Archive | May, 2011

Weekend with Mz. Peepers.

31 May

My good girlfriend Piper drove down from SF this weekend to hang out with me in LA! It was exactly a year ago that she and I ventured down here for a random road trip and discovered UCB, the Korean spa, the legendary Formosa Cafe, La PoubelleSusina Bakery, Sidewalk Cafe and the Santa Monica Pier at 2am. THIS time, she brought her pooch Fernando!

We did UCB again with Jeff Garlin’s show (he gives away stuff from his house and has stand-up special guests. He also took photos of my face. I don’t know if he remembered me). Piper and I also hit up La Poubelle again for some truffle fries (we did want to try the Parisian Prostitute cocktail, but stuck with a pour of house white), we saw Bridesmaids (brilliantly funny girl moments without being girlie), ate entire burritos at Mexico City (I did. I’m also applying for a server job there so I can eat burritos all day every day) and relaxed at Coogies Malibu with Fernando in our laps.

We also saw this in the sky over LA on 5/29. Anyone else see it?

Here is me, failing again at a career in wildlife photography, while trying to capture “Epic Fernando!” Too small in frame:

Too close:

Too… um…

I gave up. Here is Leo Carillo State Beach in Malibu! One of the few dog-friendly sandy spots in LA. And maybe the only public one in Malibu. Fernando got his digging on, while Piper and I got blowing-sand-facials — it was SO windy! And as usual, people were lying out in bikinis, immune to the relentless pelting of tiny needle-like grains. BBQ smoke infused our beach-blown hair. And I fell into some cactus bushes while trying to retrieve a beat up CD that said “Mix 3”. I thought I might discover a hidden treasure chest of secret tunes. Instead, I shamed myself by wiping out in front of strangers, I got a hundred tiny cuts on my hands and the CD didn’t play in my car. Success!

OK, so I have a hard time giving up attempts at wildlife photography. I try again. Here’s Fernando at Coogies. And Piper, in a composition kinda like this one. Sigh. Someday I’ll get it.  XX, L

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Picnic Boom Box.

30 May

Happy Memorial Day! I hope all of you are up to no good at a BBQ right this very moment (west coast people – I know you’d have to be pretty hardcore to be up this early, swilling beers and playing Cornhole). I just enjoyed a soy latte and bowl of oatmeal. I know how to party. Later, I’m going to go for a jog and then write in my journal. I might even drink a glass of room temperature water. Hold a piece of paper! Stare out the window!!

I’m wishing I had this Urban Picnic Boxal to load up with my favorite bubbly and a few snacks for the road. Literally.

Who needs grass when you have a sidewalk on hand! Disinterested friends sold separately.

After you’ve eaten all your potato salad and gummy bears (with compostable supplies! — I won’t judge if you eat candy with a fork), put a transistor radio inside it and hit the streets. Coolio.

Fridays in LaLa Land.

27 May

HAPPY WEEKEND! I wanna try something where at the end of every week, I fill in the blanks. And share them. Let’s see how this goes. (Feel free to post your own thoughts/responses! I love hearing what you have to say.)

1. What’s That Bear Wearing? (The bear statue at the Los Feliz Blvd/Western entrance to Griffith Park. He’s usually wearing people clothes.)

2. Auditions: 1.

3. Learned: Don’t trust hobos to “watch your car” for you. Even if you say hi and they say hi back and it seems like you might have some kind of connection.

4. Lady Parts: 5 gray hairs have gone to be with Jesus. I know, leave them in. But they shine like tinsel on a brown-haired Christmas tree and they gotta come out.

5. Love/Hate LA: Sunshine/Swamp-crotch

6. Days Sun-Sponsible: 296 (This is because there is melanoma in my family. Since August 4, 2010, I haven’t had any unprotected sun!)

7. Playin’ It Out: The National, England

8. Story: This is that one audition. I arrived at Hollywood Production Center in Glendale, where the logo is all jangly like the Hollywood sign, but here, the O has fallen off.

I get in an elevator with a child actor and his parents. The mother says “You know who you look like…!?” I brace myself for Coma Girl from Grey’s Anatomy. Emma Watson,” she says, “You DO!” (I do not.) “We met her! She is lovely in person…” She points to her son with a coy smile. “Where did you meet her?” I ask, the can of worms cracked open. “WELL, I have photos…” and she whips out an album of her young son’s acting-with-celebrities. And there is Emma, at a Harry Potter premiere, with little Trevor. I pretend I think I look like her.

