Tuesday, July 13, 2010

My Pipe is Half Empty

Sunday night, I joined my friend, who was cast in a low budget feature film, for a party put on by the production. I LOVE Hollywood parties, and I love networking. There is a dance with entertainment and business that makes the whole thing a delightful challenge.

We walked in and scanned the room. My friend isn't as prone to networking. She is humble, broken hearted about her now ex-(unofficial) boyfriend of 3 yrs and polite. Let's call her Helen. Helen is a little shorter than me, very skinny with straight, fine hair. Her skin is like porcelain. She looks like a Tim Burton super hero.

Her great obstacle in life seems to be physical problems, though you couldn't tell from looking at her. She has dealt with accidents, viruses and disorders and still comes through looking years younger than her actual age. She looks like a teenager and is often cast to play smart, sexy ones. She is also brilliant and hilarious.

We walked in. Ok, so there are all sorts of different people at parties, the people you need to talk to and the people you don't need to talk to and then the underlying sexual tension.

First point of contact tonight is the producers and director. Those who are creatively controlling the project. The director was just assigned to the film, so he hadn't met the was cast yet and was trying to figure it out.

I was introduced as an actress.

Director: "Oh, are you in the film?"

Me: "No, but I could be."

Director and/or his friend: "Yeah, we could write you a part, hahaha!"

Me: "Yeah, I could be the slutty neighbor or . . . the martyr . . ."


Me: "Um . . . I am going to grab a drink, excuse me."

This actually was mildly successful, but we can not check mark Director from this party yet based on that exchange.

I got a drink and then met the producer/writer. She was a very statuesque woman of late 30/early 40s with a thick British accent. She was wearing this amazing strapless blue dress with a blue flower clipped over the top right breast.

For some reason, I am just starting to notice fashion since I lost weight and get dressed up in pretty clothes for my newfound career.

Me: "I love that dress."

Producer/Writer: "Let me give you the run down. Dress . . .$12.99 at Ross. The shoes . . . $9.99 at Payless. And this flower clip I got at the 99 Cent Store. So all in all this outfit was $25."

Helen started evaluating her outfit but someone grabbed the Producer's arm and immediately dove into conversation with her on the side. Now this happens all the time. Important people are pulled in all different directions in a party and some people can just be uninterested assholes. That said, in this case the Beautiful, British, Blue dress Producer was simply distracted.

Always do a quick recovery. If you acknowledge an awkward moment and aren't prepared with a zinger of a joke, people stare in silence at you and feel uncomfortable. Most people are very simple and react how you react to a situation. So, I just continue with my friend as if that never happened.

Helen: "Purse I got at K-Mart, this dress at some random Christian yard sale."

Producer: Enough of a Check!

We were walking over to a corner of actresses. The BBB Producer swooped in and introduced Helen to the woman playing her older self in the movie. When she spoke, she was addressing her actresses, she would not look at me. So- I made a 360 and walked over to the catering table and asked the director if the vegetable rolls were vegetarian.

He said he didn't know but hoped so. We ended up getting in this really long discussion about theatrical distribution. Despite how much I DESPISED my job as an Executive Assistant at that last company, I still learned a lot. I don't think my bosses ever noticed, they often treated me like an uneducated stewardess; shortening ideas and sentences as if they were too complicated, or ending a conversation right when I ask them a question about it. What's sad is that they had no idea of my potential. I was just as hungry as the teenage boy interns they brought in for minimal office work.

I developed a theory that because our culture places such little value on education, mentorship or children in general . . . people have stopped trying to influence, inspire, or take chances with younger, inexperienced people UNLESS there is some kind of sexual interest driving the interaction between the elder and the student/intern/me. The excitement to learn is often mistook for flirtation, or sometimes it ends up becoming a shared flirtation.

The only time bosses have bothered to train me or share trade secrets or some how prep me for more responsibility is when they wanted to nail me.

