Tuesday, May 30, 2006

A new used car

I am the proud owner of a Saab. I went to Santa Monica Saab after doing some research online. I stayed within my budget and will pay off the car by the end of the year. My insurance company will pick up my old car at the dealership.

This was a very productive weekend. I read a bunch of scripts and two books (one for work and one for leisure), finished unpacking (finally) and wrote 38 pages! Not sure about what I wrote today but very happy with what I wrote Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I made mojitos, put on some Seal, Madonna and the La Finestra di Fronte soundtrack and went to work.

My apartment may have no character but since I have to live here I'm trying to make the best of it. I bought a new floor lamp from West Elm. The oversized lampshade is really funky. I stopped by the farmers market around the corner and bought a bunch of daisies. None of these things cost alot but have made a difference. I'm thinking of getting curtains to cover the hideous veritcal blinds in my living room and bedroom. I don't have a lot of time right now but at some point I need to find out what is underneath this disgusting wall to wall carpeting. It might be hardwood floors. I know my landlord is not going to replace the carpet any time soon. She wants us to vacate the apartments so she can jack up the rent by at least $500 a month.

Yesterday after spinning class went to the nursery to get some plants for my patio. They were out of basil and gardenias. I bought some petunias and cosmos for a window box. Slowly things are coming together.

I rented "Only You" after hearing about the great locations. I have caught some of the movie on cable but this is my first time seeing the entire movie. Despite some bad mid 90's fashion and a far-fetched premise, it was cute. Of course I wanted to book a ticket to Italy right after. Allora, back to work. I still have some scripts to read.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Day one

of "operation back on track". Okay, I still haven't finished unpacking but I wrote seven pages today. It took me a minute to get into a groove.

I had so much to do, I'm was a little overwhelmed. I decided not to worry about unpacking or doing the dishes. After I got back from the gym, I ran some errands and tried to write. I just stared at a blank page. I haven't touched my book since I got back from Rome. I did write alot in my notebook while in Italy but that was mostly working on my outline and character breakdowns.

So I fixed typos from what I wrote earlier. I then looked at my photos from my trip, ate lunch, did some Italian homework, read the latest issue of Vogue, then started writing.

Turned off my phones, put on some music (George Michael's greatest hits and Zero 7's Simple Things) and had a very productive afternoon.

I made the linguine and chicken ragu last night. It was soooo good. Alright, I need to deal with these dishes. The highlight of my Friday night will be watching "What Not to Wear." on TLC. My life is so excited. Not.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

3 day weekend

How excited am I about the upcoming three day weekend? I am going to turn off my phone and get caught up. All my friends will be out of town anyway. I will finally finishing unpacking, write, get a new car, cook and maybe if I'm feeling ambitious, bake.

Yesterday was very productive. My lunch meeting with an exec at Matt & Ben's company way out in Santa Monica so I worked from home in the morning. I plowed through my emails, phone sheet and after lunch went to the office. After work hit the grocery store.

I want to try this new receipe from Giada's latest cookbook, linguine with chicken ragu. I decided to make the marinara sauce a day ahead. I made it last night. It was really simple and tasted molto buono. I don't watch American Idol so read a script. Trying to get through at least half of my weekend read pile now so I'm not stressed about it later.

One of my plants on my patio died while I was in Italy. Not enough rain. I might buy some gardenias to replace it. I have to see how much time I have this weekend. If not, I will deal with my patio "garden" next weekend. I want to buy some basil, mint and maybe some geraniums or something. I will see what the nursery suggests.

Off to my breakfast meeting. I only went to the gym for a half hour. I'm still bloated so not really motivated to work out. Only motivated to eat.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

car drama part 2

Finally feel the fog of jet lag lifting. Now I can focus on getting my life together.

I found out that the damage to my car was $3400 not $1800 as reported by the two previous estimates.

I told my siblings I will get a new used car this weekend. Between the check from the insurance company and the money I was budgeting for savings this year I should be albe to get something that drives.

I decided not to take the money out of my travel budget. I need to go home for Christmas. Also, post Italy I realize the more time I spend out of Los Angeles the better. I have no real savings anyway a couple thousand less isn't going to make a difference.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Is Paris really the face of glamour today?

