Weird coincidence….two of my LA based friends, who are also married to each other, both have plays running in NYC area. So while I was there last week, I caught both of them and was psyched at how good they were! Barry Primus, an actor and director (he directed the indie film “Mistress” with DeNiro a while back) has a play at the American Theater of Actors on 314 West 4th St. It’s called, “Wonder Comes the 7th Day”. It’s pretty funny and dark, about a common theme: a dysfunctunal family struggling to love each other. You can call 212-581-3044 for tickets if you’re gonna be in NY, it runs through May 20th.
Then there’s “Hair” directed and choreographed by Julie Arenal. Julie is a great friend of mine who I’ve also worked with a lot. She has choreographed lots of pieces I’ve either directed or produced and the great thing about her is her unusual take on things. She actually choreographed the original “Hair” on Broadway….which I never saw, so I was excited to see the show she re-staged which is playing in Bridgeport, CT. It was easy to get to via train from Grand Central, so I went for it. Even though it’s all about themes from the 60’s, it was still relevant and had an amazing cast and staging. It’s playing through May 22, call 203-576-1636.
Does everyone want to be famous?
Lately Iíve been inundated by people who think their lives are so stunning, that they should have a show that chronicles their daily existence. And Iím not sure why this dismays me so much. One of the downsides of my job as a producer and writer for TV, is that almost everyone I meetÖIím not kidding, it astounds meÖeveryoneÖ has something they want to make a show of or be the star of. Iíll give you an example. I was doing a semi-scripted reality show recently and we were featuring a girl who wanted some plastic surgery as part of the storyline. So we followed her trek through interviewing three plastic surgeons. Every single one of them privately pulled me aside and either gave me a script or had a separate meeting with me to pitch a show. That they were the star of. Yikes. And I seriously worried that if I didnít listen and support their idea (at least while we were filming) that they might not do as good a job for this woman who was a potential patient. Like, if I said, dude, that is a STUPID idea for a show, she might not get great tits!
And it goes on and on. From my brother to my dentist (and I sure donít want to alienate him while heís got my mouth wrenched open) everyone is selling an idea.
Wait a minute!!!! Isnít that what us bloggers do! Just on a different scale?
Yeah, now thereís a reality show.
Just got back from a trip to NYC…and as always when I get back here to the land of sunshine…. I realize how ridiculously lucky I am to live here. And thankful.
Okay…before you jump me on how great ‘the city’ is. I know. NYC is wonderful! But there is no doubt that we Angeleans (is that a word?) seem to be a lot happier and way less stressed on a day-to-day basis. New Yorkers take pride in their edginess and love to ridicule people in LA because we have endless sunshine and are more laid-back. But isn’t that one of the pleasures of being alive…to enjoy life and not stress so much? I kept looking in all the faces of people I passed and interacted with and people in general just seem way more closed. And not so happy. And listen…I’ve been going to NYC for work and play forever….so I know people there intimately….this is just a feeling and an impression. What I really want to say is for all its problems…..LA ROCKS! I for one am super happy to be on the planet in this particular city.
One thing I’ve noticed about living in LA is how I tend to stay tethered to the beaten path of ‘my neighborhood’. That can be a good thing, but every once in a while I get crazy and push the borders of my universe. Lately, I’ve been exploring downtown which has turned into a wealth of great finds. One place that has really caught my fancy is the Mitsuwa Marketplace at Alameda and 3rd….333 S. Alameda Street to be exact. It’s a super-sized Japanese grocery store attached to a mall in the heart of ‘Little Tokyo”. Although the whole “Little Tokyo” thing is beyond me…the area certainly doesn’t compare to the craziness and bustle of Tokyo….but it IS full of great shiatsu massage joints, shabu-shabu shops and some darn good ice cream!!
At Mitsuwa Market, you get the freshest and cheapest fish and seafood I’ve ever found in LA. Every single time Iíve gone in, the fish is stunningly good. And there is a whole aisle of green tea….nirvana to me. And another whole aisle devoted to Sake and Beer. The produce section always has at least four kinds of mushrooms and if you don’t like to cook….there’s a whole section of prepared yummy looking food to go. Check it out; the parking is free with a receipt from the store.
Traffic. In LA.
Say the words and immediately everyone’s eyes glaze over with stress or rage. Who doesnít have a story of some aggressive idiot who followed them for miles when they inadvertently cut him off. Just last week I turned into a long line of traffic…there was lots of room in front to ease in….when suddenly the car behind me charged up to within two inches of my bumper and the guy leaned on his horn….for FIVE minutes! Just sat there and let it blare, not giving a goddamn about the increase in blood pressure he was causing to at least 30 people. In the past I’ve gotten angry, been super aggressive myself and felt my heart race with adreneline.
But I’m onto a new approach. And I want to put it out there, because if enough people embrace it….we can change LA!
