It was recently seen at the People's Choice Awards that Chris Evans might actually be Captain America. When Betty White was summoned onstage, Evans without hesitation helped walk her up the stairs, as anyone who knows a thing or two about Captain America knows he would do. You can see the scene yourself below in the included Youtube video from The People's Choice. After watching, I'm going to go on a little monologue rant (a good one) about why seeing Chris Evans do this means so much to me.
As a kid growing up, imagination has always been a tool I used to get me through the every day tumble of life. Its what evolved into my desire to act, to relive those amazing adventures my mind was able to create on the fly outside each day with the same gated in yard, three large trees and an old swing set. With just a little bit of pretend, that yard was a lair, those trees towers, and that swing set a flying dragon, soaring over the mountainside. Who wouldn't want to live that experience? With an imagination like that, I was attached to anything that fell into the same category. So how lucky was I that my father was a collector of comic books? Marvel, DC, Milestone, Image... I read them all, and consumed them as fuel for my imagination. And though I love many many different characters, I can still to this day instantly name my favorite of all time.
Have you guessed it? Captain America. The all American hero. The comic book symbol of our country. However, it was never his pledge and devotion to our country that I admired about him. It wasn't his super strength or acrobatic abilities (as cool as they were. And they were pretty friggin cool.) Nor was it his amazing shiny ricocheting shield... Although I'll admit I want that. A lot. No, the thing that I admired about Captain America, the thing I looked up to him about.... Was his good will spirit.
Captain America is the image of what people describe as the ultimate good guy. He looks out for people, he does what's right, most of all he would give his own life if it meant saving a random bystander. That last part is key, because the way the world has been lately, I feel that's rare. Every time I turn on the news, there's a report of homicides, manslaughter, school shootings, hostages, terrorist attacks, even kids killing kids. Now I know there are good stories out there and the news just plays up all the horrific ones, but we live in a day and age where those horrific stories are occurring, and they trump the ones about goodwill.
To this day I still admire the character of Captain America. His spirit and his intentions. My father raised me to be a good man, and to be one of character. And since he passed away, I've always been trying to attain that. I'm not perfect, but I see what the creators of the Captain were trying to do with his character, and I wish more people followed the same route. Even in the roughest times, Captain America still has his manners shine through! In the Marvel story line, CIVIL WAR, Captain America is hunted down by S.H.I.E.L.D. in order to make him register with the new Super Hero Act. Cap refuses, and after disabling the soldiers attacking him, leaps onto a moving aircraft and steals it. In the next scene its mentioned that he not only lands the aircraft safely, but then he treats the driver of the craft to hamburgers! Come on, that's just plain amazing.
Everyday I come across a new stranger who seems to go out of their way to be rude, to be inconsiderate, to be hurtful.... and I just don't understand why? On my journey to being an actor, I've been told that its a dog eat dog world, and you have to step on a few people to make it, and again I don't understand why. I go out of my way to be kinder to people. To bring a smile to them if I can. To listen to them if they are having a rough day, and my biggest thing I do, to make a fun of myself in order to make them laugh. It just boggles my mind when I see people not take a moment to think about what it is they are going to say or do, or not even apologize if they accidently come off as rude. We live in a world full of pain at the moment, why make it worse?
To bring it back to where I started, Chris Evan's doing this one act of kindness, while the world already knows him for being the Courageous and goodwill character, only adds to the effect. Sure, some might say he knew the camera was on him, and some say he did it out of the goodness of his heart. Either way, he did it. A small gesture, yes, but now a days we need small gestures like this. And when you have a large group of people, like his fandom, watching you do this... Well it inspires them. It makes them want to be generous like the great Captain America they look up to. It makes that fictional character who is an example of who we should want to be, and who we all CAN be, just that much more real. And I know this because seeing him do so keeps that role model of the man with the shield vivid in my mind.
So I just want to send out my personal thanks to Chris Evans, for reminding people how easy it is to inspire others. One little old lady at a time.
And I'll leave you with this photo of me truly showing off my geek side.
It's music that people can always relate to. Its music that fuels people in their drive. It makes movies, it makes moments, and it alters feelings. I've always been a fan of all types of music, and realized most of my day goes by accompanied by a life soundtrack. So I'm excited to be a part of a project that combines both my love of acting with my love for music. MIX & Master is a series created by Benjamin Hemingway and the production group, Poorductions. Directed by Justin Stewart, the show is about a recording studio carrying a famous reputation known as "The Vault." In present time, the studio is currently on a steep decline, under the direction of its falling producer, Mark Reid. Reid's boss sends in a new young artist by the name of Claire Palmer, along with a documentation crew to document her progress. At the same time, a new intern John Connolly starts working at the recording studio, his head full of dreams and expectations. But of course, nothing is exactly how people expect it to be, especially in this business. And in this studio particular....well its just better to not have expectations. Check out the trailer for the pilot here:
I've been very lucky with this production, and hold great excitement for it. I was cast in the role of Caleb, the body guard/ third member of a rap duo named "Greene Eggs and Hamilton." Yeah, there's a lot of confusion in that sentence. The character was originally just a body guard for the rap duo, not having any lines in the pilot. However, my audition and presence was so well liked (so I was told) that the creators decided to expand that role of Caleb and make him into an actual full fledged character. So I don't appear much in the pilot, but don't worry. There's much more Caleb to come. Whether or not that's a good thing, only time will tell.....and my acting of course.
