I've lived in L.A. for a long time. This place is a Hustler's heaven. A scavenger's oasis. A town where big dreams come to live and die. Families left behind, cars packed to the gills, headed for lights, palm trees, movie stars and checks with a lot of commas in them. Just look around at the license plates. Half the people in L.A. are from some place else. Most of an initial conversation with a person is about where you originally grew up and what happened to you or for you since landing on the west coast. Talk to that same person a year later, and they're headed in a completely different direction- new project, new mate, new apartment, different business, new ideas, new habits... some good, some bad, but different nonetheless.
Back in Detroit, where I'm from, there aren't too many options. You either teach, work for an automaker, a business close to the automakers, or join some sort of stayed family business or trade. Statistically speaking, most of the United States is filled with company men. 10, 15, 20, 30 years strong- on their way to the gold watch and the pension plan. So when people who are born and raised in environments like this decide to leave and head to the Sunshine State, they are looked at as oddities. A freak show filled with taboo, rebellion, imagination, and talent. No wonder this is the porn capitol of the world.
The life choices we have in L.A. are so vast. And it goes waaay beyond your typical waiter/actor scenario. We in Los Angeles have more slashes on us than a guy covered in goat's blood thrown into a Wolverine hole. I literally know the following slashes: Musician/Marketer/Director/Motivational Speaker, Porn Star/Massage Therapist/Author, Singer/Writer/Project Manager, Film Festival Director/Radio Host/Bodybuilder (female), Publicist/Mortgage Loan Officer, Magician/Bodyguard, Development Director/Baker/Playwright, Apartment Manager/Club Promoter, Writer/Babysitter, CEO/World Kickboxing Champ, Lawyer/Producer/CEO/Writer, Office Temp/Clothing Designer/Music Producer, and one of my personal favorites, Pastor/Fashion Designer/Ladies Man (self proclaimed). And that's only 13 people. And if you read my first entry, you know I've had more positions than a contortionist's orgy.
But that's the thing about LA. The way the industry is all topsy turvy, you've got to find other means of operating. You need to explore other skill sets. You have to have a full-circle lifestyle in order to jump the hurdles that may come your way. Left brain, right brain, creative, business, the LA Hustler needs it all. Companies fold (the recession is nothing out here!), projects fall through, people overdose, dates get pushed, priorities shift-- this kinda shit doesn't happen at Ihop. In the end, all of this leads me to Channing Tatum (or Ihop, now that I think of it. I'm HONGRY!). Here is a guy I've hated on for years. Mainly because of his talent and versatility, but also because all my former girlfriends have been attracted to him. And yes, I can think of better examples, but the thing about Channing is that he sneaks up on you. You see a Will Smith movie, you know there's either gonna be some crying, sweating, or yelling. You see a Tom Cruise movie, you know there's gonna be some outlandish moment or stunt (or if you even just saw him on Oprah). You watch a Jack Black movie, you know at some point there's gonna be a tuck and roll followed by an air guitar.
With Channing, you just never know! Here's a dude who gave us motor cross, he gave us soccer, he gave us proper dancing, he gave us hip hop, basketball, soldiery (is that a word?), fighting, and now he's going to be giving us GI JOE! Now on the surface it seems simple. You may say, "aww, In-Word, please... that's just acting!" But you have to give actors credit. Well, you have to give good actors credit. What they go through to encompass a character or a role, and present believably to an audience is incredible. He's been urban, he's suburban, he's been the highschool heart throb, he's been the tough guy, he's been the punk, and we aren't talking movies that went straight to the mom and pop shop.
I think that in LA, as well as the rest of the world, we all play a different roles everyday. Some of you may be reading this during a break at work, or at a coffee shop and later you'll go be a parent, or a soldier, or a softball teammate, or a date, or a member of a strange cult, or even arrested. Often times we become victims of the pressure and demands of these roles and start to define our lives by these experiences. I think these roles don't define our lives or who we are, they are only the experiences of the person we are at the core. Life itself is a collection of experiences. We are human beings experiencing life. At the center of that is the person we were, are, and will always be. We're connected through our experiences. The people we work with, the person who cut us off on freeway, our friends, family, the first person we kissed. But we are not connected to our experiences. We're connected to our creator. And each experience is a touch of creation.
Channing will always be Channing. Whether he's in a rodeo, or break dancing, or flying a helicopter, in each role he gives his all. You will always be you, whether you're a baker, a writer, a singer, a gymnast, a friend, an accountant. Embrace your experiences, enjoy life, and give your all. It only gets better.
Peace and Wave Grease! (get em spinnin!)