Lance Baxter and I have been through a lot together. He and I met back in 1985 at the Estelle Harman Actors Workshop in Los Angeles. I was a skinny kid trying to access my emotions on stage and he was a figment of my imagination. My scene partner was Nina, a young, punk-rock rebel of a girl who also happened to be dating a much older actor (an ancient 45).
We’ll call her creepy, older boyfriend “Rob” since that’s what he tried to do to me. See, Rob knew I wanted to get into the Screen Actors Guild. This was not hard to figure out since all new actors need to get into SAG to work. But the only way is to get hired on a SAG project, be Taft-Hartleyed, then pay the initiation fee ($700 back then) before you step onto the set.
One day, sitting in his stolen Mercedes (he took it on a test drive and never returned it), Rob said to me in his velvety-deep baritone voice, “I can get you a walk-on in a big film my friend is doing and they’ll Taft-Hartley you. But listen, kid, I know you. You’re a lot like me. If you have that $700 cash sitting around you’re gonna end up going to restaurants, seeing movies and before you know it, it’ll be gone before the film comes through and you have to pay it to SAG. I can’t stick my neck out for you if that’s gonna happen…”
He paused a moment and looked at the elderly lady crossing Fairfax Blvd.
“It breaks my heart to see all these old people… Just look at her struggling with her groceries…”
We sat in silence, allowing Rob’s heart to fill with bullshit. Then he said, “I know what we can do. Once you get the money, we’ll put it into a joint savings account. That way you won’t touch it. It’ll be there once you get cast in the movie.”
He was good. And I was 19! I handed him the cash a week later, even though my gut gnawed at me. It never made it into a bank account. And, oddly enough, he stopped answering my calls.
Over the next six months I met other people (including a Playboy centerfold and an LA Rams football player) who had been ripped-off by Rob.
But I got lucky. Rob had also been an actor in the 1960’s and had studied with Estelle. After I reluctantly made a tearful admission to her, Estelle called him at home and shamed him into relenting. “He’s just a boy, Rob, how could you?”
The following week we had a character study project and I created “Lance Baxter” – a manipulative smooth talker with a self-awareness deficit based on Rob. It was a good character. So I kept “Lance” in my toolbox.
In 1996, I put a version of him into my first film short, Falling Words.
I began to use his name whenever I was at Starbucks. People in loud places can’t hear initials, but “Lance” seems to cut through! Plus, it is a sexy name. And one must look hip and sexy while overpaying for sugary coffee.
In 2001, I created a one night charity event at the Lava Lounge for my 35th birthday and took on the Lance Baxter character again. I gave some great Pink Floyd, Elvis Costello and Tom Waits songs the “Lance” treatment and tortured my friends.
in 2006, I returned as Lance Baxter with a two night charity event at the M Bar in Hollywood, only this time with all original material. Lily Popova and Abraham Peraza (two highly talented musicians and friends) wrote and performed the music and I laid down some offensive lyrics. The premise for both shows involved Lance, a despicable womanizer, reuniting with his back-up singers – all ex-wives or girlfriends – for charity. It was a blast and I thought I might reprise him again in 2011…
But I used his name in 2010 in a private voicemail and, well, now he’s a little overexposed.
So, instead of mounting another B-Day show, I’m going to save him for something else… a bigger event… A political musical, perhaps?
Until then, in celebration of my 45th, I present some highlight numbers from 2006’s “The Lance Baxter Show!” Most certainly Not Safe For Work and potentially offensive!
Also, I am an actor who sings a little, not the other way around!
And if you, by chance, are tickled by any of them, feel free to pass a link along!
The Sunny Side Of Life
Thanks, Bryan, for being still and not suing.
One Of The Drunks
With Robin Daléa.
The Truth Of 40 Years Old
With Juliet Cleere and Abraham Peraza.
Men Of The World
With Abraham Peraza.
D.C. Douglas’ alter-ego – Lance Baxter – mourns turning 40
with a semi-raunchy cabaret act at the M Bar in Hollywood California.
Lance Baxter is
The Burned Bridges are
With Lily Popova on piano.
All music composed and performed by Lily Popova and Abraham Peraza.
Guitar on “Truth of 40” by Kai Narezo
Lyrics and monologues by D.C. Douglas
Special Thanks to
Paul Eric Jerome
More Than Shelter For Seniors (all proceeds donated to)