her acting career later in life, Sandra catapulted into it, starting off in Gingerbread Lady, where she was on stage for all three acts of the play. She played the title character in Kimberly Akimbo, about a teenager with a progeria-type disease which makes her appear to be elderly. She was in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, The Ellen Show, and numerous other film and TV appearances.
I saw a spellbinding magic act once - not just amazing, also beautiful. The magician ended his act by saying, "Magic is the most honest profession. It promises to deceive, and it does so." I never want to know how a magic trick is done. That's where my vast curiosity draws the line. I want it to be magic, so I let it be magic.
Today's episode was written by Phinneas Kiyomura and performed by Darrett Sanders.
Find out more about Darrett at http://darretts.com/
Phinneas Kiyomura is a playwright, television writer, actor, former skate punk, and dad living in Los Angeles, CA. He is very happy to be working with Life Lab Notes for the first time ever! [Not the last time! -Editor]
You know how it goes. You're getting things done. Lots on your mind. You walk into another room for...what was it? It's gone. Some brain scientists would call this phenomenon an "event boundary." But today's episode presents some opposing information. You can decide.
"Threshold" was written by Silvie Zamora and performed by Jenny Flack and Justin Vasquez.
Justin Vasquez hails from Los Angeles. You can find him performing in theatre, film, and improv all over the city. He is quite enthused about being a part of this project. Check him out at justinvasquez.me
Jenny Flack is an actor/improviser/writer living and working in Los Angeles. She’ll be acting in Cleo, Theo and Wu by Kirsten Vangsness at Theatre of NOTE this Nov/Dec, improvising Shakespeare with Shrew at assorted times, and writing for Geek Girl Authority all of the time. @jennyflack on Twitter and Instagram.