Tag Archives: hollywood

The Age of Enlightenment: Ah, Adulthood!

Ah, Sausalit

A guy walks into a bar.

Who am I fucking kidding? I walk into a bar. I walk into a German bar on a Thursday night to meet a man who is about to become a father. It’s a celebratory time, but with his pending fatherhood and my pending adulthood, a quiet pint is where we will start and where it will end.

But this is a reunion and we’re short two, which means that this quiet pint(s) is really just a precursor.

Still, everything has changed and even though I used to drink well into Wednesday morning with these guys, the times have changed. One is almost a father, one is almost a professor, one has been growing his hair and talking about moving to Istanbul. We’ve all matured. All that tequila at the Roosevelt, all those Bloody Marys on Cahuenga minutes before last call; they’re all behind us. We have credit cards now that are mostly paid off. We have life partners and lovers turned tantric masseuses who just want what’s best for us. They tell us so in postcards from Montreal.

Yet, despite all of that. Despite uncorking sophisticated beers in a strip mall in Echo Park, despite a lack of identification we still find ourselves in a car, a hired car, trying our best to find something that might raise our blood pressure and give us something to question in the morning. A young Bruce Lee type in a Toyota Yaris takes us to a fire station that moonlights as a bar. We miss it three times. What ivy and a lack of signage do for credibility, just complicate things when you reach a certain level of maturity.

But it’s closed and our driver finesses us through Silver Lake until we’ve found a place that will have us – we the would-be father, the novelist, a man headed for New Orleans in the morning and myself. One of us grabs a microphone and starts singing a song that I should probably know, but I do not. Then there’s a round of whiskey in front of us. Then there’s another. And another. The lights come on, but we’re not done yet.

The world has expanded for me. Everything is greater than it once was. It’s multiplied. Which is to say I’m seeing double. Luckily, I’m not behind the wheel. No, I’m in front of a stage explaining to a woman in a leather bikini that my lapdance days are behind me – I gesture to my friends as evidence of my maturity – our maturity really, but they’re at the bar getting drinks, probably explaining to the girl who’s too war-torn to dance, the cultural significance of Je Suis Charlie. Or maybe they’re just sussing out the bourbon selection. Either way, my hostess, who has been enjoying Los Angeles greatly since relocating here from Victorville six months ago, has moved onto a Korean guy with a ream of singles. I think he goes to my gym, but I can’t say for certain. I haven’t been since the spring.

I slap the backs of my friends, delighting in all the change that has taken place. Look how far we’ve come, I say. Can you believe it? My god how we’ve grown!

There’s only one place to go from here. I’ve been there before. No, not the speakeasy with the Thai matron, a farmer’s market of coke dealers and the watered-down whiskey near Hollywood and Normandie. No, I don’t think the bouncer with the two eyes that are running away from each is in any rush to see me. Plus, I’m a fully realized mature adult. That means that buck stops at gentleman’s club, and not an inch farther.

My god, I’ve grown. Before leaving I do a lap, looking to see if there’s anyone from my youth still working here. Alas, even the grizzled bartender who is too chubby, old and acned to gyrate for singles isn’t from my era. How the times have changed. I whip out my phone. If it’s 3:26 a.m. now, and I have to be at work at 8:15… I ask the bartender for a pen, a napkin and a calculator. Mature I may be, but a mathematician I am not. We order another round of whiskeys. There’s no sense in solving this equation on an empty stomach, and in my old age, I’ve earned this.

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Protected: Hollywood, I’m back and I’m… DEAD INSIDE: Season 2

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Filed under Formal Correspondence

Life After TV

homeless at home

Today marks the beginning of a new era. I’m preparing to enter the next phase of my life as a member of Los Angeles’ transient community.

Four months ago, the show that I was working on was canceled. In the months that followed, I quickly spent all of my money shooting a short film that risked the lives of five or six of my friends plus several hundred strangers who were driving north and/or south on Highway 1 near Big Sur in mid-May.

Then one day, about two months ago I was in the red. I took my dog for a walk, applied for four hundred jobs and then it was June. I was still in the red. I took my dog for another walk, went on three hundred job interviews, and then it was July. That was Tuesday.

But the past is the past and what’s the point in dwelling? Insert quote about being fiscally responsible and thinking ahead and not being any happier, but being generally safer and more stable if you do. C’est la whatever, bruh.

