Monday, February 28, 2011

On Film, Oscar...and falling down.

Once again, I owe an apology to anyone who thinks that this blog is updated "regularly". Life keeps getting in the way, but I promise to try and be more scheduled in the future (as soon as my life evens out a bit).

I was out of town for the past few months days (sometimes I think that my cross-country–holy hell I just wrote "cuntry"...bedtime?–move is just an out of town trip) and I promise I'll write about that little jaunt up to Santa Barbara/Solvang soon, but for the time being, let's talk Oscar.

Now, whether or not you're a fan of watching the show each year or not is irrelevant to this story. I happen to think of the Oscars as my Superbowl, as in even if I'm not a fan of anyone who might win, I'll still watch for the spectacle of it all, not like my biggest night of the year. And not to sound like a whiny Winnie, but the quality of films made in the past few years is akin to the quality of wine I can afford (read: lowbrow). In this harsh economy the movies that studios are investing in tend to be crowd-pleasing, star-studded bore-fests (or plotless action flicks), not new ideas (and no, I don't think that The Kids Are All Right was innovative or forward-thinking, I think that it was a movie that should have been made ten years ago to deserve those accolades, and I understand that it wasn't, which shows its perseverance, but it was full of A-listers and, honestly, full of, appropriate, but still abundant cliches about alternative families, California, and way too much in the way of trendy liberalism–which I'm sure is rooted in honest-to-goodness good intent, but is just too easy for me to buy or care about. PS: I actually kind of liked the movie.) or new faces. Yes, I'm biased because I'm a young actor trying to get her foot in the door in a very incestuous, incredibly self-serving, self-perpetuating, business. And I stress the word business because that is what it is, and what it has to be these days; studios can't lose millions of dollars, because then they lose credibility, and money and power, and no one wants to lose that.

ANYWAY, where I'm going with all of this (do I even remember after that Kids Are All Right rant? Have I mentioned that I love Julianne Moore? Each and every freckle of talent on that woman. And of course Annette...of course. Good God, I need to stop rambling, or just go to sleep) is that I was at these 83rd Annual Academy Awards today. Yes, ma'am, I was on the red carpet, I was at the Kodak Theatre, I was " Ello!"-d by Russell Brand. Was I happy about it? No. Was I wearing shine-able, no-slip black shoes, a tie and unflattering slacks? Yes. Did I feel like I was in a boring episode of Party Down where no one is drunk and the lead character's hangover doesn't come with Lizzie Caplan's dry wit? Fo' sho.

Back it UP and write in sentences not questions, please? Surely. Today I catered the Oscars. I was working at the end of the red carpet holding a [absurdly heavy] tray of Moet & Chandon Imperial Champagne. Last night I co-hosted a party at my home and surrounding areas that included a keg of beer, a fire pit, and a plethora of Oreos. This resulted in today's "festivities" including severe liver and kidney pain, headache, and...umm...fatigue? (aka: a hangover). It was also about 50º in LA, which sounds all balmy to those of you stuck in the snow back east, but is really frickin freezing when you're not wearing a jacket or a scarf and you're in an open air building with the wind blasting through and you're carrying a cold aluminum tray, no haters. I'm not trying to be a brat or anything, but I think I'm done with catering here in Hollywood. I have enough other income now that I'm more settled and I honestly just can't stomach the thought of having to, quite literally, serve the people who I want to work alongside (or replace...because we all know that Portman won herself some maternity leave tonight). Maybe that's the wrong attitude, maybe I have to pay my dues, but I don't think so, and I'll tell you this much, I don't plan on stepping one foot on that red carpet ever again, unless I have an invitation and a pair of Louboutins.

Oh, and I'm pretty sure it's a sign that when I left I nearly killed myself. Briefly: I was running (hey, I was freezing) to my car in the parking garage with such excitement ("IgettoleaveandI'mgonnaorderthaifoodandkickstartthedvrandputonmymansweaterandsweatpants!!") that I didn't even NOTICE the curb separating the parking spots and straight up ATE PAVEMENT flying over it. I have nice abrasions, cuts and bruises on both sides and all extremities of my body. Clumsy, for the win!

Okay, now it really is bedtime. I hope you all enjoyed that journey. (That was too long, huh? Sorry)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Blogging and Social Networking...What does it all mean?!