If so, God help us all. There is a great series of articles on the past, present and future of Hollywood in today's LA Times. I think the following sums the "glamour and consumerism thing" up pretty well:

The contrast between what is glamorous now and what was glamorous in the days of Cary Grant and Norma Shearer says much about how American society has changed. Glamour used to present an idealized version of adulthood. Now it presents an idealized version of adolescence. In the old days, glamour was all about unattainability, i.e., fantasy projection. These days, it has become unthinkable that a major Hollywood director might echo Cecil B. DeMille, who instructed Edith Head's department at Paramount to make clothes "that make people gasp when they see them. Don't design anything anybody could possibly buy in a store."

Today glamour is tied to the idea of shopping to maintain the illusion that you are (a) kind of famous, or (b) on your way to being famous, or (c) essentially the same as famous people, because you share the same taste in home furnishings, core values and dog shampoo. Some of the stars with whose dog shampoo brand we may be intimately acquainted don't even appear in the movies, or at least not often. They may appear in TV shows that aren't so much TV shows as a chance to observe celebrities in their natural habitats. Which kind of resembles ours. Mainstream magazines have transformed themselves from facilitators of idol worship to guides to glamour consumption.

Ironically, the movies are just about the only kind of media left not dedicated to creating complex mythologies about the lifestyles of the rich and famous.

Once upon a time, a life like Paris Hilton's (pre-fame) was just the sort of fantasy life the movies sought to re-create for our amusement. With the rise of the glamour industry, no one, not even Paris Hilton, is immune to the lure of mass-media glamour.

The real-life heiress marshals all of her considerable powers to transform herself into the loudest, gaudiest, most embarrassing thing she can dream up — a ketchup-splattering porn star, a gangster's moll who wants to be an actress, a chorus girl banging down society's door.

With $300 million in disposable income, she might have purchased anything her little heart desired. And what she bought was the cheapest kind of fame.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Debt Free!!!

At least for next couple of hours. I have to see to what happens with my car situation.

I just paid off my student loans (thanks Mom and Dad). I paid off my credit cards last year (in an indirect way, thanks again Mom and Dad) and my Italy trip was financed with money I received for my birthday and Christmas (uhm, thanks Mom and Dad).

I racked up the debt during my Spike years. My salary was so low I used my credit card to pay for gas, etc. Thank god I could expense movies, books and industry meals. I missed weddings I couldn't afford to go to, and kept a very strict budget.

The only time I splurged was after I got promoted from CE (creative exec) to DOD (director of development). I had to fight for the promotion and of course my boss (the producing partner) did not give me a raise. I was making half of what that position should pay. Some friends organized a dinner to celebrate. For my own personal treat I went to Neiman's with my Bergdoff's card (which I never used after leaving New York) and charged a black Gucci bag. Then went to Barneys and brought some Prada shoes. At least bags and shoes last a long time and they were not trendy. It's all about cost per wear.

Now I never charge anything unless it's budgeted for. I pay off my credit card balance in full every month. I'm not out of the financial woods yet. I have no retirement savings, don't own a home and my job could end this year. First things first, I have to figure out this car thing. Hopefully it won't be too painful.

4:00 a.m.

Wide awake. My gym doesn't open until 5:30. Maybe I should unpack or read a script.

I tried to stay up last night and but couldn't make it past 9:00 p.m. At work, I'm okay in the morning, but start fading around 1:00. I'm going in today, since I was traveling on Tuesday. I need to get on LA time.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Jet lag, PMS or depression

Not sure if it's a combo of all three. I am scheduled to meet an agent for drinks after work. I hope he reschedules. I just want to go home, eat popcorn and watch a movie.

Work up at 4:00 a.m. today. My loud ass neighbor kept me up till 2:00 a.m. I still need to unpack.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Back in Los Angeles

Of course we have June gloom today. For you non Angelenos it when the marine layer is so thick you can't see the sun. Not sure why they call it June gloom since it does happen year round. It might be like this the rest of the week.

The flight back was endless. When I arrived at JFK, I thought if I were back in NYC, I'd be home by now. On the JFK to LAX flight did sit to a cool school teacher from San Piedro just returning from her first trip to Italy. She had the funniest stories about her trip. D.L. Hughley and Jeff Tambor were on our flight. I had to restrain myself from saying "Hey now!" to Tambor. Arrested Development R.I.P.

I have so much mail along with a tax bill from the city. My accountant told me had to get a business license as an independent contractor and now have to pay taxes for last year. I also received all the car insurance info. Trying not to stress out about it.

