Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas - Shaken. Not stirred.

When the stress of the Holidays become unbearably monotonous and the world around me transforms into a destructive minefield congested with deranged Christmas shoppers, it seems likely (if not necessary) to attend a fabulous party.  This past Saturday night, I dusted off my favorite festive sweater, grabbed a bottle of Chardonnay, and headed over to my friend's annual Christmas gathering.  Amidst the crowded room, I noticed that this soiree wasn't your typical yuletide get-together.  Sure, Christmas tunes played from a nearby stereo while the cater waiters handed out tasty hors d'oeuvres.  However, something still felt "off".  Upon further investigation, I discovered that professional "Industry types" were the primary source of people in the room and their assertive personalities exuded just that.  You know what I'm talking about, vodka-guzzling agents and their twenty-something girlfriends. 

Yet, these agents, managers, and PR reps weren't the ones that irked me.  In fact, they were actually the ones who inspired the more honest conversations.  It wasn't until later when a reality television producer showed up with his boy-band entourage (twenty years his junior).  That's when my curiosity really kicked in.  It was like half the November Abercrombie ad walked through the door -- each guy maintaining a quality of external perfection and beauty.  I even noticed two of them checking themselves out in a nearby mirror... (Um, those egos aren't gonna build themselves).  It was obvious that these guys were tagging along for networking purposes, but when does it stop being socially acceptable and start being seen as exploitation?

It got me thinking.  Living in Los Angeles, everybody's out for themselves.  It's impossible to come across a person without catching on to their own personal agendas.  With that in mind, were these Zoolander impersonators simply playing the game or merely abusing their narcissistic power?  How far is too far until the old adage, "when you got it flaunt it", proves to be untrue?  As someone involved in the "industry game" myself, I was always taught to do what I know, never hold back, and keep pushing forward.  Therefore, aren't I doing the same thing?  Doesn't all forms of art require some sort of exploitation?  Sure, what I'm flaunting may not be disguised with perfectly toned six-packed abs and smoldering features, but I'm in the very same boat they are.  I think we all are. 

Perhaps this Nation isn't that different from Los Angeles.  We all have our own personal agendas secretly tucked away in our back pockets.   We all can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  And finally, as we move through this adventure we call 'life', we have our own egos that need a little assisting.  Ours just may be a little bit more towards the left.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Call off the search parties and wipe your foreheads, I'm alive. Barely. As we approach this upcoming week, I've become overwhelmingly bombarded with yuletide obligations. From Holiday shopping to annual Christmas parties, this month has become a seasonal poo-poo platter of merriment and debt. I'm just doing my part to bolster the national economic index (and relieve a little guilt...)

Anyways, this time of year also marks another monumental occasion. Just one year ago, I started writing this little blog as an outlet for my thoughts and frustrations. Most of which sparked by my life here in Los Angeles. Suffice to say, a lot has changed in a year. I've matured as a person while maintaining an air of innocence that often becomes jaded from living in this big city. Hopefully, the next year will be just as eventful and memorable as the last one.

In honor of my first post ever, I'd like to give a shout-out to Nutcracker Jack. He and I would like to wish everyone a Happy Holiday. May your Christmas be merry and gay... with extra rum-spiked eggnog of course...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Oscar on the Brain

Do you hear that? Listen closely. If you stand completely still, you'll hear the sound of 28 Oscars being created. Yes, that's right. Awards season has kicked off in full force and, like every other movie junkie, I've jumped on to the highly-obsessive band wagon. Like most cinephiles, I also have a list of projected filmmakers, writers, and actors I expect to be announced nomination morning. However, every year I grip tightly onto the idea that certain personal favorites would appease my addiction and ultimately make the Academy's shortlist.

In 2006, I was on team Devil Wears Prada. It was inevitable that Queen Meryl would get a nomination, but screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna and costume designer Patricia Field's fate seemed less likely. Fortunately, the latter clinched the Oscar Nod while Aline wasn't as lucky.

Then, in 2007, I began a short lived love affair with Diablo Cody. Need I say more?

This year, as the Christmas season approaches, I have merely three names on my Santa wish list:

1. Anne Hathaway - The buzz surrounding her performance, not to mention her early precursor awards, has almost guaranteed a nomination. Believe me, nothing would make me happier than to be able say, "Oscar nominee (winner?) Anne Hathaway".

2. Claudio Miranda - Or better known as the Director of Photography for The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons. He's an amazingly talented cinematographer and the film looks terrific. Not to mention, we represent him, so that doesn't hurt...

3. Regina Spektor (for writing 'The Call') - She's one of my favorite singers/artists out there. Her voice is spectacular and if she doesn't get nominated for this award-worthy song, so help me God....

Oh, and Milk winning Best Picture wouldn't hurt either....

Friday, December 5, 2008

That's Not My Name

While in high school, through the thick of homework and extra curricular activities, I worked as a server at a local retirement community. Park Regency was its name, and assisted living and skilled nursing services was its game. Anyway, once 6th period let out, I'd throw my apron on, jump in my '93 Infiniti G20, and head to work ready to take the elderly by storm. I'd show up promptly at 4pm as if the weight of the world fell on my shoulders. Okay, not really. Unless you consider evening dinner detrimental to the universe (Which, incidentally, some of the residents did...).

In all honesty, these people were some of the most interesting people I've ever met. Their stories. Their history. Their jokes! One of my favorite residents, Mr. Diello, would shuffle in the dining room as he leaned against his brass walker, and shoot me a disgruntled stare. I'd approach him eagerly and ask, "Good evening Mr. Diello, where would you like to sit?". He'd reply, "On the roof! Is there room on the roof?!" LoLoL, oh Mr. Diello...... I guess you needed to be there.....

