Friday night, a small group of us went to see a show at the world-famous Groundlings Theatre, despite Sara’s warnings that the group was more concerned with getting on Saturday Night Live than with writing quality comedy. And, for the most part, she was right, but I just wanted to go out and do something instead of sitting in and drinking mudslides again.
So, the group we went to see was a sketch group called, “The Completely Different Late Show.” I have to say that I was, on the whole, unimpressed, but much of the show was entertaining. And they did have two or three sketches that were quite good, and one character who was funny, but in sketch with a really unsatisfying ending. I think Saturday Night Live has made a lot of modern sketch comedians more obsessed with trying to make the Next Great Recurring Character than writing sketches with beginnings, middles and ends. Bastards!
But now I’m thinking about it … Slow Children At Play is one of, if not my favorite, thing about being at Boston University. When I move out here next year (yikes), I think I’d really like to keep some sort of sketch comedy thing going on the side. If I can’t find anyone out here when I graduate, maybe I’ll just store up ideas until other SlowKids start graduating. Because man, if the jokers I saw can make an audience laugh and get paid doing it, then we can fucking clean house.
And speaking of swears, have you ever heard a song on the radio that you really liked, then went out and downloaded / bought it to find that same song you liked had an additional expletive in there that really ruins the song? That little rest where the swear goes usually gives songs a little off-beat rhythmical boost that I tend to dig a lot, and putting the swear back in usually makes me feel like I’ve been duped … and that just ain’t cool.
This most recently happened with the Nirvana soundalikes Puddle Of Mudd, whose song “She Hates Me,” I was embarrassed to find myself liking. Downloaded the song, and now it’s “she fucking hates me,” which not only ruins the rhythm I liked, but also makes the song sound immature. Flashback a few years – The Lo-Fidelity Allstars’ “Battleflag” had this awesome beat and a nifty little voice-looping effect that sounded great with the drum machines in the song. I downloaded the song only to hear “fuck,” repeated ad nauseum with little impact. Ruined the whole damn song!
Has anyone else had this experience, or am I just nitpicky and insane?
posted at 7:07 PM
Wednesday, September 25, 2002
Two Things That Rule, Concerning A Single Person
I saw Don Rickles today. Don freakin' Rickles. He sort of pushed me out of the way when he was getting out of an elevator. It ruled.
But the best part was, no one really knew what he was doing in the office. It's like he just wanders around being grumpy or something.
That rules, too.
posted at 10:00 PM
Sunday, September 22, 2002
Top Six Reasons Why I Will Be Broke As Soon As I Get Back To Connecticut
6. Metroid Prime 5. Phantasy Star Online 4. Malcolm In The Middle Season One DVD 3. The Simpsons Season Two DVD 2. Starfox Adventures 1. SimCity 4
posted at 4:39 PM
Site And Other Updates
I've posted a bunch of pictures from the Getty Center in the Photos section of the site. These are mainly for Shayna, because we're both architecture nerds, but I think everyone can enjoy a nice-looking building. Hopefully, I'll post more California-centric pictures at a later date. Digital cameras freakin' rule!
In other, non-visual news, I have not been able to get the OKGO CD out of my head for like a week now. I freakin' wake up humming their songs. That's ridiculous. You should go pick up their CD now. NOW!!!
And now I will be off, to listen to the OKGO CD again, and try to work on a Pantomime Horse on my LAExperience so far. Don't forget to root for "Malcolm" at the Emmys tonight!
posted at 2:00 PM
Saturday, September 21, 2002
The Sleazy Art Of Networking
Last night, a few of us went to the Hollywood Bowl to see the L.A. Philharmonic perform music from Oscar-winning films over the past 75 years. It was very classy, and very cool, and I got to see this middle aged woman, completely trashed on wine, with smeared makeup swerving down the staircase toward the parking lot. Rich drunk people rule.
The title of this entry comes from one of the other students in the program, who shall henceforth be known with the abbreviation "UB." During the BU alum reception held before the concert, UB was walking around from table to table, being his usual obnoxious self. Now, I don't think there's anything wrong with networking, per se, but this asshole actually made up business cards for himself, for a business that doesn't exist ... and he doesn't think there's anything wrong with this. Earlier in the trip, he proudly announced to some of us that he was an athiest, yet was going to synagogue to network. What a fucking asshole, no?