It’s the Zen of traffic and the city of angels is the perfect place to practice it. There’s a Buddhist concept of patient acceptance. Getting into the flow of what is…rather than what you want to be. So I’m gonna be the one who let’s other drivers in, with a smile, rather than that stone face ignoring the wave. I’ll move over to the other lane when some gonzo charges up from behind and honks. I won’t react when someone cuts me off… I’ll assume they didn’t mean to almost cause an accident, but really didn’t see me. I’ll let the bus in. And when traffic comes to a stop, I’ll practice deep breathing and know that eventually I’ll get there and getting irritated makes no difference to anyone but me.
Personally…I think we can change the world! One car at a time!
And yes, I do believe in miracles.
A week ago a friend of mine tried to commit suicide. At four months pregnant, she downed a full bottle of her anti-depressants, a bottle of Tylenol and to finish it off, 10 codeine tablets. Her loser boyfriend, whom she had supported for a year, had left her and she just couldn’t take being alone anymore. And that was just the tip of the iceberg.
I live next door, and luckily she called several people as she was dying. As the paramedics wheeled her away, barely breathing, I realized the trauma had just begun. What followed was a peek down the rabbit hole of insanity and the precarious edge we all ride to stay sane. After pumping her stomach at Hollywood Presbyterian, she was transferred to BHC, a psychiatric hospital in Alhambra. After 72 hours to stabilize it was time to find a place she could face her demons and work her way back to what we call ‘normal’ living. She asked me for help to find a place for her where she could get care for a month or two…. not a hard task, I thought. She has insurance and a pretty healthy savings account. Ha! I was wrong. Finding a bed for someone with a thin grasp of reality, a history of drug addiction, and suicidal tendencies…. who is also pregnant…is nearly impossible in this town. After calling 6 places here in LA, I branched out to Arizona, Boston and Dallas in search of a place where she could get healthy…I hit dead ends everywhere. Finally, with the help of another friend of hers, we found a place called “Creative Care” out in Malibu. And believe me, it ain’t cheap. It’s a whopping $28,000 a month paid in advance, with no chance of refund should you bail. It isn’t easy or cheap getting healthy.
By wading into this messy world of insanity, the one thing I realized is that it’s a very thin, fluid line that keeps all of us going and on a track to keep keepin’ on. Delusion is common, and there aren’t many landing places for people when they jump off the edge.
Creating and maintaining a community is one of the many challenges of living in this fair city. And for me, eating is part of being in community. But finding that neighborhood place that’s friendly, remembers your name and how you like your coffee is hard. I’m on a quest to find places that exude that kind of energy…so it means finding places that are owned personally by someone, rather than a corporation. I personally can’t stand Starbucks. I walked into Caffe Etc. a new place in Hollywood on the corner of Selma and Cahuenga and was immediately met by Vivianna, one of the owners of the place. Talk about friendly and passionate!! She guided me through their extensive coffee selections…all organic, shipped down from Thanksgiving Coffee, a family run co-op in Northern California that uses sustainable farming, and then laid on me the specials for that day. I’ve been back over and over, not only because the food is outstanding…fresh pea and arugula soup one day, amazing panini, great organic salads, warm chocolate cake, not to mention the great espresso banana milkshakes…but mostly because Vivianna remembers me and is so warm! She opened the place 8 months ago with her husband Brian Pollack, whose real job is writing for TV. He grew up in Hollywood and has seen this particular corner change from down and out to the more happening club area Hollywood has turned into. Vivianna hails from Argentina, but studied cooking in Thailand, Singapore, France and Italy. Her background is Art & Food and it shows in the simple and sophisticated way this place feels. There are tons of books about ‘the biz’ on the borrowers bookshelves, as well as a full magazine stand. And they always remember your name!
For a long time Iíve wavered between being firmly entrenched in the physical/material world and drifting over to the other more ephemeral, spiritually enlightened hemisphere.
No, Iím not ready to give up the big career, the house, the material lifeÖyetÖbut I figure, why not be open to everything this experience on earth has to offer? And living in this fast-paced, crazy-ass cityÖa sense of balance can sometimes be hard to come by. So when a friend gave me a birthday present last month of an energy healing session, I was psyched. Maybe a tad skeptical, (what is ëenergy healingí anyway?) but why not? Who couldnít use a little healing now and then?
So I made an appointment with Kate Rodgers, the energy healer and wow! Iím not a skeptic anymore. She did this wonderful, super relaxing, guided session with me that included a lot of breathing, some wonderful healing essential oilsÖshe uses many different techniques in her work but the plant, mineral and animal medicine healing oils rocked, and I swear some of the visions I had WERE truly phenomenal! In talking to her afterward she discussed with me how in the shamanistic medicine world everything is thought to have a specific vibrationÖ. so she works with each persons multiple modalities to bring a healing force to them. I have to admit it was a wonderful Öand yesÖ a really rich, healing experience!!! I highly recommend checking it out if youíve got a couple of hours and want to shift your energy around. You can reach Kate at 310-450-4561; she charges $125, the session lasts about an hour and a half.
I’m being attacked! When the ants descended into my house during the rains, I decided to co-exist with them, since their homes were probably either swept away or soaked in the deluge. But now they’re everywhere!!! Forget the counters, that’s baby stuff for these monsters. They’re crawling on the walls, the carpets, in the orchid, up the sink, over the dog…..