Unfortunately, for my entire "career" at Park Regency, the residents had a problem with calling me by my actual name -- Elias. Perhaps their hearing aids were purposely turned down, but they seemed to always forget the 'S' and mistake it for a 'T'. Therefore, my serving name was permanently "Elliot" and I was subsequently always asked to "phone home". Uh, childhood trauma much? I'm pretty sure that's why I go by Eli now...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Blast from the Past - Part 5

Yet another embarrassing journal entry from my collegiate days. Seriously, what was my damage? This doesn't even make sense! And to be frank, I'm actually a little hesitant to re-post this...

Monkey 1: "What was Eli writing about?" Monkey 2: "I have no idea."

When did humans develop language? Are the origins of language lost in the mist of time, or does science provide us with some clues as to how this ability appeared? To me, it seems that language appeared out of nowhere, since no other species has anything resembling human language. Therefore, it wasn’t surprising when another language recently emerged at the University of Arizona – a language I like to call The Sex Code.

Now, I'm certainly not a specialist of linguistics (nor lingaystics), but in a world where communication is key in any relationship, how can we be so sure we're speaking the same language. Think about it, how many times have our words been tangled in the dating web? It’s a peculiar world out there. Since when does the phrase, ‘let’s be friends’ translate to ‘I want you!’.

Seriously, this form of miscommunication is often exemplified within this theatre major. I’m a huge advocate on friendship and networking, however it’s hard to approach any egotistical college student without being presumably judged for "hitting on them". In the world of relationships, do we need a translator or are we just left to be stared at like a gaylien?

Well, luckily there is a solution to this verbal mishap and a key to unlock this Sex Code. I've learned to simply learn the dating lingo, separate my networks from those I'm actually interested in, and always be myself. I’ve also learned, if someone likes me, they should be able to directly say it out loud – any form of deciphering shouldn't be a problem.

The human language has always been a complicated issue in today’s dating society. Why does it have to be this difficult? Fortunately for us, this lingo isn’t necessarily a road block to happiness. There's a way around this bewildering language and, as we become more accustomed to it, this Code will hopefully get lost in the mist of time.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Giving Thanks

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I've thought extensively about what I'm personally thankful for in my life. Obviously, my family, friends, and health deserve my primary gratitude, but with all that the world has to offer, it seems foolish not to be thankful for so much more.

This Universe is filled with all kinds of people. Big, small, tall, short, dark, light, old, young - each distinguished with a unique look and personality. Neighborhoods are filled with an array of diverse characters waiting to be written in the pages of their own book. Therefore, as I walk these sidewalks and pass by complete strangers, I can't help but appreciate the subtle nuances they have to offer. Their smiles. Their laughs. Their walks. Their stances. Their frustrations. Their tears. Each embodying the tiniest of details that are too distinct to be written -- if not imagined.

So, yes, I'm thankful for strangers. Complete strangers. Unknown men and women that haven't directly entered my life, but have ultimately entered my thoughts.

The following video was created by Crush & Lovely, a group of filmmakers who asked one question, and elicited a multitude of responses -- not to mention some of those subtle personality traits I've grown so fond of....

Friday, November 21, 2008

Back to Reality

For most people in this recession-filled world, the movie theatre is regarded as a far-off retreat created to distract the mind (and the pocketbook). A sanctuary where people flock towards when the horrors of this economy and frustrations of primetime television become exceedingly overwhelming. Therefore, it took me by surprise when my latest venture to the movies turned out to be anything but an escape from reality.

Last Sunday, I arrived at the Academy building bright and early where I was eager to catch a screening of Sam Mendes' Revolutionary Road. I didn't really have any expectations for the film, despite the rekindling of my childhood infatuations - Jack and Rose (i.e. my earliest inclination for a bonafide threesome...). Anyways, the movie itself was lackluster. Meaning, it lacked any real depth since Mendes, being the theatre director he is, puts everything out on the table for everyone to see. It lacked subtly - a directing trait that's definitely not one of his strengths. And although Kate and Leo did a commendable job and will undoubtedly get nominated for an Oscar (more so Kate, than Leo...), they lacked any real humility. I felt they yelled through the whole thing. Come on people, why not just get a freakin' divorce?!

Sorry, I got distracted. This wasn't meant to be a review. Back to the story. As the movie reached its final 10 minutes, the audience was pulled from their cinematic trance due to a sudden wheezing. At first I thought the tension from this movie proved too much for an emotional viewer. As I peered back from my seat, I noticed someone had rendered themselves completely unconscious.

Suddenly, the lights flickered on, the film turned off, and everyone centered their attention around this person. It appeared she was experiencing a seizure. Coincidentally, nobody had their cell phones on them because they're prohibited from the screening room. Thankfully, some disobedient woman pulled her blackberry from her purse and called an ambulance.

Once the immediate shock wore off, the woman was treated by paramedics and taken to a nearby hospital (and according to sources, she's made a full recovery). That being said, you must put yourselves in our shoes. Revolutionary Road isn't a movie for the light hearted. It's a depressing film. Hell, it makes American Beauty look like a romantic comedy. This real-life incident only elevated the intensity and melodrama of the story. Like I said... de-press-ing.

In the end, however, the Academy thanked us for our cooperation and allowed us to finish the film. Now, mind you, before the unfortunate incident, we had just finished the saddest part in the entire movie. Therefore, according to them, it made perfectly good sense to rewind it five minutes prior so we can relive that moment once again. Joy...!

Once the emotional dust cleared, I was left with a foul taste in my mouth . Revolutionary Road wasn't the cup of tea I had expected, but I believe that's because of the unintentional fusion of reality and "fantasy". It was tainted. But now that a few days have passed and I'm able to absorb the film in its entirety, perhaps I should re-evaluate my initial reaction. Or, dare I say, see the movie again?

Maybe I will -- this time I'll just be sure to have extra Kleenex, a paper bag, and a sedative handy.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Doubt Review

This past Sunday, while most Americans received their familiar football fix, I was fortunate to be treated to a double dosage of movie magic. Sunday morning, I braved the morning dew to attend an Academy screening of Sam Mendes' Revolutionary Road (more to come). However, my weekend didn't really begin until that evening when I experienced John Patrick Shanley's wonderfully adapted Doubt. In fact, the studio even set up a panel of the crew consisting of director/writer Shanley, cinematographer Roger Deakins, editor Dylan Tichenor, production designer David Gropman, costume designer Ann Roth, and composer rock star Howard Shore.

