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Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Sam Shepard - Force of Nature.


I'm thinking of artists who have influenced me, there are a handful that have changed my life, no doubt. Some of them are still around. Sam Shepard was a force of nature who inspired me on so many levels, an influence on everything I've ever done in performance, theater, music, life... 

Actor, Writer, Director, Playwright, Musician. I think of him in Terrance Malick's great "Days of Heaven." I think of him in Dylan's "Rolling Thunder Revue." I think of him collaborating with Patti Smith on "Cowboy Mouth."

So many great plays. A multi-colored lava-flow of stream of consciousness & wonder. A deep, in the bone American language. I saw many of his plays performed live by some of the great actors of our time: John Malkovich, Gary Sinise, Philip Seymour Hoffman, John C. Reilly, Michael Shannon, Rich Cotovsky, Guy Swearingen, William Peterson.

I read the short stories. I read the short plays, the long plays, the brief poetic flights. I saw "The Right Stuff." 

I wrote plays totally inspired by his language. His sensibility. He inspired me in the way I approached all of my creative work. Reading his short plays totally opened the door for me. I thought, "I can do this too!"

Hearing of his passing was a total gut punch. Sent me reeling. Rent the fabric of my being. A loss. Bone-deep. A part of me taken too. It is not the same world to know that he is gone. 

We learn people come and go. It happens every day. We never get used to it. It's is always a surprise. There is always an unresolved sadness.

Rest in peace Sam... 1943-2017.

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