(San Diego, California, February 24, 2018). There will be a special ‘Act of Kindness’ in San Diego on Thursday, March 1st from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Halo Cinematic, benefiting Rachel’s Women’s Center (a Drop-In Day Center at Catholic Charities for homeless and low income women in East Village). This fifth Act of Kindness in San Diego is sponsored and led by Sue Vicory, an award-winning documentary filmmaker, humanitarian and the CEO of the global brand “My Power of One”.
This unique day of celebration will include collecting, organizing and ultimately distributing a variety of donations to Rachel’s Women’s Center. There will also be a star-studded photo shoot of local celebrities with photographer Aram Khachaturyan from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. as well as entertainment on a film set at Halo Cinematic in Mira Mesa (7620 Miramar Rd Ste 41 San Diego, CA 92126). There is very limited space available with a maximum of 30 individuals at any given time throughout the four-hour event. Caterer Simply Fresh will be providing food for the event.
“The mission of ‘My Power of One’ is as simple as understanding how significant we each are within humanity with our every word and every action making a difference. These words and actions are our legacy and fingerprint within humanity. We pride ourselves in doing intentional and sometimes anonymous random acts of kindness. Be the Miracle is our catch phrase.” – Sue Vicory
La Jolla, California couple Hedges Capers and Nancy Locke Capers are truly an extraordinary couple! They are married co-creators and co-writers of The Geeze & Me– an original “boomer” musical about aging…which will have it’s World PremiereMarch 31 – April 29, 2017 in San Diego at TheTenth Avenue Arts Center.
Hedges, formerly of the folk duo Hedges & Donna (with ex-spouse Donna Carson, during the late 1960’s-early 70’s), is The Geeze & Me Composer/Lyricist and also plays several characters in the production (David, the Soap Boxer and Beat Poet) and Nancy, a member of the Director’s Guild of America,SAG-AFTRA is the Producer & Director.
According to Hedges and Nancy:
The Geeze & Me is a funny, irreverent, and poignant original musical. This timely show features a comedic troupe of eccentric players who team up to wrangle aspects of aging from an expert. An eclectic blend of songs ranging from pop to blues to corner street doo-wop, accompanied by innovative choreography. The perils and benefits of growing older are reflected in the concerns of this diverse group of people.
Connecting with Hedges and Nancy for SJF Communications to provide PR/Publicity for The Geeze & Me has been a total joy and is never dull! Hedges is truly a master wordsmith and composer/lyricist/musician and Nancy, Actress-Psychotherapist, is warm, open, nurturing and very astute. They are equally excited about The Geeze & Me!
I am so proud to interview this “chill” dynamic duo, partners in personal life-and in the biz!
Without further ado….introducing our interview with Hedges Capers followed by Nancy Locke Capers!
Meet Hedges Capers by Susan J. Farese, SJF Communications
Photos courtesy of Hedges Capers and Nancy Locke Capers
Q & A with Hedges Capers by Susan J. Farese, SJF Communications
SJF: Tell us about yourself, where were you born? Where have you lived?
HC: My father was a Navy Chaplain …the longest time I spent in one location was two years…until I was 50 – then I was stable for three years. It has been four years now and I’m planning on more in the San Diego/La Jolla area.
I was born in Princeton NJ…I lived in Pennsylvania, Kansas, Virginia, New York, Guam, California (Monterey, San Francisco, La Jolla, L.A., San Diego, Whittier, Beverly Hills, Benedict Canyon, Laurel Canyon, Hollywood, Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach), Japan, Washington State & Washington DC and Hawaii. And some I don’t remember !
SJF: You have certainly lived EVERYWHERE! When did you first perform?
HC: My first performance was 1959 on board ship to Japan…I sang Endless Sleep and Shimmy Shimmy Ko-Ko-Bop. I began writing lyrics at age 11 and started composing music when I was 15. I received my BA at Whittier University and Masters of Arts at the University Without Walls, a tutorial program out of U.C. Berkeley. Private lessons: I’ve never had a music lesson, I tried a vocal lesson 5 years ago when I was unable to sing at all. The lesson was unsuccessful, but it led to my vocal cord surgery which thankfully was successful and instrumental in the content of our show.
SJF: Tell us about you as an actor
HC: I did theatre shows in college; Pajama Game – Playboy Of The Western World – Zoo Story – Rashomon and a few others… but I just wanted to be a singer I never thought about acting. … I went to college because I didn’t know how to get into the music industry (even after having signed a recording contract in 1961 at age 16). I didn’t want to pump gas or marry Leigh Deane Larson… I formed a trio my first week of college- we were hired to sing at a hotel dining bar 2 days after we met and sang together for four years at Whittier. We signed with Dot Records in 1966 and released a single in Japan which we were told made the charts there to #7.
In 1970 I had the title role in The Legend of Hillbilly John. The producers didn’t know whether they should get an actor they hoped could sing or a singer they hoped could act… the final two choices were Arlo Guthrie and myself… a stunning cast of amazing character actors Denver Pyle, Harris Yulin, RG Armstrong, Susan Strasberg and more.
SJF: Any low times?
