Thursday, December 13, 2012

The One with A Modern Speakeasy…

Published 12/13/2012


After spending a considerable amount of time in LA, one quickly accepts the fact that people are probably lying to you in 90 percent of your interactions with them. Once you realize this, it becomes much easier for you in turn to become a purveyor of half-truths with very little weight on your conscience. I’m not saying I’ve become Pinocchio, but I may have exaggerated (a lot) to land  a commercial audition a couple of weeks ago and I’ve mastered the art of looking background wranglers in the eye and convincing them that I most definitely do not have a cell phone right here, in my pocket even though I’m really not supposed to have it on this closed set…

In this town of smoke and mirrors however, sometimes one stumbles upon a not-so-hidden gem that is more of a delight than an affront to your intelligence. On a recent outing, my friend’s dogged search for a random hookup led us to Laurel Hardware and aside from my fleeting disappointment at not finding a wrench or gasket in the place, it turned out to be a spot I wouldn’t mind being dragged to again.

I was initially annoyed by the line that stretched along the building, only because it was a nod not to the number of people inside but the attempt to make the place seem more exclusive than it actually is. This did however give us more time to note the cool sliding glass doors in the front of the restaurant and ponder on what exactly the people behind the counter were doing. They were literally handing stacks of plates to each other but no one was eating or cooking. They never stopped moving though. Like I said, smoke and mirrors.

Once we got inside and made it past the front dining room, the rather large bar area with booths, casual seating and a large communal table were more than precious.  This place is faintly lit but it also has a great patio, which besides closing at midnight and being freaking freezing, was charming. And as much as I like my nightlife to be devoid of any references to the holidays,  the unabashed Christmas décor was surprisingly inviting rather than kitschy. My friends and I spent most of the night name-dropping, ducking various studio execs, and pointing  out agents to our East Coast visitor. While we debated the validity of the new Blacklist service, she was mostly disappointed that the place wasn’t brimming with Hollywood’s Chosen. We explained that duh, it was the first night of Hanukkah and what did she expect, and immediately shared the collective realization that we’ve been here far too long and have indeed drunk the Kool-Aid, or the Manischewitz rather.

But oh how I thoroughly appreciate this place! The vintage storefront and the discreet bar in the rear made me feel as if I had stumbled across a speakeasy in West Hollywood, missing only passwords and hidden doors. I half expected to walk in and hear someone decrying the advent of “talkies.” And here was a place with adults, actual adults who were both not creepy and not feigning importance, mostly because nobody here had to pretend. Apparently this is a place that even industry heavies have trouble getting reservations on certain nights.

As for our friend’s pursuit of le sex, I’m not quite sure if she was successful, as I’m not one for sticking around once the lights come on and quickly made my escape. But this reconstituted hardware store is definitely one of my new favorite things.  I mean who doesn’t like a modern speakeasy? It’s pretty much the cat’s pajamas- yeah, I’m bringing that back.


EVENING SCORECARD:

Venue: 5 (Did I mention it’s like a speakeasy?)

Alcohol Situation: 5

Actual Beneficial Networking Achieved:0 (Does seeing people who could advance your career count?)

Personal Victory/Dignity Retained: 5

Atmosphere: #winning

 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Happy Hanukkah Yall

(Re) Published 12/8/2012

So I'm reposting my Hanukkah tale from last year because, why not? Also, watch this:

SNL Christmas for the Jews


Published 12/19/2011

Twas the Night Before Hanukkah…Because Openly Celebrating Christmas in Hollywood is Damn Near Offensive

If you haven’t been living under a rock and/or you’ve watched at least one episode of Entourage or Curb Your Enthusiasm, then you know that Hollywood is run by the children of Israel. Don’t get angry or offended, it’s just a fact and the sooner you realize that being one of the chosen is the way to go, the better. Besides, in this liberal climate where practicing every religion except Christianity is accepted and encouraged, Christmas has become passé at best.  Jesus is not politically correct guys! So pull up a chair Jews and goys alike because I’ve got a Christmas Chanukah story for you:

 

Twas the night before  Hanukkah and all through Hollywood,

studio execs wondered if their box office numbers were good.

The Oscar buzz had started  but they only wanted to see,

if real acting would ever come from the cast of Glee.

The ICM Holiday party had gone off with a smash,

and agents hoped that the near implosion was a thing of the past.

The “professionals” at UTA admired their sparkling new logo,

while failing to answer the phone in client info.

Poor assistants and interns consoled themselves with cheap beer,

while Ari Emanuel counted his ridonkulous money with cheer.

As I weaved through the 101 I had such a fright,

before realizing it was the newly skinny Jonah Hill, what a sight!

I perused the Blacklist but what did I see,

every script already attached and repped- this looks fishy to me.

I texted a daughter of Abraham to find out where to purchase chocolate gelt

and delivered them for my boss’ kids before they should melt.

Nikki Finke had hung her snarky stockings with care,

and Kim K’s waxed her newly-divorced body hair.

Not a sleigh did I see but a TMZ tour bus instead,

and I tried to erase Lilo’s Playboy shoot from my head.

I raced to the Whitney set to do my background work for the night,

Wishing Happy Hanukkah to all, and to all a good (eight) nights!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Sunday Funday at the Hudson

Published 11/6/2012

 
If you’re one of the faithful few who actually reads my blog, you may have noticed that more than a month has passed since my last post. I blame this on a myriad of things, all of which can be attributed to a magical and horrible phenomena that occurs when one has been in LA for two years. Things suddenly get much, much worse. Gone are the days when I could leisurely write about my subpar living conditions and unfortunate on set experiences with caustic  glee.  I have suddenly become more of a starving artist than I previously was for reasons that include but are not limited to the fact that my hours at my dead end, non-industry job have been reduced due to new part-time laws in California.  I’ve also been slightly preoccupied as I’ve been trying to sue my landlord because surprise, my studio apartment isn’t properly permitted and it turns out, I’m living in an illegal unit. Fun.

