ERIC TRULES is a native of New York City and has been a professional in the performing, literary, and filmic arts for almost 5 decades.
He began his professional artistic career as a modern dancer with Shirley Mordine’s Dance Troupe in residence at Columbia College Chicago in 1970, and then co-founded Mo Ming, the nationally renowned Dance-Theater in Chicago.
Trules was one of the first federally funded CETA grant recipients in America for his dance work, which also received support from the Illinois Arts Council and the NEA.
Trules then returned to NYC in 1977 and founded and directed its Resident Clown Troupe, the Cumeezi Bozo Ensemble, a company which was: funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts, appeared at Lincoln Center and Town Hall, and toured Holland, Switzerland, and France in 1979. Trules created the concept and program of “Free Public Laughs” which brought the performing arts to alternative, under-served and ethnically diverse communities throughout the metropolitan area. He ran for mayor of NYC in 1977 against Ed Koch as clown candidate, “Gino Cumeezi” and finished 5th out of 4 candidates.
After studying with Lee Strasberg and working Off-Broadway as an actor in New York from 1977-82, Trules came to Los Angeles in 1983, where he is perhaps best known for his Solo Performance work. In 1988 he wrote his own one man show, DOWN…BUT NOT OUT, which he performed at both the Wallenboyd Theater and at Theater/Theatre in LA, and then went on to present it at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival where he was “shortlisted” by London’s Independent newspaper for its first annual Theater Award.
In 1990, he wrote and performed W(HOLES), another theatrical collection of monologues and dialogues – on the theme of Illness and Healing, also at Theater/Theatre in Hollywood, followed by IT’S THE DAY AFTER VALENTINE’S DAY in 1995, which he presented at the Hudson Guild in LA and again at the Edinburgh Fringe. In 2002-2003, Trules was an original member of the long-running theatrical anthology of monologues in Los Angeles called COCK TALES. And most recently, on January 17, 2015, he presented “An Evening with Eric Trules”, a program of original travel stories, at Beyond Baroque, LA’s historic and prestigious literary venue, produced by Eve Brandstein’s Poetry in Motion. (Available to see on YouTube)
As a writer and performance poet, Trules has been featured at many times at Beyond Baroque and in the LA Poetry Festival, and he has had his work published in national anthologies (along with the work of Allen Ginsberg and Charles Bukowski), and in The Los Angeles Times. He has also read his work on KCRW and KPFK radio and hosted “Theater Closeup” on KPFK. He has been editor and co-publisher of Euphonia, A Los Angeles Journal for Men, and he is an Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award Winner.
As a theatrical director, Trules studied directing with Lee Strasberg and Jose Quintero. He has directed theater at many of the best houses in Los Angeles including AMERICA’S FINEST by Burke Byrnes at the Wallenboyd and Back Alley Theaters in LA in 1986 and LINE, PLEASE, again by Burke Byrnes, 29 years later, at LA’s Odyssey Theater and Theatre Asylum Lab, in 2015. He also directed THE SLATER BROTHERS at the Powerhouse and Olio Theaters in 1982, and the Drama-Logue and LA Weekly award winning comedies WARHIT and MORE WARHIT at the Beverly Hills Playhouse.
Trules is currently a full-time Associate Professor of Practice at USC’s School of Dramatic Arts, where he has been a faculty member since 1986. In addition, he has been a Creative Writing Instructor for CSSSA at Cal Arts and a member of the Performing Arts faculty at UCLA Extension. In 1999, Trules won USC’s prestigious national Phi Kappa Phi “Faculty Recognition Award”, for his feature length documentary film, THE POET AND THE CON, and he gave the equally-prestigious, campus-wide “What Matters to Me and Why” lecture in 2004 and 2008.
In 2002, he was a Senior Fulbright Scholar in Islamic Malaysia for 8 months, just after 9/11, and from 2008-13, Trules was a Fulbright Senior Specialist in American Studies (Theatre), which brought him to Bucharest, Romania in 2010. His Fulbright work is presented on the TCG (Theatre Communications Group) website here.
As a filmmaker, Trules is a National Poetry Film & Video Festival award winner for his feature-length documentary film, THE POET AND THE CON, an autobiographical film about the relationship between himself and his uncle,
a convicted felon and a career criminal.
The film was completed in 1999, favorably reviewed and featured in the Los Angeles Times, (http://articles.latimes.com/1999/feb/19/entertainment/ca-9444), and it had a successful theatrical run at several of the Laemmle Theaters in Los Angeles. It has played extensively at both domestic and international film festivals and is currently available on both Netflix and Amazon ( http://www.poetandcon.com/ )
In Hollywood, Trules has worked as Director of Development for Patrick Wells & Associates, producer of the feature films, YOUNGBLOOD and I LOVE YOU TO DEATH. He has directed music videos, industrials, documentaries, and short narrative features. As a screenwriter he has completed several original screenplays, sold one to HBO which was produced and broadcast on Cinemax, and has adapted crime fiction writer Jim Thompson’s novel, KING BLOOD, into a feature length screenplay.
