In March 2011, I dissed Alex Jones' The Order of Death documentary (Power, Corruption and Lies) for a variety of reasons, one of which is his claim that Albert Pike, whom Jones calls the leader of world Masonry, founded the KKK. Both claims are demonstrably false.
In the comments that followed, however, Terry Melanson and I discussed the links between Freemasonry, the Knights of the Golden Circle and the KKK. Whether the KGC could be described as "Masonic" is debatable, of course, but I'd have to say it was: three degrees, passwords, grips, hailing signs, etc. Freemasonry was, like it was for so many other groups, the KGC's model, and membership was not mutually exclusive.
Sad to say, the same is true of the KKK. Whereas the original Klan had no degrees, the second group (1915-1944) had four and the ladies auxiliary, three. Freemasonry influenced its rituals and more than a few Klansmen were drawn from its ranks.
All this exposition is really just a prelude to the following two pictures. I mentioned the first in an April 2011 post about political vandalism, but at the time I'd forgotten the second. I don't think the pictures prove anything beyond the fact that membership in a Masonic Lodge and the KKK were not mutually exclusive, but it will do little dissuade people from thinking one group was the arm of another.
Meet Roy L. Cook, Klansman and Mason, waving his freak flag high from beyond the grave in Oakdale Cemetery, Deland, Florida.
Ignoring these photos won't make them go away, best to bring them out into the daylight. Personally I don't see how one could belong to a group promoting universal fraternity and another white supremacy, but there you have it.
This KKK-sponsored page features a photo of Cook's Klan headstone, but not the Masonic one; it does, however, feature the stone of Imperial Wizard James Colescott (1897-1950). Colescott led the Klan from 1939-1944. His stone bears the square and compasses. The page also pictures the stone of one Samuel Grady Roper (1891-1951)--with the square and compasses--and says it belongs to yet another Imperial Wizard. Trouble is, the Sam W. Roper (b. 1895) who led the Klan in 1949-1950 died in 1986 (after having retired as second director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation). So, given this blatant error, any info on the site must be weighed accordingly.
The Cook grave is located in Deland, Florida. Colescott died in Coral Gables. Roper, in Gainesville. All of them were contemporaries, Klansmen and finished their days in Florida. Which is not surprising; even a cursory glance at Klan history reveals that Florida has always had a particularly strong, and violent, Klan presence.
Florida, the Sunshine State!
(Gid and I are both Florida natives, we can thus rag on Florida with impunity!)
Friday, May 3, 2013
Saturday, April 27, 2013
I travelled through the Aude and Languedoc-Roussillon this week. My itinerary was only a few hundred kilometers, but I saw enough to write a thick book....and what I saw was only a splinter from a massive oak. Like I said, you can spend weeks exploring an area which can be crossed in a couple of hours.
My journey began at Saint Papoul. I wanted to visit the Benedictine abbey (founded in the 8th c.) there in the hopes I might stumble across something which might increase my store of knowledge about Saint Sernin and the Saintes Puelles. Papoul, or Papulus, was a priest who assisted Saint Saturninus (Sernin) in his efforts to evangelize the Gauls. He's an obscure saint and there's not much that can be reliably said about him. He was imprisoned for a while in Carcassonne and was killed during the Diocletian persecution, apparently beheaded. He was also a cephalophore. I can't find a detailed account, but apparently where he picked up his own severed head, a spring appeared. This is certainly a pre-Christian element and recalled the rumours about Templar head worship. The miraculous spring is also a familiar element. Many of the Vierges Noires we have discussed are associated with sacred springs, as are many of the Virgin Martyrs; several among these latter were also cephalophores. The cephalophore is not unique to France, but appears most frequently in French hagiography. Sacred waters will reappear in this post.