What made me even more lucky with this project was that I was asked to also write for the show! That's right, I've officially dipped my pen into the ink well.....although its becoming clear that I should work on my metaphors. Actually I dont even think that's a metaphor....Its a work in progress. However, I've already written an episode, and have a few more to work on, so I'm expanding my talents it seem, and I couldn't ask for a better team to work with!
So. Are you excited yet! Because I sure as hell am! I bet you're asking yourself "But Ulisses, where can I see more of this Mix and Master?" to which I respond, That's a great question Timmy! Poorductions will be having a premiere of the pilot episode this upcoming weekend, 12/13/14! A great night is planned, including the pilot, a comedic stand up performance from Samuel J Gorenstein, who plays Gavin the Engineer in the show, and a musical performance from Claire Palmer (Haley Beauregard) and John Connolly (Ben Katagiri.) And who knows, perhaps you'll see Greene Eggs and Hamilton rolling around, followed by their protection, Caleb (That's me!) It'll all go down at the Troy Arts Center at 6:30 pm. Check out the links below for more information!
MIX AND MASTER PREMIERE EVENT
MIX AND MASTER FACEBOOK PAGE
Also, see more of the characters in the show from their Youtube videos! Yes, the characters have Youtube videos. That makes them real right?
REID'S RANTS: Ep 1 & 2
COOKING WITH CALEB: Ep 1 & 2
ENGINEERING THE TRUTH (with Gavin): Ep 1 & 2
CLAIRE PALMER'S PARAMORE COVER
And keep an eye out for Samuel J Gorenstein's comedy. He is absolutely hilarious, and definitely worth seeing. Check him at the end of December at Proctors!
MIX & MASTER
Created by Benjamin Hemingway
Produced by Steven O'Connor and Poorductions
Directed by Justin Stewart
Camera: Gary Flugge
Samuel J Gorenstein
THE Apocalypse would truly be a devastating experience for me. And I don't mean just due to the loss of loved ones. I mean surviving in the cold is not my forte it seems. But lucky for me I am able to be at my best when the world ends due to the magic of film. I recently shot the short film, UNEARTH up in the Adirondack mountains for a few days. The film was created by WORLD APART FILMS, and directed by SHANNA BECKER. The experience as a whole will be quite unforgettable, and the knowledge and wisdom shared from the cast and crew was worth its weight in gold.
Unearth centers around a group of survivors after a destructive storm rolls in, bringing with it an unknown disease that wipes out most of mankind. Once the dust settles, and the nomad way of life becomes the norm, these survivors are caught in a slight mystery as they try to traverse the Adirondack mountains. I play the leader of the group, Jesse, a solemn though hot headed man who lost his baby daughter to the disease, and his wife afterwards to heartbreak.
3 days was our set schedule to finish shooting this short. This was an area that World Apart Film's excellent structure shown through to me. Everything was done on point, and no time was wasted. We camped out in a lake side cabin, with electricity although no running water, and experienced the harsh mountain air during the night by campfire. The film was split between campfire scenes and hiking through an abandoned mining town, in order to really bring the feel and atmosphere that this group was now alone in this empty world. As harsh as some of the conditions were to endure while filming, even with the lack of swan diving bears from trees....which is my most nightmarish illogical fear, the whole event was easy to handle due to the upbeat attitudes and passionate acting abilities of the cast as well as the crew. I tell you, cramming 16 or so people into a little cabin with little to no heat PLUS snoring? Its a good thing we all loved working with each other. I've noticed over my experiences as an actor, that some people will complain or struggle through the smallest of issues. These people were the exact opposite. In fact, I cant recall anyone complaining about a single thing, even when the dreaded outhouse was pointed out to us. These people are actors and film crew that really count in this business, and I would be blessed to work with them again some day.
Another journey down, and an experience notched. I've been busy these past few weeks though, and have more to talk about, so stay tuned!
Its been a bit since I posted, so I'm going to try and recap a couple of things going on in my journey.
Over the last few months I've had the pleasure of meeting and working with the cast and crew of a local tv show, called MIX & MASTER. Directed by Justin Stewart, Mix & Master has an all star cast and crew out of Upstate New York. I was lucky enough to be cast in the show, and had such a fantastic blast filming the pilot. The show revolves around a recording studio known as The Vault in its declining years, and the insane characters who make up its staff and clients trying to save it.
