When Dream Rockwell arrived in L.A. six years ago from New York City, she was a Canadian girl who shared the typical Hollywood dream of becoming an actress. A twist and a turn later, she ended up at the forefront L.A.’s underground Burner scene, fronting a performance collective, Lucent Dossier, which until recently held court every Wednesday at the glam throwback supervenue The Edison. Next week, August 14-16, the troupe will get in touch with its Goth side for Vampire-Con, which is exactly what it sounds like.
You’ve had a varied entertainment career — from working on Another World to touring with Motley Crue to doing an alt performance troupe. What’s the common thread — besides yourself — artistically in all these things? I think I have an amazing eye for detail, I think pretty far outside of the box, my brain is able to go in other places. I haven’t had that theory in my mind that I have to do one thing and stick to it. I kind of always wanted to taste, touch, feel, experience everything in life. If I was good at something, I didn’t ever tell myself that’s what I was good at. Or maybe I get bored easy.
Did you come to L.A. dreaming of being an actress? What changed? I did … I was signed with Three Arts Entertainment; they do Mike Meyers, and my point person was managing Heath Ledger. It’s a big management company. So I was working with them in NYC and they had suggested L.A. would be a better market, so I’d come here to L.A.. A string of unfortunate disasters, one tragic scenario after another happened that I don’t even talk about. The great thing about it, those tragic events — which at the time seemed like the end of my life — turned out to be the most perfect scenario to steer me to my true path, which is what I’m doing now. Acting wasn’t using my skills to the best of my abilities; now I get to use all my skills in one place. It was a great example to remember that when bad things happen, it’s actually divine intervention to steer you in a different direction. It didn’t seem like that at the time.
What is your next project? Our next project is here in L.A. We’re working on putting together a new show. It has some new elements, things we haven’t introduced before. We’ve been building it for a couple of months, and we’re looking for a location to put it in and hoping to be up in a couple of months. We’ve been flown out to New York a few times now and had meetings; we decided we all love L.A., and we just want to live here a little while longer … not ready to leave the sunshine and beach. I feel like there’s room here for a theater production, ongoing. Especially something a little more avant-garde … it’s super interactive. It’s a very different experience; it’s an actual tactile experience. We do foot and hand washing, tarot reading, where you read stones, and different performers in the troupe specialize in different interactive experiences. People that come to see a show get to sit down with one of the performers and have a one-on-one personal experience. That’s special and not going on anywhere else. I think it’ll work in this city. We had a residency here for a year, and we put 600 to 1,000 people through every week.
Describe your perfect L.A. day and night. I wake up and go to yoga — that’s one of my favorite things. I go to Power Yoga in Santa Monica, I just love it there. That’s usually the way I start my day every day. I’m at El Matador all day long. I’d go hiking in the Canyon, go down and watch the sunset in El Matador Beach, and go for a swim in the ocean. I’d start with yoga, go for a hike in the canyon, and eat raw food. That’s my perfect day. And hang out with some friends. If it was a Wednesday I would love to end my night at Agape — it’s a church I guess. On Sunday or Wednesday, they have services. It’s a place where the raddest people congregate. Between yoga and Agape I keep myself on the path. Because L.A. is big and there’s a lot of energy here. I need to stay on my game and stay focused.
You’ve traveled extensively around the world — what’s your favorite thing about L.A. nightlife? What I love about L.A. nightlife there is something in this city for everyone. There really is; I come from a very warehouse underground L.A. scene, before I found that scene when I first got here I was in the more Hollywood scene up on Sunset and hanging out in that kind of crowd, and then I went to Burning Man. And everything got tilted every so slightly to the left. I met up with a character, DJ Wolfie. At the time he was running the underground scene, and I got introduced to it and started my own production company with two identical twins, and we started the Do Lab together, throwing our events and parties. I ended up producing underground parties for a while, and Lucent Dossier came out of that. In L.A. there’s a mix of everything. Even now, I’ll bump into scenes of people, and be like, “where did you guys come from?” — like a fully developed scene I didn’t even now about. The other night on Sunset Boulevard, I was coming out of the Casbah Café, and it was like a Friday night, maybe 10, I see these guys cruising down street on a bicycle — 12 of them coming up to a red light screaming and yelling “no brakes”! They went right through the red light. Another 20, before I knew it, 500 more! Unbelievable, I had never heard anything about it, it’s a big scene.
