Johnny Caps 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s, Conventions, dancing, Galyn Görg, Judgment Night, Lionel Richie, Live-Action, Living The Blues, Parks and Recreation, Point Break, RoboCop 2, The Jacksons, Twin Peaks, ZZ Top 0
In November, I reached out to actress and dancer Galyn Görg about an interview. Galyn Görg is a versatile talent as both an actress and a dancer, and she had achieved fame on two continents. In America, she appeared in music videos for talents like Lionel Richie, ZZ Top and The Jacksons, and has made memorable appearances in movies like RoboCop 2 and Point Break. In Italy, she became well-known as a dancer and television host. On December 13th, I interviewed Galyn about all those things and more, and I hope you all enjoy getting to know this wonderful talent.
Say hello to Galyn Görg!
Johnny: Hello, Galyn.
Galyn: Hi, John.
Johnny: How are you?
Galyn: Good. I called right on time. I love when I’m right on time.
Johnny: You did. Thank you for taking the time to speak to me.
Galyn: Definitely, of course.
Johnny: Alright, I have my questions ready to go. I always start with these two. First, what were your pop-cultural likes growing up, like favorite movies and music?
Galyn: The first thing that pops into my mind are TV shows. Of course, the original Star Trek was one of my favorite shows. In terms of television, I used to like Bewitched and I Dream Of Jeannie. I liked those shows for the magic, and Star Trek for the sci-fi, as well as The Twilight Zone. In terms of music, because I’m a dancer, my mom used to play a lot of Stevie Wonder. My father was very much into the blues, so there were a lot of rhythm and blues. I also liked Michael Jackson, being a dancer, Sarah Vaughn and BB King because of my dad. I liked a lot of dance music and Bob Marley, and I liked The Beatles, as did my mom and dad. We also liked Ella Fitzgerald, Janis Joplin, Harry Belafonte, Pete Seeger, Chambers Brothers, Earth, Wind and Fire, Buffy Sainte-Marie and Jimi Hendrix. When I was young, the Marlo Thomas-produced album Free To Be You And Me really impacted my life. Those are what come to mind.
Johnny: Okay. To my next question: What were your high school days like?
Galyn: I was not very interested in high school too much. Because we moved around so much, I was kind of what you would call a loner. I wanted to get out of school and go to dance class.
Johnny: So you started out as a dancer. What inspired you towards entering that profession?
Galyn: That was because my mother took dance classes. She was a model, an actress and a dancer. We lived on the big island of Hawaii, and she took me to a West African dance class when I must have been around 9. It hit me like it was home. I was like, “Wow!”. It was magic.
Johnny: Plays like A Chorus Line and movies like Fame, the TV spin-off of which was one of your first acting jobs, portray entering the field of dance as stressful and strenuous. Were those projects accurate reflections of your early days as a dancer?
Galyn: Yes, those are very accurate. I started studying after I took the first class. I studied ballet, and then when we moved from Hawaii to Los Angeles, I was on scholarship at the top studio at the time, which was the Dupree Dance Academy. I had a scholarship to The Professional Dancers Society, as did my sister Gentry. I have three sisters, and two of them are professional dancers. I was on scholarship, and it was intense. We had to take three classes a day. Ballet, modern, jazz, tap…It was very intense. Those movies are accurate.
Johnny: Alright. What forms of dance have been easiest for you to master, and which ones have been hardest?
Galyn: I think of all the styles that I’ve studied, ballet has been very focused. Now it’s contemporary, but there was a lot of jazz and lyrical jazz. Tap was equally challenging. I did a lot of Brazilian samba, and I do a lot of West African now. I don’t think any of them have been easier. All of them have been very challenging, but they’re just very different. I’ve loved each of them. They’re all very challenging, because you want to get the technique, the lines and the very styles of the teachers, and at the same time, you want to flow and be loose. Even in ballet and West African, you want to get the technique and have the core strength and be grounded, but you also want to be loose and free and add your own style to it. I don’t know if any of them have been easy. All of them have been quite challenging, but now I’m really focused on West African, and that is a study.
Johnny: One of your first jobs as a dancer was the video for Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long”. What was it like to be working on that video?