Female bosses see you as competition and gay male bosses treat you like a mule bitch who picks up and arranges food on birthdays.

Despite my two years as a wet nurse with sore tits for two middle-aged men, I also picked up a thing or two about distribution. The world is different, people can find content they want now on their television sets or computers. People only go to movies in theaters if its an event. The smaller the film, the less of an event it is for the average audience goer, especially drama. My advice to Helen's director was to get the credibility from as many of the top tier film festivals as possible, like its a product endorsement, and then find a way to make a conversation about the movie.

For instance, Blair Witch was thought to be a real documentary for 2 seconds before release. In Seattle, I waited several hours, around the block to get in and watch it on opening day. Movies that resurrect old movie stars or have a controversial sex scene or have any kind of story going on about it other than the story itself. This way, people will talk about your movie. He looked skeptical for a flash and I asked him, "What was the last independent drama that did well with box office?"

He asked me to read the script and give him some ideas. This was good. He asked for my contact info and might bring me on to publicity or marketing. Truth be told, I would rather hang myself by my shower head than go into that field. But maybe I can get an IMDB credit!

Director: Check!

I looked over, Helen and the actresses were buzzing. I came over and complimented the actress playing Grown Up Helen, her dress was ridiculously cute! Her name was Gloria, also recently broken hearted under similar circumstances. Men don't want to commit, or be present or make the leap for us. They will live with us, fuck us, cook for us, dream with us, heal us, spend YEARS of their lives massaging our feet and comforting us through bad days and bring home champagne on the good . . . yet they will not commit.

I was married before, I guess he committed. Clearly, that was the exception I threw out the window.

I don't know if its just LA or if this epidemic is across the country, but men will have one eye resting on your heart, and the other open for anyone better. I am not generalizing, but we do live in Hollywood where beautiful and sometimes famous women seek company. Women are on some kind of status checklist. In my experience, a man in LA cares more about showing you off at a party with his friends than having sex with you.

OK, so Gloria had a cute dress, and I already forgot where she got it. She asked me where I got mine.

Me: "Victoria's Secret Semi-Annual sale. I bought a bunch of dresses and then returned them . . . after I wore them all. (laugh) AND I had intercourse in TWO!"

Helen covered part of her place. Uh oh, did I embarrass her too soon? The vodka was settling in nicely. Gloria got my vibe.

I overheard there was an agent at the party from a prestigious Hollywood talent agency. As important as meeting directors and producers, are agents. They can make or break a career through representation and legal contracts. Real opportunity goes through their offices first before finding little people like me.

So we made our way to his corner. My in for conversation was that I knew another agent at the same agency. It is easy, ME, "Are you an agent for CAA?" AGENT: "Yeah." ME: "Do you know . ..? " AGENT: "Yeah. What's your name?"

We spoke for a while but it wasn't long before I dove into his personal life. He was cute and Helen was officially single.

ME: "So, Helen here is a contortionist."

AGENT: "Really?"

ME: "And she's single. Are you single?"

AGENT: "I . . . am."

ME: "That's great. Maybe you two should get together."

AGENT: "I can do the splits?"

ME: "How does that work with external genitalia?"

No laugh.

AGENT: "Oh it's easy. I slide down slow and rest on my upper thighs. I was on the gymnastics team."

HELEN: "I can put my legs behind my head?"

ME: "You guys should do that on your first date . . . facing each other . . . naked."

Helen laughed. The agent kept going. IS THERE NOTHING TO SHOCK HIS KIND?

Agent: CHECK!

Then I met the line producer, and dropped un-boyfriend's name since they had a crew position open for gaffer and un-boyfriend, last I checked, was a gaffer (one who arranges lights for a scene and assists the director of cinematography)

Job for my Un-Boyfriend: CHECK!

So I went back to the corner of smart, funny actresses and got worked up about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, environment devastation and the lack of motivation from un-boyfriend. Some how it all tied together. I mean, WHY IS NOTHING HAPPENING?

