Tag Archives: Mr. Rogers

Get To Know … Actress Susyn Elise Duris (and her actor-dog, Folsom!)

15 Nov

Actress Susyn Elise Duris is a Pittsburgh girl at heart. Even though she’s from Williamsburg, Virgina, and also lived in Michigan for a long time, the 7 years that Susyn spent in Pittsburgh was a special time in her life – and branded her a Steelers and Penguins fan forever!

Susyn, whose husband also has Pittsburgh roots (he’s from New Brighton and is an Edinboro alum), has family who are from the North Braddock and Monnesson areas, as well. While she lived in Michigan, she spent summers here. A fond Pittsburgh memory that she has from childhood was being able to visit the set of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. You could say that this was Susyn’s first taste of being on a television set – she’s appeared on TV series such as Big Shots, North Star, and Boston Legal, and is now starring in a web series online. Susyn’s also been a part of major motion pictures such as the movie “Coach Carter” starring Samuel L. Jackson, and a number of indie flicks and festival films.

Susyn started acting at age 10 in school and community plays, and continued well through high school. After she went on to the University of Colorado, however, she decided to pursue other interests and obtained degrees in business and finance/marketing. Eventually, she decided to get back into acting. Around April of 2004, Duris joined the Screen Actors’ Guild, AFTRA, Women in Theater, and Women in Film, and began taking on TV and movie roles, once again.

Her dog, Folsom, is also familiar with the “Hollywood” life. Folsom is a canine actor and has appeared on the TV series Big Shots as well as in print and television advertisements. He is a unique-looking  chocolate miniature poodle who is also from Da’ Burgh. In 2006, Susyn and her husband purchased Folsom from a breeder in Jefferson Hills. A talent scout noticed the pooch at the groomer later on and after submitting some photos and going through an audition, Folsom was signed to an agency. He has to know hand signals on set and works with dog handlers and trainers, but, with him, it’s all about his uniquely adorable look.

Susyn also has a look that casting directors also go to. Typically, this pretty blonde is cast for her “toughness” and universal appeal, often as a blue collar worker , “mom roles” or playing the part of a “hard” kind of woman. She specifically targets these types of roles and doesn’t mind being typecast. After all: “It’s better to be typecast than not cast at all,” she says.

Susyn claims that her background in business and marketing definitely help her “sell herself” when auditioning for roles. Her love is drama rather than comedy, but she’ll do either. Typically, she tends to lean towards procedurals, cop shows, legal dramas, etc. Therefore, her role in Boston Legal was perfect for her. Her current project, “The Unemployment of Danny London” is a web series. “Due to changes in the economic landscape and competition,” she explains, “artists and talent are producing their own content,” such as these online shows and web series. They’ve filmed a few episodes so far, with Susyn playing the role of “Miriam.” You can learn more by clicking here. The show also has a Facebook page and Twitter account so that you can keep up with the series.

Susyn also stays busy with animal actor and beloved doggie Folsom, of course, and will be doing a film she’s writing with her husband. The yet-untitled film is based on a book that her husband, Jeff, wrote, and  should hopefully be filmed entirely in Pittsburgh – or at least that’s the tentative plan.

Susyn Elise Duris now happily resides in Los Angeles with Jeff and Folsom, but remains true to her ties to Pittsburgh. She misses Peter’s Place in Bridgeville, the Church Brew Works in Lawrenceville, Mallorca in the South Side, and Moonstones Metaphysical Haven in Dormont. She, of course, follows the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Pittsburgh Steelers (as well as her college football team, the Colorado Buffalos) and is also still an sustaining member of the Junior League of Pittsburgh, despite now living in L.A. Susyn loves Sex and the City, is a published writer, and pens a blog, The Spiritual Creative: Actress Susyn Elise Duris’ Musings on Life.

Is there nothing that this modern-day Renaissance Woman cannot do?

Glitzburgh doesn’t think so – and we’re proud to have her as a fan and friend of the Black & Gold!

Pittsburgh: A “Most Livable City” with Heart

7 May

Though I have a friend who would VEHEMENTLY disagree, but, Pittsburgh has been named the Most Livable City in the United States, YET  AGAIN, by Forbes Magazine! (We’ve also ranked 29th worldwide. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself!)

I mean, I want a beach house as much as the next person, but I love Pittsburgh and I have no intentions of leaving. I used to have the whole, wah, wah, wah, Pittsburgh-is-lame mentality, too. That was until I really opened my eyes to all that Pittsburgh has to offer. I mean, we truly have a plethora of opportunity right here at home in “Da’ Burgh!” Some of the best schools and universities, some of the best hospitals, some of the best malls, some fabulous dining and nightlife spots, casinos, some WORLD CLASS professional and college sports teams, and one of the best skylines in the world, as well as some awesome parks and recreational venues – what isn’t to love? We have the big-city-meets-small-town atmosphere, a perfect mix of blue-collar and luxe, and are just a stone’s throw away from a rural, country environment if we want that, instead.

Additionally, we have such a rich and interesting history and so many fun and quirky historical and trivia facts that make Pittsburgh unique. We have Mr. Rogers and Kennywood. We have the Inclines. We have the best fireworks anywhere. We have the most bridges in the world. Dignitaries choose to host major events here because, well, our city is so darn pretty – and, accomodating! Yeah, we have the Pirates, too, and the crappy roads, construction, and winters – but you can’t win ’em all.

Let’s talk about cost of living. I can tell you this – to have the home that I own elsewhere, well, to put it simply, there’s no way it would even be within my realm of affordability. The cost of living is great, we have comparably low crime rates compared to other cities our size, a nice arts scene, fairly low unemployment rate, and we have great things coming our way in terms of technology and going-green initiatives.

And the people – Pittsburgh is full of some NICE people. Granted, there ARE some “yinzers” out there, and the local media always chooses to put some real class acts on the news (why?!?) – but there are truly some really nice people in Pittsburgh. Any time out-of-towners come to visit they all say the same thing: they can’t get over how COOL and how NICE and friendly the people in Pittsburgh seem.

It makes me proud to be a Pittsburgher. I’m sure that Forbes only takes into account socioeconomic criteria and that’s fine – I’m proud of that stuff, too. But I’m proud of the other things, too. The beautiful view out the window of my Station Square office. The feeling of camaraderie and sense of community at a Steelers game. The vast array of awesome landmarks and museums and theaters and gardens and parks and boutiques and bakeries and the quirky little things that you might not know existed in Pittsburgh, but do. The hiking trails and biking trails and jet skis and kayaks on the river. The statues along the River Walk. The historic churches and the Potato Patch at Kennywood.

We might have some awesome schools – hey, I graduated from college at Pitt and went to one of the best high schools in the area, so I’ll never argue THAT fact – and we DO have some fantastic communities – I live in one of them. We might have some amazing hospitals with stunning advancements in research, and CMU with groundbreaking advancements in technology.  Our cost of living is amazing and we have a lot to offer to residents. But, I think, that Forbes missed something and that is our heart.

Pittsburgh IS the most livable city, but not just because of all the logistical, measurable outcomes.

It’s because Pittsburgh HAS HEART!

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To see the Forbes list slideshow, click here.

To read the Post Gazette article on Pittsburgh being named Most Livable City click  here.

To read my past BarSmart City Chatter post on Why I Love Pittsburgh click here.