Galyn: That’s right. That was one of my first videos. I think I had just gotten off scholarship. You know, the great thing about working on that video was they had promised to pay us a certain amount of money. There were a lot of people, dancers and actresses. Lela Rochon was in that video. We were working into the night. I think we were shooting at a studio in Culver City, California, and we didn’t know that song was going to be a big hit. Hours into the shoot, we were told, “You guys are going to get paid this amount”, and we were like, “What? This is just not right. This is not what you guys promised us”. Myself and another dancer, Robin, went over to Lionel Richie’s trailer, and we knocked on the door. We explained to him that “they had promised a certain amount of money, and now the production company was trying to pay us a lower amount. We didn’t think that was fair, and we wanted to appeal to you if you could assist us, the dancers. We want to make more money, Could you please rectify this and make this right?”. Lionel Richie, right away, went up and took care of it. He spoke to the people who handle it, and made sure we got what we were promised. The video was great, and working with him was really fun. Everybody was having fun, so the video was pretty accurate. We were having a blast on that shoot. Lionel Richie stood up and handled that for us. In one shot, you see me on the side dancing. In another shot, I’m not featured and WAY in the back, there’s me and another dancer. We were stretching our arms and jumping up, trying to be in the shot. It was a lot of fun, and I love the memory of Lionel Richie standing up and being so cool to the dancers like that. It was very cool.
Johnny: Definitely. Another music video you appeared in was ZZ Top’s “Sharp Dressed Man”, playing one of the women at the dance club. I loved the look of the club in that video, and the look of dance clubs in 80s entertainments. How accurate was that video to the parties you went to in the 80s?
Galyn: Yeah. I was dancing in that video with Peter Tramm. That was my first video, actually. I wasn’t even aware of what I was doing. It did have that element of a party in the 80s because, gosh, we used to go to a lot of dance parties and dance a lot at clubs and house parties. Because of Flashdance and all those movies, there was definitely a real appreciation for dance and parties. That song was both rock and pop, and all these genres were coming into mainstream pop culture. R&B was coming in, too. There was a lot of, I guess, celebration and dance. It definitely had the feel of that time. I’m pulling and pushing him onto the floor. “Come on, let’s dance”. There was definitely an energy happening.
Johnny: Yeah. Wikipedia says that you worked with The Jacksons. I think I saw you in the video for “Torture”. Am I correct in that?
Galyn: No. I’m actually in a video for a song they did called “Body”. (Singing) “Girl, I want you body. Yeah, I want your body”.
Johnny: Oh, okay. As you mentioned being a fan of Michael Jackson growing up, what was it like to be working with him?
Galyn: I was working with his brothers, and I can only say good things about them. I remember being on set, which was just relaxed and easy. I remember an after-party at an apartment building, I believe, in Century City. Everybody was hanging out, and then when I was working on Italian television, Jackie was in Rome and we did some pictures for a magazine. We were at a club with my sister in Italy. He and his brothers were all very nice, cool and easy…Just really relaxed. It was a good time hanging with them, shooting a video and then partying afterwards. It was a good experience, and I only have nice things to say about The Jacksons.
Johnny: Okay. When it comes to your television work in Italy, what’s the difference in television between Italy and the United States?
Galyn: One thing I remember is that we had rehearsal from Monday through Friday. We were producing a live show on Saturday night. It wasn’t taped-to-live or three-minute delay. It was LIVE. It was the most popular show in Italy at the time. We had millions of viewers. The work ethic was so different. We would be at this studio rehearsing. Myself and another dancer, Lorella Cuccarini, were showgirls.
Galyn: During the week, we’d be rehearsing, and then we’d take a lunch. In the U.S, you take a lunch for 30 minutes or maybe an hour if you’re lucky., but I remember these lunches where we’d have food and wine, and it would just be so much more relaxed. At lunch, we had wine because it was part of the culture. It helps you digest your food and relax. We had these lengthy lunches, and then we’d go back to work, and everything got done. The choreography was all done, and we’d go in the studio and record the songs. It was definitely much more relaxed. There was stress and tension, too, but I just remember the lunches being laid back.
Johnny: Alright. From music to movies we go: In 1986, you played Mana Brown in a movie called Living The Blues, a project you’re very proud of as it’s highlighted on your official website. What made that movie so special for you?
