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Entries in Dating (9)

Tuesday
May162017

Call Answered: Brooke Lewis: Coaching From A Professed Hot Mess

Brooke Lewis, Photo Credit: Birdie ThompsonBrooke Lewis is an award winning author and actress. Known as a "Scream Queen" for her horror genre films, I was most taken by Brooke as a life coach. I'm all about entertaining, heck, I stand for entertainment, but nothing feels as good as helping people through tough times. Brooke's new book Coaching From A Professed Hot Mess, is a fun bedside table book that provides coaching tips on life, love, online dating and LGBT support.

What a thrill it was to speak with Brooke about her vast and varied career. From acting to life coaching to being a professed hot mess, Brooke & I cover it all!

For more on Brooke be sure to visit http://brookelewis.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Brooke Lewis, Photo Credit: Birdie Thompson1. Who or what inspired you to become an actress? I was an incredibly emotional and sensitive child with a vivid imagination. When I hit my teenage years, I became obsessed with drama, old Hollywood and my inspirations Elizabeth Taylor and Mae West. I was singing and dancing from a young age, which led me into musical theatre in Philadelphia, which led me into comedy in New York. I got my first "break" in the New York Off-Broadway Comedy Tony N' Tina's Wedding, then went on to do TV sitcoms like Quintuplets and Mafiosa, then acted in mobster dramas like Pride & Loyalty and Sinatra Club, then broke out in the horror, thriller genre with films like Kinky Killers, iMurders and Slime City Massacre earning the title of a "Scream Queen," then combined my experience in comedy, mobster movies, and horror and created the role and brand, which I am best known...Ms. Vampy!!!

2. What was the moment you decided to also become a life coach? Ironically, many of my most powerful career choices have been made while facing challenges or hitting walls! I had been a working actress and producer for many years, and shortly after the economy crashed in 2009, my investors pulled out of my production company and projects and I was forced to make changes. In 2011, we launched the award-winning TV pilot/talk show for teen girls Ms. Vampy’s Tween Tawk, Teen Tawk and In Between Tawk and I was hugely inspired by my young cast and their issues and messages. It was the first time anything beyond acting inspired me, so I paid attention. When my reps were pitching my show and I to TV talk shows, we were receiving incredible feedback, BUT…the networks were all asking if I had a "credential" as a therapist, counselor or life coach. Of course, I had two college degrees, but they wanted a certification in the coaching arena. Since I am not one to leave any stone unturned, I chose to go back to school again to receive my life coach certification at the Life Purpose Institute. My initial intention was for the purpose of my Ms. Vampy brand and TV series in development, but I became so passionate about my support career, I launched my company Be You And Be Fearless Life Coach.

3. You just released your new book Coaching From A Professed Hot Mess, which is a fun bedside table book that provides coaching tips on life, love, online dating and LGBT support. What made you want to put all these tips into a book? What is the most heartwarming comment you've heard about the book and what is the cruelest thing someone has said about it? Again, I had been facing challenges and hitting walls in my support career as a Life and Dating Coach (see the pattern that pushes me into being tenacious?) I was paying my dues again and feeling overworked and underpaid, shelling out fabulous advice for various publications and morning shows and several people had suggested that I should write a book for myself and my coaching business, instead, and my "blessed lil bedside table book" was born! Now, I am going to cheat a bit here to answer the first part of your question, as I pull an excerpt I love right from my pages: "Life can be crazy! So, in 2016, I chose to embrace my "crazy" and use my blessed and beautiful bedside table book to profess..."I am a HOT MESS!" Yup...I said it, rock it and OWN IT! Now, being an Actress, Life Coach and Dating Expert in the public eye, some may think I am really "crazy" sharing this with the world! I know some of you are thinking (and judging) that a Board Certified Life and Dating Coach, professional and working actress should not "air her dirty laundry." Well, I cannot tell you how good it feels to be self-aware enough to admit and embrace my "flaws." Along with my strengths, my "flaws" and weaknesses make me vulnerable, special and unique. I also believe that by sharing my HOT MESS quirks with you, it will support you in embracing your HOT MESS quirks, too! Let's break the 'rules' and stop chasing "perfection." It gets tiring trying to be "perfect" all the time, doesn't it?"

To answer the second part (and, as an actress I learned early on to not take any positive or negative comments too seriously) I will share two comments on Amazon that stayed with me. I received one three-star review that was by no means "cruel," but upset me because the reviewer stated that in the dating chapters of my book, I created the perspective of "needing a significant other." This frustrates me greatly, because I breathe, coach, speak and write the antithesis of that statement! I am all about self-empowerment and female empowerment and how we need to love ourselves first and want, not need, a partner to share life with! But, as we know, we cannot control others’ interpretations of our art and work!

I am blessed to have received so much positive feedback with this book! It is always heartwarming to receive praise from my friends and family (because we know they tell us the truth! I have had some of my best girlfriends tell me they keep my book on their bedside table to reference daily! I recently received a fabulous review on Amazon and I will share my favorite part, "This woman is a genius and the most useful and relevant life coach in the world (before this book I thought they were useless and overrated). Even if you do not need life coaching this book is still an amazing read!" Now, is that a compliment to keep doing what I am doing or what? Serious author gratitude here!

