Let’s Do The Time Warp Again

IMG_1525The above picture is my duck homage to Bette and Dot from AHS: Freak Show.

Over the Christmas holiday Albert was obsessed with Serial, which became a viral phenomenon. He was telling me about this new podcast that had the whole world sitting around, just listening to people tell a story, with just words. Oh my God, what century is it? All of the steampunks and hipsters have literally turned us back into 1920 radio days. I was about to buy music last week, and Albert stopped me and said, “Oh, people aren’t doing that anymore.”

“But I want to buy it, so I can put it on my playlist.”

“No, people are just doing Spotify or Pandora, so they don’t have to buy it. You just have to listen to a commercial every now and then.”

“Oh, like the radio.” And I’m out.

It is the 22nd and I have actually kept my New Year’s resolution of having a meatless January, in possibly The Roaring Twenties. The pounds are not falling off of my holiday-swollen-body as I’d hoped, but I am feeling good about saving some animals. I am almost to the point of being an annoying elitist. Albert has cheated twice and eaten animal flesh, so I quickly started referring to him as “weak” and myself “pure,” although I’d much rather be calling both of us “thin.” It’s just not in the cards. We were big-boned in 2014, and I’m pretty sure we’ll stay big-boned in 2015, as long as beer and carbohydrates roam the earth.

I do have a new salad place that is helping me keep the dream of slenderness alive. I highly recommend Mean Greens on Fairfax and Melrose, for those looking for a Tender Greens alternative in Los Angeles. The produce is fresh and locally sourced, the prices are low, there is free parking, and the owners are a super nice group of guys from New York. Give them some business if you are in West Hollywood, because I want them to stay open!

I was at Target this week and noticed a Fifty Shades of Grey pop-up display. They are selling blindfolds, massage oils, and vibrating penis rings at your local discount department store — Expect More Sadomasochism. Pay Less. In case you’re curious, and I know you are, sex toys are located near office supplies.


Can We Talk?


Always. We can and should talk because our minds are always working, and most people haven’t learned to read them yet. Thank you to Joan Rivers and Robin Williams for making us laugh uncontrollably simply by speaking your unfiltered thoughts. Rest in peace, you comedy geniuses, and we’ll do our part to keep the laughter flowing.

Last Thursday was Albert’s 48th birthday, which put him decidedly in his late 40’s. I don’t like to be late for anything, particularly my youth. As we were leaving the house for a day of celebrating, a Mexican lady was pushing a baby stroller in front of the house and stopped by our walkway. She was looking at something on the ground, and then started calling out to me. “There is something alive over here! Hey, there is something moving.”

I assumed it was a little mouse or something in the landscaping that the cat would later bring me as a present. I walked over expecting to see a Stuart Little, happily playing in the bushes. Instead, I looked down to the sidewalk to see a rodent fetus. It was a squishy, gray eraser with ears and a long tail, no more than a few inches long, and it was breathing.

The woman looked down at the devil monster, and with a heavy Spanish accent proclaimed, “I think it’s a puppy.”

A puppy? I am not a veterinarian, but I’m pretty sure that looks nothing like a puppy, and I don’t think dogs just drop their babies on the sidewalk, willy-nilly. I was in no mood to argue with this woman, when clearly vermin was falling from the tree overhead, so I just agreed. “Yeah, maybe it is a puppy.”

The woman exited with her baby stroller, and Albert joined me in fetus identification. “It’s either a baby squirrel, a baby rat, or possibly a baby possum.” Albert narrowed it down to three potential animals and immediately put it in a box, brought it in the house, and started to nurse it back to health. He got out the dropper and we tried to hydrate the little rodent or dog with water. This was made more difficult by the fact that the thing barely had a fully formed mouth. I’m pretty sure at this point we were trying to save some sort of abortion, which is not the way Albert wanted to spend his birthday.

I go through all the possibilities in my head. Even if this thing lives, which I doubt, two of the potential animals it might become, I don’t want in the house. At best it’s a squirrel, and I’m not even sure how well that would fare with our cat, Ratty. We decide that if it’s actually a rat we will name it Kitty, because our cat is named The Rat. It’s already complicated. We create a nest for our new preemie using a heating pad and some fake fur and move on with our adventures.

