Sunday, October 30, 2011

I've Been in Silverlake Way Too Much This Week

Published 10/30/2011

Okay so I know you might be upset because this tale of social experimentation involves people other than myself but don’t worry, I fully intend to return to my solitary ways next week. Maybe Hemmingways, maybe the  dardantS, get it, because the sign at the Standard is upside down and backwards … anyways…
So my lovely friend Pua (who actually books work) invited me out to Harvard and Stone because one of her friends is dating a band member, or is in the band, or owns something- I was never really sure of the connection, but the point is that even though I arrived by myself after spending far too long trying to park and resigning myself to the seven dollar lot across the street, I did not have to spend the night pretending to text people! #winning
So as for the venue, it was very cozy and dimly lit in a special Silverlakey, hipstery sort of way, and if you like that sort of thing which I do, then it’s great. This kind of place is also good for me because as it happens, hipsters are sort of into the whole prepubescent waif look, and consequently find me attractive. Score!
 I am a sucker for a good local band (Monte Mar, I heart you!) and when I got there I caught the end of Blac Jesus and the Experimentalists’ set.  I must say that I liked what I heard. After I‘d had a chance to ponder the boundless variations of hipster facial hair that I was being forced to cope with, The Downtown Train came to the stage. They  sounded like a slightly calmer version of The Black Keys and  incidentally can be found at Harvard and Stone every Tuesday if I’m not mistaken. Also, any band that can successfully make use of a harmonica is okay in my book.  
So the best and last band, the Herbert Bail Orchestra was AWESOME! I’ve decided that being one of their groupies is going to greatly improve my quality of life. Their drummer (I love!) - so his name is Jacob,  but Pua and I have decided to call him “Prince Sparrow” because he was a little Purple Rain and  a little Captain Jack, which would probably make more sense if you just saw it for yourself, which you can. They’ll be back at Harvard and Stone on November 22nd. I will be there with bells on. Alright I’m going to stop now. So although there was no networking, I did enjoy the atmosphere so I guess I’ll have to wait until my next outing to pretend that “I’m just waiting for someone to meet me.” Oh, my life.
EVENING SCORECARD:
Venue: 5
Alcohol Situation: 5 (The libations are lethal.)
Actual Beneficial Networking Achieved:0 (But enjoyable mingling took its’ place.)
Personal Victory/Dignity Retained: 4
Atmosphere: #winning

My Name Is on the Guest List

Published 10/30/2011

This little excursion to Drai’s was a bit of a diversion from my usual fare, because I wasn’t there by myself! No please, hold your applause (and disbelief) until later. Luckily for me, my friend @tikobeauty had both a recent birthday and a friend who knows people, so I found myself in one of the more notorious spots on Hollywood Blvd without having stood in line for hours. This sounds like it’s going to go well, right.
So as I’ve mentioned before, I lack the three Bs necessary for survival in Hollywood- Boobs, Botox and Blonde hair. On this particular outing it was painfully apparent that of the four girls I was with, I am the thinnest, the shortest and it also doesn’t help that I persist in clinging to my short hair and my unaltered nose. The thinness may seem like it shouldn’t be a problem in LA, but apparently in a place where even a meth baby could stand to lose a few pounds, there are still men who like women with curves. What I’m saying is that I looked and felt like Skipper, tagging along with Barbie and her sexy friends. #losing
So after the extensive scrutiny of my license which I’ve grown accustomed to, it took about three minutes for the birthday girl to charm her way into drinks for all of us from some random Armenian dude (Thank you random Armenian!) which was great for us, but I quickly realized two things. Number one: Networking (which was the original purpose of these quests) does not take place on the weekends after 11 PM, and two: either I’m too picky, or there is just a serious lack of Hollywood douchebags who are attractive enough to justify the banal “club conversation” that I kept finding myself caught in.  This is why I rarely go out, I found myself thinking. I’ve decided to just tell people I’m a geologist next time, as there’s a 99 percent chance that there will be no actual geologist in sight, and I can have a field day making things up and avoiding subjects like agents, lunch meetings, pilots shot, and other similar career exaggerations.
Another thing about Drai’s: only the tourists and the go-go dancers actually dance, so for this particular outing my activity du jour was “insult tweeting.” There are some things that adults who are not shooting music videos or trick-or-treating really shouldn’t wear, such as leather unitards, and lederhosen with suspenders. I’m just saying. Also,  in general, that whole V-neck t-shirt with copious chest hair thing- yeah, you’re in the wrong  sir.
So anywho, my friends had fun, and I actually  spoke to people which incidentally is easy to do in a group, but did I A) sell a spec script, B) meet a casting director who wants to put my face on billboards,  C) secure a low-level creative exec job, or D) none of the above, but have the extreme pleasure of observing my friend’s shock at the people we saw openly doing coke as we tried to find her car. If you guessed D, you’re a winner my friend. (You’re a winner in a rec  league, we’re all winners sort of way. I’m not actually going to give you anything.)
EVENING SCORECARD:
Venue: 5
Alcohol Situation: 5
Actual Beneficial Networking Achieved:0
Personal Victory/Dignity Retained: 3 (I was not alone and I avoided illegal drugs-automatic points, Son!)
Atmosphere: #winning

Friday, October 28, 2011

This is What Happens When Parking in Weho...

