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

Thursday, September 28, 2006


As I write this I am doing one of my favorite things in the whole world. NO! Not that; I don't have enough arms for that. I am sitting in a NYC park and smoking. Ah, the fresh air. The nitcotine. The homeless guy sitting next to me wearing a much better jacket than I. This is home. New York, to me, is the Paris of the United States. It has art, museums, theatre, cafe' au lait, and baguettes. It also happens to have bagels, lox, and the finest pizza on the planet. (There is just no good pizza in Los Angeles, I'm afraid to say.) I'm plopped under a venerable Oak in the heart of Washington Square Park, which boasts a lovely fountain and a triumphant marble arch. (Nice try, Paris.) It, and this city, is fabulous. I'm a shameless fan, which is probably why I abandoned the (literal and metaphorical) flatness of Florida and moved my ass here long ago. Oh, and the other thing about New York that I love: everyone, it seems, smokes. (I swear to you, the toddler on the other side of me just tried to bum a cigarette.)

I'm here on holiday, as they say across The Pond. I haven't had a vacation since I hiked what I lovingly refer to as The Death Trail in the Grand Canyon a decade ago; so, I know that my high opinions of New York are colored by both exhaustion and a lack of international jet-setting stamps in my passport. But I love this city; I truly do. And the people in it, which made this vacation more of a Homecoming than anything. My "family of choice," as Woody Allen or Dr. Phil would say, is here and they welcomed me with open arms. And open bottles of red wine - one of my other favorite things in the whole wide world. The wine here in New York flows, well, like wine; and for the past three days I have been partaking of it heartily. "All the better to see you with," as the Big Bad Wolf used to say. (Sorry, Grandma.)

Ah, and now, the handsome man with the dreads and the 70's throw-back headphones that has been flirting with me has just walked over to ask for a cigarette, his Cockney accent as thick as the anonymous air of romance. (Yet another reason to love both New York and cigarettes. This just wouldn't happen in Wisconsin; though, I do admire its locals' fondness of cheese.)

So, other than flirting with strangers, I have been visiting with friends and family; hob-knobbing at parties; reminding my East Coast manager that I exist; and working, of course, on scripts. I've tried checking e-mail a few times and sending material to my writing partner in Cali; but half of the time I can't get my wireless thingy to work. That's the one annoying thing about technology - sometimes it doesn't work. But, I guess that may be my fault - that I actually expect what I pay for to work as advertised. You know, unhealthy expectations and all that. Go figure. Maybe I'll just ask the handsome Brit for help connecting...

The other thing I've been doing is having sleepovers! Aren't they great? Just like being a kid again. Rather than staying at a hotel, I'm hanging out with my good-hearted girlfriends, like Patience, the fair-skinned beauty. Sitting up all night eating New York take-out (yum); watching bad premieres of the new fall television shows like "The Shark," with James Woods (which they really should have called, "The Big Piece of Warm Doodie"); peeking at the now old-news porn video of Collin Ferrel (and almost getting my eye knocked out; he should really be careful with that thing). I also ran around town during the day and caught up with buddies like Julius (whom I've known since college and could probably blackmail me should he desire); Rasheed; Tara; Kim; and the infamous Mr. Big. We're working on a friendship and it's truly great. (The kissing, while for some a potentially confusing element of frienship, was like icing and sprinkles on top.)

Speaking of sprinkles, driving from JFK airport into the city on my first night in town, I caught a magical glimpse of the skyline. The cab rose on one of the many elevated causeways and the bejeweled towers and bridges peeked out and winked at me. When you're not from New York, that is the image you always have of the city - the skycrapers and bridges sparkling at night from either a great Brooklyn location or some helicopter shot. It reminded me of my very first night living in here, when I had moved to Brooklyn with Cass - who is now my psychic soul-sister. She had taken me up onto the roof for a proper introduction. And a ciagrette, of course. I took the steps two at a time and when the shabby door flew open I nearly cried. I was honestly choked up with emotion because what I saw before me was the exact view of New York that, as an outsider, I had always seen - a spectacular aerial shot of the glittering city. And I was there, in it. When I had this vision again in the taxi, I swear to you, I almost kissed the cabbie.

And now - as an impromptu concert begins in the park (Dixie Jazz, no less!) - I'm about to leave this city. Again. It's making me more than a little sad. But, I'll always have her, like Bogie once said about Paris. She'll always be in my heart, and - through my friends - I'll be in hers. I think that makes me one lucky dog.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Okay, I'm not blonde anymore, but god dammit, after this morning, I'm close to being suicidal. I'm afraid my peers at the hospital are going to have to restrain and medicate me. Why such drama? Because afer dropping off my car for a Smog Check (which I presume is to preserve the oxymoronic air quality out here in La-La Land) I happily clicked on my I-Mac to check my e-mail, only to wind up being accosted by this:

What the FUCK?! We are now celebrating our forced celibacy? While my trusty VCR might appreciate the acclaim, I assure you, I do not. What? Are my friends going to send me a card with a picture of a vibrator on it? What the hell would it say? "Happy Calluses?" Or, would it read more like a sympathy card? You know, with beautiful pictures of lillies and a bad poem declaring the virtues of solitude?

The little sidebar for this eye-piercing, soul-sucking banner included these wonderul articles: "10 Things Every Single Must Own;" "Daring Date Ideas;" and "10 Things All Single People Must Do." I know I shouldn't have, but I couldn't resist; I actually read one of them, the latter, and now I know that our country really does have a drug problem. This is the advice that author Evan Mark Katz for me:

Number One: "Travel alone." Okay, I already DO travel alone!!! (And I’m about to start drinking alone, too!)

Number Two: "Wallow in the ache of a broken heart." I swear to God, the author wrote that. What kind of crap is that? Okay, yeah, I'll have another pity party, just like Renee Zellwegger.

