In Pursuit of Light

We are now many months into this pandemic.

Currently, there is a comet passing by earth. Shaka and I drove out Saturday night to see if we could catch a glimpse of it. Try and avoid a lot of light, face NNW and make sure it’s right after sunset. But of course, it could be an hour and a half after sunset. Or it could be the middle of the night. You might see it if you are in the mountains or better if you are looking towards the horizon. If you miss it, you will have to wait another 6800 years and I just don’t think I have that kind of patience. We didn’t see it Saturday. We will go again tonight. And if we still fail, we will go again tomorrow.

I feel like this pandemic is like trying to chase this comet. You keep doing things right, do what you’re told, hope for an outcome, but you don’t really know if you’re doing it right. You have to hope.

So day after day, in this pandemic, I buckle down in my new normal. Some days feel easy and then others, I cry at a stoopid commercial that isn’t even meant to be sad.

I am fortunate that I still have a job and CAN work from home. The learning curve of making my dining room table and my slow computer do what my work computer can do was quite arduous. I still haven’t exactly found my groove. Work has been crazy, so I don’t feel like AHHHHH I get to chill and go for walks all day long. It’s actually been a bit of a process trying to figure out a routine that keeps me sane and keeps the dead butt syndrome away.

I can’t believe how much time has passed living in this strange new reality. At first, I was like, I will lose weight, learn a language and also become famous with some amazing viral thing I do. But I gained, lost and gained and plateaued. I didn’t learn a new language. And as for being famous, my friends Faye and Leigh separately laughed like, well, what have you done to BE virally famous? And I was like, I dont know…I thought I would have found it by now. I refuse to get tik-tok, so I watch from the sidelines as hilarious Sarah Cooper gains comedic steam. That isn’t to say she wouldn’t have been famous otherwise or take away from her genius, but her timing with both her rise and her imitations are to be respected.

There is a lot going on right now. Lots of emotions, tension, ridiculous political stances about not wearing a mask (yeah, I said it – wear a f&*king mask, you dolts!), protests for civil rights (YES), militia kidnapping people in Portland (WTF?), family members getting sick from Covid, arguments with other family members who I believe are on the wrong side of history and health, weird medical stuff for me, Shaka and the cats, missing going out with my friends, missing travel (we were supposed to have gone to Europe this past Spring), missing cocktails being made by someone who isn’t me or Shaka, etc. I know others have it much worse and I sound like a brat throwing a tantrum.

So instead of focusing on what I am missing out on, I wanted to write about the things that have been keeping my spirits and energy up (let’s be honest – it’s mostly media).

– TV/FILM —- There are a lot of options at the moment for tv/films what with all the various streaming platforms. Here are some we have enjoyed during this quarantine (links provided).

  • We got a month of Disney+ to watch Hamilton (we had seen it live at the Pantages in Hollywood a few years ago). I loved it so much! Even though I love Jonathan Groff…what was with the spitting? It grossed me out so much. I wonder if others had to use a different mic from him after he would record for Frozen or Frozen 2. In this time of Covid, all germy things seem more apparent.

We also enjoyed “The Mandalorian.”

And then Shaka made me watch “The Shaggy Dog”, which was actually kind of             fun. Though I was like,  we are NOT watching old Disney stuff.

  • Which led us to “The Imagineering Story” which was pretty much OLD Disney stuff. But it was so interesting. Keep in mind, it’s told about Disney BY Disney
  • We have been binge watching “Community” which has made me very happy. As the seasons go on, I highly recommend taking edibles, cuz I am pretty sure the writers did.
  • Perry Mason (reboot on HBO) and Penny Dreadful: City of Angels (on Showtime), if you are feeling like you need to see more of LA’s crime and racial tensions but in a different era.
  • “Palm Springs” on Hulu!  Oh man, I was truly missing my girls trip to PS this year, so I would have watched this even if it didn’t have Andy Samberg or wasn’t a comedy or even good. But thankfully, I loved it!!!!!! It doesn’t replace the trip, but it’s a pretty good consolation. Zappy said that when she watched it, it was really hot here in LA and made her NOT want to be in an even  hotter desert. If you watch it and want to re-watch it, I highly recommend taking edibles cuz I am pretty sure the writers did.
  • Of course, “Insecure”, “Better Things”, and “Killing Eve” which have nothing to do with one another except that I love them, they are all shot gorgeously and have amazing casts and interesting story lines. Honorable mention is “Dead to Me”
  • There are more but I can’t for the life of me remember cuz my brain is melting…or too many edibles.

– MUSIC —– Mads, Shaka, ST8 and I have been randomly texting each other our music finds. When I finally create one of my shows, I want Mads and Shaka’s friend Shawn to be the music supervisors on them. But ST8 is a one-man show of knowing good music and knowing the stories behind them. He is also an Angelino and has a long history with music here. He definitely needs a podcast, and when he starts one, you definitely need to listen. Stuff we have shared back and forth

You can kind of feel the nostalgic, vacation vibe we have all been going for.

–  BEAUTY (I have been buying various beauty items. No need for as much lipstick when you put on a mask but I have bought some pretty colors anyway. I also have a lot of great hair and skincare purchases. If you’re interested, let me know. Otherwise, I am only listing the following)

  • Static Nails – I can’t paint my nails well at all. So I finally gave in and decided to try the press-on nails from Static Nails. My nails look AMAZING! I just wish I had somewhere to go because Shaka is sick of telling me “they look great” and I am not sick of asking how they look. hahahaha. Lowkey, I am still shit at doing my nails because I think I glued some of my skin to the nails underneath but trial and error. hahahahaha. ouch.

