My Exposition

My life has been a patchwork of projects. For all my work life minus the two years of corporate I did at the turn of the century, I’ve been hustling. Always trying to find a way to make the skills pay the bills. As far as paid gigs, I’ve been an actor, teacher, writer, stage director, film director, video director, producer, location manager, PM, PC, PA, & AD. Except for the customer service gigs, telephone soliciting and yogurt serving in my youth, the rest was just using my natural instincts for surviving in the City of Angels. My network of old school friends and new school associates have helped me live a life of merriment and joy in the process of being a creative.

My first love was acting. My sisters were my first audience. I’d do all kinds of goofy impersonations as a kid. Their favorite was my Sunday night sermon, when my grandma would be listening to a church sermon on her radio full blast in her bedroom, and I’d be in the living room doing my version. My sisters would crack up!

But writing is such a big part of my life, because before I knew I was a writer I was writing. I started a journal in seventh grade on some notebook paper. Here’s a page from it:

Reflections of a pubescent scribe.

In high school, the choir teacher told me that I was a natural writer by the way I was able to come up with a lot of improvisational bits that added flavor to the scripts in the musicals we performed every winter and spring. Those skills helped pave the way for me to get into the UCLA School of Theater, and a yearlong stint with a theater company after graduation, but L.A. isn’t an easy market to make a living as an actor in theater. TV and film were the cash cows from which to milk. I never considered myself the Hollywood type: the glossy version in front of the cameras that sells people on the idea that the glamorous life is the best life. I wound up writing for an underground hip hop magazine that went national at its peak, then I wrote for the most well-known underground free zine on hip hop and skate culture at the time.

Twelve years being behind the scenes and in the face of some of the best known hip hop and R&B artists of the 90’s gave me memories that shielded me from the pain of recent personal tragedies that I was subconsciously suppressing. Hip hop was the tool to shake the blues out of my life, and it gave me a chance to get down to earth with these celebrities. My writer’s point of view saw them not as celebrities, but as people doing a job, just like I was. The only difference between us was the limelight… and the paycheck. Yet and still, I admire them for their perseverance in their art, working from the ground up through all types of obstacles to succeed.

Those years I consider far behind me, and sixteen years in the film industry are recently in the can as well. I finally caved into the idea of working in The Industry after retiring from journalism, but behind the scenes rather than as an actor. I started at the bottom and worked my way to the top…my top at least. I was beginning to burn out from all the long hours and the frequent travel. Like I should complain, but travel for work is a lot different than travel for pleasure. You would have to sneak in the pleasure part after the job was done.

And then a miracle happened, and his name is Evan. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you’ve certainly seen him and me in a post or two. My son was diagnosed with ASD at age three, and since then it has been a full time job seeing that he gets the therapies and attention he needs to help him navigate the world. The love and passion for what I do supersedes any other position that I’ve had in my short life. It’s a blessing to be a full time dad and a writer, and even better to be able to combine the two. In an effort to force myself to write and publish, I’ll be introducing a new section on my blog called Metro Chronicles. It’s about Evan and me and our adventures on the MTA in Los Angeles.

So just in case you’ve been wondering where I’ve been since the year’s end, here I am. I have some other things that I’ve been working on that will be coming out soon, and then I might be gone again, to work on some more. I’m so thankful to be doing everyday what I love.

By Loupy D

Lawrence Evan Dotson was born in Los Angeles, California. He decided early in life that he wanted to tell stories. He was a character who could entertain his two older sisters by staging his own version of a church radio broadcast that they would listen to on Sunday nights. His desire to perform followed him through grade school, and in his senior year of high school, a UCLA professor scouted and urged Lawrence to major in theater. Lawrence felt convicted to follow in the footsteps of his father, so instead of declaring Theater Arts as a freshman, he went in undeclared to sit out for a spot in the highly competitive Engineering Department. It only took one calculus class to convince Lawrence that Theater Arts was his calling and that he was going to achieve his goal of being recognized for his talents. While attending UCLA, he combined his interests in art and music and was one of the founders of the UCLA Jazz and Reggae Festival. He was on the Student Committee for the Arts, which put on the Jazz at the Wadsworth Series in conjunction with KKGO FM. Lawrence became more aware of social justice issues affecting the African American community on campus and became active in organizations that promoted positive change. He collaborated with students from other majors and formed the African Theater Collective, which promoted and produced plays from the African Diaspora. That action inspired a performance protest demanding the hiring of more black professors in the Theater Department, and tenure for longtime Professor, Dr. Beverly J. Robinson. The performance was based upon the subject matter that Dr. Robinson taught: the procession of the Black Theater experience in America as depicted through the development of the African slave from the plantations, to the pulpit, to the stage. Blessed with a wealth of knowledge and a rich experience from the University, Lawrence graduated and landed a job as an actor with University Express, an outreach program managed by a former student of Dr. Robinson. The troupe performed plays at Middle and High Schools that stressed the importance of continuing education. The job allowed him enough time to go on auditions, but after a year Lawrence burnt out on the acting treadmill. He met an editor for an underground Hip Hop magazine called No Sellout in 1991. Lawrence had his first article published in the second issue, an interview with L.A. DJ Michael Mixxin Moor. Lawrence began writing under “Loupy D”, coined from a childhood nickname. He wrote articles, reviews and commentary, and conducted interviews with some of Hip Hop’s top entertainers like The Notorious BIG, Wu Tang Clan, Erykah Badu and many others until 2003. In 2015, he earned an MFA in Creative Writing, after submitting a draft of a memoir based on his experiences growing up in post-Civil Rights Era Los Angeles. He's published an academic article, “Persona in Progression: A Look At Creative Nonfiction Literature In Civil Rights and Rap,” in Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies. He also served a brief stint as the music editor for the online writing journal Drunk Monkeys. In between writing stints, Lawrence has and continues to be an avid amateur photographer and independent film professional. He will be releasing books and videos of his work over time, just as soon as he figures out how to balance work life with the life of single parenting two sons.

1 comment

  1. Well done Loup.

    ag

    S. Adam Grant History Teacher Rosemont Middle School Glendale Unified School District (818) 248-4224 ext. 1304

    “Impossible is nothing.” -Muhammad Ali

    Google Classroom Codes: Period 1 *oaybheu* Period 3 *zg3o4fj* Period 4 *xggdf74 * Period 5 *mmxd6cp * Period 6 *lfuv4am*

    Liked by 1 person

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