In any event, a few of my friends recently dragged me to theHudson for much needed drinks that I can no longer afford. As luck would have it, the Hudson is a charming place: It’s dark but not gloomy, the crowd is actually sophisticated  as it’s far enough beyond Hollywood to avoid being grimy and not deep enough into Weho to be wild, and their late night menu has ah-mahz-ing creations like short rib grilled cheese sandwiches, and garlic fries that will no doubt haunt my dreams until the end of time. Also the guy at the door has a magnificent beard. Seriously, you could probably find the way to Narnia through that thing.

 The only bone I have to pick with this establishment is that for a place so wonderfully mellow, the music was so, so loud. Like, I had to shout more than I do at college game day at Big Wangz. But despite the noise  and the inordinate number of women swathed in Jersey Shore-levels of leopard print and entire Housewives franchises worth of rhinestone jackets, I will definitely be adding this to my list of new favorite places.

This outing of mine was nearly perfect but alas, it was tarnished by my dear unsubtle friend. I have become the target of her unsolicited matchmaking because she and one of our compadres have started dating, and have made it their mission to marry me off to our fourth mutual friend. Well-meaning though they may be, this foolhardy plan will only end  badly for everyone, as the only thing that said friend and I have in common is that fact that we are both black and attractive. Well, also we’re actors, but out here who isn’t . It’s not going to happen friends! We do NOT like each other like that. Anyways, I shall return to the Hudson to wreck my diet with their carb-tastic bar food and hopefully by the time I do, my life will be in less of a shambles.

EVENING SCORECARD:

Venue: 5

Alcohol Situation: 4 (Only because they insist on using mason jars. Really, that needs to stop!)

Actual Beneficial Networking Achieved:0

Personal Victory/Dignity Retained: 5

Atmosphere: #winning

 

 

 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I Am NOT a Hipster, Really I’m Not…

Published 9/26/2012

In the past few months, I’ve repeatedly had to tell people more and more often that I am definitely not  a hipster.  I’m not a hipster. Never mind the fact I can often be found wearing a scarf when it isn’t cold, talking about buying a Prius, perusing dresses with abstract floral patterns and ambiguous waistlines  at Urban Outfitters and planning eco-friendly, vegan cookouts at which to play some newly acquired records when I’m accused of this common Hollywood affliction.

I feel that I must stress that I’ve always loved vinyl and character lenses and indie bands with small but devout followings. Why is it then that only recently my friends have pointed out with increasing regularity my faux oxford shoes, my closet brimming with striped shirts and my attraction to men with tragically tight shorts? 

Then someone reminded me that one of the most readily identifiable traits of the hipster is their unwillingness to be labeled as such- obviously, because labels signify conformity to a mainstream, capitalist society- and I began to be slightly concerned.  This conundrum has forced me to devise the following quiz-slash-drinking game to find out if I am in fact a hipster, or not. Feel free to take it as well. FYI, if you know what PBR stands for, you’re already in deep trouble my friends. You’ll see what I mean…

Rules:

For every “A” answer, you must drink a bottle of Pabst Blue Ribbon, increase the volume on your record player or outdated hip hop album that you’ve recently “discovered” (maybe I should turn down this Andre 3000 from 2002), or read another chapter in whatever Kafka book you’re pretending to be inspired by.  Enjoy, or whatever, don’t enjoy, just be.

1)On movie nights you and your friends watch

a)a French documentary about the influence of Kubrick on the new neo realism wave.

b)The  Artist.

c) a super hero blockbuster.

                2) The most coveted item on your Amazon wish list is

a) a fixed-gear bike.

2)a pair of harem pants.

3) a pair  of patent leather Louboutin pumps

3)Handlebar moustaches are atrocious.

a)False

b) True

4)Your Saturday shopping trip consists of a visit to

a)a vintage/consignment shop.

b) American Apparel or Urban Outfitters.

c)The Grove.

5) When you’re trying to be cool you

a)throw around some French phrases or  arbitrarily quote The Seagull.

b) wear an ironic tee shirt, perhaps one with a picture of an owl on it.

c) name drop.

6)You think a man should smell like

a) Tom’s of Maine and home-grown marijuana.

b)soap.

c) Axe body spray.

7) You always have these things on your grocery list:

a) quinoa, organic alfalfa sprouts, sake, spirulina and locally grown honeycomb.

b) a Trader Joe’s summer salad kit and soy milk.

c)Oreos.

8)To stay in shape you do

a) transcendental yoga.

b) a cardio barre workout.

c) whatever Blake Lively’s trainer’s cousin’s friend recommends.

Well how did you do friends? If you answered mostly Bs and Cs, then you’ve barely touched your PBR and you’ve only been slightly affected by the time you’ve spent living in LA (or Portland or Brooklyn). If you’ve chosen mostly As however, then I suspect that you’re lighting up an American Spirit with a match, or drunkenly stumbling in your Toms and ridiculously low v-neck shirts around the coffee table you made from salvaged recycled wood behind your bff’s start-up microbrewery.  I’m not going to say what I scored, but I think it may be time for an intervention. I just hope I get to keep my record player when it’s over.

 

Monday, September 10, 2012

On Discerning When Going to Happy Ending is a Bad Idea…

Published 9/10/2012


I’ll give you a hint: the answer is most of the time, unless of course the promise of hearing all the Rihanna songs you heard on the radio in your car on the way there thrills you. This will most certainly happen while you’re there. But alas, a coworker was having a birthday gathering , and partly because I’m making a serious effort to be less misanthropic , but mostly because no one wanted to see Manhattan in the cemetery with me, I decided to go.

Now to be fair, Happy Ending does have a few great qualities, like awesome fish tacos, cheap valet parking, and a vending machine with beerpong balls in it. As much as I am loathe to admit it, I actually have fun when I go there. But yet…

The people who frequent this place are just… One of my friends was deciding what to wear and I was having trouble convincing her not to waste a dress, and not until I told her that the guys wearing plaid shirts were dressed up did she acquiesce and throw on some jeans.  When we arrived and she saw that I was not exaggerating, she was a little surprised. That however was nothing compared to the shock her  lungs were experiencing as they tried to breathe the dense fog of unfiltered Axe body spray. On the opposite end of the Joe College spectrum there was a guy, there’s always one, in a serious suit. Like, Barney Stinson serious. This could have been an honest mistake, as I too put far too much effort into my ensemble the first time I went there, but as he was exuding an air of newly-promoted-talent-manager pseudo importance, I could do nothing but laugh. Didn’t he know that Happy Ending is where you come to get sloppy? You are not Chuck Bass sir; take that ish to Soho House!

