Tag Archives: Los Angeles

See Right Through You: The Case For Transparency

If transparency is the best policy in dating, why is it so hard to do?

A post shared by Michael James Schneider (@blcksmth) on

 

First published in PQMonthly

Walking down Broadway, I shuffled along, staring at the sidewalk and musing on the possible titles of my inevitable, boring memoir: “My Cat Is The Handsomest: Thoughts On Dying Alone By Michael James Schneider.” “Sir, You Can’t Take A Bottle Of Lube That Large On An Airplane, A Long-Distance Love Story By Michael James Schneider”. “What It Looks Like When The Universe Poops On Your Life: How To Get It All Wrong, by Michael James Schneider”. I looked up just in time to realize that A) I was at a bottleneck in the sidewalk, between a cafe table and a tree, and B) a guy who was Dreamy As Fuck was also trying to get through the narrow path from the other side.

I stopped, made an embarrassed gesture to let him through. He, however, did the same. No, no, my next gesture said, my hand sweeping magnanimously, Please, after you, I insist. And there we stood for a good 20 minutes, each trying to be the Beta dog in this classic West Coast Standoff of politeness, each trying not to bare our teeth or make eye contact lest the other one attack.

On the surface, the PNW is a friendly, polite place to live. What happens when you look under that surface, though? Is politeness a form of dishonesty and artifice, and if so, what does it take to live a transparent life? Continue reading See Right Through You: The Case For Transparency

All Good Things

So much love for these Fools (photo by Jessica Sherman-Prince)
So much love for these Fools (photo by Jessica Sherman-Prince)

I studied theater in college, because of course I did. I mean, I didn’t get this weird entirely on my own, right? Then I fell in love, moved away from Albuquerque to Chicago for a few years, fell out of love, and eventually found my way back to New Mexico. It was then that I really immersed myself in the theater scene there. I helped found a Shakespeare company, directed for the first time, and found a passion for theatrical production design.

I moved to Los Angeles in 2001, ostensibly to start an acting career, but also because all of my friends made a mass-exodus to the west coast. I quickly found myself discouraged by the constant rejection. This isn’t making art, I argued in my own head, this is a business. There were so many other people who wanted it more than I did, and were far better at it than I was. I stepped away from pursuing acting, put my nose to the grindstone at my retail management job, and didn’t look back.

Fast forward a few years. Continue reading All Good Things

Happy Birthday, BLCKSMTH

Photo by Chase Person (from l to r, Jennie Kay, Michael James Schneider, Nick Mattos, Wayne Bund, Chase Person, Summer Olsson, Logan Lynn) .ig-b- { display: inline-block; } .ig-b- img { visibility: hidden; } .ig-b-:hover { background-position: 0 -60px; } .ig-b-:active { background-position: 0 -120px; } .ig-b-v-24 { width: 137px; height: 24px; background: url(//badges.instagram.com/static/images/ig-badge-view-sprite-24.png) no-repeat 0 0; } @media only screen and (-webkit-min-device-pixel-ratio: 2), only screen and (min--moz-device-pixel-ratio: 2), only screen and (-o-min-device-pixel-ratio: 2 / 1), only screen and (min-device-pixel-ratio: 2), only screen and (min-resolution: 192dpi), only screen and (min-resolution: 2dppx) { .ig-b-v-24 { background-image: url(//badges.instagram.com/static/images/ig-badge-view-sprite-24@2x.png); background-size: 160px 178px; } }
Photo by Chase Person (from l to r, Jennie Kay, Michael James Schneider, Nick Mattos, Wayne Bund, Chase Person, Summer Olsson, Logan Lynn)
Instagram

Two years ago, when I lived in Los Angeles, I left my job to take a year-long “artistic sabbatical”. I felt a creative itch that was brought about by working with my LA family at Sacred Fools Theater Company. A few months into that year, I went through some shit. I came out on the other side more determined than ever to create a life that was artistically fulfilling, and more than anything true and authentic to myself. I visited Portland for the first time in February of 2013, and instantly fell in love with it, thanks to my good friend and tour guide Summer Olsson. And then a funny thing happened: Continue reading Happy Birthday, BLCKSMTH

*How To Save Your Own Life, A Webseries

 

from l. to r., Kevin Kauer, Michael James Schneider, Nick Mattos
from l. to r., Kevin Kauer, Michael James Schneider, Nick Mattos

This is how it works: life happens the same as always, day after day. You go to work, you go home, you eat ice cream on the couch and pet your cat, and you lose yourself in the routine. Then, one day, everything falls apart — and things get interesting. Then, things get really interesting. Continue reading *How To Save Your Own Life, A Webseries

February: A Soundtrack

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Instagram

 

I just celebrated my first 6 months here in Portland, and (finally) moved into my permanent pad in NE…I can get down to posting more frequently than ONCE A MONTH. I’m finding that there are so many brave, talented artists here it’s scary, and Wayne Bund is no exception. He’s a Portland-based photographer and performance artist who can also host a damn fine party. He braved an 8am call in the freezing cold (I may be losing a toe) to channel his inner Ewok with me in the Forest of Endor Mt. Tabor park, and Tucker Cullinan added a little magic, like he’s expertly done in previous posts.

The force was totally with us.

Mike’s pick: Stepdad, My Leather, My Fur, My Nails  Listening to this is like watching bears at a circus. Nope, the other kind of bears:

(the video is pretty great too) Continue reading February: A Soundtrack

4 Things That Set My Brain On Fire: June

Dragon capsule, manufactured by Space-X
Dragon capsule, manufactured by Space-X

It’s not for lack of material that I haven’t done a “4 Things” post since my big announcement in February. I’ve been living in between two cities since then, and working on the book a lot, so it’s been tough to consistently write for BLCKSMTH. But I think I’ve reached an equilibrium, and saw 4 amazing things recently that gave my creativity a boost (click here to check out previous “4 Things” posts). Here are this month’s, in no particular order:

1) SpaceX! Wow, I had no idea what I was in for. A new friend, Meharban, showed me the SpaceX warehouse in Hawthorne, CA. SpaceX designs, manufactures, and launches rockets and spacecraft. The company was founded in 2002 by Elon Musk, who gave a really excellent TED interview a few months ago (ya know, the guy who also invented PayPal and Tesla Motors? Yeah, that guy). As we entered the vast front office space, Meharban gestured casually over to a large open cubicle: “Oh, Elon’s here today.” OH HOLY SHIT, ELON’S HERE my brain shouted as I nodded casually, noting the intense man hunched over his monitor. Continue reading 4 Things That Set My Brain On Fire: June

The Warp and Weft Part 4: Happy Endings

Neil Gaiman and Michael James Schneider, on the set of "Neverwhere"
Neil Gaiman and Michael James Schneider, on the set of “Neverwhere”

Fourth and final in a series. Here is Part 1, Part 2, where I speak to the inspiration and construction, and Part 3, where I interview the playwright.

The project I’ve put so much of myself into, alongside an amazingly talented cast and crew who did the same, is finally up and running! Designing the set for Neil Gaiman’s “Neverwhere” (adapted by Rob Kauzlaric, see my interview with him here) has been a dream project, I’ve learned so much from it, and it’s strange to suddenly be done.

And then last night got even stranger: Neil Gaiman himself came to see the show… Continue reading The Warp and Weft Part 4: Happy Endings