HC: Hearing a group of kids ask Donna (my ex-wife and former duo partner) if she knew me? She said “Yes he’s my husband” – they looked at her then back at me then back at her and said “He doesn’t look at all black” but in their world it was not possible that a white man and a black woman could be married.. the only possibility was that I must be black… that night I wrote
“No child of mine’s gonna have to plant no god damn cotton. No child of mine ever gonna harvest up the rain No child of mine’s ever gonna have to know that pain. Steeple people twisted children God’s almighty bent and broken they went to Little Rock all alone and God went home”.
Anger and hurt were the emotions…Donna was pregnant and I was wondering are we doing to this child-any favors bringing him into THIS?
SJF: Tell us about your duo Hedges and Donna
HC: We opened for Nina Simone, Judy Collins and Bobby Hebb, Harry Belafonte, Neil Diamond, OscarBrown Junior and Jean Pace, Ritchie Havens … Groups that opened for us? Jackson Browne, Blood Sweat and Tears, James Taylor, Ritchie Havens, Hoyt Axton, Joni Mitchell and lots more…
SJF: Highs of your career?
HC: Too many highs to list them all …Headlining the Philadelphia Folk Festival… The Smothers Brothers Show, Carnegie Hall, The Tonight Show three times.
SJF: …and Lows?
HC: Lows… for a sad reason. At the Atlanta International Pop Festival 1970… the crowd estimates vary even today between 200,000 and 600,000 people… 750,000 was the count the artists were given…much larger than Woodstock. This was deep South… we had played The Hungry I in SF with Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs and were told by them ”You all can come”…it was their nod of approval to our music… as we performed on stage at the festival we were buzzed repeatedly by a series of Lear and larger jets… no other act had that happen… We were told later that Lester Maddox had orchestrated that as a show of his objection…
SJF: What differentiates you as a composer, writer, performer, former therapist, corporate biz guy?
HC: I don’t have a clue….but maybe? I’ve always loved lyric and loved word play… as a 5 year-old, I went to a school with first thru eighth grade in the same classroom and above the black board the alphabet and numbers were written out … I stared and then saw U R N U 2 B 4 U 4 U R 1 U C A B U T U Q U 2 B U. U 1 2 B 4 U? I 1 2 B 4 U 2! OG.
Language in Thought and Action by S.I Hiyakawa was my English book in high school. Albert Upton was my freshman college English professor and he was Hiyakawa’s chief semantic rival. I was partnered with the original Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) research team and was the first person certified to train for the Process Communication Model(PCM), the only two process models for human interaction…
All that to say I have had an extraordinary exposure to how words affect people, and I am pretty sure I’ve never looked at a phrase with that lens consciously.
SJF: Tell us about The Geeze & Me
HC: I would love to see The Geeze & Me on Broadway… In Vegas, and Branson and touring groups in regional theaters all over… I would love folks to feel that passion of “It ain’t over until the fat lady sings and there ain’t a lady fat enough to sing for this generation …” I would like people to hear the research regarding aging and feel empowered. I’d like to stand outside a theater in NY and hear people humming or singing “HOW OLD DO YOU FEEL?”
SJF: I am singing that tune all the time already!
SJF: What is your strongest asset?
HC: I love people! And I think I understand their worth.
SJF: Tell us two wonderful things and two difficult aspects of being YOU
HC: 1. I love the way my mind works especially with words… as they flutter by like Butterflies…Or like the way I hear Guilt and my mind says “it’s just decorative stuff that goes around mirrors (gilt) unless you put U in it… or being ‘now and here’ is really being ‘nowhere’ where you know where you are… I have developed a patience in my late 60’s that I never dreamed I’d have…2. Difficult aspects… my grief is way too close to the surface… I see it too clearly in too many places too much of the time.
SJF: Tell me what makes Hedges “TICK”
HC: I use to say “I’m just moving slide to slide and sucking on the main stream… but I think I was just being flippant… I think I just want to see my kids headed to something that might be full with enough joy to be really worthwhile and I still want to see a bit of tomorrow.
SJF: If you had to do it over again…how would you choose what do in life as a career/profession?
HC: I have been blessed to have done exactly as I dreamed.
SJF: What two things don’t we know about you?
HC: I don’t know what you do know so it’s hard to know what you don’t but…If you have asked me something I will tell you. I haven’t found it useful to hide
SJF: What are your fears??…
HC: I’ve had anxiety attacks at different times in my life that were debilitating… I think as a result of several years of drug experimenting… sniff, swallow or smoke without question…a really stupid period. Fortunately for me the era of designer drugs had not arrived then or I may have died as my son did.
I think I also fear I was not the father I should have been… my kids deny this but how can we ever really know?
SJF: Any regrets?
HC: 1- Not having been able to prevent my son’s death. 2- Not being cleaner with how I separated from Donna… I didn’t want to be the “bad” guy and so I drug things out instead of saying “I won’t do this, I’m leaving you.” Explanations can just muddy the water and invite attempts to change ones mind.
It is hard to have regrets when you are given the opportunity to live a life long dream. At 7 or 8 that’s what I wanted. At 7 we went to the Grand Canyon and my folks put my sister and me on the mule ride at the bottom of the canyon. It seemed like my mule wanted to nibble on things growing on the fall and you die side of the path. I was in tears but the path is too narrow to turn around or dismount and walk back so I had to go all the way… I cried until I realized my fear was unfounded… but my parents could hear me singing filling the Grand Canyon with joy for 45 minutes before the mules reached the top.
