LA Cliché

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Welcome to LA. Take a snapshot of the palm trees, buy a star map and have a Double-Double with Animal Fries. Yeah, I know it’s cliché but so are some of the people you’re going to meet while you’re here. I’ll let them speak for themselves.

Natalie – West Hollywood, CA

No, I’m not joking but I mean, what does a girl have to do to get fucked around here? Take an Uber to Hermosa? Wait for my cousin’s wedding? Seriously, I can’t be that girl then. ‘Dear Mom, having a great time in LA, watch me grind my pussy on some rando.’ Yeah, not happening. Not happening at all.

I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. I’m a pretty girl now. Elena and I did SoulCycle this morning and I might even spring for ClassPass. I mean, I HATE that girl – the one in those Facebook picks, ‘Cornell Holiday Party ’11!’ Like how did I let myself go? Those dumpy arms and all those chins? Did I not know what a hair straightener was?

The past is one of the things that my therapist says I can’t worry about since it’s over and it’s out of my control. But if I can’t freak out about stuff that I can’t control, then what’s left to worry about? I mean, I trust myself, I think. I’m healthy there and I know it’s not my fault that all the guys I know are gay but it’s important. It’s important because – how am I going to meet someone? It’s not that I’m homophobic – I’m seriously like the least racist person ever – but it’s like, I don’t want to be alone.

I told Cori (she’s my therapist) that I think this stuff goes together: that my job, my social life, and my love life all run on the same tracks and that I think if I can get one right, I can get the rest right too. I just need to see a sign because I can’t be someone’s assistant any longer. I want to succeed. I’m really focusing on what I can control. I tried being vegan (it didn’t work) and I do Yoga on Saturdays in Santa Monica.

I know what I need to say. I need to walk into Steven’s office and say “fucking promote me;” and everyday I do exactly what he says and I forget to ask what for what I want. I don’t want to be a coward but I’m acting like one and I know why. It’s because of Jenna. His office is right next to Jenna’s and she’d hear me – she’d hear me and then she’d pounce. Jenna would fuck it up for me, just for fun. She can’t stand the thought of having two women as executives.

I just can’t. Jenna just – I have to wait until she’s gone. Then I’ll talk to Steven.

Christian – Hollywood Boulevard

So get it dude, this weekend – took a little trip inland to hit Splash House in the desert. Had to put my dick on ice after but what else are you gonna do? It’s summer, bro, it’s playtime for big kids too.

So like I said, I know its June in Palm Springs, but wasn’t too hot. Imagine a pool, then fill it with hot chicks and a fist full of Molly. Oh and everyone is down.

Dude called Viceroy played the first set. I think I saw him at Sound on Halloween but I was with this girl named Ash and I guess I remember some other shit better. Doesn’t matter, chicks dug him, bottles came out. Sip, smoke, sniff and I meet this girl named Angie – yeah, right? fucking Angie – and we rolled pretty hard but I was already blacked the fuck out so not much to say. She was down, I was down, you know how it goes. Left my shoes in her room, probably a little more too. Had to drive back to LA barefoot which isn’t bad until you gotta take a piss at McDonalds. Ate a burger. Wanted a burrito. Missed my audition. Bounced a check to the maid. Whatever. I’d do it again.

Andrew – Silverlake, CA

When I was an assistant working on a terrible network show, the Story Editor told me something I should have paid attention to. He said I shouldn’t talk about my career outside of LA and he was right. The problem is, I’m from this happy family in New Hampshire full of people in knitted sweaters and dogs who have better lives than most humans.

Why couldn’t I have a normal family? Where was my Great American Unhappiness? You’re supposed to enjoy love and attention but all I ever wanted was textbook New England dysfunction. Some tight-lipped, prude, mind your own business WASPs who cared about their tennis games and not answers to horrible questions like What do you do?

I dread the topic. I lose sleep over it. It gives me anxiety on the plane, headed east into the cold as I think about it.

‘Oh hey, Hollywood, how are you.’

‘Fine, how are you?’

And then it’s time for me to tell them what I do. My uncles look at me under their parted hair and they strain their faces to look informed, interested, excited, whatever. I know what they’re thinking: that I’m some Beatnick homo who doesn’t have the balls to come out. Actors and homos are the only thing in LA, according to them, and since I’m not an actor, I guess I’m a homo.

And you know what, I’d be okay with them thinking I was gay if it would just make the conversation stop. I mean, how would you tell your family that you’re a rising TV writer who goes from shitty job to shitty job, waiting for the big break? Who’s known on all the studio lots but only makes $30,000 a year; who’s sometimes unemployed for consecutive months; and who’s reproductive future rests in the hands of fat Persians and Jewish girls?

