I’m A Fan Fridays! (Saturday edition) Jardin D’hiver

Stacey-KentThere has never been a better time to be alive! I’ve said it before, and I don’t mind repeating myself when something this good happens.

In what other age could you be driving in a car, listening to the radio streaming through your phone, hear an artist who is brand new to you and someone you most likely would never have heard of otherwise, park at your destination and look that artist up on that same phone via this unlimited library of information in about ten seconds?

Only THIS age, I tell you!!

I’m so glad I found Stacey Kent.  Her voice is hypnotic and very special.  Enjoy this beautiful cover of a fantastic song!

 

 

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Follow Scott on Twitter– @scotylang

 

I’m A Fan Fridays! From Bump To Buzz on a very Good Friday!!

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Hello my dears!

You know, today being Good Friday and all, I started to write this whole long post about Atonement Theories and how they almost entirely ruined my faith in God.  But, I’m not going to do that.

Instead, I want to focus on what this Good Friday ultimately reminded my of– that Love will always win!  How do I know this?  It’s hard to explain; I just do.

This video I’d like to share with you today may not be proof to some that God exists, and quite frankly, it was never intended to make such a claim.

At the same time, I see no other way to describe this piece other than to say that it is the very epitome of an expression of what true love is.

So, I’m going to save my Atonement Theory discussion for another day, and simply leave this right here for you.  Enjoy!

 

 

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Follow Scott on Twitter:  @scotylang

 

 

 

Questions, pain, demons, compassion, and love, always love

Philip_Seymour_Hoffman-1024x802-650x509I wasn’t sure how to, or even if I could, write about Philip Seymour Hoffman and how his death has affected me so deeply.

I just made a link from his name to IMDB.  See for yourself the way his prolific work impacted your life in some way.  Seen any of those movies?  Have any of them moved you at all?  Any of them have an impact on how you look at the world?  Well, several of them did for me.

The day he died, a friend of mine posted this on Facebook:

Oh, Philip Seymour Hoffman… Your performance in “Capote” single-handedly changed my opinion of the death penalty. No, we never met, but your authenticity made me feel as though we had and based on what I’m reading today, I’m not the only one.

The word that struck me in that last sentence was, authenticity.  In all of his work, Hoffman was definitely that–Authentic.  I heard several interviews with him over the years and he always spoke about making choices for his characters that were honest.  Honesty and authenticity in his acting were hallmarks of what he left behind to the world.

He also left behind a great deal of confusion.

I’m going to do a bit of assuming here, but I’m not sure Hoffman meant to die; I don’t think he wanted to.  There was no note, no goodbyes as far I’ve read or heard.  I could be wrong, but as I grasp for answers regarding why this could happen, I want to hope.  I want to hang on to a hope that he never lost hope, but just lost his way and couldn’t get back.

Almost immediately after he passed, I read things on my social media feeds like, “How could he do such a thing?  He had it all!” or “How selfish!  Why do people feel like they have to turn to drugs?”  I understand the questions, however short-sighted they might be, but those are not the questions that came to my mind.  Among many were these:

What triggered you?  Did you know how much you were loved and admired?  Could you possibly know what kind of hole you would leave if you couldn’t come back from that needle?  If you did, did you just not care or were there just too many voices in your head keeping you from hearing how much you were needed here?

You were NEEDED here, Phil!

There are so many questions when anyone dies so tragically like this.  We ask the questions because we want answers.  We want sense to be made from the things that happen that are so senseless.  But the more questions I ask, especially about this particular death, the more I know that I don’t know shit.

Goddammit, Phil!  I’m so mad right now!

I want answers!!  I want answers that will not come, and I’m so sad.  I’m sad for your partner and your children; for your family and friends; for all of us who will never see the brilliance of what you were becoming.  You made the world better.  What you did mattered.  Can you hear me where you are?

I pray that you still had hope, Phil.  I pray that you had visions and dreams for your future right to the end.  I pray that you didn’t die in despair, not knowing if anything you did made any difference in this world, not knowing if you could keep on fighting the demons inside of you.

I know the urge to run away, to give up, to escape.  I know how it feels to need peace so badly that the consequences of getting just a moment’s worth of it make no difference if only that moment could come.  I pray that you have that peace now.

I don’t know what was going through Philip Seymour Hoffman’s head the day he took the heroin that took his life.  I do know that he lost his way, and I weep for him and for everyone who loses theirs.  This life is not easy.  It is so hard sometimes to even think about what it’s going to take to make it even one more day.  But all we can ever do is live this day while it’s here.  Tomorrow will come, if it comes, and then we’ll take that day.  One day and then another.  Just take this day.