… if I reach for one regret, it’s that I didn’t do a better job of keeping clippings and songs and the journal writing I sometimes did… Moving as much as I did I never kept “things”- I would love to have been able to share those with my kids.. but … And the songs that were written that have been forgotten.
SJF: An ideal week for you would be…
HC: Watching The Geeze and Me on Broadway with my family and friends- playing golf (well!) with my buds.. singing … eating Swiss enchiladas.. swimming in warm water, walking on the beach at sunrise and again at sunset… hearing the world laugh … discovering that there really is an afterlife that works well enough to make any pain of this life irrelevant … KNOWING that I did what I was here to do, knowing, without a doubt.
SJF: What have been your life hurdles?
HC: 1. I was told at 16 my sibilance was so bad I would for sure never be able to be a recording artist…2. My height: I was 4’11” as a Junior in high School 3. I can’t sing the way I want to sing… ( I like the way I sing… it’s that there are ways I can’t that I’d love to but I think men don’t have the tool women have…).
I don’t think there have really been any hurdles because my life is evidence that I haven’t been stopped. There are things I haven’t done but the choice to not pursue has been mine, I have stopped.
Meet Nancy Locke Capers by Susan J. Farese, SJF Communications
Photos courtesy of Hedges Capers and Nancy Locke Capers
Q & A with Nancy Locke Capers by Susan J. Farese, SJF Communications
SJF: Tell us about your upbringing, family, siblings, schooling, etc.
NLC: I was born in the SPAM capital of the world – Austin, Minn. We were solid middle-class. I grew up in Minnesota & Mt. Lebanon, Pittsburgh. Came to Glendale, California when I was 11. My Mother was a singer and housewife and my Dad was a businessman.
I have an older brother who is an international trade Attorney and previously worked in the White House as Legal Counsel under former Presidents Nixon & Ford. My sister, ordained in the Episcopal Church, was a Chaplain at San Francisco General Hospital in the 80s, during the A.I.D.S. epidemic. I returned to school at age 40 and have my Masters of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology. (Still think about going for my PhD. I’m a knowledge-hound.)
SJF: When did you begin acting?
NLC: I began acting when I was tapped for a Kimbie’s diapers hidden camera commercial with my baby son. Shortly thereafter, Geoff Lewis (Juliette Lewis’s wonderful dad) walked into my kitchen and asked me if I wanted to be in a movie. I said, “Sure.” He coached me on how to audition on the way to the meeting at Sunset Plaza, with the director, Floyd Mutrux. I auditioned, and when it was clear I was a terrible actor, he said “I have a waitress part with 11 or 12 lines. Do you think you could handle that?” and I was off to the races. A friend of mine, Robert F. Lyons, began teaching acting around this time and thought I might enjoy taking classes. I studied with him for two years before going on my 2nd audition.
SJF: Who have you taken private lessons with?
NLC: In acting: Milton Katselas, Robert F. Lyons, Joan Darling, John Voight. In Producing: Ron Schwartz, Jim Aubrey. Directing: Garry Marshall, Ulu Grossbard, Dwight Little, etc. You pick up a lot just being around a set.
SJF: Were you always enthused about acting?
NLC: Not at all. I didn’t really begin until I was 30. My son was a baby and so I didn’t start seriously auditioning until I was 30.
SJF: What are some highlights of your acting career?
NLC: “Pretty Woman” of course was so much fun to work on. I learned a lot from Garry Marshall and how he handled actors. True Confessions with Robert Duvall and Robert De Niro – I worked in a scene (later cut), but he was the kindest, most generous man. He completely normalized any nerves I was feeling. By the way, Milton Katselas used to say that “nerves are our talent trying to get out.” He put a positive frame on having nerves. He also said, “If you’re not nervous then you should be concerned.” That might be a tip-off that you’ll give a flat performance.
SJF: Have there been any low times?
NLC: I was previously married to an actor/director/writer and so we were each doing our separate jobs. The low times were really when the jobs weren’t coming in and the bank account was running out. Ninety-nine percent of SAG members don’t make a living at acting. We were able to live nicely and reap the benefits of being working actors. I made a decision not to do on-location work, which definitely impacted my hire-ability. I wanted to be a mom to my son and step-daughter. I’m not sure that I experienced “low time” because of it, but I felt it was more important to have a responsible adult at home, and my former spouse was working actively during that period and wasn’t able to provide childcare.
SJF: Any Pretty Woman stories?
NLC: Yes, but not sure I’d want to go public with them. Richard Gere was a perfect gentleman and quite kind. Jason Alexander was hilarious. Julia was like a fresh colt, very excited to be working on the film, along with everyone else.
SJF: Jane Fonda stories?
NLC: I was a spokesperson for Jane Fonda Work-Out Wear in the ’80s. They chose 3 women out of 700, so I felt incredibly lucky. We met. She congratulated me on getting the job. She was very kindhearted.
SJF: What differentiates you as a director, performer, person, actor, therapist, corporate biz person?
NLC: Hmmm. My humor? My curiosity in all things? My experiences with tragedy. I’m not sure. But I lost my parents at ages 18 & 26, so all three of us (me, sister, brother) have fairly wicked senses of humor as a coping mechanism. I think it’s a survival mechanism for those struck with tragedy as a young person. All my life I’ve found most people endlessly interesting. This, of course, reflects the kind of work I’ve chosen as an actor, writer and psychotherapist.