Published 10/28/2011

It’s me again, your friendly neighborhood aspiring screenwriter/actress (Please hire me! Just kidding, but really, hire me!) Sorry about that guys. So anywho, my next failed networking attempt takes place at Skybar, right in the heart of the hell that is the West Hollywood parking situation. As per usual I have to brief you on how I ended up flying solo on this one.
As a subscriber to one of the best websites ever,Infolist, I was stoked to see that there was going to be a post-Toronto networking shindig, similar to the post-Cannes soiree that I attended in June. My last experience at Skybar was actually not a failure, one because I had just returned from Cannes and had relevant things to add to conversations and two, I was  there with people. This go ‘round however was  a little different. The sad thing is that I actually had two confirmed “Yes Lydia we are going with you to Skybar” texts and about a half dozen probablys, which everyone knows is almost as good as gold in Hollywood. So anyway, cut to me sitting in the garage on La Cienega BBMing Judas, I mean my friends, to find out how much longer it was going to take them to park. To make a long story short, they said that they didn’t want to pay twelve dollars to park and that they would catch me next time. Sigh. I was in a bit of a pickle, having already paid  and finding myself left alone on the verge of what would turn out to be (unsurprisingly) a very awkward two hours.
And  about these friends- I don’t know about you, but I don’t know anyone who is not a tourist, who has lived in LA for more than a month who would actually believe that they could find street parking near the Mondrian after 4 PM. A good parking spot in Weho is an anomaly at best and I really have a hard time believing that “We couldn’t find parking” wasn’t just a clever way of saying, “We are nowhere near Sunset and had no intentions of coming.” We’ll never know. So back to me, sitting in my car trying to convince everyone I know to join me on another fateful outing. It didn’t work and when I got to the woman at the door, even she took the time to poke fun at my solitude. “Lydia, it says plus two here.” “Yeah, but my friends decided not to come so…” “So minus two then,” she said with glee. Things like this only happen to me.
Luckily for me, I was familiar with the layout of Skybar so I proceeded directly to the bar- at least I could walk there with purpose, like maybe I was meeting someone or something. After ordering my Stella Artois I proceeded to mingle, and by mingle I mean hover around groups of people whose friends had not bailed on them and pray that I would see someone I know. (That was a rather illogical prayer, as all of the people I know had expressly told me that they would definitely NOT be at Skybar that night.) I quickly upped the ante to “Important-looking texting” and was encouraged by my friends to go flirt with people. Let’s stop right there. Flirting and approaching men is something that I don’t do, the same way that starting conversations at networking events is something I don’t do, mostly because I suck at it. Also, I look like I’m twelve, so I usually get the “shouldn’t you be in bed sideways glance.” I have seen people literally restraining themselves from patting me on the head more than once. At one point during the night I did sit sort of close to someone I was thinking about maybe speaking to, but I quickly abandoned that idea when an indiscriminately unattractive girl sat on his lap. Minus three for me.
This encouraged me to make another circle around the pool, but my circle sort of turned into an arc when I decided to monopolize one of the heat lamps. It was actually a strategic move though, as I had a perfect view of the girl who decided to get into the pool in her dress. Why do people still think that’s cool? At this point I had pretty much decided to leave, but I was approached by a gentleman with a hightop fade (no sir) which resulted in a fun little interview  . How many people did I actually speak to that night, not counting the bartender? Two. Maybe I’m the problem.
EVENING SCORECARD:
Venue: 5
Alcohol Situation: 3 (You will wait for ages.)
Actual Beneficial Networking Achieved:1 (Are you sure I can’t count the bartender?)
Personal Victory/Dignity Retained: 2
Atmosphere: #winning                

