As I stepped out of the Coffee Bean at Beverly and Robertson and into the toasty 80-degree January sunshine, I tried to bypass the scurrying paparazzi on the sidewalk in between sips of my ice-blended mocha which nearly splashed all over the Prada purse that came within a few centimeters from slapping me in the face. The unemployed and apparently careless actress who was walking ahead of me was probably in a rush to hop in her IS Coupe and hit the new Kitson on Melrose.
Ah, to be back in L.A....
After more than three weeks into the new year, I have adjusted to being back in Los Angeles after my longest holiday visit to New York since 2004. I am readjusting to a day without treating myself to a 12-hour DVD marathon on the couch. I am readjusting to a diet that doesn't consist of chips and dip, sugar cookies and sweet potato pecan pie. And I am happily readjusting to a climate without wind chills below zero (sorry new H&M scarf - back in the closet you go). I don't have resolutions; I have goals which I'll jot down in a little notebook and keep to myself. I don't have regrets from the previous year; I have continued hope and aspirations for what I had signed off in countless holiday cards as "a fine '09."
Upon my return to L.A. I made it a priority to reconnect with acquaintances I hadn't seen in a long time. While most of my intentions are that of a networking nature (hello, look where I live), I do give a damn about what my industry brethren have been up to since I last met up with them over an overpriced cup of fro-yo or saw them at a birthday party of a mutual friend who has now dropped off the face of the planet.
I guess you could say my resolution for 2009 is to make more things happen for myself. If that involves volunteering my time at a read-through of play I have no interest in, or showing my face at an important friend-of-a-friend's promotion celebration, or driving out to the Valley to listen to a former coworker pitch a web series to me -- so be it.
While I get back into this groove, some random notes and blurbs...
The excitement surrounding Barack Obama's first week as President of the United States of America - We held a special breakfast gathering in the conference room at work to watch the epic festivities in D.C. on Tuesday, and there wasn't a single dry eye in the room. And with a lineup that included Mary J. Blige, Bruce Springsteen, Usher, Sheryl Crow, Stevie Wonder and John Legend (to name just a few), last Sunday's opening celebration at Lincoln Memorial proved to be the first mega concert of 2009.
The Real World: Brooklyn - Never did I think, at an age that now puts me waaaaay outside the MTV demographic, that I would once again enjoy the granddaddy of all pretentious reality shows. Sure, Season 21 (you can legally drink!) kicked off with the traditional let's-get-shitfaced first night out and the obligatory hot tub exchanges, but there was also a refreshing bunch of firsts for the show that brought it back down to earth: the series' first transgendered roommate (Kat), the series' first war veteran (Ryan, from Iraq) and the first time an eighth member was added to the cast. In the opener, we glimpsed into genuine personalities (and psyches) we thought had been totally eclipsed by the one-dimensional douchebags and ditzes who once populated the show. Thanks, MTV, for making The Real World a little more, well, real again.
The second season of Damages - God, what a good show. Entertainment Weekly hit it on the nail when calling this legal drama "the TV version of a page-turner suspense novel." Waiting over a year for it to come back, I now know what Sopranos fans felt like during the HBO drama's epic hiatuses. Just when the acting pedigree couldn't get any stronger, producers added Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt and Tim "Hot-at-40" Olyphant to the already sterling cast. One nitpick though: Is it me, or has Rose Byrne gotten ultra skinny this year?
The United States of Tara - Here's my first prediction for 2009: Toni Collette will receive an Emmy nomination come August for her portrayal as a suburban housewife with multiple personalities. Produced by Spielberg and created by scribe-god Diablo Cody (piss off, haters), the half-hour seriocomedy is another brilliant slice taken from the Showtime pie (for those of you who aren't subscribed - and there are many of you - catch the pilot on sho.com) and maybe you can thank me later. I recently caught a sneak preview of the first two episodes at the Landmark in West L.A. I had so much fun I felt like breaking out into one of my own "alters" and streaking down the aisles of the adjacent Barnes and Noble. The show does have its standout: Keir Gilchrist, who plays Marshall, Tara's jazz-loving, Valley-of-the-Dolls-reading 14-year-old son. Ripe for a huge character arc that boy is.
My upstairs neighbor who hits the treadmill on weekend mornings - It sounds like a construction crew is pounding away at my ceiling, and at any moment I'll be treated to an early breakfast of plaster, cement and dustmites. I have dreams of getting all Amanda Woodward on her ass, but usually I'm too lazy to put on some pants, storm upstairs and knock on the door to tell the cardio-loving wench to go get a gym membership like the rest of us.
The recent trend of splitting TV seasons in half - Like many viewers, I was confused and mistook the recent return of Nip/Tuck as a sixth-season premiere. Upon catching a glimpse of the Season 5: Part One DVD in Best Buy the week prior, I realized FX was merely airing the remaining half of Season 5. The same is happening with Battlestar Galactica. Part two of the fourth and final season kicked off last Friday, and I, along with my fellow Galacticaheads (thank gods that I found you) gathered for a themed party. The stretching out of these seasons, while an obvious programming and marketing strategy, is just plain annoying, especially when fans are faced with spending more money on the DVDs. Instead of one boxed set per season, we now have to shell out more to make our collection complete. It's bollocks, I say. One, big frakking mess.
Traveling - My destinations for 2009: Seattle, Yosemite, Vancouver, New York, Hawaii, Paris and London. My chances of hitting all of them in 2009: anorexically slim.
Oscar nominations - Try me here.
The Beginning of the 30s - Birthdays, that is. In the span two weeks I've already celebrated that adulthood milestone with two of my friends, and it's just the beginning. By the end of '09, several of my former classmates and close friends will have completed their third decade of life (God, that sounds horrible), signaling the fact that GenY is finally growing up. And what do we have to show for it? Neverending debt. Unwavering loyalties to videogames. And continued efforts to find, to love -- to settle down with -- that special someone.
How can you blame us? We live and play (mostly play) in an increasingly compartmentalized world that makes it difficult for most of us to put down the controllers (or, more fittingly, the Wii guitars and drumsticks), turn off the cartoons and resist the prize-packed cereal boxes on every supermarket shelf we browse. At least that's what I've been observing here within the Angeleno tribe.
If 40 is arguably the new 30, then 30 is indeed starting to look like the new 20.
One of my favorite novels in the last ten years, Turning Thirty, by Mike Gayle, follows one bloke's experiences as he faces his benchmark birthday and returns to his hometown in England to reminisce with his mates who have already hit or are approaching the same milestone. At times depressing, but at times comforting (Gayle's prose is matter-of-fact yet engaging), the book is full of quotable passages. I highly recommend it. I plan to reread it as my youth nears its death sentence.
Y'all are invited to the blowout in March 2010.
In the meantime...
Welcome to Obamalot,