Monday, July 31, 2006

Brand New Heavies and a Washington D.C. flashback

This is going to be a long post. So next month another birthday, not sure why I am so freaked out about it. I told an exec at another company who's birthday is on the same day, that I was looking forward to closing all the blinds in my apartment, sitting on my couch, eating pie and crying. He's only 27 so he laughed. He thought I was joking. Well another friend (a fellow Virgo) will not let me do that so we are going to dinner to celebrate our birthdays together.

I'm on a tastemaker list for Giantstep marketing and received the latest New Brand New Heavies CD "Get Used To It". I love it. N'Dea Davenport is back as the lead singer.

I played their debut CD a lot while working on my book. In writing the book and with the next birthday coming up, I have been thinking about where I am in my life. The sense of isolation/loneliness/boredom I feel (depite knowing a ton of people here). A few of my closest friends have left Hollyood and moved back east, including the only one within walking distance. The others are so busy with work (all except 3 work in the industry) I never see them. I haven't had a proper date in uhmm years, and then there is the L.A. issue.

While listening to the BNH I started thinking about when I lived in D.C., aka the Chocolate city in the late 80s/early 90's. I moved there a year after college. I was a Congressional aide for a Congressman from Queens and worked at a clothing store called EPISODE part-time to supplement my income. Since working on the Hill is public service and the jobs are very competitive the pay is very low compared to the public sector. See, from the very beginning I always managed to have interesting jobs but be broke.

The great thing about working at the store were my co-workers and the discount. Our store was like a hipper Banana Repbulic. We were located in Union Station and tried to get the Ann Taylor wearing women to be a little less conservative. My co-workers were a really diverse group of women. The manager was a black woman from North Carolina and a former model. The co-manager was from Cameroon and an African princess (really). She lived in Paris for most of her childhood and would be pissed if people called her Helen. Her name was spelled Helene (and was pronouned el-lan, I don't know to make the accents on the last two e's on this computer). The assitant manager was a blonde women from Hawaii. Some of the salesgirls were students at Georgetown, Howard, Catholic U. and American. A few others had full time jobs like myself.

We had republicans, democrats, independents working there. One sister from Howard had a serious issue with interracial dating. She had to keep it to herself since the manager's husband was from Germany and looked like a slightly thinner version of Dolph Lungren. The manager was in her early 30's so she was like a den mother to all us students or recents grads. She would have these huge Thanksgiving dinners for all us "orphans" in her amazing apartment. All of us would go out to Perrys in Adams Morgan. Everytime I hear Black Box's "Everybody" I am back at Perrys dancing with my friends. There were a group of Nigerians, Brits, Argentinians and people from Madagascar (madagascians?) we used to see almost every weekend.

We all had a crush on this Argentinian bartender Diego. One night we went out to celebrate one of my co-worker's birthday. Karen looked a little like Charlene from "A Different World". On her birthday she had quite a bit to drink. When we got to the bar I told Diego it was her birthday. He asked her what she wanted and she replied "Kiss me, damnit Diego! Kiss me!" He leaned over the bar and kissed her. I almost fell off my stool I was laughing so hard.

I remember Helene and her boyfriend, who had a french mom and african dad, always having arguments in the store. Since they were fighting in French it didn't seem so bad. All the relationship dramas, bad haircuts, car accidents, and money woes, we heard and saw it all. One co-worker's roomate was raped in their backyard at gunpoint by two strange men. One had an older brother who was kill in Vietnam.

Many people think Washington is not very comospolitan but it is the nation's Capital. On the Hill I met people from all over the country (it was less partisan back then). Through my friends at the store I met people from all over the world. Althougth D.C. and L.A. are both dominated by one industry, in D.C. you are not as myopic. You have to know what is going on in your homestate. You are constantly being lobbied by both sides of every single issue. The bills passed do impact more peoples lives more than the box office of a movie.

Some of my friends to this day I met in the Congressman's office. I don't know what is going on with the ladies from EPISODE. Last time I saw our manager, she was being transfered to Atlanta. All our student co-workers graduated. One went on to be a stylist and I have seen her work in Harper's Bazaar.

Maybe next week I'll write about the Sony years in NYC.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Lost Hearts in Italy by Andrea Lee

This book was a little frustrating. I loved some of the short stories in Lee's INTERESTING WOMEN and I was so looking forward to reading this book. There have been so many books about Americans in Italy but I don't know of any from a black female POV (if anyone does please let me know).

I don't mind some of the sloppy errors critics have pointed out. My problem was I just couldn't get a read on Mira, the protagonist. Maybe this was intentional?