We visit a beautiful Buddhist temple in Hacienda Heights that we had wanted to check out and go hiking in Altadena. The Hsi Lai temple was a striking orange-roofed monastery nestled on a mountainside, and the subsequent hike nearly killed us, because it was pushing 100 degrees outside. We get home to find another fetus on our front sidewalk, this one squished to death. What is happening in this tree? Are these rat-squirrel babies just falling out of their nest, or are they being pushed out by an unfit mother? I can see her, chewing on the butt of a Marlboro Red, kicking her unexpected litter, one by one, out of the tree, squealing, “Momma’s going out tonight, I don’t have time for this.” Do I call Peta or Child Protective Services?

Albert tried to keep the original vermin alive for most of the weekend, until he found it stiff and dead in its box one morning. A few days later I was walking in the front yard and I found a third squished devil fetus on the sidewalk. It is raining aborted babies in Hollywood. So, no matter how your day is going, you can say, “At least rodents aren’t falling from the sky, like at Billy’s house.” You’re welcome.


Chekhov – Mashed and Spiked



Happy Friday, people. It’s been a busy week.

Wednesday night Albert and I went to the Mark Taper Forum to see Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. Don’t let the name of the play or the Chekhovian themes intimidate you— this show is hysterical. It won the 2013 Tony award for Best Play for it’s smart, witty dialogue, and this cast mines the material for all it’s worth. Christine Ebersole is perfect in the part that Sigourney Weaver created on stage, and David Hyde Pierce takes over the helm as director. I highly recommend a trip downtown to catch this comedy if you can get a seat.

I have some food reviews for you as well. We finally tried Sycamore Kitchen on La Brea for a weekend brunch. The atmosphere is great, and the food is healthy and delicious, but the line is ridiculous. We stood and waited for over a half hour to place our order, and I can’t quite figure out the delay. It seems like this is the norm, and while the food is yummy, it’s not worth the process.

We also tried Roadside Eats that recently opened at the Arclight in Hollywood. Order one of their (small) sandwiches as a salad and you get a huge, fresh salad topped with your favorite BBQ’d meat for less than ten bucks. The food is delicious and the place could use some business, so check it out!

Friday night Albert and I went to Trannyshack LA at the Dragonfly, which is always a twisted show. Saturday night we headed downtown to the new Ace Hotel to celebrate our friend Shane’s 40th birthday. The beautiful new rooftop lounge offers great views of the city, particularly of the neighboring Orpheum Theater and Eastern Columbia buildings. Our friends Justin and Alberto live in the latter, so we got to do a little Broadway party hopping.

So, I’m at the gym yesterday and I’m waiting at the drinking fountain between Joel McHale from The Soup/Community and Luke Macfarlane from Brothers & Sisters. They are both adorable, so I’m happy to be the meat in their line sandwich. I also linger at the fountain because this is the closest I’m going to get to a make-out session with them, which is creepy, and yes, I don’t care.

I’m walking home from the gym and an insane looking homeless woman catches my eye. She starts to run toward me, and I just smile a friendly “keep your distance” smile, and hope she isn’t a crazy with a knife. She asks if I have a light, which I don’t, and then I wait for her to ask for money instead, which is usually the follow-up question. Instead, she opens up her box of cigarettes, and says, “Can I offer you one?” Well, that’s a horse of a different color. I am totally surprised and I don’t know how to react. I am so appreciative that I almost take one even though I don’t smoke, but I don’t want to use the last of her cancer sticks or catch a mouth disease. I love Hollywood.

Sass and Fras


The Oscars are fast approaching, and this is one of the few years that I’ve actually seen one of the documentaries that are nominated. We went to see Searching for Sugar Man with our friend Gabi, who is from South Africa. It’s about an American singer/songwriter named Rodriguez who became hugely popular in the 1970s, but only in South Africa, and then disappeared. His music is great, and the documentary is fascinating, but I can’t tell you too much about it without ruining it. This one is worth a rental, and Rodriguez is now on my playlist.

I have two new places to tell you about. There is a new grilled cheese shop that opened at Sunset and Vine called Melt. It’s a chain from San Francisco that serves nothing but grilled cheese and soup, and it’s really good. I’m hoping that there are enough carb-eating Angelenos to keep it open.

