Thursday, December 22, 2005

Bon jour St. Martin

This time tomorrow I will be sitting on my parent's porch (aka veranda) chilling with the rents and a mojito. There is an amazing but tiny french deli the next village over with the best baguettes. Fresh loaves (still warm) every morning. My brother found it and we would get our wine, cheese and bread from there. Too bad after 8 years of jr/high school and college French, I can't speak it. Since I started taking Italian random French words pop into my head and I can sort of read it. My parents asked me when I'm going to start taking French. I can barely handle intermediate Italian. French is going to have to wait.

I hope this year the local carolers do not show up at 1:00 a.m. Last year my siblings and I were coming home from a very long and good dinner and we saw all these people on the porch wearing Santa hats. My brother said "Isn't it late, what the f**k"? They were singing carols. Badly. All loud and off key. This could be because they were drunk. We were cracking up, basically at every house they have something to drink. I think my dad gave them some guava punch. There are not that many houses in my parents neighborhood, so they know all the carolers. The next night the carolers were back. I didn't think it was possible but they were actually worse and woke up half the house.

Christmas is on a Sunday this year, which means I will be in church at 8:00 a.m. Their United Methodist Church is the minister's first service of the day. I think he goes to Marigot or Philipsburg next. The bells start ringing at 7:30 a.m. If the bells don't wake you the wild roosters in the hills will have you up at the crack of dawn. My grandfather used to have roosters and as kids we really wanted to take them out with some rocks.

My dad rebuilt the house and they don't have any animals but there are some mango and lime trees from when my grandfather lived there. Too bad all the coconut trees were damaged after the last big hurricane to hit St. Martin in '94. My dad has planted some new trees and I think there's a banana tree too.

The day after Christmas is Boxing Day. Not sure why it's celebrated on an island that is French and Dutch. It's a British holiday. Everyone goes to the beach, then to big house parties.

I am going to ask one of my parent's neighbor where are the fun places to go. She is a single French woman and has lived on the island for years. One of my friends is coming down from New York and I'm sure she'll want to go out. I have the beaches and restaurants covered. Don't know the bars that well. Not sure if we are going to take the ferry over to Anguilla. I would like to see some of my cousins but they will probably be at one of the Boxing Day parties in St. Martin.

I am going to get my Type A mom to relax and hang out with us at the beach. It will be tough. Last year I tried to do my own laundry and she yelled at me. She wanted me to take it easy. I did cook dinner a couple of times. However, everytime she would come into the kitchen asking if she could help. The few times I have seen her not working are during church, The McNeil/Lerher (sp) Report and Young and Restless. Not sure if she still watches Bold and the Beautiful. Y&R has been her "story" for years. It was a great day in the Tri-State area when my parents got a VCR. My mom could tape her stories and watch them whenever.

I have to finish cleaning. I am packed. Got my brows done today, mani/pedi and hair twisted yesterday. My hairdresser was almost an hour late, ugh! which made me late for my nail appt. at Jessica's. My twists are really thin so they are kinda curly. Still getting used to them, they really stand out in the land of weaves. After brows, went to the foreign currency counter at the bank to get some Euros. Not looking forward to sitting at LAX for three hours but very excited about tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Tomkat's creepy photo op

http://people.aol.com/people/galleries/0,19884,1141767,00.html


Someone sent the above photo to me. Okay, that just looks weird. Also what 27 year old grown ass woman wants a party at FAO Schwartz? I love the store too but come on! I hope in 2006 we will hear less about them, the tacky Federline's, Jen, Jessica/Nick's split and maybe more about how we are going to pay off the trillion dollar deficit. Or how are we going to pay for re-buidling New Orleans and Iraq without raising taxes. I guess I'm being unrealistic. As long as US, InTouch, The Star, keep selling, we will be bombarded with these stupid cover stories.

Cannot wait to get out of here tomorrow.

Friday, December 16, 2005

voting, christmas

Over 70 percent of Iraqis voted yesterday. This despite threats of violence and very long lines. I think for us it's less than 50 percent. We do take a lot of things for granted here. I hope we will start withdrawing troops soon.
I bet some will come home next summer, right before the mid-term elections.

