Thursday, December 22, 2005

reach-around romance

My astrologist and I caught a screening of Brokeback Mountain the other week. Liked it, but not as much as my astrologist did. Halfway through the film, he brandished his cell phone and mumbled something about having to take this call and left the theater. He was gone for a while, longer than a phone call you take while watching a movie should last. He denies it, but I think he went to the restroom to rub one out.

free rides on metro

Anyone coming downtown for any of the brazilian New Year's Eve parties going on? Now you can carouse drunkenly downtown without any transit worries - you can ride for free on the Metro Bus and Rail from 9pm through New Year's Day, ending at midnight.

And if you plan on hitting the Music Center's 46th Annual Los Angeles County Holiday Celebration, Metro is also offering free rides for Christmas Eve from 9pm through midnight on Christmas Day.

a leprechaun, a hillbilly couple, and my astrologist walk into a bar...

A few weeks ago, my new favorite super-secret late-night hangout was out of control. In addition to the great DJ (I danced for hours!), the super-attractive, fun and friendly crowd, the cheap drinks and the mellow vibe - all great reasons to patronize this underground anti-establishment establishment - there was a guy with a popcorn machine. And with this machine, he popped kernels of corn in oil that was infused with marijuana, and then doused with butter, also infused with marijuana. Like I said - out of control. Of course I didn't realize that was the situation until a hillbilly couple asked me if I were interested in a threesome. Then a leprechaun asked me to go home with him. I think it was a leprechaun, it could've just been the popcorn talking. Clearly, someone was under the influence. It just wasn't clear who. My astrologist was there, texting me furiously, "Where are you? I'm by the popcorn," but I think he fell into a tub of butter and didn't want to come out. At some point I figured it was time to leave. Probably when I realized it was 5am. We treated ourselves to breakfast at the Pacific Dining Car and I made it back home just as the sun came up.

I don't know if there will be any "popcorn" tonight, but I need to blow off a lot of steam just the same. Is anyone even in town? It feels like Night of the Comet in Los Angeles today.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

sunday morning with william goldman

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Monday, December 05, 2005

riding the silver bullet

I needed to spend some quality time with my astrologist and photographer, so we scheduled a day at Knott's Berry Farm. The astrologist flaked out last minute, but I was able to find suitable replacements. We brought brand new toys valued at $10 or more (not gift wrapped) to donate to Toys for Tots and received free admission to Knott's. Such do-gooders. To get more bang for our buck, I hit the Toy District on Saturday and bought enough toys to fill two large garbage bags. I forgot that I walked there and had to drag them from 3rd and Los Angeles Streets to 5th and Spring. I almost reinjured my shopping arm.

The first ride of the day was the Silver Bullet. Although I love rollercoasters, I have an almost-paralyzing fear of heights. So I face my fears by riding 'coasters, but have a big bag of tricks to keep me from completely losing my mind. For instance, I'll stare at the horizon, but will not look down. So there I was on the Silver Bullet with my friend Jason. Right before a particularly steep descent, he suggested "Celia, look down at your feet." Foolishly, I complied. This is me right after looking down:

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BTW ladies, Jason is single and looking...

Friday, December 02, 2005

catching up

I am so far behind in processing all the activity swirling around me. A few weekends ago I attended the Creative Screenwriting Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Three solid days of seminars, speaker luncheons, parties and networking left me exhausted.

The opening night cocktail party was held at the Hotel Figueroa. I was fortunate that Adrienne walked in right after I did, it would've been hella difficult to find each other in that dark, crowded, poorly laid-out but pretty poolside bar. We found her friend, a professor from Berkeley, here to teach a few classes. Our luck held out as we found a poolside table a few minutes later. I remember it was such a pretty night. Too bad I don't remember much of anything else.

I take that back, I do remember the rest of the evening. I was supposed to meet "DJ" at the party. I was under the impression that it was just a friendly meet-up and then my astrologist would join us and the three of us would hit an AFI party. Shortly after meeting up with DJ at the Figueroa, it felt more like a set-up. Adrienne thought he was beautiful. He was cute. I should give him a second look. BTW, everyone run out and buy Adrienne's book, Blogosphere: Best of Blogs.

We went to the party, had a great time, and wound up back at his place to lounge on his roof, sipping champagne beside a roaring fireplace. We did not do the no-pants dance, he was a perfect gentleman. He held up his end of the conversation, but there were no sparks. At least not for me. Oh well.

I'll post something about some of the seminars I attended and the William Goldman interview in a separate post.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

hollywood sexcapades

I got home about an hour ago and turned on the television for background noise. It was on a Cinemax channel showing this awful soft-core, Hollywood Sexcapades. I couldn't bring myself to switch channels - it had a ridiculous story line about this blogger chick who was trying a dating service called Black Tie, or something like that. When she wasn't banging all her dates porn-style, she was yapping incessantly about her blog and how she blogs about all the really important issues. She neglected to mention what those issues were. However, she did have enough time between the hot monkey sex and the blogging, which I can tell you firsthand is a huge time-suck, to go searching through the Hollywood Hills for a three-headed coyote called "El Diablo". Yeah, I don't understand it either. Her life seemed pretty full to me, what with all that sex and the blogging.

I wonder if she blogged about the coyote and if the comments were more like, "That's not the Hollywood Hills," rather than "That is a huge crack," or "Uh, that three-headed coyote is wearing red Converse All-Stars".

Bikini-A-Go-Go came on next, which has the worst boob jobs and the worst acting I have ever seen. But no bloggers.

i'm late with the spiderman 3 pics

I know, I know, I suck. I said I'd post the pics in a day or so and it's been longer than that. Did I mention that I'm a horrible photographer? If you read this blog with any regularity, you might have noticed my pictures suck. So I rely on professional photographers who understand my bone structure, and the kindness of friends with cameras. Currently, I'm waiting for my roommate, who took the pictures, to do something like digimark them or register them or something like that, I don't know. Then he'll email them back to me and let me know it's okay to post them. So hang tight and I'll post something to the superhero forum (thanks retro-man) when the pics are up. I know what it's like to keep checking back, only to have your hopes dashed on the rocks and I don't want to do that to you. Yes, I mean you.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

on loss and thanksgiving

A while ago I attended a Joan Didion reading at a church in Pasadena. She read from her book, The Year of Magical Thinking, which I still haven't read. She writes that it's:

"about death, about illness, about probability and luck, about good fortune and bad, about marriage and children and memory, about grief, about the ways in which people do and do not deal with the fact that life ends, about the shallowness of sanity, about life itself."

I keep the book on my nightstand but it's become part of the clutter and background and as more books and scripts pile up around it, it becomes less of a priority. I was going through my notebook and found this from my notes from the event, which could explain my reticence in accepting Thanksgiving invitations:

"The people we would discuss loss with aren't nearby, they're across the country. And it's not what you talk about at Thanksgiving."

I should move the book to the top of the pile.

xbox 360 "stand off" ad shot down

There is a 90-second advertisement called Stand Off for the new Microsoft Xbox 360, an ad that I hear will never make it to air and when you see it you'll know why. It is definitely worth checking out - see for yourself:

Monday, November 21, 2005

i sustained major shopping injuries

I conned convinced Angel and James to drive to San Francisco for the grand opening of the only West Coast H&M Store. I had to check out the new Stella McCartney line and I get my best ideas for writing while in the car, so we left at midnight on Friday and arrived in San Francisco around 6:30am. There weren’t that many people standing in line, maybe 30. So we got some breakfast but by the time we returned, there were approximately 200 people standing in line.

Cut to the chase – I think I tore a muscle, one that makes my arms work. I guess that’s what happens when you have to navigate the maze of crazed shoppers while carrying about 80 pounds of clothes. Usually, just wearing steel-toed boots is enough preparation for a serious day of shopping, but not this time. I should’ve asked James and Angel to accompany me, just to help carry stuff. Now I can’t lift my right arm without seeing a blinding flash of light and experiencing excruciating pain in my arm, back, neck and shoulder. My left arm is only slightly better. I need to recuperate in time for Thursday. Camarillo Premium Outlets is having a Midnight Madness sale from midnight to 6am and I plan on starting my after-Thanksgiving shopping there.

Friday, November 18, 2005

imagine that

Good news: They're finally making a film about John Lennon's murder. Bad news: It stars Lindsay Lohan and Jared Leto.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

more spiderman 3 pics to come

Curt Conners writes that the nice people over at the forums were interested in knowing more about the Spiderman 3 filming that took place on my block and in my building this past week. I have more pictures to post and will try to get that up within the next day or so. Sorry for the infrequent posts, juggling all this stuff has been hard.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

late night incoherent ramblings disguised as post writes in the comments below that he/she/they(?) had no idea there was a bar at the Arclight. How could you not know about a bar at the Arclight? Doesn't everyone have that thing like with pigeons knowing where home is, only instead of "home", it's towards large groupings of alcoholic beverages? And couldn't that be "home"? No? In any case, there is a bar upstairs as well as downstairs. On two separate occasions while at the downstairs bar I spotted Bradley Whitford and James Cameron dining. But at the upstairs bar there was that incident with that porn star who ran for Governor - what was her name again? What was my point again? Oh yeah, comments.