Today, continuing my wish to be a well-cultured socialite, I went to the Getty Center in Westwood. The art was so-so (but James Ensor's "Christ's Entry Into Brussels, 1889" was amazing), but the real attraction of the museum was the building itself. This was honestly one of the most impressive, beautiful buildings I've ever seen. Words cannot do this place justice ... hence, I will be posting some pictures soon, because I have a digital camera now and can take pictures without having to pay for development.
Oh, and on drive home, I saw Al Franken walking down the street with a bunch of similarly-dressed people in Beverly Hills. Hell yeah.
posted at 10:22 PM
Wednesday, September 18, 2002
The Fine Art Of Networking
Have you seen the show "Curb Your Enthusiasm" yet? Chances are, if you go to BU, you haven't. Because BU decided that watching an amazing television comedy would be a waste of time better spent following "academic" pursuits. Even if your major is freakin' television.
Anyway, the show is really incredible. Very funny and very clever. All around impressive. I even heard some of the writers at "Malcolm" talking about how much they liked it, which immediately made me think I should try writing a spec script for "Curb Your Enthusiasm" to try to get a job on "Malcolm" later on. Plus, I'm betting a lot of people don't write spec scripts for that show.
Anyhoo, I began my search this week to try to find a sample script of the show, so I could get the formatting down. Unfortunately, I couldn't find them anywhere. Then I looked at our syllibus for the BU alumni lecture series and noticed that our speaker this evening was Jay Roewe, Vice President of Production at HBO.
"Awesome," I thought.
So, after his lecture, which wasn't really that interesting, I waited around and spoke with him for a little while, telling him how much I was impressed by the show, and that I was having trouble finding sample scripts for it. He gave me a phone number and said he'd pull some strings for me.
So now I know the VP of Production at HBO. And he knows I can take initiative, or something like that. Maybe this will go somewhere, too? We'll see. In the meantime, I'll keep complaining about how BU won't let us have cable television. Bastards.
posted at 11:03 PM
Tuesday, September 17, 2002
On my way back from the Beverly Hills Best Buy (it's the closest one, and it took me 45 minutes to get to), traffic was literally stopped on Rodeo Drive. People were in their shiny new Lexuses (Lexis?) and Infinitis, yelling on cell phones and gesticulating wildly in anger. Some of them even got out of their cars to try to see what was going on. And I think the guy driving the black Range Rover behind me was Keifer Sutherland ... but that can't be confirmed at press time.
Anyway ... I got out to see what was going on, and all of a sudden, this guy in a suit runs down these stairs and leaps into a speeding BMW convertible, which then skidded out and peeled away. Then a loud horn sounded and all these film crew people came crawling out of all these hidden places.
Now, that's what I like to call movie magic.
Or a robbery. I'm not really sure yet.
posted at 4:52 PM
Sunday, September 15, 2002
I'm A Wanderer. I Go A'Wandering.
In Boston, every once in a while, I like to just walk into the city, aimless and directionless, just to see what's going on around me. In Boston, this is really easy, because whenever you're tired of walking, you can just hop onto a T stop and ride home. In L.A., which lacks both a dependable transit system and a walkable downtown area, this is a bit more difficult -- until, that is, we got a car.
Recognizing that today was a nice, smogless day, and that I also wanted to put off doing any schoolwork, I just hopped in the car and drove west into Beverly Hills, before turning around and driving east into downtown L.A., just so I could locate some places I'd like to see later on (the MOCA, for instance). The drive was nice, but fairly uneventful, except for when I drove by Dave Grohl and his Foo Fighters posing for some publicity photos near a hotel.
Famous people, everywhere!
posted at 5:21 PM
When Insane People Get Money
So last week at my internship, people were coming in for auditions for an upcoming part on "Malcolm." A few people were paraded past me, with little or no fanfare. Then this one guy walks past, and all I can think is ... "Is that? Is it really? It's Donkey Lips!"
Yes, Donkey Lips, from the beloved Nickelodeon series "Salute Your Shorts," was auditioning in the office I work at. I don't know if he got the part or not, but it was nice enough for me to know he was still doing all right.
Later on in the week, after getting some screenwriting tips from some of the nicer writers (They ALL hate coming up with Francis plots), I met one of the production managers, who bought be coffee and invited me down to the set to watch them film a few scenes. Of course, I went with, and was eventually asked to do a favor for him.
I sat in as a script supervisor, which means I sat in one of those folding canvas chairs next to Linwood Boomer and the director and took notes on takes and scenes, based on Linwood's reactions, additions and critiques. He introduced himself to me, and was really nice ... and I probably learned more about production from the 90 minutes just watching him do his job than I have in three and a half years at B.U. The man's a fucking genius. I'm just hoping people took notice that I stayed five hours longer than I had to, helping out in areas that were not in my job description.
