Thankful

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Well, it has certainly been a while since I’ve chatted at you. Last we spoke, our new kitten Max had broken his own sternum. He seems to have healed from that, and has gone on to scratch our other cat’s eye, for yet another trip to the vet. He is adorable and his name is being expanded to Maximilian because of the millions he is going to cost us in medical expenses. He is napping on my lap as I type this, between stints of attacking Ratty and vomiting on my hardwood floors.

I haven’t blogged since Thanksgiving, which was lovely. Our friends Trevor and Joey had us to their beautiful mid-century modern home in West Hills, which is literally over the river and through the hoods, as far as one can drive without packing luggage. It was a really fun and delicious potluck with a huge gaggle of friends. The next day, Albert and I organized Thankswigging 2, our second annual wig-hike in Runyon Canyon. The purpose of this is to work off some of our calories from the feast, and to avoid Black Friday. I am much more thankful about hiking with friends, than I am for beating up strangers for bargains on products that none of us need anyway.

Friday night after the hike, Albert got violently ill from both ends. Then we learned that everybody from Thanksgiving was getting sick. I believe it was the flu and not food poisoning, because I didn’t get sick until Sunday night, and it lasted for four days. I’m not going to blame anyone because I probably got it from Albert…who probably got it from Eric Whitaker! Of course, this was just days after I passed on getting a flu shot from my doctor, when I said, “Flu shots are for old people!” Karma quickly projectile vomited out of my old mouth.

Well, it hasn’t been all disease and doctors since November. We went to a tree trimming at out our friend John Price’s and a fun white elephant party back at Trevor and Joey’s. We also went to holiday parties at our friend Maggie’s place, at the W in Westwood for Albert’s work (thanks for your patience with my blogging, Ellen), and at our friends Art and Aaron’s beautiful home in Pasadena. We get around.

I also have a couple of theater reviews for you. Albert and I went to see the play Other Desert Cities by Jon Robin Baitz, downtown at the Taper. This show was on Broadway in 2011 with Stockard Channing and Judith Light, who won the Tony award for her performance. I didn’t love this play about a liberal writer confronting her conservative parents about secrets from their past. JoBeth Williams was excellent in the Stockard Channing role, but Jeannie Berlin couldn’t carry the role for which Light won her award. The character is great, and there were times when the actress nailed it, but other sections when she was just reciting text. The problem could be in the material itself, which I often felt was too repetitive. The lead daughter came off as a liberal whiner, and her parents as misunderstood one-percenters, with a secret I didn’t care about by the time they revealed it. Skip this one.

Last night we went to the Tony winning revival of Anything Goes, downtown at the Ahmanson. First let me say, that I don’t love old-fashioned musicals or jukebox musicals, and this is both. This show dates back to 1934 and is packed with the hits of Cole Porter. It has been updated and revived many times since then and I can pretty much guess why—two numbers. The big tap-dancing Act 1 finale “Anything Goes” and the Act 2 showstopper “Blow, Gabriel, Blow” are spectacular. They are really amazing to watch. The rest of the show feels like filler. With that said, it is beautiful filler. The songs are pretty and the costumes are gorgeous. Also, Rachel York as Reno Sweeny is unbelievably good. She is a true triple threat in a very demanding role and she is stunning. So, if you like old-fashioned musicals, this one is done VERY well. If you don’t, then buy cheap seats on goldstar.com and bring an old person, or just watch those two numbers I told you about on YouTube.

I just got back from Bronson Canyon where I was running next to a coyote. It was very exciting until I realized that it is more likely that the coyote would bite into me, than I would it.MaxBed

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Schadenfreude and Sandwiches

Ever since Labor Day minor bad things have been happening, which I will now briefly share with you. I normally leave negative things out of my blog, but they’re not happening to you, so maybe that will make your life seem better. It’s the same reason people watch reality tv—at least they’re not a Honey Boo Boo Child.

It started when Albert’s hotmail account, which he has had since the beginning of the Internet age, went bust. His email address, which is linked to absolutely every other cyber account of his, froze. Like dominoes, this also took out his iphone. So, we spent the entire holiday weekend either in front of a computer or at the apple store, trying to fix all of his broken electronics.

Then our cat Rufus broke. Rufus has always been supermodel skinny compared to fatty Ratty, but he took a turn toward anorexia. He was literally vomiting and losing hair, so I spent the next week at the vet or trying to get food in him. We think he has a bacterial infection in his stomach, and he’s now on liquid antibiotics and pills for his liver, but we’re not sure if he’s going to make it. What’s weird is that he has turned into an entirely different cat. He was always more outside and now stays in. Rufus also would only eat dry Science Diet and wanted nothing to do with people food, even tuna. Now, he won’t touch dry food, and apparently likes Trader Joe’s smoked lunchmeat turkey. I did not think I would be so upset about a sick cat but I am.