Shannon, I'm glad that I was the only one who suffered and you were able to derive some pleasure and benefit from my poor judgement and misfortune. Buy me a drink the next time you see me and I'll tell you the one where my date tells me about his criminal history and how he passed the time in prison.

Thanks Jim, I think I deserved a better movie, too. No more actors, unless it's Javier Bardem. My astrologist says no more Geminis. But I'm opening up the age range. With one great exception I've always dated my age or older, but now the acceptable age range has been officially lowered to 26. Speaking of that great exception - Chris, it's November and I have two words for you: pumpkin bread.

Nanette, don't be scared, he's gone now.

Angel, my eyes were spinning. At one point the left one got stuck up at the top of my head. I don't know how I maintained. I don't get enough credit for my remarkable restraint.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

kicking myself

I hit some new lows on a bad date a few Saturday nights ago. He's an actor. All my reasons for going out with him are lame and shallow. I told myself I wouldn't go out with any more actors. I may need to have that tattooed somewhere so I don't ever forget.

We met on the set of that last film I worked on a few months ago. I realized upon meeting him that he wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer, but he was very sweet so I swept that little detail under the rug. JM and I spent a lot of time together on the set and got to know each other pretty well. Yeah, he was still dumb. But because he was so charming, I pretended it didn't matter. It took a few months because of rotten scheduling, but he was persistent and I liked being pursued, so there we were on a date. And there was no escaping it, he was still dumber than a box of rocks.

We went to the Arclight to catch a movie. I was eager to see Capote - he hadn't heard of it. Or Philip Seymour Hoffman. I suggested Good Night, and Good Luck - I noticed there was a glaze over his eyes, then blankly, "Huh?" We went through a couple more options but he didn't seem enthused or know about any of the films showing that night. Hmm, I thought actors were supposed to know something about that shit.

"What do you want to see?" I wondered out loud.

He flashed a big smile, "Hey, Wallace and Gromit! Do you like Wallace and Gromit?"

"Uh, yeah."

I like Wallace and Gromit. But this guy had been asking me out throughout filming and for months afterwards. It finally happens, an actual Saturday night date - not a bullshit meet for drinks mid-week and we'll play it by ear date, a real Saturday night main event date - and he wants to see Wallace and Gromit at the Arclight.

He suggested we get a drink since there was so much time before any feature started. We went to the upstairs bar, settled into a cozy sofa with a couple glasses of champagne, and talked about the film he's promoting now. Mostly, he talked and I drank. About the film he's promoting now. The screenplay he's writing. The film he's promoting now. The screenplay he's reading. The film he's promoting now. His hair. His workout. The film he's promoting now. Thankfully, he got more champagne, even though he wasn't drinking so much as watching the bubbles float up.

Then he told me that he was in love with a Russian woman. Okay, I was curious, "How long have you been in love with this woman?"

"A few months."

Even though I knew the answer, I paused and pretended to think before asking, "Is that the same few months that you've been asking me out?"


"Why have you been asking me out for months and why are we out right now if you're in love with someone else?"

"She's married to someone else."

"So since you can't be with her..."

He smiled, and as slime oozed out of every pore, he said, "Celia, there's no denying the chemistry between us."

I almost did a spit-take. I drank more champagne instead. Mine and then his.

"Even T said something about it."

What did he just say?! Background: T was the producer of the film we worked on. T asked me out several times during pre-production and filming, once in front of the entire cast and crew, but we hadn't gone out yet because of scheduling issues. JM and T don't like each other and often had terse conversations re the production.

Carefully, I asked, "T said something about...?"

"During filming, T came up to me and said, 'So I noticed you and Celia are really getting along.' So I'm like, 'No duh. Yeah we have good chemistry.'"

Ugh. Why does it make my skin crawl every time he says "good chemistry"?

"Then he asked, 'So are you going to ask her out?' and I told him I already had."

Hmm, so that's why T backed off. If I were him and found out I was going out with that dumbass I'd probably reconsider going out with me, too.

Then it was time for Wallace and Gromit. I remember wishing I was stoned and not just slightly drunk. Right before going in the movie, JM went to the concession stand and loaded up on hotdogs, popcorn, red vines and soda. He ate throughout the movie and fell asleep for about 20 minutes after he finished the red vines. When he woke up, he asked, "Uh, what'd I miss?"

Nothing. Just me kicking myself repeatedly.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

that's must-see tv

Whatever it is you're doing, stop and TiVO or drop everything on Sunday night at 8pm to watch the live presidential debate on The West Wing between Congressman Santos (Jimmy Smits) and Senator Vinick (Alan Alda), and moderated by Forrest Sawyer. Since it's a live event, they're actually doing the show twice - once for the east coast and a second time for Pacific/Central time zones. I'm starting to enjoy this show again. I miss Aaron Sorkin. Someone send a PA over to JJ Abrams to get some drugs for Aaron so he can crank out the amazing storylines and dialogue again.

Then I might just switch over to Fox and check out Family Guy at 9pm. I hear that this episode is in response to the Parents Television Council, which ranked the show #2 in its worst TV show list. I love that. After all, what's the point of having a soapbox if you're not going to use it?

i'm technology-challenged

It only took me two days to figure out how the phone works on my new Palm Treo. I almost crashed my car the first time my boss called me on it. Once I realized that odd ringing wasn't in my head, I had to figure out how to answer it with one hand and negotiate the 101 Freeway at 70 mph. But now I know how the phone works.

Yesterday in the middle of a big meeting with potential investors in our film fund, he started IMing me silly messages. I remained poker-faced while he giggled at my comments. So now I know how to use that function. I hope no one who wants to give us millions of dollars noticed.

Then there's the camera phone. I accidentally made this picture of the wall of CDs in my bedroom the wallpaper on my phone. So now I can't see the dial pad and don't know how to get rid of it.

my cds

That reminds me, I need to put away some CDS. I'm a mess.

a rodeo clown keeps me from blogging

Sorry for the scarcity of posts, I'm trying to get used to this new gig, new computer, new phone, and new haircut as well as finish a screenplay and read the new Joan Didion book. Besides blogging, I haven't had time to get a pedicure/manicure, drop off my dry cleaning, bring 10 pairs of pants and two jackets in for alterations, go grocery shopping, and see my masseuse, dealer, facialist, psychic or astrologist. All that has to wait until I finish reading this screenplay about a rodeo clown and his dog.

I got home last night and couldn't find any peace. They're filming Spiderman 3 in my building and on my block. I managed to figure out how my new Treo works, so I snapped a picture:

alexandria hotel spiderman 3 shoot

Okay, it's not very good. They'll be here for a while, I'll take others. I hope they don't shoot until 4am for an entire week, especially if they're going to be stomping around on my roof. Then Spiderman will have to join the rodeo clown on the list of reasons why I can't sleep or blog.

Friday, October 21, 2005

the meaning of kevin's dead cat

If you ever wondered why my sister Laura named her blog Kevin's Dead Cat, her husband James posted the answer. He also posted pictures from Hawaii. It's so beautiful there. I walked in the rain to Laura's gravesite a few days after the funeral. I haven't walked in the rain since I was a kid. And like a kid, I left my shoes and umbrella behind and was soaking wet in seconds, but it was a nice, warm, tropical rain. You couldn't tell how much I was crying.

My brother posted pictures from Laura's funeral in Hawaii on his blog. He also posted pictures from a drive around the island. We took James around to show him some of Laura's favorite places in Oahu, specifically, Hanauma Bay and the north shore. Laura used to meditate to manage her pain. As the cancer progressed and she grew more dependent on pain medication, she often had to go to her "quiet place" until we could administer morphine. Her "quiet place" was snorkeling in Hanauma Bay. I have a picture of us with our cousins at Hanauma from a couple years ago. I love that picture. We spent the whole day at Hanauma, finally leaving exhausted as the sun set, but stopping to commemorate that moment, that day. That was a great day. Laura had very vivid dreams, sometimes they manifested themselves physically - she sleepwalked often. But sometimes I would watch her as she dreamt, kicking her legs back and forth, snorkeling in Hanauma Bay.

If you haven't noticed, I'm feeling sentimental. This Sunday night is a command performance dinner with my parents. It's some kind of custom to have this dinner so many days after someone's death and I'm not sure what the point is. I'd never heard of this custom before, but maybe I just wasn't paying attention. So we're all gathering, just family and a few of Laura's close friends, to have dinner in Laura's honor. I guess it doesn't sound so horrible if I put it that way instead of calling it a command performance.

agency homing in

As if I didn't have enough things to worry about, I read this in the LA Times. I need a Plan B.

gay games vii needs athletes for los angeles photo shoot

Do you or someone you know play sports in the LA area? A friend who works for Gay Games Chicago needs help finding athletes and cultural participants for Gay Games VII photo shoot in Los Angeles. If you or anybody else you know want to participate in a new ad campaign supporting the Gay Games, please sign up and/or spread the word:

Seeking Athletes and Cultural Participants for
Gay Games VII Photo Shoot!

Gay Games VII is doing a series of photo shoots to support our new advertising campaign. Several photo shoots will take place in Los Angeles in October and early November.

The photo shoot will be with award winning photographers who are donating their services to benefit Gay Games VII, to be held in Chicago July 15-22, 2006.

