Wednesday, May 31, 2006

dinner and a movie - last remaining seats

I just looked at my calendar and realized not only that summer is here, but that I've scheduled myself tightly.

Tonight Jim and I will be joining the L.A. Conservancy as they celebrate two decades of presenting classic films and live entertainment in the historic movie palaces of Los Angeles. The Last Remaining Seats will take up a few of our Wednesdays this summer (May 31 - July 5) as they're focusing on classic films that feature Los Angeles. Among others, the lineup includes "A Star Is Born" (1950), "Rebel Without a Cause" (1955), Chinatown (1974) and "The Mark of Zorro" (1940), which opens the series at the Los Angeles Theater.

It's a good thing that we got our tickets early, a few of the nights have already sold out. If they're still available, tickets are $18 ($15 for Conservancy members), though remaining tickets on the night of the event go for $20 (cash or check only) at the door.

Now the only thing left is to decide is where to dine before catching a show. Thankfully, a handful of downtown dining establishments are participating in "Nights on the Town", offering specials for theater-goers and anyone else dining downtown on Wednesday nights from May 31st to July 5th. Most of my downtown favorites are participating - Banquette, Pete's, Lost Souls Cafe, Rocket Pizza, Warung, Pitfire Pizza, and Restaurant Ensenada (one of downtown's best unsung), but I'm really looking forward to trying Cicada (4 course dinner for $50!). I used to go to Rex Il Ristorante back when they occupied the space Cicada is in now, so it'll be a nice trip in the time machine. There are a couple of other new places I want to try, 626 Reserve on Spring, and I hear there's a new Filipino restaurant on Spring called Asian Noodles (although they're not participating). Jim will have to make the call since I'm paralyzed by indecision.

I noticed the Series Star Sponsors at the bottom of their website - John and Donna Crean. Years ago I was at a party at the Orange County home of John and Donna. And when I say home, what I really mean is palatial estate. The party was a fundraiser to benefit Alzheimer's research and you couldn't swing a dead cat over your head without hitting a millionaire. They raised a lot of money that night and I know that night wasn't an aberration. Thank Buddha for the Creans and others like them, and all the good they do.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

sunday night dinner at the penthouse

Loftmate Lucas celebrated a birthday a little while ago and we had a special Sunday night loftmates and friends dinner for him.

This is the view looking into the penthouse from our roof.

Tim loves to grill meat and is a wonderful cook. This is most of the dinner party, enjoying dessert.

I don't know who gave him the candy underwear, but I think it was Lucas' favorite present.

I loved Jim's reaction to the candy underwear.

After dinner, we gathered for drinks in our living room and checked out the downtown skyline.

Someone is enjoying the view from outside, on our roof.

Here's loftmate Tim and his girlfriend Bethany enjoying a laugh and a tender moment on the roof.

Skip and Lucas share a laugh and a tender moment.

That's all I have from that night, but I'm sure with summer here, there will be more Sunday night dinners, more pictures and more laughs to come.

Monday, May 29, 2006

i sometimes blog elsewhere

I posted something to LA Voice the other day about a few upcoming events in downtown Los Angeles this summer. It got a couple of anonymous comments about how awful downtown Los Angeles is. Jim suggested I just shrug it off and not comment. So of course I did. I'll never learn.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

house m.d. at the penthouse

A while ago the cast and crew of House, M.D. shot segments of a two-part episode in the living room, kitchen, bathroom and ledge of the penthouse. Jim posted a screenshot of the episode on his blog and here, finally, are the shots I took.

This is the hallway after the anteroom/entrance to the penthouse. They used it to hold some of the air conditioning equipment needed to cool the place down while shooting.

They painted this awful green color that really pops on television, but looks awful in daylight. This is the entrance to the main set, our living room.

For the episode, the penthouse was transformed into a filthy cop's apartment. This is one of the bathrooms, with the addition of a fake sink and toilet and painted to look like a moldy bathroom.

This is the kitchen, transformed into a nightmare.

Two shots of the living room, taken from opposite ends. They wanted to use my bar for the set, so they slipped me some paper and here it is below.

The roof was jammed with all sorts of equipment.

Nice view, don't you think? I'll be posting more pics of the penthouse during one of our Sunday night loftmates and friends dinner. That way you can see how we really live, and not the television version of the penthouse.

Friday, May 26, 2006

place your bets on the sale of the alexandria hotel

A while back there was a lively meeting for all the tenants of the Alexandria re the proposed sale to the Amerland Group and what it would mean for all the tenants. It has been very quiet since then. A while ago (a few weeks or a month, maybe? I can't keep track anymore), there were a round of inspections by the City (don't know which city agency, I heard this through the hotel grapevine), which the Alexandria Hotel failed. So the sale didn't go through as planned, though I don't know whether that means they just have to clear the next round of inspections before the sale can go through, or if the Amerland Group realized it would cost too much to make all the necessary repairs/changes to clear inspection.

