Enjoy that wonderful gift, and have a merry Christmas.
Enjoy that wonderful gift, and have a merry Christmas.
I'm not saying that the Scientologists orchestrated the crash so they could take advantage of vulnerable people and brainwash new recruits. I'm just saying the van with the yellow t-shirted crew arrived reeeeeeeally quickly.
Note to Scientologists: I've got two big dogs and nosy neighbors. I'd like to see you try.
In order from the top, the family portraits are from The Shining, The Jerk, There Will Be Blood, and...The Lost Boys!
"Death by Stereo!!"
Meatheads fantasise about being a foul-mouthed criminal in Reservoir Dogs, and before that they dreamed of riding their bikes into the sky with E.T. Young girls pretended to walk the yellow brick road, and when older played out the closing scene in Casablanca. Then there is, of course, the lift.
Most of us however, will never grace the silver screen. Luckily, all of our embarrassing and ego-driven Hollywood fantasies can come true with YooStar. We can literally, er, digitally insert ourselves into some of the most memorable film scenes in history. For all you struggling here in the City of Angels, if you're frustrated by a day of auditions for antacids and sundries of the feminine hygiene persuasion, it's a way to force yourself into Hollywood - if only electronically. Drunk idiots everywhere will convince themselves that reenacting a scene in Fight Club is really cool, and you'll have a front row seat. Perhaps you can write this program off on your taxes, because this tool could sharpen your chops. Hell, it may feel better than the real thing - no more auditioning and hello ice cream. I'm just sayin'.
Vaginal Rejuvenation Ad
But this networking party felt like a shameless scheme to make a quick buck. It's as if the semi-media moguls sniffed out our desperation and hatched a scheme to swipe our money. Perhaps they are are struggling like the rest of us, and reserved the club for a night to hike up prices and split the profits.
How to tell if you're being hoodwinked:
1) The valet parking costs as much as dinner at Chaya
2) No open bar, but plenty of "drink specials" that insult you by their use of the word "special"
3) Too cheap to hire sufficient help, one bartender spins wildly to serve a line of 30 people, most of whom cannot afford the drink "special" in the first place
4) No entertainment, just a bunch of strangers standing in line bonding over how insane it is to have one bartender serve a party of a few hundred
5) No food. Not even a plate of germ-infested pretzels.
6) No speech given by the head of this organization to give out a message, interact with or unite the crowd. Just a raffle that no one would buy a ticket for because no one would buy the prize in the first place.
7) The raffle item is an overpriced service that the company itself offers
I would have loved to pitch my book, but I never spoke with anyone. It all felt too awkward. People either came and huddled with their friends or skulked in corners of the beautiful bar, seeing how the Paris Hiltons of the world spend their time. Apparently, bars that cater to the rich and famous have no qualms about the dangers of open firelaces and the potential damage to plush white carpeting. And when I say plush, I mean the carpet was a couple of inches thick. You sink into it while you walk, as if in a freshly-fallen snow. If it were someone's home, I would have had to take my shoes off.
My old neighbors would weave paper decorations between the bars on their windows if they had time between bouts of domestic violence. In this place, strings of softly-lit jack-o-lantern lights are woven through vintage wood fences and bougainvillea. Just a few of years ago I lived off Hollywood Boulevard, and was proud of the 4'x5' rectangle of grass that was my front yard. It was ingrained in my psyche that if it wasn't nailed down, it would be gone in the morning.
Now look at me, strolling past makeshift graveyards sprouting from emerald green lawns, clusters of rare pumpkins sit beside Adirondack porch chairs, and scarecrows stand beside stacks of hay. Giant spiders the size of Smartcars sit on roofs, with the inflater humming by the gable of a bedroom window. I bet it's the child's window, and the soothing hum of that air pump brings back all the excitement of Halloween year after year.