Anyway the book examines the breakup of Mira and Nick. A young, golden couple who met at Harvard. It cuts between the present and to when Nick and Mira first moved to Rome in the 80's. Nick is a up and coming banker from a WASPy New England family and Mira is from a very prominent black family in Philly. At the wedding the author points out how Nick's family notices no one in Mira's family is dark skinned, heavy or wearing loud clothes. Uhm okay. Mira is a writer and beautiful. Most of the time Italians are not sure if she's spanish, cuban etc. She meets a very rich older Italian, Zenin and begins an affair that wrecks her marriage. Mira and her daughter stay on in Italy. Mira and Nick remarry. Nick now living in London and Mira in Turin.

I'm not sure why we are supposed to care about Mira. Why did she start the affair? She didn't seem to have any real feelings or passion for Zenin. Re: her P.O.V. Mira seemed somewhat disconnected from anything having to do with black american culture. I say this as someone who listened to get the "Get the Led out" on New Jersey's classic rock station and loved Duran Duran along with my P.E. and Erik B.

This book did make me more curious about the author. Like Mira, she has a daughter who is a student at Harvard, is from a prominent family in Philly, is married to a wealthy titled Italian and lives in Turin with her two younger children. I want to check out her other novels. I wish I was in a book club so I could talk about LOST HEARTS some more.

I am loving HEAT by Bill Buford. I cannot put it down.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Lance Bass

Why is this considered news? Why are people shocked that he is gay? Hello!! Stevie Wonder could see that.

I think Keith Michael is the one who is going to get kicked off Runway next week. I read that he copied some designs for his interview portfolio.

I was going to say I'm sick of this heat but I'm trying to make it through day 2 of "operation stop whining."

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Day 1 of operation "stop whining"

So far so good. Well, I haven't really spoken to anyone today other than to say "good morning" to the receptionist at the gym.

I am going to get a pedicure during lunch today. Something to look forward to. I should get a manicure but I'm going to be doing some major cleaning this weekend.

I just finished LOST HEARTS IN ITALY. I have to write about it later. I'm still thinking about it.

I will be getting some feedback on my book later this week and next week. Very nervous. I asked one friend, she is a producer who has great taste but is very tough on material, to be please careful with the scalpel and not hit my jugular vein.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Tomorrow is a new day

I just saw some photos "the countessa di filicudi" sent from dinner at La Buca Saturday night and some from watching the World Cup. I look like I'm pregnant.

We all know that is impossible so I might want to reign in the eating of popcorn, Jelly Bellys, Swedish Fish, those Chicken taquito things (sp) from Trader Joe's, cake, cookies etc. Skirts that were too big in Rome, I can't get into now. Che cazzo?

I know some of it was working on the book and being back in L.A. I had to cut my gym time in half, so I could get some writing done before going to the office. I drive everywhere so no more walking 3 or more miles a day. I haven't taken a boot camp class since I been back. I am going to try to take class on Thursday. Also when I'm down, stressed or bored I eat. I am all of those things at this moment.

At some point I need to go to London to see some writers. I have enough miles but I have to see how my finances are this fall. Having to get the new car after the accident threw my entire budget off.

I met my three friends from Italian class for dinner at La Buca. Amazing food. Mama came out to say hi. She made this homemade pasta with mushrooms and truffle oil that we are still talking about. The owner flew her out from Italy and she barely speaks English. My friends are leaving for italy soon. Two of them will be there for a month at around the same time and the other is leaving in late September for three weeks. I know I was just there in May but it seems years ago.

I remember when I got back I said I was going to work on my attitude and stop complaining about L.A. I have failed. My job is going well but I am finding living here tougher everyday. What the hell is wrong with me? Is it as I get older I have less patience for bullshit? Is it because I make such little money I'm over this one actress I know complain about making ONLY 1.4 million a year for a couple hours a week work? I'm at the age where I shouldn't feel insecure about not having a blond weave down to my ass like Beyonce (okay at some point they need to redo that video) but living here makes me feel like crap. I miss my family and not seeing my nephew grow up.

I am going to try again. Starting tomorrow I am getting my act together. I am going to drop some weight. I refuse to weigh myself so I am going to say I need to drop at least one size. While I wait for feedback on novel number one, I am going to start the outline for number 2. I am going to get out of the country before I go home for Christmas. I will use flyer miles and I will have to figure out the rest. It's important for my mental health that I get out of here even if it's just for a long weekend. I wish I could go out of town for my birthday but I have to save money to go back east to see the family in September. My parents will be in the states.