Today, I went to Griffith Park with Aimee and her roommates. When we reached the Griffith Park Observatory, near the top of Mount Hollywood, our rental car promptly crapped out, spewing coolant and steam everywhere. We eventually got a new rental car out of it, probably just because Pricele$$ is just completely sick of dealing with me and Aimee on a near-daily basis. It's a much nicer, much smaller, much peppier Ford Aspire. And I love driving it.
And on the drive home, we passed this monstrosity, which I absolutely had to take a picture of. Apparently, when insane people get a hold of money, they make their houses look like bad Sims mansions. Seriously, check this out. It's worth it.
Three bands worth checking out: 1). OKGO, whose debut CD comes out this Tuesday. 2). Pinataland, who don't have a record deal, but are very good nonetheless. 3). Atmosphere, a RAP CD (!!!) that I bought for my brother in Boston and ended up loving, myself.
And, just in case you were wondering if L.A. was having a negative effect on me, witness this conversation between me and Christinia tonight: Me: Christinia, check this out. I'm driving in L.A., talking on a cell phone, weaving in and out of traffic with Thai food in the passenger seat. And I'm on my way home to read scripts. Christinia: Are you wearing any black? Me: Um ... my sweatshirt is black. Christinia: Awesome.
posted at 12:36 AM
Thursday, September 12, 2002
My Job Rules
My job at "Malcolm In The Middle" is incredible.
Yes, I'm an Intern. Yes, I am the lowest on the rung of employees. Yes, my major duties consist of making coffee and answering phones. Yes, I work for free. But this is the first job (second if you count my stint as a Teaching Assistant) where I've actually been excited to go to work. There is something about riding in Linwood Boomer's golf cart past dozens of TV productions being filmed that makes it impossible not to smile.
It's so awesome.
Famous People I Have Seen: Bob Barker Rod Roddy Orlando Jones Jim Belushi Frankie Muniz Justin Berfield Erik Per Sullivan (who acts just like an 11-year old boy should, and is therefore awesome) Cindy Crawford (who is really, really thin, and also sucks for guest starring on "According To Jim.")
Industry Gossip That I Am Cool For Knowing 1). Everyone on the CBS lot HATES "According To Jim." 2). The first season of "Malcolm" will be coming out on DVD soon. 3). Also coming out on an ***8 DVD SET*** will be the entire run of "The Family Guy." 4). The new John Ritter show, "8 Simple Rules For Dating My Teenage Daughter," which ABC is betting a lot on for saving their schedule, was recently put on a two week hiatus because "the executive producer was appalled at how terrible the scripts were."
Hollywood has sucked me in. Let us all rejoice.
posted at 10:25 PM
Tuesday, September 10, 2002
Words Of Wisdom From An Old SlowKids Sketch
OK, seriously ... when is Boston University going to be rid of this maniac? Not only is he an intolerant asshole, but now that he's re-assumed his role as "acting President," he finds a way to completely overstep his boundaries and disband a group simply because his bizzare, illogical mind tells him it supports underage sex?
This is the same man who called students "psychopaths," and is trying to INCREASE class size at B.U. because he thinks teachers who teach small classes are lazy.
Once again, the SlowKids were right. John Silber is a dick.
I think cars and pedestrians have a mutual respect for each other here in Los Angeles. Unlike Boston, where the two parties in question are more often engaged in a deadlocked battle – a terrifying game of chicken to see which one can stay in the street the longest – here people will actually wait until their crosswalk sign is telling them to walk. The cars, if confronted with a pedestrian walking in a crosswalk, will stop – even if they have a green light.
I have three possible theories for this. The first is that because just about everyone in the city owns and drives an automobile everywhere they go, they are genuinely dumbfounded and shocked when they see someone who’s actually walking somewhere. Nine out of ten times, that person will be me. Much in the same way people will stop to look at a car accident on the side of the road, the motorists are compelled to stop, mouths agape in a mixture of wonder and horror, unbelieving that someone is walking two blocks instead of driving.
Second, there could be a genuine sympathy for people using bipedal modes of transportation. And, like you’ll give a crying child whatever kind of candy he wants just because you don’t want to be heartbroken anymore, drivers stop to allow the pedestrians to carry on their merry ways.
Third, drivers could just be afraid that these walking people are a). famous b). rich c). lawyers d). all of the above, and that hitting them would ensnare the driver in an arduous lawsuit, but the jury’s still out on these theories. Ha! Get it? Jury!