Three: "Spend a weekend with a married couple your age." What? So, I can feel worse?

Four: "Don't come home all night." Okay, so now he's advocating being a whore?! I’ll bet the Bush Administration just loves this one.

Five: "Stand up for a cause you care about." I am; I’m bitching about being single.

Six: "Have a real adventure...Learn to fly a plane, surf some big waves, or start your own business." Is this bitch high?!?!?!?

Seven: "Learn how to take care of yourself." Say whah??? What is he talking about? I do wash, okay?!

Eight: "Buy something hugely impractical just because you love it." I already do, and often. (Which is why I can’t afford to actually go on a date.)

Nine: "Develop a hobby." Again, I already have this - it’s called masturbating.

And, drum roll please - Number Ten: "Be completely, utterly, wholly single for at least three months."

OH, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!!! I really am going to stick something in my eye again.

But, as an alternative, maybe I'll just choose to enjoy being single. Actually, I kinda already do. Besides, dating is scarier than witnessing your grandmother wash out her underwear. This way, I have time to write, don't have to worry about the toilet seat or anything, and can hang out with all my (married) friends. Hmmm; well, that's not so bad. The only real glitch here is the deeply buried fear expressed recently by a good friend in NY and by the Brenda Johnson character on "The Closer," and it goes something like this: "How did I become the old, single lady with all the cats?"

Friday, September 15, 2006


So, I was, like, totally psyched. My writing partner and I had received some good feedback on our comedy, "Snooze," and extremely favorable coverage on our thriller, "Phobic." It was like telling a woman you like her new shoes. Or that her hair looks great. I could have walked on water, or air. And then (drum roll, please) the e-mail came. It was from a professional reader who had given his evaluation of "Snooze" - and it wasn't pretty. Now, like any good Jewish son, I can handle criticism; but this critique was harsher than Project Runay's Nina Garcia on crack. Or worse: Whitney Houston off crack. He basically said that I couldn't write; that I should move from LA and live under a rock; and, that the slaughter in Darfur was entirely my fault. I felt worse than Star Jones did when Babs gave her the boot. And then I felt...well, since I obviously can't write well, I can't actually think of the appropriate words. So, like President Bush's strategic war planners, I guess I'll have to resort to using pictures:

After that reaction I did what any self-respecting artist would do: I took to the bed. I mean it; just like a fifties housewife, I laid myself down and slept for 36 hours. I only woke up to pee. And eat. And, hell did I eat - food, and more food. No matter that I've gained ten pounds this past year (and been forced to cave and finally buy medium Calvin's); I didn't care. Hell, I ate so much that I emptied the cabinets and had to eventually crawl to the refrigerator and eat raw coffee grounds with milk for dessert. Then, when that routine got old, I ordered take-out. (Not an easy task in L.A., by the way, as compared to New York where you can order both fine cuisine and a prostitute from any country in the world and have them delivered comfortably to your tiny apartment door. Not so here; you're lucky to get decent Chinese that's been over-cooked by Latinos and delivered by a boy who can't make change for a ten.)

And while my gut worked on the mass of calories I had consumed, my mind was digesting the perceived rejection. I began to ask myself: Why was in Los Angeles? To write (and to act). And: Why do I write? Because I have something to say; and, more importantly, because I enjoy it. So am I going to let one no-thank you letter cause me to quit? To cut and run, as the Neo-Cons say? Why, I say, "No, thank you," back. And with a smile.

That was it. I didn't cry, I didn't whine, and I didn't tell a soul about my pity party. With that, I realized that there was just one more (entirely logical) question before me: What would Jesus do? Just kidding; but, really: what would Madonna do? I suspect that she, like any self-respecting whore, would just keep on putting out; critics be damned. And that's exactly what I'm going to do.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


News Flash: Pluto is not a planet. Oh, and neither is Tom Cruise. Both were defrocked recently and exposed for what they really are: big balls of ice. Satellites, at best. Wow - talk about down-sizing. And, since out-sourcing always follows down-sizing in America, I cannot help but wonder which Indian (or other South Asian) will replace Tom? Perhaps an up-and-coming Bollywood star. As for Pluto, it appears there is not one, but three, candidates to take its place which are currently being debated over by the illustrious and ubiquitous "they." I have to admit that these official pronoucements were, for me, titllating reading; they captured my short attention span in much the same way a nut might for a squirrel. Or, perhaps, like a box of Ex-Lax might for Nicole Richie. (Let's face it, the girl needs to eat.)

I spend way too much time at the hospital analyzing people, so I really don't want to take a mind dive now and examine why society (myself included) is so celeb-obsessed. (Is celebrisession a word yet?) I accept it and all its shallow glory - I love bright and shiny objects. And the new lamp I just bought from Target proves it. It's awful and tacky and wonderul, being constructed of pure chrome and draped in tiers of silver, reflective polka-dots. It's practically a disco ball on my desk, minus the lights, the Bee-Gees, and John Travolta (who, by the way, was recently caught smooching another man smack-dab on the lips! Is there a connection between Scientology and closeted Hollywood actors? Am I going to be kidnapped or shot for writing that?)

I feel, therefore, it is my duty to help promote this phenomenon, to help quench your desire for dirt. Two great sites - among the throngs - come immediately to mind. The first is a new celebri-blog created by New York editor, Patience Smith, Dish Upon A Star. It's fast, furious, and very fun. (And, I've written two columns for them, ghosting as the character Brick Bronson - an anal-retentive, closeted news anchor.) The other is a purely delicious site that is more well-researched than the Nightly News, Pink Is The New Blog and more fun than a barrel full of Bushisms. So put the fizzle to the shizzle, Yo. And go enjoy.