SJF: Tell us about The Geeze & Me
NLC: It began as a lark. Hedges had some unrecorded songs that were fantastic. I’d been missing the theatre world, so I thought maybe I could fashion a love story around those existing songs. But then, I (or he, one forgets who brings what to the table in collaboration) decided to do something about aging. We’re the largest demographic of elders in the history of the world.
So, Hedges went to bed at night and would wake up with this wonderful, funny, deep music that surprised both of us. It just came rolling out of him. He used to be a staff writer at A & M, so he knew songwriting structure. And so then I had to actually learn how to write a musical. This was tortuous and enchanting, but I don’t have a musical bone in my body. Thank goodness he was so prolific. At some point, we both began collaborating on the book. Somewhere (when it was still a little theater idea) it became clear that I would direct it-which was and is terrifying. It would be terrific if it had legs and went on to tour in regional theatres, etc.
SJF: What is your strongest asset?”
NLC: My publicist.
SJF: LOL!!! Thanks, Nancy! You make my work easy!
SJF: Tell us two wonderful things about being a Psychotherapist.
NLC: Two wonderful things:
1. It is an honor to do the psychotherapeutic work I do. When people say, “Ugh, how can you stand listening to problems all day” I don’t understand why they think this is difficult or depressing. In fact, it’s the opposite. It’s energizing when someone talks with you on a deep, intimate level that does not often happen outside of the office. It’s invigorating to give another the space to explore safely. It’s a privilege.
2. Seeing suffering in all its disparate forms is humbling.
SJF: And two difficult aspects as a Psychotherapist?:
NLC: 1. I can’t fix them in 10 minutes. I have to let them take the time they need to heal and arrange their life differently or get out of a bad relationship. 2. There’s a chronic sense of loss in my job. People move, people don’t need you anymore, people have a hard time staying in therapy when they should – so, one learns to deal with it, but you invest YOURSELF in your clients. That’s a big part of the job. It’s in the relationship, the trust, the consistency, the non-judgmental dialog that allows a patient to heal.
SJF: Tell me…what makes Nancy “TICK”?”
NLC: I’m alive. That, and sheer terror. Joking. Kind of.
SJF: If you had to do it over again…how would you choose what do in life as a career/profession?
NLC: Well, primarily, I would not join a cult (Scientology). That was really an attempt to grab ahold of something, anything that gave me structure and the appearance of answers at that point of my life. I could have studying for my PhD. But I think you have to be allowed to explore and pay attention to what turns you on. Go where your passion leads you, if you’re lucky enough to have the time and financial support to do so. I think “following your bliss” just is not an option for most people, but that changes with age. For me I’ve been allowed to return to the world of the theatre which I’ve been away from for 20 years.
SJF: What two things don’t we know about you?
NLC: That I know how to make a delicious Hartquist Spring Salad Sandwich. And that I was on TWA flight 840 that exploded in mid-air over Greece.as a result of a terrorist bomb in 1986. I was on my way to Greece to meet my former husband on a film he was making. Ten days later I had to fly to South Africa as the lead in a film (Hostage) about terrorism, shooting in the fuselage of a plane for six weeks. We then had to go to Dallas to shoot a film we’d written.
SJF: What are your fears?
NLC: I think I have the usual fears that all parents have. I fear something happening to my son. Losing my stepson at age 20 was, and is, indescribably sad. Oddly enough, I don’t fear flying.
SJF: How do you “give back”?
NLC: We’re donating 50% of The Geeze & Me revenues to: A New Path, PATH, LGBT Senior Care, and The Unbattle Project. We’ve also given to the UCSD Center for Healthy Aging.
SF: Any regrets?
NLC: Of course.
SJF: Enough said!
SJF: Ideal week for you would be…NLC: Travel to Maui, read a great novel, swim in the ocean with mi amoré. (Kind of what I do here anyway….)
SJF: What have been your life hurdles? Successes?”
NLC: Overcoming panic disorder. Feeling like I’m not “enough”. Not being thin enough. Not being pretty enough. You know, typical American woman hurdles.
Successes? As I look back on my life, I’m aware that I’ve felt chosen by casting directors, by a director, by the producer. But I am also aware that it’s a roll of the dice. I’m not sure I take any particular pride in being chosen. I think the successes also had to do with persistence. You just kept doing it. And I was able to keep doing it because of nepotism or having a good day at that audition, or knowing the right person. I learned at some point that the confidence game is really about acting “as if.” I’ve seen major actors get squeamish if they have a crying scene coming up, whereas I’d worked with “lesser” actors who could cry on a dime. If one chooses a profession in theatre/films, you have to love doing it. It’s terribly hard on people because of the rejection rate. But, Mark Ruffalo went on 600 auditions before being chosen. You have to be good enough when you stumble upon an opportunity.
I tend to be a risk-taker. For example, this is my first time directing a musical. I have great support from extremely talented others – BJ (musical director), Hedges, having a great staff, fantastic cast. Feeling the fear and doing it anyway. That’s how we grow.
SJF: Who is your inspiration?
NLC: My mother. I’ve gotten to live the life she would have loved.
SJF: What are your 5 year and 10 year goals?
