Friday, August 31, 2007

Owen Wilson

Finally things have slowed down in Hollywood as people leave town for the Labor Day weekend. I have a ton of things to do today and tomorrow before I leave for Toronto.

Topic A yesterday was Mr. Wilson. It takes a lot to shock people in this town. When the rumors first started circulating, I thought it was a sick joke. Owen Wilson? Really? Why? Working in the business you hear stories about stars and see certain things that never become public knowledge (although thanks to TMZ and Perezhilton those days are numbered). I never heard anything about Owen.

Owen is probably better known for his acting, I think of him as a really talented writer. I can't believe how hateful some people are being on the web, saying someone with fame, money and hot girlfriends is an idiot for trying to kill themselves.

Uhm, hello we don't know him. We have no idea what is going on with him. I hope he gets help dealing with whatever it was that drove him to do this. He is lucky he has a close relationship with his brothers and is not out here all alone with only yes people sucking him dry.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

"Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job."

Incorrect! It's the second anniversary of the Katrina disaster. New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf is slowing rebuilding but there is so much more to be done.

I hope the local, state and federal goverments have learned from the completely inexcusable breakdown that occurred. Yes natural disasters do happen but how you react to them shows your true character. That the authorities spent more time pointing fingers while the Superdome erupted into chaos and dead people floated in the streets, is not acceptable in the world's richest country.

There have been many incredible stories however, of ordinary citizens helping along with various corporations that donated material and their employees who came to down to the Gulf to help. I was volunteering with the Hollywood Boys and Girls club and the girls made care packages to send to one of the Boys and Girls clubs that had lost everything. I do remember one of the 11- year-old girls saying my decorated tote was boring. I told Miss Thing I was going to a modern look not Rococo.

One of my closest friends is living in New Orleans full time. She recently opended the Louisiana office of Share of Strength, an anti-hunger non-profit based in Washington D.C. Her emails are hopefully and at times heart breaking as she talks about what is going on.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

It's Michael Jackson's Birthday

I know I have posted in the past about the man I was supposed to marry (I felt this way about MJ until Thriller. Great album, was not feeling the nose job, wet curl or his obsession with Webster.)

I watch this video and I just feel sad. I can't imagine being a kid who is working all the time, not going to school and dealing with that kind of fame. When an interviewer asked Joe Jackson about Michael's claims of abuse and getting so sick before shows and he would throw up, his father said "He (Michael) regurgitated all the way to the bank." How caring.

His birthday is only a few days after mine, so growing up I always asked my parents what MJ was doing for his birthday. I have to say my parents really humored me and my Jackson 5 love. Buying me records, Right On! magazine whenever they were on the cover. I wasn't allowed to watch too much TV but they would let me watch Soul Train, American Bandstand and even Sonny and Cher (that was a show for grown-ups they said) if the Jackson 5 were on.

Here is one of the best pop songs ever! When I worked at Sony music one of my co-workers gave me the ABC CD. It was released in 1970 and still holds up.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant and Adventures of an Italian Food Lover

I walked into work today and my bosses gave me a birthday gift from one of my favorite places in Los Angeles, The Cook's Library. It is a bookstore of cookbooks and books about food. Next door is a store for travellers. I try to avoid that part of Third Street.

The cover of ALONE IN THE KITCHEN WITH AN EGGPLANT: Confessions of Cooking for One and Dining Alone, is beautiful. They were nervous about getting it for me and worried I would be offended for some reason. I am excited to read it. I do live alone and that is okay. I do know next year however, I am not going to bed at 8:45 p.m. on my birthday like I did this year. Hello, that is just pathetic.

Recently I was looking at ADVENTURES OF AN ITALIAN FOOD LOVER so I am very happy to get this book as well. It's a travelogue/cookbook.

Now I have something to read on the plane ride to Canada this weekend.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

My perfect match. An early birthday morning walk.

Happy Birthday to my fellow Virgos.

This is probably the weirdest birthday ever. I just want to be alone and eat some cupcakes.

My sister and brother-in-law sent me some very beautiful flowers and one of my friends gave me the Burton Holmes "Travelogues" book. Holmes traveled all over the world from 1892-1952...this book is incredible.

