Archive for September 2013

Returned Favors

In the (sometimes not so) great city of Los Angeles, there are tons of people saying they can do many a splendid and seemingly impossible things.  Publicists promise, for a modest fee, the glare of the media spotlight to fame needy singers and actors.  Directors promise a big budget movie will make big money at the box office.  Friends who work with someone you need an “in” with help you out only to not help out in return.  After too many years (10!) here in LA, I’ve grown to realize that this is just how this town works.

Over the weekend, my hope for humanity was restored when I did a favor for Jasmine Thompson.  Jasmine Thompson is a 12-year-old singer/songwriter from London. She plays the piano and guitar, and dances. Jasmine’s crystal clear, haunting vocals have led her to gain early support from the likes of BBC R1, Jacks Gap and The Best Of YouTube.  Jasmine’s recent covers have also caught the attention of artists such as Naughty Boy and Passenger. Her first radio play was in August 2013 on Edith Bowman’s BBC Radio 1 Review Show in which Jasmine won the weekly national online vote “This is my Jam”. I did what her manager asked of me, her manager did what I asked in return.

Perhaps it’s that they’re sooo far from LA that they actually behaved like humans and respected the return favor.  Regardless, I’m now a fan for life, all because of a little human decency. Thanks Jasmine and manager for making my Monday a happy and hopeful one!

Raising A Child Who Hasn’t Always Been Yours To Raise

All children exhibit interesting behavior, at every stage of life. Sometimes we can recognize & understand why they act or react certain ways and sometimes we can’t.  I get that. I don’t get what to do about our situation.

Raising a child who has been in foster care most of her young life brings many questions for us, her hopefully forever parents, when it comes to her actions and reactions.

For example, for the first couple months she lived with us, when she would have her photo taken, she would pose a certain way. Never wanting to sound like I was ridiculing her for something she was taught elsewhere, I would gently nudge her to do things like, “stand like this so you look really cute!”

Seeing how she’s acted and reacted to most instances since she first came to live with us five months ago to now, we’ve been able to identify patterns and ease her anxiety about the few big issues she reacted to strongly. There’s one situation that keeps setting her off. We still can’t pinpoint why she gets so upset and we are having such a hard time trying to understand why her reaction is so strong and so negative.

When she first came to live with us, my significant other was gone for days at a time for work. When he would be home, he would take the reigns with her to allow me more time to get work with my job done without us having to pay a sitter.  She was used to seeing us separately.  We would hug occasionally and she would freak out and run to us, push us away and say, “noo!!!” and start crying. We determined that she must have seen people being rough with each other, not embracing each other in loving ways. We explained to her that we were giving each other a nice hug, like we give her and that she didn’t need to be scared or upset by what we were doing.

When we hug or kiss she still cries and cries. We’ve asked her why she’s upset and she gives an explanation so long that it transitions into another subject entirely, one that doesn’t have to do with love or intimacy or anything of the sort.

It makes it stressful on us as we are an affectionate couple but we also are trying to be careful not to crush her spirit every time we want to embrace or kiss.

She’s warming up to getting used to our being affectionate.  The other day when my significant other was leaving, she said, “you can kiss on the lips,” and we laughed quietly, thanked her, and quickly let her know she wasn’t in charge of what we can and cannot do.

Then, just tonight, after we got home from dinner, she was in the other room changing out of her clothes getting ready for bed and my man and I hugged for a few moments. I heard her walk towards us and then stomp away back to her room and when she spent a few minutes being upset.

Help. 

Who Have I Become?!?!

Since becoming a parent just five months ago, my lifestyle has definitely changed.  This three year old little lady who we were blessed with, wakes me up consistently around 8am, sometimes later, sometimes a bit earlier, but always right around there.  I have never, with the exception of a 7 month stint at a 9-5 job, woken up consistently at 8am, and I’m one of those people who LOVES their sleep.  I like my sleep A LOT.  I also used to go out about town randomly whenever I could.  Now that I don’t have as much freedom to catch up on my sleep, every opportunity to get a little more rest is taken at first chance.

MySurreaLife Whoever You Are

Last night, for example, my significant other and I had the unique opportunity to stand backstage and watch The Weeknd perform at the Greek Theater.  Yesterday morning we decided we’d rather go to dinner and a movie.  I mean, who am I to allow this to happen?!  Any chance I had to go to a concert for free, let alone stand backstage at a show, was taken immediately and every moment was enjoyed immensely.

MySurreaLife Jason Charles Miller

In all honesty, my significant other and I have been to so many shows, for free and backstage, paid for and working, that it is all so exhausting to us both anymore.  Dinner and a movie is not only the more relaxing of the two options, it is also the one that will get us home earlier.  I’m not even forty, I’m acting seventy and I do not even hate it! hahaha.

