Hair-Do

NoMoney

First let me show you a gift my friend Chris gave me the first day I published my book Bring a Bag of Ice. I love the brutal honesty of all my friends.

Summer in Los Angeles is ridiculously rocked with entertainment, and I’m pooped. Let’s start with the Hollywood Bowl, which I attended twice last week. First a classical show of movie scores from composers of The Americas, conducted by our amazing Gustavo Dudamel. You can get seats for classical nights for less than the price of a movie, and last Thursday we spent a beautiful night under the stars listening to the scores of Battlestar Galactica, Angels in America, Beasts of the Southern Wild and more.

We returned to the Bowl on Saturday night for an all-star production of Hair, which was fantastic. The cast was lead by Kristin Bell, Hunter Parish of Weeds, and a couple of the Glee girls. The standouts were Amber Riley, the fierce black girl that sings “White Boys,” and the very sexy Benjamin Walker as Berger. We are in a severe drought in California, so it was perfect when the Hair tribe actually conjured rain for the second act of the show. Some of the audience was less than thrilled, but we brought wigs, so our heads stayed dry as the hippies let the sunshine in.

While I’m on live theater, lets go downtown to talk about the shows at The Center Theater Group. Last night we saw Buyer and Cellar, which is a hysterical one man show starring Michael Urie. The Ugly Betty star plays a struggling actor working in Barbra Streisand’s private underground Malibu mall. The play is fiction but the combination of strange truth and great writing make for a very, very funny night.

The complete opposite of good theater is happening next door at The Ahmanson. I love musicals and I’m a huge Queen fan, so we went to see London’s long running production of We Will Rock You. This is one of the worst jacked-up jukebox shows I’ve ever seen, and I can’t warn you enough to avoid this tour at all costs. It is like terrible children’s theater for adults, yet I literally couldn’t figure out what was supposed to be happening through most of it. Apparently people would get into situations with space villains, I couldn’t tell you what or why, and to get out of the predicaments somebody would yell, “We’re gonna rock!” and that would solve the problem. Repeatedly. It is worse than the similarly named Rock of Ages but in space and combined with the annoyance of Cats. Imagine the hell.

If bad theater isn’t your thing, we also caught a horrible art show. We saw the Mike Kelley show at MOCA downtown before it closed and found that it was a huge amount of work, none of which I liked. I suppose he’s “good” because art critics say he is and half of my friends loved it. I felt it was the work of a lazy hoarder. Much of the show looked like he raided a thrift store and then scattered things about the room, which I do in my garage but don’t charge people to enter. He must have been a charming man…to get people to buy into this bullshit.

We have also been checking out some summer movies to avoid the Hollywood heat. We saw the ape movie, which is good, but I preferred the last James Franco movie to the current Keri Russell one. We also saw Guardians of the Galaxy, which is also a very good blockbuster. For something a little more unique I recommend Snowpiercer, starring Tilda Swinton in one of my favorite performances of the year. This movie is totally bizarre, not for everyone, but wonderfully visionary. I would describe it as a post-apocalyptic dark comedy action adventure with amazing sets and costumes, but it’s really just a crazy train ride. We also went to a premiere screening of The Hundred-Foot Journey, starring Helen Mirren, which opens tomorrow. It’s a feel-good, food-porn, rom-com and I loved it. Two big thumbs up, but make sure you don’t go hungry or it will be a torture film.

I read in the news today that a special education teacher in Oklahoma showed up to her first day of school drunk and without pants. Doesn’t that make you feel better? You are probably not wasted and naked at work, and it’s unlikely your kids are being educated in Oklahoma.

Pumping Up Summer

Prudence

Summer is in full swing, which means there is a ton to do in Los Angeles. The Hollywood Forever cemetery movie screenings produced by Cinespia are selling out every weekend. We went to Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and had a blast. The movie is funnier than I remembered, with a witty Jane Russell and an over-the-top Marilyn Monroe performance as a woman obsessed with diamonds. The camera nearly ignores the very funny Russell, in favor of the overly sexualized Monroe, in an otherwise strangely gay musical. There is a pool scene that looks like the Village People’s YMCA.

If movies aren’t your scene, how about music? The Hollywood Bowl has something every night of the week, and we caught the Robyn and Röyksopp show with a big group of friends. My new summer music favorite however is Sia, whose new album just dropped and it’s terrific.

It’s also been a summer of guests and pool parties. Our friends Trisha, Kevin, and their daughter Mason stayed with us, and Krista, Roger, and their son Charlie came for a visit from Cincinnati. I love when some of my favorite people visit and different worlds collide in new places. We have also been swimming a lot this summer so thanks to Gabi, Trevor and Joey, Ken and Carey, Tom, and John for the much appreciated pool time.

If theater is your thing, the annual Hollywood Fringe festival just happened. We caught a very funny play called No Homo, written by Brandon Baruch, who happens to be the son of a friend of ours. We went to support a friend and ended up seeing the winner of the Best World Premiere production, among other awards. Well done, friend’s talented son and the cast! This weekend we’re headed Jackie Beat’s new show on Saturday night at the Renberg Theater, so if you’re looking for some edgy humor, she’s got the beat.

Last Monday we went to the LA premier of Such Good People written by our friend David Michael Barrett! Randy Harrison and the very funny Michael Urie star in this screwball comedy about a money grab in Silver Lake. The movie also includes standout performances by Ana Ortiz, Alec Mapa, and Drew Droege. We went to the cast party afterwards with the likes of Urie and a blue-blonde Lance Bass.

Two nights later I was out to dinner in West Hollywood at Pump, and Lance Bass was there again. I like your new hair, but stop following me Lance! We were brought to dinner by our friend Andy, who is a huge he fan of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. I don’t watch the show, but I thoroughly enjoyed watching Andy’s expression as Lisa Vanderpump, her husband, kids, and other cast members took the table right next to ours. He was essentially watching live tv for the rest of the meal. The food at Pump is very good, not great, but the atmosphere is lovely. I have to give credit to Vanderpump for turning a cursed location and dingy parking lot into a stunning new destination, with beautiful old olive trees and every chandelier in the Restoration Hardware catalogue.

While I’m on food, I have another recommendation for you. Hoy-Ka Thai Noodles just opened up on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood around the corner from my house and it’s delicious. I love Thai food and there are many choices in the neighborhood, but these are some of the best noodle dishes I’ve ever had. Albert and I were sitting at a tall table when a woman came over and told us that we chose the “Hoy-Ka” table, which translates to “dangle your feet.” She and her husband are the owners and are super nice, and talked to us during much of our meal. They had the same restaurant on Western in a smaller location and always had a line out the door, so when they moved, their fans followed them. Everything is fresh and homemade, and they have the most delicious egg rolls I have ever tasted in my life. Give the place a try and sit Hoy-Ka!

A special thank you to all my friends who have posted pictures with my new book. I appreciate all your help with sharing my book with your friends, like Prudence did (above), and giving me much needed publicity.