Brooke Lewis, Photo Credit: Birdie Thompson4. In describing the book, you have classified yourself as a HOT MESS. What events/activities in your life, made you go, "You know, I'm a HOT MESS?" What behaviors have you changed or become aware to not be a HOT MESS? Um…have you seen me at the Spike TV Scream Awards or Saturn Awards in 105-degree-heat with my hair frizzy and makeup running down my face? Yeah, HOT MESS!!! And, at that point, there is nothing I can do, but own it and rock it! But, yes, I use the term HOT MESS, both literally and figuratively! That’s the beauty of it…and, life! None of us are "perfect!" We are all perfectly imperfect! We make mistakes and lousy choices in life and I have surely made many! I have made some poor career choices and even more really poor dating choices! I have had emotional meltdowns over nothing and I have locked myself in the house for three days, after gaining five pounds on the scale that weekend...life is full of a whole mess of messes, so let’s make them HOT!!!

5. In writing this book, what did you learn about yourself that you didn't realize while living through it? If I may humbly declare this, I learned that I have much more value as a woman, actress, life coach and dating expert, than I ever imagined! I, too, struggle with worthiness and never feeling "good" enough, so it was a huge catharsis and gift to empower and acknowledge myself through writing this book. I also learned how much I need to take my own tips and advice!

6. Your book will help readers exist in the world around us, gain clarity and fulfillment. What used to give Brooke the biggest sense of fulfillment and what fulfills Brooke of today? Thank you! That was a fantastic and revealing question! I used to receive a sense of fulfillment by being liked, loved and praised by others. I focused a lot on my external appearance and fame. I would try to fill the void, and based my worth on the above. As I have worked hard on myself and become more evolved over the years, the things that fulfill me have drastically changed! The things that fulfill me now are integrity, truth, loyalty, being a "good" person, staying artistic, having integrity, committing to great work, surrounding myself with people who support each other, true love and charity work. The one constant that has always fulfilled me (and always will) is being an actress and doing the best work I possibly can!

Brooke Lewis, Photo Credit: Birdie Thompson7. What do you get from being a life coach that you don't get from acting? I suppose I have a bit more control over my coaching career and I get to be my own boss! Both my careers are rewarding in so many ways. However, I love the instant gratification of knowing I just supported a client in having a huge breakthrough, while coaching her.

8. I read that your favorite genres to act in are horror and mystery. So, I'm going to take these genres in a different direction and relate them directly to your life. What is the scariest thing to have happened to you that you are willing to talk about? What is something about yourself that you are still trying to figure out? One of the scariest things in my life (that I have not shared often publicly) was when I got the chicken pox at 21 and ended up hospitalized with 104 fever, encephalitis and nerve damage. I was blessed to make a full recovery, but I live with chronic pain and a compromised immune system ever since. It is a challenge every day, but it taught me that life is short, there will always be obstacles to overcome and to live fully and follow your dreams!

As far as the thing I am still trying to figure out, I could write another book here (wink)! One of my biggest frustrations is trying to understand how I could work as long and hard as I do, yet not have my hit TV series (yet). I always feel like I have to work just a little bit harder than most to bring my dreams to fruition! Things appear to come easier to others sometimes. But…appearance vs. reality, right? You can’t buy into the social media hype!

Brooke Lewis, Photo Credit: Birdie Thompson9. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? May I acknowledge you for a moment and tell you this is fabulous? 

I want to take things less personally…by One Percent Better…every day!

10. I have a new segment in my interviews called "I Can See Clearly Now," where I try to clear up misconceptions. What is the biggest misconception about Brooke Lewis that you'd like to put to rest? I feel like a lot of people in my personal and professional life perceive me as "courageous" and "fearless," because I preach my mantras and quotes quite often:

"Be You…And Be Fearless!" – Be You And Be Fearless Life Coach

"Let's break the 'rules' and stop chasing "perfection." It gets tiring trying to be "perfect" all the time, doesn't it?" – Coaching From A Professed Hot Mess

"When faced with fear, dig deep inside, find your inner vamp, and Vamp It Out!" - Ms. Vampy’s Teen Tawk

But, remember, this is a misconception, as we teach what we need to learn!!!

Brooke Lewis, Photo Credit: Birdie ThompsonMore on Brooke:

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Brooke always had dreams of being an actress. Brooke soon moved to New York City where she cultivated much of her acting career and landed her first role as "Donna Marsala" in the off-Broadway, hit comedy Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding. After four years of making a name for herself on the east coast, Brooke decided to move to Hollywood where she currently resides. Brooke has built up quite the impressive resume by launching her own production company, Philly Chick Pictures and has worked with many veteran actors including Mark Ruffalo, Andy Richter, Charles Durning, Michael Pare, Dominique Swain, Joey Lawrence, and many more!

Tuesday
Dec062016

Call Answered: Sam Provenzano: Logo TV's Finding Prince Charming

Sam ProvenzanoThis past fall my guilty pleasure was watching Logo TV's reality dating show Finding Prince Charming. I couldn't wait to learn more about these guys who were vying for "Prince Charming," while seeing who would get sent home, and who would stay week after week. I definitely had my favorites and last month I got to interview one of them, Finding Prince Charming's runner-up Brandon Kneefel, and now, I get to interview another favorite suitor of mine, Sam Provenzano.

Sam definitely caught my eye from the moment he walked into the house. He was cute, charming, and had those mid-western good looks, which always makes my heart melt. I was rooting for Sam from the start! But as the series unfolded, so did Sam, and we were shown a different side of Sam. Despite his outbursts, I still cheered for Sam. I didn't want him to be affected by the drama in the house, but despite my wants, the camera was showing what it showed. Like most, I wondered if what we were seeing was the real Sam or an edited version made for television. So, I took to social media and reached out to Sam. Thankfully, Sam answered my call and I got to know just who Sam Provenzano really is! 

I'm so excited to show you the man behind the drama. What I discovered through this interview was a man who's constantly learning about himself, is very self-assured and does amazing things to help people get fit with his company "Right Fit For You!" The camera only shows one side of you, but if you look at the other angles, you see the parts that make a person who they truly are.

