Where We Went This Year! (22,000 miles of driving!)

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Los Angeles (the last 3 weeks)

Gentle readers,

After our last entry, one might think we had, by this point, reverted to gelatinous blobs of goo, spineless and mindless, uninspired and near-retired, punctuating our nightly catechism of teenage angst with a scroll through available network programming, concerned primarily with whether this week's episode of "The Biggest Loser" was sequentially in step, so that the contestants for whom we were rooting were not suddenly the victims of a midnight Big Mac Attack and have resumed their rotund proportions.

Proudly I can assure you - this is not the case.

Not that we didn't indulge in the frequent nightly movie - nights often became early mornings as we finally got see such-and-such which we had never gotten around to seeing when it was in the theaters nor which never made it onto our Netflix queue. But the vast number of friends whom we hadn't seen in months or years, or even decades, kept us out of our Echo Park cocoon and a home-theater-home rut.

Allan Heinberg, whom I hadn't seen since Yale and who's now a successful writer & producer in LA, was among the list. And although we had to reschedule three times because of his work, we did finally manage to meet at Ammo, a cool Hollywood cafe with one of the finer musical atmospheres I've enjoyed in awhile.

Also there were David Wiater, Alison Tatlock, Karl Gajdusek and Larissa Kokernot, sporting the vintages of UCSD, Yale, and marital attachment thereto, are married (Dave & Alison, Karl & Larissa) and living in a duplex just south of Hancock Park which they bought, live in, and manage cooperatively in an arrangement which sounds like it would just never work and yet apparently works quite well, paying bills and handling child-care for their three kids (Dave & Ali's daughter, Iris, and Karl & Larissa's boys, Kade and Nick) all with no particular prescription or corporate entity but just old-fashioned neighborly cooperation.

And I had lunch with Debra Pasquerette, formerly of Positive Force Players and now of the Geffen Theater Educational Department, who has managed to curb an addiction to something like forty animals (cats, dogs, birds, turtles, lizard) to a far more manageable fifteen or so, re-homing the others to various other caring folks.

Angie and I had coffee and dessert at the home-cum-museum of one of Los Angeles' most art-friendly actors, Alan Mandell, where he regaled us with stories of his latest theatrical triumphs and whom I briefed on the goings-on of our other Twelve Angry Colleagues.

Steve, Vicki, and Caden Cerveris were the generous hosts of a fine Thanksgiving repast which we attended, by which we were stuffed, and from which we were sent rolling home like two over-ripe peaches. We had seen Steve and my cousin Lani the week before, when they came to see the show. And then at Steve & Vicki's place, we also saw my cousins Pam & Frank Arianna, who were in town for the holiday, and their daughter Lisa and her boyfriend. Lisa and Pam later came to see the show and, according to Lisa's account, her poor, Pittsburghian mother managed to survive the au courant onslaught of sex, nudity, and suicide that is our humble little play. Somehow I think Pam probably had heard of sex before, however.

Leslie Tamaribuchi, of Phillips Exeter Academy lineage, whom I have seen not infrequently from time to time since but whose wry sense of humor is always a treat, had coffee with me at Delilah's, Echo Park's premiere resource for coffee and rhubarb pie. And I also coincidentally met & onlyslightlybriefly caught up, in between water bowl refills for her dogs, with Jennifer Martinez, a residential college-mate of mine from Yale and whom I had seen only once or twice since in similar "HeyitsgreattoseeyoubutyouknowIgottarun" circumstances. One of these days, we're actually going to sit down and have coffee & catch up for real, I'm sure.

David Marko (Yale, again), and his wife Jill, came to see the show & took us out afterwards to Yang Chow, a restaurant with a memorable dish of "slippery shrimp" in LA's Chinatown. Dave also kindly lent me his ex-CBS-exec-and-current writer's wisdom

I ran into Alicia Roper in the Ahmanson parking garage, of all places. (I saw her in her car, looking for a parking place, and did the old "I'm just walking back to make sure I locked the car," walk until I could verify it was her. I'd be a good P.I., I know it.) We made plans for lunch later the following week and she took me to Philippe's, an old-skool, french-dip sandwich shop with a sawdust floor and a complete, yet inscrutable, wall-mounted menu which I HIGHLY recommend to any and all visitors to LA's revitalized downtown area. As for suggestions, all I can say is - get the mustard. Seriously. Get the mustard.

I saw my friend Virginia Louise Smith, transplanted New York City actress, wife of author Charlie Huston, and mother to the just-slightly-older-than-one-year-old-Clementine - one of the more glamorous faces in a city full of glam. And I must say, the future's looking pretty bright for both of 'em.

We saw Angie's friend Christina Chang, another of the glamorous faces that the city has to offer. And over drinks at Kendall's, the standard post-Ahmanson hangout, we discussed the all too easy, all too reflexive, and all too overdone, knee-jerk criticism of Los Angeles by New Yorkers. And it was at Kendall's that we also saw Barry Papick, who is rounding a year's tour of duty in The Boychick Affair, a semi-improv show which is clearly doing something right, to last so long.

David Costabile was in town, shooting yet ... another ... commercial. We had drinks with him and Henry Stram (whose role I understudy in the show) at Kendall's, and the king pitchman let us in on the Great Costabile Secret for finding seemingly unlimited work in commercials. And the secret is .... well, you'll just have to get David to tell you...

Also guests at our show, Sabra Malkinson and her husband Chris Goodwin would have stayed longer, but for the need to relieve their babysitter, as their one-year-old daughter Allie was demanding their imminent return.

Also, we cannot let slide a memorable field trip with the voting majority of the cast to the home of Kate Fuglei (Angie's understudy) and her husband, Ken LaZebnick, after the show our last Saturday night there. At which home we found waiting for us a vast and meticulously-filled order from In-N-Out Burger, with special insight as to their 'secret menu' from sons Jack and Ben, and a DVD of "Superbad" for a cinematic capper to the aforementioned gastronomic orgy.

And the last night we were there, after all the family and friends, all that remained was for the two as yet unmet canine cousins, Butley and Steve's dog Marley, to finally get a chance to run around Steve's pad and for Butley to chase Marley as Marley chased his ball. The two made good friends, and though the visit was a bit impromptu and last minute, it served to close the book on our social agenda as I thus became my own dog's chauffeur for his own family visit.

Whew. Guess we were as busy as I thought.

Beyond that, I have only to recount daily walks with Butley in Elysian Park, a tardy attempt to catch the live gig of Kyle Riabko and Jared Stein at a local venue in town, and various brief errands run in & around the hood, to complete the full picture of our remaining time in LA. You stick around long enough, you'll pick up a few friends; and we're fortunate enough to have more than our share to enjoy, and their visits all made for a very homey, if busy, time catching up with them as much as we'd been catching up with our 'down time' at home the previous three weeks.

And can you believe - no pictures of any of us.

And so, with the calendar pages turning, we set our sights on Tempe and the last gig before our two week layoff. check back with us next week, and we'll hopefully have some photos for you next time. But until then, many thanks to everyone who made our time there so pleasant.

Cue sunset. Roll credits. Slow fade to black.

1 comment:

longlegs said...

todd! I KNOW Alicia Roper! I knew her in Seattle. And we never made that connection. And now I hate you. Angie will remember (perhaps) that I did one of the 52nd St project shows with David Costabile. I just remember him so vividly because he couldn't relax on Block Island. It was not in his DNA. He had to keep fretting about work and checking in on it in NYC. Fascinating. And...not a problem for me. THe relaxing on Block Island part. THat was one of my two week stints there. You're both coming east soon! YEE HA!!!