For those not completely familiar with the stage-to-screen storyline, Doubt centers on Sister Aloysius Beauvier (Meryl Streep) who becomes increasingly suspicious of Father Flynn's relationship with the school's first black student. While I admit to not having seen the stage version (shameful, I know), I must confess that I was instantly drawn to Shanley's impeccable writing style. Just a tiny reminder, this is the man who wrote Joe Versus the Volcano... I'm just sayin'. With precision, humility, and an intentionally interwoven wit, he made this screenplay seem almost effortless. It's no wonder why he racked up all the theatre awards three years back.

Anyways, when asked what compelled him to transfer the play into a film, Shanley quipped "When they asked me to make it". And thank God they did! If they hadn't, he wouldn't have been able to compile a cast of actors that made this dialogue seem as fluid as my Uncle Richard's drunken slurs. According to Shanley, "I hired Meryl Streep because I wanted to see what she would do". He added, "I then hired Phillip Seymour Hoffman because I knew he'd make [Streep] work like a dog". And boy did he ever! I wouldn't be surprised if Hoffman, Streep, and the talented Viola Davis heard their names announced nomination morning.

Speaking of Streep... it was inevitable she was going to provide a powerhouse performance. That was obvious. However, it wasn't clear how much conviction and sincere detail she would devote to Sister Aloysius. According to Roth, Streep was so invested in this character, she and an on-set seamstress had a contest to see who could finish knitting a shawl first. As a result, the winner's design would eventually be used in the film (Wow, that's so Project Runway!). To nobody's surprise, Streep was in and the seamstress was out. What can I say? Meryl's a master at creating the most meaty character traits and her subtext is undeniably second nature. Once the film rolled its last credit, I waved dismissively and declared, "just give her the Oscar now".

All in all, this film ultimately dives into the tension between unbending principle and the call for compassion and human understanding. It reaches far beyond 1964, and can be thematically related to the current changing times of today.

That being said, I'm optimistic critics will latch on to this film, and even more assured audiences will as well. In fact, afterwards I was asked if I thought this film had a chance at a Best Picture nomination, and without any hesitation I adamantly replied... "I have no doubt".

I guess we'll have to wait and see....

Friday, November 14, 2008

New York City: Day 5

I'm not much of a traveler.  In fact, I can probably count the places I've visited on one hand.   I'm embarrassed to admit I've never even traveled internationally.... I don't even own a passport!  Therefore, New York was more than just a mere vacation.  It was actually a life experience.   Although I've visited the Big Apple before,  I can honestly say I never grow tired of its culture.  The people, history, and architecture are awe-inspiring and I can definitely guarantee residency in the future.  

Anyways, the last day of New York Vacay 2008 ended as memorable as it began.  After visiting tourist must-sees like the Statue of Liberty, Ground Zero, and Little Italy (The food there was fantastic... thanks to our new friend Tony "Soprano"), we dressed to the nines, threw caution to the wind, and painted the town red.  

We grabbed dinner at an ultra-touristy restaurant where the food was expensive and the waiters busted out in song.  At first, the performances were  entertaining (it was homo-palooza in there).  However, after a failed attempt of Defying Gravity, I had just about enough.  We stuffed the $20 veggie burgers in our mouths, threw down our "hard earned" cash, and booked it to see the amazingly brilliant musical In the Heights.

It goes without saying that this experience was undeniably memorable.  The itinerary was filled with surreal opportunities, spectacular sites, and also a drink or two...  However, what really made this vacation great were the people I spent it with.  Monica, Lisa, Jessi, and Sarah have always been fantastic amigos (and even better accessories).  They're continuously there for me when the times get tough, they never cease to make me laugh, and to be able to have this opportunity to share such a spectacular city with them... well, that was just fabulous. 

That being said, I have one final message for my estranged lover named New York... we shared a beautiful week together and you did not disappoint me.  You made me feel complete (and, at times, confused)  But, alas, I must bid you farewell.  Adieu my love.  I take comfort that this isn't a permanent goodbye, but a brief 'until later'.  I promise you.... you have not seen the last of me! :)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

New York City: Day 4

It goes without saying that day four of my New York Vacay 2008 consisted of several glasses of water, a handful of Tylenol, and a coffee the size of my head. After several nights of drinking, dancing, and gallivanting, our minds and bodies were thoroughly exhausted. Some R & R was definitely in order. Not to mention it was Sunday... God's day... The day of rest! It was crucial we found a sanctuary that wasn't only spiritual, but accepted us... despite our aforementioned hangover and inevitable dark circles.

However, instead of finding a church to worship in, we had to settle for a hole-in-the-wall drag diner in Greenwich Village. So in place of a Priest, we were treated to Baby Honeychild's lip-syncing sermon. And communion consisted of unlimited Mimosas.... What? I can't have a Mimosa at breakfast? I'm on vacation! (Dear Madonna - Bless us with good health, a happy future, and killer footwear. And deliver us from male pattern baldness. Gaymen.)

Afterwards, we decided to hit the tourist circuit visiting key locations like Rockefeller Center, NBC Studio, Central Park, and Times Square. Also, to add a little more excitement to our already jam-packed day, we decided to try our luck on a Broadway show lottery. Yes, drinking and gambling on a Sunday.... We waited outside the Avenue Q theatre, held our breath with sheer hopefulness, and watched as they drew various names from a bucket. As you could probably guess, Monica's name was selected from the damn bunch. (What's with this chick? How lucky can one person be?!)

Anyways, Avenue Q was phenomenal! The Tony Award winning musical consisted of furry puppets, lavish sets, and unbelievably peppy songs. Hmmm, how can I further explain it to you... Do you remember the first time you really understood the meaning and significance behind Sesame Street? When Big Bird, Elmo, and Snuffleupagus taught us about morals, ethics, and kindness. Yeah, this show was nothing like that. In fact, it was quite the opposite. With songs like "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist", "It Sucks to be Me", and "You Can be as Loud as the Hell You Want (When You're Making Love)", the show teetered on the line of social decency. That being said... it was awesome. We were even fortunate to meet the cast!

