Wednesday, December 27, 2006

dance lessons

I'm starting to get a little anxious about our wedding. It's less than three weeks away and we still have a pile of things we need to take care of. My big concern right now is - our first dance. We have the song picked out, but Jim can't dance and refuses to take lessons. So I bought him a book (that's how he swears he learns best, by reading, absorbing, processing and then doing) on ballroom dancing. We've only had one "rehearsal", but we videotaped it so that we could watch and critique ourselves, and hopefully we'll be ready for the big dance on the big day. Here's the video, it takes a while for it to load, but please let us know what you think.

Monday, December 25, 2006

happy holidays

I cut across the parking lot to Los Angeles Street. I waited for a man carrying a bottle wrapped up in a paper bag to lurch and stumble past me, then made a left onto my street. I hear him behind me, greeting another man, offering him a drink out of his bottle.

"Hey my brother, how you doing? Want some of this?"

I keep walking, but slow down to hear the exchange. The other man refuses.

"I don't know you and you're crazy if you think I'm going to drink that shit."

I keep walking without looking behind me. I can hear the other man's footsteps behind me and to my left. I'm almost at my front door, so I slow down and look behind me for charging pedestrians before I veer left. The man is walking beside me now, and he comments on their exchange to me.

"Crazy fool. Like I'm going to-- hey!

I looked at him and we both recognize each other. I was just wondering about him, too. I met him when I first moved into the Alexandria Hotel nine years ago. He was a nice enough guy, a thirty-something black man living at the Alexandria. But he always hit on me (which got tiring after a while) and he hung out with some questionable characters in front of Charlie O's, but that was years ago.

"So when are you going out with me?" he'd ask.

I had an easy out, "My boyfriend wouldn't like that."

Then all of a sudden, he wasn't there anymore. I ran into him a few years later, he was hanging out with a small group of black men, drinking and shooting the breeze on the streets, on 5th between Spring and Los Angeles. He didn't look too good back then, but today was a different day.

"Hey! How are you?" I asked. I remembered thinking about him just the week before, hoping that he found his way out of the streets.

"I'm doing good. Are you still living over there at the Alexandria?"

"No, I got out a little while ago. I live here now," I said, pointing to my building.

He looked at the building, then his head whipped around, his big 'fro following a second later.

"No shit?! Ed hired me to do some work on the 5th floor." He nodded his approval, his 'fro seconding his words. Ed was the general contractor for our building. This past summer, we watched as Ed supervised some workers from Chrysalis as they waterproofed the roof on the building next door. He pointed across the street. "Yeah, I work over there at [name withheld] and live over at [name withheld] now. I get a couple odd jobs here and there to stay busy and out of trouble."

"Good for you! You know, I was thinking about you the other day, wondering if you were around, if you were okay."

He smiled and nodded knowingly. "Yeah, I know what you mean. Glad to see you're out of that place, too."

"Yeah, me too. I guess if Ed has you working on five, I'll be seeing you around."

We shook hands, genuinely happy to see the other - even if we didn't know each other's name.

"Take care of yourself, and Happy Holidays," I yelled at him, over the blaring sirens of the passing firetruck and emergency medical vehicles. He yelled something, but I couldn't hear it over the din of the streets. We parted ways and I walked into my building. I went out onto my patio and looked at the city below. The sidewalks were crowded with last-minute shoppers. I couldn't see him, but I like to think he felt much like I did - glad to see someone else get their life together and get out of there. Next time I see him, I'll have to remember to ask him his name.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

media whore

Did anybody see my five minutes on yourLA on NBC last week? You can watch the clip on Shopper Shuttle's website.

5 things you didn't know about me

Dave tagged me with a "5 Things You Didn't Know About Me" meme, so here's my list:

1. I'm a mezzo-soprano.
2. I used to be a mime.
3. I played the leader of a Chinese gang in a prison film.
4. My brother shot me in the ass with a BB gun one Christmas morning, just as soon as he could unwrap and load it.
5. I learned how to swim at the age of 16 in a YMCA class populated by five-year-olds.

I tag Mack, Mike, Mondo Rick-o, Nanette, and my favorite corn-fed Asian-American Hoosier Queer in suburban Los Angeles.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

navajo for va-jay-jay

My cell phone rang, it was Kitty. Why does she always call when I'm in the car?

"What are you doing tonight?"

"I'm in the car, on my way to Pechanga," I replied.

I had to pull the phone away from my ear, she was laughing so hard. After what seemed like an eternity, she stopped laughing and wheezed, "Isn't that Navajo for vagina?"

"They have a great buffet."

silversun pickups

My cousin Chris is the drummer for the Silversun Pickups. I've been going to see him play for years in various bands before SP, so I was really happy to see him hit the big time with this band. They had their national television debut on Letterman a week or so ago, and they rocked! It was great to hear David Letterman say such wonderful things about them and enjoy their performance so much. Here's the clip. They were also on KCRW yesterday morning, here's that clip.

His parents, Emma and Boy, asked me and Jim to come see the Silversun Pickups at the Troubadour this Sunday and I wasted no time in screaming, "Yes!" So, anybody else going to the show?

Monday, December 11, 2006


Last week I taped a segment for local television show, yourLA, featuring Shopper Shuttle. The show claims to be "the ultimate insider's guide to Los Angeles" and (contrary to what their MySpace page says) airs at 11:30am weekdays on NBC4.

My friends Camille and Sandra are the brains behind Shopper Shuttle, the company that Manolo calls "this business of genius", and they called me to help out with the taping. Last year(?) I taped a segment for an Australian TV show called "The Great Outdoors" for Shopper Shuttle, which turned out well (according to them, but I cringed when I saw the clip) and so they wanted me to do the same thing - take the segment producer and host to the best shopping in Los Angeles with Shopper Shuttle.

