Sunday, August 23, 2009

It's a magical time of year- the Indy Fringe Festival. This year I'm involved in two shows: Welcome to Blanksville, a long form improv show based on the Choose Your Own Adventure books with Indyprov, and Tortillo!, about a snack food company-cum-drug ring. We all know that snack foods are so not my thing. Being surrounded by bag upon bag of Fritos, Funyuns and Doritos at all times sounds like dieting hell, but actually, I don't even want to eat those things anymore. Put a big ass chocolate chip muffin in my face and we'll talk.

I've seen a few shows so far, including my friend Carrie's Stetson Manifesto (check her out at, a really neat modern dance piece called Gone, Gone, Gone (I swear one day when I retire from acting I'm just going to dance, because nothing makes me feel more light and free), and Wanda and Rhonda's Bitchin Bingo Bash, where I unfortunately did not win bingo.

But one show I saw happens to relate to the blog. It was called 'The Attack of the Big Angry Booty.' It's a very funny storytelling piece about both losing weight and watching others lose weight. It's told from the perspective of a gay male actor, and as such I really felt like I could relate to it. I don't think I can properly stress how much weight and body means to a performer. Your fat ass is on display for the world to see, and because you have voluntarily put said ass out there, it is fair game for anyone to comment on. The thing I told Les, the storyteller, that really stuck out to me was how every story was about a gay man or a woman- never a straight man. I really do feel that straight men have much more leeway with their weight; this is especially obvious to me once you get to the performance world. Hell, straight men get more leeway with their looks in general. I think of the show Roseanne- lots of people didn't like Roseanne because she was an opinionated lady, so to try to hurt her feelings, they called her fat. John Goodman was way bigger and I never heard anyone call him fat.

I liked this piece because it reinforces what I have been saying since God was a boy- control your portions and get some exercise, and you will be fine. If you don't want to control portions or exercise, you'll be fine, too, but you'll also probably be heavy, and if you are a gay man or a woman, chances are that people will not be okay with your decision to be heavy. Remember this, though- no one can make you feel like shit without your permission. Unfortunately, somewhere along the line, I was hardwired to be sensitive to comments on my weight. Hence this blog!

I admired Les's courage to get up there and talk about his struggles. I'd love to do a storytelling piece of my experiences with weight loss and dieting, but I find a lot of that stuff too personal, even for the blog. But Les's piece isn't super serious; it's actually very fun and easy to relate to, for anyone. Check it out! (After you've checked out my shows, of course.)

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