The irony of this article, written for the New York Times yesterday about blogging, lies in the article itself (and almost all articles). The title of the article is "Blogs Wane as the Young Drift to Sites Like Twitter", hmmm, let's blog about it.

For those of you who've managed to make it this far reading, the article basically says that with social networking sites at our fingertips, and all of our friends, family, lovers, ex-lovers, and even pets, already linked in, what's the point of a "long form" blog? If you only read the first few paragraphs of Kopytoff's article, that is what you'll walk away with, but what they're really saying is that blogging and social networking sites can work to aid one another. What's left of substantial "conversation" on the internet is still occurring on blogs (for the most part, obviously news sites aside) but the traffic to these blogs wouldn't be nearly what it is without the ability to self-promote blog posts and the like on sites like Twitter and Facebook.

I, personally, have chosen not to post my blog address on my Facebook and I do not post blog updates on my news feed, but I do Tweet blog updates and have the address listed in my Twitter profile. What's the difference? I'm "friends" with my extended family on Facebook, with people from High School who I haven't communicated with in six or seven years, other than to "accept" their friend request, and with an African stranger who spoke to me on 10th avenue one day, told me that he worked at D'Agostinos and asked for my email address because he needed friends in America. I don't want all of them reading my blog. My Twitter is reserved for close friends and internet admirers, stalkers, friends, and I communicate with other bloggers via Twitter. Most of my blog traffic comes from Twitter or my gchat statuses (not sure where posting a gchat status ranges on the social networking scale, but it certainly counts for something).

So what does this mean? Is this just another reaffirmation of the fact that the millennial generation is full of ADD-ridden, image obsessed, socio-phobic, electronically-obsessed, fast food-filled, coffee addicts? The latest marketing techniques for eReaders and iPads are magazine and newspaper-centric and stray away from the idea of reading books. So, does this mean that in our short-form culture long-form thinking and/or writing is becoming obsolete? Is anyone even still reading this or did you all stop after "ex-lovers"? I know that there are still people out there who believe in literature, people who aren't fifty or simply jumping on the bandwagon of the local farmers' market chit-chat while contemplating their pending order from Pottery Barn, but young people with charisma, and chutzpah, and goals. Most of those people have blogs, but who reads them? Is there enough of an audience to sustain a thought that lasts longer than 140 characters? What is happening?

Please, leave your comments. I am very, very eager to see what other people think of this.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Rain in the Hills

It's been raining in LA.

There’s something undeniably jarring about rain in Los Angeles. It’s as if the purpose of the city has fallen to the wayside and all inhabitants are forced to acknowledge their humanity and the fact that a world exists outside the car window. The veil of sunshine has dropped to the floor and your creaking windshield wipers perform their duty. A man huddles beneath the lip of the roof, illuminated by the neon “cocktails” sign above and the glowing gas prices in the distance. The monotony of the buildings lining the wide boulevards echoes itself for miles; the architectural nonchalance of a city built without a basement.

My mind wanders; over mountains, down rivers, trudging across massive plains, lingering in cities, landing at the other edge, the eastern edge. The colors dull and brighten and the land takes a deep, yogic breath. The bridges rise and fall again, carrying me home; swept past tired, old buildings, rumbling underneath it all in the warm tunnels, the maze and emerging again, back at square 2B. Somehow always back to 3rd street, where the rain was just rain and the people, people, the humanity stuffed into the pockets of their jackets and no windshield wipers to rust, just stale, comfortable air. There’s no signs for the cocktails, no neon, only milling crowds flocking to never-empty corners and green street signs adorned with familiar names and numbers. The faces you can’t forget, the people who are just this very moment, forgetting your face and the tone of your voice, letting you be forgotten, left a vague memory, stuck in the muted LA rain with only your windshield wipers.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Memories of V-Days Past

Valentine's Day has always plagued me. In fourth grade the "cute boy" (now the kid who posts excessively Zionist/anti-Islamic jargon repeatedly on Facebook) gave the most popular girl a beanie baby with a heart on it, or something, and I went home feeling sad and rejected. In high school, I whined about not getting sent carnations from the boys I wanted them from in homeroom, until I did, and received THREE of them from the same boy who I was letting touch my boobs for a few months, who I later realized had another girlfriend. Not me, but someone else also. Thanks. Then I spent another Valentine's Day wondering why the guy that I was making out with upstairs at parties, but wasn't sure that I actually liked at all, didn't send me ANY carnations. And then senior year I got one, from my boyfriend, and it was sweet and then we had a "secret" sleepover at our friends' house whose parents were cool with these things, until they weren't and we had to sleep on the floor in the bedroom with the other couple.