Aside from the demographics, Happy Ending, and all establishments like it for that matter, are a snare for reasons that cannot be explained. Like the Overlook Hotel in The Shining,  these buildings  posses people to do things that under normal circumstances, or at least without alcohol, they would never, ever do.  As I have temporarily sworn off the devil’s  juice due to the inauspicious manner in which my last outing ended, I had the pleasure of observing all of these strange happenings as they transpired.

 There were of course the requisite coworker hookups between people who barely speak to each other in the office, which made me feel like I was in a depressingly unsexy episode of Mad Men. I’m always torn between simply laughing or documenting these indiscretions for blackmail purposes, but  my fellow employees weren’t content to find love in hopeless places. One of my associates felt the need to intervene in a near girl fight in the bathroom over a misunderstanding of who was first in line. I don’t really know if her sense of decency  and civic duty is much stronger than mine or if she was really toasted and therefore empowered with a false sense of heroism. My first thoughts were I’m uninsured and I don’t know these hoes! I had no intentions of getting hit and messing up the face that I’m currently trying to make a living off of. You can’t buy cheek bones like this. Well you can but, anyway… (Who says actors are vain?)

After extricating myself from the would be perpetrators of girl-on-girl violence who were apparently doused in Britney Spears’ newest fragrance, I decided that it was time to depart. There’s only so much Rihanna one can be expected to endure in one sitting and escaping that den of fist pumping, cat fighting, and NSFW “ team building” was the only happy ending I had in mind.

EVENING SCORECARD:

Venue: 4 (It is the best of its kind.)

Alcohol Situation: N/A (I didn’t drink, but judging from the revelry I witnessed, I’d guess that saturation was sufficient to say the least.)

Actual Beneficial Networking Achieved:0

Personal Victory/Dignity Retained: 4

Atmosphere: #meh

 

 

 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

When Cheap Headshots Are Too Good to be True

Published 9/6/2012


I recently embarked on what turned out to be an epic journey to get new headshots and  I have to say, it was less than pleasant. I probably got what I deserved for Googling “cheap headshots” and picking a name , but as I remain without fame and/or rich benefactors, my options were limited.  What follows is my Yelp review of Monesson Photography, which I advise you to take as a cautionary tale of headshots gone horribly long:

Joshua Monesson took the most gorgeous headshots I’ve ever had… but it took almost a month to receive them, a month in which I was subjected to gross unprofessionalism, unanswered emails, returned payments and a general aura of sketchiness. I shall elucidate.

As a struggling actress I was thrilled to find Josh’s 125 “summer special” promising unlimited looks in an hour. This was great since I needed four new looks. After my  initial email inquiry went unanswered (which I should have heeded as a warning), I called Josh and he assured me that he would be able to  execute the number and style of headshots I wanted and we proceeded to arrange a shoot date. 

The day of the shoot arrived,  and the previous reviewer may be slightly exaggerating about black fingerprint smudges on things, but messy his studio definitely was. Despite all that, Josh is friendly and  efficient and I felt extremely comfortable with him. I’ve worked with photographers who have a singular vision for their clients and don’t care at all what they want, but Josh listened to my ideas and incorporated them for beautiful shots.

When the shoot ended, Josh offered the retouched images at 15 each, or the CD with all the images from my shoot for an additional 125, which included five retouched images.  I have to admit that after reading the ad and after our initial conversation, I was under the impression that I would be able to use fiverr.com and have my selected photos edited for super cheap, but  whatevs, 250 for what turned out to be SIX, yes six looks, is still a great deal.

 This was Tuesday, August 7th.  Late that night, Josh sent me a link to view my photos. On Saturday I emailed him and indicated the photos I wanted to have retouched and asked if I should pay through the link that he sent me, even though there was no way to select my images.  I also wanted to avoid the lengthy transaction times of Paypal.  I did not get a response, so on Monday I paid the for the CD through the link he sent and listed the photo numbers to be retouched. In less than an hour, Josh emailed me and said that he refunded my payment because “there is no way to select the images you want to have retouched.”  Wait, what? That is EXACTLY what I said in the email  I sent him.

I was then told that he would send me a Paypal invoice and that I should send the payment again.  I told him that I didn’t feel comfortable paying him again until the first payment was refunded, which could have been avoided if he had simply responded to the email I sent. After many phone calls to Josh and my bank, which had no record  of any reversal of charges for at least a week, it was finally processed. Before I had a chance to tell Josh and proceed with the Paypal payment however, I received my five edited images on Wednesday the 15th. This was perplexing to say the least, one because at that point in time, they were technically not paid for,  and two because it proved that Josh could have edited my photos and sent my CD AS I REQUESTED IN MY ORIGINAL EMAIL. But alas…

I proceeded to process the Paypal invoice and entered into the next phase of this unending saga.  After sending multiple emails, all of which went unanswered: to let Josh know that I sent the invoice, when it was estimated to clear, and ultimately that it did clear, I heard nothing and received no CD with the remainder of my images.  On the morning of the 23rd, I called Josh and he assured me that he had put my CD in the mail. Friday, Saturday and Monday came and my CD did not. It does NOT take more than two days for anything to be shipped from Venice to Burbank. On Monday I called yet again and suddenly Josh wasn’t sure of my address, or if my CD had been mailed on Thursday or Friday.  He promised to look into it and after securing my address once again, which by the way was on the original payment form, he said that he would put my CD in the mail the next day. I FINALLY received my CD on Thursday the 30th, but there is absolutely no reason it should have taken that long.

I blame myself for being pulled in by the dubious summer special, the dates of which continued to be extended . Again, the pictures that I eventually received are great, but the majority of my experience consisted of unanswered emails, emails that were not at all capitalized, and payment arrangements that bordered on suspicious and were unorganized at best. As a photographer, Josh is pretty amazing, but business man he is not. Ultimately the superior quality of his photos do not outweigh the near-month of unprofessional shenanigans I had to endure to get them.  Patronize him at your own risk and only if you have no immediate need for your headshots. Otherwise steer clear.

