Life in Hollywood, below-the-line

Life in Hollywood, below-the-line
Work gloves at the end of the 2006/2007 television season (photo by Richard Blair)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Holidaze Loom: A Time to Worry

Uh, this is style?

While leafing through the LA Times the other day, I came across an advertisement featuring the image of a young woman gushing with what can only be described as orgasmic delight – head back, eyes half closed, her glossy lips parted and moist -- clearly a woman in the deepest throes of ecstasy. In bold letters beneath, the caption read: “Give the ultimate gift.”

What else could this mean but the soul-cleansing, mind-blowing sexual tsunami that remains Mother Nature’s most profound expression of physical gratification?

Well, a heart transplant, maybe, or giving up a kidney to someone on death’s door – that could certainly qualify as “the ultimate gift.” But this young woman didn’t seem to be suffused with the soft glow of such rarefied altruism -- she was in the grip of something a tad more raw and self-serving.

So I read a little further: “When it comes to giving, there’s no better choice than to GIVE the gift of style.”


This, it turned out, was an ad for the Westside Pavilion, a mall on the “fashionable West Side" of Los Angeles, as the newspapers like to say – and according to these merchants, “the ultimate gift” is buying a new and very expensive wardrobe. Yes, change may have come, with a New Order on the way, but retail America still depends for sustenance on fostering the consumer delusion that you really can buy happiness.

Same as it ever was...

The rather astonishing photo above appeared in another section of the paper. I freely confess that the world of "high fashion" has always baffled me: models prancing down runways clad in the most outlandishly preposterous outfits imaginable – clothes no actual human would ever be caught dead wearing on the street – while grinning hipsters and their fellow trendoids sit in the dark sipping cheap champagne and nodding with approval.

There are many things in life I do not understand, but this just might top the list. How such a sartorial freak-show is supposed to infuse the citizen-consumers of America with the overwhelming lust to get out and buy (a state of mind vital, apparently, to keeping our increasingly leaky economy afloat) is beyond me.

This hapless model is dressed in what appears to be an asymmetrical double breasted trench coat with armpit cutouts and some kind of black flower/ruffle arrangement down below. But even if I cared about such things, it would be hard to concentrate on the coat, since the poor girl seems to be spontaneously combusting from within -- white smoke billowing out her collar to engulf her head as it rises into the black sky.

Or maybe she simply couldn't resist sticking her entire head into a giant cotton candy machine that someone forgot to load with pink dye...

I really don't know, but if this is the future, I’ll have to be dragged into it kicking and screaming – which is nobody's idea of going in style.

It's Hiatus Week Number Three here at the BST Lounge, time for me to pull up a stool, lean on the bar, and blather on about whatever comes to mind -- and this week, that would be the looming holiday season. I don't know about you, but I am not ready for Christmas. The drums of work, pounding away so furiously for the past couple of months, have suddenly stopped, and a great silence fallen over Hollywood. This is not good -- as the native guides in those old jungle movies invariably used to warn, “When the drums stop, Bwana, it is time to worry.”

Worry is not an emotion I like to associate with Christmas, but such is the Curse of the Freelancer, always wondering when (or if …) the next job will materialize from the ether to put another paycheck in the bank. If this was December 16, I’d be fine with a work slowdown -– but right now, another two or three weeks of gainful employment would make sliding into the holidays much more comfortable.

The Gods of Hollywood, they care not a whit for my comfort level -- or yours.

I’m hearing good things about the New Year, though -- rumors of pilots galore, despite the fact that pilot season (or what we used to think of as "pilot season") won’t arrive until March. But it’s not at all clear that the old rhythms and patterns still hold. I just finished doing two pilots back-to-back at a time of year when pilots are usually nothing more than sugar plum dreams in the heads of writers and producers all over town. A pilot in October is either six months late or six months early, depending on how you look at life.

A busy start to the New Year would be welcome, especially after the way last year started out in such a dismal manner with the writer's strike. But January is still eight weeks away, and all those rumors of pilots swarming the studios could easily turn out to be nothing but hot air -- Lord knows there's no shortage of that in Hollywood. Meanwhile, if nothing turns up, there’s always the dole. According to the LA Times, California’s unemployment fund won’t dry up until sometime next year, and maybe the Feds will bail us out by then. If not, we'll be tap dancing on very thin ice indeed, since I really doubt the Chinese will.

Until the phone rings again, all I can do is chant the mantra of America’s foremost philosopher, Doris Day, from The Man Who Knew Too Much, “Que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be. The future’s not ours to see, que sera, sera.”

In other words, hold on to your wallet and hope for the best.

On the brighter side, I’ve discovered a few more interesting blogs worth exploring. “Polybloggimous” is just what it sounds like – many blogs in one, posting something new several times a week. Nathan works as a location manager out of New York, doing features, commercials, and doubtless anything else he can get. He's also a very good writer, and has posted several informative and highly entertaining accounts of his trials and tribulations on the job. Since you're just as likely to find photos of Central Park, Nathan's two cats, or his musings on a very wide spectrum of topics, I'm reluctant to label his an "Industry Blog" -- but who cares? Labels schmables -- like the name says, it's a poly-blog, and well worth a look.

"The Jimson Weed Gazette" has been quietly posting photos of LA for a long time now. "K" is a gifted photographer and a man on a mission: as the subheading on his blog declares, "I'm photographing LA -- all of it."
That he is, and doing it very well. He doesn't say much, but when he does, pay attention. Check it out.

Although "Waiter Rant" has been around for a long time, I just discovered this diary of a New York waiter. He recently published a book based on the blog, thus blowing his cover -- and how this will influence his future posting remains to be seen -- but the archives are a rich treasure trove of well-told stories, complaints, and observations on human nature accumulated during his many years on the front lines of the restaurant business. Anybody who has done time working with the public -- especially in the food biz -- will find much to appreciate in this blog.

1 comment:

Nathan said...

Now, can I thank you for the shout out?