NLC: Seriously? That goal setting never works for me. Even when I’ve been diligent. I never said, “I’m going land a part on Dynasty in 5 years!” So much of my life has been being in the right place at the right time. I’m not sure I ever really consciously set a goal. Perhaps I should have. You know, I’d decide to take a class in screenplay writing (from Syd Fields) and then I’d write a couple of mediocre scripts, then I’d work on something and someone would show interest in it. So much of acting, writing, selling a script, getting my masters degree – it was all so pleasurable, with just the right amount of challenge.
SJF: Describe your dreams.
NLC: VIVID. I know you’re talking about BIG DREAMS, but I’m talking about nightly, very vivid, wild, entertaining dreams since I’ve begun directing The Geeze & Me. What subconscious?
SJF: Describe three pivotal events in your life.
NLC: My Father’s death. My Mother’s death. Marrying mi amour.
SJF: Role models- male and female?
NLC: Hmmm, well, I tend to be suspicious of role models, of idealizing an individual and projecting onto them all of my ideas about who they are. But you know who comes to mind? Béyoncé. I know. I’m a 68-yr. old white woman, but watch Drunk, In Love and tell me she’s not got it going on. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1JPKLa-Ofc) It’s hard to do overt sexuality and not feel used at the end of the day. And she’s brave enough to go for it. Hillary Clinton. President Obama’s grace and elegance. Jon Stewart’s genius. Stephen Colbert’s limitless mind.
SJF: Where are your favorite La Jolla/San Diego places? Your favorite places for a vacation?
NLC: In La Jolla – George’s; A small Greek restaurant called Cafe Athena in Pacific Beach, La Valencia Hotel for breakfast, Come On In’s cornmeal pancakes. My ideal vacation: on a beach anywhere. Paris, like most everyone. Lisbon. London. Monemvasia, Greece. Two Bunch Palms in Desert Hot Springs. I’m not a Trump Tower person, and I like small, manageable, places that feel personal. It’s a feeling I get in a place. But Jerusalem would be good, too.
SJF: Any memorable live performance experiences (or other), and why?
NLC: Anthony Hopkins in Equus. Raw power. I was sitting in the front row and I was certain that Anthony Hopkins delivered his monologue to me. Which is how great actors make you feel…
I also saw a recent production of The Normal Heart at the Diversionary Theatre that about ripped mine out of my chest. I can’t remember being so deeply struck by anything like that in a long time. Really visceral. The play is about the A.I.D.S. crisis hitting in the 80s in San Francisco. My sister was a Chaplain at San Francisco General at that time, and I recall vividly our conversations about what they were seeing then. About all the men who were dying. She saw it firsthand. The production, directed by Kim Strassberger and Claudio Raygoza was superb.
Many thanks, Hedges and Nancy for giving us a peek into your lives! It’s been a pleasure interviewing you!
The Geeze & Me
What if there was a musical – simultaneously serious and hilarious, that explores the wild ride of life’s later years, addressing the good, the bad and the ugly of aging? The Geeze & Me is a musical production about the aging process, upsides and down. The World Premiere of The Geeze & Mewill be presented in San Diego, March 31 – April 29 at the Tenth Avenue Arts Center.
The Geeze & Me Production/Creative Team includes: Original Music/Lyrics by Hedges Capers and Book written by Hedges Capers and Nancy Locke Capers. Produced and Directed by Nancy Locke Capers. Musical Direction by Will (B.J.) Robinson, Choreography by Joanne Lovejoy, Sound & Video by Joe Huppert, Costume Design by Max Cadillac, Lighting Design by Cynthia Bloodgood,Script Consultant Dilip Jeste, M.D., and Danielle K. Glorioso, L.C.S.W., in consultation with UCSD Center for Healthy Aging at UCSD, PR/Media/Press by Susan J. Farese, SJF Communications, Casting by Samuel Warren & Associates, , with Brendan Hill as Assistant Director and Beonica Bullard as Stage Manager.
THE GEEZE AND ME CAST: Devlin (Kay), Hedges Capers (David), Kent Brisby (Bob), Byron La Due (Howard), Gabriela Nelson (Sherry), Jesse MacKinnon (Dwight), Lorraine Devon Wilke (Helen), Lolly Boroff (Mrs. Dingler), Susan Benninghoff (Miranda), Kiera Mersky (Bobbi & Margo), Lauren Preski (Margret), Erin Vanderhyde (Homeless), Susie Singer Carter (Science & Ginger) and Scotty Billion (Undertaker).
The Geeze & Me is a funny, irreverent, and poignant show about surviving aging. This timely show features a comedic troupe of eccentric players who team up to wrangle aspects of aging from an expert. An eclectic blend of songs ranging from pop to blues to corner street doo-wop, accompanied by electric choreography and state of the art projections. The perils and benefits of growing older are reflected in the concerns of this diverse
SCHEDULE: Previews/Pay what you can with a casttalkback following the preview performances March 29 & 30th. Performances: March 31 – April 29, Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2:00 p.m.
LOCATION:The Tenth Avenue Arts Center, 930 10th Ave, San Diego 92101
For press info, interviews, photos or press comps, please contact: Susan J. Farese,
My serendipitous connection with two-time Telly Award winning Filmmaker Sue Vicory began in 2015. It was meant to be! San Diego filmmaker/entrepreneur/educator Jodi Cilley, the President of the Film Consortium San Diego and the founder and producer of the annual San Diego Film Awards (and an equally extraordinary person) recommended that I connect with her film colleague Sue. Jodi was so intuitive in facilitating our connection (which I hope will last a lifetime)!