I told my sister today, it doesn't feel like Christmas at all. There is maybe one house two streets over that has lights on. Maybe in other areas of LA people get into it. I heard Donny Hathaway's This Christmas on my walkman radio at gym this morning (too cold for Runyon) and it threw me for a minute. "wait why are they playing Christmas music?" The only thing really worshiped in the biz is money. I think it's hilarious after The Passion did so well, this most secular part of the USA is trying to reach out to that audience. Hello, America is bigger than west of the 405.

I was watching some Bobby Flay special on the Food Network. It was all about Christmas in NYC. The big star on Fifth Avenue, the store windows, the tree at Rockefeller Center. I miss it. NYC seems more festive. Everyone is out and about, not stuck in traffic on the 101 cursing. You could get your holiday drink on and not worry about driving. I guess if I grew up here, I would be used to the warm weather and weird looking decorations on Wilshire in Beverly Hills.

It will be strange not having the whole family together. I better get used to it. My siblings are married now and have other obligations. It's very expensive to go home to St. Martin during high season. My ticket was $1200 and it take forever to get there from LA.

Since I'm working from home today, I will break out the Christmas music. Got my Nat King Cole, Mariah and some classical stuff like the Nutcraker. I do have Donny Hathaway's single on a CD my former assistant burned for me but have to find it. I need to start labeling these things.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

job, santino, gym and pain

After being in "the industry" for 7 years I'm shocked when people actually follow through on something. Last month my boss told me she would talk to me about my contract, which is not up until January, before the holidays. Lo and behold she did! Yesterday after the office holiday lunch, she told me the partners want to renew for the year. We will keep the same part-time/consultanting structure for now. As the company grows I might come on full time and of course they would pay me more.

This time last year the production company I was running, shut down eventhough our overhead deal with the studio wasn't up for months. We received two weeks severence(after three years of busting my ass, what a joke), no bonus and owner's wife thought it would be great for morale to turn our conference room into a gift wrap room. They should have wrapped the fucking gifts in their guest house. We did't need to see the thousands of dollars they spent while we were cleaning out our desks and worried about paying bills.

Santino, get over yourself. You do not need to win every challenge on Project Runway.

Woke up at 5:30 this morning. Did some work before going to Equinox for my 6:30 bootcamp class. I missed the class the last couple of weeks, could not drag my butt out of bed until 7:00. I am still sore from Tuesday's class. Today, Carlos was not playing. I felt sick at one point. If I'm not in too much pain tomorrow, I am going to hike in Runyon canyon.

Week from today I will be in St. Martin. Cannot freaking wait!!! This time I won't be stressed out about being unemployed.

Friday, December 09, 2005

santino, tyra and jason

Wednesday night was graduation for the girls in our Girls Empowerment Workshop at the Hollywood Boys and Girls club. I will miss them. We had 17 girls in the program and most of us grown ups have not spent that much time with 11-14 year olds since we were that age. The program was great and the girls were amazing.

Not a big reality tv fan but thanks to my friend Nicole, I started watching Project Runway towards the end of the first season. Damn her, now I'm hooked.

Season two started Wednesday. DVF was one of the special judges. Love her clothes. She just opened a store here around the corner from Marc Jacobs. This Santino guy is a trip. His ego is out of control, which of course will make for good TV. I thought his comment about not winning the second challenge was tacky.

I recently saw a couple episodes of Top Model. It's so over the top and takes itself so seriously. Please. I saw Tyra at L'Ermitage last night. Man, that is a big ass weave, lotta hair.

Maybe I should get a blond weave. kidding. With my complexion I would look ridiculous but on the other hand I would probably get more play. Sad.

Speaking of last night, after work went to drinks at Chateau where a very handsome Jason Statham smiled at my friend, then we (my friend not Jason) went to a "people of color"industry mixer at Lobby. Mike Ealy with his fine self was there and we talked for a while. I did not ask him about the Halle/preggers rumors. I thought it would be inappropiate. At 10 there was a private party, so they kick us out. The folks that got there at 9:45 were not happy.

My friend and I went to L'ermitage after. Staying out until 11:30 is a late night for me. I didn't go to the gym this morning but like clockwork, still woke up at 6:00.

I am soooo glad it's Friday. Waiting for the gas company to come over and turn on the furnance pilot so I can't leave.

