Saturday, October 1, 2011

Growing Up In Los Angeles

In 1977 my single mother moved us from Baltimore Maryland to Los Angeles California. I was nine.

At first, I was upset. I missed my family and friends. It didn't take long for me to acclimate to the gorgeous weather and glitzy lifestyle though. We lived in Brentwood, an upscale neighborhood. Most of my friends had wealthy parents. I remember the first time I had a sleep-over at a friend's house. Her parents worked for Sasoon Jeans and I couldn't get over that they had five bathrooms. It was a mansion.

My mother had several different jobs and one of them got us the opportunity to go to celebrity softball games. All the stars of the hit shows played in the games: Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, Mork & Mindy and several others. I loved every minute of it.

When I was a teen we lived in the South Bay. The ocean was the backdrop. My girlfriends and I would leave school at lunch and drive to the beach where all the construction guys were and we would flirt and laugh. My life was good. I had a lot of friends and fun.

In my early twenties I lived in Hollywood. My neighbor Mic is a professional dancer and I hung with him and the dancer crowd. Mic had more luck and energy than anyone I've ever met. For fun, he would shoot and edit videos of pop songs that were popular at the time. Total bubblegum music and not my first choice but I was often the lip-sync star. Mic would get a bunch of his professional dancer friends together, we would all find a location, they would come up with some choreography and I would pretend to be the lead singer.
Mic would then edit it to look like a real video. It was an arduous process and he would play the same part of a song (loudly) over and over and over to get the music matched up to the footage. His neighbors had to endure the monotony but no one ever complained. The end result was always entertaining and I loved being part of it. I only have some of those videos on tape. They are old and the quality sucks. I hope that one day he puts the footage on disc. I know I won't.

I soon got bitten by the acting bug. I studied at the Dvorak & Co. acting studio and another chapter began. I met a lot of interesting people and was fortunate enough to appear on a soap for seven years. I started watching Days Of Our Lives the summer before I moved to L.A. The first day on the set, I had the good fortune of doing my first national television appearance with two of my friends from the acting studio. I already felt like I knew the cast. It was an amazing experience. I always enjoyed being on the show, even when the hours were grueling. Deidra Hall (Marlena) had always been one of my favorite characters and she took a bit of a shine to me. One day when filming, she took me aside to make sure I knew they best way to stand so that I would be in the most flattering light. I will never forget her doing that. She had no reason to.

I attended many A & B-list Hollywood parties. My biggest regret is the time I went to an A-list party alone. Bill Maher walked by me. I knew who he was but I wasn't too familiar with his work on Politically Incorrect. I made no attempt to say anything to him. If that opportunity presented itself to me now, I would definitly say hello. I can only imagine what that crazy converstaion would be like.

After the better part of a decade, I decided I no longer wished to pursue an acting career and got into sales. I worked in various industries for another decade until the economy took a dump on everyone. I moved to Northern California on September 26, 2009. My two year anniversary has just passed and I feel torn. I miss things about Los Angeles. It's a unique place to grow up. There are a lot of things about L.A . that are horrible: The traffic, the air, the plastic, but it also has a of diversity, beauty, creative people and fun things to do.

Just before I left L.A. I wrote this note on Facebook. I recently re- read it and all the crazy memories flooded in. L.A., will we ever live together again? Time will tell...

Ciao City Of Angels

Since 1977 I have lived all over Los Angeles.

Brentwood, Laurel Canyon, Beverly Hills, Silverlake, Hollywood, Torrance, Hollywood again and Glendale.

I know these streets in and out.
I have had so many crazy, fun, scary and amazing times here.
I have been friends with the extremely wealthy, the poorest of poor and everything in between.

Some highlights include:

Dvorak Acting Studio

Rich, Denise, Kara and Gage. I LOVE(D) THEM!

Recording a song for a movie for the Smithsonian Institute with Ricky Nelson's sons.

Hanging in Malibu with Nicole, her crazy Mom Phyllis and the band Chicago.

Working on Days of Our Lives for seven years.

Woody Harrelson's birthday party. It seemed as if every celebrity in Hollywood was there. He had a stage where Melissa Ethridge performed. There was a tee-pee and inside was the man with the pipe. Joan Collins was there too, along with Glenn Close and Danny DeVito.

The Derby (the nightclub featured in Swingers) and Jack's Sugar Shack - two of the most fun bar/clubs ever.  One night close to Christmas, my friend Maria and I went to Jack's. A parade of dirty Hollywood Santas entered the bar. One leaned over a candle and caught fire! Earl, a Jack's barfly, was enjoying himself one evening. A singer who called herself Pearl Harbor came over and shook her giant tits for him and he fell off the bar stool and broke his hip. As soon as it healed, he was back and telling everyone of his crazy night with Ms. Harbor. True story!!!

As a teen I remember walking on Vine just up the block from where Jack's was located. Spray painted on a parking lot wall was "Agnes Moorehead is God." It would get painted over but eventually someone would write it again.

David Lee Roth kissing me at the Rainbow.

All the Hollywood parties Kathryn and I went to.

Working as a street vendor on Venice Beach with my mom. We sold leg warmers and beaded tee-shirts and that's how my mother earned her living for about a year.

Mic Thompson and all the fun times we shared, making videos and having "coffee."

Going to Griffith Park Observatory the first weekend of my senior HS year to watch the laser Zepplin show, taking shrooms and winding up at Hollywood Presbyterian on a Saturday night with all the stab victims.(My mother had to drive 50 miles to pick me up. That was fun!))

Getting drunk with Mom and Sweevie after acting class. Steve wore one of my dresses and I put on my Prom dress and we played ding dong ditch at 2 am.

My date with hunky ABC newscaster Phillip Palmer after I sent him a snail mail letter and got that date!

Working with Stacey and eating at El Torito.

Stalking Magnus and John with Melanie singing "Blaze of Glory" and "If I Could Turn Back Time" at the top of our lungs!

There are so many memories I hold dear. This Saturday, I will leave this crazy, horrible, hilarious, fun, vapid wasteland. I am grateful for the unique experiences this city has given me. I am also grateful to be leaving while I am still young enough to start over somewhere new and beautiful. I don't know what lies ahead. I hope it's good. I am finished with Los Angeles and though I see it through jaded eyes and am mostly disgusted, I realize it helped make me who I am. The good, the bad, the ugly - and the beautiful.
Good-bye Los Angeles. It was a wild ride.

No comments:

Post a Comment