Ideally, models will be former Gay Games athletes, or athletes who are planning to attend Gay Games VII. However, we will consider all athletes! We are looking for a full range of subjects for our photo shoot. The only compensation offered to models is our genuine appreciation, and the possibility that your photo will be a part of a world wide advertising campaign.

If you are interested in being considered for this photo shoot, please email with the subject: LA Photo Shoot. Please let them know that my friend Stacy Jacobs sent you! If you have any questions, you can contact Stacy via email at or Brenda Schumacher via phone 773-907-2006 or email at

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

wondered what that was all about

I was already asleep when I heard that familiar thud-thud-thud sound. A bright light pierced through the darkness and into my bedroom window. I thought I heard some noises out in my living room or on the roof, but that could've been a loftmate. There could have been a trio of drunk possums careening into the walls and I wouldn't get out of bed. I was too eager to ignore everything outside my bedroom - I started a new gig Tuesday morning and I needed sleep. There could have been a wacky old man throwing bricks off my roof and a police helicopter right outside my window, shining a light onto me and my bed and not my roof where the wacky old man might be found heaving bricks off the roof - it just didn't matter. I wanted peace and quiet so I could get some sleep and I'd go straight to denial if needed.

Then my neighbors eric and eecue wondered what the hell was going on and I was able to piece things together somewhat.

I wonder if that had anything to do with the two hotel maintenance guys cleaning up all this plaster and brick outside my door this morning. I need sleep. I hope no one feels like heaving bricks off my roof tonight.

Friday, October 14, 2005


I got the job. Yay me. I should celebrate or something, but all I feel like doing is curling up in the fetal position in the middle of my bed. Don't feel any tears coming on or anything like that, but I am sad that I can't tell Laura about it and see her reaction. Oh wait, yeah, here they come. I'm okay. I just need a minute.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

a little anxious

Big meeting with a prodco today and I'm a little nervous. I hate my hair and every piece of clothing I own. I'm such a girl, I can't believe that's what I'm stressing about. I wish I had a car and driver, I don't want to drive myself to this. I'm so distracted with a brazilan things on my mind, the last thing I need is to navigate morning traffic. I hope my synapses don't misfire in the middle of the meeting. Okay, here I go. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

casting notices

Just passing along some casting notices, please don't contact me about the following, contact information is provided below:

AFI Student Film needs extras!
A friend who is in the master's film producing program at AFI needs eight (8) extras this Saturday and Sunday. Male, 20's to 50's, all ethnicities, shooting in a set-constructed 70's bar at the AFI soundstage, for copy, credit and meals. Interested? Contact Vic at, or better yet, call him at 323-0573-4557.

Wait, there's more:

Conde Nast Media Group, Cargo Magazine and Emoticon Productions are currently casting a fresh, fast-paced, "info-taining" lifestyle series for men. They're on the look-out for spontaneous, lively, sharp men and women (ages 25-35) who are true experts in one of these areas: shopping (fashion), technology (gadgets & gizmos), cars, women (dating) and entertainment (pop-culture). Previous hosting experience preferred (contact by agents/managers is OK), but not required. Send a headshot, resume and SHORT cover letter telling us about your specific area of expertise (and please put that area of expertise in the Subject Line) to

The Style Network is casting a new show called Relationship Rehab and is making a call out to anyone who has recently had their heart broken, or knows someone who has been cheated on or recently dumped, and you think now may be the time for a life makeover. Kingfish Prods is now casting attractive men/weom between the ages of 18 and 35, who has 203 friends or family in the NY Metro area will to participate in their life makeover. Need to be available to shoot this fall. Email your story and photo to OR call 646-498-4097.

BET is on the lookout for BET hosts. The network will tour several major cities to find several new hosts. Auditions were held in New York City on October 3, Atlanta on October 5, Houston on October 7, Chicago on October 10 and LA auditions are being held today, October 12. Auditions are open to male and female non-professionals ages 18 - 28. BET will televise highlights from the national talent search in this fall's programming season. More details at

Good luck!

downtown dolce

I've been jonesing for sweets. I needed the kind of comfort that Sara Lee used to provide. These days, I like to think that my taste is a little more refined, so a fresh-frozen iced chocolate cake or strawberry cheesecake doesn't cut it anymore. There are tons of ethnic bakeries in downtown Los Angeles. I can get conchas, all sparkly with their crunchy sugar coats, or sweet potato empanadas from the panaderia around the corner. If I poke around in the Jewelry District, I can find trays of baklava, dripping with honey. There are at least four cafes that I can walk to for biscotti. And I usually have no problem walking to any Little Tokyo confectionery when I want a piece of velvety daifuku (sticky rice surrounding sweet bean paste and rolled in kinako, sweet soy powder), or namagashi (baked "bun" filled with sweetened azuki bean paste. But I wanted Viennese pastries, cannoli siciliani, cupcakes, eclairs, and cakes with buttercream frosting. And I didn't want to drive.

Last week I passed by Grand Central Market on the way back home from purchasing candles at the botanica. I knew my taco stand was operational again after that horrible kitchen fire, so I ran in to get a lengua burrito on the way to I forget where and why, but I was running late. Then I saw it. Tiramisu. Beside it was a row of dark chocolate cappucino cakes, beckoning me with dark and milk chocolate swirls of frosting. But I couldn't stop, I was already running late. So like MacArthur, I returned, intent on consuming enough baked goods to put me into a sugar coma.

Blanca was behind the counter at the House of Sweets (Casa de Dulces - D4), smack dab in the middle of Grand Central Market. Either she's a great salesperson or I was just in the mood to gorge myself on sweets. Despite craving traditional bakery fare, I loaded up on baklava ($6 for a generous trayful!), tres leches cake, dark chocolate cappucino cake, and tiramisu. They're all gone now. I am embarrassed to say that I devoured these in one sitting, all by myself.

I took advantage of the sugar high and cleaned up a little around the penthouse. And by a little, I mean i threw out two huge garbage bags full of stuff, filed away 60+ CDs and did two loads of laundry. That might not sound like much to you, but I own more clothes than most boutiques keep in stock, more reading material than anyone but Evelyn Wood could get through, and I have (I kid you not) thousands of CDs in my bedroom (not in any semblance of order). That reminds me, I need a better filing system. Back to topic: After that burst of energy I came crashing down from the sugar high and was out of it for several hours. I was coaxed out of it only by a late dinner invitation to Versailles for some yummy Cuban food.

I need to join a gym.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

shoot the leader

I got an email from an old boyfriend the other day. I was very surprised to hear from G, as we didn't part ways amicably. Once at a party I accidentally introduced him as my insignificant other. You could say that G wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer, but it would be more accurate to say that he was dumber than a box of rocks. A former model, firefighter, ski instructor, ad agency executive and now stockbroker, G was easy on the eyes. My reasons for being with him were very shallow and superficial. Kinda like him.

During the dot-boom years one of my clients wanted access to movers and shakers in the Bay Area. I opened up my Rolodex to throw a huge shindig in San Francisco and G accepted my invitation to come to the party (I didn't think he'd take time away from work). The party was a big success, my client was ecstatic. There was a fairly influential guy from Los Angeles who flew up with his entourage. I'd never met him before, but we knew of each other and I was surprised he flew up for the party. This guy, let's call him Alan, now a friend, is a smart, charming, handsome ex-Navy SEAL. A real man's man. Chicks wanted to date him and guys wanted to be just like him.

I introduced G to Alan and they started talking about flying planes, playing rugby, shooting guns, competitive sailing and other alpha male activities. I thought they were getting along very well. I was glad I didn't have to babysit for him and that he found someone in the geeky crowd that didn't think him a complete idiot. At party's end, Alan invited us to join his group in carousing all night. I was all business back then so I declined, but we accepted his offer of a ride back to our hotel.

Alan and I waited in the limo while G went back to retrieve a forgotten coat. We had met only hours earlier, but as soon as G was out of earshot, Alan asked, "What are you doing with this guy?"

"I don't know what you mean by that," I replied. I couldn't be disloyal, even if the boyfriend was an idiot. Besides, G played the boyfriend role to perfection.

"Celia, I was in the Navy for over twenty years. One of the first things I learned was, upon entering a room - figure out who the most important person in the room is. Find out who the leader is and shoot that person. There will be confusion, people won't know who to follow and as a soldier you take advantage of that."

Tipsy from champagne, I slurred slightly, "So what's your point?"

Alan smiled, "I would probably have to shoot a hundred people before I'd shoot him."

"You wouldn't shoot him?" I asked. "And here I thought you two were getting along."

Then G returned with his coat and Alan and I were never alone to talk frankly again that night. Later in our hotel room, I came out of the bathroom to find G doing pushups and stretching. He tried to play it off, but it was obvious - he was anticipating some strenuous activity. If I had to pinpoint the beginning of the end for this guy, that night would probably be it.

