Columns, Live Performance

Ask Luke’s Mother-in-Law: Spock Thoughts and Raising a Stage Daughter

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Luke’s mother-in-law is former LAPD, a licensed property appraiser and a self-described crazy cat lady. None of which has prepared her for TR readers. All questions and answers are real.

Hi everyone! I got some good questions this week. The weather has taken a turn for the cold with a bit of rain. Last week was T-shirt weather, and this week it is back to the jacket. Still have not heard anything on the rest of the film fest showing that was canceled due to the projector being broken.

It was sad this week with the passing of Mr. Spock. When I was in junior high, a friend of mine’s uncle was a writer for Star Trek and she got me signed scripts and a few other things that her uncle brought home. He was E. Milkes. I understand the family is doing a private memorial; hopefully later they might do something for his many fans. I was luck that this Christmas, Luke and Julia gave me an autograph from Mr. Nimoy’s hand in the Vulcan salute. I have it displayed in my gallery. He will be missed, but at least he has a great body of work that we all can still enjoy for many years to come.

Tonight I will be part of the San Bernardino County Sheriff Department citizen volunteer patrol. They have decided to take me in. I have always been a city cop so there will be new things to learn.

Well, now on to your questions for this week.

clashctyrkr:

hi hi mamasan
i’m not surprised, i love making hand wrapped beeswax candles. very comforting it is. have you ever made incense? it’s a rather interesting game to play…what smells good together when burned.

No, I have never tried to make incense, but I do love it and burn quite often. I love making the candles, I love working with the warm wax and the side benefit is my hands get a nice treatment and I get a pretty candle. Sadly. I have not had much time to make candles lately, but hopefully when I can fully retire I will have more time to do this and paint. I buy most of my candles now. My faves are from Yankee Candle. but they are pricey. The next best are, surprisingly, the Walmart brand. Really great and lasting scents.

Big.Jim.Slade:

What is your opinion on novelty songs? Do they “deserve” (I don’t know if any song actually deserves the attention it gets) to get the same amount of airtime as a “real” song?

A recent example of a novelty song would be “What Does The Fox Say?” or even to some extent “I Kissed A Girl” by Katy Perry. Some older examples would be “The Purple People Eater” or “Lily The Pink” by The Scaffold.

Should they be thought of in the same category as a standard song, or should they always be considered in their own category?

Well, they are still songs as they have music and lyrics that someone had to write, just like a love song, ballad etc. They are just funnier and tend to get stuck in you head. Let’s face it, most songwriters what you to remember their song. I am a big Katy Perry fans and love all of her songs. When I was a teen the big thing was bubblegum songs, which is pretty similar to today’s novelty songs. I also love “Purple People Eater” and “Monster Mash.”

NebulaJack:

Speaking of the Oscars,I feel like we’ve hit a point with movie credit sequences (particularly at the end of the film), that there should be a technical award for the best one of the year.

What are your thoughts on this? Are there any categories you’d like to see added?

Totally – with some films, the roll in the back end can be very long and sometimes there is still some part of the movie playing. I think this is sort of an editing thing and they are just typing in the credits to a machine and then it is layered over the film. So that probably does not fully rate an individual award. Maybe a tech award at the separate awards that the Oscars have, but not in the main show. Currently I think the show that we have on TV every year is quite long enough, so there is no need to add any more statues to this show.

Maybe, though, we could add one for best location scouting?

Rx79immigrant84:

hey mother in law,
Since you like to travel, what is the farthest place on earth you would like to visit?

Well let’s see: I have been to Hawaii, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Europe. I would love to go to Austrailia, Russia and also see China. My mom has been all over Asia and I would love to see it too. I even have an aunt in Thailand so I have a place to stay and a local to show me around – that is always handy.

My favorite way to travel is a cruise. Get me cruise tickets and I don’t care where the boat is heading. I will be on it.

jdeltano:

Long time reader, first time question poster here. My Wife and I took our youngest Daughter, she is 14, to New York City last week for a vacation. She loves Musical Theater. We saw Wicked one night and Phantom the next. What is your favorite Musical? It was the first time staying in Manhattan for all of us. I was pleasantly surprised that we had a wonderful time. Not a Bad experience, taxi ride or meal. Have you stayed in NYC?

