Sunday, January 31, 2010

On Friday night, Shannon and I went to Out 4 Blood, A Night Featuring Artists from the True Blood Soundtrack at the Echoplex. Funny, as it was the same venue where we'd put on The Crystal Method concert when I was at Avid. It's a great venue with lots of places to roam, dance and two bars so you don't have to wait too long for your drink. It's in a weird area and easy to miss, but once you know where it is, you're good.

I'd asked Shannon if he wanted to go and since he hasn't seen True Blood, explained the music to him. I said, "Southern Fried Rock with a mix of Louisiana Delta Blues and a dash of sex and decadence."

He was game.

He sent me some music from the Tarbox Ramblers, and asked me if what I was talking about was similar to their sound. I dug the band so much that I followed them on Twitter and asked why they hadn't been discovered by the show yet. To my surprise, they answered, thanking me for the kind thought and said, "Maybe someday!" I was so moved by their music that I forwarded the song "Already Gone," to David Simon, creator of The Wire, whose new series "Treme" premieres on HBO in April of this year. He's a huge fan of New Orleans music and I'd remembered the incredible music on his iPod when he put it on shuffle one day in The Wire writer's office. He was the first person I thought of when I heard the haunting, storied Delta sounds of the band. He wrote me back, "That was awesome, thanks."

My neighbor Amy went as well, dressed as Amy Burley, the ill-fated character from the show, a waitress at Merlotte's who has a penchant for Jason Stackhouse and V, the drug of choice in the show, Vampire Blood. I knew she was going with friends, and we saw her in line after I scored a parking place across the street thanks to Shannon-Vision. She looked great, and we all sat and talked before the music came on. First band up was Pilbilly Nights, headed by one of the actors from the show, Todd Lowe who plays Terry Bellefleur. I took a picture of Amy with him after the show, and I would have had one too, except my camera card was full. No worries, as it's meeting them that's the fun part. As we stood in a hugging pose, Shannon, his always professional photographer eye at work, directed Todd to lower his chin for our shot. Without protest, he did and Shannon clicked...only to have the shot be for his memory only. Again, wasn't a big deal. The moment presented itself and we went for it. And, had fun.

John Doe, formerly from X played a stirring solo set next, followed by a fun set by Jace Everett who sings the theme song, "Bad Things." Next up, was CC Adcock, who just killed it. That's where the foot stomping and hollering began for those of us who let the music do its voodoo. It was pure Louisiana swamprock underscored with an infectious, deep and dark bayou rhythm. Awesome to the core.

Other cast members were there to introduce bands and mingle with the crowd, Stephen Moyer, Anna Paquin, Chris Bauer and Michelle Forbes. Everyone was in good spirits and having a great time. The great part, is that the Echoplex looks a little like a roadhouse on the inside, so the ambiance was just perfect for the show.

Tonight, I just returned from a fun Italian dinner in Echo Park to celebrate a friend's birthday. I'm stuffed to the gills. It was a good mix of people with again, lots of laughs and clinking of glasses. Shannon and a few others lost it when I accidentally dropped some filling from a cannoli into the candle and extinguished it. Trust me, funnier in person. Turned out that he'd photographed the restaurant owner's wedding! When we walked in, the two recognized each other at the same time. Small world indeed.

On another note, I bought my first audiobook through iTunes to help tackle my nighttime mind restlessness. So far, so good. Even if it takes me a bit to drift off, I'm lying in bed which is the important thing. My eyes are closed, my body is getting rest and my mind is passive, not active if that makes sense. And, I've been getting into bed earlier because I'm looking forward to continuing the story. I bought Stephen King's Under The Dome. Perfect for listening to at nighttime because it has a mysterious, supernatural element to it. Much like a campfire story. :)

So, off to bed. I'm up later than I should be but I wanted to finish this entry. After all, I promised.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I've absolutely loved the rains we're getting here. They provide a beautiful soundtrack for fading off to a nap, writing, life and just being. The other night, I was driving in it, and Jeff Buckley's "Dream Brother" came on the air. A mesmerizingly perfect soundtrack to nature's perfect visual. My headlights shining off the vinyl-like asphalt, drops of rain passing in front of globes of blue light from the street lamps, silver diamonds reflecting red, blue, yellow and white off my windshield before my wipers turned them into fast fading streaks. I was sixteen again, just discovering the freedom that a car brings to you and how it enables you to decide how you see the world.

We've also had lightning and thunder the last three days, which is incredibly rare for here. When the thunder clapped as if feet above our building, Oliver and Atticus launched like flying squirrels off their cat trees and ran into my room to hide under the bed. Only my female cat Scout and I remained in my living room. "Looks like you and I are the only ones with a pair of balls," I said to her. I opened the window to hear more. I miss the thunderstorms that living in a four season climate brings. Sure, we have four seasons in Los Angeles, but ours are found in the diet section. As I've mentioned before, growing up in the Midwest had a huge effect on my love of thunderstorms. More are expected tomorrow, in fact it's supposed to be the most serious of the lot.

I can't wait.

I'm continuing to live, if that makes sense, in the wake of the layoff. I'm going out with friends, reconnecting with others and enjoying my neighbors. I still make my daily coffee runs and am looking for my next job. The freelance one starts next week, so the double salary will be a great thing. I also have an awesome party coming up because my friend's company is launching their book, About Face, a stunning limited-edition art photography book shot by leading celebrity photographer John Russo. The book is gorgeous, as is its subject matter! It contains black and white portraits of Hollywood’s hot young male stars, many of whom will be at the party. I'm so proud of my friend, because she's hella talented and a just a stellar person. I had dinner a couple weeks ago with her, her husband and darling four-year-old daughter. I hadn't seen their daughter in a while, and boy they grow fast! We had such a great time, with plenty of laughs. Once again, I was reminded of the special people in my life. I'm so lucky in that regard. It's why I don't tolerate drama and bullshit, because I am surrounded by and know so much better. If I sense someone isn't genuine, or they do something that proves they aren't, then out they go. I approach work situations the same way. When I met my boss from my last job, I knew he was the real deal, genuine and talented. I'm still in touch with him and his wife, and feel I've not only had the pleasure of working with him, but also made a friend.

