Mar 3, 2022
Dennis connects via Zoom with actor-writer-performance artist John Fleck whose musical satire It's Alive, It's ALIVE! is showing at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles through March 20. John talks about the show's central idea; that COVID is here to save us, not hurt us, where the original idea came from and where he got the inflatable COVID headress he wears through much of the show. He also recalls his experience, along with Tim Miller, Karen Finley, Tim Miller and Holly Hughes, as one of the NEA Four, the four artists who had received grants from the National Endowment of the Arts and whose grants were challenged by conservatives like Jesse Helms and others and whose case went all the way to Supreme Court. He talks about how the notoriety led to his first TV job, as a gay secretary in Steven Bochco's Murder One and how he regrets not being present at the Supreme Court hearing because he was working on TV show. John also recalls his early days in Los Angeles in the 1970's, the "radical change" he made that brought him here and opening for Edith Massey, John Waters' Egg Lady, at the One Way punk bar in Silverlake in 1983. Other topics include: embracing imperfection, how having his own shows makes the Hollywood acting hustle less soul-crushing, being an "age pioneer" at 71, the torture and glory of doing alien makeup for multiple Star Trek series and most recently Orville, appearing on projects like Tales of the City, Weeds, Seinfeld, Waterworld and the upcoming Tina Town, vamping in the dark when the power went out during a performance, and the late, great screenwriter who always came to his shows.