I don't know if I'll be replying to G's recent email. I admit I'm curious to know if and how he's changed, it's been about five years since we last talked. Everything is so different now, a complete 180. Both Alan and I aren't the same people anymore - not as driven and a lot happier. Alan is retired and lives on his boat in Hawaii. He doesn't date bimbos anymore and I don't date himbos. But those are just the glaringly obvious changes, the most profound ones are harder to explain. I know Alan doesn't want to shoot the leader anymore, I'm just not sure what I want.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

friend from the past

I got back home from Hawaii and was reading days-old copies of the LA Times when I saw that a friend that I've known since college but haven't seen in about seven years owns a sex shop on Venice Boulevard called Freddy and Eddy. I met Ian at a ZBT party during my freshman year and he kept me (and eventually my sister Laura) out of a lot of trouble. And when I say kept me out of trouble, I mean he watched and laughed as I engaged in outrageously drunken behavior, then teased me mercilessly about it afterwards. He was the first one to tell me that ZBT stood for Zero But Trying and other things I needed to know about frat boys.

I see that read the same article. I'm so glad that Ian and Alicia are doing well and are getting great notices. I'll probably pop into their shop to say hi sometime in the next week. Ian was also very good friends with my sister, so I hope I can maintain while we catch up.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

that ringing is just in my head

I'm watching The Big Lebowski and his phone ringtone is the same as my cell phone's ringtone. I love this movie but that ringtone is confusing me.

senator boxer establishes memorial internship

There are many reasons I dig Senator Boxer, here's yet another reason why (from the Senator's website):

U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer established the Laura Esguerra Adams Memorial Internship Program in her Los Angeles Office in memory of Laura, who was the Senator’s web designer from 2001 until her death in September 2005.

Laura Esguerra Adams possessed enormous technical skills and used them to create an innovative and award-winning website. She also brought a passion for public service, believing that technology should be used to increase public involvement in and understanding of our government.

The Laura Esguerra Adams Memorial Internship Program is designed to provide experience to highly motivated and enthusiastic young people who want a first hand experience in public service. Those selected for the program will serve in Senator Boxer's Los Angeles Office.

For information on internships in the Los Angeles office, call Judith Vasquez at 213-894-5000.

Click here to apply.

Monday, October 03, 2005

huge crack on the 405 nearly causes accident

motorcycle crack

Two words come to mind: cautionary tale.

distant motorcycle crack

Thanks to Camille for the pic.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

inappropriate, yet effective

To Kitty:

Thanks for your words of support. I had no idea the words "slanty vagina" would have the effect that it did, but I'm glad you were prescient enough to know. Was it the specificity that was achieved by adding that one modifier that did the trick, or that it was an unexpected pairing? You get me, you really get me. Kinda like how Alec Baldwin really knew that wasn't Meg Ryan inside Meg Ryan's body in Prelude To A Kiss, that it was an old man inside Meg Ryan's body. I feel that if some old man inhabited my body, you wouldn't have to kiss me deeply and with a little bit of tongue to know it was an old man and not me.

Monday, September 26, 2005


I'm back in Los Angeles and I'm still not sure how I feel about that. Laura's internment in Hawaii was one of the hardest things I've had to go through and I'm glad it's over. I'm still feeling a little wrung out.

Friday, September 16, 2005

honolulu, then havana

At long last we got the word from the cemetery in Hawaii - Laura's burial is set for Wednesday, September 21st. I fly out to Hawaii this Sunday and return in a week. I'm not sure I want to come back to Los Angeles, not for a while. I just don't know where else to go. My brother-in-law James has told me more than a few times that he can't go anywhere in this city - everything reminds him of Laura. I understand too well.

Maybe because we were in a Cuban bakery/cafe, but at lunch the other day I told James and my brother Angel that I wanted to go to Cuba for a month. I had just polished off this amazing pastry - a ball of ground beef inside a mashed potato ball, deep-fried - sort of like shepherd's pie but because of the shape, more like shepherd's balls. I finished one of those, started on a chicken empanada and thought, "I could eat nothing but Cuban food for two weeks straight. With desserts, rum drinks, good music, and a copy of The Snows of Kilimanjaro, I could stay maybe a month." More importantly, I have no memories of Laura and Cuba.

We stopped short of ordering one of each pastry in the display case, but just a little short. Hopped up on sugar and dreaming of sultry nights at El Floridita, I made my way back downtown, mentally packing for Honolulu and Havana.

I need to be more careful with what I eat these days.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

300 lbs by christmas

My neighborhood never lets me down, I can always rely on it to keep me in check. I was walking to Cole's last week and I happened to fall a few feet behind this pimped-out, Jheri-curled, street Lothario walking in the same direction. He kept turning around to look at me. We were almost in front of Cole's when he turned around and said, "Excuse me, I don't mean to keep turning around to stare at you, but, I see you have hips."

If I don't lay off the alcohol, ice cream, truffles, creamy potato salads, french dip sandwiches and other goodies that kind friends and roommates are offering me to stave off the sadness, I could, at my current rate of expansion, weigh 300 pounds by Christmas. That may be a slight exaggeration, but just the same, I better take the feedbag off. I probably shouldn't have eaten flan for dinner.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

hawaii postponed

I'm still in Los Angeles and I don't know what to do with myself. Laura's funeral in Hawaii has been postponed due to problems with permits. I have no idea when I'm flying out to Hawaii, no idea when Laura can be placed in her final resting place, and no idea when I'm coming back.

I'm okay. This past Thursday I slept for the first time in I don't know how long. I had been waking up with that fuzzy, cotton-mouth that you get when sleep is induced rather than achieved naturally, but it's getting better. If I concentrate on Laura's memorial service at Adam's instead of the awful religious ceremonies that my parents guilted Laura into before she died, I'll be okay.

There was a reception after the mass on Wednesday, I headed straight for the bar at the Knights of Columbus Hall. It wasn't Cole's, but I didn't want to sit in that tacky fluorescent-lit hall filled with people who didn't even know Laura. Okay, I didn't head straight for the bar. I headed straight for the ladies' room for a relaxing smoke. Then I sat in that bar with James for hours, drinking and trying to ignore the idiocy around us.

Afterwards, James wanted to watch a stupid movie so we could not think about everything for just a little while. So Lynn took James and me to see The Brothers Grimm at the Arclight. We got there just in time for previews, but Lynn and James wanted popcorn and soda. I was so glad they missed the previews, the first one was for Corpse Bride and the last one was for The Exorcism of Emily Rose, neither one anything that James would have responded well to. I just shut my eyes and went to my quiet place. The bourbon took its toll and James fell asleep for everything but the last 20 minutes. I was, unfortunately and despite all the alcohol and controlled substances, wide awake for most of it. Afterwards we sat at the bar, drinking and debating whether we should watch The 40-Year Old Virgin. But we opted to go home and medicate ourselves even further.

The cousins have gone home and my friends needed a break so I've been alone the past few nights. I think needed a break as well, back to solitude and what life was like before. Then my psychic told me that I shouldn't spend so much time by myself, that I should be around friends. James told me last night at Cole's that it doesn't take a psychic to figure that out. What I am trying to figure out is what to do with myself now that Laura doesn't need me anymore.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

letter from senator boxer

At Laura's funeral service yesterday, Tom Bohigian (from Senator Boxer's office in Sacramento) said some wonderful things about what it was like to work with Laura and the contribution she made to the Boxer office in downtown Los Angeles. I wish I had a transcript of his speech, but here is a copy of Senator Boxer's letter to the President of the U.S. Senate, entered into the Congressional Record for the 109th Congress, which Tom read yesterday:

Senate - September 06, 2005

Mr. President, today I pay tribute to Laura Esguerra Adams, a member of my staff who died last week after a valiant struggle against cancer. I want the Senate and the American people to know about this extraordinary young woman who served us all so well.

Laura was my Web designer, in charge of my Senate Web site. Over the past several years, she transformed "" from a simple, nondescript Web page to a modern, cutting-edge site that has won awards for its clean look, comprehensive content, and accessibility.

Today thousands of Californians visit this site every week to get up-to-date information, express their opinions, and obtain help from my office and Government agencies. Laura's many additions to the site included video updates from California and the Senate floor, contests for kids on Earth Day and the Fourth of July, and dozens of links to other sites providing news, information, and assistance.

Laura was not only a tremendous asset to my staff; she was also a joy to work with. She was smart, funny, and most of all big hearted. She was both tech wise and user friendly, always willing to share her knowledge and expertise. In our Los Angeles office, she organized great potluck lunches where she cooked well, ate prodigiously, and shared her eclectic taste in music of all kinds--good, bad, and strange.

A truly urban Angeleno, Laura lived in a downtown LA loft and recently led her new husband James and their wedding party on a candlelight procession through the center city.

Laura was a highly skilled and devoted public servant who believed that technology can and should add to our understanding of Government and give more people the opportunity to participate in our democracy. I deeply appreciate her service to the Senate and the people of California.

I know Members will join me in honoring the memory of Laura Esguerra Adams and sending our thoughts and prayers to her husband, family, and many dear friends.

Laura was so happy working for Senator Boxer. She loved her co-workers, she told me funny stories about them all the time. It did my heart so much good to see so many people from the Boxer office at Laura's bedside during her last week with us, at her memorial service, and at the mass. Her picture is up on the Senator's website, check out her work if you get a chance.