In preparation for my new life, I’ve been looking at living spaces. In a lot of ways it’s similar to apartment hunting: identify a neighborhood, list the things you must have (parking, on-site laundry, proximity to grocery stores, gym, etc) and then drive by at night to see if it’s as nice as it was during the day.

When you’re looking at outdoor living spaces a few obvious places come to mind: under freeway overpasses, Skid Row, Cahuenga Boulevard, industrial side streets, shrubbery off of the freeway. I’ve decided I don’t really have the heroin problem it takes to live on Skid Row, and I’m too old and not punk enough to join the Hollywood homeless, so I’m basically limited to living near the freeway in a bush, or in some abandoned building in the warehouse district that doubles as a brothel/stash house. Now that I’ve identified the area, it’s time to consider the things I can’t live without.

Silver Lake Youth Hostel

Ideally, I’d like to be close to a center of commerce so I have a short commute to where I’ll do my panhandling. Secondly, I’d like to be close to the L.A. River so I’ll have access to some wild life and a place to bathe on a regular basis even if the water is only a couple inches deep.

Since I’ve never been much of a camper or an outdoors person, in preparation for my life outside I plan on buying everything I’ll need to live comfortably under an overpass near the L.A. River (so far Glendale Boulevard and Fletcher Boulevard bridging Silver Lake to Atwater are my top contenders). “Everything” includes a 16 person tent because I like my leg room, a gun because I’m scared of raccoons, five boxes of Uncrustables because their life expectancy is longer than mine, and a gym membership because just because I’ll be homeless doesn’t mean I am going to become a lazy, out-of-shape fuck, too.

In a lot of ways, this is like when a doctor says, “You’re dying. Go home and get your affairs in order.”

Getting my affairs in order looks like this: designing my panhandling signs so I’ll be able to compete in the cutthroat climate of trying to get people to give me money.

Design

Getting a haircut.

Haircut

Breaking the news to my fiancée that we’re going to be in a long distance relationship from now on: her up in the hills, me down by the river drinking prescription cough syrup and fishing for alligators.

fishing on actavis

Once I’ve done all of that, I think I’ll finally be able to focus on the important things in life. I’ll get to be one of those people who is like, “yeah man, one day I was just like, what am I doing with all these material things? This isn’t how humans are supposed to live. So I just gave everything up and now I only have what I need on a daily basis. A toothbrush, an air guitar and my integrity.”

And it’s not like I’m just going to fall off the radar. It’s not like I’m moving to Humboldt County and giving it all up. No, I’ll still be in L.A. I’m just adjusting my lifestyle to my cash flow. So if you’re ever down by the river, don’t be a stranger. Come say hey!

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Finding the Next __________ of American Cinema: Casting!

CastingHard work. Mining for coal. Chopping firewood. Patching a hole in a submarine while it’s submerged. Picking lettuce. Casting iron. Casting actors.

It’s all hard work, am I right?

There was a time when I was open to the casting couch. The hopefuls would come flooding in at the chance of the glory that comes with being paid with “Meal + Credits” or, if we’re really going for broke: SAG Ultra Low Budget. It’s not pretty. I’m not proud.

But they are. They’re pretty and proud, and they love living in Studio City or by the Grove or Santa Monica. Something about the salt air makes it easier to book commercials for allergy medication.

The Real Casting Couch

This time I’ve stayed away from the couch. It’s all word of mouth. There are four actors. Three of the roles have been filled, but this final role, well, it hasn’t been easy.

It’s the title character. She’s the star. Or at least, it doesn’t work without her. She has to be great. She has to be everything that’s likeable about Scarlett Johansson, only without the bedroom eyes. And eight years younger. She has to be at once ethereal and authentic and preferably American. And we don’t have her, so I’ve been writing love letters.

Actually, they’ve been emails. They’ve looked like this.

SJ

Dear Scarlett Johansson,

Do you have a sister who looks like a version of you without the bedroom eyes who is preferably seven or eight years younger? If so, I’d like to cast her in a short film we’re making. I know she’d be perfect.

Or the one I wrote to Melanie Laurent.

ML

Dear Melanie,

I hope this email finds you well. Speaking of finding and well and you, I’m looking for an actress, like you. How’s your American accent? If it’s great, what’s your schedule like in May? And what’s your stance on a team of special effects superstars trying to make you look ten years younger? Well, that about sums up my requests. Looking forward to hearing back!

