Monday, January 7, 2008

Hollywood Update #19: Y’All Can Just Call This Creepytown

November 9, 2005

Happy Hollyween
Every day is Halloween in Hollywood, to a certain extent. It’s not unusual to cross paths with a half-dozen trannies and an assortment of other strangely attired folks in the course of a day. But if there’s a holiday that sums up all that is Lalaland, it’s this one. I dressed up, of course; after combing the thrift stores and costume shops on Hollywood Boulevard and securing everything needed for my alter-ego, Cub Scout Ricky Lixx (see photo).

Michael Muhney (Sheriff Lamb) invited me to join his friends in Studio City for a candy-handing-out party, and I got another creepy look at the holiday. As in many suburban areas, the goblins arrived en masse in minivans from their distant neighborhoods—the kids to accumulate pillowcases full of Snickers bars, and the parents to show off how cute their kids are. In Suburbank, Halloween is like a giant casting call, with stage mothers pimping out their toddlers and ‘tweeners in hopes of accidentally trick-or-treating the home of a director or agent. I saw dozens of $100+ costumes, including several kids with studio-quality special-effects make-up (one kid had a six-inch bolt penetrating his forehead that was so real looking, he must’ve stayed home from school just to have it applied). The second scariest thing I saw was a seven-year-old girl dressed as an American Idol contestant who sang for us and told Michael that she “loves men with big muscles” as she squeezed his bicep.

Creepy Crawlers
Because money seems to ooze out of the cracks in Hollywood sidewalks, there’s a misconception that everyone in the business is swanking around in cushy, velvet-and-leather office suites, hot-tubbing at lunchtime and soothing the days away in thousand-dollar Sharper Image massage chairs. Au contraire, mon amies. Our show is contracted out to a production company that provides our writing offices and manages the stage and crew in San Diego. This company obviously spends its fundage on the sets down south, and not the suites up north, because our offices are a spooky mix of concrete and crypt.

Exhibit A: on Tuesday, I entered the ladies’ room (after dodging the dart-playing sausage gauntlet) and nearly wet my pants. Clinging to the edge of the sink was a thick-bodied, pointy-looking spider.
“PHIL, ALEX,” I stated loudly. “Could you come here please?” I took two deep breaths and pointed. “Is that a black widow?”
Phil, a Stanford grad with a deep appreciation for science, research, and arcania, admired the spider and ordered Alex to get a plastic cup. The spider was gently eased from the sink, its belly examined, and the tell-tale red hourglass clearly spotted. “Cool,” Phil said.
Oh sweet mother of God, I thought. I was three seconds and a zipper away from having my ass impaled by black widow fangs. “These are poisonous, right?” I asked Phil.
He acted non-chalant, carrying the spider outside for disposal. “I think so,” he said casually. “Probably not deadly, though.” He refused to look me in the eye.
“Don’t pretend you’re not going to Google “black widows” as soon as you’re
done killing that,” I said.
He just shrugged sheepishly.

Before the Black Widow Incident, there was the Maggot Incident, in which I found a small cluster of grubs wriggling around the JKNM area of my computer keyboard, and later, the Cricket Incident, which was followed by the Termite Incident. And tonight’s episode, “Rat Saw God,” features an authentic dead rat that was freeze-dried, soaked in water for several days, and then dried in an oven to create the appropriate effect. It’s not all glamour down here, people. There’s nature, too.

Creepy People Who Kill Stuff
An acquaintance from long ago is now teaching at a junior college in Wyoming (state dinosaur=Triceratops), and invited me to spend last weekend speaking to his students about writing for TV, which turned out to be a rewarding experience. Except, maybe, for the part where I fly to Cody on a wobbly plane with twelve other people, nine of whom are wearing or carrying some form of camouflage. It’s hunting season in Wyoming, and Texans, apparently, are eager to kill stuff in The Equality State, because they packed that plane with their guns and gusto—and on the way back, with their plastic coolers labeled MULE DEER MEAT. FRESH. I avoided being stuck next to one of them, but the guy sitting behind me did spend the entire trip describing his Texas hog-hunting farm (“some them suckers can get as big as two hunnert, two hunnert-fifty pounds!”) and the airport offered free issues of the Wyoming Hunting Guide (feature article: Meeteetse Women Bag First Kills”).

Just When Y’all Thought the Creepiness Would End
Kevin Federline released his first single, “Y’all Ain’t Ready!” and the guys insisted on playing it relentlessly last Thursday, driving me from the office. Sample lyrics: “I know y’all wishin’ you was in my position/Cause I keep gettin’ into situations/That you wish you was in /I’m not your brother, I’m not your uncle, I’m Daddy do/Steppin’ in your game and y’all ain’t got a clue…Back then they call me K-fed/But you can call me Daddy instead.”

Phil calls Federline “The world’s greatest one-man bastard machine.” ‘Nuf said. Y’all can call me sickened, instead.

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