In any event, we'd gotten a late start and only had a half an hour to explore the abbey; we decided to skip the visit press on to out next destination, Saint-Hilaire.
|Cloister of Saint Hilaire Abbey|
|Notre Dame de Marceille|
At one time, in the quite remote past, a ploughman who cultivated his field on the slope of Marcellan saw his ox stop, as if halted by an invisible obstacle. He pushed it in vain, to urge it on, but it stood stock-still and resisted every prodding. The ploughman, who was amazed at first, suddenly felt the only other thing he could do was to call to Heaven for help. Then, somehow inspired by this plea for divine assistance, he began to dig the ground where the ox had stopped, only to find that it contained a statue. It was that of a wooden Madonna, brown and dark, with a celestial smile on her face. With great respect, he took the statue to the door of his house, where everyone in his family rejoiced at the sight of it. But their joy was short-lived: the following morning, the Madonna had disappeared. The ploughman returned to his field, and found the image in the place where he had discovered it the day before. Again, he rejoiced and carried it home, but in vain. It returned once again to the place where he had found it. He tried a third time, but to no avail. The statue returned to its hole in the ground.
Compare this story to that of Notre Dame d'Alet; note also that in the vicinity of this basilica there is a village named Alet-les-Bains.....
The basilica is also built over the site of a Gallo-Roman well and a miraculous fountain reputed to cure blindness is there. This Virgin also appeals to newlyweds who leave their bridal veils to ensure a happy marriage. It would be redundant to make a list of all the Vierges Noires whose legend involves the strange behavior of cattle, a miraculous insistence of where to be worshipped and the special place she holds in the heart of women seeking aid in matrimony and maternity. For the general tourist, it's also an amazing basilica, beautifully appointed and covered from floor to ceiling with elaborate frescoes. Score! The place was officially closed but the door was unlocked, so I slipped in for some photos. I later learned that in 2007, while the place was being renovated, someone snuck in and decapitated the statue and spirited the head away, along with Her mantle! Nothing else was stolen. Given it's proximity to RLC, I wonder if this was a symbolic act and can't help but recall the cephalophore mytheme of nearby Saint Papoul and the head wound of Saint Sernin. The current statue, then, like so many other, is a replacement.
Priory of Sion. It's a vast and complex story the center of which involves hidden treasures and the idea that the bloodline of Jesus and Mary Magdalene continues to this day. Gérard de Sède was involved in both surrealist and Oulipo groups and I think his work should be approached with this in mind. De Sède's son Arnaud said in a 2005 interview that his father and Pierre Plantard invented the legend from whole cloth and created the documents "proving" the existence of the Priory of Sion. It's a fascinating hoax, so well-constructed that despite Arnaud de Sède's statements and the rather extensive debunking, people still believe it's true. The sheer number of books and websites devoted to the subject boggles the mind. People believe what they want to believe. It would be a great Ph.D. thesis to analyse how disinformation works in a a non-propaganda context, as fact and fantasy are mixed to create a viable and enduring story. There are so many odd coincidences, everything begins to link up and "possible" become "probable" until so much stuff piles up that the "where there's smoke there's fire" mechanism kicks in and fabulism becomes accepted as history. There are a lot of gold ingots found among the turds, however, and one can read these books with a critical eye and still glean some important insights into the region, like good literature is often more useful than poor history.
Next stop, Rennes-les-Bains. This has been a spot for thermal cures for literally thousands of years. The healing properties of its waters is almost certainly connected to the legends surrounding religious sites. Whereas the claims that a spring can cure blindness (perhaps a metaphorical cure à la Amazing Grace: "Was blind but now I see") are dubious, the healing benefits of thermal springs are real. Thermal cures can be prescribed by doctors and are subsidized in part by the French health care system. We stopped for an hour or so to soak in the warm waters collected in two basins by the side of the Sals River. A lovely spot that, like every other place in the vicinity of RLC, has been brought under the umbrella of its mysteries. Indeed RLB's former parish priest Abbé Henri Boudet, contemporary of RLC's Bérenger Saunière, wrote La vraie langue celtique et le cromleck de Rennes-les-Bains (1886), in which he argued that that all languages derived from English! An earlier book from RLB (1832) by Auguste de Labouïsse-Rochefort also recounts a legend about the Devil's treasure. Clearly, the roots of the hidden treasure story lie farther back in time than de Sède.