And then, I thought of Emma Watson.

EW

Dear Emma Watson,

It is with a heavy heart that I inform you that you’re not right for the title role in the short film we’re making. I wish you nothing but success going forward, but you’re not getting a job from me.

Finally, I landed on it. It was so simple, so obvious.

EO

Dear Elizabeth Olsen,

Will you work for cheap or for free? If so, I’m relatively, kind of, nearly, or with very little doubt, thinking that you probably or might be suitable for the role in this cinematographic masterpiece that lives on my desktop. Your sisters can come and watch, but don’t expect us to feed them.

The responses came pouring in.

Scarlett Johansson: Funny that you should email me. I was just thinking of you. Here’s a picture of my sister and I. She’s a bit younger than what you were originally looking for, but she’s only getting older. Let me know if you think she’s right for the part. Xo

Fenan

Melanie Laurent: “Au milieu de l’hiver, j’ai découvert en moi un invincible été.”

Emma Watson: I’ll do anything. This would be the role of a lifetime for me. Please. This could be my THE WRESTLER. My THE GODFATHER. My DALLAS BUYERS CLUB!

Elizabeth Olsen: There’s nothing I’d rather do in this whole world than to work on one of your short films for cheap or for free, but I have an appointment at the Apple Store’s Genius Bar regarding my MacBook Air, which has stopped working. Like completely. It won’t turn on at all. Do you know what’s wrong with it? Anyway, I can’t reschedule. I hope you understand.

And just like that my prospects came crashing down.

Scarlett, God bless her, is too pure at heart for her own good.

Melanie, I had to strikethrough because I hate Francophiles, even if they’re actually French and that quote reads like, well, I don’t know. I took Spanish in school.

Emma’s too desperate. Too wrong. I feel bad saying this, but this isn’t some Sophia Coppola movie we’re trying to do. We need star power. We need…

Elizabeth Olsen. But that fucking Genius Bar appointment. And don’t get me wrong, I know where she’s coming from. Rescheduling an appointment at the store at the Grove? At the Beverly Center? At the one on the Third Street Promenade? Not going to happen. You might as well just drive out to fucking Glendale and we can’t expect Mary-Kate and Ashley’s sister to do something insane like that.

genius bar

I’ve put one last email in the interwebs. It’s an offer to Gwyneth Paltrow. We want her to do a cameo as a meter maid. It’s a non-speaking role, but I know she’ll be perfect for it. I can see her now: getting out of her little meter maid go-cart, chalking the back of a tire, getting back into her go-cart and driving six feet forward to the next car to do it again. Then she’ll be off.

We’ll roll credits. People will laugh. People will cry. We’ll lock hands and take a bow while getting slaughtered in the comments section of anything with a comments section. Well, that’s enough hard work for one day. This is where I say goodbye.

 

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Filed under De La Moda, Formal Correspondence

Quiet Pints Will Be The Death Of Me

Quiet pints will be the death of me.

Let’s start at the end: a quaint neighborhood where respectable people walk their children to school and drink pH 9.5 Ethos water at $3.50 a pop at Whole Foods. I’m sprawled on the couch, dying. I awake from the dead. I rush to a tap, apply my lips and with the jaws (my own) of life, I suckle the teat of the tap, which is undoubtedly connected to the squalid L.A. River.

Nectar of the gods.

How did I get there? How do we ever find ourselves on couches with a world of hurt between our ears? The story is always the same: a quiet pint.

I met a friend for a quiet pint in a quiet bar on a quiet street at the quiet hour of a quarter to 8:00 p.m. I had a pint, alright. But this particular night, the pint was Irish whiskey. Nary a hop or barley in my glass due in part to it being Thursday.

We clanked glasses. Tried to keep our mangle-faced waitress at bay, Leave the drinks and be on your way, love. That’s girl. And keep ‘em coming. For some reason my friend had adopted an Irish accent. It may have been the whiskey. It was likely the whiskey.

The clock struck an hour that was undoubtedly early as we had arrived early. And having arrived early, and delighted that it was still early, we decided to do what any men, half-sopped in whiskey would do. We decided to go to Cheetahs. For a night cap.

Cheetahs… you’re a cruel mistress.

She taketh, and she taketh, and then she points out that there’s an ATM in the corner so she can continue the take.

