We had the good fortune of connecting with Linda Kaye and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Linda, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
Shortly after graduating from high school I began pursuing a career in acting. I spent the first 10 years developing my theatrical craft by performing in small theaters, and studying acting and training in all forms of dance. During this time I also acquired the operatic skills needed to project my voice, while also crafting dramatic and comedic art forms, in addition to learning the techniques of improvisation. One could say I was a triple threat! Despite this training, and since no parts came to forward my career, I quit cold turkey and returned to college to obtain degrees in Psychology and Social Work: a guaranteed profession, which actually paid a decent wage! I went on to enjoy a successful and fulfilling 30 year career in social work, specializing in the medical and psychiatric arenas, with additional work as a professor in the Masters program at the USC School of Social Work. However I began to feel an itch to return to the stage, only this time to the stage of poetry.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Working in social work caused a great deal of angst to build up. It is a field fraught with pain and tragedy: so much illness and death, the travesty of mental illness, the sins of poverty, plus witnessing what the devastation of disability can reign on an individual and a family. I grew desperate to relieve myself of the horrors that filled my mind with its affects on my body and soul. Poetry gave me that outlet, that forum and artistic platform to release my pent-up energy into the wind. I decided very early in this new journey to also create a platform for other poets to share this stage with their hearts and souls. I would go on to produce over 25 poetry shows around Los Angeles, in coffee houses, backyard salons, art galleries, as well as at the famed Beyond Baroque and historic Southwest Museum, and my art and vision continued to grow. I am so incredibly proud of “Border Poets”, my documentary short film inspired by the news of the 2016 election, where poets and musicians came together to be filmed at the border wall at Tecate, Mexico by the U.S. border. Yet I was still not done. After 2 years in production, I helped to create the music and poetry collaboration, 20 Years Left. This was an ambitious project with mature and seasoned performance poets of a “certain age” who realize what they have: 20 Years Left! Twenty years left of living, loving and making art. We are accomplished folks who have accumulated our own individual histories, yet with still more goals and desires as we embark on our next, and perhaps final, chapters.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Everything and anything desired is all right here in North East Los Angeles. NELA!! Eagle Rock, Glassell Park and Highland Park is where it’s at y’all! Cruising down Figueroa Street anytime of the day and you will see the bustling of youth dressed in the latest fashionable attire, with OG locals strutting the streets wondering who are all these newbies infiltrating their historic Highland Park core, changing what was once a gang infested territory. New eateries have sprouted all along the street. Hippo, Otono, Jeff’s table in a repurposed liquor store, Kitchen Mouse, HomeState, Triple Beam pizza and Mason’s Dumplings. All favorably reviewed, and all with wait lines out the door. Just mentioning these fabulous eateries makes my mouth water! Folks can hang out and drink at ETA with happy hour oysters, or drop into the local barber shop with a secret door in back only to discover the Blind Barber bar with great DJ tunes, excellent drinks, food and a dark mysterious atmosphere. Then cruise down to the once legendary and formally Mr. T’s bar, now the Highland Bowl for on tap old fashions while watching bowlers and hipsters play. Yet Figueroa is not the only street where the action is. A few blocks north is York Ave., with its own great eats, music venues, shops and chic atmosphere, and always a happening spot day or at night. Plus there are still the local show of low riders cruising on Saturday nights with The York bar hosting a great jazz scene on Sunday’s.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Finding my voice came from years of study and learning how to navigate the world through a humanistic lens. The lens developed by the theorists and teachers of psychology. For example, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs taught me that to become successful one must master each stage from the physiological (housing having a stable home) to self actualization (the development of self esteem and respect, i.e., self worth) to be happy. Once I quit acting and went to college, I felt better about myself, became financially stable, started a hugely successful social work career well known throughout the Los Angels medical community, married and had a family. It was the best decision I could have made. It allowed me to be “all that I could be” a statement coined by Carl Rogers, and of course adopted as the motto by the Army! Carl Rogers believed that “all people possess an inherent need to grow and achieve their potential.” Self actualization thus motivated me to get back into the performance arena. And I give credit to the The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz that states we must always do our best, even during those times when we don’t feel good, and are struggling, to be impeccable with your word, by always speaking with integrity, To never make assumptions by having the courage to ask those difficult questions that reveal truths we may not be ready to hear, and the big one- to not take what many people project, personally Must not forget my favorite theorist, Freud, that to allow the repression of our fears which are suppressed without acknowledging its existence can stifle our ability to fully actualize, thus inhibiting the beautiful gifts we posses and the joys and love that we can share with others in our life. My favorite motto is “it’s nothing until it’s something!” And the Dali Lama’s Instructions for Life #5 “learn the rules so you know how to break them properly” has forever given me the strength to move ahead without fear, to ignore judgement, to live life to it’s fullest and to suck the air out of every minute!
Facebook: Linda Kaye
Youtube: Linda Kaye Poetry
Other: The latest review of my show 20 Years Left (so proud!) https://thehollywoodtimes.today/20-years-left-new-show-performance-poetry-music/