While I am happy to be back in my own bed I just feel down. I had a real wake up call this last trip. I know I am sleepwalking through my life here. Now I need to figure out how to change that.

Went to Pavillions at 5:30 this morning and was excited to be in a big ass American supermarket. Hah. Also it's a treat to turn on the television and actually understand everything.

My last day in Rome was pretty freaking amazing. I took the metro out to Cinecitta and visited the set of the HBO/BBC miniseries ROME. Grace, one the producers arranged for a tour with the historical consultant Terrence. The scale of the sets were unreal and the tour was excellent. Learned alot and remembered some of my ancient history. I forgot Julius Caesar named the month of July after himself, ego much?

I watch Allan direct a scene with James Purefoy. I didn't meet James but saw him up close and personal when he came over to video village to look at some playback. As one of my former bosses would say, he is a stone cold fox. I also walked around the lot with one of the Italian producer's assistants. I saw the Gangs of New York streets. We were going to go into Fellini's office but the guy with the key wasn't going to be there until four.

After the set visit had a good meeting with the head of Warner Italia. It was basically a general meeting about the italian film biz. It was great to hear his perspective. Met Giampiero at 9:45 (in LA we eat at 7:30 maybe 8:00) at Trilussa Taverna in Trastevere for dinner. A bottle of wine and a couple courses later we walked back. He might be in LA in June. He still has an apartment here.

Okay off to Gelson's so I can pay an arm and a leg for some cherries and strawberries, etc. I guess I'll unpack tonight after work.

Monday, May 15, 2006

very sad

Will be leaving my apartment at the crack of dawn tomorrow for my flight back to Los Angeles.

I will have to post later tomorrow night, if not too jet lagged. I have to get back and pack.

Last night went to a dinner party with Roberta. Her co-worker had a couple people come over for a bbq on his terrace. He actually had a turntable and was playing everything from Al Green to Pink Floyd to Coltrane.

Just got back from the ROME set at Cinecittà (more on that later) and a meeting at Warner Bros. Italia.

Not sure where I'm meeting Giampiero and Lucca for dinner tonight.

Okay off to have my last gelato in Santa Maria in Trastevere.

Ciao, bella Roma.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

My fellow Americans

I'm still trying to recover from Thursday. I was at the interntet cafe/wine bar in Positano checking my emails. Three couples from Texas started asking me all these questions, then insisted I join them for wine. They just got in that day and were headed to a villa in Cortona later in the week.

They were celebrating Lee's 43rd birthday. She kinda looked like Faith hill (hair not as big though) and her husband swear to god, reminded me of Tim McGraw. The other 2 couple were kick and riccardo, oscar and javier. They live in Houston and were very friendly. After several glasses of wine, including drinking some on the dock, we decided to meet at the On the Rocks club later that night.

We danced for hours. It started to pick up around 11:30, very good D.J. Lee rang in her birthday and I have to find out who sings that "Weekend" song. I heard it for the first time in Spinning class three weeks ago and have heard it several times since I've been here.

I walked back towards the hotel with some canadians and yet more texans. Friday, the day I had to leave, was stunning. It was finally warm enough for people to sit on the beach.

I amend my earlier statement about the bus ride from Montepertuso being loud. Yesterday on the commuter train from Sorrento to Naples I was surround by teenagers just getting out of school. I think I lost some hearing. We all know how loud teens are. This was something extra special. It was interesing to check out the fashion choices. In Rome I see the kids wearing mostly Puma and Adidas. On the train Nikes were the number one choice.

Today it's really nice out. The warmest since I've been here. Worked out this morning. Jogged through the Jewish quarter then Piazza Venezia by accident, ended up down by the Vatican then came home. Met Caterina for coffee, then Eric for some pre-lunch wine in his building's garden. He bottles wine from the grapes that they grow in the garden. His building is amazing. It was built in 1585 as a convent then beacme school. In the 70's turned into apartments.

Off to unpack from yesterday. I had a very good lunch at Le Mani in pasta. Not sure what I'm going to do tonight. The next two days will be pretty hectic so I might stay in.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

A rose from the town drunk

After eating breakfast on my terrace, took the bus to the top of the mountain. I got off on the wrong stop. I was in a little village called Nocelle. Trying to get back onto the "main road", I bumped into some donkeys come down the hill. Scared the crap out of me. The contruction workers cracked up. Silly american girl scared of some donkeys.

