Tag Archives: ryan gosling

A Quiet Stroll Along the L.A. River

LA River - homeless camp

On occasion, I have been known to walk a dog.

I am also a citizen of a neighborhood that’s well-stocked with beautiful, stroller-wielding mothers, and their I was a drummer in a huge band in the 90s which explains why I’m fantastically wealthy, have a neck tattoo, and a wife that was born the year after I graduated from high school-husbands.

hipster dads

Hip dads make me violently ill. Every time I see a dad with a tote bag, an occupied baby bjorn, and the biography of some seminal Irish punk singer, I instantaneously projectile vomit. Which is a bit embarrassing, but there’s nothing I can do about it except avoid yoga studios, cafes, parks, Trader Joe’s, bicycle shops, wine bars, bookstores—basically my entire neighborhood. Thus I am forced away from the well-manicured park near the reservoir and sent under a freeway overpass to the L.A. River when the occasion arises that I must walk a dog.

The L.A. River is a nice combination of overly zealous “dad cyclists” from the valley and legitimate Glassell Park/Highland Park/Echo Park cholos who fancy drinking Tecates in the middle of the bike path. There are also homeless people who take solace by drinking cough syrup along the surprising lush cement basin.

So untamed and wild is the L.A. River that I once saw a woman crossing a two-inch deep stream of water on horseback. The woman was wearing a helmet. Up until a few days ago, a horse was the oddest thing I’d seen in the L.A. River since Ryan Gosling brought an Irish chick and a Mexican kid to have a romantic moment in Los Angeles’ puddle of flotsam.

Chilling, like all celebs do, on the LA River

But there I was, walking, strolling really, reflecting on how disappointing my tax return was this year when I heard the wails of a grown man. I peeked down the side of the basin and spotted a man in a tattered black suit. He was supine along the bottom of the dry river, and he was crying, just bawling while simultaneous masturbating. Which is a physical and mental feat of almost heroic measure. It’s honestly something that I would’ve assumed was impossible. I mean, really, how can a person cry and pleasure himself? It seems inherently contradictory. It’s such a deep and philosophical question that I feel inclined to avoid the subject entirely. Although, I have to believe it’s rooted in masochist tendencies.

But enough intellectual heavy lifting, I want to focus on the fact that he was masturbating with such fervor that I truly thought he might dislocate his shoulder and/or throw-out his back. And were these tears of pain? Had he in fact torn his rotator cuff and was gritting-down to finish the task “at hand” despite the agony? Or were these simply tears of joy?

The sad truth is I’ll never know. The dog, which brought me there in the first place, tugged onwards. There were poles and plants and concrete to sniff elsewhere.

Meanwhile, in the Silver Lake Meadow a hip dad is instagramming a picture of his child flipping through: An Abridged History of Second Wave Ska. As you read this, he’s busy revising the witty caption that will accompany the picture.

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FYF Fest 2012: The Definitive Guide

FRIDAY:

It’s a Lay Day. Go to school or work or that place where you spend your time while everyone else is at school or work. While you’re there, drink a lot of water. Good job. Now come home. Sit on the couch. Watch or re-watch the first season of “Homeland.”

So far so good. Do not go to the bar. Do not get drunk. Tomorrow will be a long day. Sit tight. Maybe have one beer. One beer never hurt anyone. Four beers later, decide you’re going to the bar. Just for one drink. A quiet pint.


You stay until last call. This was a bad decision. You’ll be worse for it tomorrow. Good thing you drank all that water today, right?

SATURDAY:

The first thing you’ll notice is your head hurts… badly. Probably has something to do with the half-dozen 2-4-1 whiskeys you put down. 2-4-1? Come to think of it, that means you had twelve drinks, not six. Suddenly the severity of your hangover will make a lot more sense. Good news is it’s Saturday.

FYF day #1. Jump out of bed. Or roll off. Don’t push yourself too hard. Loosen up. Maybe do a couple sun salutations. Maybe some jumping jacks. That’s it. Get the blood flowing. Look at the clock. 11:30 am. FUCK.

