Question from an Actor

Dear Zamboni,

How do I overcome perfectionism and enjoy my artistic performances? I mean, I want the emotion of the content to flow through me, rather than a constant monologue of me analyzing each and every moment of my time onstage. How should I do this?


Steaming cup

Dear Steaming Cup, though I myself am no thespian to speak of, I did spend one summer following a certain raven haired snake charmer named Phillipa around the Caucases. From her, I learned much about show business.

Part of her act consisted of charming twin cobras out of a basket, then hypnotizing them into a sleep and tying both in a knot with her tongue. Blindfolded. One night, as we drank our customary post-show three bottles of vodka, I asked her how she remained so focused and calm on stage, and what she thought about while she performed these tasks. I asked her whether after 2,164 performances, she still enjoyed what she did.

‘The danger, the actual and real danger makes it new and exciting each time. I know that if I get bored or check out, I will pay with my life.” I insisted that, even so, she must get bored occasionally. “Of course Zamboni, but I am there for the audience, not myself.”

You, Steaming Cup, wish to turn off your inner critic and enjoy the flow of your performance. Only be careful about desiring “ flow” through you. Emotion is something we can’t have control over. No one decides to cry. No one decides to laugh. You react. You can decide to pick up a toy. You can decide try to make someone laugh. Hopefully your audience feels something, they are the ones who paid.

But there are practical ways to cut off the “constant analyzing” of your inner monologue. Give it less time and space in which to creep in. James Dean told Dennis Hopper his secret was, “do things, don’t act them”. If you are occupied with a toy monkey, really busy with it, your mental editor is forced to take number and wait.

There is an old saying among Estonian stone carvers; “if you want to keep the devil from calling, stay on the phone with your mother.”

Once I,  Zambonesman, was in  front of many thousands in the Krakow opera house. I gave someone an answer that I immediately regretted. I had overeaten Perogi at lunch and wasn’t thinking clearly. I then started to analyze everything I said and soon it was as if I wasn’t even present at all, I was just a head buzzing with criticism. At that very moment, I noticed a small child in the front row whose grandmother must have dragged him to the theatre. He had huge blue eyes trained right on me and a motionless face. I decided I would make that child smile at some point in my show. It took 72 hours, but finally I did it. I can assure I was too busy for any inner critic. Next time you hear that analyzing voice, listen politely, then say, “thanks for sharing, now if you’ll excuse me…”

Steaming Cup, thank you for your question. I thank you also for caring so much about your craft. Remember, it is called a “play” not a “work”- so enjoy!

Zambones has spoken, exit stage left, even.

Charlie Sheen: Great Sage and Alien Experiment

“it’s easy, you just close your eyes and change your brain”.

Many people have asked me, the great Zambonesman, some version of this question, “Charlie Sheen, W.T.F.?” To alleviate your befuddlement in this matter of celebrity meltdown, I have consulted the inner mirror of my soul and have spent 12 hours with Charlie Sheen himself in a sweat lodge in a concealed location. Originally, Sheen’s handlers enlisted my help to drive out his demons and addictions, but I quickly discovered the real truth of his predicament. Charlie sheen is a misunderstood oracle and prophet to mankind and an alien-probed experiment as well as a vehicle for the restless spirit of Dennis Hopper.

Long ago, my friend William Blake wrote, in the Proverbs of Hell, “exuberance is beauty”, and “the road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.” In this interview, Charlie Sheen is asked if he regrets great and endless crack and party binge. He flatly says no and this shocks interviewer. It also shocks interviewer that during the interview itself, Sheen is not on any drug despite his manic and crazy behavior… and this is affirmed by drug test immediately after. Admittedly this behavior is less shocking to me. In Estonian Air Force, our hazing included the forced snorting of fifteen lines of Borax, a grain alcohol enema, and the consumption of sheep testicals- and this was for officers.

Looking deeply at Charlie Sheen as we both sweated out toxins from our pores, I noticed a small incision behind his ear. In a flash of lucidity and vision brought on by the intense heat and eating nothing but Saltines for two weeks, I saw in a millisecond what ordeal had taken place in the soul of Charlie Sheen- Tiger Blood!

One year ago, an alien race visited him, probing his skull. Inside this skull they found a powerful energy- the restless ghost of Dennis Hopper. Inside the mind of this restless ghost, they saw the young Martin Sheen from Apocalypse Now, mistaking one Sheen for another, they immediately thought they had tapped into the very nerve center of the entire mojo-source of all Mankind. Loathe to take their probe out of such a prize specimen, they overloaded Charlie with source code from their own Universe called Zogrumperplatz. This source code made the Sheen feel invincible, thus his endless binge of crazymaking. You see, this Alien race does not desire our destruction. Au contraire, their goal is our liberation, and being much more advanced than us, they can help us achieve this, but only with the mind of Charlie Sheen. Through his exuberant overindulgence, they enabled him to spout this wisdom to us, but we are being too obtuse to recognize it.

So what can he do now?

It is difficlut to say, as even the Zamboni is powerless to remove the alien probe- but, since I can communicate with the ghost of Dennis Hopper, I will relay his message concerning this:

“Oh man, this bullshit with Charlie… the man is just being true to himself… real men don’t apologize for their behavior.. you think artists are saints man? No, they’re fucked up people like everyone else… shit man,  the set of Apocalypse Now makes 2011 look like fuckin Teletubbies- and the 50’s that were so squeaky clean? Ha! I drank Champagne from Natalie Woods–———————————————–…” There my connection broke up.

So the answer is clear. Only if we learn the lessons that Hopper and the aliens are trying to teach us through Sheen, will he be freed from  from his possession.  He’s high on a drug, yes, “the drug is called Charlie Sheen”. So, get high on yourself! It is the only drug that you will always be able to afford!

*Don’t apologize!

*Say what you think without thinking too much!

*Skip the drugs and prostitutes, you can learn these things without all that trouble!

Only with Tiger Blood, can you conquer the tiger!

Yes, notice he is speaking to the elder Sheen, Martin, imprisoned in Bamboo…a fact not lost on the Zagrumperplatzians.

Now he may rest.