Hi, it’s Mark, creator of Heroteer.org, with a long overdue and possibly rambling update. Sorry. Clearly we did NOT feed 56k hungry in LA Thanksgiving 2012. But I did try to do something with the resources available to me. As a working artist in Los Angeles, I helped serve free thanksgiving meals organized by an NGO in the Echo Park neighborhood. Dozens doesn’t equal 56,000. I’m not very impressed with me.
But then I’m no Bill Gates, Angelina Jolie or Oprah. Managing significant resources like a Warren Buffet or a Donald Trump is not a daily concern of mine. Truth is, I’ve been in survival mode since 2007, when I abandoned a collapsing mortgage industry I was never really into and pursued my heart’s desire to entertain. Frankly, I’m looking forward to when I can next visit my son. Life circumstances forced me to put Heroteer.org on the back burner as I focused on my work as a performance artist.
Now it’s three years later. My career enjoyed a few interesting events since 2012 as an actor with few lines and with my survival street performance act stroke one-man improv & stand up comedy workshop, Vegas 90210. Some intriguing people and organizations (from Tom Cruise to Thomas Lennon to the LA Times and Amnesty International) seem to be paying attention to what I do or at least what I tweet. If only my tweets garnered SAG-AFTRA principal pay …
I’ve had time to reflect. I realize that my highest & best use is to entertain and possibly connect people. I have no formal theater training. I was kicked out of college. Yet people seem to want to pay for me to entertain more and more, and doors have been gradually opening for me in the industry, almost as if I was following an apprentice path.
I’m now living and working in Las Vegas. People here are also hungry and homeless. Las Vegas can afford to build new luxury casino resorts. But somehow the resources run dry in the desert for those without the means. And so underneath Fabulous Las Vegas live those who cannot afford a home, substance abuse treatment or health care. Even children.
There’s still so much to be done. I realize many wonderful people have given of their time, resources and influence to “give back”. In acknowledging such generosity, it can still be said with all due respect: apparently it ain’t enough.
So how can Heroteer.org help? The subversive journalist within me, the one that motivated me to publish an independent student newspaper and refuse to shut it down, encourages me to take the next steps with my idea of the “heroteer”.
Can I dig deeper with the definition of “Heroteer”? Beyond the obvious. Here’s the original definition:
to freely offer, without condition, to courageously tap one’s inner hero to help another human survive and become a hero as well.
Too many individuals and organizations, in my opinion, give with transparent or implied strings attached. That’s not charity. That’s slavery. We can do better. I choose to see the good in many, even the “hero” inside. Not just the hero saving the day, but those they allege to be saving. Are we truly encouraging the hero within those we claim to help? Or are we creating dependency, mental and emotional disease or worse?
Can the definition of “hero” include where they fall in their situation in life? Do they identify their daily life with “survival”, “success” or “significance”? How do others see them? How should we as a culture hold them to specific account? To me this suggests crowd-sourcing data. In other words, a social network. Surely this has already been done to a degree. But then again common sense and reasonable assumptions might dictate that stats on police shootings exist. They have not, which is why The Center for Policing Equity was created just seven years ago. Yes, a mere century after J. Edgar Hoover founded the FBI.
So perhaps a Heroteer.org helmed by this Eagle Scout lunatic subversive entertainer might not be so redundant after all. People are now getting their news from John Stewart, Stephen Colbet and John Oliver. Now more than ever. In evaluating the heroes and that for which they might volunteer, can we better link the metrics, the organizations, journalistic endeavor and people in a position to make a significant difference? I think we can. And we can have fun doing it. I’d like us to heroteer up.
So here’s my plan for Heroteer.org, as I have time and resources: to conduct further research, develop the definition and create the social network. I may not be as charming as Marc Maron, but maybe I’ll interview some serious folk in journalism and causes along with comics, actors, musicians, magicians and other Hollywood and Vegas folk on my new podcast. I also plan to recruit and coach heroteers with Acts4Biz.com, where I encourage business and high net worth individuals to act with “less evil” and “more art”. It’s time for polite company to avoid calling a spade a spade. This artist believes it is possible to shame and entertain the wealthy and powerful to behave better. Less 60 Minutes, more Don Rickles. An ongoing roast, perhaps. Less crying and cultural stagnation. More laughing and human progress.
If it doesn’t work out, I can still wear the short shorts and tactical leg warmers.
Your constructive feedback is warmly welcomed.