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Don’t be That Girl

Published 8/21/2012


I dislike many things, but there are few things I loathe more than the bastardization of the English language.  Words like YOLO, swag, steeze, cray and ratchet, which is quite possibly the worst of them all, drive me absolutely up the wall.  Made up words make me really, really angry.  Really. But having said that, I have a tale to tell and though it started well, it ended in what can only be described as a sea of ratchetness,  a horrible swagless sea of ratchetness.

 I recently celebrated a birthday and as I am still attempting to be an actress, will commence to lie about my age, because if there’s anything in Hollywood worse than being talentless, it’s being over 23. In any event, a few of my friends were out of town on my actual birthday, so they decided it was only right that they have a second soiree for me. This was all well and good but as the night progressed,  I noticed that a girl very much caught up in revelry seemed to be following us to every single place we went.

I shouldn’t have been surprised to encounter such a character as my friends and I chose to head to Boystown, which  everyone knows is the place to witness drunken wrecks with reckless abandon. At Here on Robertson, this doomed girl appeared to be on her second drink and was still semi-well behaved but I could tell that mischief was afoot. She was engaging in frowned upon behaviors such as asking strangers to take Instagram pictures of her and her friends, and singing really loudly to Ke$ha songs.  When you see people engaging in this type of tomfoolery you should roll your eyes, and I didn’t hesitate to do so.

I thought that we would escape this creature as we ventured to what may be the quintessential West Hollywood spot, the Abbey, but unfortunately she was there too. I felt a little bad for her when someone stepped on her sandaled feet with their heels, but my sympathy quickly waned when I ran into her in line for the bathroom. Her friends were screaming “Drink, it’s your birthday!”  “Drink, bitch! Take a shot!”  To which she eventually replied, “It’s my birthday! Yay!” At the top of her lungs. Why do people like this go out?

I’m convinced that this ridiculous waif was determined to haunt me throughout the night because I glanced  over and saw that her fellow partiers had shoved cash in her hands and pushed her towards one of the gogo dancers on the bar who proceeded to gyrate in her face, to the delight of her friends and  much to her chagrin.

 It just didn’t end: she was at Pizza Rustica leaning against the wall and then stumbling away with the help of her compatriots.  And in the worst coincidence, she lived in the same apartment my friends and I went back to to collect our cars, and I would’ve been rid of her if I hadn’t had to step around her as she nearly collapsed in the hallway. Who does that? Get your life together dummy!...

The next morning I woke up, and came to the most horrible of realizations: That sloshed tart was me!  My toe was throbbing from being stepped on, there was still gogo dancer sweat on my face along with my makeup from the previous night, my head was throbbing, and my throat was still raw from the countless times I threw up.  Then the memory of that third Washington apple came flooding back to me (Yes, I am a lightweight)and I hung my head in shame, or rather tried  to because the room was still spinning.

People often ask me why I barely drink. This my friends, is exactly why. By the way, I finally Googled the ingredients in a Washington Apple and it has freaking whiskey in it! That explains a lot. I thought I could have my little “second birthday” and throw caution to the wind but I was so very wrong. Not that West Hollywood is the first or even seventeenth place that comes to mind for a classy night out on the town, but even there one should retain at least a modicum of standards.  I did not manage to do that. I allowed myself to be defined by words that Webster has not yet qualified as legitimate. I was that girl, and anyone who knows me, knows that that’s cray.

EVENING SCORECARD:

Venue(s):  5 (The Abbey is ridiculous, but then again I wasn’t the most reliable source that night.)

Alcohol Situation: 5 (Drinks…so... strong...)

Actual Beneficial Networking Achieved: 0 (Does the drunk guy in front of Millions of Milkshakes count?)

Personal Victory/Dignity Retained: 0

Atmosphere: #weho


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Star is (NOT) Born

Published 8/14/2012
Now that the Olympics are over and my fleeting patriotism has all but dissipated, I have been forced to face two facts. One: I will now have to search that much harder for pictures of Nathan Adrian, and two:  I have been in LA for exactly two years and have failed to book enough work as an actress to quit my day job, or become a writer who has sold out enough to be  welcomed into “the wrong crowd” and subsequently  develop  a nasty heroin addiction. Why can’t I be one of the  lucky ones?

In two years I’ve not only developed an aversion to child actors, a love for frozen yogurt in all forms, and a resigned  acceptance of the traffic on the 405,  but I’ve failed to witness and experience several things that  I was warned I would encounter if I left the relative safety of the Midwest  for a life in Tinseltown. I actually lived outside of LA for five years when I was younger so I was already aware of a few of  these commonly misreported and grossly exaggerated “facts,” but I feel that I must lay them plain for the poor misinformed masses who inexplicably insist on living in places that are not Southern California.

There is gang violence EVERYWHERE!!!!! (THERE IS NOT.)

Hey people who have never, ever set foot in southern California EVER, shut up! Also, stop watching South Central and  Boyz n the Hood to convince yourself  that it’s impossible to walk outside without having to dive under a low rider on hydraulics to avoid the spray of bullets from a drive by.  I’m not sure if you’re aware, but those are movies. There is gang violence in certain neighborhoods, but they are such a small percentage of the entire state of California that they don’t warrant even a third of the hysteria that they generate. I’m really tired of getting frantic calls from friends and relatives who assume that I live in the midst of one giant, unending Beat It video. This is not the case. Also, stop saying “Cali” and probably anything else you’ve heard in an E-40 song. You sound dumb.

There are 9.0 earthquakes every day. (THERE ARE NOT.)

Hey people who live other places with much less desirable weather, have you ever heard of Wikipedia? Or maybe Google? I’d like to suggest doing some research on the seismographic records of certain regions and maybe checking out the frequency and intensity of plate movements on the West Coast. If you did that, you’d know that there haven’t been any serious earthquakes out here in quite some time. Stop asking me if there have been any earthquakes lately, because there haven’t been!There is no danger of me being sucked into a giant chasm in the ground.

Everything is expensive. (EVERYTHING IS NOT.)