I sign in for the role of “Mom”. I’m greeted by two cha-cha Armenians “O-kaaaaay…. this is a Christian feature film. You’ll be comforting your baby on a bus. Ok, where is that baaabyyyy….” They look around the room for a prop and hand me a 3 ring binder. “The baby is crying and you just broke up with your boyfriend and everyone’s staring at you. Whenever you’re ready.” I cradle the binder in my left arm and pretend to apologize for its crying fit. I burp it over my shoulder. I coo to it. I gently bounce it up and down. Rub its… back. I think about nursing it and decide against it. Finally, they take binder baby away from me and I shake their hands and walk out.

People always ask if I wanted a 3-ring or a spiral binder and I always just say I wanted a healthy binder.

9. Wish: That my stressacne would clear up. Or at least turn exclusively to bacne.

10. Like It So Much I Wanna Marry It: this poster, this cake, this photo

11. A Blessed Gift From The Universe: Babies In The Woods

12. Photo: A chair at the Dresden.

XO,

Lauren

Image of bear

Happy Anniversary to Me + LA!

26 May

And a candle for every month…

I wish I could take myself on some wild adventure today to celebrate surviving and not developing any clinical disorders during my first 6 months in LA! But I’m applying for an animation art job, so I gotta work. Perhaps late tonite I will buy me‘lady a cocktail. I’m thinking a “Boozy Floozy” at my neighborhood Big Bar might be just the thing.

Thinking back to my first nite in town, I realize what a difference a few months makes. I arrived the Friday after Thanksgiving after an epic road trip from Portland, OR, covered in SmartFood popcorn from Ralph’s, my little car packed with my only earthly possessions and two of my best girlfriends.

What I thought then:

– I’ll easily get an agent. I had one in Portland, I’m experienced, I just shot a national commercial — why wouldn’t I get one here!
– My skin is dry! What the f—?
Where am I? (On every road, everywhere.)
– Thankfully, I saved up a crapload of money. I’ll be fiiiine.
– Spending $80 on industry booklets at Samuel French will help me figure things out in no time. I have names! And contact info! Who are these people?!
– I miss my friends.
– I’m on vacation! But I live here??
– Everything in movies about LA is true! People are talking the biz, dressing like they’re famous, putting red carpets in front of everything.
– Oh my god, I have to do all of this again tomorrow??! (That was my thought every nite as I went to bed, the first week I lived here. I was exhausted from my education.)

What I know now:

– It takes time to get an agent when you’re new and no one knows who you are. I just signed on with one last week, thanks to a connection from a friend.
– Not everyone here is a celebrity. There are even people who don’t want to be famous! Yes, the guy frothing your latte has been on CSI as a dead body and will tell you all about it, but there are plenty of people who have careers and lives outside of the entertainment industry. Meet them. They are interesting!
– I can get around town without my GPS. But it’s always good to keep it within reach.
– It’s dry here. And my face has freaked out and broken out thanks to that – and stress. It’s a process…
– I should have saved up a million dollars.
– I still have not looked at those Samuel French books.
– Every day is an opportunity to criticize the shape of my body, color of my hair, my age, my connections, my worth as a person… (Or better yet, NOT.)
– You can walk in LA! You can also bike, hike, swim, ski…
– I miss my friends. But I have made new ones, too.
– People honk before they nearly run you over in a crosswalk, hit your car, or run a red light. And they also surprise you by kindly letting you into their lane.
– Almost everyone has been involved with porn in some way. (But not everyone’s taken their clothes off for it.)
– Car insurance costs a billion dollars.
– Patience is key.
– The ocean is magic.
– So is the Hollywood sign.
– Sunshine streaming through my windows helps me wake up in the morning.
– Gross, slobbery, messy crying will happen.
– If you think “What am I doing with my life” once a week, things are going well.
– Exercise, sleep and nourishing food, help.
– Taking improv classes is not only good for your skills, it’s good for meeting people. And becoming part of a network that values not taking things so damn seriously.
– You will succeed if you are able to figure out “just being yourself”.
– LA loves hamburgers.
– Hopping on the freeway between 4 and 7p will result in homicidal thoughts.
– Always pee before you drive anywhere.
– Letting people know you need help, allows them to help you if they can.
– You will be checked-out and stared at ANY time you enter a room in LA. And you will notice when you’re in a place where you aren’t. And feel a little like no one saw you come in.
– Self-righteous is not the same thing as grateful.
–  It’s Lohs FEE-layce! (I’m sticking with that.)
–  At least one weird thing will happen per day.
– It is tough here. It requires a whole lot of work and hustle. And that’s just to get your mail out of the tiny box it’s jammed into.
– It is absolutely necessary that you don’t give up hope in yourself and what you want. Because eventually, you will get it.
– Frozen yogurt still exists.
– Be a “regular” somewhere. You’ll feel like you’re at home.
– It pretty much is about who you know. And preparation so that you’re ready to meet them.
– If you are wearing a nice outfit and your hair’s did, people will think you’re an aspiring actress trying too hard. If you’re in your junky sweats, a baggy T-shirt – but also sunglasses, people will assume you’re rockstar famous.
– Skype may just save your life.
– So will an ab-burning fit of laughter.