A quote about Sue from Jodi:
“Sue Vicory is one of the most inspiring and amazing people I know. She has dedicated her life to helping others and has gone out of her way to help build the film industry in San Diego in a variety of ways. She is a role model and I’m constantly amazed by her efforts to help people from all walks of life.” – Jodi Cilley
After reaching out to Sue via email, my daughter Emmy and I were cast in the short fiction film Downstage for the 2015 San Diego 48 Hour Film Project. Sue’s production company “Heartland Films” produced and Sue directed, along with the writing team of Sariann Monaco, Holly Rone and Talia Pauletti. “Team XX” was a history-making, twenty-five member, all-female team. Downstage is now on the film festival circuit. You can view Sue’s films and videos on Sue Vicory’s YouTube Channel. Read my previous post about Team XX .
Besides working on Downstage Emmy and I have participated in a few of Sue’s community service projects and we continually network. It was because of witnessing Sue’s purpose, passion, vigor and selfless “chill” demeanor that I decided to interview her here as an Extraordinary Person, Sharing her Story!
Sue is currently on an amazing one year trip across the U.S. in her branded van with her “extraordinary” “My Power of One” (MPO1) 12 Acts of Kindness National Tour”. Her recently retired and extremely supportive husband Jay and their amazing (will tell you why later) Golden Retriever Kacy are accompanying her.
If not, the best way to describe it is a whirlwind weekend of tight deadlines, a love of the craft of filmmaking, an appetite for team building and bonding and a love for creativity. What more could film aficionados ask for? Oh, there’s also a screening on the “big screen” for each team soon after the weekend of filming!
How does it work? A team is formed and over one weekend, a short film (under 8 minutes, including a minute of credits) is written, filmed, edited and submitted within 48 hours! You might be saying “Are you kidding me”? NO, this is really how it works!
What’s the procedure? On Friday evening, in an orderly fashion, each team randomly picks a “genre”, (in San Diego there was a giant “plinko board” that teams took turns at), after which all teams are assigned the same line, character and prop that MUST be included in their film. For this 48 Hour Film Project. We’ll get to Team XX ‘ challenge soon!
Read more about the San Diego 48 Hour Film Project, which took place July 24-26, 2015. The event is Produced by Duane Trammell and Robyn Sarvis, and the website includes information about the Project, the film “Premiere” Screenings August 10-13, the “Best Of” Screenings and the wrap party August 22nd.
Producer/Director Sue Vicory, of Heartland Films (www.suevicory.com, Sue Vicory, IMDB Link) formed, Executive Produced and Directed the first “all-female” 27 member “Team, XX” film titled “Down Stage” for the 2015 San Diego 48 Hour Film Project.
“Down Stage”, a Holiday Film, will screen with 12 other film entries in Group A at 6:30 p.m., plus about 13 films in Group B at 9:00 p.m. at Reading Cinemas Gaslamp 15 on 701 5th Ave. in the Downtown Gaslamp District of San Diego (92101) on Monday, August 10, 2015. Tickets are $15 for the “Premiere” Screenings and $20 for the “Best Of” screenings. Tickets
Team XX at the Horton Grand Theatre. Photo by Nannette DeRobertis
Vicory had several “bonding” meetings with most of the 27 members of the cast and crew (mostly from Southern California) a few weeks before the actual filming weekend. One such meeting had the 10 actresses, performing in a “mock talent show” audition which featured a variety of techniques, such as monologues, singing, dancing and improv.
With Vicory and a few Team XX’ers present, Team XX Assistant Director Jen Allen drew the genre “Holiday Film” for Team XX at the “kickoff” event at Liberty Station on Friday evening, August 24. The designated line for all teams was “Sometimes that’s (or that is) all you need”, the prop to be used was a “flashlight” and the character was to be either “Alan or Alice Downing, a Coach”.
Team XX writers included Sariann Monaco, Talia Pauletti and Holly Rone. The multigenerational writing team cranked out the “Down Stage” script about Mother’s Day within a few hours from Friday evening into Saturday early morning at Vicory’s seaside condo.
The crew included: Sue Vicory: Executive Producer/Director; Lori Jones: Producer, Jen McCleary: Assistant Director; Maidy Morhous: Production Assistant. Amanda Niles: Sound; Angela Wong: Director of Photography; Kymberrly Scott: 2nd A.D.; Krystin Cline: 2nd Camera; Tamara Ilich: Gaffer; Cara Myers: Editor; Natalie Lauer: Production Assistant; Danni Michele: Animation; Nannette DeRobertis: Photographer; Sariann Monaco: Writer; Talia Pauletti: Writer; Holly Rone: Writer; Corrinne Smith: Communications; Pamela Weigelt: Massuese; Miranda Muse: Massuese; Lisa Wintersdorff: Makeup; Crystle Orantez: Hair; Susan Farese: Public Relations. Special Thanks to SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) and Derek Johnston at the Horton Grand Theatre.
Team XX filmed Down Stage at the Horton Grand Theatre throughout Saturday, August 25th. In the meantime, editor Cara Myers began the editing process from her hotel suite at the Horton Grand Hotel as soon as Saturday’s footage became available and into Sunday with only one “pickup” of a voiceover on Sunday morning. Serendipitously, the “7 minute 29 second” completed film, “Down Stage” was turned in to the 48 Hour Film Project at 7:29 p.m.