I never really believed in Astrology when I was younger but after the 100th person said to me "You must be a Virgo" I thought there might be something to it. The good traits are organized, loyal, eye for detail, neat and conscientious. The negative onces are hyper-critical (self/others), repressed and over-analytical. Virgos tend to turn molehills into mountains and get stressed out often because they are so in their heads worrying about everything. This does not sound like me at all! haha

That said, while we can seem a little cold we are in fact full of passion (we just hide it most of the time) which is why many of us gravitate to the arts. Apparently teaching, medicine and law are also great fields for Virgos.

I found a little blurb on my ideal partner according my sign and it cracked me up, esp. the part of my soul mate being well-dressed.

Virgo in Relationships
Virgo's easygoing nature and Earth sign quality makes for a reliable and steady sort who relishes the opportunity to be helpful to their partner. The Virgin's devotedness also signals that a great deal of energy will go into making the relationship work. Those born under this sign tend to strive for the perfect relationship. The best reward for the oft-repressed Virgo is a lover who is willing to bring them into full flower, releasing a passionate and sensual soul. A relationship with a strong yet sensitive partner is one which is almost guaranteed success. The independent and never clingy Virgin may seem ultra-cool on the outside, but inside smolders a red-hot ravisher waiting to release potent charms on a deserving partner. The ideal Virgo soul mate is well-dressed, empathetic and dying to show their Virgo a good time.

Hmm, where can I find such a man?

I drove out to Santa Monica to walk on the bike/joggers path on the beach. That early in the morning the traffic on the 10 isn't bad. It's going to be a nice day today.

Each cross is for an American soldier who has died in Iraq.

Since Becks joined the L.A. Galaxy, the games have sold out. It's still going to take a long time (if ever) for soccer to become a 1st tier sport in the States. First of all, since there aren't commerical breaks every two minutes, the big stations are not interested in showing the games. They want more advertising money. The low scoring goes completely against the typical American mind-set. One of my friends said to me, "What is the point of playing to a tie?" Most people I know here think soccer is really boring. How can they say that about the beautiful game?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Meme of Four

Wordtyrst tagged me for the following Meme. Here we go.

Four jobs I've had or currently have in my life:
1. Film executive
2. Congressional aide
3. Saleswoman at a clothing store
4. Buyer's assistant at Bloomingdale's 59th and Lex. NYC

Four countries I've been to:
1. St. Martin
2. Anguilla
3. Italy
4. England

Four places I'd rather be right now:
1. My parent's balcony in St. Martin
2. Piazza Navona, Rome
3. Positano, Italy
4. Martha's Vineyard, MA

Four foods I like to eat: (too short a list!)
1. Pasta
2. Cheese (swiss, brie, cheddar, pecorino romano, gruyere etc.)
3. Snapper
4. Fresh bread

Four personal heroes, past or present:
1. Mom
2. Dad
3. Sister
4. Brother

Four books you've just read or are currently reading:
1. The Kite Runner
2. Man Gone Down
3. The City of Falling Angels
4. The Corrections

Four words or phrases you would like to see used more often:
1. We will no longer publish any "news" regarding Britney and her poor parenting skills
2. Vacation
3. Joyful
4. Humanity

I am not tagging anyone since everyone I know is either on blogation or no longer doing Memes. :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Hurricane Dean

Hurricane season started out strong. Given the strength of this hurricane we are very fortunate there weren't more deaths in the Caribbean.

My parents (who are visiting in the States) said there was only some heavy rain. They were lucky. Other islands were slammed and now Dean is creating havoc in the gulf of Mexico.

During non-hurricane season this is something you might find. My sister took this photo in July. This is on the Atlantic Ocean side of St. Martin and the water is a little rougher.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The power of fashion (and turning off my phones)

My migraine is finally gone. I felt so bad Thursday night I couldn't go out to dinner. One friend is in from NYC for meetings and she told me Bruce and Demi were at the next table celebrating Rumor's birthday. She also said the food was very good. The chef at the Tower Bar used to work at Ammo and I always loved his food there.

It is blazing hot this weekend but I have fall on the brain. I haven't received my big fat September issue (over 800 pages!) of Vogue. I cannot wear super skinny jeans. I'm only 5'2 and have muscular legs. How excited am I that full trousers are hot for this fall/winter? The colors gray and purple are the big colors for the season. I went to J. Crew today and found a pair of jeans that actually fit. With my shape, shopping for jeans is a pain in the butt (no pun intended). I'm not very hippy but I do have a butt. Jeans that fit my thighs and butt are too big in the waist and vice-versa. I will pick up the pants next week once they are altered (I had to have the hem shortened).