If you’re still reading this post, dear reader, I want you to know that as I sit here typing this on my computer, I’m fighting my own particular demons.  And I know you are fighting yours.  You being alive is so vitally important in ways you do not even know, what you do matters, and you are never separated from love no matter what you might think.  Please look around you and if you can’t see it immediately, look harder.  Seek love out and it will find you.

I’m still here only because, somehow, the grace of God has allowed me to remember how much I’m loved and needed today.  Today.  We’ll see about tomorrow when tomorrow gets here.

Follow Scott on Twitter- @scotylang

I’m a fan Fridays!…It’s Opening Night!!

spamaloticonIn honor of Opening Night for “Spamalot” at The Media Theatre, where I am playing King Arthur (one of my dream roles), I give you one of my favorite scenes from the movie on which the Broadway musical is based.

Like so many people, I remember quoting lines from this great classic during my high school days.  Watching these grown men be so silly, and make a career doing it, completely sealed my fate.

From the moment I first saw this film in Pappy Parker’s Shakespeare class my junior year, I longed to play scenes like this one for a living.  Now, I’m not only playing scenes like this one, I actually get to play THIS scene seven times a week!

How does life get any better?

Enjoy the clip, and, if you’re in the neighborhood, come on out to my court at Camelot!  The cast is wonderful!!  We eat ham and jam and Spam a lot, so bring your appetite for laughter!

 

The detours can make for a trip worth falling for

roadblockRunning can teach you many things.  At the very least, it can remind you of something you already knew but might have forgotten, an idea or a little tidbit of life philosophy that gets buried beneath the stress and strain of daily life.

I’m currently staying in a small, country town called Kennett Square while rehearsing for a production of “Spamalot” at The Media Theatre in Media, PA.

The area around where I’m staying is some beautiful countryside, with some pretty tight, two-lane roads.  There are plenty of hills, gorgeous views, and the occasional farm animal like my new friend in the pic below.

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It initially took some time with the map but I figured out this really nice 3-mile run that I could also extend to a 5-miler with a simple turn off.  Yesterday morning I set out on the 5-mile course but got only a mile and a half in when I came upon the road closing.  The workers were paving the road.  I could either turn around and head back to the house or turn left where I would normally head straight on.

I was a little nervous about the turn into the “unknown” as it were, but I figured, Hey, let’s do a little exploring!

My phone (which my wife will never let me run without, bless her) has a nice map system, but I wasn’t sure how far this new route would take me.  As I made my way along the unfamiliar roads, I was reminded of how running can be a sort of microcosm of my life.

When I got to the roadblock, I had the choice to turn back or go on.  After I made the choice to go on, I had the choice to get upset about it and maybe even panic, or I could enjoy the new route and take in all of the beauty that I never expected to see.

I love my job. I’ve been blessed and very fortunate to do what I love and squeak out a modest living.  Sometimes, though, things happen that go in the direct opposite direction of the one I had planned.  This happens to everyone in one way or another, I know.   It’s just that yesterday was one of those days when that lesson got very real.

I am so grateful to have been surrounded by such a wonderful group of people.  How co-workers react to difficult situations can make for a beautifully uplifting experience or an absolute hell.

Yesterday, on the whole, I witnessed the best of what people can be: compassionate, caring, uplifting, and loving.  I was reminded that I always have a choice about my attitude and, most times, that’s the only choice I’m going to get.

In a world where we’re under the terrible illusion that we can have certainty and security about anything in our lives, one thing I know for sure: how I treat other people is entirely up to me.  In every moment, in every encounter, I choose, in a split second, to act in a way that uplifts the other or feeds my own ego.

I have never found that doing the latter has ever done anything for me.

All I know is, I want to surround myself with the type of people who remind me daily that loving somebody is never a waste.

Thank you, my fellow cast mates and crew members.  You reminded me that taking the road less traveled can lead to some beautiful scenery!

 

A Reason To Run, A Love Story

run logo-webPeople run for many different reasons. Often times, the reason to run has to go much deeper than simply running for yourself.  Otherwise, it’s pretty easy to blow off a run on a day that’s too hot and humid, or when it rains, or if you’ve got a headache from the night before.

Running a marathon is no easy task; I’m sure virtually everyone will agree with that notion.  What helps make it a little easier, though, is having a purpose, having a reason to run.

My friend, Van Kapeghian is a runner with a purpose.  When he sets out to put in the necessary miles of training for a marathon, he has a clear vision of why he’s about to put himself through the sometimes grueling exercise of preparation.  Van runs for his wife, Abbe.

vanabbe1When Abbe Meck was just thirteen years old, she had her first seizure at swim practice.  It was something that seemed to come right out of nowhere, as seizures of this kind often do.  Since then, Abbe has had to live with the fact that, with virtually no warning and at any time, she’ll be completely overcome by a loss of consciousness and violent muscle contractions.