I asked Sue Vicory about her experience with Team XX and the 48 Hour Film Project. Vicory stated “The passion within this group was palpable. We each brought our A Game to the production. Collaboration is a natural strength for women and it shows up clearly on the screen of our first film, “Down Stage”.
Down Stage will have a Premiere Screening with over 20 other films on Monday, August 10th at starting at 6:30 at the Reading Cinemas Gaslamp 15, 701 5th Ave. San Diego, 92121. Here is the Ticket Link. Note: You must purchase tickets online, there will be no ticket purchases at the theatre.
Erica has a really interesting story to tell…so…Ladies and Gentlemen, I’m thrilled to introduce you to my “kindred spirit” from New England, Erica McDermott, a.k.a. Erica McD.!
SJF: Let’s start at the very beginning! Please tell us a bit about your early years.
EMcD: Sure. I lived in Somerville Massachusetts until the sixth grade. We moved to Quincy, where I did the majority of my “growing up”. My parents married very young and soon after they welcomed me into their world. They’re still married today!
SJF: Sweet! Do you have any siblings?
EMcD: I am an only child and I LOVE IT!! It was very challenging to play the game Connect Four all by myself – I had to get creative. (Hahhaha I’m only half kidding)!
SJF: I marvel at your solo game playing abilities!! OK moving on… You know you’re a kindred spirit of mine-we’re both Registered Nurses, and we share the zodiac sign “Taurus” (no wonder), which is a premium! Where did you study Nursing and what is your specialty? Do you still practice?
EMcD: Yes, I’m a Registered Nurse. I earned my BSN (Bachelors of Nursing) with a minor in Chemistry & Biology in 1995 at Salem State University. Although I don’t currently practice, it’s important to me to maintain my license. I worked hard to earn it – it’s something that means a great deal to me. My specialty as a nurse was Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury and Neuropsychiatry. I often look for continuing education classes that focus on these areas.
SJF: Very impressive…and your credentials made me think about another funny nurse who is also an actress, Bonnie Hunt! How did the acting bug bite you? What propelled you?
EMcD: When my children were entering full day school, I decided it was time to get back into nursing. At the same time, I was asked to perform in a One Night Only benefit performance in my home town of Scituate. The show was called MOMologues, a comedy about Motherhood. The director Lisa Rafferty, was looking for funny Moms from my town, and people suggested they ask me to take part. I had been in exactly 1 play in Junior High School, and public speaking really never bothered me. After some thought, I agreed to do the show. When the show was over, I had an overwhelming feeling of happiness. Without question, in 2008 I had found a part of me that I didn’t know existed.
SJF: Incidentally, Lisa Rafferty was kind enough to send me a note about you: “We’ve been so lucky to have Erica be a part of the development of two our MOM shows. Her talent shines through our material – her commitment and fearlessness sparks the comedy every time”‘
SJF: So…MOMologues was extremely serendipitous! And after the MOMologues?
EMcD: A few weeks after the MOMologues show, I received an email from Plymouth Rock Studios. PRS was planning on building huge Hollywood style Studios in Plymouth MA. They invited me down to see the plans. I still don’t know how they found me?? While I was there they offered me free acting classes over several weeks. I decided to go & didn’t share this new activity with any of my friends. I was fearful that they would think I was having some sort of a midlife crisis. I loved the classes, and was strongly encouraged to send a head shot and resume to local casting and modeling agencies. To my surprise, I started working the next week. My first job was a photo shoot for stock photos for a magazine.
SJF: Very cool! Such an amazing start to your acting/modeling career! How did they find you??? Talk about mysteries! Free acting classes are usually unheard of! And then a photo shoot to boot! Alright, now for the fun stuff…Come on..Tell us about your breakthrough role in THE FIGHTER and how it came about!
EMcD: Not long after that photo shoot I was called into Boston Casting for a film called The Fighter. They were looking for background actors to be “tough girls”. I was called into a room with about 20 or 30 other people, Casting Director Angela Peri spoke to the group. She walked by each girl assessing if they could get the “job done”. Girls were passed by over and over again because she didn’t think they looked “tough” enough. I had been taught in my acting classes that sometime you need to take a risk. I went for it. When Angela told me I was “too pretty to be tough”, I stepped out of line, got in her face and aggressively told her that she was going to give me part in movie. I may have dropped an F-Bomb…. or two. Little did I know that this was the first of 5 auditions that would ultimately earn me a supporting role in the Oscar Nominated film The Fighter.
SJF: That’s phenomenal! Ahem. I was at that casting call too, (LOL) but on a different day and placed in a different group of women…Angela took one look at me in my get-up: wig, bandanna, in snake pants and snake sandals with my supposedly “tough broad” stance & garb and matter-of-factly said: “Nah ah…Go over and talk to my casting associate, I want you for featured as a nurse in that other film, which was ultimately called “Locked In“. Yep I was one of those “passed over” but it’s all good, and then I was fortunate to be cast featured as a British Reporter in The Fighter anyway!! I really admire how you took the risk! That takes chutspah!
SJF: What are your “secrets” for newbies breaking into “the biz” or for those who aren’t booking roles or just need more opportunities? Any particular tidbits of advice?
EMcD: I acknowledge that what happened to me is ridiculously unusual. It’s almost hard to believe. I wish I had some magical advice to share with other people looking to break into the business. Classes, owning the choices I make during auditions and being prepared are some of the things that I try to do to stay on track.
