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DR. PHINEAS WAS BORN TO EDUCATE, ENTERTAIN, AND LIFT THE BAR FOR THE STUDENTS AS A HISTORIAN.Video – Why Steampunk Doc?
I have been in this beautiful, elegant Steampunk garb almost my whole life. I think if anyone is postured to explain this movement to the world, it is I. And for me, it is a delight to teach, entertain at conventions, appear on talk shows and create the Steampunk Imaginarium. To be there as an adult for the young people in this wonderful expression of their creativity and cosplay that means so much to them.
I have had a wonderful amazing 64 years of life experience to share….with travel in 92 countries, 15 motion pictures in Hollywood, 18 original theatrical pieces, 5 books, 3 musical CDs, and 45 years of educating young people.
My mother was an actress and she said during pregnancy I was dancing around so much she was either giving birth to an Indian warrior or Fred Astaire! I think she got both!
So at the age of 3, I went into full on dance lessons, tap, ballet, gymnastics, singing, violin, piano, and drum lessons. Every weekend she took me to do fancy dancing at Buffalo ranch in Akron, Oklahoma.
From ages 5 to 8 I appeared as a regular tap dancer on the Pinky Lee Show on television, with appearances on Howdy Doody, the Mickey Mouse Club. I even made guest appearances on The Lone Ranger, Jungle Jim. As I got older my piano skills really developed and I could play old fashioned rinky tink piano tunes. As a young teenager I was dressed up in a bowler and spatz and even a fake moustache, knocking out the tunes at the Long Branch Saloon in Dodge City, Kansas where they filmed Gunsmoke.
I will never forget being a fancy dancer in a film they were making called ” the Devils Dance” in Talaqua, Oklahoma and a huge tornado came through right while I was dancing up a storm in the central ring. A big Indian dancer grabbed me threw me in a ditch and laid on top of me to keep me from blowing away in the storm!
I guess what I am saying is I came from the Wild West and I started dressingSteampunk in the 1950′s as an actor and a performer. So at a young age I was going to New York, Hollywood, even Paris singing, playing piano, tap dancing in this style.
I was a child of the 60s so I went to Woodstock and followed the Beatles like other kids my age. I got a full scholarship to attend school at Berkeley so headed off for San Francisco. Not wanting to burden my parents, I put myself through college and held down 3 jobs. Rode my bike 10 miles a day to school and work. Lived in abject poverty but managed to carry a 4.0 average and Graduated Magna Cum Laude.
During my college years in the SF Bay Area I wrote, scored and produced 18 Broadway style shows which were produced at the Grace Church in San Jose, CA where I was Youth Minister. I got the kids off the streets and doing theatre. The old failing church had a beautiful theatre”what we created there was magical. In fact I called it ” Magik Reality”. I wrote and scored that show with a cast of 43, 18 original songs, directed it at the age of 19.viewview
When I completed my BA degree I got a Scholarship to study in India. I headed off to India where I studied yoga under the tutelage of the great Indian saint Sri Anandamayi Ma. The details of my life are in my first book Bliss Now, Select Books NYC. Yoga saved my life and my health. I completed my MCE at Madras University. I headed back to Berkeley to start on my Ph.D.
I was very thin being 6 ft tall and when I returned from India I weighed only 105 lbs as I had come through famine there. When I was walking in San Francisco one day in long flowing Indian clothing, the fashion diva Sabina saw me and signed me into her agency as a male model. I was so thin and tall the clothes literally hung off my cheekbones. I became a celebrated male model working for House of Dior in Paris and the house model of I Magnin in San Francisco appearing in GQ magazine and on fashion runways all over the world.
My cousin Cynthia Sykes was on her way to Hollywood to appear on Police Woman and St. Elsewhere so she took me to Hollywood and I ended up with parts on Young and Restless, and was featured in movies OOKid” with Corey Feldman, “Alexa” and “Out For Blood” with Lorenzo Lamas, in “Oakbay” I played a young Howard Hughes, ” The Ardvarks” Batman Forever”. I was also working as a set designer and consequently ended up doing designing for Bette Davis, Doris Day, Barbara Streisand, and Michael Jackson for their homes.
One night at a party for Wolfgang Puck, I met Tony Curtis. We became such great friends, he invited me to be on his production team and I worked with him on the last films of his life. I always play characters that are like Steampunks and old characters in a Western city; the piano player in a bar, the old shop keeper in a western town.
When Tony married Jill Vandenberg, I stood up with him. He asked me to move to Las Vegas so we could keep working together . I moved to Las Vegas with My buddy Tony Curtis 15 years ago.
In the year 2000 I had finished my Ph.D. At London University, Shefferton College. So I continued working in productions and teaching here in the Las Vegas area. A member of the Single Action Shooting Society I continued to work on Old Time Movies out at Bonnie Springs Ranch and Calico Ghost Town.
Five years ago, I noticed the transformation of some of my students at UNLV to Victorian clothes, top hats, monocles and goggles. I loved it. I told them I had been wearing that attire since I was a boy. They begged me to sponsor the Steampunk Group at UNLV they told me they couldn’t find one faculty member to back them up, that people laughed at them and they weren’t really welcome at Renaissance Faire…..they loved this genre of fiction but they felt sad and alone. I decided it was time to resurrect Dr. PHINEAS, a character I had once played.
I found students were dumbed down, most were not paying attention in class, texting and not assimilating their studies. My students could not even find London on the globe! They had never heard of Napoleon or Marie Antoinette!
So I resurrected Dr. Phineas started wearing my Steampunk Garb every day and they loved it! I was like a TV character an entertaining way to learn history and geography! They put away their cell phones, started to listen, and their brains became google!
I was named President of the Steampunk Guild and we got organized so we could have meetings, learn more about garb, enjoy tea and conversation with each, work on wonderful inventions, and travel to archeological sites and digs all over the world including Valley of the Kings in Egypt!