But by nature she nurtures. Need a shoulder to cry on? You’ll likely find yourself buried in a set of surgically enhanced tits. Mind you, they serve liquor at Cheetahs so the tits you find yourself nuzzled among will be concealed, or at least obscured by a bit of cotton.

The girls are friendly. The girls are foreign.

The girls like my friend much more than they liked me. Breathe a sigh of relief. The attention of strippers is not only emotionally and physically taxing, it’s also a fiscal burden. Not unlike a war. With no end in sight. Want to keep an eye on things in a country you don’t govern? Want to have a night cap in a room full of naked women you don’t love? It’s going to cost you, pal.

Me? I made new friends. A South Korean and Syrian who were speaking Spanish with an Argentinean accents. They had done time together in a town called Rosario. Now they were doing time together in a strip club in Hollywood. I drank their Blue Label. I laughed at their jokes. I took their picture. I made some new friends who invited me to jump in their car and take a ride to another locale.

THANK FUCKING GOD I DIDN’T GET IN THAT ESCALADE AT 1:59 A.M.

I lost my friend, the one who’s a hit with the girls from Lithuania, Iowa, Russia.

A half dozen girls born after the fall of the Berlin Wall take my hand and promise me the ride of my life. I’m no shape for it. I search my pockets. I find the Korean’s business card. I dial the number a hundred times and berate myself for not jumping in that S.U.V. and undoubtedly missing the 3:00 a.m. of a lifetime. Like I said, I was in no shape…

I scan the room: skin heads, suits, strippers.

I enter the V.I.P. room. You’re familiar with mechanical bulls. They heave and hoe and toss drunk people to the floor… for fun. Well, there was no mechanical bull in the room, but my poor friend sat at attention while Electra from Slovenia rode him like she was bare-backing a malfunctioning mechanical bovine. She hung on for dear life. I was sure she was going to throw her back out. She looked like she was having a fucking seizure on my friend’s thigh. Mind you, Electra’s in the best shape of her life and I’m no position to judge her ability to crush a pelvis. All I’m saying is it didn’t look like a good time.

Of course, the man paid for the ride so I let the rest of the song play. I interjected before she could offer him another round of whiplash.

At this point, the night was no longer young and our pockets were no longer full of the promise of a good time. Spartans we had been or so we thought, but it was time to hang up the blunt object that was our pickled brains. It was time to face the dawn. We made for the exit. We let down a lot of nice young girls who were just looking to take all of our money. We promised to come back soon.

Quiet pints. Quiet pints will be the death of me.

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Filed under Eavesdroppings

A Personal History of Moving

SATURDAY

12:00 p.m. Girlfriend makes demands: home improvement or move. Terms: non-negotiable.

2:00 p.m. Buy paint. Work tirelessly to apply “golden cricket” hue to walls.

5:00 p.m. Girlfriend gives, O.K. Move avoided. Phew. Apartment thick with toxins. Leave to walk restless dog.

7:00 p.m. Notice homeless crack addicts squatting in apartment next door.

7:01 p.m. Hide girlfriend and dog. Call 911, but first confirm with landlord that next-door apartment has not been rented to face-tattooed crack-cocaine users.

7:02 p.m. Landlord confirms men with face tattoos are, in fact, new neighbors. Keep an open mind, he says.

7:03 p.m. Per suggestion, keep open mind about recently paroled neighbors.

7:04 p.m. Decide against open mind.

7:05 p.m. Pack girlfriend, dog, toothbrush. Flee.

8:00 p.m. Bask in suburban refuge. Feel lucky to be alive.

SUNDAY

9:00 a.m. Apartment hunt.

10:00 a.m. Meet gypsy landlords. Despite Snatch, gypsy landlords do not allow dogs.

11:00 a.m. Regret painting apartment. Inspect various available apartments. Chat up gypsies, but to no avail.

12:00 p.m. Nod head at upset girlfriend. Eat Vietnamese food. Watch dog scratch ear.

1:00 p.m. Give up apartment hunt. Concede to massacring by crack addicted neighbors. Imagine Lifetime movie.

2:00 p.m. Stumble upon open house. Eureka! But open house is packed.

2:01 p.m. Point out flaws to other potential renters e.g., lack of parking, freeway noise, stairs. Grab folder of applications, flush down toilet. Toilet floods. Shake head and mutter about shoddy craftsmanship. Potential renters leave.

