Saturday, April 2, 2011

First Lines from Books I Love #3: Pimps, Hos, Playa Hatas, and All the Rest of My Hollywood Friends

I love books with a clear personality. Joyous, angry, happy, depressed, crazy, introverted, give me words, but give me a person behind those words. John Leguizamo is indeed a person who stands behind all his words, and what words they are in "Pimps, Hos, Playa Hatas, and All the Rest of My Hollywood Friends"!

He does not couch anything in mealy-mouthed language. What he says, man, he means. He has lived this life and he's going to tell you all about it, every triumph, every wrinkle, every conflict, everything.

In what he tells, he's certainly had one of the more interesting Hollywood lives. He started from hardship; he knows what it is to struggle to get what you want, to try to define your voice in an early life that discouraged different voices and was dominated by a hard father. He rises, he falls, like anyone does, but most importantly, he remains true to who he is. He does not change himself for the sake of financial betterment, for more fame.

I get restless with books nowadays. I don't force myself through what I don't want to read. Yesterday, I started "Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination" by Neal Gabler, because I love Walt Disney. I love what he created, I love what I have been able to establish in my own imagination because of what he left behind, and I know he was a conflicted and complex man. And I don't expect Gabler to adopt how John Leguizamo has written his book, but I was bored at the start. However, with that one, I realized that I probably wasn't in the mood for it right then. Maybe some other time.

Leguizamo pulls you right in like a friend he hasn't seen in a long time. "How the hell are you, man? Now sit down. This is what's going on with me."

This is what pulled me in right away:

"For me, there's always been a fine line between acting and acting out. Like this one afternoon me, English, Xerox, and Fucks Funny are riding the 7 train, the elevated subway that runs from Manhattan way the hell out into Queens. I see that the door to the conductor's booth at the front of the car is open, and no one's inside. And I get this sudden idea for my first public performance. Call it guerrilla theater, except at the time I was a clueless youth and thought guerrilla theater was a show they put on in the monkey house at the Bronx Zoo."

Let it pull you in, too.