For more on Sam be sure to visit Right Fit For You and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Sam Provenzano1. This past fall you were featured on Logo TV's reality dating show Finding Prince Charming. What initially made you want to be on the show? You know, I really just wanted to do something different and fun! I thought it would be a great chance to not only try to find a significant other, but it could be a great way to make some new friends and just do something different. I never thought they would choose me, but they did. I had an amazing journey on and off the camera during my time.

2. What were your first thoughts upon entering the house and meeting everyone? Who do you still keep in touch with? I thought they actually casted an amazing group of guys from across the country with different backgrounds and personalities. Every single guy they chose had a great story behind them and each suitor brought something unique and special to the table. I was definitely a bit intimidated I guess you can say, and that's rare for me. I still keep in touch with the majority of the guys. I'd say I am closest to Paul, Chad, Jasen and Robby. I was the only guy from Chicago, so it's a bit hard to stay in contact with everyone, but I travel to LA a lot for work. I recently hung-out with Charlie and Robby while I was there. A few weeks ago, Paul stayed at my place in Chicago and we attended the Human Rights Campaign Gala together and had a blast.

I haven't spoken to Dillon, Brandon or Eric since the reunion, but wish them well. I ran into Robert recently but we didn't speak. There's no love lost between the two of us that's for sure.

Sam Provenzano and Paul Hollowell at HRC Gala3. As the season unfolded, a different side of you was shown a lot more then the man we met in the first episode. You were constantly being shown losing your temper or getting into arguments/fights with some of the other housemates. I was very surprised to see this side of you, considering what I saw in the premiere episode. Do you have short temper in real life or did you just get a bum rap in how your scenes were edited together? You know, I do have a short temper and a strong personality...but that's only one side of the many sides to me. I'm not going to be "that guy" that blames the way I was portrayed because of editing. Producers have a job to do and a story to tell and they are filming 24/7 -- they can't capture everything in a 60-minute episode...it's not the "Sam Show" (though that would be fun LoL). I didn't really get comfortable in the house and felt a bit isolated at times from some of the guys. I had some fantastic moments, sad moments and yes, even angry and bad moments...but it is what it is.

4. At one point, things got so out of control with Dillon, that during your argument, you went as far as to spit on him. Why do you feel you and Dillon clashed so much? Can you take us through what was going through your mind leading up to the moment you actually spit on him? After spitting on him, you immediately left the house. Why did you leave right away instead of staying and trying to work things out? After Robby and I had our "fix your dress" moment I apologized and we moved on, but Dillon kept bringing it up and saying that I was offensive to "more feminine" gays etc. when in actuality I thought Robby was just putting on a display for the cameras when he came into the house. I was just questioning his authenticity. Was I wrong about Robby? Yes. It was foolish of me to judge him the way I did...but it happened, I apologized and moved on...Dillon couldn't.

Sam Provenzano and Robby LaRiviere on "Finding Prince Charming"Dillon also had a way of getting under my skin minutes before I was going to have some time with Robert. He did so at the pool party, before the beach, before my date with Robert and Justin and minutes before our altercation. Looking back, I have to give him "kudos" for actually having the ability to get me to such a dark place— most aren’t able to, but when you are stuck in a house with nowhere to go — it gets to you. He poked, poked and poked and me and I reacted. Not terribly proud of the reaction, but what did he expect? Me to just take his barrage of attacks? That’s not going to happen. Do I regret spitting on him? Yes. Am I sorry for it? Yes. But I'm not going to crucify myself over it. It's done. As I mentioned at the Reunion, I wasn't into Robert, I had a guy that was constantly attacking me so I thought it was just time to go. No one made me leave. In my mind and heart, my time was up.

5. When you look back at your time on Finding Prince Charming, what do you think about? What do you wish you would have done differently, if anything? I wish I would have sat back and observed a bit more. I think that's what Brandon and Eric did so well the first few episodes. They kind of just stayed in the background while everyone else did their thing. Then again, staying in the background isn't who I am. I probably could have stayed on much, much longer if I would have treated it as more of a competition. But I also had some great moments and met some amazing people. I learned a lot about myself there and overall it's cool to be part of the first season of hopefully a successful franchise. Season 2 is already in the works... and maybe they'll do a Bachelor's in Paradise/Finding Prince Charming All Star Edition. I'd love to be a part of that!

From left to right: Justin Roisom, Danique, Chad Aaron Spodick, Sam Provenzano, Brodney McClinton6. Let's touch on the Finding Prince Charming reunion special. I was so excited for this special because I was like, "This is going to be great! Sam's going to get his chance to tell his side of the story, but again, the only scenes of you that were really shown, were you arguing with the other housemates. You just didn't get a break. What do you wish you could have said on the reunion that you didn't get a chance to? I was actually very happy with how I was portrayed on the Reunion. I did my best to apologize to Dillon, but he just wasn't having it. At one point, when I was trying again to explain my side of things and apologize to Dillon, he actually got out a book...yes a book...and started reading it as I was talking. It was disrespectful, but he's young and you know, it happened. The only thing I wanted to do was genuinely apologize to him and I tried. Not everyone accepts apologies that are thrown their way and that's OK-- life very much goes on. I think Dillon is driven, handsome and has a lot of offer. I wish him well and hope we can get past all this someday.

I'm also very active on Twitter (@samseles) and other social media, like most of the cast, and I definitely regret being a little hard on my perception of Eric. I did think he came off as boring and I said that many times online and in other interviews. However, when looking back on everything, I don't know Eric and to poke at him for being boring wasn't very nice. I actually sent him a beautiful bouquet of flowers a few weeks ago with a note from me apologizing and wanting to get together, but unfortunately he never responded. I tried to offer an olive branch, but he obviously isn't having it and that's okay.