Monday, December 05, 2005

valet parking, industry parties

I hate using valet parking. Coming from the East coast it's not something I grew up with. In the burbs there was plenty of parking and I sold my car before I moved back into the city. My friends who do have cars in Manhattan only use to them to get out of the city. I spent so much on valets this weekend, I could have bought groceries, books or 2 DVD's. I parked on the street near Yamashiro's Friday night and was told I had to use valet. ugh. So I'm standing at valet watching them retrieve one high end car after another, then they bring out my poor car.

When I got promoted a couple years ago my friends out here told me I needed to get a new car. I was a VP now and shouldn't drive a DOD (director of development) car. Seriously. Thank god I did not lease the BMW I wanted. I would have been screwed when the company I was working for shut down. I am all about keeping my overhead low. My Jetta might be falling apart but it's paid for. I would love to say as a New Yorker I never care about what car I drive. I don't most of the time but I avoid parking at agencies when I have meetings there. God forbid one of the agents I know sees my in my jalopy (sp).

The last two years I cut way back on going to industry parties. I have too much work to do. One of my studio exec friends was on my case, saying if I want to stay in the biz I gotta play the game. I still do lunches and drinks but I don't think after 7 years I should be at every random party. I'd rather spend my limited time with my friends. For my birthday this year I had a small party at a hotel bar, then went back east to see family and friends. Last year I went to Big Sur by myself. The other years did the big 300 people Evite party thing. When you are just starting out it's fun to have and to go to these big d-girl/boy parties. Now who wants to talk business all the time, esp. at birthday party? Plus half the people I started out with have left/been squeezed out of the biz.

Friday went to a female producers/execs holiday party. It was great and I got to see some people I haven't talked to in a while. Yes there are a couple women running studios but this is still a boys club. It's good to have a support system.

Saturday drove out to freaking Canoga Park for another party. The guys and some women were watching the fight and there was amazing Jambaliya (sp). I met up with one of my friends and it was fun to hang out. It was a diverse crowd, industry and a bunch of lawyers. The host was an attorney at a big law firm and now works in biz affairs at a studio. I saw his skiing pictures and told him he was too bougie. :) I had to leave early so I wasn't able to enjoy the gift from the lawyer who showed up with a case of Belvedere. I'm sure I will get the post party wrap up tomorrow.

The reason I had to leave early last night is because of a charity event today. I woke up at 5:30 a.m. to get to the Century Plaza. The Junior League's annual holiday luncheon was today and I had to help set up.

I then went to brunch with 3 friends from Italian class. Era molto divertente (it was very fun). I received a children's picture Italian dictionary and earrings as Christmas gifts. One of my classmates just returned from Florence. She is in love. Her guy seems great. This was her second trip this fall. She's a prosecutor so it's a big deal for her to take time off. Good for her. Earlier this year we were talking about how dating sucks for black women here. My white girlfriends complain too but at least they date/get asked out. My friend had to leave the country. :) Kidding, she was going to a language school in Florence when they met. I'm so glad I signed up for classes. I would have never met two of them. One is an actress but the other two do not work in the business.

At the party last night I saw someone I haven't seen in months. She just started working again. She had quit her production company job and went to school in Spain for 4 months. I told her about my trip to Italy and my plans for next year. She suggested I go for a couple of months instead of weeks, that is the best way to learn the language. I actually need to work so that is not an option right now. I will take her advice and write it down as a goal, maybe 2007.

Speaking of work, I have to finish my weekend read. I told one of my friends last night, 2006 is going to be a great year. We are not going to spend every Friday and Saturday night at home reading scripts. This the second largest city in the country, we should be able to find something to do that is not work related. Another friend, who is not dating anyone now, told me she's going to get married. Ahh the power of positive thinking. I'm taking baby steps, a date would be a step in the right direction.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Thankful

I am so thankful for my family and friends.

Spoke to my parents and sister last night. My brother had already gone to bed. My aunt's funeral was yesterday. It was at the Methodist church in Marigot. My sister said it was packed. There were people from all over the island and from Anguilla. There were announcements with the time and date on the radio.
After the service they walked behind the hearse up the street to the cemetary. I always thought it was such a beautiful traditon and walk, looking on the right at the ocean. That side of the street is shut down and it's very peaceful.