Just to tighten the circle a little further, there is a plaque at the Marceille basilica honoring Boudet! but then again, he was born, lived and died very close to all of these places....
Our next goal was to see the Gorges de Galamus. On the way we passed through a wide, green valley with a solitary mountain at the far end. Some memory stirred in me. When we passed through the town of Bugarach, something clicked. I'd read about this place in the NYT. Apparently in the 60's this mountain, the Pech de Bugarach, became a favored destination of French hippies, a powerful place along the lines of Sedona or Taos in the American South West. In 2012 things came to a head, many New Age types descended on the place, there were more visitors than normal and the rhythm only increased as the fateful day in December approached that would mark the end of the Mayan calendar....and the world. Some believed aliens living inside would carry people away. This is essentially a New Age version of the Rapture. Curiously, the Nation of Islam also has some teachings about UFOs and mountains:
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said these planes were used to set up mountains on the earth. The Qur'an says it like this: We have raised mountains on the earth lest it convulse with you. How do you raise a mountain, and what is the purpose of a mountain? Have you ever tried to balance a tire? You use weights to keep the tire balanced. That's how the earth is balanced, with mountain ranges. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said that we have a type of bomb that, when it strikes the earth a drill on it is timed to go into the earth and explode at the height that you wish the mountain to be. If you wish to take the mountain up a mile [1.6 km], you time the drill to go a mile in and then explode. The bombs these planes have are timed to go one mile down and bring up a mountain one mile high, but it will destroy everything within a 50-square-mile [130 km²] radius. The white man writes in his above top secret memos of the UFOs. He sees them around his military installations like they are spying.
Louis Farrakhan. Source
Apparently, these UFOs will destroy America, but spare the Nation of Islam. These UFOs all come from within one great Mother Plane, the spaceship of God, another take on the Rapture. At Bugarach, a group of Gendarmes and firemen were called in to block access to the mountain due to fears of Heaven's Gate-like mass suicides.
|Pech de Bugarash; note the two aliens dsguised as horses on the right|
|Hermitage of Saint Anthony|
This grotto also houses a spring at which a reproduction of Saint Bernadette's vision of the Virgin Mary. Healing waters, yet again....
|Chapel dedicated to the Saintes Puelles|
Day two of my voyage was more abbreviated. We left Tautavel towards Perillos, which has only come to my attention sometime in the past few years. Perillos is an abandoned town now part of the municipality of Opoul. Perillos is a bit of a mystery to me, but some believe that it is an element of the RLC mysteries, or rather, that the RLC mystery is actually part of the Perillos mystery. Is the tomb of Christ located there? What is its connection to the Apocalypse (shades of Bugarach). Dig this:
The "secret" of Perillos really isn't so much a secret. The locals near Opoul-Perillos, the "old guys", still remember... they have stories of "the tomb of God", a site they were told by their elders not to go to and play. There are locals who observe bizarre events in and around Perillos, but keep quiet. Our organisation is almost like a "confessional", whereby these people can finally say, in all anonymity, what they see and know, and we often don't even shrug our shoulders when they tell what they know their wives or husbands would claim as "idiotic". This includes seeing apparitions of God, straight out of the Old Testament. Inverted rainbows.