We also recently went to Sassfras in Hollywood, and it’s awesome. The bar is like an old Savannah townhouse dropped onto Vine Street, and it’s a set decorator’s dream. They have Spanish moss dripping from the ceilings, handcrafted cocktails at the bar, and live music from the balcony. I can now walk to New Orleans!

Of course bars and restaurants are great, but the best place to see real Los Angeles is public transportation. Last week I took the subway downtown to get some information at the LA Department of Building and Safety. I was looking for blueprints or lot plans for our house, which was built in 1920, and for a new income property we are working on, which was built in 1933. I got there and learned that they pretty much have nothing for houses built before 1975, so it was a big waste of time. I did find out that my current home was built and fully finished for $5,000!

I was riding the subway home and trying not to touch any surfaces, which are riddled with the flu and other communicable diseases. I love the subway for people watching, and this ride did not disappoint. There was a big man wearing shorts and a sweatshirt, and he had a headband tied too tightly around his head. It was making his face strangely contorted. He had kneepads on both knees, and was wearing about five fanny packs. He kept looking at his reflection in the back of a CD, and then mid-ride he started rolling up napkins and shoving them up his nostrils. He would poke the napkin into his brain, and then pull it out and look at it. I don’t know if he was looking for blood or bits of his cerebral cortex, but it almost made me vomit.

At the same time, there was a crazy black lady talking very loudly to a guy who I was guessing was slow. I know she was crazy because she kept saying it.

“I am crazy. You needed somebody to talk to…and I’m somebody.”

Both of them were talking at the top of their voices, like nobody else was on the train. They both sounded nuts to me. Well, the guy finally gets off the train and the black lady looks right at me and yells, “He was drunk!” Oh my God, crazy lady just threw drunk guy under the bus, and now she thinks we’re friends. I love the subway.


I now know what it would look like if a serial killer were breaking into my laundry room (above). We had been approached about using our house for some location filming for Showtime’s Dexter a couple times, and last week they were actually here. Honestly, it is amazing to see all that goes into making what probably amounts to a few minutes of film.

Initially it was going to be a one day shoot in a couple of rooms, but got expanded to be a two day shoot in almost all of the house. Anybody that’s been here knows that we have a lot of stuff. We’re practically art hoarders, so I was curious how they would be able to transform our very full California home into a modern Miami bungalow. More importantly, I had no idea how they would put it back. While a normal home might have two paintings on a dining room wall, we have 29.

First let me say that I’m glad Albert was at work while all this was going down. There were massive amounts of people and equipment moving through, and I don’t think he could have handled it. I would just greet him at the end of the day with a glass of wine and wave the check for thousands of dollars in his face. It’s like having a massive party and then the guests decide to redecorate right in front of you.

Early Monday morning at seven they started taking photos of everything, carefully packing it away, and moving it into our garage. Almost all of our furniture was removed, including a giant dining room table, a huge sofa, and an upright piano. They painted our living room light blue, pretty but not my taste. Then they started moving in all of the new furniture, and even hung a new chandelier in our dining room. At one point the location manager emailed me and said they were going to swap-out my office furniture to create a “writer’s office.” I emailed him back, laughing that they could do whatever they wanted, but that I’m a “writer” and that’s my “office.”

In the afternoon the set decorators arrived to arrange the new elements into someone else’s home. One of the decorators turned out to be a friend of ours, Adam, who was surprised when he mapped the location and discovered he was going to get to re-do our place. I also discovered notes from the art department (above) about how they would have to, “Clear this area and replace with more masculine clothes—lose boas,” and “Clear and re-arrange to more ‘male’ vibe—lose stuffed animals.” Do serial killers not believe in Halloween or costume closets? Geesh. It was odd because they laid out everything similar to how we had it, just slightly different. My Liza poster was replaced with a print that looked strangely like Alan Cumming. How is that less gay? I was waiting for our cats to be replaced with model cats.