Un-boyfriend has grown even more despondent. The more I reach out, the more he retreats.

ME: "Helen read this book on the male brain and explains how men can only really focus on one thing at time. So I told him (I am tipsy on the martini here) 'Hey . . .my brain can handle multiple layers of thought, so pardon ME if my brain chemistry is superior to yours."

HELEN: "It doesn't really say superior, just different-"

ME: "So he says, 'I can juggle and play an instrument at the same time, can you?' I said, 'I don't have TIME to juggle and play an instrument at the same time."

GLORIA: "And why would you want to?"

ME: "Yes . . . yes (sip), what POSSIBLE real life application does that have!?"

To be fair here, over the Fourth of July weekend, I had to hear from Un-Boyfriend and his roommate how emotion clouds women's brains and they can't think clearly about what they are saying. I had just blown ABE (un-bf's alias) in the good way and just wanted a cup of tea. I didn't know how to even defend the notion at the time, and then their logic started sinking into my blood the week after. Those fuckers.

KELLY (ANOTHER ACTRESS IN A CUTE DRESS): " What does your boyfriend do?"

ME: "He is unemployed and smokes pot!"

ACTRESS lunges for my arm with a huge smile: "My ex-boyfriend TOO!"

Gloria gave me a quick massage since I broke a sweat on my last monologue, then Helen and I left. Always good to leave on a high note. Course, I made a joke about being too drunk to drive, and that no one took lightly as I had meant it. ( I was barely buzzed now . . . I think?) See . . . not funny.

We went to the Cheesecake Factory where we have the Ritz Martinis which combines my two favorite drinks, champagne and a pomegranate martini. It was pushing my limit for the night but those were damn good. OOH found the recipe on-line:

Ritz Cocktail
3/4 ounce Cognac (Hennessy)
1/2 ounce Cointreau
1/2 ounce Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
Champagne (approximately 3 ounces)
Flamed Orange Peel

There, we lamented unrequited love from the men who loved us. Un-boyfriend started texting because I held back for an entire day. He said he wasn't into games, but its like they don't even recognize what they are doing. Why does superficial delay produce a result? That feels like a game to me.

We had gone through this wonderful 2 month relationship and he just fucking keeps disappearing. The worst part is I miss him. Anytime I reach out, he recoils like I am trying to wipe my nose on him or something. What happens in the third month that scares men away?

Helen has a more tragic story, she is madly in love with a guy who she has been seeing for 3 years. He nursed her through a bad accident (which took several months of recovery, by the way) and he STILL COULD NOT COMMIT. Like . . . WTF?

Do they not know what love is? Yeah, I said it! It's a line from an 80s love song. Remember when were kids and we heard that Patty Smyth song, "Sometimes Love Just Ain't Enough." My friends and I thought, of course its enough. That's ALL you need. Adults are stupid. Turns out, it isn't enough. That's a fun surprise for all you younger readers.

Do men not see how relaxed and wonderful everything would be if they just recognized they have been in a relationship all this time? Nothing changes, just a word or two. They can't say it and it snowballs into a planet of anxiety and analysis.

Helen broke things off and is quietly hoping he will get his senses back. He has until tomorrow, or the end the week, then his chance is over. I do the same thing. I break up and get angry and wait for them to find me, hold me, say something like "I miss you" or "I do care about you" or "I'm here." All things I got used to with my last un-boyfriend, the father to my aforementioned Fetus #2. He was there, the first 4 years of our torrid affair, whether we were on good terms or bad. He was there more there than anyone had ever been. He could not say the words or promise himself to me. Of course, he also was a self-proclaimed Prophet carrying a message in Revelations which comes in the form of . . . wait for it . . . a Hollywood screenplay. Oh yes! So that is a story for another time.

I missed the friendship from both un-boyfriends. Don't they miss me?

Helen and I went home a little hazy that night. The martinis had adequately sterilized our wounds for the night so we could sleep . . . or try to sleep.

