Secret Pop

Dec 28, 2001

Dream Weaver

I almost forgot -- and surely, at this point, I will have forgotten much -- but I woke up in the 5 A.M. hour and realized that I had been dreaming something that made me laugh out loud. A character in my dream -- played by the actor who played the Euro-villain in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and who has been in car commercials and assorted other things -- was reciting some information and was impressed with himself, saying that he usually has the poorest memory imaginable. He picked up some common object and said, "My memory is so bad, I called this 'hoon.'" I have no idea why that was so amusing to me, and I am certainly leaving out the details that I would have remembered had I been more diligent and tried to jot it down at the time of waking. But I am also well aware that no amount of detailed recounting would make this more interesting to other people. Dreams have a way of being incredibly dull in the retelling. Unless there's naughtiness involved. And usually -- if it's good and coherent and titillating -- it isn't authentic dream material. Sleep-bound erotica that doesn't involve the odd presence of clowns or dancing mailmen or animate baked goods is an artifice. Surely.

Wine and Spirits

I had a few friends over for dinner the night before last. I'm pleased that my home still smells of good food and a crackling fireplace. A few staunch pals came over again last night and had leftovers with me. Although I prepared some things fresh and was glad to be able to actually sit down and enjoy the meal with them. And we watched State and Main, which I am pleased to report was a wonderful film and quintessentially David Mamet. My sister had previously warned me that it wasn't very good, but I have to continue to remind myself that our expectations of film differ. And maybe who you see a film with has a great deal to do with whether or not you enjoy it.

I've been trying for two days now to burn a piece of wood that was sitting outside my back door. It pops and sizzles a lot and sort of melts, but very little actually burning appears to be taking place. By the time I gave up on it last night, it had a sort of crescent shape hollowed out of one side and was glowing orange along the edges, sort of like the phony burning wood you see on the Pirates of the Caribbean.

Without fail, any time I am able to sleep in or endeavor to, there is some sort of hubbub going on behind my apartment or upstairs that keeps me from being able to rest. A neighbor moved out last weekend, so last Friday, I was kept awake by loud conversation and the sound of furniture items actually being dropped off the second floor patio to the concrete below. This morning, the workmen who are refurbishing the apartment -- who have also been preventing my access to my garage nearly every morning and evening with a big white van that is always parked in my driveway and which has created an unsightly track of mud from the driveway down to the street -- were using every loud tool imaginable. I awoke thinking, "Now, why would they be using a leaf blower in that apartment? And what need would they have for a wood chipper?" But I'm over it now. Poorly rested but looking forward to a few days of performance and rest and time with friends, I am.

Dec 21, 2001

"That's fuckin' teamwork..."

I went to the House of Blues last night for the Tenacious D, Spinal Tap, Naked Trucker show to benefit mitochondrial disease. There were plenty of celebrities there and people whose work I admire or envy. I saw Beck eating a plate of butternut squash. And David X. Cohen wandering around, sporting a Planet Express bowling shirt with his name embroidered on a patch on the breast. Matt Groening was there. Ben Stiller. Jason Schwartzman. All sorts of people one would recognize from comedy or film. And I stood right behind the table reserved for Kyle Gass and Jack Black during the Spinal Tap set. I kept bumping Kyle's hindquarters with my handbag. He was cool about it.

It was raining and cold, just like the last time I saw Tenacious D at the House of Blues, which was a little over a year ago, when I knew nothing of L.A. or what the coming year would hold for me. I appreciate the innocence of ignorance. Even from this vantage point.

Dec 20, 2001

Fellowship of the Ring

I went to see The Lord of the Rings tonight at the very excellent Vista Theatre on Sunset. I really enjoyed it, although I kept feeling like Alice in Wonderland, the way the film kept playing with perspectives to create the illusion of tallness and shortness in otherwise normal-sized people. I went with friends who were very committed to the books and were audibly dismayed at various times. There was even an utterance of, "Yeah, right," when the credits ran the title, "Based on the Book by J.R.R. Tolkien." I'm very much open to dissenting opinions and was even looking forward to hearing the rationales behind a dislike of the film, but my companions left before the credits finished. I remained and then walked a couple of blocks back to my car, wondering if that was rude of them.