2:10 p.m. Fill out application. Corner landlord: praise ample parking, lack of freeway noise, joy of stairs, expert craftsmanship. Shake hands.

4:00 p.m. Go back to crackden apartment. Hammer windows shut. Hide under bed. Add 911 to “favorites.”

5:00 p.m. Good news! Eureka is available, pending credit check. Who says a jump shot is the only way out of the hood!

5:01 p.m. Dog scratches ear. Girlfriend shakes head. Make plans to buy primer, paint wall back to original color.

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Filed under Formal Correspondence, Staring Into A Cobalt Pool

Poolside with Father John Misty and his merry harem.

Father John Misty has a few lines that go like this:

“Now everywhere I go, in West Hollywood

It’s filled with people pretending they don’t see the actress

and the actress wishing that they could”

Last night, I was in Hollywood at a hotel bar. It was packed with boys and girls who had the sides of their heads shaved and curly pompadours resting on top. Ironic rap music played. In the background, there was a pool where scantily clad, or entirely naked girls practiced unsynchronized swimming. Which is to say, they were performing, just not together, which was a shame.

I bring up Father John Misty and that quote because in the above setting, in Hollywood no less, I was literally rubbing elbows with him (dancing at close range) while also pretending I didn’t instantly recognize him and I hadn’t already seen him play live twice in the last month. So, there I was feigning cool, but I got the distinct impression that if I were to recognize him and own it, in an act of, “Dude, bro, man you’re awesome!” I don’t think I would have been fulfilling his unspoken longing to be recognized.

Several facts point to the contrary: he was out in Hollywood, which is a good place to be if you want to be recognized. This next point is creepy, but he was wearing the same green jacket as when I saw him play Bardot last month. If you wear the same clothes, you’re easier to recognize. For example, Joseph Gordon Leavitt. He wears essentially the same clothes in every movie so even when you put Bruce Willis’ jaw on him, he’s easy to spot. To defend my original observation, it was a hundred degrees that night. A green jacket, in a military style, stood out in a room full of half-naked girls.

Half-naked girls seem to be a theme. It’s unrelated to weather. I’ve seen them shivering in January.

It’s worth mentioning, Father John Misty wasn’t alone. He seems to travel with a harem. Not a half-naked harem, but rather a group of women who wear clothes and, now this is the crazy part, they appear to be THIRTY YEARS OLD. Or maybe even older. OLDER THAN TWENTY-SOMETHING?!? They’re women, and they’re at a hotel party and they’re not naked or twenty-something. Or younger. I mean, weird, right? In Hollywood? And their clothes—they didn’t look like they were vacuumed to their skin. Some of it was loose. Like hippies used to wear. It looked comfortable. They looked comfortable. In fact, one of these women who talked to me about Biggie Smalls who I encouraged not to talk to the DJ about Biggie Smalls as I knew the DJ because I used to eat the food he left in our communal refrigerator in 2007—this woman looked like a Velma. Velma from Scooby Doo, but more refined. Older and without a turtleneck and with a penchant for nineties hip hop and swaying her hips.

She wasn’t interested in anything I had to say. I think she was on drugs. I think everyone was on drugs, but not the usual drugs. They weren’t grinding their teeth. F.J.M., Velma and the rest of the harem looked like they weren’t afraid to say “far out”, shake their hips and act like they don’t care because they really didn’t. They were just at The Roosevelt to enjoy each other’s company, dance to ironic hip hop and not be recognized. Weird.

Two hours later a lawyer, synagogue employee, a bartender with a withered leg and yours truly are slamming Schlitzs at last call.

One hour later, the same group is drinking whiskey on the floor of a vacant apartment.

No one is quite sure about the next six hours, but I can only assume the harem took off their clothes, and probably F.J.M.’s clothes, too.

8:00 a.m. rolls around and I’m in a cab, on my way to Mid-City where my car and a parking ticket await. The hangover doesn’t wait. It’s up before I open my eyes.

9:00 a.m. the synagogue employee finds god (in the toilet bowl.)

10:00 a.m. the lawyer’s breathing whiskey on a lovely and gentle dental hygienist named Shake. He’s never seen her face, but he’s memorized her eyebrows.

11:00 a.m. the bartender with the withered leg is on a date downtown. He’s eating sausages, talking Rothko and sampling seasonally brewed beer.

By noon, I’m trying to order ayahuasca so I can do like F.J.M. and get a harem.

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Filed under De La Moda