Lonely Times at Piano Bar

Published 10/28/2011

So the first place I decided to revisit was Piano Bar. Since I’ve been there before I decided that this was a good place to start because it’s free.99 (we do love a good bargain), their drinks are uber strong, like maybe dangerously so, and it’s super dark in there, dark enough maybe, that no one would notice that I was there all by myself.
Now let us back track as to why I decided that it would be a good idea to go out by myself on a Saturday night in the first place. Well I didn’t, deliberately decide to go by myself that is. This particular Saturday started like most others: I went to work (blah), I went grocery shopping( I m so boring) , and then I proceeded to play Blackberry roulette,  a game that involves me texting my friends who are habitually sleepy or with their boyfriends to try to convince them that there is indeed a world outside of the Valley. Well I’ll spare you the suspense: they were all sleepy and/or preoccupied with said boyfriends. After googling “good bars to go to by yourself in Hollywood on Saturday” and deciding that I really, really need to reevaluate my life, I pregamed alone, got dressed by myself, and danced in my car solo, as I drove to Hollywood.
So back to Piano Bar: I love the whole local band thing that they have going on here, even though the one that was there on this particular night did not quite strike my fancy. After about 17 minutes of pretending to be really into the music and being overwhelmed by my delightfully overpowering Washington Apple I resorted to one of my old solo-outing standby activities: overly important texting. I’m sure absolutely no one was fooled by my attempt to look important and/or popular, as well they shouldn’t have been. I spent the better part of an hour tweeting insults about the fashion mishaps of the people  around me and begging my friends to reconsider their wise decisions to avoid traffic and come rescue me from my lonely fate. No such luck. Finally I retreated to the sacred haven of nightlife- the bathroom. As I pondered my next move I was accosted by a drunken strumpet who tried to dance with me and insisted on referring to me as Veronica, unresponsive though I was. That was my cue to go back home, which was probably a good idea considering that there was nowhere else in the near vicinity that I could justify standing in a line by myself. Wonderland- nope. Empire-won’t catch me in there. Ecco- that almost happened. Colony- not without a wingman, so home I went.
EVENING SCORECARD:
Venue: 4
Alcohol Situation: 5
Actual Beneficial Networking Achieved:0
Personal Victory/Dignity Retained:0
Atmosphere: #winning                

Just What the Interwebs Needs...

Published 10/28/2011

Okay , so my original plan was to start blogging when I moved back to LA about a year ago, but, er umm, that kind of didn’t happen.  I thought that perhaps the interwebs might be a little clogged with the maudlin musings of  moderate-to-very-attractive 20 somethings who are aspiring to make it in some facet of the industry.  Also, I was trying not to kill or be killed at an internship that reminded me a little too much of Swimming With Sharks (Blocking! I’m blocking it out!)
Anywho, needless to say after a year of sifting through offers from development execs who fawn over my Oscar-worthy scripts, (absolutely no one reads my scripts) and trying to decide which roles to take to push my acting career to the next level (Acting?! People who do extra work are calling themselves actors these days? The nerve!), it became clear to me that I needed to adopt a new strategy in an effort to escape the less than glamorous life of a starving artist that had become all too familiar to me.
But what can one do to in a town where connections are everything and talent is often an afterthought? Networking, obviously. Now might be a good time to mention that I’ve been described as snarky when I’m  in a good mood and acerbic on a daily basis, and bullshitting about my mostly fictional writing career is not one of my strengths. In any event, I decided to forge ahead into the world of mixers and such.  Unfortunately, due to my current  station in life as one far, far below the line, my ahem, real job prevents me from taking opportunistic jaunts around the city at my every whim. I very often (ALL the time) end up having to go on these excursions alone, but more on that later.  First, allow me to regale you with a  few survival tips that may come in handy when navigating the mean streets below Barham without  a wingman.
First of all, if you are a girl it helps to have cleavage.  Unfortunately for me, I have the body of a 10 year old boy so I’m already losing points in an area I like to call the 3Bs- BOOBS, BLONDE hair, and BOTOX in your ass and lips. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I may possibly be a 10 in the normal world but a 7 in LA because I’m cute, not sexy. Once inside the thirty mile zone, cute only works for small dogs and child actors under 12. And speaking of minors, I look a lot younger than I actually am, ( I still get carded at the movies!) so I find that people have a hard time taking me seriously.  Arggg! Damn my youthful, supple skin!  I really should have talked myself out of my social tomfoolery, but such is my struggle as an undiscovered writer that I was determined to complete these undertakings. If only writers were still  kept men like Paul Varjak in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. If only…
The  first important step is to dress appropriately, which in Hollywood I’ve noticed means  wear clothes or don’t- It’s your choice. Once you’ve picked out something  that will probably include a blazer if you’re wise or a spandex/lycra combo if you’ve been watching anything on VH1, you’ll  leave for your destination and  pray that you won’t be immediately towed when you park in a purposefully ambiguous ticket zone.  I’ve learned that it’ important to have something to do when you plan to mingle, or in my case hug the walls all by my lonesome.  
You must look important!  I quickly tire of checking and rechecking the Weather Channel on my crackberry, and rereading tweets, so I’ve found that it helps to purposefully save a few emails on a day you plan to go out so you can intently read what could be a memo about whether or not Jeremy Renner will be available for such-and-such a project, but in reality is a forwarded message about a Living Social deal. I am also the master of the fake conversation. Sometimes I get so involved in my imaginary discourse that I’m actually annoyed when someone interrupts me. I always remember however, to put my phone on vibrate so that I  don’t get embarrassed in the unlikely event that someone calls me for real.  Of course,  assuming that you really are unknown, most of the people at these “networking” events are probably doing the same thing. Stay tuned for my wonderful tales of Piano Bar, Skybar and Drai’s. If you have any suggestions about where I should go next, drop me a line at @lydsinlalaland or lydialove000@gmail.com.