After that it got bad. All four years of college were spent lamenting my status as a single at dinners with other single girls, whining about not being anyone's date to any stupid formal, or worse, going as a friend and trying to hit on other people's dates. And then I graduated, and started working in restaurants, and then Valentine's Day became great. It was a way to rape and pillage happy couples of their money while serving them overpriced specials and champagne "deals", and I didn't have to worry about whether I was dating someone or not, because I was on the schedule to work either way.

Last year my boyfriend and I had only been together a short time and I had no idea what Valentine's Day protocol would be, so I asked him if he minded if I worked that night. I maintain that that question is one of the major reasons he wanted to continue to date me. This year, he's out of town (which I okay-ed, more than once, and never once threatened to hold against him) and I'm working, as I mentioned last night and I already have my little present, and that's fine.

Valentine's Day is silly. There's no reason to whine if you're alone, or wear black in protest, or talk about watching "The Notebook" on repeat, and there's no reason to sit in an overpriced restaurant, basically on top of other couples awkwardly trying to have whatever you deem a "romantic" conversation.

Maybe I'm a cynic, or, finally, a pessimist, but LOVE isn't something that concerns me so much anymore. To have someone who compliments you, who forces you to grow and push yourself, who you can share with, and who you can rely on, that is what is important. That person need not be a romantic attachment. Sure, that's the goal, and we'd all love to find the person whose presence makes our knees buckle and our mouths water, but there's so much love and support in the world with friends, family and even strangers, that we are all strong enough to make it on our own. Love is nothing more than a way to verbalize a feeling of comfort. So let's all be comfortable in our own skin and strive to make others feel the same way.

Remember, this Valentine's Day, you are loved. And come have some all-you-can-eat tacos...


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Well, that was "fun"

This has been the week from hell. Between starting two new jobs, fighting off a cold, fighting with my landlord, trying (and in a few instances, failing) to stay on this detox diet, one (only partially suicidal, but also including riding the cart around the aisles like a skateboard) trip to Ikea* resulting in five unopened boxes sitting on my porch, waking up before 9 am four out of seven days, going to bed after 2 am five out of seven days, and just generally trying not to scream my head off in any public places, I've had a week. Now that its Sunday at 4:22 pm PST and I've eaten nothing but fruit and juiced kale/lemon/apple/ginger today, I'm showered, dressed, probably sporting a 100º fever, drinking tea, watching a week's worth of back-logged DVR, and still have two hours before heading back to the restaurant I finally feel like I'm catching up on my life.

*I'd like to thank my dvr for playing 30 Rock right now and Tina Fey's writing for "starting with the worst place in the world!"..."Ikea on a Saturday?"

I just re-read that and I think I need another nap now.

And Valentine's Day is tomorrow. Which means I'll be at work awkwardly serving all-you-can-eat tacos to depressed, fat, LA singles. Or couples headed for Biggest Loser-dom by going to a trendy Mexican restaurant with an all-you-can eat special on Valentine's Day. Or my friends who I'm enticing with my beauty and guacamole. I'm just glad I'll only be at dinner and not a fly on the wall for the apres-meal hump and belch fest. I apologize for the previous sentence. Valentine's Day bores me. I can't eat any dessert but dark chocolate anyway, and I have enough Teddy Bear drama as it is, so I'd rather just use it as an excuse to send those ridiculous ecards and make extra money on a Monday night.

Let's see, other things? Ummm, I'm obsessed with the IFC show Portlandia. I've never been to Portland, but I can honestly tell you that every single aspect of hipster culture, not to mention any other alternative lifestyle, crafting/DIY, art world, ex-hippie, green yuppie, etc, etc, etc culture is portrayed with SHOCKINGLY accurate wardrobe, vocal inflection, and prop placement...and it's hilarious. I've watched each episode twice (mostly because I tend to watch it after I've "had a few" and need a recap) and I can't wait for the next one. Mustaches, birds-on-things, sweaters, bikes, publications, glasses, and bangs. That's all.