Afterwards, we decided to end the night early. No bar. No alcohol. No run-in with the cops. It just didn't really seem appropriate. After all, we had a moderately calm and enjoyable day... we figured our livers were entitled to the same luxury...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

New York City: Day 3

High school -- It's an inevitable right of passage in everybody's life. Some graduate with intentions of never looking back. Others leave with an inner turmoil and yearn for longer days. I was neither here nor there. My time in High School was fine. I was in the symphony orchestra, historian of the National Honors Society, Editor-in-Chief of the school newspaper, and anything lower than an 'A' was unheard of. I had great friends (and even greater acquaintances) and ultimately enjoyed every moment of my Dobson High days. Though, like most of my classmates, I've moved well beyond those memories.

Therefore, when Lisa suggested attending Awesome 80's Prom - an interactive show where actors pose as High School stereotypes - I took it with the proverbial grain of salt. I've been through the prom scene before. I've voted for prom royalties, befriended the foreign exchange student, and been ignored by the head cheerleader. Why would I want to return?

Perhaps I feared returning back to the "High School Eli".... The closeted, shy, never-really-took-any-chances Eli. Fortunately, I had New York on my side. With my friends nearby, we sported our costumes for one more night, clutched arms, and took the Awesome 80's Prom by storm.

It only seemed appropriate to immerse ourselves into the environment. Naturally, we all took interest in a certain cast member. Lisa was drawn to the "bad-boy" rebel while Sarah flirted with the captain of the football team. Jessi befriended the student body president and Monica re-enacted the Romy and Michelle dance with the foreign exchange student. Me? I was naturally ignored by the head cheerleader... but true to self, I eventually slow danced with the highly stereotyped "nerd". Remember that girl? The one who barely was noticed in the classroom and was severely talked about behind her back. I know this was purely fiction, but it was definitely drawn from reality.

Anyways, after hours of dancing, the costume contest began. My posse and I walked across the stage to be judged by the jury (Judgement? In high school? Weird...). Though, after a short deliberation, we couldn't pull off the win. That went to the scary-ass villain from Saw. Yet, on a positive note, we did take home second place!! Which was accompanied by t-shirts and New Kids on the Block tickets (We were definitely on a winning streak!).

So as you can see, all in all it was an excellent third day in New York City. Albeit, I may have referred back to my own High School experience a little too often. However, I prefer to think of that as an homage to my youth. Everything I learned in school has made me the person I am today. I'm no longer shy. I take chances. And I've never been more comfortable in my own skin. In all actuality, I appreciate the people who were less-than-kind to me. As Christina Aguilera would say, "Thanks for making me a fighter". All I can do now is cherish the moments, be thankful for what I learned, and move forward to an even better tomorrow.

Now if you don't mind, I better get back to my English report.... It's, like, totally late.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

New York City: Day 2

For most people in this day and age, Halloween eve consists of piles of candy, a myriad of pricey costume possibilities, and overly-congested bars filled with inebriated slutty cats. For me, however, Halloween this year was so much more than that. On day two of my New York Vacay 2008, my posse and I hit the streets of Manhattan decked out in our festive garb. Let me preface this post by admitting that I'm not much of a Halloween fiend. In fact, I'd much prefer a quiet night at home with roasted popcorn seeds and Hocus Pocus.

Anyways, bright and early, Monica and I braved the morning subway in full costume to attend the Halloween taping of Regis and Kelly. Let me just tell you... apart from having to hike through New York City dressed as a scarecrow (so embarrassing), the turn-out was incredible! The block surrounding the Regis and Kelly studio was utter mayhem. Seriously, it looked as though Halloween threw up... People went hog-wild with their costumes. It made my sad, little scarecrow costume look like a hand-me-down from Goodwill.

Upon entering the studio, I noticed how compressed everything was. Television sure does wonders for size (that's what she said). Despite the fact that the entire show was pre-taped (except for two segments with the co-hosts), the show was quite entertaining. I mostly credit Sammy Davis Jr. and Frank Sinatra for the laughs (no offense Regis....) Anyway, to nobody's surprise, the ladies dressed as a freakin' roller coaster won first place. However, I'm certain I actually won the bigger prize... Kelly Rippa turned to me and said, "you look fierce". If that isn't the ultimate compliment, I don't know what is...

The night, on the other hand, was total debauchery. Without any hesitation, The Wizard of OZ gang attempted to walk the Greenwich Village Halloween parade. Mind you, this wasn't merely a simple gathering of people. This parade consisted of thousands and thousands of costume wearing whores and their "better halves". Including everything from Joe the Plumber to about three-hundred Jokers (I'm sure Heath Ledger's looking down thinking, "Seriously people? Be a little bit more fucking creative.") Anyways, if it weren't for my costume accessories -- vodka and tequila -- I'd have gone completely insane.

The rest of the night is still kind of a blur. I assure you, good times were had. Though, it's still difficult to pinpoint whether we got kicked out of the bar before or after Jessi dropped a bottle of Perrier and continued to drink from it...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

New York City: Day 1

It's a relatively known fact that the busiest and most popular cities in the United States can be easily distinguished on an American map. Chicago, Philadelphia, Houston, and Phoenix are simply a few of those over-populated, bustling locations (new plague, anyone?). So what does someone do to escape the chaos and frustrations of Los Angeles? He visits New York City of course...

This past week I put my vacation days to good use, booked my Frontier Airline flight, and headed to the Big BIG Apple (otherwise known as my other home). My roommates, Jessi and Sarah, felt it necessary to visit our dear friends before the distant memories of our college days began to fade. Fortunately, Lisa and Monica were kind enough to house us for five days. A hospitality offer I, myself, would have reconsidered....