The final straw was when they invaded my office and as I typed, a couple meandered down into the keyboard and disappeared. I can only imagine the havoc they are wrecking in there.
I hate pesticides so I’ve now sprayed them to death with Windex, but they just come on back when it dries. Any non-toxic solutions out there that actually work? (I tried borax to no avail!)
So now that I’m unexpectedly single (gag!) I guess I have to start dating again.
My last boyfriend seemed so perfect, I thought those days were over. But that’s the thing about life…it always changes. So this past Saturday night I succumbed to girlfriend pressure and went on a blind date. He was nice enough on the phone. Not too exciting, but hey, don’t be so hard on a guy…
When he called a second time and asked me to go to dinner, I thought, why the hell not?
Time to get out of the house, end this break-up funk and get the juices stirring again.
So I meet him at The Edendale Grill, his suggestion. It’s a sort of sophisticated/trendy kinda pricey joint in Silverlake. Used to be a real firehouse, good solid food, decent pinot noir and tableside Caesar salad. I had the braised short ribs, which rocked! So sweet and the meat is falling off the bones, perfectly grilled parsnips and polenta. Yummy! The only downer was that they had no espresso to finish up with…only weak, light brown coffee.
Continue reading Blind Dates or a blind eye to dating?
Holidays in LAÖ This must be a taste of what it’s like to live in other cities. No one fighting for a parking space at the farmers market, cuzí the lot is half empty (unheard of!). The streets aren’t bumper to bumper. The freeway zips along. The restaurants are half full. No waiting in the checkout line at the store. Half the city must be on vacation! I canít decide if I love it or if itís just damn eerie.
Just as the sun was setting last night, the power went off in my neighborhood. I was on the phone, which went dead….and suddenly the canyon was bathed in silence. It takes a moment to realize just how much noise the steady hum of electricity in the house and outside affects you. In the absence of all that miscellaneous power, there was a wonderful peaceful feeling. Without the computer, the phone, or anything else to distract me, I walked outside to a truly amazing pink sunset. My neighbors had the same idea, and I met someone new who had just moved into the area. For just a moment, I got that great feeling of being right here now and enjoying the comraderie of silence in a canyon full of people.
After days of feeling irritated about all the traffic this frenzied buying season has instigated, I decided to give it up and get into the Christmas spirit. That means hunting down a Christmas tree. Being of the ‘I love a deal’ school in the finance department, part of my Christmas tradition has always been cruising downtown to Alameda and getting a tree from the lively auction that United Melon has every night til Christmas Eve.
I drove down to their new lot on Alameda and College, about two blocks north of Union Station and sure enough, the auciton was in full swing. After waiting for a couple of crazy high bidders to do their thing, I bid on a perfect 8 footer and got if for a mere $35.00! Then lo and behold a super sweet hunky guy named Chris, offered to put a stand on it and hoist it onto the car for another seven big ones. Such a deal. The trees are right off the railroad trucks, still packed in ice. You can’t go wrong. They have mistletoe and everyone is smiles all around. Good way to start this winter ritual. The auction is from 4:30 til 9:30 on weekedays and 11am – 9:30 on weekends.
So here’s an LA moment: I came home from my yoga class yesterday to find a note on the bed from my boyfriend and his closet empty. ARGGGHH!!! I guess the yoga really IS meant for something other than my snack-pack! Onward and upward I say. So how does a modern girl ease the transition? Yes, drink lots and stay away from the chainsaw….but other than that? I’m opting for the stay stupidly busy route and thanking my lucky stars for supportive girlfriends.
One of my favorite things in our city is the LA Central Library. Not only does the architecture rock, it’s soothing and restful and I’ve never failed to find the book I want. Even better, if you go online before you hit the stacks, you can find whatever tome you want and reserve it or get it sent to the library nearest you. Warning though: It usually takes at least two to three weeks to get the book delivered.
Other than a good book in bed….any thoughts out there on how to survive a shattered heart?
I thought about starting one of my New Year resolutions on Jan 1st…but after looking at my naked body in the mirror last night, I figured I’d jump the gun and start in on the exercise plan a month early. Rampant in the girlfriend discussion department, is that in almost any other city outside of Los Angeles… especially the Mid-West, we would be smokin’ hot chicks with every night on the date dance card filled. However, here in LA, a ‘good body’ is one with hard flat abs, perfectly enhanced tits and a high round booty that brings up the rear. Okay, so my booty brings up the rear, a good push up bra keeps boob job thoughts at bay, but a flat belly is like an eternal unrequited quest. It doesn’t help that there are 100,000 tight out of work actresses milling around. So, in the desire to keep up, and with a glance at the snack pack that peeks over my jeans, I’m perusing my work-it-off options. I tried Bally’s. It’s cheap, but the pick-up scene is gross, as are the locker rooms. So I’m opting for a smaller, cushier torture chamber, the super clean Sports Center in Toluca Lake. It’s a bit clubby for me, but everyone is crazy nice. I figure I’ll jump back in with some hard core yoga at City Yoga on Fairfax and round it out with vigorous walks in the hills. Rock-hard here I come. Oh, the price of loving good food.