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Do Something


Article from ADMIN 69/2022
Today, I just have a special message for you: Do something.

I know it's much easier to do nothing. In fact, doing nothing is always the default action, but doing something is better than doing nothing. I'm no mathematician, but I'd say it's about 100 percent better. Yes, there's a story here, and it's one you should read and heed lest you grow old without realizing your dreams.

It all started when I went to college with dinosaurs and cave people in prehistoric times, aka the 1980s. Reagan was President. The recession was in full swing. Jobs were scarce. I wanted to produce and direct a vaudeville show. Yes, you read that correctly – a vaudeville show. Plate spinners, baton twirlers, bodacious burlesque acts, dog and pony shows, singers, dancers, comedy, magic, and a whole array of sideshow delights. Vaudeville. My dream to be a vaudevillian would never come to pass.

That is until many years later in 2022. I finally convinced someone to take a trip down memory lane with me back to those innocent days between the great wars and before the Great Depression. The heyday of vaudeville, the ultimate variety show. I found a theater director whose venue was on the original vaudeville circuit before it was stripped of its once great elegance and converted into a moving picture theater. I wanted to do it. I pitched it. And the vaudeville show was on! The date for the one-night-only show was April 2, 2022, in beautiful New Bern, North Carolina – my new home.

The show sold out and people loved it. Many have requested another show. "Vaudeville is here to stay," I stated bravely in the opening act. And I was right. It's now going to be part of the regular season and an annual event.

It turned out better than I'd hoped. We had a fire-breather, a flame-fan dancer, a guy on stilts, and an announcer who wrestled with a giant boa constrictor in the street in front of the theater before the show commenced inside. We had singers; comedians; tap dancers; side-show performances that included a bed of nails; glass walking; a dog act; bathtub acrobatics; an aerial silks performer; a belly dancer who did a sword dance; a tribute to the late, great Andy Kaufman; and much more. The first show of its kind in 100 years in that little theater in an obscure corner of eastern North Carolina.

I did it.

I didn't do it alone, but I did it. Finally, after all these years, I did it. I did something that I wanted to do. I never forgot about it. It will go down as one of the great highlights of my life.

The point of this story is that I did something. I could have not done it and lived a perfectly normal life – a life less fulfilled, a life less complete, and a life less joyful. It wasn't just my night though. We provided opportunities for many young aspiring actors, singers, and performers. My partner in the opening act is in high school. Two of the singers are also in high school. The guy on stilts who performed the finale graduated last year. Doing something gave me a boost of pride and joy that can only be measured on the Richter scale.

We've been through a lot in the past few years. It's time to dust ourselves off and begin again by doing something. Do something that you've always dreamed of doing. Do something that you've never dreamed of doing. The theme of my film festival, The Experimental Film Fest, is perpetually: Do Something Different. It's time to do something. The most anyone can say is "No." Even if you fail – and you won't – you will have done something. So go and do. Write. Act. Sing. Paint. Code. Script. Administer. Direct. Teach. Do whatever you secretly aspire to do, but do something. You only regret the things that you didn't do. Go. Do. Something.

Ken Hess * ADMIN Senior Editor

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