Sam Provenzano7. I don't want this interview to solely focus on how you portrayed on the show. I want everyone to see other sides of you. One of things I found out about you that really impressed me was that you run a company called "Right Fit For You" which helps people find the perfect Personal Trainer for their lifestyle. While you gear it towards the LGBT community, it's a service for anyone. What made you want to start this business? What has been the most rewarding part about this venture for you? "Right Fit for You" (www.rightfitforyou.com) is all about ensuring a comfortable personal training atmosphere for the LGBT community, from beginning to end. Every Personal Trainer profiled on "Right Fit For You" will not only will help you get into shape, but will also identify as LGBT or as a straight ally to the community. Because the client-trainer relationship is an intimate one, hiring a trustworthy person is crucial. At the end of the day, if you aren’t comfortable and can’t truly be yourself with your personal trainer, you’ll have a lot tougher of a time hitting your fitness goals. As soon as you visit our site, you know you’ll find a personal trainer who just gets you. That’s priceless. I like to compare it to living in a gay-friendly part of town or going to a gay bar or club on the weekend. At the end of the day, many of us choose to live in LGBT-Friendly areas and hangout at gay bars and establishments because we just feel comfortable and safe there. That's what "Right Fit for You" is all about. It's a great feeling to know that I created something that is beneficial to the LGBTQ community. I'm very proud of it. We are just in the Chicagoland area right now, but plan on expanding to new markets soon.

Sam Provenzano8. What are some reasons you would encourage people to get a personal trainer and get fit? Who are your fitness heroes? There are so many reasons why I encourage people to get a personal trainer and get fit. Here are a few:

- They can help keep stay accountable and motivated: It's tough getting motivated to workout sometimes and by hiring a trainer they can really help you stay focused and motivated throughout your journey.

- They can take your fitness level to new heights, especially if you are an avid exerciser but have hit the inevitable plateau: A trainer can teach you new workout routines and also ensure you are doing the right things in and out of the gym to hit your goals.

- They can help people who have never worked out before do so in a safe way: It's always a good idea to start training with someone who knows what they are doing.

-  It's a fact - feeling good makes you look good, and vice versa: Not only can your personal trainer help you achieve your health and fitness goals, they provide you with positive feedback on your performance and bolster your confidence to take on new challenges.

Sam Provenzano9. Like you, I'm very into fitness. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? For me, it’s being able to live in the moment. A lot of times, I tend to think back to the past and think "What If…" or I tend to think too far into the future. I’d like to live more in the moment. I think that’s definitely a flaw of mine and a flaw of a lot of people out there. If I can improve that by 1% each day I’d be a much happier and more content person.

10. What is something about Sam Provenzano that you want people to know that you haven't revealed yet? When are you at your happiest? There are some people out there that I meet who automatically assume that I’m full of myself or something since I did a reality show or that I view myself as some sort of celebrity. That can’t be further from the truth. I don’t see myself as any type of star. I’m very humble, driven and I’m also very hard on myself. By watching the show, some think I’m an ultra-aggressive hothead. I’m not...I’m just like any other guy in his early 30’s who is learning more and more about himself and the world every day. But people will have their opinions of me and that’s fine…I’m not out doing any type of damage control. I am who I am.

I’m most happy when I am surrounded by those who love me – especially my family and my 3 nephews and niece. I live vicariously through them. Children can find the bright side of things and happiness in just about anything…it’s something we can all learn from.

Sam ProvenzanoMore on Sam:

Sam is a 31-year-old Chicagoan who started his own fitness company from the ground up. Sam is very close with his family—a no-brainer because, after all, he is Italian. This straightforward sweetie is a late bloomer after coming out at 22. He may be good with dating apps, but he’s ready for his first real relationship.

Thursday
Nov172016

Call Redialed: David Perlman: A Dog Story at The Loft at The Davenport Theatre

Michael Perlman, Photo Credit: Danny Weiss Photo, Inc.What fun I had catching up with actor/photographer David Perlman. It's been almost two years since we've spoken, but what better time to re-connect then when David is taking center stage in a brand new musical, written just for him!

David stars in A Dog Story with a book by Eric H. Weinberger and music/lyrics Gayla D. Morgan. A Dog Story is a charming new musical comedy about "Roland," a career-driven lawyer, who thinks he must be married to get the partnership he desperately wants. To solve his dilemma, he gets a puppy as a chick magnet. But through first dates, angry tangos, and a sudden disappearance, "Roland" ends up discovering there's more to life when you "get a dog!"

A Dog Story plays a limited run at The Loft at The Davenport Theatre in NYC (354 West 45th Street, between 8th & 9th Avenue). Click here for tickets!

For more on David visit http://www.david-perlman.com and http://www.davidperlmanphotography.com!

1. Hi David. It's so great to catch up with you as you just started performances of the new Off-Broadway musical A Dog Story. What attracted you to this show? Actually, this is a pretty awesome story. In early 2012, Eric Weinberger asked me to be in a benefit concert that he was putting together; we knew each other peripherally and were fans of each other’s work, and I was excited to be part of this concert.  After the benefit, he wrote me such a sweet message and a follow up email saying that he wanted to write a show for me! I was completely honored and flattered, and also there was part of me that was skeptical it would ever happen. But I didn’t know Eric then the way I do now! We ended up getting together and talking through ideas and of course had a bunch of follow up emails. I remember he emailed me Gayla Morgan’s website and said he was thinking of collaborating with her. Since we didn’t know each other, she asked me to send her clips of myself, which I happily did.