Anyway, Aimee and I just rented a car together, so now I will have the Los Angeles point of view from both sides of the sidewalk. Do I smell a senior thesis here? No, because B.U. doesn't have senior theses for Television students.
And in case you were wondering, the reason we both had to rent a car is because we both got internships at the Writing Department of "Malcolm In The Middle." So far, I've had unbelievable luck on this trip. Let's hope it continues.
On another note, some old guy in the elevator today turned to me and slowly said, “Your hair color is reminiscent of that Dell salesmen’s.” I’ve been told I look like that Dell guy before, but never so eloquently or so oddly.
posted at 10:21 AM
Thursday, September 05, 2002
Big News ... With More Big News To Follow
1). Yes, the rumors are true. I was on "The Price Is Right." I will devote a whole post to that once I'm done writing a suitable entry.
2). I've gotten lost in L.A. twice in the last two days, in the very small area surrounding the Park La Brea complex.
3). I have blisters on my feet from walking so much. I don't even remember the last time I had blisters.
4). I started running again today, reconfirming that I am seriously out of shape.
5). Tomorrow, I have an interview with the Writing Department for "Malcolm In The Middle." Wish me luck. This is my dream job.
posted at 11:06 PM
Wednesday, September 04, 2002
No Crazy Lynchian Lesbians, Though
Today being Labor Day, and also being about a hundred degrees outside, we decided to forgo a trip to the Santa Monica pier to instead drive around with Aimee’s friend Hiko, who recently graduated Boston University and is now working two jobs in the TV industry (there’s hope!). He was quite nice, and gave us a mini tour, and was sure to stop at the world-renowned Jamba Juice. The smoothies being excellent, we continued on a drive up through West Hollywood and onto Mulholland Drive. The views from Mulholland were spectacular, and we got a panoramic view of Los Angeles, Burbank and Studio City, and the rest of the urban sprawl, which extends pretty much in every direction, in every place where there isn’t a mountain. I expected to be able to see the coastline from the Hollywood Mountains, but was still surprised that all I could see were buildings and smog. Oh well.
posted at 6:01 PM
The Friendly, The Comedy, The Smoothie
More walking today … back to the Big K Mart, which is always crowded, and the Whole Foods Market, which is always filled with people who look as skinny as I do. Picked up some Pinot Grigio, a corkscrew, some glasses and a blender – all of which will most likely be used within the next few days … The Smoothie will make a triumphant comeback to the West Coast. Where it will live in infamy. Ah yes, infamy.
I also made a 20 minute phone call to Sara, where she offered to hook me up with some of her old Gag Reflex buddies. She also recommended the comedy club “Improv Olympics” to me when I said I was interested in going to see the Groundlings, which she said Aaron said was now filled with people who were just trying to break into acting, and not necessarily were funny or talented. Oh well. See what happens when people realize something is cool? They ruin it. For everyone. Bastards!
People in L.A., I’ve noticed, are extremely friendly, and will talk to you without any cause or provocation. Yesterday, I had small conversations with both the cashiers at K Mart and the Whole Foods store. And today, someone just started talking to me on the street near The Grove outdoor mall. While I was wearing headphones! People in New England would never, ever, ever do that to anyone … not even to people they know well. I can kind of see the advantages of both systems of street behavior, but I’m not sure which one I like better. Although I can definitely say that the weather here in California has been wonderful … while it’s probably already cold, gray, rainy and windy in Boston. Suckas!
posted at 6:00 PM
So last night I actually did a bit of traveling around in this Park La Brea area, and found that a lot of it is pretty nice. Bhatt took me to the grocery store in his car, which was quite nice … but the merchandise was really expensive, and the store, obviously, was crowded. Later on, I walked down the street to the Farmers’ Market and Whole Food Stores, which were both very nice and moderately priced, taking only about 15 minutes to get to.
We went back to the Grove mall-type thingie later, and saw a movie (Adult Price - $9.75, but the theatre itself was really nice. Reminded me of a sort of 1920s movie palace). We also ate at the Cat & Fiddle Pub, which not only had delicious vegetarian shepherd’s pie (!), but is also apparently a comedy star hotspot. Surprisingly, this city has a very large British expatriate population, and I’ve seen a lot of British pubs all around the area.
At the Farmers’ Market, later, I had some Cabernet Sauvignon Sorbet. Delicious! And it really tasted like wine!