Then I broke. I have been sick with a cold all week, and am just well enough to type to you today. See, now don’t you feel better!

I have still been going out and doing a few things to tell you about though. We walked to the DOMA theater company’s camp production of Xanadu on Friday night. The material for the musical is pretty funny, costumes were nice, and the lead girl was great, but I have to tell you to skip this one. The lead guy was painfully bad and for some reason decided to play the part as Keanu Reeves, and sing it out of tune. Most of the supporting players weren’t much better, but it was opening night, so maybe they’ll all get better. I will give a shout-out to chorus who were desperately trying to make it all work.

Saturday we went to our friend Gabi’s for a fun pool party. Someone in Gabi’s family who lives down in San Diego tried to play matchmaker for him, so Gabi invited some guys to the party that he didn’t know who were visiting LA. The guys had just come from some beauty convention, and immediately upon arrival tried to sell us products. They actually laid pamphlets out on the drink tables and passed around ‘before and after’ books. Do you know how NOT to make a good first impression with a bunch of gay guys and their girlfriends—tell them they need beauty products. They literally asked each and every one of us into the bathroom to apply potions to our face. Oh my god, who does that?

Sunday we went to the Hollywood Bowl for Passion Pit and Hot Chip. We picnicked before the concert and I baked ‘Hot Chips,’ which were spicy chocolate chip cookies and quite delicious.

Speaking of food, I have sandwiches to tell you about that you must try. We went with our friend Justin to Baco Mercat downtown at Main and Fourth and tried their bacos, which are sort of like gourmet tacos but on bread. All of the bacos were delicious and the few tapas sides we tried were fantastic—get the warm tarragon potato salad.

We also tried the new Laurel Hardware for lunch. I used to live on Laurel Ave in West Hollywood at that was my local hardware store. Now, it’s a very hip, upscale restaurant, but the original sign still hangs outside. The fried chicken sandwich and the grilled cheese with tomato soup dipping sauce were both worth the trip.

Finally, I went with my friend William to The Oinkster in Eagle Rock. The place has been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives and is considered ‘slow fast food.’ Almost everything is made in-house, including the ketchups and mustards, and it is delicious. It is the best pastrami I have ever had in my entire life and I can’t stop thinking about it. This means that I must be feeling better, and it’s time for lunch.

Murder and Mayhem

I hope everybody had a great 4th of July, and special shout out to the troops who are still fighting for freedom. Albert and I clearly made pigs of ourselves on the holiday. Thanks to Trevor and Joey for hosting a very fun pool party and BBQ at their beautiful new home. They have one of the biggest residential pools I’ve ever seen, complete with tile lane dividers. They call it the Uva-Enoch Swim Club and it is a great summer party pad. USA!

The production crew from the television show Dexter just left our house. They are scouting locations for the new season, and they’re thinking about shooting some scenes here. I love that several location scouts have looked at my house and thought, “Yes, that looks like the home of a serial killer.” The last time they were going to have somebody get murdered on my dining room table, but it didn’t work out. This time they’re eyeing my office, where I am currently typing to you, as a potential crime scene. I could not be more excited!

I have a couple of very brief reviews for you. Albert and I recently saw Warhorse downtown at the Ahmanson, which I was excited about because it won the Tony Award for Best Play. I will say that it’s a great production, but of a schmaltzy play. The puppetry and direction are really beautiful, but I found the story predictable and the dialogue wooden. Skip it.

As for movies, I’ve seen some of the blockbusters. Spiderman and Prometheus are probably worth the big screen price, and I would say MIB3 is a rental. There is one movie that is decidedly not a blockbuster, and is my favorite film of the year so far. Beasts of the Southern Wild is unique and beautiful. The story is set in a very poor neighborhood of Louisiana, and looks at the coming of Katrina through the eyes of a five year old black girl. It’s as much a poem as it is a linear story, so it will not be for everyone, but it is one of those movies that takes you somewhere unexpected. The acting by the unknowns is exceptional, and the journey they take us on is unforgettable.

Speaking of beasts, this is a picture of The Rat on the 4th of July. You might not guess he is a fatty, pushing 20 pounds, because that flag he is resting on is gigantic. It’s all about perspective, people, so I’ve decided that all my future accessory purchases will be oversized. No, my belt buckle is not a foot wide, I’m skinny!