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– SOCIAL MEDIA – here are some of my fave vlogs and IG sites

  • The Sorry Girls – DIY stuff, Canadian, fun.
  • Penn Smith Skincare – she knows skin, she offers dupes to expensive products and explains things in a great way. And she’s based in PDX (which I am usually drawn to having gone to school there).
  • Best Dressed – this young woman has a lot of self doubt and stream of consciousness way of talking. BUT she is such an artist and I love her aesthetic for design and filmmaking.
  • Mary Elizabeth – love her style, her personality and her design upgrades.
  • DNice – awesome DJ that has kept me sane during this crazy time. His Club Quarantine mixes are so much fun. I dare you not to start moving your body.
  • Norah, Yarah and Rosa – hip hop dancing sisters from Holland
  • Alia – so this is a convergence of different things. My (former) belly dance teacher, Eshta makes gorgeous dance costumes and various items (also face masks  D4954EED-FF70-4DE1-8A6A-BDCA7406F786 I get so many compliments on this). She made a costume for this dancer Alia and mentioned it on fb because Alia was featured in Vogue. I looked her up. She is not only stunning and a captivating dancer, but she is also such a luscious skater. I reached out to my friend, Christia. I am co-directing a music video for her that had to be put on hold but which we will resume another time post quarantine. It features a lot of roller skating. I told Christia to check out Alia. Turns out that Christia (a dancer) was also wanting to get into belly dancing and after watching Alia’s skating footage, I now want to start skating. If you happen to see two Pisces skating and/or belly dancing, you will know it’s us. I just need to find cute skates for these big feet of mine. When I told my sister, she said, “do you remember that Dad broke his hip trying to impress a woman by roller blading? Nothing says youth like a hip replacement.” I will not be deterred. The cool thing is that Alia films and is filmed by another skater Neon Keon and their footage is lovely and fluid cuz they are filming WHILE skating. And I love their music choices too!

So that’s a smidge of things that have been keeping my happiness flowing.

It’s hard, you know? A huge part of who I am is being social. I love seeing the world and interacting in it. I love connecting with my friends and family. I just have to stay in touch as much as I can with people and keep a routine that doesn’t feel so cave-persony.

It’s tiring when every day feels the same, but my goal (besides being virally famous), is to try and make every day have a moment that has never happened before. Kind of like chasing a comet. Even if you don’t actually see it, the trek will be a little outing that you can tell stories about. But I hope we see it so I can tell you about THAT.

Star Cluster

I was going to write about this when it happened. And then my birthday extravaganza took place. And then the Stay in Place orders came.

So, today, I will write about it, though it feels like a lifetime ago.

My dad sometimes drives these senior tour groups and on this particular week, the group was in Los Angeles.

They were going to be at the Griffith Observatory one evening. It had been awhile since I had been up there at night. One memory of the sort was when I spent the day with a friend’s kids (twin boy and girl) who were around 10 years old. We explored Hollywood and had lunch and then found ourselves at the Observatory at dusk. On this particular evening, the twins and I saw a line for the Zeiss Telescope. We joined the line and weren’t too far from the front but the line wasn’t moving. The telescope would be open soon, they assured us. This was good, since I hadn’t planned to have the twins out so late on a Sunday. But we waited and waited. Whispers among the adults. Apparently, there are only a handful of people in the world who know how to operate this telescope.telescope

The guy that whose shift was about to begin wasn’t there. And he wasn’t answering his phone. And he seemed to have disappeared. His back up lived kind of far, but they were trying to get him there. The kids were restless but not enough so to want to leave. FINALLY, someone arrived (not sure if it was Operator #1 or his back up) and we took our turn at stargazing through the giant telescope.

As we were leaving, there were several people on the lawn who had their own, personal telescopes out for the public to look through. We wandered up to one guy.

“What is is your telescoped aimed at,” I asked.

In a voice like the comic book store dude on the Simpsons, he replied, “Star Cluster.”

Twin Girl asks, “What’s a star cluster?”

But he heard, “Which Star Cluster?” and proceeded to tell us the numerical name with a manic smugness.

Twin Girl confused by his answer, asked, “What’s that?”

Telescope guy replied, “It’s a STAR CLUSTER!” and proceeded to laugh at his own humor. Twin Girl looks at me. I look back at her with an expression that says, I don’t get it either. We look through the lens at the star cluster. It’s a cluster of stars. It’s pretty cool. As we get in the car, we can’t stop laughing.

We make fun of this interaction for years. FOR YEARS!

Back to current day (pre-Covid Shut Down).

Shaka and I arrive at the Observatory before my dad and his group do. I am shocked that you have to pay for parking up there now. And not just in the lot, but along the road, even if you are quite away down the hill. Parking went from being free to $10/hour. It threw me. So much so, that when I am putting my money into the meter and choosing how long we want to be there, I promptly forget how much it is per hour and I put in 3 hours. Oh well…I mean, I don’t love that I did that, but what’s done is done. I take the parking slip and put it on the dashboard.

We wander up to the lawn where we see several people with their telescopes set up for the public to look through. That part hasn’t changed. What is different, is that each telescope has a little e-board letting you know what they are aimed at.

I gasp. I grab Shaka’s shoulder. There is a little e-board that says, “Star Cluster” and I start laughing. I get in line. I can’t tell if it’s the same guy or not. A woman in front of me asks him about something bright in the sky. “What is that?”

And in that same voice we have been imitating for nearly a decade, he says, “what do YOU think it is?”

She guesses. He says, No

Another person guesses. He says, No.

And yet, another person guesses. He says, No.

As he slightly giggles to himself like Rumpelstiltskin, I blurt out (not sure if I am correct or not), “That’s Venus,” and I take my turn at the lens and look at the Star Cluster.

“Well, yes…that is Venus.” I feel a little bad, but not not a lot bad. I ask him why he loves the Star Cluster.