Get dressed. Resist the urge to wear what you might consider to be clever or funny. Dress like an adult. An adult who is about to spend the day drinking and watching bands play music that you love. Resist the urge to wear the “Suns Out Guns Out” tank top and then wear it anyway because you’re late and it’s going to be fucking hot and you’re still buzzed from last night.

Jump on the Metro. Jump off the metro. Run. Run as fast as you can because White Arrows are on at 12:30. Barely make it. Love every second of it. Have your first beer. Remark at how expensive it is. Should of smuggled in booze. Text friends to do just that.

The block that follows isn’t that inspiring. My advice? Just because there’s a lull doesn’t mean you should take it upon yourself to drink like you’re trying to kill yourself or join a fraternity. Wait to see who does the comedy set at 1:15 pm. Likely, it won’t be David Cross so you probably won’t go, but you will have a beer. Go see Soft Pack at 1:30 or drink some water. Apply some sunscreen. Don’t talk to girls with cowboy boots on or feathers in their hair.

2:30 If you’re here, you might as well see King Tuff.

3:30ish Now might be a good time to check out the comedy stage, but if it sucks, find yourself at AA Bondy or for old time’s sake Two Gallants.

4:30-6:20 It’s possible you like the bands that are playing this block. I don’t so I’ll be in the beergaarten with a neon wristband drinking everything because the heat will be unrelenting and the music is not my cup of bourbon. If you join me, we’ll speak with German accents, as we are in a beergaarten. 6:25 DJ Harvey or more beer. At this point, drop the German accent. No one thought it was funny.

6:55 Right about now you’re going to need to pump the brakes on the drinking and do some soul searching. Warpaint or Chromatics. As much as I dig Warpaint, unless they’re salting the rim of my beers with benzodiazepines, I’ll be at the Spring Street Stage watching Chromatics.

7:35-7:40 Run, beer in hand, back to see Tanlines at Broadway St.

8:10 Decisions, decisions. Well, you’re definitely leaving Tanlines early, but for which stage is the question. If it was 2010, I’d go to Sleigh Bells. If it was 2011, I’d elbow past small children and knock over senior citizens to see James Blake. Alas, it’s 2012 and I kind of love Purity Ring. I’ll probably see James Blake anyway. I don’t give a shit what you do.

9:25 M83 Bond with your peers. Sing your heart out. You’re trashed at this point. I repeat, you’re fucking hammered. Ease up on the pictures. You just instagrammed what you’ve tagged as #MidnightCity!!! but it’s just a picture of some dude’s ear and a lot of blurred lights.

10:40 Everyone wants to go home or to a bar, but what about Simian Mobile Disco? Stay. It’s only 50 minutes. Some of you may see The Growlers. I don’t disagree with that decision. I may join you.

SUNDAY:

Nobody said it was going to be easy. You took a lot of retarded pictures last night. And what’s this? You danced (if you want to call it that) with a girl who had a septum ring as big as a baseball dangling from her nose? How very, um, tribal of her… Guess you went with Purity Ring, huh? Have a Gatorade. Jesus, man, take a shower. Eat something. You really don’t have to rush. In fact, I don’t recommend getting there until the third block. You might be able to squeeze in brunch. Likely, your blood sugar is low and all you had yesterday was two hundred beers and an accidental veggie bratwurst.

Veggie bratwurst?

Yes, I’ll explain. Some guy in the port-a-potty line handed it to you for safe-keeping before he braved that plastic box of defecation. You took that veggie bratwurst and you ran. Then you peed on a tree like an animal. You don’t feel bad about any of it.

2:40 Nick Waterhouse. You might think you want to see Wild Nothing but you’d be wrong. Now there’s nothing wrong with Wild Nothing, it’s just you need to prioritize.

3:40 Father John Misty Ease into the afternoon. It’s Sunday. Have a beer. You had a long night. Hopefully no one punched you in the face and called you Nancy. If they did, you’re in the right place to talk about it.

4:30-7:45 Meh, maybe Cursive if you want to feel shitty about yourself and reminisce the early 2000s. Maybe Dinosaur Jr. Honestly, this might be a good time to take a nap or think about how exhausted and horrible and sunburned you’re going to feel tomorrow.