Some parts of my old Hollywood neighborhood were so sketchy, I could close my eyes, throw a rock and feel a certain guarantee that I would hit an Armenian drug dealer or tacky sports car. Having spent all their dough on hair gel and car parts that make vehicles so loud they sound insecure, there was no money left to liven up their shabby home fronts. With strewn trash, people screaming over blaring TVs and cobwebs, it was Halloween rear-round, baby.
Here, perky young families close up their pools, pull out the Halloween box from their tidy garages and try to be scary. The effect is of course over-the-top cuteness, and thank God. No one wants to actually be scared when walking through their neighborhood at night. I prefer "Boo!" to "Bitch, gimme your bag" any day of the year.
Though she wore cornrows to her own quinceanera, she was a nice girl. That's why I'm speaking out. That thing she has on cost as much as a wedding dress, and I'd like to know who the cruel people behind this operation are.
- My wedding was pink.
- I refuse to give up on a somewhat impossible career goal.
- I'll always have a 90-minute dose of encouragement & happiness when I'm down.
- My future (currently imaginary) daughter will have an impeccably high self-esteem.
And now because of Elle, I had the most unforgettable date of my life. My (now perfect) husband surprised me with tickets to Broadway's Legally Blonde, and it was the best play I'd ever seen. Opening the program, I noticed that the first song was laughably titled, Omigod You Guys. That's when I knew a good time was upon us. Oh, my (wonderful) husband tried to resist the force of nature that was this play. In fact, as patrons filed in, he said, "Wow, there certainly are a lot of 12 year-olds here." Even afterwards, he desperately clung to Les Miserables as the best Broadway show he'd seen. But in the end, he had to concede. Legally Blonde has no equal, and was filled with color, energy and heart. I was breathless.
Elle Woods is a louder-than-life Los Angeles stereotype that I will always be proud of.
See Legally Blonde in your town!
Angelenos, I got a sneak preview of Universal Studio's Halloween Horror Nights, and it's a blood-drenched, maze-filled, saw-wielding extravaganza of terror! And I'm pretty sure all the smoke from the fog machines can be seen from the moon. GO.
This is the house from Psycho, complete with a Norman Bates glaring at you from the porch.
Above right: a plane crash scene with real airplane.
Left: Inside the SAW VI house - the goriest. But not as frightening as masked psychopaths lunging at you with chainsaws through the fog. The smell of gas permeates the air as sparks fly at you when they scrape the chainsaw across the pavement in your path. Are they using method actors for this? If so, we're all in trouble...
One might say in a liberal town such as Los Angeles, homosexuals have it easier. But my friend Scott put it all into perspective when he said, "I can't afford to be gay in L.A. - I don't have enough time for the gym!" This town may be liberal politically, but gay men aren't so open-minded when it comes to physical beauty. Each of them aspire to be an Adonis. They all look like soap stars, with six packs, caramel tans and highlights. If you think it's hard being gay in a town where mullets are still the hairstyle of choice, try giving up beer and pizza...forever.
I went to a pool party recently, and the shirtless men created a sea of white mocha-colored muscles hovering above an aqua pool. Every man looked so meticulously toned and groomed, I decided not to swim, but drink and feel sorry for myself.
If you don't believe me, see the videos:
But that has all changed. Nathan Gaunt stepped into Portfolio coffee shop while I was hiding out in Long Beach, and he blew us away. All of us. We forgot our books, laptops and our Blackberries be damned. If this guy doesn't become famous, I will lose all hope in the music industry and never turn the radio on again.
Although Nathan Gaunt shies from the comparison to Jeff Buckley, (his influences were Jeff's father Tim Buckley and Led Zeppelin) I must say it: he sounds a lot like Jeff. Buckley's album Grace was beautifully haunting already, but his early death catapulted him to cult status. Nathan Gaunt has the potential to alleviate the angst of any longtime mourners. His angelic voice is also filled with blues and melancholy, vulnerable yet halting. He has nimble guitar fingers and a fun, jaunty live set that makes patrons endear themselves to him. It was no small coincidence that one of his entourage was a laid back, knowing lady by the name of Leah Reid, whom is credited on a couple of Jeff Buckley albums, including Grace.