SJF: Those all make a lot of sense! Can you tell us who your inspiration is as an actress?
EMcD: My family are very supportive. They believe in me and route for me. They all inspire me to work hard and to do my absolute best. We try to sit down for dinner, together, as often as possible. We really connect at this time, and talk about our day. When possible, I book auditions during the day while my girls are at school. I’ve learned how to juggle as so many Moms and Dads do.
SJF: Now for a little nitty gritty, how do you “get into” character?
EMcD: If I am being considered for a role in a biopic, I research everyone involved in the story. I look at photos, read books and watch documentaries if they are available. This process helps me see the whole picture before zoning in on one particular person. Kristin Swan from Swan Communications Therapies is my Dialect Coach. If I need to pick up a new accent quickly I can always count on her.
I often visit a coffee shop in Hingham to try out a new accent for the first time. It’s weird to speak to someone in a new voice for the first time. I feel that if I can do it, in front of strangers, and truly pull it off without anyone raising an eyebrow – that I have perfected the accent.
SJF: Erica, Kristin Swan was so kind to send us a note about working with you. Here’s what she had to say: “I will very gladly speak about my work with Erica!”
….”Erica is a talented actress with an acute ear and an excellent handle on accents. She makes my job as her dialect coach very easy as she comes prepared and is easily directed. To prep for a new accent, we research and chat specifics about the target accent and then with some additional pointers from me, Erica typically dives right in and starts practicing. I will check in and phonetically transcribe a paragraph or two from her speech, providing periodic check-ins until it is mastered. It never takes long, as she is a quick study. What is the most impressive about working with Erica is how analytical she is. She wants to understand not only the accent she is prepping for but also her own native Boston accent. Her level of awareness, her preparation and her tenacity leads to an end result that is natural and believable.”
SJF: Kristin really admres your work ethic! Very impressive! “Pahk the cah”, eh? (Can you tell I miss Boston)? Also quite a task, to research all the characters! Monumental!
SJF: Do you “give back” and if so, with which particular groups? Do you feel that it is important for other actors and celebrities do so as well?
EMcD: I support a few local charities and organizations here in Boston. I’ve been a fan of The Ellie Fund for years. They are a non-profit organization that fights breast cancer by easing its effects on patients and their families. I’ve followed The Home for Little Wanderers since I was in Nursing School. They’ve been open for over 200 years and have earned the reputation for doing whatever it takes to strengthen vulnerable families and to keep children safe.
SJF: How often have you hosted events as a celeb, which is a different “role” than acting. Is hosting events difficult? How do u prep?
EMcD: I’ve hosted quite a few events – sometimes I’m a solo emcee and sometimes I’m part of a group. Most recently I hosted the Imagine Magazine Awards Show at the Boston Hard Rock. It was fun because the room was filled with peers, colleagues and friends from the New England Entertainment Industry. I was able to poke fun at my friends and tell a few jokes – it was easy to prep for this event. What I loved about this specific party was that I truly celebrated the success of some pretty special people in my region who work in the film & television business. To hear exactly why they were given awards was inspiring to me.
SJF: Here is another recent interview link featuring you in IMAGINE MAGAZINE by Publisher Carol Patton: http://imaginenews.com/getting-know-erica-mcdermott/
Side note, folks…Below are a few photos of Erica’s metamorphosis as very different characters in those two films!
Erica McDermott as Tar Ecklund in The Fighter with Mark Wahlberg and Amy Adams and her other “Sisters”
EMcD: – It took over 2 years to grow my hair out after filming The Fighter. Not a complaint, just an observation. I’d bleach my hair again in a second if a character called for it. I also had to keep the pounds on during filming. I can’t say that part was hard. Hahhaaa!
SJF: WOW! I think that your hair in THE FIGHTER (and that porch scene) is unmatched and will always be historic as was your cleavage (ahem) in American Hustle! Bagels or prosthestics???
SJF: I have a little surprise for you…One of your Sisters in “The Fighter”, another sassy, silly, serious actor, Melissa McMeekin has a little to say about you: “I just am so honored to know Erica. I have said so many times that being part of The Fighter was an amazing gift, but truly the best gifts were the friendships I formed with the amazing women that played my sisters. And Erica and I have become so close that I honestly can’t even believe that I didn’t know her 5 years ago. She is an incredibly talented and fearless actress. She is a complete natural, it’s like she just knows exactly what to do, her instincts are incredible. I really think she can do anything and she is probably one of the absolute funniest people I know. Her comedic timing is off the charts. She is one in a million and as beautiful as she is the most stunning thing about her is how truly amazing of a person she is”.
SJF: That was so nice of Melissa and so true about you, Erica! Keep on shining!
So, what’s next for you on the big screen?
EMcD: I recently worked on the Warner Brothers Pictures’ biopic, directed by Scott Cooper, about Whitey Bulger called Black Mass. My character is Mary Bulger, wife of ex-state senator Billy Bulger (Benedict Cumberbatch). It was an incredible and memorable experience. The movie is set to hit theaters on September 18th.
SJF: I am sure we’ll stay tuned for that film! Benedict is nominated for several awards for his portrayal of Alan Turing in this year’s “The Imitation Game” at the top of his game as well!
SJF: Thanks so much Erica, for sharing your extraordinary story and for all of your photos!!