Where I Go: My Life as a Mentalist

For 20 Years, I’ve Wowed Audiences by Reading Minds—and Making the Impossible Possible

Twenty-three years into my career as a stand-up comedian and television comedy writer, a colleague recommended I go see his cousin, one of America’s top mentalists (a.k.a. mind readers) perform in a suite at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York.

Back then, in 2002, I did not know, exactly, what a mentalist was. But the performance changed my life.

The mentalist asked my wife at the time and another woman—someone we did not know—to get up from the audience, to stand about 8 feet apart in the performance area, and to close their …

Mesmerized, Baffled, and Smitten by the Magic of Dance

A Veteran L.A. Dance Critic Reflects on Her Passion for the Art Form

My career as a dance critic really began when I was six years old, though I didn’t know it. My mom signed me up to take a creative movement class …

Spin the Wheel and Land on Community

As a Performer and Arts Consultant, I Learned That Arts Should Serve People—Not the Other Way Around

Recently, as I was walking home and mulling over what to write for this essay on arts engagement, I saw a multi-colored pinwheel stuck to a signpost on a street …

The Drums That Bang Out the Heartbeat of My Community

A 13-Year-Old Explains How Japanese Taiko Drumming Connects Her to the World Around Her

I am 13 years old, and taiko drumming is my life. Taiko are Japanese drums—big ones are the size of a Mini Cooper, and small ones are 15 inches around …

You Can Find My Poetry Tribe in Leimert Park

Wednesday Is Open Mic Night at the World Stage, Where I’ve Been a Regular Since 1992

Most Wednesday nights, you can find me at the World Stage in Leimert Park. The love offering requested at the door is $5, but no one is turned away. The …

Please Don’t Laugh at My Jokes

If You Want to Be a Stand-Up Comic, You've Got to Learn How to Bomb

My heart was beating a mile a minute. Perspiration started to form in my armpits. Soon I would smell like the cab driver who’d brought me here. I was one …