I think that’s Critical Mass. I’m so into what I am doing and into my little bubble, and to see was mindblowing. I stood there and was like, I love L.A.. It was incredible, it was a beautiful spring evening back in April and I was like, fantastic.
What’s something that LA has that no other city has? Sunshine every day. For me, the beach. Night-blooming jasmine. Orange trees in people’s backyards. There’s so much of it.
What the best L.A secret you can share? When you’re going east on the 10 and heading downtown past the 110, if you take the exit that says 110 south and you stay in the change lanes, where you get on and off — if you stay in the right-hand lanes, you bypass it where it always gets all clogged up there, north on the 110. But if you stay to the right, you bypass all of that, and will be moving and cruise through. It takes you to downtown, if you wanna go anywhere in the Fabric District. You bypass all that traffic. I think the exit is Grand Street. I exit on Grand and you drive along 18th Street and get back on the freeway again at some point, if you want, and you miss the whole mess of the 10 and 110 going east on the 10. Give it a try. [Ed note: we did, it works!]
Where is the best taco truck? You’re vegan right? Can you dish on taco trucks? Oh yes, I can actually. Playfood. The guy who runs the taco truck is Taran Smith. He makes the most amazing vegan food. He makes vegan cheese. His specialty is making vegan cheese and vegan ice cream, and they are both incredible. He makes tacos off his vegan taco truck.
What’s the work of art — —film, book, or short story — that best represents Los Angeles? I was at LACMA last weekend and a friend of mine, a Lucent performer, he created this huge piece, the “La Divina Familia” — “The Divine Family.” A shrine built by him and his two children. It’s 20 years of their artwork put all together. Goldenvoice curated this exhibit for LACMA, they put up his temple and shrine. They grew up in Los Angeles. All artwork was inspired by this city. This whole outside is all found objects to create this most beautiful temple. His name is Brent Spears, but his nickname is Shrine. He built a temple at Burning Man last year. He designed the interior of the House of Blues. And he built this temple as an ode to 20 years of life. I think it’s an incredible piece of artwork.
Which movie star most exemplifies Los Angeles? For some reason or other I’m thinking Woody Harrelson. He talks like a surfer dude, he’s got that laid back California thing. He’s also super healthy, into yoga, raw foodist, is proactive on social causes. I’m gonna go with Woody Harrelson
What’s the truest cliché about Los Angeles I think the one true cliché is something someone said to me before I got here. If you come to L.A. and you don’t have a clear vision of what it is you are here to do, it’s a really easy place to get lost in. It’s a really important thing to have a direction and a specific vision of what it is you want to create for yourself in your life. There are a million distractions in this city and many ways to get lost. It’s important to have a powerful focus and intention.
Silverlake or Hollywood? Venice or Los Feliz? Toss up between Venice and Silverlake. What I do is put myself in the middle and live in Culver City because I couldn’t choose. If was going to buy a house, probably Venice. I love being near the ocean, but I love the scene in Silverlake.
Tom Bradley said, “People cut themselves off from their ties of the old life when they come to Los Angeles. They are looking for a place where they can be free, where they can do things they couldn’t do anywhere else.” What do you think? Yeah. Totally true. You can reinvent yourself in Los Angeles. You can begin again. They live their small towns and come here and be new again. I feel like society, along the way, stuffs you up in little boxes. Whatever you were in high school, that’s just the beginning of who you are. You are just a little seed. You haven’t begun to explore. You can come here and really invent yourself and be who ever you want and create your destiny on a daily basis. It’s definitely a city of opportunity. I never like it when people say, “Don’t ever change.” I’m gonna be a different person before the sun sets. Change is good.