Tuesday, March 29, 2005

sometimes this city finds a way to make me love it

Last night. 9pm. MP's living room. "You want to go listen to some blues?" I was wearing my official unemployment uniform: jeans, tank, sandals, pleather jacket, ponytail, not a stitch of makeup. Lyle Lovett was crooning on the stereo. "Hmm....live?" "Yeah. It's like an open mic night. People just get up and play together on stage." "I'm in......I'll give you 10 bucks to get up there and sing." "No deal."
So there we are in MP's Jeep cruising down the 10 Fwy blasting the country and singing along. She exits and heads south. south. south. "My god woman! Haven't you seen Boyz 'N the Hood?!?" We parked on Crenshaw and 43rd. The country music was still blaring when she cut the engine.
After walking around the block looking up at all the numbers on the buildings, we finally find our destination. Music spills out onto the street. We step inside a small dark room - there's a blue spangled curtain in the corner marking the stage. Round tables. Hushed voices. A red candle on each of the tables illuminates faces in the crowd. They offer white zinfandel in a tiny bottle - an individual serving of wine - I order two.
First of all, I must say the music is amazing. I cannot believe that this is open mic. Musicians step up on stage, shake each other's hands, call out a key and just play. After about 20 minutes, an entirely new set of strangers takes the stage and they make it up as they go along. drum. bass. lead guitar. sax. harmonica. mandolin. the vocalists are amazing.
Soon, an elderly couple stands and the entire first row of tables is moved back to allow room for them to dance. They are hunched over, barely able to shake their hips, but they have a practiced routine. From the looks of it, these two have been dancing together for at least 50 years. His hands are shaking, but he holds her as tight as he can. It is so beautiful.
Then all of a sudden, the house lights go on and MP is snatched up from her chair and pushed over to a long table in the corner. I didn't know what was happening as it seemed like the entire room stood up and ran over to that corner at the same time. When I caught a glimpse of MP, she was laughing with the sax player and carrying a big ol' plate of something. My god, food! I shit you not. Everybody in the whole damn place got in line for a family style meal at 11:30pm. For FREE. Well, there was an $8 cover at the door, but I assumed that was for the live blues.
green beans. collard greens. blackeyed peas. potato salad. fried cornbread. bbq sausage and fried chicken. I tried to just get some cornbread and potato salad, but a large man grabbed my plate from me. He pointed to the blackeyed peas. I shook my head. He sort of pushed me into the peas. I muttered, "Yes, sir." He smiled. By the time I sat down, I had blackeyed peas, collard greens, potato salad, cornbread and a piece of fried chicken on my plate. Damn, those peas were good. seriously.
After the meal is done and the lights go back down, there is an introduction from the stage. "Everybody put your hands together for Miss Mickey!" The crowd goes wild. She must be a regular. The music starts. I see no Miss Mickey. After a few bars, this voice comes booming out from behind the bar. Miss Mickey is about 85 years old. She is a short stocky woman wearing an oversized red sweatshirt with the word FLIRT embroidered on it. She has two teeth and one powerful set of lungs. This woman needs no microphone. And she is unbelievably talented. The kind of blues vocals that makes you want to close your eyes and hum along. Her version of "At Last" was stunning. Miss Mickey has one of the best singing voices I have heard in a very long time. I asked a regular at the next table about her. She gave me her full name so I looked her up when I got home - "...discovered in Los Angeles by the great bandleader Johnny Otis and went on to work with such performers as T-Bone Walker, Little Esther Phillips, Roy Milton, Billy Holliday, and many more." My god. The owner of the club shook each and every one of our hands as we exited. The man who force-fed me blackeyed peas called out to us, "Y'all come back now. We'll look for you next time."

