Talks, perspectives, rallies, and an acid party

In the last month, I presented another talk about my mother’s life and her CIA memoir; recorded a personal essay for NPR’s Perspectives program in Northern California; participated in SAG-AFTRA union rallies and picketing events; and discovered myself in a Star Trek acid party. Wait, what? (Yes. More on that.)


Nienke Hohmann hosted a second soirée with me as her featured speaker, talking about my mother’s amazing life and her CIA memoir, Six Car Lengths Behind an Elephant, which I edited.

I gave the one-hour presentation at Coterie in San Francisco, which is considered one of the most luxurious senior living communities in North America. Coterie is truly beautiful. The presentation room had floor-to-ceiling windows on two sides, bringing in wonderful light and views of San Francisco.

Nienke introduces me for the presentation at Coterie in San Francisco

My presentation received an enthusiast response from the audience. “That was wonderful. You should go on tour!” one person proclaimed. That made me happy. And hey, I’d love to.


On July 17, KQED (NPR’s station in Northern California) aired my personal essay, “Vegan at the Table,” on its program, Perspectives.

In my original submission, I talked about the real conditions of animals vs. the false advertising we see from the meat and dairy industries. The producer liked my essay, but clarified that the issue-focus wasn’t quite suitable for that program. She asked if I’d be open to submitting a revised piece that was more personal, and not about the why of my veganism.

I thought about whether I could offer a personal perspective on being a vegan at the table without focusing on the reasons why I’m vegan, since they permeate that experience. Ultimately, I opted to go for the revision. Any opportunity to place focus on the vegan at the table, any chance to inspire some contemplation, is worth a go. For this piece, I focused on some social dynamics.

I’ll add one comment to this piece: I will absolutely talk about the important WHY’S of my veganism whenever a topic or conversational flow calls for it. I do not shy away. But I’ve also learned that being the one vegan at the table, and that alone, can sometimes be far more conducive in influencing others than listing my reasons. I serve as an example, so I try to be strategic. But holding it in can take a personal toll, too.


I am proud to be a SAG-AFTRA actor who along with 97.9% of my fellow union members voted in favor of a strike against the AMPTP. There are several issues on the table, but the main ones are 1) raising our minimum wage to keep up with inflation, 2) creating a streaming residual that is logical and fair; and 3) addressing the threat of artificial intelligence to our likeness and livelihood.

You might’ve heard about the interim agreements that allow some television/film productions to proceed? There’s some confusion around that. For those productions, producers agreed to all the provisions in SAG-AFTRA’s proposed contract to the AMPTP. Note that these smaller independent producers find the contract to be totally fair; it’s the big studios with billions of dollars in executive pay and profits that are balking.

Picketing at Netflix on National Solidarity Day

You’ll find plenty of websites and news pieces regarding what the union is asking for, and why. Here’s a recent TIME Magazine interview with SAG-AFTRA President, Fran Drescher.

I attended a union rally at the AFL-CIO’s regional headquarters in Oakland, and joined members from multiple unions on August 22 for a “National Day of Solidarity,” picketing at Netflix headquarters in the South Bay.


That’s a “Star Trek Acid Party”, to be exact. Let me explain: a friend googled my name and found this title among others in my acting credits. I thought, huh? So I checked it out. It’s a brilliant 45-minute video. So fun. So clever. And it includes a clip from one of my scenes in The Next Generation, which made me laugh.

If you’re a fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and even if not, you’re bound to get a kick out of it. And if you’ve ever done acid? Even more so. I laughed out loud several times. (I love how Picard is associated with Pink Floyd.)


These highlighted experiences speak to several things that I want to encourage for all of us:

  • celebrating one another’s unique paths and courageous stories
  • speaking our personal truths
  • uniting in solidarity with our peers when standing up to greed and power
  • and delighting in healthy doses of silliness and laughter


Regarding the last post about Ilse’s personal story in Dare to be Fabulous and the associated prompt for RESETTING your (hot) summer . . . did you do it? Will you? I did! I backpacked in the Sierra and hit RESET in the gorgeous and cool waters of the Stanislaus River. Ahhhhh.


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