In July 2012, Eric sent me the first draft of A Dog Story! In 2013, I went to Key West to do a reading of the show, and in May 2014 I played "Roland" in the world premiere production at the Waterfront Playhouse in Key West. It’s pretty awesome to have been involved with this show from the very beginning. I almost cried when I read Eric’s bio for this Off-Broadway production, which includes "Many thanks…. to David Perlman, for whom I wrote the role of Roland." Eric is such an incredible man, and I am really so honored to be playing this role that I helped to inspire.

David Perlman in "A Dog Story", Photo Credit: Jeremy Daniel2. What do you relate to most about your character "Roland," a career-driven lawyer? "Roland" is a workaholic, and I definitely relate to that! I am an actor and photographer, and I’m often over scheduled with work; thankfully I love what I do. It’s not giving anything away to say that "Roland" gets a dog in this show. Interestingly, I didn’t have a dog when I first did this show…and now I do. I don’t think it’s a coincidence!

3. In A Dog Story, your character thinks he must be married to make partner in his law firm. When has there been a time in your life when you felt you had to do something in order to make it to the next step? What comes to mind is joining Actors’ Equity Association. When I was offered my Equity card, I remember thinking that it was an exciting, and also scary, step. I had been working a lot in the non-Equity world, and I knew it might be more difficult to compete for Equity jobs. I remember thinking "If I can’t compete in the Equity world, then this career isn’t for me. If I really want to make it, I need to take my card and see what happens." So joining Equity was a big and scary thing I needed to do in order to see if this career was really where I belonged.

David Perlman and Stefanie Brown in "A Dog Story", Photo Credit: Jeremy Daniel4. In order to get married, "Roland," gets a puppy to attract women. What do you think the puppy does for "Roland" that he couldn't do on his own to attract women? "Roland" pretty much gets so anxious around beautiful women that he can’t even talk. His friend "Guy" suggests getting a puppy to attract women, and really, it is the ice breaker that "Roland" needs. I do understand this to an extent; while I have no problem talking to people, I generally don’t go around talking to strangers. However, when I’m walking my dog Winnie, I find myself talking to all sorts of people on the street; dogs are great conversation starters!

5. As someone who is married himself, what is something you did, perhaps out of the ordinary, to attract your husband Trey Gerrald? Honestly, I didn’t do anything to attract Trey. For some reason, he had decided he wanted to date me before we even spoke. So attracting him was easy, but I will say that keeping him around is where I had to get to work! I will say that our greatest strength is communication; we are so open with each other it’s crazy. It’s wonderful to feel fully accepted and loved by someone for all the things, good and bad, that make me who I am.

Trey Gerrald and David Perlman6. Through first dates, angry tangos, and a sudden disappearance, "Roland" discovers there's more to life when you "get a dog!" What was your first date with your husband? What were your initial thoughts after it? Trey and I did a show together, Sunset Boulevard at the Ogunquit Playhouse, in the summer of 2010. So we didn’t really have a first date, we just kinda were living and working together. We started as friends. The romance began about halfway through the five-week contract, and we did have one date near the end of the run where I thought "There is absolutely no way this is going to work." We’ve since talked about that date, and he was thinking the exact same thing!! I’m so glad we both gave it another chance.

7. What is something that suddenly disappeared from your life? I remember when my grandmother passed away when I was still pretty young. I was very close with her, and it was the first time I remember experiencing death and how someone is just suddenly gone. Grandma Winnie was awesome, and luckily my mother gave me her blessing to name our dog Winnie in her memory.

Lindsie VanWinkle and David Perlman in "A Dog Story," Photo Credit: Jeremy Daniel8. A Dog Story's by line is "Relationships are ruff." What has been the most challenging part of your relationship? How did you get through that ruff spot? The most challenging part was when I went on tour about three months into the relationship. Since we are both actors, we are often apart from each other for big stretches of time. Now, we can handle it pretty well, but distance is not great for a three-month-old relationship. That was a big turning point for us, because we were forced into the kind of honest communication that is necessary to sustain a relationship. Luckily, my tour got cancelled after about four months, or I don’t know if we would have made it through.

9. What do you love about originating a role as opposed to stepping into one/reviving one? The best thing about originating a role is to be working with the entire creative team on a show that is still evolving. It’s pretty cool to be in the room with the composer, who will say "Would this song be better for you in a different key?" That doesn’t typically happen when you step into a show that has already been published. It’s pretty amazing, also, to be part of the collaborative process. Since we are embodying our characters, it’s exciting to be able to question certain moments, which may lead to a rewrite that provides more clarity and therefore strengthens the piece. For better or worse, this show wouldn’t be this show if these particular actors had not been cast.

10. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? Time management!  Like I said, I tend to be overscheduled. I love to work, and I am also very social. I have been better lately about making sure to have some downtime, but time management is definitely an area that I would love to improve upon.

David Perlman, Photo Credit: Jeff BlumenkrantzMore on David:

David Perlman is thrilled to continue with A Dog Story, having originated the role of "Roland" at the Waterfront Playhouse in Key West. Broadway: Baby It's You! NY: Yank! (York Theatre), Anna Nicole the Opera (BAM), Madagascar Live! (Radio City Music Hall). Touring/Regional: "Motel" in Fiddler on the Roof (Goodspeed, PCLO, Arena Stage), "Woof" in Hair (European tour), "Calvin" in Calvin Berger (Barrington), "Sheldrake" in White Christmas (dir. Randy Skinner). TV: Mysteries of Laura, The Blacklist, 30 Rock, Law and Order.