If I were to relay the entire trip in this one blog entry, I assure you it would go on for days. Instead, I'll ease you in by simply breaking down the entries. Starting with the first full day of my New York Vacay 2008!

As most of my amigos know, I'm an enormous fan of Sex and the City. In fact, my earlier college entries are obviously reminiscent of Carrie Bradshaw's column (embarrassing? Yes. Ashamed.... kinda). Fortunately, my friends are just as obsessed. We decided to take the ever-popular Sex and the City Tour. We traveled all over Manhattan visiting key film locations.

1) First Stop: The Pleasure Chest. Remember the Rabbit? For those of who aren't in the "know", the girls visit a sex shop filled with erotic goodies - including an array of dildos. I'm talkin' the works! Acrylic dildos, glass dildos, silicone double-sided rubber dildos, jelly vibrating dildos, mahogany dildos, three-strap harness... with dildo, strap-on dildo with vibrator and remote control...... shall I go on? As you can see from my picture above, I'm completely appalled.... and slightly intrigued.

2) Second Stop: The Bookshop. Remember the guy Miranda met who liked to have sex in public places? In the midst of the busy streets of Manhattan, Monica and I decided to recreate the scene. "I'll have to check that out after I finish FDR: The New York Years". I'll have you know, we recreated many scenes on that tour -- an act almost unbearable to think back on.

3) Third Stop: Carrie's Stoop: Incidentally, the one location completely taboo to visit. Apparently, after years of bus tours, the current apartment owner forbids anyone from visiting. The tour guide wouldn't even tell us where the stoop was located! However, my SATC knowledge reaches far beyond the average fan. Knowing that her fictitious apartment was located on Perry street, my friends and I trespassed the chained entry and snapped a photo. We discovered later that security cameras surrounded the stoop.... whoops!

4) Fourth Stop: Scout: Or more formally known as Steve Brady's bar. Like your average alcoholic, we decided to buy Cosmopolitans at 2 o'clock in the afternoon. To make matters worse, we brought a flask of vodka to give these beverages a stronger kick. Do you judge me?

5) The Final Stop: Actually, it wasn't a stop at all. The tour guide ended the day with trivia questions from the series. As if this bitch could really stump us? Between the five of us, we answered about 95% of the questions. We won two Magnolia Bakery cupcakes and Chicago tickets. I'm not sure if that makes us winners.... or losers.

6) F.A.O. Schwartz: I've never been fortunate enough to visit this mega toy store. So needless to say, I was in complete shock and awe! I was literally 7-years-old again wandering around my dream haven. The entire store was filled with puppets, doll houses, train sets, barbies, and micro-machines. These Harry Potter characters were actually created from Legos! The re-enactment, however, was all us.

7) F.A.O. Schwartz - Big Style: Yes. Your eyes aren't deceiving you. Jessi and I actually played "Heart and Soul" on the gigazmo piano. And yes, an audience of customers surrounded us and observed our duet. And yes, we were also accompanied by a 3-year-old boy. I never said we were cool.

8) Adam Pascal: Our first day ended with two dear friends. Adam Pascal - original cast member of Rent. And tequila - original cast member of See You Tomorrow. Earlier that week, we made reservations at the Chatterbox theatre - a small piano bar that primarily covers musicals. To our surprise, Adam (a.k.a Roger) decided to drop by for an interview. He also graced us with a song ("Music of the Night" from Phantom of the Opera). I believe I was coherent when I talked to him. Jessi on the other hand....

All in all, the first day was filled with surprises, chaos, and downright fun. Little did we know the following four days were going to be just as eventful....

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The 44th President of the United States

"With a spirit of service, sacrifice, responsibility, and patriotism: together with humility and determination." - President Barack Obama

Do you remember the first time you heard Martin Luther King Jr's 'I Have a Dream' speech? Which class were you in when you studied Rosa Parks or Harriet Tubman? History is made up of certain instances where moments are so preciously imprinted in the corner of our minds and hearts, we can recount the exact place where the moment unfolded. The feeling and emotion attached to that specific moment rushes through our veins -- it's like a historical high. Last night was no exception.

This election has undoubtedly sparked a completely new chapter in my life. A chapter where America has finally found the progressing road to a promising future of acceptance and equality. Sure, there are still some road bumps along the way (i.e. the passing of Proposition 8 - fuck you half of California), but this path is eventually destined for an amazing outcome. Barack Obama is merely the navigator whose perseverance and inspiration will lead us to a better tomorrow.

Okay, enough with the political hodge podge - back to my experience. Last night, as I channel surfed through CNN, NBC, ABC, C-SPAN and even BBC -- I hovered around the television set like a political addict. Anderson Cooper was my dealer and this election was my drug of choice. Without any hesitation, I soaked in the Obama electoral votes like it was heroin. Nothing could bring me down from this political high.

Then, as I began to calm my internal fix, the words appeared on the screen: Barack Obama Elected President. Almost immediately, I nearly overdosed. I lost control of myself and began reacting in involuntary fits of excitement. "Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God". I literally had to pinch myself.... "Can this really be happening?" Albeit, I acted a tad over-dramatic. But History is only made once, right?

My roommates and I popped open a bottle of bubbly, raised our glasses, and cheered to change and a stronger future. It's only a matter of time until the nation is united and President Obama can make good of what he promised. After all, MLK Jr sure did.... and that flame has never stopped burning.

We cannot walk alone.
And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.
We cannot turn back.
- Martin Luther King Jr.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Vote However You Like

The time is upon us. The election is on its last legs, the finish line is in sight - in just one week we'll know who is elected as the next President of the United States! In honor of this pivotol time of our lives (and the fact that I just voted by mail), I have to show you this video. Why is it always children who shine the positive light for the clouded closed-mindedness of adults?

P.S. It'll make you dance. These kids have rhythm!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Blast from the Past - Part 4

Another old journal entry discovered! It's embarrassing how different my writing style was. On the other hand, it's embarrassing how similar it is as well..... guess not much has changed in four years. One thing's for sure - I'm just as analytical as I was as a Freshman in college.

