Tomorrow: my review of JUNO.
There has been an inquiry about my going by Annie rather than Diana. Most of you probably had no idea that my name was Diana unless you've either a) known me since birth b) are a friend of mine or c) have read my father's book (so that's what like two of you?). There was no "Kafka-esque metamorphosis". It was more of a Bruce Wayne/Batman secret identity thing although now that its been revealed I guess my crime-fighting days are over. So you are all to blame when Two-Face starts reeking havoc again.
Actually my parents always called me "Annie." Other delightful nicknames include Dow Chemical, Porntip and Youngster Fishman. So its not too surprising that I chose to go by Annie instead. Though you're all welcome to call me "Porntip."
President Bush on September 20th said this about the very-much-alive Nelson Mandela: “"I heard somebody say, 'Where's (Nelson) Mandela?' Well, Mandela's dead. Because Saddam killed all the Mandelas."
Britney Spears on VH-1: “I’ve never really wanted to go to Japan. Simply because I don’t like eating fish. And I know that’s very popular out there in Africa.”
You’ve seen it on YouTube. Lauren Caitlin Upton, Miss South Carolina Teen USA (pictured above) answering a question about why 20% of Americans can’t locate the U.S. on a world map. She said, “I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, uh, some people out there in our nation don’t have maps, and, uh, I believe that our education like such as in South Africa and the Iraq, everywhere, like, such as. And I believe that they should, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S., er, should help South Africa, and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries, so we will be able to build up our future for our children.”
And my favorite:
Pam Anderson ended her marriage with latest hubby, Rick Salomon. They were married Oct.6 in Las Vegas in the hour and half interval between her two magic shows. They'd been friends for years. In an interview on Ellen's show Anderson revealed how they went from friends to lovers. "I paid off a poker debt with sexual favors, and I fell in love. It's so romantic."
First of all, the town is practically empty. Most people from the industry are gone, terrorizing the help in Hawaii and Aspen. There’s very little traffic. You can actually make the fifteen minute drive between Brentwood and LAX on the 405 Freeway in only forty minutes. It’s like you’re flying! Hard to get into restaurants? Not this week. Spago will even make reservations for people they don’t know. And at 7:00 not 10:30. (Unfortunately, their chefs are probably in Aspen and Hawaii.)
Los Angeles is so deserted I heard of a friend who found a parking place at the Grove shopping mall. But that’s still just a rumor.
For industry guild folks, as a nice respite from picketing, there are free movies. In the hopes of snaring nominations from any organization that gives out awards (even the WGA), studios let eligible voters and guests attend contending movies gratis. It’s also their way of giving back to the community. However, the nanosecond the nominations are announced this lovely gesture ends instantly. And they go back to the business at hand – busting the unions.
Most of the city’s attention this week is on the upcoming Rose Parade and Bowl. If you have six friends over to your apartment to play poker, the Rose Queen and her court will come and speak to your group.
The Rose Bowl traditionally pits the champion of the Pac 10 with the champion of the Big 10. It’s always a big deal, “the Granddaddy of Bowl Games”. This year, it’s USC and Illinois (a team that didn’t even win the Big 10) and since the BCS championship game has now become the only bowl that counts, the anticipation and excitement of the Rose Bowl equals that of the WNBA finals.
Every year fans from the Big 10 representative flood into Southern California. They’re easy to spot. They’re always the nicest people you’ve ever met and they’re always wearing school shirts and hats. I’m beginning to think they come to LA for a week with only that one outfit. The Illinois school color is orange so it feels like Halloween.
Highlight of the Rose Bowl festivities is the Lawry’s Beef Bowl. Lawry’s is the greatest prime rib restaurant in the world (a more popular attraction to Japanese tourists than Disneyland). Every year they invite each team and feed them as much prime rib as they can eat. Usually the winning team tops out at around 630 pounds of beef. During the Rose Bowl, you’ll notice half the players sleeping the bench. That’s why.
The New Year's Eve tradition is to watch Dick Clark and experience the year change in tape delay. Unless you have satellite. Then you can watch the East Coast feed in which case you're in 2008 for three hours while the rest of us are still in 2007.
The Rose Parade is Tuesday morning. Today some idiots will start staking out spots along the parade route. Every local channel will broadcast the parade. KTLA gets a 50 share, everyone else gets a 2. Why these other stations still bother is beyond me. KTLA coverage begins at like 3:00 a.m. Five hours of watching people paste flowers on floats and the idiots from today freezing. KTLA will begin replaying the parade immediately upon its conclusion. Then they replay it again. And again. Sometime around January 15th they return to regular programming.