The next day I had an early call for a show I love called Californication as an extra. I am still wacthing the first season via DVD since my cable company disconnected my service for non-payment. I actually think it explores interesting theories about post-feminism. We seem to have come full circle to where women are now oppressing themselves instead of being oppressed. We are more competitive, hyper sexual and lost in Los Angeles than anywhere else I have been. And L.A. men celebrate the oppression, as young women feel more and more comfortable calling themselves "whores" and "sluts" and less comfortable calling themselves a "feminist."

Sadly, nothing really interesting happened here. I showed up to set, ate and read for 8 hours and then wasn't selected as background for the scene with skinny, sexy, scandalous David Duchovny. I still get paid but I wanted to mentally rape the man in person.

Last minute, I was pulled in with two others as a possible background actor for the reverse angle. They took the guy with the hat. So I sat there with my fake martini and watched a very quick scene. At the end, David D. walked off camera straight towards me. He was several feet away but stopped and looked at me.

I looked down and smiled. He noticed me. Fame is the ultimate aphrodisiac in Hollywood, but some charisma thrown in too . . . that makes them irresistible.

Still no contact from un-boyfriend. The fact that he doesn't respond to my texts/calls/emails for 9 plus hours really fucking bothers me. I'm sorry. I AM ASKING YOU A QUESTION! As I later scolded, "People with DAY JOBS get back to me faster."

So when I got home, we got in it again. I just can't seem to avoid arguing with him about it. I have tried to be logical, sympathetic, apathetic. He just doesn't care to a) follow through with the gaffer position on Helen's feature I hooked him up to b) call me c) see me

I don't know if he is depressed, I don't know if my stronger silences and self maintained distance has made things worse, I don't know if there is another girl and I don't know if he just really doesn't care. He can't acknowledge that he is doing anything wrong.

As soon as we started getting somewhere with me coming down to Orange County to visit or an understanding of some kind, he would pull away. At this point, he withdrew himself from helping me on my project (a pilot I am developing) and that hit a nerve. I think he was doing it in rebuttal to my questions regarding his reliability. As I write this, I see that he was returning the hostility. It became a big circle, and just when I thought I was getting somewhere he said flat out, "I don't want to help you on your pilot." My un-boyfriend won't make a date with me, won't call me and won't help me on my pilot. What's left, our non-sex? I just got fucking tired of it and said, "I am moving on, goodnight!"

He sent two texts, one angry then one sad.

I grabbed the pipe out of my cabinet he left with a small bag of ganja. I hadn't touched it since he was last here, so I smoked one puff to chase my disappointment. I laid down and found a t-shirt he left behind, stuck between my frame and mattress. It still smelled like him. The faint smell of cigarettes, detergent and Old Spice brought back what it felt to sleep next to him. I slept for 2 hours trying to quiet my mind. I held it and fell asleep.

I woke up at 4am. Pathetically, the first thing you want to do after breaking up with someone you love, is have passionate sex with them. I was flooded with doubt and wanted him back. Logically, I was doing too much work to justify a relationship. Still . . . I want my old Abe back.

I had an early call to do audience work on a game show called BAGGAGE north of the valley, so I had to give myself an hour to brave traffic.

A quick puff on the pipe to further numb heart ache and I laid there. I laid there and watched the sun rise. That was pretty amazing. It restored something in me.

I should state here that I have been reading EAT, PRAY, LOVE. The authoress has the voice of a journalist, not the soul of a writer. That said, her segment on India struck a chord with me. She speaks about broken hearts and racing minds, and everything that makes young women neurotic. She even went through the exact same relationship crisis as mine; closer then farther. She reached, he pulled away.

Written wisdom she pulled from the mouths of gurus, and monks, and locals in India really resonate with me. One being that prayer starts at 4am, and with the sun melting away the night's venom- I felt renewed.