I got a bite on my resume from a company to which I applied. Nice to have that happen so soon after the layoff. It didn't hurt my ego one bit. And guess what? The woman who called me is a huge fan of The Wire. I can't underestimate the street cred, pun very intended, that working on that show has given me here in Los Angeles. Thank you, David Simon for that.

Speaking of that, I was excited when I saw Dominic Lombardozzi, who played Herc in "The Wire," going all Jack Bauer on Jack Bauer in this season's "24." "24" has been really good

Lastly, I still absolutely love my car. Every time I get in it, I get a little rush. For a little Friday fun, I found this clip of my car...yes, my car in a scene from the movie "Twilight." Same color, make, the whole thing. With the rains making the roads slick, I wonder if I could try the little spin out maneuver that the vampire does here. Watch this clip and tell me who's the real star in it. Hmmm? Not that I'm biased or anything.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Vignettes...

Had a fabulous New Year with laughs, fun, new friends and auld acquaintances. The best part, I hadn't planned to do anything so I just went with it when it landed in my lap. I bought prosecco, wandering the aisles along with other last minute revelers, everyone in good spirits looking for spirits. A Hispanic man in front of me wearing a gas station attendant's uniform bought two bottles of Cristal, and I looked away when his credit card was declined, and then the next one was. Finally, one went through, and I was wondering if that champagne would look so good once the bill came. But, for the night he'd get to be the man of the hour. Perhaps, that moment of glory will be worth every penny. After mingling at Shannon's, we went to Nolan's and everyone was in cooperative good spirits. Free New Year's hats and glasses of champagne were passed around to boisterous guests ready to leave 2009 behind. It was cooperative fun, with tables of people mingling with others, laughing, dancing, pretenses down. Hugs and kisses when 2010 nudged 2009 out of the way at midnight. After the bar, I drove everyone back to Shannon's, laughing at the three adults crushed into the back of my Volvo. My tolerance was high that night, but just to be safe I had Dennis, one of the bar owners, perform a sobriety test on me before I left. AAA was offering tipsy tow that night, and I was ready to make the call if needed. Back at Shannon's, more laughs, food and I finished off the Prosecco... from the bottle. We took turns loving Bono the chihuahua, who fell asleep in the crook of my arm.

My sister Joan came in for two layovers, the first we went to the beach and walked around pristine Santa Monica. It was an unusually gorgeous day, even for California. Warm enough for me not to need a jacket even though I had one on hand. That is, until the sun started creeping toward the water. During the gorgeous sunset we took pictures of each other, then asked an Armenian guy who was armed with a really nice camera and also photographing the sunset if he would mind taking a couple shots of us together. It worked out for all, as we took pictures of him with his camera, the lemon ball sun melting into an orange sherbet behind him. Strangers acting cooperatively and enjoying the novelty of new company. This is one of the photos he took of us with his camera, and was kind enough to email to me.

My sister and me on the beach

On her second layover, we hit Venice. I forgot how strange Venice is, a magnet for the odd, eccentric and many times disturbing. People with wild eyes and hair, wayward boys with loud mouths, bragging to each other about their latest fight, homeless teens whose signs read, "I need some fucking cash. Have a nice fucking day." And, all the medical marijuana you could possibly want, including a doc in the box ready to prescribe. We shopped, talked and avoided the hustlers, and were luckily cloaked by all the Alabama and Texas fans walking about, their shirts advertising their team and that they were tourists. We talked to a few guys in a bar who were Texas fans at a place we stopped to drink cocktails before dinner. That night, we ate at Nyala, a fantastic Ethiopian place in the Fairfax district's Little Ethiopia. And of course, Joan dug my new wheels.

A couple months ago, I went to Canele, where Andre Royo was the guest chef. Canele is his wife's restaurant in Atwater Village. I went by myself, because every single last person I asked, including two neighbors, had plans that evening. Turns out, it was actually better that way. They sat me at a large table where multiple parties were eating, and me being me, I make friends easily. Mostly, there were industry people, but really cool industry people, not tools. I think Andre just attracts that type. Canele was wonderful, with a decor and feeling that I can only describe as bohemian elegance, and the food was wonderful. I had a planned dinner, which included a "Sloppy Andre," wonderful pulled bbq pit beef, tender and soaking the bun. And of course, I ordered a Prosecco. It was one of those special, unique experiences that come from saying, "what the fuck" and rolling with it. It was great to get back in touch with someone from "The Wire," especially Andre, who is absolutely hilarious. After the hug, I said, "You play a good meanie!" He said, "I DO play a good meanie!" I was referring to a character that he played on "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" who was the polar opposite of the lovable yet tragic Bubbles from "The Wire." He came and sat with us during part of the dinner and had us in stitches.

Lastly, I'm taking the unemployment thing well, as I thought I would. I've already paid two months of rent, bills and two months of car payments, making me set until March. I was smart enough, upon getting the layoff news to alter my W4 to have way more deductions. This way, I'm getting the most out of my last paychecks and severance checks. I have plenty of money left over from those payments, so when the next one comes I'm going to pay rent and car through April, giving me a good solid three months of those out of the way. And, that's before even touching unemployment money. I also may have a freelance gig coming up next week, so that will put me in the coveted double salary zone for that week. As I was when I had the job, I'm just preparing for anything. And, still have the extra money to get my hair properly done.

After all, a girl must have her priorities.