Which totally reminds me of last week when I gracefully attended the Opening Nite Party and so shmoozingly made my way through the packed crowd of beautiful filmmaker attendees, with whom I rubbed the elbows and — no. No, no. That is not what happened.
I had picked out my go-to fancy outfit for the night. Black Herve Leger dress. A hand-me-down from Mischa Barton. The night before,
ERVIN: “You sure you’re not gonna be too dressed up?”
I Googled last year’s party photos, and realized, it was more of a “daytime dress up” situation. I ditched my Spanx-like-bandage dress in favor of a teal strapless number I had also inherited from Mischa Barton. And some rainbow snakeskin platforms. Obviously. The day of,
CORA: (Star and writer of CITY BABY, and model and always looks amazing) on my voicemail: “So, we’re gonna dress fancy, but not too fancy…”
ME: Oh no. What does that mean? I feel like I have two levels: NIGHT AT THE OPERA, and WOULDN’T EVEN WEAR THAT TO GET THE MAIL. Normally, I wear the latter, tell myself “Everything works in LA. You just have to sell the shit out of it” and pull on my cheetah-print leggings. This time I did white pants and a tank.
I drove myself to Hollywood and Highland where we would be partying at Preston’s in the Loew’s Hotel. I parked 40 miles underground and escalator’d back up to Hollywood Blvd. I walked the reverse path of the Oscars, out of the Dolby Theatre entrance, and thought…”Some-daaaaaay! I’ll be going the other waaaaay!” Before dirty and anatomically incorrect Spiderman asked me if I wanted a flyer. I said no. He said “You’re beautiful.” Aw. Spiderman’s so nice. And he smells like Colt45.
I walked at a slow, methodical pace, like I was on a Sunday stroll. Because it was hot as balls and I could already feel the sweat beading on my mustache. That, and my right heel was flip-flopping off my foot.
I arrived at the party early, and decided to freshen up in the ladies’ room. There, I realized yes, I had back sweat (you know what? F*** exercise. Take the air conditioned elevator!) dripping down my spine. Oh, and I had my underwear on backwards. Like a respectable lady.
Back out in the action, I tried to seem like a person who knows what they’re doing! I pretended to check my phone for something important. (Let’s see what’s happening on Instagram with those cats…..). I smiled at other people, “Yes, Hi, I’m a professional and I know what I’m doing…” This cat has no visible ears. Like.
It wasn’t long before I realized that maybe sitting down would be a better cooling off option. I found a chair next to a man with a filmmaker badge around his neck.
ME: “Do you know who’s sitting here?”
HIM: “Nope! Go ahead.”
ME: BE NETWORKY! “So what film are you here for?”
We chatted about his short and my feature. I did my part. Then, branching out, I wanted to tell a FUN story about something related, but…
ME: “So, I do this job in Beverly Hills where I deliver food from fancy restaurants to rich people and –“
HIM: “– THAT’S where I know you!”
ME: Gah. “Oh! ….. Cool!” I mentally tried to stabilize my social status.
HIM: “YEAH! I thought you looked familiar.”
This is like being recognized as that stripper from that seedy place on Sunset Blvd, as you’re interviewing for your dream job as a dental assistant. I totally forgot where my original story was going.
ME: “Well, maybe I’ll see ya around! Like, at your house some night!” I meant for it to sound cute and creepy.
I walked away, and then immediately ran into him like 3 more awkward times.
I finally found my group and hugged and air-kissed everyone and got a handful of City Baby postcards to swap with other filmmakers. I’m not big on the hard sell and I hate initiating conversation for that purpose. I would be the car saleslady who doesn’t mention cars until our 4th lunch date.
I anxiously twirled my hair and found a knot. My hair never gets knotted – it’s too coarse. I tried to tuck it in, then figured the best option would be to scalp myself and quickly rip out the clump and let it fall to the floor. I’m a caveperson! And not a cute Paleo one.
I thought a glass of wine might give me some mojo. I pulled up to the bar and ordered a glass of Pinot Grigio. A man next to me ordered RedBull. They didn’t have that. He said, “I don’t drink. Whattaya got.” They had Gingerale. I bought his Gingerale, because we were at a cash bar and it’s just Gingerale. He said thanks. I said, “You’re welcome. This is my movie. It’s good.” And slid him a City Baby card. “Cool! And… thanks!” He said.
That was pro, right? I’m cool actress girl! I buy you drinks under $1.99, no strings attached!
Then I was alone. Ugh. I scanned the room for my next victim—[LOUD SPLAT!]. I accidentally dropped my bag and ALL of the City Baby cards took flight and sprayed themselves across the floor. I laughed nervously as I stooped to collect my things. A guy wearing a knit hat and sunglasses indoors bent down to help me.
ME: “I FEEL LIKE I’M IN JUNIOR HIGH” I yelled. Because I felt like a dumbass, as I swept up what seemed like 500 cards and some of my own hair, from earlier.
GUY: “Hey! I know this movie!”
ME: “You should come to it Wednesday nite. Pick a card! Any card…”
GUY: “I have a card already.”
