Actress and Poet Amber Tamblyn Visits Kent
By Stefany Gutu '13, Staff Writer
“Tell them about the poetry bus,” Bonnie Tamblyn insists. “In Long Beach,” she adds after a quick pause. “Oh, Mom, they’re not twenty-one,” Amber responds, evoking laughter from the informal gathering of Kent staff and students in the Headmaster’s Study. “A lot of the poetry I do involves whiskey,” she jokingly confides to the audience.
Actress, poet, and California girl recently transplanted to Brooklyn, Amber Tamblyn (and her mom) visited Kent School for an afternoon meet-and-greet, followed by an evening performance composed of poetry, songs, and laughter. The duo often performs together, Amber reciting her verse while her mother strums original tunes on her guitar – a tradition that got its start from family jam sessions Bonnie calls “hootenannies.”
Amber began acting at the age of nine, around the same time she started writing poetry. At twelve, The San Francisco Chronicle printed her first published work, “Kill Me So Much,” which is also the first poem in her debut collection Free Stallion, published in 2005. She followed up with a second collection, Bang Ditto in 2009. During her performance, Amber read several poems from this collection including “Dear Demographic” and a poem, in letter form, to a French waiter who requested Amber write him something on the spot.
As for her latest acting gig, Amber recently completed a multi-episode stint on the television show House which made for a satirical twist of fate when, earlier this month, she came down with the chicken pox. “Why don’t you call Dr. House,” Amber mocks, imitating House actress Olivia Wilde’s response to news of her illness. She also discussed the recent completion of her lowest-budget movie yet ($200,000) in December. Amber recalls the experience as a sort of fulfilling “guerrilla film-making” where she often relied on herself for tasks that, in larger budget movies, were assigned to others, like doing her own make-up.
In just the few hours at Kent, Amber displayed her spirited personality with little effort and just the right dose of confidence. For example; practical Amber on Twitter: “I don’t see how I would gain any fans or friends by telling someone what a crappy sandwich I had for lunch.” Even romantic Amber (in her own unique way, that is), referring to the first time she really hit it off with her “betrothed,” David Cross, about five years ago: “It’s like, ‘You’re bald, I see you.,” she said.
Amber’s imminent projects include a television appearance and hopefully the completion of her latest book. She will soon make an appearance on close friend Fred Armisen’s show Portlandia which airs on the Independent Film Channel. Her latest written work (inspired by actresses who died young, she divulges) will probably be finished in the next few months. As for the rest, there’s no saying what else is in the multifaceted actress/poet/betrothed’s future.