Okay that is enough complaining for today. I think the heatwave is breaking tonight. Thank god.

Monday, July 24, 2006

A Death in Belmont by Sebastian Junger

I finished the book this weekend. I did have to read it for work but I thought it was good read. Sebastian Junger (The Perfect Storm), wrote a book about the famous Boston Strangler case. What is bizarre is that the man, Albert DeSalvo, who confessed to the crimes was a handyman who worked on the Junger house. Creepy.

An elderly neighbor of the Junger's was murdered. A black man, Roy Smith, who was hired from an agency to work in the house that day was arrested and convicted for the crime. At first the police thought they had the Strangler but there was no way this suspect could have committed those crimes. While Smith was in jail the Strangler continued to kill. In the end no one knows who really killed the elderly neighbor.

Friday, July 21, 2006

1-800 Dentist, America's number one hobby

I assume those dentist ads are supposed to be horrible. I can't imagine they do not know that the ads look terrible and are poorly acted, esp. the one with the bride and her mom.

I recently had drinks with an HBO exec who saw on the news that the number one hobby in America is.....Shopping! No wonder the average American has over 10k in credit card debt. This cannot be a good thing.

I might have to stop looking at Jess,Tracie B. and Niki's photos. It just depresses me. I would love to be sitting on the beach in St. Martin, Ischia or Positano right about now.

My parents said it was pretty hot in St. Martin but it's boiling here as well. At least there I could be chilling on Baie Rouge, Friar's Bay or Le Gallion beach. I would have said Dawn Beach but they are building a very unattractive and much too big hotel there. The Dutch side of the island is going to over develop itself into the ground.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Project Runway, Auf Wiedersehen Malan

I'm not sure where Malan's accent is from. I did feel bad for him but his dress was tragic. What was he thinking?

I do not like Vincent. He has the ego of Santino but none of the humor.

I love Vera Wang. She had a good poker face for a judge.

Speaking of fashion, how great was Meryl Streep in DWP? That's all.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Disney's timing is foul but Nina Jacobson will be alright

Why would they fire the President of Production after the monster hits of Narnia and Pirates? Also why do it when she's at the hospital where her partner is giving birth and her dad is dying? Not sure about her dad, that could be a hollywood rumor but her partner did give birth do their third child. Nina just renewed her contract and they have to pay her out. So it's not a money issue. Great now we have yet another marketing person in charge of making movies. Nikki Finke's article sees sexism at work here.

Sprinkles Cupcakes, why must you move into my neighborhood?!

I walked down to Blockbuster to return a movie the other day. On the way back I passed by a brown buidling near Real Food Daily (more about that place later).

I knew the color looked familiar. I took a closer look and there was the sign. Sprinkles is coming. Sprinkles is very happening. They have a cupcake shop in Beverly Hills on Little Santa Monica Blvd. It is always packed eventhough cupcakes are like $40 a pop.

Here is the website:

Certain flavors they have everyday and others like red velvet, banana, vanilla milk chocolate and carrot are only available on certain days.

I am very annoyed they will be so close. I am trying to lose weight dammit!

Okay back to Real Food Daily. This a hard core vegan place. I had to go with my former boss, an actor/director, when we went to meet a producer for lunch. The place was packed with actors. I had this salad I wouldn't feed to a rabbit. Me no likey.

Monday, July 17, 2006

The Miracle of Castel di Sangro

I have made it a priority to read more for pleasure. I don't want to be one of those hollywood people who will only read something if the movie rights are available. It is hard to find the time but I think it's important.

I just finished Joe McGinniss' book "The Miracle of Castel di Sangro." I really enjoyed it but my man is a trip. He spent one year in a tiny remote Italian town follwing a soccer team as it moved from Serie C to Serie B. You can't believe it's a non fiction book. Joe becomes so involved with the team, he starts to recommend strategies to the coach. Of course this did not go over well. Several times the "scrittore americano famoso", famous American writer, heard "vaffanculo". Basically, go fuck yourself. LOL.

Earlier, I also read "Confessions of a Video Vixen". The editor sent me a copy. It's a quick read and I finished it in one afternoon. I'm not sure if many of the young girls reading Ms. Steffans book see it as a cautionary tale. So many girls will do anything to be famous. It doesn't matter that Ms. Steffans and her son had to live in their car at one point. She got to kick it with Shag, Usher, Mystikal etc.