I was very moved by a lot of the film. And am certainly compelled to revisit the books, which I have not read since I was a very young adolescent. I was moved by the weight of things. I wondered what it would be like to have the mantle of "What Really Matters" cast so clearly and obviously on any one thing. I felt that small taste of bitterness when the speck of romance showed itself. I thought about what it might be like to be called onto a quest that took me away from everything. And what it would feel like to have that quest over and to have to return to the normalcy of a life that once seemed fulfilling but suddenly lacked the thrill of more harrowing circumstances. There is an allegory in here somewhere. In many ways, I was moved.

I was not, however, moved by the Episode II trailer I saw before the film began. I scowled for the length of it and thought to myself how utterly shitty a film it looked like it was going to be. This is all part of the magnificent case for leaving well enough alone.

Dec 19, 2001

Home is where the bookshelves are.

I'm a good girl. Last night, I began poking around amongst my friends, looking for companionship and distraction. I was fully prepared to go out and make a night of it, despite the responsibilities that loom at home. But fortunately for me, no one was to be found or to be enticed. So I spent the whole of the evening moving furniture and unpacking stemware and putting books on shelves and talking on the phone and just generally getting a lot done and feeling good about it. I think I pulled a muscle in my neck moving those nightmarish bookshelves that cause me so much woe during my move. It's my own fault, though. I was ambivalent about where I would place them, so I had my dad set them up in the guest bedroom, but I was never happy with them in there, and I ended up moving them last night back into the dining room, which is where I think I originally imagined they would go. Serves me right. I guess I had contemplated buying a wall unit or a china cabinet or something, but that doesn't seem to be getting any forward motion. And, of course, it occurs to me that I shouldn't burden myself with a whole heap of space-hogging furniture when I can probably expect not to live in this apartment for the rest of my life. Even my little dining table, which had looked so insufficient in the middle of the huge lot of dining room I have, looked modest but acceptable when I finished with everything. And I've cleared it off so that a meal can actually be had at it. That's splendid, I think. I've had too many meals on my lap in front of the computer or at the coffee table. That's not living.

So, bravo for accomplishment, even of things mundane and seemingly unfulfilling. More needs to be said about the value of having a comfortable living space. As I make this place more and more my own, it welcomes me commensurately. And I have been in need of that.

If only a little flock of elves would sneak in while I sleep and make me a bunch of curtains.

Dec 18, 2001

Last night, I dreamed that Jo died. And I was distraught. I was beside myself. Crying and thrashing about. I couldn't believe it. I had just talked to her. I am relieved to be awake and coherent and to know that it was just a dream. I've had similar dreams about other people I love in recent months. I've awakened with tears in my eyes and been filled with despair. It's ghastly.

I was pleased to have talked Martìn into coming up and having sushi with me. We had a great time and far too much to eat. Although there was one point in the meal when it became apparent that the sushi chef did not understand our order or had not taken note of the things we had asked for, so the tide of sushi just came to a halt. And neither Martìn nor I seemed compelled to right the situation by simply speaking up. I finally did. But I realized that this is our chief mutual flaw. This almost ridiculous desire to avoid confrontation. Someday, it will cost me a vital organ. I'm sure of it.

I told Martìn that I felt the confidence of my superiority in the email medium. I made him laugh when I said that I at least am a competent writer and will not send emails that do not acknowledge the difference between "your" and "you're." He thought that was very funny. In fact, we laughed a great deal last night. Almost constantly. It was a rewarding way to spend an evening. To be sure.

It's hard to go to sleep when there are so many reasons to stay up. As much as I love a little rest, I collect it grudgingly. I would prefer to be on the go at all times. Sometimes the stillness is unbearable.