Finally after a long ass walk made it to the village of Montepertuso. The restuarant I wanted to go was only open for dinner. Che cazzo! Oh well it was a nice walk. I had to wait an hour for the bus back down. Montepertuso is a very, very small village. There was an old man sitting on a ledge with dog chilling. Then some some other dog kept barking at him. He took his cane and started screaming at the dog. Not sure why but I found this funny.

Then this other man yelled "bella, bella" at me and gave me a rose. At first I thought he was homeless but he was just messy. Later he walked up to me at the bus stop and asked "Dove sei?" Where are you from and I noticed his eyes were bloodshot. A man sitting on a wall saw the whole thing and waved to me. I waved back. I told the Angela at the front desk where I got the beautiful rose. After I described the man, she said "oh yes I know him. He's the village drunk."

Finally the bus came and it was the loudest bus ride ever, with all the PRONTO!, CIAO! and BUONA GIORNATA! and what not. It start to pour, so I went to lunch at Chez Black on the beach since it was close. Mr Black (real name Salvatore) came over and started talking to me. He said "è bella, brava e parla italiano molto bene". He invited me to his club on the beach. Not sure how crowded it will be. Last night at the bar Next2, the bartender said although it's technically high season the crowd now is mostly married americans, tours, aussies and germans who pretty much go to dinner early then call it a night. July and August is high season for the Italians.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Positano edition


After a very long trip(including getting busted for not stamping my Rome bus ticket and paying a 50 euro fine on the spot, ouch) checked in to the Villa Rosa.
Room is simple but clean with a kick ass view. I am going to sit on my terrace and write all day tomorrow if it's too wet/cold to sit on the beach.

Met the fab Niki "aka famous blogger of Positano". The shop is stunning. If I didn't have to deal with my car, I would have treated myself to a Pucci shirt.

Yesterday met with Ettore, Matteo and Martina at Cafe Marzio. Then went to her agent's office and had a great meeting regarding our film. Martina is very down to earth, kind and gorgeous.

I am starving. I need to eat and unpack.

Ciao tutti. (bye everyone)

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

this is an office party?

Last night went to an office party...at 10:00 p.m. Roberta's co-worker's boyfriend works for an advertising firm in Trastevere. It's on the ground floor of this buidling east of Piazza Santa Maria. A few blocks after we passed the Piazza I could hear music. They had a bar, food, a DJ and turned the back office area into a dance floor. There were a ton of people outside, leaning on their scooters, smoking, drinking and flirting. I cannot believe none of the neighbors called the cops about the noise.

Everyone was asking me about President "Boosh" and the war. Neither were popular with this crowd. Of course we also had to talk about movies. One of Roberta's co-workers did his thesis on the role of women in Taratino's Jackie Brown. He wanted to know when I was leaving town so he could throw a dinner party.

After some wine and dancing I walked home exhausted. The party was still going on, did not feel like a Monday night. One of Roberta's co-workers said she was worried about the creeping American work habits/consumerism influence on Rome (although the salaries here are much lower). If this keeps up she might as well move to Milan. :) She knows things are changing in this global economy but she refuses to become a workalcoholic who never sees her family or friends. When you live in a place where you see things that are thousands of years old, it makes the 75 or so years you are here on earth seem very, very short.

People here think it's bizarre I have to plan weeks in advance to see my friends for dinner/drinks. Then 70 percent of the time, it gets rescheduled because we either have too many scripts to read, a screening or have to take out talent etc. Here making plans two days before is weird.

When I'm in St. Martin, I am not working at all so I cannot make any true comparisons between my life there and L.A. Here, I have been working and it is crystal clear I need to make some serious changes when I go back to Los Angeles

Monday, May 08, 2006

the power continued, the mani/pedi edition

First let me give a shot out to Erica's blog. It is how I heard about Nail Enhancements, a nail salon near the U.S. Embassy. My nails look amazing. Not too expensive and they were very nice. No one spoke English and for some reason my Prego textbook does not give us vocabulary for these very important things. Somehow with my broken Italian everything worked out.

Okay, so to finish yesterday's post, after gelato Giampiero and I met up with his friend who directed the movie Melissa P. and his assistant. Giampiero was one of the actors in the movie and just started shooting a series for RAI. He has worked and lived in NYC/LA. He went to Rome to work a series and decided to stay. He is from Milan.