Nathan Gaunt is a native Australian. Lord knows what country he's in at the moment, but I feel a moral obligation to share his music. You will not be disappointed.
Nathan Gaunt official site
Nathan Gaunt on MySpace
When you read those tame, overly-PC advice columns that suggest, "Perhaps you should start anew," after someone complains of their mate repeatedly smashing their head against a wall, it makes you long for the old-timers. Old timers would tell you to get out a gun and a shovel and "TCB" - Elvis talk for "taking care of business."
She turned me on to Jenny Lewis, and I will be forever thankful.
Check her out on Mishmash!
Later generations went for pop art images of themselves a la Andy Warhol. The bright quadrant of cartoonish images screamed, "I'm hip, I'm rich, and I must be colorblind!" The less wealthy went for caricatures of themselves, sketched at Disneyland and at beach boardwalks.
The medium du jour? The Etch-A-Sketch, created by Etch-U-Sketch.
You can purchase your likeness in size small or large, without the magic eraser powder. You can order a poster print of your image. You can even purchase a sped-up video of the process to embed into your Facebook page.
For those not nominated, not cast and not auditioning, this slice of validation can be hung over mantels and in the grand foyers of your family home. Hundreds of years from now, your descendants will peer into that red plastic frame and think, "Wow, they really must've been something."
Like any supposedly haunted house, I am never scared of the ghosts, but the fed-up residents who have to deal with weirdos like me. Some say the house was on 355 11th St., but that ended up being a well-preserved Victorian, and didn't match the documentary footage. Like many Californians who think anything built before the 80's is "old," I think residents tagged it as the Hernandez home because Victorians have the generic haunted sheen from horror flicks.
My pink bob was fun in the hotel room, but turned into a dark, dark force when I entered the noisy, beep-filled casino floor. Truckers and men with bloodshot eyes swallowed me up with their eyes, assured I was a prostitute. Their obese wives and girlfriends glared warning signals at me as they hovered over their mates. The senior citizens shook their heads. I knew I wasn't at Mandalay Bay, but weren't there any young people? People who would see my wig as playful and not a desperate cry for paid sex?
It was a fun trip anyhow. I went vintage shopping locally, hiked Hellhole Canyon, visited a llama ranch (see adorable white llama baby, lower right) and spent hours drinking and lounging in our hotel room. And the pink bob was not wasted upon us. Feeling the rejection of the casino floor, we took the party upstairs and had a rockin' bubble bath photo shoot.
The man I am referring to is Sam Samaniego. I hadn't even wanted the beer. When my husband and I went to The Stuffed Sandwich for dinner, I ordered a soda. Big mistake. Mr. Samaniego gave me a puzzled look, as if only children were allowed to stoop to that level. "It's nothing personal," I said, "I just don't like beer." With a knowing smile he answered,"Of course you do. You just haven't tried the right one yet." He figured it wouldn't be too hard to find me something, as The Stuffed Sandwich is home to over 700 beers. That's right, 700 - the largest collection of beers in any US restaurant.
In an unassuming Los Angeles suburb with an unassuming facade, Sam and his wife Marlene preside over the place. While the establishment's name implies food -and they do make some serious business between two slices of bread - everyone knows this is a mecca for beer lovers.
In 1976, brew pubs were not legal in California so the couple sold imported beers. Soon their collection of 100 varieties climbed to 700, and the walls gleam with so many bottles, you can't help but imagine what the place would be like in an earthquake. He also has an ever-rotating collection of seven beers on tap.
Keep in mind this eccentric establishment cares more for the love of beer than the almighty dollar. If you do not submit to Sam, he will turn you away. My husband ordered a beer from him, and Sam shook his head, eyes closed. "You're not ready for it," he decreed. One must be prepared to answer a flurry of personality questions so that Sam may determine which beer belongs to you. And when he tells you to bow to the God of Beer, well then by God, you must bow.
Visit the Stuffed Sandwich website