Sunday, March 10, 2013

Catch a Rising Star

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Suddenly there was the sound of applause and I realized that I was in a hall filled with a large audience. It was my encore performance and for the first time I knew that everything I had worked so long and hard for had reached fruition.
The curtains were again drawn back and even though I could not see the faces of all the people watching I knew that I was no longer alone. This is what all performers want for their hearts desire; to be recognized for their talents and contributions.
Having been a guitar player and being young and energetic, I wanted to make my mark on the entertainment scene in Arizona.  I started out by running promotions for Chuckles Comedy Club in the Phoenix area.  This was at the time that cable TV had just arrived in the valley and nobody understood what it was.  A friend and I wanted to produce fundraisers, incorporating comedy by bringing in national comedians to create the show.  Because the cable companies were wanting programming they were happy to get involved.  Thus the Evening of Laughs started us on our way to TV production.  From there I produced several pilots, which included Phoenix Tonight (a variety entertainment show like the Tonight Show).  Because of the potential for success, we moved the Phoenix Tonight to a private video production company.  The show lasted only one season, but it was here that I meet Ron Noah who was publishing that Soundboard Music Magazine, and producing the Soundboard Music Awards, which I helped produce.  
With the failure of Phoenix Tonight, I pitched a new series, Backstage Pass in Arizona, to the Scottsdale United Cable.  On my show I integrated the Soundboard Music Awards with  the annual awards that I was giving out for my show and created the 1st official Arizona Entertainment Awards in 1986. These awards honored all areas of entertainment  - music, dance, comedy, acting, personality, contribution to the arts.  It was a day chosen to honor outstanding people in their genre who were voted for by the public to receive the award.  This was never to be a "best of", but a celebration of excellence of the arts and entertainments.                                                                                    

The awards show lasted 9 years and was a huge part of my life during that time.  From a core group of about 5 of us, to managing a crew of nearly 160, many people dedicated long hours and hard work to making the Arizona Entertainment Awards a success.  I have thanked them over the years, but you can never thank anyone enough that helps to create and maintain a dream. 

In everyone’s life you either are a spectator or an actor and sometimes you play both parts. I know I have been every conceivable character at one time or another on my stageThe play of life makes every performance count and whatever you leave behind is a testament to who I am and what I tried to accomplish. All the time that was spent practicing my craft led to these specific moments when I knew in my heart that I was appreciated for my art. This is something worth more than anything else and is something that I can always take with me wherever I go. It transcends the mundane world of possessions and the striving for more and more. It is the nectar that quenches the thirst for those that want to leave their mark. It is the moments spent in preparation and the actualization of cherished dreams.

So many times I thought I would just give up, but each time I picked myself up and continued. Now what I have created is a large body of work that will stand on its own merit as a testament to who I am and what I tried to communicate. It still can be compared to the myriad of others though yet does stand by itself as something notable that gives me satisfaction.
You can judge it -depending on your particular likes or dislikes, but it stands as something I have accomplished that is a record that says -I was more than just a couple words on a headstone or lost to everyone forever- as if I had never lived.
The prophets and the sages have been mute council for how to be me in this life--examples to live a life of meaning for this short performance on the stage of life. I am but an actor playing a part.I know that I will never please everyone and that is not my intention, but to follow my own light -wherever it may lead me.I have seen things in my life that many would doubt its validity, but it has been a guidepost for me and made me who I am.
So much has been left out and this offers such a fragmented and partial perspective, but must suffice, because what is, is.I continue to create and offer my art to any audience that enjoys what I have to share. 
I realize that nothing endures and a rising star vanishes in the night. 

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