Melissa P was a monster hit in Italy, just starting to open overseas. Not sure what will happen in the US since it's about a 16 year old girl who likes to get her freak on. Melissa P.'s autobiography sold very well except in the U.S.

After being dropped off in Trastevere, got a text from Ettore and met him and a friend at Caffe Marzio in front of the Santa Maria fountain. Chilled for a minute, then went home to get ready for dinner.

Met Max and Paolo for dinner. An agent who's client is one of the writer/producers of the HBO series ROME was in town and had a dinner for 12 of us. I met several of the producers of Sex and the City who are also working on Rome and had a very good, crazy dinner. I am not used to eating so many courses and so late but I managed to make it. It was surreal to be at a "biz dinner" in Rome. However, there was very little shop talk. I might see some of them on set next Monday.

Yesterday met up with fellow Americans Andrea and her friend Dani at Gusto for lunch. They are on their way to Florence today.

Was supposed to meet Roberta for a quick drink but it ended up be dinner. She is Roman and a very good friend of the "countess". Every place was packed. It was a Sunday night. Don't people have to work today? My neighborhood was insane, campo de fiori was the most crowded I have ever seen it and there were no places to sit or stand. We went to some restaurant on a side street. I met one of her co-workers and another friend of their's met us for a drink. It was another late night (for me, as I walked home some people were just eating dinner).

Off to make some phone calls and get some gelato. Hopefully my laundry (I have a washer, no dryer) from yesterday will be dry. Jeans take forever to air dry.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The power of a good walk, good conversation, good food and of course good gelato.

After a sleepless night and crying yesterday morning I walked across the bridge closest to my apartment over to the Pantheon. It was super early and gave me a chance to clear my head.

I will just buy the best used car I can afford with the settlement from the insurance company. I cannot worry about buying a car as a status symbol. I have a goal and going into debt is not going to help me reach my goal. I would rather save money towards a down payment on an apartment in Rome. If someone doesn't want to take me seriously as a producer because of the car I drive, there is nothing I can do about that.

Met my friend Giampiero for lunch. He said it was maybe a 40 minute walk from my house. Try one hour and 40 minutes!!! He had to pick me up a mile north of the Vatican....on his scooter. We were flying and I held on for dear life.

He took me to a very residential neighborhood, Point (oh shit, I forgot the name), it's north of the Vatican and the Olympic stadium. After an amazing lunch at a Trattoria on the square (he insisted on paying for lunch ), we went to the kick ass bakery/gelateria around the corner called Il Mondi. Outstanding. I insisted on buying.

Ooops got to go. Off to meet the "countess'" friend for a apperitiv (drink). I'll to finish this post later.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Che Cazzo!!! blogging while angry, part 2

So after a wonderful day,eating gelato, having champagne with Max and her cool expat friends, I went with Max to Paolo's studio to check emails. Good thing I decided to call my home phone. There was a message from a week ago from my insurance company. my car is a total loss and I need to get my car from the body shop. the shop charges a daily fee to hold the car. I am in fucking italy!!! I left a message on my home phone saying to call my italian cell number if there was anything urgent. Why did no one call me! My boss is going to get my car during her lunch. Hopefully the body shop won't charge too much.

My parents just sent me a check to pay off the last of my student debt. I was so excited I would finally be debt fee. Now I have to buy a fucking new car or get a very good used one. I don't want a car note. I have very unstable job in an very unstable business. This is fucking bullshit. I could kill the fucking moron who hit my car.

Too say that I am livid would be an understatement. There is no way to get around this. You must have a car in Los Angeles.

I wish I could just stay in Rome and fuck all this bullshit. Nothing has gone right since I moved to "Hell ay".

very nice, very sexy, thank you

Heard that a couple of times yesterday. Must have been my shirt but I wear simple v-neck T-shirts in Los Angeles all the time. The last guy said it to me as I crossed the Arno last night after dinner. After yelling aspetti! (wait!) twice, I said "non capisco".

Crazy vender on bridge: You speak English?

me: Non!

Now don't think I'm taking this strike thing too seriously. The only reason he wanted me to "aspetti" was so he could sell me some bad copies of Botticelli's "Birth of Venus"

Went to Sante Croce, bella church. Has the tombs of Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli and other Tuscan A-listers.