Bob Eubanks has been hosting the parade since the floats were powered by horses. For many of those years his co-host was Stephanie Edwards, a popular local personality who was mostly known for being the carnie for Lucky Markets. She was replaced in the booth by local KTLA morning news anchor, Michaela Pereira. This caused quite a stir. Most people felt that Michaela was horrible and resented her in that Deborah Norville way for squeezing out our beloved Stephanie. (Fans would show their support for Steph by shopping at Lucky but Lucky no longer exists.) Now it’s three years later, Bob and Michaela are back and most people don’t even remember Stephanie Edwards. On to new important causes.
Then on New Year’s evening all the locals will go out to dinner, have to wait 45 minutes for a table since the Illinois rooters got there first, and things will return to normal.
So for my fellow Angelinos – enjoy it while you can!
By the way, happy 90th birthday to my second cousin Manny Thaler. He used to play in Glenn Miller's Band. He's still getting chicks off that gig.
More and more it seems writers are getting out and writing in public. Thanks to laptops and ipods you don’t have to feel isolated sitting in a room, you can feel isolated sitting in a coffee shop or library.
A friend of mine writes in the produce section of Gelson’s market. Another writes on commuter trains. Several work in bars but God knows what those scripts look like.
The only place I think should be made off-limits for working on scripts is Starbucks. It is such a cliché. Starbucks is not for real writers, it’s for posers. I see these “artistes”, hunched over their laptops, determined looks on their faces, clacking away, marveling at their own brilliance and I think “what a bunch of assholes!” And then to draw even more attention to themselves they wear the writer costume – the sweater around the neck, baseball cap indoors, sandals, Blackberrys peeking out of their Levi shirt pockets. I guess their ultimate goal is impress but they obviously never heard the old joke about the Polish actress who tried to get ahead by sleeping with writers.
Visit one of our strike sites. We’re not a super cool bunch. Really, we’re not. But we don’t care. A real writer impresses with his work.
I know there are some very good writers who set up shop at Starbucks and to them I say, just go to Peete's or Seattle's Finest or Dunkin Donuts.
Banging out scripts is hard work. And if getting out in the world, getting a little stimulation and inspiration is going to help, then by all means go for it. I prefer planes, the UCLA stacks library, the Brentwood Country Mart, waiting rooms, and the beach.
Where do you write?
Bumped into Jimmy Kimmel and Sarah Silverman at LAX. I thanked him for sticking up for the writers and he said, “No problem. That’s why I have to leave the country.”
Not to shirk my strike related duties I did picket the Four Seasons every morning.
As longtime guests of the Grand Wailea we were given preferential treatment. They wanted to put us in rooms on the ground floor right along a busy path. And for good measure one was a handi-capped room. Nothing says “parrr-tyyy” to two twentysomethings like wheelchair access showers. We were finally moved to better rooms next to a family of twelve.
The Grand Wailea caters primarily to families. The Four Seasons is the first four rows of the Laker game.
The weather was spectacular and we were verrrry lucky. The week before they had “Kona” storms – constant deluges. Power was out at the hotel for a day, two in nearby Kihei. And since they employed a card key system it must’ve been fun for guests trying to get into their rooms. Yes, the hotel did have a backup generator but that was used to keep the blenders going. This is high Pina Colada season!
The waves during the storm were ten feet high, went over the beach, past the garden path and landed in the kiddie pool. That must’ve scared the shit out of the little darlings. But the snorkeling was great. You just sat on your balcony and watched the fish fly by.
The art gallery at the Wailea mall still has that sign offering original paintings by Paul McCartney, Tony Bennett, David Bowie, and in much smaller letters – Picasso.
Every time I return to Hawaii I am more convinced it’s the most spectacular place on earth.
Imagine the beauty of LOST without the polar bears, mysterious smoke monsters, the “Others”, abductions, explosions, killer force fields, flying spears, illegal medical experiments, and that annoying couple they buried alive.
Oh no! USA TODAY will no longer print its Hawaiian edition. How will the locals get their pie charts and day old scores?
My stomach thought it was in Mexico for the first two days. But the good news is – who loses weight in Hawaii?
Every lounge singer on Maui thinks she’s Norah Jones. I miss the days when they all thought they were Joni Mitchell.
“Mahalo” means thank you. But I understand that since it’s written on every trash can many tourists think “mahalo” means “trash”.