My dad and sister sang before the funeral (it's like a viewing) but my dad had no role at all in the planning of his sister's funeral. Greedy cousin kissed my family then sat down. She didn't say a word to them all day. I was told Greedy counsin's eulogy sucked. It was all about her.

My sister told one of our second cousins that all this drama needs to stop now. She told me Dad was so stressed and tired, he did not go to the reception. It was up the street at my aunt's house.

I spoke to him last night and he said was so glad my siblings came down. He can't wait for me to come home. I feel the same.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Bad news from St. Martin

One of the most stubborn, fiercest, glamourous, vain, charming, pain in the butt, generous, cranky, out going, beautiful, women I know died today in St. Martin. My aunt was 85 and had been living in a home since last year. We saw her last Christmas and she had no idea who we were, the Alzhiemers was getting worse. She still had that stunning smile, flawless skin and that incredible voice but it was clear she would not be able to live on her own again.

She was always a mystery to us growing up. She had great style and was very big on good manners. Unfortunately, she was also strict as hell. When we were younger we thought she was a major pain. She didn't have kids of her own and she cut us no slack at all. She would come visit us in the states for weeks at a time. We heard she was married once, in her early 20's, but it was annulled. No one in the family talked about what happened. She never remarried.

After my grandfather retired and left Curacao, she moved with her parents back to St. Martin. She lived with her parents, since back then single women from "good families" did not live alone. However, for her generation and culture she was pretty independent. She had a great job at La Samanna and traveled a lot. She had friends all over the place. I remember once we took her upstate to some amazing house near Woodstock to visit a family she was friends with. I guess they used to go the hotel all the time and kept in touch. When my parent's American friends went to the island, they would always look her up.

When we move from the city to the suburbs it was not an easy transition. We went from a very diverse neighborhood to one that was not. As an adult, I can appreciate the great schools, big backyard, nice town but at the time,I couldn't wait to move back to the city.

The summer of my 16th birthday, one of the worst ever, we were in St. Martin staying at my paternal grandparents. My aunt was ready to take us into Marigot, the capital of the French side. Before we left the house she looks at me, my brother 12, and my sister 6, and says "okay we are going into town, no acting up. Hold your head up high for you are a Smith" (not really my last name but yes she actually said this). We almost busted out laughing. Is this woman for real? My brother heard the word nigger on a regular basis, our next door neighbor had tried to get other people on the block to buy our house so we couldn't move in and this woman is saying hold your head up? What planet is she on?

We used to think she was snobby but actually she had pride. Why should she feel less then anyone because she was a black woman? When I would tell her about some of the stuff going on in school, she couldn't understand it. I don't think she could wrap her head around the America she saw and loved, and what we were talking about. She only visited. So her attempts to make us feel great about life and our history was met at times with sarcasm. (yeah right, next time I'm getting a beat down I will stop the racists by saying, halt! for I am a Smith) Sarcasm is not a trait that goes over well with West Indians.

We might not have realized it then but those trips did have an impact. We refuse to let other people define us and they gave us a broader perspective on the world. Okay...maybe she was a little snobby.

I just spoke to my parents. My dad said she looked really serene. He is glad she is not suffering anymore. The last few months were pretty brutal. He sounded okay but I am worried about him. Before my parents moved back to St. Martin last year, he was flying back and forth trying to get my aunt help. Other people on the island were calling to tell him she was not herself. He wanted her to come see doctors in NYC but two of my cousins (their mom was her sister) and one of my uncles vetoed that idea.

They were basically ripping her off. She was in the early stages of the disease and they took advantage. One cousin got my aunt to change her will, pay for expensive trips, etc. My aunt had built her own house, which she rented out and lived with my grandfather until he died. My uncle pretty much moved in. When the phone was cut off because of lack of payment, he bought a cell phone instead of paying the bill. He thought she should pay it. This man has two houses on the island, yet did not lift a finger to help his sister. My dad goes home and says this is not right, she is sick and they look at him like he's crazy. Now my uncle lives two houses up from my parents. They speak at church and that's it. He has never been inside their new home and it was really awkward seeing him at church last Christmas. They were a really close group of siblings until my grandfather died and one of my greedy cousins started talking smack. I hope for her sake, my mom does not catch her alone. My mom, like her fellow islanders, has a sharp tongue and will say what is on her mind.