8:15 Rally boys and girls! Shotgun a beer! Find someone with smuggled liquor! This is the last hurrah! I’d start with Desaparecidos. Hope to get up front, catch three or four songs then head over to Health. Health is going out with more of a bang. So what if you’re way in the back? It’s four dudes and a MacBook Pro.

9:30 Yeasayer or Twin Shadow… Your friends will be divided over this. Fuck your friends. At this point you either feel like a million bucks or your liver is failing and you hate your life. With some hesitation, I say go with Yeasayer. If it’s not amazing, abandon ship. Sprint to Twin Shadow.

10:55 If you’re still here, you’re either

A.) Blacked out

B.) Sober and hating life

C.) In the medical tent

Or D.) maybe you like Gold Panda. That’s fine. I’ve seen them live. Would I do it at 11:00 o’clock on Day 2 of a festival when the next day is Monday? Um, no.

So who do you see? If you want to reminisce the days when cocaine sounded like a good idea, and dance like you’ve never heard of a 401k: Go see The Faint.

If you’re sticking around to see Beirut, I applaud you. Honestly, I do. He’s great. They should’ve scheduled him in the middle of the afternoon though, which is why I’m sprawled out on my floor eating pizza while you’re watching a guy play a flugel horn at 11 on a Sunday night.

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Mona Lisa Vs. Carey Mulligan

These chicks are in right now. Like #MonaLisa, #CarrieMulligan, #Louvre, #Drive, trending right now. Maybe Mona’s always trending, like Lady Gaga or weight loss secrets. Carrie on the other hand, I think she’ll have a rich future of trending until she’s at least twenty-nine. Maybe even thirty if she ages well. There’s something to be said for aging well. Look at Mona! Still in the limelight after all of these centuries!

I’ll admit it—Mona Lisa—I don’t get it. I never have. In my youth, I took a class on the subject and all I walked away with was the definition of ubiquitous eyes. Sure, she’s got those. Big deal. Nothing personal Mona, but you just don’t do much for me.

I’ve even seen you a couple times. Granted I didn’t get that close. I couldn’t. Between us there were a lot of Asians. Asians who were heavily armed with long lenses and wanted nothing more in the whole world than two hundred photos of you.

What’s the deal with that anyway? Why would anyone swarm like paparazzi to get a photo of a widely accessible painting? What’s the advantage? Mona wears the same shit everyday. The day you tote your camera to the Louvre isn’t going to miraculously be the day Mona shows up in a bathing suit. You’re not going to catch a “wardrobe malfunction.” And she’s not sliding out of a limo, so if you were hoping for a crotch-shot, your odds are slim.

I hate to disappoint you, but day in, day out, it’s the same drab Mona. She’s not a song and dance girl. No sir. What you see is what you get. Take it or leave it. A lot of people have taken it. I left it.

I didn’t get it so I split, but I’ve since returned. I elbowed through a sea of amateur photogs with phallic like lenses, which were seemingly attached to their faces. And these men, mostly men, they stop, stare. They gawk. We’ve all been there before—stopping and staring.

While were on the subject of gawking…

I saw Carey Mulligan last night—what do you think I was doing? Minding my own business? Checking my email? Listening to my friend’s story about getting a Boston Terrier? Hell no. I was drooling on myself in a dark bar on the corner of Selma and Wilcox.

Do I wish I had whipped out my phone and snapped a quick picture of her? Um, no. Why? Because the world wide web is full of images where she looks better than she did last night. And say for some reason, I was really into low quality pictures of hot chicks—why take one myself when surely there’s some half-night vision, half-POV sex tape of Carey Mulligan and a Portuguese Tuna Canning heir. Which no doubt, is readily available on the vast wasteland I’ve come to know as the internet.

This was the second time in a week Carey and I had been in this situation. Yours truly, drooling on myself, and her, blissfully unaware of my presence. Of course, the first time I was reclined at the Arclight and she was about sixteen feet tall. On the screen, she didn’t look that great. They put a lot of work into making her look shitty, which I’m sure was no easy task. They went with the obvious: ethnically ambiguous son, a criminal husband, a minimum wage job and an oily face.

As I do, I was in the theatre furiously taking notes. Be forewarned, I’m big into the suspension of disbelief. Naturally, I was deep in thought. My prompt: How does one convince Carey Mulligan that we should drive down the LA River whilst listening to synthy jams?

