Into The Words

IMG_1422Happy New Year and congratulations! We all made it to 2015, with my liver still trying to process the holiday alcohol. I’m, of course, trying to burn off the fat from Christmas cookies, pumpkin pie, and Halloween candy from last year, so the New Year has me hungry. Albert and I are also doing a meatless January to try to shed the combined weight of guilt and animal tears. This is a pretty easy thing to do in Los Angeles, because the vegetarian options abound and are delicious. BUT, let me tell you now, if I gain weight instead of lose it on this diet of shrubs and seeds, watch your animals in February because I will be hungry and there will be carnage. Speaking of pets, look (above) how big Jack has gotten!

So, I am at Gold’s gym today, and there is an ad for a 12-week weight-loss exercise program. The background is a black man with a very large belly, and in front of that is the same man, skinnier and holding a child, and it says that he can be a hero now. Well as a graphic designer, the poster reads that the man had some sort of miracle baby in only 12 short weeks, thusly dropping the weight, like a hot placenta. Hell, I think he’s a hero for just being able to have to have the child at all.

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So I’m confused and hungry because I’m starving, and I’m walking home from the gym when I see the plastic of a blister-card on the sidewalk. The plastic packaging is in the shape of a tiny penis and testicles and I think to myself, “When did they start selling baby penises at the Dollar Store? How do they stay fresh? Are the kids sucking on hard candy dicks and balls these days?” I look further to see that the packaging, in fact, belonged to safety scissors, which was disappointing.

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Christmas with the family in Cincinnati was great. Albert and I got to see a lot of friends also, and special thanks to Kim for hosting her annual Night After Christmas bash, where I got to catch up with the old gang who are now spread across the country. Of course the traveling back and forth was the usual and expensive pain in the ass, this time with United. EVERY leg of the trip, and there were many, was delayed, even though the weather was lovely. Oh, and there was much running to make connections, and neither food nor entertainment once on board.

Speaking of entertainment, I have two movies to briefly review for you. I’m a huge Paul Thomas Anderson fan and have enjoyed all of his films. I absolutely hated Inherent Vice and had trouble staying awake. You have been warned. The flip side of that coin is Into the Woods. I’m a huge fan of the stage musical, of Sondheim, and of Rob Marshall, and I think the movie musical is stunning. It’s visually gorgeous, the score has never sounded so lush, and it’s just so smart. I’ve gone Into the Woods twice already, and I recommend the trip to anyone. There is no better way to start the New Year then going deep into an enchanted forest, and having a chorus of people singing to you, “No one is alone.”

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Kitty Hawk

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I was awoken earlier than normal by Ratty, cramming his body under my left arm and meowing until I pet him. I obliged and hoped he would just fall asleep, which he did not. Instead, he started batting at the nook of my other arm, a game we have not played. Then, much to my horror, I heard a peep come out from that other arm nook. We only have one cat.

“Oh my God, there is something other than the cat alive in this bed!” I screamed as I pushed the quilt off. Albert jumped up, flipped on the lights, and screamed, “hummingbird!” Oh thank god, I was sleeping with a hyper mini-bird and not vermin.  Albert seems to be good with catch and release, because he somehow managed to get the bird out the window, alive and with most of its feathers.

Later that morning, I look out the back window and see a giant cooper’s hawk sitting on our fountain. It’s the second day he’s been here this week, and he’s gorgeous. I think it is so ridiculously dry and hot here (sorry, the rest of freezing America…if it makes you feel better, we’re on fire) that the bird doesn’t have many water options. If I had a normal sized cat I would be seriously worried about it going out in the yard with this gigantic bird around, but I don’t think our twenty-pound Ratty could be taken airborne. And of course I would be devastated if that happened, but it would be perfect karma for all the birds he’s murdered.

I walk to the bathroom to brush my teeth and look at my reflection in the mirror. There are tiny bird feathers stuck to my cheeks. I look like some sort of Wild Kingdom crime scene, which is really not how I wanted to start my day.

A New Year

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The large green plastic Slurpee cup (above) is the last thing a captured varmint sees before being freed to the outside or drifting off to their death. This is Max’s first mouse capture, before Albert got the little guy out of our kitten’s mouth. Since then Albert has also saved a tiny bird, which made it out alive. Hummingbirds rarely survive, and I spent the first day of 2013 vacuuming tiny feathers off of my entry hall carpet. Happy New Year! Well, I guess when you are cleaning up a murder on the first of January the year can only get better.

We spent New Year’s Eve at our friend Shane’s place, and then walked around the bars of West Hollywood. I, of course, am now trying to lose all of my holiday cookie weight, as well as working on my resolution to look younger. I don’t believe in cosmetic surgery or products, so I’m thinking witchcraft or sorcery of some sort. That, or I have to find a way to make everyone else look older.

Oscar nominations came out this morning, lead by Lincoln and Life of Pi. I hated the first and loved the second. I’m thrilled that Beasts of the Southern Wild got recognized, and am a little surprised that Moonrise Kingdom and Hitchcock didn’t fare better. With that said, Albert and I saw Les Miserables and liked it a lot, myself crying at least a half a dozen times. Anne Hathaway’s performance, which should earn her gold, is reason enough to see the mega movie musical.

For anybody in LA, Dragstrip 66’s 20th anniversary party is this Saturday night. I will see you beautiful freaks at The Echoplex!

