A glimpse into one actor/writer's life in La-La Land. Part lampoon, part harpoon, all good.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Theme Song Mantra

Jesus (the carpenter formerly known as Christ) once said something like, "It's easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man to get into heaven." I don't know quite what to think about to that; but I do know that right now I feel like sticking said needle in my eye. I never thought I'd have a blog; hell, I don't even own an ipod yet, I still "tape" my favorite television shows and I can't get my VCR to stop blinking "12:00." No matter, moving from New York to the City of Angels was quite hellish and I'm bound and determined to master this newish technology so that I can share my pain. (Translation: to make you suffer,too.)

I once thought, as an overly imaginative youngster, that one day I would have my very own TV show. I used to think that the theme song would be that of Wonder Woman fame. Then it was Charlie's Angels. Next to last was Vegas. (Does any one know what happened to Robert Ulrich?) Having actually been in several television pilots (all of which met with cruel, premature ends, never seeing the light of a broadcast signal or fiber-optic cable) I'm not so concerned with "my show" now. I'm thinking more about my life and how I'm actually living it. ( And, sure, I would love that tv show one day.) Hence, the move to Los Angeles.

I was a bit daunted before my arrival, but I'm happy to say that the weather is truly gorgeous; the plants (and bodies) are lush; and I haven't yet been a victim of road rage. Nor, to continue this happy listing, have I seen an army of plastic people. (I had secretly possessed the fear that my plane would land and I'd be met by a legion of cherubic Angelinos, all who'd been converted to white-eyed zombies by the same overly zealous plastic surgeon; sort of like a hyper-stylish Village of the Damned.) So my song changed; it became the theme from Fantasy Island. I was among tall, lanky palm trees and tall, lanky men. I imagined Mr. Roarke by my side handing me a martini...No wait, a cosmopolitan...I could even hear sweet Tattoo, may he rest in peace now, cheering for me; "Dee Flame! Dee Flame!" I winced, not completely sure if he was making a reference to my sexual orientation or, worse, uttering some strange and preternatural premonition...

After the first night of sleeping in my unlocked Hollywood apartment (the manager hadn't given me the keys and was "out") I decided to wake and do some shopping; mace and a big stick were first on my list. Oh, and a car. (It's true, you can't live in L.A. without a car. Good lefties/humans must simply bite their go-green, granola-induced guilt and get comfortable with adding a few tons of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.) The real drama came when trying to buy an actual car and I discovered that every salesman was an actor. I thought, "Holy Shit! Is it true? Is everyone in L.A. an actor? Oh, God what have I done?" At that moment I knew exactly how Meryl Streep felt in Sophie's Choice. Suddenly, I was lost and alone; and the song had changed. Twin Peeks now played in my mind.

Wait. It get worse. The other night I awoke to the screaming of the fire alarm. I opened the door (completely forgetting Dick Van Dyke and "Stop, Drop and Roll") to find the hallway congested with acrid smoke. I stood completely still for a moment. I thought, "I think this a fire. Shouldn't somebody be doing something?" But no one was. Everyone was asleep. Then a tiny Hispanic woman opened her door, smelled the smoke, and started yelling hysterically. I think it was something like, "Ay-yai-yai!!!" And that seemed to snap me into action. (Thank God for stereotypes is all I can say.) I grabbed everything of importance to me: my cell phone, my lap top, and a fresh pack of cigarettes. And I wondered, would it be bad manners to smoke while watching my building burn down? Under the circumstances, I thought it would be okay. I took another dangerous moment to color coordinate my pajama top and then dashed into the ever-darkening hall. I pounded my fist on my neighbors' doors to rouse them from what could have been a fatal slumber and was eventually swept up with the sea of bodies in its mass exodus to the street. Fire trucks arrived soon after with the sleepiest, sexiest firemen I'd ever seen. (Were they actors, too, I wondered.) I looked away (partly because they were painfully beautiful and partly because I was playing hard to get) and caught sight of all my building's tenants. I don't know if it was the darkness, the smoke, or the flashing red and yellow lights bouncing off all of their faces, but I realized that they were scarier than the prospect of dying in the fire. I mean these people were scary. I could really have done without that wake-up call, would have been much better off not knowing that those freakish, rakish, criminalistic rogues in their nightclothes were my neighbors. The track had again changed and now the theme from The Sopranos was playing.

Well, it's been a few days since the fire and I'm happy to report that I haven't been mugged and no other tragedies (criminal or otherwise) have occurred. In fact, many good things have presented themselves, right there in the middle of all that drama. Even on the night of the fire I met two very cool neighbors, a couple. They were kind, they were fun, and they had a great French Bulldog named, Lola. After smoking a few cigarettes and laughing about "the business," the girl squeezed my arm and said, "I think we'll be friends!" She was happier than Richard Simmons in a Kentucky Fried Chicken (or preschool, take your pick). But she was sincere and that's the point. I had just moved to this infamous city, one of a million strangers, and amid all of the chaos and smoke (literally) I had met a friend. Pretty cool, I thought.

That's when the song changed again. Now, I'm happy to say, my mantra - words to live by - is the theme from that 80's gem, "The Facts Of Life." (Google the lyrics; it's worth it.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's Robert Urich and he passed away from cancer in 2002. Andy Keneeesee!!! Funny stuff, good writing, nice alliteration in the car lines.

Keep it up !

9:33 AM  
Blogger RLB said...

Many thanks, Anonymous. You are indeed, correct (and it only took a brief visit to imdb to confirm; shame on me). Robert Urich, one of my secret fav actors, did pass onto the great whatever. FYI: there are two Robert uLrichs - one an actor (of The Grave, to which I suspect his career has also gone) and the other a currently working casting director. Much love and props to you - Mikey? - and to all readers. Go, Tiny Pony!

10:40 AM  
Anonymous julioproyecto said...

Great posting, Buddy! Good Luck to you in all your endeavors, and don't forget our number when you're walking across that red carpet at the Kodak Theatre!


1:20 PM  
Blogger Kal said...

I particularly adore the referential photos (my flaming coffee pot can be the title of a future blog?). Love the coquettish photo :)

3:34 PM  
Blogger paysh said...

Holy crapwagon, Batman, that's pretty horrifying. Will keep Tracey in my pagan prayers.

1:09 PM  
Blogger paysh said...

Ps. I am so in love with Robert Urich. He was so good in that Lifetime movie Something with a Stranger.

1:10 PM  
Anonymous the anonymous critic said...

What about the themes from One Day At A Time, or The Greatest American Hero. Remember those 80's hits?

6:33 PM  

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