Monday, September 05, 2005

mass, memorial, and funeral services

Following please find the schedule for the mass, memorial service and funeral service for my sister, Laura:

Tuesday, September 6, 2005

Viewing/Visitation – 1:00pm to 6:30pm
Rosary Prayers – 6:30pm
Downey Zrelak Family Mortuary
10229 Paramount Blvd.
Downey, CA 90241

Memorial Service – 7:30pm
Home of A. Martin
533 S. Los Angeles Street, 7th Floor Penthouse
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Wednesday, September 7, 2005
Mass – 10:00am
St. Raymond Catholic Church
12348 Paramount Blvd.
Downey, CA 90242

Reception – 11:30am
Knights of Columbus Hall
11231 Rives Avenue
Downey, CA 90241

Laura will fly to Honolulu, Hawaii where she will join her maternal grandparents and uncle at the Kaneohe Family Plot.

Friday, September 9, 2005

Blessing – 10:00am
William Funeral Services Chapel
931 Hausben Street
Honolulu, HI 96826

Followed by Funeral Procession to Memorial Park in Kaneohe.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to your favorite charity in Laura's name. If you don't have a favorite, some of Laura's were:

American Cancer Society
Los Angeles Public Library, Adult Literacy Services
National Endowment for the Arts
National Democratic Party
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

Sunday, September 04, 2005

coming together, going to pieces

Last night my dear, smart, funny, beautiful sister lost her fight with cancer. Laura stopped breathing at 10:35pm while she lay in bed, sleeping peacefully.

Flanked by my two favorite cousins, I said what I am sure is just one in a series of final goodbyes to a sister I love so much. I spent the rest of the night drinking to Laura with friends and family - admiring her strength, courage, spirit, love, and uncompromising pursuit of a life lived artfully. But right now I'm alone and my heart hurts.

Information on the mass, memorial service and the funeral will be posted as soon as we figure it out.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

laura comes home

My sister Laura is at home now after two very difficult weeks. She's had two hospital stays in those two weeks. Initially she was admitted for pneumonia and an infection in her lungs. Last Wednesday, she suffered a pulmonary embolism, which left her even weaker and in more pain than ever before. She came home for two days, but it was the most difficult two days that she's had since her diagnosis last July.

This past Saturday I received a phone call from my brother-in-law James. He asked me to come over right away - Laura pulled out her gastric feeding tube. I don't know how long it took me to run the two blocks to their loft, but by the time I got there the paramedics were already there, and Laura was already inside the ambulance. She was lying there looking at me yet her eyes registered nothing, not recognition, not relief - nothing. It felt like the earth had opened up beneath me and my legs were giving out from underneath. Somehow I made it inside the ambulance for the ride to the emergency room. The ambulance ride was just the beginning of a long hellish weekend spent at the hospital.

While at the hospital, Laura made the decision to not have the gastric feeding tube reinstalled. After many tearful discussions with friends, family, doctors, and social workers, she maintained her decision. On Monday her doctors told us that her cancer was so advanced that even if she reinserts the feeding tube, she would most likely still have the same amount of time with us. So now Laura has come home to spend her last days with her family and friends. The doctors say that she has anywhere from a few more hours to a few more days before she leaves us.

James and I talked about how to break the news to her friends and loved ones. We planned on spending Wednesday calling everyone then posting the news on our blogs. But every time James tried to think of what he was going to say, he broke down and cried. Every time someone called to ask how he and Laura were, he was a mess. So I took his cell phone and Laura's, then told him with every confidence, that Adam and I would take care of calling everyone and that I would screen their calls so that he could spend the time watching over her. I dialed the first number calmly, thinking of all the phone calls I needed to make that day, intent on crossing this off my to-do list and quickly getting back to spending however much time I had left with my sister. I think I was on the second sentence of that first phone call when I lost control. I heard my voice crack and it was downhill after that. I sobbed through the call then dialed the next number to do it all over again. I don't know how, but I made it 2/3 of the way through the list before Adam came home from work to help. We slogged through the rest of the list and then I tried to figure out who wasn't on the list that needed to be called. I can't help but think that I'm forgetting someone.

Except for immediate family and a handful of friends, Laura hadn't seen anyone or ventured outside (except to the hospital) since her wedding in May. In the past few months, Laura hasn't had the energy to receive visitors, but everything was different now. Although we tried, no amount of preparation helped ease the shock of friends seeing how emaciated she was (she currently weighs 75 pounds), or how her pain medication rendered her virtually unresponsive to visual or aural stimulus. Every time someone came to visit Laura, it was fresh hell all over again.

After the last visitor had left, after Laura drifted off into a drug-induced sleep, we all went to Cole's. I tried so hard, but no matter how much I drank, I remained stone-cold sober. No matter how tired I am, I still can't sleep. And although I may think I've shed enough tears, that I've been wrung dry and cried out, the tears still keep coming. I think this is what it means to come undone.

Monday, August 29, 2005

blood drive wrap-up

Thank you to everybody who helped make the blood drive so well-attended, thank you to all the donors, friends of Laura, volunteers from Kaiser, people who helped spread the word, and kind strangers. Thank you Ali and Adam for organizing the event, I'm so glad Laura has such great friends. Thank you to my friends, old and new, who have been so supportive and helpful to me and my family during these trying times. I can't imagine how much more of a mess I would be if I didn't have you guys to shore me up.

If you were unable to donate because you arrived after the cut-off time, or you were just unable to donate blood this past Friday, you can still call Kaiser to schedule an appointment. Please mention Ali Mazarei and Laura so that Laura gets credit for your donation:

Mariliz B. Triggs
Blood and Platelet Program Coordinator
Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center
Blood Donor Center
Tie Line 363-7069 or (323) 783-7069
Cell (323) 868-1870
Pager (323) 341-1799
Email: Mariliz.E.Triggs(at)

The view from Adam's penthouse was spectacular and, as always, Adam was a great host. He served chinese chicken salad and a pasta salad for lunch and barbecued tri-tip for dinner. It had cooled down a bit, so it was nice to have dessert and watch the sunset from the patio.

The after-party at Cole's was also well-attended. Thank you Ali, you're the best. As promised, I See Hawks In LA played the back room, and it was beautiful. These guys can harmonize and boy oh boy can they play. Try not to miss their show at CalPlaza Watercourt in September. I don't think I could ever thank them enough for playing and for making it one of those perfect hot summer nights, that hang-out-at-a-dive-bar-with-my friends-listening-to-great-live-music-that-helps-to-not-make-my-heart-hurt-so-much kind of night. I need more nights like that, but I think we could all use more nights like that.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

i've been away

It feels so good to spend time in my neighborhood again. I've been crazy busy lately, but it slowed down a little this week. I was working on two commercials back to back and the producer overlapped shooting and wrapping the last commercial with prepping for the film I just wrapped. We shot all over Los Angeles, but also shot at several downtown locations. Several times during the last month I would come home from a long day of shooting to find another film crew shooting a commercial, music video, or film. I wish I could get work on a project that filmed in my building, I hate commuting.

I was determined to not let a 14-hour shoot day interfere with my life but it did. When I wasn't at the production office or on the set I could be found with my sister, being there for two friends experiencing dire marital woes, attending an awkward command performance lunch with my parents, celebrating my brother landing a college professor gig, trying out new restaurants, and showing a small group of friends my new favorite super-secret late-night hangout. No wonder I'm still exhausted.

I was able to spend more time with Laura this past week, which was nice. She was having some good days where she was very lucid and not in too much pain. But this past Thursday she was admitted to the hospital. She was coughing up blood, but the doctors say it's just an infection but they're keeping her there until Monday, just to be safe. BTW, if you haven't already, please make an appointment to donate blood for Laura, she really needs our help.

I had a very good meeting with a prodco on the WB lot earlier this week re a writer/producer gig. They called Friday afternoon and requested another meeting this Tuesday. Of course I said I was available. Then as he ran down the list of executives I'd be meeting on Tuesday, I had what felt like a mild stroke. It was actually an anxiety attack, but I have a low threshold for pain, so the confusion is understandable. I hope my synapses don't misfire during the meeting. That would be bad.

Speaking of pain and misfiring synapses, I have a first date set for this Thursday with one of the producers of this last film I worked on. So Friday's post could be a hilarious recounting of the debacle that was my date. I have such a schoolgirl crush on this guy. Whenever he tried to flirt with me on the set, I froze up. No witty repartee, no fun and flirty exchanges - not from me. I was stunned into a stony silence, like one of those statues on Easter Island. He called me on Thursday while I was at the hospital and I just stared at his name on my caller ID, paralyzed with disbelief that he was calling me and unable to press the "accept" button. My mom was in the hospital room sitting next to my sister. She asked why I was just staring at the phone instead of answering it. I didn't want to take the call in front of her, show her just how socially retarded I've become and dash any lingering hopes she may have for grandchildren. Not that there's any hope, but I saw no point in rubbing it in. So our date is set for Thursday and I have nothing to wear, I hate my hair, and I'm fairly sure you can see my pores from outer space. Maybe I should reschedule.

event listing

I've been asked by many people to put together an events calendar or events list, some of the happening events going on downtown that I plan on hitting or recommend. What do you think, anybody else interested in seeing something like that from me?