Monday
Nov142016

Call Redialed: Michael Urie: Homos or Everyone in America presented by LABryinth Theater Company

Michael UrieWhat a thrill it is to catch up with Michael Urie, known to millions as "Marc St. James" on Ugly Betty and "Gavin Sinclair" on Modern Family. A genius comedic actor, Michael can make me laugh in a second. His dramatic roles always make my jaw drop. But what makes Michael the award winning actor he is, is when he combines his comedic chops with his dramatic side and that is just one reason I LOVED seeing him in Homos or Everyone in America, a new play by Jordan Seavey presented by LABryinth Theater Company. This show will make you laugh, cry, think, and be glad you spent a night at the theatre!

Starring Michael Urie and Robin De Jesús, Homos or Everyone in America is about two young men who traverse the ups and down of being gay in the 21st Century, where progress is always just around the corner – but so is hate. This timely, hilarious and heartbreaking play believes love is love, and that while we may sometimes lose a battle, we will never stop fighting the war for what is right.

Homos or Everyone in America plays at The Bank Street Theater (155 Bank Street) in New York City through December 11. Click here for tickets!

For more on Michael be sure to visit http://michaelurie.net and follow him on FacebookTwitter and Instagram!

For more on LABryinth Theater visit http://labtheater.org and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

1. You are currently starring in LABryinth Theater Company's production of Homos, or Everyone in America, a bitingly tender new play about trying to live and love in New York. What made you want to be in this show? Jordan Seavey is a brave new voice in American theater - I’ve been working with him on this play for a few years and have been dying to put it on a stage. He tells a modern New York gay love story, and I’m so proud to be a part of it.

2. What has been the best part about working with Robin De Jesús? What are some common interests you have found out you share and what are some things, you were like, "Oh, that's so cool you like that. I want to learn more about that."? I knew I’d adore Robin and I was right. His spirit is infectious and his heart is enormous. I love working with him and look forward to seeing him at the theater every night. We have a lot of mutual friends and he’s got a huge musical theater brain, which I love.

Robin De Jesús and Michael Urie in "Homos or Everyone in America", Photo Credit: Monique Carboni3. What do you relate to most about your character? What is one characteristic of your character you wish you had and one you are glad you don’t have? My character and I both have a short fuse, we’re easily set off. I think I’m better about keeping a lid on it when necessary than my character, but alas sometimes I get ragey…"The Writer" is extremely intellectual, likely more than me… :)

4. Since Homos, or Everyone in America is about trying to live & love in New York, what has been the most rewarding part of living in New York and what are the challenging parts for you? From the moment I stepped foot in New York, I knew I needed to live here. The pulse, the energy, the character of New York are exactly my speed and I can’t really imagine being based anywhere else. It’s not easy though, in addition to the huge expense of living here, we all regularly have to endure what I call "FU NY days" where you get caught in a downpour, or stuck on a train, or step in garbage, or gag from a smell. But, it’s worth it.

Aaron Costa Ganis, Michael Urie, and Robin De Jesús in "Homos or Everyone in America", Photo Credit: Monique Carboni5. What has it been like trying to find love in New York? Do you find it more complicated today then say, 5 or 10 years ago? What do you think has made it more complicated? I was lucky enough to find love 8 years ago, so I can’t really speak to modern dating in NY, but I never remember it being all that hard to find other lonely hearts when I was one…. :)

6. What are some of your favorite places do go on a date in New York? What would you be or what was (if you are dating someone already) your ideal first date? I am a dinner and a movie guy. Always.

7. What are you thoughts on monogamy? Have you ever considered being in an open relationship? I’ve been in a monogamous relationship for 8 years, let’s leave it at that!

Stacey Sargeant and Michael Urie in "Homos or Everyone in America", Photo Credit: Monique Carboni8. Homos, or Everyone in America gives a glimpse into the life of an everyday couple who's unexpectedly confronted by a vicious crime. What event has happened to you that you never thought would happen to you, catching you off-guard? I’ve been lucky and never faced any violence, but have certainly had close calls or wondered if something could turn. It’s a scary prospect, I knock on wood whenever I think of it.

9. Homos, or Everyone in America is also described as a fearless, funny, heart-on-its-sleeve examination of the moments that can bring two people together – or pull them apart. While dating or in a relationship, what is something you've done that was fearless? What have done that was funny? How do you wear your heart on your sleeve? I find devotion pretty fearless - I would do anything for my other half, and that’s pretty fearless. Our dog is a constant source of comedy. My partner and I often ask each other if we like each other and almost always say yes.

10. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? I try to smile at anyone who makes eye contact with me. It’s not always easy and not always reciprocated, but when it is, it’s very satisfying.

Michael UrieMore on Michael:

For originating the role of "Alex More" in Jonathan Tolins’ Buyer & Cellar Off-Broadway, on tour, and in London, Michael received the Drama Desk Award, Clarence Derwent Award, the Lucille Lortel Award, LA Drama Critics Award, and nominations for the Drama League and Outer Critics Circle Awards. Michael recently reprised Buyer & Cellar at Westport Country Playhouse where WNET recorded it and will air it on PBS as part of their Theatre CloseUp series in the fall of 2016. New York theater credits include How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (Broadway), Shows for Days (Lincoln Center Theater, Drama League nomination), The Cherry Orchard (Classic Stage Company), Angels in America (Signature Theatre), The Temperamentals (Lucille Lortel, Drama Desk and Theatre World awards, Drama League nomination), The Revenger’s Tragedy (Red Bull Theater), Another Vermeer (HB Playwrights). Regionally, Michael has worked for Two River Theater, The Old Globe, Vineyard Playhouse, South Coast Rep, Seattle Rep, Folger Shakespeare, Barrington Stage, Hyde Park (Austin), and The Blank (L.A.) Film: He’s Way More Famous Than You (also directed), Thank You for Judging (co-director/exec. producer), Beverly Hills Chihuahua, WTC View, Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life, The Decoy Bride, Petunia, Such Good People, The Hyperglot (director), and Grantham & Rose (exec. producer). TV: "Gavin Sinclair" on Modern Family, Younger, Workaholics, The Good Wife, Hot in Cleveland, Partners and "Marc St. James" on Ugly Betty. Web series: What’s Your Emergency (director). Training: Juilliard.