Glad to be going back to Rome today. Florence is too much. Met a nice older couple from Long Island at dinner last night. Their son went to S.U.

I can hear the difference in the Florentine accent vs. Roman. I haven't spoken much Italian here. There are so many American students and tourists almost everyone speaks to me first in English.

I understand Italian pretty well when people speak to me very slowly. This is a problem since Italians speak very, very quickly. I watch the news and I can only understand the context because of the visuals and catching every other word. I would have to be here for a couple months before I could become even remotely fluent. My sister went to France to study for a summer during high school. When she came back her French was excellent, accent and all.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

beauty overload.

Ciao from Siena. It is molto bella. Yesterday was all about art. The Uffizi (Italian for offices, the gallery used to be the Medici's office!) was incredible. Incredible Renaissance art, Botticell, Da Vinci, Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio and of course Michelangelo.

Had what is supposed to be the best gelato in Florence at Vivoli. I will be back. Dinner went to Osteria de'benci. The owner is a friend of a friend. Had an excellent dinner. Walked along the Arno river back to the hotel. At night the crowds have died down and you can really appreciate how beautiful Florence is.

Took to bus to Siena, gorgeous ride through the countryside. After chaotic Florence, Siena is lovely. The buildings, the landscape, the very attractive men wearing suits going to work on their Vespas. It's too much.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Florence, losing weight Roman style, Spike

An Italian from Milan said to me once, Milan is a European city and Rome is an Italian city. Florence must be the American city. So many college students and tour groups. It's like Willowbrook Mall the day before Christmas....packed.

My hotel recommended by a friend from italian class, is above the Gucci flagship store. Let's see, new hubcabs for my jalopy or use the birthday money from my parents (that I have been holding on to since August) for a bag?

Went to see David. No words. Michelangelo was 29 when he finished it. What the hell was I doing at 29? When I get home I'm going to order a biography about Mr. Buonarotti. The unfinished sculptures leading to David are incredible as well.

So yesterday I put on my jeans and they were loose. I eat gelato every day. Regarding carbs: I eat those every day too. Later for South Beach and the Zone. I finally had a pizza bianca from the place in Campo de' fiori everyone talks about. It's basically plain pizza dough with just oil olive and salt. It was amazing.

I realized I haven't had any processed foods since I been here. No soda, chips, candy etc. I have had plenty of red wine and walked about 5 miles a day.

Speaking of walking I thought I would die yesterday. I walked close to 10 miles. First back from Termini station after buying my train ticket for Florence, then walking with Max to San Clemente and back.

We had lunch at Maccheroni, near the Patheon. I am still thinking about the pasta with bolognese sause and the 4 euro house wine. Very, very good. Flirty waiters.

San Clemente is a must see. This church is on top of a church from 4th century and that structure is above a pagan temple from the 3rd century. After touring the church above ground you pay 2 or5 euros and go down to the older structures. When you get all the way down to the lowest level you can hear and see the water from the acqueduct rushing through. I'm glad Max was with me because it does get a little creepy down in those tiny corridors.

Finished up the long walk by having gelato on the steps of the fountain in front of Santa Maria in Trastevere.

Last night met a friend of a friend for drinks. They went to NYU film school ungrad together and she has been living in Italy since going to graduate film school in Rome. I thought it would be an early night but we talked for hours. She was really encouraging and suggested I try to work in both countries (once I get my french passport), given my background. I think it's very ironic how in Hollywood my work as an exec. for Spike means pretty much nothing. He's too indie, too New York, too militant, etc. I can't remember how many times I have been told if had worked for some hack director for hire it would have been a better career move. However, here it's a big deal. He is a respected filmmaker. The posters back home for Inside Man barely mentioned his name. In Rome there are posters with Denzel, Clive, and Jodie but in big letters it says "Un Film di Spike Lee". Don't get me wrong he has faults but I think it's bullshit how little respect a man with his body of work get in our town.

One good thing to come out of this trip already is I feel reinvigorated about my career. I have to stop worrying about the superficial trappings of the business. I need to remember what it is I love about movies and working with creative people. The film I'm working on with Ettore is no Citizen Kane but I wouldn't be here and met so many talented people were it not for this project. The money will come and if it doesn't I'd rather be broke and happy then spend 70 hours a week working for somebody else. Been there done that. Have nothing to show for it.