College – it’s a wonderful time in our lives. This immense privilege allows us to foster our education, meet new friends, and establish ourselves as individuals. Also, it is unfortunately a time to encounter the complicated idea of love. With that in mind, as I walk the busy sidewalks of this campus, I notice that segregation has arisen as a severe issue. There are two types of people at the University of Arizona (a microcosm of the real world) – those in relationships and the unpopular singletons (essentially the majority of this population). Yet, as this school year fades into summer, a new type that is rarely spoken of is revealed – the hopeless singleton. This class is basically caught between wanting a relationship and being satisfied with their single stature –a ‘sexual purgaytory’ if you will. During a time when we’re suffocated by the pressures of love, I wonder if we've become too comfortable with being single? Or is it possible to defy this segregation and attain a “relationship”?

Let’s take a closer look, shall we? On this campus, it’s easy to see those in relationships. They are the ones who, for the most part, are flaunting their affection by holding hands and shamelessly ‘making-out’ near the bookstore (gag reflex). However, I question these “relationships-on-display”. As I walked passed them, attempting to hold down my lunch, I wondered if relationships today were, in fact, genuine. Or rather, is it just an endeavor to feel adequate with their adult lives? Think about it, living on our own challenges us to battle an array of obstacles. For the most part, it’s the first time we're living alone, paying our own bills, and growing as people. Wouldn’t a relationship push us that much closer towards adulthood?

On the other hand, the single life causes students (and graduates) to discover a completely different side of themselves. On our own, we're able to concentrate solely on our goals and aspirations. For the first time, we aren’t ‘tied down’ by our parents and, on the contrary to “the couple”, we can be free. Yes, this may be construed as selfishness (or insanity), but being independent may be vital during this point in our lives.

Then there are those in this ‘sexual purgaytory’. This ‘type’ cherishes every single minute of being single – we're free to do whatever (or whomever) we want, aren’t constricted to solely one person, and can concentrate on our ambitions. However, this freedom ultimately evokes desire for companionship. We want to have our ‘cock’ and eat it too. No matter what, we're never satisfied.

As someone who has embodies a little bit of all the aforementioned traits, I must step back and take action. Therefore, I have a dream. In this ‘love/no love’ world, we will always be forced to make choices. Are we willing to change? Or are we satisfied? I guess all I can say now, as the year comes to an end, is no matter what ‘clan’ we're all in, I recommend we break down this relationship barrier and, with high hopes for the future, follow our hearts.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday's Addiction

Ooh, come to mama. Josh Groban's gonna drive me to drinking! Well, more than I already drink.... He's mojito-hot in this picture. Factor in his amazing singing voice and I'll definitely be in AA territory.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Diablo's Back!

It started around this time last year. A cold Fall breeze on a particularly lonesome October evening, my coworker and I graced the multiplex to an advanced screening of Juno. Little did I know that an obsession with my soon-to-be hetero lover would begin. Although she and I had some rocky roads together (all is forgiven), Diablo Cody has since created a series that will undoubtedly bring her back into her greatly deserved spotlight. Incidentally, I've been fortunate enough to read the pilot episode and can say it has the potential to be thoroughly entertaining (or else, be as disastrous as the Hindenburg)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Proposition 8

I'm all for voting no on Proposition 8, but it sincerely irks me when advertisements like this one are released (it reminds me of a bad skit from Mad TV). I understand that the intentions are solid and ultimately meant for the greater good, but there's a fine line between being informative and downright hokey. From an objective voter's point-of-view, I wouldn't be convinced or informed from this slapstick commercial. Nor would my perception of marriage equality be altered for the better.

Then again, I'm sure those prejudice conservatives who support prop 8 (or prop 102 for Arizonians) are more than willing to throw down a grand or two to keep marriage "sanction". They'd gladly fund wide-released advertisements (like this one) no matter how ridiculous they are. The hate in their hearts and selfishness in the heads must be tucked away, secured, and sealed and that can't be done without these preposterous campaigns.

You realize, there has been over $40 million put into Proposition 8 by both campaigns. $40 million!!! Personally, I think that kind of money would have been better invested towards saving Darfur, UNICEF, and/or aiding Hurricane Ike victims. Don't ya think?

I just wished we, as a nation, were at that stage where we didn't need political advertisements and ridiculous propositions to support equality for everyone. I wish we, as a nation, were matured, civilized, and selfless enough to look beyond sexual orientation, move passed our petty differences, and excel into an age of acceptance. And finally, I wish we, as a nation, would understand that marriage is defined by love. And no matter what those marriage equality opponents say, love has no boundaries.

I pray that proposition 8 doesn't pass. But if, by chance, it does - I promise you it will not be the end-all be-all. It's a known fact that once the smoke finally settles and the dust clears, love always wins. Always.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Who Wants a White Knight?

If you watch Heroes, you know who he is. In fact, you either love him or you hate him. Sylar, played by the impeccably attractive Zachary Quinto, is the show's nastiest (yet, hottest) villain. What is it about the bad guy that sparks attraction? Is it the sexy smolder? The alluring spontaneity? The mysterious facade? Nothing's more appealing than a psychopathic, head-splitting murderer, right? Ironically, even when I was a child, I always seemed to gravitate towards the enemy. I rooted for Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman with every fiber of my being. My cousins would always tag me as Magneto during our X-Men play games. Hell, I'm even still curious what Cruela's coat would look like if she would've attained her desired material...

Therefore, it's no surprise my favorite character in Heroes is the villain. However, somehow I'm thinking this attraction reaches beyond fiction.... But why? WHY? Why is the "bad boy" always the most intriguing? It seems like they always have the most depth behind their tough, cold, (albeit, rugged) exterior. No matter how many Clark Kents and Peter Parkers there are, I seem to always fall for the Lex Luthors and Harry Osborns (swoon, James Franco). Perhaps it fits behind the notion that I'm not looking for a hero. Bonnie Tyler didn't know shit! I don't want to be saved (show of hands: who was as annoyed at Kirsten "Damsel Twat" Dunst as I was?). Instead, I'm looking for someone who can break through my tough exterior and be my partner in crime. I'm looking for the Clyde to my Bonnie that will move beyond saving the world and concentrate on one another. Is that too much to ask?

