“The Adventures Of Little Diego - Former Child Star” Chapter 7 - Part 3 of 4, ‘My Very First Romance - Or Lack There Of.
So I’ve now graduated high school and continued to do more sporadic parts on television. Some network Afternoon TV Specials, a pilot which aired but didn’t get picked up produced by multiple Emmy Award winning producer George Schlatter that starred fellow high school Alums Nicholas Cage and Crispin Glover, an episode of Different Strokes with Gary Coleman and a couple of episodes of Cop Rock produced by Steven Bochco, producer and creator of Hill Street Blues.
Clip Of Me And Gary Coleman On Different Strokes
Clip Of Me On Cop Rock With My Buddy Jim Gilstrap
Legendary TV Producer George Schlatter's Star On Walk Of Fame
High School Alum Nicholas Cage Whom I Worked With In The Pilot "Best Of Times" Early On In Nick's Career
I also did a lot of theater. One of the stage productions I was cast in was an Inner City Cultural Center production of West Side Story where I got cast as the lead Jet Tony.
West Side Story
I’ve done quite a few shows at the Center in my career. Unfortunately, the center closed it’s doors some years ago. Inner City Cultural Center was ‘The Place’ to be for minority artists! You had the opportunity to do multi-cultural renditions of great classical and popular works as well as new material by minority writers and directors. It was founded by African American playwright C. Bernard Jackson who has since passed.
C Benard Jackson Founder Of The Inner City Cultural Center
Inner City was one of the first fine arts institutions to promote multiculturalism in LA and is responsible for nurturing the careers of numerous minority performers. Forrest Whitaker, Edward James Olmos, George Takei. Some great talents have graced The Inner City Cultural Center stages throughout it’s history. Denzel Washington, Beah Richards, Ted Lange, Glynn Turman, Paul Winfield, Robert Hooks, Marla Gibbs, Vanessa Williams. Far too many to name here. Literally hundreds of recognizable names and faces through the years!
C Bernard Jackson In Front Of The ICCC Building
Inner City Cultural Center Production Of "Sleep No More"
Inner City Cultural Center Production Of Checkmates
So I had been cast in this production of “West Side Story” where it was the blacks (Jets) against the Latinos (Sharks). I’m playing Tony, right? This is the guy that gets the girl, right?
West Side Story
Cool! I’m in!
West Side Story
The Center had a reputation of attracting some fine honey's into it’s productions. Maybe this is my chance to find love! Even if only for 152 minutes, Thursday’s thru Sunday’s, in this 8 week run! Sweet!
West Side Story
Well, I ended up having two Marias’ in this production. The first girl cast was quite nice, and a very good singer and actress. Unfortunately she suffered from halitosis or some such disorder as she always had this incredibly foul stench on her breath. It was quite a challenge doing the love scenes with her as well as singing in such close proximity during our duets.
West Side Story
My guess is this is likely the reason we have not heard more from this fine performer. Nice person. Good singer and actress. Attractive person in general, but... well.. bad breath. What can I say? The girl had bad breath. She ended up having to leave the production at a certain point for reasons unbeknownst to me.
The second girl cast as my love interest in the production was a beautiful, half black, half Latina girl. She was of Puerto Rican decent and could sing her behind off! She was very much physically my type!
Puerto Rican Girl
The problem was she was a complete and total bitch! From the first moment I started working with her she was a bitch and with each performance became an even bigger bitch. That totally turned me off to her and we did not get along at all. In spite of that, the production was quite a successful one and we got invited to perform the show for a week at a venue in San Francisco. The entire cast!
So here I am in San Francisco with a whole ensemble of lovely Jet and Shark girls. There were some fine Black and Latina sistahs' in this cast and I was shown quite a bit of love!
It was probably wise that the shows producers split the boys and the girls up into two completely different hotels that were located on opposite ends of town. So this one evening, me and my homeboy Manny caught a cab and went over to the hotel where all the girls where staying. Manny was around my age. A half black, half latino brutha. We were both in our early twenties. He played Sharks leader Bernardo in the show.
I'm A Rockstar
So we find out what room the girls are staying in and knock on the door. About a millisecond from when we knock the door flies open and we are eagerly escorted in. There were about ten girls in this one room and they were all in nightgowns and jammies. These girls were hungary if you know what I mean! They literally attacked me within the first 30 seconds of entering the suite. There were about 5 or 6 of them that had wrestled me on to the floor and were all over me like white on rice! I was a rock star once again! I literally felt like I could have had any one of them, or any combination, if I had wanted to that evening!
The problem was I was in my early twenties and these girls were ALL under 18! Every single one of them! That’s why I never got together with any of them during the LA run. But being on the road it was a different situation. Being underage these girls were limited in what they could do or where they could go. It was a bit of a pickle to be in. These sistahs were fine, but they were all under age! They were also all very ready, willing, and able. What does a brutha do?
Angel - Devil
But I just didn’t want to take the chance. As much as I’m thinking of how I would love to have taken them up on their invitation, the thought of them being jailbait, and some guy named Bubba making me his new bitch weighed heavier on my mind!
Who knows if I did the right thing? Life is short. I’m sure every one of those underage gals had a lot more sexual experience than I did. In fact, I'm certain of it! I’m sure it would have been an experience never to have been forgotten!
Well, I never found love in West Side Story, but I did have an opportunity to use my dance training in this production and that was rewarding as well.