My Daughter has been in every school play and musical she could since 6th grade, loves it and wants to make it her career. On one hand I want her to do what she loves, but I worry that making a living at it will be hard. How did you and your Husband handle this with your Daughter?

Been to NYC many times. When we lived in the Boston area, we would take the train often up to NYC to see shows. So I was brought up with the theater. When Julia was still home we took her to NYC several times and always saw 2-3 shows. We always stayed at the Hilton by 30 Rock. She is a big SNL fan, so she always made part of the trip a set visit. It is great to go during the holidays and take in the Rockettes at Radio City. We did that every year when I was little and then over to Macy’s to see Santa. NYC is a great walking city and we would walk from the hotel to the theater district all of the time.

Julia started in community theater when she was 3-4 as a dancing dragon in Cinderella. At 5 she started doing summer youth theater and at the ripe age of 5 she also tried out for Baby June in Gypsy. She was beat out by an older actress of 8 who could read better, so she learned rejection at a young age. Her first really big part was as Kate in Annie; when she was older she also played Pepper. She has probably been in over 30 musicals before she went to college. She did movies during the summer from about the age of 9 and only 1 a summer.

John did not totally support her becoming a full-time actor at first. I think I was a bit more for it as I am also a big theater geek. I used to love going on set with her. When she was 18 and an adult we had less control over the situation, but we made a deal which worked really well with her. Before she totally left home she got an AA degree and was accepted into Chapman University to the Dodge School of Film/TV. She had to get her BA degree and it could not be in acting. She got a PR/advertising degree (something to fall back on). If she maintained good grades she could audition all she wanted. If this was met we continued financial support. She got her BA degree in the normal 4 yrs and managed a few acting gigs. When she got out of college she got a real job (not in PR/ad) but still a real job which would allow her time to still audition and was flexible if she got something acting.

She learned pretty quickly that out here where we lived, she was the big fish in a very little pond and got most of the roles she went for. On the other hand even though she has a great manager and agent, she now goes to auditions with LOTS of other very qualified actors. The number of auditions goes up, but the bookings go way down. She feels lucky if she books a couple of jobs a year.

So when you are first starting out, be prepared to have a real job also. She knows lots of actors who put in 20 years of dues before they got a series or a big movie. There also also union dues and the union does not care if you are working or not – you have dues to pay. You will also do a lot of free work to built your demo real and to be seen. She works quite a bit at comedy clubs, but generally it is just for exposure and not pay. Very very few people get “discovered” and start making millions. Most actors in LA are also waitresses, etc. Also you need to keep taking classes after you get to LA or NYC. Classes can run $400 for 8 weeks of class (1 night a week). Casting directors want to see that you are still training. Right now there is more expense in acting then profit and she has lots of experience.

Hope this helps.

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How do you like the pics of Mr. Friz? Some kitty belly. He is just cruisng on a big pillow and also using his younger sister as a pillow. What a life. The other pictures are of a rain storm the other day. I took a regular shot and then did a zoom. I loved the contrast of the dark vs the light in the center of the pic. The view is toward the Joshua Tree National Park from my front yard. So cool.

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After all of the rain the flowers are starting to come out – should have a few pics next week. Well anyway, that is about all for now. As always be good to each other and Huggs

If you’d like to add your questions to the pile for Luke’s mother-in-law, leave them in comments below. No topic is off-limits.

About Author

Luke Y. Thompson has been writing professionally about movies and pop-culture since 1999, and has also been an actor in some extremely cheap culty and horror movies you will probably never hear much about (he is nonetheless mostly proud of them, as he met his wife on one). As editor of The Robot's Voice since 2012, he can take the blame for the majority of the site's content, all of which he creates because he loves you very, very much. (Although he loves nachos more. Sorry.) Prior to TRV, Luke wrote for publications that include the New Times LA, Los Angeles CityBeat, E! Online, OC Weekly, Geekweek, GeekChicDaily, The L.A. Times, The Village Voice, LA Weekly, and Nerdist