Sometimes this city finds a way to make me love it. It's true. I love LA today.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Let the Meat Tour begin

Ever since T$ opted out of the vegetarian lifestyle, we've had a few key meat-loving experiences on our list of things to do. Last night at 2:30 in the morning, we finally crossed one off the list. If you live in Los Angeles, you MUST go to PINK's. At least once.
I don't know how the subject of hot dogs actually came up. JH, T$ and I were sitting around a table in the little attic room at the Red Lion. A raucous crowd was singing in the corner. In German. Or Swedish. We don't know, but the whole experience reminded T$ of being in an Eastern European youth hostel. For a moment, we pretended we were on holiday in Prague. Then our minds turned to sausage. And to a late night visit to PINK's. "You mean you haven't been there?" T$ and I had not. I've been living here for over eight years, seven of which on the east side - no PINK's. I blame part of this on the fact that I had an out-of-body experience for most of my early twenties that resulted in my being a hermit for many years and part of the blame lies with the Del Taco on Los Feliz Blvd that is just so damned convenient and has a 24 hour drive-thru.
My god, the line. We roll up to the best little hot dog stand on La Brea. And. The. Line. Is. Enormous. There are stanchions and chains - like we're waiting to get on Space Mountain or something. The upside to that long of a line is the time you get to stare at the menu. Two hot dogs wrapped in a burrito with bacon, pastrami, swiss cheese, tomatoes and sauerkraut. My god. The choices. I settle on "The Mulholland Drive" - 10 inch hot dog with grilled onions, mushrooms, nacho cheese and bacon. You have to take this shit seriously if you're going to PINK's. T$ chooses "The Martha Stewart" - 10 inch hot dog with mustard, relish, sauerkraut, bacon and sour cream. Hold the tomatoes. All we keep hearing is, "Ten inches! That's huge."
We order a side of cheese fries as well.
Wow. The sight of those dogs and their toppings made my mouth water. I was immediately jealous of T$'s selection, but she let me take a bite. Man. Both concoctions were goooooood. Oh, we will go back. And wait in that line. And order the 10-inchers again. I may get "The Martha Stewart" next time. With a side of cheese fries.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

To My Beloved DSL,

Where have you gone? Please come back to me. I've been waiting...umm...two days for dial up to download the software I need to make Final Cut Pro work. I have a job to do. Yes. We will quite possibly make rent this month. That is, if the godforsaken QuickTime update ever finishes downloading in time for me to meet my deadline.
In your absence, oh sweet DSL, I have broken the coffee maker and spilled cheese on the living room rug. Had you been here all along, I bet you I'd be done with my work by now and we'd be well on our way to getting hammered up the street. But alas, the backslide into a tumultuous relationship with my ex-boyfriend dial up has begun......I hope you're happy.

P.S. - I'll still dream about you when I'm sleeping.

Monday, March 21, 2005

An Afternoon in Los Feliz

Dear Guy who works at the Gas Company office on Hillhurst:
Why are you so pleasant? Every time I visit you (which is A LOT since I have a prejudice against stamps and you guys have a prejudice against my bank), you have a big ol' smile on your face. You make being delinquent fun again.

Dear Guy in the white pick-up truck in front of me:
Stop looking at the underage girls in miniskirts outside the high school and just DRIVE. They are not interested - you've got at least 20 years on them.

Dear Traffic Light at St George and Griffith Park:
I fucking hate you. Why did you have to steal the four-way-stop's thunder?

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Porn. Porn. Porn.

Oh.

My.

God.

I just got back from a bar in hollywood. Let me just tell you - nineteen twenties porn. I shit you not. Everyone was dressed in their best 1920s costume - which I can appreciate - I wore a vintage flapper dress to my prom in 1992 - but seriously, I was not prepared for what was displayed on all walls of this tiny bar. PORN. 1920s style. Seriously. BLOW JOBS. Men in knickers getting blowjobs. And let me tell you, no one knew what a razor was for.......I will never be the same. I will certainly go back.

UPDATE - SATURDAY MORNING
Wow. My drunken rant last night doesn't do it justice. Let me explain....
So I walk into this tiny little hole in the wall pub on Santa Monica Blvd. Immediately, I like this place. The sound of a player piano. The bartender's wearing a wife-beater, pinstriped pants and suspenders. Girls are frolicking on the dance floor with large feathers or other hats on their heads. Everyone's doing the Charleston. I order an overpriced margarita and choke it down. I should not have ordered a drink at all since the couple I already had at the Drawing Room were effective enough. I look around at the crowd. It's then that I notice. There are movie screens on the walls. But each screen is showing the same film. Clearly not projected 8mm or 16mm film, but it looks like an old movie. Hmmm. Then, the pants come off. I never knew there was porn in the 20s. Tamara said she'd do a little research. For the rest of the evening, it was hard to concentrate on a conversation, what with all the jiggling asses and stuff on the walls. Right about the time I felt like I was going to throw up my Benito's fish taco, we went home.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Look! My Eyes are Smiling! Really!