I happend to catch the last fifteen minutes of "What Not to Wear" on BBC America. This time Trinny and Susannah worked with two women over 70. Both women had given up on life, basically just waiting for the casket to close. What a difference an updated haircut and a good bra makes. These women after their makeovers looked decades younger. One woman, who's ex-husband's current wife described her as non-descript, went to meet them for tea. They were speechless. The other woman was a widow who stopped caring about everything after losing the love of her life. Her own son didn't recognize her. I got a little choked up when the women were talking about how now see themselves.

Speaking of "What Not to Wear", the co-host of the American (and more PC version. Trinny and Susannah are very blunt) Stacy London, had a special on shoes and bags. What made it an extra special hour was the travel. Stacy went to Paris to meet with Christian Louboutin, Florence to meet with James Ferragamo, New York City to visit the Manolo Blahnik store, among others.

In Florence she went to the Ferragamo factor and one of the workers showed how a sketch became a shoe. I had no idea it took that many people or hours to make shoes by hand. Stacy spoke only a little Italian and her tour guide spoke two words in English but it all worked out. I thought it was interesting to hear why high end shoes cost what they do (labor and material, especially with the dollar so weak and the shoes are not made in China). There are some labels where you are clearly paying for the name (I won't mention names but I noticed Ms. London did not talk about them either), the quality is not that great, so even if I had a bigger clothes budget, I would pass on those shoes.

The last few years I have used my birthday money to get a very nice pair of shoes or a bag. I don't think I am going to do that this year. I have to see what is going on with work. I know what shoes I want but seeing how I could be unemployed in a few months I will need that money to put toward my rent.

I cannot wait for fall. This year I will be in Toronto so I will really feel it. One of my Canadian friends here told me to pack some sweaters.

I did no work yesterday and turned off my phones. I wrote in the morning then went on a hike.

This is a little scary. I haven't seen snakes up there but one time two coyotes walked past me. That was not a fun experience.

So is this. It can't be good for us to be breathing this air.

I like how the San Gabriel Mountains look at this time in morning. You can kind of see the Hollywood sign in the middle.

Okay my break from work is over. I must get off the internet.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Sometimes reading other blogs is not a good thing

I was saying to my sister I might have to cut back on reading the expat blogs during the summer holiday season. LOL

It just makes me realize how bizarre our working 24/7 culture is. I know it's annoying not to have things done quickly or to deal with repairmen who go away for a month (something that happened to my parents) but this no vacation lifestyle is bullshit.

If you do go away it's assumed you will be reachable on your BlackBerry and cellphone. That is not a real vacatioin. You do not return to work re-charged, just overwhelmed by all the work that has piled up on your desk.

Sometimes I feel guilty because I no longer wish to be a workaholic. I'm still ambitious of course but I feel like my life is passing me by. I don't want to wake up at 50 and wondered what the hell happened.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

This is how I feel today

I wish I could unplug the phone at my office and not answer my cellphone.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Flight of the Conchords - it's business time!

I was talking to a writer director friend of my yesterday and we started cracking up about this skit from the HBO show. I recently canceled all my premiere cable channels since I will be gone for so long. I will miss this show. I love the line about how recycling is not part of foreplay but it's still very important. LOL.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Runyon Canyon in the City of Angels, foggy and smoggy

This is the closest canyon to my apartment. On a clear day you can see the Hollywood sign, downtown and the Pacific Ocean. I go there to hike often. Along with many celebrities, you see views like this:

Here is the infamous LETHAL WEAPON house.

No sign of the Hollywood sign.

One friend is going to Florence for three weeks, another is going to Milan and Rome and the third has a birthday coming up. I also have a b-day coming up in a couple of weeks but I'm not celebrating. Several friends are insisting I do something but I've asked them to respect my wishes dammit. :) I'm feeling very off about this birthday, not depressed or anything. I think I'm just overwhelmed by how busy it is and trying to finish the book.