Saw the German film "Downfall" yesterday. We were interested in the director for one of our projects. He won't be available for some time and is very talented. The movie was hard to watch at times. It's about Hitler's last weeks in the bunker. I had to follow it with a chaser of "Under the Tuscan Son" and "Entourage". I still can't get the image of Mrs. Goebbels and her children out of my head. Bruno Ganz was incredible. Amazing performances but very, very upsetting movie.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Project Runway!

I do not watch many reality shows but I do love Runway. At least the contestants are creative and actually have to make something. Love, Tim Gunn, Nina Garcia and Michael Kors. Ms. Klum is a good host. How cute did Kate Spade look last night?

I think homeslice with the crazy basket/hat should have been "auut".

Disney to slash slate

I cannot believe Disney is going to reduce from 18 to 8 the number of films they will release a year. Many of my colleagues are going to lose their jobs, as the studio cuts several producer deals.

Movies have always been a risky business. Now with talent being so expensive, the risks are too high and the studios are trying to cut back. The business keeps contracting. Not a good thing for movie fans.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

My loud neighbor needs to stop

So last night after months of listening to my neighbor yell at her kid, I banged on on the bedroom wall. It was 1:00 a.m. and once again her daughter was crying or whining about something. I haven't had a solid nights sleep in weeks. My neighbor seems very impatient and with her harsh accent, I really feel for her kid. Her daughter is very cute, around 3 or 4 and her mom is constantly telling her to "shut up."

I'm sorry this is not okay. You do not tell a little girl to "shut up" because you are trying to get to work and if you don't work she can't eat. WTF?

When I banged on the wall, the mom, who is nice to all her neighbors banged back. My sister is ten years younger than me and I don't remember her waking up every single night when she was a toddler. When she did wake up in the middle of the night, my parents would check to see if anything was wrong, not scream "shut up" or "stop" at the top of their lungs.

My neighbor moved in a few months ago by herself, then her daughter joined her. The little girl doesn't seem happy. Her mom says things like "shut up, you live here now." I know it can be stressful and challenging being a parent. I'm sure as a single parent it's more difficult. However, she chose to have a child and shouldn't take out her frustration, anger, whatever on an innocent child.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

the strike and wtf is up with L.A. brothers?

So not sure if it's from watching for a month, very attractive men in great shape play with such passion but I am so over this stupid "strike". Not sure what to do about it.

I was think about it this morning and bumped into a friend as I was leaving the gym. Let me be clear this is not going to be a Terry McMillian-ish rant but what my friend told me reminded me why I'm on strike.

As usual when single women in L.A. get together, we complained about the lack of dating. For black women here it's even worse. Now this friend I was talking to is very pretty, smart, funny and thin. She is over it. We can't figure out if it's self hatred, the shallowness of Los Angeles, the influence of video hoes or what but something is very wrong in the state of Denmark.

I thougth I had heard and seen it all but the following example takes the cake. A friend of her's, whom I've met, told her several brothers have backed off/lost interest after they found out both of her parents are black. Okay this girl is very light-skinned with straight hair so you can see why some people assume she is bi-racial. I am perplex why the brothers who have a preference (most do) for that look would care about the ethnic make up of her parents. She's still light. Ugh!

This chocolate girl is on strike until conditions improve. I fear as long as I live in this dumb ass city I will continue to spend Friday nights watching the Food Network.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Italia wins the world cup!

For all the haters talking about diving, let give some credit to the outstanding defense. Italy allowed only 2 goals against them the entire tournament. One, they scored against themselves and the other was off a penalty kick.

For the love of god, can someone please tell ABC/ESPN to get rid of O'Brien and Balboa for 2010? They are calling soccer matches like baseball games. Their stupid commentary sucks.

Sad that the cup is over.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

A blue World Cup? Hair today.

Forza italia! What a game. France has beaten Portugal several times so we might be looking at a les bleus vs i azzurri World Cup.

After spending $110 on Friday to have my hair pressed and trimmed, I washed it today and went back to my natural. It was the first time in over 9 years I had straight hair. I used to relax my hair and did not want to go back to using chemicals so I decided to try a press. I was so sick of my hair.

I'm glad I tried something new but now I know it is completely impratical. One, the idea of avoiding water, humidity and sweating (no more working out) falls under life is too short. I was walking back from Gelsons and freaked out when some sprinklers came on. Two, I cannot spend that kind of money every 2 weeks. Three, by the second day my style looked boring, like newscaster's hair. If my dating chances in L.A. are staying the same (meaning non existent) by having a natural, so be it. These shallow men can kiss my ass.