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

help laura, get free beer

On Friday, August 26th, we are holding a blood drive for my sister Laura. Cut to the chase, donate a pint of blood and you get a free pint of beer at Cole's. If you're not a regular reader, let me bring you up to speed. My sister Laura has cancer, here's her blog. She's undergoing chemotherapy, has anemia, and can use our extra pints.

Volunteers from Kaiser will be drawing your blood at the downtown penthouse of my friend, Adam, from 11:00AM to 7:00PM (address below). Appointments can be made for the top of each hour to avoid long waits. Adam was the amazing wedding coordinator who planned and hosted my sister's wedding. Did you see the pictures from her wedding? So if you didn't get an invite and want to see those amazing views for yourself, make an appointment and donate blood.

All donors will receive a gift bag which includes a Mega Millions Lotto Ticket, and a gift certificate for a free pint of Spaten from Cole’s during the after-party. Yes, that's right, there's an after-party, a gift bag and free beer. Later that night, Laura's maid of honor, Ali, is hosting a party for all of our friends and donors at Cole's. You don't have to donate blood to come to the party, we're hoping you will anyway.

As if that weren't enough, one of the best local bands in Los Angeles - I See Hawks in LA - will be playing in the back room. So if you're a Hawks fan, or if you're eager to hear what the LA Weekly calls "The finest cosmic cowboy music since the Burrito Brothers.", then make an appointment to donate blood and come to the party.

To set up an appointment, call or email Ali:

Via email: OR
Via phone: 714-715-1685

Blood Drive Location
Adam’s Penthouse
533 South Los Angeles Street
Between 5th Street & 6th Street
7th floor

Cole's P.E. Buffet
118 East 6th Street
Between Main Street & Los Angeles

Laura's Blog Address

If you would like to donate items for the gift bag, food and/or drinks for the donors, or have any other questions, please don't hesitate to email me.

Thanks in advance to everybody for all your kind words, help, and support.

Monday, August 01, 2005

hard lesson for monday morning

I'm getting too old to do that projectile vomiting caused by too much alcohol thing. But here I am again - dehydrated, splitting headache, extremely sensitive to light, unable to keep even coffee down and my face turning a grayish-green color not normally found in nature. Not a good thing on most mornings and a very bad idea on a day where I have a 6am call time. The rest of the production staff think I have food poisoning. If they knew how many empty bottles contributed to my condition I think the craft services lady might not be so willing to bring me ice-cold bottles of smart water and cups of green tea. It's only Monday. I'll never learn.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

where the men are slow and the women are fast

It's that time again, tonight is Truly Acoustic Wednesdays at Cole's in downtown Los Angeles - which means you have another chance to check out I See Hawks in L.A.. Mike Stinson opens at 9pm, then the Hawks at 10pm. At 11pm, longtime local legend and LA Weekly's Best Contemporary Blues/R&B Artist Carlos Guitarlos joins them onstage. Last I heard, Ali still hasn't found true love, despite his well-attended divorce party a few weeks ago. Kitty will be bartending tonight as well. Whether for love, or love of music (or Chimay on tap), head on down to Cole's and buy me a drink tonight, dammit!

Monday, July 25, 2005

i attract the lunatic fringe

I caught the Grand Performances Basquiat screening at CalPlaza this weekend. It was such a nice cool evening and a much smaller crowd than I've seen all summer at the Watercourt. I sat next to this guy who kept drinking from his flask throughout the evening. It smelled like whisky, but I didn't ask as I didn't want to encourage more conversation. He was chatty, which I don't have a problem with (as long as it isn't during the movie), but he was really loud. People around us kept turning around to look at him, and although no one shushed him I certaily would have welcomed it. Halfway through the movie, I got a creepy feeling that I was being watched intently. I turned around and he was staring at me instead of the screen. Ugh. He chilled eventually. Later, he offered me a mint, and I didn't take it until after the movie, on the walk home. I conked out as soon as I got home so I think it may have been a roofie. Either that or I was just exhausted.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

best of downtown party

I had the novel opportunity to attend, of all things, Downtown News' Best of Downtown Party this past Tuesday night at the Hotel Figueroa, which gave me a chance to reflect on the changing face of downtown Los Angeles, class conventions, and, of course, popularity contests. Turns out the three seemingly unrelated topics have a good deal in common, each game, if you will, with a clear set of rules, goals to be achieved, and faux pas to be avoided. The party celebrated the newspaper's annual Best of Downtown Issue, which hit the streets yesterday.

I walked into the poolside patio of the Hotel Figueroa with the best of intentions. Then someone handed me a tray full of these blue drinks, which looked so cool and refreshing that I helped myself to more than a few and promptly forgot about everything except enjoying more liquid refreshment, cute boys, and enjoying a sultry evening poolside with my friends Gabrielle, Kitty, and Craig.

Thankfully, my friends had more presence of mind than I did, otherwise I would have been content to sit in the corner of the patio, watch the inauthentic "bellydancer", eat Moroccan food, drink more blue drinks, marvel in the vivid bougainvillea flowers separating the patio from poolside, and watch the crowd suck up to Tom Gilmore.

Kitty was a consumate pro, working the room and pressing the flesh despite the unforgiving heat, my parasol hitting her head at inopportune moments, and the unrestrained and sometimes violent rivulets of sweat streaming from her head. I had almost forgotten that when surrounded by exceedingly corporate people, cocktails can be hard work.

Kitty introduced me to all these people sporting "Winner" ribbons from their nametags. It was interesting, the difference in reactions when I congratulated people on their triumph. Some were embarrassed, some were matter-of-fact, others basked in it. I wondered if the different reactions were an indicator of how hard they worked for that ribbon, whether they felt they deserved it, if they felt it was ultimately meaningless but didn't mind being the beneficiary of that designation. I tried to engage people in conversation more substantial than the usual cocktail chatter, but no one wanted to play. Either that or they just assumed I was a rambling drunk. It didn't occur to me until much later that maybe they just didn't have anything to say.

I didn't win anything, so I asked Kitty (and others) where my "Loser" ribbon was. After all, winners don't feel good unless someone else lost, right? I wanted those winners to feel really good about their win. But there were no "Loser" ribbons to be had, just more blue drinks. Eventually, the crowd dispersed and there were no more blue drinks to be had. I like to think that all the winners went home to their partners and celebrated with champagne and hot, sweaty monkey sex. It's amazing, isn't it, the power of "Winner" stamped in gold on a blue ribbon? That for one night, one can feel as Leonardo DiCaprio's character did on the deck of the Titanic, jubilant and secure in the feeling that he or she was the king or queen of the world.

Friday, July 22, 2005

last saturday night

It had been a long time since there was a party at the penthouse. This past Saturday was nowhere near the size of the shindigs we used to host, but it was nice having people over again.

Saturday was the Create:Fixate 2nd Annual All-Photography Show and Craig Havens was the featured photographer. This wasn't Craig's first show. In 2004 he was the only American honored with a solo exhibition at the Grand Hall Artists Union in St. Petersburg, Russia. This was, however, Craig's first featured exhibit in a group show, premiering Soundings, a series of large format black and white silver gelatin prints, and Opal, a large format C-print, a stunning centerpiece to the seven-piece exhibit. There are 30 images in the series, and while I had seen thumbnails of all the images, Saturday was the first time I saw these beautiful prints on such a large and impressive scale.

You've probably heard a lot about Craig lately, in the past two weeks he's received some media attention and action. And by action I mean he's been selling (three of the prints were pre-sold at the framer and printer)and landing some cool gigs. The venue was not air-conditioned and the really hot, amateurish lighting didn't help matters. One light burned so hot that it cracked the glass on one of the prints. Either that or the work was so powerful that it cracked - oh forget it, that's just cheesy. But despite the heat and the woeful inadequacies of the less than professional staff, Craig's portion of the exhibit was very well attended.

After the Gallery Previews ended Saturday night, we had a reception at the penthouse for a few friends, collectors, and artists who are fans of Craig's work. I made a couple pitchers of sangria, resisted falling face first into the homemade leche flan, and chilled several bottles of wine and champagne. We spent a good amount of time on the roof because of the oppressive heat (only our bedrooms are air-conditioned in the penthouse), but the downtown skyline and our views of it made it very enjoyable. What made the evening so enjoyable for me was the great mix of people in the room. Thanks to everyone who attended Craig's show and joined us afterwards, I had a blast having such a fun, interesting and varied group of poeple in my home. Before the summer ends, I may have to do it again.

back to our regularly scheduled blogramming

Heat is not conducive to blogging. Neither is fear, uncertainty, heartbreak, unemployment, and I don't care what anyone else says, neither is cancer. I'm sorry to have worried anyone with the scarcity of posts, I've been spending almost every day with my sister and going out every night in an effort to avoid coming home and crying about it all. Thanks for the calls and emails, I guess I didn't realize some people actually look for that as well as drunken tales of whatever it is I do downtown.

I do have many things to report and many upcoming events I'm looking forward to hitting. I promise I'll gather up my notes and get back to it, stay tuned.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

an excerpt

Spring Street for His Darkness

Everyone on Spring Street wished on the new moon.
Everyone on Spring Street is nursing a hasty heart.
Everyone on Spring Street has climbed into bed with a ghost.
Everyone on Spring Street has been ripped apart.
I asked Gronk how long it'd take
to get used to the noises on Spring Street.
He said soon it would sound like the ocean.
What about the fire engines?
"Those are the birds."