There is no denying that the cost of living is high, although not nearly as exorbitant as New York, and even DC. Aside from housing however, it is possible to get by if you’re creative and frugal and you’ve heard of a little thing called Living Social. One of my friends lamented that it must be so horrible that I could no longer buy clothes, as the only stores in the whole of California are Prada and Hermes. I gently tried to convince her that H&M is alive and well, and that there might even be a Target or two, but she would have none of it. And aside from that, there are free yoga classes to be had, cheap outdoor movies and even cheaper wine at Trader Joes. Relax people, I’m okay.

People in LA are so laid back. (THEY MOST DEFINITELY ARE NOT.)

Have you ever worked a 16 hour day? Have you ever tried to succeed in something that you were very good at, only to be told that this is a bad year for specs? Have you ever gotten a parking ticket that no one, including the city that issued it to you can explain? Have you ever had a diet that consisted only of coffee and your sheer will to survive? If the answer to any of those questions is yes, imagine doing all of those things  every day for more than a year.  This is what happens to people in LA, hence people in LA are the polar opposite of laid back.  Angelenos do not just lay at the beach all day, and when we do, we complain about the tourists and check work emails. Within two weeks of moving here I completely understood why most people curse like sailors and have drug habits.  (Hint: These are not laid back behaviors.)

It’s impossible to find real friends. (IT IS NOT.)

On a rare less cynical note… There is a common sentiment that Hollywood is full of duplicitous, opportunistic sociopaths and liars… and that is mostly true. Through trial and error however, I’ve managed to find a few people who are supportive and as reliable as anyone in Hollywood can be expected to be. None of us have become rich and/or famous yet, so our loyalties have yet to be tested, but contrary to popular belief, there are a few genuine people on the left coast. You just have to look really hard to find them. (Hint: if they are wearing Ed Hardy, keep looking. These are not the friends you want.)

There are a plethora of other myths about LA that need debunking:  background work is fun, living in the hills is desirable, Ikea furniture is comfortable… I don’t have time to address them all, but hopefully, I’ve inspired those of you who live in other states to do a little critical thinking and stop trying to deter those of us who would move here to pursue the stage and screen from doing so. It really isn’t that bad, except for when it is, but LA is home now, so don’t try to convince me to move back to places replete with snow and mosquitoes but lacking In N Out. It’s not going to happen.






Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The One Where I Ventured to Places Frequently Seen on TMZ…


Published 7/31/2012

I have a college friend who frequently harasses me about why I rarely go to places that are known for being uber trendy, extremely popular or celebrity hangouts. What she fails to understand is that I could go to these ever-changing hotspots  if I wanted to, but after  the initial excitement of living and working in Hollywood subsides, one very quickly loses the desire to go to places that are “super Hollywood” if you yourself are not in fact “super Hollywood.” (Hint: If your IMDB page doesn’t  say “More available on IMDBPro,” you are not “super Hollywood.”)

But alas, one of my dear Tinseltown compadres recently celebrated her birthday and everyone knows that when birthdays are involved, “super Hollywood” is le mode du jour.  So it was with trepidation that I went to Katsuya, home of not-the-greatest sushi, and frequent fixture on TMZ segments of yore.  Cut to finding myself in the midst of the very crowded, very dark, very overrated hive of beautiful people and sake bombs. Thankfully, Katsuya’s heyday has sort of passed so there weren’t swarms of paparazzi outside. The hostesses were lovely but our waiter was sort of a douche, and aside from almost wandering into the kitchen trying to find the bathroom- that door is literally hidden in the wall- we emerged unscathed.

As the night continued we found ourselves at the lounge of the W, mostly because a very amicable security guard told us in no uncertain terms that regardless of how cute we were, we would most certainly stand in the line for Drai’s for an exorbitant amount  of time and be charged twenty dollars because it was after midnight and there was a guy with us. So to the lounge we went, and not five minutes passed before a ridiculous fellow approached my friend and offered to buy the five of us drinks.

This brings me to yet another question my college friend constantly bombards me with:  “Why aren’t you dating anyone?” I’ve mentioned once or twice before that in LA, the nice guys are gay and the straight ones are dicks.  This one was the latter which he proved when he said to my friend’s roommate and I, “I don’t know which one of you is prettier. I guess I’ll just have to sleep with both of you to make up my mind.”  Who. The. Fuck. Says. That? I mean seriously, who?  There are so many things wrong with that statement, but mostly the fact that he said it out loud, and after saying it, looked at us expectantly as if we were in an episode of Entourage and he was Vincent Chase and there was a chance that it would actually happen.  You fail sir. YOU FAIL.

After escaping that sordid affair and witnessing the birthday girl have the most hilarious argument with a cab driver which resulted in him turning OFF the meter and giving us a free ride- miracles do happen- we ended up at Dillon’s. I don’t remember why exactly this happened as we were extremely overdressed and I’m pretty sure Beso was our intended destination. In any event, I felt that I had to at least attempt to redeem myself from the smarmy proposition thrust upon me, so I asked my friend about the cute guy she seemed to know at the bar. “Oh him,” she replied. “He’s a porn star.” That is the point of the night when I gave up on life. So to review: Ugly guys who buy you drinks will blatantly ask to sleep with you and hot guys who are not gay are getting paid to sleep with everybody.  

EVENING SCORECARD:

Venue:  4 (The bathroom at the W is larger… and nicer than my apartment. #firstworldproblems)

Alcohol Situation: 4 (There was free alcohol, but my dignity paid the price.)

Actual Beneficial Networking Achieved: 0

Personal Victory/Dignity Retained: 3

Atmosphere: #decent




Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My Best Friend’s Wedding

Published 7/24/2012


Most things in real life are nothing like their movie counterparts, but I was recently tasked with being a bridesmaid in one of my high school friend’s weddings and after the unending treks to David’s Bridal (and subsequent starving to fit into a dress I will never wear again), the rehearsal dinner and the realization that being a member of a wedding party is eerily similar to being a creative assistant (Bring coffee! Send emails! Go to the airport…), it dawned on me that all of the wedding clichés in movies are very, very real.

The Awkward Officiator

Remember the odd priest in The Princess Bride who started the proceedings with “Mawwiage…?”  Since my friend was having a destination wedding, she had to select a church at random and it turns out that people will not just marry you the way you want to be married. There was so much going on during that ceremony that I’m still not entirely convinced I haven’t been converted into some old-timey sect.