It's St. Patrick's Day!!!! Why am I not drunk?

I am wearing a green shirt, but that's purely coincidental. My celebration of the day that somehow validates my freckles and pure-as-the-driven-snow complexion has waned over the years. If this were 1994, I'd be sucking on the end of a four foot tall glass vial filled with green beer. Walking around with a green beer moustache into the wee hours of the morning. Doing shots of Jagermeister because that's close enough to Irish, right?

Alas, I'm sipping Starbucks coffee in front of my computer. My, how the mighty have fallen.


UPDATE -
Why is blogger so slow today? In the immortal words of someoneT$ knows, "It makes me want to KILL myself!" Also, what is the 666 number next to our blogsite? I thought it was the number of posts, but it hasn't changed in weeks. Could we be the blog of the devil? That would be just perfect.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Hey! It's Waller's (actual) Birthday!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY WALLER

I want to personally thank you for calling me your "forty year old friend" for all of these years. In the attempt to make me feel like an old maid, you forgot that you are only...let's see...4 months and 4 days younger than me. I do not know how you kept that under wraps for such a long time. I met you in...what.. early 2000? I was a mere 25 and you were...um....24 and 10 months. But it wasn't me who was pointing and laughing at every single one of our new classmates at grad school, was it? No, that was you. I wish I remembered what you said instead of just remembering what the person next to me smelled like. I don't mean you, Waller. I mean the person sitting on the other side of me in the bleachers. On Carson Sound Stage. Right after we walked under those dumb arches and said something for the camera like, "I'm Allison from New Jersey" just so the powers that be could have something to sell on ebay once we all become famous-er than our wildest dreams. I said famous-er. That's right. I liked it when you'd camp out on our living room floor. Will you ever do that again? It felt like summer camp. Then, you'd call and say something like, "Hey. I'm picking up some Baja Fresh. Would you like me to bring you some?" and I could all pretend that you were my pseudo boyfriend. I said pseudo boyfriend. That's the kind of boyfriend you have without the sex. Oh. My. So how about for your birthday...just to make it extra special....Mels and I will come over and sit down on the seat? I know that will make you happy. T$ and I are cooking up a VSS for you, but you will have to be patient. That's a Very Special Surprise, not an STD.

P.S. - My dad said to make sure that I wished you a Happy Birthday from him. I'm serious. He remembers every detail of that conversation you had with him at El Chollo. I'm still carrying around mystery novels in the trunk of my car that he made me promise to give to you. My entire family loves you. If I hear one more time just how great that Waller is or how I should definitely be dating Waller, I will scream.

I love you Waller! Have a very Happy Birthday!

A dash of adulthood

After a weekend of excess, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself enjoying a home cooked meal accompanied by intelligent conversation with good friends last night. I went up to NoHo to visit JB and JQ. And let me tell you, they are quite the hosts. Red wine. Sharing and Caring. Angel Hair pasta. Salad. Placemats. Crescent rolls. A big difference from the 3am pitstop at the Del Taco drive-thru on Saturday night.

I love JQ. Now, I've always loved JB. He and I fought in the trenches together. I spent the better part of three years driving him nuts and stealing time away from his new bride. But that JQ. There's something very wise, very true about her. The kind of person you can share all your secrets with.

Thanks JQ and JB. Thanks for a lovely evening.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

allieplusopenbarequalstrouble

Dear DP,
I'm sorry that I bit you. I haven't done that since college. Back then, it was a loving gesture between friends -comparable to the nuzzle or a peck on the side of the neck. I really thought I outgrew biting years ago, so for your own good please discourage me in the future if I challenge you to a kegstand or request to shoot the boot. Again, I am truly sorry and hope that I didn't leave a mark. I know sometimes those bitches can hurt.