He says, “My friends make fun of me since I go on about them, but I mean…how can you not? It’s a CLUSTER…of STARS!”

I guess he’s right. When you think of how many of our suns would make up a cluster, it’s pretty cool. I think of the synchronicity of things coming together and joining up to create that experience.

My dad shows up and we wander around the inside and the outside of the Observatory. It is busier than I would imagine. Its not a holiday. It’s the middle of the week and the parking is $$$$. But the crowds are here. I start snapping the evening skyline below us with my dad’s phone (at that point, I was having phone envy with everyone’s newer devices).

My dad was trying to wrangle his group who had already had a tour-filled day. They were heading back to their hotel. Shaka and I decided we would head out too.

My dad’s bus wasn’t too far from ours. He hadn’t paid for his parking and in typical fashion for him, no ticket.

We get in our car with a good amount of time remaining on our parking pass. Up ahead, I see my dad’s bus pull away and another large van park where he had been. We see the driver of the van get out and look at the signs. I could almost feel his disappointment at the prices, as I watched his shoulders slump with a sigh. We pull up next to him.

We ask if he’s planning to be there awhile. His foreign accent is thick and he tells us that his job brought him down here from Seattle and all he wanted to do was see the Observatory but hadn’t had time all week. He was leaving in the morning.

“Not sure how long you wanted to be here, but here’s our parking pass with an hour and a half left on it. Hopefully, you will get to see something you wanted tonight,” Shaka says.

His face lights up!

“Thank you so much! I hadn’t gotten paid on the job yet. Bless you both!!!!”

He fist bumps Shaka as we drive away.

I never felt so good to overpay for parking.

As the city twinkled below us and the stars twinkled above us, we made our way back home.

 

 

 

 

Mondegreen

Mondegreen  is a mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase as a result of near-homophony, in a way that gives it a new meaning. Mondegreens are most often created by a person (ME) listening to a poem or a song; the listener, being unable to clearly hear a lyric, substitutes words that sound similar and make some kind of sense.

So does that make me a Mondegreener?

It almost sounds like the french phrase, “Mon Dieu”, like when you’ve heard something incredulous.

I have always messed lyrics up. And sometimes conversations.

I didn’t know it was SOOO obvious. I thought I could play it off like I have been drinking and become the ditz. Cuz let’s be honest…I sound drunk even when I am sober.

Jazzy hadn’t hosted us in awhile, so we were thrilled that she decided to throw an Oscar soiree for Zappy, Roni, Shaka, Mads and me.

I had seen most of the movies this year (which by the way, doesn’t make it easier to vote for the winners). I almost didn’t want to participate because Roni ALWAYS wins. And I am not good at losing.

But the looks that Mads, Jazzy and Zappy gave me of not participating almost felt worse than losing AGAIN. So I forked over $ and Shaka and I played along.

Jazzy is such a good hostess.

jazzy oscars

I told her that I hadn’t been there in a lonnnnng time and that it makes me sad cuz she throws the best parties.

She said, “Oh, well, I am not sad. My bf (she actually said his name and not “bf”, cuz that would be weird) and I are happy here doing things at home.”

And I said, “I don’t care if YOU’RE sad! I said, ‘I’m sad!'”

And then we all laughed at my sadness.

The food was great! The desserts were yummy! The drinks were flowing. And RONI WAS STILL WINNING! Arggggh.

Then that bizarre Eminem performance came on and we all looked at the tv like,

reactions

Not really, but we were wondering if the drinks had made us believe it was 2002.

I start singing “Lose Yourself” at the commercial break.

“Snap back to reality/  Oh there goes gravity /  Oh there goes gravity”

Zappy looks at me and says, “It’s ‘oh there goes Rabbit, he…'”

I was like, “WHAAAAA??”

Turns out, we were both right. I just was stuck on that one line.

Roni and Zappy tied the Oscar pool and decided to donate their winnings to Jazzy for the party (they are better people than I am…lol)

But Shaka and I did pose for my fake win for best actress.

shaka and me at oscars party

I was telling him about the Oops there goes gravity line and he laughed and said, “don’t I know it. you do that all the time.”

I was like, “WHAAAAA??”

Then, skip skip skip to a few weeks later, Shaka and I are on a mini-road trip to Ventura. “Hopelessly Devoted To You” comes on (I have no idea what we were listening to – Spotify? youtube?)

When I was a kid, I was OBSESSED with “Grease.” They even filmed part of it at my high school and I was so excited to pick out the parts where they sing different scenes. I used to have a book called a FotoNovel of the film.

fotonovel

I had the album. I saw the movie many times. I dressed up as Sandy (after her transformation) for Halloween.

Me as sandy

I was an expert is what I am trying to say.

So we’re in the car listening to Hopelessly Devoted to You. And I am singing loudly along.

But now there’s no way to hide
Since you pushed my love aside
I’m nodding my head hopelessly devoted to you
Hopelessly devoted to you
Hopelessly devoted to you

And I say to Shaka, “why is she ‘nodding’ her head? I think she means to say. ‘shaking her head’, like she can’t believe it’s happening.”

Shaka looks at me. Thinks for a minute (probably about how he is married to someone whose view of the world around her is so vastly removed from reality) and says,

“What are you talking about?”

“You know, that part, where she sings ‘I’m nodding my head, hopele…”

“Stop stop…it’s ‘I’m outta my head.”

“WHAAAA? No. It can’t be.” And then I think for a minute and am like, “well…I’ll be. that makes more sense. All these years. Wow. Put it on again so I can sing it differently.”

And Shaka shook, not nodded, his head.

And I, in a french accent exclaimed, “Mondegreen!”

Get Hammered

So I admit that I was reading too quickly when I saw that the Hammer Museum was opening an exhibit for Paul McCarthy called Headspace, I misread it. I was like, cool, a Beatle does art. I’ll check it out.

