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Episode 21 with Damien Alvarez, Dionisio Ceballos, Tony Gapastione, Blair Hickey, and Aaron Skiles

The Daddy Issue

June 13th, 2018

We are celebrating dads who are artists with this special episode featuring five dads who bust the myth that you can’t be a great artist and a devoted father at the same time. What was really endearing to me about creating this episode was getting to connect with these dads who are really there for their families and also pursuing artistic careers.  In this episode we talk to a dancer/graphic designer, an actor/entrepreneur, a painter, a musician, and a filmmaker about the pressures of being the provider of the family, the ways in which they’ve managed to make their auditions, and make time for songwriting, and how being a father has changed them. Find bonus videos of these adorable dads in the Interviews with Artists Video Library.

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Damien Alvarez began dancing Flamenco at the tender age of 7 inspired by Carlos Saura’s film, “Carmen”. Damien started his training with La Monica at the Mission Cultural Center. Afterwards he moved on to study with San Francisco flamenco legend Rosa Montoya under whose tutelage he stayed for many years. Later he would travel and live in Spain to study under Paco Romero, Manuel Reyes, Pol Voquero, and Alfonso Losa. After studying with Melissa Cruz, Yaelisa, and Fanny Ara in the Bay Area he began to find and develop his own unique style of flamenco dancing. Power and precision mixed with a little home grown attitude has given rise to a different, fresh, and funky style which is still muy flamenco. Currently, Damien performs flamenco and flamenco burlesque in and around the greater Bay Area. He also teaches Saturday mornings and runs a monthly show every third Thursday in Sausalito. For more info, please visit


Dionisio Ceballos is an Emmy award winning multi-disciplinary artist known for his murals, and luminous, colorful abstract work and has received several awards and grants for his creativity working in different locations around the U.S and Mexico exhibiting his work at the SF MOMA artist gallery. One of the most notable events of his career happened early on when he was commissioned to recreate Frida Kahlo’s paintings for use in the film Frida with Salma Hayeck. Ceballos has since discovered a prolific language in the constant exploration to extract the mystical, the natural accidents – the substantial. The studies of light, the translucency and the ludic atmospheres are characteristics of his work. His paintings become a translation of the chaotic towards the beautiful – from the unpredictable to the essential. For more info visit


Tony Gapastione is an actor who became a filmmaker. After working in the Bay Area for 20 years represented by MDT he realized he wanted to make his own work instead of just waiting around for someone else to cast him so he started writing, directing, and producing his own film projects. Realizing he needed more collaboration to keep going he started a meet-up for artists of all kinds to share work and provide affirmation called CREATIVE CREW who meet once a month. Currently Tony is producing a feature film based on a true story of one man's mission to serve the underserved kids of the SF Tenderloin that he went on a hunger strike for 33 days in front of city hall in 2004. See


Blair Hickey has been a working actor for over twenty years. He graduated with a degree in Theatre Arts from Brown University, started his career in New York working on stage and with recurring roles on daytime soaps. Since moving to Los Angeles, Blair’s worked primarily in television, appearing in such shows as NCIS:LA, TOUCH, HARRY'S LAW, HEROES, MEDIUM, HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER, GHOST WHISPERER, ALLY MCBEAL, THE PRACTICE and CHICAGO HOPE. In 2004, Blair co-created CastingAbout, the online casting and production guide. In 2009, CastingAbout was acquired by Breakdown Services, where Blair continues to serve as a developer and consultant. Blair is also a proud husband, a daddy of two beautiful girls, and a die-hard Philadelphia Eagles fan. Learn more at


After picking up the bass as a freshman at the United States Military Academy, West Point, Aaron Skiles bounced around in various rock bands from Seattle to Baltimore to New York to San Francisco. With over 20 years of experience as "just the bass player," Aaron decided to step out on his own and so he formed the band, Bourbon Therapy, with his wife Rebecca Skiles, an indie rock/alternative country band based in Oakland, California. Bourbon Therapy was born out of Aaron Skiles's realization that the best therapy may just be music...and bourbon doesn't hurt either. The music featured in this podcast episode is from Bourbon Therapy's latest album, Hymnals and Hangovers. For more info visit

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