Monday
Nov072016

Call Answered: Brandon Kneefel: Logo TV's Finding Prince Charming

Brandon KneefelI am generally not a fan of reality TV, but when I heard about Logo TV's new reality dating show Finding Prince Charming, I decided to check it out. It did captivate me. Maybe it's because I'm on my own search for love or maybe it was because I wanted a show to take me away from all the craziness of the world. Regardless of the reason, I tuned in every week to watch these men search for love, tackle their fears, & embrace their strengths. I had my favorites, but I found myself gravitating more towards one guy in particular, Brandon Kneefel. Initially it was because of his good looks, but as the weeks went on, it was definitely more for what was inside Brandon. It was his past struggles that made him who he is today. It was his vulnerability. It was his genuineness. It was the way he carried himself. It was the way he made others feel. It was the way he showed Robert how he would stick by someone through thick & thin. The more I learned about Brandon, the more I cheered for him. But then there was the season finale & Brandon was sent home. 

It was in that moment, I wanted to speak to Brandon more about his time on Finding Prince Charming. I wanted to learn more about Brandon overcoming his addiction. I wanted to know everything. So, I called (well Tweeted) & Brandon answered! What you will see below is a man who has lived a life & turned his hardships into something positive.

If you missed Finding Prince Charming, you can watch the whole season on Logotv.com. Then catch the Finding Prince Charming reunion show this Thursday, November 10 at 9pm on Logo!

For more on Brandon be sure to visit http://brandonkneefel.com and follow him on Twitter and Instagram!

Brandon Kneefel1. This fall you were part of Logo's reality series Finding Prince Charming, where 13 single gay men lived in a house and compete to win the affections of Prince Charming, Robert Sepulveda. What made you want to go this route to potentially find love? Who, if anyone, do you keep in touch with from the show? When I was initially approached to do the show I immediately said "no." Two months later during a nighttime reflection, I heard a voice that said "If you want a new experience with romance and love, you've got to do something drastically different." Once I said "yes" the path to actually joining the cast and taking the time off from my life was unbelievably smooth.

I talk to many of the guys, the top five, for sure. Even guys from earlier in the season, like Jasen and Nick are wonderful and generous men so I would try to continue friendships with them.

Justin, Brandon, and Robby on Logo TV's "Finding Prince Charming"2. Out of all the guys in the house, you were one of the more reserved guys at the start. It took you almost losing your tie in the Black Tie Affair to open up to Robert and reveal your truth. Considering you were on a TV show, in front of millions of people, why do you think you waited until you were almost sent home to reveal your truth? Was it because you just didn't get the chance to be alone with Robert prior to that moment or do you tend to wait to do things until you backed against a wall? It was wonderful editing, I was never concerned that I was going to be sent home, but I also knew it was time to reveal the deeper part of me. I wanted to do something meaningful and I wasn't interested in stealing mass quantities of time from Robert, so during the Black Tie Affair, I asked Lance if I could say something; I knew the quality of that experience would be more telling than hijacking two minutes here and there in a group setting.

3. The truth you revealed to Robert was that you were a recovering alcoholic. In that moment, what were you most worried about and what were you most relieved about? When he gave you that hug, what went through your head? I didn't actually tell him until the next day--again, the magic of editing. But I did say "This is a very meaningful object and represents a turning point in my life, and I'd love for you to hold onto this until we get our due time for me to tell you a bit more about me." I actually never said the words "sobriety necklace." But, I understand, for efficiency in story-telling, why they edited it that way.

I knew it would just be icing on the cake for me to go off-script, so to speak, to do a genuine gesture for him.

Brandon Kneefel4. You managed to make it to the final episode, having Robert's choice come down to between you and Eric. In the end, Robert chose Eric. Looking back on the show, do you think getting sent home was the best thing that could have happened to you in your journey for love? How did this show help you open up more to the possibility of love in your life? I am still on my journey to love. If anything, it was beneficial because it directly showed me what it would look and feel like to close your heart, and how that's an option. More importantly, it revealed how we become convinced that protecting our hearts is the same as closing, it's not. Open-heartedness was essential for me getting through probably the most challenging consecutive 72 hours of my life. To try to explain this more simply, I had to stay open long enough for the ideas of rejection and not being "good" enough or not having what someone else was wanting, or being defective because I couldn't drink like the other guys, that all ran through my mind after the last Black Tie Affair to pass through and not stay inside of me.

5. Since your mantra is all about happiness, what were the three funniest moments that happened off-camera? Sometimes the funniest moments were not very happy moments, but more nerve-racking. The humor definitely helped us stay sane.

The masquerade was painfully hilarious, because it was literally one royalty-free techno song on repeat and we weren't supposed to take our masks off, like, at all. But everyone, even the other happy ones like Justin and Robby were starting to spiral out. Haha.

Oftentimes we had to drive really far places with each other and we couldn't talk. Now, for people like me and Robby, telling us not to talk is like having two little kids trying not to giggle in a church pew. It was impossible. It was always a giggle-fest.

I didn't take a lot seriously in the house, especially things that people said and did. Therefore, you always could hear me laughing or smiling.