Galyn: My dad directed that film. He directed it because of his love for blues music. We shot that around the streets of Los Angeles, and on location in L.A. Working on an independent film, working with my dad and shooting in L.A was home. It was part of my upbringing, growing up in L.A and Hawaii. i was working with my dad and my mom in that film. She played my mother, and that was really a labor of love. To this day, my mom and dad are still together and have a good relationship. To this day, everyone in the family repeats lines from the film. It’s become part of who we are. There were so many great actors in the film. We had great experiences shooting in L.A. It was a labor of love. Working with my dad was so great. I enjoyed working with him as a director. He was really patient with me because I had never done that big a role in the movie, and he was taking his time and making me and the other actors feel comfortable on camera. The schedule on an independent film like that was intense, though, and some of those days were 14 or even 16-hour days. If your dad’s directing and there’s family involved in the film…I actually carried things to the truck once in a while. Of course you just have to help out when family’s involved. It was intense that way.
Johnny: Okay. Your time on Italian television led to a 1988 movie called Dance Academy. What’s your favorite memory of that project?
Galyn: Well, dancing with Steve LaChance. He was my partner on the Italian television show. Debbie Allen used to call him in regularly to dance on the Academy Awards. He was phenomenal, and working with him as a dancer on that was one of the highlights. The director, Ted Mather, was a sweetheart, too. To have a nice, big role in a film with singer Paula Nichols and dancer Tony Fields…They were great people. Tony Fields did lots of work in the business. He was a phenomenal dancer and artist, but dancing with Steve was the highlight, and being one of the leads in a film at the time was, “Woo! My dreams are coming true!”.
Johnny: Cool. You played Angie in 1990’s RoboCop 2. As over-the-top as the first one was, the second one was even edgier. How did you feel about becoming part of the RoboCop franchise?
Galyn: I was surprised and pleased when Irvin Kershner, the director, cast me. It was shot down in Houston, Texas and I spent a lot of time speaking with Frank Miller, the writer. He’s such a cool guy. You know, John, it’s like when I worked on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. It’s kind of surreal. It’s strange when you have those opportunities to be involved in those creative projects like RoboCop. It was such a big franchise. It’s surreal, but it wass great working with Irvin Kershner and Tom Noonan, who played Cain, and Gabriel Damon. It was a blast, and I was on a real high, you know? I was enjoying it thoroughly. Now my appreciation for the franchise is better, in hindsight, because at the time I worked on this movie, I didn’t quite realize what Irvin Kershner had done at the time. I was focused on the craft of the project, but in hindsight, because of the fans who have contacted me, I understand Paul Verhoeven and the original concept for the film. It was the archetypical story of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection and coming back alive. This powerful teaching was universal, for one to be crucified and then reborn to be a positive force in the world in creation. That was his original concept. I didn’t know that at the time, but now I appreciate it.
Johnny: Definitely, and I am looking forward to RoboDoc, the RoboCop documentary that was on Kickstarter recently. I actually backed that.
Galyn: Thank you.
Johnny: Next year, Shout! Factory has said they’ll be releasing Collector’s Edition Blu-Rays of RoboCop 2 and 3. Have you been asked about participating in extras for RoboCop 2, the Shout! Factory edition?
Galyn: Yeah. About two or three weeks ago, I did the interview for the Blu-Ray. I actually just posted about it a couple of days ago. I was allowed to post something about it on Twitter and Instagram. Elijah Drenner and Heather Buckley were the people who helped set up the interview for me. I did an interview for that, and then I did an interview for the RoboDoc people a couple of weeks ago for that documentary. That went really well. I had a great time, and it helped jog memories about different things and different situations that occurred on set. I was pleased to do that.
Johnny: Alright. Also in 1990, you played Nancy on several episodes of Twin Peaks. As I asked series star Kimmy Robertson, what do you think has made that show stick in people’s minds despite having such a short initial run?
Galyn: I think it’s the mystery. It’s not sci-fi, but it’s got that mystery aspect to it that I think people like. There’s that mystery, that intrigue. I think it has to do with that. I enjoy shows like that which have intrigue and mystery. It was really unpredictable, especially at the time it came out. The show had such a great look. I think that’s what people liked about it. That’s what I liked about it before I was on it. I used to watch it. That aspect got me into it.
Johnny: Okay. In 1991, you played Margarita in Point Break. You’re the second cast member from that movie that I’ve interviewed, the first being Julie Michaels, whom i interviewed for the previous website I wrote for, RetroJunk, in 2013. Point Break was a rather unusual action movie for its’ time, as the female characters were as strong as the men and Patrick Swayze’s Bodhi, the villain of the piece, ended up escaping at the end. Were those unusual-for-the-time elements what drew you to the project, or was it something else?