The pilot has yet to be released, but some promotional work has been released in the form of Youtube videos. If you would like to look up more on this great project, or just stay informed on its release, check out these links to the show's facebook page as well as the two artists featured in the show:
Mix & Master Facebook page
Claire Palmer Facebook page
Green Eggs and Hamilton Facebook page
And in case you were interested in the youtube videos, check out this character video on Caleb and Hamilton, from the acclaimed Green Eggs and Hamilton rap duo that is a trio.
Cooking With Caleb Ep 1.
In other news, I am working on a few projects the next few months, as well as expanding a few ideas of my own. While somethings are still under wraps in the working stage, I would like to pitch some fundraising for two projects I am currently apart of!
I am working on a short film in October that is titled EVE. It is directed by Rob Pillans, and features a great Science Fiction plot, revolving around the loss of a man's wife, and what lengths he would go to in order to bring her back to life. We are still looking to raise money for this project, so if you are interested, here is the link to the kickstarter:
In December, I will be apart of a Original Play premiering at the GE Theater in the Proctor's theater in Schenectady, NY. It is written by David Kalish with music by Alex Torres. Its a Hispanic take on A Christmas Carol, following Kevin Martin, a Latino who builds a business teaching other Latinos to ditch their accent and backgrounds to assimilate better into America.
We need help raising a budget for this one, being a new play and the first chance of a new company, DKAT productions. Here is the link to the fundraising site where you can learn more on the play itself, and meet the director, writer, and composer:
The Gringo Who Stole Christmas fundraiser site
I play the role of the ghost of Christmas past, Che Guevara himself.
Please support and donate! We cant do it without you!
May 15, 2006.
Eight years ago the world lost a great man. Eight years ago, I lost my father. It was a moment in my life I'll never forget, and its a moment that altered who I was, and who I was going to be. There's no denying that. Growing up, I was an okay child. I was polite and sweet, but I had a temper, and the self righteous thought that I deserved greatness. Just like pretty much every other child on the planet. However, I had the teachings of a great man engraved in the back of my mind, and it unfortunately took such a catastrophic event in order for those teachings to truly sink in.
The night my father died, a hole formed in the center of my soul, and I told myself nothing would ever be the same. Back then, I believed that meant I would never be happy again, I would never be grateful for life again. Over the next few years, the teachings my father instilled in me would would evolve in my mind, and I would begin to realize what it was my father was trying to get through to me, and what he wanted for me in this life. And through those few years, I fought tooth and nail to drag myself up from the pits of depression, and into a man that my father and my family could define as being of character. I did almost a complete overhaul of who I was, what I believed in, what my mind set was. I delved into determination and following my dreams. And I believed that I wouldn't want to put anyone in the pain I suffered from my father's deaths, and the darkness of depression that followed.
My father left me a few words before he passed.
"In all of time and history, there is no moment more important than this one."
He wanted me to live in the here and now. To never succumb into the darkness of wallowing and despair. And to remember that what I do has consequences, and I should treat each and every day as important as the last and the next. And he left me a creed by which I follow. Five words that drive who I am and who I will be. Five words that define me. Five words that I live by.
"Become a man of character."
I will always regret that I didn't spend enough time with my father. I didn't get to know him as well as I should have. But I honor him by living with what he taught me. By leaving a mark on this world, and in this life. By being someone he could be proud of.
8 years and counting Old Man. You'll never be forgotten.
Love you always Papa,
"Dja Na Ba (I'm Gone). I love you all."
Horacio Gonsalves, May 15 2006 RIP
Kung Fu is an artist living in Albany who specializes in Hip-Hop music. He is also my brother. Setting himself out on a journey to being one of the greatest lyricists, Kung Fu brings a fresh and creative take on rap. He takes pride in crafting lyrics based around his life, his teachings from our father, and the respect he has of being a good man.
He recently released his mixtape, "ALL THAT IS NOW" over on datpiff.com. Its free to download and listen to, and I highly recommend giving him a shot, not just because he's my brother, but because he is good at what he does, and he takes pride in his hard work, every thing an amazing artist should have.
From tracks like "LAID BACK" that detail a smooth relaxing beat to the lyrics of just enjoying his music and let your stress flow away, to tracks like "CANNONS VS FIREWORKS" which has a childish comic book feel to its rhythm, and sings about standing up against those who don't want you to succeed, and to embrace who you are, true geek and all, his music can reach the soul and spread a smile across your lips.
He knows the importance of working hard, and following your dreams, never putting it on the back burner, which can be noticed in his song "PIPE DREAMS" so you know he'll be chasing this dream to the end. He is undergoing some work on music videos currently, which will further bring his upbeat music to life. Being an actor, I've noticed a lot of similarities between my journey in my career and his, and I'll always be looking for ways to promote him along my travels. Hey, if dreams come true, someday we'll both be in the entertainment spot light working together on a project.
