Tattoos, Talent and Teleprompters

Dave Navarro is probably best taken raw, unfettered and unscripted, but he still did an excellent job of reading a script. No one would have guessed it was the first time he read from a teleprompter. Navarro's arched eyebrows and challenging stare were imprinted in my memory, but I had never thought about his career until I operated his teleprompter for the Season 2 Finale of Spike TV’s Ink Masters Live.  Before I turned up for the rehearsal, I was told that certain people were touchy and I might be ditched from the job.  This did not make me feel good.

In preparation, I started reading Navarro’s book, “Don’t Try This at Home.” I thought perhaps if I got in tune with him, I might be able to help the show run more smoothly.  Soon, though, I realized that I’d best not try this at home or anywhere. 

“Since the option of death was always available, I had nothing to lose,” Navarro says early in his book. “If somebody came over and spilled a glass of wine on the couch, I could always kill myself.” 

Thank God, I thought.  This man understands the futility of striving and this job might actually be fun.  But I was no match for Dave Navarro and anything short of perfection was unacceptable to him, at least in terms of teleprompting.  Shortly before the live show began, I wished that the option of death were—in fact—a little more available.

When the first rehearsal began, Navarro’s microphone was not turned on so I heard nothing for around two minutes.  This was long enough for him to decide I was not up to scratch.

Trust No One, Dave Navarro

Navarro always wanted to have the next script item waiting in the screen so he knew what was coming next, and could go there in case he had to jump out early.  During the dress rehearsal, a producer insisted that I blank the screen and wait to jump past several items, which she wanted to hide. 

“Dude, the screen can never be blank,” said Navarro. 

Then, he turned to his floor producer.  “I think we need to get a new prompter,” he said.

She murmured something to him and we carried on.

When the show went live, Navarro carried it along with energy and charisma.  Nobody noticed I was there, which is the best I could hope for.

Dave Navarro and Tatu Baby at the after party, which I definitely was not invited to

Back at home, I continued to read Navarro’s book and learned about the photo booth he installed in his home, his stalker, his hypothesis that, “The only people who stay in your life are the ones you pay,” his obsession with billboard celebrity Angelyne, the untimely death of his mother, his break with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, his addictions and his bands, Jane’s Addiction and Camp Freddy.  

If it hadn’t been for Ink Master Live, I never would have thought about these things.  Even if he wanted to replace me, I’m glad I got a glimpse into the world of Dave Navarro.


Sun Myung Moon with Hak Ja Han Moon during 1972 trip to Britain, before he was banned from visiting the country and 18 years before I heard of him

Since Reverend Moon’s death last month, I have learned that the “True Family” held even more secrets than I imagined.  Although I parted ways with the Unification Church many years ago, I am still intrigued by the Church's myths. Public figures are entitled to protect their secrets. But when they espouse the values of purity and eternal monogamy between couples, people can’t help but be curious to hear that these people don’t live by the values they require of others.  The Unification Church's explanation is that when Reverend Moon's family members don't follow the rules of their own theology, it is either because of God’s will or because the church membership has failed to support them adequately.

There are sites that specialize in exposing the secrets of the Unification Church, such as How Well do you Know Your Moon, and Frequently Asked Questions to Share, but—unless I speak to those involved—I'll leave the commentary to those who have. There was a recent (three hours long) question and answer session with Hyung Jin Moon, the new leader of the Church in which many of the allegations were discussed.

Reverend Hyung Jin Moon at the Hammerstein Ballroom in September

I learned about the secrecy of the Church early on.  In the week prior to joining the Unification Church, while studying their theology in the Principle Study Center in London, the identity of the organization was not revealed to me until after I decided to join.  When I went out raising funds for the church, I was asked never to mention the Unification Church and instead say I was raising money for “relief work.”  I didn't always follow this advice, and in one of my reckless moments, I went up to Janet Street Porter in Heathrow Airport and asked if she would like to give me some money for the Moonies.

“No, I would not,” was her disgusted reply.

When I started witnessing for the Unification Church, I was told never to mention the organization until necessary.  My first student of the theology, a towering young Scotsman, insisted on knowing who we were.  When I told him, he ripped the front pages out of our guest book and stormed away, copper hair flaring in the cold sunlight.

We all have secrets.  In writing my memoir, Holy Candy, I decided what to disclose simply by thinking about how it would feel to say something.  If it felt bad, I didn’t do it.  If it felt like relief, I went ahead.  Sharing a secret can make one feel more detached from it, as if it were part of a story that one no longer has to be a part of.

Picture of my wedding at Seoul Olympic Stadium

Making stories of our lives closes certain chapters, making space for the new.  The epic tale of Reverend Moon’s life—at least in the physical realm—has come to an end, but the tales that will be spun from his empire continue to evolve.  I look forward to learning what the next episode will be in the life of the Unification Church that he created.