Dear guy that Ands made me pose with for a polaroid picture,
I distinctly remember Waller urging us to pretend we knew each other. What can I say...I'm not an actress, but I will ham it up for one of Ands' polaroids (exhibit A: Halloween 2004). I'm sorry if I gave you the wrong idea. I don't even know your name.

Dear JS,
I held your face and kissed you. Chastely. In front of other people. Because somebody ought to. I'm not even going to pretend that I'm sorry about that.
P.S. - You have really soft lips. Keep doing whatever maintenance you're doing.

Fast Times at Hotel Figueroa

My head is still a bit cloudy - actual coverage of Waller's Super Sweet Birthday Party to come after more sleep. Little chairs. Tons of polaroids. Quiet conversations on the couch. Louder conversations by the pool. Birthday boy pays his respect to the throne. Fishnets. Shots with Cats that never came to be. San Diego marathon...wha?!? Sweet drinks. Jennie's belly.

Thanks Ands. We had a great time. Let us get you back with another sordid adventure next weekend.....

Saturday, March 12, 2005

3 weeks ahead of the curve

Dammmit. T$ and I went to the mall. I love the mall - blame it on my Jersey roots. T$ and the mall have a 2 hour expiration date, so we tend to race through stores when we shop together. In the blur of Rampage, Black Market, Arden B and Nordstom's, it was abundantly clear that we were 3 weeks ahead of the fashion curve. You see, one Saturday upon a time we went to these very same stores in search of a shrug or a caplet to top off T$'s award show dress. We searched and searched - asked every sales person we saw. No dice. But TODAY - shrugs a plenty, caplets crammed down our throats! Bitches.

BTW - I bought nothing but combo #2 at McDonalds. That's all $4.34 buys these days.....

$4.34

That's what the ATM told me I have. Bitches. The job, the hours, the Missy Elliott entourage almost killed me. And for what? Four dollars and thirty four cents. I need a new life.
On another note, T$ and I will be hob nobbing with the A-listers at Waller's Super Sweet Birthday Party tonight. I call dibs on all of Ands' single friends. Just don't tell them I'm only worth $4.34. That can be our little secret.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Every once in a while

It doesn't happen much, but every once in a while I am really happy. When the rent's due, the phone is ringing, the mail is piling up and all you want to do is crawl back into your bed of dirty sheets, it's hard to evaluate your current state of mind. My most recent project ended on Tuesday so I've taken the past two days at a markedly slower pace. I walked to the coffee shop yesterday. Sat down with an eggy bagel sandwich at 2 in the afternoon. Sipped my almond flavored cup of joe and read a gay men's magazine. And I loved it. An elderly lady sat down next to me. She had two big bundles from Trader Joe's and she wanted to talk to someone. I spent a half hour with her. She was fascinating. For an afternoon, I loved her. Sometimes LA feels like small town America.
Then there's the boy. I'm not in love. I may not be in like. I'm in curiosity. I'm in exploration. Call it a mutual appreciation - I appreciate his company, he appreciates my dirty text messages. That's fine for this very moment. It may last a day or a week or a month. But there's giggling in the wee hours of the morning and I like the change of pace.
And this song that's playing now. My beloved P brought me some new music today. Slow beautiful ballads with fret changes. Puts me in a mellow mood. Definitely put a smile on my face.
So, I'm amused by life right now. Haven't really felt this way since sometime in college.
When Tamara comes home, I just may have to wrap my arms around her and deliver her a large hug. Usually she doesn't like to be touched, but maybe she won't mind....just this once.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Three Things I Like About Tamara, Part One

Whenever you return from the Sev, you always bring me a Raspberry Snapple. I love Snapple. Thank you.

You take out the trash constantly. And you've been beating me with doing the dishes lately too. Sorry.

You let me borrow things like that thing I called to borrow last night. And you didn't even make fun of me for it. Yet.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

I'm broken

Couldn't find a parking spot at the fancy wrap party we had last night. Drove around for 45 minutes. Burst into tears after getting honked at for the 50th time. Said Fuck it. Went home and totally sober dialed my valentine. Who wants to hang out with hip hop stars anyway.....not me anymore......

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