Hi everyone,

Animals, animals . . . everywhere I go.

1. My Dawgs

The move went extremely well and I'm thrilled to be in my new, slightly magical neighborhood. I'm living in a duplex that's owned by the Clayter family. They live in one half and I live in the other half with one of their sons (Cornell a.k.a. C-Money) and his friend (Namar a.k.a. T-Dawg). (My new name, by the way is Birdie Loco and, since I knew she'd feel left out, Little Echo has been renamed Li'l E.) The house is larger, sunnier, and simply prettier than the old place. No more hideous carpet!!!  Plus the new place has two wonderful dogs, Twenty and Dollar Bill, who live in the backyard. C-Money and T-Dawg live upstairs and I, Birdie Loco, live downstairs at the back of the house so there's plenty of privacy.

Furnishing my new room has been fun. Wai (a.k.a. Wai-liscious) introduced me to the best thrift store ever--St. Vincent's. Their prices are unbelievably cheap. I found a solid desk for $50. It was even worth the extra $50 I spent putting knobs and legs on it. Then Wai-liscoius' roommate moved out leaving a bed, desk lamp, and nightstand. So I'm no longer sleeping on a cold air mattress and can finally read myself to sleep. You ask, "Where does the magic of the neighborhood come in, Birdie Loco?" The houses are small and well kept, there are flowering bushes and trees, the people wave to each other as they sit on their front porches enjoying the afternoon sunlight. . . but it's the animals who call this neighborhood their home that make the place wonderful, hilarious, and charmed. So far I have seen . . .

Two rabbits (one white, one brown). Frequently, I come home to find the brown one either sitting happily in the middle of my front lawn or munching on the grass.

One very large rooster who crows only occasionally in the afternoon and likes to stand on the sidewalk preening his feathers.

One three-legged dog who has limitless energy.

Various cats who like to stalk the rabbits and sit on the stone wall near my house and stare at passers-by.

A crow convention (of about 20) that convenes every week or so down the block from me.

2. Weasels and Snakes 

A new acquaintance of mine, John, had been raving about his on-camera acting class. As you probably know, I'm an acting class junkie so I couldn't resist auditing this "amazing" class. The technical aspects of the studio were impressive. In one room there was an office set complete with a desk, desk chair, leather sofa, computer monitor, file cabinet, fake windows with blinds, and a usable door. In the other room there was a green screen. I've NEVER seen an acting studio with a green screen, have you? The camera equipment, which was top of the line, projected the students onto a GIGANTIC flat screen monitor positioned so that the whole class could watch the actors. I had a bad feeling about the teacher from the minute I stepped into the room. His whole demeanor screamed, "Are they buying my schtick? Are they? Yeah, I think they're falling for it." When people did their scenes he encouraged overacting and a couple of times actually directed them to do it. And if that wasn't bad enough . . . here's why he's the WORST acting coach/biggest shyster I've ever met:

Weasel: I know you're just auditing but do you have a monologue?
Berda: Yes. (Berda does monologue.)
Weasel: Okay, well here's a small example of what you'll learn if you choose to take my class. First, you have what I call "deer in headlights" eyes. So I'm going to give you a "base face" to make. It's the position your face should return to when you're not making a face.
Berda: Okaaaaaaay . . . ?
Weasel: Squint your eyes, make a disapproving mouth, raise your cheeks up a little bit, and frown. That's what I want you to practice all the time. Your face should just do this naturally when you're not making some other face.
Berda: (starts laughing)
Weasel: Okay, now do your monologue again but make that face.
Berda: (is still laughing)
Weasel: (feeling uncomfortable) Uh . . . you can do the monologue again.
Berda: (starts monologue again but stops because she's laughing so hard)
Weasel: (correctly sensing that Berda is laughing at him) Well, okay, I know it takes a while to get used to it . . . speak with me after class about my program.

Obviously, I did not speak with him after class but I could see his little weasel head swiveling around to see if I was going to walk over to him.

And it's true, folks, producers in this town are slimy. I'm sure there are worse examples but this gives you a taste:

Berda and Jack go to a party that Jack's agency is hosting at a nightclub. The oldest guys in the room slither over to Berda and start talking. One has a magazine and one's a producer at Paramount. The Paramount guy insults Berda immediately by asking right off the bat what her racial background is and then insults her again by assuming that she doesn't know where Latvia is (he's taking a trip there). And then . . .

Snake: Do you want to get married tonight?
Berda: No.
Snake: How about tomorrow?
Berda: No.

3. Odd Ducks

In October, I did a headshot mailing to agencies. One day the doorbell rang. It was UPS with an envelope for me from William Morris. Inside the envelope was my headshot along with a cover letter from their legal department explaining that they don't take unsolicited mail. Why all the effort? Why didn't they just throw my headshot in the trash like everyone else? Does their legal department have nothing else to do? Weird . . .

4. The Lion


I went over to Jack's house to watch the election results. We both cried . . . I drank too much champagne . . . if we had to go through eight years of hell to get to this place, it was worth it . . . I'm proud to be an American again.

October/November was/has been made especially good because of visits from Katrina, Carrie, and Damon. Great to see you guys! 

I'll be back for a visit in January. Till then please write!

Jack at Jack's birthday party

Wai at Wai's birthday party

Tory at Tory's birthday party

Carrie in the Getty Museum flower garden

Cain under a portable hairdryer at St. Vincent's thrift store

Wai and her kombucha with the $200 boats at St. Vincent's thrift store


New room

The desk

 New kitchen

Living room and dining room from the front

Living room and dining room from the back

Birdie Loco on the set of another cheerleading movie

"Base face"