The Wedding Crashers

People probably just shouldn’t have outdoor receptions if they want them to remain private. None of the crashers made up elaborate stories about being in traveling family bands or being related to dead cousins twice-removed a la Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, but there were a few randoms and it was so not okay!

Awkward Speeches

Almost every wedding movie has a cringeworthy speech, but few come close to the one Anne Hathaway gave at the rehearsal dinner in Rachel Getting Married. That was painful. Enter the best man and his story of how the bride and groom met. I. WANTED. TO. DIE.

A Touchy Feely Relative

Every time I watch The Best Man I always laugh at the part where Nia Long’s character tells Uncle something-or-other not to fondle her while they dance. I don’t laugh because it’s funny though, as much as because I often find myself in situations that make me wish I was at a work function so I could sue for harassment. I guess in an effort to leave no wedding stone unturned, an older gentleman in the wedding party… made advances towards people, to put it lightly. #fail

Drama In The Bridal Party

So if you haven’t seen Bridesmaids by now you should definitely go do that. Also, please be advised that differences amongst real bridesmaids are no laughing matter. I didn’t resort to stealing puppies or attempting to destroy chocolate fountains, partly because there were no puppies, but mostly because I’ve adopted most of the codes of Hollywood and I choose to fight my battles by ignoring texts and all other manner of passive aggressive subterfuge. But if there had been a chocolate fountain… let me just say I felt Kristen Wiig’s Pain.

Random Hot Hate Sex

There are few things I like about Katherine Heigl, okay there’s nothing I like about her, but she (Aline Brosh McKenna) did perfectly describe the sad dance that is the post-wedding hookup in 27 Dresses. I didn’t actually get that far, but I did do my bridesmaid-ly duty by making out with someone at the dreary “singles table.” This is just what happens when you have an open bar…

There was plenty more marital tomfoolery of every variety that weekend, but it all served to reassure me that if I ever take that leap, and I probably won’t- no one will know. I’m talking season finale of Girls where everyone thinks they’re just going to a garden party. No fuss, no muss. So I guess the moral of this story is that sometimes Lena Dunham knows what she’s talking about. Also, have open bars at your wedding. Just do it.

WEEKEND SCORECARD:

Venue: 5 ( Resort Hotel, beach within walking distance- score! )

Alcohol Situation: 5 ( I’m pretty sure I consumed five different kinds of liquor at the reception.)

Personal Victory/Dignity Retained: 4 (I did not pass out and I didn’t punch a certain bridesmaid so yay me! )

Atmosphere: #winning


Monday, July 9, 2012

Son of a (Hermosa) Beach!

Published 7/9/2012


Every Hollywood climber knows that sometimes it can be nice to escape the plastic confines of the city, not have to talk about the industry, and breathe fresh air… sometimes. And sometimes it’s best to stay put and just go to some place in West Hollywood where you will be forced to lie about your career, but at least you know what you’re getting into.

A friend and I recently ventured to Manhattan, partly because our other options were flimsy at best, but mostly because a friend of the  men’s Olympic swimming team told us they  would be there- what can I say?  Quelle surprise- they weren’t there, but we decided to make the best of our roadtrip, which is what any trip from the valley to the beach is.

Unreliable Friend led us to Ocean Bar/Abigaile which on the surface looked nice enough , but if ever there was a venue with an identity crisis, this was it.  Let’s count the disparate themes, shall we.  So the first level  is the Abigaile restaurant which apparently  is also a brewery.  This area in itself had too much going on- there was graffiti on the walls, rustic décor, and the increasingly pervasive mason- jars-instead-of-glasses thing going on.  This is no longer novel, so stop it.

The second level /first level of Ocean Bar is where the confusion really started to manifest- imagine the very college-y vibe of Happy Ending (oh the endless plaid shirts!) but with enough house music to put Ecco out of business. What? That area was packed like a subway, so we escaped to an upper level balcony which  would have been nice if it hadn’t been all the more confusing. It was as if someone had attempted to replicate Skybar, started to make a go of it with the light fixtures, and then halfway through abandoned the idea, threw in some fire pits,  more wooden furniture and forgot to change the dress code.  It was slightly more confusing than the box office gross for Jack and Jill. In any event, my friend and I quickly mumbled some excuse as to why we had to leave but we learned our lesson: don’t go chasing Olympic swimmers because they will decide to go to Drai’s instead.

EVENING SCORECARD:

Venue:  3 (It made Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory design look sane.)

Alcohol Situation: 4

Actual Beneficial Networking Achieved: 1

Personal Victory/Dignity Retained: 5

Atmosphere: #meh




Sunday, June 17, 2012

Age Ain't Nothing But A Number

Published 6/17/2012


 Or at least that seemed to be the case  the last time I auditioned for an 18-to-play-younger role and no one batted an eye. Unfortunately, it becomes jarringly apparent when I occasionally reveal that I once owned a walkman. Luckily, since moving to LA, I’ve acquired quite a few friends who happen to be a couple years younger than I am, and unlike my peers my own age, they actually stay up past ten and they don’t judge me for not just reading but quoting The Hunger Games.

Alas, every rose has its’ thorn, which I was reminded of the other night when I attended the graduation shindig of one of my youthful compadres. She wisely chose to party  in Pasadena as the Westside was overrun with her fellow UCLA graduates and we would have spent much more time parking than drinking. We started at Kings Row  and as I began to assess the vibe, one of our mutual friends remarked on the bounty of eye candy. I looked around and agreed that there was… if I had been 19! Everybody there looked like they should’ve been Facebook friends with Miley Cyrus.

And this place was filled with the absolute worst kind of children! These were not the bitter, jaded, world-weary 22 year olds of West Hollywood who have grueling assistant jobs and are therefore tolerable. Oh no, these were the frat boys smoking cigars and dressing like Brody Jenner and  the girls wearing skirts shorter than belts, always one drunken stumble away from a Dateline special. Why?! Was I that obnoxious a few years ago? And with this sort of place comes the requisite and unfortunate opposite end of the spectrum: the guys in their 40s trying far too hard to be hip, who remind girls of fathers and uncles, and mistakenly believe that someone in college will be impressed enough by a Mustang to sleep with them. To that I have only to say 1) You’re gross!, and 2) This is LA. You’re going to have to do better than a Mustang if you expect to get some ass based on your vehicle.