We went to see “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” and am I glad we did.  The cast was completely star studded; from Oprah to John Cusack, Robin Williams and the star Forrest Whitaker.  It was a brilliantly acted, Forrest Gump type story about one family and their lives through the years, all while history was going on around them.  It’s definitely a film I’ll watch again and again, and one I’d like to know more about it’s originations; possibly read the book in all my free time.  ha! It’s also a film that reminded me a lot of the lives my significant other and I lead.

MySurreaLife paparazzi

Thinking about writing this post, I realize that we all evolve, whether we like it or not.  With age comes wisdom and a greater sense of reality about our surroundings.  As in the movie “The Butler,” things happen around us, history is made, close to our proximity or not, and our lives develop and unfold right alongside the history that many others might also be experiencing.

MySurrealife NeverLook Back

My significant other and I have been right there next to so much of the entertainment history others have experienced by watching the news when we’ve watched it happening with our own eyes.  It feels good, after all these years, to take a step back and watch stories the world will know unfold on a movie screen vs ten feet away.

MySurreaLife Goodnight Los Angeles

Such A Small Modern Family World After All

Modern Family is definitely one of the funniest tv shows on right now.  The concept is a great one; one that is not explored by hardly any other tv series.  The concept of such a mixed family unit, consisting of a same sex marriage with an adopted Asian daughter, a “typical American family” of a mom, dad and their three children and finally, the divorced patriarch with a hot young wife and her son.  This family unit is a lot more mainstream than many other relationships seen in television programming these days.

MySurreaLife Modern Family bathroom

Anywho, the other day the board members of our HOA met to discuss some annual priorities and the subject of Modern Family came up.  One of our board members works for ABC and had a carry-all type bag with the Modern Family logo on it.  One of the other board members works in marketing at the Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills, I freelance working with talent flow teams on award shows and the 4th member of our board works in health care.  The board member who works for ABC said not to miss the season premiere as, she said she couldn’t spill any other details besides that it is amazing.  My significant other and I DVR the show, so we watch every episode, not necessarily when each episode airs, but we watch them all.

MySurreaLife Modern Family all white

The board member who works for Saks said one of the actresses shops in their store a lot and that that person isn’t typically very nice.  I piped in and said another one of the actors on the show was not very nice twice when we worked with him at award shows.  The person who works for ABC just kinda gave us the sigh and nodding head, understanding who we were talking about and the personalities of both those people.

I’m not mentioning the rude people’s names as to not get any of my fellow board members in trouble with their jobs but I will say, when working the American Music Awards last year, I ran into Julie Bowen who plays Claire Dunphy on the Modern Family.  I complimented her dress before I realized who I was talking to.  She was so kind and told me the name of the designer and was all smiley and nice.

MySurreaLife Julie Bowen Amaerican Music Awards

Times like those make working around entertainers much more tolerable.  It really stinks when you meet a famous actor or singer in person, you previously admired them or their work, they’re not nice, then all of their art suddenly really sucks because it reminds you of how not nice they were to you or your colleagues.  This is the reason I will never speak to Will Ferrell.  I’ve been around him 3 times now and every time I dodge him like he has the plague.  The characters he plays in any movie he is in absolutely crack me up and take me out of my real life while I’m watching them.

MySurreaLife Old School Will Ferrell

I would hate to have to hate “Old School” after meeting someone in that movie and they weren’t nice.  I’ve actually randomly met Jeremy Piven at Veggie Grill and Vince Vaugh at a night club, both of whom were very kind so I’d like to stop there, although I’ve only ever heard the best about Will Ferrell in person, but I’m not taking any chances.

MySurreaLife Old School Will gymnastics

It is funny what a small world life is in general.  Typically, the same circles blend with the same types of circles.  The same cannot be more true of Los Angeles and especially of people in the entertainment industry. If people know what a small world it is, I don’t understand why they then don’t take extra precautions to be nice or polite at the very least.  They take their entire life building an image and being famous.  Do people really not care how they are known as a person?

Chances are, someone somewhere is going to hear that you were not so nice and then write about it online somewhere, like in a blog! haha.

My Crazy Mind

There are days, not too unlike today, when I wonder why I am so tired all the time.  Then I look at all my texts and emails of people asking for favors and then I see all of the many things on my desk, waiting to be tended to and I realize why I am so tired.  I have to remind myself to not take too much time on the favors as they are rarely returned these days, but I must also remind myself to be thankful for all of the work that I have to do as it is all something I very much wanted in my life for so long.

