Sunday, December 31, 2006

Have A Ball Bustin' New Year
I went to Bronson Canyon again yesterday for a nice hike. I walked half way up to the Hollywood sign and then back. On my way out of the park, I ran into my newest friend BB. He was just as vibrant as he was on Thursday. We walked and he gave me more information about my astrological make-up including some harsh words about my Scorpio nature when factored into my day of birth, three days after a full moon. I know, it all sounds a bit much to me but I believe there is wisdom to be found everywhere. He also introduced me to this director (whose first film is nominated for a Golden Globe), his girlfriend Eliza, and their two dogs (I told you I cruised the park for dogs)

I have been on the phone all day today. Wishing so many people a "Happy New Year." If I missed you then let me take the moment now to wish you all the love, joy, and peace you desire in 2007.

I also offer this sage warning to all: Mind your genitalia.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

I (Still) Love LA
I have been in LA for four weeks now. It is a relatively short period of time and I know that I am not finished transitioning yet. I kind of wish this period would be over so that I can move on with my life and feel some sense of normalcy again. Don't get me wrong. I love it here. This is where I am supposed to be right now and I am not leaving until I accomplish my purpose.

The last four weeks has brought out my spiritual side. This doesn't mean that I am attending church services or anything like that. I do spend a great deal of time meditating and and trying find deeper significance to the current, past, and future events of my life. My current favorite place to meditate is located in a park called Bronson Canyon. The canyon is probably most famously known as the film location of the Bat Cave on the television series Batman.

Bronson Canyon is a ten minute walk from my sublet. It is a great place to sit and contemplate. It is also a great people (and dog) watching location. In my "gay divorce", I had to leave behind two really sweet dogs and it is wonderful to get some loving from some random strange dog in the park. That last sentence sounds much more provocative than I intended.

This past Thursday, I sat on a rock at the edge of a steep hill. I listened to gospel music and thought about how far I've come since that summer in 1989 that I interned at a Hollywood personal management and public relations firm. I've also thought about money. My checking account was dramatically low.

All this was going on in my mind when suddenly I saw a blue baseball cap start to rise up from the steep cliff below me. Next I see a hand grabbing an exposed tree root. The hand strained as it pulled the man with the baseball cap a little bit closer to the top of the incline. Finally, the man pulled himself all the way up the cliff and stood before me.

"I made it," exclaimed the man, "Just barely but I made it." I smiled broadly and told him that just barely making it is better than not making it at all (hmm, words of wisdom for my own life perhaps). The man grinned and said, "You might be right." Without an invitation, he sat next to me and asked, "When is your birthday?" I only took a second to consider how weird and random his request was but I answered quickly. "November 8th?," the man said, "a Scorpio, that's hard to believe because most Scorpios wouldn't answer that question." He then went on to ask me about my ascending sign, and my moon sign, and all kinds of astrological mumbo jumbo. At the time, it didn't seem like mumbo jumbo. It seemed like a very normal conversation for a 60+ y.o. stranger covered with burrs from climbing up the side of a cliff to be having with a 30+ LA transplant with financial woes and a lonely heart to be having.

The man, whom I will call BB, and I talked for well over an hour. He actually took me to his house and gave me a free astrological reading. He even gave me one for Steve. It was amazing but his reading for Steve was spot on.

I hope to see and speak to BB some again soon. And I will tell you all about it. I'm going to stop writing for today because I am overdue for my trip to the canyon. I've said it once, I'll say it again. I love LA.

Celebrity spotting: On Thursday, the day that I met BB, I sat him and a friend at my restaurant.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas Bitches

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Hooray for Hollywood Holidays

Originally uploaded by mylilpip.
Here is a picture of LL Cool P and I on my first night in LA. We were attending a very nice holiday party at EllieMo's house. It was at this party that I met Lucy. It is Lucy's apartment that I am subletting right now. I also spoke with a casting director that I had met previously in Chicago. I had a meeting with that casting director this past week at NBC. I guess you can say that the party was great for me. Good friends, good times, and good contacts.

I started training yesterday at my new job. I hate corporate franchise training. It is all that brainwashing repetitive corporate culture stuff. I just want to yell, "I get it. It's called being a professional. Now will you demonstrate the actual skills that will be needed to do my job or do we need to continue this redundant discussion on keeping my uniform looking clean and crisp?" Apparently, we needed to do the latter.

The holidays are right on top of us and it is so strange to me. I am basically not celebrating Christmas this year. Mom bought me a jacket for Christmas when I visited her just before Thanksgiving but that is it. That was my Christmas. I am not buying anyone a gift (not even Mom). I don't have a tree. I don't want a tree. Steve and the dogs are in Chicago. So, I guess I just won't celebrate.
If I have to, I will hang out with my California brothers and sister. I have never celebrated Christmas with them before so I'm a little scared. I'm not scared of them but I don't really enjoy spending time with my stepmother. That is a whole other post for another day. Speaking of posts, this Christmas Eve marks the third anniversary of this blog. That reminds me. I also did not celebrate Christmas 2003.

I have never been a Christmas fanatic. My Mom loves the holiday but it has always disappointed me since I found out that Santa wasn't real.

The year was 1976. I had just turned eight years old and it was Christmas morning. My sister MIchelle and I would write our Christmas letters to Santa using the Sears catalog as a guide. It was always the Sears catalog, no other, I'm not sure why. I assumed Santa had some sort of credit plan with Sears. Every year I asked for Hugo, the doll of many faces, but Santa never brought it to me. He probably knew that I hadn't been that good because I got bad marks in math. This year, I felt, Santa would look past my math scores and reward me based on my good heart and spirit. No such luck. I tore through all the packages and there were some good gifts including my Lite Brite but no Hugo. Santa always seemed to get my sister nearly everything on her list and often more. I thought that sucked because she was in pre-school and didn't have to do any math.

There was one gift that Santa didn't bring my sister on this Christmas morning. Honestly, I don't remember what the actual gift was but it was something my sister really wanted and it required assembly. How do I know it required assembly? Because my stepfather pulled me aside and told me that he needed me to play along with him. He told me that he ran out of time and wasn't able to put together one of my sister's gifts. He told me that he was going to tell her that Santa left a note saying that he would come back later with the fully assembled gift and that I was supposed to back him up. That's when my stepfather looked me straight in the eye and said, "you know there's no Santa Claus, right?" I smiled. I said, "yeah, of course." And then moved to the corner with my Lite Brite. I made a clown face just like the one on the box.

Merry Christmas Bitches.

Monday, December 18, 2006

All You Have To Do Is Dream
That's right Bitches...I finally saw the most anticipated movie of the year...deep breath...Dreamgirls. There has been so much hype over this film. I hate hype. Unless it is hype about me and even then, I don't want to hear it, I just want to reap the rewards of it. Most times when movies are over-hyped it usually is a major disappointment. How many times have you bought a ticket to the "must-see" film only to walk away going "it was alright." Dreamgirls is nothing like that. It lives up to all the hype. And I should mention that I am a MAJOR FAN of the stage production. Dreamgirls is hands down my favorite musical EVER. So, I had high expectations for this film adaptation. I am pleased to report that the film lives up to all the hype. That is not to say that the film is perfect (nothing really is except maybe fresh and hot Krispy Kreme doughnuts). I had a few issues with some omitted songs, one of the lead's performance, and some crazy camera work. These issues were minor compared to the glory of the film as a whole.

Since the movie won't be nationally released for another week (Merry Christmas America), I won't spoil any of it for you. Let me just say that Jennifer Hudson, as Effie White, was wonderful beyond belief and deserves all the accolades she has received. Actor Keith Robinson (CC White) was also a stand-out in my book. His performance is constantly overlooked in the reviews but I really thought he made a small role very memorable. Kudos to writer/director Bill Condon for a top rate adaptation. And lets not forget the great composer Henry Kreiger who wrote four new songs and re-arranged an old one for the film. My favorite new song is "Love You I Do" performed by Jennifer Hudson in the film.

The experience of going to the film was incredible. I saw it at the Arclight Theatre. My sister and I had prime seats in the best movie theatre venue ever. The screen was huge, the picture quality was unbelievably clear, and the sound was better than seeing a live Broadway show. The crowd was fairly mixed. There was young, old, black , white, yellow, brown, straight, gay, bi-curious, everybody was there. Although, I believe the gays were still the majority, which I loved. I will definitely see the movie again when it is released nationally. You should too.

Apparently, the episode of Check Please! that I appeared on was re-run this past weekend. I have received so many emails and cards about that appearance and I want to thank everyone that has sent me compliments and well wishes. Are you listening Hollywood? People want more Pip on TV. Lets make that happen.
In Honor of J-Hud

J-Hud, you are my dreamgirl.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I Love LA
Okay, my posts have been very infrequent but my life has been a constant state of change for over a month now. This morning, however, I found myself waking up in my own bed for the first time. Well, sort of my own bed. I took a one month sublet in Hollywood so at least I don't have to sleep on a sofa for a few weeks and I have unlimited access to a PC.

LA has been really positive for me so far. I found the sublet and a job here within my first seven days in town. I just moved into the sublet last night and the job starts next Tuesday. I also began working on my acting career yesterday. I contacted a casting director I met in Chicago. And I went to IO West to see some of my Chicago improviser friends. Wow! It was a bit overwhelming to see all those faces that I took for granted at Second City. Many of those faces now grace America's television and movie screens. I also ran into my wonderful friend and photographer Maia Rosenfeld. That was kind of a bonus treat.

There are many other wonderful things that have happened since I have been in LA. LL Cool P too me to see a play entitled In The Continuum. It was stunning. I also attended a seminar entitled "Becoming a Celebrity Personal Assistant." The seminar was informative but not life changing. However, it was held at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on the same night as the LA Dreamgirls premiere (4 days until I see the movie) which meant a few celebrity spottings (more on celeb spottings in a second).

Life is a journey of self-discovery. In 2006, I experienced underemployment followed by a wonderful job opportunity that turned awful. I also went through "gay divorce" in the formal break up of my relationship with Steve. And then there was the move to Los Angeles. I miss Steve (and the dogs) terribly. I miss performing regularly. I know that I'm going to be all right but it is a bit overwhelming some days. I have taken comfort in musical theatre recordings (of all things). I have been drawn to shows with story lines and songs about journeying and self-discovery. Shows like The Wiz, Rent, and Into the Woods. So, as I journey into the woods, I am going to be a lion, because there is no future, there is no past, I will live this moment as my last.

Now my celebrity sighting for the week. Saw him hanging out in West Hollywood. Saw her shopping at H & M. He and she sat in front of me at the show I attended last night. I spoke with him at the Beverly Wilshire because we have the same agent in Chicago. She spoke to me (I don't know why) at the Beverly Wilshire as she was on her way to the Dreamgirls premiere. I also saw him and her at the Beverly Wilshire.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Dear God, I'm Here
I have safely arrived in LA. On my first day in town, my sister and I lunched at cute little place in West Hollywood while our brother watched some stupid football game at a sports bar across the street. After lunch, I got a quick manicure before my siblings dropped me off at my hosts' house in the Miracle Mile/La Brea neighborhood of Los Angeles.

After settling in for a couple of hours, I immediately became jet lagged and very very tired. Despite my fatigue, I went to a holiday party with O'Tay, LL Cool P, WhiteShaft, Deez, and ScottieDog. At this party, I saw a casting director that I had just met before I left Chicago. She was very surprised that on my first day in town I was hanging with such cool people but...I guess I just got it like that.

At the same party was a woman that I had been in contact with regarding subleasing her apartment. It turns out that this woman, we'll call her AussieLass is an outstanding human being. I'm taking her place for a month but I hope she and I are friends for life.

I have been teased (politely and no so politely)about my name my whole life. I recognize that it is unusual and I have heard every joke and every variation on my name. But AussieLass asked me if I knew that pip is another name for a seed. I knew that. AussieLass went on to say that my name can mean "new beginnings" like a seed, full of possibilities, full of potential life. Now that is a new one on me. I love it. I think LA is going to be okay.

Friday, December 01, 2006

I'm Snowed In - Still In Chicago

Why complain about the weather. There are so many other things to complain about. Ask the complaint choir of Birmingham.