We met at the West bar to say "arrivederci" and it turned into a birthday celebration. I have a new pair of pretty earrings and three new books to read, including a coffee table book called THE FOOD LOVER'S GUIDE TO ROME. The bar is on the top floor of what used to be the Holiday Inn near the Getty Center. It was so smoggy you can't see downtown. I find it scary that the smog here is actually better than it used to be.

This view should be of downtown. You can see some of Century City.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

I have just finished this book. The first novel by Hosseini, an Afghan-American doctor, had me in tears at times.

It's the story of two young boys, the son of a wealthy man and the son of the servant, growing up in Afghanistan before the revolution and the invasion by the Russians.

A tragic event rips their friendship apart. Our protangonist, Amir, is a complex person and cowardly at times. We follow him as he adjusts to life in America. Despite being thousands of miles away from "home", he can never forget what happened to his friend and his guilt continued to eat away at him.

It was interesting to read about Afghanistan during this time period (late 1960s to 2002). The politics in this part of the world are very complicated and reading about the invasion, the Taliban and the neighboring countries in this context offered some insight into a world most have never visited.

As a first generation American I was also moved by his POV of what it was like to be a person of color moving to this country.

Friday, August 10, 2007

"Oh, it was just a little earthquake."

Hearing these words brings me no comfort whatsoever. Last night at a quarter to one, a 4.5 quake hit Los Angeles. My entire apartment shook and some books fell off a bookshelf in my living room. It felt like a massive jolt. I was scared to death. I have been here a few years now and I still cannot get used to these tremors.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

I am a Rockin' Girl Blogger!

Grazie mille to Cherrye for picking my blog for this award. I am honored.

I am giving a shout out to Nichelle's blog as a Rockin' Girl Blogger. She doesn't get to post as much these days because she is writing for a TV show. She is very smart, funny, crazy talented and I have no idea how she finds the time to read so many books.

Several other girl bloggers I enjoy have been nominated already. Rock on ladies.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Toronto - the remix

I am still going to Toronto, leaving early September and returning late October. I would rather be on set during the beginning of production (in case there are any problems) than at the end.

This works out for the better. There is so much going on here to be gone for almost five months might have been too stressful.

Instead of take a trip post-production, I might go away the week of Thanksgiving. A vacation will do me some good.

I was very happy to see the following cover at the newstand today.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

A hectic day but good news on the book front

I'm glad it's August. It means one of the crappiest summers of my life is almost over.

I had a conference call at 8:00 this morning with my editor. She really liked the changes I made. I will be getting back my ms later next week with her line edits. My next draft will focus on cleaning up typos, grammar and tweaking some dialogue. I'm very excited to be close to the finish line. Next step....looking for an agent.

I have been on the phone all morning with my office/producers/agents regarding a project. Usually this is the time of year Hollywood starts to slow down (on the film side). However, with all this strike talk everyone is trying to set up more pre-strike movies. It would be great if we could get another going before June '08.

Is it wrong to have a mojito at 4:30 in the afternoon? I feel like making one. I'll go easy on the rum, since I still have a ton of work to do. I think it's okay. Plus, I can't let these limes spoil.

Monday, August 06, 2007

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

Happy Birthday mom!

I finally had a chance to read Mr. "I don't need a stickin' Oprah book club sticker" Franzen's novel. I meant to read it back when first came out but the job I had then was 24/7 and reading for pleasure was on the very, very back burner. Once the film rights were sold there was no "need" for me to read it for work.

There was so much buzz about this novel. Some said it was the first great American novel of the 21st century. The reviews were overall outstanding and the book was selling very well esp. for a "literary" fiction book. Oprah picked his book for her book club and Franzen "was conflicted". He felt his book would be misunderstood and maybe men wouldn't read it. He considered himself in the high art literary tradition. Mind you the book was already getting killer reviews. Nobody would have confused it for some silly "chick lit" book just because Oprah picked him for the club. Then he said as an artist he didn't want that "corporate logo" on his book. Interesting, he didn't seem to have an issue with the FSG logo on it. I guess when a publisher has paid you an one million dollar advance for your book you sucked it up. Also, he agreed to have the actors faces on the paperback re-release when a movie hits the theaters. When all this hoopla was going on I thought, damn, Franzen sounds like an elitist ass.

I can't remember which big chick lit writer said if THE CORRECTIONS was written by a woman it would have been dismissed as chick lit. I disagree. Nobody calls Zadie Smith or Jhumpa Lahiri chick lit writers.