I invited Faye to join me. I had never been to the Hammer before and Faye had yet to visit an LA museum since she moved here. Win-Win. When she asked me what the exhibit was, I actually couldn’t even remember that I had thought it was Paul McCartney. I told her I didn’t know, but that it was an opening and…why not.

Why not, indeed. Whenever Faye and I get together, we have fun.

The weather was clear, the roads weren’t cloggy and anything could happen.

I picked her up and we caught up and chatted about all her current activities. Faye is an actress living her best life here in LA. She and I met doing theater in Portland several moons ago. She is so good that she moved to LA and didn’t need to get a job doing anything else. Her hustle is legit and she works EVERY DAY! So I like hearing about this voice over gig and that audition and this film and that commercial and this awards show and that theater role. Plus, she had just had some friends visiting so I got to hear about how she took them all over LA, like I had once taken her. But with her own spin on it, naturally.

We got to Westwood and started looking for parking. I wasn’t worried. We would find the best space. But we drove around a few times. I got disorientated. But then…voila! Space found. Almost like valet. not really. But not…not really.

She had just gotten the iphone 11 and I, with my phone envy, got very excited over the camera features.

We wandered into various exhibits and sat in crazy swivel chairs that I knew I was going to break or fall out of (I didn’t).

Dude in one of the swivel art chairs

Then we continued chatting as we entered each exhibit. One was really cool where it was photographs deconstructed in a way that looked like salacious parts of the body but in reality was like a knuckle or a belly button.

I kept saying, “that’s a penis. Or a butthole.”

And Faye would point out my mistake. “That’s a belly button.”

“Oh, but that one there is definitely a butthole…and a penis.”

“Uh, wrong again. You seem to be able to see ONLY those two things.”

I laughed. But wondered why my brain was stuck in 8 year old boy mode.

Then we entered the Paul McCarthy exhibit.

I once saw the Basquiat exhibit at MOCA with Mads and I had to leave the room because the energy coming off the canvas was so dark and negative that I couldn’t breathe (sue me, I am dramatic), but in the same museum, I was admiring Warhol’s suicide/death series and was like, “hmmmmm, interesting.” I loved the film about Basquiat, but that exhibit was too intense. I don’t even remember what the paintings were of. So it’s not subject matter, apparently, it’s how it makes me feel.

And McCarthy’s work felt aggressive and like he was working some stuff out of his soul.

And then Faye says, “Well, here’s your penis. And your butthole. And there is another one. You were in the wrong exhibit.” And we laughed as we hightailed it outta there.

We drank some wine. Took in the people-watching. Took snaps with her phone. In fact, she handed it to me and said, go wild! So I did! Love that girl.

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An older gentleman walked up to us and asked us about one of the exhibits (Max Hooper Schneider’s ‘Transfer Station,’ 2019. Mixed media) and we told him it was interesting and to take a look,

“But it’s a long line. Is it worth it?” Dude, you’re here. Why not?

“Check it out and see,” we said.

Then he said, “Did you check out the big exhibit by McCarthy? Disturbed!”

And it hit me that I sounded like that old man. BLECH!

“Well, it’s art,” I said, “and everyone gets something out of some things,”

What a nonsensical thing to say, but it got me out of the conversation. I mean, I did think it was disturbed, but I was never gonna try and encaspsulate art into something. It’s ART! You don’t have to love it.

We felt the rumble in our bellies and knew the cheese sticks they were passing out weren’t going to do the trick. We left the Hammer and wandered Westwood Village on a Saturday night. How was it possible that everything was closing? It was 9:30!!!! This is a college town! But we ended up at the Napa Valley Grille and as Faye/Poppeacock luck dictates, it was HAPPY HOUR!!!!

Our server was great, the food was delish and the rose was perfect! We played around with various settings on her phone as we finished up. As I went to the restroom, I realized, we were leaving before their posted closed hour, but we were the only people there who didn’t work there. Oops. Time to boogie.

We made our way down Wilshire back to her place. The air was still perfect and roads were still clear.

Getting cultured and shit.

We’re classy like that.

Unmistakable Appeal of the Marvelous

The other night, I met up with Mads, Zappy and Jazzy at Jones.

It had been a year since we had been there AND before that, it had been way longer.

It was almost a time capsule of our past. But I don’t think of life in those terms. I stay very much in the present, which is why I am the worst at telling you how long ago something happened or what year it did. It all seems like it’s happened a week ago.

Sitting in that booth with the ladies, I realized I had sat here many times. But how many? Who knows?

I feel like I didn’t used to pay attention as much. Or is it that I don’t pay attention now?

Eh *shrugs shoulders

I was happy in the marvelous moment.

Jazzy used to work with some of the bartenders. One of them asked how long she was staying. And as we were leaving, she was like, it’s getting late…I gotta get home.

Then she laughed as she realized he was laughing at her.

When she had worked with them at other places back then (that nebulous BACK THEN), sometimes her shift would START at 10pm.

“Yeah… late” the guy said.

He’s still in that world where time is a different currency from day walkers.

Even if it all still feels the same, sometimes you don’t realize how much things have changed.

But back to the current moment of drinking martinis and sharing in each other’s good news, we laughed, we hugged, we ordered another round. We marveled that the place was still hopping. We thought about the last times we had been there and what was going on in our lives. We talked about people who were no longer in LA, in our lives, or on this earth. I don’t remember how, but a story came up regarding us going to a Stereolab concert at the Hollywood Bowl.

And about how a few days after the concert, Mads gets an email from one of our friends who LOVES Stereolab and is on a certain mailing list or fan site where he saw a photo from the Hollywood Bowl concert.

His email says to her: I think this is you on the left.

She forwards to me.