I'm not used to getting up early, so it was a challenge to get me to the NBC studios in Burbank by 9am. Then they wanted me to drive the shuttle and talk to the host and camera about why Shopper Shuttle serves up the best shopping experience. The producer and cameraman asked me to wear my blinged-out sunglasses during the segment, which was fine except that I wear glasses and my sunglasses weren't prescription. So I kept driving into the curb and slamming on the brakes to avoid hitting the cars in front of me. The poor host, who sat behind me in the shuttle, kept slamming into the back of my seat (he was the only one not wearing a seat belt) whenever I saw red tail lights. The segment producer seemed a little nervous every time the wheels hit the curb, but no one said anything, although they all seemed a little tense.

On-camera, the host asked me about where the best shopping in Los Angeles could be found and although downtown's Fashion District wasn't on the day's itinerary (but I covered it extensively for the Australian show), I said, "I love shopping in downtown LA, it's hands-down the best area to shop", or something like that. Then the cameraman stopped shooting and told me that he just moved to downtown Los Angeles two days ago. He lives a few blocks away from me and seemed like a really nice guy so I gave him many hints on how to best navigate his new 'hood.

I was jacked up on caffeine, so I'm probably going to come off like the biggest spaz, but it airs this Wednesday at 11:30am on NBC4. I hope they don't edit out all the instances where I ran into the curb. Oh yeah, if anyone books a shopping excursion on Shopper Shuttle to shop downtown, I can be convinced to share my downtown shopping secrets - gratis. Just let them know you want the "5th and Spring "downtown shopping experience.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

very be careful

Thursday night, the phone rings. It was Kitty. "You have to drop what you're doing. I need you to come down to Pershing Square right now."

I was already in the car, on my way to dinner with Jim and my brother. "Why, what's going on?"

"It's a scene, and I need you to come down here right now."

My brother was at the wheel, the car sat at the corner of 5th and Los Angeles Street. "So where are we going?" he asked.

"Pershing Square. It's a scene."

We found parking in front of Cicada and walked over to Pershing Square. We heard music and people on the skating rink. We dodged the rats scurrying from lit tree to lit tree, passed the vendors selling funnel cake and chinese food, and made our way to the front, by the band.

There she was, sitting with a friend in front of the band, behind the dancers and in front of the ice rink.

"Who's the band?"

"Very Be Careful. They have a huge bike messenger following."

I looked around. Yeah, that was evident. I liked them, they rocked the Square. I think half of all the off-duty security guards in downtown were also in attendance. I looked at the rink - lots of action there, too. Jim remembered that he read something about Spaceland in Pershing Square on Thursdays.

"How did you come to know about these guys?"

"They've played Cole's before."

"So this is a scene, huh?"

Kitty yelled, "It is too a scene, and don't you say anything different!"

"No, I'm not questioning that, I just wanted to get an idea of what your baseline is for 'scene'."

Kitty then mentioned that the "rodeo clown" that she was crushing on was out on the rink and that he had rejected her advances. I didn't take her seriously at first and made fun of him. Actually, he's not a rodeo clown, but she did keep referring to him by his profession, rather than by his name. Which made me less inclined to take her seriously. So as not to give it away in case he reads this, he's a rodeo clown. Then Kitty whined, "Celia, I really liked him."

"Okay, I'm sorry. I won't make fun of the rodeo clown."

Things were winding down after a while and Jim didn't want to dance. So we left for dinner. We drove past the square and spotted the rodeo clown crossing the street, on the way back to the ice rink. And he was holding hands with some chick. I called Kitty, "Hand the phone to your friend, K," I ordered.

K got on the phone, "Yeah, we're still here but it's breaking up."

"Get Kitty out of there, I just spotted the rodeo clown on the way back, and he's holding hands with some chick."

After I hung up, Jim reminded me that I couldn't blog about it or Kitty would know about the rodeo clown.

"Nah, it's one thing to read about it a few days later, it's another thing to see it for yourself." But yeah, it was a scene.

serenity now

My nerves are shot. I sent off my screenplay to the Development Exec this past Thursday. It's going out for this weekend's read. So far, three studios are interested. Bigshot Producer doesn't want to go wide. The third one had requested the screenplay twice. It's perfect for them, "Exactly what they're looking for," I'm told.

I sat there decompressing after I sent it off. I didn't know what to do with myself, I was still pretty wound up, kind of like right now. Is it really two days later? I really can't relax, not until I hear what they think about the script. Will there be more rewrites? Will I be hired to rewrite them or will they hire the director's best friend to rewrite me?

I looked at the list that Jim compiled, the list of all the things we need to do for the wedding. I think this is when I start panicking, there's still so much left to do. But all I can think is, "I wonder if they're reading it right now. I wonder what they think about the second act midpoint? Or the third act." So I start outlining my next script, I go over my notes from film school, I silently freak out.

Friday I checked a bunch of things off the wedding to-do list. Bought the fur, check. Bought the flower girls' dresses and jacket, the junior bridesmaid's dress and jacket, check, check. I fired our florist last week (that's a whole other story), so I made appointments with other florists, check. Now if I can only find my passport I'll have one less thing to stress out about. I am a raw bundle of nerves.

light a candle

Today, Bristol-Myers Squibb, the pharmaceutical monolith that charges nearly $1,000 for a 30 day supply of one of its HIV/AIDS medications, is donating $1 to the National AIDS Fund for each person who simply visits their website and "virtually lights a candle." The tally is over 900,000 now.

Please take a minute to "light a candle":

This really will take just a second; please forward this on to other friends, ask everyone you can to help.