Anyway onto the book. I have a ton of scripts to read for work and three books I still need to finish yet I could not stop reading about the Lambert family. At first I was not interested in another book about a dysfunctional American family but I got sucked in. I can't say this is a book I love because these folks put the "d" in dysfunction. That said, I laughed out loud several times. The characters lept off the page. There was one minor character I wanted to do some bodily harm to. The wife of the oldest son was such a passive-aggressive person I couldn't stand her. Chip Lambert irritated me for almost 2/3 of the book. He was so self-absorbed and was so mean to his parents and siblings. I had to remind myself these were fictional people and I needed to get a grip. To me the hero of the story was the mom, Enid. In the beginning she seemed like the typical controlling, nagging mother you want to get away from but there was much more to her.

Yes the book does get bogged down at times but overall the writing blew me away.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Sisterhood of the traveling books: The Kite Runner

I opened my mailbox last night to find Khaled Hosseini's novel waiting for me. It came all the way from Geneva, Switzerland. Thanks Marcy.

I was so tempted to open the cover but I am going to wait until I finish the books I started. I cannot wait to read this book

Today is my parents 44th wedding anniversary. They dated a while before getting married so they have known each other a loooong time. Why then do they always act like they are surprised by each other's quirks? They are too funny.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

"I'm a writer. I write. What do you do?!"

Said Vincent D'Onofrio's screenwriter character to Tim Robbin's studio exec character in the movie THE PLAYER. I saw the movie for the first time when it came out and thought no way Hollywood could be that hard core. Then I started working here. ha.

Yesterday I had a Coke, a cupcake and maybe a pound of candy. I didn't feel so hot last night. No sweets for me today.

Producer is such a vague job title and creative pay off is more elusive I think. Your goal is to get a movie made, distributed and hopefully be successful. So many things can stop that process and they are all out of your control. Financing falls through, an actor passes, the studio doesn't market your movie well, or the movie does get great reviews but for whatever reason just don't make a dent in the box office.

In writing your creative pay off is the minute you feel good about how the pen is hitting the paper (or fingers on the keyboard). Yes, once you turn in your work who knows what will happen but when you are sitting there using your imagination and creating a world, it's a great feeling.

Instead of getting worked into frenzy about what went down during the last 48 hours and the looming strike, I am going to look at the positive things. We are getting at least one movie made pre-strike. This is the most senior producer credit I've received (Executive Producer), the movie is about something, and the creative team involved is fantastic.

Not to get all "The Secret" or super crunchy So. Californian on folks but maybe all these bumps in the road are leading me to the thing I am supposed to do. I talked about writing for a long time. I wrote some scripts years ago and my boss at the time read them and ripped them to shreds. Instead of going back and trying again, I got discouraged and gave up.

Now for some reason at this late age (for a writer), here I am on draft #14 of my novel still plugging away, trying to make every draft better and enjoying (almost) every minute of it.

Here is the tralior from THE PLAYER. The is based on the book by Michael Tolkin who is also a screenwriter. I haven't read Tolkin's new book which is the sequel. I love the last line. LOL

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Some days I really dislike this business

The movie is still going forward but there is a major hiccup with our deal with the studio. I am still going on location, it's now a question of how long. Of course I don't mind making cuts to help the bring the budget down, everyone should do their part. However, the way the decision was handled was bullshit.

Feature film producing is very male dominated and most of them are very Type A. The longer I stay in this business the more I understand why many successful producers are crazy and have anger management issues.

There are a couple female producers of note but their numbers are declining. For my generation it's pretty bad. Lydna Obst wrote a great article about it for New York Magazine. Her generation cracked the cement ceiling. She came up during the era of larger-than-life women, like the late Dawn Steel and Julia Phillips.

For Black women there are exactly two female producers making Hollywood movies (one is def. more indie but she does have a studio deal). Both of them have been in the business for years and were mentored by women like Dawn Steel and former Disney Production head, Nina Jacobson.

I was speaking with one of my bosses yesterday. She has been in the biz over 25 years, both her parents were in it and she said things are getting worse. Getting movies made has never been easy but this is bananas. Today is going to be very interesting. Good thing I don't do drugs. I would need to be coked up half the day to deal with this town.