I have tried to find the photos but the link went dead. Today, however, EUREKA!  I found the photos sans captions.

I will retype (to my best recollection) what was listed on that fan site.

My perfect view…until

head block2

ARGH!

I have to be honest…Mads and I cracked up for a LONNNNNNG time over this.

My hair (or rather, my head) was the butt of a joke. And I was so there for it. Plus, I was loving the highlights.

The weirdest part is that in looking for the photo, I rediscovered my old blog and went down the rabbit hole rereading old adventures last night.

Probably the reason I am exhausted today.

Another time capsule.

We were all single then. We went out almost every night. We were excited by every opportunity because it was a potential for a life we were craving (and also concurrently, living). I wasn’t in the moment then. And I was quite depressed. But damn, I gave all I had to get out of my head with the best adventure buddies.

I was telling Shaka that even though a lot has changed (none of us are single any more and our schedules make it much harder to try and grab dinner even twice a month AND I am no longer living with that sadness), I still get that excitement over my creativity or in collaborating on a project.

I still feel like opportunities are around every corner.

I still like meeting people who cause my world view to shift even ever so slightly.

I still like finding art in the most banal places.

I still like discovering new moments to feel grateful.

I still like reliving fun moments that show where I have been and which spur on where I am heading.

But mostly, I still like funny captions that involve my hair.

 

 

 

Residue from the Cult-of-Personality

I was a little surprised to be getting a call from Faye the day before we were gonna meet for brunch. We usually text.

I was out running errands and took the call.

“Do you know who Caroline Calloway or Natalie Beach are,” she asks.

I don’t.

She begins to tell me about them.

Caroline Calloway  is an Instagram influencer who has also been accused of scamming her followers for a “Creativity Workshop” that failed. She has been compared to the likes of Billy McFarland (Fyre Festival CEO), but I wouldn’t go that far. Caroline seems to take her critics to the bank as she turns their insults into merchandise. She became Insta-famous for writing longer (bloggish) captions on her IG posts before anyone else was doing that. She had a college friend who was like her invisible, talented, ghost-writer side- kick, named Natalie, who helped write some of those captions. Things were sort of good. Then they weren’t. And the friendship ended. Now Natalie has written an article for “The Cut” and before it came out, Caroline was giving it press in her anxiety of what was to be written.

It did come out. And now, Natalie has a deal with Ryan Murphy for the rights.

Natalie’s side of things

Faye wanted me to read up on it for our brunch the next day so that we could discuss, since we both love all things pop culture, real housewives and social media. It also touched a nerve with regard to fame, friendship and that elusive quality of being IT.

We met at Faye’s and walked to   Loupiotte Kitchen   in Los Feliz. It was HOT outside. Not cool, global warming! (ha literally). These temps lately have been making my eyebrows sweat off. Actually, just one eyebrow. Which is worse, because it looks like I gave 1/2 a shit. It never looks like I put the effort into it that I did. And it definitely never looks like the cool, no make-up/make-up, effortless look the French girls have like   Camille Rowe.

I used to live in Los Feliz but it’s been awhile since I have walked to brunch there. So much has changed (she said with the sort of awe of a person who has been gone from her hometown for ages). Loupiotte was a perfect choice! If I can’t have French style, I can have French brunch. We sat down and ordered our food with a side of the pastries sampling (can you say petit pain au chocolat? YUM) The food came fast and the oat milk latte (you heard me) I ordered was fantastic!

So Faye and I discussed the whole Caroline/Natalie saga as if it were our jobs.

But it began to turn into something much more. We discussed why the story touched a nerve. How, when you’re young (though it’s not only reserved for the young), you are trying to figure out who you are and you find people in your life that spark you. So much of the time, those sparking people are incredibly toxic. Which is why your friends and family scratch their heads wondering what you see in that person.

We pondered are we more a Natalie or a Caroline? Or both? And Faye pointed out that your answer of who you think the villain is depends on your own experience. Were you an alpha or a beta in those relationships? I have been both. I never think of myself as the villain, however I told her that in high school, I wrote so many papers sympathizing with the antagonists that my teachers started to worry for me.

Caroline is pretty. But she’s not the most gorgeous woman you will see. And Natalie describes herself in more understated adjectives, however, from the rare photos, she isn’t unattractive. What makes someone like a Caroline shine, while someone like a Natalie feels sidelined? Privilege plays a role, as do certain influences and experiences from a young age. But really, a lot of it is how you see yourself and value your own worth. We both agreed that neither of us saw either as the villain. But that Natalie’s article almost birthed Caroline into a literary character. Maybe she already was and Natalie captured it. We love messy, complex women. And we also don’t.

Our discussion continued as we talked About how society is training young girls to be strong and speak their minds but that there is always a limit. Who decides that limit? Why do people love an underdog but only to a point? Why do people love to hate/watch social media posts about the wealthy/successful/clever/narcissistic? Schadenfreude is a component, for sure, but I think there are more layers. We opened the vaults to our own experiences with these situations. About giving our power away to people so easily. About our own culpability in those moments. About the lessons we now can say we learned.

Loupiotte was busy. But we seemed to fade into our own world. No one pushed us to leave or hurry up. The vibe in there was lovely. Our discussion rambled into various phases of hypotheticals about social media and devil’s advocate stances to oppose. I hadn’t had that kind of marathon philosophical/social/real world kind of discussion since post-college, I would imagine. Or perhaps when I was high in Palm Springs on one of my many girls’ trips (but who can remember? ah weed).

We met the owner (an effortless French woman) and paid our bill. We continued our discussion walking up Vermont Ave, peering into shops. Once back at Faye’s, we began to talk about other things that were equally important but which we hadn’t given enough time. Then, her cell rang; her mom. My cell rang; my dad. It was strange that we had been talking about youthful experiences and behaviors, only to have our parents tell us it was time to go home and get ready for the week.

