Big Deal Hollywood Party

In the summertime, I turn on the window unit air-conditioners, pull down the roll-up shades in my little Hollywood bungalow and don’t come out again until the heat lets up. In the event I need food or drink, I order it in. After I’ve maxed out my credit cards, I make a cash run up to Trader Joe’s Santa Monica Boulevard ten minutes before closing. A cop friend of mine once warned me against doing this, since that’s the likeliest time for a grocery store to get hit, and I can’t say I blame the robbers since that’s when it’s cool, dark and uncrowded enough to even bother with pulling off a heist. Neither can I see going out to fight off The Regulars—which is what I call normal, wage-earning citizens of Los Angeles who don’t do their errands under the cover of night—over a bag of frozen gnocchi.

During the daylight hours, all my neighbors will see of me is a flash of crazy lady in her jammies scooping up dog poop. Which is why they were so startled by my presence at the surprise party Ebony threw for Ivory’s birthday on Saturday night. It was quite the to-do, with the communal courtyard decked out in twinkling lights and criss-crossed with crepe paper ribbons like something out of an Italian street fair. There were life-sized cut-outs of Michael and Janet Jackson propped up against the front porch, which I imagine had something to do with a fantasy Ivory once shared about the ultimate party guest, living or half-dead since the late eighties. Ebony even lined the drive with rose petals, confirming my long-held belief that only childless, mentally challenged and homosexual couples manage to keep the romance alive over time.

In the old days, you either went to a straight party or you went to a gay one, but nowadays the kids tend to mix things up with an even spread, spiced with a healthy dollop of undeclareds. While a D.J. spun the requisite techno-Latin dance music, it wouldn’t have been Hollywood if a roving band of professional gospel singers didn’t get up on the porch and sing “You Lift Me Up” in pitch perfect harmony as Ivory’s cake was brought out. He’s some kind of a psychotherapist, which means he’s not technically a Hollywood insider, but rather a bit player in the enormous cast of characters tending to the overall mental health of the movie industry.

Speaking of casting calls, all the neighbors were out, including “Sharon Stone,” who not only cooks, as it turns out—chicken rollatini, bacon-wrapped dates, bruschetta and Swedish meatballs—but also bounces around like a cheerier Sporty Spice while she’s doing it. The Aging Hipster who’s dying to get into her pink velour sweatpants did most of the serving, along with the failed comic who looks like Steven Wright and also wouldn’t mind spending some time down there.  My relationship with my Imaginary Boyfriend across the way became ever more intense in the moonlight and magic as we immersed ourselves in a volley of spirited conversation. Meaning he said, hey and I said hi, and he said have you met my girlfriend, and I said, die, bitch, die—if only to myself. Sometimes I feel he fears the heat between us, which is only natural given its searing intensity.

The police eventually showed up demanding we turn down the music, which is ironic when you live on the block where Hugh Grant was arrested in a car with a hooker and helicopters frequently fly overhead with speakerphones ordering the working girls back onto Sunset Boulevard. Ebony came up with the excuse that this was a fundraiser for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, which I thought was some pretty fancy two-stepping on his part until somebody passed around the donation jar marked “American Red Cross” that is certain to visit every Big Deal Hollywood Party from now until Mardi Gras.

I couldn’t bring myself to leave the compound and get a gift for Ivory, but I did give him a birthday hug, at which point he inquired if I’d be coming out more often now that autumn was in the air. I really thought nobody had noticed what a recluse I am, but like I say, he’s a shrink who looked right into my eyes, a rarity in this town, even among one’s closest friends and neighbors. It occurred to me standing there, sharing a knowing smile, that this guy specializes in Hollywood, the place I spend so many hours alone in the dark hoping against hope I’ll figure out how to worm my way into. “You have to be getting close,” he said with a wink.

“Maybe by Halloween,” I told him. Another thing they won't tell you in film school is no matter how much you'd like to be, you're never as alone in this thing as you think you are.


  1. Well, you're alone if you're in the Great White North trying to do similar... sans Ebony, Ivory, Sharon AND Katrina Relief cans...

    I can't imagine the heat you've been dealing with this summer... mind you, I'm a recluse in the winter, too, and around here, that's almost 7 months out of the year - until this year, with it's burners turned to high. HALP!

    Tell us the news of your "Me Against the Unknown Script-writer".... anything yet? I wait with crossed digits cramping, and blue from holding my breath...

  2. I never carry cash anymore, so if they want to be hip and trendy they need to also pass around one of those debit card swiper thingies... at least I can punch in $5 and save face (great blog BTW, I just found you)

  3. Thanks so very much for taking your time to create this very useful and informative blog.