I’m just beginning to figure it out. Feeling less bi-polar about my life here, every day. (Sometimes even hopeful!) I like LA. A lot. And I want to give myself a fair shot at succeeding in this town. I’m deeply thankful for my family, my friends, my boyfriend, and everyone else who’s reached out a helpful hand / life preserver. Even when I didn’t know I needed it. I hope I can return the gesture someday.

Here’s to future successes for us all, wherever we are. Thanks for joining me on this journey! Let’s toast each other with my favorite quote from Deadwood, “Every step a fucking adventure.” CHEERS!

For the true story on the photo, go here

Faux Foodie: Guacamole + Vodka Mojitos!

25 May

It’s the time of year when the sun warms up the city streets and things start to smell a little more like the sewer. I might be the only person who feels nostalgic for my NYC when there’s a hint of eau de trash bag-ette in the air. And the smell of cigarettes and hot boardwalk reminds me of the summers of my youth on the Jersey Shore. Fist pumping a thing of the future, we flew kites, snarfed PB&J&Sand and body-surfed with jellyfish along the shores of Avalon and Wildwood, NJ.

Now, I’m all growed up. And I prefer a bit of kick to my snack time. Today I’m sharing my favorite guacamole recipe and a new twist on an old friend: mojito.

Thirst things first! This recipe is from my favorite Italian chef, Giada De Laurentiis. I don’t care what she’s making, it(aly) always looks fun.

VODKA MOJITO

– 1 1/2 cups mint simple syrup (recipe follows)

– 1 cup vodka, chilled (I used Monopolowa because it’s distilled from potatoes as opposed to grain)

– 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (3-ish limes)

– 1 cup club soda, chilled

– Ice and fresh mint sprigs for garnish

What to do: In a pitcher, combine the simple syrup, vodka, lime juice and club soda. Pour into ice-filled glasses and garnish with mint sprigs!

MINT SIMPLE SYRUP (for Vodka Mojito)

– 1 cup sugar

– 1 cup water

– 1 packed cup fresh mint leaves

What to do: In a small saucepan, combine water, sugar and mint leaves, over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, simmer 5 minutes until sugar has dissolved. Remove pan from heat and cool for 20 minutes. Strain, pressing the mint leaves to extract syrup.

Minty! This is really easy. Even a weenie like me can do it! I love this mojito recipe because there’s none of that muddled mint getting stuck in your teeth as you try to strike up a conversation with the hot stranger at the party. You can make a big pitcher ahead – and down the hatch!

NEXT, a snack. Cilantro-philes, mount your chopping blocks.

GUACAMOLE

– 4 Roma tomatoes

– 1/2 white onion

– Bunch of cilantro

– 1 Serrano pepper

– 4 avocados

– Juice of 1 lime

– Dash of extra virgin olive oil

– Salt + pepper to taste

– Trader Joe’s spicy soy and flaxseed tortilla chips (or any chips)

What to do: Dice onion, put in a big bowl with lime juice and a sprinkle of salt, to cure (Got time to leave it for an hour? Do it. Otherwise, keep going). Dice tomatoes (I remove the juicy insides), cilantro and pepper (remove seeds!). Mix with onion. Scoop out avocado (I half it, then score it with a butter knife into square-y bits), throw it in the bowl, then add a little oil and salt + pepper – til you think it rocks. A good chef tastes what she’s cooking. A lot…

You are now ready for a Guacajito party! Arrrrriba!