Faye looked at her phone to see her IG showed a post of Caroline at Glossier here in LA. We laughed. We have no idea why this girl is interesting. But we follow her anyway. I guess we will continue to try and find the answers. Maybe youtube has a video on it. Don’t mind me while I do some research.

 

And all at once, summer collapsed into fall.

Hello Lovelies!!!! So glad to see you again!

The last week of August, I spent with my family at the beach. It was as serene as it sounds. We saw dolphins and sea lions daily and went into the surf sometimes multiple times a day.

My sister and I would go the roof of the house and watch the sunrise every morning.

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And we would sit on the beach to check out the sunsets at night.

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We promised ourselves this year, we would eat healthier than past years. Maybe we did. But probably not. Shaka and I celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary with many friends and family coming to join us for a beach day.

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The whole trip was special and time moved slower. I even sat on the beach for probably an hour after everyone had gone back to the house just to watch the waves. It was so healing and personal that even when I wanted to walk back to join everyone, my body just wouldn’t. So I sat. And I let my mind wander.

I did a photo shoot with my niece and sister by these really cool murals at the end of the beach.

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Then on our last day, it was like Benny Hill music as we all scrambled to get everything cleared out and packed. My sister and family headed to LAX for their international flight, my dad and his wife headed back to AZ and Shaka and I headed back to Los Angeles.

It’s not the heat…it’s the humidity…and the fricking heat! GAH!

So many activities happened the next week. Summer heat was still there, but the vacation was over.

So much hot. So much sweat. So much laundry.

But you do what you gotta do. And if I am reapplying makeup and deodorant and bringing day to night outfits, then that’s what’s gotta happen.

Christia invited me to an Emmy’s rooftop party in Hollywood. She and I are working on a project that tbh is taking a little nap at the moment. We decided that this was going to be the night, the project gets reignited. We would socialize and make connections and see where the night takes us.

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It was…and I hope I am not overstating this…a BRILLIANT night!

We met so many incredible people. Publicists, managers, actors, creators, agents, writers…the list goes on. As the sun set on sunset and the market lights turned on, the drinks were flowing and the laughter continued.

One of the people we met mentioned this building used to be CBS Radio where they recorded Art Linkletter’s “Kids Say the Darndest Things.”

My dad had just told the story while were at the beach that when he was 7 years old, he got to be on the radio show. For years, there was a vinyl recording of my dad talking to the host about how his parents (my grandparents) met. Years later, a jilted lover of my dad’s broke the vinyl record in half. (she really was a BISH). But the story when he was on the show was that before the recording, the kids were given a tour of the studios. My dad was anxious because he thought the tour would make them miss the show (THEY WERE THE SHOW – lol) so he was not really paying attention.

The lobby of where the Emmy’s party was held was the same lobby that my dad had gone through to go to the recording.

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It was like a weird time warp.

A couple days later, I was invited to DreamWorks Animation’s wrap party for their new, upcoming release, “Abominable” and I LOVED IT!

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It was a great film and a fantastic party!

Saturday, I wanted to sleep in, but I had scheduled a long overdue facial (a Christmas gift from Shaka) for 9am, so off I went to European Secret Skin.

Usually, I look like I have measles after I have been for a facial (extractions + sensitive skin = no good look for me) but this facialist was great. I added on an oxygen treatment and voila…no measles look!

I get back home and Shaka says he is craving Pink’s hot dogs. I was like, “ugh…do you know how hot it is out there?”

And he replies, “I called and they have vegan hot dogs.”

I sat for a moment and thought…this heat indicates that summer ain’t over, so let’s have an adventure!

It had been awhile since I had been to Pink’s, and once I had agreed to go, I got a little tourist thrill.

We met some Kiwis in line behind us and our wait to order wasn’t too long.

The vegan dog was pretty good too!

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Here we were, two crazy kids with nowhere to be…the afternoon was ours. We were going to grab an afternoon margarita at either El Coyote or El Compadre, but found ourselves at Guitar Center. I checked out the mics and podcast setups, while Shaka played drums, electric guitar and acoustic guitar. We had tentative plans with Mads and ST8, so we headed back home.

Those plans fell through.

But the next day, I called Mads to see if she wanted to grab lunch, and she instead (in Mads magic fashion) invited me to join her to go to Universal Studios.

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It was late in the afternoon when we headed there. It was the perfect amount of time to wait in line for amusement (ha!).

We hit a couple of fun rides and ate linner (dunch?) in Simpson’s Land.

I got my steps in, for sure.

ST8 hates theme parks but was a good sport. Mads, MamaMads and I got our picture taken with Beetlejuice. He was just as creepy as Michael Keaton.

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As I left Mads’ to head back home and prepare for the week ahead, it hit me that summer wasn’t over at all. I was still enjoying events, friends, activities and the warm summer days (sure, we can call it warm, rather than satan’s breath) like anyone still experiencing vacation.

I know people are starting to go crazy for pumpkin-spiced items and for Halloween decorations and technically, the calendar would say it’s true that fall is upon us.

But maybe summer is a state of mind.

A state of mind, I will keep as long as my weird burn/tan lasts on my shoulders.

 

Time passes slowly when you’re lost in a dream

Bear with me…this is gonna be tricky.

At work, I am currently seated with some early 20-somethings in what we call “The Quad.” I am not 20-something. I am like the person in college who keeps taking classes and is quite a bit older than my peers and can buy them liquor.

One of the Quad members is Nira. She is a bubbly, open-minded networker. We find ourselves talking conspiracy theories regarding the Mandela Effect or about ghosts.