As for now, I'll just have to wait... and until then be content with my fictitious psychopathic, head-splitting murderer (every boy's fantasy....)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Most Wonderful Time of the Queer

Can you feel it? The most magical time of the year is upon us. The sweet aroma of grandma's Creme de Cacao and Peppermint Schnapps fills the air. The fluorescent glimmer of the penis-shaped Christmas bulbs line the tree. Even the traditional mistletoe serves as a seasonal excuse for the obligatory make-out session. It's like a scene out of Frank Capra's It's A Wonderful Life. Every time a bell rings, a fairy gets her wings..... That's right, it's Christmas in September!

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to participate in a good ole' fashioned Holiday tradition. Each year, a local gay bar hosts “Christmas in September”, an event supporting the Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. And I must say, this was like nothing I've ever seen before. The club was completely transformed with elaborate Christmas d├ęcor, fake snow, speciality cocktails, and even a very sexy Saint Nick ("here cums Santa Clause, here cums Santa Clause..."). Suddenly, the spirit of the Holidays flooded through me like rum-spiked egg nog. It was like a page from Irving Berlin's White Christmas...... except with trannies and gay men.

After cocktail 2, 3, and 7, we were all treated to some merry entertainment (Or should I say "Mary" entertainment?). One of the transgendered ho-ho-ho star's from Dirty, Sexy, Money graced the stage with a handful of uh-mazing performances. She's undeniably gorgeous with an ass that won't quit and breasts of a greek goddess. She even donned a festive, sexy Santa suit and sat on Santa's lap!! "I saw tranny kissing Santa Clause, underneath the camel toe last night...." (I like bursting out in perverted Christmas tunes.... so?)

After the liquor subsided, I was hit with a strong feeling of Christmas nostalgia. Aside from the go-go dancing elves and the 2 for 1 'Frostie the Blow Man' Martinis, this experience actually geared me up for December. Yes, I admit, I'm just as excited for door-to-door caroling, cookie-baking, and tree-trimming merriment as the next queen, but that's not what I'm truly anticipating. To me, Christmas is family. It's friends. It's love, happiness, and the reminiscence of childhood. It's the time of year when the stress from your job is irrelevant and petty disputes are moot. (I actually thought about all this while inebriated... I'm far too analytical).

Anyway, now the official countdown has truly commenced. Three more months till the most wonderful time of the year. Until then I'll just have to patiently wait.... While visions of sugar-fairies dance in my bed. ;)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Strike A Poser

Last weekend I chose -- no, no -- I deigned to do something I vowed I'd never do. In the heat of creating my very first website (launching on a computer near you), I decided it'd be a good idea to pose for pictures which would be posted on my bitchin' homepage (that's right, I said "bitchin'"). Fortunately, my friend Joslyn has experience with this process, and was immediately hired as my stylist and photographer. I use the word "hired" loosely, because I'm clearly not gonna pay her. Well, not with money at least....

To my narcissistic surprise, many outfits were chosen, hairstyles created, and locations scouted with hopes of not resembling any hint of the elephant man. Then, out of nowhere, Sunday slowly crept up on me and I was unfortunately exposed to my own brand of torture. "Camera shy" doesn't even begin to describe how uncomfortable I was. The minutes ticked by painfully slow, the sun beamed down on my powder-coated skin, and I was blatantly aware of the neighborhood passers by. Needless to say, I pushed forward. I attempted to discover my inner-Tyra (smiling with my eyes). I imagined Janice Dickinson shouting foul insults in my face. Hell, even Heidi Klum evoked some inspiration - but no matter how much I trekked forth, I was completely out of my element. There's a reason why I want to be behind the camera!!!

I had a thought.... The level of confidence people attain is quite thought provoking, don't you think? I would love to be the type of person who shines in a picture, hogs the spotlight, and devours celluloid attention. You know, the person who is so excruciatingly comfortable in their own skin, they feel no need to apologize for standing right in front of you during a candid group photograph (you know who you are). As I sat on the cement stoop in my $20 wool coat (in 80 degree weather, might I add!) and Joslyn snapped away, I had a choice. I could either sit on the pavement quietly seething and undeniably miserable because of this self-inflicted situation. Or, I could throw caution to the wind, accept the fact that I'm not a model, and simply have fun.... and so I did.

With a couple shots of vodka, of course....

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The World Around Me

Every so often the stars align, the oceans rise, and it's bound to happen. It's as inevitable as a Naomi Campbell meltdown. Through no fault of my own, I wake up on the bitch side of the bed and my entire morning is unfortunately foul. Not even the site of the Today Show's Matt Lauer could snap me out of my sour mood.

Without any fair warning, yesterday was one of those days...

As my eyes flicked open Monday morning, I was instantly opposed to the start of the day. The teeniest agitations became magnified and I was filled with this seething irritation. The slightest occurrence would set me off like a ticking time bomb of frustration. I literally became Shannen Doherty circa 1993. Shoot, girl... I became Oprah Winfrey with wet hair (I would CUT you!).

However, as I stepped outside onto my Los Angeles suburban street, I noticed something I rarely pay attention to (yet get so much gratification out of) -- my neighbor's trimmed rose bushes lining the yard. I noticed the piercing red color. The glossy emerald leaves. The warm, fall sun bouncing off the velvet-like pedals. It was like a scene from American Beauty. Suddenly, I was reinforced with an air of positivity. Instead of beginning my day with such hostility, I forced myself to observe my surroundings and actually look at the world around me.

At that very moment, I grabbed a nearby pad and pen, scribbled a succinct message, and placed the piece of paper in my neighbor's mailbox.

I felt this 'thank you' note was well overdo. Anything that can keep Shannen Doherty (circa 1993) from emerging deserves all the appreciation they can get...

