Thursday, October 30, 2003

Vega$ Baby

I had lunch today with Jonathan Lee. He is moving here from Maryland to start a church. I was encouraged to see that God would bring him here to Las Vegas. It is cool the way that God moves people around to see his Kingdom come.

I'm only 30, but I'm starting to feel very partriarchal. Not that I am wise or anything, just that I have lived here in Vegas for 8.5 years. I read the Las Vegas Sun from cover to cover at the Med. Cafe today as I waited for Jonathan. It was the first time in my life that I ever read a newspaper and it felt like I was reading MY newspaper. Much of the news was about people I have actually met or at least seen in person. The news was about my neighborhoods and community.

I don't know if I will be in Las Vegas for the rest of my life. But I have a hunch that it will always be home.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

You know its a big fire when...

I had to miss my class today because of the fire. But I awoke this morning to find that the fire had found least the smoke had. The Las Vegas valley is full of socal smoke. It's eerie and strange. For some reason today has reminded me of 9-11. I think the physical climate of today matches the spiritual climate of 9-11.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003


So...California is burning. Last night I drove the I-15 from Vegas to LA and the freeway was illuminated by huge flames on either side. It was a little frightening and strangely peaceful. Today's return trip took a few extra hours due to the 215 being shut down. Noah and I ate lunch at an Applebees in Victorville with a view of the burning mountains at sunset. Very surreal.

I feel for those who are homeless tonight.

Friday, October 24, 2003

No, I'm Not Famous Yet

So...I've gotten tons of e-mails because of my last blog. Thanks to all who are supportive. I haven't heard anything either way from my call back. Part of me wishes that I hadn't said anything about it yet, because there is a real good chance that they won't call back at all. It was a fun experience either way.

It has made me realize how much limbo there is in the world of an actor. Waiting and wondering. I'm glad that I don't need this job to pay the bills. Then it would be a very anxious time indeed.


Wednesday, October 22, 2003


Yesterday I went to my first real audition. It was an open casting call for Tony n Tina's Wedding, a comedy that plays nightly at the Rio. I was thinking, "There is no way in the world I will get offered anything, but it will be good to see what an audition is like. Plus, there will be some improv which will be fun." So I got there and signed in. I waited for 45 minutes to be called. When I finally went into the theater there were only two people there-a man and a woman. They asked me a few questions and had me read for two parts. They seemed way into my performance. Maybe that's normal. Again, I have never done this before.

After I had finished they asked me to come back for a call-back to be videotaped for the director in New York. "OK," I said. (I had just read a book that said most people do 40-60 auditions before getting a call-back so I was a little surprised.) Then they said that I would have to show up at a casting office today at 2 pm. "Oh, I can't. I have to be in LA tomorrow," I said. They looked at me like I was nuts. I guess that I should have acted more honored or something.

I left the theater and talked with a guy in the lobby. As I was speaking with him, the lady opened the door and asked that I come back in. When I got back into the theater the producer said, "I'll be honest with you Joe. We really like you for this part. What can we do to get you to this call-back tomorrow."

"Uh...I guess I could miss my class." This was the first moment when I realized that maybe some real offer would come from this. He started to talk about payment, part-time vs. full-time, availability, pant and shirt size, etc.

Weird. Just really odd. The whole thing. Today I went for the call-back and did some improv on film. They said they will call me soon.

So now I'm spending most of my free time wondering if an offer will come in...if I should take it...what it would mean for everything else. The part-time position would exactly cover my anticipated pay cut from Apex starting next year. Weird.

I am obliged to say that there is a darn good chance that I will never hear from them again. But the whole thing had made me see for the first time that maybe I really can be a professional actor and a church planter sometime in the near future.


Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Good Morning

I am 1.5 weeks into my six-week experiment with The Groundlings. So far so good. What it means is this: On Mondays and Wednesdays I wake up at 3:30. That's really early. I get home around 7 pm and stay up until the kids go to bed around 9. Then I crash, which is also weird because I have been staying up past midnight for all of my adult life. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I get up around 7:30 to take Eli to school. (Those used to be my early days, now they are my sleeping in days.) On Fridays I meet my friends for breakfast at 7:00, so I'm getting up before 6:30 on my day off. Saturdays are a wild card, and I get up with the boys on Sundays so Debbie can have breakfast with her friends.

All of this to say that I am facing something most people have dealt with there whole life-a grown-up schedule. At least I waited until I was 30 to try it out.

Sunday, October 19, 2003

Dave has always been my friend.

Stand Up
STAND UP: You are a natural stand-up comedian. You
watch the news with people, and when you give
your opinions, people start laughing. They are
not laughing at you, they are laughing because
what you say is so TRUE. The world is a very
funny place, full of natural comedy. All you do
is repeat various humorous things that you
notice from everyday life. Your unique
perspective on the world is what makes you so
funny. Of all the various comedy types, you may
be the funniest of them all!



How funny are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

A Tale of Two Cities

Yesterday was my first day of classes with The Groundlings in LA. I have eleven more to go over the next six weeks. It was fun. I was a little worried that I might not be able to hang with real-live LA actors, but I left the day feeling secure in my abilities and excited to learn more. My friend Noah is taking the classes with me, so we are getting lots of time to hang out.

I'm making the final casting decisions for Saga's "A Christmas of Convenience" today and tomorrow. Life is going to be quite theatrical between now and the middle of December.

My mom is coming into town this week to be with us and see the new house. It will be good to have her here.

Saturday, October 11, 2003

If we ever have a girl I wanna name her Zoe Grace

Zoe is greek for life.

Grace is english for...grace.

I think that God is teaching me to grow and to receive grace. Grace...its a funny thing. I don't know if I am strange, but receiving grace is about a thousand times harder for me than giving grace. Grace is pity. It's feeling so sorry for the broken state of another that you are moved to love and forgiveness and generosity. Grace starts in knowing that you yourself are a mess and a failure. (I've never had a problem realizing that.) Grace culminates into action when you see that the person next to you is a mess and a failure in their own unique way. You say, "Hey...they are a mess...just like, i feel so sorry for them." That's grace as I understand it as a 30 year-old American Protestant male.

I have had to ask for grace three times over the last two weeks. Twice from people who are very important to me. Once from a stranger. Asking for grace is hard. It turns you into a pathetic child. It makes you a begger. It humbles you. I have been following Jesus as best as I can for 22 years now. He promises to redeem me and give me grace. I wish that he would redeem me faster so that I could not have to ask for pity from the people I love. But perhaps his ultimate grace to me is allowing me to slowly learn how much I need a Savior.

So, thanks to all of you who have been gracious to me. Thanks to God who is patiently letting me grow up.

"Blessed are the merciful because they have received mercy."

Monday, October 06, 2003


Just got home from a great weekend with the Bay Area simple church planters and a day meandering through Hollywood. My work with the Groundlings starts next week. It will be every Monday and Wednesday for six weeks. I'll have to get up very early to get there, but should be home for dinner. So that's cool.

Many of my friends have said that they want auditon for the Christmas show that I am directing, but haven't confirmed please call or email me soon. Auditions are this week.


Thursday, October 02, 2003


Tomorrow Debbie and I leave for San Francisco to lead a retreat for some current/future church planters there. Our roomies are watching the kids for us while we are gone. I'll miss them, but it will be fun to hang out with Deb. We will be at a retreat center a few hours from the city. It's in the 30's at night. It will feel like -30 to me I'm sure.