Saturday, July 6, 2013

An Actor's Greatest Moment And He's Absent For It

My greatest moment as an actor (so far) was in college. I was playing BAAL in a student production. Being a Senior, I had been very lucky and had great success getting cast in meaty roles all the way through I thought I knew my shit.
Student productions tend to have very short runs, two weekends at most. So you have to get to it if you want to learn anything. I was so obsessed with acting in those days that all I did was learn lines, interpret character, smoke pot and get deep, talk shop to anyone who would listen. I breathed acting. But I have the age-old problem, like many of us, of having two minds on stage: The character's mind; and the actor's mind. The actor is constantly distracting the character and making me drop out of the moment for whatever trite thought about a lunch date or a botched audition, or worse, how cue 212 was dropped by the SM, and how am I going to change my blocking so that everyone can see my beautiful mug for my monologue.
Well it was our second to last performance, and the production was quite experimental. The student director had decided to add all kinds of artifice to the elegant, simply brilliant modern Shakespearish gait of Brecht. He cast painters and musicians in character roles, ignoring good taste and quality (in my naive college aged view). By this point in the run I had my lines and blocking so cold, all my intentions decided and re-decided and re-interpreted once again. I was on autopilot. I was doing what I think is wrongly called by many, "Phoning it in". This is a wrong term in my opinion because this is the space where the magic begins. A necessary rung on a ladder that most of us never see the top of.
Something else was at work. There was a magical dust that settled over me that night. Somewhere in the middle of the performance, I can't remember when, because, it's magic, things started getting very fuzzy. The veil began to lift for me as a performer, where it never had before, and very rarely ever did again (so far). And when it came time for BAAL to die, begging for his mommy to return him to her bosom, the most basic of all human needs returned at once after a life of incivility and relentless adolescence, rape, murder and abandonment in the name of independence (what an irony!), Zack Rouse was gone. Actor man, with all my analysis, all my judgment, all my opinion, had simply vanished, and where there had been a personality driven by ego to surpass the competition, do everything perfectly and achieve the adoration of professors and peers, given awards and told I no longer have to attend class because I'm just an ACTOR now, there was now a dead BAAL.
Blank. Blind. Empty Body-vessel. Actor.
I awoke at curtain call, which was one severe bow and an exit, to sit in a chair for half an hour, waiting while my ego returned to me. And fortunately, when I got back, I had no opinion about what I had done that night. I didn't think I was the greatest actor who ever lived. I didn't envision myself receiving an Oscar and thanking the Academy. I didn't care. 60 people watched my performance that night. Hardly world changing.
For those who are religious, I will challenge that this is what preachers are talking about. They are talking about a unification of humanity in the internal/eternal world of the "Open Vessel".
I will submit to you all that indeed, I ceased to exist for a period of time. The universe had no need for the ego identified as Zack, with its prescribed tastes and opinions. And so for a time, Zack died. And was reborn when the vessel that held this ego was finished with its job of representing BAAL.
This is why acting is not an ego pursuit. This is why acting is at its very core the spiritual and solemn endeavor to map the universe. Actors are Astronauts.


Friday, June 14, 2013

The Shit List: Number 5 Gary Wright

Dream Weaver.

This, from: jason75 1 week ago
Ah I was a kid in the 70s, had the best time of my life. Todays music is this rap crap, or this pop bull shit.Today its about money, looks, fame with no talent. 70s has pass and gone, wish I had a time machine to go back to the 70s, and ways keep on rocking in the 70s I know I will

I don't feel particularly inclined to comment on this one. I think it's a human blight, but it's hard to say what qualifies. Genocide is a human atrocity. Dream Weaver is probably a qualified blight. But I will say that Gary works so hard on his facial expressionism that if you watch it without sound, you might find something in there to be entertained by. 

This is a blog, though, so I feel obligated to talk about things when I'm up in this, you know what I mean? The horror-show beginning with the army of squiggly bugs is awesome beyond. I love that he doesn't move at all while he's playing keys and doing that sing like thing he does. He's like a Liberace statue emoting from within, while disconnecting completely from the outside world.

His vibrato is so strained that I worry for his constitution. The Gong player is a genius, though!
1976 must have been a starved year for popular music. I was only one when this thing happened, but if I'd known, I probably would have stayed in the womb an extra year and come on out with hope on my face knowing that brighter days lie ahead. Best Price $2.00.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Shit List: Steve Miller Needs To Stop Touring

Ian Anderson, of Jethro Tull fame, stopped making music publicly and went back to Scotland to build a salmon farm. Why did he do this? He was making great music. There are so many others who should have quit and let him continue on his pixie flute fluttering way.

Steve Miller Band is a band that I'm happy to say I've been able to avoid listening to over the course of my life. There's a few "classic rock" songs that I actually do have an affinity for. However, this blog series is not about those songs. This series is about the ones that were ruined by overuse, not unlike a stock Bill O'Reilly insult. But there is one tune of Mr. Miller's that, no matter how studious you may be, you are just going to be contaminated by... Over, and over, and over, and over again until your brain melts with white rage. You can only hope that when this happens, you're not on the freeway, fumbling to access the glock you have stored in your glove box, to aim at the bald man with a ponytail in the convertible Chrysler LeBaron one lane over who's perpetually on Spring Vacation 1973.

