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.