Galyn: The script was great. The story was pretty exciting. To work with Patrick Swayze? Of course, being a dancer, I admired him. Hr was a great actor and a dancer. Keanu was also great. Even when I read it, and my part was so small, the script was great. It was pretty intriguing. I imagined people would like the story. It was really exciting and it was making a commentary. Gosh, we had such a fun time on that shoot and afterwards. I had such a good time with the people I met on that film. As I talk to you, John, I realize, “Wow, I had a lot of really good times on set”. That’s why I love making film and television. I always have a really good time.
Johnny: Definitely sounds it. In 1993, you played Clarissa in Judgment Night, one of my friend Victor’s favorite 90s movies. What do you remember the most about that project?
Galyn: I remember auditioning for that film was quite a process. I mean, I went to director Stephen Hopkins’ house. Sometimes that happens. I remember I auditioned for the casting director, and then I went to the director’s house to audition. I remember he put me through the wringer for that one. It took a lot of work for me to get that role, but I was really focused. I respect my craft and working hard to get that. I remember we shot on a soundstage in Culver City, I’m pretty sure. I remember the director really wanting each scene to really hit. I remember doing a lot of takes on that film. I just remember doing it over and over and over until the director was pleased with what he saw. It was rigorous. Cuba Gooding Jr. and Stephen Dorff and Emilio Estevez and Jeremy Piven…Everyone was nice. When the cameras roll, that’s one thing, but off-camera, I had to sit around with everybody, and it was really cool. My experience, a lot of times, is that when you’re on set, people are happy because you’re doing what you want to do. It’s a creative process, and you get to have these opportunities, so most of the time, we had a great time. All those guys were really cool.
Johnny: Alright. Although there were appearances on Crossing Jordan, CSI: Miami and Lost, your acting work was rather sporadic in the 2000s, according to the Internet Movie Database. Why was that?
Galyn: That’s because I’d gone back to Hawaii to take a bit of a break. There was some personal family stuff that occurred, and I was going through some challenges in my life, so I kind of stepped away a little bit. I wasn’t doing film and television, but I was doing a lot of live theater. I wanted to do some live performances in terms of dance and theater and developing projects with youth, as well as my own personal projects. I wanted to cultivate some other actions, so that’s what I was focused on at the time.
Johnny: Alright. You played Josephina Academia in the final two episodes of Parks And Recreation. Had you watched the show before appearing in those final episodes, and if so, how did it feel to work on it?
Galyn: I had watched it a little bit. When they called me about the part, it was on a Sunday. My agent said, “Hey, would you like to do this?”. I said yes because I love comedy. At the time, John, I had been doing a lot of comedy improv, and in that world, if you’re an improv actor, Amy Poehler is someone you look up to. She’s cultivated and refined those improv skills, and to watch her and Tina Fey on Saturday Night Live was something. She relied on improv, and that’s something any improv actor appreciates. I had the chance to work with Amy, and she was a sweetheart. I had one scene with her, and to be involved in comedic acting like that? YES!
Johnny: Yeah. I imagine that, although improv work can be fun, it must be rather strenuous as well. Is it?
Galyn: Yeah (laughing). Yeah, it’s scary, John. The troupe that I’ve been in is a Los Angeles organization called Improv For The People (IFTP). I’m part of the main company, and we perform and do live shows in L.A. Yeah, improv is strenuous because you don’t have any script. You get out onstage and ask an audience, “Give me one word”. Someone says, you know, “Fire hydrant”. Okay, with that word, you have to create an entire character, scene, interaction. It’s scary, but you have techniques. There’s a lot of different techniques that have been cultivated. If you learn, know and work with the techniques, and you can be in the flow and trust your instincts, in improv they call that “the Grey Zone”. You have to get into this trust zone. You have to trust that it’s going to come to you. You have to trust, and improv is about trust. That’s what makes it so scary. You have to rely on your techniques, and on your fellow improvers. Usually, you’re working with good people. They take care of you. I take care of them and they take care of me. It’ll make you nervous, but when it hits, it’s a blast. Woo, it’s so much.