I haven't seen hotel staff doing anything other than the usual maintenance, so I figured Amerland realized there was more going on with the Alexandria than they bargained for, and that the sale was off. Then yesterday, I was walking past Pete's when I saw the Amerland guys outside on the patio around 2:45pm, just like they used to do before they announced they wanted to buy the Alexandria. I considered going back and chatting them up, but I needed a nap.

Don Garza finally noticed my blog post from back in March (way to stay on top of downtown happenings, Don!). So if any of you read Don's blog, don't mention it to him yet - let's see how long it takes him to notice this post. We can set up a betting pool - pick a day and if Don blogs about it on the day you pick, the winner and a guest gets to come to a penthouse loftmates and friends Sunday night dinner*. And if you want to wager on the sale of the Alexandria, you can also pick a day when you think the sale will go through - the person who picks the date closest to the completion of the sale gets to bring his/her date to dinner, too**. So step right up, place your bets in the comments section and let me know what you want for dessert.

*Don Garza is ineligible to play.
**Friends and employees of the Amerland Group, employees of the Alexandria Hotel, and the involved city agencies are ineligible to play.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

cross that off my list

I turned in my screenplay on Monday afternoon. I got off the phone with the prodco's head of development (let's blogname her my new BFF, best friend forever), bathed in relief - they wanted to meet in a week or so to discuss my next writing project. A whole week to goof off, kinda. Woo hoo!

Jim and I went to Paramount Studios that night for a Mission Impossible 3 screening/Q&A with writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. These guys wrote for a few of my all-time favorite shows, Xena, Hercules, the first two seasons of Alias, and they are writing the highly anticipated (by me, anyway), Star Trek XI. I completely forgot that my new BFF would also be at the screening, until she called and asked me to save seats for her and "Tito", a legal and biz affairs guy from Fox. The screening was packed to capacity. At one point, a crowd of hostile people surrounded me and Jim, ready to beat us up for the only two seats available in the theater. Since everything hinges on whether or not my new BFF likes my script, I was ready to kill anyone who approached the two saved seats. When I was a talent manager, I was often referred to as a "baby-eater", which was ridiculous - I've never eaten a baby. But I would eat a baby if that meant my new BFF would give my script a thumb's up.

Thankfully, she didn't want to chat much. Tito congratulated me and Jim on our engagement, then it was air-kisses, a "let's have lunch this week, call me" and they were gone. I like to delude myself into thinking that she rushed home to read my script instead of watching whatever season finale was on that night.

I slept most of Tuesday. I had all these plans for things that I would do with my week off - do laundry, write a few restaurant reviews, blog about everything that I haven't had time to blog about in the last six weeks, re-pot an orchid, get a Thai massage at Pho Siam, organize my shoes/handbags/clothes/script library/CD collection, write thank you notes, drop off dry cleaning, get my car washed, call my trainer/go back to the gym, shop for a wedding gown, etc. But all I've been able to do is sleep. I had another screening tonight, but I cancelled. Sleep sounds so much more appealing to me. The danger is very real that I just might sleep through the week instead.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

engagement party wrap-up, part one

I didn't take any pictures of the engagement party, but everybody else sure did. However, I haven't received any of them yet. As soon as I do, I'll throw them online here or somewhere.

I was in a really bad mood Saturday afternoon. The elevator got stuck on the penthouse level, with everyone on the first floor unable to get upstair and me, all alone in the penthouse, with a wrenched arm and twenty minutes behind schedule. It all worked out, they got the elevator to work again but Jim and I ended up being very late to our engagement party.

One of my bridesmaids, Elizabeth, came over to tart me up. Although she was late, Elizabeth managed to calm me down. Her husband, Jason, was also a big help. He made Jim a drink while he was getting ready (he looked a little nervous, too) and helped Jim with that whole square in the pocket and making sure all tags are off his clothes thing. (Thank you Lizzie and Jason!)

The four of us finally left Jim's place about 40 minutes after our party had started and walked hurriedly down Main Street to Adam's Penthouse on Los Angeles Street. As we approached the corner of 5th and Main, we hear guys yelling and see some sort of physical altercation happening right in front of the Bert Green Fine Art Gallery. It was a drug bust. Elizabeth and her husband don't live downtown, so I check their expressions to see how they're doing. I suggest a left onto 5th rather than continuing on Main and everyone agrees.

Now this is the best part - we turn and aren't even halfway down the block to Los Angeles Street when we hear a gospel choir singing. A few steps further and we see - a gospel choir singing on the sidewalk. Knowing how much I love gospel choirs and that the screenplay I'm working on right now involves a gospel choir, I look to Jim and wonder - did he arrange this?