ME: “OK! Thanks for your help!” SAY YOUR NAME. “I’m Lauren.”
GUY: “I’m ______________!” I’m good at remembering a lot of names. But all I could focus on, were the LA-centric Ray Bans and how if I were wearing that knit hat, I’d be a sweaty pig mess.
He walked away. OMG, was it time for this thing to be over yet? In reality, like 2 minutes had passed. Only 3 hours to go! NETWORK, YOU SWEATY BITCH!
I saw a really cute dress on a girl near the food table, where the only food seemed to be Taquitos and hummus. I walked over.
ME: “Your dress is SO CUTE! If there were a cuteness competition, you’d get first place according to me, so, yeah! So cute! I love this lace-y part here–” STOP TALKING FOR CHRISSAKES.
GIRL: “Awww, thanks!! That’s so sweet!”
ME: “So, you’re in a film?”
GIRL: “Yeah! I’m in this (she hands me a card). I play the Transvestite male.”
ME: “Cool!” I quickly replay everything I’ve just said to see if I noted her gender. Or his. What’s happening. I’ve had a huge glass of wine and no Taquitos. “Well, Congratulations!” On what? Who knows. MOVE ON.
I walk over to the bar because y’know what I need is another glass of wine, when thankfully, the Dances With Films festival creators get up to give a speech. They can’t get anyone to shut up and listen, and they’re losing their own voices, when they introduce the President of SAG (it’s the actors’ union), Ken Howard, and he says a little about how we are the heart and soul of this industry, the unknowns, the hustlers.
I start crying. Holding my glass of nothing, I must have looked like the picture of wasted elderly wanna-be-starlet. But I felt like he was speaking my words. This is one of the hardest fucking hustles you could go for.
Then it was over. Oh shit, back to it. WERK. I got a fresh glass o vino and listened to the cinematographer guy standing next to me tell me about his daughter. And that he and his BabyMama weren’t together. And that I’m interesting – we should hang out.
ME: No thanks. “Got any photos of your daughter?” THEY ALWAYS DO. It’s the perfect sideline.
HIM: “Oh yeah.” And he busts out his phone.
I say she’s cute. But since I now compare every living child against my ridiculously perfect nephew, this poor girl doesn’t stand a chance. It’s comparing apples to unfortunate gene-pool oranges.
I hand him a card and make my escape. I have mascara smeared on my left eye from crying at the President’s speech, but I won’t know that until I get home.
Finally, our little City Baby crew makes our way to the green carpet where we pose for photos in front of the festival scrim and I try to hide all my parts. My big teeth, my arm-guns, my feet, hands, gut, bank account, split ends. It doesn’t work.
Then we’re interviewed and we all say the Dances With Films slogan together into camera. “DEFIANTLY INDEPENDENT!” we yell.
We all do kisses and hugs again and everyone breaks off. I meet up with Ervin who just finished teaching guitar at Musicians Institute, and we go get a burrito at Mexico City in Los Feliz. Kenneth from “30 Rock” is eating there, also.
I see a voicemail from my agent, which alerts me to the fact that she’s called 4 times in the last hour. I had gotten a text alert about an audition earlier, but didn’t have time to really take a look at it, while doing so much successful networking and crying.
AGENT: (On voicemail) “WHERE ARE YOU. I CALLED FOUR TIMES – I THINK I DESERVE A CALLBACK. IF YOU DON’T GET BACK TO ME, I’LL JUST FIND A REPLACEMENT FOR THE AUDITION. BYE.”
I remove myself from my burrito and go out on the street to call her back.
ME: “Hi, it’s Lauren Bair.” THE ONE WITH THE FAKE KIDS, REMEMBER?!
AGENT: “Where have you been!”
ME: Where have YOU been! This is my first audition all month! (Or, alternately) OMG, I’m losing my MIND dealing with these KIDS, y’know! SO much running around with soccer and piano lessons and inoculations every day! (But really,) “I just got your voicemail. I was at a film festival opening for the feature film I’m in – I emailed you about it. And I’m available for the audition tomorrow.”
AGENT: “O-Kay. I’ll confirm you.”
ME: “OK. I already confirmed online.”
AGENT: “No you didn’t.” We have an everlasting misunderstanding about technology. Among other things.
ME: “OK. Thank you!”
I go back inside the restaurant and sulk at my burrito. I need a new agent.
ME: “I need a new agent.”
ME: “This is an audition for a little $500 job. Another mattress thing. Why is she getting all upset about it!” I mash refried beans with my fork.
ERVIN: “Don’t worry about it, Babe.”
ME: I almost cry, but then I just feel frustrated and tired. I eat the rest of my burrito, and lean in to the increasing bean and cheese coma.
(That, is like a perfect description of my life in Los Angeles.)
The movie is tonight. It would be great if you could come. I’m sorry I haven’t had time to take you out to lunch 4 times already, but just know that’s how much I care about connecting with people. For real.
“City Baby”. 9:30p, Wednesday June 5, Chinese Theatre, $11. Tickets here.
Free Dirty Spiderman compliments.