Going around the bend with Andrew Keegan’s Full Circle
By Tony Peyser
The fashion police suggest that if you wore something the first time around, don’t wear it again when it comes back into style.
This is why some people — me, if you must know — are wary about any out- of-the-mainstream forms of worship. I’m specifically talking about Full Circle, a high-profile “non-denominational non-profit community center” in Venice that’s been billed a church since popping up earlier this year in a former church building on Rose Avenue.
A photo I saw on its website had this gaggle of young, attractive and aggressively happy neo-hipsters alongside the words “A Co-Creative Collective” … O-kay … “Activating A Next-Level Human Experience.” Call me a cynic, but I have no idea what any of this means — it sounds like a pop psychology word salad.
It’s worth noting that someone in this group shot is wearing a New Age guru Marianne Williamson T-shirt. It’s also worth pointing out that Williamson herself is in the front row of the photo. (She was, you may recall, one of the candidates running to fill Henry Waxman’s congressional seat in June.) Williamson’s presence gives me a sense of what this movement is possibly about: Think of her as “The Office” and Full Circle as its spinoff, “Parks and Recreation.”
Speaking of sitcoms, I read the words Full Circle and imagined a short-lived 1990s comedy starring Christopher Lloyd and Judith Light about parents enjoying the empty nest until their fun-loving son moves back home after dropping out of college. To play the part of the boy, I’d go with Andrew Keegan, the charming adolescent back then who had a key role in the Heath Ledger-Julia Styles 1999 comedy “10 Things I Hate About You.” Keegan, in case you were wondering, is the founder of Full Circle.
SoCal can be considered the reinvent yourself capital of the universe, where alternative movements thrive like meth labs in Riverside. In the 1970s, Werner Erhard had a field day in Hollywood with est. So many movie execs were followers at one point that a popular joke was that Warner Bros. should’ve been renamed Werner Bros. Alas, the whole shebang turned out to be as fake as his name. He wasn’t really Werner Erhard who sounded like he was from Gemany; he was John Paul Rosenberg, from Philly. Eventually, most people wisely wised up and concluded that many human potential movements had little potential for humans.
All Keegan had to do was say he’d fallen out of love with acting and wanted to find a new way to engage himself in the world. But that’s not the explanation he gave. Keegan has basically said this: He was mugged in 2011, then the tsunami hit Japan, then a street lamp exploded and sometime later a crystal during some kind of ceremony fell off an altar and skipped on camera.
It’s hard enough to make the transformation from pretty-boy actor to church founder. The transition isn’t easier when your defining moment of clarity sounds like such fabulous hooey. Maybe Keegan is better at running Full Circle than being its spokesman, but considering its connections to (in no particular order) vortexes, energy, advanced spiritualism, advanced knowledge, activated peace, synchronicity, chakras, spiritual ego and colon cleansing, it may be asking too much of any believer to make sense of it all. If you ask me, the more airy-fairy something sounds, the easier it is for people seeking answers to read into it and sign up.
I have no idea whether Keegan’s lifestyle change had to do with grabbing attention he was no longer getting or if he’s totally sincere. Either way, it takes guts to do something like this, especially at a time when one’s personal life is so available for scrutiny online.
To be fair, if Jesus came to Earth today and said that before he became a religious man he did an episode of “Moesha,” there would be some head-scratching. (For those keeping score, Keegan’s 52 credits include a guest spot on that sitcom in 1996.)
And even though Full Circle appears to be thriving, sometime down the road Keegan may wish to do some more acting. He should tell his agent to check out a relationship drama starring Kate Walsh and David Boreanaz that’s on DirecTV. The name should be easy to remember: “Full Circle.”