First, the obvious, get a toothpick. Second, get a thrift store jacket with a reptile on the back. After steps one and two, it becomes more complicated. You need to be handy. Under the hood, under the sink, Stanley Kowalski sweating-in-a-wifebeater-handy.

Grease is good. It’ll break down the physical barrier between the two of you when, inevitably after a long day of fixing something arcane, Carey Mulligan has to walk over to thank you. She’ll bring an ice-cold beer, which you’ll thank her for. You’ll take a long pull because you deserve it. Then she’ll laugh and you’ll smile, but you won’t know why. She’ll reach out to wipe the grease, which is perfectly smudged beneath your eye like some sort of relic of your handiwork. Shortly after you share this moment, you’ll consummate the relationship in the thinned-walled room next to where another man’s son sleeps. She’ll tell you to be quiet, but she won’t mean it. The kid will wake up to some greasy stranger nailing his mom through the headboard, but really—who cares?

I will admit Mulligan has certain advantages over La Gioconda. First and foremost, she has eyebrows. Mona, the eyebrowless wonder, looks like a cholita who left her Sharpie at home. Secondly, the hands. My god, have you seen Mona’s hands? They’re meaty and pallid, like two big dead fish slapped across her waist. Lastly, they say there’s something enigmatic about Mona’s look. I usually dig that, but when pitted against Carey Mulligan it becomes complicated. Why? On screen there’s almost nothing complicated about Mulligan. She plays the damsel in distress. She’s a throwback to an era before Beyonce’s anthems of independence. And as Irene, Mulligan is one misogynist’s loving portrayal of the perfect imperfect woman. Bravo, Nicholas. Bravo.

Carey Mulligan 1

Mona Lisa 0

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Stewed Pork Tacos and A First-Hand Tragedy

(A cubicle and swivel chair sit in the middle of the sparse office. There’s a computer, a phone and stacks of papers on the desk. Enter Colin, hip office worker, whose expression weighs between dejected and sardonic. He holds an envelope in one hand and a letter in the other.)