So, after my wake n' bake, I drove in morning traffic. It was a lovely drive. I really developed a new appreciation for soft rock. I listened to "Easy" by the Commodores, "Avalanche" by Fleetwood Mac . . . I was cruising.

Then I read more on India while sitting on the most uncomfortable concrete block in Van Nuys from 7-8am. That was really wonderful, too.

Then we were escorted into the studio.

SECURITY GUARD: "Is that phone off, no camera?"

It's an iPhone.

ME: "Yeah."

Today's assignment was a dating show called BAGGAGE which is similar to the Dating Game but it fronts everyone's emotional baggage.

Jerry Springer hosts, he came out. We chanted "JERRY! JERRY! JERRY!"

Then he did a small stand up routine.

JERRY: "You guys are lucky to be here rather than my other show. I know, I am ruining civilization as we know it. But what's funny is after I worked this show, I learned something I never knew before . . . women have teeth."

"So I am staying in this beautiful Beverly Hills hotel and in the middle of the night, a gorgeous woman keeps banging on my door. She just wouldn't stop, so I had to let her out. (laughter) Stop? What's that? No? What does that mean?"

Really terrible uncle humor that I found HILARIOUS at the time. My laughter RANG out, I mean it really cut through the air. Jerry noticed and smiled. It encouraged him to stretch out his jokes and walk over to the crowd and doddle whenever he could. He would make an old man zinger and my laugh remained after everyone else's. Then he would smile.

The first show taping we did, I laughed hysterically. Was it me, or was my buzz rubbing off on everyone? The show is bizarrely funny but junk food for the brain. The audience fluffer found a young gay man to sing during set-ups/commercial breaks. He kind of sounded like he was doing a high pitched groaning. It was unlike anything I have ever heard before. Songs he performed today included: "Time After Time" Cyndi Lauper, "Hero" Myriah Carey and "Nothing Compares to You" by Sinead O'Connor. Every time the audience fluffer asked if he would sing another song, everyone groaned until the stage manager asked that he just stop.

By the second show taping, my Indian wisdom and newfound contentment buzz had worn off. They make us sit in different places for each show taping. Jerry asked me if I was the same person. I said, yes.

I was tired, hungry and thinking about Abe. My last text to him was "Why can't you just have said you cared about me and reciprocate? It's a beautiful morning."

Text 2 I sent when I came upon this passage, "EAT, PRAY, LOVE: "I met an old lady once, almost a hundred years old, and she told me, 'There are only two questions human beings ever fought over, all through history. How much do you love me? And Who's in Charge?"

No answer.

God, I want him.

Love really does make me batshit crazy.

Lunch break came and went, there was one more taping in the afternoon. The heat blinded me with a curtain of blue and I suddenly felt light headed, stumbling along the sidewalk. I was annoyed by all these obnoxiously loud twenty-somethings, dressed all in black, shouting their shitty, predictable banter back and forth. It was difficult to ignore them. Fucking theater majors.

Inside, I was seated in their row. Somehow the theater majors, the Russian girls, the young gay boy and the rest of the audience became the rowdiest audience ever that afternoon. I even shouted out of turn during a commercial break to one of the contestants, "Be a Gentleman!" He had dropped an insult to the girl after elimination. Two more comments from the crowd and the stage manager shushed us. All the contestants acted like gentlemen after that.

Usually, I am not so brazen. But it felt good. Like I could scream at my TV set and it not only heard me, but modified its behavior.

Did I mention I star on this show Friday? To be continued . . .

P.S. No word from Abe.

My pro bono dogwalker can't help me out during the week anymore and I think its because I overused his generous offer to help out whenever he could.

The people that were going to adopt my pit bull foster are suddenly going to Argentina for 15 days. Ugh, my neighbors keep complaining about her barking.

Also, a friend offered to help me get a job as an office manager at a clinic. I just can't stomach an office job, and declined. He hasn't responded. Fuck, am I an asshole? A poor, ungrateful asshole?

I feel like I am losing everything tonight.

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