HEADLINE: ‘Vino, Dino, Kino’ – The Wine, Dinosaurs and Movies of Actor, Businessman Greg Tally
My love of an audience started at birth. I had my “nuchal” umbilical cord tied in a knot doing acrobatic flips inside the womb. This can kill a kid. But my cord was so thick, it did not cut off my oxygen supply. There was a group of medical students observing my birth, and they applauded when the doctor slapped my butt and I began to cry. From my first breath, I had an audience and a standing ovation. Guess I’ve been chasing that moment ever since.
I was a ham growing up, loved pranks and jokes and puns. Would buy knock-knock joke books and dirty joke books and try out my material on the other kids during gym class. When the middle school bullies started picking on me, I kept them mostly as bay with either dirty jokes or cutting remarks. I was a pipsqueak, so rather than my fists, I had to fight back with a sharp tongue. Ten-year-old me learned most people would rather take a punch than look like a fool. So I became the class clown, a dreamy neurodivergent child with undiagnosed ADHD who would stare out the window during algebra class, unless provoked.
I attended one of those “Fame” schools, the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston, Texas. Beyonce’s alma mater. First in the media department, and later theater. It was a transformative experience. It not only exposed me to the arts, but began the process of pulling me out of a lily white, homogenous, upper middle class existence. I was around openly gay kids and people of color. HSPVA was a surprisingly woke oasis for Texas in the ‘80s. But it was the beginning of not only honing my performances, but having to check my privilege and assumptions, too.
I took thirty years off to move to Colorado, go to college, fall in love, get married, raise kids, build businesses. Along the way, my immediate family built a wine hotel in a vineyard in Colorado’s Wine Country and I became a certified sommelier. And ex-wife and I created a dinosaur-themed hotel, and helped save Nikola Tesla’s laboratory in Long Island from the wrecking ball. We supported STEM programs, sat on the board of the Morrison Natural History Museum Foundation, went on dinosaur digs. I got to pry Triceratops bones from the soil of Wyoming bone beds. Well, the dinosaur lifestyle attracted several agents, and pretty soon, we were developing a sizzle reel for a reality show with Craig Plestis, who later went on to produce “The Masked Singer.” It was our first serious foray into Hollywood.
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