They transformed our entire house on Monday. Tuesday and Wednesday were shoot days and there were probably 50 people here. The lighting blew me away. They had a huge light behind every window and a condor/cherry picker as tall as our Italian cypress with a light as bright as the sun. All of this was so the rays would trickle in properly though the wood shades they hung to replace our curtains. I was watching the shots on the monitors by the directors and the lighting was gorgeous.

Michael C Hall was amazing to watch and he’s always sort of in character, so he’s a bit creepy. Also, there were three different Dexters walking around, so I couldn’t take a step without bumping into a serial killer.

They also shot a scene across the street at the junior high school. Apparently they often use school playgrounds for jail yards, which is just depressing. They let me watch the scenes being shot there as well, and it was fun seeing all the prisoner extras on recess. The fake security had huge guns and the real security had walkie-talkies. Considering some of the students will actually end up in prison, I likened it to a career day. Speaking of security, we had an around-the-clock guard at the house because of all the rental equipment. I felt like the President.

They shot on Tuesday for Season 7:Episode 6 and Wednesday for Episode 7, so look for our house. By Thursday, I couldn’t wait for them to be gone. I almost brushed my teeth in the morning with a prop toothbrush. They moved everything out, painted the living room back, re-hung the chandelier and put everything back in it’s spot. All 75 rubber ducks in our bathroom back to their right positions, like nobody had ever disrupted them. That is television magic.

To see more pictures from the Dexter shoot, click the link below:


Hollywood Tower

The news of the week is that Tom and Katie are getting divorced and Anderson Cooper is gay. Next they’ll be announcing that Santa Clause is a sham. Really? This is not news to anyone living above a rock. Anderson Cooper goes to my gym when he’s in town, and I’ve seen his very handsome boyfriend. Tom Cruise is an incredibly talented actor who can play almost any role, except for the part of a normal, straight Tom Cruise. He can’t study the role because it doesn’t exist. We’ve all been waiting for Katie’s five year contract with the Scientology Wife Beard Program to end, so she can move on and try to pick up the pieces as well as Nicole did. Katie did her time, got her part in a major Batman movie, had her spawn, and kept her pretty mouth shut. Now she’s getting out in time to rescue Suri, before she’s forced to board the alien mothership.You’re free girls!

On to more important topics—me. I was invited last weekend to a brunch at my friend Megan’s place, in the historic Hollywood Tower. I headed out of the house with Albert and our friend William, when we noticed that our neighbor Dina was having a yard sale. Dina was a transexual who performed comedy and drag around town, and unfortunately she was moving. She was a sweetheart and a good neighbor. Well, let me tell you, the only thing that will make my friends late for a brunch is a tranny yard sale. William and Albert both screamed “wigs!” and then ran to the yard and fought over a pair of go-go boots for about a half an hour.

We continued on to a very fun brunch on the roof of the Hollywood Tower. Megan is great hostess and excused our tardiness because we let her wear a tiara we had purchased. The rooftop of the swanky building provided great views of the Hollywood Sign, Capitol Records, and a table of new friends.

Last week writer and director Nora Ephron passed away. Meryl Streep wrote, “Nora just looked at every situation and cocked her head and thought, ‘Hmmmmm, how can I make this more fun?'” RIP Nora Ephron. Thank you for the words and the fun.

Welcome and Hello

Hello WordPress readers and welcome to my world. My name is Billy Lambrinides and I’m inviting you to come out with me and have some fun in Los Angeles.

I started this blog a few years ago because my partner Albert, who I adore but who rarely stops speaking, interrupts my stories. Now he can’t. We live in Hollywood in a 1920’s California bungalow that we lovingly restored and share with our 2 cats, Rufus and The Rat.

I’m originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, where my family still resides. I have lived in San Francisco, Boston, and New York City. The blog was initially intended to keep me in touch with friends I’ve made along the way, but has evolved into an entertainment source for anyone living in or visiting Hollywood. If something sounds funny, smart, interesting, or delicious, I’ll probably be checking it out and telling you about it. In addition, If you like drinking, music, comedy, art, or Broadway shows, this is definitely the place for you. If you’re a sports fan, not so much.

Also, hello to my regular Out Like a Lamb readers. You may notice by the new design that I’ve cyber-moved! Some of you had trouble viewing my photos before, so I hope this new platform will clear that up.