Field Trip: Los Dodgers vs. Giants

24 May

Sir Elton Hercules John, rocking a sequined Dodgers uniform. Sigh. I wish they wore those.

I got to see game 2 of “Giants beat Dodgers” at Dodger Stadium – for FREE. A Dirgin (Dodgers + virgin), I was overwhelmed by the whole experience. Biggest rivalry what? Dodger Dog huh? “Get….um, GO…. get the ball! Yay baseball!”

It was a magnificent evening for a night game. We (sorry, Yankees! And also Phillies! And other teams that I like for reasons such as: location and style of uniforms) got creamed by the Giants. But it was a blast. Our seats were a gift from the Dodger Dog man himself, thanks to my friend Amy. Right behind first base. (Inside scoop: Dodger Dogs are just reeeeeeally long hot dogs.)

For health-minded fans (ME, who isn’t eating any meat-with-legs, wheat or dairy right now), there are veggie dogs at specific stadium locations. And, Kaiser Permanente provides booths that offer sushi, veggie sticks and salad-type-items! All competitively overpriced, so you don’t feel left out of the fun. (I can hear a collective “boooooooo!” on baseball stadium salad. But let’s discuss who did not have the greasy fried s***s the next morning. ME.)

“Oh my god, for a second, I totally thought we were at a baseball game!”

We got in line for the famous weenies. (Another insider tip: You can ward off the entire cast of Twilight with the garlic they pile on those fries. You also will not be making out with anyone. Ever again.) I think we waited in line about 30 minutes before we decided to crash Amy’s sister’s party in the box suite upstairs.

Ahhhh…. much better. Free wine, free beer, free and unlimited Dodger Dogs…AND photos of celebrities at the stadium:

If that’s how you play baseball, I’m feeling better about my skills.

This outfielder (fill in his name, LA fans!) reminded me of the only time I’ve ever been confident at hand/eye coordination involving ball games. In college, I played one (1) game on the softball team. And I got pounded in the head by a ball I totally thought I could catch. It seemed to fly at me from outer space. I reached up with my glove… Miss! By like a foot. HIT. Right on my forehead. My ego a shriveled raisin, I silently gave up my softball career. And also baseball and lacrosse and probably polo…golf…possibly ping pong. Y’know. Just in case.

Celebrity images are not my photos, but I don’t know who took them. Let me know who did!

Hobos n Me: Butting Heads.

23 May

I use the term “hobo” somewhat affectionately. As the abbreviated “homeward bound”, it seems hopeful. Of milder consequence than “derelict”, “bum” or  ye olde “tramp”.

I have a long history with hobos. Dating back to the late nineties when I offered a “homeward bound” fellow in my college dorm dumpster a simple sandwich. “Excuse me, would you like a sandwich?” He replied “My name’s GATOR!” and left within seconds.

There was the time I exited the NYC subway, en route to work, only to come upon a hobo “flicking his beans” for the morning rush hour commuters.

The time a hobo called to me across the street one morning on my way to brunch, “I don’t like your earrings!”

The time the homeless woman crossed paths with me on the sidewalk in Portland, spitting “Don’t excoriate me!” I don’t know what that means, I thought to myself. “I bet you don’t even know what that means!” She yelled. She can read my MIND, I thought. And made a break for my car.

And the favorite “Do you have a quarter?” from a hobo on a sidewalk bench. “No, I’m sorry I don’t” I said, feeling like we had a bit of an honest connection. He stood up, stared right at me, cursing “Yeah, you look sorry, you f****** b****, I’m GAY!”

Cut to this past Saturday, after my final UCB level 2 improv class on Santa Monica Blvd. I waved goodbye to my classmates when one stopped me and said “You should look at this.” (See above). He had seen a drunk Mexican hobo head-butt my car window five times. When it didn’t smash, he head-butted the rear panel of my car. And made a dent. WITH HIS HEAD. I was impressed. Did he have a metal plate in his skull? Was he a karate master? A police report was filed. The officer at the station asked if he was a drunk Mexican — that they had picked him up and he was in custody in back. I said “…Does he have a big welt on his head? Then it’s him.”

This case will never be solved. I didn’t see the guy. And the officer marked me down as “M” in the male/female box. I said I was a lady. He fixed it. And I went on my way.

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