One day, we were talking about the concept of time. I truly can get woo-woo spiritual regarding other dimensions and parallel universes and dreams and such. Naturally, I don’t open with that side of myself when I meet people, but Quad Life has a way of dispensing your personal truths.

So Nira says, “I have a book I think you would like. It’s a quick read. It’s called ‘Einstein’s Dreams’ and it’s about the concept of time.”

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I am not gonna lie, the part about it being a quick read, was what got my attention.  I borrowed it and intended to read it now for a couple of weeks. But hadn’t yet.

Friday, Nira was saying how she had some plans that sounded amazing but there was something that wasn’t squaring as she continued talking. It turns out, she was feeling possibly sidelined by her friends. I (and another co-worker who is quite a master of riding these waters) told Nira that no one can take away her peace of mind or her weekend. If she didn’t feel like going out with them, she could always go to a cool farmer’s market, or dress up in brunch-wear and grab her most mysterious sunglasses and order a drink at the Chateau Marmont and read a cool book while sitting among celebrities. Her weekend was unwritten and it was all up to her how she wanted to experience it. Her time was her own. She left work with a pep in her step.

Last night, I was talking on the phone (I know! The phone!!!! I was just as shocked – who does that these days?) with Mads.

I was telling her about Nira and her plans. And then we started talking about various things. She mentioned an article in the NY Times about these Argentinian bankers in their 20s who have parties in this carriage house in NY (a block from Gramercy Park). She said it reminded her of the parties we used to throw when we were single.  We had the best parties. But it wasn’t just the big blow outs. It was also the little soirees or the spontaneous get-togethers. Or the nights checking out cool restaurants or strangers’ parties.

I told her how Shutterfly sent me a reminder of certain photos and I was taking a trip down memory lane as well. I joked that it seemed like we went out almost every night. And she said, “I think we did.” Which sounds about right.

 

 

 

 

Zappy seems to have a different feeling about those times vs. the present. She has a line of demarcation where that was then and this is now. Mads and I both see it more like part of the same stream but a different landscape. I don’t look at how our parties were a “back then” kind of thing. Yes, we were all single. Yes, we were broker. But it still feels like part of the whole. As Mads mentioned, we just had Shaka’s bday party at her house this summer and that kind of lush summer fete doesn’t feel that different from other nights we used to have. I agree with her.

Maybe that’s what keeps us thinking young. Or maybe it’s delusion. Time is a funny thing. And it’s all perspective, isn’t it?

We started talking about how there are certain people we know who are older than we are, but who keep grabbing life by the balls (er, horns?) and living the hell out of it.

She said that at her job, the summer brings “special guest stars.” Those guest stars range from art repair people, to the construction workers fixing up areas of the buildings. At lunch, they all gather and tell fascinating stories of their travels or their lives or their experiences. Mads has always been a magnet for cool shit. But she is also very open to it. There are always people in the world who could meet those same guest stars, and be like, “meh” and miss out on that kind of connecting. Hearing her stories ignited something in me. I love those kind of moments. Plus, I had just come back from visiting Luce, a beautiful, spiritual soul who reads coffee grounds. I hadn’t seen her since last year and it was such a wonderful afternoon. My coffee ground reading was great (as was the strong coffee – nom nom), but we also connect on a truly deep level. She has lived all over the world and has had such unique experiences. I left there with a pep in my own damn step.

So today, after working out, I decided to begin the quick read of “Einstein’s Dreams.”

It was quite funny how the timing of all that I experienced this weekend seemed to line up with the book. There are various scenarios about how societies perceive time. In one scenario, people age in reverse. In another, you live your entire life in one day; one sunrise and one sunset. At first, it felt like sort of random little stories, but as I kept going, I could feel something in my brain rewiring. And the even stranger thing was the stoppage of time that occurred as I was reading. I didn’t feel rushed or like I was wasting time or have any kind of Sunday-itis. I felt calm. And like the world had just opened a hallway of more opportunities.

Or maybe that is how I perceived it.

“Each time is true, but the truths are not the same.”
― Alan Lightman, Einstein’s Dreams

I am glad that I have people in my life that I feel connected to, even if our truths aren’t the same.

These bonds endure, regardless of time.

 

 

Fairy Tale of Hollywood

My expectation and excitement for “Once Upon A Time…in Hollywood” was off the charts! The trailer! The cast! The iconic filming locations! And Quentin!

A facebook friend, (I have met in person more than a few times) a curmudgeon journalist (CJ), was RAVING about the film. And he rarely raves about anything unless it’s about obscure musicians.

So Friday night, I bounced my energy into a request to Shaka that we go see the film.

“I don’t know how long it’s been that I have seen a movie on opening night,” he says.

“YES!!!!!”

But CJ had mentioned seeing the film in 35mm. So Shaka, taking CJ’s recommendation seriously says his only request is that we see it in 35 mm.

Well, the Arclight was showing a LOT of screenings but the next 35mm version was at 11pm on Friday. It’s a 2 hour 40 min flick. Um…

So we buy tickets for Saturday, happy with our decision.

Saturday morning, we wake up to find out that Mads and ST8 had gone to the opening night 7pm show in 70mm! Shaka was like, “Aw man! We should have seen it in 70mm!”

I had no retort because I would have seen the film projected on a sheet at this point. Then we see photos of Zappy and Roni who went to the screening AFTER Mads and St8!!!!! We really should have rallied.

But regrets aside, we went to the Saturday matinee to see it in 35mm. And it that kind of timing was fine by me.

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I will not spoil anything, but I will say, my expectations were not exactly met.

BUT BUT BUT I loved it!!!!

AND, it stayed with me for the next week.

A friend of mine’s daughter is in it and is fantastic!

Another friend’s brother is in it! So many cameos.

So many layers.