Until then, jump on board the bandwagon of some true hip-hop before it becomes famous, and give his mixtape a listen. I'm sure you'll love it.
Find it HERE.
In honor of "Throwback Thursday" I want to say some words about a theater group that I owe so much to. Confetti Stage is a community theater in downtown Albany that really helped develop who I am as an actor, as well as my drive to continue acting. Not only is each and every actor that passes through them fantastic, but the main core that remain are some of the most inspirational and loving friends I've made.
I first worked with Confetti Stage back in the beginning of 2013. I made the decision to audition for their production of Othello. Out of all the choices one makes in their life, there are only a handful that you can look back on later, and clearly state, "That was a life changing decision." And my decision to audition for Confetti Stage was exactly one of those decisions.
I was cast in Othello as Othello, and from there my view and my drive for acting was defined. Every actor, every director, every stage manager, and every single tech crew extended their hearts and their hands with a welcoming smile, in every production, and I'll never forget the embrace this community left on me. From late night rehearsals working hard, to cast bonding over jokes and god times, to motivational speeches to fight back the opening night nerves, I never wanted it to end. Confetti Stage shows what it means to have heart in what you do. And they show what acting is all about.
Though I love and appreciate all the organizations and people I've worked with since I decided to be an actor, Confetti Stage is the one group I can call my home away from home. There are so many people who are apart of this community that I cant list them all but I send my thanks and my gratitude to them all. I can hope only the best for anyone who enters their doors, and hope the rest of the acting community gets a chance to be apart of their inspirational spirit.
Working with them has always been a blessing, and nothing less than a good hilarious time. This video is one we did as a an Indiegogo campaign last year, but it shows how great spirited and fun to work with Confetti Stage is. Check out their shows sometime, and their Facebook and Website!
It seems in the near future I will be working with Worlds Apart Films on one of their upcoming short films! Lead by that wonderfully talented Shanna Becker, they are an independent film company located in Upstate New York. Last year they broke out in the scene (for me anyway) when they began work on their film BRINK. After they announced casting, I swear every actor I knew and met either auditioned for their film, or were spreading the word about it. So needless to say, I am quite ecstatic that I was cast in one of their 2014 short films.
The short is being shot in November, and since I'm not sure how much is still "hush hush" I won't say much about it. I did finish reading the rough draft of the script, and I gotta say, one thing I've been loving lately about being an actor is that excitement in my heart when I read a script that I am so happy to be a part of. It promises to be great!
They are still looking for actors currently, so to any actor friend's reading this post....Bonus! Casting Call:
"WAF is casting for a short film to be shot in November 2014. The following roles are available:
WITT: male, 30's, athletic. Strong and independent, dark, 'lone wolf' type. All ethnicities considered. Must be comfortable with proper handling of a firearm.
RANA: female, 20's-30's, exotic features, long hair. Has indiscernible foreign accent or blend. Fierce & mysterious.
GRANT: male, 50's-60's, lean, gray hair, facial hair a plus. Calm, intelligent, rational thinker.
All actors should be able to withstand cooler temperatures and more difficult conditions, including hiking and long periods of walking. Must be available for a three day weekend on location in November for principal photography.
Please submit headshot/resume and reel (if available) to firstname.lastname@example.org to be considered." ~WAF
This call is for Upstate New York.
The current short (as of this writing) they are working on is called Baggage. It seems they just wrapped up shooting on this short film, and from the actors alone I know it will be a good one. It stars two amazing actors that I've had the pleasure to meet in the Albany region, Evan Jones and Erin Ouellette. Both are perfect choices for Worlds Apart Films to start their year off with.
I have high hopes for this production company, and they won't disappoint. So you should all do yourselves a favor and keep an eye on them.
And you should be excited for the short I will be in as well. I can promise that'll be worthy!
Yesterday marked the first day of rehearsal (for me anyway) for the short film, "Wild Lunacy on a Wed Night." The film is being directed by Brett Parker, and is being filmed in Troy, NY.
I have to say, I am loving everything about this production already. Brett is an amazing director, who takes the time to cover not only the standard notions of directing, but also taking care of his actors and their needs as well. Its so refreshing to see such a professional and well put together crew as well.
The cast is fantastic, and I'm quite pleased to be working with such dedicated and hardworking actors.
I hope productions like this one become the norm around the Albany county. Far too many times do I walk on set of a film, only to find out that the director just wants to take the easy way out on everything, including on how they treat their actors. Just because we are willing to work for free at the start of our career, doesn't mean the production should treat us/ show that we work for free.
Tune in often for an update on my journey!
This blog serves as an update on the crazy journey I will endure as I follow my dream of acting as a career, because who knows? Maybe this will be my origin story.