--Lewis MacAdams

I missed Lewis MacAdams’ participation in the Aloud Series at the Central Library this past Tuesday. He was scheduled to read from a new collection of poems, The River: Books One, Two & Three, (published by Blue Press in June of 2005), which takes the Los Angeles River as its metaphor. I’m so out of it, I didn’t realize I missed it until the next morning. Damn. Did anyone reading this attend the event? I try to stay on top of these things, I really do.

Monday, July 11, 2005

tell me about it

I went to Ali's divorce party at Cole's this past Friday night. I'm having a hard time piecing together most of the evening and could probably use some help. It's not a complete and total blank, but some details are hazy and some episodes are complete mysteries to me. Most importantly, I do need someone to explain to me what the ramp-up was to that chick with the messed grill coming on to me so hard. No matter how drunk, I have a hard time believing that I would encourage that type of behavior from anyone with teef coming out of teef - even if money or a dare were involved.

I remember that Kitty looked great. Gentlemen, did anybody see what the ceiling in Kitty's new loft apartment looks like that night? That reminds me, welcome to downtown Los Angeles Kitty! I'm so glad you're my neighbor. If you come to visit me I have to warn you. My last two female visitors told me that an older man, one of the residents of the Alexandria, has been riding the elevator all day, all week. As soon as the door opens, he yells, "You better get your ass in here!" But if you dare to step in the elevator, he immediately exits the elevator. So while you probably wouldn't step into that elevator should some man scream that at you, it's perfectly safe to do so. He'll probably exit the elevator car, just as he always has. A small part of me wants him to stay in the elevator, just to hear what he'll say once you get your ass in there.

I remember that there was a pool, $2 got you in. Something about whether or not Ali's ex-wife would show up. A cute-ish guy gave me his card and now I can't find it or remember his name. I remember eating cake and it was yummy. I remember Adam and that was yummy too, or did I just dream that? I think it happened twice? I remember that a troll showed me his penis, and it was small. I don't remember what I said to him, I'm fairly sure it wasn't complimentary. Come to think of it, I don't want to know any more about that part of the evening.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

find love at cole's

Are you a single female in Los Angeles, still looking for that special someone? How do you feel about spending time in Las Vegas? Are you okay with spending time in a dive bar in downtown Los Angeles? Then I want you to meet Ali. He's the proprietor of Cole's and this Friday is his divorce party.

You'll get to meet his friends as most of them will be there to help him celebrate or lament the demise of his marriage. You'll get a chance to see/hear one of the most amazing live bands - I See Hawks in L.A. - they weren't on the regular schedule but this is a special event and so they'll be there to serenade you.

Ali asked me if I knew anyone I could introduce him to, and to invite any special ladies to his divorce party. Although normally a very private person, he was okay with me posting this information on my blog. I wasn't sure at first. Whoever he hooks up with next has to realize this - Ali has some very protective friends. For instance, what if you guys hit it off? I hope we get along because I spend quite a bit of time there and you'll probably be hanging out there a lot. If we don't like each other, then I may have to spend less time there (we won't say what happened to my Cole's attendance during his brief marriage). What if the other regulars don't like you? Will I get all sorts of grief from them? Will they hang out less at Cole's? We can't have that.

I finally came to the conclusion that all those considerations matter less when I think of Ali's happiness. He's a good guy, a lot of fun, knows how to treat a lady and a heart as big as the outdoors. I can't speak to his other body parts. You must be okay with firearms. You must be okay with Vegas, did I mention that? And you must be okay with his coterie of strange, but highly entertaining friends.

I know what else you're thinking. What about the men? If the stars align correctly, you'll have someone behind the bar to wax rhapsodic about as well. There's a female bartender at Cole's, let's name her Kitty, who is pretty special as well. She's really cute, smart (she's a writer doing time behind the bar instead of in front of it), fantastic smile, and a hot ass. Kitty isn't there all the time, just whenever Ali calls her in, but you could call ahead and ask Ali if she'll be tending bar this Friday (213-622-4090).

Finally, I have to tell you what isn't normally written about Cole's, but the regulars know too well. Cole's - where the men are slow and the women are fast. So will I see you at Cole's this Friday?

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

this makes no sense to me

I'm such a sentimental ass. Yesterday was my sister's birthday. I wrote a short story, inspired by her wedding in mid-May, titled, "Girls". I've been working and reworking it, unable to even tell her about it. Her husband James called me saying the loft was clear of visiting relatives I'd been avoiding. I told him I'd be over in a few minutes. Before I walked over to her loft, I thought about all these people from the past, people who are no longer in our lives, and I started sobbing uncontrollably. So it took me a while to get it together and walk over. I'm still reworking the piece, but I gave her a copy of the latest draft after Ali and Adam left her loft yesterday. She read it, then started flipping through her notebooks, looking for something. She found a paragraph and motioned for me to read it. Just one short paragraph with some of her hopes for the future, things she'd like to do and places she wants to see after chemo, plans that included me. I thought I was all cried out, but I was wrong. I want so badly for her wishes to come true.

I left her loft, wondering if I should stop at Cole's for a shot of something. I didn't want to cry on Ali's shoulder in such a public arena, so I went straight home. I ran into one of my roommates in the lobby picking up the mail. I didn't realize how close this all is to the surface, I thought I was keeping it fairly well-contained. But all he had to do was ask carefully, "How are you? Are you okay?" I nodded, but he didn't believe me. Maybe it was the hot tears streaming down my cheeks.

I made it to my bedroom and started to sob just as I was shutting the door. A few minutes later, my phone rang. I couldn't speak of it, but I could tell from Gabrielle's voice and her careful words, she knew something wasn't quite right with me. Am I really that easy to read? Was she just that perceptive? Or was I just doing a piss-poor job of containing all this?

A few hours later, I recovered somewhat and found myself at Cole's with Gabrielle, Jim and Craig. Some of the regulars were also there, eating dinner, catching up, hanging out. They asked about Laura and I managed to keep it together, but they saw the tears forming. Thankfully my phone rang - it was my astrologer. I excused myself to talk nonsense, using that time to blink the tears away. I don't think I fooled anyone. I think I saw Gabrielle tearing up a little, too.

I got home just after midnight and I've been crying sporadically since then. I don't know what's wrong with me. She's looking so much better, I think she's actually gained a few pounds. She starts her third round of chemo this morning and she's admitted she's no longer feeling suicidal. So why can't I stop crying? I'm supposed to catch a screening of Wedding Crashers later tonight, I hope I don't act like an ass and cry through the screening and the Q&A afterwards.


Los Angeles went crazy with fireworks this 4th of July. I was at a barbecue in Chavez Ravine, at Craig & Ping's house. It was a great, boozy, ethnic, all-American barbecue. We drank sangria, beer, and soju while feasting on hamburgers, veggie dogs, chicken, dim sum, and veggie/tofu kabobs. By the time the sun went down we had destroyed major brain cells and I was grateful for elastic waistbands. Then the show started.

From the front porch, we watched the most amazing neighborhood fireworks throwdown. For over two hours, these two factions engaged in dueling fireworks. One neighborhood on one side of the ravine would send up a stream of fireworks, only to have the other side of the ravine answer their call with an equally impressive array. I don't mean the party pack you get from a stand in Alhambra either. I'm talking six-inch mortars throwing a barrage of illegal fireworks someone probably snuck in over the border. So much for homeland security.

After an hour, we figured the lull in explosions signaled the end of the fireworks display. A few of us trudged back inside to fix another plate of food. But the noise started up again, so back we went to the porch. More fireworks. A half hour later, there was another lull. So back we went to fill up on more sangria and clean up a little. A few minutes later, the fireworks started up again. The timing was impeccable. I imagined they would set off a few, then fix a plate, go back and set off more, stop for a beer or two, then set off yet even more. I liked their timing.

Everyone I talked to/emailed today said pretty much the same thing about their 4th of July experience. Whether eastside, westside, inland, OC, or the valleys - neighborhood fireworks were out of control and we were all glad we stayed home. I wish there were some way to splice together all these neighborhoods, these people, these flavors, to create a Los Angeles experience I could send to friends elsewhere that fully explains why I love this city so much.

when i say "ozo", you say "matli"

This past weekend was a blast. Friday afternoon I was rushing to chop up a huge bag of fruit from Grand Central Market for the huge cauldron of sangria I was making. Angel and I were headed over to CalPlaza's Watercourt Stage for the free Ozomatli concert, but we needed to get the sangria started because this was shaping up to be a thirsty weekend. My cousin and her friend flew in from Portland Friday night and were joining us after the concert, as was Craig, the astrologer, the cinema greek, and Kitty and her crew.

The Grand Performances staff really know how to throw a party. We walked over to the Watercourt and found our reserved seats in front of the water (thanks Dean and Kitty!) just in time for the show. I'm glad we had reserved seats because the place was packed - the announcer said that this was their biggest crowd ever. I can't say enough about Ozomatli - they put on a great live show. The last time I caught them live was maybe 1997 or 1998 at the Santa Monica Thursdays at the Pier concert. Ozomatli really know how to work a crowd, but this crowd didn't need much encouragement. The band made reference to the water, saying, "Welcome to SeaWorld! I feel like Shamu is coming out of the water any time now." Throughout the concert, staffers were swabbing the deck, trying to keep water away from the instruments and bandmembers.