Mads, Zappy and Jazzy and I are regulars (well not as much lately) at El Coyote. In the film, Sharon Tate and her friends are seen in El Coyote (where Sharon had her last meal). I was under the assumption I knew where the booth they sat was. In the film, Sharon and her friends are ushered to a different table.

With Quentin’s attention to detail, I was wondering if he was wrong…or I was.

I was a little uneasy typing Sharon Tate El Coyote last meal booth

But I did. And every result said that it was the correct booth in the film.

Mads and Zappy and I were texting how much we all loved the film and wanted to meet up to go over our thoughts on it.

Musso and Frank’s or El Coyote. I voted for El Coyote cuz…chips.

So we gathered in a booth and caught up on our weeks. I mentioned something about someone I met being good good looking and Zappy sighed, “Talk about good looking…BRAD PITT!”

And just like that, we were on the topic that brought us together to drink margaritas.

Two of my co-workers did not like the film. Like, at all. When I told Shaka, he thought it was because they are too young to understand the tapestry of the culture at that time. I mean, we are too, but we are still closer to that time than my co-workers. Zappy thought it was because younger people are used to the idea of crazy groups rather than just crazy individuals. And back in 1969, the stakes were pretty high for letting go of your innocence to understand that dark group-think was present. Mads added that it’s quite a polarizing film for these various reasons.

I asked Mads if she knew where the actual booth was. She thought it was where I had thought it was. She tried to nudge me into asking the waiter. If I felt weird typing that shit, I sure as bubs wasn’t going to say it out loud to someone. Plus, I kind of liked knowing I may be wrong. I never wanted to sit in the booth I thought it was. I don’t need any ghost encounters or weird vibes with my guacamole. But if I didn’t know, then all booths were safe. A sort of bastardized Schrödinger’s cat experiment.

The CJ was deleting people on social media who were trashing the film before they had seen it. Shaka supported that. I get that it’s not just a movie for some. It’s more about what the movie represents.

I found it intriguing how the Manson story was always in the background, weaving its way through the film, building tension when you see the world of the past, intersecting with the world of the future.

Mads, Zappy and I decided we definitely wanted to see it again.

One of my favorite visuals in the film was watching a dusk shot of neon signs all over LA turning on to welcome evening. Its significance felt like the end of the line for some of the characters, the end of the literal day, the end of a summer of innocence and the end of an era. Also it felt like it was signalling the end of the film (which was fine since I needed to pee).

As we left El Coyote and headed to the parking lot to get our cars (under one of those flickering neon signs), we waited in a longer line than I had EVER seen. We surmised it was due to the film’s release.

How meta.

I drove back home with warm summer evening air, barely breezing my skin as I drove past the Hollywood Blvd, and then passing the crowds at the Hollywood Bowl.

I love this town.

I love its history – both the roses and thorns.

I love the industry.

I love films ABOUT this town.

I love good storytelling.

I love fairy tales, even this  Tarantino-esque form of one.

And although my expectations were not met in some ways, I loved this film for things I never expected! That a movie like this can spur on conversations that lead me to a night like this.

A weird happily ever after.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unboxing a Friendship

At a job that is in the industry, but isn’t that creative, I met Christia. It was friend love at first sight!

We have the same birthday and the same ideas on spirituality, creativity, positivity and productivity (all the ty words – lol).

Her sweetness is juxtaposed with her silent toughness. She laughs a lot even though her job is challenging. Most people would be happy to have accomplished the work she has. But she isn’t most people. She doesn’t brag and she doesn’t rest on her laurels.

She is also a fire spinner, a dancer, a singer, a producer, a writer and an actress.
She is many more things but I don’t want to make you think she is super human, though I believe she just may be.

This year, we celebrated our birthdays over high tea and she told me that the song she had recorded was finally getting made into a video. She was producing it and gathering her team.

She asked if I wanted to be a part. OF COURSE!

Not sure how I could help, but I wanted to just absorb it all.

I told her I could be as useful or as invisible as she needed me to be.

In May, on the day of the shoot, she picked me up at the crack of dawn, perky and looking fresher than a person who was about to be the producer and the star of a long shoot day would normally be.  Her car was packed in tetris form with craft services (some store bought food and some home made by her) and costumes.

A mutual friend of ours who is in the industry said to me, “you are going to learn so much.” I had worked on sets, both in front of the camera and behind and had even produced a few things, so I was a little taken aback by that comment, but egos are a funny thing.

I wasn’t planning on NOT learning. But I wasn’t in it for the lesson, if you dig.

I won’t get into too many details of the shoot other than Christia brought the energy, the organization, the fun, the creativity and the love to the set. She gathered a top notch team of people. Her make-up artist had created lashes that Lady Gaga had just worn to the Met Gala.

The downtown LA loft space was stunning. My mouth was either agape or smiling.

I put out the food Christia had prepared and was dubbed Crafty since everyone assumed I was the caterer, managing craft services (I wasn’t). But I  did make the coffee strong (no complaints) and I did somehow sense when to shift from breakfast food and then put out the lunch food and then snacks as there wasn’t a clear distinction of a “lunch break.” Maybe I was crafty – ha. Some of the crew, I respected from afar but would never warm to, while a few others, I was instantly drawn to. There was such a level of creative talent, that it was overwhelming in the best way.

There were lots of costume, hair and make up changes. The set and art direction were fantastic!

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It was a long shoot day but it ended with Christia taking Shaka and me to dinner and us recollecting all the adventures.

Our mutual friend had been correct. I learned a ton that day! Some lessons were production based. Some were personality based. And some were just knowing how far I have come in my own personal growth as a friend and as a creator. Witnessing how Christia handled this day and her own personal journey was quite rewarding.

Today, her video dropped and I stayed up last night to watch the premiere. I am so excited and proud of her for who she is and what she accomplished and what she will still create.

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