Last night around dusk as we sat outside I happened to look up and realized I never saw a sky that color blue. I was told the light here is really interesting because of how it reflects off the seven hills of Rome. I love this city.

Tomorrow Siena.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

E.U.R. molto scary

Yesterday went to E.U.R with Max and her friend Paolo. He's an architect but speaks Italian and Spanish. So he was our tour guide and language tutor.

Before going to E.U.R we went to another planned community, not sure of the spelling, Garbatello. This was done by the socialists and all the houses/villas had back yards, big windows w/shutters. Plenty of open space. Since it was May Day there was a party in the park, with musicians, wine and free copies of the communist newpapaer.

E.U.R was Mussolini's grand vision. It is something to see. This dictator clearly loved his eagles. I always hating the look of the Disney lot and now I know why. Not a fan of fasicist architecture. The famous building from "La Dolce Vita" is being renovated but still incredible.

Met expat Eric, through my sister (thanks gibber), afterwards at a wine bar. He is a freelance journalist, living in Rome for 7 years. He told me how he ended up in Rome and the pro/cons of expat life.

Off to meet a friend, then going to Florence tomorrow.


Monday, May 01, 2006

Rome if you want to

This morning I was going to walk down to the Vatican and back. What was supposed to be a 40 minute walk turned into 2 hours. I got totally lost. When I started to see signs for the autostrada I knew something was wrong. Finally asked someone in Italian, where the hell was I and walked back home.

Saturday walked at least fives miles. Went to Gusto (the osteria side) for amazing bucatini carbonara, then my favorite music store on Via del corso and finally all the way to a museum on Via Guido Reni to see the Francesco Clemente exhibit. I could kill the woman at the newstand who said the museum was 10 minutes from Piazza del Popolo, more like 40 minutes. Oh well, it helped me burn off the pasta.

Ettore lives near there so he picked me up and we went back to Trastreve to meet on our project. Went to this wine bar/book store, Libera di Cinema (sp) which is owned by a director and a bunch of his friends. Had a glass of amazing red wine from Sicily for a whopping 4 euros. Same glass at L'Ermitage would be at least $14. Meeting was very productive. I might add the bartender was fine.

Sat. night went out with "la contessa di filicudi's" friend. The Contessa and I met in Italian class. Her friend went to law school in the States so his english is perfect. We went to a club called Micca to meet up with his friends. There was a great jazz band, then a DJ came on around 1:00 a.m. We had the hardest time finding the club but at least we were on the list and didn't have to wait on line. It's near Termini station located in a basement. Very cool decor, good drinks and were it not 100 degrees and packed we would have stayed longer. We were going to go to another place but stayed outside talking for awhile. Althought I kept switching back into English, I did get props for my Italian. Well except from one guy who asked me how long I have been studying Italian, 3 days? I replied Ma Dai!! (come on!) and he laughed. Finally realized it was almost 2:00 a.m.

Yesterday met Max for breakfast on the Piazza Santa Maria in Tratevere. I bumped into Matteo, who I was going to see later that day, at the same restaurant. Max and I walked back towards Piazza del Popolo ( almost 2 miles one way) to the flea market on Via Flaminio. She got some cool stuff. On the way back, went into Santa Maria del Popolo. It was the middle of Sunday mass so we didn't stay. I went to that chuch last year and saw the gorgeous works by Caravaggio and Bernini. I wonder if the priest was salty because tourists were taking photos. We stopped at the Trevi Fountain which was insanity, threw in our coins and got the heck out of there. Had the best gelato so far, San Crispino (sp). I tried to find it last year but kept getting lost and gave up. I will be back.

Back to the Piazza Santa Maria for another meeting on our project. It went very well. Then met up with expat Leslie, who is a costume designer for a drink at a wine bar in the Tessacio neighborhood. On the way we went into the church Santa Maria di Cecilia. It's one of the churches I really wanted to see and it's only a few blocks from my apt. I'll check it out later this week. After the bar we went to her friend's apt. around the corner. He is a screenwriter and we had more wine. Took the bus back and walked around Trastevere. Finally crashed into bed around 1:00 a.m.

I might check out the church San Clemente today or go to E.U.R or a concert in the park with Max and Paolo. Today is a national holiday, May Day and there are free concerts all over. Now I have to finish my homework. ciao.