"But it helps me remember... and I need to remember... Sometimes there's so much beauty in the world I feel like I can't take it, like my heart's going to cave in." - Ricky Fitts (American Beauty)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Versace on Sundays

I've come to learn that Los Angeles isn't your typical chaotic city. The people here are their own breed of human. I kid you not! Folks here don't have the harsh cynicism of New Yorkers, the political savviness of our Nation's capital, and definitely don't have the pizazz of the people of Chicago. Instead, Los Angeles is a microcosm of something completely unreal. It's not exactly a "city", as it is Ken and Barbie's expanded dream house. Everywhere I turn, I'm bombarded by walking mannequins carrying their well-groomed Chihuahuas and traveling cappuccinos. Which, if you think about it, comes to no surprise seeing how a Bally's Fitness, tanning salon, and dental reconstruction office comes standard in every neighborhood.

Last Sunday, this epiphany became magnetized when I peered around the room of my Santa Monica church. Ordinarily, you'd expect God's house to be filled with yuppity, suited geriatrics and their middle-aged wives. Instead, the church was seated with undeniably gorgeous divorcees and their well-coiffed, 3rd fiances. It wasn't so much a Mass as it was a casting call for America's Next Top Model. Even the children obtained an air of youthful beauty. I glanced down at my brandless hoodie sweatshirt and my discounted Target jeans and became flooded with insecurities. I looked as though I stumbled out of Auschwitz. With sincere trepidation, I decided to stare straight ahead and focus solely on the Priest -- who, incidentally, was equally as stylish.

Once Church let out, I was left wondering if this realization was, in fact, fueled by my own uneasiness. Or was everyone in this city struggling with their own tailored insecurities? As I scanned the parking lot, I noticed these fashionistas/churchgoers cramming themselves into their Mercedes and BMW sedans. Why was this so intriguing to me? Was it jealousy that irked me? Perhaps. (Which is ironically a deadly sin...) Or was it something else? In the end, I decided to label this epiphany as an awakening. A much-needed slap in the face from my overly-analytical daze. As cheesy as it sounds, instead of focusing way too much on Los Angeles' designer exterior, I decided to concentrate on my own interior and perhaps dial down the judgements (especially in Church, right?).

In the end, as this California dissection faded, I came to one conclusion... Maybe this type of crowd isn't restricted only to Los Angeles. Maybe it's not even geographical. Maybe... just maybe, in a city so perfectly translated to "The City of Angels", I should just let go, let God, and as I walk through the streets filled with these perfectly walking mannequins.... simply enjoy the view.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Blast from the Past: Part 3

When you're young, teetering on the edge of adolescence, the world is a glorious candy store.  It seems like every Kids-R-Us you go to, every ice-cream parlor you visit, opportunity opens its door and you settle for nothing less but the best (well, in my mind at least).  For me, it was the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action figure – a challenging toy to attain might I add. Nothing in the world seemed more important.  However, once I finally received the complete set of all four mutant turtles (and Splinter of course), I was left unsatisfied.  Is affection much different?  When it comes to relationships, when is it acceptable to accept that certain someone and feel satisfied?  Are we willing to settle?  Or, rather, are we always left wanting more?

Think about it, we live in an age where everything is available but not all of it is attainable.  No matter how much you want that golden goose, it is almost impossible to get it from Mr. Wonka.  However, in many of my friend’s cases, their primary goal isn’t the tasty chocolate, but, rather, Wonka's Willy….. don’t make me spell it out for you.  Seriously, how do you know if a certain person is the ‘best’ possible person out there?

In my case, flirting is a talent I inconveniently lack.  It seems almost impossible to talk to a guy I like…I suddenly become tongue tied.  On the other hand, the people I’m naturally friendly to, the ones I only want to develop a friendship with, get the wrong idea and want to establish a relationship.  It’s a vicious cycle out there; friends, relationships, fucking feelings.  But wait, it doesn’t stop there.  When I suddenly get the nerve to go on a date with someone I sincerely have feelings for, I have to subject myself to awkward, uncomfortable conversation. You know how those begin…. . “Wow, business. That’s an interesting major....”  Is it worth it?  Or do we have to force ourselves to be threatened when we're dating?  A grueling process I like to call Intimi-dating.

As we reach adulthood, when relationships become an important element in our lives, it only seems to get more difficult.  Life was so much easier when the only settlement we had to come to terms with was a simple toy.  I guess all we can do now, as we turn our backs to our childhood, is embrace the moment, regret nothing, and appreciate the fact that we received the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action figures in the first place.

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Night of Debauchery

It's my personal belief that the greatest artists in the world create their masterpieces while shamelessly intoxicated. Da Vinci, David Lynch, The Beatles, Pollock.... all of them were definitely on something. Therefore, I thought it was finally time for me to bust out my artistic guns and go out shooting. Last weekend I went roaming the streets of West Hollywood (My camera in one hand. Tequila in the other.) and snapped quite stunning and influential photographs of my friends/models. I know what you're thinking... "Where did Eli get such an eye for amazing photography?? And while hammered no less?". Well, my friends, it just comes naturally I guess.

Alright, no more stalling. Without further ado... I present my art exhibition entitled:
A Night Of Debauchery.
A Story in Four Photographs
TITLE: The Token Female

SUMMARY: When life gets you down, go to a gay bar. When the gay bar gets you even more down, DRINK SOME MORE! Just don't forget your favorite gal pal to keep you company. P.S. She'll make a good beard too...

TITLE: The Homo Frame

SUMMARY: While inebriated, and walking carelessly in the streets, make sure you create a human frame. It's also Emmy's "what's up, sexy?" pose. She's the female Zoolander and just as ridiculously good-looooking.

TITLE: The Belly Laugh

SUMMARY: Honestly... they're just laughing because the other person was laughing. P.S. Lorenzo really isn't that funny. Well... personality-wise.

TITLE: Just Jamison

SUMMARY: Jamison created his signature "caught in the headlights" pose. Coincidentally, he was actually staring into oncoming headlights...... and that's how he died.