Actually, as much as I really didn’t like the city when I first got here, I’m finding that the more time I spend actually just walking or driving around, the more and more I like it. We’ll see how this goes. I’m going to try to keep a positive attitude … and I just moved most of my clothes in to the “Small Room,” just because I’m sick of living out of a suitcase.
posted at 5:59 PM
Calling On In Transit
So far, this move to Los Angeles has been spotty, at best.
My flight was absolutely terrible. On the day I left in Connecticut, not only was it like 45 degrees cold, but it was also nonstop raining, which does not make for easy trips hauling suitcases to the car. My plane flying out of Hartford was a tiny “ExpressJet,” which was basically akin to flying on a pencil. And on this pencil, sitting right next to me, was a giant woman. Who snored. On a freakin’ two hour flight.
I did get a window seat, though, which allowed me to view all the interesting geographical phenomena that run rampant from Central Connecticut through Ohio. Like the rural areas of Western Pennsylvania and Ohio, which look so boring and terrible. It’s all straight roads meeting at exact right angles. And these roads just go on forever. Also, the forests in the area are forced into these tiny geometric patterns wherever a road or farming field takes precedence. It’s like this bizarre, incomplete sylvan jigsaw puzzle. Oh, and whatever river it is that tries to snake its way through the city of Cleveland is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen. It’s completely cemented in, trying desperately to just get to Lake Erie to end it all, and this river is not blue, nor a respectable muddy brown, but gray. It’s a freaking gray river.
Cleveland also sucks because I got stuck there because there were “holes on the runway.” Holes on the fucking runway? What the hell is that about? Well, we’re still not sure, but it did force me to stay seated on the plane for three hours, sitting on the runway and extremely hungry. Even worse was the fact that I was sitting in front of these emo/indie rock/moron girls who were going to study abroad in Sydney for some shitty program somewhere. I first knew this was going to be a problem when, after the captain announced that we would possibly be dumping some fuel, allowing us to lighten our load and use a shorter runway, then stopping for a refuel in Kansas City, I heard the following exchange behind me: Girl1: Why do we have to use another runway? Can’t they just go AROUND the holes? Girl2: I don’t knooooooow. Girl1: And why do we have to stop in Kansas? That is like, so far out of the way! Girl2: I don’t know. Maybe, we’re like, too heavy or something, and we have to leave some stuff here and then get it somehow in Kansas. Girl1: I still think we should just go around.
Also, when we were flying over something that may have been the Grand Canyon, or may not have been but was certainly a Quite Large And Awe-Inspiring Canyon Of Some Sort, the following exchange took place. And, believe me, I embellish a lot of things for the sake of decent storytelling and a quick chuckle, but both of these dialogues were taken absolutely verbatim. Girl1: Do you think that’s a road down there in that little valley? Girl2: It looks like it. It’s so twisty, though … why didn’t they just make it straight?
Because it’s a fucking river, you moron. It pains me to know that people this dumb can graduate our American high school system and enter an institute of higher learning somewhere. What pains me even more to know is that these people are being sent to a foreign country where they will be viewed as an example of all Americans. Yikes.
So I landed in LAX three hours late, missing the welcoming dinner where we met all our professors and saw what might be going on later. Then there was an accident in some tunnel somewhere that made me even more delayed in getting out of the airport. Then the guy who was driving my shuttle didn’t know where my address was. Thankfully, I made it there just as one of my roommates was walking in to the building. We moved in, and all my roommates seem very nice, but right now, we’re in the middle of some ridiculous battle over the so-called “Good Bedroom.” I don’t care, either way, but this battle has prevented me from unpacking any of my belongings, which bothers me, indeed.
This city, so far, is not like any other city I’ve been to. New York, Boston, Chicago and London are all cities with very compact central areas that are either easily walkable or have well-developed mass transit systems that makes having a car either optional or actually detrimental (Boston). Here in the West, though, city planners weren’t limited by the size of an island, peninsula or flood plain, and just kind of stretched their arms out as far as possible. Also, Angelinos have a long history of really loving their cars. I guess the first freeways were built out here, thus making the trolley cars’ purpose completely obsolete.
The net result of this is that the city, itself, is much, much larger than anything I could have imagined. On all the maps I’d looked at before I moved out, I kind of measured distance by blocks, assuming (incorrectly) that a city block is a city block is a city block, measurement-wise. Unfortunately, when I got here, I realized that very little of what I was excited about being able to walk to was actually within walking distance. And, with the lack of a decent public transit system, this leaves me needing a car. And then everyone wonders why they have so much smog. Damn this city! Damn it to hell!