As a theatrical producer, Trules has presented theater festivals, dance events, and live performance in Chicago, New York, and LA, also for the last 45 years. As founder and Artistic Director of the SPOKEN WORD FESTIVAL (SWF), a Los Angeles non-profit, multi-cultural arts organization which produces and presents multi-disciplinary performance work to the inner-city, underserved LA community, Trules has produced 4 seasonal arts festivals in Los Angeles since 1990. He produced SOLO/LA in 1995 at CBS Studios Radford and SANTA MONICA FESTIVAL ’91, bringing together groups such as the San Francisco Mime Troupe, Latins Anonymous, and Cold Tofu for a two day multi-cultural celebration of the performing arts for the City of Santa Monica on the Santa Monica Pier. Receiving funding from the NEA, the California Arts Council, the LA Cultural Affairs Department, and the California Community Foundation, Trules produced WORD/LA, AN ORAL RESPONSE TO THE RODNEY KING VIOLENCE in 1992, a 5 site, City-wide program in response to 1992’s civil unrest, which was documented and broadcast on KCET, Los Angeles’ PBS affiliate.
In 2002, as a Fulbright Scholar in Malaysia, Trules began developing a new travel website and blog, “e-travels with e. trules”.
A literary, graphic, and pictorial site of “travelogues, rants, and reports from around the world”, the site has over 6000 “likes” on Facebook. Ranging in stories from Deadwood, South Dakota, in 1969 (shown in a humorous flash movie technique), to a cremation ceremony in Bali with Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon in 2000, to visiting with the Incas and llamas in Machu Pichu in 2003, to seeing images of Osama Bin Laden on the screensavers of his Malaysian colleagues shortly after 9/11, “e-travels” is an idiosyncratic and colorful site, establishing Trules as a popular presence in the era of cyberspace and blogs. In November, 2016, Trules launched his NEW TRAVEL PODCAST of the same name, “e-travels with e. trules.
Trules’ personal WordPress blog is “trules rules”.
In 2014, Trules began blogging for the Huffington Post and the Cultural Weekly, and in 2015, he presented “An Evening with Eric Trules”, a 90 minute solo show produced by Eve Brandstein’s Poetry in Motion” at Beyond Baroque, LA’s most prestigious literary venue.
Also in 2015, Trules gave a TEDxFulbright Talk called “The Train of Opportunity”, at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica.
The LA Times has said about Trules’ work: “Trules is an original. He turns his vivid writing into dark/comic lacerations building to the cosmic. His work reverberates with grit.”
And the Edinburgh Scotsman: “Trules is an accomplished writer; he has both a feel for contemporary idiom and a poetic imagination that echoes the great American playwrights.”
GRANTS, AWARDS, LECTURES, and CONFERENCES:
1975,76: CETA Grant, Chicago, IL,
1975-77: Illinois Arts Council grants
1979, 81, & 82: NEA Arts Exposure grant
1980: NEA Expansion Arts grant
1981 & 82: NEA Theater Program grants
1983: NEA Special Constituencies (Deaf, Senior, & Handicapped)
1980-182: New York State Council on the Arts
1991: Brody Grant from the California Community Foundation
1991: Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department (LACAD) grant for WORD/LA
1991-95: California Arts Council grants
1991: NEA Inter-Arts grant for the MCSWF: “New Projects”
1991: California Council on the Humanities “Challenge Match” grant
1992: National Poetry Film and Video Festival Award Winner
1992: Western States Regional Media Arts Fellowship
1992: Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award Winner
1994: LACAD grant for SOLO/LA
1994: LA County Music and Performing Arts Commission grant
1995: Pioneer Fund grant for THE POET AND THE CON
1996: Edwin & Catherine Davis Grant for THE POET AND THE CON
1999: USC Phi Kappa Phi “Faculty Recognition Award”
2002: Fulbright Scholar to Malaysia
2004: USC Distinguished Lecture Series, “What Matters to Me and Why”
2005: 12th International Conference on Learning, Granada Spain: “Personal Voice Storytelling Bridges the Global Divide, Changing the World One Story at a Time”
2006: Speaker at the American Leadership Academy, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
2008-13: Fulbright Senior Specialist in American Studies (Theatre) 2016: USC “Capstone” grant to create new Podcast, “e-travels with e. trules”
PROFESSIONAL TRIPS OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES
2014: Taught an international Theater Workshop in Improvisation and Solo performance in Jakarta, Indonesia
2010: Bucharest, Romania: Fulbright Senior Specialist in American Studies, Caragiale National Film & Theater Institute
2009: Havana, Cuba: Consultant on International Multi-media project, “The Closest Farthest Away”
2007: Beijing, China: Taught the LDTX Beijing Modern Dance Company, 8/07,
2006: Cochi, India: Researched Kathakali Dance, July-August, 2006
2005: Granada, Spain: Presented paper at 12th International Conference of Learning, July, 2005, Sponsored by USC and Learning Conference
2002: Senior Fulbright Scholar, East Malaysia (Borneo) & Kuala Lumpur, January-August, 2002 (8 months), Sponsored by CIES
1999: Screened “The Poet and the Con” in Jerusalem, Israel, July, 1999, Invited by Israeli Cultural Diplomats
1998: Premiered feature-length Documentary film, “The Poet and the Con” in Nyon, Switzerland,
Invited by Visions Du Reel International Documentary Film Festival
1995: Presented 1-man show “It’s the Day After Valentine’s Day” at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival
1988: Presented 1-man show “Down But Not Out” at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – Shortlisted for “Best Show of the Fringe” by London’s Independent
1979: Toured Holland, Switzerland, & France as Artistic Director of NYC’s Resident Clown Troupe, the
“Cumeezi Bozo Ensemble