Brandon Kneefel6. Let's switch gears for a moment and talk more about you, Brandon Kneefel, the man not on Finding Prince Charming. You are a man who has overcome so many hurdles. On your website, you list words that were put on you at a young age: Failure, Defiant, Evil, Suicidal, Drunk, Criminal, Ungodly, Trichotillomania, ADD, OCD, Anxiety Disorder, Stereotypic Movement Disorder, Head-Banging Disorder, Autism, Depression, Bipolar, Cocaine Addict, Alcoholic, Deviant, User, Faggot, Sinner. In her song, "Words," Madonna sings, "Words, they cut like a knife. Cut into my life. I don't want to hear your words. They always attack. Please take them all back. If their yours, I don't want them anymore." The words people say to one another, stick. They are hard to let go of. Out of all these labels put on you, were there ones that hurt more than others? When did you finally let go of these words? When you look at these words now, what do you think about? I actually love these words. I write them down because they provide an often necessary conscious shock to the ways in which we have disordered thinking and being in this world. These words can sometimes wake people up when they are explained. I use these words to connect deeper to others. When I actually found out what it meant to be an alcoholic, I grew. When I actually discovered the gift of being gay, I grew. When I was unmoved by someone labeling me defective or evil, I grew. And I still grow, now. Today I look at what it means for me to possibly have fear around letting people see me at my worst, but when I am able to, I grow.

Brandon Kneefel7. So many of these words pulled at my heart-strings, especially you being an addict and attempting suicide. I have never been an addict myself, but there was a time in my life when I thought about taking my own life, though I never knew how I would do it. But through my friends, family, music, and therapy, I found my way back. What was the moment that made you go, "I don't want to be an addict anymore. I don't want to die. My life is worth living."? How did you find your way out of the darkness? Who did you first reach out to for help? I began meditation, incredibly casual-style, like sitting in a chair listening to YouTube guided meditations from Malika Chopra--Deepak's daughter. And after three months of doing three-minute guided meditations, I was still enough to hear something beyond me say, "This behavior probably won't kill you as soon as you'd hope, but you will not do anything or have anything worth while until you give it all up." It clicked then and there. I reached out to another friend who I knew was sober and started my journey.

8. Since becoming sober, what is something that you do now that you are grateful to be able to fully experience as opposed to doing it drunk or on drugs? Literally everything. I dance all the time because I can actually hear the music. I can feel everything and I have the tools to process all the good times and the challenges. I actually talk to people now. I never used to pick up the phone. 90% of sobriety for me is having the conversations we've been meaning to have: telling the guy how we feel, asking our boss for a promotion, asking the creditor for an extension, telling our roommates what bothers us in a situation, apologizing for our wrong-doings, when we take steps in the right direction, the Universe suddenly aligns to work miracles in our lives. This is my experience.

Brandon Kneefel9. Out of your experience, you became a spiritual counselor/soul coach. On your website, you also mention that you cannot help bring peace to the world without first finding peace within yourself. What was the first thing you found peace with? How has helping people find themselves continued to help you find yourself? What are your top three most heart-warming stories from helping others? The first thing I found peace with was the idea of "letting go absolutely." If I was wanting an overhaul for my life, I had to allow something greater than me to take the reins and redesign it for me, completely. If I was going to turn over my drinking and using, I had to turn over my relationships, career, finances, and everyday habits.

I believe counseling is never done by me, it is done onto me and my clients equally when we unite for healing. Further, I also cannot transmit what I do not have. I do one-on-one on a case-by-case basis because it does drain me. All my clients directly reflect back to me my own current or past suffering or blocks to love, which is a lot to often confront while remaining clear enough to guide someone else.

I don't know about my top three heart-warming stories, but I will say three things that might be unique:

  1. I sometimes wear sunglasses with clients because I don't want my tears or gaze to distract them. Sometimes I close my eyes to "hold space."
  2. I sometimes write Mind Treatment or Affirmative Prayers before sessions, and often the themes of whatever I wrote on will arise in the client's stories or assignments for that day, unaware of my writing. I am actually finishing a booklet of Affirmative Prayer--How to Change Your Mind to Change Your Life--right now that will be available on my site before the holidays. www.BrandonKneefel.com
  3. All of my coaching and counseling requires a client to expect two results: A) their own healing and B) their own commitment to bless the world with their greatness. For that, I often get incredibly high-achieving people who also suffer from great trauma or mental/emotional/spiritual unrest who want help going to the next level.

10. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? I'd love to continue to live as I did in the house: for each moment, grateful for the day and not expecting anything other than connection with others.

Brandon KneefelMore on Brandon:

Brandon Kneefel, cast member of Logo TV’s Finding Prince Charming, has a long history of social justice and empowerment work, specifically working to heal homophobia in and outside of the LGBTQ community. Brandon was awarded the Point Foundation Scholarship (nation’s largest LGBT-granting scholarship fund) and additionally received a top honor–the Jonathan D. Lewis name-scholarship, given to the "scholar who shows most merit as a future progressive leader." His story has been published alongside notables such as Nate Berkus and Martina Navratilova in the volume Crisis: Growing Up Gay in AmericaInstinct Magazine called Brandon a "voice for his generation." He’s written for numerous outlets and currently writes pieces focusing on intersectionality and faith communities for The Huffington Post. In 2007 he was the Media Director for the westbound Equality Ride, which was an effort guided by young adults that used Gandhian nonviolence to confront anti-LGBT colleges on their policies and rhetoric. He uses his experience with addiction and growing up in an anti-gay household and religion as a lens for viewing the world in which we live: if we know what heals one life, we know what heals the world.

Brandon speaks around the country and currently serves in volunteer leadership roles with AIDS Walk LA, Inspire Spiritual Community (an interfaith community founded for an by LGBTQs), and JUUstice LA (an activist organization developed to address equity, economic and environmental issues).