Barbra

Let’s pick up where we left off with a couple of movie reviews. We went to the opening night of Skyfall and it was really, really fun. As far as the Daniel Craig trilogy of films, this one is better than the last, but not nearly as good as Casino Royale. I loved Javier Bardem as the villain, but the plot had a lot of big holes in it (with trains crashing through them), even for a James Bond movie.

This weekend Albert and I went to see Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina starring Keira Knightley. It is directed by Joe Wright, who also did Atonement, which I loved, so I was curious about this. The movie is absolutely gorgeous and completely original. He sets most of the story inside a beautiful old theater and choreographs the entire film. It’s like a painting, a ballet and a play, all rolled into a film. I loved it, and predict it will be nominated for a whole bunch of golden statues. If you enjoy period piece dramas, and Anna Karenina herself is Drama with a capitol D, see this one on the big screen, because the costumes and sets are stunning.

Oh, what else is going on? Um, our new kitten broke itself. We’ve only had him a month and he’s already broken. Albert woke up on Friday morning and the cat wasn’t running around like a complete maniac, per usual. Then Albert woke me up in a complete panic, because he felt something protruding from Max’s chest, and the cat whined if he tried to pick him up. Albert suspected it was an alien. The cat was purring unless you picked him up, so we considered just not picking him up. Deciding that would make us unfit parents, I took him to the vet. They took x-rays and found that somehow the cat managed to dislocate his sternum. The bottom piece of it was bending out instead of in, because the kitten leaps around like a drunken gazelle and must have rammed itself into furniture or a wall.

We were supposed to spend the weekend in Palm Springs, instead of feeding Max droppers of pain medication, which the vet informed me has street value. My friends get drunk in the desert, my kitten gets high, and I get to watch a film from late 1800’s Russian literature. What’s happening? Damn cat.

I have one other thing to tell you about, and that would be one perfect night at the Hollywood Bowl. Ladies and gentlemen, Barbra Streisand. Last Sunday, Albert and I went to the final night of her tour, and it was completely awesome. She sounded great, looked like butta’, and actually seemed to be having a really good time. Obama had just won the election on Tuesday night, and hearing Barbra sing “Happy Days Are Here Again” was icing on the cake.

To watch a concert compilation video that Albert made, click the link below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgIcAeio8lo

Rest and Silence!

I got the ashes for my recently deceased cat Rufus and have been deciding what to do with them. My friend John directed me to a website called Bubbling Well—Pet Memorial Park for ideas, but ultimately it just made me laugh. Why would I want a resin cat that looks nothing like my actual cat? The way they have written “Faithful Feline” in quotes suggests that it’s all a lie. Clearly, this Sandy was a terror. Also, note that it is only available in an attractive cream color, not the unattractive color of your dead pet.

So, I’m deciding what NOT to do with my dead Rufus when a older lady comes knocking on my door. She is doing campaign work for Richard Bloom, who is running for the Assembly in my district. The woman tells me that Bloom has local ties to the community and that his family lives in the neighborhood. She also tells me about the weaknesses of his opponent. She tells me about Bloom’s work in Santa Monica, but she keeps coming back to his ties to the neighborhood. The more I enquirer about his accomplishments, the more she tells me that he’s local. Finally, after about five minutes of skirting the issue, the woman looks at me and says, “He’s from Hollywood. He’s from the nighborhood. You know, Jewish!”

For my Broadway fans, I ran into Laura Benanti at Hugo’s last weekend. I was waiting to be seated, when the therapist of tv’s Go On placed a take-out order at the register. She was wearing the typical celebrity baseball cap disguise and was buried in her iphone. I waited until they called my table before I gushed compliments all over her. I’ve learned that if you compliment a star on a television show or a movie, you come off as a typical fan. BUT if you compliment them on their stage work, her Tony winning performance as Gypsy Rose Lee for example, they light up like a marquee sign. I was lucky enough to see her in both Gypsy and Into the Woods and she is fantastic on stage. Now I can add that she is also sweet in person.

I have been following the show Silence! The Musical, the unauthorized parody of The Silence of the Lambs, since I listened to tracks on the internet several years ago. It went from a concept piece to a still-running Off Broadway musical, which has now spawned a Los Angeles production. I had high expectations for the potential laughs in this show and they were all exceeded. The musical is campy and hysterical. It’s not at all scary, but I’m warning you—It’s very, very dirty. Don’t bring your mothers, except for my friend Gabi who can bring his mom Brenda, because she has a potty mouth too. Run to the Hayworth Theater and see Silence while you can! (For cheaper seats try http://www.goldstar.com.)

RIP Rufus

Rufus didn’t make it, and I’m incredibly sad. I’m not going to write about the experience because I don’t want to remember it. When I write things down, they tend to stick in my brain longer—they sear in. I want this to drift away. He was my first kitten and I immediately fell in love with him. I will tell you that we rescued Rufus six years ago and he was always sort of sickly. He had a chest rattle, an irregular heartbeat. We joked that he would die early of consumption, but he actually died early of cancer.

He was our backyard cat and I looked for him every day in one of his napping spots. I found him and held him in my arms, cradled him like a baby, which we both loved. When I didn’t take the time to look for him, he would always find me and stand by my legs until I picked him up. That’s really all we want—knowing that someone or something needs us, loves us, or just wants to be with us. I keep looking for him in the yard, like a crazy person. I miss my Rufus. That’s all I’m going to say, because I don’t want you catching my sadness. Please hug your pet, or your kids, or a friend for me.