Daniel Osman - Freak of the Week

  1. Who are you?  What do you do?  What is your line of work?  Tell your history in 200 words or less.

My Name is Daniel Osman. I own the Dream Away Lodge in Becket, MA, a former brothel and speakeasy in the middle of October Mountain State Forest where we serve delicious food and make music and merriment late into the night. I came to the Dream Away after a long, wonderful and totally unnoticed career as an actor, director and producer, working primarily in California, New York, London, Germany and the Berkshires.

2. How do you know Crispina?  Tell a story – how did you meet?  When?  Where?  Who introduced you?

I believe that (tho I certainly knew of Crispina ffrench – after all, the ffrenches were local legend) we first officially met when she and her now-spouse Chris S. started dating. Of course, Biggie (as we call him) had to bring his new sweetie by – either for approval or to show off. I believe that was our first official meeting. I officiated at their wedding ceremony, in fact (full disclosure).

3. Who/what has been most influential in your work?

Time and Circumstance. Life is a long and interesting (and sometimes deeply upsetting) journey, and mostly what I have learned is to breathe deep, move slowly and not overreact. At least that’s what I’m trying to learn. Most helpful humans to me over the years on that path are, in particular, Kristin Linklater, voice and acting teacher, who did, in fact, teach me to breathe, and Harry Hay, Radical thinker, gay philosopher and teacher, politico and hero who I had the good fortune to meet when I was 21, and who changed my life in radical ways.

4. If you could (you probably are) send(ing) a message to the world what would it be?

I’m only sending my message to that piece of the world that wants to hear it. There are places enough for everyone in this wide and weird world of ours, it is up to us to find the places we belong and the people we belong with. My message has a certain vibe to it, not really nostalgic, but a kind of living embodiment of a simpler time, more in touch with the earth and each other – keeping real the food, the music, the company. My message, I like to think, is a very connective human message.

5. When and how did you know to follow the path you have chosen?

Didn’t really have a choice – it landed in front of me as the path I’d been on came to an end. As my not-mom Marge says “One door closes so another one can open”

6. Where do you find your inspiration/motivation to continue?

Where does anyone find that motivation? Some days I don’t. Most days I get up and do my work. I live in a beautiful place, with two sweet dogs and two spoiled cats, I have a great staff I love who largely love me. I work very hard. And I’m luckier than most because I do something I love and believe in.

7. Aside from working, how do you spend your time?

I like to be out in the world. I love the forest that I live in. I love to spend time with my friends, I love to go out to eat and I love to travel, tho opportunities are rarer now than in my youth. And I still love the theater, tho from a more reserved perspective than in my previous life in the theater.

8. What is one of your fondest memories?  Why?

Well, there was that time I won the Oscar…

I remember in particular several beautiful occasions, mostly involving friends and food and wonderful connections. And wonderful reasons for celebrating: birthdays and weddings and publishing parties and opening nights. In selfish ways, I do in particular look back at recent productions of Joan Ackermann’s “The Big Picture”, a short one-man play written for me, and Jean Genet’s “The Maid’s” as being particularly well-timed in my life, wonderfully satisfying to perform, and wonderfully well-received by audiences and friends. I do feel a certain kind of hyper-aliveness when I perform….

9. Do you have a prized possession?  What is it?

So many! I have collected art for many years and cherish many individual pieces. I have inherited some wonderful and emotionally charged pieces from friends and family and have collected ritual objects and talismans from many cultures and many places. If I had to name one piece only, it would probably be my ring, carved out of antique ivory and set in silver by my friend Joby Baker, commissioned for me by my dear friend Tod Randolph and presented to me on my 40th birthday just as the Dream Away was becoming reality. It holds special juice for me and I rarely take it off.

 10. Tell about a magical moment that comes to mind when you look back on your life experience?

Again, so many! It has been a life thus far of adventure and discovery, and there have been many magic moments on the path. Perhaps the biggest surprise was in the purchase of the Dream Away itself – Mamma’s daughter Tess so understood my vision that she made me a deal that even a broke actor with no money and no prospects could manage. My father and the bank went along because the deal was so generous it would have been, in fact, foolish not to, and my life took a dramatic and exciting turn.

 11. If you were able to prepare a meal for anyone – dead or alive, who would it be?  What would you want to discuss with that person?  What would you serve?

Being someone who serves dinner a lot, this is a tricky question. I have always loved to entertain, have always cooked and made parties. I love diverse people from all walks of life passing through my house, and a remarkable number of them do. There are many friends from my past who I would love to welcome to dinner at my house – the Dream Away so expresses so much of me on so many levels, it feels like a great, on-going performance piece I use to express myself. It is a canvas upon which I scrawl my daily message and smoke-signal to the world from the top of Becket mountain.

 12. What is your favorite color?

Blue. In general. All shades.

 13. What place is your favorite travel destination?

Anywhere. I love to go new places, but I also love the comfort of familiar places. I love Mexico, I love England and Scotland. I love Hawaii. I would like to spend some time in Paris…

 14. What is a goal or focus for your next 12 months?

To feel more grounded and in control of my game. To reorganize my relationship to stress. To know that the machine I’ve built works and can take care of itself. To allow myself to feel successful. To rethink the possibility of relationship.

 15. How would you like to be different from who you are now, in 10 years?

I would like to trust myself more. I’ve been doing what I’m doing for a long time and I think I should have a greater sense of success than I do. I’m entering a Saturn return phase and lots of dead weight is dropping out of my life, but have I learned those lessons or am I to repeat the same mistakes again? The present is a period of uncertainty and self-questioning. I trust that in 10 years my world will look different.

 16. Paint a picture of your legacy.  How would you like to be remembered or thought of?

Hmmmm. Haven’t thought too much about legacy. I hope that, by the time I go, the lodge itself will be built, that artist’s residency and lodging will be happening, and that the Dream Away Lodge will shine like Disneyland on the mountaintop – a complete experience, totally different than anyplace else in the Berkshires and beyond, totally reflective of my original concept, central to Berkshire cultural and culinary life, a historical piece of the Berkshires carefully loved, nurtured and brought forward into our changing present and carrying with it a sense of who we are, where we come from and what we are capable of. It is a place of community and I hope it lives long in the very center of one…

 17. Do you have an upcoming event or significant happening that you would like to promote with your blog posting?  When?  Where? Details and contact information please.

The Dream Away Lodge serves dinner on weekends during the winter and early Spring, and Wednesday thru Sunday starting May 1. We do holidays and special events of our own (St Patrick’s Day, Seder, Easter, Cinco de Mayo and more) and private events (weddings, anniversaries etc.). There is live original music most nights and generally a good time is had by most.

Daniel Osman

Dream Away Lodge

1342 County Road

Becket, MA 01223

(413) 623-8725

dreamawaylodge@aol.com

Dinners Friday, Saturday and Sunday until May 1

Dinners Wednesday thru Sunday after May 1