Dec 13, 2001

I was awake to hear the newspaper being delivered. I don't think that's happened since those long magical nights during Present Laughter, when sleep always seemed a tawdry inconvenience compared to the stimulation of friends and would-be lovers. It's not that I haven't been up this late. It's just that I haven't had cause to notice the sound of the paper being dropped on my doorstep. Memories crop up for the unlikeliest of reasons.

But I have to work tomorrow.
Eyes reddened
Tummy empty
Brain full to bursting
I was busily tidying up and unpacking, wearing only my underthings as luck would have it, when Tom called and turned out to be in the neighborhood, so we ended up swapping tales in front of a nice fire and sharing a bottle of wine and just generally having a lovely time. And I'm fine with that.

Dec 12, 2001

I got a strange email from a web site admirer, who described himself as "long in the tooth." Adam said, "Oh, my God. That's even an old person's way of saying, 'I'm old.'" That was hilarious.

I saw Ocean's Eleven tonight with a heap of friends. It's fun to do that. Angela stays for the credits! We truly are spirits kindred. When is someone going to pull off a major heist and do prison time to win my affection?

Dec 11, 2001

Has it really been three months since that awful World Trade Center business? I can't believe the passage of time and life. There have been parts of this year that have just crawled. And there have been other parts that seemed to last longer than usual because they were so wonderful and the moments were worthy of savoring.
Last night, Debbie and I went to the private pre-showing of the Christie's auction. There were a few Chagall originals there, among the Motherwells and the Harings and the Lichtensteins and the Frankenthalers and the Warhols and the Miros. I was covetous. I'm glad I went.

Dec 9, 2001

Hands warm
Belly smooth
Cheeks flush

"Why, Spongebob? Why?"

Well, the second day of MuppetFest was a bust, I guess. An inconceivable amount of weirdness ensued with Kevin, and I saw myself lose my temper, which I really hate to do. It's a shame, because I was really glad we were getting to be friends, and I think this has put an unusually large kink in the fabric of things. It's not that it isn't repairable. It's just that it showed me some things about our personalities. And I think they were probably lessons best learned early. So good for me, then. I suppose.

Martìn was a witness to all of it and did his best to not let me end the night feeling as if I had been a beast of a person. I was grateful for that. And took him to Mr. Cecil's for a nice helping of barbecue and venting. This was also intended to congratulate him on his latest coup: the landing of the job at Disney. After I finally wrested my evening back, Martìn offered to take a raincheck on dinner, but I wouldn't let him. I hugged him and cried a little. Another thing I hate to do. I'm glad of Martìn. He is a fine friend.

We had breakfast at Hugo's on Santa Monica and saw Brian Cox breakfasting before us. He was the principal in Rushmore, as an entry on a very long filmography. I guess that was an interesting thing to note.

The highlight of MuppetFest was the panel session with the puppeteers and their puppets talking and taking questions. I took a handful of photographs before a finger-wagging staff person told me I couldn't just hang out in front of the stage indefinitely, despite the prominent display of my V.I.P. badge. I took comfort in the fact that she soon after told Heather Henson, who was sitting right behind me, that she would have to turn off her video camera. I think that might have been a fair indication that she wasn't entirely tuned in.

I should get back to the living room, where a nice fire still burns in the fireplace, and I can enjoy a little time to think before the week overtakes me again.

Dec 8, 2001

"Newsweek raves, 'Boy-did-we-need-this-film!'"

MuppetFest in the morning. Some fun. Some disappointment. But I'm glad I got to go, and I'm glad I went with someone who knew everyone important. That's always good for the soul. We got shushed in the auditorium during the Creature Shop segment. I felt rude.

Went to see Amélie tonight and even managed to run into Jo, one of my favorite people in all the world. And the movie was its own sort of magic. I adored it. It renewed my appreciation for whimsy and kind, thoughtful gestures, and romantic stratagems.


Chickens, desist!

I was half-awake in bed this morning, taking stock of the fact that this might be the first Saturday morning I have spent here since I moved in. And I was persistently annoyed by the sound of a...chicken? A child pretending to be a chicken? Several children being harassed by chickens? A cat that sounds like a chicken? I can't be sure. I only know that the sound was ghastly, that it went on for ages, and that I was tempted to lean out my window and yell for it to stop. Only I worried that it would turn out to actually be a chicken, and I would have felt foolish.