There were so many people packed into the designated dance area next to the amphitheatre seating, I was wondering how long before someone wound up in the water. The show was already a memorable one when two women made their way into the "island" next to the dance area so they'd have more room to dance. Then another couple jumped into the water and started dancing in front of the band, prompting other rabid Ozo fans to do the same. The wading pool was swarming with people, throwing off their shoes, rolling up their pant legs and dancing with abandon. I was worried about the ducks that I saw swimming in the water earlier, so while the crowd was yelling their approval, squealing in pleasure, and encouraging more fans to do the same, I was yelling, "The ducks! Watch out for the ducks!"

They eventually stopped the concert to ask everyone to get out of the water. Something about the membrane at the bottom of the pool getting damaged, which would cost $100,000 to repair and severely impact their ability to schedule free concerts during the summer. That got most of the people out of the water, leaving a few diehard bozos to be coaxed out. The last guy out took his sweet time, he didn't give a rat's ass that half the audience was booing him. The concert eventually continued, but all semblance of order was gone. It was a madhouse. As it drew to a close, the members of Ozomatli danced through the crowd and up the amphitheatre steps, chanting, "Ozomatli, si se fue!" with members of the audience joining the end of the line, chanting and dancing.

Then he was back, that guy who didn't want to come out of the water. He waded over the middle of the water and danced with his back to the audience. He was giving security and everyone booing him the finger when suddenly, he dropped his pants. The crowd went wild. He wiggled his bare ass for a little bit, then he pulled his pants back on and got lost in the crowd. At that point I figured it was time to move along, nothing more to see here. What a great show, all of it.

The Ozomatli after-party was at Little Pedro's, but I didn't feel like hitting it. My cousin G called - her group was at the Standard, but they hated it and wanted to go elsewhere. Craig called to punk out. My astrologer called to say he and the cinema greek would be at the penthouse after midnight. Kitty didn't call, she was probably passed out in a bathroom at the Los Angeles Athletic Club. I was going to have a lot of leftover sangria on my hands. My cousin called again, asking if her group of friends (six in all) could join in the penthouse festivities. Somehow, six friends grew to three carloads and I was glad I made a lot of sangria. Somewhere around 4am, we found ourselves at the Pantry eating eggs, hash browns, grilled sourdough and pancakes until we couldn't eat any more. It was shaping up to be a good weekend.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

sleep eludes me

I haven't slept a full night since Saturday. This is breaking my record of three days with no sleep. Does a two-hour nap count? I didn't think so. Usually I don't have a problem with my insomnia - I can use the time to read or write. After reading the same sentence over and over for 20 minutes, I gave up. Around 4am Monday morning I tried blogging about Saturday night, just to get the taste of blood. Even though I had a great time at Jim's birthday at the Hollywood Roosevelt, I couldn't write anything except, "I had a great time at Jim's birthday party at the Hollywood Roosevelt this past Saturday." Scintillating. Obviously that didn't work and I didn't post jack. I shut down my computer and zoned out watching a movie that dares to ask, "What happens when the world stops caring?" While I didn't stay up because I was contemplating that particular question, it didn't help. Maybe I should add Snow Falling On Cedars to my Netflix queue. A friend told me that it is such a yawn-fest it should be retitled Watching Paint Dry.

I drove Laura and James to the hospital on Monday morning. Instead of staying at the hospital and waiting out her surgery in those super-comfortable chairs (not), I went back home to catch a few hour's sleep before I had to return to pick them up and drive them back downtown. No such luck. Neither sleep nor words came to me.

Tuesday night - I was still wide awake and pretty upset about it. My astrologer and the winner of a Pat Benatar look-alike contest said they were taking me to watch Batman Begins at the Laemmle in Pasadena. I saw pictures of a shirtless Christian Bale somewhere online earlier in the day, so I felt my spirits rise. We scored TV parking on Colorado and got to the theater just in time. Unfortunately for us, they were experiencing technical difficulties and had to cancel that night's scheduled screenings. We consoled ourselves with patatas bravas, lamb empanadas and many caipirinhas at Bar Celona (wonderful tapas bar). My strategy was to drink a lot and then fall asleep from exhaustion. That didn't work either. So, no Batman and no sleep.

Wednesday morning found me driving my roommate to LAX at the height of morning rush hour traffic. Thanks to the HOV lane, it was a breeze getting there. The solo ride back downtown was not. The tedium of bumper to bumper traffic and morning drive-time radio usually causes me to nod off, but not this time. The rest of the day was spent with Laura, so naps weren't really an option, even if I could sleep.

Wednesday night found me at Truly Acoustic Night at Cole's, with the always amazing I See Hawks in LA. The place was packed and there were a few regulars were scattered throughout the room. Said a few hellos, but otherwise went straight to the back room and found seats. They sounded great, but I was disappointed that they didn't play all my favorite songs, specifically, Humboldt, The Beautiful Narcotic Place I Reside, and I See Hawks In L.A. So no Humboldt, Narcotic or Hawks - and at 4:12am, still no sleep.

Tomorrow will be another full day. I'll be spending the day with Laura again. I somehow have to remember how her feeding tube and that hanging bag thing works - difficult to do even when I've had eight hours of sleep. We'll see how I do on two hours over four days. Laura is looking so much better now that she has the more permanent feeding tube that goes directly to her stomach instead of the nasal tube. She was watching television when I showed up yesterday and she muted it so I could regale her with stories of my love life. It was good to see her chuckle (she can't laugh), but I asked if my comedic tales of romantic anguish caused her any physical pain. She still can't talk, but she nodded yes. To clarify, she scribbled, "I'm really out of it, but I have to be. So no excitement." So she turned the sound back on and I realized she was watching The Eagles Farewell Tour Concert. Laura started channel surfing and I told her that if she couldn't have excitement, she should change channels back to the Eagles. She chuckled again, then caught herself, frowned and shook her finger at me. Oh yeah, no excitement + no laughing = less pain, and for me - still no sleep.

Friday, June 24, 2005

secret society

I spent yesterday afternoon checking out a few art galleries on the westside with Craig. By the time I made my way back downtown, I was ready for a drink. We headed to The Broadway Bar for a preview (it opens tonight), courtesy of my friend, who I think I'll blogname Kitty. Kitty is on the steering committe of a "societe anonyme" based in downtown Los Angeles. They're looking to update their stodgy image, so Kitty is reaching out to a younger and hipper crowd. Sort of like why Prince Charles grooved on Princess Di back in the day. So there we were, wondering if we'd wind up in a fiery car crash, but hoping we'd have a good time .

There were four reasons I wanted to hit the shindig: 1) check out the bar before the hoi polloi swarm it; 2) find out more about this secret society; 3) watch the relighting of the Eastern Columbia Building's Gothic-influenced clock tower; and 4) all you can drink champagne.

The crowd wasn't very friendly but the barstaff was, the food looked great but wasn't particularly tasty, Cedd Moses isn't the most charismatic host, but that's okay because Tom Gilmore was in the house and he's got enough charm for the whole damn building. The space is nice enough, I like the balcony on the 2nd floor. But the layout, the decor, the lighting, the setup - it was okay, but it wasn't blowing my skirt up. Before heading upstairs for the free champagne and other cocktails, we sat at the bar downstairs for one round of pricey drinks and to check out the very conservative crowd. We looked everywhere but didn't see Kitty anywhere. Slowly, our crowd made its way downtown and into the party - Adrienne from LAist, Gabrielle from Single Shot, and Jim from UglyTown.

So how secret can a secret society be if they have a publicist? As I worked the room, I asked around, but I didn't meet one person at the shindig who would cop to belonging to this society. I decided to drink a glass of champagne for everyone I chatted up who isn't a member of the society. Kitty was still nowhere to be found. I met a few members of the Los Angeles Athletic Club, they were nice enough, but I couldn't help but feel like they were wondering who the hell invited us and what the hell to say next. I wandered over to the downstairs bar and found Jim and Gabrielle talking to a couple whose names I forget. They mentioned that they didn't know many of the people in the crowd either, they were looking for LAAC members. Jokingly, I said, "Just look for the most boring people in the crowd, they're probably members." I didn't know at the time that they just recently joined the LAAC. I think they knew I was just kidding, they didn't seem upset.

I heard something about some sort of ceremony or something to celebrate the relighting of the clock tower, but I think we were all too drunk to care. I was already on the balcony, so I looked across the street and up, sure enough, the clock tower was lit. The crowd was winding down, the champagne was all gone and I had almost given up hope of spotting Kitty, when finally, the crowd parted - and there was Kitty. She asked if we had enough, I showed her my purse crammed with business cards and phone numbers, and she asked, "Anybody cute?" There were a few, so I nodded. "Anybody worth staying here for?" I made a face, so she said, "Then let's go to Cole's!" We said our goodbyes, decided not to give our information cards to the "secret society" publicist, and off we went to the best damn bar downtown.