With a big smile on his face, Jim says, "That is so random." Okay, he's not responsible. I think I like it better that he didn't arrange for it.

Walking down Los Angeles Street to our party, Jim and I just looked at each other and both said, "I love our neighborhood."

Pictures and an explanation of why Cousin Angel had hickies all over his face and neck to come in the next few days.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

freaking out a little bit

I'm so excited about my engagement party tonight. Jim and I were at Adam's the other night when they delivered the set-up and I thought I was going to jump up and down like a little kid. My aunts from Hawaii arrived Thursday night, Jim's parents arrived last night and Cousin Angel's flight from Chicago comes in this morning while we're all at the "meet the in-laws" brunch. I don't know why I'm a little anxious about that. Although my parents are O.G. and old country, I'm sure they're not considering how to bring live chickens and a pig along as some symbolic offering or dowry or something. Yeah, I'm trying not to think about it.

Jim thinks we may have overestimated our guests and ordered way too much food and booze. I'm not familiar with that concept - too much food and booze? What does that look like? I've heard of it but I don't think I've ever seen that.

Our original plans for entertainment fell through earlier this week, but we lucked out and were able to get this amazing singer, Hope, to perform a little mini-concert at the party. She's signed to Atlantic Records and is actually recording her album with Trevor Horn in London, but is here on a short break and was available. Hope played the Viper Room earlier this week, did anyone catch her set?

Thankfully my dear friend and music industry mentor, Violet Brown hooked us up with Hope. Yes, that Violet Brown. I've mentioned her several times to Jim, but only referred to her by her first name. When I told him who was helping out with entertainment, Jim tapped out something on his keyboard and pulled up iTunes and the Eminem track where Steve Berman of Interscope says Violet Brown told him to go fuck himself because his record is a piece of shit and asked, "That Violet Brown?" Yes baby, that's her.

I'm trying to relax and not get freaked out, but the karaoke machine we ordered still hasn't arrived. And I'm not wild about what I'm wearing tonight. I don't want to start listing the things that might cause me to freak out, but I think those two things are enough to send me sprialing out of control. I think I'll stop writing now and go eat some ube ice cream.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

battle of the wedding singers

Jim and I were discussing whether or not to have two professional wedding singers battle it out at our wedding reception and have the whole thing "immortalized on national TV". Sure we'd get an appearance fee, have our wedding music arranged and paid for by the show and receive a wedding video. But then we realized that we probably wouldn't like the wedding music or the singers, let alone having it "immortalized on national TV". And if I weren't so stressed out from having to deal with our engagement party this weekend and finishing this screenplay so I can start on my next screenwriting assignment while planning our wedding, I probably wouldnt've even considered it. Did I mention that I threw my first wedding/engagement hissy fit yesterday? Yeah. It was bad. Jim locked himself in the bathroom. In any case, if you're interested or know someone who is, here's the info:

Casting Call: A new TV show, Battle of the Wedding Singers on GSN produced by New Line Television, is looking for couples getting married who would be willing to have two professional wedding singers battle it out at their real-life reception. The wedding guests at each reception will judge which singer is the best. Each participating couple will receive an appearance fee, have their wedding music arranged and paid for by the show and receive a wedding video. If you want to immortalize your wedding on national TV send the following information: your name and your fiance's; the location of your wedding (note: they are shooting in Southern California only); the date of your wedding (May to July dates preferred); photos and bio info on you and your finance. Email this info to:

pet casting call

Jim and I are looking for a dog. Specifically, we're looking for a black french bulldog. We aren't in any rush, just keeping an eye out. Then I saw that Old Navy is looking for a new spokesdog. I don't know if our future spoiled puppy is "mascot mutt--erial", but I'm urging my friends with dogs to enter their pups:

Pet Casting Call: A nationwide search is happening now through May 29 for a new “spokesdog” for Old Navy stores. In the late 90s, Old Navy featured its beloved pooch, Magic, and now they want to find a new Magic to star in their holiday 2006 advertising campaign and make history. U.S. and Canadian dog owners can enter photos of their dogs and a personality profile at or attend one of four casting call events in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and New York City. Then a panel of celebrity judges including Katherine Heigl (Grey’s Anatomy), Alfre Woodard (Desperate Housewives), Malcolm David Kelley (Lost), Kristin Chenoweth (The West Wing and RV), Betty White (The Golden Girls) and dog trainer Andrea Arden will select six dog finalists who will be showcased in more than 950 Old Navy stores. From June 23 through July 7, people can vote for their favorite dog star.