Any kind of seizure is scary, but Abbe’s Grand Mal seizures can be really terrifying.  After Van and Abbe had been dating for a while, Van experienced one of Abbe’s seizures for the first time.

“We were in the car, about to leave her parent’s house, when all of a sudden, Abbe’s eyes rolled back in her head and she blacked out,” explained Van.  “She started flailing her arms and legs.  It was very violent.  Luckily, she had her seat belt on and was protected that way.  I just felt totally helpless watching her.”

Since her first frightening episode, Abbe has tried everything to control the uncontrollable.  Watching her diet and exercising regularly may be helping, but there is no cure for the type of seizure condition that plagues her…Yet!

“She’s only had about five or six seizures in the last ten years, but you never know when one might come on, “ says Van.  “There’s never a good time for them to happen.”

Abbe is also a runner.  Before Van and Abbe met, Abbe ran several events for a fundraising organization called, Team In Training.  Raising money for charitable causes is something that sets the running community apart.  Show up at any type of race, from a 5K to a full marathon, and you’ll find running groups who are running to raise money for all kinds of causes, all of which are attempting to make the world a better place.

In January 2012, Van and Abbe set out to run “The Goofy Challenge” at Disney World in Orlando, FL.  The challenge combines the Half Marathon (13.1miles) on Saturday with the Full Marathon (26.2 miles) on Sunday.  A collective 39.3 miles in two consecutive days is a great opportunity to raise some good money for special causes.  Van and Abbe were set to run for Team In Training together.

The day before the Half Marathon, Abbe had a terrible seizure.  Needless to say, she was unable to run the race.  Terribly disappointed, she cheered Van on and, being cleared to run the following day in the 26.2-mile race, prepared to run with her team with the love of her life by her side.

After being reminded of how fragile life can be, Van thought long and hard about Abbe during his 13.1 mile trek around the Disney course on Saturday and decided to make his relationship with Abbe more permanent.

“We had talked about getting married, and I thought this would be just the right time to propose.  So, I bought this $29 Tinkerbelle ring from a store in the park and ran the entire marathon with it tucked in my sock,” says Van, chuckling as he recalls the experience to me.  “After we crossed the finish line together, I got down on one knee, pulled out the ring and proposed.  She said, Yes, and we’ve never looked back!”

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Since being married this past April, Van and Abbe have continued to raise money for causes important to them while always keeping one eye out for any symptoms of oncoming seizures.  Last year, Van ran the Philadelphia Marathon for The Epilepsy Therapy Project and is set to run the Steamtown Marathon in Scranton, PA next month in an effort to raise more money for seizure disorders.

Realizing how effective running for a cause can be, Van and Abbe have decided to take a more personal approach to the fundraising end of things by creating their own website where folks from all over the world can visit and donate at any time.

The website, created by Van, who is a website developer when he’s not pounding out the miles on the road, can be found at:

www.werunforyou.com

Check out the website for yourself and learn what you can do to help stamp out not only seizure disorders with The Epilepsy Therapy Project, but also blood cancers through the great work being done by The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

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Pheidippides, the man credited with running the first “marathon”, did so with the purpose of delivering the message of a Greek victory over the Persians at the Battle Of Marathon in 490 BCE.  Upon the completion of his 26.2 mile run from Marathon to Greece, Pheidippides exclaimed to the magistrates, “Joy, we win!” and then promptly died on the spot.   This was obviously the last of what must have been many runs for the fateful messenger. What we’re sure of, and what we as runners celebrate every time we run a marathon, is that he ran every run with a purpose.

As Van prepares to run to make the world a better place for his wife, Abbe and all those who suffer with similar conditions, won’t you take just a moment of your time and see how you can become a partner in this noble cause?

It’s my prayer that one day, Van and Abbe will be able to look one another in the eye after a cure for seizure disorders has been found and say, “Joy, we’ve won!”

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I’m an idealist and I must always be

idealistI’m an idealist.  I’m afraid I must be.  For, smack dab in the middle of idealism, there is hope, firmly rooted.

If I say I am committed to pursuing a life centered in love, and since love hopes in all things, then I must continue in the hope that the truest essence of Humanity is found in loving one’s neighbor as one loves one’s self.

We don’t see many examples of this notion in the media on a daily basis. We see images of violence, we hear stories of greed and depravity, and we watch “reality shows” that denigrate and leave little room for hope in our future.

As an artist, part of what I believe I am charged to do in “holding a mirror up to nature” is to show things as they are. But I cannot leave it there. I believe the arts must also, in addition to showing things as they are, give our imaginations a chance to dream about and hope in what could be.

I want to share this video with you. It is a beautiful story that gives me hope in the possibility of what could be and what already is. After I watched it for the first time, I wondered how this story might play out in my own life. What “reality show” could I star in where this type of plot would unfold in its own way?

So, I give you some remarkable story telling. Enjoy!