Ummm, what else...I just started getting New York Magazine. Wanna know a secret? It's too depressing to read it because I mostly just wish I could go to the things listed, so I generally read the approval matrix and then just spend the rest of the week doing the crossword puzzle. And I just got the first season of Daria from Netflix. So at least my mail is arriving. Except the package of all my ski stuff. That's been lost. No biggie, though, because I can afford new ski pants, a jacket, gloves, and goggles. Because my bank account doesn't have $0.54 in it. Nope. No biggie whatsoever. I should try and deposit that one check I have. It's gonna be great.

Wanna see another picture? I just took it with my phone, so it's not great quality, but Downtown LA looks crazy dramatic right now from my porch (and not just because The Grammy's are tonight...oooh snap. That sucked...blame it on the fever) and I felt like sharing.

I'll end with this, I really want to choreograph a theatre/dance piece with no words, just the entirety of Tom Wait's Rain Dogs. Downsides include: people thinking Tom Waits is weird, I don't have dancers or a dance space, I have four jobs and no free time, my bank account is resting one quarter short of being able to park at a meter for 45 minutes. Anyone in LA want to collaborate on this and/or have ANY ideas as to how to make this happen/be interesting/not be lame?


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Two Posts in One


It's come to my attention lately that most of my friends "back home" (now I sound like I'm from the boonies..."Mah fry-ends bay-ack hoome be missin' me") use this blog as a way to keep up with my life here on the West Coast. an effort to not bore the bollocks out of the rest of you who don't care about my guacamole and kale diet (just kidding, I can, like, totally, eat more than that), I'll direct you to the second half of this post. For those of you who went to high school or college with me and had the pleasure of knowing me when I was twenty pounds heavier and eighty-seven times more likely to erupt in beer tears on any given week night, please read all of this, not that you owe me anything else at this point. I honestly can't believe we're still friends after all I've put you through. Gosh, I've been a self-absorbed prick for many of these years, haven't I? Wait, here I am, assuming (and sometimes using force to ensure) that you read this regularly enough to care about every minute detail of my life. I haven't changed.

Anyway, who cares, I'd read your blog if you had one. So...I've officially started working at the restaurant (no more training) and damn, does it feel good to be gainfully employed. I even got a haircut today to celebrate not being broke anymore. And then I made dinner. I know that bragging about one's cooking isn't thrilling for others to hear about, especially without photographic proof, but honestly, we ate it so quickly that I couldn't take pictures. I made Red Pepper, Garlic Bruschetta on sprouted grain bread, Baked Thyme Sweet Potato Fries, Rosemary Eggplant Fries, and Lemon Artichokes. I should end the post here. I'm salivating again. All this stuff is on my diet. Jealous?

PART TWO: The negative space

...the air between lyrics, between chords. The pregnant pauses, the moment after the crack of the burning log. The stasis of a flying hawk's wings and the clouds leaning over the horizon, and the emptiness in the separation of the ocean's waves. The calm, the peaceful and the moment when the last guest has left the party and the echo of the door closing has evaporated. The house settles and we breathe, negative space.

We crave a place where the is no accelerator, no brake, no roof, no power windows, and no space bar–the great, departed nothing. A land of silence and lavender, cloaked in sunshine and non-specific breezes. A place neither over, nor under the rainbow, not beyond, not in the abyss, but here. The familiar, only stripped of convenience and choice. A land left to its self. A people devoid of influence.

2/6/11-echo park, LA, photo by Adria

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Saxophones and Panic Attacks

So many things have made me cry today, KCRW, finally getting a restaurant job, the panic attack I had when I came home and realized that I had to immediately make dinner before even so much as sitting down, Central Park West by John Coltrane on the radio (that one actually made me write a "poem" about what I miss about New York on a post-it on my steering wheel while turning on the ramp to the 101S–no, I won't post it here, poetry is weird and personal and never as good as I want it to be), and this, (particularly when the writer gets asked what she wants to be when she grows up and she answers "happy").

I think it is fair to admit that I've had a few glasses of wine. Halfway through the panic attack (between yelling at a piece of chopped onion and going onto the porch to take a few deep breaths) I decided that a glass of wine (or 3) was a good idea.

Let's backtrack to the Coltrane song. Have I mentioned the jazz thing in my life here yet? Well, my dad was a jazz drummer for many years, a jazz enthusiast forever, and thus, jazz has always been a huge presence in my life. I'll put on the local jazz radio station and recognize songs whose names I don't know, artists I don't know, but melodies? Well, I know the melodies like my own first name. There's something about a Coltrane sax solo that always makes me feel okay. The way it sounds like New York smells, the way it reverberates in your head, chest, gut, and soul until you remember the point of it all is to be good. The point of everything is just to be good, and happy and eat a big bowl of pasta and laugh loudly. Did you know that? The point of life is pasta. That's what I grew up thinking at least. Pasta and jazz. Which brings me to "what do you want to be when you grow up?" "Happy". Because that's just about the only answer that makes any sense, and yet the most difficult to achieve. I sent my mom an email one night, probably late, my sophomore year in college and I'm pretty sure that all it said was, "Do you think I'll be satisfied with my life?" (I was worried about my pending life choices, my lack of a relationship, my inability to make decisions, and, probably, my unsightly weight gain). She responded with two full pages. I know because the document is still saved on my computer. One of the best parts of the whole response was this:  

It's the knowledge and feeling that things can always be better. More just. More fair. More human. Better color combinations. Better composition. A better melody. A better taste. Less fat. More passion. Wow- life is really great- GREAT! Will Adria be satisfied with her life? YOU BET! I KNOW you will. How do I know this? I just know. I'd stay away from that "end up" thinking,because life is an ongoing journey. If you follow something you're passionate about, you can't lose. You might have to compromise at times. So I married a man with bad manners.

She continues, but I'll spare you her whining. Just kidding. She didn't whine...and my dad does have terrible manners. PS: notice how she wrote "less fat"? She was clearly concerned with my Keystone Light, Late night pizza dipped in ranch dressing, and Grilled Cheese diet. Regardless, I think that advice is really good to remember sometimes. Things can always be better, but its always about following the thing you're passionate about.

I just felt the need to share that. More later. I'll leave you with a photo that I took of some pasta and wheatgrass on my window sill.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Traffic to Apples...and other things that don't make sense.

I used to draft blog posts on my phone on the subway. Now the only thing I can do while I'm weaving through side-streets to avoid clogged freeways and backed up boulevards is tense up my shoulders and scream through my bluetooth to whomever is, unfortunately, on the receiving end of that particular phone call.

I'm not trying to make excuses, I honestly have less time to blog when it takes me over an hour to get home from ––––. That line=anything that I might have to do. Like go to the grocery store, or have lunch with an old colleague of my father's, go to an audition, or perform in a show. I'm so burnt out by the time that I get home at any given point, that I don't have time to form my thoughts into any sort of coherent stream of thoughts. I've actually started forcing myself to deep breathe in the car. I'm one of those lunatics who's "oooommmmmmm"-ing through traffic, and I'll admit it. If it means that I won't drive my car off of an overpass then it's worth it.

Honestly, though, I have been pretty busy. All that grief to find one good job and I get three part-time jobs that pay me a big mac above a fast food salary. Sigh. What can you do?

Remember when I mentioned the raw food diet? (Shameless plug for nothing) Well, that bad boy has been seriously effective. Effective to a detrimental point. I started doing it to lose a few pounds to feel better about myself at a time when I was broke, unemployed, and unable to exercise. Well, now I'm employed, my foot has healed, I'm still broke, and none of my clothes fit. I know that no one wants to hear about how you have to go buy new pants because you've lost weight...but I'm telling you for some reason anyway. Bottom line...if anyone has recently gone up a denim size and would like to trade, I'd be down. And I'd buy you a milkshake, because I'm that kind of douchebag.

Anyway, I performed twice this past weekend and the results were to my liking, for the most part. I had a great turnout of friends which is always nice, and my new material seemed to go over well. The show on Friday was the best show, all around, that I've ever been a part of. The energy was great and the audience was really involved. Last night was the polar opposite. Monday night's are rough, but this was a whole different story. Between the 60 year old woman wearing a sequined shirt in the audience who was constantly heckling the comedians and talking about her six children (who were all in attendance), the Flamenco dancing street artist who fancied himself a comedian and gave a painting away onstage, and the three other female comics who felt the need to go into grotesque details about be more specific, there was a lot of, "my pussy doesn't get fucked enough" and the like, I felt like I was performing in a talent show at an insane asylum. I think I just moved my blog into a whole new category of NSFW, but seriously...obscene.

To validate the decency of this blog I've added a photo of my coffee table centerpiece. Enjoy your Tuesday night/Wednesday morning/snow day (I hear there's snow 'round some parts...)