|Chteau de Perillos|
This page sums up the Perillos "mystery"pretty well:
Apparently in 1995, one André Douzet found a model, allegedly made by or made for the priest Bérenger Saunière, of the areas associated with the passion of Christ, including the location of the tomb of Jesus and his uncle Joseph. Thing is, it didn't match Jerusalem. Douzet then recognized one of the features as a rock formation near Perillos. The Seigneurs of Perillos were an illustrious family among whose number was once counted the Grandmaster of the Knights of Malta. Our man Abbé Henri Boudet, contemporary of RLC's Bérenger Saunière, once directed the parish. Saunière himself was known to have visited the area to have a look at local families' archives. Douzet also came across a reference in local archives to a piece of land which prohibited anyone, including the Lords of Perillos, from collecting rocks, cutting wood or otherwise molesting it; it could not be sold, transferred or divided. It was within the lands of the Lords, but they didn't own it, they merely guarded it. Furthermore, cartographer Jacques Cassini, whose family made the first general maps of France, was known to have spent a year and a half there, yet his maps leave the site of the tombs blank. Which means they either aren't there or he was looking for them and then kept it secret. There are a lot of other details, but that's the general story. Douzet claims to have found the tombs and some artifacts inside, yet in 2008 another researcher pronounced it was all a hoax. Hoax or not, it is a lovely and wild spot and I loved it not for being the site of Jesus's tomb, but merely for the fact many believe it's true!
The rest of my journey was for the kids. A human labyrinth in Trouillas, burro riding in Castelnou (another amazing village), a visit to the beach in Spain. The last LoSian aspect of the trip was in Thuir, where there is yet another Vierge Noire, but alas! This church too was closed.
|Notre Dame de la Victoire|
But seriously, I do hope to explore Perillos a bit more, as there's talk in the air that it might be made off limits to protect it from treasure-seekers, even perhaps put under the control of the military! This isn't as ominous as it sounds, as there is a large military base nearby which may in fact be contiguous with the abandoned town.
Bottom line is that if you want to travel in France, you've got something for everyone in this little itinerary, a logistically perfect little nugget. I went to see many of the thing I've previously discussed on LoS, such as the sarcophagus of St. Sernin or the statue of the Saintes Puelles. On that front it was something of a failure. But I made a lot of little discoveries and connections to other areas of interest, all the while spending some good times with the kids, teaching them some proper camping skills and a little about history. Cathars, UFOs, esoteric sects, what could be better?
I'm also going to look into this Boudet character. His book is full of wordplay and puns. Given that de Sède was involved in surrealist and Oulipo groups, this makes me wonder if de Sède had read this book and it influenced him to write his own book. RLC research is rife with mystical toponymy, puns, double-entendre and decoding ciphers. In 1991 a Flemish researcher decoded some of Boudet's book and was led to Limoux, more specifically the basilica of Notre Dame de Marseille, where he discovered secret vault by the river. Some have speculated that an entire underground complex exists beyond a blocked-up tunnel from the vaults. So that underground treasure people are looking for around RLC may just be slightly farther afield than thought. If we think back to the legend of this particular Black Virgin, we recall that She was dug up from the ground. Is it possible that this vault was where she was found, and that the vault is the original chapel built to house her? Or, if it is indeed far older, could it have been a pagan temple or shrine and that the Virgin found there was in fact a pre-Christian idol?
Further inquiries in my library reveal that Saillens (Nos Vierges Noires) says the locals called her our sibyl and believes that to be the case, the pagan prototype being Cybele. Cybele is a mother of the gods and is often associated wih Attis, whose myth has many features later ascribed to the birth, life and death of Jesus. In Vierges Noires Cassagnes-Brousset notes that a nearby (how near?) archeological dig uncovered a figurine of Belisama, a Celtic goddess the Gallo-Romans identified with Minerva/Athena. This goddess was both warrior and healer, associated among other things with lakes and rivers.