Celebrity citing at the hotel: C.C. Sabathia who just won the Cy Young award. He didn’t bring it down to the pool so I assume he’s married.
My Red Sox fan, Matt wanted to thank him for choking in the American League Championship Series but settled on saying “mahalo”. Of course, depending on what C.C. thought “mahalo” meant…
I also wonder how many vacationers think “Wifi” is a Hawaiian word.
Two weeks ago Jennifer Love Hewitt was at the Grand Wailea. Those now famous bikini shots of her were taken there. We got the New Jersey B’nai Brith women’s auxiliary league.
Went to Roy’s in Kihei on Wednesday night. Fabulous as always. Even better than my dinner the night before – a banana.
Now that it’s known that the Haleakala volcano is dormant the only way to lure tourists into its crater is to claim they can now get the NFL Network in there.
Someone had a tattoo of the Hawaiian islands on her back. Or eczema.
Did you know: Herman Melville was a pin spotter in a Hawaiian bowling alley in 1843? That’s true. Today he’s considered a great writer. Back then he was just “the Dude”.
The big local story was the U. of Hawaii football team. They’re off to the Sugar Bowl. They should be going to the Rose Bowl and their quarterback, Colt Brennan should have won the Heisman Trophy. They get no respect, even after an undefeated season and dropping Rainbow from their team name.
The Channel 9 weekend weather wahine advised any locals going to New Orleans to see the Sugar Bowl to be sure to bring their winter clothes. Expected high: 68 degrees.
As are the papayas. They taste so much better when not shot with Botox or whatever the US Agriculture Department pumps into them before shipping ‘em to Cleveland.
I stopped off to watch one of the many beautiful weddings at the Grand Wailea too-cute-for-words chapel. The gorgeous bride walked down the aisle, heard the organ music, the applause from her cherished friends and family, and a guy yelling “on your left!”
There is a vineyard on Maui that makes pineapple wine. Next time you’re in a really fine restaurant ask the sommelier which pineapple wine he recommends.
LUST, CAUTION just opened in Hawaii, only three months after its mainland release date. Too much caution, not enough lust.
Attention bargain hunters: One can of Diet Coke at the Grand Wailea café – only $3.61. Hurry! Before they come to their senses!
On Saturday I finally bumped into someone who looked vaguely familiar. Turns out its my lawyer.
As Christmas approached the Grand Wailea got more crowded. The traditional holiday knife fights over chaise lounges didn’t begin until the 21st this year.
Santa himself was in the lobby taking pictures with starry eyed little children and drunk frat boys from TCU who just got out of the hot tub. At least the wee kinder dried themselves off before sitting on Santa’s knee. That heavy woolen suit must’ve smelled like a dead raccoon by the time the tattooed Samoan elves mercifully sprung him.
All in all it was another wonderful week in paradise. My two New Years resolutions for ‘08 are (1) to move to Hawaii and (2) look good in shorts. At least with the first one I’ve got a shot.
Happy New Year and may Hi’iaka, the Hawaiian God of Spirit and Dance always be “on your left”.
I don’t know if I need a spoiler alert since the trailer and every review I’ve seen pretty much lays out the story. This Texas councilman arranges a covert war. We just watch the events unfold. The screenplay by Aaron Sorkin crackles at times, occasionally goes off on riffs of policy and political speak (the same stuff we all zoned out on in WEST WING but followed the story anyway), and is heavy on smart but light on emotion.
Tom Hanks, affable as ever, stars as Charlie Wilson. He pretty much goes back to the accent he employed in VOLUNTEERS (and even dons the white dinner jacket again). Philip Seymour Hoffman absolutely STEALS the picture. Hands down. No one even close. His first scene alone should earn both him and Sorkin Oscar noms.
But then there’s Julia Roberts. There must easily be a hundred other actresses who could have played her part as well or better. You’re getting the name, a really bad wig, and nothing remotely special. You watch her scenes and think to yourself… if only Meryl Streep were playing this… or even Allison Janney.
Mike Nichols got some great performances and it was refreshing to hear a Sorkin script spoken at a pace that real people speak in. CHARLIE WILSON’S WAR is well worth seeing, it’s a story that deserves to be told, and I hope it does well in the boxoffice.
But I dunno, I was expecting more. After all, I paid full price and wore real shoes, not even flip flops.
Proving that Christmas can commercialize anything, here's A CHRISTMAS STORY CINGULAR AD.
And finally, for those of you who have seen the movie and have a twisted sense of humor -- here's another example of how trailer makers can make any movie look like any genre. Ho ho ho.