Did I mention that I'm a dog-whisperer?

casting gadget junkies

I don't think I'm a gadget junkie anymore. I don't know where my Blackberry is, I don't miss my Palm Treo (not really), and I don't fetishize my cell phone anymore. I already have a video iPod, which I really dig but don't use all that much. One of my loftmates has a handheld GPS system and I thought it hilarius that he was testing it out by walking around the penthouse. Hmmm, he'd actually be a good person for this casting call. If you or anyone you know wants a video iPod, send them your story:

Casting Call: AOL's new digital lifestyle channel is seeking gadget junkies - people who acknowledge they are immersed in technology and that it has changed their lives. The webseries would like to document real men and women 18+. If your story is selected, you'll receive a video iPod. Submit your story, name and phone number by May 12 via email to: or call 818-288-4800.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

mexico to allow use of drugs

Did anyone else catch this story in the LA Times? This is mindblowing - Mexico will soon pass a bill that would legalize the use of many drugs and narcotics sold by the Mexican cartels.

The list of illegal drugs approved for personal consumption by Mexico's Congress last week is enough to make one dizzy — or worse.

Cocaine. Heroin. LSD. Marijuana. PCP. Opium. Synthetic opiates. Mescaline. Peyote. Psilocybin mushrooms. Amphetamines. Methamphetamines.

And the per-person amounts approved for possession by anyone 18 or older could easily turn any college party into an all-nighter: half a gram of coke, a couple of Ecstasy pills, several doses of LSD, a few marijuana joints, a spoonful of heroin, 5 grams of opium and more than 2 pounds of peyote, the hallucinogenic cactus.

The law would be among the most permissive in the world, putting Mexico in the company of the Netherlands.

Forget Amsterdam, let's go to Huatulco.

monday march

I took part of the day off from writing to participate in the May 1 March in downtown Los Angeles. Adam, good friend and event planner extraordinaire, wanted to join me, Jim, and my Reuters photographer loftmate, Lucas. Unfortunately, Lucas was kicked off the roof of the building next door to the penthouse, so he lost that great vantage point from which to shoot. But he still managed to rock hard, take a look at this picture.

As I'm sure you've all read, Monday's march wasn't as large as Gran Marcha. But 300,000 is nothing to sneeze at, especially the day after Fiesta Broadway. Since I'm so short, I could barely see above the crowd. And although being with two really tall guys means they're constantly blocking my view, sometimes, they do come in handy. Like when I need a picture taken from a higher vantage point.

I didn't take as many pictures as Jim, but I managed to get a few good ones. This one of Adam is one of my favorites. He's waving both an American and a Scottish flag as we walked down Broadway.

Even deer were protesting.

There were novel uses for the flag.

And some very interesting signs.

"Bush is the criminal"

"Arnold says, 'It is just unfair to have all those people coming across and have the border open the way it is...' Schwarzenegger, Son of a Nazi"

After it was all over downtown, I took these pictures of the crowd dispersing after the march from Jim's window.

Now I need to get back to work.

a quiet sunday

My brunch meeting on Sunday with the producers went really well. I think. Even though they had a ton of notes and it ran over an hour, they said they really liked what I had turned in. One producer, who I had never met prior, whipped off his sunglasses upon meeting me, peered very closely at my face and said, "Oh, you're so young. I was expecting someone older, more seasoned." He got that from reading my script? Then he looked again, and more closely. "You haven't had any work done," he said accusingly. I didn't know what else to say, so I said, "Stri-Vectin." He nodded knowingly, "Ah, yes." This is the pre-meeting banter? I'm just glad I didn't have to talk sports. The rest of the meeting went as anticipated, no big surprises, no criticism unfounded, all very constructive stuff.

Then the same producer started talking about a project he's producing and said that I was "the perfect person to write the screenplay" and would I be interested? I played it cool. "Absolutely", I said, "but let's concentrate on getting this project made first," indicating the script on the table. We agreed to set up a meeting no more than a week after I turn in the next draft. At the end of the meeting, I held my hand out to that producer and he said, "I'm going to hug you because we're going to be working together on my pet project." After he hugged me, he asked, "Do you like my cologne? It's new."

When I returned downtown, Fiesta Broadway was in full swing. Walking through Broadway on the way back to Jim's pad from the subway stop after that meeting was so surreal. Which one was my reality? Both? How did that happen again?

I don't remember the rest of the day, just that I took another day off from writing. Jim and I went to a benefit concert at Mr. T's bowl, featuring Emm't Swank and The Monolators. Jim's friend Marcus is the drummer for Swank and I was going to finally meet him and his wife, Sylvia. But I'm also friends with Mary, drummer for The Monolators, who I hadn't seen in forever. So we killed a few birds with one stone that night. As if that weren't enough, on our way in to Mr. T's, we ran into my dear friends Reena and Matt, also good friends of The Monolators and Emm't Swank. It was a bit like a reunion of old friends, rather than a meeting of new ones, which was nice. I even ran into an old client, someone who worked at KingWorld when I worked on the Hollywood Squares. Good times.

On days like Sunday, Los Angeles seems like such a small town.