Marceille is an ancient place with Paleolithic, Neolithic and Bronze age articles found in the vicinity; a Gallo-Roman villa was located nearby. Perhaps the vault was related to the villa, its location near the church coincidental, unless the basilica replaced a pre-Christian temple. The current is a reproduction of the decapitated version dating back to the 11th c., yet the basilica was begun in the 14th. Was the vault its original shrine? Tradition holds that, like so many other Vierges Noires, this wooden sculpture replaced an even older version. As it turns out this theory is discussed in some detail Societé Perillos. I urge you to read that essay, if only for this curious detail: She was originally inscribed with the words "Do not look at me, because I became brown." according to a text entitled Hommage au Baron Podenas.
Became? Very curious, but we must be cautious, for I can find the Hommage au Baron Podenas referenced anywhere else....bear that in mind as you read what follows.
There seem to be some curious traditions about eyes of this statue, which are indeed quite large. The imperative to "avert your eyes" made me think of the blindfolded figure at Galamus and another curious detail popped up: both figures are smiling....tradition even has it that "he who sees the statue [ND de Marceille] smiling at him, is certain to obtain the grace which he came to beseech.” A pal suggests the blindfolded figure is Synagoga, a figure usually paired with Ecclesia representing the replacement of Judaism by Christianity; the Jews cannot "see" that Jesus was the Christ.
Confirmation is to be found at the site itself, I'd neglected to read the sign. This sign states that the group depicts Ascension of Christ and is called Christ and Humanity. The woman standing represents hope for salvation, whereas the seated woman is blind to this opportunity. Thus my friend is right, she is essentially Synagoga and the other woman, Ecclesia. My friend also point out this page with a picture of the group, but it appears to be in white marble; a caption says the photos were taken at an unused church some years ago but the sculpture is now at the hermitage. So the red version we see is either a copy, or it has been painted. This latter possibility seems odd to me, but is is possible One would then wonder why such a dark, earth-red hue was chosen.
Perhaps any explcit referen to Synagoga has been removed due to some interpretations of the figures as essentially anti-Semitic, although recent scholarship is apparently more nuanced.
The ensemble was a gift of local sculptor G.A. Grouille, not an especially common name and not usual for this area. The verb grouiller, which I came across looking for the name, means to be full of something or to swarm. Thinking I might have a pseudonym, I looked for clues in the name, but it doesn't help much. It is a real name though, I just can't seem to find any other references to the artist.
I also recall that there was a Sator Square carved into a stone in a chapel at the hermitage. This kind of word square is pre-Christian and consists of a series of five words written on a grid. Is is a palindromic acrostic. Best thing is to follow the link and see it for yourself. Needless to say, this kind of wordplay would have appealed to Boudet, or to de Sède. Ostensibly it is Latin, but one of the words, "Arepo", may be Celtic in origin. That would certainly have interested Boudet. Could he have placed it there? The possible translations that have been proposed include "The farmer Arepo has [as] works wheels [a plough]" and "The sower holds the works and wheels by means of water." This seems to relate to elemnts of the Marceille legend and the Sator Square is believed to have magical uses, including putting out fires, which just happens to be one of the properties of Notre dame de Marceille.
Leaving that question aside, I should also report that She was also stolen during the Revolution; the records of the case do imply a kind of conspiracy involving people who knew about, and used, the secret vaults. Again, curious details. secret vaults, a thest, a later decapitation. Little wonder she has excited so much interest.
There's certainly more to investigate here, but that may best be left for time and serendipity to work out. My inquiries keep leading me to the same unique sources, which is a good enough reason to pause and look for other angles.
But for the moment, Daurade is tired out. I'm sure I'll come across more in my further readings and travels that will lead me back to these speculations, but for now, I feel this is the post I was looking for, hopefully a return to productivity, if not form!
Friday, April 5, 2013
You may not know Dimitri Diatchenko by name, but if you watch TV and go to the cinema there's a good chance you've seen his work. At 6'2", with a powerful voice to match his build, he's hard to miss. Dimitri has worked on dozens of productions including big Hollywood films such as G.I. Jane, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Chernobyl Diaries--as well as independent films such as Clubhouse, his most recent film, and Goiterboy, his first. His TV credits include Walker, Texas Ranger; CSI: Miami; Family Guy; Sons of Anarchy; How I Met Your Mother; and a brief stint on General Hospital. Avid gamers will have heard him put his voice to good use in titles including Call of Duty: Black Ops I & II, Ironman 2 and Wolfenstein. He also has a string of national commercials under his belt. Whew! The man stays busy!
