How can an actor possibly make a living working out of Austin, Texas? Perella has managed very nicely, thank you, and the answer makes for hilarious reading.
Perella is the kind of actor who plays characters with names like "Cop #2" and "Anglo Father." That is to say, you've seen him a hundred times and didn't even know it. Having chosen to stay at home in Austin, he may have foregone the possibilities of fame and fortune in New York and Los Angeles, but he actually makes a decent lining in Texas working in major-budget films, indies, commercials, and industrials.
Granted, he occasionally has to play a Greek Philosopher-King at the Dell Computers Christmas party, or a truck driver in a commercial for a motor-oil additive, but he seems to have a heck of a lot of fun.
Still, it's something of a stretch to call this jerry-rigged reminiscence a memoir; in her foreword, the author's long-time friend Molly Ivins notes that Perella used to regale his friends with letters full of the very stories that went into this volume - which does tend to read like a series of amusing notes from an old drinking buddy.
The author is a charmingly self-effacing guy, with a suitably glib line of professional-Texan patter, honed to perfection by many years toiling as an actor. Happily, there is very little phoniness in his character, and his account is notably devoid of nostalgia for the great "art" in which he is engaged. But he also has a hard-won pride of craft that results in a delightful, quick read with some sidesplitting anecdotes (about such career lowlights as the most disastrous performance ever of A Streetcar named Desire, a turn with PBS's literary dog Wishbone, and a bizarre week in New Orleans working at a convention of computer geeks).
Lightweight but good fun, written with wit and affection.