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.