Friday, February 22, 2008

Don't I Know You?

It's not unusual in my world but still fun: looking up at the television and seeing someone I know there. This time it was my old aquaintance Barry.

Barry and I were both in a production of Bertolt Brecht's The Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui back in 1997. It was the first play I did in San Francisco (these were the days when I was an actor), and I believe it was the first play Barry had ever done. Barry was and I presume still is a cool guy. He would give me rides to and from rehearsal, and he just had this sort of terminally suave swagger and aura. He also schooled me on the ins and outs of meeting men in bars, telling me that if I see an attractive man in a bar, I should chat him up because unless he has kissed a woman in the prior five minutes, the man is available and looking.

I tend to doubt the veracity of Barry's advice, but eleven years later, I still remember it.

I remember him hitting on at least one of my female friends who didn't really appreciate the attention, but Barry wasn't slimy. Not in my opinion, anyway. He was like an anachronism; a long-lost member of the Rat Pack somehow living in San Francisco during the dot-com boom. He would tell semi-drunken stories of running into Tori Spelling in the elevator of the Sir Francis Drake hotel and the like. And he wrote a column for the SF Weekly that would usually get him free meals.

Sometime around 1999 or 2000 Barry's acting career took a pretty big step forward. He was cast in a production of Mary Zimmerman's Metamorphoses that was running in Berkeley. He went with the show to the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, and I believe he also may have traveled with the production to Seattle. Metamorphoses later went to Broadway, sadly with neither Barry nor Jessica, another friend of mine who had been in the Berkeley and Los Angeles runs of the show.

But the momentum was there, and Barry stayed in L.A. to pursue acting. I hadn't heard much about him over the last eight years, but there he was tonight in a commercial for Propel Fitness Water. I quick check of IMDB shows some episodic television and film work that Barry has been doing over the last five years or so. I should try to look him up the next time I go to Los Angeles; we could reminisce about our old Brechtian days.

It always makes me a little bit giddy to see one of my actor friends on TV, and I'll never grow tired of it.

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