A bright white moon shines at the center of a square photograph, rays of white light emanating from the center and illuminating concentric circles of blue, white, purple, and green surrounding it. It’s sometimes called a fairy ring.)
A fairy ring around the Wolf Moon on the night of January 25th, photo by Kim Baldridge

The show business

My heart is full. I recently returned to Portland after a fantastic work session with Ned Lott, an inspiring and dear animated film producer. It took place in beautiful downtown Burbank. Long story short, the spot where we recorded is a Disney studio, where two walls are covered by the signatures of some of the greatest voice actors of all time. At the top was my dad’s autograph from the time he spent there recording King Triton for The Little Mermaid. Providing voice to animation is my dream job and I’m working on getting in the booth more often. My work with Ned was all about singing in character. What a blast. I worked on Mrs. Fieldmouse, who sings Marry the Mole in the film Thumbelina. Carol Channing played the role in the film, and the songs were written by Barry Manilow, Bruce Sussman, and Jack Feldman. As fate would have it, my dad appeared in Thumbelina, too, which I didn’t realize until I researched the song for my work. There he was in the credits.

It’s impossible he’s been gone thirteen years. Just impossible. The day I left for home, my nephew and I had breakfast at my favorite Burbank hang, Basecamp Dinette, before he took me to the airport. I brought my latte punch card; although they are almost officially defunct, I remain a fan. I gave it to them for their archives. There are some hangers-on to that lost art of punch cards, my favorite being Broadway Books in Portland. Being at the Burbank Airport takes me immediately back to the day when my dad used to pick me up there, his folded New York Times under his arm, ink from the pen in his pocket often leaking onto his “very nice” — that always meant expensive — shirt. I’d divide my time equally between visiting my mom and dad during those visits. No matter how old I was — long story, epically short — they were often passionately jealous of one another. I loved taking my mom to Basecamp Dinette back in the day. I wish I’d been able to take my dad there, too. I don’t think I’ll ever NOT miss my parents when I’m in L.A.


A red rectangle on which at left a bright green dragon with a red mane opens his mouth to reveal sharp teeth. The text reads Year of the Dragon 2024, Lan Su Chinese Garden in English and Chinese calligraphy.)

Moving to Portland in 1988 changed my life in myriad ways, and as I touched down in LA, I felt a warm familiarity. The days there were warm and bright. While Portland and the Pacific Northwest have afforded me a rich experience of performance and life opportunities, when I’m in a VO booth in LA, there’s a different vibe that I adore. The network of actors and studios feels like family; I grew up in it, and at the same time, now, I feel as though I am a long-lost relative. This visit was especially tender as both of my parents passed in the winter months, my dad in February 2011 — my sister and I celebrated the anniversary of his death together this trip — and my mom in January 2021. Also, we recently lost Gary’s dear mom, my mom-in-law, in January, and his best friend in December. Holding space for our dear ones together is moving and important, and I continue to take comfort in marking this new Lunar Year, which draws toward celebrating The Chinese New Year. I just bought tickets to a Dragon and Lantern Viewing Evening at Lan Su Garden. A welcoming of the Year of the Dragon with an illuminated dragon procession.


“Howling Into the Unknown” made Marty Hughley’s Drama Watch in Oregon Arts Watch. In that article, we were mentioned alongside all sorts of exciting performances, including Portland Center Stage’s What the Constitution Means to Me, which I highly recommend! It closes on February 18th. SPOILER: The show ends with a brilliant young actor/debater sharing the stage with two of Portland’s own, Rebecca Lingafelter and Andrés Alcalá. I was at opening night and saw Divine Crane, who wowed me! Another art must-see, which I have yet to see — I plan to go this week because it also closes on February 18th — is Africa Fashion at The Portland Art Museum.

P.S. No one knows what they are doing in this life. Taking a phrase out of Dory’s playbook, “Just keep swimming!”