MuppetFest today!

The Party

Angie was showcasing her work with a bunch of other artists at the Downtown loft of a musician/artist friend of hers called Rick. I went with Andy and Dave after a nice bit of dinner at Spain in their neighborhood. It was exactly my concept of what real parties are. But I had never seen evidence of such things in my own experience. Crowded halls and stairwells of smoking, semi-famous personalities. Mingling. Dancing. A wealth of once-overs.

I met lots of cool folks. Had a few drinks. Ogled the artwork. And called it a night. All in all, it was great fun. I almost wish I hadn't had anywhere else to be in the morning. But that's a dreadful thing to say, when the thing that awaits me is MuppetFest!

Sleep is less rewarding when it can be had.

Dec 6, 2001

"Who drew the pig?"

Sarah's here. We're waiting for it to be time to go to this party. She saw a drawing of Speak (from The Tick animated series) on my mantel, and said, "Who drew the pig?" Speak is a dog, of course. She once referred to Spongebob and Patrick as Penis and Cheese, though. She's not what one might call "up to speed" when it comes to the comic book world. *sigh*

"No time for love, Charlie Brown."

It is a great, gorgeous day today in Hollywood, California, USA. I had a nice lunch with my friend Tom at the Farmer's Market and wished I hadn't had to get back to work. Ever. Unseasonal heat and a bit of sunlight put me in the mood for a nap.

I, as usual, can't believe the passage of time. That it's Christmastime already. That it's been nearly three months since that whole September 11th thing. That it's been a year since any number of things. And my life isn't demarcated the same way anymore. Under ordinary circumstances, I would be dreading the hectic rehearsal and performance schedule of "Traditions of Christmas" down at Copley Symphony Hall. It will be strange to not be ushered through the seasons a show at a time anymore. Those were obligations I had come to depend on.

Sarah will be here tonight. I hope we will have a great, memorable time. Fast parties and fast food are on the agenda. When will a girl get a chance to rest?

"Faaaame, makes a man take things over..."

Crossing the street to my office today, I strolled by a black car with the windows cracked. I could hear David Bowie crooning out the lyrics to Fame, with a little help from John Lennon. It was easy to factor the beat into my walk. I love that song. Although, I can recall -- as a young Duranie -- that I once found it intolerably slow, having only heard Duran Duran's silly disco cover version of it. I think that may have been before I discovered the importance of FUNK.

Dec 5, 2001

"That NEVER happens in L.A.!"

I walked to Briazz for lunch today. It's cold and windy, but the sun was out, and I'm wearing black. I had half a sandwich and tried to eat some soup, but the wind was making it splash all over the place, so I gave up and just wrote in my little notebook for a while. I was sitting at a table beside a group of elderly gentlemen, quizzing each other on classic film trivia and tossing out vaudevillian one-liners in Eastern Seaboard accents.

Then, I started heading back to the office, and a black SUV pulled around behind me at a crosswalk and honked, and I heard the driver say, "Excuse me," a couple of times before turning around to see my cousin Patrick at the wheel. We caught up briefly there on the sidewalk. He works close by, lives close by. We exchanged business cards and hugs. And then I headed back to the office. It felt like a New York City moment.

Dec 3, 2001

Boba drinks and meaningful conversation

Went out for Japanese food with Jo tonight. And she introduced me to these Snowbubble drinks -- essentially milky, slushy smoothies with tapioca pearls in them. Yum!

Jo really motivates me. God bless her for that. She makes me feel like doing more. No matter how much I may already be doing at the time.

It's raining again.

Rain in Los Angeles is like syrup on pancakes. And of course it's nothing like that at all. But the rain washes all the haze and smog away, leaving a few days of brilliant blue skies in its wake. I look forward to that.

There are other things this means. Surely. It's raining again. For me. In many ways.