Number 4:

"The Joker" - Steve Miller Band

He Looks Like Steve Martin

The ingenius guitar cat-call at the suggestion that the "narrator" of this epic piece of pop architecture might be named, audaciously, Maurice, is enough for me. Every time I hear this iconic signature I reach for my gun. (I don't own a gun yet. I'm waiting until only reasonable, sane people like myself can get them.) It's instinctual. It reminds me of when my daughter was a baby, and she would cry. Babies' cries are connected genetically to that part of the brain that demands violent action immediately, from the parent in earshot. Reflexively, the parent reaches for the bottle or food source without regard to any potential obstacles, so desperate to stop the noise that cuts to the core of humanity, and results in lamps and jars of liquid being knocked over and broken or spilled. That's what happens to me when I hear, "...Some people call me Maurice - woot woot...". But with a gun. I'm looking for my gun instead of a bottle of milk.

Here, listen to it.

They won't let you listen to it here because it's owned by EMI. You have to go to Youtube. It must be so valuable a feed that you can only go to a monetized site to enjoy it commercials free

Here it is on Amazon in case you want to BUY the song. 1 person "liked" it.

zachary rouse blogs at this blog, and at his website, Zachary Rouse

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Shit List: Thin Lizzy...Oh, Don't Worry. There Are Plenty More Where This Came From

The iHeart Radio mega-conglomerate is Clear Channel Communications. They can the product of continuous radio programming for your listening dull-maintenance. Out of the hundreds of thousands of songs that are available to these peddlers of rock oldies, their "program directors" (I say in quotes because they don't have program directors...they have marketing executive robots trained to find the algorithm of least resistance) have narrowed it down for our impressionable ears, to around 200. And then they simply put it on loop. After the meteor has wiped out civilization on the planet all but completely, the iHeart Radio program will continue on, uninterrupted, playing to the ethers, or better yet, torturing the ears of the now ambivalent aliens who at once are relieved at our demise for all the dumb shit we did, and desperately wishing us back, so they could make us stop playing

Number 3:

"The Boys Are Back In Town" - Thin Lizzy

With Too Many Images To Choose From, This One Must Suffice

I seriously did not know that the name of this band was Thin Lizzy. How would I? If I had known this piece of trivia, I would never have named my child Elizabeth. The "oldies" stations don't ever tell you the names of these groups, especially the one-hit wonders, because they assume you already know, or don't care, which I clearly didn't until it was time to blast this shit for being overplayed and underwhelming. The guitar chords are boring and too loud. The lead singer's voice is irreverent, irrelevant, and underly nostalgic for the girl in the song's spritely personality or her mammaries. And the hair in the video below is so happening that it upstages the performances of the rockers it belongs to.

If THIN LIZZY is your cup of tea, then here. I'll be your Jack Kevorkian.

Listen: I'm worried that by doing this blog my faith in humanity will be diminished. But I will press on. It's too good to put this toy away now.


Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Shit List: The 50 Must-Die Radio Hits-Eagles

Ok. I've been listening to the "classic rock" stations of iHeart Radio mega-network for inspiration on my top 50 must-die songs, and the input never stops.

Number 2:

"Take It To The Limit" - Eagles

Give me a fucking break. Here's another "epic" song that goes on way too long, like a 70's movie, with a story that I could give a shit about...but DON'T...performed in the most boring style a musician could hope to play in.

Now, I know that some of you have a sentimental attachment to this song, because when you were 7 your daddy and you were riding in his old Ford truck down a country highway and he put the 8-track of this shit in, and your undeveloped 7 year-old mind attached the banal hook to your emotional sense of security with your daddy there to protect you against the world. You now equate safety and the warm sense of security you felt then, with this fucking song. 

It's time now. Let's let it go. "Take It To The Limit" can now be sent to heaven with Daddy, and all of the torturously bad pop-country greatest hits that we have all been forced to listen to for decades now. So many better tunes. So many better eras. So many better hair days. The bygone era presses on with relentlessness. 

And just in case my bringing them up has brought your love of Eagles back to the fore of your obsession with nostalgia, here's a link to the book about how awesome they were. It's three dollars and eighty cents of Eagles fantasticness:


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Shit List: The 50 Most Over-Played Songs That Must Now Die

So, in the coming months, I've decided that I'm going to blog about the 50 most over-played rock-and-roll radio "hits" that must die. I will probably piss some of you off because of the nostalgia that these songs creates for you in your hearts. And that's sweet. All the same, there are many more than fifty songs that should die. There are hundreds of songs that should die. Immediately. And never be played again.

Number 1:

"More Than A Feeling" - Boston

Need I say more? Come on. It has 11 million views on youtube, 500k likes. This song is not horrible. It is not great, either. It's just kind of there. It's a blah song that some producer continues to think is unoffensive enough to make a ONCE AN HOUR player on the iHeart Radio conglomerate!

After three decades, it's time to put "More Than A Feeling" to bed, sweethearts. Every single time I hear the sweet guitar flirtation at the beginning, I TURN THE DIAL to something else, anything else. The fucking Jesus station is more interesting to me than listening to this song again. I just listened to it again for this blog, and I got thirty seconds in before I wanted to rip my ear drums out. ENOUGH!!! Just in case you want to buy this boring-ass song so that you can listen to it twice an hour rather than just once, here's the link to it at amazon! Maybe if you buy it, the radio conglomerates can get over it once and for all. 


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Cosmic Bowling Pix

So, I went with my sweet daughter Elizabeth to the second bowling alley that is in the company I work for. 

They've changed the name from Rose Bowl to PinBusterZ. So, my boss wanted me to come over and take some pictures of the new children's lanes that are all "Cosmic" bowling lanes, and they're shorter, and without gutters so the kids can feel like they're good bowlers. It helps us grown-ups out too!

I think I got some nice ones. I've doctored them up a little so that they look more colorful.

It's actually really cool to bowl on these lanes.

It was really fun to do a photo shoot with my kid. I love her so much. She's fun and just a sweetheart and joy to be with!