July 31, 2013 —
Even as a child it was evident that I was never going to look like Prince Charming. “Can’t skate by on your looks,” my mother would advise and, “stop making faces, or it’s going to freeze that way, and you have enough problems.” (Thanks, Mom.) Despite admonishments like this and my father’s discouraging my “artistic temperament,” I’ve always had a fairly strong sense of self.
When I was five, I started performing (much to my father’s chagrin), was taking tap dancing classes by eight and had a Broadway show under my belt by 16 (it closed after three weeks and my dad breathed a sigh of relief), but the bug was firmly in place (thankfully, it was not a spider) and I sallied forth. Up until then, everyone knew me as “That Jon Fox” and it was not always a term of endearment, but... they all knew who I was.
After college I signed with a talent agency called “Funny Face” in New York City whose bread and butter was actors (like me) who were less than “traditional looking.” Although I still yearned to be considered for the leading man, I began to see the value of the “character actor” status, especially when the work began to come in. Bit parts, “comic relief” and sometimes just the face alone would bring home the bacon, but a few TV roles and national commercials (www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZ8lI0p3468 ) made me recognizable to the world at large, and I liked it.
As many of you know, once my ‘funny face” matured, and I no longer looked like a kid, the work slowed down to a crawl, eventually drying up altogether, which nudged me in the direction of writing about the world of Arts and Leisure, where I have (thankfully) enjoyed a fairly long run. Developing my own writer’s voice and personality, I settled into invisible anonymity. And then it happened. I moved to the glorious Upper Delaware Valley and was thrust into a tiny spotlight, becoming a “big fish in a small pond,” as my mom was fond of saying. (I’m working on a book of the same name and would love to finish it before I take my last breath... but I digress.)
Honestly, I practice humility as often as I can (www.kadampanewyork.org ), and while I really enjoy hearing comments from you all, there are times when my ego (darn, I still have one) is slightly bruised. While strolling the grounds during the Tim McGraw concert (www.bethelwoodscenter.org ) the other night, more than one country fan asked to have their picture taken. Happy to oblige, I was momentarily crestfallen when one young lady said “thank you, sir,” while another said “aren’t you Mr. Fox from The River Reporter?” Sir? Mister Fox? “Good Lord” I thought “When did I become Mister Fox? I thought he was my father!”
The show was fantastic, and up-and-comers Love and Theft and Brantley Gilbert were outstanding openers. I give McGraw a lot of credit, and he clearly is comfortable with his country superstar status, for lesser stars would hesitate to share the stage with these dynamos, who are (IMHO) destined for great careers. I had the opportunity to speak with Gilbert (www.brantleygilbert.com ), whose on-stage persona is that of a tough guy, but I got the sense that he is a “mama’s boy” at heart, which made him all the more appealing. Stephen Barker Liles and Eric Gunderson (www.loveandtheft.com ) were sweet, both on-stage and off, and I was taken by how giving all of the performers were to their fans, signing autographs, posing for photos and providing a night of country music that was epic in proportions. Yee haw.
On Sunday, the 23rd annual RiverFest took place in Narrowsburg, NY, and despite some gloomy weather, folks turned out in droves for the highly anticipated poster auction, phenomenal entertainment and local art vendors, showcasing what RiverFest has become known for. The River Reporter was on hand, of course, and I spent the day snapping pics of the community posing for an opportunity to be on our “Front Page.” To view, share and tag those photos, “like” us on Facebook and enjoy.
And then it happened. “Look honey!” one woman cried “It’s that guy who made the movie about fracking!” (www.gaslandthemovie.com ). I’ll say it again, not the first time and undoubtedly not the last, but I am not Josh Fox, and I’m fairly sure he would rather not be taken for me. There is one man out there who thinks I’m Jeff Foxworthy, consistently waving with a jovial “Hi, Jeff” every time our paths cross. Who am I anyway? I’m Jonathan Fox—good, bad or indifferent. And there is a certain person in Narrowsburg (you know who you are) who has been admonished more than once for calling me Josh (at least he doesn’t call me “sir”), so I’m hoping this addresses the issue. I won’t even go into being “that guy with Dharma the Wonder Dog.” That’s a horse of a different color.