(See IMDb and Dimitri's personal website)
I met Dimitri at Stetson University, where he was studying classical guitar (he has four solo CDs to his credit), and I'm fortunate that Dimitri agreed to this interview, thoughtfully responding to my questions by email. What emerges is an interesting story of how one man got into making pictures and makes a good living doing it. Dimitri isn't one of these actors who spends most of his time waiting tables and doing fruitless auditions. He is a full-time working actor--not a superstar by any means, but he's working on it.
Over time, Dimitri has managed to create a space for himself by playing "heavy" or villainous characters, often as a Russian--calling on his Ukrainian roots to perfect his dialects and his experience as a former heavyweight champion in Taekwondo to deliver credible ass-whippings. He also has quite a few comedic roles on his résumé. Multi-talented, professional and a nice guy--he's out there travelling the world getting international exposure yet still takes the time to respond to questions for an obscure blog. Very cool indeed!
LoS: You started out studying classical guitar. 20 years later you’re acting in Hollywood. Did you always want to act in addition to playing music, or is it something that came about later?
DD: I always had a penchant for acting, but never did anything until Stetson University. I had to take a non-music elective as part of my course requirement and I chose the two classes where the hottest girls in the school could be found….acting and dance. Then I took an on-camera acting class in Orlando at a talent agency who soon represented me. They sent me out on auditions for student films and locally produced shows and commercials.
LoS: I know you’ve answered this question in other interviews, but how did you get your start – what was your first paid role?
DD: My first paid role was as a featured extra on G.I. Jane, the Demi Moore/Ridley Scott film. I drove six hours that day for a 5 minute interview in Jacksonville. I got bumped up to a day player and then to utility stunts during the next few months of shooting which started in Florida and ended in Los Angeles. It worked out well because I was planning to move to LA anyway.
LoS: At what point did you seriously think you could make a living as an actor and at which point did you get an agent?
DD: When I moved to LA my main intention was to be a working actor and eventually an A-lister. I had a few interviews with agencies when I got to LA that were set up by some actors from G.I. Jane. They were very helpful to me and I was being represented within a few months after my move.
LoS: Does your agent seek out all your roles for you, or do productions call you up to ask after you based on the strength of your previous work? This is a variation on part one of this question: Do you have to read for every role, or do you get offered parts without an audition?
DD: At this stage in my career I get offers sometimes, but most of my roles I get through the auditioning process.
LoS: Hollywood has its mega-stars who get paid millions per picture or hundreds of thousands per episode, but I assume you’re part of what Bruce Campbell refers to as “working-class Hollywood”. You work regularly on popular shows, including How I Met Your Mother and Sons of Anarchy. This may be an impertinent question, but what kind of lifestyle does your career afford you?
DD: Well my goal is to be one of those millionaire actors with my own production company and all the perks that come with that lifestyle. Right now I would consider myself a working-class actor. I live off of my acting work entirely. I've hit six figures a few times. I live pretty conservatively. It's feast and famine sometimes. LA is an expensive town to just live a normal life. I also put a lot of money back into my career needs. I have steadily increased my living standard every year for the past 6 years.
LoS: In Chernobyl Diaries, I remarked to a friend that your character Yuri knows more than he’s letting on to his customers. Even though this isn’t ever made explicit, it can be inferred from some of Yuri’s expressions and statements. Is that an accurate reading, and if so, is that something that came from the director and the script, or did you bring that to the role?