Johnny: Definitely. What would you say has been the biggest change in the entertainment industry between the 1980s and 2016?
Galyn: Wouldn’t you say, John, that one of the big things is reality TV? Reality TV’s all over the place, so that’s different. If all those reality shows weren’t on, then you’d have actors doing more shows. Some reality TV shows are good, though. I have also noticed, in the entertainment industry, that the sex and violence have just been upped and upped. It’s more gratuitous. I’ve been involved in violent films like RoboCop 2, but I don’t like putting a lot of violence out in the media. It’s because I’ve also worked with youth in the inner city of Los Angeles, doing performing arts projects, giving back to the community, and sharing my skills with people who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity, and I’m using my skills to teach workshops. Sex and violence doesn’t really help them. I’ve become a proponent of youth, and I’ve had so much success that I want to give back and share. That’s what I would say the difference is.
Johnny: That’s a very noble thing you’re doing. On a lighter note, you’ve appeared at several conventions of various sorts, including Chiller Theatre in April of 2014. You’re the third person who attended the April 2014 convention that I’ve interviewed, the first being Raye Hollitt and the second being Kristine DeBell. What’s been the most rewarding part of attending conventions?
Galyn: For Chiller, they flew me out to New Jersey. That was my first convention, and I didn’t really know anything about them. I have a manager who books me at conventions. I haven’t really done that many. I had no idea what that was really about. I didn’t know there was this whole world of conventions. The thing that was so cool, John, is that I was there and set up with all these pictures, and fans would come up and start talking to me. They’ve been following my career and they know all these different films that I’ve done. They want me to sign all these things, and they know my shows. I even had fans from Italy who knew my work in Europe. Talking about this, they were so sweet. I had people coming up to me, so grateful for me coming out there, asking me to sign things and take photos with them. They would remind me about things, especially the Trekkies. They’re the real hardcore fans. The Deep Space Nine episode I did? I guess that’s considered one of the top 10 episodes. I didn’t even know all that, so they came up, telling me all about the backstory of that Star Trek episode, and my Voyager episode…All these details that I didn’t know. Chatting with fans about the different work I had done? They appreciated me and wanted details. People walked up, I’m sure you know, John, with a jacket that had all these signatures, and they wanted me to put my signature on it, too. I thought that was great. I also liked seeing and meeting all these different actors, but if you asked me about the Star Trek conventions, I could tell you some other stories, but it was great.
Johnny: Alright. Now I come to my final question.I end most of my interviews with it, and it’s this: If you could go back to your youth with the knowledge that you have now, would you do anything differently?
Galyn: Would I do anything differently? You know what I would’ve done? I would’ve taken more photos (laughing). I would’ve taken more photos with all the different people I worked with. Now I take photos with everyone, but when I was with The Jacksons, I should’ve taken photos. When I was with Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves, I should’ve taken photos. Now I take more photos. Listen, I’m an artist. My parents always taught me. James Wilson is a great acting teacher
from the South Coast Repertory in L.A. When I go on set or anything, it doesn’t matter. We’re all artists. Yeah, this person is making more than me, and they’re well-known. They’re not doing this scene or this dance number, but we are all artists and on the same level when creating. That’s why I take photos. I now realize it’s good to take photos because people like to see it and it’s nice to look back, but there were all these artists when I was focused on craft. There were times I didn’t want to take photos, though. When I was with Will Smith on The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, I didn’t want to take photos because it was a bit awkward. You just want to be focused on the work, but now I take photos. At a Star Trek convention, I was in the green room, and Joan Collins walked in, followed by Patrick Stewart. George Takei was in there, too, and I was just sitting there. You don’t take photos in the green room. That’s not appropriate, but just sitting there and listening to their stories was incredible, especially Joan Collins talking about old Hollywood and the different directors she worked with, while Patrick Stewart was so excited about the projects he was working on.
Johnny: On that note, that does it for my questions. I thank you for taking the time to speak to me.
Johnny: I’ll be in touch, and I hope that you have a good afternoon.
Galyn: Happy holidays, and aloha from Maui, Hawaii.
Johnny: Happy holidays to you, and have a good afternoon.
Galyn: Thank you, John. Okay, bye.
That was the last interview I did in 2016. Who will 2017 bring to the Flashback Interview? I don’t know yet, but I thank you all for your support. Best wishes for a prosperous and joyful 2017.