‘We’re just proud you’re following your dreams,’ is how they answer.

Emma – Santa Monica, CA

I was running in the Palisade Park on Tuesday and these guys – honestly, they couldn’t be local – they just had to take a picture of Charles and Elwood, the two African-American men who live there on the green. Charles was born here and Elwood hitchhiked from Phoenix. They’re perfectly dignified and they have a place in our community, no matter what those two thought. What do they know about being poor? Of being a person of color?

I know I’m not supposed to mouth-off like that. It’s not what makes you popular but I’ve been popular before and I wasn’t a happy person. I was an object. I let myself be what other people wanted me to be. I went to some snotty East Coast school and – I know, I’m reformed now – but I worked at a bank in New York. I learned a lot about myself there, working in such a diverse place, but it was unfulfilling to be part of an industry that has no social impact.

So when Rachel called and told me she was moving back to LA to open a yoga Studio on Montana, I just took the leap. I said yes. I admit that it was very privileged of us to use the money she inherited from her grandmother but I think that the stigma we attach to privilege is negligible in this case. After all, privilege, when used for social progress and personal improvement, is virtuous. That’s what we teach. It’s what we help people discover every day in our sessions.

Brooke – The Hills

When I started working for Larry, I expected things to you know, move along. When I was a little girl I’d play with his dogs whenever he’d walk by my parents’ gate, for god’s sake. My dad invited him to my Bat Mitzvah, probably for business, and even though Larry didn’t show up, he sent $500 in cash. I spent it on a pair Manolo’s that I wore twice. I hid my piece in the box.

Dad was disappointed but honestly, like I care. That was supposed to be my day and my parents made me feel like some low-rent undesirable. Michael Voltaggio catered Becca’s Bat Mitzvah and David had his – God, I was like seven – it was at the Beverly Wilshire. Like, what kind of plague am I? To have my day in the Beverly Hilton?

Did they think I forgot things? That I was incapable of remembering my standing? Head and shoulders below is what I learned I was and it’s what I got when they shipped David off to NYU, Becca to Princeton, and insisted that I stay close to home at UCLA. Daddy said I’m a “homebody” but what he really meant was he didn’t trust me with his credit card and three time zones between us.

So college ends and my mom says I’m idle; that I’m grouchy because I sit around all day by the pool, smoking pot and reading about wine. I HAD to get a job, she said, and so I called up the one dope I knew wouldn’t care if I showed up late; if I showed up high; if I took a long lunch. Whatever. Larry hires me to be his assistant and he’s like ‘it’s a boring job’ – and fucking Christ, it is – but he says it’ll give me access, like I actually need it.

Thanks for nothing, Larry. I don’t need you. I lost my v-card next to Julia Roberts’ pool. I went to Buckley. There’s a fucking Spielberg center in my Temple. You don’t get me anything a good Instagram can’t. And honestly, you’re right if you think this job of mine is just a transaction. I know what you want and if it’s that important to you, then just do it. Just fuck me if it moves things along. Fuck me in one of your black v-necks, I might even like it. If it evens your score with Daddy; if it shuts Mom up, then you can have all you want.

I know what I am and I know you do too. I don’t care. Judge me while I sit by the pool. I’m a cliché and this is me telling you: I don’t give a fuck.

Dave – North Hollywood

People think I’m a little nuts for living in the Valley but I like driving the canyons, so being on the wrong side of the Hills doesn’t really bother me. Also, let’s be honest: getting drunk in LA takes about the same amount of planning as invading Iraq. So nothing to miss there.

If you told me I’d still be living in the Valley three years ago, I’d have said you were crazy. I probably would have driven back to Denver and just called it a day. But I’m having fun. I’ve booked a few commercials and they pay the bills, not that I ever saw myself as the face of pharmaceutical industry, but like I said, it’s good money. And if I can get a spot during football season – we’re good for a year.

The goal is to open a production company and we’ve got all the pieces right here. Rick has been an AD on a few indies; I can act; Jen, my neighbor writes (she hasn’t gotten a show in a while); and I’ve met enough people on PA gigs that we could fill out the grips and booms and stuff. I’ve been meaning to talk Rick about that – I guess I will, next time I see him.

If you love Los Angeles, and I do, you have to love the tackiness. You have to love all its ugly parts. A lot of those are in my backyard. Boulevards of car dealerships. Muffler shops in Spanish only. More taco stands than cereal boxes. It’s my world but there’s sunshine every day and if God allow it, the mountains are there too.

Alex Keeney

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