In any event, this particular outing came in the midst of my quarter life crisis in which I regularly lament the fact that high school movies are no longer cast the way Grease was, and my chances of playing a 14 year old are slipping further and further away with every day that I fail to book anything of note. After spending a couple hours rolling my eyes at “college kids” I made my escape, but not before regretfully explaining to someone what a rotary dial phone is.  Also I read this (40 Things That Will Make You Feel Old )  and it made me sad.

EVENING SCORECARD:

Venue:  5

Alcohol Situation: 4

Actual Beneficial Networking Achieved: 0

Personal Victory/Dignity Retained: 4

Atmosphere: #winning




Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Morals Suck


Published 5/23/2012


I really miss the days when being a starving artist was more romantic, when it looked much more like living in a walk-up in Manhattan and being a kept man like Paul Varjak  and less like eating cereal multiple times a day in an uncomfortably warm studio in the Valley.  If you ask me, Hollywood was better back in the days when the sign still had “Land” at the end and Mickey Rooney could play an Asian in an Oscar-nominated movie and nobody batted an eye. Ahhh, simpler times…

Alas, things have become a bit more complicated, especially for those of us who have landed in Tinseltown and found ourselves beset by two rather large handicaps known as “talent” and “morals.” Usually the very talented eventually make it, or they escape to the Midwest in defeat, or worse yet, they become the bitter agent/acting coach/modeling scout who will browbeat hopeful newcomers into participating in doomed showcases.  But enough about people in Hollywood who are actually good at something. I’m far more concerned  about those of us with a conscious, as I fall into that category and it has become painfully clear that it will indeed be my downfall.

A couple days ago I wound up at the friend of a friend’s house, or should I say, the house in the hills that he lives in rent free, courtesy of  a benevolent sugar daddy. For the millionth time this year,  I realized that I’m doing life wrong,  as my activities include far too much auditioning and submitting, and not nearly enough “lip service” (all double entendres welcome here).  After talking to this marvelously opportunistic young man, it occurred to me that I might benefit from behaving less like Acerbic Writer in a Coffee Shop Barbie  and more like Super Slutty Starlet Barbie *With an extra large mouth, batteries for handjobs not included*  Not to say that this individual wasn’t attractive and talented, but it doesn’t hurt to have a doting older man arranging photo shots with Bruce Weber or shoving wads of cash in your hands when you bat your eyes at him.

I really think it’s high time I considered strategic sex with industry heavyweights as a viable option because apparently, a little shrewdly executed whoring improves not only your career and your living conditions, but gives you a far more interesting circle of friends. I know this because said friend of friend got a little bored and casually whisked us away to the even more fabulous house of an acquaintance, where I found myself nonchalantly chatting with Mark Ronson… and he wasn’t  even the most famous person there. That was a laid back Saturday night for this guy!

So let’s review:  using what you have to get what you want is clearly the most economically sound career choice, while having scruples…  well let’s just say I didn’t come home with any promises of walk-on roles or even screen tests for being the “nice girl.” I was also one of the few women there without implants and I’m pretty sure I was breaking some law about entering the Thirty Mile Zone without first undergoing breast enhancement surgery.  So basically I’m fucked, except I’m actually not, because if I was, the evidence of my efforts would be equally awesome  living arrangements and a budding career.  

I can’t say that particular compromise isn’t tempting, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. Besides, with my luck I’d end up naked on camera in some sketchy apartment with a guy who isn’t a producer at all, like Coco in the original Fame, and no amount of singing The Body Electric or 80s dance montages can wash that away. It’s okay though, things like booking pilots and having air conditioning are overrated anyway…

EVENING SCORECARD:

Venue: 5 (Who has a house with an arcade? Who does that?)

Alcohol Situation: 5

Actual Beneficial Networking Achieved: N/A (That’s yet to be determined.)

Personal Victory/Dignity Retained: 5 (Although I’m not sure if that should’ve been the goal in this case.)

Atmosphere: #winning

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Girl With the Strategically Placed Body Paint

Published 5/15/2012


Over the last few days, I’ve found myself in the Playboy social circle and I’ve stumbled upon  a delicate and fascinating world of organized sluttiness. I’m not one to judge, as you may recall that I briefly considered a career as a gogo dancer, but these  girls are on a completely  different level.

My scout friend invited me to a mansion party, not the mansion, and it was really more of a very large house in the hills but whatever. I went and my mind was blown. I was told the theme was something along the lines of tropical island paradise so I wore a flowery skirt, but to say I was overdressed would be the understatement of the year. When someone who works for Playboy has an island-themed party, apparently  it means that you’re supposed to turn up in a thong and nautical pasties, or if you’re particularly daring, a thong and body paint covering your boobs  (Insert shocked emoticon here.)

I don’t know why I was surprised by any of this,  I mean  it‘s Playboy after all, but until the other day I was under the impression that rhinestone-covered bras should only be worn on Halloween or in Madonna videos.  Obviously I was wrong. This party  was every adolescent boy’s fantasy, but as for me, who incidentally turned out to be more of a prude than I previously thought I was, I couldn’t stop thinking “That’s someone’s daughter.”   The whole night I was convinced that I was in the midst of a Todd Phillips movie and nobody had bothered to tell me. That goes to show by the way, that if at any point you think you’ve seen it all during your tenure in Hollywood, it can always be topped, or in this case topless.

Somewhere between a rigged costume bikini contest, stumbling upon a threesome in the bathroom, receiving countless evil looks from hopeful playmates and being ignored by almost every man for being one of the few fully clothed girls there, I was aching to leave, but alas, my friend was working so I had to stay. I did manage to make a non-skeezy contact, but I also had to wash my eyes out with soap so I’m not sure if I won or lost that round. Anywho, I got out of there with my clothes on and I learned things about double-sided tape that I could never have imagined, so I’d say I had the breast, I mean the best possible time.

 EVENING SCORECARD:

Venue:  5 (That house was ridonkulous.)

Alcohol Situation: 5 (Open bar…  score!)