For example, I have always loved photography.  When I was younger, my parents bought me a great camera and even had a very real dark room built in our garage. I LOVED working in there and creating images I captured.  About three or four years ago, three of us came together to create Mission: ART photography, a Los Angeles-based company specializing in commercial photography, public relations and entertainment marketing. We work with a diverse group of clients in the arts and entertainment fields.  I handle the Artist Relations side of things, booking the talents’ photo shoots.

Today I am sitting at my desk, next to one of our windows with incredible tree top views of our neighborhood below.  I am editing photos from our recent photo shoot I booked with Quinton Aaron, an actor best known from his starring role as Michael Oher in the movie, “The Blind Side.” As I do this, I think to myself,

QA 2046  QA 2049

“how cool this is, that my daughter is in the room next door, perfectly content watching a movie and eating some of her favorite foods; grapes and strawberries, allowing me to get this work done.”

MySurreaLife Thankful she loves fruit

I feel slightly bad for plopping her in front of a TV for 2 hours right now, but I feel slightly less bad that she’s doing so with at least some nutrition getting into her today. If it’s not in the form of great mental stimulation, at least it’s in the form of food.  And hey, we danced ballet to classical music earlier this morning so I can stop stressing, right?!

In a few hours, I get to see some of my friends for dinner, with our little lady in tow.  Again, I have to stop and realize how blessed I am that I am raising such a good little one who can hang with the older people in her life and everyone still has a good time.

Back to emailing my fellow board members of my HOA where we live, paying the bills, doing the laundry and dishes and booking employees to come tend to the work week ahead.  I realize, every so often, that I am tired because I have a lot going on!

Thankful as always.  Thanks reading my venting!

So This Happened (Again) Today

It’s always interesting to me, yet not unusual anymore, to see numerous production vehicles in our neighborhood.  Today it was a insurance company commercial shoot.  Makes sense; aren’t they just about the only ones with money anymore?!

MySurreaLife Studio City

Somehow This Is Just Another Day In MySurreaLife

Having a dear friend in town is always a treat. Tonight, my wonderful big brother of a friend, Big Rob, is in LA for work. The band he works for, The Weeknd, is in town to perform on Jimmy Kimmel Live and a couple shows at The Greek the week of September 16.

MySurreaLife Driving to Kimmel

As I drove from my house to Hollywood & Highland, at first I was frustrated there was some traffic around the Hollywood Bowl. Then I turned the corner down Cahuenga & saw the gorgeous sight of the Bowl marquee flashing the name of the performance that evening and all around it, the typical, cars and cars and cars of LA traffic. That’s pretty much the only time I ever think of LA traffic as picturesque, when I realize how blessed I am to live in such a fun city & drive by the Hollywood Bowl en route to a tv show taping like it’s just another day, because for me, it is…and I LOVE it.

I got to the H&H complex to park and pulled into one of the few empty spaces, alongside a young couple who was making out and giggling.

I was running a bit late so I quickly ascended the many escalators to the ground level of Hollywood Blvd, tried my hardest to resist looking in the Kitson windows (major fail), and then I crossed the street to the El Capitan Theater.

As I began my way inside, I saw Big Rob in the distance, doing his rounds & making sure everyone and everything was in place for the performance.  I jumped on him, gave him a huge squeeze and tried not to make too much of a scene as he was working.  I miss the guy and I love to hug him.  What can I say?!

MySurreaLife in the Green Room at Kimmel

I headed inside to see what munchies they had in the green room until the performance started.  Not 5 minutes after I went in the green room, it was announced The Weeknd’s performance was going to start shortly.  I headed back outside to the gorgeous, Sony sponsored stage in the back parking lot of the Theater where giddy fans were waiting anxiously.  The hype-man announcer guy was getting the crowd ready and I had no idea who The Weeknd was, but I sure do now.  That man can sing!  He sounds like Michael Jackson.  I didn’t realize reincarnation could happen so fast!  Check out the video to see what I mean (or search his name for better playback quality).  Note the spelling difference, no “e”.  Click the photo below for a 1:42 video of the performance.

MySurreaLife Watching The Weekend on Kimmel

I waited around and watched as he kindly signed autographs for his many adoring fans. I was thrilled to see that it was ten minutes til 9pm which meant Kitson would be closed by the time I walked by again to get to back my car.  On my way back, I dodged many tourists and many characters who dress up for a buck to pose for photos with tourists.  Alas, Kitson closes at 10pm and this happened…

MySurreaLife is weak against Kitson

No regrets.  I love everything I purchased, for myself and for our little lady.  My fave purchase was probably a cardboard book not pictured here called, “Goodnight Los Angeles.”  It’s as great as it sounds.  But who am I kidding?! Everything I bought is my favorite.

Thanks for reading!