We had the good fortune of connecting with Lennon Hobson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lennon, why did you pursue a creative career?
Simply put, I wanted to be a magic creator. I fell in love with dance when I saw the Sugar Plum Fairy at 3 years old. It was the first time I recognized that a real life fairy existed and could make me believe in magic. My parents caught on and they introduced me to the world of musical theater where I immediately related to the characters within. Everything from Hello Dolly to Singin’ in the Rain to Chicago, I latched on to those women and the dancing, and the magical spectacle of it all. My parents met in the film industry. My father is a composer and my mother was a film editor. They encouraged my older sister’s love of film and post production and she wanted to be a director and editor of film. Growing up in that household, it felt beautifully inevitable that I would turn into an artist. In a macro sense, I love how art is the mirror for society. I love how it can change stubborn ideologies. I love how it can make others happy and provide very real relief from the brutality of life. I pursue a career acting, dancing, and producing art not only because they are what bring me joy, but I’ve learned they are what bring my community joy. It can, and often does, have a huge social impact. I’ve also learned acting and creating is what I do well. It is a talent I’ve worked hard at honing and it is cathartic for not just me, the artist, but for those around me. My sister, the filmmaker, passed away from cancer when I was 22 and I owe a lot of my passion for film and theater to her. I knew early in life that everyone involved in this art — actors, dancers, costumers, set designers, lighting designers, directors, creative producers, and editors were my people, as they created magic and I have always wanted to be a part of it.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I do not think any artist goes into their line of work because it’s easy. Being an actor, you’re rejected, quite literally, on a daily basis. It can be a brutal industry with a lot of misinformation. Learning to protect yourself can be a challenge in and of itself and it takes hard work and discipline to have the perspective necessary to continue to create and stand up for yourself. It also takes letting go of inhibitions and allowing yourself to be vulnerable which can be incredibly scary. You have to be willing to fail and put yourself out there, and I can safely say I fail on a daily basis in the best way possible! Not all my ideas land, not all my performances are gold, and sometimes my creative endeavors end up being more of a lesson than a triumph. However, I always learn from my “failures” if you want to call them that. I’m definitely a person who isn’t afraid to take a risk and fall flat on their face. I do it often and sometimes very publicly and I can safely say, it’s been a helpful tool for me as a performer and also a creative producer. When the limiting fear of failing is removed, suddenly things seem exciting and purposeful and not scary. It’s not always easy, but it is rewarding. There are many artists born with genius and I recognize that, but I was not one of those. I learned the skill because I had a need, a desire, and a craving to do so. Dancing did not come easy for me, and it still doesn’t to this day. Growing up in classical ballet I learned very quickly that hard work and tenacity go a long way even beyond talent. I had to work incredibly hard on my dance technique to earn the roles I was cast in, and I have to continued to do that work in my acting career. One of the reasons I became an actor is because I was getting injured so often dancing full time, and it pushed me to look at the longevity of my performance career, and where my talents really shine. I had to learn to listen to my deepest intuition that I often ignored pushing me towards what I really wanted. It’s difficult to set myself apart in Hollywood, but I truly love creating, collaborating, and performing. That’s how my theater company, BoomStick Theater, came to be. We created a space for many different artists in LA to hone our crafts and showcase our talents in a setting where we made the rules. One of the biggest lessons I’ve come to learn is, there are no rules when it comes to art, so you might as well break the mold! The Covid crisis has taken its toll on our theater company with live theater on pause. However, in quarantine I did help create something I’m incredibly proud of with my talented friends, Rachel Rios and Curtis Waugh. Parker & Olive and the Pressing F*cking Issues is a comedic web series we made entirely in quarantine for youtube. It is exactly the type of creative project I excel in because it’s collaborative art where we are in charge and make up our own rules. It’s been a great way to showcase our talented community across the nation, even under difficult circumstances. Ultimately, we get to make content that makes us laugh, and honestly it keeps me working on my craft as an actor. It’s raunchy, feminist comedy that I love performing and creating, and it happens to be an incredibly practical creative exercise. While it can be a challenge to do over zoom, I’m proud of what we’ve done so far and I’m very excited to continue the journey for our second season while still navigating this transition out of quarantine.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I love the nightlife that LA provides! I’m a theater kid at heart and LA has a ton of hidden gems for live entertainment: improv shows, drag shows, open mic nights, and comedy clubs which are all great ways to spend a weekend evening with friends! I would start with taking my friend to Sassafras, which is a bar in Hollywood themed like a New Orleans Southern jazz bar. It’s a great place to get unique cocktails or listen to some amazing live music. But for a real musical treat, I would take them to the Walt Disney Concert Hall where you can experience some of the best acoustics in LA! If I want to take them to a live musical, play, or even ballet, there’s the Ahmanson. I used to have season tickets and it’s a great way to see a current show without breaking the bank. On another side of the spectrum, this is Hollywood and I’m a millennial who grew up reading Harry Potter, so I love taking out-of-towners to Universal Studios for a glass of butterbeer and to fly around Hogwarts. Plus the studio tour is always fun for non-industry folks. I’m not sure how I’ve gotten this far without mentioning Disneyland so we would do that too! I could give a lecture on why it’s cool, but the truth is, since fairies are what got me into understanding art, I can safely say Fantasy Land is what ignites the magical child within me. The park feels like an LA child’s rite of passage and I feel recharged after a long day there with my friends. Finally, after I’ve exhausted my guests with theme parks and theater there’s my go to date: A locally owned Café, a walk on the beach, and ending with a night at the movies! Specifically, I would take an out-of-towner to M Street Café in Studio City for a matcha green tea latte since they always display a showcase of local artists’ work, then I’d drive them out of Hollywood for a long walk on the beach, and then cap the evening with a movie at the Arclight in Sherman Oaks. I truly am a west coast California girl at heart.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are so many people in LA I owe my achievements to. My friends who co-created my current web show with me, Parker & Olive and the Pressing F*cking Issues, also deserve a lot of credit. Rachel Rios, writer, co-star, creator, and Curtis Waugh, director and editor, are two people I feel lucky to call close friends and colleagues. I would not have wanted to work with any other creatives on a project like this during quarantine. Rachel and Curtis are largely in my life due to Huck Walton, a person I consider to be an adoptive big brother, who always makes me dream bigger and never ceases to stoke the fire within me to create. I work a lot with Huck’s company Accidental Jacket Entertainment, co-owned by Sean Keller, making film and web content, and I’m always humbled when they ask me to get involved. My significant other, Bryan Forrest, has also had an impact on me in how I interact as a professional. He’s and actor and producer who has made me more compassionate and understanding in how I work with others and he’s also taught me how to write my own contracts. Simplistic as it may seem, it was an incredibly important skill to learn as an independent contractor given that the business side of art can be really difficult to negotiate. Someone I should also note is Jackson Kendall. He is my business partner and together we started a theater company, BoomStick Theater. He challenges me everyday to be an artist with integrity and a leader and I couldn’t be any of that without him. My dance mentors from the Santa Clarita Ballet Academy where I spent my childhood training in ballet deserve huge accolades for teaching me what commitment and professionalism look like. My college mentors at Loyola Marymount University deserve high praise as they taught me what it meant to be a performer and artist. Professors Kevin Wetmore and Rosalynde Loo taught me to challenge the status quo and to be truthful in my art and I think about them whenever I create.
Eric Anderson, Enygma Portrait Photography, Joy Tenenberg-Cook, Timmy Cole