Sunday, January 28, 2007

I Still Love LA (just not as much as two months ago)
My Straight & Nappy partner Rebecca arrived in town two weeks ago. She and spent the last week preparing for an audition we had on Friday. I also spent the last week training for a new position at the pizza factory. I got a promotion to Take-Out. I have been in apartment hell. Where do I even begin?

First, the apartment. I stayed on my friends' couch when I first arrived on December 5, 2006. I actually began on an leaky air mattress that turned into a floor mat. After two nights of that, I hit the couch.

The friends are another actor and his opera singer girlfriend. They also have a female Japanese roomie. And a long haired white cat named Ed that sheds on everything I own including my all black work uniform.

From mid-December through mid-JanuaryI stayed in a sublet in Hollywood . There was talk that the resident of that apartment, a new age Aussie named Lucy, would give up the apartment when she returned for another unit in her building. This would have made her unit available for me to take. January 15th she came back and re-claimed her space (except for the 6 or 7 boxes I left there). She didn't seem all that determined to move very quickly. I was, of course, extremely anxious. I returned to my friends' couch.

I still haven't heard about an available unit her space. So, I have been searching for my own apartment. Rents in Los Angeles are extremely high. The average price for a studio in Central LA usually hovers between $750 and a grand. In Chicago, I could I have such an awesome address for $1000/month. In LA, I could probably be guaranteed nice lighging fixtures but who knows what the location would be.

I decided that I needed to live in a shared space. I searched Craigslist for roomies. Most of the ads that I responded to didn't bother to reply. When they did, I found the rudest, weirdest, and dirtiest people I have ever met. There was the Trinidadian that gave me a list a mile long of things that I would be prohibited from doing in the apartment. There was the cat lady with three cat boxes. She also didn't place cat food in a bowl. Instead, she would simply open a can and dump in directly on the floor. There was also the good looking buff black model from Miami that had a great space in Hollywood. I met him on last Saturday. And there was the laid back Asian college student with an extremely large 2BR in Koreatown. I met him last Sunday.

The Asian student was the first to make me an offer. We shook hands and he agreed to write up a quick contract for me to sign. I could move in February 1st. I was so excited. It was not my first choice of locations but it would do for at least six months. That would be time enough to set up base in this City of Angels.

The buff model called on Monday night offer me a chance to be his roommate. He had the better location and cheaper rent. But I had already given my word to the Asian college student that I would move in with him. I really wanted to back out of the deal with Asian college student. But I couldn't. Tuesday morning I called and politely thanked buff model for his offer but told him he should move on to his second choice.

Tuesday night, Rebecca and I rehearsed in her extended stay hotel room in Hollywood. We chose our material and ran over blocking and edits. In the middle of our session, I get a phone call from Asian college student. He backed out of our deal (that fucker!!!). He told me that his sister (his current roomie) decided not to leave so the room is no longer available. He apologized several times and wished me the best of luck. I didn't get angry. I was too tired. Between my regular host shifts at the pizza factory, my training for the new position, and the audition I just didn't have enough energy to get upset over this set back. I immediately called buff model guy but it was too late. He had moved on to his second choice who had said, "yes."

I'm back to square one. I'm still on the couch. And I still carry a lint brush to brush off Ed's glorious fur.

On a positive note, I passed all my training. Rebecca and I had a great audition and booked our first LA date.

We will be performing Sunday February 18th at 5:30 p.m. That's Chinese New Year. It's the Year of the Boar, Bitches! Mark your calenders and save up $10 so you can see us live in LA at the McCadden Theatre, 1157 N McCadden Place, Los Angeles, CA 90038.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Let's Get Political

I Still Love LA
I just wish I could love it from my own apartment. I'm back to sleeping on a couch but I am so grateful to have a roof over my head. Finding an apartment in LA has been challenging for me. I'm working with a very small budget. I need to be centrally located and near a subway stop. And I can't have a crazy roommate either. I am concentrating my search in Hollywood. I loved living there for the last month while Lucy (my sub lessor) was away. I miss the hikes in Bronson Canyon. I miss the Mayfair Market. And, as cheesy as it may be, I miss the Hollywood Walk of Fame. There are also a lot of studios in Hollywood so since I still don't have a car, it is helpful to be there.

I have spent the last week searching for apartments and interviewing with crazy potential roomies so my celebrity sightings have slowed down. And Rebecca, my Straight & Nappy partner, arrived in town on Monday. She is here through pilot season. I did go to an alumni networking function last night with Rebecca as my date. There were no big stars but I did see this consumer advocate, and this longtime character actor.

At the pizza factory, I talked to this actress again. And I saw this celeb, who is not a celeb to me but is in a lot of magazines and TV shows because of who she dates so that makes her a celeb.

On a personal celebrity note, a guy from Chicago recognized me from Check Please! He told me enjoyed my appearance on the show and that it was great to see me. I responded by saying, "Thank you, that is so very kind, table for three? Right this way."

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Have a Gay Day

I have to move today...again...but I may be close to finding a permanent to semi-permanent place. I'm packing today but I want to tell Lucy (the subleassor) that "I'm not going". Instead I'll let Jake tell her.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Paula Abdul - WTF!

American Idol returns next week. Paula returns to the bottle.

Friday, January 12, 2007

I've not been feeling my best the last two days. The weather here (like my interest in VH1's I Love New York A.K.A. Flavor of Love 3:Hoochie on the Loose) has gone from hot to cold. And not just "California cold" but "even in Chicago this would be cold". The weather combined with a long work schedule have my body a little tense. And the fact that I have been in LA for 6 weeks and still haven't found a permanent residence combined with the low wage from the aformentioned job is starting to take it's toll on my psyche. The owner of the apartment that I have been subletting returns on Monday. It's time for me to move back onto my friend's couch. Last night, I had a dream that I was invited to live with the Obamas. While Michelle and I got along well, I just couldn't get along with the senator. I don't know what this dream means but I'm open to interpretations.

On a positive note, I have been on two auditions this week. Things were so bad in Chicago that sometimes I didn't go to two auditions in a month. So, the fact that I was being seen after only being here for 6 weeks made me feel really good. The first audition was held at the MadTV offices (but it was not for MadTV). It was strange to sit underneath a picture of the cast and realize that I personally know half of these people. They lived and worked in Chicago just like me. And like them, this town could provide work for me too.

I met a great actress in the lobby. She and I talked about a threeway with Rob Lowe, the love/hate of Rosie O'Donnell, and the topic of adoption. If any of you have had a face to face with me about adoption, you know that the subject makes me very emotional (I'm actually tearing up as I type this). Here I was waiting to audition for this comedy and I was crying in the MadTV offices because of all of the children without homes and someone to tell them that they are loved. While I was crying, this actor walked past followed by this actor moments later. I finally stopped crying when another actor (MAJOR HOTTIE) I know showed up to audition. Just looking at that face was enough to make me smile.

I felt okay about my audition. I didn't think I killed but I didn't suck. I was just glad to be there. I was almost late because of the bus. Due to some misinformation given me by Metro, I missed my bus. I didn't panic. I called a cab which came very quickly. The cab driver happened to be from Chicago. We hit it off immediately. He worked part time as a film editor and knew the lot where I was going well. It was very serendipitous. Ironically, I missed my bus to get home too. I arrived at the corner just in time to watch the bus pull away. I jumped on a bus going the opposite direction and somehow figured out how to transfer to other buses and I actually got home ten minutes faster than if I had caught the bus that I initially missed. More serendipity I guess.

I worked last night at the pizza factory. We were very busy which means more tips so I can't complain. When I got off, I ate a pear and Gorgonzola pizza which I highly recommend to anyone. After I scarfed the pizza down, I went home. I took the subway to Hollywood/Western and waited on a bus to carry me three blocks west. I was too tired to walk. When the bus came, it was full of crazies. Lucky for me, one of those crazies was a woman named Robin Rosensweig. How do I know her name? Because I watched her on television earlier this week on NBC's "You're the One That I Want." Her picture and a recap are here. Again, serendipity.

Star Sightings: In addition to the people linked in this post, I sat this actress and her mother at the pizza factory.

Monday, January 08, 2007

A Little Comedy To Start the Week

Hey, Didn't I See You...
So, that people can stop asking me, YES, that was me 20/20 last Friday night. I didn't make a big deal about it because I was'nt featured. I attended an event that was being taped by the show and frankly, I was embarrassed to be there. I will write more about this later but right now, I have to go and sell pizzas.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Restaurant Math
The gloss of moving to LA has eroded to the matte finish of everyday life. I still love it here but I don't wake up in the morning quite as excited about it as I was three weeks ago. I still don't have a permanent resident or a car but I do have a job that requires me to smile and walk a lot. I am a restaurant host. It is a position that most people don't consider very important. You walk into a restaurant and this gal or guy seats you in an available seat. That's it right? Wrong. I have now learned the secrets of restaurant math. Where they seat you matters. Everybody wants to sit in a booth but what if you are in a hurry and the server of that booth was one of the slowest employees in the restaurant? Is the booth still appealing? Speaking of servers, people don't realize that when you seat them, you are trying to even out the rotation so that each server has an equal opportunity to make money. If Server A has a party of 6 in his station, I'm going to seat a couple of parties of two or four in Server B's and Server C's section before I sit someone in Server A's section. You see, I'm not seating you in the back because I hate you. It's restaurant math.

I am also mastering the art of the quote time. Our location has very high volume of customers. A good host knows which tables are leaving soon and you start factoring how you can get a party of 10 into a section built to accommodate 8. Or you try to appease the party of two that is in such a hurry that they couldn't possibly wait 5-10 minutes for a table even though the parties previous to them may have waited 30 minutes. Again, restaurant math. Speaking of restaurant math, here is something that I never considered before working as a host. When you go to a restaurant and finish your meal, you should leave...soon. If you stay and linger. You are costing the server tips they could be making from another party. If you still feel you need to stay and chat or do business, leave a huge tip otherwise you are making my job more difficult (because I can't seat other people in the time I quoted them) and the server (who misses out on more money). Of course, no good restaurant would ask a guest to vacate a table but if your server keeps interrupting you and asking you "are you sure, I can't get you anything else?" their subtext is "get the fuck out, you are costing me money you bastards."