DD: For the sake of keeping the suspense in the film, I played Uri with a little mystery in his expressions, and tone and color. Brad Parker and Oren Peli liked what I was doing but we discussed every scene we shot as building the audience suspense.
LoS: Do you create a back story to your characters, in your head or on paper, in order to enhance your performance, or do you work only from what’s on the script?
DD: I spend quite a bit of time just thinking about the role I'm playing. A bit of a background story on them that either the script reveals or just my own take on the character. Keeping it as simple as possible, but layered.
LoS: You mention in one interview about Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull that you spoke a little bit with Steven Spielberg about some ideas for your character you had that he then integrated into the film; do directors often confer in this way with their actors and/or are they usually receptive to suggestions? Do you ever improv lines without clearing it with the director first, or is that considered unprofessional?
DD: Some directors, usually the ones who have acted, are very receptive to what their actors are thinking about their roles. Spielberg was great like that. Most of my lines in IJ4 were improvised….and in Russian. I will improv for a purpose if the scene we are shooting dictates. I like living in the moment. If it works, we move on, if not, we do it again.
LoS: What would be your dream role….and cast?
DD: The role I play in Company of Heroes was a dream role and the cast was pretty awesome too. I'm starring in a WWII action film with Tom Sizemore, Vinnie Jones, Jurgen Prochnow, Chad Collins and Melia Kreiling. My relatives did the same thing that Ivan, my character's name, did during WWII. I am Ukrainian from my dad's side of the family. Playing Ivan brought back memories of the stories I would hear from my dad, uncle, aunt and babushka. I had the coolest role in the film. The only way it could have been better is if I got the girl at the end of the film. That may still happen. I hear they want to do another one.
LoS: Is there a role or kind of project you’d never accept?
LoS: Is there a role or kind of project you’d never accept?
DD: That's a tough one. The only thing that comes to mind is the role of a pedophile. I can't see me EVER playing that. It's just too horrible an energy to live with as I'm preparing for the role. My mind just will not go there.
LoS: You’re an accomplished martial artist, which can only be of benefit to an actor. Has that ever clinched a role for you?
DD: I made it a point to not market myself as a martial arts guy when I arrived in LA. I've had many a fight scene in roles that were more action oriented. I do all my own fight scenes. I think my acting skill is what propels me, but I'm a physically imposing guy at 6'2", 230lbs, solid. It probably helped that I was a highly skilled martial artist for my role in Walker, Texas Ranger. I had to fight with Chuck Norris in the episode. That was a great gig. One of the best experiences I've had so far. Chuck influenced me as a kid to start Karate.
LoS: You’re also a classically-trained musician; what skills cross over into acting? I know you’ve actually played for one of your roles; any chance we’ll see you play again on screen?
DD: Music and the written word are closely related so closely in my mind that often when I read through a monologue, a group scene or an entire script, I digest the material as I would when learning and performing a piece of music. An example is if you take a monologue and break it up into sections as you would a Sonata. You have a theme, development of the theme, a second theme that is related to the first theme and it's development and then a recapitulation. An essay or a monologue breaks up into sections that can be realized in the same manner. Furthermore, your interpretation of the written or musical performance should be realized with your own life experiences. This is what makes the material YOURS and special.
LoS: Is there anything you feel you'd like to add? Words of advice for budding young actors?
DD: The thing that is most UNTAUGHT is the acting business. These days you have to have a social media presence to help boost your following. It's good and bad. The good is that I have a fan base overseas that I never would be able to communicate with, real time, had I been a generation earlier. The bad is that it is so ever-changing. You have to stay on top of everything.....e.g. personal website, Twitter, Facebook, and whatever else is out there that the social media companies are coming out with. The ART of acting is only the very beginning of having a career as an actor. Creating your fanbase and creating your BRAND is the most important thing these days. It's not just who YOU know, but who knows YOU.
For a more complete view of Dimitri's work, check out the playlist of clips he's created from some of his roles, with a brief intro on how he got into the business: