Archive for February, 2009

Ah, Los Angeles 10

Friday, February 20th, 2009

You go to the gym.  It’s a wonderful gym full of wonderful people.  On Thursdays, for a reason beyond your ken, local pornstars show up in the men’s locker room.  Male porn stars.   You’re pretty sure they are porn stars because their bodies are, well, porn star like–not that you know anything about porn stars or porn for that matter.  They are hairless from the neck down, tanned,  in amazing shape and, after seeing them in the communal shower, the word endowed makes you and every other male in the place cringe with self-realization.

After swearing you’ll never undress in front of anyone again, you exit the gym feeling healthy.  The sun is shining, the air feels fresh and you feel pretty good about life until you look at the flags hanging above the entrance to the Westin Bonaventure which hang limp and mostly black.  You assume that, although it’s February, this isn’t a tribute to black awareness.  It’s just dirt.

You go to a special screening of, “The Birds” with a Q and A with Robert Osborne and Tippi Hedren.  You stand in line two hours early because you were going to eat dinner in the Arclight Hollywood complex before the show but the line scared the plan right out of you.  Everyone in the line is grousing about standing in line.  Why are you all in line?  Because TCM is handing out 25 impressively thick books on the 80 years of Oscar and you are number 26 in line because every couple in front of you is taking two.

You spread the rumor that you’ve seen the book already and it’s not that good.  Next year’s is fabulous, you say.  It doesn’t work. The books are gone when you reach the front of the line.

Even though you’re seated far enough away to be considered an outer planet, Robert Osborne is affable and you gather from the murmur of the crowd that Tippi looks great.  You once had a thing for Tippi and you once and a thing for Tippi’s daughter but that is ancient history.  She tells tales of working with Hitchcock that makes everyone’s marrow freeze.

The movie holds it’s own.  Acting and directing styles have changed over the years and at times some of it is downright silly but the story moves you from beginning to end and your cringing and laughing nervously with the rest of the audience.  You don’t tell Tippi this but you keep rooting for Suzanne Pleshette’s character even after she’s dead because you know she’d be better for Rod Taylor in the long run but does he listen?

You’ve survived another day in Hollywood and you feel good about yourself as long as you never have to see yourself naked again.

Ah, Los Angeles 9

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

You think you’ve seen everything.  You’ve been going to movies all your life.  You go to “Twilight” just to see why it fills teenage girls with so much twitter.  It’s an amiable enough film filled, as it is, with teenage angst.

Three of the target audience sit in front of you.  Every time Robert Pattinson comes of the screen, which is most of the time since he’s the star, these girls take out BlackBerries and snap pictures of the screen and then watch the movie on the screens of their phones.  Suddenly, the problems of the film industry become very obvious and real.  These girls find watching the film on the big screen less interesting than watching it on their phones.

You would complain but the movie isn’t all that good and what they are doing simultaneously fills you with wonder and a feeling of being from some ancient or inferior species unable to comprehend what lay before you.  You leave feeling less assured and, because technology was involved and you found yourself lost, less of a man.

Every once in a while, one must go into a inner city laundromat.  It’s good for the soul.  If the economy has you feeling down or impoverished, do a load of wash at a laundromat.  You’ll see what a large percentage of the population is up to with their free time.  The place is a wonderful ballet of people moving to an urban beat to find vacant machines and chairs and tables to sit at while washing machines wash and dryers dry.

Mothers and fathers labor with mountains of laundry and a trail of children who scream and laugh and run rampant until they are bored at which time they scream, cry and run rampant.

First, you buy yourself a cup of coffee because it’s going to be a long day.  Next, you stare uncomprehendingly at the machine of your choice, which is actually the only machine not in use.  The directions long ago wore off .  There are a few buttons and a slot.   Since you assume this place isn’t run on the honor system, you guess that the slot is the way to pay.   You stare at the slot for a while.  It doesn’t look like any credit card or paper money slot you’ve ever seen.   Finally, you find someone who speaks the same language you do and ask.

That someone points in the direction of a machine on the wall that takes cash, only fives and singles, and dishes out a card that fits the machines.  Where you get the fives and singles when you’ve come in with a pocketful of quarters is another story.  You buy another cup of coffee because you set the first one down on a cafe table along with your laundry basket to hold the table and basket is there but the coffee is not.  You never let go of the new cup again.

Once in possession of coffee and the plastic laundry card, you find a crowd standing around your machine, which you innocently filled with your stuff while you completed  laundry 101 over at the plastic card machine.  The crowd reminds you of the  crowd outside Frankenstein’s castle before the storming with pitchforks and torches.

Because you carry a certain je ne sais quoi about you, which, in more sober moments, translates as bulk, the crowd disperses but not before a little darling kicks you in the ankle.  You insert the card, press a few buttons, add detergent in the hole you hope is for detergent and sit back at your table with your coffee mostly intact.

The walls boast 6 flat screen televisions.  You choose between the AFC championship  game, a soccer game, and four spanish soap operas.  Although the championship game is good, one of the soap operas is really good and you find your attention divided.

Your table is close to the vending machines and games.  None of the games work  save the prize factory machine with the fishing claw you use to snag stuffed animals.  You can’t really understand the allure of a pink monkey until you’ve stared at it for a few hours.

The dryer is a repeat of the washer except you are now a pro and you unload and load again with aplomb and great economy of movement.

You drive away, empty coffee cup in hand,  a new and accomplished man.  Any task placed in your path will be cleared away with the swipe of your mighty arm.  You’re  a man.  Hear you roar.