Just when you thought it was safe to move to L.A. solely with money and sunblock, I'm going to insist that you also pack sunglasses. It's really, really scary to be on the freeway and have the world around you disappear into blinding, white light.

1. Catering

Catering for Wolfgang Puck gets funnier and funnier. Recently, I worked for a convention that was being held by a very specialized group of folks--companies that sell products designed to help diabetics with mild to severe foot problems. Imagine: 9:30am, sleepily walking into work and seeing rows and rows and rows of booths with photographs of diabetic feet in various states of decay.  Most of the photos were extremely gory. One booth had large slab of beef laid out on a table. I wanted to stop and ask what the guy was demonstrating but, obviously, couldn't. And a word of caution. If you're planning a black tie dinner in your new home (that was built right off of Mulholland Drive) for you and 75 of your closest friends, be sure to HEAT the tent. Otherwise, your friends will insist on sitting inside and this will cause massive problems for your catering staff who will have to haul tables inside and then reset them.

2. Background Work: Tips and Warnings

The first rule of background work is always be on time. Central Casting keeps a record of when you report to the set. They put a note in your file if you're late. If you're late a lot, they put you on a blacklist. And they maintain that blacklist forever so don't think you can just pop in again a few years down the line. The second rule of background work is bring a book or anything that will engross you. There are two reasons for this. The first one is obvious. You'll probably be sitting around for a long time with nothing to do. The second reason is less obvious. You want to avoid the background freaks. For example, I worked as a "detective" on CSI: Miami the other day. (More about that below.) I met some very nice people and I also met my first background weirdo. I've already seen her twice so I'll probably see her on many more sets. She's the type of person who talks AT you and thinks that you'll be interested in whatever comes out of her mouth. These people can (and do) talk for hours and hours without breathing. They volunteer most intimate details of their lives without you having to ask them anything at all . . . or even having to look interested. (If you've ever eaten at Next Door, you've probably met one in particular.) They think of themselves as being outgoing and friendly but we think of them as freaks. So, if you're going to do any background work, BRING A BOOK!!!!

So far my background roles have been:

cheerleader -- going back for more next week! 

club goer -- let go early because I don't think I looked trashy enough

detective -- TV shoots are a lot faster than film shoots. I walked across the street 4 times, was dismissed for lunch, and then we went home.  

pedestrian/driver--they pay more if your car is in the shot too

3. The Biz: Land of Fantasy

The Central Casting notice for CSI: Miami was very specific--hot and sexy. Women no larger than a size 6 and specific sizes for men too. Must arrive on set "looking as hot and sexy as possible." Must wear a light colored suit.  ????!!!!!! I don't know anyone who owns a light colored suit, do you? (Actually, most of my friends don't own suits at all.) Fortunately, the wardrobe people dress you if you don't have anything. I finally got to wear a prop badge and a prop gun. We all know that Hollywood is in the business of creating and maintaining the Land of Fantasy. But The Land of Fantasy extends to everyday life too. It's hard to be upset when the weather is perfect all the time and everyone has a tan. I saw a woman driving a little yellow convertible yesterday. She was wearing a giant picture hat and a scarf around her neck. I wondered what film she was living in (right, Mom?). Maybe a Sofia Lauren movie?

And I'm pleased to say that I have a callback for a zombie movie. The only problem is that the production has hit a snag so there's no telling when the callback will be. Wouldn't it be GREAT to do a zombie movie???!!!!!

3. Socializing

Not surprisingly, the Land of Fantasy is also the Land of Divorcees. Most of the people I've met have moved here after some long relationship ended. . . See it really IS "Lost" Angeles!!!

A couple of nights ago my friend Katie took me to a very good place called Spaceland. Every Monday you can see bands for free. We saw a good group called Voxhaul Broadcast .


Then we hit a great bar called the Cha Cha Lounge--a strange but wonderful mixture of tiki and punk. Also, Lisa and her husband Mike were in town for a night so Kenny took us all to a party thrown by a guy who started a film group called Filmmakers Alliance. The people were great . . . the cupcakes were divine . . . but I declined to sing karaoke. I still have a lot of practicing to do while I drive Little Echo. There are soooo many film parties and screenings that I can't keep up!

Today was hilarious. I was having my hair straightened by a very nice woman named Michi and I commented that I liked the salsa cd she playing. Before long (and with my strong encouragement) she had closed the door to her room and was blasting the music! The hours flew by and she said that it was the most fun she'd ever had at work. Before I left, I made her give me the names and addresses of two places that have live salsa. I think the funniest part of the experience was that the other employees kept kept shooting us dirty looks through the glass panel of her door. "Weirdos! How DARE they enjoy themselves!!!! Don't they know that 'beauty' is serious business??!!"

4. Driving

Maybe this isn't a new fad in driving but how would I know? When stopped at a red light, it seems that the cool thing to do is to make your car rock back and forth. And I was speaking to someone yesterday while I was doing background work and he said that the other cool thing to do is weave in and out of traffic. I don't think I'll try either one of those. I'm still quite satisfied with my "Slowest Driver in Los Angeles" title. And pretty soon Little Echo will need an oil change and part of the rubber on her roof fixed. I'm SURE I'll have a story about that . . .

5. The Roommates

Very nice . . . but. During the Easter BBQ, after a couple of wine spritzers, Elsa divulged that Aaron won't let her go anywhere without him. They only have one vehicle (an SUV that costs $80 to fill these days) so they drive to work together, they both work downtown so they eat lunch together, after work they shop for groceries together, and then they come home . . . together. Then Elsa cooks dinner and washes the dishes. To be fair, I have seen Aaron mop the floor and vacuum the hideous carpet. The BBQ was fun and the meat muy delicioso. . . but. The men grilled outside, the women sat inside chatting, and then the women fixed all the men's plates and drinks and served them. One very funny, lovely woman named Lucy actually leaned out of the window and yelled down, "Does anyone want anything else to eat because I'm going to sit down now?!" I feel like I'm living in the 1950's.

Hugs and kisses!

    Rain over the San Fernando     Valley

    On the way to Venice Beach

 Venice Beach: Ira reading his fortune by Zoltar


   Venice Beach


 Venice Beach again . . .


 Neighbor pigeons