My first crush was for the Jolly Green Giant. It even preceded the exchange of smiles with Jesse, the cute boy with blonde spiky hair and the earring (I always liked ‘em bad), who let me sit next to him at the top of the jungle gym in the second grade
As an adult, I was reminded of this long-forgotten love off-handedly – (the tall green guy, not the short blonde kid) probably during some late-night inane party conversation about hot cartoon characters. The oddity of that particular recollection stayed with me and I began to dissect it. What was the draw? Why did I foster the notion that I would be forever safe in the arms of a cartoon character created to push broccoli? I finally decided that on a subconscious level, I found him strong and handsome; he was an embodiment of all masculinity: husband, teacher, protector.
Around this same time of curiosity and subsequent dissection, I purchased XTC’s stunningly beautiful album, Apple Venus, Vol. 1. In it is a song called Greenman, which is about the pagan mythological being purported to be the male yang to mother nature’s yin. The song is immense in its orchestration, yet simple and pure in lyrics, a fitting musical ode to the essence of the idea. It was then that it hit me: the Greenman was the adult manifestation of my childhood Jolly Green Giant. He was present in my consciousness before I even knew what to make of him…that makes me…a dirty pagan hippy. HELL YES!
None of this should have come as a surprise – I have harbored a long love affair with nature. I have spent countless hours in the wilderness contemplating trees, paddling through still waters, communing with fauna, awed by the richness of this earth and appreciatively breathing clean air. And recently I’ve forged a new relationship with vegetable gardening – I’ve planted tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuces, herbs, and strawberries, and walked away dirty, soaked from rain, grounded, and happy.
So now we get to the point of reference for this here green room – the way this all relates to my life as a performing artist. Yes, yes, I’m big on exposition, whatever, my point is more supported if I take you along on this ride rather than just slap down meaningless truths without background. As I was saying:
The point of reference to my life as a performing artist is twofold, really: one, pushing soil through my fingers gives me a basis for reality, for the tangible. We as actors often get so swept up into our own dramas and the delving into character minutiae that we lose ourselves completely. I do indeed have my head in the clouds, but this makes me stretch my legs extra-long, to keep my feet on the ground at the same time.
Two, this relates to one of my more recent voice-over gigs for a video which highlights the relationship between a decades-old green company called Landscape Structures, Inc., and the American Forests’ Global ReLeaf initiative. That last sentence sounds like a commercial, I know, but bear with me here – before we began recording, the producer/director sat me down and explained to me the history of the organization, and explained, in detail, their participation in Global ReLeaf. It was incredibly fulfilling to not only do the voice-over work in the studio, but to participate in something I support whole-heartedly. Just posting the name of the company and the raw audio, as I did below, without video animation, without music, without context, seemed too cold, too irreverent.
I feel better now. And you have good ammo for the next time you want to embarrass me. “Ho, ho, ho!”