Actual Beneficial Networking Achieved: 1

Personal Victory/Dignity Retained: 5

Atmosphere: #winning


Night at the Roxbury

Published 5/15/2012


I’ll be the first to admit that I A)loathe Hollywood blvd nightlife on the weekends and B) hate cornballs who engage in touristy nonsense, but on Friday I broke both of those rules because of a loophole in my guide to living in LA: If a friend from out of town is visiting or you meet a new transplant, it is acceptable to participate in and even suggest activities which should only be done by newbs  who don’t know the difference between the 110 and the 10.

Luckily for me, I have such a friend, a friend who works for Playboy, and it just so happens to be her job to go out ALL THE TIME to scout prospective centerfolds.  She was  in need of a good wingwoman so I tagged along.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t just a little bit excited because of the infamous movie, although after I realized that it was a newer, random, revamped spot off of Ivar rather than the original in West Hollywood my anticipation waned. Still, that didn’t stop me from playing that Haddaway song on the way there.

Let me tell you something about girls who agree to do test shoots to be in Playboy: a few of them are cute, but most of them are not, although what they lack in looks they make up for in personality.  I’m just effing with you , they make up for it in cleavage!  And speaking of cleavage, I regret to say that Chris Brown’s bodyguard accidentally on purpose felt me up as I searched for the restrooms on the second floor. Apparently he felt the need to guide me towards it with his hands on my chest. I’m pretty sure my shoulder would have sufficed, but he probably assumed I was drunk and I wouldn’t notice. No sir! Besides, this is Chris Brown we’re talking about so I’m pretty sure that a bodyguard is sort of redundant, as we all know he hits girls so I’m pretty sure he could’ve handled me himself if need be. I’m  so not on #teambreezy

Molestation aside, the Roxbury is decent if you like house music, or if you like being sandwiched between sweaty college students, wannabe models, and posers, or if you like laughing at drunk people. I am a fan of the latter. One such inebriated girl lost her purse, so my friends and I tried to be good Samaritans and return it to her, but she was so plastered that she literally almost got hit by a car while attempting to cross the street to get it from us.  Once you witness a near-death it’s usually time to go home, and that’s exactly what I did, but not before listening to What is Love one last time.

EVENING SCORECARD:

Venue:  3

Alcohol Situation: 5 (I got free drinks for being a friend of a friend so yay!)

Actual Beneficial Networking Achieved: 0

Personal Victory/Dignity Retained: 1 (I was groped by the bodyguard of a wifebeater, so yeah…)

Atmosphere: #meh


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Stage Combat Will Not Save Your Life

Published 5/5/2012


Last week, LA experienced some fairly heavy winds, resulting  in power outages in a few parts of the city.  Consequently, I came home from work to a pitch black apartment and after lighting my way with my fading Blackberry, I managed to locate two tiny votive candles from Ikea- the batteries in both of my  flashlights were dead.  I started to worry that the stuff in my refrigerator would go bad, until I remembered that there was nothing in there anyway, and in that moment I realized that I am grossly unprepared for an emergency.  

It occurred to me that being an actor and living in Hollywood has rendered me rather useless as a normal person. I’ve had to develop  an entirely new skill set, like willing the traffic on the 101 to dissipate so I can make it to auditions on time and faking my way into parties. And though I may one day get cast in a zombie apocalypse movie or a Hunger Games sequel, there is no way that myself or any other Angeleno would make it out in one piece. As much as I hate to admit it, someone from a flyover state has us all beat because they know how to do things.

Actors Can’t Drive

You may be thinking “Of course  actors can drive,” but how many times have celebrities gotten arrested for driving on the wrong side of the road, entering a freeway exit ramp  or driving with an expired license? A lot, that’s how many times. In every natural disaster movie there is a scene in which someone starts a car without the keys and manages to escape. I don’t know how to do that and neither do any of my friends… because we’re actors! I know someone who doesn’t even know how to turn her car off because she always hands her keys to the valet and lets him do whatever car voodoo is involved in reversing and parking, so yeah…

Electronics Are Confusing

Do you know why people in Hollywood have assistants? To program their new Iphones and set up email accounts.  Assistants are  normal people who have common sense, and they know how to do things. I know this because I once worked for an exec who FREAKED OUT when the power cord for his laptop died. I thought it was amusing, but then I realized that I rely on my GPS for everything and I have trouble with microwaves that aren’t my own.  If I was caught in a situation that involved building a fire or rigging  a transistor radio to signal for help and I didn’t have Siri to guide me through it, I would be truly screwed. 

Actors Are Not Morning People

Every time I go to my 11am improv class, everyone lethargically sips coffee with half-shut eyes and moans about how early it is and how tired they are. I have friends who honestly believe the sun rises at 9am because unless  an early call time is involved, actors do not get up early in the morning. They just don’t, and neither does anyone else in LA unless they have a “normal” job.  But what if you have to battle a group of teenagers to the death? You know when Katniss woke up? Before the sun came up! And what if zombies want to feed on your human flesh? They’re not waiting till brunch, friend.  Five in the morning  needs to become your new bestie.

Actors Are Vain

This may be the biggest obstacle in the survival of our outlandishly attractive, talented race.  Thespians are forever in pursuit of their best selves and I foresee a plethora of bad decisions stemming from our undying need for physical perfection . What’s to stop an enterprising young starlet from trying to improve her tan under a post apocalyptic sun that turns out to have deadly turns-you-into-a-vampire rays? That sparkling pool over there looks like it might give you youthful skin forever... never mind that it’s brimming with radiation and now you’re a mutant. Good job day player.

What’s this? Someone from another district is trying to take me out with a slab of cement from the ruins of  Gruman’s ? I’ll just evade them with stage combat skills so as not to scratch my stunning face.  None of that is going to work, and in addition to the hassle of sustaining your own life without a PA, I imagine that post-Armageddon LA is going to be pretty gross. The prospect of the grime and lack of massages alone will probably be enough to force hordes of actors to take their own lives. Nightlock anyone?

In light of this harrowing revelation, I’ve decided to become more conscientious and learn some skills that might come in handy outside of a callback. That’s the plan anyway, just as soon as I can find my phone and Google map my way out of this labyrinthical backlot.