COLIN

It’s lucky number thirteen and I’m starting to think  — I don’t know if it’s going to work out. (He takes a seat and crosses his legs.) Now don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful to be a part of this marginalized community and I’d really like to keep living like this, but thirteen is a lot to take. Thirteen rejection letters over the span of a career, I can understand, but this is like thirteen in six months.  And I just don’t think I can take another  (He looks down at the letter and reads.)“Dear Colin, Thank you for submitting your screenplay”, (He looks up from the letter.) which by the way they can’t seem to ever remember the name of, (He looks at the letter.) “to our festival”, (He lowers the letter.)which by the way, I wouldn’t know the name to because I’ve been rejected by twelve others and they’re all starting to blur together.  (He pauses.) It gets me thinking; (He hunches over and knocks on his head.) I’m starting to wonder if they’re looking for something else. Not so much a screenplay, but something entirely different. (He stands up and paces.) Like, remember those eight years, not so long ago, when we the people, were asked to pick a President? Registered voters over the age of eighteen hit the polls and twice in a row they picked something absolutely contrary to the desired. (He stops and addresses the audience.) It was some like large-scale ruse, where out of all these qualified and intelligent men and women that fit the criterion, in a fluke of events… drum roll please… And the winner, hailing from Nepotistic, Texas, with a backwoods twang on his New England-educated tongue and dreams of cocaine and baseball in his head… (He sits resignedly and bows his head) a demagogue slipped through well-oiled ranks. (He raises his head and smiles.) Pun intended. (Pause.) I’m wondering if it’s something like that. (He shrugs.) And so the letter continues  (He looks at the letter.) “Your story was read” was READ?! (He pops out of the chair and stands.) Wait, I’m supposed to think that you possibly just deposited my forty-dollar check and called it a day? Is MY LACK of being someone of relevance’s nephew, (Pauses.) is that grounds for not even opening my self-addressed stamped envelope included document? And maybe I should mention, the forty dollars that you just gave your assistant to go on a run to buy you a seared ahi steak served over a bed of spinach with fresh ginger and the low sodium soy teriyaki glaze, that was my forty bucks, man! (He sits in the chair and spins around.) And me and your assistant both know one thing that you don’t! A forty-dollar entrance fee is four hours before taxes or five hours after taxes of waiting for you and or someone like you, to boss us and around and you may not even have flipped through my script? But the letter goes on, (He holds the letter out in front and squints while reading.) “Your screenplay was read and carefully reviewed by our literary staff and management.” (He puts the letter on the desk and looks at the audience over his shoulder.) The best is when you they list their readers: Joshua Horowitz from 110 Percent Management, Producer Leslie Livingston, TBA agent Ricardo DeSonya, Writer and Producer Ryan Sportello, WHAT? Who are these guys?! (He faces the audience.) I’m able to laugh after getting vetoed that a bunch of no-name agents and managers just rejected me, but can you imagine if it was the other way? (He puts up his pointer finger and spins around to pick up the phone.) “Hey Mom, great news! What is it? Well, I don’t know how in the loop with the biz you are, but a very PRESITIGIOUS group of Managers, namely, Gold-Clad Management read my script and just offered to represent me. (He fist pumps.) In fact, I just got back from a meeting a their office in Woodland Hills!” (He hangs up the phone, grabs the letter and turns to the audience.) Alas, I must trudge on, “Unfortunately, your screenplay did not fit this year’s category selections for the Screenwriter’s Competition.” (He flips the letter and cocks his head.) Didn’t fit? (Pauses.) Was there an error? Can I get my forty bones back? Because it sounds like someone made a mistake. Did my heartbreaking story of a guy with Lou Gehrig’s disease overcoming all odds by becoming the first non-Swedish World’s Strongest Man, accidentally get filed into the Sci-Fi category? And whose blunder was that? (He stands ups.) I’ve got a thing or two I’d like to say the people at the Frames In Motion Screenwriters Competition. There’s been an error! Something is rotten in the state of Culver City! On two accounts. (He counts on his hand.) One, the obvious, they owe me forty U.S.D., which I’ll take back in the form of cash or cash because I’m still using your highway robbery entrance fee as a tax write-off, while also not reporting that I retrieved the funds. Then, after that’s taken care of, well, (He reaches back for the letter.) I’ll read on, “We hope to see more of your work in future competitions. Best regards, Danette Estrada, Festival Coordinator.” (He throws the letter down.) Danette, now I can put a name to the foot that kicked my teeth in. Now when I hear, (He raises his arms in the air.) “Ride of the Valkries” blaring and I see my silhouetted foe coming over the hill on horseback, coming to slaughter my dreams – Now I know that western-saddled tyrant is Danette! La femme fatale Danette! (He shakes his head and retrieves the letter.) I’m sorry. (He addresses the audience waving his arms.) Forget I said that Danette, I’m just going to start over. Amigo a amigo, writer to omnipotent reader. Danette, when you said, (He references the letter.) “We hope to see more of your work in the future,” this is exactly what I’m talking about. Our future together. I don’t know you, you don’t really know me. What we have before us is a blank slate of a future. What we’ve got is a chance! (He starts pacing.) Sure, you may have read my feature; you may even remember the name, Against AL Parenthetically