I wish the last few years of her life had been better. I just have to remember she was a pretty incredible person who lived a full life.

Friday, November 18, 2005

But we know how to make "Phat Girlz"

Love Mo'nique but no fucking comment.

From Variety: Big risk yields Phat reward.

http://www.variety.com/story.asp?l=story&a=VR1117933117&c=13

Thursday, November 17, 2005

sorry, we don't know how to make those movies

I am ready to pull my hair out. A studio exec told me they loved one of my projects but they don't know how to make "THOSE" movies. By those they mean a smart romantic comedy with a black female lead. The thing that cracks me up is, some said the script isn't edgy and urban enough (why, because our protagonist doesn't use double negatives?). Others think black = urban.

Now the only romantic comedies they want (regardless of race) are the one's with male leads. I was told women will go see The Wedding Crashers but guys are not going to see Prime/In Her Shoes. Who cares, make the movie for your audience, everything else is gravy. So are we going to stop making comedies with females leads? I guess Bridget Jones, Something's Gotta Give, How to Lose a guy in Ten Days, 13 going 30 etc. were all flukes.

Please, there's a very diverse group of women out there, and damnit we going to get some of their stories on screen. Not every movie can be based on a comic book, TV series or bad american remakes of great foreign films. Maybe admissions are down because people are tired of seeing crappy movies.

Monday, November 14, 2005

THIRTEENTH!!

Not sure how HBO can top last night's episode. That fight scene was just...can't really describe it. I almost teared up. Cannot wait for the finale. Hopefully we will see a little more of Marc Anthony.

Okay back to work.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

My humps, che cosa cazzo (what the f**k)!

Just got home from my Italian class. Love that we are meeting at a classmate's house this month. The traffic is a pain but after a glass of wine I'm good. The classes are getting more difficult. The grammar is not easy and I seem to have a problem remembering to pronouce all my vowels. I also listen to the Pimsleur CD's and just started level 3 today. The instructor was speaking so fast, I have to repeat it. Our professor is the most patient man alive. He's a Roman filmmaker who went to USC. I am sure we are butching the hell out of "la bella lingua" but he makes us feel better by saying his first year of learning english was tough. It's hard to learn a language when you don't speak it every day.

So while stuck on La Cienega on the way to class, this truly horrible song comes on the radio. Are the Black Eyes Peas joking? I pray they are being ironic. Even if they are, that song is the worst since....uhm can't think of one. I have their first cd (pre fergie) and they had a huge following out here. When the Elephunk CD hit I couldn't understand why there was so much hateration directed towards them. After hearing the first single off the latest CD, I now know why. Fergie is not Lisa, Lisa and with My humps, the Peas have jumped the shark. One of my friends was back east and saw TRL when the VJ said "you know a song is a hit when everyone from your 5 year old niece to your gramdma sings it". she was apalled. I agree with my friend, there is nothing cute about a 5 year old singing about her non existent humps and bump.

Speaking of the Peas, thanks to Whitney I can't get that Shut up, Shut up, song out of my head.

Friday, November 11, 2005

great now I have a blog

Very exciting. Have no idea who would read this thing but here goes.

This was actually a great week. "Hell A" seemed almost tolerable. I love my job but not a fan of the city I have to live in. I think things are getting better. Thank god, I've been here for 7 years. Volunteering and taking classes have really helped. In 2006 I am going to get out more. I know I said that in 2005 but that was before the company I worked for shut down. Hard to care about a social life when trying to pay the rent.

Now that the special election is over I can focus on really important things. For example Derailed. I am very conflicted about this movie. I love Clive and Vincent but never liked Friends. I'm a Seinfeld person. The commericals are not the most effective. Do I take a chance or just wait until Spike's movie comes out with Denzel AND Clive?

I wish I had Tivo so I could watch Oprah with Terry McMillian and her ex again. Fascinating.

Okay this post is boring to me and I wrote it. I am exhausted. I have a ton of reading for work this weekend and Italian homework I need to finish before class tonight.