S Odds. Get it? Of course you get it, you’re great baby. (He stops and points at the audience.) Say, do you remember the part where, the protagonist, Joachim, is crying about his lack of Nordic Heritage and his concern about being accepted on P-COOL, the Professional Circuit of Obscure Objects Lifters? And his father cuts in and says, (He clears his throat.) “Son, not being Swedish is the least of your concerns.” And they smile and laugh and then cry because they both know after he’s lifted his last SubZero refrigerator, which no one thought he could and he’s hoisted up on to the shoulders of monstrous Swedes, as brethren, where he shivers, in his spandex tank top and neon glasses to his death in a sea of love at only twenty-seven years old! (He sniffles.) I’m starting to tear up just thinking about it and I wrote it! He was supposed to be dead at 23! (Pauses.) So Danette, you see I’ve got talent! I mean, a story like that, with a miracle like that! That’ll rip your guts right out! Just try and shut off your tear ducts when Joachim, all atrophied, is training with his eighty-year-old father in the dead of an Arizona winter. (He swings.)Cutting cacti, (He jogs.) running in temperatures dropping into the low seventies, eating tremendous amounts of high protein turkey pesto wraps, all in the hope of being the champion that no one says he can be! (He walks towards the audience.) I mean, Danette, if that doesn’t make you cry, make you want to be the best you can be, if that doesn’t make you want to give your kid a hug and tell him to eat less sugar so he doesn’t get juvenile diabetes, then I don’t know if I want to be a part of your inhuman contest! I don’t know if it’s the place for an artist such as myself because we live in a cold world of car bombs, no-fly lists and a paralyzing fear of consuming mercury-laden FISH! (He takes a deep breath then retreats back a few steps.) You know what, Danette. Keep my forty-bucks. If you’re gonna be like that… if you’re gonna be the type of person that slams the door on a stranger instead of saying, “Come on in. Care for a bit of grappa or maybe a sliver of swordfish?” (He wags his finger.) Fine, I want nothing to do with your silly contest and its trivializing and preposterous selection process. I remember 2000 and 2004 all too well and if you don’t get it now, I’d be very surprised if in the next few years I hadn’t been recognized as writing the scripted equivalent of a black President. Very surprised. (He takes a seat and shuffles a few papers on the desk.) Thirteen letters, huh? That’s not so bad. I know a couple guys with more. (He turns his chair to the audience.) My neighbor collects them. He actually enters contests just for the rejection letters. He’s even started asking me for mine. I told him sure, but why? “Come and see what I’m working on,” he said. So I walked across the hall, he opened, his door, didn’t offer me swordfish or anything, but you get the gist. “Look” he said pointing at his living room wall. And I look and I’m like, “Damn.” He says “It’s good, right?” And I’m like, “damn.” “Yeah,” he says. He walks over to what he’s (He makes quotations with his hands.) “created”, we’ll call it and he puts himself in. It’s basically one of those things you see at amusement parks and other touristy places that are cut-outs of really buff guys or cartoon characters and you stick your head through and take a picture. (Pauses.) Well, he’s got one that’s a trough of sorts that you get onto your knees and above it is a wall-spanning guillotine created solely out of the words, “We regret to inform you.” Over and over again. So I tell him, “Wow, you’re really on to something.” But he can’t hear me, because he’s like in the middle of the literary French Revolution of Rejection. I mean he’s just dying, (He winks.) dying for the slow, rusty blade of rejection to put him out of his misery. (He stands up and pushes in the chair.) I like going over to my neighbors every once in awhile. I do it just so I know where I stand. If crazy is a sliding scale, which I believe it to be, I always feel a lot better standing next to my neighbor versus some guy I went to college with who became an errand boy for someone important. (He tightens his tie and rolls down and buttons his shirt sleeves.) I get your game Danette. Your Dear Colin, your best regards, etcetera talk. And now that I think about it, I think I might just beat you at your own game. If it’s all about making the person that’s in charge of your unofficial, but self-proclaimed destiny feel important then I’ve gotta stop writing about conquering hurdles, overcoming odds, or doing the right thing. As far as I can tell, I remember one squirrelly Texan putting in a solid ocho anos without getting one thing right while the current man in the blue slash red tie, who is perpetually trying to do the right thing, doesn’t look like he’s going to get to run a second lap. (He puts his hands behind his back.) Danette, I don’t agree with it. I can’t, it’s against my principles, but I think just this once, against my better judgment, against God and country, I’ll write for you. I’ll write just for you so I can hear you purr back to me in the Scarlett Johansson rasp of yours. (Pauses.) I’ll do the blank page dance and pound the keys until it’s raining checks all over my laptop and I am winning so many contests that every debatable agency slash management company slash producer of some film, no one has ever heard of is banging on my apartment door like the police wondering if (He holds up an imaginary poster.) I’ve seen this man. I might get so rich, I might stop eating those totally delectable stewed pork tacos that come from Taco Truck #42. I said maybe. (Pauses.) The only trouble is, I don’t the slightest idea where to start. Maybe I’ll do something about post-partum disorder or about being a soldier in Afghanistan, I hear first-hand tragedy is really in right now.

CURTAIN.

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